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Naval History of Great Britain - Vol I


Lord Howe on the 1st of June


were the officers whom Lord Howe named as meriting a "particular claim to his attention." Admirals Graves and Sir Alexander Hood ; Rear-admirals Bowyer, Gardner, and Pasley ; Captains Lord Hugh Seymour, Pakenham, Berkeley, Gambier, John Harvey, Payne, Parker, Henry Harvey, Pringle, Duckworth, and Elphinstone ; Captains Nichols of the Royal-Sovereign, and Hope of the Bellerophon, on the inability of their respective flag officers to remain at their posts, and Lieutenants Monkton of the Marlborough, and Donnelly of the Montagu, in similar situations.

If, as a contemporary observes, "the discretionary power given by the last part of the signal No. 39, on the 1st of June, places the conduct of those officers who did not go through the line, in a far more favourable point of view than it would otherwise have appeared," * the same cause proportionably enhances the conduct of those officers who, scorning to shelter themselves behind such a plea, boldly dashed into the thickest of the fire.

The difficulty of a due discrimination was certainly very great, and Lord Howe did well to relieve himself from much of the responsibility, by transmitting to the Admiralty the logs of the several ships of the fleet, signed by their respective captains.. With these documents before them, the Lords of the Admiralty restricted the delivery of medals to the flag-officers and captains of the ships that appear in italics in the following list: Cæsar, Bellerophon, Leviathan, Russel, Royal-Sovereiun, Marlborough, Defence, Impregnable, Tremendous, Barfleur (flag-officer only, until at a later day, when her gallant captain received one), Invincible, Culloden, Gibraltar, Queen-Charlotte, Brunswick, Valiant, Orion, Queen, Ramillies, Alfred, Montagu, Royal-George, Majestic, Glory, Thunderer; also the Audacious. The Montagu's captain was killed in the action, and the Brunswick's captain had since died of his wounds.

The captain of the Cæsar, one of the excepted ships, felt displeased at the following paragraph in Lord Howe's letter, describing the partial engagement of the 29th of May : " But, as the smoke at intervals dispersed, it was observed that the Cæsar, the leading ship of the British van, after being about on the starboard tack and come abreast of the Queen-Charlotte, had not kept to the wind ; and that the appointed movement would consequently be liable to fail of the purposed effect."

Captain Molloy accordingly wrote to request a court-martial upon his conduct on that day. Lord Howe wished to include that on the 1st of June. The order was granted, and the court-martial sat on board the Glory in Portsmouth Harbour, from the 25th of April to the 15th of May, 1795. The court pronounced Captain Molloy's personal courage unimpeachable, but, considering

* Brenton, vol. i., p. 37I.

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