By Ellen Gibson Wilson

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He was almost chronically rude to junior officers and sometimes left them in the dark about his intentions. The senior staff seethed with discontent and there were no victories to heal the rifts. Rodney resented what he heard about the recent French show of force and unlike de Guichen was determined to force a fight. 18 As soon as he had distributed his instructions and signals, but before he knew his captains very well, he ordered the fleet to sail. For two days the British cruised off Fort Royal but de Guichen refused to be baited; with Governor de Bouille he was planning to put to sea with the troops, sure that Rodney would follow, whereupon they would double back and land the soldiers on Barbados and St Lucia before the British ships, with their fouled bottoms, could catch up.

Others entered the slave trade, among them john Matthews who, bored by ordinary commerce after the glory of wartime combat in the West Indies, sailed in I 785 to re-establish a slave trading post for the Liverpool Company at White Man's Bay, Sierra Leone. In 1788, he published a successful book about his three years on the African coast. 4 In one of several attempts to procure an appointment, Clarkson in I 785 enlisted Sir Henry Peyton and the Cambridgeshire Member of Parliament, Philip Yorke (later third Earl ofHardwicke) to support a personal appeal to Lord Howe for assignment to a cutter stationed off Wisbech and King's Lynn.

Only a wind shift saved the whole town from burning. Midshipmen and men from the Southampton rushed into their boats to join those from every other vessel in port to fight the blaze. For I 2 hours, the sailors battled alongside soldiers and townspeople and they were sent back to their ships awash with potent refreshments in gratitude. 30 The British hold in the eastern Caribbean seemed lost and Jamaica vulnerable from all directions to the enemy sails that 'whitened the seas around'. St Kitts had been taken followed by the collapse of Montserrat and Nevis leaving only Barbados and Antigua besides Jamaica in British hands.

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