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Naval history of Great Britain - Vol. IV
by
William James
1807 Uranie and Manche 339

ward, apparently to speak the Defender. At 0 h. 45 m. P.M, the two French vessels tacked in shore, and in five minute afterwards Captain Laroche spoke Lieutenant Plowman, and directed him to keep upon the Uranie's weather quarter. The Uranie then tacked in-shore, and at 1 h. 15 m. P.M. the French frigate and brig tacked towards the former. The Uranie then set her foresail. At 1 h. 45 m. P.M. the Manche and her consort tacked in-shore, and at 2 P.M. bore up. The Uranie and Defender then bore up in chase. At 2 h. 15 m. P.M. the British frigate set her mainsail, and at 2 h. 40 m. her royals, and was gaining fast on the French vessels, they having little wind in shore. At 3 h. 20 m. the Uranie, followed by the Defender, hauled off on the larboard tack, and, having fired her starboard broadside at the enemy without any visible effect, shortened sail and hove to.

It appears that, early in the month of July, the ship's company addressed a letter to the board of admiralty, complaining that their captain had not done his utmost to bring the enemy's frigate to action. As soon as a knowledge, of this fact reached the officers, they, as was natural, became alarmed for the character of the ship and themselves, and applied for a court-martial upon Captain Laroche. The court sat at Portsmouth, from the 20th to the 24th of July inclusive. The charges were confined to what took place on the 15th of May and 22d of June.

As well as we can gather from the brief and imperfect abstract of the proceedings of the trial given in the public prints, * the conduct of the Uranie on the last-named day was the principal cause of complaint. It is stated that the Uranie wore or stood from the enemy for some time, and was an hour before she was ready for action, and that there was great confusion on board ; that, had Captain Laroche done his utmost, he might have cut off the corvette, and must have brought the frigate to action if she did not abandon the corvette ; and that he passed the enemy's frigate within gun-shot, giving a broadside, and wore, and must have been in close action in a few minutes, if he had chased the frigate and carried all sail.

In his defence Captain Laroche stated, that he had anchored off the road, and had fired at the frigate in defiance ; that he had carried all the sail he could, with safety to the ship then on a lee shore, and close in with it ; that it behoved him to be cautious, as the Minerve had been captured by running ashore upon the same spot ; and that the Uranie was foul in her bottom and could not sail, and that, while she carried " only thirty-six 12-pounders, the enemy's frigate carried fifty 18-pounders. " Here there must certainly be a mistake. The force of the Uranie, as far as we can get at it, has already been

*  See Naval Chronicle, vol. xviii., p. 158

  See vol. iii., p. 189

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