Frigates Hebe, Latona, Phaëton, Phœnix, Inconstant, Southampton, Lapwing, Pegasus, and Niger.
Lord Howe then stood away to the westward, with the wind at north, and, having cleared Ushant, altered his course to the southward, and steered for the supposed station of the French fleet.
On the 31st, when the admiral had nearly reached the latitude of Belle-Isle, the wind, which had been blowing from the westward veered suddenly back to north-north-east; and the fleet stood in towards the land, on the larboard tack. At 2 p.m. the British descried the island bearing, east-north-east, and almost it the same moment, the fleet of M. Morard- de-Galles, consisting of 17 sail of the line (all those in the list at p. 55, except the Côte-d'Or, Tigre, and two out of the three ships, Aquilon, Impétueux, and Révolution), and several frigates, on the weather-beam.
Having been ordered to cruise off and on the coast, to be in readiness to protect a convoy from America, expected to arrive under the escort of M. Sercey and his three 74s, the French admiral, when first seen, was standing on the starboard tack close hauled. At 5 p.m. the French ships, then bearing from the centre of the British fleet north-west by west, and appearing from the masthead with their topsails just above the verge of
* In order to simplify these lists, we have omitted the letter referring to the class, or subdivision of the rate, in the annual abstracts, except where there is a difference of force. For instance, the Queen-Charlotte and Royal-George each mount 18-pounders on the third deck, but the Royal-Sovereign mounts only 12-pounders. The figures after the names of the flag-officers (refer to their relative seniority. The ships of each rate, or class, stand in the list according to the seniority of their respective captains. Were the rank of the officer not made subservient to the class of the ship, a degree of confusion would frequently ensue: thus, the Veteran, of 64, would rank (above the Majestic and Edgar, of 74 guns. The letters r, w, b, enclosed in parentheses, stand for red, white, and blue, the colours of the flags worn by admirals, vice-admirals, and, rear-admirals respectively, according to gradation of rank, as explained in the Glossary.
^ back to top ^