but to enable him to transmit a considerable sum of money to M. Truguet, to be applied as an advance to the seamen of the Brest fleet. Nothing more, in short, was required, than to embark the troops and set sail, each fleet from its respective port ; when a convulsion at Paris marred all.
Without going into particulars, we need only state, that the executive directory and legislative body quarrelled ; and that the latter, gaining the ascendancy, felt itself bound, regardless of consequences, to undo all that had been done by the former. On the 16th of July the able minister of marine, Vice-admiral Truguet, was removed, and his place filled by M. Pléville-le-Peley, a man who at least had the modesty to own, that he was ignorant of the duties of his office. By the directions of his masters, the new minister disarmed the Brest fleet, discharged the seamen, and actually sold by public auction several frigates and corvettes belonging to the republic. This blight upon the French marine lasted until the directory, on the 4th of September, regained their influence in the state. An order now issued to re-arm all the ships ; but, as Fresh seamen were to be raised, and the ships sold to private individuals purchased back, much time elapsed, and an enormous expense was incurred, before the Brest fleet could be restored to the state in which it was on the 1st of July. Ere the utmost exertions of the French government could accomplish that object, the year 1797 had run itself out.
The year, however, had not passed away without a second effort on the part of Great Britain to obtain for Europe the blessings of peace. On the 30th of May Lord Malmesbury proceeded for that purpose to Lisle, but, after a negotiation purposely protracted by the French directory, returned home on the 20th of September without having succeeded in his mission.
At the close of the preceding year, we left the Spanish fleet in Carthagena, and Admiral Sir John Jervis at anchor in the Tagus with 11 sail of the line, exclusive of one 80-gun ship, the Gibraltar; bound to Plymouth for repairs, one 74, the Zealous, undergoing a repair at Lisbon, and one 64, the St.-Albans, waiting to proceed to England with convoy.
On the 18th of January the British admiral stood for the mouth of the river with his 11 line-of-battle ships, having, for his first object, the escort of some Brazil merchantmen and Portuguese men-of-war to a safe latitude, and, for his next, a junction with the long-expected reinforcement from England at the appointed rendezvous off Cape St.-Vincent.
Comparatively small as Sir John's force was, a new, or rather the repetition of an old disaster reduced it still more. At 7 h. 30 m. p.m. the 98-gun ship St.-George, Captain Shuldham Peard, having previously run foul of a Portuguese frigate and carried away the latter's jib-boom and fore topgallantmast, got
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