1795 - Victor Hugues and his successors


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Naval History of Great Britain - Vol I


Captain Wilson and a French Squadron


harsher term, of the British 74 and frigate, the whole of the French ships, except the one which appears to have been thrown out as a bait or decoy, effected their escape.

While the Bellona was making the best of her way to Martinique, the Hercule and her charge steered for the island of their destination, Guadeloupe, and on the following day, the 6th, reached Pointe-à-Pitre in safety, and, after such an escape, it may be added, in triumph. A second piece of good fortune, indeed, appears to have attended the French commodore ; for, on the preceding morning, the British 64-gun ship Veteran, Captain William Hancock Kelly, when within only a few hours' sail of her appointed station in Gosier bay, had put back to the southward, to attend the crippled Blanche and Pique to the Saintes.

The arrival of this important reinforcement inspired Victor Hugues with designs against the other ceded islands. Having not only troops, but transports to convey, and ships of war to protect them, this demon of republicanism, whose barbarity, as fully accredited on several occasions, was of the most revolting description, readily contrived to land soldiers at Sainte-Lucie, St.-Vincent, Grenada, and Dominique. Artful emissaries accompanied the troops, and soon succeeded in raising a ferment in the islands which they visited. The negroes, charibs, and many of the old French inhabitants, revolted ; and dreadful were the atrocities perpetrated upon the well-affected. Neither age nor sex was spared ; and plantations, in every direction, were seen mouldering beneath the firebrands of the insurgents.

The British troops, thinly distributed from the first, and since reduced by fatigue and sickness, could offer, in general, but a feeble resistance to the numbers of different enemies opposed to them. The garrison of Sainte-Lucie, numbering 2000 men, evacuated that island on the 19th of June, and were embarked on board the armed store-ship Experiment, Lieutenant John Barrett, and a transport in company : they had suffered greatly, both by the climate and the enemy. By the 27th of the month, the rebellion in Dominique had been completely quelled by the few British troops stationed there, assisted by the bulk of the inhabitants. The island of St.-Vincent and a part of Grenada were, at the close of the year, still in a revolted state.

In landing troops at the commencement, co-operating with them in the prosecution, or withdrawing them at the abandonment, of an attack, the officers and seamen of the British navy evinced their customary zeal and activity, and freely obtained, from those with whom they acted on shore, their commendations and thanks. Our researches have enabled us to name the following as among the officers, who, on the occasions alluded to, particularly distinguished themselves. Captain Charles Sawyer of the Blanche, Captain Frederick Watkins of the Resource, Captain Josias Rogers of the Quebec (pre-eminently so, at

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