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ignalizing bis entrance into ac- other frigates, with the tranftion by the glory of determining ports, were itanding to the fonth2 war of such importance and welt, at about three leagues dir. magnite de by a fingle blow. He tance, and making directly for had made fire of finding the Bri. Pondicherry. tith admiral with only five, or at Upon this discovery of their the most fix thips of the line, and situation, Sir Edward Hughes inthese entirely out of condition, stantly threw out the signal for a and unprepared, lying without general chace to the south-west; fhelter in the open road of Ma. for besides the temptation held out dras; and be considered them as by the convoy, he knew, that as a cheap and easy prey already in Suffiein, with the line of battle his hands. The loss of the nu. thip, must unavoidably return to nerons trading and provision fhips their rescue, it afforded the only in the road, would complete the certain means of bringing him difraction and calamity of the to action ; and his superio ity town; while the French forces, in number and force, were not being joined with Hyder Ally's sufficient to deter the British numerous army, carried on their admiral from appealing to this joint attacks against it by land, issue. In the course of the chace, and the squadron besieged it by the copper bottomed thips came fea. Any resistance it could make up with and took fix vessels of in such circunstances, was not the convoy, of which five were deemed an object worthy of con, English prizes, newly taken, with fideration.
on board; but the These splendid hopes being fixth, taken by Capt. Lumley, in overthrown, by the immediate dit. the Isis, proved to be the Laucorery of nine English thips of riston, a huge French transport of war (infiead of five) drawn up to 1300 tons burthen; and deeply receive him in the road, all views laden with a cargo of the utmoit of attack were abandoned, and, pollible value and consequence to at four o'clock in the after.
the after. both parties; it confitting of a noon, M. de Suffrein suddenly confiderable train of artillery, (inweighed anchor, and stocd off to tended for a present to Hyder) of the Touthward. This example was a large quantity of gunpowder, and immediately followed by the Eng.' of a complete affortment of other lith admiral, wlio as suddenly military stores. This valuable weighed anchor, and fiancing out prize had likewise on board a of the road in their light, pursued number of land officers, together The enemy through the course with 300 foldiers of the regiment of the night. At day break he of Lausanne. perceived that their: fleet had re- Too much praise cannot be beparated in the night, and were then · stowed on the ipirit which dictated in different directions; their twelve this bold and masterly manuivre, line of battle thips and a frigate The pursuit of so fuperior an Were in
a body, bearing ealt eneny, and the chace and attack of the Britih feet, and at about of the convoy under its eje, are four leagues distance, while the firokes of such a nature, as to
be, perhaps, almost without ex- already within two or three miles ample It was indeed a pity, of the sternmost of the English, that the effe&t could be he found himself under a necessity equal to the judgment and merit of recalling the chasers, who were of the design, through the want just then getting into the most of frigates, a few .cf which would essential part of their service; the have secured the whole of the Isis, in particular, having come up enemy's convoy and troops ; and with two more of the transports, thereby have overthrown at once, which she was obliged to abandon. all the schemes formed for sup- In order to secure the prizes, he at porting and alifting Hyder Ally the same time ordered that they by land. The Sea Horse, of 20 should be sent off directly to Neguns,
was the only frigate in gapatam. company with the squadron ; and The chafing fhips having reshe was so totally insufficient in point joined the admiral, the hostile of firength, that instead of tak- squadrons continued within sight ing others, she was with no small of each other during the night; difficulty saved from being taken and at day-light, the enemy were herself, when she got entangled perceived to the north-east, at with the heavy, powerful, and about three leagues distance. The well armed French transports, weather was very unfavourable to filled, as theỹ were, besides with all naval operation; or at leaft troops. The line of battle fhips afforded no room for reliance on were too few, and the enemy too the effect of any evolution, hownear, to admit of their being ever judicious; for besides it bemuch separated ; and there were ing dark and hazy, sudden and no others for chacing.
frequent squalls, of wind, were As soon as the French squadron as suddenly succeeded by dead perceived the danger of their con- calms; so that though Sir Edvoy, they put before the wind ward Hughes threw out the figwith all the fail they could carry, nal for the line of battle a-head in the hope of bearing down in at six in the morning, it was with time to their relief. The various the greatest difficulty, though with course in almost every direction so small a number of ships, that which the fiying vessels of the it could be formed by half paft convoy bad taken, each hoping that eight o'clock. His object was to pursued by himself might be most weather the enemy, in order to fortunate'in evading the danger, bring on so close an engagement, neceffarily led the English chacing and to lead up his ships to comfhips to be considerably scattered, paâly into a&ion, that their muand drew them likewise by tual and collected efforts might degrees, to a great distance from make so powerful an impresiion, the body of the Squadron. In as thould prevent the effect of that these circumstance, Sir Edward superiority in number and force Hughes perceiving, about three which he had to encounter. But o'clock, that M. de Suffrein was all bis, diligence and ability were bearing down fast upon him, unequal to the accomplishment and that his best failors were of this purpose; the perverse
rerseness of the weather was not admiral were, the Hero, Capt. to be subdued; and the squally Wood, of the fame forces, the wind, irregular and uncertain as Ifis, Lumley; the Monarca, Gell, it seemed, was constantly in fa- of 68 guns; and the Exeter, of vour of the enemy when it blew 64; the latter commanded by
Coinmodore King and Captain Having perceived about noon, Reynolds. Upon these the aitack that they were bearing down in fell. an irregular double line a breast, The squadron being then on towards the rear of the squadron, the larboard tack, the Exeter was which, through the want of wind, the sternmost thip, and being, was somewhat separated, he threw through the failure of wind, as out the fignal for the line of bat- well as from her being a bad tle a-breast, in order to draw it failer, confiderably separated from closer to the centre, and thereby her second a-bead, three of the frustrate their design of breaking French thips bore down dire&ly in upou his line. After various upon ber, and commenced a fuother movements, all tending to rious attack; while M. de Sur close his line, and to render the frein, in the Heros, with several engagement general, instead of other thips, bore down in the partial, wbile the enemy directed same manner upon the Superbe, all their efforts to fall upon his and fell with no less fury upon rear, the Englith admiral finding the admiral. It was evidently at length, that situated as he was their design, at all events, , to to leeward, and without wind suf- disable those two thips; while ficient to work his thips, no ma- they seemed to intend little more nagement could prevent his being than to keep the intermediate forced into aâion upon disadvan- ones in play, while this business tageous terms, he submitted at
was doing, and never once to the neceflity, and threw tended their attack beyond the out the sigual to form the line of centre. These two thips were of battle a-head.
course exceedingly bard preiled, Through these untoward cir- and could not avvid suffering excumstances, M. de Suffrein was tremely under such a weight of enabled to bring cight of his best fire, as was poured on all fides thips, to direct their whole at
upon them. tack upon five of the English, of Yet after enduring all these diswhich the Ils, of 50 guns, was advantages for about two hours, one; while the Eagle, Mon- and forely wounded as they had inouth, Worcester, and Burford, been in that time, a quall of four of their best thips, under wind coming suddenly in their the most approved commanders, favour at fix o'clock, the five were idle fpe&taters in the van, English ships became in turn the without a pollibility of coming to aggressors, and renewed the ac, the allistance of their fellows.. Sir tion with such vigour and effcct, E. Hughes was in the Superbe, that in 25 minutes time, it being of 74 guns, which formed the then near dark, thore of the central ihip; the four below the enemy within their reach, after
having visibly sustained considerable a dead mark, while they still exlofs, luddenly hauled their wind; pected that every broadside muft and the whole French squadron have decided the fate of the Exestood off to the north-east.
ter, could not have been surti. . The Superbe, besides having ciently praised or admired. In her main yard shot to pieces in the most desperate fiate of the the flings, and neither a brace action, the blood and mangled nor a bow line left entire, was brains of Captain Reynolds were so severely wounded in her frull, dashed over bim by a cannon bail that at the time the enemy bore in such a manner, that he was 2 way, the had no less than five for some little time absolutely 'feet water in her hold; and it blinded; yet he ftill preserved a was not until a number of the most admirable equality and comBargest Niot-holcs under water were posure of temper; and when at the plogged up, that it could be pre- heel of the action, and the Exeter venied from gaining on the already in the siate of a wreck, punips. The state of the Exeter the master came to ask him what had been the, molt calamitous he should do with the thip, as two through the action, that could of the enemy were again bearalmoti be pollibly imagined. She ing down upon her, he laconicalhad undergone the fire in all ly answered, “ there is nothing to directions of almost the whole be done but to fight her till the French Iquadron, and had froin links." three to five ships at times laid The enemy being out of sight upon her, until the was at length in the morning, and the malts of reduced nearly to a wreck; and the Superbe and Exeter having if it bad not been for the prompt received so much damage as renand gallant alliance of Captain dered it unsafe to carry fail on Wood, of 'the Hero, the could them, while many of the tot scarcely have escaped going to the holes were so far under water that bottom.
they could not be ftopped at fea, Captain Stephens, of the admi. the admiral found it neceflary to ral's ship, and Captain Reynolds, proceed to Trincomale, where of the commodore's, two brave only their damages could be reand distinguished officers, lost their paired. lives in this unequal and imper- This business being hafily perfeet acion. The whole loss of formcd, the admiral returned bemen amounted to 32 lain, and fore the middle of March, with 95 wounded; of which 30 of the the squadron to Madras, having foriner, and 87 of the latter, neither seen por beard of the were in the Superbe, Exeter, and enemy. He was on his way back Hero The und aken fortitude to Trincomale, with a reinforcedisplayed by Commodore King, ment of troops and a supply of under the long preilure of lo valt military fiores for that garrison, a iuperiority of force, and the when, on the 30th of March, he fierce attack of 10 many fresh was joined by the Sultan and thips coming up in luccellion 10 Magnanime thips of war, of 74 take a clole and steady aim as at guns each, from England. Thele
thips, having had a very tedious of Ceylon, about 15 leagues to and bad patlage, were extremely vindward of Trincomale, on the fickly, their crews being much Jast of them, Sir Edward Hughes, weakened and reduced by the in pursuance of his original intenfcurvy, and its concomitant dif- tion, bore away directly for that orders; but the admiral, notwith- place. This change of course took fanding, considered the service place in the evening, and most un-, he was upon as too urgent, to fortunately afforded an opportunity admit of his returning 10 Jadras to the enemy of gaining the wind for tbe mere purpose of landing of the English squadron in the night. the fick and fcorbutic; for be- With this advantage on their lide, fdes the neceility of securing they were discovered at break of day Triuconiale again it the defigns of crowding all the fail they could an eneny now fu powerful by fea carry in pursuit, and their coppered and land, he had another object no bottomed fbips coming up fo faft kels immediately interelling and with the rear, that the action beimportant in view, wbich was to came uøavoidable. cover and receive the convoy with · At nine in the Ircops and ftores from England, morning, Sir Ed., April 12th. only a mall part of which had yet ward Hughes accorarrived, the rest having put into' dingly made a signal for the line Morebat Bay tome weeks before, of battle a head on the starboard and being then on their way to join tack, at iwo cables length difhim at an appointed rendezvous. tance asunder, the enemy being He accordingly kept on his course, then north by cast, within about with an intention of neither seek- fix miles distance, and the wind ing nor thunning the enemy.
Nothing Bat the same.object, though could have been more untoward with different views, which af- to the English, whether with refeded the conduct of the English spect to time, place, or circumadiniral, operated no less upon fiance, than this engagement.ibat of tbe enemy: For they They were hemmed in upon a likewise knowing the expected molt rocky and dangerous coaft, approach of the convoy, deter. by an enemy much fuperior in mined to use every effort to cut every respect, with the wind full it off, or at least to prevent the in his favour, to that he had it junction In the purluit of this in his power to choole the mode design, the French ficet, amount- of his attacks, to direct them to ing 10. 18 fail, appeared in the thore points he tow moit to his dorth-east quarter, and to lee- advantage, and to withhold thent Ward of the English, on the 8th She liked. This leilire, aud of April. The British aclmiral variety of choice, accordingly ocLield on his courle, and the enemy cagoned their spending about continued in fight, and holding three hours in various manæuvres, the same relative position, during during wbich time they lo frethat and the three fucceeding quently changed the position of days; but having de the coait their hips and line, as iemed 10
in the faine quarter.