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1808 Modeste and Jena 73

navy, that with her 32-pounder carronades, would not have considered herself a match for her. After narrating, in his usual brief manner (including an omission of the date), the action between the Laurel and Canonnière, our contemporary proceeds thus: "The character of Captain Woolcomb (sic) received no blemish from this misfortune, a court-martial having honourably acquitted him : in his mode of fighting he appears to have adhered to the old English maxim, of firing at the tier guns. In a case of this sort, where the opponent was of so much greater force, perhaps it would have been better to have directed the whole fire at the mainmast-head ; that fallen, the ship might have become an easy prey to the Laurel." *

As the absurdity of this statement is so glaring, as to deprive it of any noxious effect upon the memory of Captain Woollcombe (for, as was the case with Lieutenant Edwards of the Boston, Captain Barker of the Tribune, Captain Brown of the Asia, and Mr. Metherell, the master of the Carnation, he also was dead when his conduct was impugned), we shall quit the subject with remarking, how unfortunate it was, that Captain Edward Pelham Brenton himself did not command the Laurel when she fell in with the Canonnière.

On the 8th of October, in the evening, the British 18-pounder 36-gun frigate Modeste, Captain the Honourable George Elliot, cruising off Sandshead, bay of Bengal, after a nine hours' chase, and a running fight of nearly one hour, captured the French corvette Jéna, still commanded by Lieutenant Morice. † The corvette, when she struck, was a complete wreck in her sail and rigging, and had cut away her stern boat and booms, and thrown three of her remaining boats overboard ; but suffered no loss. The Modeste was not so fortunate, having had her master, Mr. William Donovan, represented as a very valuable and gallant officer, killed, and one seaman wounded.

The Jéna, was afterwards added to the British navy, in lieu, and under the name of the ship-sloop Victor, which it had been found necessary to break up ; and whose 18 guns (16 carronades, 32-pounders, and two sixes) and crew were placed on board the former. As the new Victor was neither so large nor so fine a vessel as the old Victor, and the latter was a similar vessel, except in point of rig, to the British 18-gun brig-sloop, it is probable that the statement in Captain Elliot's letter, that the Jéna was " pierced for 24 guns," is a mistake. Unimportant as this error may appear, the facility with which Mr. Steel could change " pierced for " into " mounting," or " of," contributed, we verily believe, when this corvette again got into the hands of the French, to dignify her with the appellation of " frigate. "

On the 11th of June, in the evening, the British 18-pounder, 36-gun frigate Euryalus, Captain the Honourable George

* Brenton, vol. iv., p, 273

† See p. 70

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