The former began to run from the first ; and it was that constant avoidance of her opponent, which protracted the contest to the third day. The actual engagement, however, did not, as it appears, last altogether more than four hours and five minutes ; ten minutes on the first day, two hours and five minutes on the second, and one hour and 50 minutes on the third. The action, on the part of the British frigate, was conducted with as much skill as gallantry ; but neither skill nor gallantry would have availed, had the San-Fiorenzo not excelled her antagonist in a third quality, swiftness of sailing.
Soon after daylight on the morning of the 9th the three masts of the Piémontaise fell over her side. In this state she was taken in tow by the San-Fiorenzo ; and on the 13th the two frigates cast anchor in the road of Columbo, island of Ceylon, where, by order of the governor, Lieutenant-general Maitland, the highest military honours were paid to the remains of the San-Fiorenzo's late youthful captain. Her present commanding officer received, we believe, the customary promotion, but did not long survive the reward of his gallantry. The Piémontaise was afterwards purchased for the British navy, and classed among the large 38s.
Aware of the latitude allowed to a " Biographical Memoir " in the " Naval Chronicle," we should not feel disposed to find fault with its editor for stating, even in the high-flown, and not always intelligible, language of the Reverend James Stanier Clarke, one of the co-authors of the " Life of Nelson, " that " a superannuated frigate of thirty-eight guns, " had captured a French frigate armed with "fifty long 18-pounders;" * but our duty compels us to reprobate the introduction of so gross a falsehood into a solemn memorial presented to the king in council. A document of this kind, presented by Mr. George Hardinge, uncle to the deceased captain, praying for an augmentation to the armorial bearings of the family, contains the following statement : " Your memorialist represents to your majesty, that your ship, the St. Fiorenzo, carried thirty-eight guns, and mustered 186 men, including officers ; that la Piémontaise carried fifty guns, long 18-pounders, and had on board 566 men. " It is not added, that 200 of these were Lascars and prisoners. Had this, memorial met the fate of thousands of others, no harm would have been done ; but, unfortunately for the cause of truth, in the next London Gazette appears an order, in which the king himself is made to declare, that his frigate carried " only thirty eight guns. "
On the 13th of March, at 5 .p.m., the British 18-pounder 36-gun frigate Emerald, Captain Frederick Lewis Maitland, being off the Harbour of Vivero, in Spain, discovered lying there a large French armed schooner, and immediately stood in with the
* Naval Chronicle, vol., xx., p. 385
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