ENGLAND AND AMEllICA 23
occasion won the high commendation of President Jefferson.
In 1806 he was promoted to the rank of captain, and, a season of peace having supervened, ho returned to the merchant service. 1 hit on the breaking out of the war with England in 181V2 he once, more joined the navy. England claimed the right to search American vessels for English sailors. The United States repudiated this claim, and resolved to resist it by force. The Government at first derided to act on the defensive, collecting the, fleet clone to the American shore to await events. Stewart and Captain Ham-bridge, however, pointed out that thin would be a fatal policy, and proposed instead that the? vessels should put to sea and attack the Britisher wherever he watt to be found. Their views finally prevailed, am! in January 1813 Stewart was ordered to sail in the frigate ' Constellation' from Washington to Norfolk, and thence to the open sea. .But on reaching Norfolk he found a British ileet in the ofling. .Dropping down the river, the American captain anchored abreast of Crancy Island, to cover the fortifications which were in course of constriction. There ho wan grealJy exposed to the enemy. But he prepared a plan of defence which baffled bin foes and won the admiration of naval experts, The 'Constellation ' wan anchored in the middle of a narrow channel. On each .side of her were seven gunboats. A. circle of booms protected the gunboats from being boarded, and enabled them at the same time to maintain a flanking fire on all assailants of the frigate. On hoard the frigate hertielf the greatest precautions were taken, Tim gun-cltteki were housed, the ports shut in, the Btern ladders taken away, and the gangway eleatn removed, Not a rope