Being desirous to attend the combined fleets in their farther movements, we shall merely advert to two untoward circumstances, which may assist in explaining how the British and French Fleets twice missed each other: one was when Lord Keith on the 8th of June, in compliance with Earl St.-Vincent's orders, put back, just when a 24 hours' run in the course he had been steering, would have brought him in front of M. Bruix ; the next, when, instead of waiting off Cape San-Sebastian Lord Keith, of his own accord as it appears, steered for Minorca, and in the neighbourhood of that island wasted several days.
On the 7th of July, while the combined fleets were passing the Straits, some of the ships amused themselves with firing at two vessels belonging to the Algerines, and then steering close in with the Barbary shore. Earl St.-Vincent, who was on board the 44-gun ship Argo, at anchor in the bay, despatched the hired cutter Penelope, of 16 or 18 guns, Lieutenant Frederick Lewis Maitland, to ascertain the cause of the firing. Having stretched across the gut with very light winds during the night, Lieutenant Maitland, at daybreak on the 8th, found himself nearly within gun-shot of Admiral Massaredo's advanced ships, the boats of which, in the prevailing calm, were ordered to tow the 14-gun brig-corvette Vivo towards the Penelope. The latter, however, on approaching the British cutter, received so warm a salute, that she soon dropped astern.
A breeze now springing up, the Spanish 34-gun frigate Del Carmen ran down, and placing herself about a cable's length on the Penelope's weather beam, opened a heavy fire, by which the cutter was soon unrigged and compelled to surrender. An officer from the Vivo now boarded the Penelope, and demanded her commander's sword ; but Lieutenant Maitland refused to deliver it, alleging that the British colours had been struck to the frigate. Shortly afterwards, one of the Carmen's boats boarded and took possession of the Penelope, and sent away the boat of the Vivo.
The Penelope, when thus suddenly ordered from Gibraltar; had on board a considerable sum in specie, intended for the island of Minorca, but which, rather neglectfully we think, was not removed. " When her crew found there was no chance of escape from the combined fleets, they made an attempt to plunder the treasure, which Lieutenant Maitland most honourably and successfully resisted, alleging that, as public property, it was the lawful prize of the captors." *
On the 10th, 11th, and 12th, the French and Spanish fleets entered the harbour of Cadiz. The Censeur being still not in a state to proceed on the voyage, the Spanish monarch presented to the French republic the 74 San-Sebastian ; and into the latter, newly and appropriately named the Alliance, Captain
Marshall, vol. ii., p. 383.
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