|Naval history of Great Britain
||Third Cruise of M. Linois
the Atalante having previously quitted port on a cruise off the Cape of Good Hope, and the Sémillante, since the 6th of March, having been detached to the Philippine islands, with the intelligence of the war between England and Spain.
On the 11th of July, off the coast of Ceylon, having cruised unsuccessfully near the entrance of the Red Sea, M. Linois fell in with the Brunswick Indiaman, Captain James Ludovic Grant, in company with the country-ship Sarah. The latter, being considerably to windward, made for the land, and although pursued by the Belle-Poule, ran on the breakers. The Sarah was totally lost, but her crew fortunately escaped sharing her fate. The Brunswick, after a slight and ineffectual resistance, was taken by the Marengo.
Receiving intelligence that a superior British force was in this quarter, the French admiral steered towards the Cape of Good Hope. On the 6th of August, in latitude 19° 9` south, longitude 81° 22' east, at 4 P.M., in thick hazy weather, the French squadron, then close upon a wind on the larboard tack, standing to the southward and westward, discovered, at about four miles distance on the lee bow, a fleet of 10 Indiamen, under convoy of a two-decked ship-of-war, steering to the northward. This was the British 74-gun ship Blenheim, Captain Austen Bissell, bearing the flag of Rear-admiral Sir Thomas Troubridge, Baronet, bound with a convoy to Madras ; where, on his arrival, Sir Thomas was to supersede Rear-admiral Sir Edward Pellew as commander-in-chief to the eastward of Ceylon.
As the Marengo and Belle-Poule, with French colours hoisted, wore astern of the fleet, the Brunswick, by signal, kept her wind, and soon lost sight of her two companions and the enemy. At about 5 h. 30 m. P.M. the Marengo, ranging up, opened a distant fire upon the lee quarter of the Cumberland Indiaman, Captain William Ward Farrer (a participator in Commodore Dance's gallant affair), and, followed by the frigate, engaged, in passing, several others of the Indiamen. Observing that the Blenheim was lying by for them, the two French ships then reserved their fire until they came abreast of her, when a smart cannonade ensued. Owing, however, to the great swell that prevailed, the Blenheim could not open her lowerdeck ports : * hence the British 74 had only a battery of 18-pounders, with a few nines and carronades, to oppose to the whole united broadsides of the French 74 and frigate. Notwithstanding this inferiority, M. Linois did not remain long within gun-shot, but passed on under all sail ; interchanging broadsides occasionally with the remaining ships of the convoy, until, at about 6 P.M., he had run ahead of them all.
* And yet a contemporary dwells upon the effect produced upon M. Linois by the Blenheim's " lowerdeck guns ; " see Brenton, vol. iii., p. 352. The same writer adds the Atalante frigate to the French admiral's force.
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