74. At midnight, on the 18th of January, 1783, while cruising in the West Indies, the Leander, Captain John Willet Payne (the same who commanded the Russel in Lord Howe's action), fell in with the French 74-gun ship Pluton, Captain d'Albert de Rioms, partially disabled, it appears, either by a gale or an action. The Leander herself commenced the attack, and soon obtained a capital raking position on the 74's starboard bow. After a smart contest of two hours, the Pluton sheered off, with the loss of one lieutenant and four seamen killed, and 11 seamen wounded. The loss on board the Leander amounted to 13 killed and wounded ; the latter so badly, that two only of them survived.
On the 22d of August, at noon, the British 38-gun frigate, Naiad, Captain William Pierrepont, cruising off Cape Finisterre, discovered and chased a French frigate in the east-north-east, but at dark lost sight of her. Soon after midnight, however, the Naiad again saw the French frigate steering south-east, and continued the pursuit, with light breezes, during the remainder of the night, and until 2 p.m. the next day ; when the British 44-gun frigate, Magnanime, Captain, the Honourable Michael De Courcy, hove in sight, and joined in the chase.
At about 5 p.m. the French 36-gun frigate, Décade, Captain Villeneuve, began firing her stern-chasers at her pursuers, particularly at the Naiad, the more advanced ship of the two ; and who, at 6 h. 15 m. p.m., commenced a fire in return, After a running fight of about an hour from its commencement, but by which, as it appears, no damage or loss was inflicted on either side, the Décade hauled down her colours.
The frigate was last from Cayenne ; whither she had carried the banished persons whom the Charente, on account of her accident, had been obliged to re-land.* The Décade had on board a crew of 326 men, but had left at Cayenne ten of her guns : consequently, she mounted but 30 at the most, while the Naiad alone mounted 46, and of a heavier caliber. The prize measured 915 tons, and was added to the British navy as a 12-pounder, 36-gun frigate.
On the 7th of September, at noon, the British 38-gun frigate, Phaëton, Captain, the Honourable Robert Stopford, and 44-gun frigate Anson, Captain Philip Charles Durham ; cruising in company off the French coast in the neighbourhood of the river Gironde, fell in with, and after a chase of 24 hours, captured the French 32-gun frigate Flore, eight days from Bordeaux, on a cruise.
Although called a frigate in Captain Stopford's letter, the Flore, it would appear, was not, at the time of her capture, a national frigate, but a privateer, similar to the Citoyenne-Française, the ship which, the first year of the war, had the
* See p. 296.
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