|Naval History of Great Britain - Vol III
See p. 340.
Vice-admiral Collingwood to Lord Nelson.
We approached, my dear lord, with caution, not knowing whether we were to expect you or the Frenchmen first. I have always had an idea that Ireland alone was the object they have in view, and still believe that to be their ultimate destination. They will now liberate the Ferrol squadron from Calder, make the round of the Bay, and, taking the Rochefort people with them, will appear off Ushant, perhaps with thirty-four sail, there to be joined by twenty more. This appears a probable plan ; for, unless it be to bring their powerful fleets and armies to some great point of service, some rash attempt at conquest, they have only been subjecting them to chance of loss, which I do not believe the Corsican would do, without the hope of an adequate reward.
The French government never aim at little things, while great objects are in view. I have considered the invasion of Ireland as the real mark and butt of all their operations. Their flight to the West Indies was to take off the naval force, which proved the great impediment to their undertaking.
Clarke and M'Arthur's Life of Nelson, vol. ii., p. 416.
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