Page:A French Volunteer of the War of Independence.djvu/302

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

battles Professor Laughton says (Dict. Nat. Biog.), "There is no other instance in naval history of two fleets thus fighting five battles within little more than a year (four of them within seven months) with no very clear advantage on either side. French writers speak of the five battles as ’five glorious victories,’ but in reality they were very evenly balanced in point of fighting, whilst as to strategic results, the English had a slight advantage from the first three, the French from the last two. The tactical advantage, however, commonly lay with the French, who were prevented from reaping the benefit of it solely by the mutinous or cowardly conduct of the French captains." It is possible that De Suffren would not have fared so well if pitted against Rodney, Hood, or Howe, but at any rate he would have shown himself a fearless fighter and a skilful seaman—a veritable "sea-dog" of a type which, unfortunately for France, has been all too rare in the annals of her navy.

Note G, page 98.

The letter given is quite characteristic of its writer, and though not included in Lomenie's valuable Life of Beaumarchais, is no doubt