(Le). A man-of-war commanded by Cambrone. The tale is this: June 1, 1794, Lord Howe encountered the French fleet off Ushant. Six ships were taken by the English admiral, and the victory was decisive. but Le Vengeur, although reduced to a mere hulk, refused to surrender, and, discharging a last broadside, sank in the waves, while the crew shouted “Vive la République! ” The Convention ordered a medal to be struck with this legend —Le Triomphe du Vengeur. It is almost a pity that this thoroughly French romance should lack one important item- a grain of truth. The day of this victory is often called “The Glorious First of June.” The historic fact is, the ship sank, with the crew crying for help, which was readily given by the British foe.
We'll show the haughty British race The Frenchman can such honour boast - That when one Vengour we have lost, Another hastes to take her place.
Translated by J. Oxenford.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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