But the matter might have been placed beyond a doubt, had Captain Bland, in his official letter, described the situation of the different guns of his prize ; particularly, how many of them she mounted on the main deck. Were it not for Mr. Pocock's drawing, the inference would be, that the Liguria mounted 16 guns (12 and 8 pounders, rather than 18 and 12) on the main deck, and 10 sixes on the quarterdeck and forecastle, with the wall-pieces and swivels, for which there was ample room, arranged in the usual manner. The ship then might have measured about 450 or 500 tons, and would still have been more than a match for the Espoir, whose size was only 215 tons.
On his return home, Captain Bland, very deservedly, was made a post-captain, His commission as such bears date on the 25th of September, 1798, and his commission as a commander, on the 1st of October, 1797 ; yet a contemporary says that, for his action with the Liguria, "Lieutenant" Bland was promoted to the rank of "commander and post-captain," * two steps which, now at least, require a twelve month to intervene.
On the 7th of August; at daybreak, the British 44-gun frigate Indefatigable, Captain Sir Edward Pellew, cruising between the river Gironde and the Isle of Ré, fell in with, and, after a 24 hours' chase and the discharge of a few guns, captured, the French ship-corvette Vaillante, of 20 long 8-pounders and 175 men, commanded by Lieutenant la Porte, and bound to Cayenne ; to which she was carrying 25 banished priests, 27 convicts, and Madame Rovère and family.
Being a fine new coppered and copper-fastened ship of 508 tons, the Vaillante became an acquisition to the British navy ; to which, under the name of Danaë, and established with 20 carronades, 32-pounders, and two long sixes on the main deck, and 12 carronades 12-pounders, on the quarterdeck and forecastle, total 34 guns, with a net complement of 153 men and boys, she was forthwith transferred.
Here is a forcible illustration of the way in which the British usually equip French ships of war, particularly corvettes : they give them more guns, and fewer men, than they were ever intended to carry. If, when thus burdened with top-hamper, † the ship sails badly or upsets, the fault is laid to the manner of her construction, and a general anathema is pronounced upon "French corvettes." A contemporary, indeed, declares that "hundreds" of valuable British seamen perished in them, and that they were "totally unfit for his majesty's service." ‡ He cites as examples, the Cheri, Dorade, Trompeuse, Railleur, and Gentille. The Cheri was a privateer, and went down, as has
* Brenton, vol. ii., p. 331.
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