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night, with his whole little body of forces, to a town on the sea-shore, called Sigeth. No person guessed the reason of his march, or knew any thing of what the intent of it
The officers, as formerly, obeyed without enquiry ; for they were led to it by so many unaccountable varieties of success, that affiance became a second nature, both in officer and soldier.
The town of Sigeth was about seven leagues to the westward of Barcelona; where, as soon as the Earl with his forces arrived, he took care to secure all the small fishing-boats, feluccas, and sattées ; nay, in a word, every machine in which he could transport any of his men ; so that in two days time he had got together a number sufficient for the conveyance of all his foot.
But a day or two before the arrival of the English fleet off Sigeth, the officers of his troops were under a strange consternation at a resolution their General had taken. Impatient of delay, and fearful of the fleets passing by without his knowledge, the Earl
summoned them together a little before night, at which time he discovered to the whole assembly, that he himself was obliged to endeavour to get aboard the English fleet; and that, if possible, before the French scouts should be able to make
any discovery of their strength : that, finding himself of no further use on shore, having already taken the necessary precautions for their transportation and security, they had nothing to do but to pursue his orders, and make the best of their way to Barcelona, in the vessels which he had provided for them : that they might do this in perfect security when they saw the English fleet pass by ; or if they should pass by in the night, an engagement with the French, which would be an inevitable consequence, would give them sufficient notice what they had to do further.
This declaration, instead of satisfying, made the officers ten times more curious : But when they saw their General going, with a resolution to lie out all night at sea,
in an open boat, attended with only one officer; and understood that he intended to row out in his felucca five or six leagues distance from the shore ; it is hardly to be expressed what amazement and concern surprised them all. Mr Crow, the Queen's minister, and others, expressed a particular dislike and uneasiness; but all to no purpose, the Earl had resolved upon it. Accordingly, at night he put out to sea in his open felucca, all which he spent five leagues from shore, with no other company than one captain and his rowers.
In the morning, to the great satisfaction of all, officers and others, the Earl came again to land ; and immediately began to put his men into the several vessels which lay ready in port for that purpose. But at night their amaze was renewed, when they found their General ready to put in execution his old resolution, in the same equipage,
and with the same attendance. Accordingly, he again felucca'd himself; and
they saw him no more till they were landed on the Mole in Barcelona.
When the Earl of Peterborow first engaged himself in the expedition to Spain, he proposed to the Queen and her ministry, that Admiral Shovel might be joined in commission with him in the command of the fleet. But this year, when the fleet came through the Straits, under Vice-Admiral Leake, the Queen had sent a commission to the Earl of Peterborow for the full command, whenever he thought fit to come aboard in person. This it was that made the General endeavour, at all hazards, to get aboard the fleet by night; for he was apprehensive, and the sequel proved his apprehensions too well grounded, that Admiral Leake would make his appearance with the whole body of the fleet, which made near twice the number of the ships of the enemy; in which case it was natural to suppose, that the Count de Tholouse, as soon as ever the French scouts should give notice of our strength, would
cut his cables, and put out to sea, to avoid an engagement. On the other hand, the Earl was very sensible, that if a part of his ships had kept astern, that the superiority might have appeared on the French side; or rather if they had bore away in the night, towards the coast of Africa, and fallen to the eastward of Barcelona the next day, a battle had been inevitable, and a victory equally certain ; since the enemy, by this means, had been tempted into an engagement, and their retreat being cut off, and their whole fleet surrounded with almost double their number, there had hardly been left for any of them a probability of escaping
Therefore, when the Earl of Peterborow put to sea again the second evening, fearful of losing such a glorious opportunity, and impatient to be aboard to give the necessary orders, he ordered his rowers to obtain the same station, in order to discover the English fleet. And according to his wishes he did fall in with it; but unfortu