|Naval history of Great Britain
||Light Squadrons and Single Ships
The 10-gun ship Equivoque is here left out, partly because the calibers of her guns are not known, and partly because the aid she afforded the Psyché was not constant, but occasional. As to the two frigates, although nominally equal, they were very far from being a match, and yet what a resistance the Psyché's was. Her loss in killed and wounded amounted to more than half her crew ; and among the killed were the second captain and her two lieutenants. Her third lieutenant was on board the Equivoque. This act of Captain Bergeret's surpassed what had been expected even of him ; * and every Frenchman, who wishes well to the navy of his country, should hold in honourable recollection the heroic defence of the Psyché. The prize became added to the British navy as a 12-pounder 32-gun frigate ; but owing partly to her age and partly to the damage done to her by getting aground, the Psyché did not continue more than a few years in the service.
On the 16th of February, at daybreak, in latitude 28° north, longitude 67° west, the British 12-pounder 32-gun frigate Cleopatra, Captain Sir Robert Laurie, Bart., saw a ship in the south-east, standing to the east-north-east, with the wind at north-west, and immediately went in chase of her. At 11 A.M. the stranger was discovered to be a large frigate, with 15 ports of a side on the main deck. The Cleopatra, whose force was that of her class, † with the exception that four of her nines had been exchanged for ten 24-pounder carronades, making her guns in all 38, cleared for action, and hoisted American colours, to induce the stranger to bring to. Instead, however, of doing so, the latter made more sail. She was the French 40-gun frigate Ville-de-Milan, Captain Jeane-Marie Renaud, armed with 46 guns, eight more long 8-pounders than the establishment, ‡ no carronades apparently, and her two aftmost maindeck guns left at Martinique ; from which island she was 19 days, with despatches for France, and with express orders not to speak any thing during the passage.
Under these circumstances, a trial of speed was alone to determine, whether or not there should follow a trial of strength. Each ship spread all the canvass she could set, and night left the two frigates still in chase. At daybreak, on the 17th, they were only about four miles apart. The British frigate continued to gain upon the French frigate ; and, at 10 h. 30 m. A.M., the Ville-de-Milan took in her studding sails, and hauled more up. The Cleopatra, as soon as she approached within three quarters of a mile, did the same. At 11 h. 30 m. A.M. the Ville-de-Milan hauled up her mainsail and kept more off the wind ; but, upon the Cleopatra's steering to close with her upon her quarter, the
* See vol. i., p. 325, and vol ii., p. 236.
† See H in the table at p. 91, of vol. i.
‡ See No. 5 in the table at p. 54 of vol. i.
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