his orders, then cruising in those seas. He accordingly sent his first lieutenant (a Bostonian by birth), and a boat's crew of 12 men, with orders to the commander of the supposed Concorde, to proceed immediately in quest of a certain pirate-ship, and, on capturing her, to hang the whole crew. As he approached the Boston, the American doubted, from the neat appearance of her rigging, whether or not she was a French ship : he lay on his oars awhile, until the master of a pilot-boat that had come alongside assured him she was a French man-of-war, he having passed under her stern, and seen none but French sailors on board.
The fact is, that Captain Courtenay, desirous to deceive both the French captain and the Americans (whose communicativeness he knew), as to the national character of his ship, had placed upon the quarterdeck those among his officers and crew that spoke a little French; and the loud jabbering of these, as they hung over the taffrail, produced its full effect upon the Americans in the pilot-boat. Lieutenant Whity now, satisfied that the ship in sight was the one he was in search of, pulled straight towards her, and, with his men, was made a prisoner.
On Captain Courtenay's expressing to the lieutenant of the Embuscade, a desire to meet that ship at sea, the latter assured him of Captain Bompart's readiness to accede to his wishes; and promised that, if Captain Courtenay would allow him to write to his captain, by the pilot-boat then in sight, the Embuscade, in the course of a few hours, should be outside the Hook. This was done; and Captain Courtenay sent, at the same time, a verbal message to Captain Bompart, proposing to meet the Embuscade, and stating, that the Boston would wait for her three days. The pilot-master, being scrupulous about delivering the message, caused a written copy of it to be posted up in one of the public coffee-rooms of the city. It soon reached the French captain ; and the Embuscade, after a council of the officers had been called, got under way, and stood out to sea.
On the afternoon of the 30th, while the Boston was anxiously awaiting the expected rencontre, 12 sail appeared in the southeast; and which, according to the report of the Embuscade's lieutenant, were a French squadron of two 74-gun ships (Sole and America), four frigates, and six corvettes, bound to New-York from Port-au-Prince, but last from the Chesapeake. At sunset they were distant about ten miles, and soon afterwards disappeared from the Boston; who, at this time, was about four leagues off the Long Island shore. The presence of a formidable French squadron was not very flattering to Captain Courtenay's hopes, let his combat end as it might: however, he stood pledged to give the meeting, and was resolved, as we shall presently see, not to degrade the flag under which he served.
On the 31st, at 3 A.M., a ship, apparently large, was descried coming down before the wind, in the direction of north-east by east. The Boston immediately cleared for action. At 3 h.
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