|Naval history of Great Britain
||Cruise of M. Willaumez
morning of the 8th, in company with about 280 sail of West-Indiamen.
The French account of this meeting is as follows: " On the 6th of July, under the island of St.-Thomas, he (Willaumez) fell in with the English squadron of Admiral Cochrane, composed of four sail of the line and of several frigates and large corvettes, forming a total of 12 or 13 three-masted vessels. This squadron was to windward. Willaumez shortened sail to wait for it, and cleared for action. The English admiral did not think proper to engage, and kept his wind. The position of the two squadrons prevented the French admiral from closing the enemy, who had Tortola and St.-Thomas to shelter himself in, and after having in vain offered him battle, he (Willaumez) resumed his route. "
Deeming it, as he himself admits, no longer safe to remain in the Antilles, and having taken on board his squadron at Martinique a sufficient quantity of provisions to last until October, M. Willaumez steered towards the latitude of the Great Bahama bank. It is clear from this, that, notwithstanding the bounce in the account just quoted, the instructions of M. Willaumez forbad him to fight without very considerable odds in his favour ; for, no other squadron than that of Rear-admiral Cochrane was then in the Antilles. The French admiral's object, in proceeding to the Bahama bank, was to intercept the Jamaica homewardbound fleet, of whose day of departure, number, and escort, he had received the fullest information. Arrived on his station, the French admiral looked anxiously for the convoy. Day after day passed, without the appearance of a fleet, or even of a sail, except now and then an American vessel, worth only the intelligence she brought. For M. Willaumez made no scruple to seize and detain every neutral vessel he fell in with, in order that his cruising ground might be kept a secret. " Ayant, lui, la précaution d'arrêter et de retenir tous les bâtimens neutres, pour qu'on ne pût savoir d'avis sur sa position." This is worthy the attention of those citizens of the United States of America, who have been wont to charge the English fleets and cruisers with being the sole offenders in thus harassing neutral commerce.
We formerly mentioned that Napoléon, out of regard to the naval profession, had made his younger brother Jérôme a member of it. † Royalty concentrating in itself all possible claims for promotion, the young prince was raised to the rank of lieutenant de vaisseau on the 14th of January, 1803, not quite a twelvemonth after his initiation into the service. On the 1st of November, 1804, Jérôme was made a capitaine de frégate, and appointed to the Pomone ; ‡ in which frigate, accompanied by
* Victoires et Conquêtes, tome xvii., p. 302.
† See vol. iii., p. 175
‡ See p. 21.
^ back to top ^