just as the Iris was about to make sail in pursuit, her foremast, main topmast, and mizenmast, went over the side. On seeing this, the Citoyenne-Française, whose masts, though much cut by shot, were all standing, hauled to the wind, and escaped.
After a contest in which neither ship had been captured, each usually parts in uncertainty as to the name, if not the force, of her late antagonist. Such was the case here. On the arrival of the Iris, in five days afterwards, at Gibraltar, it was reported that the ship which she had engaged was the French 36-gun frigate Médée belonging to Toulon. The plausibility of the statement, having gained it credence at Gibraltar, sent it, stripped of every mark of doubt, to England. Here it appeared in the London journals as a positive fact, with the addition, that the Médée had arrived, in a shattered state, at Bordeaux.* Captain Schomberg, also, in his "Naval Chronology" (vol. ii., p. 253), has introduced the action of the Iris and Médée as one about the existence of which there never had been the slightest doubt.
It nowhere appears in the French journals, that the Médée had any engagement in 1793, or ever anchored in the river Bordeaux : she was either in, or on her way to the West Indies. On the other hand, the letter of a citizen Vincent represents, that on the same day, hour, and place, as, according to the Iris's log, that ship engaged a French frigate, the Citoyenne-Française, a French frigate also, except as to ownership, † engaged an English frigate, mounting the same number of guns as the Iris. The two accounts agree tolerably well, as to the duration of the action, and the relative position in reference to the wind, of the combatants. Nor is it very difficult to conceive, that citizen Rigal should have mistaken the Iris's marines, in their red coats, for "troops;" ‡ nor that citizen Vincent, when ready to commit to paper the oral communication of citizen Rigal, should write "beaupré " instead of "mât d'artimon." Moreover, the Citoyenne-Française did actually arrive at Bordeaux in a shattered state, as was said of the Iris's opponent. Under all the circumstances, therefore, we may consider it as proved, beyond a doubt, that the Citoyenne-Française, and not the Médée was the ship engaged by the Iris.
Out of 217 men and boys (admitting her net complement to have been on board), the Iris lost four seamen killed, her first lieutenant, master (Mr. Magee, mortally), and 30 seamen and marines wounded. The complement of the Citoyenne-Française
* A large drawing in oil was made of the action, and one of the combatants is the " French frigate Médée." Had the picture not remained in the possession of the gentleman for whom it was taken, the windows of the different print-shops in the metropolis would have given additional currency to the mistake.
† The one belonging to the nation ; the other to a private individual.
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