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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. VI


280 OLD AND NEW EDINBURGH. [Leith. number of wounded men on his hands, bore awa] to Barbadoes to re-fit. In the spring of the following year, a Leitl sloop, coming from Strichen, laden with wheat anc cheese, was taken off St. Abb?s Head by two Frenct privateers of twelve and sixteen guns-the latter was Le MarichaZ Duc de NoaiZZes, painted quite black. When the sloop struck a tremendous sea was run. ning ; Laverock, the master, ransomed her for IOC guineas, and reported at Leith that if these twc great privateers were not taken soon, they wopld ruin the east coast trade of Scotland. Soon after another ship of Leith was taken by them into Bergen, and ransonied for 500 guineas, though a few days before the privateer had been severely handled by the EZiza6efh, merchant ship, Captain Grant, who had also to strike to her, afteI a most severe combat. In 1794, the Haith, of Leith, was captured by a squadron of French ships on the zIst August, together with the Dundee, whaler, of Dundee. The latter was re-taken, and brought into Leith by H.M. brig Fisher, which reported that, previous to re-capture, the Dundee had picked up a boat, having on board eight Frenchmen, part of a prize crew of sixteen put on board the Raifir to take her to Bergen ; but the mate and another Scottish seaman had daringly re-taken her, and had sailed none knew whither. Soon after a letter reached the owners in Leith from Lyons, the mate, dated from Lerwick, briefly stating that when fifteen miles west of Bergen, ?1 retook her from the French, sending nine of the Frenchmen away in one of the boats, ancl put the rest in confinement.? Eventually these two brave fellows brought the ship to Leith, from whence their prisoners were sent to the Castle. In those days the Glass House Company had their own armed ships, and one of these, the Phemk, Cornelius Neilson, master, had the reputation of being one of the swiftest sailers in Leith, and was always advertised to sail with or without convoy, as she fought her own way. In 1797, the BreadaZbane Letter of Marque, of Leith, captured a large Spanish brig off the coast of South America, and sent her into Leith Roads for sale, under the convoy of the RoyaZ ChrZoffe, Captain Elder. During the latter end of the eighteenth century Leith possessed two frigate-built ships of remarkable beauty, the RoseUe, a Letter of Marque, and the MoreZan/E, her sister ship, which usually fought their own way; and the former was so like a man-ofwar in her size and appearance, that she frequently gave chase for a time to laige foreign privateers. In the NeraZd for 1798 we read that on her appeacance off Peterhead, in March, she created such consternation that the captain of the RoJert, a Greenlandman, on a gun being fired from her, ran his ship ashore, according to one account, and, according to another, made his escape, with the assistance of his crew, from the supposed enemy. The MoreZand and the Lady Fwbes,,? of Leith, another armed ship, seem always to have sailed in company, for protection, to and from the West Indies. After many escapes and adventures, the beautiful RoseZZe, which carried fourteen guns of large calibre, was captured at last by a Spanish line-of-battle ship, which, report said, barbarously sank her, with all on board, by a broadside. On the 6th December, 1798, theBefsy, of Leith, Captain Mackie, having the Angus regiment of volunteers on board, from Shetland, in company with an armed cutter, was attacked off Rattray Head by two heavily-armed French privateers. A severe engagement ensued, in which the volunteers made good use of their small arms; the privateers were crippled and beaten off by the Befsy, which ran next day into Banff, and the roops were put on shore. In the same month The Generous Triends, sailing from Leith to Hull, when a few miles off the mouth of the Humber, in a heavy gale of wind, was overtaken by a large black privateer, having a ?oop and fiddle-head painted red and white. The ieavy sea prevented her from being boarded, and :he appearance of the Baltic fleet compelling the :nemy to sheer off, she bore up with the latter, and yeturned to Leith Roads; but such little excitenents were of constant occurrence in those stirring imes The Nancy, of Leith, Captain Grindley, was :aken, in July, I 799, off Dungeness, by the Ado&h, ugger, of eighteen guns and fifty men, who used iim and his crew with great severity prior to their Jeing cast into the horrible prison at Valenciennes. ?The behaviour of the Frenchmen to us, when aken, was most shameful,? he wrote to his owners n Leith. 6? When they got upon our deck, they Kept firing their pistols, cutting with swords for some ime, and dragging those who were below out of Heir beds; they cut and mangled in a cruel manner me of our men, William Macleod, who was then it the helm, and afterwards threw him overhoard. rhis obliged the rest of the crew to leave the leck and go below. In a short time we were It is interesting to remark that the original painting, after which the rawing of Plate 32 ( ? I Leith Pier and Harbour, 1798 ?) was made, ws iainted for Caprain Gourley, who was part owner of the Lady Fades, The Editor is obliged o bir. R. F. Todd, owner of the painting in question, for this information. Letter of Marque that carried 14 mnada.
Volume 6 Page 280
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