|Naval history of Great Britain
||Light Squadrons and Single Ships
her lower studdingsail halliards shot away, the Raisonable hoisted her colours, and commenced firing her bow-guns at the frigate, then nearly becalmed. In another 10 minutes, and just as she was bringing her broadside to bear, the Raisonable became also becalmed. Shortly afterwards, on a light breeze springing up from the westward, the Topaze wore round, and hauled to the wind on the starboard tack. The Raisonable succeeded after a while in doing the same ; but the frigate, having first got the wind and being on her favourite point, left the former fast, wounding the 64 s rigging with her stern-guns, and sending a shot through her main yard. The Raisonable continued the chase, but after it became dark saw no more of the Topaze ; who, with the loss of three men wounded from her opponent's fire, steered for Lisbon, and on the 20th anchored in safety in the Tagus.
Shortly after the arrival of the Topaze at Lisbon, the British consul, Mr. Gambier, applied for and obtained the release of Captain Mudge and such of the late Blanche's officers and crew as had been transferred to the French frigate. During the stay of Captain Mudge in the Portuguese capital, the French official account, copied from the Moniteur of the 12th of September, appeared in the Lisbon papers. In that account M. Baudin not only represented the capture of the Blanche as having been effected by the Topaze, without any material assistance from either of her consorts ; but, judging from the impunity with which his ship and her crew had escaped, insisted that, had the Topaze been alone, the same result would have ensued.
On the 14th of October, which was soon after their return to England, Captain Mudge, and the late officers and crew of the Blanche, were tried by a court-martial, at Plymouth, for the loss of their ship, and most honourably acquitted. The following has appeared in print, as the speech of Captain John Sutton, the president of that court, on returning Captain Mudge his sword: " I feel the greatest satisfaction and pleasure in the discharge of this part of my duty, having to convey to you the just sentiments which the members of this court entertain of your very able and gallant conduct in the defence made by you of his majesty's late ship Blanche, against a very superior force of the enemy's ships ; and likewise of the spirited support afforded you by the officers of every description, as well as the seamen and royal marines, under your command, in the discharge of their duty ; and which reflects upon you and them, on that occasion, the highest degree of merit and approbation. "
Without meaning to say a word in disparagement of courts-martial in general, we may observe, that an investigation of the cause which have led to the capture of one ship by another ship, or by a squadron of ships, can never be satisfactorily carried on, while the parties to be tried are the only witnesses to be examined.
* See Naval Chronicle, vol. xiv, p. 341
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