Todays post of another superb aquatint print from James Jenkins The Naval Achievements of Great Britain shows the Destruction of the French Fleet at Toulon. In 1793 French Republican forces suppressed a royalist rebellion in the city of Toulon (the royalists were assisted by British, Spanish, Neapolitan and Pedmontese troops). As the city fell, however, the British used firships to destroy the French Republican fleet, as shown here. To give you even more of an insight into the event recorded I've shared a brief excerpt from the original written account published below the print.
Above: Destruction of the French Fleet at Toulon Dec 18th 1793 from The Naval achievements of Great Britain and Her Allies from 1793 to 1817 by J. Jenkins.
Excerpt from the written account as published:
DESTRUCTION OF THE FRENCH FLEET AT TOULON: DECEMBER 18, 1793. The inhabitants of Toulon and Marseilles, under a disposition to be freed from the yoke of the Convention, entered into a negociation with Lord Hood, the British admiral then commanding in the Mediterranean, whereby the former town and its shipping were placed in the hands of the English in trust for Louis XVII. A large military force being sent by the revolutionary government against Toulon, Lord Hood found himself obliged to evacuate the place ; but in so doing he gave the first wound to the republican navy: ten ships of the line, besides frigates and smaller vessels, were destroyed, with an immense quantity of stores of every description; and three sail of the line, with some frigates, were added to the British fleet.
Sir Sydney Smith arrived at the office of the principal Secretary of State on the 15th January, 1794, with a dispatch, of wbich the following is a copy:
Victory, Hieres Bay, December 20, 1793. SIR,
It is my duty to acquaint you, that I have been obliged to evacuate Toulon, and to retire from the harbour to this anchorage. It became unavoidably necessary that the retreat should not be deferred beyond the night of the 18th, as the enemy commanded the town and ships by their shot and shells: I therefore, agreeably to the governor's plan, directed the boats of the fleet to assemble by eleven o'clock, near fort La Malgue, and am happy to say the whole of the troops were brought off, to the number of near 8000, without the loss of a man; and in the execution of this service, I have infinite pleasure in acknowledging my very great obligations to Captain Elphinstone for his unremitting exertion, who saw the last man off; and it is a very comfortable satisfaction to me, that several thousands of the meritorious inhabitants of Toulon were sheltered in his Majesty's ships.
I propose sending the Vice-Admirals Hotham and Crosby, with some other ships, to Leghorn or Porto Ferrara, to complete their wine and provisions, which run very short, having many mouths to feed; and to remain with the rest to block up the ports of Toulon and Marseilles. . . .
How to Identify the Prints:
The original prints from "The Naval Achievements of Great Britain. From the Year 1793 to 1817" are aquatint engravings on a medium weight wove paper. All the plates identify at bottom left Painted by T. Whitcombe and bottom right T. Sutherland (sculpt) who produced the aquatint engravings. Some plates were engraved by Jeakes and Bailey after Whitcombe. Each plate is accompanied by text pages describing the action, often with lists of ships captured or sunk, and excerpts from contemporary bulletins, dispatches, letters, and speeches. The first edition appeared in 1817. Early issues have watermarks of Whatman with the undated watermark IIS&S on some plates. The vignette title page was uncoloured in the first issue. The approx engraved image area of the plates are 7" x 10.25" (175mm x 260mm). Engraved plate mark area is approx 8.5 x 11.75 (215mm x 300mm). The folio sheet size is approx 11.5" x 14" (290mm x 355mm).
You can see more prints from Jenkins The Naval Achievements of Great Britain, From the Year 1793 to 1817 HERE. If you're interested in a specific print and you cannot see it on my website please feel free to message me.
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