Laperouse By Ernest Scott






















































































































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In seventeen hundred and fifty-nine
When Hawke came swooping from the West,
The French King's admiral with twenty of - Page 10
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- "In Seventeen Hundred And Fifty-Nine When Hawke Came Swooping From The West, The French King's Admiral With Twenty Of The Line Came Sailing Forth To Sack Us Out Of Brest."

Laperouse's ship, the FORMIDABLE, was one of the French fleet of twenty-one sail.

What happened was this. The French foreign minister, Choiseul, had hatched a crafty plan for the invasion of England, but before it could be executed the British fleet had to be cleared out of the way. There was always that tough wooden wall with the hearts of oak behind it, standing solidly in the path. It baffled Napoleon in the same fashion when he thought out an invasion plan in the next century. The French Admiral, Conflans, schemed to lure Sir Edward Hawke into Quiberon Bay, on the coast of Brittany. A strong westerly gale was blowing and was rapidly swelling into a raging tempest. Conflans, piloted by a reliable guide who knew the Bay thoroughly, intended to take up a fairly safe, sheltered position on the lee side, and hoped that the wind would force Hawke, who was not familiar with the ground, on to the reefs and shoals, where his fleet would be destroyed by the storm and the French guns together. But Hawke, whose name signally represents the bold, swift, sure character of the man, understood the design, took the risk, avoided the danger, and clutched the prey. Following the French as rapidly as wind and canvas could take him, he caught their rearmost vessels, smashed them up, battered the whole fleet successively into flight or splinters, and himself lost only two vessels, which ran upon a shoal.

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