1801 - Sailing of Spanish squadron from Cadiz


 
Contents

Next Page

Previous Page
 
Naval History of Great Britain - Vol III
1801 Sailing of Spanish Squadron from Cadiz 123

same privilege to Captain Lord Cochrane and the officers of the Speedy brig.

Thus it stands in the first edition of this work, and so we yet believe the fact to be ; but the brother of the officer who carried the message, says thus : " Sir James Saumarez sent his captain over to Algeziras with a flag of truce to the French admiral proposing an exchange of prisoners, which M. Linois declined, alleging that it was not in his power to consent to such a measure, without first receiving the sanction of the minister of marine at Paris, to whom he had despatched a courier immediately after the termination of the action." * At all events both Captain Ferris and Lord Cochrane, with their respective officers, the sole object, we believe, of Captain Jahleel Brenton's mission, were in England in the month of August.

It would be almost superfluous to state the result of the court-martial which was afterwards held upon Captain Ferris and the late officers and ship's company of the Hannibal. The court, of which Rear-admiral Holloway was president, sat onboard the Gladiator, in Portsmouth harbour, on the 1st of September. After the most honourable acquittal that a brave man could desire, Captain Ferris had his sword returned to him by the president, with the following address: " Captain Ferris I have great pleasure in returning this sword to you, as I feel assured, if ever you have occasion to unsheath it again, it will be used with the same gallantry which you so nobly displayed in defending his majesty's ship Hannibal."

We formerly mentioned the transfer by Spain to France, for immediate employment, of six ships of the line at anchor Cadiz harbour. On the 13th of June, in the morning, the two French 40-gun frigates Libre and Indienne, after a few hours' chase by the 74-gun ships Venerable and Superb, the only British force then off the port, anchored in the road of Cadiz from Brest, having on board Rear-admiral Dumanoir-le-Pelley, Commodore Le Ray, and a number of other officers, as well as of seamen, for the Franco-Spanish ships equipping in the port. The remainder of the crews, not already arrived by these and other conveyances, were daily expected from Brest, Lorient, and Rochefort.

The first step taken by Rear-admiral Linois, after getting his grounded ships and prize afloat, and which, notwithstanding the belief of Sir James Saumarez, that " the whole were rendered entirely unserviceable, " he soon did, was to send an express overland to Admirals Massaredo and Dumanoir at Cadiz, imploring them to come or send a squadron to his assistance, before the British could get their ships repaired for renewing the attack ; adding, in his second despatch to the Spanish commander-in-chief, " I have just received advice that the enemy

* Brenton, vol., iii., p.36 See p. 111

^ back to top ^