to that rank on the 22d of March) ; as, not only were the ships, except perhaps the Formidable recently launched at Lorient, prime sailers, but, among the captains in command of them, were the two enterprising officers, Richery and Ganteaume. We are in doubt whether Rear-admiral Jean-Louis Delmotte, and chef de division Villeneuve, arrived with this reinforcement, or had previously belonged to Vice-admiral Martin's force, now augmented, without reckoning the three ships ordered for repair, to 17 sail of the line.
About the time that Rear-admiral Renaudin arrived, Vice-admiral Martin removed from Hyères bay to the road of Toulon ; where, some time in May, a spirit of disaffection broke out among the crews of the Toulon ships, but not, it appears, among those from Brest. The latter were moored across the entrance of the road, to defend the harbour and shipping from any attempt that might be made upon them by the British ; but such precautions were unnecessary, the British fleet lying inactive at Leghorn. At length, by the great exertions of the new conventional deputy M. Niou, a man either belonging or that had belonged to the navy, order was restored in the fleet, and the seamen pledged themselves, in the most solemn manner, "to wash their crime in the blood of the enemies of the republic."
To keep alive this laudable feeling and profit by its effects, Vice-admiral Martin, or rather, as the French accounts say, M. deputy Niou, on the 7th of June, put to sea with the fleet, consisting, as already mentioned, of 17 sail of the line (one 120, two 80s, remainder 74s), besides six frigates and two or three corvettes.
On the 8th of May the British fleet sailed from Leghorn on a cruise off Cape Mola, the south-west extremity of the island of Minorca ; and on the 14th of June, while close to the cape, was joined by a squadron of nine sail of the line, under Rear-admiral Mann, from Gibraltar and England. Admiral Hotham continued cruising off Minorca until the morning of the 24th ; then bore up and made sail to the eastward, and on the 29th, in the afternoon, anchored in the bay of San-Fiorenzo.
On the 4th of July Admiral Hotham detached Commodore Nelson, with the Agamemnon 64, Meleager frigate, 20-gun ship Ariadne, Moselle sloop, and Mutine cutter, with directions to proceed, in the first instance, off Genoa, and then cruise along the coast to the westward. On the 7th, at 4 p.m., Cape del Melle bearing north by west, distant six or seven leagues, the Agamemnon discovered the Toulon fleet, about five leagues off in the north-west. In the evening the French fleet went in chase ; and, during the night, some of the leading ships came fast up with the Moselle. On the 8th, at 7 h. 20 m. a.m., Cape Corse bearing south-east by south, distant five leagues, the Agamemnon began firing guns as signals to the fleet in San
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