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ed to port; but as a forty-four gun ship was substituted 1981, in her place, their line still consisted of eight two deckers. The British commander perceiving the number and strength of the Dutch frigates, detached the convoy with orders to keep their wind, sending his own frigates along with them for their protection, and then threw out a general signal to the squadron to chase. The Dutch likewise fent off their convoy to a distance, when they drew up with great coolness in order of battle, and waited the attack with the utmost composure. Neither fide practised any manœuvre to elude the decision of a naval action. The parties were equally determined to fight it out. A gloomy silence expressive of the most fixed resolution prevailed, and not a gun was fired, until the fleets were within little more than pistol shot distance. Adm. Parker in the Fortitude of 74 guns, ranging abreast of adm. Zoutman's ship, the Admiral de Ruyter of 68, the action commenced with the utmost fury and violence on both sides. The cannonade continued without intermission for three hours and forty mịnutes. Some of the British ships fired 2500 shot each. The effect of the ancient naval emulation was eminently displayed in the obstinący of the battle. In the beginning, the Briţilh fire was remarkably quick, while that of the Dutch was now; when it closed, the case was reversed, and the fire of the Dutch was remarkably quick, while that of the British was now. The British ships at length were so unmanageable, that though their admiral made an effort to form the line that he might renew the action, he found it to be impracticable. His ships were shatgered in their masts, rigging and fails. The Dutch were in a still worfe condition, some of theın having received
several shot under water.
Both squadrons lay to a
The action was very bloody. On the side of the
that occasion as through the whole action, astonished the boldeft seamen in the ship. Mr. Harrington, one of adm. Parker's lieutenants,' an officer of 40 years service, and of the most distinguished merit, was mortally wounded. Though of an affluent fortune and too much neglected, he nobly disdained to withdraw his professional abilities from the defence of his country in this trying season. The Bri- , tish admiral's letter giving an account of the action was.
concise, and modest with respect to his own fide, while 1781 just in paying full honor to the valor of his enemy. In Britain, the conduct and valor displayed in the action met with great and general approbation : but an apprehended neglect in government or the admiralty, in not furnishing the admiral with a larger force, excited no less dissatisfaction. It was said, that, at the very time, as many ships were lying idle in port, or waiting for orders in the Downs, as would have enabled Parker to capture the whole Dutch feet and convoy. The admiral's subsequent conduct, as well as an intimation given in his letter to the admiralty, strongly confirm the public opinion, and indicated that he was no less diffatisfied at the want of support, than others were at its not being given. On his arrival at the Nore with his shattered squadron, he was honored with a royal visit: but it was soon understood, that no further honor or intended promotion would be accepted by the sturdy
The king went on board the Fortitude, where he had a levee of all the officers of the squadron, who were received with the most gracious attention; and the admiral had the honor of dining with his majesty and the prince of Wales on board the royal yacht. We have been told, that upon that occasion adm. Parker took an opportunity of hinting (in the presence of the first lord of the admiralty and a number of naval officers) both his diffatisfaction and intention of retiring, by faying to his sovereign". That he wished him younger officers and better ships; and that he was grown too old for the fervice." It was related also as an anecdote at the time, that young Macartney being presented on board the Fortitude, and the royal intention of provid
1781. ing for him, for the sake of his brave father, being de
clared, the admiral apologized for informing his ma-
The Dutch, beside losing the Hollandia, had two of
their officers. Adm. Zoutman and commodore Kindl- 1781. bergen were immediately promoted; and most, if not all of the first and second captains, as well as several of the lieutenants, were either advanced, or flattered with some peculiar mark of distinction. Count Bentinck, who boldly fought the Batavia, and who, though mortally wounded, and informed that his ship was in danger of sinking, would not listen to a proposal for quitting his station, was foothed in his last moments by every mark of honor and testimony of regard, which his country and his prince could beítow; and his funeral was not more honorable to the brave dead, than to the grateful living. But however the Durch have exulted in that the marine courage of their ancestors had not forsaken them, they are much diffatisfied that their fleet was not augmented by two or more ships, which they think would have secured to them a complete victory over the British admiral, and have put his convoy into their poffeßion. They are ready to impute this failure to a treacherous neglect, originating from a prevailing attachment in some to the interests of Great Britain.
The French, to remove all unfavorable jealousies that the Spaniards might entertain respecting the attention of their ally to the Spanish interests, engaged to co-operate with them in attempting the recovery of Minorca-an event which, should it take place, would be highly pleasing to Spain, while it was no wise injurious to France. The plan being laid, the duke de Crillon, a French commander of repute, was taken into the Spanifh service, and appointed to conduct their forces to be employed in executing it. Count de Guichen failed from Brest near the end of June, with 18 capital ships (four