Many hundred local craft would put off to the East Indiamen. The English captains were on board to receive them, the yards were manned and every possible display was made. An officer was first sent in full uniform to compliment the great man—John Tuck, as the English sailor nicknamed him, owing to the fact that in the fore end of his boat he kept gallows to tuck up any unfortunate who displeased him. Having come alongside the East Indiaman, the great man always refused to trust his valuable life to the ropes and accommodations supplied for entering the ship, but used his own long ladders. Business was duly contracted, and then he would make a present to the ship’s company of bullocks, flour, fruit and a vile, maddening spirit of a most intoxicating nature, which the men were made to exchange for something better. After this the captains all dined together on board a large chop boat .
The fleet remained here from October till the first day of 1805, and then got under way with fine cargoes of teas for England. But the Brunswick never reached England. Doubtless owing to the damage sustained when she got aground on the bar she developed a serious leak, and made for Ceylon and Bombay, where she was docked and repaired, her tea being sent to England in another ship. The Brunswick was now sent back to China again with a cargo of cotton, which would have been a very lucrative affair. But there was a good deal of trouble with the crew, many of the men deserting to the warships,215 until at last Captain Grant sent every man he had in the launch on board a British frigate. The latter’s captain selected from these all that were worth having and then sent the rest back to the Brunswick .
When the latter set sail from Bombay for China on 1st July 1805 she was very ill-manned, consequent on nearly the whole of the ship’s company having been pressed by the navy. There were not twenty European seamen on board to work this big ship. The guns had to be manned by Chinamen, with only one European seaman at each. For the rest lascars had to be relied upon. In such a weak condition she put to sea, together with a couple of country ships, keeping as near each other as possible. But a few days later at break of day two strange sail were discovered to the eastward. The Sarah made a signal that the strangers looked suspicious. Later on the Brunswick perceived that one was a line-of-battle ship and the other a frigate. But the Sarah signalled that she thought they were friends. However, the Brunswick was much less credulous and had already cleared for action, hoisting her private signal (which was not answered) and hoisting her British colours. The stranger presently answered by showing St George’s colours. The line-of-battle ship then tacked in order to get into such a position as to rake the Brunswick from aft. The frigate passed to leeward and exchanged St George’s colours for the French national colours, giving the Brunswick a broadside as she passed. This was immediately returned, but as the ship was heeling over at a great angle, the lee guns could not be elevated sufficiently to do any damage to the enemy.
But the Brunswick was clearly to be out216-man?uvred. The frigate went about just astern of the Indiaman, and as she was then observed to be coming on fast, Captain Grant kept his ship as full as possible, hoping to be able to run her ashore. The frigate, however, approached at such a pace, and the line-of-battle ship was also so close that the Brunswick would assuredly have been sunk by the line-of-battle ship’s broadside before taking the ground. After consultation with his officers Grant was reluctantly compelled to strike his colours and surrender to the enemy off the coast of Ceylon. A boat came off—and then, well the line-of-battle ship was none other than Admiral Linois’ Marengo, and the big frigate was the Belle Poule, which had fought and run away the previous year from Commodore Dance. Linois was stationed in those Eastern waters for the express purpose of harassing and cutting up our trade, avoiding the British ships-of-war. Any modern strategist would tell you that whilst this kind of hostility is very annoying to the power attacked, it cannot afford any lasting good. The same kind of folly was attempted, you will remember, by the Russians interfering with Japanese merchantmen in the East during the late war, and the practical value of this measure was nil macau hotel jobs .