sworn to by her officers, of 330 men and boys, was much greater ; she having had 20 killed and 55 wounded:
Here, as in many other cases we have recorded, is a nominally equal match shown to have been decidedly otherwise. A third of superiority in weight of metal is far from counterpoised by a fifth of inferiority in number of men. The relative proportion of loss proves, however, that, had more been required of, more could have been performed by Captain Barlow, his officers and ship's company. Captain Canon, on the other hand, as soon as an action became unavoidable, made a creditable defence.
The Néréide was purchased for the British navy, and under the same name registered as a 12-pounder 36. Captain Barlow, in his official letter, speaks thus of his first lieutenant: "From my first lieutenant, (Michael) Halliday, I experienced all the support which I with confidence expected from so gallant and skilful an officer, which, amidst the difficulties to be contended with in a night action, was an incalculable advantage." In July of the following year Lieutenant Halliday was promoted to the rank of commander.
On the 20th of December, in the middle of a dark night, close off Dungeness, the British gun-brig Growler, of ten 18-pounder carronades and two long guns, and 50 men and boys, commanded by Lieutenant John Hollingsworth, escorting, in company with some other ships of war, a coasting convoy, was surprised, boarded, and, after the loss of her commander, second officer (both mortally wounded), and several of her crew, carried by the two French lugger-privateers Espiègle, of ten French 4-pounders and at least 80 men, commanded by Captain Duchesne, and Rusé, of eight 4-pounders and at least 70 men, Captain Denis Fourmentin ; and both of whom mistook the Growler, in the first instance, for a merchant vessel. Having, at a very trifling loss, possessed themselves of the British gunbrig, the two privateers succeeded, the next morning, in reaching Boulogne with their prize ; and, as might naturally, be expected, Captains Duchesne and Fourmentin experienced from the inhabitants the most joyous reception. This was not all. The French minister of marine wrote the two captains a very flattering letter ; which, indeed, was no less than they deserved.
Bad as the case was, it is not, now that, for the first time, the facts are made known to the English public, by any means so discreditable an affair as Steel, in his "Naval Chronologist," by the following incautiously admitted entry, has made it
^ back to top ^