|Naval History of Great Britain - Vol III
||British and Franco-Spanish Fleets
sacking Lisbon. This was a plan which, as far as respected the British property in the port, a French admiral, of whom honourable mention has already been made in these pages, recommended as a feasible enterprise for the Brest fleet, when it put to sea in the beginning of the year 1795. " I propose," says M. Kerguelin, " to conduct the fleet of the republic to Lisbon, to anchor in front of the capital, within musket shot of the city and the palace of the king; to send ahead of the fleet a frigate with a flag of truce, announcing that the fleet of the republic comes not to do harm to the Portuguese, although the allies and slaves of England, but to require that all the British storehouses and ships be forthwith delivered up, under a penalty of having the city rased to its foundation. This enterprise would gain for France 200 millions, in cash or British merchandise ; England would receive a terrible shock, which would produce bankruptcies and a general consternation ; our fleet, without being buffeted about the sea,* would return to Brest, loaded with riches and covered with glory ; and France would once more astonish Europe with a new triumph." †
We formerly noticed the return to Toulon from Leghorn of three ships of Rear-admiral Ganteaume's squadron, on account of the paucity of hands to work them. ‡ These three ships, the Indomptable and Formidable, of 80 guns, Captains Moncousu and Lalonde, and Desaix, of 74 guns, Captain Christy-Pallière, along with the ex-Venetian 38-gun frigate Muiron, Captain Jules-François Martinencq, were placed under the orders of Rear-admiral Durand-Linois, with directions to proceed to Cadiz, and there effect a junction with Rear-admiral Dumanoir-le-Pelley and his six newly-made French sail of the line. These nine ships, with a Spanish squadron of six more under Vice-admiral don Juan Joaquin de Moreno, were then, as a case more urgent than that of despoiling Lisbon, to carry a reinforcement to Egypt ; not we believe, wholly from Toulon, but principally from the Neapolitan ports of Ancona, Manfredonia, Brindisi and Otranto at which several ports there are assembled, in the month of June, as many as 32,000 French troops.
On the 13th of June Rear-admiral Linois, with his squadron of three sail of the line and one frigate, having on board a small detachment of troops, under Brigadier-general Devaux, put to sea from the road of Toulon, bound to Cadiz; off which port, by the last advices, were cruising two British 74s only, and occasionally but one. On the next day the French admiral chased away some British frigates, left cruising in the gulf of Lyons by Rear-admiral Sir John Borlase Warren; who, with the Renown and squadron, was then about to enter the harbour
* Alluding to the storm from which the Brest fleet suffered so much in January, 1795. See vol. i., p. 236.
† For the original see Appendix, No. 11.
‡ See p, 92.,
^ back to top ^