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Kay's Originals Vol. 1


BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. I 361 afterwards, on the 16th of January 1779, a Spanish squadron of eleven ships of the line hove in sight off Cape St. Vincent. The British fleet directly bore down upon them, when Captain Duncan was the first to come up with the enemy. His daring conduct having been observed by his no less resolute Commander, he was warned of the danger of rushing into a position where he would be exposed to a very unequal contest. ‘‘ Just what I want,” he coolly replied ; The Monarch dashed pn, and was instantly alongside a ship of larger size, while two of no less magnitude lay within musket-shot. A desperate engagement ensued, but the Captain soon succeeded in disabling the latter, when, directing all his fire against the at. Augwtin, that vessel struck in less than half-an-hour j then pushing into the heat of the engagement, the Monarch contributed materially towards the victory which was that day obtained over the Spanish flag. In 1788 Captain Duncan was appointed to the command of the Blenheirn of ninety guns, and was present at the engagement with the united fleet of France and Spain in October, off the mouth of the Straits of Gibraltar. For several years after this, during the peace, he remained in command of the Edgar guardship at Portsmouth ; and, on the 14th September 1789, was made Rear- Admiral of the Blue. When the late Earl Spencer came to the Admiralty, he inquired for “Keppel’s Captain,” and, in February 1795, appointed him Commander- in-Chief of the North Sea Fleet. It is needless to follow him through his arduous services while holding this important command. When the fate of Ireland hung upon the balance ; when a powerful fleet was concentrated at the Texel, for the invasion of that ill-fated country-torn to pieces by internal faction-Admiral Duncan suddenly found himself deserted by his fleet, and left, in the face of the enemy, with only one line-of-battle ship besides his own. The veteran Admiral, in spite of these disheartening circumstances, maintained his post undaunted. He continued to menace the Texel, by keeping up signals, as if his whgle fleet were in the distance ; and thus prevented the Dutch from attempting to leave their anchorage. To give a detailed account of Admiral Duncan’s memorable conduct during the mutiny at the Nore would lead us beyond our limits. Suffice it to say, that by a judicious blending of firmness and conciliation, he entirely quelled the first symptoms of insubordination in his own ship, the Penerable, and also in the Adamant, Captain (now Sir William) Hotham-the only ship which remained tvith him to the last. His speech to the crew of the Yenerable is to be found in the naval history of the country. We may, however, mention the following anecdote, for the authenticity of which Sir William Hotham has vouched. When told on one occasion that the Dutch fleet was getting under weigh, he directed Sir William to anchor the Adamunt alongside the Yenerable in the narrow part of the channel, and to fight her till she sank, adding--“I have taken the depth of water ; and, when the Venerable goes down, my flag will still On the termination of the mutiny at the Nore, Admiral Duncan was immedi- . I wish to be among them.” fly.” 311
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362 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. ately rejoined by the rest of his fleet ; and, after cruising for four months, he left a small squadron of observation, and set sail for Yarmouth Roads. He had scarcely reached the Roads, however, when he received intelligence that the enemy were at sea, He instantly gave signal for a general chas‘e, and soon came up with them between Camperdowii and Egmont, where the well-known and decisive naval combat of the 11th October 1797 ensued, in which De Winter and two other Dutch Admirals were taken prisonerfi, and the Dutch fleet annihilated. Admiral Duncan’s address, previous to the engagement with Admiral de Winter, was both laconic and humorous : “ Gentlemen, you see a severe Winter approaching; I have only to advise you to keep up a good $re.” No. CXLVI. ADMIRAL DUNCAN ON THE QUARTER-DECK. THE “hero of Camperdown” is here represented on the quarter-deck of the Yenerable, in the act, it may be supposed, of issuing orders to the fleet ; while a partial view of the contending ships is given in the distance. Immediately after the victory, Admiral Duncan was created a peer, by the title of Viscount Duncan of Camperdown and Baron Duncan of Lundie ; and a pension of 53000 a-year was granted during his own life and that of the two next succeeding heirs to the peerage. He was presented with the freedom of the city of London, together with a sword of two hundred guineas’ value, from the corporation. Gold medals, in commemoration of the victory, were also given to all the Admirals and Captains of the fleet, while the public testified their respect by wearing certain articles of apparel named after the engagement.‘ On this occasion the inhabitants of Edinburgh were not to be satisfied with any cold or formal expression of esteem; they resolved upon a public and special demonstration in honour of their gallant countryman. The animating scene is thus described by the Edinburgh journals of the period :- “The tribute of gratitude and respect universally due by every Briton to the gallant Lord nuncan was yesterday (7th February 1798) paid by his fellow-townsnien, the inhabitants of Edinburgh. The whole brigade of volunteers were called out in honour of the day ; and the muster was a very full one, between two and three thousand. The different corps, having assembled in Hope Park and other places of rendezvous about two o’clock, aoon after entered George’s Square, by the The cloth worn on this occasion waa a species of tartan, of a large pattern, intended as emblematical of the species of tactics pursued by the British Admiral.
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