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their gallies and firefips, they might give them fome diversion.
They bore down upon the enemy in order of battle, a little after ten o'clock, when, be. ing about half gun-fhot from them, they set all their lails at once, and seemed to intend to stretch a-head and weather them; so that the admiral, after firing a chace-gun at the French admiral to slay for him, of which he took no notice, put the signal out, and began the battle, which fell very heavy on the Royal Catharine, the St. George, and the Shrewsbury,
About two in the afternoon, the enemy's van gave way to our's, and the battle ended with the day, when the enemy went away, by the help of their gallies, to the leeward. In the night, the wind lifted to the northward, and in the morning to the westward; which gave the enemy the wind of us. They lay by all day within three leagues of one another, repairing their defects; and at night they filed and ftood to the northward.
On the fifteenth, in the morning, the enemy was got four or five leagues to the wind. ward of our fleet; but a little before noon we had a breeze of wind easterly with which the admirat bore down on them till four o'clock in the afternoon; but being too late to engége, they brought to, and lay with their heads to the northward all night.
On the sixteenth, in the morning, the wind being fill easterly, hazy weather, and having
no sight of the enemy or their scouts, they filed and bore away to the westward, fuppofing they would have gone away for Cadiz; but, being advised from Gibraltar, and the coast of Barbary, that they did not pass the Streights, our admiral concluded they had been so leverely treated, as to oblige them to return to Thoulon.
The admiral faid, he must do the officers the justice to fay, That every man in the line did his duty, without the least umbrage for cenfure or reflection ; and that he never observed the true English spirit so apparent "and prevalent in our seamen as on this occasion.
This battle was so much the more glorious to her majesty's arms, because the enemy
had a superiority of six hundred great guns, and likewise the advantage of cleaner ships, being lately come out of port ; not to mention the great use of their gallies in towing on or off their great ships, and in supplying them with fresh men as often as they had any killed or disabled. But all these disadvantages were surmounted by the prudence and good conduct of the admiral, his officers, and the undaunted courage of our sea-men.
of the English, there were one thousand, fix hundred, and thirty-two wounded ; and fix hundred and eighty-seven slain; besides thirty-one officers wounded, and eight sain ; in all, killed and wounded, two thousand, three hundred, and fifty-eight. The chief of ficers killed were Sir Andrew Lake and captain Cow.
This done, and the admiral having left two thousand English marines in Gibraltar, with a fufficient quantity of stores and provisions, and forty-eight guns, besides one hundred that were in the town before, and the season of the year being far advanced, he returned bome with the great ships, and was very favourably received by her majesty, and his royal highness the lord-high-admiral ; and the queen was congratulated by the house of commons upon the victory obtained by her fleet under the command, and by the courage and conduct, of Sir George Rook
But, notwithstanding all this, there were fonnd to be some people fo wicked, partial, and malevolent, that nothing bad enough could be said by them of the admiral's conduct and enterprizes. Some of those pretend an high efteem and value for Sir Cloudefly Shovel if therefore they are willing to take his word for Sir George, he fays, The engagement was very iharp, and he thought the like between two fleets had never been at any time; that a great many of the lips had suffered much, but none more than Sir George Rook and captain Jennings in the St. George. And as for the Dutch, who were never backward to complain, if they thought any of our admirals tardy in their duty, admiral Calemburg, upon this occasion, wrote to the states, That, in a council of war, called by Sir George the day after the fight, it appeared, that admiral Rook, with the centre, had b en
engaged in a very sharp fight; and that her majesty's ships of the faid admiral's division had likewise spent the greatest part of their powder and shot; so that they had not above ten rounds left, which would not serve above an hour's fight.
The reverend Dr. Stanhope, in his thankf. giving-sermon before her majesty at St. Paul's. on the twenty-seventh of June, 1706, very juftly says of the taking of Gibraltar, and of this sea-fight, That we were soon instructed in the mighty concernment of the first, by the sea. sonable refreshments our fleets found there, after a battle fought, on our side, with great inequality of force, but with what resolution and success, we need no other evidences chan the disability of making any formidable figure at sea, which the French have manifestly lain under ever since.
The Whigs, who had now entirely engroffed the management of affairs, were extremely alarmed; and they took so much pains to hin. der Sir George from receiving the compliments usual upon such successes, that it became visible he must either give way, or a change very speedily happen in the administration. There fore, that the affairs of the nation might not receive any obstruction or disturbance upon bis account, be resolved to retire from public, business; and passed the remainder of his days as a private gentlemen, and for the most part at his seat in Kent. A private seal was offered
him for patling his accounts; but he refused it, and made them up in the ordinary way, with all the exactness imaginable.
The gout, which had, for many years, greatly afflicted him, brought him at fast to his grave. He died, on the twenty-fourth day of January, 1708-9, in the fifty-eighth year of
He was thrice married ; first, to a daughter of Sir Thomas Howe, of Cold-Berwick, in Wiltshire, baronet; next, to a daughter of colonel Francis Lutterell, of Dunfter castle, in Somersetshire, who died in child bed of her first child, George Rook, esq. the fole heir of his father's fortune ; laftly, to a daughter of Sir Knatchbull, of Mersham-Hatch, in Kent, baronet
Sir George's zeal for the church, and his adherence to that sort of men who, in his time, were known by that ever mutuable and varying name of Tories, made him the darling of one party, and exposed him no less to the aversion of the other. This is the cause that an hiftorian finds it difficult to obtain his true character from the writings of those who flourished in the same periods of time. The ingenious and impartial Dr. Campbell, in his Lives of the Admirals, infinitely the best naval history extant, has drawn fó masterly and just a character of him, that we cannot more properly conclude this life than with a transcript of it.