hoisted English colours and discharged her broadside in return. Perceiving, however, that the other ship, a frigate also, was coming up fast, under a press of canvass, the Oiseau made all sail from two opponents, either of which had the appearance of being at least equal to herself. At 2 h. 45 m. p.m., the headmost of the two Spanish frigates, finding that a longer chase would separate her from her consort, shortened sail and hauled to the wind ; thus destroying the hope entertained by the Oiseau, of bringing one of the frigates to action without interruption by the other.
These details, or the principal part of them, are extracted from the Oiseau's log, which we were induced to search on reading the following paragraph in a work of naval biography recently published : "Whilst thus employed," cruising off the Rio de la Plata, "Captain Brisbane fell in with two large Spanish frigates, one of them bearing a commodore's broad pendant. A severe engagement ensued ; but, notwithstanding the disparity of force, the l'Oiseau (sic) had the good fortune to beat off her opponents." *
Had this statement regarded an officer, whose professional fame was less firmly established than that of Captain Charles Brisbane, we should, as we have done in some similar cases in Mr. Marshall's book, have let it pass without notice, for fear of exciting an undue prejudice against the officer who has thus the misfortune to be the subject of biographical exaggeration. A writer should, indeed, be very cautious about introducing such loose, and undated accounts ; especially, as the same means of ascertaining their validity, and, if the main facts be true, of supplying any deficient particulars, are alike open to him and to us.
On the 16th of July, in the night, a British squadron, composed of the 40-gun frigate Pomone, Captain Sir John Borlase Warren, 44-gun frigate Anson, Captain Philip Charles Durham, 38-gun frigate Artois, Captain Sir Edmund Nagle, and 18-gun brig-sloop Sylph, Capt. John Chambers White, and Dolly, hired armed cutter, being on a cruise off Ushant, discovered and gave chase to a convoy of fourteen French vessels, in charge of the 28-gun frigate Calliope (mounting, like others of her class, 32 or 34 guns), and one ship, and one brig corvette, standing in for Audierne bay. The two corvettes hauled their wind to the southward, and escaped round the Penmarcks ; but the frigate, not being able to follow them ; at about 2 h. 20 m. a.m., on the 17th, cut away her masts and ran on shore, and a brig, laden with ordnance stores, anchored close to her.
At 7 a.m. the Anson anchored with a spring on her cable, and opened a fire upon the frigate and brig, but at rather too great a distance to do much execution. At 9 h. 30 m. a.m., the Sylph
* Marshall, vol. I p. 734
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