1801 - British and Franco-Spanish Fleets, Sale of Spanish ships to France


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Naval History of Great Britain - Vol III
1801 Sale of Spanish ships to France 111

been of one day or of one week, but for months together. In the bay of Aboukir, on the new inundation, and on the Nile, for 160 miles, they have been employed without intermission, and have submitted to many privations with a cheerfulness and patience highly creditable to them and advantageous to the public service."

We cannot dismiss the Egyptian campaign without observing, that all the benefit derived from its successful termination, the removal of the French army from Egypt, might have been attained 18 months before, had Lord Keith not refused to ratify the treaty entered into by Sir Sidney Smith. What blood and treasure would then have been saved! Treasure, indeed, could it but be known how the British government was defrauded by jobbers, contractors, and agents of one sort or the other. At all events, the infraction of the treaty of El-Arich, how much so ever others may have suffered by it, eventually benefited him, whose consent alone had been wanted to carry that treaty into effect. We now gladly quit the shores of Egypt and its military warfare, to resume our narrative of naval operations ; and, in particular, to give some account of the proceedings of the French and their allies the Spaniards at the opposite extremity of the Mediterranean.

British and Franco-Spanish Fleets.

Very soon after the conclusion of the treaty of Luneville, the First Consul of France began using every means in his power to detach from England the few powers that were on friendly terms with her. With Naples, Buonaparte succeeded ; but, although by the intrigues of his brother Lucien with the famous Godoy, the Prince of Peace, Spain was induced, on the 27th of February, 1801, to declare war against her neighbour, and although a powerful French army had crossed the Bidassoa, Portugal remained firm. The subsequent irruption of a Spanish army into the province of Alentejo, however, altered the tone of the prince-regent; and on the 6th of June, at Badajos, the latter concluded a treaty of peace with Spain, and agreed, not only to cede to her the conquered province of Alentejo, but to expel the English from the ports of Portugal. The effect produced upon Buonaparte by this separate concession to Spain, and the measures taken by England to prevent either France or Spain from reaping any solid advantage from their sinister attempts upon her ancient ally, we shall advert to hereafter.

Some time in the month of March, by his secret and corrupt influence at the court of Madrid, Buonaparte got King Charles to make over to France, either by sale or hire, six sail of the line lying in the port of Cadiz; and which ships were to be there manned by French crews, and then, as was understood, to co-operate with a Spanish naval force, in entering the Tagus and

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