|Naval history of Great Britain
||Rear-admiral Missiessy at St.-Kitts and Nevis
what marred the fortune of one man made the fortune of the other; and General Prevost rose to fame upon the forbearance of General Lagrange to push his success to a point, which, in all probability, would have made the former his prisoner, instead of, in the language of undue panegyric, his conqueror.
On anchoring with his squadron at Basse-Terre, Guadaloupe, Rear-admiral Missiessy disembarked the proportion of troop and military stores allotted for the island, took in a supply of water, sold his prizes, divided the proceeds among his crews and the troops ; and, on the evening of the 2d of March, scarcely 60 hours from his entering the road, weighed and stood out. On the 5th, at daybreak, the squadron passed Nevis point, and appeared off the island of St. Kitts ; the frigates and smaller vessels anchoring, about noon, in the road of Basse-Terre, the capital of the island. Shortly afterwards a column of 500 men, commanded by Adjutant Barbot, effected a landing without opposition, and, entering the town, demanded of the inhabitants the sum of 40,000l. sterling, threatening, in case of failure, to set it on fire. The militia having previously joined the few British regulars, forming a total of about 500 men, in the almost impregnable fortress of Brimstone-hill, a committee from the principal inhabitants succeeded in persuading the French general and admiral to be contented with 18,000l ; which sum, with great difficulty, was collected and paid over to them. Having destroyed the guns and stores at the two batteries of Basse-Terre, and disarmed a part of the militia, the French troops re-embarked ; but, previously to its departure, the squadron committed a gross breach of faith in pillaging the road of Basse-Terre, from which the frigates took six merchantmen, all it contained. Four of these the French afterwards burnt. The remaining two, one laden with sugar, the other with coffee and cotton, they carried off as prizes.
After this predatory exploit, the French ships proceeded off the island of Nevis. There they levied a contribution of about 4000l sterling, disarmed the batteries, and destroyed five merchant vessels, all they could find. The island of Montserrat received a similar visit. Thus enriched, Rear-admiral Missiessy and General Lagrange, in a few days afterwards reanchored in Fort-Royal, Martinique. Here the admiral found the French brig Palinure, recently arrived from France with despatches, which announced the return of M. Villeneuve to Toulon in consequence of a storm, and ordered M. Missiessy to return forthwith to Europe. After disembarking at Martinique nearly the whole of the troops remaining on board the squadron, the French admiral set sail for France. Calling on his way off the city of Santo-Domingo, he found General Ferrand, with a handful of men, reduced to the greatest extremity by the persevering attacks of the negroes ; against whom the general had sustained
^ back to top ^