met its reward ; and both houses of parliament unanimously voted their thanks to Vice-admiral Cornwallis and his companions in arms on this memorable occasion.
Two English naval writers of respectability, and, indeed, of no slight influence, both being professional men, seem to attribute the successful issue of Vice-admiral Cornwallis's retreat to the manner, the peculiar manner, in which he formed his squadron. One says: " He retreated with his ships in the form of a wedge, of which the Royal-Sovereign was the apex ; and whenever the enemy approached sufficiently near, they were soon taught to keep at a safer distance."
The other writer, upon two of his plates, actually represents the British squadron in this wedge-like form, with " the flagship at the angular point." He is afterwards obliged to admit, that, " a distinguished officer, who was present on this occasion, has observed that these figures are not wholly correct." † Admiral Ekins, then, in a third and fourth plate, represents the Brunswick and Bellerophon in extended line abreast, the first on the weather, and the last on the lee bow of the Royal-Sovereign ; who has, in a well-formed line astern of her, the Triumph and Mars.
That the Bellerophon was not on the lee bow of the Royal-Sovereign is clear from the following extract from the former ship's log, referring to the period when the Mars compelled the supposed Zélé. to sheer off: "The admiral hailed the Bellerophon, and desired her to keep her station a little on his weather bow." As it appears to us, the Brunswick, Bellerophon, and Royal-Sovereign should have been represented nearly in line ahead, and the Triumph and Mars, from the latter's accidental fall to leeward, nearly in line abreast, and bearing on each quarter (as the Brunswick and Bellerophon are represented in the above plate on each bow) of the Royal-Sovereign ; who, in consequence, was able occasionally to fire from her stern-chasers between them.
Vice-admiral Cornwallis proceeded straight to Plymouth, with the intelligence of the fleet from which he had had so narrow an escape, and Vice-admiral Villaret-Joyeuse made the best of his way back to Brest, to give an account of the disaster that had attended him. Just as the French fleet, having rounded the point of Penmarck, was about to enter the bay of Andierne, a violent gale of wind from the northward, that lasted 27 hours, separated the ships, and drove them for shelter to the anchorage of Belle-Isle.
Here all the ships assembled, and the fleet soon afterwards weighed and made sail; when, on the 22d of June, 3 h. 3 m. a.m., the British Channel fleet made its appearance in the north-west. This fleet, on account of the continued indisposition
* Brenton, vol. L, p. 374.
† Ekins's Naval Battles, p. 148.
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