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out till February, 1760, without meeting a single British vessel, although sixty-one ships of the line were then stationed upon the coasts of England and France, and several of these were actually in pursuit.
In 1796, when the French attempted to throw the army of Hoche into Ireland, the most strenuous efforts were made by the British navy to intercept the French fleet in its passage.
The Channel fleet, of near thirty sail of the line, under Lord Bridport, was stationed at Spithead; Sir Roger Curtis, with a smaller force, was cruising to the westward; Vice-admiral Colpoys was stationed off Brest, with thirteen sail of the line; and Sir Edward Pellew (afterwards Lord Exmouth) watched the harbor, with a small squadron of frigates.
Notwithstanding this triple floating bulwark, as it was called--one fleet on the enemy's coast, a second in the Downs, and a third close on their own shores — the French fleet of forty-four vessels, carrying a land force of twenty-five thousand men, reache