immediately hauled up for the Concorde, and the Terrible pursued the two frigates in the north-west by west ; upon whom the 74 gained so much, that at 4 p.m. she was only two miles astern of them. At 7 p.m. the Terrible and Melpomène lost sight of each other. On the 30th, at daybreak, the 74 found herself still only two miles distant from one of the frigates in the north-west. and soon afterwards passed several gun-carriages, also two horses, which had been thrown overboard by the French frigate. It is doubtful whether or not this would have saved her, if at 5 p.m. a violent and unexpected squall of wind from the south-east had not carried away the Terrible's fore and main topsailyards, and the topgallant ones also. There was now no alternative; and the Terrible, accordingly, left off chase and hauled her wind to the southward and westward. M. Savary was afterwards so fortunate as to reassemble all four of his frigates, and with them to re-enter Rochefort on the 22d day of his departure from it.
This was the last of four expeditions, which the French sent from their ports to assist the malecontents of Ireland. The first, or that of December, 1796, was scattered and discomfited by the weather. The second, under the same Commodore Savary whose fortunate escape we have just done detailing, succeeded, in August of the present year, in disembarking a body of men, but it was only for the survivors of them to yield up their arms in September. The third ended in the capture of the Hoche and her companions ; and the fourth, rendered unavailable by the failure of the second and third, returned to port as it went.
During the last two months of the year, the Brest fleet remained as stationary as it had done during the first ten. In the attention we are about to bestow upon the fleet of Toulon, we may perhaps develop the principal cause of this forced inactivity of a fleet, which, with a proper application of its numbers and strength, might have done incalculable mischief to an enemy.
We must not, however, quit the Channel without mentioning, that, among the fruits of four years' hard fighting, as the assembling, in France, of 2800 English, and in England of upwards of 30,000 French prisoners. Since the month of January the two nations had agreed that each should maintain their own prisoners ; that, for that purpose, an agent should reside in each country, and have the benefit of its market ; and that the prisoners, instead of being scattered over the country ; should be confined in three or four places of general rendezvous. Agreeably to this arrangement, the French prisoners were to be confined nowhere but at Portsmouth, Plymouth, Norman-Cross, Liverpool, Edinburgh, Chatham, and Stapleton. This was followed, towards the end of the year, by a second agreement, authorizing the reciprocal transmission of cartels, and settling the terms by which an exchange of prisoners was to be regulated.
In the course of the year the French directory issued a decree
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