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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 successfuland, 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. Nature--our 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: 'Wri'ting,' 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) 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 beroes were all on tip-toe for their wagesand Mr. Hogan was called upon to perform his duty--but, accord
ing to the Colonel's statement, could render only “ a pitiful account of empty boxes.” This state of things could not fail to prodnce explanations,-in the course of which, the secret caine out, that $1,500 of the public money, had, by a short cut, got into the hands of Messieurs the sutlers, without passing as usual, through those of the soldiers ; and, what was still worse, that they could not now be got back again. In this dilemma the paymaster's ingenuity did not forsake bim ;-he boldly presented himself to the Colonel, and whispered in his ear, that of the $1,500 that were deficient, $1,000 had been loaned on the authority of his (the Colonel's) letter, of the 13th of January, 1819, requesting him, to enable Nelson and Randolph to make good their purchase of the bill as already mentioned. This very unexpected communication induced the Colonel to pause ; he thought it very improbable that Mr. Hogan, with all his readiness to oblige, would have loaned money, to any amount, on a mere suggestion, made so long beforehand and without renewal, on the part of the maker,-he thought it still more improbable, that he would have loaned $1,000, when but “ a few hundreds” were solicited and promised; he thought it quite incredible, that doing either, he would bave permitted a month to pass by, without saying a syllable about it, or that Nelson, when he paid the money, should not have intimated, that Hogan was the lender. These considerations satisfied King, that the paymaster's story was a falsehood, from beginning to end; but that he might leave no room for any other person to doubt on that bead, he sought and found Nelson, and ascertained from him, that—when Hogan gave him the money-he had remarked, “ that now he could "buy the Colonel's bill,” io which he (Nelson) had replied—“no,
I will not buy, for I do not want it.” Thus fortified, the Colonel went on to his object, and arrested Hogan, on several charges; one of which was, “the lending $1,500 of the public money to “Nelson and Randolph.”
Of the official issue of this measure, we know nothing; but of its effects on the temper of the paymaster, we have abundant proofs. Shrewd, vindictive, and persevering, he set himself seriously to work, to retaliate the annoyance, the vexation and disgrace inflicted, or intended to be inflicted, upon him; and as all things, having the colour of guilt, (even those in which he had himself an agency,) suited his purposes equally well, he was not long in mustering and marching to Washington a formidable column of charges against his Colonel and Cominander. Nor did his labours or adroitness stop here. He well knew that government, in the abstract, is a sly, slow thing, with circumspective eyes'--that its decisions are those rather of policy than of justice, and that from causes, both incidevtal and inherent, our own government is particularly i...wle to this infirmity. To meet, therefore, these sigus
of the times, the pay-master availed himself (as is said) first, of a little newspaper pressure; and again, of “the threats of two noisy members of Congress," whom he had contrived to enlist on his side of the question, and, with these auxiliaries, did actually obtain an order, thirteen months after the alleged offence, to bring to trial an officer virtually charged (among other peccadilloes) with whipping, cropping, drowning and shooting soldiers of his regiment, not only without the colour of law, but in direct violation of its provisions and injunctions !
The next step in the business, was the institution of the court and here again, there is room for wonder. The law expressly provides, that “no general court martial shall consist of less than * thirteen members, where that number can be convened, without " manifest injury to the service:”—And again, that “no officer “shall be tried by others, inferior in rank to himself, if it can be " avoided." Yet, in the face of injunctions, so carefully interposed for the protection of the prisoner, and in a time of profound peace, when every grog-shop in the country could have furnished a member, the court was not only constituted of a number, less than thirteen, but, with the exception of the President, a altogether of officers inferior to the prisoner in rank! Nor was this all-for, when the time for convening the court arrived, neither the President detailed, nor the officer authorized to supply his place, (should he be absent,) attended the sitting :-Yet the seven other members, without a shadow of authority, proceeded to organize a court; to create a president; to arraign ihe prisoner; to administer oaths; to receive testimony, and, finally, to pass sentence on the accused ! And (what can alone be considered more incredible) proceedings, thus illegal and irregular, were received, approved and enforced by the governnient!
The personal characters, of the major part of the court, according to Col. King's printed statement, were scarcely less extraordipary, than the other circumstances ve have meutioned; and though assuredly, in the maio, no laughing matter, can hardly fail to excite a smile in the gravest reader. Lieutenant-Colonel Lindsay, the President de factomis represented, in point of intellect, as a shrewd, sensible fellow, who would not walk into a well at noon-day; and in point of morals, as one of that highly re spectable fraternity known, of old, under the title of Laudoceniupon whose judgments and opinions, good viands and good liqnors, had the most lively and lasting effect. Whai,' says Colonel King, will you, and every other honest man, think of the
President of the Court, when I tell you, that (forgetful of the re'spect due his own character and the justice he owed the accused,
(a) General Bissel. (b) Colonel M'Rea.
and insensible to that delicacy of sentiment and regard for decorum · which prescribe, that the members of a court martial, while the * trial is in progress, shall have as little intercourse as possible with
the parties at issue) he left the quarters of Major Denkins, the 'commanding officer—where accommodations had been prepared • for him—and went to room for lodge] with my private accuser and the public prosecutor ; with whom he continued to live, in habits of the closest intimacy, during the whole period of the • trial.'
Lieutenant-Colonel Arbuckle, the next in order, is described by the Colonel as a different sort of animal not to be caught by the throat or the teeth ;-but cool and calculating, and both able and willing to stifle either resentments or conscience, should they become troublesome or inconvenient. On bis way from Fort Hawkins, he acknowledged an old grudge against the prisoner, and declared, that “so strong was this prejudice, that he would object to " himself as a member of the court.” Yet,' says Colonel King, instead of obeying this honourable impulse, he immediately on · his arrival at Montpelier, although laine, hobbled over to my quarters to pay his respects to me; notwithstanding I was then in arrest and had no claim on his attention, either from my official situation, or our personal intimacy. Had this visit been one of mere ceremony, I should have thought the less of it; but he remained with me, from sunset until ten or eleven o'clock at night, and in a frank, old-soldier conversation, studiously sought to do away any suspicions I might have of his hostility.- How this
gentleman could take his seat at my trial after having admitted • his prejudice, can only be understood by viewing him as heir ap'parent to my commission, (which in fact he was,) and that his object in remaining on the court, was promotion.'
Major Fanning is represented by the Colonel as a loquacious egotist, who, unfortunately for himself and others, has been permitted to see Europe, and who is now only solicitous to discharge upon every man or woman he meets, that immense fund of anecdote, which a ramble of six months had enabled him to acquire. To win him, it was but necessary to listen with patience and, if possible, with approbation. The paymaster could do both—the colonel could do neither.
Major McIntosh (the last, though not the least in this roll of worthies, and whose vote actually decided the award of the court) was, according to the Colonel, rarely, if ever, in a condition to know whether he did right or wrong, and, on one occasion, was
so beastly drunk and so outrageously ungovernable, that they • were obliged to tie him hand to foot, and throw him into a bunk to sober.' After this brief and mortifying description of the majority of the