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force: these are always of less calibre than the short guns, to preserve the proper weight of metal. Although the Cyane and Levant, united, had 56 guns,-two more than the Constitution could fight—they were by no means an equal match for her. Their ability to apnoy was equal to that of the Constitution, but their capability to endure fell far short of hers. One or two well directed broadsides from the Constitution ought to destroy the efficiency of vessels such as the Cyane and Levant: and Captain Stewart appears to have done with his ship, exactly what he ought to have done—He took them both, after a short fight, and with little loss : and the result has excited no other emotion in us, than curiosity to know what his countrymen think now of the veracity of Captain Bingham, who more than insinuated that with one vessel of the force of the Levant, he beat off the counterpart of the Constitution ! If the war had no other effect, it has established the certainty of Commodore Rodgers' statement upon that occasion, and falsified that of his opponent. We may be excused here, a digression on that obsolete question, for a moment, as it marks the disposition of the English people to credit their own statements, in opposition to all others, and even to probability. A man appeared before the Mayor of Bristol or Liverpool (we forget which) and made oath that he was on board the President in her rencontre with the Little Belt—and that the former ship did actually commence the action, by firing a whole broadside into the latter. The tale was told with much of circumstance, with the names of subordinate ofiicers, and particularly of one of her lieutenants. This affidavit was published in all the English prints as corroborative of the statement of Captain Bingham: and none of their editors discovered that the oath as effectually gave the lie to their own officers, as did the official account of Commo dore Rodgers. Captain Bingham, we know, makes the President
aggressor, but in an entirely different manner, from this oathtaking seaman :-we will only add that no such lieutenant, as named by him, was ever in the navy, much less the ship.
The closing action of the war, was between the Hornet and Penguin. This was a very equal combat, and decided in our favour in as short a time as could be hoped for.-The English commander seemed willing to atone for his want of discipline, by his personal efforts;
and it is said that when her first lieutenant endeavoured to board the Hornet, his men refused to follow, Guns, men, and metal, were all very nearly equal.
We have passed by the actions on the lakes, as the official accounts of these engagements give the most minute statements of the force on either side ; and as they were battles fought, as it were, in the heart of our country, the community were in some degree witnesses to the events, and their attendant circumstances. The result, no one in either country has now to learn. But in their eagerness VOL. II.
to palliate defeat, their writers seize upon every incident with avidity, which can possibly admit of a construction in their favour. Thus it happened that Captain Young, of the army, was on board the vessel of Captain M.Donough, and made a report of the action to his commanding officer. This has been interpreted into so large a reinforcement of soldiers, as to give to the army a portion of the credit of the victory. That is doubtless as it should be, but in a way the English writer is not perhaps aware of :-There were no marines in our squadron,-by looking at the returns, he will see no marines hurt—no officer's name mentioned belonging to them ;-there being none,-to supply their places a company of soldiers was put on board the vessels—Its commander was amenable to his own officer, and very properly reported the battle and its effects on his command, to his proper chiel.-It is excessively weak, at this time of day, for the British to pretend their inferiority to the squadron of M‘Donough ;-they were the assailants-had thousands of men within a mile of their ships_and whose whole movements were suspended until Captain Downie declared bimself ready for the undertaking: To undervalue an enemy, who had so often overcome them, is a greater folly than we can believe them to have been guilty of. We believe, but without knowing it, that in both engagements on the Lakes, the enemy was, to say the least, our equals in force; and there are many things to confirm this belief, besides the assertions of the honourable men who led our arms on those memorable days.
Neither have we touched upon the loss of the President and Essex, both vessels having been captured by more than one ship. But, leaving the officers of the Pomone and Endymion to quarrel about the honour of taking the former vessel, and the officers of the Majestic and Tenedos, while they finger their prize money, to laugh at both, we will write a few lines concerning
the affair of the Essex. It appears by the official letter of Captain Porter, that both the Essex and Phæbe mounted more guns, than properly belonged to their respective rates. He describes the Phoebe to have had 46 guns in regular broadside, and 30 of them to have been long eighteens. To carry this number, we presume she had guns in her bridle-ports and gang-ways. But the important point to be remembered in this engagement is, that the Essex fought chiefly with 6 twelve pounders, opposed, in one ship alone, to 30 eighteens,her carronades being useless, from the distance at which the enemy chose to keep his ships. The Essex, in running off the coast, had lost her main-top-mast in a squall, and consequently was at the mercy of Captain Hillyar, who was in full chase at the time. We do not say, we think it was the duty of the English officer to run his vessel close along side of the Essex, knowing her to be a ship of inferior force and armed chiefly with carronades; on the contrary, we
think he was right—his method was the best one to ensure success, and that is always the primary object to be considered by an offi
But we do say, that whenever an Englishman boasts, in the extremely offensive manner so peculiar to his countrymen, that uncalculating and headlong gallantry are the characteristics of his nation—and that every British officer remembers the standing order of Nelson, that "no captain can go wrong who lays his ship yard-arm and yard-arm with his enemy”-he should be reminded, that Captain Hillyar is an exception. Captain Porter has not gained great reputation as an author; and, perhaps, when we take into view the lax morals deducible from his work, the opinion of his countrymen on his merits with the pen, is a just one ;-but certainly he is more expert with the sword. No one has been found hardy enough to say, that his defence was not bravely continued ; --but some have called it desperate. Nil Desperandum' is a good motto for the commander of a ship, under any ordinary circumstances of disadvantage,-and although we view the condition of the Essex as peculiarly unfortunate, there does not seem a period at which there was not some hope of saving the crew, if not the vessel, from capture. The first object of a commander is victory, when this is denied him, he should turn his thoughts to the best escape. The resistance of the Essex appears to us, to have been persevered in to the last moment, we admit, but not a moment too long. The contents of that officer's book have disposed one portion of the community, to quarrel with every thing he does; and there is another portion, always ready to quarrel with any thing that endangers the life or honour of an Englishman. Thanks to the European critics, and our own right arms, these sticklers for the fame of Old Albion have become very rare. We beg Captain Porter to be consoled, as, if the accusation be admitted, fighting too much, is a more pardonable offence than fighting too little.
We will close this glance at our naval conflicts, by turning the attention of the community to an occurrence, but little noticed at the time, yet fraught with consequences of vastly more importance than any that resulted from the most brilliant of the preceding actions, -and conspicuous for a gallantry and self-devotion which should place the name of Thomas Ap Catesby Jones on the fairest scroll of our naval records. This officer, then a young lieutenant, (now a master commandant,) was in command of a division of five gun boats off New-Orleans, at the time the enemy made his descent upon Louisiana. The defenceless situation and hair-breadth escape of that State are well known at the present hour,—but it is not known, that the manæuvres of this little flotilla retarded the operations of the British, for two days; and that when compelled to fight, its defence was so obstinate and so fatal to the assailants as to make a strong impression with regard to the kind of foe they
were to contend with. In carrying these little gun boats by boarding, in which they were much aided by accident—the enemy acknowledged a loss of about one hundred, and it is believed that the truth would have more than doubled this number.We all know, that a day gained, at that eventful period, enabled the military Commander to save the city.
We think it clearly evident, from this succinct, though cursory view of the principal naval actions, that, although the physical, and perhaps moral superiority, upon which some among us are so fond of dwelling--are not to be found so strikingly exemplified by the results, as such patriotic faith would determine; yet we met the enemy fairly-conquered him frequently with equal and inferior vessels, and where the physical strength was in our favour, were always successful-and, generally so, with an effect far exceeding the difference which existed against our opponent. To what was this superiority owing ? we will not enter upon any subtle deductions which involve national character, or national enterprise and aptitude for sea-service: we leave such nice distinctions for greater ingenuity than we can pretend to; but will, in a very few words, give our reasons for the superiority we did, most evidently evince. On what then did this difference depend ? and will it continue ? Our navy was small—its officers few and select--and our ships admirably equipped and well found :-we had been taunted and sneered at by our enemy, as a people deficient in every quality necessary to form fighting men or officers.-Contempt is a dangerous weapon, to him who uses it, and a powerful incentive to him who is hurt by it.
To whom should the contempt belong now ? Not to us. Policy self-preservation-and a better courtesy, forbid it.—But the excitement should never sleep. We must have a navy-powerful, in some measure, as our nation. Naturemour interests--our safety seem to require it: And whatever may be the checks its advancement may receive, from the contracted policy of time-serving politicians,—the navy of the United States must and will, at no distant period, become our chief defence against foreign wrongs, as it can never become dangerous to our domestic rights. It rests much with those, who guide its destinies at the present hour, to confirm its character, or to let that stimulus sleep, which has given it its nobly accomplished renown. For ourselves, we are warmly, though not blindly attached to its interests: and beg leave to close our remarks with saying to those young men, who constitute its present pride and future hope, that the connexion, between private virtue and public benefit, is close–That the discipline, subordination, and confidence in each other, which gave them the laurel, can only preserve it to them; and though we are no strenuous advocates for high sounding mottos at the mast head, or pompous displays on the fore-topsail, we would recommend to them never to lose sight of the words of the departed Lawrence, “ Don't give up the ship."
Art. IV. Letters, to James Monroe, President of the United
States, from WILLIAM KING, late a Colonel in the army of the United States. 1820.
These letters, make no pretensions to literary merit. Writing,' says the author, “is not my trade, and nothing but the most dire necessity, could have induced me to undertake a task, for which, neither education, habits nor pursuits have fitted me. Still, in other and more interesting points of view, their publication is important: they let us into the secret of the existing state of our military discipline; they present an exposition of the principles, practices and character of our military courts; and lastly, they offer the defence of a soldier, whose past services and standing, entitle him, at least, to a patient and impartial hearing. With this brief introduction, we hasten to the story.
Colonel King having funds in one place and necessities for money in another, proposed, in January, 1819, to sell to the sutlers of his regiment (Nelson and Randolph) a bill upon his agent in Maryland for $1000. Fearing, however, that these Banquiers Ambulans might not be in condition to furnish cash to the full amount of the bill, he applied to one Hogan, to make good, what they might not be able to raise, and in reply, received from him a promise—that he would let them have " a few hundred dollars.”
Now this money-lender had, it seems, no less than four different characters-either of which would warrant an application of this kind : 1st. he was a cotton-planter on the Alabama; 2d. he was head of the principal commercial-house at Mobile ; 3d. he was a holder of bank stock in that city, to a large amount; and 4th. he was paymaster of the regiment, and of course the handler of public money. In which of these characters, he was to give the assistance, requested by Colonel King, is not stated, and need not be inquired, as Nelson's answer—that he could not take the bill-put a full stop to the negotiation. A few weeks, however, wrought a change in the circumstances of the sutlers :--they now wanted funds in Baltimore, and King, having his bill yet to sell, the bargain was promptly made and satisfactorily executed.
That real festival, (the pay-day of the regiment,) had now arrived: the sixpenny heroes were all on tip-toe for their wagesand Mr. Hogan was called upon to perform his duty-but, accord