1800 - Surrender of Malta


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1800 British and French Fleets - Mediterranean 20 

decked ship belonging to the British navy. The principal dimensions of the two 80-gun ships were as follows:

Length of first deck

Extreme breadth



ft. in. ft. in.  
Foudroyant 183 8.5 50 74 2062
Guillaume-Tell 194 4 51 72 2265

The loss of the Guillaume-Tell, the only remaining line-of-battle ship of the fleet of Vice-admiral Brueys at the Battle of the Nile, was calculated still more to depress the drooping spirits of the garrison of Valetta. A fifth and a sixth summons were sent in by the commanding officer of the blockading force ; and by the last it was intimated, that a Russian fleet had arrived at Messina, on its way to co-operate in an attack upon the city. General Vaubois still refused to surrender ; saying : " Cette place est en trop bon état, et je suis moi-même trop jaloux de bien servir mon pays et de conserver mon honneur, pour écouter vos propositions."

By the beginning of August all the beasts of burden had been consumed, and dogs, cats, fowls, and rabbits, for want of nourishment, had also disappeared. Firewood began likewise to fail; but this was remedied by breaking up the Boudeuse frigate. The c1sterns were dried up, and the troops were dying from 100 to 130 a day. Being now convinced that he must soon capitulate, General Vaubois wished to save to the republic the two fine 40-gun frigates, Diane and Justice.

Accordingly, favoured by a dark night and a fair wind, the two French frigates, on the evening of the 24th, put to sea from Valetta harbour. They were, however, seen and immediately pursued by the 12-pounder 32-gun frigate Success, Captain Shuldham Peard, and the Généreux and Northumberland 74s, Captains Manley Dixon and George Martin; which last-named officer had, since May, succeeded Captain Troubridge in the chief command. After a short running fight with the Success, the Diane, with only 114 of her crew on board, hauled down her colours ; but the Justice, under cover of the darkness, effected her escape, and subsequently arrived at Toulon. The Diane was a fine frigate of 1142 tons, and was afterwards added to the British navy under the name of Niobe, there being a Diana already in the service.

On the 3d of September General Vaubois held a council of war; at which the French officers gave as decided a proof of their present wisdom, in unanimously concurring to treat for a surrender, as of their past folly, in having unanimously sworn that they never would do so. Accordingly, on the 4th, a flag of truce was sent to Major-general Pigot commanding the allied forces on shore; and on the 5th the major-general and Captain Martin, on the part of the British, and

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