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frigates which endeavoured to carry the English vessels by boarding more valiantly than advisedly. After repeated vain efforts to get at his enemy the Viceroy retired with heavy loss of life-and total ruin of Portuguese prestige in the eyes of the natives who watched the fight. From the battle at Swally, which has as good a right as any other to be called one of the decisive battles of the world, came "firmauns and the confidence of the natives, and the prosperity of the Company's factory in Surat.

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Since the Portuguese would keep the Eastern Seas to themselves, they were attacked wherever they were found, from the Cape to the Straits of Malacca and beyond. Mr Alexander Childe, preserved by Purchas, tells how in 1616 a squadron of the Company's ships chased a great Portuguese carrack through the Straits of Mozambique in 1616. Her captain would not meet the English as friends, but fired on the first which approached him. The others pursued in general chase, and finally drove him ashore at Comoro. The Portuguese fought well, killed the English "General" Joseph, and put his mark on most of his assailants. When summoned to surrender, with the assurance that he would be sent safely to Goa, he refused, and defied the English to carry him by boarding if they could. The Portuguese downfall did not come of lack of valour, but of arrogance and insufficient sense and honesty. The battle of Swally and the destruction

of the carrack at Comoro were examples of many other fights which went on till the Portuguese in the East gave up the fight and became the allies of England.

When we had done with the Portuguese and had divided with the Dutch, came the fight with the French. Individual Frenchmen were in the East almost as soon as Englishmen or Dutchmen. But there could be no serious French Company till the wars of religion were over and the Fronde was pacified. How the French Company applied at the psychological moment the stimulus which drove the United Company of the Merchants of England to set about conquering India is known to everybody from Macaulay's 'Essays,' if from no other source. The brunt of the struggle at sea fell on the Royal Navy. The French Company had often to contribute ships to make up the squadrons of La Bourdonnais and of D'Aché. The English Company rendered occasional public service,— public mostly by fitting out vessels to cruise for the protection of trade. But its main duty was to carry the trade out and home at its own risk. As the Indiamen were well armed they preferred the freedom given by sailing without convoy. They were specially exempted from the obligation to sail under guard of warships by a clause of the Act of 1803 "for the better protection of trade." Freedom left them unhampered to sail with exclusive regard to the market

and the seasons. They could take convoy if they liked, and when the hazard was great they did.

Freedom is a noble thing, but it is perilous. Strong as they were and stoutly as they were fought, the Indiamen could not always beat off, and still less take, a French frigate or large privateer well handled. On the 9th of October 1800 the Kent fell to a French privateer off the Sandheads in the Indian Ocean while on her way to Bengal. She was & vessel of 820 tons, carrying twenty long 12's and six long 6's, with a crew of about 100 men, and a number of passengers. Her opponent, the Confiance, was of 460 tons and of twenty-six guns. She carried 250 men, of whom 150 were French, the others being Asiatics or negroes. She was a swift sailer, but her main advantage was that she was commanded by that Robert Surcouf, whose praise Marryat puts into the mouth of Captain Oughton of the Windsor Castle in Newton Forster,' "the very best seaman that ever left a French port, and, to do him justice, he is a damnation fine fellow! a severe punisher, and can take a mauling as well as give one." Surcouf, whom by the way Marryat calls Surcœuf, came of an old seafaring and corsair stock of St Malo, and wanted only a better chance to have been as great a man as his fellow MalouinsDuguay Trouin and La Bourdonnais. He fought the Kent with hand and headpiece, tak ing full advantage of his speed,

as by all the laws of the game he was entitled to do, and carrying her at the end by boarding. The Indiaman made a very gallant fight. Her captain, Rivington, was killed at the close of the action, having striven with all diligence to save his ship and the goods laden in her, and having added more honour to the Company's simple uniform-the blue coat with black velvet collar and cuffs, dark buff waistcoat and knee-breeches. The fight once over, Surcouf had "the heart of a sailor- all gentleness, a sailor mercy, and pity." He treated his prisoners well, and parted with them on the best of terms.

We cannot end the story of the capture of the Warren Hastings by the Piémontaise in June 1806 on an equally pleasant note. The Warren Hastings, an exceptionally wellarmed ship, which did not, however, have the use of all her guns in the action, was on her way home when she fell in with the French 40-gun frigate Piémontaise to the south of Mauritius. Captain Larkins of the Warren Hastings had a broadside of 18 guns throwing 312 pounds, to the Frenchman's 23 of 533 pounds. Captain Epron of the Piémontaise made the most of the greater handiness of his warship, attacking on bow and quarter. If the gunnery of the French crew had been on the American level the Warren Hastings would have been a dismasted hulk in half an hour. As it was, Captain Larkins fought from ten in the morning till

The names of the Warren Hastings and of Captain Larkins bring us to the most famous of all the feats of the Maritime Service. A little over two and a half years before his meeting with the Piémontaise, Captain Larkins had been one of the sixteen officers of the Company who drove Linois to flight at Pulo Aor.

nearly five in the afternoon, order that he might be at hand and surrendered when his ship to attack British commerce was out to pieces. The Im- whenever the war, which it perial Navy did not behave as was Napoleon's intention to well as Surcouf the privateer. renew, should begin again. Captain Larkins was stabbed In February 1804 he was in the side after the surrender cruising near Pulo Aor, an by the first lieutenant of the island lying east of the Piémontaise on the pretext southern end of the Malay that after hauling down his Peninsula, and therefore in flag he had made a treacher- the track of the China trade. ous attempt to run down his He had with him the Marengo captor. 74, the 40-gun frigate Belle Poule, the 36-gun frigate Sémillante, the 22-gun corvette Berceau, and a Batavian 16gun brig. It has been said to excuse what followed that his crews were in bad health, and had been weakened by the death of many of his men. This was probably true. It was the common lot of European admirals serving in Eastern seas. La Bourdonnais, D'Aché, and Suffren had lost men by disease, had replaced them by natives and by negro slaves purchased in Africa, and trained on board. The merchant fleet he was waiting for was in the same case as himself. Marryat, in 'Newton Forster,' makes one of the officers in the Company's fleet complain of the number of Lascars and Chinamen included in the crews, and he did not speak without book. The logs, ledgers, receipt-books, and St Helena surveys take little notice of Lasoars and Chinamen. We do not know what proportion they bore to the whole orews, but they were there and in numbers.

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No episode of the war which began with the rupture of the Peace of Amiens gave the country more profound or better justified gratification than this encounter for none, not even Trafalgar itself, gave better evidence of our superiority in spirit on the sea. No small part of our satisfaction was due to the fact that the French were commanded by Linois, who had beaten off Saumarez in Algeciras Bay in 1801, and had taken the Hannibal 74, partly by good fortune and the help of shore batteries, but also by good management and steady fighting. He had been He had been sent to the East Indies during the brief uneasy peace, nominally to carry a French garrison to Pondicherry, but mainly in

The Company's fleet consisted of sixteen large ships of 1300 and 1400 tons, and was

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accompanied by a dozen or so country ships," little vessels engaged in local trade, which sailed with them for protection. The Indiamen carried from 30 to 36 pieces, mostly "cannonades," a hybrid between the carronade and the long gun, which like most hybrids reproduced the defects of both its parents. They were commanded by Nathaniel Dance, an old officer who had sailed for sixteen years as captain of the Earl Camden, and owed his place as commander to seniority. The Earl Camden he sailed in 1804 was a new ship. A Company's vessel was usually worn out after six, or at the outside seven voyages, and a new one was, as the phrase went, "built on her bottom." Dance, who knew that Linois was in the Indian Ocean, had ordered three of his ships to hoist the blue ensign, while others carried the red. His purpose was to deceive the enemy into believing that the vessels so distinguished were men-of-war.

The Company's fleet left Canton on the 31st January, and on the 14th February they saw Linois to windward of them off Pulo Aor. During the afternoon he hung in the wind, advancing and retreating. If Dance had been a weak man he would have taken advantage of the dark to scatter and run for the Straits of Malacca.

But he knew that this would encourage the Frenchman to pursue. He kept his Indiamen in line with the country ships to leeward, and faced Linois next morning. At last the French officer made a movement about mid-day as if he meant to attack the rear of the line. Then Dance, at the suggestion it is said of Captain Timmins of the Royal George, gave the order to tack in succession and engage the enemy. Timmins led in the Royal George, followed by the Ganges, Captain W. Moffat; the Earl Camden; the Warley, Captain H. Wilson; and the Alfred, Captain James Farquharson. These were the vessels engaged for the few minutes the action lasted, and then Linois fled. Dance pursued till he was in danger of passing the entry to the Straits of Malacca. Then he turned and went on his way.

Napoleon wrote Linois letter of killing scorn and rebuke. As for Dance, he was knighted, and the Company lavished rewards on him, his captains, and his crews. And well they had deserved praise and largesse. They had saved ten millions worth of ships, tea, and raw silk for the Honourable Company, and had magnificently maintained the honour of the flag.




"MAN," runs an Arabian proverb, "is like an ear of wheat, sometimes up and sometimes down." In the month of May, before our late visitors had fairly found their oricket legs or become familiar with the eccentricities of our olimate, English cricket was so much very up that we were by way of patting each other on the back and prophesying for ourselves an unbroken series of successes in the test matches. Early in the season things had gone so badly with the Australians that men who were accounted good judges of the game wrote them down as an inferior side. In two instances weak counties-one of them, by the way, not quite so weak as we then imagined it to be had put up a good fight against them; on the Oval, Surrey, by no means our strongest county, had snatched a victory by five runs; a M.C.C. team had beaten them at Lords; and finally, our tenwickets victory in the test match at at Birmingham had suggested the idea that it was hardly worth while to put our strongest eleven into the field against antagonists wholly unworthy of their steel. And yet in September we were found to be in the uncomfortable position of men who are searching around for excuses wherewith to account for crushing defeats. Between May and September the Australians had never looked

back,-indeed, we may almost say had never been fairly extended. True, to the men of Sussex appertains the consolation- much may it profit them of being able to say that they ought to have won their match. And the Gloucestershire champions may go even a stage further and say that they would have won theirs. Unfortunately the fatal "if" intervenes in both cases. If every catch offered to English slips in the course of the late season had been held, the history of the Australian campaign would have to be rewritten. And if every side had kept its head and played up to its reputation in that fatal fourth innings, why then England as well as Gloucestershire might have won at least one more match. But away with "ifs," wearisome and profitless monosyllables. Let us rather take our courage in our hands and deal with facts. And the facts are that we have not only been fairly and squarely beaten by the Australians, but have probably been beaten on our merits. There is no shadow of doubt that having in the earlier part of the season made the grievous mistake of underrating our antagonists, later on we fell into the yet more fatal error of so far overrating them as to be mortally afraid of them. And "he who dreads the causes of death they will surely seize him-do what he

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