On 26th July 1798, H.M.S. Brilliant sighted two French frigates moored off Tenerife which, as soon as they spotted her British colours, weighed anchor and gave chase. Both French vessels were significantly larger and better armed than Brilliant which, despite cutting away her anchors and boats, soon found herself overtaken. Despite the enemy's overwhelming superiority of firepower, Brilliant gave a good account of herself although by midnight, her crew was tiring from the unequal struggle. Fortunately, just as the French frigates closed in for the coup de grâce, a fresh breeze sprang up and Brilliant was able to get away under cover of darkness.
The defeat of H.M.S. Java was one of the several celebrated frigate actions of the Anglo-American War of 1812. Java, a captured French frigate absorbed into the Royal Navy in 1811, was en route to Bombay late in 1812 when she found it necessary to put into the Brazilian port of San Salvadore for fresh water. On the morning of 29th December, she sighted a vessel flying no colours and gave chase; her adversary turned out to be the American frigate Constitution which, despite the initial damage caused by Java's opening broadside, soon gained the upper hand. After about two hours Java was seriously damaged and at 6 o'clock, by which time the furious engagement had lasted fully four hours, she struck her colours and surrendered. The next day, Java's smouldering hulk, far too damaged to justify repair, was put to the torch and thereby provided the United States with a major propaganda coup as the year ended.