measurement, the remainder upon a fair average. These points settled, the following statement will exhibit a tolerably correct view of the
Those who recollect the boasting of the French Republic, at this particular time, may be surprised that Rear-admiral Martin and M. Deputy Letourneur did not bear down to engage on the first day, whatever they may have done on the second, when the French had lost one ship by parting company, and another, it maybe said, by getting dismasted ; or, on the third day, when they had lost the weathergage, and a third ship, by far the most powerful in the fleet.
It may here be remarked, that, according to a list in the British official account, the Sans-Culotte and Mercure were both present on the 14th of March ; yet, not only are the French accounts clear on that point, but no notice is taken, in the log of any one of the British ships, of the sight of an enemy's three-decked ship after the evening of the 13th. Yet, a periodical naval work of some notoriety contains the following statement:
"The Sans-Culotte was so severely handled by him (Captain Frederick of the Courageux) and others, that it was the principal cause of her quitting her own fleet, and (she) with difficulty reached Genoa, during a heavy gale that succeeded the action. *
To enumerate the instances of want of precision, discoverable in Vice-admiral Hotham's letter, would be to enter again into the details of an action, of which enough has already appeared. Suffice it, that one English writer, finding nothing but confusion in the gazette account, and not knowing, seemingly, where else to search for particulars, has drawn up a very brief, but not the less obscure, account of the battle ; and another writer, although obliged to confess himself unable to comprehend on which tack either fleet was formed, has persisted in giving three sets of figures descriptive of the evolutions of the two. †
The French naval writers, very naturally, lay all the blame of what befel their fleet to the conventional deputy who was on board of it ; and one writer makes M. Letourneur's surname
* Naval Chronicle, vol. xxxvii., p. 354.
† Ekins's Naval Battles, p. 196 and plate.
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