1801 - Northern confederacy against England, Attack upon the Freya, Hostility of Russia and armed neutrality


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Naval History of Great Britain - Vol III
1801 Nemesis and Freya 63

arms, and, a very important duty in action, to attend to the rigging and sails, and to work the ship in a proper manner. A few active seamen, promptly sent to repair a shroud or stay, will frequently save a mast ; and a manoeuvre, the success of which may decide the fate of a battle, often depends upon alacrity in splicing the old, or in reeving the new running-rigging

The number of commissioned officers and masters, belonging to the British navy at the commencement of the year, 1801, including among the flag-officers all that were promoted on the 1st of January, in consequence of the union of Great Britain and Ireland, as established by act of parliament on that day, was,

Admirals     46
Vice-admirals     39
Rear-admirals     59
Rear-admirals superannuated 29  
Post-captains     516
Post-captains superannuated 16  
Commanders, or sloop captains     391
Lieutenants     2,135
Lieutenants retired, with rank of commanders 48  
Masters     517

and the number of seamen and marines, voted for the service of that year, was 120,000 for the first three lunar. months, and 135,000 for the remaining ten*.

Although no Dutch navy existed capable of giving alarm to the British, Holland's northern neighbours, with Russia at their head, confederated together, to force England, either by diplomacy or war, to abandon a long recognised right, that of searching the ships of neutrals for contraband of war. This sudden uproar in the north arose out of a circumstance, of which we will here present a summary.

On the 25th of July, 1800, at 6 P.M., a British squadron, of three frigates, the Arrow sloop, and a lugger, fell in with the Danish 40-gun 18-pounder frigate Freya, Captain Krabbe, having under her convoy two ships, two brigs, and two galliots. Captain Thomas Baker, of the 28-gun frigate Nemesis, the senior British officer, hailed the Freya, to say he should send his boat on board the convoy. Captain Krabbe replied that, if such an attempt were made, he would fire into the boat. Both threats were put into execution ; and an action ensued, which, with so decided a superiority against her, ended of course in the Freya's submission. This affair, unhappily, did not pass off without loss. The Nemesis and Arrow had each two seamen killed and several wounded. The Freya had also two men

* See Appendix No. 10

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