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1810 Light Squadrons and Single Ships 306

before captured. On the 22d, in the morning, Captain Bouvet with his two frigates and prize, anchored in the harbour of Port Louis. We shall by and by see, that the French commodore would have done better had he remained another day cruising off Isle Bourbon.

By way of excuse for the abandonment of his first prize on the approach of the Boadicea, accompanied by a sloop of war and a gun-brig, Commodore Bouvet thus expresses himself : " I thought it best not to wait for the enemy in the un-rigged and dismantled state in which I found myself. I was therefore compelled, much to my regret, to abandon to him my prize, although but a hulk, filled with the dead and the dying." Je jugeai propos de ne pas attendre l'ennemi dans l'état de délâbrement et de dénuement où je me trouvais. Je fus aussi constraint, à mon grand regret, de lui abandonner ma prise, quoique ce ne fût qu'une carcasse chargée de morts et de mourans."

We are somewhat fearful of pressing too hard upon the French commodore, lest he should turn upon us and say, that, being crippled and deficient of ammunition, the Iphigénie could have made but a feeble resistance against the Otter and Staunch, while Commodore Rowley, with the Boadicea, might have gone in chase of the Astrée ; and that admitting the latter to have escaped to windward, the Iphigénie whose rate of sailing at best was but indifferent, would, now that her rigging was in disorder, undoubtedly have been recaptured. In justice to Captain. Rowley, however, it becomes us to add, that he could have had no knowledge of the low state of the Iphigénie's ammunition ; and, considering that the Boadicea was at this time the only British frigate upon the station, and that two French frigates, the Vénus and Manche, were cruising in the neighbourhood, it behoved the commodore to be particularly cautious in risking the loss of the small force left under his orders.

We, at a former page, attributed the little execution done by the Africaine to her two opponents, to the unskilfulness of her crew in gunnery. As one proof that the men had not been exercised at the guns, they frequently during. the action threw the quoins aside, or put them in on their edges ; in the one case elevating, in the other depressing, the guns beyond all mark. It is the general belief, we know, that the Africaine's crew were disaffected, on account of the ill treatment they had experienced from their captain. We regret to have to state, that the more our inquiries have been extended on that point, the more they have convinced us, that Captain Corbett was an excessively severe officer. We trace him in his career of cruelty, from the Seahorse to the Néréide from the Néréide to the Bourbonnaise, and from her to the Africaine. If, in the Africaine, he flogged less than he did on board the Néréide it was because the crew of the former, taken generally, were much better seamen than the crew of the latter.

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