Aimable, made sail : at first she hauled close up, then kept gradually going off the wind, until her stern-chasers would bear ; from which the Pensée maintained, until 10 a.m., an unremitting though ineffectual fire. By this time the Aimable, in spite of every effort, had fallen so far astern as to be out of gun-shot. After running two hours longer and still increasing her distance, the Aimable discontinued the chase, and hauled her wind to the southward. That her opponent was the French frigate Pensée, there could be no doubt, the name having been plainly seen on her stern.
The Aimable had the good fortune to escape with only two men wounded ; while the Pensée, as related upon her arrival soon afterwards at St.-Thomas's, where, for a short time, she was blockaded by the 12-pounder 32-gun frigate Mermaid, Captain Robert Waller Otway, lost 90 men in killed and wounded.
The two frigates were armed precisely as their respective class-mates in the two tables already given. * Surely, then, there was nothing to alarm the French captain ; nothing to excuse him for having disappointed the wishes of Captain Mainwaring and his crew ; unless the severity of the Pensée's loss may be considered as a justification for her taking to flight while she had sails to carry herself off.
On the 8th of August, at 9 h. 30 m. a.m., Rear-admiral Pole, then with the 74-gun ship Carnatic, and two or three other British ships, lying at the Saintes near Guadeloupe, directed Captain Otway to proceed in chase of a strange ship, seen at a great distance in the offing. The Mermaid accordingly made all sail ; and, on getting through the passage formed by the two islands, hauled to the northward, when a strange sail hove in sight under the land of Basse-terre. At 11 h. 30 m. a.m., as the Mermaid advanced nearer, the stranger was seen to be a frigate with French colours flying. Captain Otway, as directed, immediately made the signal for an enemy, and fired a gun. At 11 h. 45 m. a.m. the batteries on shore opened a fire upon the Mermaid, and many shots went over her. At about noon a shift of wind brought the strange ship, which was the 40-gun frigate Vengeance, on the beam of the Mermaid, who thereupon opened her broadside ; one of the shots from the Mermaid sank a boat that was towing astern of the Vengeance, in which an aide-de-camp of Victor Hugues, then standing on the beach at Basseterre, with orders to the French captain to take or sink the British frigate, had embarked.
In a few minutes the Mermaid wore round, and hove to on the starboard tack ; in which position she exchanged several broadsides with the Vengeance. At 30 minutes past noon the latter's larboard topgallant sheet and mizentopsail tie were shot away. At 1 p.m. the Vengeance filled her main topsail, and bore down
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