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1809 Expedition to the Scheldt 131

therefore, that there was a sufficient depth of water, the French ships could lie in the basin secure from the ice, and be ready to put to sea in the winter months.

Nor was 20 sail of the line, a number that the shores of the [the] Scheldt alone might not very soon furnish. In the summer of the present year there were already at anchor to the south-east of the Calot sand, the following ten 74-gun ships, under the command of Rear-admiral Burgues-Missiessy:   Charlemagne (flag), Albanais, Anversois, César, Commerce-de-Lyon, Dalmate, Dantzig, Duguesclin, Pulstuck (late Audacieux), and Ville-de-Berlin, late Thesée. These ships were only waiting for the absence of the British blockading force to put to sea. There were, also, on the stocks at Antwerp, the following two-deckers; one of them just ready to be launched, and several of the others in a very forward state: Auguste, Conquérant, Friedland (Just ready), Illustre, Pacification, and Tilsitt, of 80 guns, and Gaulois, Superbe, and Trajan, of 74 guns. There was likewise one 74 on the stocks at Flushing ; and, with respect to smaller vessels, two only of the five slips were vacant. The number of slips at the arsenal at Antwerp amounted to 19 ; ten close under or in front of the citadel, and nine a short distance to the south-west of it. The whole of these slips, it is believed, were calculated for ships of the largest size ; and we doubt if a single slip was without the keel of some vessel of war, large or small.

Previous to the year 1804, the site of the arsenal was occupied by 1500 houses ; all of which the sovereign will of Napoléon levelled with the dust, in order that he might carry on his ambitious projects against England. Nothing certainly could exceed the eligibility of the situation he had selected, as the resources for building from the Black Forest were inexhaustible. A tolerable idea may be formed of the state of Antwerp as a naval depot, from a knowledge of the fact, that, since the summer of 1805, or probably soon after he had begun to discover the impracticability of assembling off Boulogne his fleets from Brest and other western ports, Napoléon had expended upon the fortifications, basin, dock-yard, and arsenal, 66 millions of francs, or 2,640,000l. sterling.

It was in the latter end of play that the British government first resolved to send an expedition against the French naval force in the Scheldt. A great portion of the English army being at this time employed to Spain and Portugal, and a strong force naval as well as military, being required for the purpose in view, it was not until two months afterwards that the expedition was ready to put to sea. In the mean time, principally by the aid of the English journals, its object was about as well known on the continent, as it was at the horse-guards or the admiralty.

On the 28th of July, at daybreak, the bulk of this immense expedition consisting, when wholly assembled, of 37 sail of the line (four fifths of the ships with their lowerdeck guns out and

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