Lord Bridport steered to the southward ; and at noon, which was about the time that the second division of the French fleet entered Brest, the Channel fleet was in latitude 49° 29' north, and longitude 12° 6' west. On the same afternoon the Unicorn and Doris frigates joined, with information of their having been chased on the 8th by a division of the French fleet. On the 13th, at noon, about the time that this same division reached Brest, the British admiral was in latitude 48° 29' north, and longitude 6° 25' west, - or about 19 leagues to the westward of Ushant.
On the 19th, having ascertained that the last of the Brest ships had returned into port, Lord Bridport, then being in latitude 47° 31' north, and longitude 6° 47' west, detached, as he had been ordered, Rear-admiral Parker, with the Prince-George, Namur, Irresistible, Orion, Colossus, and Thalia frigate, to Gibraltar, and continued, with his fleet by successive reinforcements now numbering 12 sail of the line, to cruise for a few days longer in the vicinity of Ushant. The admiral then, having had several of his ships damaged by the severity of the weather, steered for Torbay. After remaining a few hours only at that anchorage, Lord Bridport sailed on the 31st for Spithead, and arrived there on the 3d of February.
Having thus shown in what way the fleets of Vice-admiral Colpoys and Admiral Lord Bridport had missed the French fleet, we shall merely add, that the principal losses which the latter sustained by capture, arose from the diligence and activity of a 64-gun ship and four or five frigates, part of which, on the 29th of December, were lying in the harbour of Cork.
It had almost escaped us that, in the latter end of the year 1796, France and England, at the invitation of the latter, had, what the Indians call, a talk on the subject of peace. Lord Malmesbury, the commissioner on the part of England, arrived at Paris on the 22d of October; and on the 24th the negotiations were opened between his lordship and M. de Lacroix ; but the parties split upon the first proposal, a reciprocal restoration of what had been lost and taken by the respective belligerents. Had each party been sincere in the wish for peace, it is probable that this and other difficulties would have been got over ; but, that not being the case, Lord Malmesbury quitted the French capital on the 22d of December, and the French territory in a day or two afterwards.
On the 3d of March, Lord Howe still continuing indisposed, Lord Bridport with 15 sail of the line, again quitted Spithead, on a cruise off Brest. Having ascertained that all was quiet in the port, and that there was no probability of the fleet's sailing for some weeks, the British admiral, on the 30th, returned to Spithead. A squadron of observation was now deemed sufficient to send off Brest; and accordingly, on the 6th of April, Rear-admiral
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