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Naval History of Great Britain - Vol II
1799 British Fleet off Cadiz 257

The French line-of-battle force in the Mediterranean had been reduced by the victory of the Nile to a very insignificant amount. At Malta was the 80-gun ship Guillaume-Tell, also the ex-Maltese 64s Athénien and Dégon ; at Corfu, the 74 Généreux; and, at the several ports named, the following nine ex-Venetian 64s: at Alexandria, the Causse and Dubois, at Ancona, the Beyrand, Hoche (the second), Laharpe, and Stengel, and at Toulon, recently returned from Corsica, the Banel, Fromintin, and Robert ; all named after generals who had distinguished themselves under Buonaparte in Italy and Germany. Of these eleven 64-gun ships, not above seven, if so many, were fully armed and fit for service.

It was stated in the first edition of this work, that the French Venetian fleet consisted of "twelve 64-gun ships, and 32 frigates, corvettes, and galleys." A contemporary first misquotes the passage thus, "twelve line-of-battle ships and thirty frigates and corvettes," * whereas the galleys alone were in number 18 ; and then adds : "But of their existence there is every reason to doubt, and certainly they were never seen or heard of by the commander-in-chief in the Mediterranean. " Strange this, when we shall soon have occasion to name several of the 64s, and most of the frigates, as connected with the operations of the belligerents in that very Mediterranean sea.

On the morning of the 3d of May, four days only after Lord Keith's fleet had returned off Cadiz from watering at Tetuan, the 12-pounder 32-gun frigate Success, Captain Shuldham Peard, and 14-gun brig-sloop Childers, Captain James Coutts Crawford, joined company ; the brig with intelligence, that five Spanish sail of the line had escaped from Ferrol, and the frigate, that she had, at noon on the 1st, when about 35 leagues west of Oporto, fallen in with the Brest fleet, steering southwest by south, and had been chased by it until 4 p.m. on the 2d, when the two leading ships hove to for their, companions astern, and the Success escaped. At this time the British fleet before Cadiz consisted of the:





Captain Walter Bathurst.



Vice-admiral (r.) Lord Keith, K.B.

Captain George Barker.


Vice-adm. (w.) Sir William Parker, bart.

Captain William Bowen.


Captain John Child Purvis.


Captain John William Taylor Dixon.



Captain William Luke.



Captain William Brown.


Captain William Kelly.

* Brenton, vol. ii., p. 378.

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