The wind would not allow them to keep clear of Ushant; and two days afterwards they made the French coast near to that island. The next morning they had a slant of wind, which enabled them to lay her head up for Plymouth, and anticipated that in another twenty-four hours they would be in safety. Such, however, was not their good fortune; about noon a schooner hove in sight to leeward, and it was soon ascertained to be the same vessel from which they had previously escaped. Before dusk she was close to them; and Newton, aware of the impossibility of resistance, hove-to, as a signal of surrender.
“Misery acquaints a man with strange
As the reader may have before now occasionally heard comments upon the uncertainty of the moon and of the sea, and also, perhaps of human life, I shall not venture any further remarks upon the subject; for were they even new, I should never have the credit of them. This is certain, that instead of finding themselves, as they anticipated to be in the next twenty-four hours, safely moored in the port of Plymouth, Newton and his comrades found themselves, before that time had elapsed, safely locked up in the prison of Morlaix. But we must not proceed so fast.
Although the Estelle had squared her mainyard as a signal of submission, the privateer’s men, as they ranged their vessel alongside, thought it advisable to pour in a volley of musketry; this might have proved serious, had it not been that Newton and his crew were all down below, hoping to secure a few changes of linen, which, in a prison, might prove very useful. As it was, their volley only killed the remaining French prisoner, who remained on deck, over-joyed at the recapture, and anticipating an immediate return to his own country; by which it would appear that the “L’homme propose, mais Dieu dispose” of France, is quite as sure a proverb as the more homely “Many a slip between cup and lip” of our own country.
The boat of the privateer was sent on board: a dozen men, with their cutlasses flourishing over their heads, leapt on the deck of the Estelle, and found nobody to exercise their valour upon, except the body of their departed comrade; upon which they shouted for the “Sacre’s God dams” to “monter.” Newton and the rest obeyed the summons, with their bundles in their hands; the latter they were soon relieved of by their conquerors, who, to prove that it was not out of “politesse” that they carried their effects, at the same time saluted them with various blows with their cutlasses upon their backs and shoulders. Newton, who felt that resistance would only be an excuse for further aggression, bore with philosophy what he could not prevent, and hastened into the boat. The convicts also took their share with patience—they had been accustomed to “many stripes.” Roberts and Williams, in spite of the remonstrances of Newton, with all the reckless spirit or English, sailors, would not submit so quietly. The first object which attracted Roberts’ attention, as he came up the ladder, was the body of the remaining French prisoner.