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ture, as to be, perhaps, almost already within two or three miles without example. It was indeed of the sternmost of the English, a pity, that the effect could not he found himself inder a necessity be equal to the judgment and of recalling the chasers, who were merit of the design, through the just then getting into the most efwant of frigates, a few of which sential part of their service; the would have secured the whole of Itis, in particular, having come the enemy's convoy and troops ; up with two more of the transand thereby have overthrown at ports, which she was obliged to once, all the schemes formed for abandon. In order to secure the supporting and affilting Hyder prizes, he at the same time orAlly by land. The Sea Horse, dered that they fhould be sent off of 20 guns, was the only frigate dire&tly to Negapatam. in company with the fuadron; The chacing fhips having reand she was so totally insufficient joined the admiral, the hostile in point of ftrength, that, in- squadrons continued within fight ftead of taking others, she was of each other during the night; with no small dificulty faved and at day light, the enemy were from being taken herself, when perceived to the north-east, at she got entangled with the heavy, about three leagues distance. The powerful, and well armed French weather was very unfavourable to transports, filled, as they were, all naval operation; or at least besides with treops. The line of afforded no room for reliance on battle fhips were too few, and the effect of any evolution, howthe enemy too near, to admit of ever judicious; for besides its be. their being much feparated ; and ing dark apd hazy, sudden and there were no others for chacing. frequent squalls of wind, were
As soon as the French squadron as suddenly succeeded by dead perceived the danger of their con calms; so that though Sir Edivoy, they put before the wind ward Hughes threw out the figwith all the sail they could carry, nal for the line of battle a head in the hope of bearing down in at six in the morning, it was with time to their relief. The various the greateit dificulty, though with course in almost every direction fo imall a number of ships, that which the flying vesseis of the con. it could be formed by half pait voy had taken, each hoping that eight o'clock. His object was to pursued by himself might be the weather the enemy, in order to molt fortunate in evading the dan- bring on so close an engagement, ger, necessarily led the English and to lead up his thips to comchacing ships to be confiderably pactly into action, that their muscattered, and drew them like- tual and collected efforts might wife by degrees, to a great dif- make so powerful an impression, tance from the body of the squa- as should prevent the effect of dron. In these circumstances, Sir that fuperiority in number and Edward Hughes perceiving, about ferce which he had to encounter. three o'clock, that M. de Sof. Bet all his diligence and ability frein was bearing down fail upon were unequal to the accomplihhim, and that his beti failors were ment of this purpose; the perm
verseness of the weather was not admiral were, the Hero, Capt. to be fubdued ; and the squally Wood, of the same force; the wind, irregular and uncertain as Isis, Lumley; the Monarca, Gell, it seemed, was constantly in fa- of 68 guns; and the Exeter of vour of the enemy when it blew 64; the latter commanded by
Commodore King and Captain Having perceived about noon, Reynolds. Upon these the atthat they were bearing down in tack fell. an irregular double line a-breast, The squadron being then on towards the rear of the squadron, the larboard tack, the Exeter was which, thro' the want of wind the sternmost ship, and being, was somewhat separated, he threw through the failure of wind, as out the signal for the line of bat. well as from her being a bad tle a-brealt, in order to draw it failor, considerably feparated from closer to the centre, and thereby her second a-head, three of the frustrate their design of breaking French ships bore down directly in upon his line. After various upon her, and commenced a fuother movements, all tending to rious attack; while M. de Suf. close his line, and to render the frein, in the Heros, with several engagement general instead of other hips, bore down in the partial, while the enemy directed fame manner upon the Superbe, all their efforts to fall upon his and fell with no less fury upon rear, the English admiral finding the admiral. It was evidently at length, that situated as he was their design, at all events, to to leeward, and without wind disable those two ships; while suficient. to work his ships, no they seemed to intend little more management could prevent his than to keep the intermediate being forced into action upon dil. ones in play, while this business advantageous terms, he submitted was doing, and never once exat once io the necellity, and threw tended their attack beyond the out the signal to form the line of centre. These two thips were of battle a-head.
course exceedingly hard prested, Through these untoward cir- and could not avoid suffering excumstances, M. de Suffrein was tremely under such a weight of enabled to bring eight of his best fire, as was poured on all sides fhips, to direct their whole attack upon five of the English, of Yet after enduring all these dif. which the Ilis, of 50 guns, was advantages for about two hours, one ; while the Eagle, Mon- and forely wounded as they had mouth, Worcester, and Burford, been in that time, a fquall of four of their best thips, under wind coming suddenly in their the most approved commanders, favour at fix o'clock, the five were idle spectators in the van, English fhips became in turn the without a possibility of coming to aggreffors, and renewed the acthe assistance of their fellows. Sir tion with such vigour and effect, E. Hughes was in the Superbe, that in 25 minutes time, it being of 74 guns, which formed the then near dark, those of the central thip; the four below the enemy within their reach, afier
having visibly sustained confider- a dead mark, while they still ex. able loss, suddenly hauled their pected that every broadside must wind, and the whole French squa- have decided the fate of the Exe. dron stood off to the north-eat. ter, could not have been suffi.
The Superbe, besides having ciently praised or admired. In her main yard fhot to pieces in the most desperate state of the the sings, and neither a brace action, the blood and mangled nor a bow line left entire, was brains of Capt. Reynolds were so severely wounded in her hull, dashed over him by a cannon ball that at the time the enemy bore in such a manner, that he was away, she had no less than five for some little time absolutely feet water in her hold; and it blinded; yet he still preserved a was not until a number of the mott admirable equality and comlargest hot-holes under water were posure of temper; and when at plugged up, that it could be pre- the heel of the action, and the vented from gaining on the Exeter already in the state of a pumps. The state of the Exeter wreck, the maiter came to ask had been the most calamitous him what he hould do with the through the action, that could ship, as two of the enemy were almoft be possibly imagined. She again bearing down upon her, he had undergone the fire in all laconically answered," " there is directions of almost the whole nothing to be done but to fight her French squadron, and had from till she sinks." three to five fhips at times laid
The enemy being out of sight upon her, until she was at length in the morning, and the matts of reduced nearly to a wreck, and the Superbe and Exeter having if it had not been for the prompt received so much damage as renand gallant assistance of Captain dered it unsafe to carry fail on Wood, of the Hero, she could them, while many of the shot scarcely have escaped going to the holes were so far under water that bottom.
they could not be stopped at sea, Capt. Stephens, of the ad- the admiral found it necessary to miral's ship, and Capt. Reynolds, proceed to Trincomale, where of the commodore's, two brave only their damages could be reand distinguished officers, loft their paired. lives in this unequal and imper This business being hastily perfect action.
The whole loss of formed, the admiral returned be. men amounted to 32 slain, and fore the middle of March, with 95 wounded; of which 30 of the the squadron to Madras, having former, and 87 of the latter, neither seen nor heard of the were in the Superbe, Exeter, and enemy. He was on his
back Hero. The unshaken fortitude 'to Trincomale, with a reinforcedisplayed by Commodore King ment of troops and a supply of under the long pressure of fo valt military stores for that garrison, a superiority of force, and the when, on the 30th of March, he fierce attack of so many fresh was joined by the Sultan and ships coming up in succession to Magnanime ships of war, of 74 take a close and iteady aim as at guns each, from England. These
ships, having had a very tedious of Ceylon, about 15 leagues to
1782. having put into Morebat Bay dingly made a fignal for the line some weeks before, and being of battle a-head on the starboard then on their way to join him at tack, at two cables length difan appointed rendezvous.
He tance asunder, the enemy being accordingly kept on his course, then north by eaft, within about with an intention of neither seek- fix miles distance, and the wind ing nor shunning the enemy:
in the same quarter. Nothing But the same object, though could have been more untoward with different views, which af- to the English, whether with refected the conduct of the English spect to time, place, or circumadmiral, operated no less upon stance, than this engagement. that of the enemy.
For they They were hemmed in upon a likewise knowing the expected most rocky and dangerous coast, approach of the convoy, deter- by an enemy much superior in mined to use every effort to cut every respect, with the wind full it off, or at least to prevent the in his favour, so that he had it junction. In the pursuit of this in his power to choose the mode design, the French Aeet, amount of his attacks, to direct them to ing to 18 fail, appeared in the those points he saw inot to his north-east quarter, and to lee- advantage, and to with-hold them ward of the English, on the 8th as he liked. This leisure, and of April. The British admiral variety of choice, accordingly oc. held on his course, and the enemy cafioned their spending about continued in fight, and holding three hours in various maneuvres, the same relative position, during during which time they fo frethat and the three fucceeding quently changed the position of days; but having made the coast their hips and line, as seemed to
indicate no small want of deter- the Monmouth, after long furmination,
taining, with unparalleled fortiHaving thus taken full time tude, the joint attack of two for deliberatiom, five fail, which great ships, one of equal, the composed their van, stretched other of superior force, besides along to engage that of the En- frequently receiving the passing glish, while the admiral, with fire of a third, had her mizenthe other seven ships of the line, mast shot away, and, in a few mibore down directly in a body upon nutes after, her main-mait meetSir Edward Hughes, who, in the ing the fame fate, the underwent Superbe, was in the centre of his the necessity of falling out of the line, and upon his two seconds, line to leeward. The enemy used the Monmouth, Capr. Alms, a every effort to profit of her conhead, and the Monarca, Gell, dition, and, from their number, a-ftern. The engagement began made sure of carrying her off. about half past one in the van, Indeed she was in the greatest and within a few minutes after, danger; but the admiral bearing M. de Suffrein, in the Heros, and down instantly to her relief, and his second a-ftern, the L’Orient, being speedily followed by the both of 74 guns, bore down Monarca and the Sultan, they co. within pistol shot of the Superbe, vered her with such a fire, that and pouring in a torrent of fire, the enemy were glad to relinquish continued to engage her so close, their expected prize. and with such extraordinary fierce The disadvantage which the ness, that it was the general opi- English had hitherto experienced, nion, their intention was to board, of being obliged to fight close in and endeavour to carry her by a with a rocky and dangerous leecoup de main.
The French ad- fhore, they hoped would have miral held this adventurous po: been remedied by the cuftomary fition, giving and receiving a most change of the wind in the afterdreadful fire, for about ten mi- noon; but this continuing till nutes; but he found the en- unexpectedly to the northward, counter so exceedingly rough, and the admiral found himself under his ship had suffered so much ap. a necefiity, at 40 minutes past parent damage in that short time, three, in order to prevent his that making room for the ships fhips from being too nearly enthat were coming up to supply tangled with the shore, to make his place, he suddenly shot away, a signal for the squadron to wear, and stood on to the attack of the and haul their wind in a line of Monmouth, which was already battle a-head, fill fighting the closely and equally engaged. The enemy through the whole evolubattle continued to rage with tion. At length, towards the ap: great violence, particularly in the proach of night, finding himself centre, where the odds, as to in only fifteen fathom water, and number and force, were con- being apprehenfive that the Monftantly and greatly against Sir mouth, in her disabled condition, Edward Hughes and his two might drift too near the shore, he brave seconds. At three o'clock, made a signal for the squadron to