three infantry-officers, two masters of merchantmen, two women, and 48 seamen and soldiers, the French commodore sent on hoard a prize-master and ten men, and ordered the ship for France. On the 7th, having cruised eight days off Loup Head, the Droits-de-l'Homme looked a second time into Bantry bay, and, seeing there no signs of the fleet, steered for the French coast, intending to make her first landfall at Belle-Isle.
On the 9th the commodore lost sight of the coast of Ireland, and on the 13th considered himself to be about 25 leagues from the coast of France, in the latitude of Penmarck point. Thick weather coming on, M. la Crosse determined, for the present, to approach no nearer to the land. The Droits-de-l'Homme, accordingly, stood to the southward under easy sail, with the wind fresh on her starboard beam.
At 1 p.m. a ship was seen to windward which loomed very large in the fog, and appeared to be chasing the Droits-de-l'Homme, from whom she was distant very little more than a league. Shortly afterwards a second ship was seen astern of the first. Judging them to be enemies, the French 74 immediately made sail to escape, or, at all events, to allow time for preparation. The wind, which still blew from the westward, had now increased considerably, and the sea was becoming very turbulent. At 3 h. 30 m. p.m., having run some distance to the south-east, two other ships were seen on the lee bow, manoeuvring, apparently, to cut off the Droits-de-l'Homme from the land.
These were the British 44-gun frigate Indefatigable, Captain Sir Edward Pellew, and 36-gun frigate Amazon, Captain Robert Carthew Reynolds ; and who, it appears, when by their account in latitude 47° 30' north, Ushant bearing north-east distant 50 leagues, had discovered the Droits-de-l'Homme, bearing from them north-west, about the same time that the latter descried the two ships to windward. These seem to have been considered by M. la Crosse as a part of Sir Edward's squadron ; but we rather think they were the French 74 Revolution and frigate Fraternité, on their way to the Isle of Ré. At all events, we have ascertained from the best authority, the Indefatigable's log, that no other vessel than the Amazon was cruising with her ; nor had been, except the Duke-of-York lugger, and she had parted company a fortnight previous.
At 4 h. 15 m., which was shortly after the Indefatigable had discovered the stranger to be an enemy's two-decker without a poop, and with her lowerdeck ports shut, the Droits-de-l'Homme, in a squall, carried away the maintopsail braces, and, almost at the same instant, her fore and main topmasts. This important circumstance, although omitted in Sir Edward Pellew's letter, is mentioned in the Indefatigable's log. The utmost despatch was now used in clearing the wreck from the lee-guns, lest the enemy, profiting by the circumstance, should commence his
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