1800 - Capture of the Pallas


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Naval History of Great Britain - Vol III
1800 Fairy and Harpy and Pallas 29

although not possessed perhaps of a very extraordinary share, his modesty must have recoiled.

We formerly mentioned, that the merchants of London presented the commodore with a piece of plate for having captured the Insurgente. Such was actually the spirit of party in the United States, that the democrats abused Commodore Truxton, calling him Tory, &c., for having accepted it. About the middle of the year 1800 the commodore was promoted to the command of the 44-gun frigate President; but the moment the democrats came into power, on March the 4th in the succeeding year, he was displaced, and, as a proof how liberal republics can be, was never afterwards put in command. The more moderate among the democrats, however, did at length relent a little ; and Commodore Truxton got appointed (of all places for a commodore!) sheriff of Philadelphia; in which office he realized an independency.

On the 5th of February, at 6 a.m., the British 16-gun ship-sloop Fairy (armed similarly to Rattlesnake, vol. ii., p. 348), Captain Joshua Sydney Horton, and 18-gun brig-sloop, Harpy (same force as Racoon, vol. ii., p. 369), Captain Henry Bazely, weighed and set sail from St.-Aubin's bay in the island of Jersey, with the wind a fresh breeze at north-west, to reconnoitre the port of St.-Malo, and discover if a French frigate, which on the preceding evening had chased the 14-gun brig Seaflower, Lieut. Murray, had got into that harbour. At 11 h.30 m A.M., Cape Frehel bearing south-east distant five or six miles, a large ship, evidently a frigate, was discovered in the south-south-west quarter, running down close alongshore to the westward, with a light breeze nearly aft, or from the south-south-east. This was the French 38-gun frigate Pallas, Captain Jacques Epron, from St.-Malo bound to Brest, and the same, as it appears, that had chased the Seaflower.

At about 20 m. p.m., seeing no chance of bringing the Pallas to action while she remained so close under the land, Captain Horton tacked and stood off, in the hope that the frigate would follow the two sloops to an offing. This the Pallas immediately did ; and at 1 p.m. an engagement, within pistol-shot, commenced between her and the Fairy and Harpy, the latter close astern of her companion. The action, during which the Harpy obtained several opportunities of raking the Pallas, continued until 3 P.M.; when the French frigate ceased firing, and made all sail to the northward and eastward, having the wind now from the south-west.

So great were the damages which the Fairy and Harpy had received in their rigging and sails, that it was not until 3 h. 15 m. p.m. that the sloops were in a condition to make sail in chase. About this time the Pallas, observing two sail nearly ahead, or in the north-east by north, hauled up to the northward and westward. Captain Horton immediately made the signal for

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