Matthews, of the Courageux, the whole of the troops embarked, and were on board the fleet by daylight on the morning of the 19th, without the loss of a man. What then must we think of an account which states thus ? "L'arriere-garde ennemie, taillée en pièces et poursuivie avant d'atteindre ses vaisseaux vers lesquels elle fuyait, tombe et périt dans la mer." * The Robust was the last ship that quitted the harbour; and, although, fired at repeatedly, was not struck by a shot.
The Courageux having, in consequence of getting aground off Cape Corse, been hove down in the basin, was warped out without any rudder. The rudder, however, was afterwards brought off, slung alongside the launch and other boats, and was shipped in the road. The British fireship, Conflagration, which appears also to have been undergoing some repairs, could not be got away in time, and, in order that she might not fall into the hands of the enemy, was burnt.
Although the land is not the element on which seamen are expected to shine, the exigency of the case required, that a great proportion of them should act on shore at Toulon. Whether as artillerists in the batteries, or musketeers in the field, they contributed their aid, always with cheerfulness, and never without effect. Their skill and bravery in action, not less than their strength and activity in the many laborious duties incident to a service so full of difficulties and dangers as the one they had engaged in, afforded a theme of praise and admiration to all who had seen their exertions, and witnessed their undaunted courage.
Those who recollect (and who can forget?) the massacres that stained. republican France will be gratified to learn, that 14,877 men, women, and children, of the loyal Toulonese, received an asylum on board the British ships. The Princess-Royal, of 98 guns, bearing Rear-admiral Goodall's flag, had on board, at one time, 4000, and the Robust 3000, of these unhappy people.
But melancholy was the fate of those left behind. Many, in their way to the shore, were cut in two by the balls which were falling around them; others, overcome by their fears, fancied the hurried steps they heard behind were those of their pursuers ; and some rushed, preferring instant death to infuriated vengeance, with their infants clinging to their breasts, into the waves and perished. Some thousands of others remained in the town, in the hopes that their age, sex, or political insignificance, would shield them from the bayonets of the soldiers, their countrymen. Vain hope ! -a decree of the Committee of Public Safety had doomed the whole of them to destruction ; † and the
* Dictionnaire historique, tome iv., p. 135.
† "Ainsi les troupes républicaines entrèrent victorieuses dans Toulon, le 23 Décembre, 1793. La mort de tous ses habitans fut ordonnée par le comité de salut public, avec la démolition de la ville."-Dict. hist., tome iv., p. 136.
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