commission bears date on the day on which the service was executed.
On the night of the 28th of September,
Of all the official letters which we have had occasion to consult, this of Captain Hall's is the most difficult to understand. He speaks of landing with part of the crew of a gun-boat No. 14, " that of the Rambler and the marines and seamen of the Topaze, in all 30," and dates his letter on board " His majesty's sloop Rambler." We suppose, however, that both the Rambler and the Topaze, mentioned in the body of the letter, were gunboats. A little more explicitness would have enabled us to do justice to what appears to have been a very gallant exploit. Our contemporary seems also to have been led astray by the official letter. He says: " Captain Robert Hall, in the Rambler, a small brig of war, of 10 guns, took out of the river of Barbet, near Malaga, a French privateer, and some small vessels, with a degree of spirit and enterprise seldom exceeded." * No date is given but the year, and that is " 1809." On this point the official letter is clear; as well as that one vessel only was taken ; and that Barbet was " to the westward, " and not as Malaga notoriously is, to the eastward, of the rock of Gibraltar.
On the 4th of November the 18-gun ship-sloop Blossom, Captain William Stewart, cruising off Cape Sicie, observed the south-east and immediately chased a latteen xebec. At p.m., when the ship had arrived within four miles of the xebec, it fell calm. Captain Stewart despatched the cutter, under master's mate Richard Hambly, to reconnoitre the vessel, strictly charging him not to risk the life of a man, should he find her armed and disposed to make obstinate resistance. Almost immediately afterwards the Blossom's yawl, manned with volunteers, and commanded by the first Lieutenant Samuel Davis, having under him midshipman John Marshall, joined the
* Brenton, vol. iv., p. 358.
^ back to top ^