their inebriated stupor, dispossessed the master of his charge, and anchored the ship in five fathoms' water. They then got up a pair of sheers for hoisting out the launch, in order that some of them might proceed to the shore. By this time the wind, as already mentioned, had drawn round to the south-east, and blew fair for Cadiz. Soon afterwards, some Spanish boats coming alongside, the French crew hove up the anchor, and, setting a few sails on the sheers, allowed the Spaniards to tow the Vestale out of the reach of those, by whom she had been so honourably fought and so fairly won.
Captain Bowen afterwards sent into Cadiz a letter addressed to the Vestale's late first lieutenant, then her commanding officer, demanding the restitution of his prize ; but the Frenchman, feeling his head shake at the bare thought, returned no answer.
Thus had the brave crew of the Terpsichore no second trophy to carry home ; but what, it may be asked, is the worth of a shattered hulk, compared with the glory acquired in gaining a victory over, at the least, an equal opponent ? This mode of estimating the merits of the case was not, however, that adopted in the proper quarter. Hence Captain Bowen's letter to Sir John Jervis, describing the action, never made its appearance in the London Gazette ; nor, that preliminary omitted, did the Terpsichore's captain receive the honour of knighthood : an honour, as we have seen, frequently conferred, even where a British 18-pounder frigate had captured a French frigate of the class of the Vestale.
Captain Bowen's vigilance in protecting the trade, equalled his ardour in vindicating the honour of his country; and, in order to show their sense of both, the merchants of London presented him with an elegant piece of plate : that, too, while Captain Bowen was in command of the same Terpsichore in which he had thus captured, in succession, two frigates of the enemy, each of equal, if not superior force, to his own.
On the 19th of December, at 10 p.m., Commodore Nelson, in the 38-gun frigate Minerve, Captain George Cockburn, accompanied by the 12-pounder 32-gun frigate Blanche, Captain d'Arcy Preston, being on his way from Gibraltar to Porto-Ferrajo, to bring away the stores left there, fell in with two Spanish frigates. While the Blanche, agreeably to the commodore's directions, wore to attack the frigate to leeward, the Minerve hauled up, and at 10 h. 40 m. a.m. brought to close action the larger frigate, or that to windward. After a brave resistance of two hours and 50 minutes, during which she lost her mizenmast, and had her fore and main masts shot through in several places, the Spanish 40-gun frigate Sabina, Captain Don Jacobo Steuart, struck her colours to the Minerve ; whose masts, although none of them had been shot away, were, as well as her rigging and sails, much wounded.
Out of her complement, consisting with a few supernumeraries
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