miserably deficient. Many a 10-gun privateer, in a running fight has inflicted a greater loss upon a British frigate, than the Virginie sustained in her one hour and a half's conflict with the Guelderland land. On the other hand, great credit is due to the Virginie officers and crew for the skill they exhibited ; especially when it is considered, that the 18-pounders of the Virginie, on account of her age and weakness, were of a shorter and lighter description than those usually established upon frigates of her class.
The British captain, in his official letter, calls the defence of his opponent a gallant one, and adds: " If any credit is due to this transaction, I entreat you to bestow it on the officers and men." Here is another instance of that liberal feeling which ever the characteristic of the truly brave. Captain Brace's recommendation of his officers produced its effect, Lieutenant John Davis, first of the ship, being made a commander, and master mate Nathaniel Norton, who had passed for one, a lieutenant. Dutch ships of war are seldom any great acquisition to the British navy ; but the Guelderland served, for a few years, as a cruising 12-pounder 36.
On the 4th of April, while the British 38-gun frigate Alceste Captain Murray Maxwell, 28-gun frigate Mercury, Captain James Alexander Gordon, and 18-gun brig-sloop Grasshopper (16 carronades, 32-pounders, and two long sixes), Captain Thomas Searle, lay at anchor about three miles to the north-west of the lighthouse of San-Sebastian, near Cadiz, a large convoy, under the protection of about 20 gun-boats and a numerous train of flying artillery on the beach, was observed coming down close along-shore from the northward. At 3 p.m., the Spanish convoy being then abreast of the town of Rota, the Alceste and squadron weighed, with the wind at west-south-west, and stood in for the body of the enemy's vessels.
At 4 p.m. the shot and shells from the gun-boats and batteries passing over them, the British ships opened their fire. The Alceste and Mercury devoted their principal attention to the gun boats ; while the Grasshopper, drawing much less water, stationed herself upon the shoal to the southward of the town and so close to the batteries, that by the grape from her carronade she drove the Spaniards from their guns, and at the same time kept in check a division of gun-boats, which had come out from Cadiz to assist those engaged by the two frigates. Captain Maxwell in his official letter, alluding to this gallant conduct on the part of Captain Searle, says: " It was a general cry in both ships, ' Only look how nobly the brig behaves. ' " The situation of the Alceste and Mercury was also rather critical, they having in the state of the wind, to tack every fifteen minutes close to the end of the shoal.
In the heat of the action the first Lieutenant of the Alceste, Allen Stewart, volunteered to board the convoy with the boats
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