On my return from Gibraltar I travelled by way of France to England.
Being a foreigner, this was not attended with any inconvenience to me.
I found, in the harbour of Calais, a ship just arrived with a number
of English sailors as prisoners of war. I immediately conceived an
idea of giving these brave fellows their liberty, which I accomplished
as follows:--After forming a pair of large wings, each of them forty
yards long, and fourteen wide, and annexing them to myself, I mounted
at break of day, when every creature, even the watch upon deck, was
fast asleep. As I hovered over the ship I fastened three grappling
irons to the tops of the three masts with my sling, and fairly lifted
her several yards out of the water, and then proceeded across to
Dover, where I arrived in half an hour! Having no further occasion for
these wings, I made them a present to the governor of Dover Castle,
where they are now exhibited to the curious.
As to the prisoners, and the Frenchmen who guarded them, they did not
awake till they had been near two hours on Dover Pier. The moment the
English understood their situation they changed places with their
guard, and took back what they had been plundered of, but no more, for
they were too generous to retaliate and plunder them in return.