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be relied on. Mr. Benbow was thought on by the ministry, as soon as the expedition was determined, but the king would not hear of it. He said that Benbow was in a manner just come home from thence, where he had met with nothing but difficulties, and therefore it was but fit some other officer should take his turn. One or two were named and consulted; but either their health or their affairs were in such disorder, that they most earnestly desired to be excused. Upon which the king said merrily to some of his ministers, alluding to the dress and appearance of these gentlemen, “ Well then, I find we must spare our Beaus, and send honest Benbow." His Majesty accordingly sent for him upon this occasion, and asked him whether he was willing to go to the West Indies, assuring him, that if he was not, he would not take it at all amiss if he desired to be excused. Mr. Benbow answered bluntly, that he did not understand such compliments, that he thought he had no right to chuse his station, and that if his majesty thought fit to send him to the East or West Indies, or any where else, he would cheerfully execute his orders as became him. To conceal, however, the design of this squadron, and its force, sir George Rooke, then admiral of the fleet, had orders to convoy it as far as the Isles of Scilly, and to send a strong squadron with it thence, to see it well into the sea, al which he punctually performed. It is certain that king William formed great hopes of this expedition, knowing well that Mr. Benbow would execute, with the greatest spirit and punctuality, the instructions he had received, which were, to engage the Spanish governors, if possible, to disown king Philip, or in case that could not be brought about, to make himself master of the galleons. In this design it is plain that the admiral would have succeeded, notwithstanding the smallness of his force; and it is no less certain, that the anxiety the vice-admiral was under about the execution of his orders, was the principal reason for his maintaining so strict a discipline, which proved unluckily the occasion of his coming to an untimely end. The French, who had the same reasons that we had to be very attentive to what passed in the West Indies, prosecuted their designs with great wisdom and circumspection, sending a force much superior to ours, which, however, would have availed them little, if admiral Benbow's officers had done their duty. His squadron, consisting of two third and eight fourth rates, arrived at Barbadoes on

the 3d of November, 1701, from whence he sailed to the Leeward Islands, in order to examine the state of the French colonies and our own. He found the former in some confusion, and the latter in so good a situation, that he thought he ran no hazard in leaving them to go to Jamaica, where, when he arrived, his fleet was in so good a condition, the admiral, officers, and seamen being most of them used to the climate, that he had not occasion to send above ten men to the hospital, which was looked upon as a very extraordinary thing. There he received advice of two French squadrons being arrived in the West Indies, which alarmed the inhabitants of that island and of Barbadoes very much. After taking care, as far as his strength would permit, of both places, he formed a design of attacking Petit Guavas; but before he could execute it, he had intelligence that Monsieur du Casse was in the neighbourhood of Hispaniola, with a squadron of French ships, in order to settle the Assiento in favour of the French, and to destroy the English and Dutch trade for

negroes. Upon this he detached rear-adıniral Whetstone in pursuit of him, and on the 11th of July, 1702, he sailed from Jamaica, in order to have joined the rear-admiral; but having intelligence that du Casse was expected at Leogane, on the north side of Hispaniola, he plied for that port, before which he arrived on the 27th. Not far from the town he perceived several ships at anchor, and one under sail, who sent out her boat to discover his strength, which coming too near was taken ; from the crew of which they learned that there were six merchant ships in the port, and that the ship they belonged to was a man of war of fifty guns, which the admiral pressed so hard, that the captain seeing no probability of escaping, ran the ship on shore and blew her

up.

On the 28th the admiral came before the town, where he found a ship of about eighteen guns hauled under the fortifications, which, however, did not hinder his burning her. The rest of the ships had sailed before day, in order to get into a better harbour, viz. Cul de Sac. But some of our ships between them and that port, took three of them, and sunk a fourth. The admiral, after alarming Petit Guavas, which he found it impossible to attack, sailed for Donna Maria Bay, where he continued till the 10th of August, when, having received advice that Monsieur du Casse was sailed for Carthagena, and from thence was to sail to Porto Bello, he resolved to follow him, and accordingly sailed that day for the Spanish

coast of Santa Martha. On the 19th of August, in the af. ternoon, he discovered ten sail near that place, steering westward along the shore, under their topsails, four of them from sixty to seventy guns, one a great Dutch-built ship of about thirty or forty, another full of soldiers, three small vessels, and a sloop. The vice-admiral coming up with them, about four the engagement began. He had disposed his line of battle in the following manner : viz. the Defiance, Pendennis, Windsor, Breda, Greenwich, Ruby, and Falmouth. But two of these ships, the Defiance and Windsor, did not stand above two or three broadsides before they loofed out of gun-shot, so that the two sternmost ships of the enemy lay on the admiral, and galled him very much; nor did the ships in the rear come up to his assistance with the diligence they ought to have done. · The fight, however, lasted till dark, and though the firing then ceased, the vice-admiral kept them company all night. The next morning, at break of day, he was near the French ships, but none of his squadron except the Ruby was with him, the rest being three, four, or five miles a-stern. Notwithstanding this, the French did not fire a gun at the vice-admiral, though he was within their reach. At two in the afternoon the French drew into a line, though at the same time they made what sail they could without fighting. However, the vice-admiral and the Ruby kept them company all night, plying their chase-guns. Thus the viceadmiral continued pursuing, and at some times skirmishing with the enemy, for four days more, but was never duly seconded by several of the ships of his squadron. The 23d, about noon, the admiral took from them a small English ship, called the Anne Galley, which they had taken off Lisbon, and the Ruby being disabled, he ordered her to Port Royal. About eight at night the whole squadron was up with the vice-admiral, and the enemy not two miles off. There was now a prospect of doing something, and the vice-admiral made the best of his way after them, but his whole squadron, except the Falmouth, fell astern again. At two in the morning, the 24th, the vice-admiral came up with the enemy's sternmost ship, and fired his broadside, which was returned by the French ship very briskly, and about three, the vice-admiral's right leg was broken to pieces by a chain-shot. In this condition he was carried down to be dressed, and while the surgeon was at work, one of his lieutenants expressed great sorrow for the loss of

his leg, upon which the admiral said to him, "I am sorry for it too, but I had rather have lost them both, than have seen this dishonour brought upon the English nation. But, do ye hear, if another sbot should take me off, behave like brave men, and fight it out.” As soon as it was practicable, he caused himself to be carried up, and placed, with his cradle, upon the quarter-deck, and continued the fight till day. They then discovered the ruins of one of the enemy's ships, that carried seventy guns, her main-yard down and shot to pieces, her fore top-sail yard shot away, her mizen-mast shot by the board, all her rigging gone, and her sides tore to pieces. The admiral, soon after, discovered the enemy standing towards him with a strong gale of wind. The Windsor, Pendennis, and Greenwich, ahead of the enemy, came to the leeward of the disabled ship, fired their broadsides, passed her, and stood to the southward. Then came the Defiance, fired part of her broadside, when the disabled ship returning about twenty guns, the Defiance put her helm a-weather, and run away right before the wind, lowered both her top-sails, and ran in to the leeward of the Falmouth, without any regard to the signal of battle. The enemy seeing the other two ships stand to the southward, expected they would have tacked and stood towards them, and therefore they brought their heads to the northward; but when they saw those ships did not tack, they immediately bore down upon the admiral, and ran between their disabled ship and him, and poured in all their shot, by which they brought down his main top-sail yard, and shattered his rigging very much, none of the other ships being near him or taking the least notice of his signals, though captain Fogg ordered two guns to be fired at the ship's head, in order to put them in mind of their duty. The French, seeing things in this condition, brought to, and lay by their own disabled ship, remanned, and took her into tow. The Breda's rigging being much shattered, she was forced to lie by till ten o'clock, and being then refitted, the admiral ordered the captain to pursue the enemy, then about three miles to the leeward, his line of battle signal out all the while; and captain Fogg, by the admiral's orders, sent to the other captains, to order them to keep the line and behave like men. Upon this captain Kirkby came on board the admiral, and told him, "He had better desist, that the French were very strong, and that from what had passed he might

guess he could make nothing of it.” The brave admiral Benbow, more surprised at this language than at all that had hitherto happened, said very calmly, that this was but one man's opinion, and therefore made a signal for the rest of the captains to come on board, which they did in obedience to his orders; but when they came, they fell too easily into captain Kirkby's sentiments, and, in conjunction with him, signed a paper, importing, that, as he had before told the admiral, there was nothing more to be done; though at this very time they had the fairest opportunity imaginable of taking or destroying the enemy's whole squadron ; for ours consisted then of one ship of seventy guns, one of sixty-four, one of sixty, and three of fifty, their yards, masts, and in general all their tackle, in as good condition as could be expected, the admiral's own ship excepted, in which their loss was considerable ; but in the rest they had eight only killed and wounded, nor were they in any want of ammunition necessary to continue the fight. The enemy, on the other hand, had but four ships of between sixty and seventy guns, one of which was entirely disabled and in tow, and all the rest very roughly handled; so that even now,

if these officers had done their duty, it is morally certain they might have taken them all. But vice-admiral Benbow, seeing himself absolutely without support (his own captain having signed the paper before mentioned) determined to give over the fight, and to return to Jamaica, though he could not help declaring openly, that it was against his own sentiments, in prejudice to the public sertice, and the greatest dishonour that had ever befallen the English navy. The French, glad of their escape, continued their course towards the Spanish coasts, and the English squadron soon arrived safe in Port-Royal harbour, where, as soon as the vice-admiral came on shore, he ordered the officers who had so scandalously misbehaved, to be brought out of their ships and confined, and immediately after directed a commission to rear-admiral Whetstone to hold a court-martial for their trial, which was accordingly done, and upon the fullest and clearest evidence that could be desired, some of the most guilty were condemned, and suffered death according to their deserts. Although now so far recovered from the fever induced by his broken leg, as to be able to attend the trials of the captains who deserted him, and thereby vindicate his own honour, and that of the nation, yet he still continued in a declining way, oc

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