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to lay her against Tilbury Fort, but the Captain had the address to prevent it, and was the first who thought of getting clear of the mutinous fleet, which then consisted of thirteen sail of the line, besides frigates, sloops, and gun-boats. The disaffection had broken out on the 10th of May, 1797; but it was not till the 22d that, finding the Admiralty resolved to make no further concessions, the delegates became exasperated, and struck Vice-Admiral Buckner's flag, hoisting in its stead the red or bloody one. Excesses were now recklessly committed, and affairs assumed a desperate aspect. Captain Cunningham judiciously watched his opportunity; and, on the 29th, thinking he perceived symptoms of dissension among the mutineers, he adopted the decisive measure of ordering that Parker's signal for delegates to wait upon him on board the Sandwich should not be answered by the Clyde. Her foresail being unbent at the time, and it being known that she was unprovided with a pilot, the rest of the fleet did not suspect that this was a prelude to her secession from their cause. At nine P. M. the Captain addressed the ship's company, expatiating on the disgraceful situation of the men-of-war, and entreated them to second his intention of working the ship into Sheerness harbour before daybreak, to effect which the hands were not to be turned up, but merely called by each other: he also intimated that Sir Harry Neale, in the St. Fiorenzo, would follow their example. This announcement was received with such satisfaction, that only one dissentient voice was heard, and that one was instantly suppressed. Soon after midnight the cables were silently slipped, and at sunrise, on the 30th, to the great joy of the Committee of the Admiralty, and the garrison of Sheerness, the loyal Clyde was safely anchored before the Dock-yard. This decisive act threw a damp over the spirits of the ringleaders of the mutiny, spread distrust among the ships, and was the first effectual blow to the conspiracy,- a service which was thankfully acknowledged both by the Admiralty and by the merchants of London.
On the return of the ships to their duty, the Clyde took charge of a convoy for the Baltic. Returning from this
duty, she captured the Success, a French brig privateer; and, nine days afterwards, took La Dorade, a fine privateer, pierced for 18 guns, but mounting only 12, and manned with 93 men. The prisoners were removed; and the master of the Clyde, with 27 men, were put on board to keep possession. But a heavy gale arose, and at about half-past four in the afternoon the prize, which had been endeavouring to out-sail the Clyde, unfortunately capsized. This was instantly observed from the frigate, which bore up to render aid; but no boat was found capable of swimming, except the jolly-boat: in this an officer with four men boldly approached the floating wreck, with some light lines to throw to those who had scrambled upon the bottom. Captain Cunningham, finding that his frigate drifted faster than the - wreck, dropped his courses, and fetched way for a quarter of an hour, then wore and stood back for the same space of time; by which seaman-like judgment he exactly met his boat when it had become dark, and found that she had been able to save only four men out of twenty-eight.
In 1798 the Clyde had the honour of being placed in attendance upon George III. at Weymouth ; after which she resumed her duties on the Channel station, where, on the 10th of January, 1799, she captured L’Air, a schooner letter-of-marque; and on the 13th of the same month a fine French privateer, of 16 guns and 65 men, called Le Bon Ordre.
On the morning of the 20th of August, 1799, the Clyde was cruising off the Cordovan lighthouse, when two sail were discovered in the S.W. standing towards her. The wind was fresh, and the weather hazy, so that the strangers were indistinctly seen. “ What are they like?” said Captain Cunningham to Mr. Reeve, the master. — “Oh, sir, he replied, “ they are certainly a line-of-battle ship and a frigate.”—“ Well," exclaimed the Captain, “ we'll have a look at them, and trust to our heels for the rest, --so, hands, about ship.” The Clyde immediately tacked, and made sail towards her pursuers, who, at about eleven a. M., were made
out to be French frigates. The hostile vessels continued to approach each other till within a couple of miles' distance, when the enemy suddenly bore up, and made all sail, going away large on different tacks. Captain Cunningham, selecting the most formidable one, which proved to be the Vestale, of 36 guns and 235 men, crowded every stitch of canvass, and came up with her at 1. 30. P. M. The Clyde now hoisted her colours, and fired a gun, upon which the Vestale displayed her flag, and answered the gun with a broadside. The Clyde warmly returned the salute, and then shot ahead, when her antagonist, endeavouring to run her on board, received a full raking broadside through the starboard bow. After some skilful manœuvres on both sides, a running fight was continued for nearly an hour *, without intermission, when the Frenchman struck, though not till his ship was dismantled and unmanageable, had received several shot between wind and water, and had suffered a loss of 10 killed and 22 wounded. The casualties on board the English frigate amounted to only 2 killed and 3 wounded, which was fortunate, as the French fire was well directed: indeed, the conduct of Citoyen Michel Pierre Gaspard, the captain of the Vestale, who had his lady on board, was decidedly such as to stamp him a gallant and judicious officer. The prize was found to be the same ship which, under Captain Foucard, had engaged the Terpsichore of 32 guns, commanded by the lamented Captain Richard Bowen, who fell at Teneriffe. Those ships had a desperate night action on the 12th of December, 1796, when the Vestale struck to her opponent, and was taken possession of by two officers and
* The duration of this fight has been variously stated. « The Naval Chronicle," vol. ii. p. 351., calls it fifteen minutes; James says, one hour fifty minu'es; Brenton merely mentions that it was a severe action; Schomberg, that it was maintained with great gallantry on both sides; and Marshall, that it continued for nearly two hours. Our statement is from the testimony of Captain Christopher Bell, one of the few officers of the Clyde now surviving. This gentlensan also decides the contested question as to the class of the Sagesse, he having served on board her, after she was taken by the Theseus, in the West Indies : she was frigate built, mounting 20 guns on the main-deck, and 8 on the quarter-deck and forecastle.
seven men ; but, seizing the advantage of squally weather, they treacherously re-hoisted her colours, and escaped into Cadiz.
Having secured his prize, Captain Cunningham now directed his attention towards her consort, which was afterwards known to be the Sagesse, of 28 guns and 175 men. But she, instead of assisting her companion, had taken to Falstaff's maxim, and prudently cracked on all sail for the Garonne, which was invitingly before her; and, by the time the action was over, had got so much the start of the Clyde, that any pursuit of her would have been unavailing.
This exploit was highly creditable to the professional spirit of Captain Cunningham ; for, although an action between an 18 and a 12 pounder frigate did not quite merit Lord Keith's eulogium of being “one of the most brilliant transactions which had occurred during the war,” it was a successful result of coolness and manner; for the determination of Cunningham, before the force of the enemy was known, was such as to inspire his officers and crew with the highest confidence. They knew they could trust to him; and it is a pity that the Sagesse did not stand by her consort, and take her chance of being also towed into Plymouth. It is said that George III. was at one of the theatres when he was informed that the Clyde had chased two frigates, one of which she took, and drove the other into port. His Majesty, pleased at the good fortune of a ship so lately attending upon him, immediately stood up in his box, and commanded the news to be conmunicated to the audience; when - Rule Britannia” was loudly called for from every part of the house, and performed with reiterated applause.
The Clyde afterwards joined Earl St. Vincent, and the persevering Admiral Cornwallis. In the summer of 1800 she was employed in a close reconnoitre of the coasts of France and Spain, in order to afford opportunities to Mr. Serres, the marine painter, of sketching the various ports and headlands for the Admiralty. Mr. Serres, whose name has since been remarkable from his wife's assuming the style
and title of Princess Olive, executed his duty with singular skill, and some of the drawings bear witness to the activity of the Clyde in cutting out. In this year she took the Deux Amis, a Spanish privateer, of 4 guns and 27 men; two French schooners, La Rose and La Magicienne, as well as El Belez, a fine Spanish packet, pierced for 16 guns. In October of the same year she chased the Franchise, a French frigate of equal force, for forty-eight hours, but the latter escaped by throwing some of her guns overboard, and changing her course in a hazy squall. This would have been a rich prize, as she was filled with treasure, and the plunder of several Portuguese Brazilmen. The Clyde also retook an English Guineaman, the Dick, of 16 guns and 45 men, commanded by Captain W. Grahme. This vessel had fought a desperate action of more than seven hours with “ La Grande Decide," a French privateer of 18 guns and 160 men, to whom she did not surrender till she was reduced to a mere wreck, with Grahme mortally, and 11 of his crew severely, wounded. The privateer had 27 killed and wounded. This gallantry made the Dick's men objects of much commiseration in the frigate, and all their wants were carefully attended to. Captain Cunningham showed every kindness to the wounded men, and entered them as supernumeraries, by which humane conduct they were comfortably lodged in the Naval Hospital, where all care was taken of them.
In the summer of 1801 Captain Cunningham was selected to command a squadron of frigates and smaller vessels in Concale Bay, for the protection of Guernsey, Jersey, and Alderney, from a threatened descent of the enemy. The extent of his station was from Havre de Grace to Bas Islet, a space of difficult and, in bad weather, perilous navigation. Except those who have commanded, few can judge of the anxious days and sleepless nights which such a charge occasions to its chief. On the 21st of July the Jason of 36 guns, one of the best ships of the squadron, struck on a sunken rock in the bay of St. Maloes, and was totally wrecked: