|Naval history of Great Britain
||Phœnix and Didon
French pilot seized and carried aft, as the ringleader of the mutiny, the late cockswain of Captain Milius, and who had been in a similar capacity under Captain Jerome Buonaparte. Captain Milius behaved upon the occasion in the noblest manner. He inquired of the man if he had any complaints to allege. The fellow said he had not. " I know it, " said Captain Milius " for I have, every morning and night, a report that assures me of the good treatment of you all : were it otherwise, I myself would head you in the attempt to obtain redress. As it is, you are a disgrace to the name of Frenchmen ; and, " turning to Captain Baker, " I beseech you, sir, put him in irons. " Captain Baker expressing a disinclination to resort to so harsh a measure, Captain Milius urged him more forcibly to do as he requested ; and Jerome's cockswain was accordingly committed, for a short time, to the custody of the master at arms. After this firebrand had been removed, quietness, and even cheerfulness, reigned among the prisoners ; and the two frigates, having by standing well to the westward got a fair wind, anchored on the 3d of September in Plymouth Sound.
Having thus brought his frigate and her prize safe to a British port, Captain Baker, it is natural to suppose, looked forward to the speedy acquisition of those honours which, in all similar cases, had been conferred upon the captain of the victorious ship. We trust that, by this time, our impartiality is so, well established, that any opinion we may submit respecting the merits of an action recorded in these pages, will be received as, the result of, at the least, an unbiassed judgment. Having premised this, we venture to pronounce the capture of the Didon by the Phœnix, considered in reference as well to the force, the skill, and the spirit, mutually opposed, as to the perseverance and good management of the conqueror in securing and bringing home his prize, to be one of the most brilliant and exemplary cases of the kind in the annals of the British navy.
Unfortunately for the captain of the Phœnix, Mr. Pitt resolved to grant no more ribands of the Bath to naval and military officers, meaning to reserve them for ministers abroad. Still more unfortunately for Captain Baker, that illustrious Statesman, before he could accomplish his intention of instituting new military order of merit, died. The early retirement of lord Barham from office (February 9,1806) must have been an additional misfortune to Captain Baker. Not less so, probably, was the successive appointment, within about five years, of five new first-lords of the admiralty : Lord Grey, Honourable Thomas Grenville, Lord Mulgrave, Right Honourable Charles Yorke, and Lord Melville. With each of whom it is customary, in reply to complaints such as the captain of the Phœnix might reasonably urge, to express regret that merit should have been overlooked by his predecessor, but to decline entering into any " retrospective view of the circumstances which may have guided
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