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With Incidental Allusions to other Distinguished Characters. 

" Patriots have toil'd. and in their country's cause 
Bled nobly ; and their deeds, as they deserve, 
Receive proud recompense." 
* * * * " Th' historic muse, 
Proud of the treasure, marches with it down 
To latest times." 


Author of the ' Journal of Robbins,' — ' Tour of Monroe,' — c Me 
moirs of Jackson, 1 — ' Life of Decatur,' &c. 



L g BE IT REMEMBERED, That on the fifth day of Septem- 
' ber, in the forty-eighth year of the independence of the United 
States of America, Silas Andrus, of the said district, hath deposited in 
this office the title of a Book, the right whereof he claims as proprie- 
tor, in the words following, to wit : " Biographical Sketches 

of distinguished American Naval Heroes, in the War of the Revolu- 
tion, between the American Republic and the Kingdom of Great 
Britain; comprising the lives and characters of Com. Nicholas Bid- 
die, Com. John Paul Jones, Com. Edward Preble, and C om. Alex- 
ander Murray : with incidental allusions toother distinguished char- 

" Patriots have toil'd, and in their country's cause 
Bled nobly ; and their deeds, as they deserve 
Receive proud recompense," 
* * * * " Th 1 historic muse, 
Proud of the treasure, marches with it down 
To latest times." 
By S. Putnam Waldo, Esq. author of the " Journal of Robbins," 
" Tour of Monroe" — " Memoirs of Jackson" — " Life of Decatur," &c. 
in conformity to the act of the Congress of the United States, entitled, 
" An act for the encouragement of learning, by securing the copies of 
Maps, Charts, and Books, to the authors and proprietors of such cop- 
ies, during the times therein mentioned." 


Clerk of the District of Connecticut. 
A true copy of Record, examined and sealed by me, 


Clerk of the District of Connecticut 




THE following volume was commenced in consequence 
of perusing the well known Letter of the venerable States- 
man, John Adams, to the well known Editor of the Balti- 
more Weekly Register, in which this unrivalled American 
Patriot says to that indefatigable American Journalist, "It is 
greatly to be desired thatyoung gentlemen of letters in all the 
pccially in the thirteen original States, would tin- 
deii&Re the laborious, but certainly interesting and amusing 
task, of searching and collecting all the records, pamphlets, 
newspapers, and even hand-bills, which in any way con- 
tributed to change the temper and views of the people and 
compose them into an independent nation." 

Without aspiring to the proud eminence of a " young 
gentleman of letters," I undertook the " laborious, but cer- 
tainly interesting and amusing task of searching and col- 
lecting all the records, pamphlets, newspapers, and even 
hand-bills" that came within the scope of my researches. 

By the goodness of my parents, a very considerable num- 
ber of Revolutionary pamphlets, from the scattered library 
of Maj. Gen. Israel Putnam came into my hands. By re- 
searches, which would remind a lover of Shakspeare of 
one of his characters, who sought "for two kernels of wheat, 
in two bushels of chaff," I gathered a file of newspapers, 
embracing the whole period of the War of the American 
Revolution ; and containing a vast variety of facts relating 
to Naval Heroes, not to be found in voluminous histories 
of that wonderful war. I also obtained the " Journals of 


the Old Congress," the Acts of which were authenticated 
by the signature of a man whose name and truth are sy- 
nonymous — Charles Thomson. 

Before commencing the volume, I made this " Renewed 

Mr. Babcock— 

In consequence of a " request," which you obliging- 
ly inserted in your useful and interesting paper some weeks 
since, and which, no less obligingly, was extracted into 
many of the leading Gazettes of the Republic, a very con- 
siderable mass of materials has been gathered for an in- 
tended publication, to be entitled " Biographical Sketches 
of American Naval Heroes in the War of the Revolution." 
This subject, for some time past, has occupied much of the 
attention of the subscriber. He was induced to commence 
the work, not more by his own inclination, than by the so- 
licitation of his friends, whose opinions confirmed him in 
the propriety of his own. " Our Fathers ! where are they 7^ 
was an ejaculation of an ancient patriarch. The mem- 
bers of the " Old Congress" — The signers of the declara- 
tion of American Independence — the officers of the Army 
and Navy of the Thirteen Colonies, in the gloomy period of 
the Revolutionary struggle — " where are they ?" They are, 
most of them, reposing in the tombs of a country, the In- 
dependence of which they secured by their toil, their blood 
or their deaths. Through the medium of the Press, which 
is the palladium of our liberties, and the source of our 
knowledge, we have learned something of the gigantic 
Statesmen and Soldiers of that most important epoch of 
American history — but the rising generation, like the wri- 
ter, must search through the scattered and brief details of 
that period, and catch the narrations of the few hoary head- 
ed Seamen who survive to learn the unsurpassed achieve- 

ments of the matchless " Naval Heroes," who then dared, 
with means apparently wholly inefficient, to assail the 
vaunting " Queen of the ocean," as Britain then called and 
still calls herself, upon her favourite element. 

Although the writer is aware that " the half is not told" 
him, yet sufficient has been discovered by research, and 
received from obliging correspondents, to have enabled 
him to make considerable progress in the work mentioned. 
The cotemporaries, sons and grand-sons of the following 
catalogue of heroes are most earnestly requested to for- 
ward, as soon as possible, brief notices of the birth — early 
life — the time they entered the Naval service in the revo- 
lution — the ships they commanded — the British ships they 
fought and conquered, or to which they were compelled to 
strike — incidents of their lives from the conclusion of the 
revolutionary war to the times of their death — to wit : 

Commodores Whipple — Hopkins — Biddle, the elder — ■ 
Jones — Murray — Decatur, the elder — Truxton. 

Captains Preble — Manly — Little — Nicholson — Harden 
— Tryon, and any others who in a high or minor station 
signalized themselves in the revolution. 

The task which the writer has undertaken is arduous, 
delicate, and interesting — he again solicits aid— he asks 
for nothing but the " raw materials" — He will manufacture 
them according to the best of his experience; and if, from the 
coarseness of the texture, the fabric should be condemned, 
he will at least enjoy the satisfaction of having made a lau- 
dable attempt to rescue from oblivion the memories of de- 
parted patriots which ought to be cherished. 

In compliance with this " request," I was honoured with 
several deeply interesting communications from gentlemen 


whose names I should feel proud in mentioning here, were 
I not inhibited by injunctions of concealment. 

I have listened with rapture and attention to the oral 
narrations of a few surviving Ocean Warriors of the Revo- 
lution, whose frosted locks hung upon bended shoulders, 
like shivered sails upon tottering masts — whose furrowed 
faces exhibited the stern visage of veterans who had borne 
the " peltings of the pitiless storm," but whose trembling 
hands would fruitlessly attempt to record their own achieve- 
ments, or those of their compatriots in ocean warfare. The 
subject with them, seemed 

" To raise a Soul beneath the ribs of Death." 
and evinced, that the snow upon their heads, had not 
quenched the revolutionary flame in their hearts. These 
narrations were noted down with care, when fresh in re- 

A recent re-perusal of the productions of Marshall, 
Ramsay, Gordon, Humphreys, Botta, Wilkinson, Lee, 
Wirt, &c. shews that although they have immortalized the 
memories of Washington, Putnam, Warren, Montgome- 
ry, Gates, Greene, Lincoln, Henry, Clinton, Wayne, 
and " a long list beside" of Army Heroes of the Revo- 
lution, the names of Biddle the elder, Jones the elder, 
Preble, Murray, Hopkins, Whipple, Gillon, Nichol- 
son, Truxton, Manly, Harden, Little, Barry, Dale, 
and the whole of the little peerless band of " Naval He- 
roes of the Revolution," are either passed by in silence, 
or thrown into the back ground of the sanguinary arena of 
the Revolutionary war. 

While, in imagination, we can yet hear the reverberation 
of the clangor of Bunker Hill, Trenton, Harlem, Monmouth, 
Saratoga, Camden, and York- Town, the distant roaring of 
our little floating bulwarks, " far away o'er the billow," 

and in the very throat of death upon the coast of Britain 
and her colonies which dared not resist her, dies away in 
the roaring of the surges that once echoed them amongsi 
the dismayed subjects of George III. 

I had intended to have gathered something like a Regis 
ter of Naval Heroes of the Revolution. The following ex- 
tract of a letter from the Secretary of the Navy shows the 
impossibility of doing it. 

" The Records of the Department do not enable me to 
furnish the information you request, respecting the " Naval 
Officers who signalized themselves during the War for In- 
dependence ;" the correspondence of the Congressional 
Committee on Marine affairs during the Revolutionary 
War, does not contain complete lists, even of the Com- 
manders, much less of the several officers attached to the 
public vessels during that important and interesting period 
of our history. 

" As the work which you contemplate publishing will, it 
is believed, be one of public utility, it will afford me pleas- 
ure to furnish any information connected with the subject 
that may be found in the archives of the Department." 

From such promiscuously scattered materials was the 
following volume composed. At this remove of time — from 
the ravages of death, amongst those who survived the revo- 
lution, and the diminution and almost destruction of neces- 
sary materials for the Biography of Dead Worthies, the 
difficulty of doing any thing like justice to the memories of 
the Naval Heroes of the American Revolution, is greatly 

T ;e stain of ingratitude toward our surviving revolution- 
ary fathers is, in some degree, wiped off by the auspicious 
administration of the Fifth President of the Republic. 
It remains for the Press to rescue the memories of the 

"'- Illustrious Dead" from oblivion, and to incorporate their 
Fame with the archives of the Republic. 

The Introduction to these Sketches will be useless to 
the well versed historian ; but was designed as a mere 
" birds-eye view" for the young American reader, who has 
not yet made, as he certainly will endeavour to make him- 
self acquainted with the causes that induced — the aston- 
ishing events that accompanied, and the unrivalled charac- 
ters developed in the Senate, upon the Field, and on the 
Ocean, in the American Revolution. 

As to these " Biographical Sketches," the writer can 
frankly say that with the materials he had, and the circum- 
stances under which he wrote, he has done the best he 
could ; and should the first continue to accumulate, and the 
last be bettered, he hopes his future efforts will be more 
deserving of the flattering patronage the public has bes- 
towed, not upon-the writer, but upon the publishers of his 
previous productions. 

Eighty Thousand large duodecimo volumes of them 
published within the four past years, may have increas- 
ed the presumption of the writer, although the sales of them 
have added nothing to his pecuniary means. 

This imperfect and unpolished volume is literally 
" thrust into the world, scarce half made up" — " in for- 
ma pauperis,'''' without claiming one smile of patronage — 
one mite of literary aid, one cheering favour from the for- 
tunate sons of academic acquirements. It is all the writer 
has now to offer — and if this little all will have been re- 
pulsed, the one who offers it, will feel undisturbed at the 
sneers of a censorious world, to which he acknowledges 
but little obligation, as from it, he has hitherto received but 

a scanty portion of favour. 


Hartford, Conn. September 5fh, 1823« 




Avoiding the fulsome eulogy which character- 
ises the dedications of mercenary writers, who bask in the 
rays of Royal Favour — catch the unmeaning smiles of Lords 
Temporal — the relaxed frowns of Lords Spiritual, and whose 
language is animated or languid, as their Pensions are great- 
er or lesser, I offer this volume to you, Sir, with the frank- 
ness of an American, whose ancestors wielded the sword of 
Freedom, but never the pen of flattery. 

Those acquirements as a Scholar, Statesman, and Jurist, 
which once placed you at the head of a great State Court 
in the Union, and now sustains you at the head of the Navy 
Department of the Confederated Republic, were the well 
founded causes of your unsolicited promotion — first, by the 
constituted authorities of a leading member of the Union, which 

* Since this was written, the Secretary has been appointed a Judge 
of the Supreme Court of the United States. 


knew you best — next, by the government of the whole Republic 
which knew and appreciated your merits. 

The voice of your countrymen declares, that while you de- 
rive honour from the exalted station you fill, you impart hon- 
our to the station itself. 

However much your name may add to the little intrinsic 
value of these Sketches of" Naval Heroes of the Revolu- 
tion," it cannot remove their imperfections. With all these, 
however, it is offered to you as a small token of the Respect of, 
Sir, Your Obd't. Serv't. with high consideration. 

S. Putnam Waldo. 
Hartford, (Conn.) Sept. 10, 1823. 



Introduction, . . . . • • .13 

Biographical Sketch of Com. Nicholas Biddle, . 37 

Biographical Sketch of Com. John Paul Jones, . 75 

Biographical Sketch of Com. Edward Preble, . 144 

Biographical Sketch of Com. Alexander Murray, 244 


Character, and Official Services of James Monroe, 357 
Familiar Letters, of John Adams and Thomas Jef- 


From the rapidity with which this volume was forced through the 
press, the following errors, amongst others probably undiscovered, 
have occurred — more justly imputable to the Author than to the 
Printer. — 

Page 16, For were read was. 
76, For is read was. 
100, For gives read give. 
152, For Eiddle, rend Prbble. 
162, For Capt. Stewart, read Lieut. Stewart 
273, For Charleston read Charlestown. 
276, For solicited read appointed. 
291, For controlled read constrained. 



Memories of the ancient colonists of America, and heroes of the Ar- 
my and Navy of the Revolution.— They were always freemen — were 
always their own defenders. — Presumption and ignorance of Bri- 
tish officers in the " French War."— William Pitt.— The result 
of the French war in America. — British ambition and cupidity — 
Her attempts to coerce Americans — their resistance by argument— 
the eloquence of their statesmen in the senate, and firmness of their 
soldiers in the Army.— NAVAL HEROES of the REVOLUTION. 
— Congress, the States, and individuals aid them. — Vandalism of 
British officers and soldiers. — Firmness of Americans in resistance, 

IN the long catalogue of the worthies and benefactors of 
the human race — amongst the exalted spirits who have res- 
cued men from the degradation of ignorance, and stimula- 
ted them to manifest their moral and intellectual powers — 
who have roused them from the humiliated state of bond- 
age to the dignified attitude of Freemen, the Statesmen of 
the " Old Congress" — the officers of the American Ar- 
my and Navy in the War of the Revolution, are enti- 
tled to pre-eminent rank. We might, in retrospect, by the 
rapid glance of historical recollection, transport the mind 
to a period still more remote, and contemplate, with so- 
lemn admiration, the great champions who laid the founda- 
tion of the two grand pillars upon which our Republic be- 
gan to rise, and is still rapidly rising — Civil Liberty and 
Religious Freedom. From their toils and unceasing per- 
severance, our noble cities, charming towns and delightful 
villages have been rescued from a wilderness. From their 


science and literature, the language and the arts of civili- 
zation are heard and enjoyed, where yelling savages and 
howling beasts poured forth " horrid harmony," and the 
arrow and the hook furnished ferocious barbarians with ' 
precarious subsistence. When the present race of Ameri- 
cans reflect that these blessings were commenced in the 
seventeenth — were advanced and secured in the eighteenth 
— and that in the nineteenth century we are in the full frui- 
tion of all the enjoyments which the best and freest gov- 
ernment on earth can impart, it surely becomes our duty, 
and ought to be our pleasure, to render all the grateful 
homage to the memories of our unrivalled ancestors which 
man may render to man, and all the adoration which man 
can render to his Creator. 

It is the pastime of the untutored Laplanders to detaif 
and to chaunt the achievements of their sleeping ancestors; 
and the savages of America, still exult in the fame of Alk- 
nomok and Ouconnostota — of Logan and Philip. If bar- 
barians thus commemorate the achievements of their pro- 
genitors, which, perhaps, were nothing more than encoun- 
tering and conquering wild beasts, or capturing and tortur- 
ing a christian or savage enemy, how much more imperious 
and obligatory upon us is the injunction — " Honour th* 

Our expanded and rapidly expanding Republic, in the 
full enjoyment of every blessing which political wisdom 
and science — moral and religious principles, and the diffu- 
sion of useful knowledge can impart, might now (1823) be 
in an humiliated colonial state under George IV. — his vo- 
luptuous lords temporal, and his corrupted lords spiritual, 
had it not been for the exalted and majestic spirit of free- 
dom and independence which inspired the noble bosoms of 


our unrivalled ancestors. Let the free and high-minded 
people who inhabit that portion of the " Western World" 
which lies north of the Isthmus of Darien, contrast their 
situation with that of their fellow creatures south of that 
natural division of the American Continent. Although 
South America is centuries older in what is called civili- 
zation than North America, yet the north is two cen- 
turies older in the enjoyment of the Rights of Man than the 
south. From the days of the blood-glutted Pizarro, to 
this time, South Americans have been the most degraded 
vassals, to the most tyrannical monarchy, that ever wielded 
the sceptre of despotic power, and the most subjugated 
slaves to the most detestable and satanic priesthood, that 
ever imposed a chain upon the human mind. But from 
the time that true Englishmen, the descendants of true Sax- 
ons, landed in the North, they have ever been free ; and their 
progeny may exclaim with the first of apostles, and one of 
the first of men a We were born free." While the 
Christian world may well exclaim — " The Sun of Right- 
eousness arose in the East," and is diffusing his redeeming 
rays over the earth, an emancipated world will hereafter 
admit that — The Sun of Freedom arose in the West : and 
that in freedom, there is also a redeeming spirit which will 
ere long wrest from the hands of tyrants the rod of abused 
power — convert the chains they have forged for their sub- 
jects into ropes of sand, and make their thrones vanish be- 
neath them like the " baseless fabrick of a vision." 

The " Thirteen Colonies of North America" may at this 
time be called the germe of twenty-four Independent States, 
confederated together by a voluntary ligament that unites 
them to the American Republic. These ancient colonies, 
if the expression is admissible, may be said to be " self- 


created." — They neither originated from royal favour, nor 
were fostered by princely munificence. They were not 
acquired by the resistless arm of a potent monarch, but 
by the purchases of emigrant pilgrims from the oppressed 
countries of the old world, or by the voluntary conveyances 
of the native, and sole proprietors of the soil. It is incon- 
sistent with the limits of these introductory remarks to the 
following "Sketches" to discuss the question whether the 
benefits which Europeans have gained, and the original 
rights which the aborigines have irretrievably lost, by the 
discovery of America, can be justified by the code usually 
called " The Lazo of Nations." Having had occasion to 
allude very briefly to this subject in two previous publica- 
tions,* I hope to be excused for referring the reader to the 
hasty remarks made in these volumes. 

The British monarch and the British nation, as well by 
intuitive, as by logical deductions, knew well that national 
wealth was national power, and that both essentially con- 
duced to national glory. They therefore were assiduously 
engaged in draining from the East and the West Indies, 
their immense wealth into their ozim coffers. They thought 
little of infant colonies, in an hitherto unexplored region, 
over a vast expanse of ocean. But France, their natural 
enemy, were either in actual possession, or had uncontroll- 
ed sway, over the whole western and northern boundaries 
of " His Britannic Majesty^s Colonies in North America''' 
from the mouth of the Mississippi, to the mouth of the St. 
Lawrence, two of the most important streams on earth. 
That aspiring monarchy cast an eye of cupidity upon these 
growing colonies which had, almost unobserved by East- 

* " President's Tour," 3d ed. p. 268, 269. " Memoirs of Jackson.' 
5th ed. p. 48,49. 


em potentates, grown up to considerable importance. The 
British monarchy then began to think that their trans- atlan- 
tic possessions were worth defending. The king began to 
profess the most fatherly solicitude for his American sub- 
jects ; and his ministry most earnestly called upon them to 
defend themselves, and most graciously condescended to 
furnish a few British regulars, and a full quota of British 
officers to command all the American troops. 

A sort of predatory warfare was carried on between the 
christian English and French, and the heathen Indians, who 
espoused the cause of that great father, over the great wa- 
ter, who offered the strongest allurements, and gave them 
the most encouragement for gratifying their insatiable thirst 
for blood, carnage and plunder. 

General Braddock was despatched to America, with a 
small body of troops, and was joined by that prodigy of a 
man, designed to begin his splendid military career in aid- 
ing the British monarch to secure the colonies from French 
rapacity, and afterwards to lead his countrymen in wrest- 
ing them from British tyranny— GEORGE WASHING- 
TON. Gen. Braddock, as commander in chief, and Col. 
Washington, the next in command, advanced upon the 
savage foe. The commander, claiming that importance 
which a man versed in the science of war — familiar with 
military tactics, and determined to slay savages secundem 
artem, lost his own life, and much of his force, by rashness 
and ignorance of savage warfare. The cool courage and 
consummate judgment of Washington saved the remnant 
of an army, the whole of which had been exposed to de- 
struction by his superior in command. The American, or 
►what was then called the provincial troops, were almost 
invariably successful when led by their own commanders.* 

* Vide English and American histories of the " French War." 


In May 1756, war was formally declared by Britain 
against France ; and in June following, by France against 
Britain. Another host of British officers arrived from Eu- 
rope, amongst whom were Lord Loudon, Gen. Abercrombie, 
Gen. Webb, Gen. Hopson, &c. &c. One after the other 
made his entry and his exit, like actors at a theatre, per- 
forming sometimes a comic, sometimes a tragic, and more 
frequently a tragi-comic part ; and then retiring behind the 
scenes, followed by the hisses of some, the pity of others, 
and the contempt of all. At the close of the year 1758, 
by the tardiness, cowardice or ignorance of British gene- 
rals, the British colonies in America were all but an appen- 
dage to the French monarchy. Americans, although loyal 
in the first degree to his Britannic Majesty, formed the 
most contemptible opinion of his ministry and his generals. 
Even a loyal British historian and biographer, speaking of 
the campain of 1758, says, " That it ended to the eternal 
disgrace of those who then commanded the armies, and di- 
rected the councils of Great-Britain." 

In 1759 the Genius of war and carnage seemed to have 
crossed the Atlantic, and to have commenced his terrific 
reign in North America. But that merciful Being, under 
whose protecting arm the infant colonies were planted, still 
sustained them — " Qui transtulit sustinet."! A great 
and powerful friend of America, as yet but little known, 
advanced forward in all the majesty of innate greatness. 
A lowering and portentous cloud hung over his king, his 
country, and her colonies. " He stood alone — modern de- 
generacy had not reached him — With one hand he smote the 
house of Bourbon, and wielded in the other the democracy of 
England." The classical reader will immediately call to 

f This is the motto of the Arms of Connecticut. 


mind the first of orators, the greatest of statesmen, and the 
noblest of men, William Pitt, a " name which strikes all 
human titles dead ;" and which needed not the ennobling 
title of " Earl of Chatham" to add to his native greatness. 
He was the master spirit, under Providence, who direct- 
ed- the storm that was raging in two hemispheres. Pro- 
dly Versed in the science of human nature, he selected 
his officers for the reason, that they would confer more hon- 
our upon the station they filled, than they could derive 
from it. Gen. Amherst and Gen. Wolfe, were made 
commanders in America. The cool and judicious course 
pursued by the first, reminds the historian of the Roman 
Fabius, and the fire and energy of the last, ofScipio. This 
wonderful man, William Pitt, who dared, in youth, to 
repel manfully an attack from the imperious Walpole, dar- 
ed also, although but a commoner, to expose the effemin- 
acy of a degenerated English nobility. He cared little for 
the gaudy and evanescent splendour of royalty, but placed 
his reliance upon the bone and muscle of his country — the 
yeomanry. His views, like the rapidity of the passage of 
light, were directed to America. His prescience assured 
him that Anglo-Americans, who had encountered the dan- 
gers of the ocean — the appalling horrors of savage war- 
fare — the dismaying prospects of famine, and all the ca 
lamities which " flesh is heir /o," were the men upon whom 
his king must place his reliance, to defend his American 
possessions. He addressed the governours of the several 
colonies. Although distinct in regard to interest, and dif- 
ferent in forfin of government, he pathetically and energet- 
ically appealed to the interest, the pride, the patriotism, 
the loyalty, and, what was paramount, the religion of all. 
His spirit operated upon the despairing Americans, like a 


shock of electricity upon a morbid system, — it infused life 
and vigour. 

A single paragraph will suffice for the remaining part of 
this introduction, so far as it relates to the war of 1755. 
The Americans, aided by a i'ew of their English brethren, 
went on conquering and to conquer, until the two Canada? 
— the two Floridas, and half of the Mississippi, were added 
de facto to the British crown, but dejure to the Americans, 
by the Peace of Paris in 1763. 

The nation now looked upon their immense territory in 
North America as indefeasibly its own, and rested content- 
ed in regard to it. Its views were withdrawn from the 
West, and directed to the East. With that avarice and 
cupidity which reminds the biblical scholar of the daugh- 
ters of the horse leach, " crying Give, give," its views 
were extended to India. While they were conquering re- 
gions which before were conquered by effeminacy, wealth, 
and luxury, the Americans, without aspiring to conquest 
or dominion, were unambitiously engaged in the innocent 
and laudable pursuit of drawing wealth from their own re- 
sources, and drawing the wealth of other regions into the 
bosom of their country. 

The " mother country," as Britain was then called, with 
a rapacity unparralleled in the history of plunder, carnage 
and bloodshed, was ravishing from the unoffending natives 
of Asia, the fairest and richest portion of that continent, 
which may be called the parent of the world. Neither the 
Law that came by Moses, nor the Grace promulgated by 
the Gospel, restrained Englishmen from inundating the 
country in blood, in order to wrest from it its treasures.* 

* The language of two British poets, 

;: That thieves at home must hang ; but he that puts 


Neither Lite deleterious effects of the climate, nor agony in 
the black hole of Calcutta, could restrain these relentless 
marauders, from accomplishing their diabolical work. As 
soon may we expect that the grave will say "it is enough," 
as to see a nation of misers satisfied with gold. But Col. 
Clive was immortalized, and the British treasury was en- 
riched, and that's enough ! ! 

But notwithstanding the immense acquisition of wealth 
from the East, Great-Britain was in the depth of national 
bankruptcy, as she fancied she was at the height of national 
glory. To keep up her sinking credit, and to enable her 
to prosecute her objects of unhallowed ambition, she re- 
solved to replenish her coffers by draining from her Amer- 
ican subjects their hard earned gains. 

The British parliament little knew what " stern stuff" 
it had to deal with upon the west side of the Atlantic. 
Englishmen, however, might have learned, in the war of 
1755, that their American brethren had bone and muscle 
sufficient to conquer the best French generals, and their 
best troops ; Indian sachems and their best warriors. The 
statesmen of Old England supposed that Americans would 
not have the temerity to resist the mandates of their Euro- 
pean mother. They supposed that they felt grateful for 
the protection extended to them, not remembering that 
the colonists had protected themselves by their own men 
and their own money; and that the wealth acquired by 
Britain, by monopolizing their trade, very far overbalan- 
ced the money expended in aiding them. But that impe- 
rious monarchy was determined to show their power over 
the colonies, whether it acquired wealth by it or not. 

" Into his overgorg'd and bloated purse 

" The wealth of Indian provinces, escapes !" 

: ' One murder makes a villain— millions a hero !" 


That wonderful statesman, William Pitt,* was worn 
down by incessant service in the cause of his king and 
country. But although his majestic frame was tottering to 
its fall, his mind retained its native inspiration — 

" His soul's dark cottage, batter'd and decay'd, 

" Let in new light thro 1 chinks which time had made." 

His knowledge of Americans made him respect them, not 

* The following extract from the Speech of William Pitt, (whose 
name was lowered for that of " Earl of Chatham") ought to be com- 
mitted to memory by every American youth, and admired by every 
American Scholar, Statesman and Patriot. It was pronounced the 
January before the battle of Bunker Hill, in the British parliament : 
" My Lords, 
" 1 rise with astonishment to see these papers brought to your ta- 
ble at so late a period of this business ; papers, to tell us what ? Why, 
what all the world knew before ; that the Americans, irritated by re- 
peated injuries and stripped of their inborn rights and dearest privi- 
leges, have resisted, and entered into associations for the preserva- 
tion of their common liberties. 

Had the early situation of the people of Boston been attended to* 
things would not have come to this. But the infant complaints of Bos- 
ton were literally treated like the capricious squalls of a child, who, 
it was said, did not know whether it was aggrieved or not. But full 
well 1 knew, at that time, that this child, if not redressed, would soon 
assume the courage and voice of a wan. Full well I knew, that the 
sons of ancestors, born under the same free constitution, and once 
breathing the same liberal air as Englishmen, would resist upon the 
same principles, and on the same occasions. 

What has government done ?. They have sent an armed force, con- 
sisting of seventeen thousand men, to dragoon the Bostonians into what 
is called their duty ; and so far from once turning their eyes to the po- 
licy and destructive consequence ©fthis scheme, are constantly send- 
ing out more troops. And we are told, in the language of menace, 
that if seventeen thousand men won't do, fifty thousand shall. It is 
true, my lords, with this force they may ravage the country ; waste 
and destroy as they march ; but, in the progress of fifteen hundred 
miles, can they occupy the places they have passed ? Will not a coun- 


4> subjugated vassals, but a? descendants of English free- 
men. He warned king, lords, and commons to beware 
how they moved in regard to America. His solemn mo- 
nitions were like oracles, and his warning voice like a voice 

try, which can produce three millions of people, wronged and insulted 
as they are, start up like hydras in every corner, and gather fresh 
strength from every opposition ? Nay, what dependence can you have 
upon the soldiery, the unhappy engines of your wrath ? They are 
Englishmen, who must feel for the privileges of Englishmen. Do 
you think that these men can turn their arms against their hrethren ? 
Surely no. A victory must be to them a defeat ; and carnage, a sac- 
rifice. But it is not merely three millions of people, the produce of 
America, we have to contend with in this unnatural struggle ; many 
more are on their side, dispersed over the face of this wide empire. 
Every whig in this country and in Ireland is with them. 

Who, then, let me demand, has given, and continues to give, this 
strange and unconstitutional advice? I do not mean to level atone 
man, or any particular set of men ; but thus much I will venture to 
declare, that, if his Majesty continues to hear such counsellors, he 
will not only be badly advised, but undone. He may continue indeed 
to wear his crown ; but it will not be worth his wearing. Robbed of so 
principal a jewel as America, it will lose its lustre, and no longer beam 
that effulgence which should irradiate the brow of majesty. 

In this alarming crisis, I come with this paper in my hand to offer 
you the best of my experience and advice ; which is, that a humble 
petition be presented to his Majesty, beseeching him, that in order to 
open the way towards a happy setttement of the dangerous troubles in 
America, it may graciously please him, that immediate orders be giv- 
en to general Gage for removing his majesty's forces from the town of 
Boston. And this, my lords, upon the most mature aud deliberate 
grounds, is the best advice I can give you, at this juncture. Such 
conduct will convince America that you mean to try her cause in the 
spirit of freedom and inquiry, and not in letters of blood. There is 
no time to be lost. Every hour is big with danger. Perhaps, while I 
am now speaking, the decisive blow is struck, which may involve 
millions in the consequence. And believe me, the very first drop of 
blood which is shed, will cause a wound which may never be healed " 


from the tomb.* The then young and 'manly Charles 
James Fox, the eloquent Burke, and the unyielding Barre. 
formed a trio of greatness in favour of America. But that 
wrong-headed minister, Lord North, was incorrigible. He 
had an accommodating majority in parliament which would 

* It was not far from this period, that Doct. Samuel Johnson wrote 
his celebrated pamphlet, " Taxation no Tyranny," in which he sneer- 
ed at American Rebels ; and, under the influence of a Pension, even 
frowned at the immortal Pitt. He lived just long enough to see 
George III. ratify the Peace of 1783, and surrender the " Amehican 
Jewel." "Lord Littleton the Younger" not inaptly styled '■'■the 
paragon of virtue and of vice" thus expresses himself upon the sub- 
ject of American Affairs : How such a lord as Littleton, could amal- 
gamate with such a lord as North, is one of the mysteries in " state 
affairs" " not to be told." — 

" In the great subject of this day's politics, which seems to engulph 
every other, I am with them. I shall never cease to contend for the 
universality and unity of the British empire over all its territories and 
dependencies, in every part of the globe. I have not a doubt of the 
legislative supremacy of parliament over every part of the British do- 
minions in America, the East and West Indies, in Africa, and over 
Ireland itself. 

I cannot separate the ideas of legislation and taxalion ; they seem 
to be more than twins ; they were not only born but must co-exist and 
die together. The question of right is heard of no more ; it is now 
become a question of power ; and it appears to me that the sword will 
determine the contest. The colonies pretend to be subject to the 
king alone ; they deny subordination to the state, and, upon this prin- 
ciple, have not only declared against the authority of parliament, but 
erected a government of their own, independent of British legislation. ' 
To support a disobedience to rights which they once acknowledged; 
they have already formed associations, armed and arrayed themselves, 
and are preparing to bring the question to the issue of battle. This 
being the case, it becomes highly necessary for us to arm also; we 
must prepare to quench the evil in its infancy, and to extinguish a 
flame which the natural enemies of England will not fail to feed with 
unremitting fuel, in order to consume our commerce, and tarnish our 
glory. If wise measures are taken, this business will be soon comple- 


follow, wherever he lead. Their measures would remind 
one of the familiar adage — 

" Quem Deus, perdere vult, prius dementat." 
The parliament imposed a tax upon tea, so that the very 
matrons of America, while sipping this cheering beverage ; 
should remember their English mother. Then followed 
the stamp-act, so that every transaction, evidenced by wri- 
ting, should carry with it evidence of British supremacy. 
Then followed the tax upon painters'' colours, so that every 

ted, to the honour of the mother country, and the welfare of the colo- 
Bies ; who, in spite of all the assistance given them by the House of 
Bourbon, must, unless our government acts like an ideot, be forced to 

For my own part, I have not that high opinion of their Roman spir- 
it, as to suppose that it will influence them contendedly to submit to 
all the horrors of war, to resign every comfort in which they have 
been bred, to relinguish every hope with which they have been flatter- 
ed, and retire to the howling wilderness for an habitation : and all for 
a dream of liberty, which, were they to possess to-morrow, would nol 
give them a privilege superior to those which they lately enjoyed ; 
and might, I fear, deprive them of many which they experienced be- 
neath the clement legislation of the British government." 

Cowper, a legitimate British bard, who lived during the " French 
War" in America, and who was at the height of poetical fame at the 
close of the " War of the American Revolution," thus alludes to the 
death of the first Pitt, (Earl of Chatham) and Gen. Wolfe. — 
" Farewell those honours, and farewell, with them, 
" The hope of such hereafter ! Thev have fallen, 
" Each in his field of glory ; one in arms, 
" And one in council. — Wolfe upon the lap 
" Of smiling victory, that moment won, 
" And Chatham, heartsick of his country's shame ! !" 
Speaking of the Independence of America, he says — 
" True we have lost an empire — let it pass — 
■ : That pick'd the jewel out of England's crown." 


ornament upon American buildings should remind the pos 
sessor of British power. 

If the Parliament of Britian could impose taxes upon the 
colonies without their consent, the King of Britain, the 
head of the " Holy Catholic Church," could send them 
Arch-bishops, Bishops, Priests, Deacons, Curates, &c. &c. 
and the whole systematic ramification of a " Church Es- 
tablishment." Tythes might be imposed to support the 
gorgeous pageantry of mechanical Christianity, and the 
Puritans might have been persecuted as schismatics, and 
their houses of worship denounced as conventicles. 

The stern unyielding men who composed the popula- 
tion of the " Thirteen Colonies" were not of that low- 
born, stubborn race of beings who resist the exercise of all 
necessary as well as arrogated power, nor were they so 
destitute of political science as to deny the right of legiti- 
mate rulers to impose salutary restraints, and necessary 
contributions. No ! amongst them were statesmen who 
would have graced the parliament of Britain, either 
amongst its Lords or Commons — statesmen who had learn- 
ed the necessity of obedience, before they aspired to the 
arduous duty of commanding. The Adamses, John Han- 
cock, James Otis, the Livingstons, Benjamin Frank- 
lin, the Clintons, Patrick Henrv, the Randolphs, Hen- 
ry Laurens, the Lees, Pincknevs, and an expanded con- 
stellation of exalted patriots like them, knew well how to 
manifest a cordial allegiance to a monarch, when in the 
exercise of legitimate and constitutional authority. Thanks 
to the stubborn resistance against arbitrary prerogatives 
and tyrannical power, these peerless and unsurpassed patri- 
ots and statesmen knew equally well how to expose the en- 
croachments of tyrants, and to rouse up freemen to resist 


them. It would require a "Muse of lire, to ascend the 
highest heaven of invention" to pen a suitable eulogy up- 
on these Sampsons of the western world. They taught the 
people that they possessed the right of self-government : 
and spurned a doctrine since taught by American Aristo- 
crats " that the people are their own worst enemies." 
Whatever were the nature of the different governments — 
whether exercised by royal Charters — proprietary govern- 
ments, or their own municipal regulations, every govern- 
ment in the colonies, emphatically exercised what jurists 
call the Jura summa imperii — the right of supreme power. 
Their legislative assemblies enacted laws — their judicial 
forums administered civil and criminal justice. They im- 
posed taxes upon the people, and adopted the incontrover- 
tible axiom — " That representation and Taxation should be 
correspondent.'''' They viewed the constitution of Bri- 
tain, and saw an hereditary monarch — an hereditary sen- 
ate; and commons, which represented rotten burroughs, 
rather than a free people. 

Notwithstanding the imperious court of Britain seemed 
to have fixed its course in regard to the colonies, yet their 
vacillating policy excited the contempt, as well as the in- 
dignation of American Statesmen. They imposed taxes, 
and seeing them resisted, omitted to enforce the collection. 
They passed acts and repealed them ; but finally resolved 
" that the parliament had power to make laws to bind the col- 
onies in all cases whatsoever.'''' This was a new species of 
legislation, — it was a preamble without an act, an attempt 
to atone for an offence, and at the same time claiming the 
power to repeat it. Fox, Burke and Barre, in the House 
of Commons, poured forth peals of eloquence and satire, 
which the imperious Mansfield and North, and the minis- 



ter's dupes, could meet only by dumb legislation, and the 
physical power of voting. Said Fox to the minister, " In 
your infatuated conduct, resolutions and concession, ever 
misplaced, have equally operated to the disgrace and ruin 
of the nation." 

But it was native eloquence, in the Forum and from the 
Press,* that kindled the latent spark of freedom into a 

* In presenting to the reader the following' extracts from " A Circu, 
Jar Letter from the Congress of the United States of America to their 
Constituents,'''' — " By the unanimous order of Congress ;" dated 23d 
Sept. 1779, I give him a new opportunity of contemplating the native 
majesty of the gigantic statesmen, of the members of the " Old Con- 
gress ;" and the splendid energy with which their exalted sentiments 
are conveyed. 

" That the time has been when honest men might, without being 
chargeable with timidity, have doubted the success of the present rev- 
olution we admit ; but that period is passed. The independence of 
America is now as fixed as fate, and the petulant efforts of Britain to 
break it down, are as vain and fruitless as the raging of the waves 
which beat against their cliffs. Let those who are still afflicted with 
these doubts consider the character and condition of our enemies. Let 
them remember that we are contending against a kingdom crumbling 
into pieces ; a nation without public virtue ; and a people sold to and 
betrayed by their own representatives ; against a prince governed by 
his passions, and a ministry without confidence or wisdom ; against ar- 
mies half paid, and generals half trusted ; against a government equal 
only to plans of plunder, conflagration and murder; a government by 
the rao^t impious violation- of the rights of religion, justice, humanity 
and mankind, courting the vengeance of Heaven, and revolting from 
the protection of Providencce. Against the fury of these enemies 
you made su^ces-ftil resistance, when single, alone, and friendless, in 
the days of weakness and infancy, before your hands had been taught 
to war or your fingers 10 fight. And can there be any reason to appre- 
hend that the Divine Dis;,o^er of human events, after having separated 
us from the house of bondage, and led us safe through a sea of blood, 
towards the land of liberty and promise, will leave the work of our po- 
litical redemption unfinished, and either permit us to perish in a wil- 


iiame. The impassioned eloquence of the Adamses, Han- 
cock, Otis, &c. in " Fanueil Hall," in Massachusetts; 

derness of difficulties, or suffer us to be carried back in chains to that 
country of oppression, from whose tyranny he hath mercifully deliver- 
ed us with a stretched out arm ?" 

" What danger have we to fear from Britain ? Instead of acquiring 
accessions of territory by conquest, the limits of her empire daily con- 
tract ; her fleets no longer rule the ocean, nor are her armies invinci- 
ble by land. How many of her standards, wrested from the hands of 
ker champions, are among your trophies, and have graced the triumphs 
of your troops ? and how great is the number of those, who, sent to 
bind you in fetters, have become your captives, and received their 
lives from your hands." 

"A sense of common permanent interest, mutual affection (having 
been brethren in affliction,) the ties of consanguinity daily extending, 
constant reciprocity of good offices, similarity in language, in govern- 
ments, and therefore in manners, the importance, weight and splendour 
of tiie union, all conspire in forming a strong chain of connexion, 
which must for ever bind us together. The United Provinces of the 
Netherlands, and the United Cantons of Switzerland became free and 
independent under circumstances very like ours : their independence 
has been long established, and yet their confederacies continue in full 
vigour. What reason can be assigned why our union should be less 
lasting ? or why should the people of these states be supposed less wise 
than the inhabitants of those ?" 

" We should pay an ill compliment to the understanding and honour 
of every true American, were we to adduce many arguments to show 
the baseness or bad policy of violating our national faith, or omitting to 
pursue the measures necessary to preserve it. A bankrupt faithless 
repubhc would be a novelty in the political world, and appear among 
reputable nations, like a common prostitute among chaste and respec- 
table matrons." 

" The war, though drawing fast to a successful issue, still rages. Be 
mindful that the brightest prospects may be clouded, and that prudence 
bids us be prepared for every event. Provide therefore for continu- 
ing your armies in the field till victory and peace shall lead them home, 
and avoid the reproach of permitting the currency to depreciate in 
jour hands, when by yielding a part to taxes and loans, the whole 


reverberated along the shores of the Atlantic, until it reach- 
ed the " House of Burgesses" in Virginia, where the ma- 
jestic spirits of Patrick Henry, and Richard Henry 
Lee, poured forth the thundering and sonorous voice oi 
indignant freemen, resolved to be free. Franklin, who 
had wrested the lightning from the clouds by his philosophy, 
led the van of those statesmen in the cabinet, who by the 
Pen and the Press gave a systematic direction to Ameri- 
can Patriotism, which eventuated in the " Declaration 
of Independence," and in wresting from the House of 
Brunswick the sceptre which she wielded over her Amer- 
ican Colonies. The artillery of the American Press, was 
little less potent than the thunder of land and floating bat- 
teries, in converting what was denounced as an unnatural 
rebellion into the most "Glorious Revolution" of the 
eighteenth century. " Crirses, not only loud, but deep," 
were uttered forth from the lips of tottering age ; and the 
hopes of their country, the rising youth, caught the holy 
enthusiasm of liberty. The massacre at Boston, and the 
murders at Lexington, were tocsins of war which echoed 

might hare been appreciated and preserved. Humanity as well at 
justice makes this demand upon you, the complaints of ruined widows, 
and cries of fatherless children, whose whole support has been placed 
in your hands and melted away, have doubtless reached you ; take care 
that they ascend no higher. Rouse therefore ; strive who shall do 
most for his country ; rekindle that flame of patriotism which at the 
mention of disgrace and slavery blazed throughout America, and ani- 
mated all her citizens. Determine to finish the contest as you began 
iX, honestly and gloriously. Let it never be said that America had no 
sooner become independent than she became insolvent, or that her 
infant glories and growing fame were obscured and tarnished by bro- 
ken contracts and violated faith, in the very hour when all the nations 
of the earth were admiring and almost adoring the splendour «f her 


from the Atlantic to the Mississippi — from the Canadas to 
the Floridas. 

In the wide range of history, no parallel example of uni- 
ty of sentiment, and unity of action can be found. Thir- 
teen distinct governments, moved in more perfect unison, 
than did ever thirteen different dials point to the minutes 
of the passing hour. From 1765 to 1775, the materials of 
a dissevering shock, which was forever to dissolve the con- 
nexion between the Thirteen Colonies of America and the 
British monarchy, had been constantly augmenting. A 
Revolution in public feeling had been effected, before an 
appeal to arms — the dernier resort — was made. 

The immortal Washington at the head, followed by 
Putnam, Gates, Montgomery, WoobTER, Green e,&c. and 
followed themselves by hosts of true Americans, laid aside 
the peaceful pursuits of husbandry, and the arts, and re- 
paired to the " tented field," resolved to be 

" Fire to fire,— flint to flint, and t' outface the 
Brow of bragging horror."* 

But a class of Americans was scattered over the bosom 

* The following masterly apostrophe to the memories of the States- 
men and Heroes of the Revolution is extracted from an anniversary 
Oration on 4th July, 1787. 

" But what tribute shall we hestow, what sacred paean shall we raise 
over the tombs of those who dared, in the face of unrivalled power, and 
within the reach of majesty, to blow the blast of freedom throughout a 
subject continent ? 

Nor did those brave countrymen of ours only express the emotions 
of glory ; the nature of their principles inspired them with the power 
of practice ; and they offered their bosoms to the shafts of battle. 
Bunker's awful mount is the capacious urn of their ashes ; but the 
flaming bounds of the universe could not limit the flight of their minds. 

They fled to the union of kindred souls ; and those who fell at the 
streights of Thermopylae, and those who bled on the heights of Charl«£ 
town, now reap congenial joys in the fields of the blessed." 


of the rising Republic, who are now to be introduced t« 
the attention, and it is hoped, to the admiration of the rea- 
der. They were the energetic, the daring, the adventu- 
rous sons of the ocean, 

"Whose march was on the mountain wave, 
Whose home was on the deep." 

It was upon that element they wished to display their 
courage, and their patriotism. It was in floating bulwarks, 
they wished to breast the shock, and hurl the gauntlet of 
defiance at the enemies of their country. Such a desire, 
at such a time, with such apparently insuperable obstacles 
to surmount, could have originated only from souls, that 
were strangers to fear, or have been imbibed in bosoms 
glowing with the ardour of patriotism. The seaboard of 
the thirteen colonies, was barricadoed with the " wooden 
walls" of Old England, her admirals, post-captains and 
seamen, had acquired almost undisputed sway over every 
ocean and sea ; and the colonies possessed not a single 
armed ship. In the war of 1755, commonly called by 
Americans the " French War," but very few of our ances- 
tors acquired knowledge of naval tactics ; and what they 
did acquire, must have been in very humble stations, — for 
if the officers of Britain in the army of America, aspired to 
supreme command, a fortiori, would they in the navy. 
What little science in naval tactics was acquired, was lost 
by American navigators in the peaceable pursuits of law- 
ful commerce, and drawing from the bosom of the oceaa 
its inexhaustible treasures. 

Thus, in few words, were situated, the ocean-warriors 
of the infant Republic, when that awfully unequal contest 
commenced, which gave Independence to America, and 
wrested from the British diadem, its most brilliant and in- 


valuable gem. Merchantmen were suddenly converted 
into privateers, and British commerce, of immense value, 
and transport ships, with army and navy stores, were rap- 
idly brought into American ports. The very naval stores 
indispensably necessary to fit out armed ships, were drawn 
from the enemy ; thus weakening them and strengthening 
our energetic ancestors. The legislatures of the several 
colonies, aided the daring sons of the deep in their noble 
endeavours, and began to build " state ships." The Con- 
tinental Congress, at the close of 1775, made provision, 
for building 5 vessels of 32 guns, 160 guns. 

5 " 28 " 140 " 

3 " 24 " 72 " 

13 372 

None of these were fitted for sea until about the time of 
the Declaration of American Independence. There were 
no navy yards — no naval depots — no naval stations — and 
but few naval architects. But that fecundity of genius 
which draws the means of action from resources invisible 
to the eye of despondency, enabled the statesmen and war- 
riors of that portentous period to achieve wonders, bor- 
dering upon miracles, with means apparently wholly ineffi- 
cient. The denominations of vessels at that time were 
" Continental Ships," " State Ships," " Letters of Marque," 
and " Privateers." 

There was then no Naval List of ships, nor Naval Reg- 
ister of Officers ; at least none can be found by the writer. 
Information upon this subject can be gathered only from 
the scattered materials of that period, — information from 
the few*surviving veterans of the revolution, and communi- 
cations from obliging correspondents. 

It will excite astonishment in the reader, that the whole 


Continental marine force in 1776, was less than four 74's 
at this time (1823). This diminutive force, with the aid 
of State ships and privateers, was illy calculated to face 
the immense naval power of Britain which stretched along 
the American coast. But it could reach the wealthy com- 
merce of Britain, if it could not encounter her powerful ma- 
rine. Let the reader run over the following authentic 
list of Ships of the Line, and add to them more than tre- 
ble that number of Frigates, Sloops of War, Brigs, Schoo- 
ners, &c. and he will see what the " Naval Heroes in the 
War of the Revolution" had to encounter — 

" The following is an authentic list of the grand Chan- 
nel Fleet, which will sail on or before the 21st inst. under 
the command of Admirals Hardy, Darby, Barrington and 
Digby : — Victory 100 guns, Britannia 100, Royal George 
100, Duke 90, Formidable 90, Namur 90, Ocean 90, Un- 
ion 90, Barfleur 90, Prince George 90, Queen 90, Fou- 
droyant 90, Princess Amelia 80, Gibraltar 80, Marlbo- 
rough 74, Alexander 74, Dublin 74, Fortitude 74, Cullo- 
den 74, Valiant 74, Conrageux 74, Arrogant 74, Alcine 
74, Cumberland 74, Bellona 74, Alfred 74, Monarch 74. 
Diligente, Sp. pr. 70, Princessa, Sp. pr. 70, Monarca, Sp, 
pr. 70, Inflexible 64, Monmouth 64, Nonsuch 64, Prince 
William, Sp. 64, Prothee, Fr. pr. 64, St. Alban 64, Buf- 
falo 64, Chatham 55, Isis 50, Jupiter 50, Portland 50, 
Warwick 50— Total, 41." 

Whatever may be the opinion of ethical writers and cas- 
uistical declaimers upon the subject of privateering, or in 
any way capturing the property of unoffending merchant- 
men, let it never be forgotten, that Britain waged a war, 
not only of vengeance, but of extermination, against her 
own children, in what she vauntingly called, her »w» colo- 


it an affectionate mother is entitled 
to unceasing gratitude and filial affection ; yet, when a 
mother, with an uplifted hand is about dooming her chil- 
dren to bleed, shall they be called upon to bare their bo- 
soms to the dagger? 

The commencement and progress of the first war be- 
tween Britain and America, was marked on the part of the 
former, with a ferocity and a barbarism which would have 
produced compunctions in the breasts, and blushes upon 
the cheeks of the ancient Vandals and Goths. War was 
made, not only upon the embattled ranks of our noble an- 
cestors, but upon the humble mansions of unresisting weak- 
ness. A cheerless track of desolation, like a flight of lo- 
custs through verdant fields, pointed out the path of the 
vindictive foe ; and unappeased wrath and ceaseless rapa- 
city seemed to have converted the once noble Britons in- 
to da3mons. Could the hardy sons of Neptune remain in- 
active spectators of the devastations committed, and com- 
mitting, upon the cities, towns and villages upon the bor- 
ders of the ocean,* without ardently wishing to avenge 
them upon the bosom of that element ? No ! the divine 
doctrine which enjoins it upon men to render to each oth- 
er "good for evil," may be preached by the " Holy Alli- 
ance" of " Legitimate Sovereigns" of Europe, who had 
waded through blood to their tottering thrones in the 19th 
century, and still sustain them by blood — it may be echoed 

* Witness the burning of Falmouth (now Portland) in Maine.— 
Charjestown, Mass. ; the ruin of the island of Rhode-Island ; the con- 
flagration of New-London, Fairfield, and Norvvalk, Conn. ; Esopus, N. 
Y. Norfolk, Va. and the partial destruction, and plundering of innu- 
merable other places upon the sea-board. 


by the Peace Societies* of America. Yet it belongs not t© 
the code of the Law of Nations, when a powerful sovereign 
is waging vindictive war upon unoffending colonies, as Bri- 
tain did in the War of the Revolution against America, and 
as France is now waging war against Spain. 

To say more by way of introduction to the following 
Sketches, would fatigue the reader — his patience is alrea- 
dy exhausted, and yet. the "half is not told." This "birds'- 
eye view" was deemed necessary to lead the younger class 
of readers to contemplate the causes which led to the san- 
guinary contest, which called forth the unparalleled exer- 
tions of the Naval Heroes of the Revolution to achieve 
the unsurpassed deeds, imperfectly detailed in the suc- 
ceeding volume. 

* The following is the result of the inquiries of the Massachusetts 
Peace Society, formed at about the dose of the second war between 
the American Republic and the kingdom of Great-Britain ; and of 
which the Autocrat of Russia is a peaceable member. In what class of 
wars the War of the Revolution — the naval warfare with France, in 
the administration of Adams — the war with Tripoli, in the administra- 
tion of Jefferson— the second war between America and Britain in 
the administration of Madison, are included, is not known by the wri- 
ter of these " Sketches."— 

" 44 Wars of ambition to obtain extent of country. 22 Wars for 
plunder, tribute, &c. 24 Wars for retaliation or revenge. 8 Wars to 
settle some question of war or prerogative- 6 Wars arising from dis- 
puted claims to some territory. 41 Wars arising from disputed titles 
to crowns. 30 Wars commenced under pretence of assisting an ally. 
23 Wars originating in jealousy of rival greatness. 5 Wars which 
have grown out of commerce. 55 Civil Wars. 28 Wars on account 
of religion, including the crusades against the Turks aad heretics,'*' 






Place and time of his birth— his early propensities and pursuits— his 
shipwreck and sufferings upon a desolate island— returns to Ameri- 
ca, and continues in the merchant service — aspires to the service of 
a warrior under Geo. III.— Falkland Islands— Junius and Johnson. 
—Expedition to the North Pole— Biddle becomes a coxswain, with 
Horatio, afterwards Lord Nelson, in that voyage. — Hazard and per- 
il of the voyage.— After Biddle's return to England, he finds that 
power on the verge of a war with America— Returns to America 
in 1775— is appointed to a small vessel, the Camden, to defend the 
Delaware river— is ordered to the Andrew Doria, attached to Com. 
Hopkins' squadron, destined againstNew-Providence — Regains two 
deserters by his consummate courage — Distress of the squadron by 
the small-pox — Capt. Biddle's humane exertions — he returns to 
America — Sails alone under orders of Congress — Compels Lord 
Howe to exchange one of his Lieutenants— Captures many prizes 
—returns and takes comjoand of the Continental ship Randolph- 
he suppresses a mutiny— loses all his masts— enters a port, refits and 
puts to sea— captures the Free Briton and three other vessels, and 
returns into Charleston, (S. C.) seven days after his departure. — 
Commodore Biddle is appointed to the command of a squadron, the 
Randolph, Gen Moultrie, Fair American, and the Polly— The of- 
ficers and soldiers of Gen. C. C. Pinckney volunteer onboard his 
squadron — He sails in pursuit of the enemy — Falls in with the Yar- 
mouth British ship of 64 guns, which attacks the Randolph of 32 
guns, in the night— Com. Biddle is wounded, and remains upon the 
deck, until his ship explodes — Reflection — Character of Com. Bid- 

Upon commencing a brief sketch of the life of Nicholas 
Biddle, a solicitude is sensibly felt which can be but feebh 
described. To portray the life and character of an ardenl 
hero, who entered early into the service of a monarch, 
who swayed the sceptre of dominion over his native conn- 


try, and who died a Commodore in fighting against the 
same monarch, to secure the Independence of the land of 
his birth, at the early age of twenty-seven, requires a vol- 
ume instead of a sketch,— the hand of a Plutarch, instead 
of " such an honest chronicler as Griffith.' 1 ' 1 

This gallant and fearless ocean hero was born in the 
city of Philadelphia, in the year 1750. His ancestry can- 
not be traced far back by the writer, for the want of mate- 
rials. Indeed, were materials for such an attempt ever so 
copiously strewed around, it would be a useless waste of 
time to trace the genealogy of Nicholas Biddle. If he 
did not derive a great name from his ancestors, he made the 
name of Biddle dear to Americans. He was the sixth son 
of William Biddle of New Jersey, and who removed to 
Philadelphia to prosecute commercial business. 

He discovered his propensity for a nautical life in the 
early period of his existence. However much his parents 
might have wished to retain him in their domestic circle, 
until more mature age, and greater literary and scientific 
acquirements rendered him better qualified for a bold ad- 
venturer into a dangerous and pityless world, they found 
it wholly impossible to restrain his juvenile ardour, or pre- 
vent him from accomplishing his darling object. 

At the age of thirteen, he made a voyage to Quebec, in 
Canada. It was a pleasant and prosperous voyage ; and 
he became fascinated with the charms of the ocean, and 
the exhilarating scenes of a sailor's life. 

Having explored a portion of the American coast, he 
became anxious to penetrate farther into an element with 
which he had become enamoured. 

This adventurous youth little anticipated the disastrous 
scenes he was about to encounter. Indeed, if it were only 


partially revealed to men, what their future destiny should 
be, it would produce inconsiderate rashness in some, and 
in others, — 

" The native hue of resolution, would 

Be sicklied o'er by the pale cast of thought." 

The second voyage the ardent Biddle made, was from 
his native city to the Island of Jamaica, from thence to the 
Bay of Honduras. After having accomplished the object 
of the voyage to this bay, the master of the vessel sailed 
for Antigua, at near the close of the year 1765. 

Upon the night of the 2nd of January '66 in a violent 
gale of wind, the vessel was wrecked upon a fatal and im- 
passable shoal. The crew remained upon the deck, 
through the night of the 3d, and until late in the morning of 
the 4th. Finding it impossible to sustain themselves upon 
the wreck, they resorted to the forlorn hope of wrecked 
mariners — the boat. After enduring the imminent hazard 
of an agitated ocean, in a feeble boat, crowded with a crew, 
whom it was scarcely able to keep above water, they land- 
ed upon a desolate and unpeopled island, ten miles from 
the shoal where they were wrecked. After remaining a 
number of days upon the island — famishing with hunger, 
and making what repairs the scanty means in their power 
afforded, a part of the crew ventured off to the wreck, and 
procured a small supply of ruined provisions ; which, like 
the fcetus of a camel, or a putrified wen, to Robbins, was 
to them a delicious repast ! 

Soon after, one of the most appalling and distressing 
scenes, which the destitute, forlorn and miserable sons of 
Adam have to pass through in this " vale of tears," was to 
be acted by this hard- fated crew. 

They could not sustain themselves upon the island ; and 


the damaged boat could not carry them all from it. Four 
were to be left, and to suffer what Providence should de- 
cree, or had decreed. Who should remain upon this re- 
gion of barrenness, and who should enter the boat, (both 
desperate chances,) was to be determined by the usual, 
uncertain, and capricious mode — by lot. This mode, ac- 
cording to sacred history, decided the fate of a prophet ; 
and it has often determined the dark and gloomy prospect 
o{ life when " shadows clouds and darkness rest upon it." 

Young Biddle at this time was a boy of fourteen years of 
age. He was in that period of life, when most boys con- 
tinue to hang upon the arms of their mothers, for effemi- 
nate indulgences, and who look to their fathers for protec- 
tion. When the lots were cast, it fell upon Biddle to re- 
main upon the island ; to perish or escape as the dark fu- 
ture should determine. With his three companions in ca- 
lamity, he endured all the privations and anguish which 
man can endure, and yet survive. Inheriting from his an- 
cestors a constitution which possessed the real stamina of 
the European emigrants to America, and an original 
strength of mind which was not to be daunted by adversity 
nor effeminated by prosperity, he passed through scenes of 
sufferings, and privations, which might well have appalled 
the heart of matured manhood. I do not mean those suf- 
ferings inflicted by a barbarous and relentless foe, who pur- 
sues an enemy " with a step steady as time, and with an 
appetite keen as death," nor those dangers which surround 
an ardent and adventurous youth, who would glory to die 
on the field of battle, or on the deck of a vessel, in fighting 
the battles of his country ; but those sufferings' and dangers 
are meant which are occasioned by a diminution of the 
wonted supplies which nature demands, and the gloomy 


and distressing consideration that a total destitution uf them 
is near at hand. 

For sixty days, young Biddle, and his three associates 
(who were advanced far into manhood,) endured those dis- 
tresses and privations, which, to those who have always 
lived in the midst of temporal enjoyments, would seem to 
be absolutely beyond the endurance of human nature. It 
is in such situations, that the native energy and fortitude of 
men develope themselves. To retain firmness of soul, in 
a state of hopeless destitution and solitude, where there is 
" no eye to pity nor arm to save," but those of Omnipo- 
tence — to wear away life with fortitude upon a desolate 
island like Selkirk, or to wander, in slavery, over an out- 
spread desert like Robbins, where no sympathizing mortal 
can witness or alleviate suffering, surely evinces the origin- 
al greatness of the sufferer's soul. Such was the soul of 
Biddle in the days of his youth. But he was created for 
a different destiny than to perish by famine, or the hand of 

At the expiration of two months, he was taken from the 
island, and returned to his native city, in an American ves- 
sel, and immediately again resorted to his adopted element 
the ocean. 

As it regards Americans, the remark may safely be made, 
that disasters, storms, shipwrecks, and " hair breadth 
'scapes," instead of driving them to the dull and perpetu- 
ally recurring scenes of domestic life, rather stimulates 
them to press forward to new encounters, to enable them 
to enjoy the exultation of success. — Life may be called a 
lottery— the prize holder still hopes to gain, and the loser 
to retrieve his losses. 

Young Biddle continued in the merchant service, and 


made frequent voyages from the American, to the Eastern 
continents. But there was something too tame in this bu- 
siness to fill a soul, created for " noble daring." He had, 
to be sure, made himself an able seaman, but that is an ac- 
quisition within the reach of ordinary capacity. 

In the year 1770, the unsatiated ambition of Britain, in- 
duced that unsatisfied power, to cast a wishful eye at the 
Falkland Islands, in the possession of Spain. A war was 
expected between England and that power " and Biddle 
wished to be engaged in some pursuit, which should evince 
his ardent love of the country which gave him birth, and 
the King of England, who swayed his sceptre over it. 

Altho' born an American, with that high sense of inde- 
pendence which characterized Americans, as well before as 
after their allegiance to Britain was dissolved, Biddle wished 
to serve his country as a warrior. The dispute concerning 
the Falkland Islands, eventuated in no other warfare than 
that which was carried on between the Opposition, and the 
Ministerial party in England. At the head of the first? 
stood the unknown, and the unrivalled Junius. The min- 
istry stood aghast and terror-struck, at the peals of elo- 
quence and satire, which were poured forth from the pen 
of this unsurpassed champion of constitutional freedom. 
The descendants of the house of Stuart trembled ; and the 
house of Brunswick was tortured into agony. Grafton, 
Bedford, and Mansfield trembled — and the throne itself 
seemed to totter under the tremendous shocks of eloquence 
which rolled forth from this resistless political essayist. 
Once more the imperious Johnson advanced with the ar- 
tillery of his pen, and commenced a war of words in sup 
port of majesty. His " Taxation no Tyranny" was consid- 
ered as a bull of excommunication against high-minded 


Americans, who could not be brought to bow to parlia- 
mentary usurpation. He now came forward and attacked 
all that portion of Englishmen, who manfully struggled for 
the wreck of freedom, which had survived the numerous 
breaches made upon the constitution. While the literary 
world admire Johnson as an Essayist, Moralist, and Lexi- 
cographer, the patriot abhors him as the pensioned advo- 
cate of despotic power. 

Biddle much more ardently wished to be amidst the roar 
of broadsides, and the thunder of batteries, than the " pa- 
per bullets of the brain," which issue from the artillery o' 
the press. But a reconciliation between Spain and Eng- 
land deprived him of serving his then " king and country" 
as a warrior. But his propensity for a naval life predom 
inated over every other consideration ; and the appoint- 
ment of Midshipman in one of H. B. Majesty's ships, com- 
manded by Capt. Stirling, was the consummation of hi? 

It was in this station that he commenced the study of 
naval tactics. He began to acquire a theoretical knowl- 
edge of that almost mysterious system which imparts such 
a mysterious power to floating bulwarks. Although Brit- 
ain, for many centuries past, has been almost constantly 
engaged in war, yet at the time Midshipman Biddle enter- 
ed the navy, that nation happened to be at peace. The 
ardent Midshipman, not sufficiently aware of the import- 
ance of acquiring the theory of naval tactics by long and 
patient service, impatiently and impetuously determined 
to enter into some more active and adventurous employ. 
He had that natural inquietude, — that impatience for en 
terprize which rendered inaction to him the greatest mis- 


An opportunity presented, when the Admiralty of Br'u 
tain determined to despatch two of their best fitted vessels 
of their class the Race-Horse and Carcase, for a voyage of 
Discovery toward the North Pole ; and a most distinguish- 
ed British officer, Lord Mulgrave, was designated as com- 
mander of the expedition. 

There was something too splendid in this object to be 
overlooked by the aspiring Biddle. He solicited a dis- 
charge from the station he held in the British navy for the 
purpose of entering into this expedition. He had become 
a favorite of Capt. Stirling — had been promoted to a lieu- 
tenancy, and he strongly remonstrated against his leaving 
the service of the king in his navy. But, it was wholly im- 
possible to restrain a spirit like Biddle's from sacrificing 
the rank he had obtained in the navy, and the certain pros- 
pect he had for promotion, from gratifying his ardent wish- 
es, for advancing forward into scenes of enterprize and 

When Biddle found that Capt. Stirling would not con- 
sent to the gratification of his wishes, he resolved to be- 
come the master of his own conduct and run the risque of 
its consequences. He flung off his naval uniform — divest- 
ed himself of every insignia of office, and assumed the garb 
of a common seaman. When the Race-Horse and Carcase 
were nearly ready for departure, Biddle seized a boat, row- 
ed off' to the Carcase — jumped on board of her, and enter- 
ed as a seamen before the mast. He was recognized by a 
seaman who had served under him, and whose manly cheeks 
were immediately moistened by the copious tribute of tears 
which grief forced from his eyes. He thought his beloved 
Lieutenant had been degraded ; but when he learned from 
Biddle the facts just related, his exultation surpassed his 


Rejection. This affectionate tar continued the unaltera- 
ble friend of Biddle, during the whole of the perilous voy- 
age to the Pole. This simple fact shows that Biddle, in 
very early life, possessed the rare talent of securing re- 
spect by his dignity, and attachment by his benevolence. 

That prodigy ofa man — that paragon of naval greatness, 
and human weakness — that matchless commander upon 
the ocean, and easy victim of seductive charms upon land — 
Horatio Nelson — was on board this vessel. Two more 
congenial spirits, so far as it regarded manly energy and 
naval ardor — could not be associated than BIDDLE and 
NELSON : and had the fortune of war have placed the 
American in the same situation it subsequently did the 
English hero, it is not presuming too much to suppose that 
he would have acquired laurels of equal splendour. 

Their commander soon appointed them cockswains. — 
This designation evinces the estimation in which these ar- 
dent and aspiring young heroes were holden by the noble 
commander of this interesting and hazardous expedition. 
The duty of cockswain requires the most dauntless, skilful 
and intrepid spirits to execute it ; and these adventurous, 
and fearless candidates for fame, soon discovered their na- 
tive energy, and displayed their nautical skill. This voy- 
age was made in 1773. 

Although the polar regions were not then altogether un- 
explored, yet perhaps no preceding navigators ever, ac- 
complished more than the officers and crews of the Race- 
Horse and Carcase. It presented to the view of the young- 
er as well as to the more advanced sons of the ocean the 
stupendous works of nature in lofty mountains and floating 
islands of ice. To encounter an enemy upon the ocean, 
in the usual mode of fighting upon that element, where the 


prospects of victory, and the numerous chances for escape, 
remove all ideas of despair, is next to amusement when 
compared with encountering an iron-bound shore, or float- 
ing regions of ice which defy the utmost exertion of hu- 
man power to resist. But even in such situations, the fu- 
ry and the terror of the elements seem to yield their de- 
structive power to the skill and prowess of man. 

The vessel in which Biddle sailed reached nearly as far 
as the 82° of north latitude, and subsequent navigators 
have never penetrated farther than to the 84°.* 

A minute detail of the events of this voyage would be 
inconsistent with the objects of this sketch, which is intend- 
ed to present a miniature picture of the gallant Biddle. 
For a number of days,, the vessel and crew to which he 
was attached, was in the most imminent danger of destruc- 
tion. Indeed, for five days, her destruction seemed inev- 
itable, as the Carcase was completely surrounded and hem- 
med in by mountains of ice. No imaginable situation 
could be calculated to produce in the mind more horror 
and despair. But Biddle, a second time, escaped a disas- 
trous death, to meet with one, if possible still more tragic- 
al. He returned to England and exhibited his own jour- 
nal of the incidents of the voyage, which was lost when he 
was lost to his country, and the world. 

At the time Biddle returned to England, the long pro- 
tracted dispute between the American colonists and the 
crown of Britain was drawing to that issue, when encroach- 

* The voracious devourers of wonderful news have lately been 

amused with the story that Capt. had actually " doubled the 

North Pole ;" and that if the ukase of Alexander did not detain him, 
he would sail home peaceably through the Pacific Ocean. Perhaps 
some subsequent navigator may enter " Symmes' Hole" and sail 
through the earth. 


ments and remonstrance, impositions and concessions, pe- 
titions and rejections, were all to give place to the decisions 
of the sword. 

Every suggestion and inducement, excepting those of 
patriotism and devotion to country, would have led Bid- 
die to devote his services to the king and country in whose 
service he commenced his naval life, and with whose al- 
most boundless power he had become familiarly acquainted. 
In that power he recognized the imperious Queen of the 
Ocean. Her floating batteries were riding triumphantly in 
every sea and ocean. With the " mind's eye" he viewed 
the ports and shores of his native country, feeble, defence- 
less, and unprotected, save by the imperfect fortifications, 
and the bayonets of his countrymen. But this patriotic 
son of a rising Republic would not suffer himself to " de- 
bate which of the two to choose, slavery or death. 11 

He returned again to the bosom of his native, and then 
endangered country, in the year 1 775. The Thirteen Col- 
onies then had not a single frigate, sloop of war, brig orgun 
boat belonging to the government. But a daring and ar- 
dent spirit like Biddle was not born to despair of the com- 
monwealth. Merchants and ship-owners, deprived of their 
wonted commercial pursuits, converted many of their hea- 
vier vessels into privateers, and the hardy sons of the deep 
impetuously rushed forward to lend their aid in repelling 
the cruel and implacable enemy who were devastating the 
country; and though with apparently feeble means, to 
chastise the insolent foe upon the element of which she 
claimed herself to be mistress. 

The immense disparity of Naval power between the Re- 
public and Britain, in the second sanguinary war which 
commenced in 1812, was pointed out by the writer in at- 


tempting to present the American reader with the Life and 
Character of the unrivalled Decatur ; hut in the first war, 
which commenced in 177 5, there was nothing with which 
to compare the overwhelming naval power of Britain, in 
the Thirteen Colonies, for as to naval power, they had 
nojme. But the Old Congress — the Colonial Assemblies, 
patriotic combinations, and even single individuals, suffer- 
ed not the paralyzing effects of fear or despondency to 
check the ardor of patriotism ; but promptly seconded the 
noble wishes of their noble countrymen upon the ocean as 
well as upon land. They did not suffer themselves even 
to hesitate or doubt, knowing that — 

" Our doubts are traitors, that make us lose the good 

" We oft might win, by fearing to attempt. 11 

The language of each Statesmen, Soldier and Seamen of 
that gloomy and portentous period was — 

" I dare do all that may become a man; 

Who dares do more is none." 

It was indeed a period when the ordinary calculations of 
prudence, and the dictates of moderation, were in some 
measure to be disregarded from the extraordinary and al- 
most unparalleled circumstances in which Americans were 
placed by the imperious crown of Britain in 1775. 

In Nicholas Biddle was recognized an exalted Amer- 
ican, in the ardour of youth, and with a heart glowing with 
patriotism, fitted for the time and the occasion. A large 
galley was fitted suddenly up for the defence of the river 
Delaware, upon which his native city was situated, and 
called the Camden. The command of it was offered to 
Capt. Biddle, which, for the want of a more active and ad- 
venturous service, he accepted. 

Although but twenty-five years of age, his previous ser~ 


vice in the British navy, and his voyage to the polar re- 
gion*, had rendered him as familiar with naval tactics and 
nautical skill as any American, at any age, at that period. 
Although to navigate the Delaware with an armed galley, 
might now (182 3) be considered an humble station, yet 
Capt. Biddie then deemed it his duty to act in any station, 
sobeit he could render any service to his then almost un- 
protected country. He was willing to move in a minor, 
although well calculated for an exalted station. He could 
not become small by being in a little place. 

He continued in this service until an expedition was fit- 
ted out for the island of New- Providence, one of the West 
India islands. This expedition might even now be consid- 
ered as a daring one, were America at war with Britain .; 
then it might be considered as a desperate one. 

Capt. Biddie, whose qualifications had become known to 
the government for such an undertaking, was appointed to 
the command of the armed brig Andrew Doria. She ra- 
ted at fourteen guns, and her crew consisted of an hundred 
and thirty men. He was indefatigable in preparing his 
crew for the service, as at that period, naval service was 
almost wholly unknown to American seamen, who had 
spent their lives in the merchant service. 

While at, or near the shore, a very stout and able bodied 
seaman, by the name of Green, shrinking from the hazard 
of the expedition, and dreading to desert alone, induced 
another of the crew to desert with him. They were de- 
tected and lodged in prison, but little distance from the 
Capes of Delaware, where Capt. Biddie was lying with his 
brig. He sent one of his Lieutenants on shore to regain 
the deserters. The Lieutenant returned, and assured the 
Captain, that the deserters, with a number of other despe- 


radoes had fortified themselves in the prison, and bidden 
defiance to the civil and military power to take them. 
They were supported in prison by the loyalists and tories, 
and encouraged in their desperation. 

This pusillanimous condnct in the organized powers, 
and desperate determination in two dastardly deserters 
from the flag of their country, afforded the young and fear- 
less Biddle an opportunity to develope his character. He 
selected a favourite Midshipman only to attend him on 
shore. Full armed, he approached the prison door, and 
with a manly and commanding voice demanded entrance. 
It was refused. The door being strongly secured within, 
he ordered it to be forced ; although Green and his asso- 
ciates had repeatedly declared that instant death should 
be the fate of any one who had the presumption to pass the 
threshold. Biddle entered with a loaded pistol in each 
hand, and, bringing his heart and soul into his face, sternly 
advanced towards Green, who was well armed, exclaiming 
with a stentorian voice, "Take good aim, Green, or you 
are surely a dead man." The agitated and trembling de- 
serter dropped his weapon, and he, with his deluded com- 
rade, returned to their duty on board of the Andrew Do- 
ria. Death on the yard arm, like that of the British de- 
serters taken from the Chesapeake frigate, in more modern 
days, would unquestionably have been their fate, had they 
belonged to a British, instead of an American vessel. But 
the Captain, who awed these men into submission by his 
fearless firmness, secured their attachment to him and to 
their country by the suavity and humanity of his conduct. 
Capt. Biddle's early example of uniting the dignity of the 
warrior, with the humanity of the man, has been happily 
followed in our day. 


Commodore Hopkins was the commander in chief of this? 
expedition. The expected rencontre with the British for- 
ces upon the island of New Providence was anticipated as 
a most desperate one. Capt. Biddle, well acquainted with 
the firmness and courage of Britons, with whom his coun- 
try was now at war, prepared his crew as well as he possi- 
bly could for the approaching scefle. Cool, collected, and 
fearless, he left no duty undischarged to prepare for the 
approaching attack. He was well aware that he had en- 
tered into a service encircled with dangers ; but, in the 
language of one of the finest painters of the human passions, 
he was — 

" Serene, and master of himself, — prepared 

For what might come— and left the rest to heaven." 

Uncertain whether he should ever again revisit his native 
shores or city, he thus addressed his brother: — u I know 
not what my fate may be ; be it, however, what it may, you 
may be assured Iivill never cause a blush in the cheeks of my 
friends or countrymen." His brother, whom he thus pa- 
thetically addressed, was a distinguished scholar ; and it 
would remind the classical reader of what Pope wrote to 
Lord Harley " My mother, such as she is, never caused 
me a blush, and her son, such as he is, never caused her a 

Capt. Biddle's crew were chiefly Pennsylvanians ; and 
had survived that once alarming and mortal disease, the 
small pox. The crews of the other vessels of Com. Hop- 
kins' squadron were mostly New Englanders, who had 
never taken that loathsome and appalling disorder. They 
became infected with it after they had put to sea; and it 
raged with almost resistless violence. It became the mel- 
ancholy business of the well to watch over the births of the 


sick — to cast the lifeless bodies of the dead into a watery 
grave, and then become victims themselves to the raging 

" 'Twas all the business then to tend the sick, 
And in their turn to die." 

Capt. Biddle with that feeling humanity which is always 
a concomitant with real greatness, exerted every mean in 
his power to assuage the distresses of his languishing coun- 
trymen. His crew, being uninfected, he despatched his 
boats from time to time to the other vessels, and brought 
on board the Andrew Doria, such officers and seamen as 
were in the most dangerous condition. Amongst them he 
recognized an elegant young midshipman, who was in the 
last stages of this dreadful distemper. He laid him in his 
own birth — watched over him with the most tender solici- 
tude — slept himself upon the lockers, until death relieved 
the accomplished and distressed young Midshipman from 
his agony. 

But with his slender force, reduced essentially by disease 
and death, Com. Hopkins bore down with his little squad- 
ron for N. Providence. Meetitfg with little opposition, he 
acquired possession of the island, levied a contribution up- 
on the inhabitants, and brought offa great amount of naval 
stores. This affair will not be particularly mentioned in 
this place. It more properly belongs to the biography of 
Com. Hopkins. 

Capt. Biddle's crew became sickly with the disorders 
peculiar to the West Indies ; and, when ordered to return 
to America, he had scarcely able seamen sufficient to navi- 
gate his vessel. 

He arrived at New London, (Conn.) where a salubrious 
climate and the urbanity of the citizens, restored them to 


health, and rendered them fit for any duty they should be 
ordered to perform. 

The officers and crew of the Andrew Doria under the 
discipline ofCapt. Biddle, had become somewhat familiar- 
ized with the principles of naval tactics, entirely devoted 
to their commander, and ardent in the cause of their coun- 

He refitted his brig at New London ; and soon after re- 
ceived the orders of the " Marine Committee" of Congress, 
(for there was then no Navy Department,) to proceed to 
sea, and cruise against British merchantmen upon the coast 
of Nezofoundland. 

He eluded the numerous British cruisers upon the Amer- 
ican coast ; and, before he reached his destination, captur- 
ed two of the enemy's transports, containing half a regiment 
of Highland troops, to reinforce the British troops, under 
the perfidious Gage.* 

This was a most seasonable capture, as it enabled the 
government to make exchanges for American prisoners, 
and to ensure better treatment to them before exchanged. 

* It will be recollected that Gov. Gage pledged himself to the peo- 
ple of Boston, to "let the people go" if they would surrender up their 
arms. It is thus happily touched off by the Hon. John Trumbull, 
in his inimitable Hudibrastic poem " M'Fingal." 
" So Gage of late agreed you know, 
To let the Boston people go ; 
Yet when he saw, 'gainst troops that brav'd him, 
They were the only guards that sav'd him ; 
Kept off that Satan of a Putnam, 
From breaking in to maul and mutt'n him, 
He'd too much wit such leagues t'observe, 
And shut them in again to starve." 

Canto I. 


It served another purpose — to enable the intrepid Biddle 
to compel a British admiral to regard the right of war. One 
of his Lieutenants, Josiah, an excellent officer, had been 
captured in a prize vessel, despatched by Capt. Biddle, by 
a British frigate. Capt. Biddle wrote an indignant letter 
to admiral Howe at New York, remonstrating against the 
treatment Lieut. Josiah received. " If, sir, you see fit to 
mal-treat a noble and patriotic young officer, whom the fate 
of war has placed in your possession, rest assured the law 
of retaliation will be resorted to by me." Amongst hit 
prisoners, he had the son of an English nobleman ; and con- 
sidering one of his Lieutenants as equal in rank to any no" 
bleman, he determined that he should feel the weight of 
necessary severity, instead of inflicting it upon a common 
British subject. This determination was worthy of this 
truly noble American officer. 

Not satisfied with this, as the only means in his own hands 
to insure the good treatment of his Lieutenant, he addres- 
sed Congress upon the subject. 

At this period it excites not only astonishment, but in- 
dignation, that the officers of a nation which then claimed 
the first rank amongst the nations of the earth, for civiliza- 
tion and Christianity, — that her Commons, which were gra- 
ced by a Burke, a Fox, and a Barre, and her Peerage, which 
contained two arch-bishops and twenty-four bishops, deco- 
rated with the sanctity of the lawn, and lords temporal ro- 
bed in the ermine of justice, should have been guilty of bar- 
barity toward prisoners of war, taken in defending the dear- 
est rights of their country. The enoTmity of it was in- 
creased from the consideration, that Britain considered 
herself all-powerful, and America a$. all-impotent ; for it is 
one of the attributes of real greatness, to be humane. They 


ought to have remembered the sentiment of the prince of 
their poets. • 

" O ! 'tis excellent to have a giant's strength, 

But tyrannous to use it like a giant." 
By examining the Journal of the " Old Congress" it will 
be found that that majestic body of statesmen would readi- 
ly lend all their aid and call forth, if necessary, all their 
power, to avenge the injuries which a single individual sus- 
tained. This every government is bound to do ; for if ru 
lers will be tame and unmoved spectators of cruelty in 
flicted upon one of its citizens, the whole become endanger 
ed. The same nation who were then violating the rights 
of civilized warfare, upon the person of Lieut. Josiah, owf 
their boasted habeas corpus act to the injuries which an 
obscure individual suffered. The treatment an American, 
by the name of Meade recently sustained from the govern- 
ment of Spain, and the decided and spirited conduct of the 
American minister, in regard to that subject, convinced the 
Spanish monarchy that every citizen of our Republic, is 
ready to give efficacy to the declaration of a Roman — " Ne- 
mo me, impune lascessit" (no one shall injure me with im- 

In the Journal of Congress, August 7th 1776, is the fol- 
lowing entry.—" That the general remonstrance to Lord 
Howe, on the cruel treatment Lieut. Josiah has met with, 
of which the Congress have received undoubted informa- 
tion, and a letter from Capt. Nicholas Biddle, to the Ma- 
rine Committee, was laid before Congress and read — 
Whereupon, Resolved that Gen. Washington be directed 
to propose an exchange of Lieut. Josiah, for a Lieutenant 
of the navy of Great Britain." Although this resolution 
was passed the next month after the declaration of Ameri- 


can Independence — and although the Confederation was 
considered by its vaunting enemy, little stronger than a 
" reed shaken by the wind," yet such a proposition, from 
such a body, and to be offered by such a man as George 
Washington, awed the enemy into compliance, and the 
gallant Lieut. Josiah was restored again to his station in the 
little marine force of his country. 

Doctor Ramsay, in his excellent and authentic " History 
of the American Revolution' 1 '' thus remarks. " The American 
sailors, when captured by the British, suffered more than 
even the soldiers which fell into their hands. The former 
were confined on board prison ships. They were crowded 
together in such numbers, and their accommodations were 
so wretched, that diseases broke out, and swept them off in 
a manner that was sufficient to excite compassion in breasts 
of the least sensibility." — " Eleven thousand persons per- 
ished on board the Jersey, one of these prison-ships." — 
" On many of these, the rites of sepulture were never but 
imperfectly performed." — This is the language of history. 
Let me add, that within a few years past the whitened 
bones of these gallant ocean-warriors laid scattered along 
upon the shores of Long Island, — monuments of their de- 
votion to country, and of the Gothic barbarism of Britain 
in the first war. Praise to a preserving God, and thanks 
to our energetic countrymen, in the Second War, Britons 
dared not thus treat American soldiers or seamen. 

Amongst a great variety of interesting incidents in the 
War of the Revolution, many of which are but little known, 
and generally forgotten, the following is apposite to the 
present subject. It ought not to be forgotten, that in the 
early part of that sanguinary contest, American prisoners 
were denied the rights of prisoners of war. Witness the 


treatment of the gallant youths, Robert and Andrew Jack- 
son ; and more especially of Col. Allen, wafted in irons, 
across the Atlantic, to be exhibited in London, as a Rebel 
Colonel. Witness also, the incarceration of the great Hen- 
ry Laurens, in the Tower of London. Let the following 
morceau be read, and let the memory of the Old Congress 
be venerated. 

" A memorial having been presented to Congress, from 
Lieut. Christopher Hale, of the British Navy, praying to 
be exchanged, and to have leave to go to New York upon 
his parole, for a few days, to procure a person in his room, 
that Assembly resolved, " That Mr. Hale be informed, that 
the Prayer of his Memorial cannot be granted until Capt. 
Cunningham is released, as it has been determined that he 
must abide the fate of that Officer." 

Capt. Biddle, in his little brig, now went on " conquer- 
ing and to conquer." A very great number of British 
storeships, transports, and merchantmen, with munitions 
of war and property to an immense amount, were captured 
by him, and sent into American ports. 

At that period, when the country was impoverished and 
constantly impoverishing, from being deprived of the thri- 
ving and prosperous pursuits of husbandry, commerce, fish- 
ing, and whaling, such acquisitions were of more conse- 
quence than can well be conceived in the forty-seventh 
year of American Independence. 

He kept constantly at sea himself; and, from time to 
time, despatched his officers and seamen into different ports 
with his prizes and prisoners. Many of the prisoners he 
took, entered cheerfully into his service, and, in this way. 
he kept his crew good. When he found it necessary to 
land in a port, his vessel was so crowded with prisoners, 


that, for some days before landing, he remained constantly 
upon deck. After he arrived, and inspected his muster- 
roll, he found he had but five of the original crew he had, 
when he sailed from New London ! ! 

While Capt. Biddle, with his slender means was thus 
making an impression upon the enemy, and animating his 
countrymen upon land by his brilliant success upon the 
ocean, the " Marine Committee" were preparing for him 
a more important command. A frigate of 32 guns was ra- 
pidly built, and called, The Randolph, and Capt. Biddle 
was appointed to the command of it at the commencement 
of the year 1777. 

His ardent and restless spirit would scarcely give 'sleep 
to his eyes or slumber to his eyelids,' until he had fitted 
the frigate for sea. Although probably much inferior to 
the fine frigates of her class which now belong to our no- 
ble navy, yet she was probably the finest ship then belong- 
ing to America. 

Capt. Biddle, at this period of his life, might have reti- 
red to enjoy the independence he had acquired by his va- 
lour. But that independence which the fortunate chil- 
dren of wealth display in splendid equipage, and by soaring 
abroad like the gaudy butterfly, which spreads the varie- 
gated wing to the rays of a summer's sun, was littleness 
itself in s^uch a soul as guided and governed the actions of 
Nicholas Biddle. He was an advocate for that independ- 
ence which proceeds from self-government, and was anx- 
ious to exert his faculties, and if necessary to lose his life, 
in establishing the independence of his native country. 

At that dangerous and doubtful period, it was difficult to 
obtain American seamen to enter on board the few ships 
which belonged to the Republic. But the Brirish seamen 


which Capt. Biddle had captured, equally regardless of 
the monarchy under which they were born, and into the 
service of which they were daily liable to be impressed, 
as they were for the Republic which was striving for inde- 
penqence, enlisted under Capt. Biddle. He was aware 
that they were good seamen, but he had good reason to 
doubt their fidelity. They were mostly composed of be- 
ings who were hired to die, or compelled to spill their 
blood in supporting and defending the pageantry of royal- 
ty. They considered themselves as mere " food for pow- 
der," and cared little in what cause they died. But the 
determined Captain was resolved to put to sea, and once 
more to face and defy the enemies of his country. 

He sailed from Philadelphia in the month of February, 
1777. He had been at sea but a few days before he dis- 
covered the mutinous and perfidious machinations of his 
crew. The English seamen entered into a combination to 
rise upon the Captain, his officers, and the American sea- 
men — take the frigate into their own command, and pre- 
sent the ship and crew to the British admiral, or become 
pirates. They possessed the physical power to carry 
this determination into effect. It required all the energy 
and intrepidity of Capt. Biddle and his officers to defeat 
this nefarious design. Indeed, it is upon occasions like 
this, that the native greatness of man is displayed. To bear 
a ship into action, with an equal antagonist, with a crew 
like that of the junior Decatur, whose hearts beat in uni- 
son with that of their commander, is pastime and pleasure, 
when compared with the danger that arises from disaffec- 
tion and treachery. Said a noble Spartan — " May the 
god* preserve me from friends — my enemies \ am always 
prepared to encounter." The disaffected part of the 


crew, as a signal for rising, were to give three cheers- 
rush into the cabin — put the officers in irons, and assume 
the command of the frigate. 

The noble, the fearless, and determined Biddle, re-acted 
the scene he had passed through at the prison, when he re- 
took his deserters. His presence of mind — his thundering 
denunciations — his consummate and wonderful power of 
commanding, struck in-tantaneous terror into the hearts 
of the numerous host that opposed him. He was, indeed, 
a host of himself. The awe-struck mutineers submissively 
returned to their duty ; and would afterwards as soon set 
Omnipotence itself at defiance, as to wink an eye-lid in 
hostility to their commander. 

No sooner had he restored order in his floating garrison, 
than he had to endure the distressing scene of beholding 
all his masts go by the board, from their original defects. 
He put into Charleston, S. C. to refit. Every hour's de- 
tention seemed like a whole calender to this unsurpassed 
ocean warrior. The means of refitting a dismasted frigate 
in 1777, were next to nothing to what they are in 1823, at 
our well furnished naval depots. Capt. Biddle's whole 
soul was entwined around the cause of his country ; and 
he ardently panted to be constantly facing her enemy. 
He was not to be restrained by the cold and icy suggestions 
of prudence, from venturing all his temporal possessions, 
and his life too, in the holy cause of his country, which he 
loved better than he did himself. He was lavish to excess, 
in spending his blood and treasure for it. 

His short stay at Charleston, excited toward him the ad- 
miration of its patriotic citizens. The enemy had learned 
that an American Frigate had been to sea, and they were 
determined to add it to the Royal Navy of Britain. Capt. 


Biddle sailed from Charleston with the patriotic wishes 
and fervent prayers of every true American for his success. 
The third day's sail brougnt him into contact with four 
valuable British ships. The commander of one of them, 
the True Briton, had expressed his urgent wishes to fall in 
with the Randolph. As soon as he recognized the ship, 
he hove to, and at long shot commenced the action. The 
fire was incessant, although ill directed from the True 

Capt. Biddle set the example, which has so successsful- 
ly been followed by the modern officers of our navy, of 
bearing down upon the enemy, reserving fire — coming into 
close action — and settling the contest at once. The aston- 
ished and vaunting Briton, at the moment the Randolph 
was about to pour in her first broadside, struck his flag, 
and surrendered his ship to Capt. Biddle. 

He instantly officered and manned his prize ; and, with 
the Randolph, went in pursuit of the other vessels, every 
one of which he captured. The citizens of Charleston had 
hardly expected that Capt. Biddle had left the American 
coast, before he gladdened their eyes and rejoiced their 
hearts with the sight of his frigate and four prizes of very 
great value. 

At that time, such an achievement, and such an acqui- 
sition, produced perhaps more real joy than the more re- 
cent achievements of our matchless navy. It was but sev- 
en days from the time Capt. Biddle sailed from Charleston 
before he entered the same port with his frigate and prizes. 
His presence diffused animation through all ranks ; and the 
possessors of wealth readily advanced it to augment his 
force. Every exertion was made to prepare a squadron 

for Commodore Biddle. " The north gave up, and the 


south kept not back," as it regarded North and South Car- 
olina. The very souls of the people were devoted to the 
cause of their country ; and the wonted enjoyments of pri- 
vate luxuries, and the more splendid display of glaring and 
magnificent equipage, were forgotten in the cause of the 
Republic which must have sunken into the degradation of 
slavery, had it not risen into the majesty of independence 
by the unparalleled exertion of the undaunted spirits of 

Com. Biddle's reputation stood so high at this period, 
that the ardent youth of South Carolina were solicitous to 
adventure their lives under his command. In a very short 
time, the Commodore raised his broad pendant upon the 
Frigate Randolph,* and had in his squadron the ship Gene- 
ral Moultrie,! the brigs Fair American and Polly, — and 

* This frigate was named Randolph, in honour of Peyton Randolph 
first President of the Old Congress under the confederation. 

f This ship was named General Moultrie, in honour of William 
Moultrie, Maj. Gen. in the Revolutionary army — the defender of Sul- 
livan's island, and the victor at Beaufort. Lord Montague, ex-gover- 
nour of S. Carolina, offered a princely bribe to Gen. Moultrie, as 
Gov. Gage did to Gen. Putnam, to join the British forces. Although 
the literary acquirements of the latter general, would not enable him 
to repel the audacious insult so elegantly as the former, his patriotic 
heart, repelled it as indignantly. As Gen. Moultrie's letter is in my 
possession, I am persuaded the reader will be gratified in perusing the 
noble sentiments of a warm friend of the exalted Biddle. 

Haddrell's Point, March 13, 1781. 
My Lord — 

*■' I reeeived yoursthis morning. I thank you for the wish to pro- 
mote my advantage, but I am much surprised at your proposition. I 
flattered myself I stood in a more favourable light with you. I shalj 
write with the same freedom with which we used to convers e, and 
doubt not you will receive it with the same candour. I have often 
heard you express your sentiments respecting this unfortunate war ; 


^loop Notre Dame. The Randolph had lost one of her 
masts by a stroke of lightning. It was immediately restored. 

when you thought the Americans injured ; but am now astonished to 
find you take an active part against them ; though not fighting parti- 
cularly on the continent ; yet the seducing their soldiers away to en^ 
list in the British service, is nearly similar. 

" My lord, you are pleased to compliment me with having fought 
bravely in my country's cause, for many years, and, in your opinion, 
fulfilled the duty every individual owes it ; but I differ widely from 
you in thinking that I have discharged my duty to my country, while 
it is deluged with blood and overrun by British troops, who exercise 
the most savage cruelties. When I entered into this contest, I did it 
with the most mature deliberation, with a determined resolution to 
risk my life and fortune in the cause. The hardships I have gone 
through I look upon with the greatest pleasure and honor to myself. 
I shall continue to go on as I have begun, that my example may en- 
courage the youths of America, to stand forth in defence of their 
rights and liberties. You call upon me now, and tell me I have a 
fair opening of quitting that service with honor and reputation to 
myself, by going with you to Jamaica. Good God ! is it possible 
that such an idea could arise in the breast of a man of honor ? I am 
sorry you should imagine I have so little regard to my own reputation, 
as to listen to such dishonorable proposals. Would you wish to have 
that man honored with your friendship, play the traitor I Surely not. 

" You say, by quitting this country for a time I might avoid disa- 
greeable conversations, and might return at my own leisure, and take 
possession of my estates for myself and family ; but you have forgot to 
tell me how I could get rid of the feelings of an injured, honest heart, 
and where to hide myself from myself. Could I be guilty of so much 
baseness, I should hate myself and shun mankind. This would be a 
fatal exchange for the present situation, with an easy and approving 
conscience, of having done my duty, and conducted myself as a man 
of honor. 

" My lord, I am sorry to observe, that I feel your friendship much 
abated, or you would not endeavour to prevail upon me to act so base 
a part. You earnestly wish you could bring it about, as you think it 
will be the means of bringing about that reconciliation we all wish for. 
J wish for a reconciliation as much as any man, but only upon hon» 


and the frigate was fitted for sea, with a lightning rod on 
her main-mast. 

orable terms. The repossessing of my estates ; the offer of the com- 
mand of your regiment, and the honor you propose of serving under 
me, are paltry considerations to the loss of my reputation. No, not 
the fee-simple of that valuable island of Jamaica, should induce me 
to part with my integrity. 

" My lord, as you have made one proposal, give me leave to make 
another, which will be more honorable to us both. As you have an 
interest with your commanders, I would ha' e you propose the with- 
drawing the British troops from the continent of America, allowing in- 
dependence, and propose a peace. This being done I will use my in- 
terest with my commanders to accept the terms, and allow Great 
Britain a free trade wi<h America. 

" My brd, I could make one more proposal ; but my situation as a 
prisoner, circumscribes me within certain bounds. I must, therefore, 
conclude with allowing you the free liberty to make what use of this 
you may think proper. Think better of me. 

" I am my lord, your lordship's most humble servant. 

Wm. Moultrie." 

" To lord Charles Montague. ( 

Can the present generation of Americans, at this remove of times 
contemplate upon the firmness of Moultrie, when a prisoner of war, 
and of Biddle, his youthful friend, without the highest exultation, min- 
gled with the deepest veneration ? 

Joseph Reed, was secretary and aid de camp to Gen. Washington, 
in the revolution, and afterwards governour of Pennsylvania. The 
Royal Governour Johnston, assured the inflexible patriot " That ten 
thousand pounds sterling, and the best office in the gift of the crown 
in America should be at his disposal, if he could effect a reunion of the 
two countries." He replied, " That he was not worth purchasing ; 
but such as he was, the king of Great Britain was not rich enough to 
do it" 

A London paper, (1780) says,— " The following were the terms 
that were offered to Gen. Washington, viz. — To be given rank in the 
British service ; a landed estate in England purchased for him, of 
70001. a year, and great promotions for 12 such persons as he should 


At this period the Continental infantry in the vicinity of 
Charleston, were under the command of a man, whose 
name is now associated with the proudest recollection of 
our countrymen, — a man, whose talents, science and pat- 
riotism has added vast weight to the character of Ameri- 
can greatness ; — whose acquirements as a diplomatist and 
statesman, have excited the undissemhled admiration of 
the courts of St. Cloud and St. James — Charles Cotes- 
wurth Pinckney. The approbation of such a man was a 
volume of eulogy in favour of Com. Biddle. The country 
at that time had nothing like a well organized marine 
corps ; and Gen. Pinckney offered a detachment from a re- 
giment to serve in the squadron, provided the men would 
consent to change their service from soldiers to marines. 
Notwithstanding the perfect devotion of the regiment to 
their accomplished commander, a competition arose 
amongst the captains and subalterns in the different com* 
panies, who should have the honour of entering into the 
more dangerous service of Com. Biddle. 

These noble and gallant spirits little anticipated the aw- 
ful fate that was shortly to await them, and their adored 
commander. As the writer approaches toward the rela- 
tion of the direful catastrophe, he sensibly feels his incom- 
petency to delineate it. 

The coast of S. Carolina was infested with British crui- 
sers, from Seventy-fours down to Schooners ; yet Com. Bid- 
dle rendezvoused with his little squadron in what was then 
called " Rebellion Roads," toward the last of February. 

The British commanders, in order to decoy him into 
greater danger, left the coast and bore away for the West 
Indies. Capt. Biddle resolved to carry the arms of Amer- 
ica, where the enemies of America were to be found ; and 


to conduct his squadron to those regions where he could 
inflict the severest injury upon the enemy, and render his 
country the most essential service. 

Let not the reader conclude that this admired and la- 
mented commander, had that daring rashness which would 
carry his ships and crews into danger, that could not be es- 
caped. Although but twenty-seven years of age — although 
the gristle of youth had but just ripened into the bone of 
manhood, he had devoted himself with such assiduity to his 
profession, and had seen so much service, that he had ac- 
quired the coolness and prudence of an experienced admi- 

Upon the 5th March, a number of the officers of the 
squadron, dined on board the Randolph. The Commodore 
observed to them, " We have been some days cruising 
here, and having spoken a number of vessels, some of them 
have undoubtedly given information of us. But in this 
ship, I think myself a match for any thing floating, that car- 
ries her guns upon one deck." He captured one valuable 
ship and cargo, and sent her to America. 

From the time he took command of the Andrew Doria, 
to this period of his life, this dauntless and vigilant naviga- 
tor and tactician, had probably given more annoyance to 
British commerce, and aid to his country than any other of 
the intrepid American Heroes upon the ocean. During a 
considerable portion of the time, his native city and the ad- 
joining country, was in the hands of an enemy whose " ten- 
der mercies are cruelties." To adopt the language of the 
patiiotick Humphreys, " Add to the black catalogue of 
provocations, — their insatiable rapacity in plundering — 
thrir libidinous brutality in violating the chastity of the fe- 
male sex — their more than Gothic rage in defacing private 


writings, public records, libraries of learning — dwellings of 
individuals — edifices of education, and temples of the Deity 
— together with their insufferable ferocity, unprecedented 
indeed among civilized nations, in murdering on the field 
of battle, the wounded while begging for mercy" — and 
"carrying their malice beyond death itself; by denying the 
decent rights of sepulture to the dead." Such is the just 
and pathetic description of a young and gallant officer, who 
was then encountering the enemies of the rising Republic, 
upon land, as Biddle was upon the ocean. But mark the 
difference of the conduct of this noble American, when he 
had captured a king's ship, or a merchantman. His hu- 
mane conduct made prisoners forget that they were in the 
possession of an enemy ; and although their property had 
fallen a sacrifice to the depredations of war, the magnani- 
mous Commodore shielded them from individual distress; 
and restored to them every thing needed, for personal ne- 
cessity and convenience. 

Although American Naval Officers have always beett 
distinguished for a dignified deportment and feeling human- 
ity, to a vanquished enemy, yet the example set by Biddle 
in the First, may well be supposed to have had much influ 
ence upon officers in the Second war with Britain. 

But as if" death loves a shining mark" and designates 
his sudden victims amongst the most brilliant ornaments of 
dying man, this favourite of his then warring and distressed 
country — the delight of his friends, and the admiration of 
his enemies was, by the most appalling, sudden, and terri 
fie shock of warfare, to be torn from time into eternity. 

The 7th of March 1 778, was the day upon which this ad- 
mired Officer, and one of the most gallant Crews of thai 
age, were to be lost to their friends and country. 


At 3 P. M. a sail, at the windward, was descried frorii 
the Randolph. A signal being made from the frigate, the 
squadron hauled upon a wind, to speak the strange sail. 
As the sail neared the Randolph and came directly before 
the wind, she had the appearance of a heavy sloop,* with 
only a square-sail set. It was not until 4 P. M. that she 
was discovered to be a ship. At about 7 P. M. the Ran- 
dolph had the windward, the General Moultrie being to 
the leeward, when the ship fired ahead of the General 
Moultrie and hailed her. Her answer was, " The Polly 
from New York," (then in possession of the British forces.) 
The ship suddenly hauled her wind and hailed the Ran- 
dolph. The sail was H. B. Majesty's ship of the line Yar- 
mouth, Capt. Vincent, of sixty-four guns. 

According to the opinion of the most scientific and ex- 
perienced naval officers, the Yarmouth was a fair and 
equal match for three ships of the rate of the Randolph. t 
As she ranged along side Com. Biddle's ship, an English 
lieutenant exultingly exclaimed, " The Randolph! the Ran- 
dolph /"• — and instantly poured into her a full broadside. 
The fire was returned from the Randolph, and the little 
Moultrie, with the utmost rapidity ; and, from the disparity 
of force, with astonishing effect. The night was excessive- 
ly dark ; the Yarmouth shot ahead of the Randolph, and 
brought her between that ship and the Moultrie. One 
broadside from the last mentioned ship, in the hottest of the 

* To a landsman, like the writer, this would appear improbable ; 
but I have been assured by accomplished seamen, that this deception 
is by no meaus unusual. 

f The reader is referred to the report of Com. Charles Stewart 
of the American navy, made to the department of the navy in 1812, in 
support of this position; which was confirmed by Captains Hull and 
Morris. Mr. Secretary Hamilton expressly alludes to the battle of 
the Randolph and the Yarmouth. 


action, through mistake went directly into the Randolph, 
the moment Com. Biddle was wounded dangerously in the 
thigh ; and one of the survivors of the crew conjectured 
the wound was received from that fire. 

And here, another example was set by the dauntless Bid- 
die, which, to the admiration of Americans, and astonish- 
ment of the world, seems to have been universally follow- 
ed by the modern heroes of our navy — never to leave the 
deck in consequence of a wound, however severe. After 
the Commodore fell, and they were about to carry him be- 
low, he exclaimed with a voice which was almost like a 
voice from the tomb — " Bring me a chair ; carry me for- 
ward ; and there the surgeon will dress my wound." — 
While this painful operation was performing, he animating 
the crew, the Randolph firing three broadsides to the 
Yarmouth's one ; while the thunder of an hundred can- 
non reverberated over the ocean ; while the vivid flashes 
of three armed vessels increased the horrors of the sur- 
rounding darkness, the Randolph was blown into atoms, 
and the mangled fragments of the whole crew, (excepting 
four) consisting of about three hundred and twenty gallant 
and patriotic Americans, fell sudden victims to their devo- 
tion for the cause of their country. 

Doct. Ramsay in his admirable history of the American 
Revolution, very briefly alludes to this disastrous event, 
and says : " Four men only were saved, upon a piece of 
her wreck. These had subsisted for four days on nothing 
but rain water, which they sucked from a piece of blanket." 
It is with real pleasure I record, as one instance of British 
humanity, that upon the 5th day of their sufferings, Capt. 
Vincent of the Yarmouth, suspended a chase to rescue 



these despairing Americans from certain death, and restor- 
ed them to their country. 

Although the naval heroes of the revolution are but sel- 
dom mentioned in the histories of that sanguinary contest, 
yet Doct. Ramsay has left upon his record the following 
testimony of the merits of this justly admired hero : " Capt. 
Biddle, who perished on board the Randolph, was univer 
sally lamented. He was in the prime of life ; and had ex- 
cited high expectations of future usefulness to his countn 
as a bold and skilful naval officer." 

The consternation produced by this disaster can neither 
be imagined nor described by one who was not a witness- 
to it. The Yarmouth and Randolph were in such close ac- 
tion, that the Fair American concluded it to be the former 
that blew up, and her Captain, (Morgan) hailed her to in- 
quire after Com. Biddle, knowing him to have been wound- 
ed. Alas! he, and also his valiant crew, were insensible to 
the solicitude of the remaining part of the squadron, which 
but a few minutes before, he so gallantly commanded. The 
Yarmouth was in a condition so shattered that Capt. Vin- 
cent could not capture either of the little vessels which 
were near her, and they all effected their escape. 

The explosion of an armed vessel, with a large maga- 
zine of powder, is universally allowed to be one of the most 
awfully solemn' and tremendously horrid scenes that can be 
presented to the eye of man. The mind of the reader of 
these imperfectsketches is almost irrisistibly hurried forward 
from the gloomy catastrophe of the 7th of March 1778, to 
the no less horrid one of Sept. 4th 1 804, when the gallant 
Somers, Wadsworth and Israel became victims in chas- 
tfsing a barbarous foe, as the gallant Biddle and his asso- 
ciates did in defending his country against a Christian ene- 


my. From the very nature of such catastrophes, it is im» 
possible to develope the causes of them. Whether they 
are occasioned by the inattention of the crew, or the acci- 
dents occasioned in a close and furious engagement, can 
scarcely ever be determined. 

Thus lived, and thus died Nicholas Biddle, one ofthe 
early champions of American Independence. His prema- 
ture death deprived him of the honours and rewards of a 
grateful, protected, and Independent Republic, and the en- 
joyment ofthe opulence which he had acquired by his va- 
lour. But even these enjoyments are trifling and evanes- 
cent, when compared to that glory which descends to late 
posterity. It was for this glory that the immortalized Bid- 
die toiled, fought, bled, and died for his beloved country. 
Let the ardent and rising youth ofthe Republic ponder up- 
on the example of this young and exalted hero ; and when 
their country shall again be called to defend the independ- 
ence acquired by the heroes of the Revolution, and secur- 
ed by the war of 1812, may they emulate his virtues aund 
patriotism ; and like him, and Biddle the younger, ac- 
quire fame which will descend to the remotest posterity. 


Nicholas Biddle was born at a period of the world 
pregnant with the most important events-, and was pecu- 
liarly adapted for a distinguished actor in them. Ever 
since the discovery of the Magnetic Needle enabled man 
to traverse oceans from the equator to the arctic and 
antarctic circles, the watery element has been the fruitful 
nursery of unsurpassed heroes. But thirteen years had 
bloomed the cheek of Biddle, when he found his " home 


upon the deep ;" but early scenes of danger, sufferings, 
and miraculous preservations, soon converted the sailor 
boy, to the manly seaman. Sufferings endured and dan- 
gers escaped, so far from dissuading, rather stimulated him 
to one deed of noble daring after another. 

In early life, he became a skilful navigator, and well 
versed in commercial pursuits. But its dull routine was 
irksome to his ardent and aspiring mind.» His manly qual- 
ifications procured for him a midshipman's warrant in the 
Royal Navy of Britain ; and he was in full prospect of ra- 
pid advancement. He was thus early initiated into the 
science of naval tactics, and made that science familiar by 
practical knowledge. It happened to be a period of peace 
with almost perpetually warring Britain, and Biddle had 
no opportunity then, to face an enemy. 

In Horatio Nelson, Biddle found a spirit congenial 
with his own ; and both became cockswains in Mulgrave's 
renowned voyage of discovery towards the north pole. — 
Stupendous mountains of ice, wafted upon billows moun- 
tain high, presented the ocean to the view of the lieutenant, 
acting as cockswain, in all its majestic awful, and destructive 
grandeur. While Nelson was encountering the snow- 
white bear, Biddle, encompassed with frowning cliffs of ice, 
was awaiting the awful crush which was threatening mo- 
mently to send the ship and crew to the bottom. But he 
returned to England with Nelson and both became favor- 
ites with the proud admiralty of Britain, the modern Car- 

Notwithstanding he had become familiar with the im- 
measurable power of the British marine — notwithstanding 
he was making rapid strides on the lofty waves of promo- 
tion with his ship-mate Nelson — notwithstanding the shi- 


lung orders of knighthood, and the "blushing honours" of 
nobility were within the reach of this ardent aspirant for 
honourable fame — he frowned indignantly upon a power- 
ful monarchy which was about to let fall the uplifted arm 
of vengeance upon the land of his birth. At a time when 
the menaces of the House of Brunswick awed, and the pro- 
mised honours and gold of Britain bought, hordes of Ameri- 
can loyalists and tories — Biddle was above corruption — 
above price. The bank of England, nor that over which 
his respected connexion presides, never had gold enough 
in their vaults to buy him. 

He re- crossed the Atlantic whose waves were soon to 
roll him forth as a warring champion against the " king 
and country" in whose service he commenced his short 
and brilliant career of naval glory. With a diminutive 
force, suddenly fitted out by the almost destitute, infant 
states, he dashed forth like a rude and fearless intruder 
upon the imperious " Ocean Queen," and her commerce 
instantly felt and feared his presence. 

The profound judgment and deep penetration of the Old 
Congres, placed the dauntless Biddle in command of a 
squadron. His broad pendant upon the Randolph waved 
defiance to any equal hostile force upon the ocean. Such 
was the celerity with which he moved and the number of 
prizes that he captured, that his ship was singled out as a 
victim to British prowess. The fate of naval warfare for- 
ced him into an awfully unequal contest. The powerful 
foe, of treble force, descried the devoted ship, while yet 
the light of heaven directed his unerring course ; and when 
sable night enveloped the troubled deep in horrid gloom 
and rendered " darkness visible," the vaunting enemy, sure 
of victory, vomited forth the thick messengers of death upon 


the Randolph. Biddle, cool, collected, animated and 
fearless, with blood gushing from wounds, animating hie 
comrades, and defying the enemy whom he could not es- 
cape, breasted the tremendous shock. Amidst the roar of 
an hundred cannon, and a shower of reddened balls, the in- 
discribable catastrophe of an exploding war-ship, hurled 
him and his unrivalled associates from temporal warfare to 
eternal peace, in a brilliant flame of blazing glory. Thus 
did the heroic, the patriotic, the exalted Biddle, in the 
bloom of life, in heaven-approving warfare, give his man- 
gled corse to the deep — his immortal spirit to the God of 
battles, and his imperishable fame to the Republic. 







His Life and Character as drawn by a British Biographer Early 

incidents of his life.. ..Enters a slave ship.. ..Slave Trade. ...Goes to 
service at the Earl of Selkirk's, and is discharged. ...Becomes c 
" Smug," gets married, has the hypo, and leaves his wife. ...Be- 
comes the " Prince of smugglers 1 '..., Goes to France, gets married 
again, plays the gentleman landlord, " runs out," and again " sets 
up business" as a grand smuggler, and afterwards as a merchant. 
....Gains wealth, goes to London, dashes and gambles, and "comes 
upon the world".... Smuggles again.... Makes a voyage to America, 
and assumes a new and decided character.. ..He is employed by 
Congress upon a secret expedition to England.. ..Accomplishes his 
object, and returns to America.... He is appointed to the command 
of a Continental ship, and successfully assails British merchantmen 
....He joins Com. Hopkins' squadron as commander of the Alfred, 
distinguishes himself in the capture of the British island of New- 
Providence. ...Upon his return takes command of the Providence, 
of 12 guns, in which he convoys vessels and transports He re- 
ceives the first Captain's commission after the4 h of July, 1776.... 
Capt. Jones sails again in the Providence, is encountered by the 
frigate Solebay of 30 guns ; takes valuable prizes ; sails for Nova 
Scotia; is attacked by the Milford of 32 guns ; escapes; effects a 
landing; destroys fisheries ; takes 17 prizes, and returns. ...He is 
appointed to a squadron... .Com. Jones sails in the Alfred; takes 
the rich transport Mellish, three prizes, and a Liverpool privateer 
of 16 guns.... Is again attacked by the Milford; escapes with his 
prizes to Boston.... Receives a vote of thanks from Congress.. ..He 
takes command of the Ranger, of 18 guns ; sails for France ; takes 
numerous prizes; announces the defeat of Burgoyne.... Repairs to 
Paris, returns to the Ranger, and receives the first salute to the 
American Flag.. ..Enters Brest, is saluted by Count D'Orvilliers... 
He lands at Whitehaven, carries the fort, spikes 40 cannon, and 
returns on board.. ..He visits his father.. ..raptures the Drake of 20 
guns; enters Brest, and visits the court of Louis XVI.. .Com 
Jones sails in a squadron of five vessels, on board the Good Mao 


Richard, of 40 guns. ...Desperate engagement with the Serapis, 44. 
....His official account.... Particulars.... Alarm excited.. ..Jones ap- 
plauded.. ..Sails to America in the Ariel, of 20 guns.. ..Takes the 
Triumph of 20 guns.. ..Arrives in America.... Retires to Kentucky, 
and there dies. ...His Character. 

The naval hero now to be introduced to the reader, it 
a sort of phenomenon in human nature. He was an ano- 
maly in the human character. Born within the dominions 
of Britain, at a period when his native kingdom was stri- 
ding on from conquest to conquest — from usurpation to 
usurpation, he caught the adventurous spirit of his coun- 
trymen, and seemed in his own character, to have revived 
the ancient spirit of chivalry. His life has been sketched 
by one of his own countrymen, with that malignant asper- 
ity which characterizes the writers of that country, when 
treating of the daring spirits who espoused the cause of 
America in the unparalleled war of the revolution. In 
order to cast a shade over his wonderful achievements in 
that contest between the rectitude of weakness and the 
usurpation of power, they have endeavoured to blast his 
fame, by attributing to him the most infamous and detest- 
able vices. 

While it is readily admitted that it is the business and 
duty of the biographer to give a faithful portrait of the 
character delineated, yet, it must also be admitted, that 
the eccentricities, the irregularities, and the aberrations of 
untutored judgment and misguided passions, in the early 
period of life, ought not to be glaringly painted for the 
purpose of tarnishing the fame of mature manhood. It is 
unhesitatingly asserted that almost without exception, the 
private lives of the most distinguished ornaments of human 
nature are not without some blemishes. But when a man 
has become a benefactor to his country in the state, the 


church, the army, the navy, or in the walks of literature, 
why should the just admiration of the world be diminished 
by publishing his little, private foibles ? One of the biog- 
raphers of Nelson carries his enraptured readers along 
through the life of that wonderful man from the days of 
boyhood, when he encountered a bear in the polar re- 
gions, until, in the full fruition of glory, he fell at Trafal- 
gar. Another biographer of the same naval hero, makes 
the reader almost despise him, because he makes him a 
victim to the fascinating charms of Lady Hamilton. But, 
without saying more by way of introduction to the Life 
of John Paul Jones, and as perhaps too much has been 
already said, I will proceed in a brief sketch of his event- 
ful life. 

He wasjsorn at Dumfries, in Scotland, in the month of 
June, 1748, two years before his associate in war, Nicho- 
las Biddle. His parents were in what is called, the hum- 
blest grade of life, but which, in reality, is the most exalt- 
ed — tillers of the earth. They were amongst the peasant- 
ry of Scotland, so renowned for their sobriety, industry, 
intelligence, and devotion. Like Robert Burns, Jones, 
from the circumstances in which he was born, seemed to 
be destined for the useful, although dull and unvarying 
scenes of a peasant's life. But young Jones possessed that 
restlessness of spirit — that inquietude — that insatiable de- 
sire to accomplish something beyond the highest achieve- 
ments of the comrades with whom he was associated, that 
he could not be limited to their dull pursuits. He would 
neither be chained down to the business of a hewer of 
wood, a carrier of water, a heaver of coal, a thresher of 
oats and barley, or a dresser of flax. 

It was the misfortune of young Jones, that the first ad- 


venture he made beyond the humble pursuits of domestic 
life, was the most detestable of all pursuits — the slave trade. 
That wicked, that infamous, that infernal and diabolical 
traffick, above all others, is most directly calculated to di- 
vest the human breast of every exalted sentiment, and of 
every moral and religious principle. The slave dealer 
unites in his own character, the murderer, the robber, the 
ravisher, and the thief. He directly or indirectly violates 
the precepts of the whole decalogue. The Law that came 
by Moses, and the Grace that came by the Redeemer, are 
equally broken and defied by the slave dealer. But the 
anathemas of angels and of men against these u devils in- 
carnate," must be omitted, to remark, that Jones acquired 
a cruelty and ferocity of temper in the first and only voy- 
age he made to Guinea. The natural humanity and mag- 
nanimity of his heart was tarnished by this horrid traffick, 
but it was subsequently ameliorated by association with 
humane and dignified Americans. 

After his return to Scotland the Earl of Selkirk, an ex- 
cellent Scots nobleman, received Jones under his protec- 
tion ; but he proved to his patron, as Savage did to Lord 
Tyrconnel, too turbulent, too boisterous, too regardless of 
" the method of regular life," to be endured in a mansion 
where every thing was to " be done decently and in order." 

He was turned loose and destitute into the world, which 
is but little disposed to espouse the cause of such a being. 
From the whole tenor of Jones' life, it may be inferred 
that he could not endure restraint, or submit to authority. 
He aspired to be his own commander and to command oth- 
ers. He seemed to prefer to tall by his own directions, 
than to stand by the guidance of others, and — 


• StroAg as necessity, to fight Ins way, 
Struggle with fate, and brighten into day." 

An opportunity presented itself, in joining a gang of 
smugglers. A better i4 Smug," than Jones, could not be 
found. He was made for that business, and the hazardous 
business seemed to be calculated for him. But he had no 
idea of acting in a subordinate station ; and the Jhardy smug- 
glers would not consent to be commanded by a )oung des- 
perado. Jones left them in disgust, and once more " came 
upon the world ;" and after leading a vagabond sort of life 
for a time, he entered on board a Sunderland brig, which 
was a regular trader. He devoted himself with the utmost 
assiduity to his business, and shortly made himself an ac- 
complished navigator and seaman. By this pursuit he be- 
came perfectly well acquainted with the coast which was 
afterwards to become the theatre of his unequalled exploits, 
and imperishable glory. 

From this brig he was impressed on board a man of war. 
" The floating dungeons" of the British navy almost invari- 
ably secure impressed seamen for life, unless the admiralty 
discharge them. But as soon as Jones had acquired a 
pretty competent knowledge of naval tactics, he took his 
own time and manner to be discharged, i. e. by desertion. 
Fear of the yard arm, was probably the occasion of Jones' 
desperate fighting in his subsequent life. 

At this period, Jones " took to himself a wife," and a 
fortune of twelve hundred dollars. At this age and in this 
country, this sum would excite a smile when speaking of 
" fortune." But at that age, in Scotland, it amounted to 
an independence. 

To such a character as Jones, the honey-moon is gene- 
rally of short duration, and such a sum might readily be 


squandered. Notwithstanding the flowing representations 
of hymeneal joys, and domestic felicity, they were entirely 
too insipid for the romantic and adventurous Jones. He 
felt that inquietude which the uninteresting and dull routine 
of regulated life produces in the mind of an ardent spirit. 
He experienced that feeling which the French call ennui — 
which equally defies translation and description. Ameri- 
cans call it hypo, and whoever is afflicted with this non- 
descript in the long catalogue of the " miseries of human 
life," may well justify Jones in striving to tear himself away 
from this paralyzing incubus. 

His former companions, with his aid, purchased a stout 
vessel, and Jones became her commander. He now filled 
a station which filled his desires. The marauders upon 
the coast of Scotland and Ireland, at this period, were nu- 
merous. Captain Jones was not deterred, from any con- 
scientious scruples from pursuing a business which others 
pursued. He was a child of fortune ; and, in the language 
of In? eccentric countryman, he was determined to follow 
his advice in his epistle to a young friend. 

" To catch dame fortune's golden smile, 

" Assiduous wait upon her." — 

" And gather gear by ev'ry wile, — 

* * * * * 

Like a comet, his eccentric course defied calculation. 
He suddenly acquired a considerable amount of wealth, 
and not wishing to return to the " dull pursuits of civil life" 
amongst the virtuous peasantry of Scotland, he landed in 
France, at the port of Boulogne. 

This was a new scene for a Scottish peasant. The fas- 
cinating blandishments of that captivating country, allured 
Jones into the good graces of a widow who kept what is 


•ailed a Restorateur or hotel. But she could not give her 
hand to an adventurer, or fortune-hunter, until she was con- 
vinced that she should receive something besides the hand 
of a rough and boisterous Scotsman. But Jones, to con- 
vince her of the sincerity of his profession, placed in her 
hands two hundred guineas, and once more resorted to hie 
favorite element — the ocean. 

Possessing requisite funds, he became a first rate smug- 
gler, and established himself at Dover, the nearest port to 
the coast of France, where some of his treasure, and all of 
his heart, were deposited. He resumed the business of a 
smuggler; and his success exceeded his most sanguine ex- 

But Capt. Jones was not satisfied with the mere accumu- 
lation of wealth. He was disgusted with a pursuit which 
did not embrace something bold and daring. Having cruis- 
ed against defenceless merchantmen, he resolved to com- 
mence an attack upon an English cruiser designed to chas- 
tise the Barbarians up the Mediterranean. 

However much the cool calculator of chances may con- 
demn the temerity of Jones, it was an attempt that perfect- 
ly comported with his character. With his feeble force he 
captured a well-fitted, armed vessel, and made her his own. 
In this vessel, he dashed into the midst of armed ships and 
peaceful coasters : and, although opposed by an over- 
whelming superiority of force, either by nautical skill, or 
deep laid stratagem, he effected his escape. 

Having acquired enough to return to Boulogne "in style'* 
his thoughts were turned to his amorous French widow 
who still remained there. He transferred his vessel to 
his ascociates — disembarked ; and, with a very considera- 
ble, fortune, proceeded to Boulonge. The widow, with 


the artful finesse, of affected rapture, no longer hesitated 
to take Jones to her bosom, since it made such an augmen- 
tation to her wealth. 

Captain Jones now appeared in a capacity, the worst of 
all fitted to his genius and disposition — that of a landlord. 
It was like Hercules at the distaff — it was like an eagle up- 
on a shrub. He, who could not endure the control of any 
one, was now, in a measure, under the control of every 
one. He was a slave to slaves ; and subjected to the calls, 
the whims and caprices of every one who visited his hotel. 
But he figured away in most splendid style — gave sumptu- 
ous entertainments to his customers, and appeared more 
like one of the French noblesse, than a retailer of cham- 
paigne, soups, and pastry. This was a grand scene for a 
Scots peasant who seemed to have been born to subsist 
upon oaten cakes, barley broth, and "gude parritch.'" 
But these halcyon days, like an autumnal squall, only por- 
tended the storms of winter. Jones became outrageous — 
drove away his customers, and prepared again to drive in- 
to more boisterous scenes. 

It would not comport with the limits prescribed for this 
sketch, to give a minute detail of the numerous and diver- 
sified incidents of the life of this extraordinary man — ex- 
traordinary he surel) was, for he completely transcended 
the ordinary traits of the human character. He J eft his 
hotel in the care of his wife- -embarked for the Isle of Man, 
which had just come into the possession of Great Britain, 
and commenced business as a sort of prince of smugglers. 
He amassed riches ; and. as monejj is the sinew of enter- 
prise, lie repaired to Dunkirk, and prosecuted business 
with success —not the business of \ regular merchant, for 
there was nothing ut tins time oi regularity in his charac- 


Having once deserted from a king's ship ; having been 
engaged in an illicit trade, and fearing to be betrayed by 
some of his numerous comrades, he hesitated whether to 
visit his native country or not. But with his usual rash- 
ness, he dashed into London, that world in miniatuie, that 
resort of every thing that elevates, and every thing that de- 
grades the human character. 

The Captain here began to display the "high charac- 
ter." He rolled in splendour, and figured at the gambling 
table. Here, to use a familiar expression, he found his 
■match, and was soon outmatched. He was reduced almost 
to indigence ; and finding he could not regain his wealth 
by honest gambling upon land, he resorted to the business of 
an honest smuggler at sea. Here he was perfectly at home : 
and having a crew as daring as himself, he soon acquired a 
large amount of property. 

Towards the latter end of the year r 1773, Capt. Jones 
turned his attention towards America, and was determined 
to make a voyage to this country. He sailed from Havre, 
in France, in the spring of 1774. 

Upon his arrival in America, he found the Colonies in a 
state of tnrbulence exactly suited to his wishes. Despi- 
sing the idea of joining the strongest party, and having the 
utmost detestation for tyrannical usurpation, he resolved to 
espouse the cause of America, which he made his adopted 

With his high sense of independence — his hostility 
against English power, from having been impressed — his 
perfect acquaintance with the coast of England, Scotland 
and Ireland ; his skill as a navigator and naval tactician, ad- 
ded to his undaunted courage, rendered the acquisition of 
such a man, at such a time, of the highest importance. U 


was a time of daring expedients, and required daring spirit? 
to act. 

Capt. Jones took the earliest opportunity to impart the 
most important information to the high minded and indig- 
nant whigs of that day. He was received and treated with 
every mark of distinction by these unrivalled patriots and 

This was a new sphere for the ambitious Jones to move 
in. His associates, in his own country, had been men of 
desperate fortunes, and contaminated hearts ; and he must 
have been most favourably impres-ed with the American 
character, when contrasted with that of his own country- 
men. From an irregular and dissolute life, he became the 
steady, cool, and determined hero, in the great cause of 
freedom against oppression. 

The confidence reposed in him by the master spirits 
who were to direct the storm that was lowering over the 
Thirteen Colonies must have been highly gratifying to a 
man who was born, and might have died, an humble peas- 

Being deemed of high importance that every informa- 
tion possible should be obtained concerning England, and 
especially of her naval depots and commercial ports, Capt. 
Jones was selected for the purpose of repairing to Great- 
Britain fortius purpose. This evinced the sagacity of the 
early patriots of the revolution. Such information was 
deeply interesting, as it regarded the contest which was 
just commencing, and Jones, the best calculated of any 
man to obtain it. His Scotch accent was calculated to 
elude suspicion ; and his previous pursuits to lead him to 
proper subjects of inquiry. He explored London ; min- 
gled in society ; learned the sentiments of all classes con 


cerning the Americans, and their c; rebellion.'''* He repair- 
ed to the docks and roads where armed vessels and mer- 
chantmen were moored — learned their destination, and ob- 
jects — purchased maps, charts, and soundings of the coasts, 
and obtained information which became afterwards of vast 

Capt. Jones returned to America in 1775 — communica- 
ted with the leaders of the patriotic and ardent heroes 
amongst our ancestors who dared to resist, and even defy 
the gigantic power of Britain, when that imperious power 
presumed to wrest from their American Colonies their mu- 
nicipal and chartered privileges, and to deprive them of the 
rights of self-government. 

He was appointed to the command of an American arm- 
ed vessel ; and British merchantmen found the same ad- 
venturous hero upon the ocean, preying upon their com- 
merce, who was recently viewing their ports and preparing 
for more important enterprizes. 

His success, in this first of his efforts in the cause of 
America, excited great applause, and raised the hopes of 
intrepid American seamen, who like Com. Biddle, wished 
to face the enemy upon their adopted element. 

A small ship called the Alfred, wa3 fitted for sea, belong- 
ing to a small squadron under Com. Hopkins, who, it is 
believed, was the first commander of a squadron under the 
American government. Jones was a Lieutenant of this 
ship ; and on board of her, with his own hands, hoisted the 
first " star spangled banner" which ever waved from the 
mast of an American public ship. It was in this squadron 
that Lieut. Jones became acquainted with the gallant and 
accomplished Capt. Nicholas Biddle, who soon discovered 
his fitness for a commander, and distinguished him with his 


particular attention. Com. Hopkins also bestowed upon 
him the highest approbation. The expedition of this 
squadron to the British island of New-Providence was ex- 
ceedingly successful. They took at this island a large 
quantity of the munitions of war ; took some valuable pri- 
zes on the homeward bound passage, and entered the port 
of New- London to refit. 

The squadron was here broken up, and the different ves- 
sels were despatched to different stations, and upon vari- 
ous services. Capt. Bi.ddle continued in the command of 
the Andrew Doria, and Capt. Jones was ordered to the 
small sloop Providence, of twelve small guns and the small 
crew of seventy men. 

His skill and intrepidity were so well known, that the 
government ordered him to the hazardous and important 
duty of convoying transports with troops from the Eastern 
states, to the city of New- York. This was in the early 
part of the year 1776. 

Lord Howe's naval forces lined the coast from Halifax to 
Chesapeake bay, and rendered the utmost vigilance indis- 
pensable. In convoying the transports, he had a running 
engagement with H. B. M. frigate Cerberus ; but he esca- 
ped with his vessel and convoy and arrived at the port of 
destination in safety. 

He was then ordered to convoy a ship containing naval 
stores, of great value. He again encountered the Cerbe- 
rus, and some other of the enemy's vessels, — again effected 
a complete escape, and arrived in the Chesapeake twenty- 
seven days after the Declaration of American Inde- 

The importance of his services were duly appreciated 
by the Old Congress, and the President of that august body, 


with his own hand, presented John Paul Jones, with the 
first commission of Captain, issued after the states were 
declared " Free, Sovereign, and Independent." It 
bore date 8th August, 1776. 

At this early period, there was scarcely any thing on 
board the few armed ships which had sprung up, as if by 
magic, which is like that discipline, which now, (1823) is 
established in the navy of the Republic, and which was be- 
gun in the naval warfare with France, in the administration 
of Adams — advanced in the war with Tripoli, in the ad- 
ministration of Jefferson ; and which was almost perfected 
in the second war with Britain, in the administration of 

The stern and resistless voice of command could hardly, 
with safety, be given, lest the restless spirits of that turbu- 
'ent, and doubtful period, should mutinously disobey it. 
Captain Jones with a crew of high-minded Americans, but 
yet little accustomed to rigid discipline, and strict obedi- 
ence, was differently situated from Captain Jones, with a 
crew of Scotch, Irish, Welsh, and English, smugglers. 

His perfect acquaintance with the human character, in 
all its ramifications, made him fully aware of this ; and 
convinced him that he must govern more by the influence 
of persuasion, than by the exercise of authority. He was 
but twenty-eight years of age — had been in America but 
two years, and was by birth a Scotsman — circumstances 
not very favourable for conciliating a race of men who 
had thrown the gauntlet of defiance at kings, dukes, lords, 
generals, and admirals. But the subject of this sketch, 
seemed to be endued with faculties calculated for almost 
every possible emergency. 


Soon after Capt. Jones was honoured by a commission 
from Congress, he repaired to sea in his old ship, the little 
Providence. His orders were indefinite, and he was left 
to govern himself by the dictates of his own judgment. 
He run down the Bermudas, and fell in with a large con- 
voy, under the protection of the frigate Solebay, of 30 guns. 
His object was to escape ; but his officers and seamen 
were bent upon capturing some part of the convoy. He 
was attacked by the Solebay — for nearly six hours main- 
tained a distant contest with this vast superiority of force, 
and by a masterly manoeuvre effected an escape. His 
crew were now convinced that they needed his judgment 
in going into action, as his skill had saved them by disen- 
gaging the ship from such an unequal contest. 

He now bore away for Nova Scotia, and soon captured 
several merchantmen. He was now placed in a situation 
where he could not avoid a contest with a ship of war, still 
superior to the Solebay. It was the celebrated Frigate 
Milford, of 32 guns. Capt. Jones manoeuvred the Provi- 
dence so as to keep at a considerable distance from the en- 
emy, as he must have done, to withstand a cannonade from 
10 A. M. until 6 P. M. with such a force as the Milford. 
He then, by a favouring breeze, made his escape into a 
small harbour, into which the Milford could not pursue 

He here made the enemy feel the distress and the losses 
from which his crew and ship had just escaped. He de- 
stroyed the vessels in the harbour, and the fisheries ; but 
he did not destroy a single habitation of the people. 

He continued some time in this region, taking valuable 
prizes, — sinking or burning vessels, and destroying fishe- 
eries. After a cruise of seven weeks, in which time he 


nad been attacked by, and escaped from two heavy frig- 
ates, he returned to Rhode Island, having sent in, or bring- 
ing with him sixteen valuable prizes ! ! 

This gallant and successful cruise of course, augmented 
the reputation of Capt. Jones; inflicted a severe wound 
upon the enemy, and aided the resources of the country, 
to which he had become devoted. 

Thirteen ships, called frigates,* had previously been or- 
dered to be built ; but upon the return of the Providence 
from her third cruise, were not ready for sea. An expe- 
dition had been planned however, for Capt. Jones, well 
calculated for his active and daring spirit. 

Amongst American prisoners taken by the British, there 
wee about three hundred and fifty incarcerated in the 
coal mine, on Isle Royale. To restore these unfortunate 
Americans, and to destroy the very valuable whale and 
cod fishery at that place, was the two- fold object of this 
expedition. The vessels designed for this important ser- 
vice, were the Alfred, Hampden, and Providence. Com- 
modore Jones now hoisted his pendant on board the same 
ship which first displayed the American banner. 

As the season was advancing, and as the expedition was 
destined for a northern and boisterous region, Jones felt 
extremely solicitous to weigh anchor and get under way. 
The Hampden, not being fitted for sea, was left in port. 

Upon Nov. 2d, 1776, Com. Jones set sail in the Alfred, 
the Providence in company. He soon had the satisfaction 
of falling in with and capturing the British armed ship, the 
Mcllish. She was a fine ship of her class, having a vast 
amount of stores for the army of Gen. Burgoyne. 

At this period, the American land forces were in a state 

* See Introduction. 


of destitution, which, if described, would excite the incre- 
dulity of the younger class of readers. One of the best ap- 
pointed British armies, under Burgoyne, that ever landed 
in America, was forcing its way through the northern 
states to form a junction with sir Henry Clinton's army at 
New York. Gen. Washington was retiring with the dis- 
heartened wreck of a little army through New Jersey ; 
and the Thirteen Colonies recently declared independent 
seemed to look like so many trembling victims, about to 
be immolated upon the sanguinary altar of monarchial 

Com. Jones sent in his prize, containing 10,000 complete 
suits of winter uniform, and other materials of war. As 
by weakening the enemy, by destroying their materials of 
war, the strength of the successful party is augmented, so 
by preserving them, it gains a double advantage. The loss 
to the army of Burgoyne can hardly be calculated — the 
gain to that of Washington, cannot be estimated. The 
campaign of '76 closed by the victory of Trenton, where 
Washington triumphed — that of '77, when Burgoyne fell at 

* A recent perusal of Burgoyne's " State of the expedition into Ca~ 
nada, during 1 the campaign of 1776 and 1777," induces me to extract 
the following as a signal instance of female fortitude and affection in 
Mrs. Ackland ; and as exhibiting a fine trait in the Revolutionary- 
Hero, Horatio Gates, as daring and successful in the army, as Jones 
was in the navy. 

" At the time the action began, she found herself near a small un- 
inhabited hut, where she alighted. When it was found the action was 
becoming general and bloody, the surgeons of the hospital took pos- 
session of the same place, as the most convenient for the first care of 
the wounded. Thus was this lady in hearing of one continued fire of 
cannon and musketry for some hours together, with the presumption, 
from the post of her husband at the head of the grenadiers, that he 


In the Mellish, Com. Jones also made two British naval 
officers prisoners, one of whom was afterwards exchanged 
for Lieut. Josiah, a favourite officer of the gallant Biddle. 

was in the most exposed part of the action. She had three female 
companions, the Baroness of Reidesel, and the wives of two British 
officers, Major Harnage and Lieutenant Reynell ; but, in the event, 
their presence served but little for comfort. Major Harnage was soon 
brought to the surgeons very badly wounded ; and a little while after 
came intelligence that Lieutenant Reynell was shot dead. Imagina- 
tion will want no helps to figure the state of the whole group. 

" From the date of that action to the 7th of October, Lady Harriet 
with her usual serenity, stood prepared for new trials. And it was her 
lot that their severity increased with their numbers. She was again 
exposed to the hearing of the whole action, and at last received the 
shock of her individual misfortune, mixed with the intelligence of the 
general calamity ; the troops were defeated, and Major Ackland, des- 
perately wounded, was a prisoner. 

" The day of the 8th was passed by Lady Harriet and her compan- 
ions in common anxiety ; not a tent or a shed being standing, except 
what belonged to the hospital, their refuge was among the wounded 
and the dying. 

' ' I soon received a message from Lady Harriet, submitting to my 
decision a proposal (and expressing an earnest solicitude to execute it, 
if not interfering with my designs) of passing to the camp of the ene- 
my, and requesting Gen. Gates' permission to attend her husband. 

" Though I was ready to believe (for 1 had experienced) that pa- 
tience and fortitude, in a supreme degree, were to be found, as well as 
every virtue, under the most tender forms, I was astonished at this 
proposal. After so long an agitation of spirits, exhausted not only for 
want of rest, but absolutely for want of food, drenched in rains for 
twelve hours together, that a woman should be capable of such an un- 
dertaking as delivering herself to the enemy, probably in the night, 
and uncertain of what hands she might fall into, appeared an effort 
above human nature. The assistance I was enabled to give was 
small indeed ; I had not even a cup of wine to offer her ; but I was 
told, she had found, from some kind and fortunate hand, a little rum 
and dirty water. All I could furnish to her was an open boat, and a 


The Providence, in a manner wholly inexplicable, left 
the ship Alfred ; and Com. Jones, encumbered with pris- 
oners — encountered by storms — and surrounded by ene- 
mies, prosecuted his cruise alone. He effected a landing, 
demolished every building and establishment connected 
with the whale and cod fisheries, and also a rich transport. 
Bearing away for Isle Royale, as if •" fortune always fa- 
vours the brave," he captured three valuable transports, 
while the frigate Flora, which was convoying them, was 
hard by, concealed in a fog. Soon after, he captured a 
large Liverpool privateer, mounting sixteen heavy guns. 
Thus surrounded with prizes, and having more prisoners 
than crew, he steered for an American port. Off Massa- 
chusetts Bay he was a second time encountered by the 
frigate Milford. But the little Alfred still proved to be 
" Alfred the great." He instructed his prize-masters to 

few lines, written upon dirty and wet paper, to Gen. Gates, recom 
mending her to his protection. 

" Mr. Brudenell, the chaplain to the artillery, readily undertook to 
accompany her, and with one female servant, and the major's valet 
de chambre, (who had a ball which he had received in the late action, 
then in his shoulder,) she rowed down the river to meet the enemy. 
But her distresses were not yet to end. The night was advanced be- 
fore the boat reached the enemy's outposts, and the sentinel would 
not let it pass, nor even come to shore. In vain Mr. Brudenell offer 
ed the flag of truce, and represented the state of the extraordinary 
passenger. The guard, apprehensive of treachery, and punctilious to 
their orders, threatened to fire into the boat, if they stirred before 
daylight. Her anxiety and sufferings were thus protracted through 
seven or eight dark and cold hours ; and her reflections upon that 
reception could not give her very encouraging ideas of the treatment 
she was afterwards to expect. But it is due to justice, at the close of 
this adventure, to say, that she was received and accommodated by 
General Gates, with all the humanity and respect, that her rank, her 
merits, and her fortunes deserved." 


make all possible sail for the nearest port •, and as dark- 
ness approached, placed the Alfred between them and the 
-raised his lights, and suddenly changed his course. 
The Milford continued in chase, a. id the next day, at 3 P. 
M. engaged the Alfred. 

This gallant warrior could not endure the thought of 
lowering that Hag which he first raised. The contest was 
fearfully unequal ; but the Commodore, by dauntless cou~ 
rage, and nautical skill saved his ship and prizes, and tri- 
umphantly entered Boston harbour, Dec. 1, 1776. 

Regardless of wealth, as he was ambitious of fame, he 
paid the crews of the Alfred and Providence their wages 
and prize money out of his own purse, and transmitted 
the remainder ol it to Congress, to aid in the glorious cause 
in which he was now so enthusiastically engaged. 

A vote of thanks from such a body of men as the Old 
Congress, by the recommendation of such a man as 
George Washington, must have elated such a champion as 
John Paul Jones to the highest elevation of joy. Such 
thanks he received, and became more and more devoted to 
the cause of American Independence. 

To speak of the American Navy at the beginning of the 
last quarter of the eighteenth, — at near the close of the first 
quarter of the nineteenth century, would almost excite a 
smile. Indeed American armed ships were then but "cock- 
boats" to the navy of the Republic in 1823. This was 
not the only difficulty. Although there were many gal- 
lant and accomplished commanders, there was no "Com- 
mander in chief of the Navy;" like him whose matchless 
wisdom guided the armies of the struggling States. Fur- 
ther ; there was but little of naval discipline, system, or 
subordination — and there was no concert. 


Commodore Jones, after his arrival in Boston, proposed 
to Congress an important expedition to the Gulf of Mexico 
and the West Indies. It met the entire approbation of that 
body; but was relinquished from either the cowardice, 
malice or jealousy of a senior naval officer who will not be 
named. But this ardent hero could not endure a state of 
inaction or suspense. He knew what he had accomplished, 
and was prepared to attempt any enterprise within the ac- 
complishment of human exertion. 

Early in the year 1777, he took command of the sloop 
of war Ranger, of J 8 guns, destined for France. Thi? 
cruise, as it would carry him to near the scenes of his early 
life, in a new, and in an important capacity, he entered in- 
to it with avidity. 

Upon the coast of France, and the opposite coast of Bri- 
tain, he was unceasingly vigilant, and uncommonly success- 
ful in taking prizes and sending them into French ports. 

In December, 1777, he had the honour and the satisfac- 
tion of entering the port of Nantz, and communicating the 
first intelligence of the splendid victory of the American 
forces under Gen. Gates, over those of Britain, under Gen. 

The bearer of official intelligence of a great victory, is 
regarded with a respect almost equal to the one who 
achieves it. By communicating this exhiliarating intelli- 
gence, Commodore Jones attracted the attention of the 
courtiers of the splendid court of Louis XVI. By this 
victory, France was induced to aid the British colonies ia 
America, in breaking the ligament that previously bound 
them to their natural enemy — Great Britain. France ac- 
knowledged the independence of " The United States of 


America, 1 ' which was deemed a declaration of war against 

Commodore Jones was now determined to sustain the 
character in Europe, which he had acquired in Ameri- 
ca. He repaired to Paris early in 1778, to concert meas- 
ures with the American minister at the Court of St. Cloud. 
He returned to the Ranger, and convoyed a great number 
of American vessels from Nantz to Quiberon Bay, where a 
French fleet with stores for America, and destined for that 
country was lying. That gallant and noble friend of Amer- 
ica, and of the rights of man. Marquis Fayette was on board 
this fleet. 

As the Ranger was entering the bay, Com. Jones sent in a 
Lieutenant to know if his salute would be answered ? By 
a signal he was assured it would. He immediately saluted 
the French Admiral, and he immediately saluted Com. 
Jones — the first salute the American Flag ever received 
from a foreign power. 

When the treaty of alliance between America and France 
was announced to him, he entered the port of Brest in the 
most gallant style, and saluted the Admiral, Count D'Ovil- 
liers, who returned the salute and received Com. Jones 
on board the Bretagne, his flag ship. 

It would seem that this would have been the consumma- 
tion of this aspiring man's wishes ; but when a Scotsman 
begins to acquire wealth, he is like the daughter of the 
horse-leach, crying "give give." — When he begins to ac- 
quire power, he is unsatisfied, until it becomes as near ab- 
solute as possible. 

Commodore Jones now resolved to accomplish some- 
thing beyond convoying merchantmen and capturing prizes. 
He steered for Carrickfurgus, lreiand, from whence the an- 


cestors of Andrew JacksoK emigrated to America, ab 
ten years previous. He omitted to take prizes because i ; . 
wouid diminish his crew ; being determined to achieve some 
heroic deed. He intended to attack the Drake, a heavy 
armed JO gun ship. Boisterous weather prevented him at 
this time from a tcte a tete with that ship, and led him into 
another, the most daring deed in the annals of desperation. 
He selected thirty volunteers, with whom he was deter- 
mined to make a landing in Whitehaven, a large shipping 
port on the Firth of Solway. 

He left the Ranger, and entered a boat at ebb-tide, in the 
night season, when the vessels could not escape — landed 
near the fort, and was the first who mounted the walls. He 
carried the fort — spiked forty pieces of cannon — set fire to 
the shipping, and, by daylight, entered again on board the 
Ranger. The alarm spread rapidly through the country 
and the shores were lined with soldiers, who could only 
look with fear and chagrin at the American Flag proudly 
waving upon the little Ranger. 

Commodore Jones, landed at his birth place, and visited 
his father, who still remained the humble industrious, and 
pious peasant. Probably he would not have exchanged the 
happiness he derived from that Scotch devotion so admi- 
rably described by Burns in his " Cottager's Saturday-night" 
for the wealth and fame of bis son. 

The reader will recollect that the Earl of Selkirk dis- 
carded Jones in early life. The Commodore now deter- 
mined to take his Lordship prisoner, and entertain him on 
board the Ranger. In this he was disappointed, as the 
Earl was in Parliament in London. His officers and men, 
contrary to his wishes, rifled the castle of a large amount of 
plate, which Jones afterwards purchased and returned to 

: \f. JOHN PAUL JONES. 97 

his Lordship, and received from him a letter of thanks, 
couched in the most grateful and flattering terms. 

This was perfectly in character with this gallant ; 
culiar man. He would have given more to have had thi 
Earl a prisoner on board the Ramger, than to have had the 
fee-simple of all his Lordships domains in Scotland. 

The commander of the British ship Drake, now in turn 
went in pursuit of the Ranger. In the latter end of April. 
1778, about six weeks after the loss of Com. Biddle in the 
Randolph, the two ships hove in sight of each other. Com. 
Jones disguised his ship as much as possible — masked his 
guns — concealed his men, and had the appearance of a 
merchantman. A boat's crew from the Drake approach- 
ed to reconnoitre the Ranger, and were suddenly made 
prisoners. The Drake immediately bore into action. 
The Ranger laid to, until the enemy came within pistol 
shot. She then poured in her lire with such admirable 
gunnery and rapidity, that in one hour, the hull and rig- 
ging of the Drake were severely injured — her Captain and 
1st Lieutenant slain, and over forty men killed and wound- 
ed. She struck her flag to the Ranger, and was carried 
triumphantly into Brest on the 7th May, 1778. 

Com. Jones had beside taken a number of prizes, and 
had with him more than 200 prisoners, for which the im- 
perious court of St. James was necessitated to deliver the 
same number of American Rebels. 

Count D'Orvilliers sent an express to Dr. Franklin, 
American minister, informing him of this brilliant affair, 
and his majesty Louis XVI. gave an order for Com. Jones 
to repair to Versailles. 

France and England were now seriously at war, and 
very important designs were communicated to him. It i? 


unnecessary to detail the various plans conceived, and 
then relinquished. He was ill) calculated to digest a sys- 
tem of extensive operations. The negotiations of the 
courts at Versailles and Amsterdam were not so well cal- 
culated for the genius of John Paul Jones, as negotiation at 
the cannon's mouth. r I hat was a language he better un- 
derstood than he did that of the diplomatist. Although in 
the midst of the blandishments and charms of France, he 
became impatient at the delays which from time to time oc- 
curred. He was determined to take his little Ranger, 
and range where he chose. 

At length an ill-appointed and ill-fitted squadron was pre- 
pared for him. The American frigate Alliance was in 
France. An old ship, which he named Le Bon Homme Rich- 
ard, (the Good Man Richard) was fitted up with old cannon, 
unfit for a ship of war. She was called a 40 gun ship ; but 
was no ways equal to the late American frigate Essex, of 
32 guns. The Pallas was a large merchantmen, and was 
furnished with about 30 little eight pounders. The Ven- 
geance with 12 three pounders, and Cerf with 13 nine 

The crews were of the worst possible description. Un- 
disciplined, inexperienced, mutinous, and turbulent; of al- 
most all nations and tongues, they cared little about glory, 
and were almost wholly bent upon plunder. Prize money 
instead of glory was their object. 

With this incongruous mass of materials, called a squad- 
ron, Com. Jones sailed from Groays, in France, upon the 
14th August, 1779, the Richard, flagship. 

The object was to cruise for the Baltic fleet, which was 
known to be on the homeward bound passage. 

The squadron was dispersed either by the weather or the 


insubordination of the crews. Com. Jones captured a 
number of prizes and privateers vvitli the Richard, and sent 
them to the most convenient ports in France. 

At length, upon the 2 id September, the Baltic fleet, un- 
der convoy of the Seraphis, one of the heaviest and best ap- 
pointed frigates in the British navy, of 44 guns; and the 
new Countess of Scarborough of 22 guns ; two ships, con- 
sidering their batteries and munition, equal to Com. Jones' 
whole squadron, appeared off the coast. 

They had approached within two leagues of the coast of 
England, and in sight of Scarborough Castle. The Alli- 
ance was at a distance, lying to ; and the Pallas hauled her 
wind ; so that the Good Man Richard was to encounter the 
Seraphis and Countess, single handed. IJer crew was di- 
minished, and there was but one lieutenant on board. 

Before mentioning any particulars of the engagement, I 
have the satisfaction of presenting the reader with Com. 
Jones official account of the desperate battle which fol- 
lowed. In point of brevity and perspicuity, it will suffer 
but little from a comparison with the justly admired, naval 
letters in the second war with Britain — 
* Copy of a letter from John Paul Jones, late commander 
of the ship of war Good Man Richard, dated on board 
the ship of war Seraphis, off the Texel, Oct. 31, 1 779. 
" I have only time, my dear friends, to inform you, that 
I have this day anchored here, having taken this ship in the 
night of the 23d ult. on the coast of England, after a battle 
of three hours and a half; two hours and a half of that time 
the Good Man Richard and this ship being fast along side of 
one another, both ships being in flames, and the Good Man 
Richard making water faster than all the pumps could de- 
liver it. Tbis ship mounts 44 guns, and has two entire 


batteries, one of them eighteen pounders, so that my situa- 
tion was severe enough, to have to deal with such an ene- 
my, in such a dreadful situation. Judge then, what it must 
have been when the Alliance came up, towards the close of 
the action ; and, instead of assisting me, directed her whole 
fire against the Good Man Richard, not once or twice, but 
repeatedly, after being spoke to, and shewing a private sig- 
nal of recognizance. The Alliance killed eleven men and 
mortally wounded an officer on the Good Man Richard's 
forecastle, at one volley. I have lost, in killed and wound- 
ed, the best part of my men. The Good Man Richard 
went to the bottom on the morning of the 25th ult. in spite 
of every effort to bring her into port. No action before 
was ever, in all respects, so bloody, so severe, and so last- 
ing. I beg of you to communicate this, with my best re- 
spects, to the gentlemen of your port. 

" The fire was not quite extinguished on board of the 
Good Man Richard, till eight hours after the enemy had 
struck: and at last it had reached within a few feet of the 
magazine. We lost all the stores and all our private ef- 
fects 5 but no lives were lost from the conflagration. The 
Pallas took, at the same time, an armed ship of twenty 6 



N. B. The prizes taken and ransomed by the Good Man 
Richard during her cruize of about three months, amount 
to at least about a million of livres." 

As this action excited astonishment and wonder in Eu- 
rope as well as in America, I offer the letter of Capt. Pear- 
son, of the Seraphis, as a specimen of British veracity half a 
century ago. The antiquity and scarcity of such revolu- 
tionary papers, give them a great value at this time—- 


" Pallas, French frigate, in Congress service, ) 
Texel/ October 6, 1779. \ 

You will be pleased to inform the lords commissioners of 
the Admiralty, that on the 23d ult. being close in with the 
Scarborough, about 1 1 o'clock, a boat came on board with 
a letter from the Bailiffs of that corporation, giving infor- 
mation of a flying squadron of the enemy's ships being on 
the coast, and a part of the said squadron having been seen 
from thence the day before, standing to the southward. As 
soon as I received this intelligence, I made the signal for 
the convoy to bear down under my lee, and repeated with 
two guns - y notwithstanding which, the van of the convoy 
kept their wind, with all sail stretching out to the south- 
ward from under Flamborough head, till between twelve 
and one, when the headmost of them got in sight of the 
enemy's ships which were then in chase of them ; they 
then tacked and made the best of their way under the shore 
for Scarborough, &c. letting fly their top-gallant sheets and 
firing guns ; upon which I made all the sail I could to the 
windward, to get between the enemy's ships and the con- 
voy, which I soon effected. At one o'clock we got sight of 
the enemy's ships from mast head, and about four we made 
them plain from the deck to be three large ships and a brig, 
upon which I made the Countess of Scarborough's signal to 
join me, she being in shore with the convoy, at the same 
time I made the signal for the convoy to make the best of 
their way, and repeated the signal with two guns ; I then 
brought to, let the Countess of Scarborough come up, and 
cleared ship for action. At half past five the Countess of 
Scarborough joined me, the enemy's ships then bearing 
down upon us, with a light breeze atS. S. W. at six tacked, 


and laid our head in shore, in order to keep the ground the 
better between the enemy's ships and the convoy : soon af- 
ter which we perceived the ships bearing down upon us to 
be a two decked ship and two frigates ; but from keeping off 
and on upon us, on bearing down, we could not discern 
what colours they were under. At about 20 minutes past 
seven, the largest ship of the three brought to, on our lar- 
board bow, within musket shot : I hailed him, and asked 
him what ship it was ; they answered in English the Princes- 
Royal ; I then asked who they belonged to, they answered 
evasively ; on which I told them, if they did not answer di- 
rectly, I would fire into them ; they answered with a shot, 
which was instantly returned with a broadside ; he backed 
his topsails, and dropped upon our quarter within pistol 
shot, then filled again, put his helm a-weather, and run us 
on board upon our weather quarter, and attempted to board 
us, but being repulsed, he sheered off, upon which I back- 
ed our topsails, in order to get square with him again, 
which, as soon as he observed, he then filled, put his helm, 
a weather, and laid us athwart hawse ; his mizen shrouds 
took our jib boom, which hung him for some time, till it at 
last gave way, and we dropt alongside of each other head 
and stern, when the fluke of our spare anchor hooking quar- 
ter, we became so close fore and aft, that the muzzles of 
our guns touched each others sides. In this position we 
engaged from half past eight till half past ten ; during which 
time, from the great quantity and variety of combustible 
matters which they threw in upon our decks, chains, and 
in short into every part of the ship, we were on fire not less 
than ten or twelve times in different parts of the ship, and 
it was with the greatest difficulty and exertion imaginable 
at times that we were able to get it extinguished. At the 


«,tme time the largest of the two frigates kept sailing round 
us the whole action, raking us fore and aft, by which means 
she killed or wounded almost every man on the quarter 
and main decks. 

About half past nine, either from a hand grenade being 
thrown in at one of the lower deck ports, or from some 
other accident, a cartridge of powder was set on fire, the 
flames of which running from cartridge to cartridge all the 
way aft, blew up the whole of the people and officers that 
were abaft the mainmast, from which unfortunate circum- 
stance all these guns were rendered useless for the remain- 
der of the action, and I fear the greatest part of the people 
will lose their lives. At ten o'clock they called for quar- 
ters from the ship alongside, and said they had struck : 
hearing this, I called upon the captain to know if they had 
struck, or if he asked for quarters ; but no answer being 
made, after repeating my words two or three times, I call- 
ed for the boarders, and ordered them to board, which they 
did ; but the moment they were on board her, they discov- 
ered a superior number laying under cover with pikes in 
their hands ready to receive them, on which our people re- 
treated instantly into our own ship, and returned to their 
guns again till past ten, when the frigate coming across our 
stern, and pouring her broadside into us again, without our 
being able to bring a gun to bear on her, I found it in vain, 
and in short impracticable, from the situation we were in, 
to stand out any longer with the least prospect of success \ 
1 therefore struck, (our main- mast at the same time went 
by the board.) The first Lieutenant and myself were im- 
mediately escorted into the ship along side, when we found 
her to be an American ship of war, called the Bon Homme 
Richard, of 40 guns, and 375 men, commanded by Capr. 

104 rsAVAL HEROEb. 

Paul Jones ; the other frigate which engaged us proved to 
be the Alliance, of 40 guns, and 300 men ; and the third 
frigate, which engaged and took the Countess of Scarbo- 
rough, after two hours action, to be the Pallas, a French 
frigate of 32 guns and 275 men ; the Vengeance, an armed 
brig of 12 guns and 70 men, all in Congress service, and 
under the command of Paul Jones. They fitted out and 
sailed from Port l'Onent the latter end of July, and came 
north about ; they had on board 300 English prisoners 
which they have taken in different vessels in their way 
round, since they left France, and have ransomed some 
others. On my going on board the Bonne Homme Richard, 
I found her in the greatest distress ; her quarter and coun- 
ter on the lower deck entirely drove in, and the whole of 
her lower deck guns dismounted ; she was also on fire in two 
places, and six or seven feet water in her hold, which kept 
increasing upon them all night and the next day, till they 
were obliged to quit her, and she sunk with a great number 
of her wounded people on board her. She had 306 men 
killed and wounded in the action ; our loss in the Seraphis 
was also very great. My officers and people in general 
behaved well, and I should be very remiss in my attention 
to their merit were I to omit recommending the remains of 
them to their lordships' favour. I must at the same time 
beg leave to inform their lordships that Capt. Piercy, in the 
Countess of Scarborough, was not in the least remiss in his 
duty, he having given me every assistance in his power, 
and as much as could be expected from such a ship, in en- 
gaging the attention of the Pallas, a frigate of 32 guns, du- 
ring the whole action. 

I am extremely sorry for the misfortune that has happen- 
ed, that of losing his Majesty's ship I had the honor to com- 


iiiand ; but at the same time, I flatter myself with the 
hopes, that their lordships will be convinced that she has 
not been given away ; but on the contrary, that every ex- 
ertion has been used to defend her : and that two essential 
pieces of service to our country have arisen from it ; the 
one in wholly oversetting the cruise and intentions of this 
flying squadron ; the other in rescuing the whole of a val- 
uable convoy from falling into the hands of the enemy, 
which must have been the case had I acted otherwise than 

1 did. We have been driven about in the North Sea ever 
since the action, endeavouring to make to any port we pos- 
sibly could, but have not been able to get into any place 
till to-day we arrived in the Texel. 

Herewith I inclose you the most exact list of the killed 
and wounded I have been able to procure, from my people 
being dispersed amongst the different ships, and having 
been refused permission to muster them. There are, I 
find, many more, both killed and wounded, than appears in 
the inclosed list, but their names as yet I find impossible to 
ascertain ; as soon as I possibly can, I shall give your 
Lordships a full account of the whole. 

I am, Sir, your most obedient and most humble servant, 

R. Pearson. 

P. S. I am refused permission to wait on Sir Joseph 
Yorke, and even to go on shore. 

Abstract of the list of killed and wounded. 
Killed, 49. Wounded, 68. 

Among the killed are boatswain, pilot, 1 master's mate, 

2 midshipmen, the coxswain, 1 quarter-master, 27 seamen, 
and 15 marines. Among the wounded are the second 
lieutenant, Michael Stanhope, and Lieut. Whitman, second 
lieutenant of marines, 2 surgeon's mates, 6 petty officers, 46 
aeamen, and 12 marines." 


From other publications of that period, and from the 
writings of Com. Jones, the following facts may safely be 
relied upon as authentic. 

The action commenced at 7 P. M. within pistol shot. 
The Richard sustained it for an hour and was on the point 
of sinking. Any body but John Paul Jones, and David 
Porter would have struck ; but, in a state of desperation, 
he grappled the Seraphis ; and, with his own hands, fasten- 
ed the Richard to that ship. In a short time, every one 
of her guns, except four, upon the forecastle, were burst, 
or rendered useless. Com. Jones repaired there himself: 
and although dark, he could discover the yellow mainmast, 
of the Seraphis, at which he fired with great effect. The 
swivels, grenades, and musketry in the tops of the Richard 
were annoying the crew of the Seraphis in a terrible man- 
ner. The fire from her almost ceased, when a panic struck 
the surviving crew of the Richard, from losing the use of 
one of the pumps by a shot. A report run through the 
ship that Com. Jones and the only Lieutenant were slain. 
The gunner ascended the quarter deck to strike the flag ; 
and there found the undismayed Commodore, working his 
three remaining guns. 

The admiration of the Captain of the Seraphis was ex- 
cited to the highest pitch, at the dauntless courage of Jones, 
and he exclaimed to him, " I give you an opportunity to 
strike ; if you do not, I will sink you at the next broadside." 
The indignant Jones replied, in a rage, — "Sink me if you 
can — if I must go to the devil, I had rather strike to him 
than to you." The Alliance came up ; and from the ex- 
cessive darkness of the night, and the unusual closeness of 
the action, injured the Richard more than she did the Se- 
raphis. (See preceding letter.) The battle continued to 


i age in a manner not equalled in ancient or modern naval 
warfare, unless it were in the action of the Essex with the 
Ph<ebe and Cherub in 1813. Towards the close of it, a 
seaman in the tops of the Richard, seized a bucket of hand 
grenades ; and, with a lighted match, passed along the main 
yard, until he was directly over the deck of the Seraphis. 
He then let them off one at a time, to the terror and con- 
sternation of the crew. Com. Jones, with his three little 
guns had shot away the mainmast of the Seraphis. The 
commander then called for quarters, and struck his flag. 

The gallant and proud commander of the Seraphis, with 
his officers, now approached Com. Jones, who was in the 
habiliment of a common seaman ; and presented him with 
his sword. 

This was at 1 1 P. M. Ten of Jones' seamen escaped in 
a shallop, and were afterwards examined by English mag- 
istrates. The Richard, after every exertion to save her 
and carry her into port, as an object of curiosity, went to 
the bottom two days after the battle, carrying to the bottom 
all the property of Jones, excepting what he was to derive 
from the prizes, which he had sent into French ports ; from 
these, however he obtained nothing until after the peace 
between America and England. 

The admiralty of Britain sent out more than forty ves- 
sels of different classes, to capture Com. Jones. 

The following extract from an English paper, points out 
the following as a part of them. >" Portsmouth, Monday 
afternoon, Sept. 13, 1779. Sir John Lockhart Ross hav- 
ing struck his flag from on board the Royal George, and 
hoisted it on board the Romney, has this instant got under 
way, with the Berwick of 74 guns, the Hon. Keith Stewart ; 
the Biensfaisant, of 64, Capt. M'Bride ; the Jupiter of 50, 


Captain Reynolds ; and the following frigates, viz. Diana. 
Phoenix, Southampton, Ambuscade, Crescent, Milford, Bril- 
liant, and Porcupine ; the Bonetta, Cormorant, and Hele- 
na sloops ; the Griflin, and Nimble cutters ; and Firebrand 
and Incendiary fireships." 

It is a circumstance, not unworthy of notice, that the 
"Milford" which twice before, in 1776, had encountered 
Jones upon the American coast, was one of this fleet. 

An European statesman, under date of Nov. 19,1779, 
says " The Dutch seem at present entirely to disregard 
Great Britain ; notwithstanding Sir Joseph Yorke's memo- 
rials, they allow Captain Paul Jones to refit his little squad- 
ron, and give him every assistance possible ; nay, he is 
even allowed possession of a small fort in the Texel, in 
which he has put his sick and wounded seamen, — his own 
marines constantly mount guard, and Continental colours 
are hoisted. The English do him the honour to attend 
with eight ships at the south and four at the north entrance 
of the Texel to watch his motions." It may be added— 
the Dutch peremptorily refused to deliver up the Seraphis. 
and Countess of Scarborough, when demanded. 

He shifted his flag to the Alliance, American frigate ; 
and, in view of the British Squadron in the Downs, effect- 
ed his passage to Corunna, in France, where he arrived 
in the height of glory, and in the depth of bankruptcy, in 
January 1780. He soon after repaired to Paris — was re- 
ceived by Doct. Franklin with distinction — at public pla- 
ces with applause, and finally had an audience with Louis 

It excites a smile at this period that the appearance of 
Jones upon the coast of England, in 1 779 with an ill-fitted 
little squadron should have excited such consternation, 


when, id lt>05, they treated with sovereign contempt the 
vast preparation of Bonaparte to effect a landing. But 
while they feared him as a gallant ocean-warrior, they 
were compelled to admire hirn for his magnanimity. He 
never made war upon defenceless villages, or drove the 
harmless cottagers houseless and destitute into a cruel 
world. To repel the infamous aspersions of his infamous 
British biographer, who calls him the " American Corsair," 
I will here present the reader with a few extracts from 
more dignified British writers who dared to speak the truth 
of Americans and of Jones, in the face of a corrupt and 
imperious court. The commendation, coming from an 
enemy, is doubly valuable. The following is from a Lon- 
don Gazette of Sept. 1779. 

" By an examination of the four men belonging to one 
of Paul Jones' squadron, before the mayor and magistrates 
of Hull, it appears that Jones' orders were not to burn any 
houses or tozons. What an example of honour and great- 
ness does America thus shew to us ! while our troops are 
running about from town to town on their coasts, and 
burning every thing with a wanton, wicked and deliberate 
barbarity. Dr. Franklin gives no orders to retaliate. He 
is above it. And there was a time when an English Min- 
ister would have disdained to make war in so villainous a 
mode. It is a disgrace to the nation. But notwithstand- 
ing the moderation hitherto shewn by the Americans upon 
our coast, it is to be feared that moderation will cease in a 
little time. 

" Paul Jones could have burned Leith the other day with 

the greatest ease, and another little town near it ; but his 

orders were peremptory not to burn any town. Bute and 

Knox must whitewash Lord George Germain, and say. 



that the burning the towns lately in America, was not done 
by his orders. Falsehood agrees with all their characters* 

" Many of the particulars of the burning the two towns 
in Connecticut, viz. Fairfield and Norwalk, have been re- 
ceived, but they are too shocking to relate. The brutality 
and cruelty of the soldiers in several instances, are too 
dreadful, as well as unfit to be printed. These horrible, 
scenes are an indelible scandal to our arms. And the 
ministers and officers, who can order and execute such 
proceedings, must be detested by all mankind," 

Another London Gazette of the same month thus pours 
forth the language of indignation : 

" What will be the consequence of burning Fairfield and 
Norwalk ? Paul Jones h3s done no mischief yet : But had 
he known of the burning of these towns, is it not probable 
he would have burned Leith and Hull ? They were as 
completely at his mercy. When this burning business 
comes to be retaliated upon our own coasts, we shall thea 
see our ministers' scribblers expatiating upon the cruelty 
of it, of its being contrary to the rules of war, &c. and those 
public prints, which are paid and bribed by the public 
money, for deserting and betraying the public interest, 
who print every he for ministers, but refuse every truth 
against them, will be the foremost to publish those com- 
plaints, which they now approve in others. The nation 
cannot be misled much longer ; the tricks of the court in 
buying up the newspapers, and sending about their runners, 
are become so obvious, people cannot now be duped by 
them as they have been." 

The French minister of Marine, now furnished Com. 
Jones with the Ariel of 20 guns, a king's ship, in which he 
sailed for America, in October, 1780. On his passage he 


,^ed and captured the British ^hip Triumph, of 20 guns. 
He arrived in America early in the year 1781. 

He repaired to Philadelphia, where the highest honours 
awaited him. In April, 1781, Congress passed a vote of 
thanks " For the zeal, the prudence, and the intrepidityj 
with which he sustained the honour of the American flag ; 
for his bold and successful enterprise, with a view to re- 
deem from captivity the citizens of America, who had fal- 
len into the hands of the English ; and for the eminent 
services by which he had added lustre to his own character 
and his associates." 

That august body, also presented him with a Gold Med- 
al, as a token of the high estimation in which he was heid 
by the Congress of the American Republic. 

At this time, the long and arduous contest between Amer- 
ica and Britain was drawing to a clos^e by the resistless and 
powerful attitude in which the American Republic appear- 
ed. Britain, instead of devastating what she stiil called her 
American Colonies by armies, fleets, conflagration, massa- 
cres, and destruction, was now willing to acknowledge 
their Independence,* and enter into negotiations for peace. 
But until a definitive treaty of Peace was concluded, the 
active spirit of Jones could not rest. 

A ship of the line, the America, of 74 guns, had been 
built, designed for Com. Jones ; but she was presented to 
Louis XVI. to supply the place of the Magninque, French 
74, lost on the American coast. 

* In a London paper, the beginning- of 1 7K0, is this paragraph. " A 
cessation of arms has again been proposed on the part of France and 
the rebel Colonies, through the mediation of the King of Sardinia, 
which the British cabinet have refused to listen to, unless the depend- 
ence of America on the parent state, be made the ground work of 
such cessation." 


He now entered the Triumphant, flag ship, of the Mar 
quis D'Vandreuil, — was received with the utmost distinc- 
tion, and assigned to one of the highest births on board. 
The object of the Marquis's expedition was prevented by 
a general peace, by which the Independence of the Amer- 
ican btates was fully acknowledged. Jones returned to 
America to enjoy the political Independence of the Repub- 
lic; but as to that independence which arises from wealth, 
he could not enjoy it, for he was in possession of none. 
His wealth was on the other side of the Atlantic. In 1783, 
he went to France — obtained for himself his officers and 
seamen the full amount of prize-money due them, and re- 
turned to the bosom of his adopted country, to enjoy the 
blessings of that freedom which he had so gallantly and un- 
ceasingly aided in obtaining. 

He selected the then new state of Kentucky, as his place 
of residence. In the midst of a high-minded and noble 
race of Americans, he enjoyed the inestimable blessings of 
a free government ; and lived long enough to behold the 
Republic rise from a state of political infancy, to the ma- 
jestic state of national greatness. 

He closed his active, eventful, and diversified life in 1801, 
at the age of fifty-three years ; leaving an example to the 
youth of his native and his adopted country, of the aston- 
ishing effects resulting from " decision of character." The 
foibles of his early life serve as beacons to avoid the rocks 
and quicksands of rash precipitation. His whole life, most 
clearly evinces, that the most humble birth, and disheart- 
ening circumstances, furnish no insuperable obstacle against 
an ardent and determined spirit, and a decided character. 



Persuaded that the reader will be gratified with Europe- 
an details, both English and French, concerning the daring 
expedition of Com. Jones, I present them exactly as pub- 
lished in (heir papers in 1779. It will serve the double 
purpose of confirming the preceding sketch, and also to 
ihow, that the hireling editors of his Majesty in London, 
under Lord Germaine, could traduce and slander Ameri- 
can champions, as well as the " royal printer" Rivington 
in the city of New York under Sir William Howe. 
Extract of a letter from Scarbro, Sept. 21, 1779. 

" Yesterday a ship (1 two decker) a frigate, a sloop and 
a cutter, appeared about a mile oil" the Pier, supposed to 
be French ; they fired at several ships, took two, and obli- 
ged two others to run into the harbour, damaging their 
rigging and sails, by keeping a continual fire after them ; 
they then steered their course to the northward." 

Sept. 27. A letter from Sunderland, dated the 20th of 
September says, " that an express arrived there the 18th 
from Aymouth, with information, that Paul Jones was 
off there, with five sail of ships of war, and 2000 troops on 
board; that on the 19th they appeared off Sunderland, 
and came up within two miles, which put the inhabitants 
into great confusion, as they expected them to land every 
hour, or destroy the ships in the harbour. The inhabi- 
tants and soldiers got immediately under arms, and contin- 
ued so at the writing of the letter, as they were still in 

Extract of a letter from Stockton, Sept, 21. 

" Copy of an express which arrived here this day from 
Sunderland, dated September 21.. 

" The under mentioned ships having appeared off this 


place under the command of Paul Jones, we have sent the 
bearers to inform all light colliers they may meet with, to 
take harbour as soon as possible, and there to remain till 
they receive advices of their being off the coast ; the bear- 
ers are to proceed to Bridlington with all speed. Two 
ships appearing to be 50 guns each ; one frigate about 40 
guns : one brig, like a collier; two sloops ; one snow, and 
one brig both armed. E. Linshell, J. Young, 

J. Marshall, J. Smith." 

On Saturday noon, two gentlemen of the corporation ol 
Hull, arrived express at the Admiralty with the alarming 
account, that the celebrated American corsair, Paul Jones, 
had entered the river Humber on Thursday last, and chased 
a vessel to within a mile of the Pier, where he sunk, burn- 
ed and destroyed 16 sail of valuable vessels, which threw 
the whole town and neighbourhood into the utmost con- 
sternation ; as a very few men in armed boats, might have 
laid the town in ashes. He had taken nine or ten colliers 
and other vessels a day or two before he appeared at Hull ; 
one of which, being left to the charge of only four men, 
her former crew rose upon them, and cairied the vessel in- 
to a port near Hull ; and which men state the strength oi 
his squadron to be as follows : 

A Boston built frigate with 40 guns upon one deck. 
(Jones' ship.) 

A French ship (an old Indiaman,) of 44 guns. 

Two American frigates of 32 guns each, new. 

One 20 gun ditto. 

Two brigantines of 18 guns, and two small tenders. 
Some of this squadron conducted the prizes they had made 
to the coast of France, and returned to Hull the Friday 
noon, attended by other Dunkirk privateers. 


On Saturday night another express arrived at the Admi- 
ralty from Hull, (which set out at three in the morning) 
with (he further disagreeable intelligence, that Paul Joncs r 
squadron, after having done more mischief in the shipping 
on Friday, had fell in with the Baltic fleet, (for which pur- 
pose he principally ventured to cruise in the North Channel) 
and had taken their convoy, the Seraphis man of war, of 44 
guns, Capt. Pearson, and the armed ship hired to govern- 
ment by a gentleman of Hull called the Countess of Scar- 
borough, Capt. Percy, of 24 guns. This action was seen 
by thousands of spectators, and the last express was des- 
patched in consequence of it, and seeing the other ships of 
Jones' squadron making havock among the fleet ; most of 
which, however, had taken shelter near Fiamborough and 
the Head. 

From the four captured Americans it was discovered 
that this fleet sailed with stores for three months, from 
Brest the beginning of August ; and that two other small 
squadrons were to sail soon after them for the coasts of 
Ireland and Wales. They were all in the service of the 
Congress, and few or no French seamen on board. 

Their plan generally was to alarm the coasts of Wales, 
Ireland, the western parts of Scotland, and the North Chan- 
nel, while the combined fleets kept Sir Charles Hardy at 
bay to the westward. Jones took several prizes on the 
coast of Ireland, particularly two armed transports with 
stores for New York, in the North Seas, and near the Firth 
of Forth, and had it in his power to burn Leith ; but his 
orders are only to destroy shipping. His squadron is now 
but weakly manned, owing to the great number of prizes 
he has taken, arid it will likely fall an easy conquest to the 
16 sail of men of war who have orders to go after him. 


The Seraphis, man of war, lost her main-mast, bowsprit, 
and mizen top mast, before she struck ; and the Countess 
of Scarborough made an exceeding good defence against 
one of the 32 gun frigates. The enemy's 44 gun ship was 
not in the action, and the Seraphis struck to Jones' ship 
and the other 32 gun frigate. 

Expresses also arrived on Saturday from Sunderland, 
stating that Paul Jones had taken 1 6 sail of colliers. 

In consequence of the capture of so many colliers, and 
the interception of the trade ; the price of coals will be 

Instead of having the dominion of the sea, it is now evi- 
dent that we are not able to defend our own coast from 

Extract of a letter from Newcastle, Sept. 25. 

" The little squadron commanded by Paul Jones, after 
leaving the Firth of Forth, directed its course along the 
coast southward, and excited no small fears in the inhabit- 
ants along shore as they passed. About five on Sunday 
afternoon, they appeared ofFTynmouth, and after parading 
a while in the offing, proceeded onwards to Sunderland, 
and so much alarmed the inhabitants of that place, that 
many of them immediately had their valuable effects buri- 
ed in the earth, or conveyed up the country. The militia 
there beat to arms, and, with many of the town's people, 
lined the shore until the next morning : but no descent 
was attempted, the enemy continued their course to the 

" The Emerald frigate of 32 guns, appeared off Sunder- 
land on Monday morning, when four fry-boat men were 
sent off to her, to give information of the above squadron ; 
the sea running exceeding high at the time made the spec- 


tators on shore fear much for their safety ; but happily they 
e llec ted their errand, and were kindly received on board. 

" Monday the Content sailed from Shields, and joined 
the Emerald frigate to go in quest of the above squadron. 

" The following particulars are from the information of 
the master of the Speedwell sloop, of Hull, which was ta- 
ken and ransomed -by the said squadron, and who made 
oath to the fact thereof before the Mayor of this town on 

" Sunday last, about four leagues off Tynmouth bar, the 
Speedwell sloop of Hull, and the Union brig of Chatham, 
were taken by the Pallas, an American friate or barque, of 
34 nine pounders, in company with a two decked ship of 44 
eighteen pounders, (name not known) commanded by Paul 
Jones, and a snow of 14 nine pounders, called the Ven- 
geance, (master's name not known.) After taking them. 
Jones and the master of the Pallas disagreed concerning 
the capture. Jones proposed to turn the brig into a fire 
ship, and to send her into Shields harbour, to which the 
commander of the Pallas would not consent ; the master of 
the Pallas proposed to ransom the sloop, as she had a wo- 
man with child on board, to which Jones would not consent. 
However, the next day, about 12 leagues off the land, be- 
tween the Scarborough and Filay Bay, the brig was plun- 
dered and sunk, and the sloop ransomed for 300/. the mate 
taken hostage. Jones had one or two, and the Pallas three 
or four English masters, and a number of other prisoners 
on board, belonging to ships that had been taken and de- 
stroyed. The master of the sloop said he was informed 
that Jones had 200 marines on board. Jones declared that 
his orders were to ransom none, but to burn, sink, or de- 
stroy all. The master of the Pallas, in the ransom bill 


styles himself thus : " Denis Nicolas Cotineau, of Keloguen, 
Captain of a man of war in the service of the United States 
of America, and Commander of the American frigate the 
Pallas." They hoisted English colours, but the captain of 
the sloop saw that they had also American and Swedish co- 

Friday morning the principal inhabitants of Yarmouth 
met, and agreed to petition the lords of the Admiralty for a 
number of ships to be sent down for the better protection 
of that town and trade. 

The Fly sloop of war, that beat off the two privateers 
who engaged him in hopes of capturing the packets, allur- 
ed by the expectation ofa large ransom for the noble pas- 
sengers, is got safe into the Elbe. The Fly carried only 
14 guns, and was scanty of powder. The privateers were 
stoutly manned, and one of them carried 20 guns, and the 
other 13. 

Extract of a letter from Hull, Sept. 25. 

" On examination of one of the ship's crew retaken from 
Paul Jones, we learn, that he had pilots on board for every 
part of this coast, from Edinburgh to Harwich, and that he 
had taken 15 sail of vessels ; some he had ransomed and 
others sent to France — that he had 500 men on board his 
own ship, when he left Brest ; and that the complements of 
the whole fleet were above 2000 ; that they had provisions 
for three months, and an amazing quantity of military stores, 
as shot and gun powder ; that the seamen were exercised 
daily with small arms, in case of their going on shore, as a 
debarkation was intended, when a convenient place and 
opportunity offered ; that the major part of the crews were 
English and Irish, many of them taken out of the prisons at 
Brest and St, Maloes, where any prisoner was offered hi? 


liberty to serve on board his fleet — There were very few 
Americans, but more French, and some neutrals, as Dutch 
and Germans. They gave them but small bounties at first 
for the men to enter, as the promises that were made them 
that they would all return with fortunes, had a great effect 5 
but men growing scarce, they were obliged to pay very 
handsomely for them, and some of the ships were obliged 
to come away without the complement intended, as they 
all brought more away than they had need to work the ship 
and fight the guns, in order to be the better enabled to man 
the prizes they should take, and not reduce their proper 
complement, in case of meeting with a powerful enemy." 

The master of a sloop from Harwich, who arrived yes- 
terday in the Pool, saw, on Saturday last, no less than 1 1 
sail of men of war going in search of Paul Jones, and among 
them was the Edgar of 74 guns. 

London, October 1. 
Extract of a letter from Scarborough, dated the 26th of 
September, 1779. 

" Last Wednesday the red flag was hoisted at the castle, 
as a signal that the enemy was in sight. It proved to be 
Paul Jones and his squadron. He kept our coasts several 
days, and spread so universal a terror, that the inhabitants 
quitted the city. He cannonaded the town most severely. 
The following circumstances are mentioned in a deposition 
of a sailor, who escaped from the squadron: The squad- 
ron consisted of 8 vessels ; they sailed from L'Orient to 
the western coast of Ireland, from thence to the north 
shore of Scotland, where they took a most valuable prize, 
bound to Quebec with military stores, and a Liverpool let- 
ter of marque, and sunk several colliers near Whitby. Ha- 
ving cruized six days between Berwick and Humber. they 

120 ^AVAL HEROEs. 

met the Baltic fleet, escorted by a 40 and a 20 gun ship, 
They first attacked Jones' ships ; the contest continued 
four hours, when Jones 1 fire was interrupted, but the Bri- 
tish man of war was finally obliged to strike, on the coming 
up of the American frigate Alliance, one of Jones' squad- 
ron. Jones' crew were then obliged to call for the boats 
of the Alliance, to save them, as their ship was sinking. 
This sailor and six others took that opportunity to escape. 
They add the following particulars : Towards the end of 
the combat, the British captain called to Paul Jones to 
strike or he wonld sink his ship the next broadside. The 
intrepid American answered, " sink me if you can, if I 
must go to the devil, I had rather strike to him than to 
you." Jones fought in sailor's frock and trowsers, with a 
large girdle round his waist, in which hung twelve pistols, 
and a large cutlass in his hand. The sailors say they saw 
him blow out the brains of seventeen of his men, for aban- 
doning their posts. During the action an attempt was 
made by a few British desperadoes he had picked up in 
France, to relieve the prisoners he had below decks, with 
a view to surrender the ship — the Seraphis (the vessel he 
now fought with and took) was new, and built on a new 
construction, sailed wonderfully fast, and was copper bot- 
tomed. Twenty-five vessels in different divisions have 
been sent in pursuit of Jones, but it is thought he is gone 
towards Norway. 

Fxtract of a letter from L'Orient, dated Oct. 22, 1779, to 
a gentleman in this city. 
" The gallant behaviour of Capt. Paul Jones, at present 
engages the whole attention here. In my last I informed 
you, that he had the command of a small squadron then on 
a cruise. He sailed round Ireland and Scotland, spreading 


t error and devastation in every part. He took, burnt, and 
sunk a great number of vessels, among them a ship bound 
to Quebec, extremely rich. 

" On the 23d of Sept. in the evening, having under his 
command the Poor Richard, of 40 guns, the Alliance of 3G, 
and the Pallas of 28 guns ; he fell in with the Baltic fleet, 
consisting of about 40 sail, under convoy of the Seraphis, 
of 44 guns, and the Countess of Scarborough of 20 guns •, 
the Pallas, after an engagement of about an hour, took the 
latter, and Jones in the Poor Richard attacked the former ; 
they fought three hours and a half, with inconceivable rage ; 
two hours of which time they were fast to each other, and 
almost all the time one or the other was on fire. 

" The Poor Richard was obliged to keep all her pumps 
going during the greater part of the engagement ; it being 
night, and the two vessels enveloped in smoke, the Capt. 
of the Pallas could not distinguish which was friend or en- 
emy, so could give Jones no assistance. The Alliance lay 
out of gun shot for the greatest part of the engagement, and 
when she came up to his assistance, through mistake, in- 
stead of firing on the enemy, gave the Poor Richard two 
broadsides, which killed 1 1 men, besides doing other con- 
siderable damage.* Notwithstanding all this, Jones con- 
tinued the engagement until he obliged her to strike. 

The Seraphis is a fine new ship, sheathed with copper, 
on an entire new construction, and thought to be the fast- 
est sailing vessel in Europe ; she has two entire batteries, 
the lower of which is 18 pounders ; so that she may be said 
to be almost double the force of the Poor Richard. This 

* This corresponds with Com. Jones official letter, and directly 
contradicts the British account. 


last ship, notwithstanding every assistance from the others, 
sunk the second morning after the engagement." 

Extract of another letter from the same place. 

" Capt. Jones came to town from the Texel, and he it 
gone to the Hague ; his presence will, I am persuaded, 
embarrass this Republic, and may probably produce warm 
altercations in the senate. 

I cannot give you a very particular account of the en-' 
gagement, only that the conflict between the two ships ex- 
ceeds description ; upwards of 230 men killed and wound- 
ed in both, and so shattered, that it was a matter of doubt 
which of the vessels would sink first. The captain of the 
Seraphis, behaved with great bravery. 

" The Poor Richard with all the assistance afforded from 
the other ships after the action, could not be kept above 
water, and Jones had the mortification to see her go down, 
not being able to save any material part of her stores. He 
(it may be said) has made a good exchange, but he wished 
to have got the poor Richard into port, shattered as she 
was, as a picture of curiosity and distress." 

By the following note, it seems the conjecture relative 
to the Hague was correct. 

Yesterday in the afternoon despatches were sent from 
the Secretary of State's Office to Sir Joseph Yorke at the 
Hague ; and, it is reported, that they contain a request to 
the States General to stop Paul Jones the pirate, and his 
ships, and to deliver him up that he may be brought to 
England, and punished according to law. 

In consequence of these despatches, the following" de- 
mand" was made by Sir Joseph. 
" High and Mighty Lords, 
<■ The undersigned Ambassador Extraordinary and Pie- 


mpotentiary of the King of Great Britain, has the honoi 
to communicate to your High Mightinesses, that two of his 
Majesty's ships, (the Seraphis and Countess of Scarbo- 
rough) arrived some days ago in the Texel, having been 
attacked and taken by force, by a certain Paul Jones, a 
subject of the King, who according to treaties and the laws. 
of war can only be considered as a rebel and a pirate. 
The undersigned is therefore in duty bound to recur to 
your High Mightinesses, and demand their immediate or- 
ders that those ships with their oflicers and crews may be 
stopped, and he especially recommends to your humanity, 
to permit the wounded to be brought on shore, that proper 
attention may be paid to them at the expense of the King 
his master. 

What ineffable contempt must Americans have felt 
towards the ministry of Great Britain at that period when 
their prostituted presses were whining forth their piteous 
wailings and lamentations, for the loss of a few armed 
ships which would weaken their marine — a few merchant- 
men, which would diminish their treasury ; and a (ew 
" Colliers," which would make " the price of coals enor- 
mous ?" What puerile gasconade was it to pronounce the 
fearless, the intrepid, and magnanimous Jones, the Ameri- 
can Corsair, Rebel and Pirate, when he, scrupulously 
kept within the recognized boundaries of civilized war- 
fare, and never applied the torch, to even a sheep-cote. 
Nevertheless, he had every personal reason to feel a spirit 
of revenge against Englishmen. He had been impressed 
aboard their ships, — abused — compelled to fight his friends 
— had been swindled by sharpers, and driven from the 
kingdom. But the American Commodore, forgot the in- 


juries of John Paul Jones. He fought in the cause of free- 
dom, of religion, and humanity, against despotism, super- 
stition, and barbarity ; and he fought in a manner worthy 
the cause he espoused. 

Let the tables be reversed, and for a moment examine 
what kind of warfare was carried on in America at the very 
time. Com. Jones was conquering ships of war, capturing 
privateers, taking forts, spiking cannon, and making prizes 
of merchantmen on the coast of Britain. Let the follow- 
ing proclamation of an incendiary knight of Britain be 
read with the highest indignation by Americans, and with 
the deepest shame by Englishmen. 
" By Commodore Sir George Collier, Commander in Chief 

of his Majesty's ships and vessels in North America, 

and Major General William Tryon, commanding his 

Majesty's Land Forces on a separate expedition. 
Address to the Inhabitants of Connecticut. 

" The ungenerous and wanton insurrection against the 
sovereignty of Great Britain into which this colony has 
been deluded by the artifices of designing men, for private 
purposes, might well justify you in every fear, which con- 
scious guilt could form respecting the intentions of the pre- 
sent armament. 

Your towns, your property, yourselves, lie within the 
grasp of that power, whose forbearance you have ungen- 
erously construed into fear ; but whose lenity has persisted 
in its mild and noble efforts, even tho' branded with the 
most unworthy imputation. 

The existence of a single habitation on your defenceless 
coast, ought to be a constant reproof to your ingratitude. 
Can the strength of your whole province cope with the 
force which might at any time be poured through every 


•listnct in your country ? You arc conscious it cannot. 
Why then will you persist in a ruinous and ill judged resis- 
tance ? We hoped thai you would recover from the frenz\ 
which has distracted this unhappy country ; and we be- 
lieve the day to be now come, when the greater part of 
this continent begin to blush at their delusion. You who 
lie so much in our power, afford the most striking monument 
of mercy, and therefore ought to set the first example of re- 
turning allegiance. 

Reflect on what gratitude requires of you ; if that is in- 
sufficient to move you, attend to your own interest: we 
offer you a refuge against the distress, which you univer- 
sally acknowledge broods with increasing and intolerable 
weight over all your country. 

Leaving you to consult with each other upon this invi- 
tation, we do now declare, that whosoever shall be found 
and remain in peace at his usual place of residence, shall 
be shielded from any insult either in person or property, 
excepting such as bear offices either civil or military, un- 
der your present usurped governments ; of whom it will 
be further required, that they shall give proofs of their 
penitence and submission, and they shall then partake of 
the like immunity. 

Those whose folly and obstinacy may slight this favour- 
able warning, must take notice, that they are not to ex- 
pect a continuance of that lenity which their inveteracy- 
would now render blameable. 

Given onboard his Majesty's ship Camilla, in the Sound. 

July 4, 1779. 

George Collier, 
Wm. Tryon."* 

* The following Hudibrastic version of this proclamation appeared 
originally in the Connecticut Courant, published by Hudson and Good- 


The addition of William Trjon's name, ex-governor of 
.New York, shews that the army and navy of Great Britain 

win, July 27, 1779, the leading Gazette in New England, in the re- 
volutionary war. The production carries strong internal evidence' 
that it emanated from the same " Connecticut Butler" who produced 
that inimitable burlesque poem — " M'Fingal." 

" By Collier George, Sir commodore, 

Of all the ships that line this shore ; 

Of vessels too, and all the squadron. 

In North America, the Lord on : 

And Major General Tryon Billy, 

Of separate party sent to kill ye : 

The Royal, mighty, arch director. 

And of the Tories kind protector. 

To all Connecticut folks greeting, 

Let this address save you a beating. 
When people blinded by delusion, 

Have set the world in dire confusiou : 

When factious freemen dare cabal 

Against the Royal must and shall ; 

The conscious rogues may well feel chilly. 

At the approach of George and Billy. 

You see until the time that now is, 

We hare forborne t'exert our prowess : 

Thankless rebels ! with wanton sneer, 

You've construed mildness into fear ; 

When long ago you might have lost 

Each house and barn upon your coast. 

Each moment now a force at hand, 

Might spread wild horror through the land 

Nor all your vile militia rabble, 

Could cope with Britons in the squabble. 

Why then resist almighty force, 

And every day grow worse and worse ? 

We waited long that we might then see 

If you'd recover from your frenzy ; 

And we believe the day now present. 


produced twin Goths in Collier and Tryon in the first, and 
Cockburn and Ross in the second war with Britain. 

Let the American reader peruse this short extract from 

When all from Congress down to peasant, 

Who've not obtain'd the king's protection, 

Begin to blush at their defection. 

All those in reach of cannon shot, 

We can destroy as well as not. 

Since you're expos'd to British power, 

And death's before you every hour, 

And not recover'd from your blindness, 

You're striking proofs of British kindness. 

The wings of mercy you've not flew to, 

And must find shelter with old Pluto, 

A dismal cloud with vengeance dire, 

Hangs o'er your heads and now grows nigher, 

'Twill fall intolerably severe, 

On all you rebels far and near. 

On this invite and threatning thunder, 

We leave you to consult and ponder. 

We therefore solemnly declare, 

Which is as much as 'tis to swear, 

That he in usual place who stays, 

Shall not be injur'd several ways : 

We'll only rob him, and his person, 

Let soldiers have to make a farce on. 

But officers in state and army, 

You've something more that ought t'alarm ye . 

'Tis fell submission, penitence, 

Entitles you to like defence. 

But they who still may choose to slight us, 

And rashly dare to arm and fight us, 

Who disregard this friendly warning, 

Must feel the effects to morrow morning. 

In seventeen hundred seventy- nine, 
July the fourth, at sun's decline ; 
Given on board King's ship Camilla, 
Sir Collier George and Tryon Billy. 


the speech of the patriotic Lord Camden in the House of 
Lords, in 1778, and the Protest drawn by his unequalled 
pen. How striking must have been the contrast between 
Lord Camden and Lord Mansfield, when one arose as an 
advocate for humanity — the other for barbarism. 

" What did the desolation of war mean, but destruction 
of the houses, and massacreing the people in an enemy's 
country ? The declaration in his opinion, held forth a war 
of revenge, such as Moloch, in the Pandemonium of Hell 

His lordship added, " That the Proclamation ought to be 
damned ; for it would fix an inveterate hatred in the 
Americans against the very name of Englishmen, which 
would be left as a legacy from father to son to the latest 
posterity. If there was any doubt of the intention of it, 
let a comparative retrospect prove it : What had been done 
by that fellow, Colonel Butler, Had he not surprised a 
little peaceable settlement, and put the poor people, men, 
women, and children to the sword ? Pie hoped he did not 
now bear the King's commission." 

The following are the inscriptions on the flags captured 
at the taking of York, conveyed by major Armistead to 
Washington : 

" The standard of the notorious plundering, burning, 
murdering, scalping corps of rangers, commanded by col. 
Butler, in the service of England, in the revolutionary war, 
whose savage barbarities will loug be remembered by the 
inhabitants of Mohawk and Susquehanna river ; taken at 
Fort George, Upper Canada, May 27, 1813." [This flag 
was held in great veneration by the savages.] 

The declaration alluded to by Lord Camden, is presented 
to the reader for the double purpose of shewing the Gothic 


rage of the British ministry, and the exalted magnanimity 
of thirty-one Peers of the realm, who protested against it 
in language, humane as it is Christian — just as it is forcible. 
As they " chose to draw themselves out, and distinguish 
themselves to posterity," as enemies to " ferocity and bar- 
barism in war," let the present generation of Americans 
venerate their memories as friends to the infant colonies. 

The declaration says, " If there be any persons, who, 
divested of mistaken resentments and uninfluenced by self- 
ish interests really think it is for the benefit of the Colonies 
to separate themselves from Great Britain, and that so sep- 
arated they will find a constitution more mild, more free, 
and better calculated for their prosperity, than that which 
they heretofore enjoyed, and which we are empowered and 
disposed to renew and improve ; with such persons we 
will not dispute a position, which seems to be sufficiently 
contradicted by the experience they have had. But we 
think it right to leave them fully aware of the change which 
the maintaining such a position must make in the whole 
nature and future conduct of this war, more especially when 
to this position is added the pretended alliance with the 
court of France. The policy, as well as the benevolence 
of Great Britain, have thus far checked the extremes of 
war, when they tended to distress a people still consider- 
ed as our fellow subjects, and to desolate a country shortly 
to become again a source of mutual advantage; but when 
that country possesses the unnatural design, not only of 
estranging herself from us, but of mortgaging herself, and 
her resources, to our enemies, the whole contest is changed, 
and the question is, how far Great Britain may, by every 
means in her power, destroy or render useless a connection 
contrived for her ruin, and for the aggrandizement of 


France. Under such circumstances, the laws of self -pre- 
servation must direct the conduct of Great Britain ; and if 
the British Colonies are to become an accession to France, 
will direct her to render that accession of as little avail as 
possible to her enemies ! /" 
1st. Because the public law of nations, in affirmance of 
the dictates of nature, and the precepts of revealed religion, 
forbids us to resort to the extremes of war upon our own 
opinion of their expediency, or in any case to carry on 
war for the purpose of desolation. We know that the 
rights of war are odious, and instead of being extended 
upon loose constructions and speculations of danger, ought 
to be bound up and limited by all the restraints of the most 
rigorous construction. We are shocked to see the first 
law of nature, self-preservation, perverted and abused into 
a principle destructive of all other laws ; and a rule laid 
down, by which our own safety is rendered incompatible 
with the prosperity of mankind. The objects of war 
which cannot be compassed by fair and honorable hostility, 
ought not to be compassed at all ; an end that has no 
means but such as are unlawful, is an unlawful end. The 
Manifesto expressly founds the change it announces from 
a qualified and mitigated war, to a war of extremity and 
desolation, on the certainty that the provinces must be in- 
dependent, and must become an accession to the strength 
of the enemy. In the midst of the calamities by which 
our loss of empire has been preceded and accompanied; in 
the midst of our apprehensions for the farther calamities 
which impend over us, it is a matter of fresh grief and ac- 
cumulated shame to see, from a commission under the 
Great Seal of this kingdom, a declaration for desolating a 


vast continent, solely because zoe had not the wisdom to retain, 
or the power to subdue it. 

c 2d\y. Because the avowal of a deliberate purpose ol 
violating the law of nations, must give an alarm to every 
state in Europe. All commonwealths have a concern in 
that law, and are its natural avengers. At this time, sur- 
rounded by enemies, and destitute of all allies, it is not ne- 
cessary to sharpen and embitter the hostility of declared 
foes, or provoke the enmity of neutral states. We trust 
that by the natural strength of this kingdom, we are secur- 
ed from a foreign conquest, but no nation is secured from 
the invasion and incursions of enemies. And it seems to 
us the height of frenzy, as well as v/ickedness, to expose 
this country to cruel depredations, and other outrages too 
shocking to mention (but which are all contained in the 
idea of the extremes of war and desolation) by establishing 
a false, shameful, and pernicious maxim, that where we 
have no interest to preserve, we are called upon by ne- 
cessity to destroy. This kingdom has long enjoyed a pro- 
found internal peace, and has flourished above all others 
in the arts and enjoyments of that happy state. It has 
been the admiration of the world for its cultivation and its 
plenty ; for the comforts of the poor, the splendour of the 
rich, and the content and prosperity of all. This situation 
of safety may be attributed to the greatness of our power. 
It is more becoming, and more true, that we ought to at- 
tribute that safety, and the power which procured it, to 
the ancient justice, honour, humanity, and generosity of 
this kingdom, which brought down the blessing of Provi- 
dence on a people who made their prosperity a benefit to 
the world, and interested all nations in their fortune, whose 
example of mildness and benignity, at once humanized 


others, and rendered itself inviolable. In departing from 
those solid principles, and vainly trusting to the frailty of 
human force, and to the efficacy of arms, rendered impotent 
by their perversion, we lay down principles, and furnish 
examples of the most atrocious barbarity. We are to 
dread that all our power, peace and opulence, should van- 
ish like a dream, and that the cruelties which we think safe 
to exercise because their immediate object is remote, may 
be brought to the coasts, perhaps to the bosom of this king- 

3dly. Because, if the explanation given in debate, be 
expressive of the true sense of the article in the manifesto, 
such explanation ought to be made, and by as high author- 
ity as that under which the exceptionable article was ori- 
ginally published. The natural and obvious sense indi- 
cates, that the extremes of war had hitherto been checked, 
that his Majesty's Generals had hitherto forborne (upon 
principles of benignity and policy) to desolate the country ; 
but that the whole nature, and future conduct of the war 
must be changed in order to render the American accesion 
of as little avail to France as possible. This in our appre- 
hension, conveys a menace of carrying the war to ex- 
tremes and to desolation, or it means nothing. And as 
some speeches in the House (however palliated) and as 
some acts of singular cruelty, and perfidy, conformable to 
the apparent ideas in the manifesto, have lately been exer- 
cised, it becomes the more necessary, for the honour and 
safety of this nation, that this explanation should be made. 
As it is refused, we have only to clear ourselves to our con- 
sciences, to our country, to our neighbours, and to every 
individual who may suffer in consequence of this atrocious 
menace, of all part in the guilt, or in the evils that may be- 



come its punishment. And we choose to draw ourselves 
ou( ; and to distinguish ourselves to posterity, as not being 
the first to renew, to approve, or to tolerate the return of 
that ferocity and barbarism in war, which a beneficent re- 
ligion, enlightened manners, and true military honour, had 
for a long time banished from the christian world. 








De Ferrars, 











J. S. Asaph, 











London, December 12. 
The list of noble Peers, who protested against " the ex- 
tremes of war and desolating America," on Monday last, is 
one of the most respectable that has appeared for some 
years, as, independent of theirgreat characters in private and 
public life, there are ten of them whose fortunes altogeth- 
er make up above two hundred thousand pounds per j ear ; 
yet these are the men whose sentiments must avail nothing 
at so critical and important a crisis as the present : whilst 
a mad and impracticable war is carrying on for the pur- 
poses of a false pride, the aggrandizement of vicious, igno- 
rant statesmen, and the rapacity of hungry contractors." 

It was certainly a studied, as it was a low insult, to date 
this conflagration edict upon the anniversary of American 


independence : and, like the ancient Nero, who fiddled while 
Rome was burning, these modern Vandals were " grinning 
horribly ghastly smiles," while, in three days only, after 
its date, the beautiful towns of Fairfield and Norwalk,* 
were in smoking ruins. 

No wonder that the prophetic Lord Camden foresaw that 
such barbarism " would fix an inveterate hatred in Ameri- 
cans against the very name of Englishmen, which would 
be left as a legacy from father to son to the latest posteri- 

Although the powerful empire of Britain may boast, that 
in the eighteenth century she carried her conquests thro' 
the four quarters of the globe, let her not again, in the 
nineteenth, attempt to subdue that portion of America, 
which lies between the Atlantic and the Western ocean — 
the 45th degree of north latitude, and the Gulf of Mexico. 

At the sessions of the common pleas at Whitestown, N. 
Y. in September 1820, Kirkland Griffin, Esq. a veteran of 
the revolution, appeared in person to witness an assem- 
blage of heroes of the revolution, who appeared before the 
court, to procure the proper vouchers to enable them to 
obtain the pension munificently granted to them, through 
the exertions of James Monroe, who was himself a se- 
verely wounded lieutenant at the " Victory of Trenton," 
in 1776, and now (1823) President of the United States. 
The venerable Griffin, did not come to ask for himself, but 
to congratulate those who asked conscientiously, and who 
received gratefully. The scene revived his ardour, and 
he proceeded as follows : 

" Who could forbear to go into service, when fathers, 

* The British general Garth, one of Collier's torch bearers, was 
taken by the Experiment, and 80,000 guineas with him. 


nothers, sisters, and friends, all implored it, and all would 
, r ive every thing and do every thing in their power to pre- 
pare the young men. Those were the days of devotion to 
our country. I went on board a privateer. We were 
soon captured. We could not help it. We had but 10 
guns, and they came upon us with 64 — we could not resist, 
and surrendered. It was early in the war, and we were 
not considered or treated as prisoners of war, but as rebels. 
We heard nothing from our country but from our keep- 
ers, who gave us the most dismal and gloomy accounts ; 
until after a long confinement a clergyman happened to 
say to us that there was good news from America for us. 
After he was gone we had a long consultation about what 
it could mean, and finally concluded that it must be, that 
Burgoyne,* of whose invasion and progress we had heard 
the most exulting statement from our keepers, had surren- 
dered. We immediately mustered a crown and bribed a 
poor woman to bring us a paper that had in it the account 
of Burgoyne's capitulation, and a candle: for we had not 
seen the light either of a fire or a candle for many months. 
Having procured them, we mounted one of the best read- 
ers on a beam, for we occupied a second story, and had no 
floor over head, and all gave attention. He read the ac- 
count in a loud voice, and it was with difficulty that order 
was preserved until he had finished, and the moment he 
had, there was a tremendous shouting. The guards were 
roused, we heard them and retired. They examined and 
left us. We went at it again ; they returned — we retired 
as they approached. They took off a few and departed; 
we re-assembled and determined that we would rejoice. 
How to do it we knew not ; for we had nothing to drink, 
and precious little to eat ; but rejoice we must and would. 
* Com. Jones announced this victory to the French Admiral. 


Finally, we concluded we would dance. — We had a few 
fiddles, and we set two or three to playing, and then all 
throughout the whole extent of our long prison went at it, 
and in spite of the keepers and guards we had a real Con- 
necticut dance." After an imprisonment of more than two 
years, our Paul Jones* was liberated, and again went into 
the service under the brave commander of that name, and 
was with him during his most successful cruises, and par- 
ticularly in the terrible engagement between the Good 
Man Richard and Seraphis, when the engagement was de- 
cided by boarding. The Americans lost 150 out of 350 
men, and the British suffered a still greater loss. The 
American Frigate was old, and not built for war, and it 
was believed, during the battle, that she would sink : ' Nev- 
er mind it,' said Paul, ' we shall have a better one to go 
home in,' and so it proved. All, said our Paul, that I ever 
received for my services, except a little prize money, wa? 
180 dollars in continental money, and that I have now." 

Since the preceding sketch was written, the writer has 
enjoyed the high gratification and the amusement and in- 
telligence of an acquaintance with Mr. William Henderson, 
a remote connexion of Capt. Matthew Henderson, immor- 
talized by the elegy and epitaph of the charming bard of 
" Old Scotia," Robert Burns. This inimitable bard, who. 
like Pope, " lisped in numbers," was often hospitably en- 
tertained at the house of Mr. Henderson's father, situated 
upon the estate of the Earl of Mansfield. At this hospita- 
ble mansion, Burns wrote many of his unsurpassed effu- 
sions ; and Mr. Henderson's brother, who, with him, left 
" Old Scotia," for " New (Nova) Scotia," during the last 
war, has in his possession a large poem in the hand writing 
of Burns, never yet published. 

* In his vicinity Mr. Griffin was so called. 


Mr. Henderson had explored almost the whole of Scot- 
land, England and Wales, before his desire for novelty and 
enterprise led him to the province of Nova Scotia; and, late 
in 1821, to New England. 

He has been acquainted, from early life, with that part 
of Scotland, so long menaced by one of his own country- 
men, and the adopted champion of American freedom, 
John Paul Jones. He assured me, that amongst the elder 
portion of the people still surviving, the achievements of 
Jones are still a subject of animated, yet fearful conversa- 
tion. As the Scots peasantry are remarkable for supersti- 
tious belief in ghosts, witches, warlocks, &c. they probably 
still fear Jones, " though he be dead," as much as Sir John 
Falstaff did " that gunpowder Percy." It is with the 
highest satisfaction 1 present the following anecdote, so 
perfectly characteristic of the ancient Presbyterian clergy 
of the kirk of Scotland, in the language of Mr. Henderson. 

" About the time that Jones visited Whitehaven, he went 
round to the Firth of Forth, and made his appearance off' the 
harbour of Kirkaldy, a noted small town on the borders of 
Fifeshire (called by the Scotch the ' Lang toun o' Kirkaldy,"' 
owing to its length.) No other enemy however formida- 
ble, could have created in the minds of the inhabitants, 
such consternation and alarm as that which then approach- 
ed. Paul Jones was the dread of all, old and young, (and 
pamphlets of his depredations were as common in every 
house as almanacs.) He was looked upon as a sea-mon- 
ster, that swallowed up all that came in his power. The 
people all flocked to the shore tp watch his movements, 
expecting the worst consequences. There was an old 
Presbyterian minister in the place, a very pious and good 
aid man, but of a most singular and eccentric turn, espe- 


dally in addressing the Deity, to whom he would speak 
with as much familiarity as he would to an old farmer, and 
seemingly without respect, as will appear from the follow- 
ing ; he was soon seen making his way through the people 
with an old black oak arm chair, which he lugged down to 
low water mark, (the tide flowing) and sat down in it. 
Almost out of breath, and rather in a passion, he then be- 
gan to address the Deity in the following singular way. 
, " Now deed Lord, dinna ye think its a shame for ye to 
send this vile Pireet to rub our folk o' Kirkaldy j for ye ken 
they're a' puir enough already, and hae naething to spairc. 
They are a? gaily guid, and it wad be zpeety to serve them 
in sic in a wa. The wa the wun blows, he'll be here in a 
jiffie, and wha kens what he may do. He's nane too guid 
for ony thing. MeickWs the mischief he has dune already. 
Ony pecket gear they hae gathered thegilher he will gang 
wP the heal oH ; may burn their hooses, tak their vary claes, 
and tirl them to the sark ; and waes me! wha kens but the 
bluidy villain might tak their lives. The puir weemen ere 
maist freightened out o' their wuts, and the bairns skirling 
after them. / canna? tho^lt ! I c anna'' tho'lt! I hae been 
lang a faithfu' servant toye, Lard] but gin ye dinna turn the 
wun about, and blaw the scoundrel out o' our gate, I'll na 
stur a fit, but will jujst sit here, until the tide comes and 
drouns me ; Sae take yere wull o'<." 

Whether the wind suddenly turned or not, Jones al- 
tered his course, and moved off. The good old man 
took up his chair and went home ; expressing his thanks 
to the Lord for the favour, in a more humble manner than 
he requested it. 

To Mr. P. Waldo, from his ob't servant, 

Wm. Henderson." 

P. S. I will send you the original poem, by Robert Burns. 


I at first thought of furnishing a glossary explanative of 
the Scotticisms in this singular specimen of Scots devotion. 
which Mr. Henderson repeatedly heard recited hy his fa- 
ther, and many aged people of Kirkaldy ; but there is so 
much " sprinkling of Scots," as Burns says, it is all offered 
in modern English under the correction of Mr. Henderson. 

" Now, indeed, Lord, do not thou think it is a shame 
for thee to send this vile Pirate to rob the people of K 
kaldy ? for thou knowest they are all poor enough a 1 
and have nothing to spare. They are all, in great measi 
good ; and it would be a pity to serve them in such a wa , 
The course the wind blows he will be here in a jiffin ; and 
who knows what he may do ? He is none too good for any 
thing. Much is the mischief he has done already. Any 
little wealth they have gathered together, he will go off 
with the whole of it. He may burn their houses — take 
their very clothes, and strip them to the very shirt ; and 
woe be to me ! who knows but the bloody villain might 
take their lives. The poor women are almost frightened 
out of their wits ; and the little children are screaming af- 
ter them. I cannot endure it ! I cannot endure it ! I have 
long been a faithful servant to thee, Lord ; but if thou dost 
not change the wind about, and blow the scoundrel out of 
our way, I will never stir a foot ; but will sit here until the 
tide flows and drowns me. — So let thy will be done." 


John Paul Jones was a phenomenon in human nature, 
and an anomaly in the human character. However sacred 
and endearing is the principle to Americans, that " all men 
are born equal, and born free ;" a Scots peasant has but a 



faint conception of native equality or native freedom — yet, 
although Paul of- Dumfries' was born of humble peasants, 
he might, with " Paul of Tarsus" have faid, " / zoas born 
free." The devotion of the Scots peasantry is proverbial 
for its fervor ; but the fervor of Jones seemed to have but 
little reference to Heaven ! He divested himself of devo- 
tion and humanity also, and attached himself to an infernal, 
blood-stained, slave dealer. He left the diabolical traffic 
in human flesh, and became commander in chief in smug- 
gling goods. He left the business of defrauding the reve- 
nue, for the daring employ of capturing the war ships of 
his king. 

He found himself an outlaw from the land of his birth, 
and sought a new home in France. As he had been a 
prince of smugglers on a little island,* he became a princely 
tavern-keeper on the continent : Disgusted with retailing 
wine and soup at Boulogne*to replenish his purse, he dash- 
ed into London to fill it by gambling. Calculating himself 
a match for any thing, he there suddenly found himself 
outmatched. He once more appeared like a piece of 
abandoned goods, ready to be taken up by the first fortu- 
nate finder. This thoughtless and inconsiderate being, at 
length began to consider and think. Driven from two king- 
doms in the Old World, he sought an asylum in a rising 
Republic in the new. 

A passage across the Atlantic dissipated all the incongru- 
ous eccentricities of his character. From soaring like a 
comet, where the varying gusts of flames and winds hurled 
him, he began, and continued to move like a planet in a 
regular orbit. Furnished with secret instructions from 
Washington and the Old Congress, he repaired, incognito. 
to the proud capital of Britain. With a minute knowledge 

* Isle of Man. 


of the preparations of the Admiralty of the first naval pow- 
er on the ocean, he returned to the struggling colonies, and 
suddenly ascended the " mountain wave" with the first 
"star-spangled banner" that ever waved upon a war ship 
of Independent America, bearing the first Post-Captain's 
commission, under the signature of Washington, that issu- 
ed after the " Declaration of American Independence," 
and sailed in a ship, bearing the name of the first legitimate 
Saxon Prince who first gave regulated existence to English 
Liberty ; which, after being banished from degenerate Bri- 
tain, was rearing her mild and majestic front amidst a new 
race of Freemen, sprung from an old stock of subjugated 
and unresisting vassals. 

The new-born Jones, a champion of the new-born Re- 
public, wafted forth, violating the mechanical rules of stu- 
died naval warfare, and defying an enemy, who defied heav- 
en and earth, nor shrunk at the power of u profoundest 
hell." He rushed on from victory to victory, from " con- 
quering and to conquer," till the Genius of Conquest claim- 
ed him as a favourite son. From the time of his defection 
from his tyrant king, and the beginning of his achievements 
in the cause of his " rebel colonies," he was sought after 
as a "piece of lost silver," and pursued, by the arm of 
vengeance, as a daring traitor. Jones eluded their search 
and their wrath ; and, with a squadron of ill appointed 
ships, excited alarm for the homeward bound fleets of Bri- 
tish merchantmen — captured their convoy, and compelled 
St. George's Cross to fall before the Republican Banner of 

He menaced the cities of Old Scotia — visited the place 
of his birth as a conquering Commodore — took the plate of 
a Scots Peer for his own cabin, and drew from him a letter 


of thanks for his magnanimity in restoring it. Upon one 
month he spread consternation and dismay upon the coast 
of Britain — upon the next, he received the congratulations 
of a Prince of Bourbon, and their High Mightinesses of 
Holland. He announced the victory over Burgoyne, and 
received the first salute ever given by a foreign power to 
the American flag. He re- crossed the Atlantic, like a pro- 
digy, conquering as he passed, and received the highest 
meed of praise ever bestowed upon a hero — a Vote of 
Thanks from the Old Congress by the recommendation of 
Washington. At the height of glory, and the depths of 
bankruptcy, he once more rolled across the ocean — placed 
in his coffers the reward of his valor — again made his last 
voyage to the admired Republic — his adopted country. 
In the bosom of that favoured land, he lived an object of 
wondering contemplation, and died with the glory of one 
of the first heroes of the eighteenth century. His birth, 
his life, and his death, evinces that the most disheartening 
circumstances furnish no insurmountable barriers against an 
ardent and determined spirit ; and that, by exertion, with 
the smiles of heaven, man can arise from obscurity to dis- 
tinction, from penury to competence, and from degradation 
to glory* 








IN 1803 AND 1804. 

His birth, early propensities, pursuits, obtains a midshipman's warrant 
— enters the Protector 26 gun ship — engages the Admiral Duff, 36 
guns, takes her, and she explodes — P^pidemic on board the Protec- 
tor — Preble is promoted to 1st Lieutenant — Enters the Winthrop 
in that capacity — Capt. Little designates him for a daring enter- 
prise in Penobscot bay, which he executes, brings out his prize, 
and enters with her into Boston harbour — Peace is concluded— 
Lieut. Preble commences the merchant service, accumulates pro- 
perty, and marries an excellent wife. — Incidents of domestic life 
omitted — He is appointed a lieutenant in the modern navy in 1798 
— Capt. Preble is appointed to command the Essex — Repairs to the 
East Indies — Returns to America — He is appointed commander of 
the Mediterranean squadron — Mahometan depredations upon Chris- 
tian merchants — Coin. Preble's squadron, names and force of ves- 
sels, and commanders — Modesty and reserve of naval officers — 
Com. Preble's measures with the emperor of Morocco — Lays his 
squadron before Tangier — Is invited to land — Declines to lay off 
his arms when on shore — His unshaken firmness and decision — Be- 
fore he returns to the squadron, effects an accommodation — Pro- 
ceeds to his ultimate destination — Loss of frigate Philadelphia, and 
bondage of the crew — Lieut. Decatur captures a Tripolitan cor- 
sair — Difficulty and importance of Com. Preble's situation, and his 
fitness for it — His general rendezvous, Syracuse — Jussuff, Bashaw 
of Tripoli — Com. Preble designates Lieut. Decatur to command an 
expedition against the Philadelphia frigate — Danger of it — Master- 
ly execution of it — Com. Preble obtains two bombards and six gun- 
boats from Naples— Gen. Eaton's attempt to aid Com. Preble — 
Carramalli ex-bashaw — First general attack upon Tripoli, Aug. 3. 
1804 — Desperate engagement of the gun-boats — Death of Lieut. 
James Decatur — Effects of the engagement — Second attack Aug. 
7th — Proposition from Com. Preble to the Bashaw — Third attack, 
Aug. 27— Fourth attack, Sep. 3d~Upon the 4th Sept. Lieut. Som- 


ers, &c. enters the harbour with a fire-ship, which explodes — Re 
mark — Com. Barron arrived Sept. 9th, and Com. Preble returns to 
America — Employed in Navy Department — Died at Portland, 
Maine — His character. 

The man whose life and character I now attempt to pre- 
sent to the reader, moved in a subordinate station in the first 
war between America and Britain — for he was then but a 
youth. He was born in Portland, the capital of the then 
District, and now State of Maine, in the year 1761. His 
native country, then under the dominion of Britain, was 
struggling, hand in hand, with what was then called, " the 
mother country," against Frenchmen and Indians. Born 
in a frigid, and what was then deemed a sterile region, as 
he advanced along into that stage of life when the " ruling 
passion" evinces itself by overt acts, he manifested his pre- 
dilection for a nautical life. 

His surviving companions in boyhood, relate many inci- 
dents of his early life, which clearly show the original firm- 
ness and greatness of his mind. Although habit, educa- 
tion, pursuits, associates, and innumerable other circum- 
stances, give a tone and direction to the human mind, yet 
there is a certain native trait of character which distin- 
guishes one boy, as well as one man, from another. It 
seems to be born at their birth, to grow with their growth, 
and strengthen with their strength. Neither the mother in 
the nursery, — the father in the active scenes of life — the 
preceptor in the school, nor the president in the universi- 
ty, can divert the mind of some youth from their predom- 
inant aim and object. Although it is said " the stream is 
made by nature, but the channel is cut by custom ;" yet 
Edward Preble would float in the stream which nature 
made for him ; and it was as vain to attempt to change his 
course, as it would be to strive to divorce the sun from thf. 
ecliptic, or the earth from the zodiac. 


The parents of young Preble, being amongst the most 
respectable class of citizens, designed their son for one of 
the learned professions. He was placed in one of the 
best seminaries, and under the tuition of one of the most 
accomplished preceptors of that period, to pass through 
studies preparatory for a university. He made rapid pro- 
gress in his studies ; but while his eyes were upon his 
books, his thoughts were upon the ocean. 

The remonstrances of his parents could not long dis- 
suade, nor their threatenings deter him. They were com- 
pelled to part with a favourite son, or dampen his ardour 
by thwarting his inclination , and the adventurous youth 
wafted from his native shore, to his adopted element, as a 
cabin-boy. Disgusted with the humble duties of the cab- 
in, he was almost constantly on deck, or hanging in the 
rigging, " in calm and in storm." He was too inquiet for 
a cabin-boy, and fitted by nature for some duty more man- 
ly and daring. 

He continued at sea in the merchant service until the 
year 1779. He was then of the stature of manhood, and 
had a heart beating ardently for heroic enterprise. Hav- 
ing influential friends, they obtained for him from govern- 
ment a midshipman's warrant. 

Although this was but a humble rank, it is the " first de- 
gree" that is now obtained in the British navy. Even then 
it became necessary for lord Nelson, and the duke of Cla- 
rence, (son of Geo. III.) to pass through the duties of this 
station as a passport to one of higher grade. 

Young Preble in this capacity, entered on board the 
Protector, then commanded by Capt. J. F. Williams. 
Preble soon discovered his qualifications for the station he 
filled. Although like a true seaman, he was to all, 
" Manly aad honest, good-natured and free." 


he maintained and exercised the authority vested in him 
with a firm, steady, and undeviating hand. Although but 
eighteen years of age, he had entirely divested himself of 
the frivolous puerilities of boyhood. 

The year 1779, was a year, memorable in the desperate 
struggle which eventuated in the independence of the 
American Republic. 

The armed ships belonging to the Thirteen Colonies 
were like little barques, thrust into the midst of powerful 
fleets ; and they were compelled to swim or sink by the 
most unparalleled exertions of human courage. Swim- 
ming or sinking, their crews, inspired by the patriotic sen- 
timents which the genius of liberty infused into their hearts, 
were cool, dauntless and undismayed in the hour of disas- 
ter — humane and dignified in the midst of victory. 

The first cruise the Protector made was upon the coast 
of Newfoundland. It was the theatre upon which the first 
Jones* and the first Biddlef began to act their splendid 
parts in the tragedy of the Revolution. The Protector af- 
forded every possible protection to American commerce, 
and gave every possible annoyance to that of Britain. She 
mounted 26 guns, and her crew were principally " Yan- 
kee seamen," prepared for the most desperate enterprise, 

An opportunity was afforded them to display their cour- 
age when the Protector fell in with the British ship Admi- 
ral Duff, of 36 guns. Capt. Williams might well have 
wished to avoid an engagement with a ship so much supe- 
rior to his own. But he chose not to strike the American 
Flag, which so lately began to wave over the Atlantic in a 
hostile capacity. He laid his ship along-side the Admiral 

* Com. John Paul Jones. fCom. Nicholas Biddle. 


Huff, and entered into action as close as possible, unless it 
were by boarding. 

This was the first serious engagement young midship- 
man Preble ever entered into. The men under his imme- 
diate command, were inspired to the highest pitch of en- 
thusiasm by his fearless example. The ships laid so near 
together, that as the survivors relate, the men actually 
cast balls at each other from the decks with their hands. 

After a short, but most furious contest, the Admiral Duff 
struck to the Protector, Midshipman Preble with his su- 
perior officers, was on the point of taking possession of 
her, when she was blown to pieces by the explosion of the 

Whether it was occasioned by the chagrin of the British 
commander at being compelled to strike to a Yankee ship, 
of inferior force, or by accident, never was', and never can 
be determined. Instead of taking possession of the ship, 
the officers and crew of the Protector, were now engaged 
in picking up the surviving crew of the enemy, from the 
fragments of the destroyed ship. Five minutes before, 
Preble would have encountered a whole gang of them, 
single handed — but now, when he saw them at the mercy 
of the waves, he strove to save human beings who could no 
longer resist him as enemies. 

The consequence of taking on board the Protector the 
surviving crew of the Admiral Duff, was the spreading of a 
malignant disorder, on board the ship, and losing two thirds 
of the crew. 

The humanity and benevolence of American Naval He- 
roes, were displayed at this early period of the naval glory 
of the American Republic. It was not in the instances of 
a few individuals only that these exalted sentiments were 


displayed — it was a sentiment common to the American 

The moderation of our ancestors during the sanguinary 
struggle of the revolution, must excite the admiration of 
their descendants, and the applause of the world. No 
race of people upon earth, however, ever had more cause 
to resort to violent measures. Americans were denounced 
as rebels, and threatened as traitors. Wanton destruction 
and Vandal devastations, marked the presence and the pas- 
sage of the enemy. The capital of Preble's native Dis- 
trict was burned, Charlestown, (Mass.) was in ashes, New 
London, Fairfield,* and Norwalk, (Con.) were reduced 
by conflagration. The beautiful island of Rhode-Island 
was turned into a waste. But why extend the long cata- 
logue of barbarous deeds ? It might indeed be extended ; 
and as the character of Britons approximated to that of 
Vandals, that of Americans would remind the historian of 
Romans in the best days of Rome. 

Capt. Williams returned into port to refit the Protector, 
and recruit his crew, so alarmingly reduced by a dreadful 
malady. This was soon effected, and the Protector once 
more wafted into the midst of the enemy. It was her last 
cruise under American colours. She was obliged to strike 
to a heavy British Frigate, and Sloop of War in company ; 
as it would have been the height of desperation to have 
contended with a force so vastly superior. 

The severe treatment the crew of the Protector receiv- 
ed, was unquestionably occasioned by their unrivalled gal- 

* Vide Gen. Humphreys " Elegy on the burning of Fairfield." Also 
preceding Sketch of Com. Jones. The debates in Parliament, in the 
most vindictive language condemned the conduct of British officers in 


lantry in compelling the frigate, Admiral Duff, to strike ; 
but which really ought to have excited the admiration of 
the British Captains. Instead of paroling the officers and 
exchanging the seamen for British prisoners, the gallant 
Capt. Williams, Lieut. George Little, and many other un- 
rivalled patriots in the cause of freedom, were transported 
to England, and lodged in Plymouth prison. Midshipman 
Preble, however, by the intervention of influential friends, 
obtained his release in America. 

Mr. Preble, for his gallant, and his highly meritorious 
services on board the Protector, received the commission 
of first Lieutenant. He was but twenty years of age, at 
the time he was placed in this highly responsible station. 
The British might be led to suppose that the favours be- 
stowed upon the Lieutenant by his exchange, would have 
conciliated his feelings towards the crown of England. But 
while he was gratified at being in the bosom of his country 
— receiving the approbation of the Old Congress, and be- 
ing promoted to a station in which he might again serve 
his country ; he could not forget the gallant Williams and 
Little, incarcerated in a British dungeon, three thousand 
miles distant. He was not long separated from the deter- 
mined Little. He scaled the wall of his Plymouth prison 
— made his escape to France, and returned to Boston. He 
was immediately promoted to the rank of Captain. 

A fine sloop of war, called the Winthrop was prepared 

for sea ; and Capt. Little, and Lieut. Preble entered on 

board ; and very soon had a crew well calculated for such 

officers. They immediately put to sea, and these young 

officers soon gave evidence of those exalted qualities which 

afterward raised them both to the acme of glory. 

At this time, Penobscot Bay, and the adjoining country. 


was in possession of the British forces. How much benefit 
the possession of it was to Britain or detriment to Ameri- 
ca, cannot well be calculated, considering the state of that 
portion of the country at that period. At any rate, in the 
war of 1812, the British forces were permitted by the con- 
stituted authorities of Massachusetts, to remain for a long 
time in peaceable and undisturbed possession of a large 
portion of the State of Maine ; and Castine, became a com- 
mercial, rather than a naval depot. 

The British had erected considerable batteries upon the 
shore, and had a considerable marine force in the harbour. 
Capt. Little and Lieut. Preble conceived the daring design 
of capturing a heavy armed ship and her tender, as they 
lay at their moorings. The design was to be executed in 
the night season, and Lieut. Preble was honoured with the 
immediate command of the expedition. Forty dauntless 
New-Englanders were selected to accompany the gallant 
Lieutenant. To avoid confusion arising in a night battle, 
from mistaking friends for foes, the Americans were all clad 
in white frocks. The enterprize was a most desperate 
one. When every thing was ready, and a night favoura- 
ble to the expedition came round, Capt. Little bore into 
the harbour, and alongside the British ship. The unsus- 
pecting enemy supposed the Winthrop to be their tender. 
The sea was running high ; and the sentry of the British 
ship excleimed — " You will run us aboard !" The cool and 
collected Preble, in a tone of decision, answered — " Aye, 
aye, we are coming aboard." His forty " white frocks" 
were all ready to follow him ; but from the head way the 
Winthrop had made, and the state of the waves, but four- 
teen could follow him to the deck of the British ship. 

The solicitude of Capt. Little was excited to the high- 


est pitch at the situation of Lieut. Preble, and his fourteen 
fearless comrades. When doubtful of the result of the ar- 
duous contest between fourteen of his crew, and over 200 
British seamen, he hailed Lieut. Preble, and demanded of 
him " Do you not want more men ?" Lieut. Preble, with 
the thundering voice of a stentor, answered, " No, Sir! we 
have more than we want; we stand in each other's way j" 
and suddenly rushed into the cabin of the ship, full armed, 
and found the officers, who had been disturbed by the noise 
upon deck, just "turning out." The intrepid Lieutenant 
said to them : " You are my prisoners — resistance is vain 
— and, if attempted, may prove fatal to you." The panic- 
struck enemy leaped over the gunwale of the ship, and 
through the cabin-windows into the water and swam to the 
shore, or were drowned. 

Complete possession having been gained of the ship, and 
Lieut. Preble, being about to bear his prize out of the har- 
bour, the batteries commenced a cannonade upon the Win- 
throp and the captured ship. The British troops rallied — 
rushed to the shore, and poured harmless vollies of mus- 
ketry upon the two ships which were sailing triumphantly 
out of the harbour of Penobscot. Their cannon had an 
elevation so great, that it was fruitless to attempt to ob- 
struct their passage out of the harbour. Neither ihe hulls 
or rigging of the Winthrop or the prize received the least 
injury. The "striped bunting" waved proudly over St. 
Georges Cross ; and the gallant Little and Preble conduct- 
ed their valuable prize triumphantly into Boston harbour. 
The little glory which British arms acquired in taking Pe- 
nobscot, was more than counterbalanced by losing this 
ship ; and the victors were remunerated for the loss of the 
\dmiral Duff, which blew up after she was captured. 


The contest between America and Britain was now draw- 
ing to a conclusion, by the commencement of negotiations ; 
but Lieut. Preble continued to fill the station of first Lieu- 
tenant on board the Winthrop, in the active and vigilant 
discharge of his duty until the treaty of Peace was ratified 
in 1783. 

Thus early and brilliant was the commencement of Ed- 
waku Preble's life in the naval profession — a profession 
for which he was peculiarly adapted by nature, and to 
which he became ardently attached by inclination and 

But the conclusion of peace with Britain, and the com- 
manding attitude which the American Republic assumed 
as a Sovereign and Independent Nation, was the annihila- 
tion of the little gallant marine force which had accom- 
plished such wonderful effects upon the enemy. Such gal- 
lant spirits as Bidole, Jones, Murray, Nicholson, Man- 
ly, Hardin, Tucker, Decatur the elder, and a long list 
of naval heroes, who had encountered the convoys of Bri- 
tish fleets of merchantment, or British armed ships and 
fleets themselves, were now driven from their darling pur- 
suits as naval officers. 

The Republic, although independent as it regarded the 
privilege oi^e!f-government, were destitute of the "ways 
and means" to sustain a respectable naval force. The of- 
ficers of the Army as well as those of the Navy, were com- 
pelled, while the wounds they received in the cause of their 
beloved country were hardly healed, to retire, unreward- 
ed — the first to tneir farms ; the second to the merchant- ser- 
vice, as a mean of subsistence. The few little armed ships 
were converted into merchantmen, to strive to regain by 
commerce what the States of the Republic had lost by 


Lieut. Preble returned to his native town and commen- 
ced the business of a seaman in the merchant service. It 
would be thought by a British naval officer to be degrada- 
tion itself to leave the quarter deck of a frigate, sloop of 
war, or any other armed ship, belonging to the government 
under which they had served, to enter on board an India, 
man, West India trader, or coaster. But Americans, at 
that epoch of their progress to national glory, knew well 
how to aid the infant Republic in any station. They 
knew also that individual wealth would ultimately add to 
the treasures of their native country, while it would furnish 
them with the enjoyments of individual necessaries, con- 
veniences, and luxuries. 

Lieut. Preble, at about this period of his age, entered 
into matrimonial life. Although a stern commander upon 
the ocean, he was not insensible to the fascinating and al- 
luring charms of domestic life. His bosom companion 
happened to possess the noble and exalted sentiments of 
her husband. 

He now entered, with his usual ardour, into the business 
of commerce, — to make provision for a family ; — knowing 
well that his fame as an ocean warrior, would be but a 
miserable support for a domestic establishment upon land. 
He lived in the midst of a commercial people, and was sur- 
rounded by the most accomplished and adventurous sea- 
men. He could not endure a state of inactivity. He en- 
tered into the business of a seaman, with the same energy 
he did, when he entered into the contest with the enemies 
of his country. 

He was fully aware that national wealth was the sinew 
of national glory. He was also sensible that individual 
wealth added essentially to individual consequence ; and 


enabled the possessor of it to accomplish objects beyond 
the reach of want and dependance. Although but few 
commercial treaties were established between the Repub- 
lic and other commercial nations in the eastern continent, 
yet the name of an American was a passport through the 
world, for the glory his country had acquired for manfully 
struggling for, and securing national independence. Eve- 
ry keel that wafted from the American Republic to the 
ports of Europe, Asia, or Africa, were welcomed as coming 
from the most energetic and exalted race of men who ex- 
isted in the eighteenth century, and were generally treated 
on terms " equal to the most favoured nations." 

Lieut. Preble, was one amongst the numerous American 
navigators, who had aided, by his courage, in acquiring the 
high rank his country sustained ; and while acquiring 
wealth by commercial pursuits, he was remembered and 
admired as one of the young and gallant champions of 
American Independence. 

From the conclusion of the war of the Revolution, the 
commercial enterprise of Americans surpassed every pre- 
vious example from the discovery of the magnetic needle 
to that period. The torrid, the temperate, and the frigid 
zones witnessed the presence of this "New People," and 
their canvas whitened every sea and ocean. While the 
kingdoms of the " Old World" were expending their treas- 
ures, and tearing from their subjects the hard-earned pit- 
tance of their labour to sustain thrones which began to tot- 
ter before the majestic march of liberty whicli moved from 
the Republic in the Western World. While immense 
standing armies covered the realms of monarchs, and vast 
fleets afforded wooden walls to their shores. While eas- 
tern empires and kingdoms were rising to the height of 


glory, and sinking to the depths of corruption, Americans, 
better understanding the nature of true national glory, — 
that which produces the greatest possible happiness to the 
greatest number of people, were peaceably pursuing a lu- 
crative commerce, and with unparalleled rapidity were 
accumulating national and individual wealth. They grew 
rich, not by rapine and plunder, but out of the follies, vices, 
and ambition of other nations. 

It would be an useless waste of time, for the writer to de- 
tail, and for the reader to peruse the various pursuits of 
Edward Preble in the seasons of peace. However delight- 
ful peaceful scenes may be in the enjoyment of them, they 
■are generally tame, and uninteresting in description. The 
biography of this energetic American, need not be pro- 
tracted by expatiating upon the same events of his life, 
which are common with many of his humbler countrymen, 
whose names were never heard beyond the sound of the 
parish bell where they were born, and whose graves can be 
discovered only by the humble stone, which humble friends 
have erected. 

The biography of Edward Preble, is vastly more fertile 
in incidents, than that of Samuel Johnson ; yet the " Laird 
of Auchinleck" by detailing the little, puerile minutiaes of 
that giant of literature, as he was glad to be called, and as 
Bozzy, parrot-like, was happy to repeat, has extended his 
life to three huge octavos. What would the '• Tars of Co- 
lumbia" think, in taking up the " Life of Preble," their 
departed naval father, and instead of learning what he had 
been doing, while alive, worth reading, they should be told, 
that he went to the barbers upon Saturday, and dined upon 
fish — to church upon Sunday, and dined upon roast beef — 
that upon Monday he cut his nails, and drank one glass of 


wine — upon Tuesday he changed his linen — upon Wed- 
nesday looked into the harbour with his spy-glass and 
scoured the rust from his quadrant — upon Thursday (if it 
was thanksgiving-day.) he ate turkey, plumb-pudding, and 
pumpkin-pie — upon Friday (if it was " Good Friday,") he^ 
ate no butter upon his bread, drank no cream with his 
coffee, nor brandy with his water. " Avaust there ! blind 
my top-lights — stun my hearers, if I bring the first into ac- 
tion, to look at such blarney, or the last, to hear the report 
of it." This, or something more nautical, would be their 
exclamation. But badinage aside. 

Thanks to the noble, daring, and gallant achievements 
of our valiant countrymen, their lives are pregnant with- 
deeds worthy of detailing and worthy of reading. 

It might be amusing to follow Preble as a master in the 
merchants service through the various voyages he made 
to various portions of the globe ; but there was nothing in 
them to distinguish his from the voyages of other masters. 
The same breeze that wafted this hero of the Revolution 
from the ports of the Republic to those of foreign domin- 
ions, wafted also thousands of his own countrymen whose 
names were to be found in no higher register than the ledg- 
er in the counting room ; the files of the custom-house, or 
the marine list of a gazette. 

While Mr. Preble was thus engaged in the unostentatious 
pursuits of commerce, the government of the Republic was 
preparing the only effectual safeguard for that commerce — 
a Navy. 

It would illy comport with the limits of this Sketch, and 
be but repeating what the writer has attempted in the Biog- 
raphy of Com. Murray, to dilate upon the immense im- 
portance of Naval Power to our Commercial Republic. 


its efficiency and its absolute necessity too, seem now to be 
admitted by all. But in the administration of John Ad- 
ams, who is emphatically denominated The Father of the 
American Navy, the question called forth the talents of 
the greatest men in the nation, as the Journals of Congress 
for 1797, and '98, will show. Our navy was commenced 
in the face of potent opposition — it struggled into exist- 
ence — sustained itself by its early achievements, and has 
now fought itself into glory. 

As soon as any of the frigates, or vessels of inferior rates 
were fitted for sea, Edward Preble was remembered as the 
gallant Lieutenant in the war of the Revolution, and was 
placed in command of the brig Pickering. 

In this active craft, the Lieutenant rendered immense 
service in convoying American merchantmen, and protect- 
ing them from French picaroons. Such services, although 
they seldom call forth " Public Thanks," public applause, 
splendid swords, or gold medals, are neverthelss rewarded 
by the thankfulness and gratitude of Americans, who enjoy 
the protection and the independence which is thus secured 
to them. 

Lieut. Preble, less fortunate than his senior in the revo- 
lution, Capt. George Little, had not, like him, an oppor- 
tunity in this war, to distinguish himself by any brilliant 
achievement. Had Preble have been in command of the 
Frigate Boston, the La P'irceau would have met with the 
fate she experienced. 

Capt. Preble will now be presented to the reader of these 
imperfect sketches of his eventful life, in a capacity in 
which he was calculated to shine, and in which he shone 
most conspicuously. 

After the salutary chastisement which French and Span- 


ish picaroons received, in the administration of Mr. Ad- 
ams, from Capts. Little, Truxton, Murray, the senior De- 
catur, and the gallant constellation of heroes in the naval 
warfare, between America and France, Capt. Preble was 
appointed to the command of that wonder-working ship, 
the Frigate Essex, of 36 guns. 

In 1 800, it was deemed expedient to despatch an Amer- 
ican frigate to the East Indies, to protect the immense 
amount of American trade in those seas. 

The presence of a single frigate in the commercial ports 
of that country, immediately after the splendid victories 
over Le Insurgente, Le Berceau, and other French ships, 
indicated to every power that were guilty of the least en- 
croachment upon American commerce, what their fate 
would be. 

Capt. Preble introduced into his frigate that inimitable 
discipline — that nautical skill — that familiarity with naval 
tactics — that skill in gunnery — that system of police in an 
armed ship, which distinguished the squadron he afterwards 
commanded in the Mediterranean, and which now gives 
American officers and seamen, a rank above all other offi- 
cers and seamen in the fleets, squadrons, and ships, of any 
naval power on the earth. He finished his cruise and re- 
turned to America. 

' Omitting numerous incidents in the life of Preble, the 
detail of which would be inconsistent with the limits of this 
sketch, I now attempt briefly to narrate the events of his 
life, while commanding the American squadron in the 

The kingdoms, most justly denominated Barbary States, 
upon the northern coast of Africa, including Morocco, Al- 
giers, Tripoli and Tunis, and all owing allegiance to the 


Sultan at Constantinople, the head of that vast race of hu- 
man beings called Mahometans, have, for many centuries 
past, mercilessly preyed upon that portion of men called 
Christians, who prosecuted commerce in the Mediterrane- 
an, the largest and most renowned sea known to men. 

It would be sickening to the philanthropic heart to detail, 
or to read, the diabolical cruelty of these infernal descend- 
ants of Ishmael, and ferocious disciples of Mahomet, to- 
wards every portion of the Christian race, whose commer- 
cial pursuits lead them within their barbarous grasp. Too 
powerful to be resisted by unarmed merchantmen, their 
corsairs, for ages, have sacrificed the wealth and made 
miserable slaves of the crews of merchant vessels. 

If captured in the Mediterranean, they are incarcerated 
in dungeons, chained to the galley, or treated like beasts of 
burthen. If wrecked upon the iron-bound coast, they be- 
come still more despairing slaves to those demons incarnate, 
the Wandering Arabs ; and in a state of hopeless destitu- 
tion, are compelled to wander, with naked bodies, parch- 
ing thirst, and famishing frames, over that vast, outspread 
scene of cheerless desolation, the Desart of Zahara. 

The cruelties of these children of wrath towards unfortu- 
nate Christians, whom they denominate kellup ensaurah, 
(Christian dogs) can hardly, be described in Christian lan- 

In hearing the pathetic and heart-rending narration of 
Archibald Robbins ; (a miserable slave for about two 
years, but thanks to redeeming mercy, and the smiles of 
Providence, now a respectable commander in the merchant- 
service) and by attempting to present, his oral communi- 
cation in " Robbins' Journal," impressions were made up- 
on the mind of the writer which nothing can eradicate, and 


which may have led to the use of language, which one race 
of imperfect human beings ought not to use towards anoth- 
er. Human, indeed they must be admitted to be, for their 
origin can be traced to the most ancient race of men ; but 
their principles and conduct would do credit to the char- 
acter of the devil himself, if the inspired Job, and the half 
inspired Milton have afforded a correct picture of that in- 
vsible being. 

Nations the most powerful by land and by sea, have for 
ages obtained a temporary suspension from the wrath of 
these Ishmaelitish pirates, whose " hands are against every 
man," by paying them tribute, as the price of peace, and 
ransom for the redemption of their enslaved cpuntrymen. 

It is almost invariably the practice with these detested 
robbers against all mankind, to make war against other na- 
tions who are warring with each other ; especially against 
that nation whom they consider the weakest. Until within 
eighteen years past, these untutored barbarians, and half- 
civilized hottentots, considered Americans as a mere fee- 
ble race of merchantmen. Hence in the naval warfare 
with France in 1798, &c. the Tripolitan corsairs commen- 
ced a destructive war upon American commerce. When 
that contest ended so gloriously for our little naval power, 
these vaunting marauders were to learn the American char- 
acter in a new light. 

From 1801 to 1803, a small naval force, commanded the 
first squadron by Com. Dale, the second by Com. Murray, 
the third by Com. Morris, and the fourth by Com. Rodg- 
ers, had been in the Mediterranean ; but were barely suffi- 
cient to menace the ports of Tripoli, awe their Corsairs 
and hold in check Morocco, which kingdom also had com- 
mitted depredations upon Americans. This rapid sketch 


was deemed expedient to prepare the mind of the reader to 
follow the determined, gallant, and conquering Preble, 
and his unrivalled comrades, in compelling the proud Cres- 
cent of the Turks to fall before the Stars and Stripes of 

The American government, at peace with all the world ; 
with a commerce expanded over every sea and ocean — 
with a fine little naval force unemployed, and with officers 
and seamen ardently panting for an opportunity to sustain, 
and, if possible, to augment the glory of the American na- 
vy acquired in the contest with France, determined in 
] 803 to effect suddenly, what all the kingdoms of Chris- 
tendom had not effected in centuries. This determination 
was worthy of the only real Republic on earth ; and Ed- 
ward Preble as well qualified as any man on earth to ex- 
ecute it. 

His achievements in the war of the Revolution — in the 
naval warfare with France — his subsequent acquaintance 
with navigation and commerce — his recent cruise in the 
Essex to the coast and ports of the East- Indies, and, to 
crown the climax of his high qualities, his cool determina- 
tion, and dauntless courage nointed him out to his govern- 
ment as Commander in Chief, with an augmented force to 
relieve the little squadron in the Mediterranean, then com- 
manded by the active and vigilant Com. Rodgers. This 
appointment was made in June 1803. 

It appears from the archives in the navy department, 
that the government not only felt but expressed their high 
estimation of Com. Preble. The language of the depart- 
ment to him is, " Reposing in your skill, judgment and bra- 
vert/, the highest degree of confidence, the President has de- 
termined to commit, the command of this squadron to your di~ 


rection" &c. &c. It was in reality the most important 
command with which any naval officer had been invested 
since the adoption of the American Constitution. He was 
sensible of this ; and elegantly said " / am fully aware of 
the great trust and responsibility oj this appointment. The 
honour of the American flag is very dear to me ; and I hope 
it will not be tarnished under my command.'' 1 I am indebt- 
ed to the politeness and urbanity of Com. Macdonough 
for the following list of vessels, their rate, and their com- 
manders in Com. Preble's squadron, when he entered the 
Mediterranean ; made from recollection. 
Frigate Constitution, 44 (flag ship) Com. Preble. 
" Philadelphia, 44 - Capt. Bainbridge. 

Brig Argus, 18 - Lieut. Hull. 

" Syren, 16 - Capt. Stewart. 

Schr. Vixen, 16 - Lieut. Smith. 

" Nautilus, 16 - Lieut. Somers. 

" Enterprize, 14 - Lieut. S. Decatur. 

It would be a source of the highest pleasure to the wri- 
ter, and undoubtedly a gratification to the reader to be 
furnished with a Register of all the commissioned and 
warrant officers, attached to this justly renowned squadron. 
Many gallant young Lieutenants, and Midshipmen, till 
then unknown to their country and to the world, are now 
enrolled in the Naval Register in the temple of fame.* 

Commodore Preble hoisted his broad pendant on board 
the frigate Constitution, now emphatically called " Old 
Iron sides." With a rapidity of sailing in squadron sur- 
passed only by the squadron of Com. Decatur in 1815, he 
entered the Mediterranean Sept. 12th, 1803. 

That peculiar reserve and retiring modesty, which dis- 
tinguishes American naval officers, while it spreads a lus- 

* See close of the sketch of Com. Preble. 


're over their splendid achievements, is, nevertheless, a 
source of regret to those who would ponder with all the 
rapture of* delight over the record of their brilliant actions. 
It seems to be an invariable determination with them, nev- 
er to speak in detail of gallant deeds in which they were 
principal actors ; and, excepting their extremely brief of- 
ficial accounts' transmitted to their government, the bio- 
graphical writer can learn nothing from them. Other 
sources of information must therefore be assiduously 
sought, and the labour of research must be endured. 

As it regards that portion of Com. Preble's brilliant ca- 
reer, as commander of the American conquering squadron 
in the Mediterranean, it might well occupy a volume. If 
given in detail, it would be a history of American prowess 
in that renowned sea, which from the earliest periods of 
Carthage, Greece, Rome, and Syracuse, to near the close 
of the first quarter of the nineteenth century, ha-s been the 
theatre of the most interesting and astonishing events in 
the civilized world. — It would be the description of the 
American Naval School, where the present brilliant con- 
stellation of naval officers obtained the first rudiments of 
their noble profession. 

Previous to the arrival of Com. Preble with his squad- 
ron, his predecessor, Com. Rodgers, and then Capt. Bain- 
bridge, had detained some Moorish armed ships, by way 
of retaliation for the Capture of American merchantmen. 

The emperor of .Morocco, who considers himself as a 
sort of Grand Sultan over the Mahometans of Africa, and 
feels the most sovereign contempt for the feebler Christian 
powers, assumed the most hostile attitude towards Amer- 
icans, and detained the venerable James Simpson, Ameri- 
can Consul General, who received his appointment from 


Washington ; and who had remained at Tangier, in Mo 
rocco until that time. As the difficulty with Morocco was 
so suddenly settled, it will not be minutely detailed. 

Com. Rodgers, although relieved by Com. Preble, with 
a magnanimity and patriotism characteristic of his whole 
naval and official life, consented, on request, to remain in 
the squadron with his ships, until affairs were determined 
by negotiation or bombardment, with the emperor, who 
had repaired to Tangier with more than 5000 men. 

Com. Preble, with the Constitution and Nautilus, Lieut. 
Somers, bore, in the most gallant style, into the bay of Tan- 
gier, and laid them within gun-shot of the extensive and 
powerful batteries before that city, the strongest and most 
important in the empire of Morocco, upon the 5th of Oc- 
ber, 1803. Com. Rodgers joined him with the frigates 
New York and John Adams. 

He wished to communicate with the American consul ; 
but sentinels were placed at the door of the consular resi- 
dence, and an interview between him and the commander 
of the American squadron, was thus inhibited. 

Ambassadors, Plenipotentiaries, Ministers, and Consuls, 
are, by the acknowledged law of nations, considered as the 
representatives of the governments from which they de- 
rive their authority ; and any indignity offered to them, is 
considered as an insult to the nation they represent. 

The American commander was aware of this ; and made 
every preparation in his squadron to sustain the dignity of 
the American Republic. 

The enthusiasm of his officers, seamen and marines, cor- 
responded with his own. They were at quarters night and 
day ; and, upon a given signal, were ready to perish them 


selves, or make the imperious Mahometans on shore bow 
io Christian thunder upon the waves. 

A description of the batteries at Tangier, a part of 
which, are in the form of a crescent, and commanding the 
whole bay, might be amusing to the reader. But as the 
power of them was not tried upon the commodore's little 
squadron, nor the force and skill of the squadron upon 
(hem, it is omitted. 

The next day, the emperor, surrounded by his numerous 
and splendid retinue, and at the head of his powerful army, 
appeared in full view of the American squadron. 

Com. Preble, as is customary with civilized nations at 
peace with each other, saluted the Emperor from his ship — 
the Emperor saluted the Commodore from his batteries, 
and sent, as a token of peace, a few Moorish bullocks, 
sheep, and fowls, which were politely received by the 

Previous to this, Com. Preble had ordered the ships of 
his squadron to bring in all Moorish vessels which fell in 
their way, by way of reprisal for the capture of American 
vessels ; and this order was still in force. 

From the pacific conduct of the Emperor, amidst his 
warlike armaments, he was convinced that he was anxious 
to effect a pacification between the American government 
and his empire. But to effect this, was only a secondary 
object with the energetic Preble. His primary object was, 
the subjugation of the Bashaw of Tripoli, whose aggres- 
sions had been vastly more aggravating. But he saw that 
this was the time to prevent a protracted negotiation with 
Morocco, and, in conjunction with the two American con- 
suls, James Simpson and Tobias Lear, was determined to 

effect a peace speedilv. 



He brought his squadron to within a few cables' length 
of the batteries, and assumed the most warlike appearance, 
upon the 7th and the 8th, in full view of the Emperor, who. 
upon the 9th, relieved the American consul from his re- 
straint, and condescended to permit him to have an inter- 
view with the American commander ! Such was the sud- 
den change of the feelings of a powerful prince, conscious 
of his aggressions, when beholding the slender force of an 
unoffending Republic, determined to avenge them. 

The sagacious Commodore, however, was fully aware of 
the faithless and perfidious conduct of the disciples of Ma- 
homet towards all the people of Christendom ; and, in hb 
peculiar critical situation, resolved to prepare, as well as 
he could, for the worst possible emergency. 

At his interview with the American Consul, he was in- 
formed that the Emperor would give " audience" to him on 
shore upon the l Oth.* This dauntless son of the ocean 
could speak more audibly from his squadron than from his 
lips ; but as the potent prince had invited him to a tete a 
tete, he was resolved to be heard, in human language, and 
be a pacificator on shore for once. 

Upon the 10th, in the morning. Com. Preble prepared 
to go on shore with only four attendants.! Before leaving 

* In a London paper in 1779, is found this article- 
Gibraltar, Sept. 18 — We hear that the Emperor of Morocco hatW 
refused to give an audience to Mr. Logie, the English Consul, and 
that he will neither admit him into his presence, nor receive the pre- 
sents from his court." 

Little did the imperious court of Britain suppose that a young Lieu 
tenant in the then " rebel marine," would, twentj-nve years after, 
awe the Emperor, and be " admitted into his presence," full armed, 
and compel him to respect "American Rebels." 
| Consul Simpson, his Secretary, Charles Morris, and two midshipmen. 


ihe Constitution, he addressed the officers of his squadron, 
as near as could be recollected, in these energetic terms : 
" Comrades — The result of the approaching interview is 
known only to God. Be it what it may, during my ab- 
sence, keep ships clear for action — let every officer and 
seaman be at his quarters : — and, if the least injury is of- 
fered to my person, immediately attack the batteries, the 
castles, the city, and the troops, totally regardless of me or 
my personal safety." 

As represented by a spectator, and actor in this scene, 
(Mr. Morris) it was one of the most solemn and interesting 
that can be conceived, and the efforts of the pen and the 
pencil would equally lag behind reality in the description. 

The mosques, towers, terraces, and dwellings of Tan- 
gier were crowded with spectators. Five thousand full 
armed Moorish troops were drawn up in double files, form- 
ing a lengthened vista, rendered brilliant by burnished mus- 
kets, sabres, and scimetars. The Emperor, in the splen- 
did costume of Eastern monarchs, surrounded by a numer- 
ous retinue of princes, courtiers, alcades and guards, was 
seated upon a spangled carpet spread out in his castle. 

The bay presented a view, less variegated, but no less in- 
teresting. The frigates Constitution, New-York, and John 
Adams, and brig Nautilus, with colors hoisted, were arran- 
ged with all the masterly skill of naval tacticians. 

Com. Preble and his attendants descended from the quar- 
ter deck of the Constitution, upon which his broad pend- 
ant was proudly waving, into his barge, and was rowed to 
the shore. 

Full dressed and full armed, he landed, near the fortress. 
The Emperor's oflicer requested him to lay off his arms. 
With manly dignity, he promptly declined it. With a firm 


and dignified step, he approached towards the Emperor, 
through the double files of Moorish troops, viewing them 
as calmly as he passed along, as a general would review a 
regiment in time of peace. Upon reaching the Emperor, 
he was requested to kneel, pursuant to custom. Upon de- 
clining it, the ceremony was dispensed with. The Empe- 
ror demanded of the Commodore—" If he was not in fear 
of being detained ?" " No ! Sir," said he—" you dare not 
detain me. But if you should presume to do it, my squad- 
ron, in your full view, would lay your batteries, your cas 
ties and your city in ruins in one hour! !" 

The Emperor, who had always been accustomed to re- 
ceive the humble submission of subjugated men, was 
awe-struck by the presence and firmness of the American 

He immediately gave orders to his marine officers to re- 
store all American vessels that had been taken, and formal- 
ly renewed the treaty made with America in 1 786. Com. 
Preble revoked his orders to capture Moorish ships, and re- 
stored those that had been taken. Happy had it been for 
the blood stained Jussuff, the Bashaw of Tripoli, if he had 
followed the example of Moolay Solimaan* the Emperor 
of Morocco. 

The memory of Com. Preble, ought to be venerated, and 
the characters of Commodores Rodgers and Bainbridge du- 
ly estimated, for having first compelled the Emperor of 
Morocco to respect the American Republic. From 1803 
to this time, Americans have suffered no obstructions in 
their commercial pursuits from the Moors. 

* The writer of these Sketches is not certain that this was the name 
of the Emperor of Morocco in 1803 ; but he knows it to be the name 
of the emperor in 1817, when Archibald Robbins passed through hi? 
dominions from Zahara Desart 


From the decision, firmness, and energy of Com. Preble, 
in his transactions with the Emperor of Morocco, his offi- 
cers and seamen were readily enabled to anticipate their 
duty when they reached their ultimate destination before 

He had declared Tripoli to be in a state of blockade, 
and had given formal notice of it to all the American Con- 
suls in the Mediterranean. It was not like the " Decrees 
of Berlin and Milan," without power to enforce them — it 
was a blockade with a competent naval force to carry it 
into execution. 

The writer of this sketch, having recently offered to the 
public, the second edition of the " Life of Com. Stephen 
Decatur;" and having in that volume attempted to give a 
succinct account of the operations of Com. Preble's squad- 
ron in the Mediterranean, derived from sources of unques- 
tionable authenticity ; and being under the necessity of 
connecting the actions of the gallant Commander in Chief, 
with that of his favorite officer, Capt. Decatur, the detail of 
some events, of Com. Preble's Life, while in the Mediter- 
ranean, is adopted from that volume, with such additions 
and corrections as recent information suggested. 

While Com. Preble had been thus engaged, Captain 
Bainbridge, in the frigate Philadelphia, Lieut. Smith, with 
the Vixen Sloop of war, laid before Tripoli, and, with this 
small force, completely blockaded that important port. 

On the last day of October, the Philadelphia, lying about 
fifteen miles from Tripoli, Captain Bainbridge discovered 
a large ship, with Tripolitan colours, under sail, between 
him and the shore. He immediately gave chase to her, 
and continued the pursuit until the ship entered the port 
for safety. In beating out of the harbour his noble frigate 


struck violently upon an unseen and hitherto undescribed 

It is wholly impossible to conceive what must have been 
the feelings — the distress — the agony of the gallant Bain- 
bridge, and his no less gallant officers and crew, upon the. 
happening of this dreadful disaster. 

Capt. Bainbridge and his crew, while the frigate floated 
would have fought at sea, all the Tripolitan marine, single 
handed. But his irreversible fate was decided — the ship 
could not then be moved, and he was compelled, when an 
overwhelming Tripolitan force assailed him, to strike the 
banner of his country, to the crescent of Mahomet, and, 
with his truly American crew, to be reduced to the most 
abject slavery, which the most merciless of human beings, 
can inflict upon civilized man. 

The whole crew exceeded three hundred Americans ; 
and they were immediately immured in a dungeon. In 
this crew were Bainbridge, Porter, Jones, Biddle, — names 
familiar to every American, who knows or appreciates the 
glory of their country. 

And here I have the infinite satisfaction of recording an 
instance of mutual attachment, perhaps without a parallel 
in the history of the most romantic affection. Captain 
Bainbridge, his officers and crew, now reduced, in a degree, 
to equality, by common misery, pledged themselves to each 
other, never to separate alive ; but to endure one common 
bondage, or enjoy together, one general emancipation. 
The friends of the accomplished Biddle, offered the sum 
demanded for his ransom, which he decidedly refused to 

This noble crew were confined in a tower which over- 
looked the bay of Tripoli. They beheld their gallant 


countrymen, wafting triumphantly in their floating bul- 
warks, and knew that the day of their redemption would 
one day come. They knew tnat a Preble, and a band of 
unconquerable warriors from the ' land of their home' 
would not forget them. They knew what they had done, 
in Morocco, and what they could do in Tripoli. They 
nevertheless could not help thinking of their country, — 
their friends ; and, what to an ocean-warrior, perhaps, 
is dearer than all, the laurels they wished to gain in chas- 
tising the diabolical wretches, who, by an unavoidable dis- 
aster, and not by their courage, now held them in degra- 
ded subjugation.* 

* The following' pathetic lines are extracted from a poem originally 
published in the " Analectic Magazine." Tkey apply with peculiar 
force to the captive crew of the Philadelphia frigate in a Tripolitan 
dungeon. I should be happy to give the author's name. 

Blest country of freedom ! no longer my home ! 
In my boyhood I lov'd o'er your green fields to roam ; 
Columbia ! still sweet to my ear is the sound, 
Though now I'm a captive dishonour'd and bound. 

Dear land of my birth ! where my kindred all dwell, 
Couldst thou see thy lost son in this comfortless cell, 
Pale, starving, a slave, and with irons compress'd, 
Thy vengeance would rise, and his woes be redress'd. 
While millions thy bloom-scented breezes inhale, 
And on thy rich harvests of plenty regale ; 
Here, far frem the shores of abundance and health, 
My wretchedness* adds to a rude tyrant's wealth. 

When night o'er the world drops her curtains of gloom. 
I am plung'd in the damps of this horrible tomb ; 
Where nought can be heard but the clanking of chains, 
And moaning of slaves that give vent to their pains. 

* It is the practice of Mahometans, to aggravate the miseries * f 
Christian slaves to extort a higher ransom. 


But we turn from a picture coloured in the darkest 
shades of human calamity, to some of the brightest orna- 
ments of the human race. Com. Preble despatched Lt. 
Decatur, on the 14th of December from Malta with the 
schooner Enterprise, and he laid his course for Tripoli. 
The Tripolitans had seen this little schooner before, and 
the reader already knows what was the result of the inter 

On the 23d, in full view of Tripoli, he engaged an arm- 
ed Tripolitan vessel ; and, in a few minutes, made her his 
own. She was under Turkish colours, and manned prin- 
cipally with Greeks and Turks, and commanded by a Turk- 
ish Captain. Under these circumstances, the Lieutenant 
hesitated for some time, whether to detain or release the 
captured vessel. Upon investigation, he found that there 
was on board two very distinguished Tripolitan officers, 
and that the commander of her, in the most dastardly man- 
ner, had attacked the Philadelphia frigate, when driven on 
a rock. He farther learned from unquestionable authori- 
ty, that on this occasion he fought under false colours ; and 
that when the heroic but unfortunate crew of the Philadel- 
phia, could no longer resist the immense force brought 
against her, he boarded her ; and with the well known fero- 
city of a Mahometan, plundered the officers of the captur- 
ed frigate. Here the exalted character of Com. Preble's 
favorite officer Lieut. Decatur, began to be developed. 
He was then, as he ever was, a lamb to his friends — a lion 
to his enemies. He had before his eyes the beloved frig- 
ate, which had fallen a victim to misfortune and to de- 
mons. But, adhering rigidly to the rights of war, he man- 

* Alluding to the victory of Lieut. Sterrett. 


tested no resentment against the humbled and trembling 
wretches now in his power. His great spirit scorned to 
make war upon weakness, or triumph over a fallen foe. 
He indignantly disposed of the crew — handed the papers ot 
the vessel, to Com. Preble, who took her into the service 
of his own country, and gave her a name which she after 
wards so well supported, The Ketch Intrepid. 

Notwithstanding the loss of the fine frigate Philadelphia, 
and the bondage of her accomplished crew, which very 
materially reduced the force of Com. Preble's little squad- 
ron, that veteran officer was not to be deterred from at 
tempting to accomplish the great object of his government, 
in sending him to the Mediterranean. 

Fortunately for his own fame, and for the lasting glory 
and benefit of his beloved country, he united the most cool 
deliberation, with the most dauntless courage. The first, 
enabled him to prepare well for the tremendous contest 
which lay before him. He might have exclaimed, in the 
language of an inimitable, although not a very modern 
bard — 

" The wide, the unbounded prospect lies before me, 
But shadows, clouds, and darkness rest upon it." 

The second quality enabled him, when entered into the 
dreadful brunt of devastating warfare, to brave death in its 
most appalling and horrid forms. In his officers and sea- 
men, he recognized chivalrous warriors, who, amidst a host 
of dangers, and the strides of death, thought less of them- 
selves than they did of their country. 

Fortunately, was it, I may again say, that there was such 
a man as Preble at such a time, to command such men. 
He wanted nothing to stimulate him to the most daring at- 



As commander of the little squadron in the Mediterrane- 
an, he was in some measure situated as Jackson was. 
when commanding his little army at New Orleans. Hi? 
language to Mr. Monroe, then secretary of war, was, " as 
the safety of this city will depend upon the fate of this army, 
it must not be incautiously exposed." The gallant Com- 
modore might have said — " As the glory of my country, 
the safety of her merchants, and the redemption of my 
countrymen depend upon my small force, it must not rash- 
ly be carried into a contest where so many chances are 
against its success." 

He selected the harbours of the cities of Syracuse and 
Messina for his general rendezvous in the Mediterranean 
— occasionally laid off the island of Malta, and sometimes 
carried his squadron into the bay of Naples. 

No portion of this globe could afford the ardent hero, 
and the classical scholar a more sublime subject for con- 
templation. Excepting some sections of the immense 
American Republic, no part of our world seems to have 
been created upon a scale so wonderfully grand. It i^ 
calculated to inspire the most exalted views of the bound- 
less greatness, incomprehensible wisdom, and resistless 
power of the Creator. 

Com. Preble, his accomplished officers, and intelligent 
crews, in different ships, and in different positions, were in 
view of three of the four quarters of the globe — Of Asia. 
whence issued the Law from Sinai, and Grace from Bethle- 
hem, and where Mahometans and heathen now bear sway. 
Of Africa, once the seat of Egyptian power and science, 
and now the region of superstition, Of Europe, the smallest, 
and yet more powerful than all the three other quarters of 
the globe. They were in view of Vesuvius and Etna. 


which, for ages have spread desolation over the cities al 
their bases. The gulph of Charybdis, which long swal- 
lowed up mariners who escaped from Scylla — the place 
where Euphemia once was, and where the hideous desola 
tion of earthquakes are yet visible throughout Calabria. 
were within his view. 

In addition to this, it has been the theatre of the most 
important events recorded in ancient or modern history. 
The minds of the historian, the scholar, the poet and the 
warrior, seem to be irresistably hurried back to the days of 
antiquity, and traces the events and the works which have 
so astonishingly developed the moral, physical, and intel- 
lectual faculties of man in this region. 

Com. Preble had in his squadron many scholars of the 
lirst water, as they were all heroes of the first stamp. The 
region in which they moved, and the object they had to ac- 
complish, were both calculated to stimulate them to that 
pitch of unparalleled enthusiasm which led thein to the 
achievement of such unparalleled deeds. 

The renowned city of Syracuse is situated upon the isl- 
and of Sicily. The historian will readily recollect its for- 
mer grandeur and importance ; but the writer has enjoyed 
the desirable satisfaction of learning its present state from 
some of the accomplished officers of Com. Preble's squad- 
ron, and other American gentlemen who have recently ex- 
plored the island of Sicily, and who have resided in the 
city of Syracuse. 

This island was once the region of fertility ; and whil^ 
ihe Roman legions were striding on from conquest to con- 
quest, over what was then called " the whole world," this 
island was literally their granary. 

The climate is altogether the finest that can be imagined. 


The soil produces not only all the necessaries but all the 
luxuries of life. The ancient Syracusans carried their 
city to a pitch of grandeur, second only to tlfat of Rome. 

It can hardly be believed in the nineteenth century, that 
this single city in ancient days, furnished one hundred 
thousand foot soldiers, and ten thousand horsemen, but 
such was the fact. And, when it is mentioned that her na- 
vy amounted to four hundred vessels, the assertion would 
almost seem to be incredible ; but it is no less true. 

At that period of their history, the Syracusans flourished 
by war — they afterwards became degenerated by peace. 

Rome conquered Greece by arms, and was herself con- 
quered by the refinements of Greece. It was easy for the 
clans which composed what is generally called the " North- 
ern Hive" in the fifth century of the Christian era, to con- 
quer them both. They only had to conquer a people by 
arms, who had conquered themselves by effeminacy. 

The Saxons, from whom Englishmen and Americans 
principally derive their origin, were in that myriad who 
precipitated themselves upon the ancient nations of Europe, 
and established those which now so completely eclipse 
their former splendour. The Gauls, Franks, and other 
clans followed in their train, and European nations are now, 
what the Grecians, Carthagenians, Romans and other an- 
cient nations were about the commencement of the Chris- 
tian era ; and London, Paris, and other cities, are what 
Rome, Syracuse and other cities were then. 

While at anchor in the harbour of Syracuse and other 
places, Com. Preble and his brother officers frequently 
went on shore and explored these places of ancient wealth, 
refinement and grandeur. 

Syracuse is twenty-two miles in circumference : al- 


though its limits could then be discovered only f>\ the 
mouldering ruins of its ancient boundaries. 

Although the natural charms of the country remain the 
same as they were when the fiat of creative power brought 
the universe into existence, yet the miserable, degenerated, 
and vitiated descendants of the ancient Syracusans, had so 
scandalously degraded the noble and glorious ancestors 
from whom they descended, that the officers of Commo- 
dore Preble's squadron saw nothing in them to excite 
their respect — much less their admiration. 

But Com. Preble was not designated by the American 
government to conduct a squadron into the Mediterranean 
for the purpose of visiting the tombs of Archimedes, Theo- 
critus, Petrarch, and Virgil, in the adjoining regions of that 
sea, and then to return home and amuse his countrymen 
with the present state of the " classic ground" which their 
splendid geniuses have rendered sacred. 

His business was to conquer a barbarous foe bordering 
upon another portion of the Mediterranean who never had 
any more pretentions to the productions of genius, than they 
have to the exercise of humanity. 

He perfectly well understood the ancient character of 
the Syracusans, and from occular demonstration had plena- 
ry evidence of their modern degeneracy. 

As the squadron rendezvoused there to obtain water and 
fresh provisions, the officers and seamen had occasion fre- 
quently to be on shore within the city by night and by day. 

Although the American Republic was at perfect peace 
with the Neapolitan government, yet there was no individ- 
ual safety when intercourse became necessary with its vin- 
dictive and sanguinary subjects. 

From many interesting narrations of many of the accom- 


plished officers of Com. Preble's squadron, the fact ma) 
be asserted, that the Syracusans, who were amongst the 
most noble of the ancients, are amongst the most degraded 
of the moderns. Their sordid and mercenary rulers exer- 
cise a boundless, undefined, and unrestrained power, over 
the miserable and degraded people. They, in hopeless 
despondence, prey upon each other , and like Macbeth, 
having long waded in blood, may as well advance as to re- 
cede : and, as if blood was their aliment, they make a bu- 
siness of assassination. 

Armed with concealed daggers, stilettoes, and knives, 
our unsuspecting officers and seamen were assailed when 
the earth was shrouded in darkness, and sometimes esca- 
ped with their lives by putting their assailants to death. 

This is no place for grave and prolix reflections — they 
belong to the writers of ethics, and not to the biographer ; 
but it is utterly impossible to avoid the inquiry, how the 
human heart can become so completely divested of the 
feelings of humanity, and be metamorphosed into those of 
beasts of prey ? and how those portions of the world where 
the arts and sciences not only once flourished, but may be 
said almost to have originated, should now be reduced to a 
state far worse than that which is naturally savage ? 

Many portions of Asia, Europe, and Africa, bordering 
upon the renowned Mediterranean sea, are now inhabited 
by races of men far less magnanimous, and little less fero- 
cious, than the aborigines who roam through the boundless 
wildernesses of America, where science never diffused its 
lights, and where civilization never imparted its refined 

While at Syracuse, Com. Preble was incessantly em- 


ployed in preparing his crews for the unequal, the daring, 
and desperate contest into which he was shortly to enter. 

His arduous and impatient soul panted for an opportuni 
iy to avenge the injuries of his country, and above all to 
relieve his countrymen from the dreadful state of wretch- 
edness to which they were reduced by their slavery, under 
Jussuff, at that time reigning Bashaw of Tripoli), 

It will not, I trust, be deemed a digression — indeed, upon 
second thought, it is no digression at all, to make a brief 
allusion to the blood-thirsty demon, who sat upon the 
blood-stained throne of Tripoli, while Preble and his asso- 
ciates were pouring out the vindictive wrath of an injured 
and indignant Republic upon his no less blood-thirsty sub 

Jussuff was to the reigning family of Tripoli, what Rich- 
ard III. once was to the reigning family of England. He 
was a remote heir to the throne of the Bashaw, filled by 
his father. The certain progress of the king of terrors, or 
the sanguinary hand of some other assassin, might have 
placed him upon the throne according to the laws of suc- 
cession, (if they have any in Tripoli) without ascending it 
with his hands reeking in the blood of his father and his 
eldest brother. Both of these he had murdered ; and his 
next eldest brother, Hamet Caramalli, apprehending the 
same fate, sought a refuge from unnatural death by fleeing 
into Egypt. 

Having no other rival, this modern Cain mounted the 
throne of his father and his brother ; and, as he had acqui- 
red it by violating the laws of God, of nature, and of man. 
he endeavoured to support himself upon it by re-acting the 
same tragical scenes which carried him to it. The " com- 
punctious visitings" of conscience ; the monitor in the hu- 


man breast, excited no horrors in his callous and reprobate 

A gleam of horrid triumph seemed to shed a baleful and 
blasting illumination over his blackened and bloody soul. 
He " grinned horribly a ghastly smile" at the fate of his 
innocent and exiled brother ; and gnashed his teeth at the 
gallant Bainbridge, his incarcerated crew, and the rest of 
the American prisoners, then in his dungeons. 

It was in vain for Mr. Lear, then American consul, by 
all the melting and impassioned appeals he could make to 
the obdurate heart of this demon incarnate, to obtain the 
least mitigation of the indescribably wretched bondage to 
which his beloved countrymen were reduced. As well 
might the lamb bleat for mercy in the paw of a tiger, or 
the child attempt to demolish the bashaw's castle with his 

Mr. Lear was compelled to be an agonized spectator of 
the accumulated and accumulating miseries of gallant 
Americans, who had left the regions of happiness — the 
arms of fathers, mothers, brothers, and sisters — of wives 
and children, to redeem, by their courage, their own coun- 
trymen, who had previously been enslaved. 

The powerful arms of Bainbridge and his crew, which, 
at liberty, would have scattered death amongst a host of 
Turks, were pinioned aud lashed together, they driven to 
the shore ; and, in taunting derision, commanded to cast 
their swimming eyes upon their shipmates, then wafting in 
the bay of Tripoli ; and to heave forth the sighs of hearts 
already bursting for the land of their homes. 

But I must retract — not a tear was dropped ; not a sigh 
was heard ; for revenge had closed the flood-gates of grief ; 
and American hearts, beating in bosoms truly American. 


panted for nothing but vengeance upon their demoniacal 

The bashaw, who might well be compared to the toad 
which wished to swell to the size of the ox, reposed in fan- 
cied security. He cast a malignant glance at the little 
squadron in which Preble was the commander. He 
law in the bay, spreading before the city, his batteries, and 
his castles, a noble American frigate, (the Philadelphia,) 
once the pride of the American navy — upon which the 
* Star-spangled banner" once triumphantly waved, now 
added to his naval force — manned by a double crew of 
Tripolitans ; and, with the Turkish crescent waving on its 
mast. He saw its once gallant crew, miserable slaves in 
his own gloomy dungeons ; and, in anticipation, feasted 
his cannibal appetite upon all the victims which the Ame- 
rican squadron could add to his list of Christian slaves. 

Com. Preble's fearless and noble soul, was not only 
aroused to the highest pitch of enthusiastic courage, but it 
was absolutely inflamed with desperation to behold his for- 
mer companions in the navy, thus degraded — thus humilia- 
ted — thus subjugated. But, like a lion, growling at a dis- 
tance, and indicating to his foe their future fate, he was re- 
strained, from rushing too precipitately upon the barbarous 
enemy, he wished instantly to encounter. 

All personal considerations, were completely merged and 
lost, in the agony he felt for his brother officers and seamen 
in slavery. He had taken his life in his hand, and seemed 
anxious to offer it up, if so decreed by the God of battles, 
for the redemption of his endeared countrymen. But the 
cool and yet cautious Preble, knew full well that the means 
in his hands, must be directed with the utmost caution, to 
accomplish the end he had in view. 


To recapture the Philadelphia, was absolutely impracti- 
cable, as the writer has been assured by some of the expe- 
rienced and accomplished officers of Commodore Preble's 
squadron. She was moored under the guns of the Bashaw's 
castle, and his extensive and powerful batteiies, and was 
herself, in her present hands, completely prepared to join 
them in repelling any assailants that should approach her. 
There were these alternatives — she must either be destroy- 
ed — constantly blockaded — or suffered to escape, and com- 
mit depredations upon the commerce, and outrage upon 
the citizens of the country who built, equipped, and man- 
ned her. 

Lieut. Stephen Decatur, with the most impassioned and 
fervent appeals to the Commodore, entreated him to per- 
mit an attempt to destroy her, as she lay at her moorings. 
It was an attempt so pregnant with danger, and approach- 
ing so near to certain destruction, that the heroic, though 
cautious Preble, hesitated in granting the request. The 
imminent hazard of the enterprise was pointed out in such 
a manner as was calculated to allay the ardour of the most 
romantic heroism. But Decatur, rising above the ordina- 
ry calculations of chances — retiring into his own bosom, 
and forming his judgment from his own exalted gallantry, 
took no counsel from fear, but volunteered his services to 
his Superior officer, to command the desperate expedition. 
At length, 

" He wrung from him his slow leave" — 

and immediately commenced his preparations for the aw- 
ful undertaking. The ardour of the Lieutenant was in- 
creased as the danger of the attempt was magnified. At 
this early period of his life, he seemed to have revived the 
spirit which pervaded the hearts of men in the " age of 


chivalry," and to have adopted the ancient axiom " the 
greater the danger the greater the glory." But let 1 it he 
remembered that Decatur sought for glory, only by the 
discharge of duty. 

Uniting the most consummate sagacity with the most 
daring courage, he selected the little ketch Intrepid, which, 
as previously mentioned he had himself captured, in full 
view of the bay where the Philadelphia was moored. He 
was aware that if the expedition should prove successful, 
it would render the mortification of the insolent Bashaw 
doubly severe, to see a little vessel which lately belonged 
to his own marine force, boldly approach to the guns of 
his battery and castle, and destroy the largest ship that be- 
longed to his navy. A ship, too, which he neither built 
nor honourably captured, but which became his by the ir- 
resistible laws of the elements. 

No sooner was it known that this expedition was to be 
undertaken, than the crew of Lieutenant Decatur volun- 
teered their services — ever ready to follow their beloved 
commander to victory or to death. Other seamen follow- 
ed their example. Nor was this the most conclusive evi- 
dence of the unbounded confidence placed in his skill and 
courage. Lieut. Charles Stewart, also volunteered un- 
der Decatur ; and for the expedition took the brig Syren 
and a few boats ; and, to show still farther the high estima- 
tion in which he was holden — Lieut. James Lawrence, 
and Charles Morris, and Thomas Macdonouuh, then 
midshipmen, entered on board the Intrepid with Decatur. 
What a constellation of rising ocean heroes were here as- 
sociated ! They were then all young officers, almost un- 
known to fame. Now their names are all identified with 
the naval glory of the American Republic. 


As soon as the crews of the ketch Intrepid and the brig 
Syren were made up, the utmost despatch was used in 
preparing them for the expedition. The Ketch was fitted 
out as a fire ship, in case it should be necessary to use her 
as such. The Brig, with the boats accompanying her, 
were to aid as circumstances rendered it necessary, and to 
receive the crew of the Ketch if she was driven to the ne- 
cessity of being blown up. 

Upon the 3d day of February, Decatur weighed anchor 
in the little Intrepid, accompanied by Lieutenant Stewart 
in the Syren, who was also accompanied by the boats. A 
favourable wind would have wafted them to their destined 
port in less than five days ; but for fifteen days, they en- 
countered the most boisterous and tempestuous weather. 
Instead of encountering a barbarous enemy, they were 
buffeting the waves and struggling for life with a tumultu- 
ous and agitated sea. Nothing could be better calculated 
to repress the ardour of Decatur and his little band. His 
provisions were diminished and almost expended, and al- 
though not a murmur escaped the lips of the humblest sea- 
man, it may well be imagined what must be their reflec- 
tions, when liable every hour to be swallowed up by the 
waves ; and, if they escaped them to be famished with 
hunger ! Men of the stoutest hearts, who would undaunt- 
edly rush to the cannon's mouth, become even children at 
the prospect of famine. 

At length upon the memorable 16th of February, 1804, 
a little before sunset, Decatur hove in sight of the bay of 
Tripoli, and of the frigate Philadelphia, with the Turkish 
Crescent proudly waving at her head. The apprehensions 
arising from storms and famine were suddenly banished by 
the prospect of a glorious victory or a glorious death. 


It had previously been arranged between Decatur, and 
Lieutenant Stewart, that the Intrepid, accompanied by the 
boats which had been attached to the Syren, should enter 
the harbour at 10 o'clock at night, with the utmost possible 
silence, bear down upon the Philadelphia, and take her by 
boarding. But, as if fate haa entered its veto agamst the 
success of the expedition, the Syren, with all the boats, by 
a change of wind, were driven from five to ten miles from 
the Intrepid, leaving Decatur, with only seventy volun- 
teers in this small Ketch. 

The moment of decision had come. His provisions 
were nearly expended, and the expedition must have been 
relinquished for that season, unless the object of it was now 

He knew that her gallant little crew were as true to him, 
as the needle by which he directed his ketch to Tripoli. 
was to the pole. Wherever he would lead, he knew they 
would follow. Having a Maltese pilot on board the Ketch, 
he ordered him to answer the hail from the frigate, in the 
Tripolitan tongue ; and, if they were ordered to come to 
an anchor, to answer, that they had lost their anchors upon 
the coast in a gale of wind, and that a compliance with the 
order was impossible. 

He addressed his gallant officers and men in the most: 
animated and impassioned style — pointed out to them the 
glory of the achievements which would redound to them- 
selves, and the lasting benefit it would secure to their 
country, — that it would hasten the redemption of their 
brother seamen, from horrible bondage, and give to the 
name of Americans, an exalted rank even amongst Mahom- 
etans. Every heart on board swelled with enthusiasm, 
and responded to the patriotic sentiments of their beloved 


leader in this expedition, by wishing to be led immediately 
into the contest. Every man was completely armed — not 
only with the most deadly weapons, but with the most 
dauntless courage. 

The reader may form some faint conceptions of the tre- 
mendous hazard of this engagement by learning that the 
Philadelphia was moored nearthe Bashaw's extensive and 
powerful batteries, and equally near to what he deemed 
his impregnable castle. One of her full broadsides, of 
twenty six guns, pointed directly into the harbour, and 
were all mounted and loaded with double headed shot. 
Two of the Tripolitan's largest corsairs were anchored 
within two cables' length of her starboard quarter, while a 
great number of heavy gun-boats were stationed about the 
same distance from her starboard bow. 

As the Bashaw had reasons daily to expect an attack 
from Com. Preble's squadron, the Tripolitan commander 
of the Philadelphia, had augmented her crew to nearly a 
thousand Turks. In addition to all these formidable, — 
yea, appalling considerations, Decatur and his noble crew, 
knew full well that after having entered into this dreadful- 
ly unequal combat, there was no escape. It was a " for- 
lorn hope" — it was victory, slavery, or death — death per- 
haps by the hands of the Turks — perhaps by the explosion 
of the Intrepid. 

As soon as darkness had concealed the Ketch from the 
view of the Tripolitans, Decatur bore slowly into the har- 
bour, and approached the numerous magazines of death 
which were prepared to repel or destroy any assailant that 
should approach. 

The light breeze he had when he entered the harbour, 
died away, and a dead calm succeeded. At 1 1 o'clock he 


hud approached within two hundred yards of the Philadel- 
phia. An unbroken silence for the three preceding hours 
had prevailed; reminding the poetical reader of the ex- 
pressive couplet — 

" A fearful silence now invades the ear, 
And in that silence all a tempest fear." 

At this portentous moment, the hoarse and dissonant 
voice of a Turk hailed the Intrepid, and ordered her to 
come tc anchor. The faithful Maltese pilot answered as 
previously directed, and the sentinel supposed ',' all was 
well." The Ketch gradually approached the frigate ; and 
when within about fifty yards of her, Decatur ordered the 
Intrepid's small boat to take a rope and make it fast to the 
fore chains of the frigate, and the men to return immedi- 
ately on board the Ketch. This done, some of the crew 
with the rope began to warp the Ketch along-side the Phi- 

The imperious Turks at this time began to imagine that 
" all was not well." The Ketch was suddenly brought into 
contact with the frigate — Decatur, full armed, darted like 
lightning upon her deck, and was immediately follow- 
ed by midshipman Morris. For a full minute, they were 
the only Americans on board, contending with hundred? of 
Turks. Lieutenant Lawrence* and midshipman Macdon- 
ough, as soon as possible followed their leader, and were 
themselves followed by the whole of the little crew of the 

A scene followed which beggars description. The con- 
sternation of the Turks increased the wild confusion which 
the unexpected assault occasioned. They rushed upon 

* Lawrence at this time was a midshipman ; but was acting lieuten- 
ant in the schooner Enterprise. 


deck from every other part of the frigate ; and, instead of 
aiding, obstructed each other in defending her. Decatur 
and his crew formed a front equal to that of the Turks, and 
then impetuously rushed upon them. It was the business 
of the Americans to slay, and of the Turks to die. It was 
impossible to ascertain the number slain ; but it was esti- 
mated at from twenty to thirty. As soon a6 any Turk was 
wounded, he immediately jumped overboard ; choosing a 
voluntary death, rather than the disgrace of "losing blood 
by the hand of a " christian dog." Those who were not 
slain, or who had leaped overboard, excepting one, escap- 
ed in a boat to the shore. 

Decatur now found himself in complete possession of 
the Philadelphia, and commanded upon the same deck 
where his gallant father had commanded before him. But 
in life, he was in the midst of death. He could not move 
the frigate, for there was no wind — he could not tow her 
out of the harbour, for he had not sufficient strength. The 
Bashaw's troops commenced a tremendous fire from their 
batteries and the castle upon the frigate. The gun- boats 
were arranged in the harbour; and the two corsairs near 
her were pouring their fire into her starboard quarter. De- 
catur and his gallant companions remained in the frigate, 
cool and collected, fully convinced that that was the only 
place where they could defend themselves. 

Finding it totally impossible to withstand, for any length 
of time such a tremendous cannonade as was now pouring 
in upon him, he resolved to set the frigate on fire in every 
one of her combustible parts, and run the hazard of esca- 
ping, with his officers and seamen, in the little Intrepid, 
which still lay along side of her. It was a moment, preg- 
nant with the most awful, or the most happy consequences 
to these gallant heroes. 


After the conflagration commenced, Decatur and his as- 
sociates entered the ketch as it increased ; and for some 
time were in imminent danger of being blown up with her. 
As if Heaven smiled upon the conclusion of this enter- 
prise, as it seemed to frown upon its beginning, a favourable 
breeze at this moment arose, which blew the Intrepid di- 
rectly out of the reach of the enemy's cannon, and enabled 
Decatur and his officers and seamen to behold, at a secure 
distance, the furious flames and rolling columns of smoke 
which issued from the Philadelphia. 

As the flames heated the loaded cannon in the frigate, 
they were discharged, one after the other — those pointing 
into the harbour without injury ; and those pointing into 
the city of Tripoli to the great damage and consternation 
of the barbarous wretches who had loaded them to destroy 
our countrymen. One of the shot entered the dungeon 
where Capt. Bainbridge and his crew were confined ! 

It is wholly impossible for those unaccustomed to scenes 
like this, to form a conception of the feelings of Decatur 
and his comrades upon this occasion. Their safe retreat 
was next to a resurrection from the dead. Not an Ameri- 
can was slain in the desperate rencontre, and but four were 

Com. Preble might well have exclaimed to Lieut. Deca- 
tur upon joining his squadron, as an ancient Baron did to 
his favourite knight — 

" Welcome to my arms ; thou art twice a conqueror, 
" For thou bringest home full numbers." 

Equally impossible is it to imagine the feelings of Captain 
Bainbridge and his companions in bondage upon this al- 
most miraculous event. They heard the roar of cannon 


in their gloomy dungeon, and saw the gleaming light of the 
flames, but knew not the cause. Upon learning the cheer- 
ing tidings, joy converted their chains and cords to silken 
threads. It was a presage of there deliverance, and fore- 
told to them a glorious jubilee. They might have said of 
the Commodore, " Better is a friend that is nigh, than a 
brother that is far off." 

Com. Preble, fully sensible of the deficiency of his squad- 
ron in vessels of a smaller class, negotiated with the king 
of Naples for the loan of two bombards, and six gun-boats. 
Nelson, when commanding immense squadrons of ships of 
the line declared that " Frigates were the eyes of a fleet ;" 
and gun-boats were to Preble, what frigates were to him. 

This great man. and veteran officer had the scantiest 
means to accomplish a most important end. But as the 
gallant Henry V. with his little army before Agincourt 
" wished not for another man from England," so Preble 
wished not for another keel, another gun, or another maa 
from America. His noble soul converted his little squad- 
ron into a powerful fleet; and, surrounded by'such officers as 
Decatur, Hull, Stewart, Smith, Somers and others, then 
less known, and perhaps equally gallant, his comrades were 
magnified into a mighty host. 

While Com. Preble was thus preparing to negotiate with 
the tyrannous and murderous Jussuff at the mouth of his 
cannon, and to send his ultimatum in powder and ball, Mr. 
William Eaton, who had previously been a consul from 
America up the Mediterranean, conceived the daring and 
romantic project of restoring Hamet Caramalli to the throne 
of Tripoli which had been usurped by the reigning Bashaw. 

Hamet had relinguished all hopes of regaining a throne 
which had always been acquired and sustained by blood and 


assassination. Like a philosopher, he had retired to Egypt, 
where the beys of that ancient kingdom extended to him 
their protection aad their hospitality. To use his own 
language, as translated into ours he " reposed in the secu- 
rity of peace — had almost ceased to repine for the loss of 
his throne, and regretted only the lot of his unhappy peo- 
ple, doomed to the yoke of his cruel and tyrannical brother." 

Novel language this, to be sure in the mouth of a Ma- 
hometan ! How much his " unhappy people" would 
have been benefited by his reign, cannot now be deter- 
mined ; as he is not amongst the " legitimate sovereigns" 
who have, in later times, waded through the blood of their 
own subjects to thrones from which they were driven by 
the public voice. Thrones which tremble beneath them, 
and which they maintain only by the strong arm of power. 

Some few Americans from the American squadron, join- 
ed Eaton, and, many natives of various tribes, languages 
and colours flocked to his standard. A motley sort of an 
army was thus formed, and Eaton placed himself at their 
head as a general. He repaired to Alexandria, and found 
the feeble Caramalli, as just mentioned "reposing in secu- 
rity and peace." 

Fortunate indeed had it been for him, if he had remain- 
ed in safety by continuing in obscurity. Few instances are 
left us upon record of princes who have been exiled from 
their thrones and kingdoms, who have enjoyed either of 
them upon their restoration. The houses of Stuart, Bour- 
bon, and Braganzi furnish the commentary. 

The expiring hopes of Caramalli, were brightened up by 
the ardent and romantic Eaton, as a sudden gust elicits a 
spark from the faint glimmering light in the socket. He 
cast a longing eye towards the dangerous throne of Tripoli. 


more than half a thousand miles distant, between which and 
himself stretched an immense desart second only in bar- 
renness and desolation to that of Zahara. 

But nothing could repress the ardour of Eaton. The 
idea of an American, taking from the land where Pharaoh 
once held the children of Israel in captivity, an exiled 
prince, and placing him upon the throne of a distant king- 
dom, had something in it so outrageously captivating, that 
the enthusiastic mind of the chivalrous Eaton was lost to 
every other consideration. 

The grateful Caramalli.if an Ishmaelite can be grateful, 
took leave of his Egyptian friends, and placed himself un- 
der the banner of Eaton. He entered into a Convention 
with the general, by which he promised immense favours 
to the Americans, and to make the engagements reciprocal, 
the general promised to restore him to his throne. This 
diplomatic arrangement was doubtless mutually satisfacto- 
ry to the parties, although the American and Tripolitan 
governments had no hand in this negociation. 

Caramalli, his general, and a great assemblage of incon- 
gruous materials called an army, moved across the desarts ; 
and endured every thing which they might have anticipa- 
ted from the nature of the country. After passing about 
six hundred miles they reached the city of Derne, which 
they triumphantly entered, and at least found some repose 
and a supply of their immediate wants. 

The reigning Bashaw in the mean time had augmented 
his garrisons to three thousand Turkish troops, and an ar- 
my of more than twenty thousand Arabs were encamped 
in the neighbourhood of the strong city of Tripoli. How- 
ever contemptuously he might smile at the force which 
surrounded his approaching brother by land, and however 


iitlle he cared for the loss of the little city of Derne, a 
" fearful looking for of judgment" harrowed his guilty soul 
when he beheld the whole of Commodore Preble's squad- 
ron, upon the first week of August, approaching the har- 
bour of Tripoli. 

He had seen (he gallant Capt. Decatur, in his hay cap- 
ture one of his corsairs — he had seen the same warrior with 
the same corsair destroy his heaviest ship of war, under tiic 
very guns of his batteries and castle, surrounded also by 
his marine force. The name of Decatur sounded in his 
ear, like the knells of his parting glory ; and when he saw 
the broad pendant of Preble waving upon that wonder- 
working ship the Constitution, and surrounded by brigs, 
bombards, and gun-boats, he almost despaired. He had 
the crew of the Philadelphia and many other Americans in 
wretched bondage. Determining to extort an enormous 
ransom for the prisoners from the American government to 
enable him to support the vain and gorgeous pageantry of 
royally, he demanded the sum of six hundred thousand dol- 
lars for their emancipation, and an annual tribute as the 
price of peace. This Mr. Lear indignantly rejected. He 
left it with such negociators as Com. Preble, Decatur, &c. 
to make the interchange of powers, and to agree upon the 
preliminaries of a treaty. 

After having stated that the whole of Com. Preble'!; 
squadron laid before Tripoli, the reader may have been 
led to suppose that it was a very formidable force. But to 
prepare the mind to follow him and his comrades into the 
harbour, and to pursue him to the very mouths of the Ba- 
shaw's cannon upon his batteries, in his castle, and on 
board his corsairs, gun-boats, and other marine force, 
mounting little less than three hundred cannon— let it be 


remembered that his whole squadron, including the Nea- 
politan bombards and gun-boats, mounted less guns than 
one completely armed seventy-four, and one frigate ! ! His 
squadron consisted of one frigate, three brigs, (one of which 
had been captured from the enemy) three schooners, two 
bombards, and six gun-boats. His men amounted to a 
very little over one thousand ; a considerable number of 
whom were Neapolitans, upon whom he could place but 
little reliance in a close engagement with Turks. But he 
felt like a warrior, and knew that Americans were heroes. 

cc ******* From hearts so firm, 

" Whom dangers fortify, and toils inspire, 

<; What has a leader not to hope ?" 

Com. Preble had made the best possible preparations he 
could, with his limited means, to effect his ultimate object. 
The four preceding squadrons sent to the Mediterranean 
under Corns. Dale, Murray, Morris and Rodgers, had 
gone but little beyond mere blockading ships — for this was 
all they could do. The American government, in the sea- 
son of 1803, used every exertion to prepare a respectable 
augmentation to Com. Preble's squadron, and in the mean- 
time he was preparing to make " demonstrations" upon 
Tripoli rather more impressive than those made by ten 
times his force upon fort M'Henry, fort Bowyer, and fort 
St. Phillip by immense British squadrons in the war of 1 8 i 2 
in America. 

After having been baffled for a long time by adverse 
winds, he reached the harbour of Tripoli in the last week 
of July. The Bashaw affected to disguise the real appre- 
hensions he felt by exclaiming to his courtiers — " They 
will mark their distance for tacking — they are a sort of 
Jews who have no notion of fighting." He had not yet 


sufficiently studied the American character; and needed 
a few more lessons from Prebie, Decatur, &c. to enable 
him thoroughly to comprehend it. He was soon to learn 
that Americans upon the ocean were not like the children 
of Israel, or the descendants of Ishmael. 

Captain Decatur was selected by Commodore Preble to 
command one division of the gun-boats, and Lieut. Somers 
the other. The duty imposed upon them was of a nature 
the most hazardous ; as from the little water they drew, 
they would come almost into contact with the Bashaw's 
batteries and castle where the numerous gun boats of the 
Tripolitans were stationed. As this was one of the most 
desperate engagements amongst the numerous ones in 
wh ; ch Americans were ever called to display their nau- 
tical skill and desperate courage, the reader will indulge 
the writer in detailing it particularly as related to him by 
one of the officers on board the Cons'titution, lying in full 
view of the bloody scene. 

The bombards, each carrying a mortar of thirteen inch- 
es were commanded, one by Lieut, commandant Dent, and 
the other by first Lieut. Robinson, of the Constitution. 
The gun-boats were thus arranged, mounting each a brass 
twenty-six pounder. 

First Division. 
No. I. Lieut. Somers. 
No, II. Lieut. J. Decatur. 
No. III. Lieut. Blake. 

Second Division. 
No. IV. Capt. Decatur. 
No. V. Lieut. Bainbridge. 
No. VI. Lieut. Trippe. 

The Constitution, Com. Preble's flag ship, the brigs and 
the schooners were to be situated to cover them from the 
fire of the batteries and the castle, and to silence if possible 
the tremendous cannonade expected from more than two 
hundred pieces of heavy ordnance mounted on them and 
in the marine force of the enemv- 


Although the squadron had been long in the Mediterra- 
nean, the unceasing vigilance and assiduity of Com. Preble, 
and the rest of the officers and seamen, had kept it in the 
most complete preparation for any service. 

The bashaw was also prepared to receive them, and, 
as he confidently expected, to repulse them. Com. Pre- 
ble had not the most distant wish to enter the city with his 
small force. He was determined, if possible, to destroy 
the naval force, the batteries, and the castle of the enemy, 
and conquer them into peace upon his chosen element. 

Upon the 3d of August, the gales subsided, and the Com- 
modore resolved to commence an attack. The disparity 
of force between Preble and the Bashaw of Tripoli, was 
much greater than that of Nelson and the King of Den- 
mark at Copenhagen. 

At half past ten o'clock, the bombards, from signals pre- 
viously arranged, stood in for the town, followed by the 
whole squadron, in the most gallant style. 

More than two hundred of the Bashaw's guns were 
brought to bear directly upon the American squadron. — 
Included in this force of the enemy, were one heavy armed 
brig — two schooners — two large gallies, and nineteen gun- 
boats ; each of superior force to those commanded by Cap- 
tain Decatur and Lieutenant Somers ; as they mounted 
each a brass twenty-four pounder, in the bow, and two 
smaller guns in the stern. 

The number of men in each boat of the enemy, were 
forty. In the six boats of Com. Preble's squadron, were 
twenty-seven Americans, and thirteen Neapolitans each ; 
but, as the latter, in close engagement, remained aghast — 
in awe-struck astonishment, and declined boarding, they 
were of but little service, but rather a detriment. Thej* 


huddled together, and, instead of aiding the Americans, 
were praying for their own suuls, while they ought to have 
been destroying the bodies of the Turks. 

Thus, at the commencement of the engagement between 
the rival gun- boats, the different forces stood — 
American; Tripolitan. 

Gun-boats 6 guns 6 Gunboats 19 guns 57 

Americans 162 Officers and seamen 760 

Neapolitans 78 

Officers and seamen — 240 

To " make assurance doubly sure," the enemy's gun- 
boats were stationed directly under cover of the Bashaw's 
batteries, and within gunshot of them. So perfectly con- 
fident were their commanders of a decisive victory, that 
the sails of every one of them had been removed, being de- 
termined to conquer or to sink. 

Com. Preble had so arranged his squadron as to afford 
every possible aid to his two bombards, and his six gun- 
boats ; but his ulterior object was to pour his heaviest 
shot into the batteries, the castle, and the town — knowing 
that if he dismayed the boasting Bashaw in his den, his af- 
frighted slaves would flee in promiscuous consternation. 

The elevated roof of the palace, — the terraces of the 
houses, and every building capable of sustaining spectators 
were crowded to overflowing, to behold the triumph of Ma- 
hometans over Christians. 

At a little before 3 o'clock, August 3d, the gallant Com- 
modore made signal for general action. The bombards 
led in ; and, with a precision and rapidity, perfectly as- 
tonishing, poured their shells into the city. 

The immense force of the Bashaw immediately opened 
their whole batteries upon the squadron, from the land and 


in the harbour. The Constitution, the Brig?, and Schoon- 
ers, approached within musket shot of them, and answered 
the tire of the enemy. Every soul was inspired by the fear- 
less example of Com. Preble. 
\| Captain Decatur, in the leading Gunboat of his division^ 
followed by Lieutenants Bainbridge, and Trippe, in Nos. 
5, and 6, bore impetuously into the midst of the enemy's 
windward division of nine Gunboats, consisting of the men 
and guns before mentioned. 

He had previously ordered his three boats to unship 
their bowsprits ; as he and his dauntless comrades resolv- 
ed to board the enemy. Lieutenant Somers and his divis- 
ion, were to follow and support Captain Decatur's ; but 
his and Lieutenant Blake's boats had fallen so far to lee- 
ward that it was rendered impossible. Lieutenant James 
B. Decatur, of No. II. however, brought his boat into his 
intrepid brother's division, and entered into the engagement 
nearly at the same time with him. 

A contest more unequal and more desperate cannot be 
imagined. As soon as the contending boats were brought 
into contact with each other, the discharge of the cannon 
and musketry, on board of them, almost entirely ceased, 
and the more bloody and destructive struggle with swords, 
sabres, espontoons, spears, scirnetars, and other deadly 
weapons succeeded. 

Captain Decatur grappled an enemy's boat, full armed 
and full manned — leaped on board of her — was followed 
by only fifteen Americans, (little more than one third of 
the Tripolitans in number,) and, in the space of ten min- 
utes made her his prize. 

At this moment the American Gunboats were brought 
within range of the Bashaw's batteries which opened a tre- 
mendous though harmless cannonade upon them. 


Com. Preble, perceiving the imminent danger, and the 
almost inevitable destruction of Captain Decatur's division 
of boats, immediately ordered the signai for retreat to be 

Amongst the numerous signals on board the Commo- 
dore's ship, that for the retreat of the boats had been acci- 
dentally omitted. The dauntless Preble determining to 
support them, or perish with them, brought the Constitu- 
tion, the Brigs, and the Schooners, to within three cables 
length of the batteries — completely silenced them by a few 
broadsides, and covered the retreat of the Gunboats with 
their prizes. Had he left them to their fate, their fate 
would have been inevitable. 

But a duty, encircled with peril without a parallel — an 
achievement to be performed without an equal — a display 
of affection surpassing the tales of romance — and the sud- 
den execution of vengeance upon transgression remained 
for Captain Decatur, before he left the blood-stained har- 
bour -of Tripoli. 

His gallant brother, Lt. James B. Decatur, no less daring 
than himself, had captured a Tripolitan gun-boat ; and, af- 
ter it was surrendered to him, its commander, with diabo- 
lical perfidiousness, combined with dastardly ferocity, shot 
him dead, just as he was stepping upon deck ! While the 
Americans were recovering the body of their commander, 
the Turks escaped with the prize boat. 

As Captain Decatur was bearing his prize triumphantly 
out of the harbour, this heart rending catastrophe was com 
municated to him. 

Instinctive vengeance, sudden as the electric shock, took 
possession of his naturally humane and pailanthropic soul. 
It was no time for pathetic lamentation. The mandate of 


nature, and nature's God, cried aloud in his ear — Avenge a 
brothers blood. 

With a celerity, almost supernatural, he changed his 
course — rushed within the enemy's whole line, with his 
single boat, with the gallant Macdonough and eight men 
only for his crew ! ! 

His previous desperate rencontres, scarcely paralleled, 
and never surpassed in any age or country, seem like safe- 
ty itself when compared with what immediately followed. 

Like an ancient knight, in the days of chivalry, he scorn- 
ed, on any occasion like this, to tarnish his sword with the 
blood of vassals. His first object was to board the boat 
that contained the base and perfidious commander, whose 
hands still smoked with the blood of his murdered brother, 
This gained, he forced his way through a crew of Turks, 
quadruple the number of his own ; and, like an avenging 
messenger of the King of Terrors, singled out the guilty 
victim. The strong and powerful Turk, first assailed him 
with a long espontoon, heavily ironed at the thrusting. end. 
In attempting to cut off the staff, Captain Decatur furious- 
ly struck the ironed part of the weapon, and broke his 
sword at the hilt. The Turk made a violent thrust, and 
wounded Decatur in his sword arm and right breast. He 
suddenly wrested the w r eapon from the hand of his gigantic 
antagonist ; and, as one " doubly arm'd who hath his quar- 
rel just," he closed with him ; and, after a long, fierce, and 
doubtful struggle, prostrated him upon the deck. 

During this struggle, one of Decatur's crew who had lost 
the use of both arms by severe wounds, beheld a Turk, 
with an immense sabre, aiming a fatal blow at his adored 
commander. He immediately threw his mutilated body 
between the falling sabre and his Captain's head — received 


a severe fracture in his own, and saved for his country, 
one of its most distinguished champions, to fight its future 
battles upon the ocean* While Decatur and the Turk 
were struggling for life in the very throat of de&th, the ex- 
asperated and infuriated crews rushed impetuously for- 
ward in defence of their respective captains. A scene 
terrific and horrible beyond description followed. The 
Turk drew a concealed dagger from its sheath, which De- 
catur seized at the moment it was pointed at his heart — 
drew his own pistol from his pocket, and instantly sent 
his furious foe, 

" To his long account, unanointed, unanneal'd, 
" With all his sins and imperfections on his head." 

Thus ended a conflict, feebly described, but dreadful in 
the extreme. Captain Decatur and all his men were se- 
verely wounded but four. The Turks lay killed and 
wounded in heaps around him. The boat was a floating 
Golgotha for the dead, and a bloody arena for the wounded 
and dying. 

Captain Decatur bore his second prize out of the har- 
bour, as he had the first, amidst a shower of ill-directed 
shot from the astonished and bewildered enemy ; and con- 
ducted them both to the squadron. 

On board the two prizes, there were thirty-three offi- 
cers and men killed ; more than double the number of 

* This was an instance of affection which has hut few parallels. To 
sacrifice property for a companion and a friend, is no uncommon oc- 
currence- But, for a common seaman, to offer his life to save his 
commander, with whom, perhaps, he never spoke, shows a trait of 
character, equally admirable in the offered victim, and in him whose 
manly virtues attracted such romantic affection. The lamented De- 
catur afterwards distinguished this seaman with something more than 
mere notice— he gave him money. 


Americans under Decatur at any one time in close en- 
gagement. Twenty-seven were made prisoners, nine- 
teen of whom were desperately wounded — the whole a 
miserable off-set for the blood of Lieutenant Decatur, 
treacherously slain. The blood of all Tripoli could not 
atone for it, nor a perpetual pilgrimage to Mecca wash 
away the bloody stain. 

The gallant and lamented Lieut. Somers, as he could 
not join Decatur, as ordered, with his single boat No. I. 
attacked five full armed and full manned Tripolitan gun- 
boats — committed dreadful slaughter amongst them, and 
drove them upon the rocks in a condition dreadfully shat- 

Lieut. Trippe, whose name will forever be associated with 
courage, as well as that of midshipman Henly, with only 
nine men besides themselves, rushed on board an enemy'6 
gun-boat — slew fourteen, and made twenty-two prisoners, 
seven of whom were badly wounded. Lieut. Trippe re- 
ceived eleven sabre wounds. Lieut. Bainbridge, also dis- 
tinguished himself for saving his disabled boat and gallant 
crew from almost certain destruction, and beating off the 

The bombards, by the rapid and accurate directions of 
shells, spread as much consternation in the city as the 
squadron did in the harbour. 

The skilful and fearless Com. Preble, in the frigate 
Constitution, keeping his ship in easy motion, was found 
wherever the greatest danger threatened ; and by frequent- 
ly wearing and tacking, gave perpetual annoyance to the 
enemy, and afforded to the smaller vessels of his squadron, 
constant protection. 

The enemy, driven to desperation, by the loss of their 


boats, and by the numerous hosts of their comrades slain 
iipon land, as well as those who fell under their immediate 
view, attempted to rally, and regain what they had lost. 
They were suddenly foiled by the brigs and schooners, who 
acted a no less gallant part in this desperate ocean-allVav 
than did all the rest of this immortalized squadron. They 
attempted a second time ; and met with a second repulse. 
Finding that no naval power in the Mediterranean could 
withstand Com. Preble's squadron, they sought a covert 
under rocks, a natural, and under batteries and castles, ar 
tiiicial defences. 

At a little before 5 o'clock, Com. Preble, with the whole 
squadron, and their prizes, and prisoners, moved majesti- 
cally out of the harbour ; and left the Bashaw to examine 
and reflect upon the consequences of the third visit which 
the vessels of his squadron had made. 

The reader who has past his early, advanced, and closing 
years of life in the tranquil scenes of retirement, can form 
but a faint idea of the sensations of the officers and seamen 
of Com. Preble's squadron when they met each other after 
this desperate and most unequal combat. 

Every one would naturally inquire — " How many were 
killed and wounded in the frigate — how many in the differ- 
ent brigs, schqpiers, bombards and gun-boats." It was 
for Captain Decatur to make the answer. " Many are 
wounded, my comrades, but not one is slain, but my bro- 
ther." He might have said — " If you have tears to shed, 
shed them now." Well might the tears of grief be mingled 
with the smiles of triumph, upon this saddening intelligence. 
k ' Death loves a shining mark," and when James B. Deca- 
tur fell, me American navy lost a brilliant ornament — 
Com. Preble a favourite officer, Capt Decatur a brother. 


he loved as he did himself, and our Republic a most gal- 
lant and accomplished ocean warrior. But, like Nelson, 
he died in the arms of victory, and his death was most sig- 
nally avenged. 

As represented by an officer of the Constitution, when 
Captain Decatur, Lieutenant Trippe, Macdonough, Hen- 
ly, and most of the officers and seamen belonging to the 
gun-boats, joined the squadron, they looked as if they had 
just escaped from the slaughter-house. Their truly noble 
blood was mingled with that of Mahometans, and the garb 
of those whose hearts or hands would never be stained with 
dishonour, were crimsoned with barbarous blood. 

The injury sustained by Com. Preble's squadron sinks 
into nothing when the danger it was exposed to is consid- 
ered. This was owing to the consummate nautical skill 
and coolness of the Commodore and his officers and sea- 
men ; and to the stupid, sullen ignorance and consterna- 
tion of the enemy. 

To them the 3d of August was a day of dreadful retribu- 
tion. A furious tornado not more suddenly drives the 
feathered race to their coverts, than did the first discharges 
from our squadron, the frenzied Turks, who came to wit- 
ness its discomfiture. 

From the representation of an intellige^officer, once of 
the Philadelphia, then a prisoner to the bashaw,it is learned 
that every one in the city fled who could flee. Even the 
troops in the batteries and castle dared not mount the par- 
apet to discharge the cannon. The affrighted Bashaw, 
with a Mahometan priest concealed himself in his bomb- 
proof room ; and undoubtedly responded to the roar of 
christian cannon, by pitiful orisons to the Prophet of Mecca. 
They were as fruitless as the prayers of the Philistines to 


Dagon or Ashdod. His slaves who had no covert, buried 
themselves in sand to escape the bursting bombs. Although 
it was a scene of blood and carnage, there is enough of the 
ludicrous in it to excite a smile in the American reader. It 
clearly evinces that those who are most boastful and impe- 
rious, when possessed of real or supposed power, are the 
most mean, pusillanimous, and contemptible when convin 
ced of their weakness. 

I will here present the reader with the sentiments of a 
distinguished Turk in the language of an American officer, 
then a prisoner. He asked the officer — " If those men that 
fought so were Americans, or internals in Christian shape 
sent to destroy the sons of Mahomet the prophet ? The 
English, French, and Spanish consuls have told us that 
they are a young nation, and got their independence by 
means of France. That they had a small navy, and their 
officers were inexperienced ; and that they were merely a 
nation of merchants ; and that by taking their ships and 
men we should get great ransoms. — Instead of this, their 
Preble pays us a coin of shot, shells and hard blows ; and 
sent a Decatur in a dark night, with a band of christian 
dogs, fierce and cruel as the tiger, who killed our brothers 
and burnt our ships before our eyes." 

By this first attack, the city of Tripoli suffered consider- 
able damage. Many of the guns were dismounted, and 
many Turks were slain. But it was in the Bashaw's 
marine force, where the most destructive blow was struck. 
In the two prizes taken by Capt. Decatur, and the one by 
Lieut. Trippe, there were originally one hundred and 
twenty men. Forty-seven were killed, twenty-six wound- 
ed, who, with the remainder, were taken prisoners. Three 
full manned boats were sunk with every soul on board : 


and almost every deck of the enemy's vessels within the 
range of American cannon were swept of their crews. 

In consequence of the destruction of the Philadelphia 
frigate, the barbarism of Jussuff, the bloody Bashaw, was 
increased against Captain Bainbridge, and his officers and 
seamen in bondage. But Com. Preble and Capt. Deca- 
tur, aided by the magnanimous and patriotic exertions of 
Sir Alexander Ball, once a favourite officer with Nelson, 
and then at the island of Malta, found means to alleviate 
the dismal gloom of their bondage. A gallant naval com- 
mander, like Sir Alexander Ball, could not endure the 
thought that a gallant hero like Bainbridge and his valiant 
crew, should surfer indignity or abuse from such a sangui- 
nary wretch as Jussuff and his slaves. 

After the 3d of August, the humbled Bashaw began to 
relent. But his conviction was more the result of alarm 
ing fears, than of a consciousness of guilt. 

The noble hearted Preble treated his wounded prisoners 
with the greatest humanity. Their wounds were dressed 
with the utmost care ; and, upon the 5th, he sent fourteen 
of them home to their friends. 

In a generous bosom, although an enemy, such an act 
would have excited inexpressible admiration ; and although 
a species of revenge calculated to " heap coals of fire upon 
the head" of a subdued enemy, yet it should have melted a 
heart of adamant. The Bashaw knew that one of his offi- 
cers had basely slain Lieut. Decatur, and could not com- 
prehend the motives of his humanity. His savage subtilty 
augured evil, even from an act of pure benevolence. But 
when he heard the wounded and restored Tripolitans ex- 
claim in the rapture of enforced gratitude, " the Americana 
in battle are fiercer than lions, and after victory, kinder 


ihan Mussulmen," his savage heart began to soften. But, 
without a great ransom, he would not release a single pris- 
oner who belonged to the Philadelphia frigate. 

From the 3d to the 7th of August, Com. Preble, and the 
rest of the officers and seaman had but little time for repose 
after their arduous toils in reaching the harbour of Tripoli, 
and administering to the Bashaw aportion of American ven- 
geance. They were all incessantly engaged in preparing 
for another visit. They had become perfectly familiar 
with the theatre of action on which the American squadron 
was now acting its various parts. Every scene was draw- 
ing towards the developement of the tragedy. The impe- 
rious tone of the Bashaw was lowered as his hopes of safe- 
ty diminished. He however would surrender no prisoners 
without a ransom beyond what Com. Preble thought him- 
self authorised by his government to offer. He rather 
preferred to have consul Lear negotiate upon land ; and 
he felt confident of his powers to negotiate with his invin- 
cible squadron. 

All the officers of every grade, and every seaman, exert- 
ed every nerve to aid Com. Preble. They stood around 
him like affectionate and obedient children around a be- 
loved and dignified parent, anxious to learn his precepts, 
and prompt to obey his commands. He stood in the midst 
of them in the double capacity of their father, and a repre- 
sentative of his and their country. He knew they would 
follow wherever he would lead, and would lead where ne- 
cessary prudence would prevent him from following. — 
Well might the astonished Turks compare them to lions ; 
for they had proved themselves irresistible in battle — gen- 
erous and noble in victory. 

Com. Preble could bestow nothing upon his officers and 


seaman, but his highest and most unqualified commenda- 
tion. This was not the mere effusion of an admiring com- 
mander, surrounded by his victorious comrades around 
the festive board, after a signal victory, but it was official- 
ly announced to the whole squarron in a "general order" 
upon the 4th. The Commodore knew well where to be- 
stow applause, and when to make, or rather to recommend 
promotion. His general order is in the Navy Depart- 

Amidst the congratulations in the squadron for the suc- 
cessful issue of the first attack upon Tripoli, a silent gloom 
irresistibly pervaded the hearts of the officers and seamen. 
It was not caused by contemplating upon the arduous and 
yet uncertain contest which they were directly to renew. 
Inured to duty and familiar with victory, they were total 
strangers to fear. But Lieutenant James B. Decatur 
" was dead !" While they were floating triumphantly up- 
on the waves of the Mediterranean, his body was reposing 
in death upon its bed ; and his gallant spirit had flown to 
heaven. The shouts of joy over all Britain for the victory 
of Trafalgar, were mingled with groans of grief for the 
death of Nelson. No less pungent was the sorrow of in- 
trepid Americans at the fall of Lieutenant Decatur. 

He had unremittingly pursued the duty of the naval pro- 
fession from the time he entered the navy, until the day 
he was basely and treacherously slain. It is inconsistent 
with the design of this sketch, to go into a minute detail of 
his life. Suffice it then to say, that by a long course of 
assiduous duty in various ships of the American navy, and 
under different commanders, he secured to himself the con- 
fidence of his superiors, and the approbation of his govern- 
ment. The post assigned him upon the 3d of August, 


evinced the high estimation in which he was holden by the 
discerning and penetrating Com. Preble. The manner in 
which he discharged the duty imposed upon him, and the 
manner in which he fell, have already been mentioned. 
His memory is embalmed with those of Somers, Wads- 
worth, and Israel, who followed him into eternity thirty 
days after he left the world, and who made their exit from 
the same sanguinary theatre upon which he fell. 

The fearful, yet temporising Bashaw, through the me- 
dium of a foreign consul, offered terms to Com. Preble 
which he indignantly rejected, as degrading to his govern- 

Upon the 7th, another attack was resolved upon ; and 
the squadron arranged in order to execute it. The effect 
desired was produced. A heavy battery was silenced — 
many bomb shells and round shot were thrown into the 
town — and, although the damage to the enemy was not so 
essential as the attack of the 3d, it increased the dismay of 
the Bashaw. 

Amongst the Gun-boats engaged in this second attack, 
was one taken from the enemy by Capt. Decatur. She 
was blown up by a hot ball sent from the batteries ; and 
Lieutenant Caldwell, Midshipmen Dorsey, and eight sea- 
men were killed ; six were wounded ; and Midshipman 
Spence with eleven seamen were rescued unhurt from the 

Two days afterwards, Com. Preble took a deliberate 
view of the harbour in one of the Brigs, in order to deter- 
mine the best mode of commencing a third attack. He 
gave " no sleep to the eyes nor slumber to the eyelids" of 
the sullen and incorrigible wretch who wielded the sceptre 
of blood-begotten power over his subjects, the wretched 


and degraded race of beings who were dragging out a mis- 
erable existence in Tripoli. The hopes of the American 
prisoners increased, as those of the Bashaw and his troops 

The terms for ransom were lowered more than two 
thirds, from the original enormous sum ; but Com. Preble 
had become a stern negotiator ; and Mr. Lear chose to let 
him continue to display his diplomatic skill, upon his cho- 
sen element. 

The prospect of a long protracted warfare, at an im- 
mense expense to the American government — the tedious 
and gloomy imprisonment of nearly half a thousand of 
Americans, in the dungeons of a barbarian, amongst whom 
were some of the noblest hearts that ever beat in human 
bosoms — the probability that more American blood must 
be shed in effecting a complete subjugation of the yet un- 
yielding Bashaw, induced Commodore Preble to offer the 
sum of eighty thousand dollars, as ransom for the prison- 
ers, and ten thousand dollars as presents, provided he 
would enter into a solemn and perpetual treaty with the 
American government, never to demand an annual tribute 
as the price of peace. 

The infatuated and infuriated Bashaw rejected these 
proposals with affected disdain mingled with real fear. 
Com. Preble, had nothing now to do but to renew his na- 
val operations. 

To repel the idea that the pacific offer of the Commodore 
arose from apprehensions of defeat, the bombards occasion- 
ally disgorged their destructive contents into the city, to 
the dire consternation of the bashaw and his slaves. 

Upon the 27th of August, another general attack was 
made with such effect as to induce the Bashaw to renew 


negotiations for peace, but nothing definitive was effected , 
and Com. Preble took every advantage of his horrid fears. 
Upon the 3d of September, another attack was made to the 
very great injury of the Bashaw's batteries, castle and city ; 
the particulars of which would too much swell this sketch. 

Although but few Americans had lost their lives in the 
various battles, yet the vessels of the squadron had suffer 
ed very considerable injury from incessant service. 

It was proposed that the ketch Intrepid should be convert 
ed into a fire ship, and sent into the midst of the enemy's 
galleys and gunboats to complete their destruction. To 
this the Commodore acceded — loaded her with one hun 
dred barrels of powder, and one hundred and fifty shells ; 
and fixed upon the night of the memorable 4th of Septem- 
ber for the daring and hazardous attempt. 

Capt. Somers volunteered his services and was designa- 
ted as the commander. He was immediately joined by 
Lieutenants Wadsworth and Israel, and a sufficient numbei 
of gallant seamen. 

Of the awfully tremendous scene that followed, the read- 
er may be gratified by a succinct account, as related by an 
accomplished eye-witness, to the writer; but any descrip- 
tion by the pen or the pencil is tame and dull, compared 
with the animated narration of Capt. . 

The evening was unusally calm ; and the sea scarcely 
presented the smallest wave to the eye. That part of the 
squadron which was not designated as a convoy to the In- 
trepid, lay in the outer harbour. Two swift-sailing boats 
were attached to the Intrepid, and the Argus, Vixen, and 
Nautilus, were to conduct them to their destination, and 
receive the crew after the match was applied to the fatal 


At a little before 9 o'clock the Intrepid, followed by the 
convoy, moved slowly and silently into the inner harbour, 
watched with the deepest solicitude by the Argus, &c. — 
Two of the enemy's heavy galleys, with more than a 
hundred men each, encountered the fire-ship, unconscious? 
that she was pregnant with concealed magazines of death. 
They captured her of course, as^he little crew could not 
withstand such an overwhelming force for a moment. 

It heing the first prize the Tripolitans had made, the ex 
ulting captors were about bearing her and the prisoners tri- 
umphantly into port. The crew were to be immured in 
the same dungeon with Capt. Bainbridge and his crew, 
who had worn away eleven tedious months in dismal 

To Somers, Wadsworth and Israel, 

" One hour of virtuous liberty, was worth 
" A whole eternity of bondage." 

and, instant death, far preferable to Turkish captivity. It is 
still left to conjecture, and must always be so left, by whom 
their instantaneous release from slavery and from mortal- 
ity was occasioned. 

It is with an agitated heart and a trembling hand that it 
is recorded, that the Intrepid suddenly exploded, and a few 
gallant Americans, with countless numbers of barbarians, 
met with one common and undistinguished destruction. 

It is generally understood by American readers that Capt. 
Somers, his officers and crew, after being captured, mutu- 
ally agreed to make voluntary sacrifices of themselves to 
avoid slavery and to destroy the enemy. In support of this, 
the writer is authorised to state that Capt. Somers direct- 
ly before entering into this enterprise, declared that " he 


would never be captured by the enemy or go into Turkish 
bondage." , 

It is entirely beyond the reach of the most fertile ima- 
gination to form an adequate conception of the reality 
of this awful scene. The silence that preceded the ap- 
proach of the Intrepid, was followed by the discharge 
of cannon and musketry, and ended by the fearful and 
alarming shock of the explosion. Every living Christian 
and Mahometan within view or hearing, stood aghast and 

Thus barbarous Turks and gallant Americans met with 
one common destiny, and all was an outspread scene of 
desolation. The remaining part of the night was as silent 
as the season that immediately succeeds some violent con- 
vulsion of nature. 

Com. Preble, who had the preceding day enjoyed an 
animated interview with this trio of heroes, found an awful 
chasm made in the catalogue of his associates. 

If the biographical writer could be allowed to blend his 
own " reflections and remarks" with the incidents and 
events he records, this momentous occurrence might justi- 
fy them. It will, however, only be observed, that Captain 
Somers's memory has sometimes been assailed by those 
whose contracted and scrupulous system of morals evinces 
a " zeal without knowledge." 

Admitting that he made a voluntary sacrifice of himself, 
his officers and his crew, to avenge the injuries of his coun- 
try, and rescue his numerous countrymen, in his full view, 
from bondage ; let the severest casuist that ever perverted 
the plain dictates of conscience, by metaphysical subtlety, 
be asked if every man who enters the navy or army of his 

rountrv does not voluntarily expose himself to death in de- 


fending its rights, its honour, and its independence? N© 
matter in what manner death is occasioned, so be it the 
sacrifice adds to the security and advances the glory of hie 
country. Whether it happens in the midst of opposing 
hosts, in single combat, or as that of Somers and his com- 
rades did by voluntary sacrifice, it equally redounds to their 
glory and their country's weal. To those who form their 
systems exclusively from the records of inspiration, exam- 
ples from them might be quoted ; and the instance of 
Sampson alone, who fell with a host of his enemies, will 
not, by them, be denied as being analogous. The classical 
reader will immediately recollect that Rome herself was 
twice saved from destruction by the voluntary sacrifice of 
the Decii. 

The writer hopes to be indulged in a brief allusion to the 
gallant, the accomplished, the lamented Lieutenant Wads- 
worth, with whom he had the honour, and enjoyed the 
pleasure, of some acquaintance. His birth-place and resi- 
dence was in Portland, the metropolis of the state of Maine, 
and in the immediate neighbourhood of the great Preble. 
To a very elegant person, he added the captivating charms 
of a mind highly refined. His situation placed within his 
reach all the fascinating enjoyments of fashionable life ; but 
a participation in them could not render him effeminate. 
The previous examples of Stephen and James B. Decatur 
inspired his ardent bosom with a thirst for naval glory, and 
this was enhanced by the renown acquired by his distin- 
guished townsman, and naval father, Com. Preble. He 
repaired to the renowned sea, whose waves are bounded 
by three of the great quarters of the globe, and almost in 
the sight of which the American squadron was triumphant 
ly wafting. He did not envy, for envy found no place ir» 


bis noble heart ; but he wished to emulate the gallant deedi 
of his brother officers. The disastrous, yet splendid affair 
of the 4th of September, has been briefly detailed. Wads- 
worth upon that fatal, awful night, left the world in a blaze 
of glory — gave his mangled corse to the waves — his exalt- 
ed spirit to heaven — and his immortal fame to his country. 
Although his precious manes are " far away o'er the bil- 
low," his virtues and gallantry are commemorated by a 
monument in his native town, the voluntary tribute of his 
admiring friends to his inestimable worth. 

While the American squadron was achieving such unpar- 
alleled deeds in the Mediterranean, the American govern- 
ment yet unadvised of its splendid success, despatched an 
additional squadron to that sea. From the state of the naval 
register, and the rank of the post-captains, the new squad- 
ron could not be supplied with officers without designating 
one who was senior to Com. Preble. This devolved upon 
Com. James Barron, who arrived upon the 9th of Septem- 
ber, 1804. 

To an aspiring hero just entering the path of fame, and 
anxious to reach its temple, a sudden check to his progress 
is like the stroke of death. It was not so with Com. Pre- 
ble when he was superseded by Com. Barron. His work 
was " done, and well done ;" and he surrendered the 
squadron to his senior as, Gen. Jackson did his army to 
Gen. Pinckney, when there was nothing to do but to enjoy 
the fruits of victory. 

He immediately gave the command of his favourite fri- 
gate, the Constitution, to his favourite officer, Captain De- 
catur, and obtained leave to return to America. 

It has been barely mentioned that the government of the 
Republic were unadvised of the splendid achievements of 


Com. Preble, when the additional force was sent out from 
America to Tripoli. The slightest recurrence to dates 
will place this subject beyond all doubt. 

Nothing but the intervention of contrary winds for a long 
period, had spared the boasting Bashaw of Tripoli, from 
the accumulated stores of vengeance, and the red artillery 
of Preble's squadron, which were in reserve for the chas- 
tisement, the consternation, and all but the annihilation of 
this diabolical representative of the Sultan of Turkey, and 
the vicegerent of Mahomet on earth. 

The first general attack upon the strong city of Tripoli, 
was made upon the third of August, when the terrible 
battle of the gun-boats took place. Upon the 7th another 
general attack was made ; and for a number of days in suc- 
cession, the alarmed and affrighted Bashaw was coiled up 
like a venomous reptile in his bombproof castle, — gnash- 
ing his teeth like a " serpent biting a file," and, like the 
enraged lion in a cage, lacerating himself by his own tail, 
he was torturing his own horrid and blood-guilty soul, by 
the agonizing contortions of his blood-stained body. 

He occasionally 

" grirm'd horribly a ghastly smile," 

at half a thousand Americans incarcerated in his dungeons 
near at hand. Amongst them, he recognized the exalted 
spirits of Bainbridge, Porter, Jones, Biddle, and about four 
hundred other noble American ocean-champions whose 
bodies only were held in " durance vile" by a detested 
power which they could not then resist, or escape, but 
which they despised with ineffable contempt. 

Upon the 4th of September, as the reader will recollect, 
the truly awful explosion of the fire-ship " Intrepid" con- 
vinced the astonished Bashaw, that his whole marine was 


to be destroyed, unless he hastened to make peace with 
the veteran Com. Preble, and Preble's indignant govern- 
ment, whose energy he had so sorely felt. 

During the whole of the memorable month of August, 
1804, Com. Barron and his vessels were as peaceably 
wafting over the Atlantic, and the Mediterranean as Amer- 
ican ships are now, 1 823. As mentioned, his vessels appear- 
ed before Tripoli upon Sept. 9th, when the echo of Corn. 
Preble's cannon had scarcely ceased ; and when the com- 
motion of the waves from the explosion of Capt. Somers' 
fire-ship, had hardly subsided. 

He had the good fortune to enjoy the fruits of the con- 
quest, without hazarding any " hair breadth 'scapes" or at- 
tempting any " imminent deadly breach." The Bashaw's 
immense batteries were silenced — negotiations were just 
commencing, and Com. Barron, without any opportunity to 
show his skill and prowess, had nothing to perform but the 
manoeuvrings of his squadron — standing off and on — and 
blockading Tripoli, which Capt. Bainbridge* in the Phila- 
delphia, and Lieut. Smitht in the little Vixen had done be- 
fore him. His duty, compared with what Com. Preble had 
performed, was as different as a regimental review in time 
of peace is from a sanguinary battle infield fight. 

The admiring comrades of Com. Prebie were now to 
perform a duty more affecting to the hearts of noble and 
high-minded men, than danger, battles, bondage, wounds, 
and death itself — it was to bid adieu to their beloved, vene- 
rated, and almost adored commander, Edward Preble. 

The parting scene, as described by one who painfully 
witnessed, and who was sensibly penetrated with it, was 
one of the most interesting that the mind can conceive. 

* Now Com. Bainbridge. f Now Capt. Smith. 


For more than a year, the Commodore, and his gallant 
comrades, had been absent from their friends and their 
country — a year that may well be denominated an age in 
the cailendar of American Naval skill, prowess and giory 
— a period of splendid and "successful experiment" with 
our ships, and of naval instruction and experience to our 
officers and seamen. 

Their mutual attachment had become strongly cement- 
ed by common toils and privations — common dangers and 
disasters, and by fighting the common enemy of the civili- 
zed world, and forcing Mahometans to crave mercy of the 
same Christians, whom, a few months before, they affected 
to despise. 

The war-worn and veteran Preble, gave the parting hand 
to his officers, as the father would extend the hand of pa- 
rental affection to his children, who were about to depart 
into a world beyond his immediate care, but never out of 
his remembrance and solicitude. 

His officers manifested a dignified regret, mingled with a 
consciousness of untarnished honour, rectitude of con- 
duct, and unsurpassed courage.. 

His noble tars, who always sought the post of duty and 
of danger, and whose natural heroism was augmented by the 
fearless example of their noble commander, gazed at a res- 
speclful distance upon their Patron, their Friend, and their 
Commodore. With swelling, but with manly grief, they 
cast their moistened eyes upon the last visible piece of 
canvas that wafted their once beloved commander in chief 
from their anxious view. 

Although all were affected, none could be more so than 
Charles Morris* his midshipman and his faithful secretary 

* Now the highly respected and accomplished Capt. Morris, conv 
missiouer of the navy. 


<*n board the Constitution. This gallant son of Connecti- 
cut was born in the vicinity of the writer of this imperfect 
9ketch of his matchless commander's life. 

It is a sentiment entirely paramount to local attachment, 
which excites his esteem and respect for this excellent 
man and excellent officer. His father was an officer in 
the naval warfare with France in the administration of 
Adams. His son Charles, as soon as requisite years and 
suitable acquirements rendered him fit for the station of a 
Midshipman, repaired to the Mediterranean, the American 
Naval School. 

The correct discernment of Com. Preble selected him 
as his confidant and his secretary. He was one of the four 
who landed at Tangier with him, amidst Moorish hosts, 
and accompanied him to his interview with the emperor of 
Morocco, previously described. He sailed with him to 
Tripoli. He was one of the first who volunteered, with 
Lawrence and Macdonough, under that unequalled, that 
universally lamented hero, Decatur, for the destruction of 
the Philadelphia frigate. He was the first who gained the 
deck of that ill-fated ship, after his dauntless leader reached 
it. He was in the Constitution in all her attacks upon 

In the war of 1812 with Britain, he was first Lieutenant 
of the same wonder-working ship, in the first wonderful es- 
cape from a British squadron. He was in the same capaci 
ty when the same ship sent the Gurriere to the bottom. 

Morris was the favourite of the gallant Hull, the favour- 
ite of Connecticut and his country. In the action with thf 
Gurriere, as a native poet elegantly says, 

" Where virtue, skill and bravery, 
With gallant Morris fell ;— 


That heart so well in battle tried 
Along the Moorish shore." 

He long languished, but survived to advance still farther 
in the dangerous path to fame. 

He became commander of the frigate Adams — entered 
Penobscot bay, (where his patron, Com. Preble signalized 
himself in the war of the Revolution.) ascended the Penob- 
scot river, defended his ship against an immense force, un- 
til, to use his own language, " he had no alternative but 
precipitate retreat or captivity." He destroyed his own 
ship, and, with his noble crew, wandered over the wilds of 
Maine, in a state of destitution, to Portland, once the home 
of the then sleeping Preble, whose tomb he bedewed with 
manly tears.* Morris still lives ; and lives the ornament of 

* Although this volume professedly relates to the Naval Heroes of 
the Revolution, yet, as Com. Preble's young officers in the Mediter- 
ranean acted such signal parts in the second War with Britain, and 
as Capt. Morris, after he left the Constitution and took the command 
of the Adams, had not the good fortune again to meet the enemy in 
equal contest, I give the following extract from his official letter, 
shewing his conduct in the hour of disaster. Although overwhelmed, 
he did not " give up the Ship 11 to the enemy. — 

Boston, September 20, 1814. 

Sir— I have the honour to forward a detailed report of the circum- 
stances attending the destruction of the United States 1 ship Adams, at 
Hampden, on the 3d instant. 

On the first instant, at noon, I received intelligence by express 
that the enemy with a force of sixteen sail were off the harbour of Cas- 
tine. 30 miles below us. This intelligence was immediately forward- 
ed to brigadier general Blake, with a request, that he would direct 
such force as could be collected to repair immediately to Hampden. 
As our ship, prepared for heaving down, was in no situation to receive 
her armament, our attention was immediately directed to the occupa- 
tion of such positions on shore as would best enable us to protect her. 
By great and unremitted exertions, and the prompt assistance of all 
^he inhabitants in our immediate vicinity, during the 1st and 2d inst. 


-. the navy, the deligltf of his friends, and the pride of his 
country. This brief digression will be excused in the wri- 

nine pieces were transported to a commanding eminence near the ship 
one to the place selected by general Blake for his line of battle, four- 
teen upon a wharf commanding the river below, and one on a point 
covering the communication between our hill and wharf batteries: 
temporary platforms of loose plank were laid, and such other arrange- 
ments made as would enable us to dispute the passage of a naval force. 
Want of time prevented our improving all the advantages of our posi- 
tion, and we were compelled to leave our rear and flanks to the de- 
fence of the militia in case of attack by land troops. Favoured by a 
fresh breeze, the enemy had advanced to within 3 miles of our posi- 
tion at sunset on the 2d with the Sylph mounting 22, and Peruvian 18 
guns, and one transport, one tender and ten barges manned with sea- 
men from the Bulwark and Dragon, under command of Com. Barrie- 
Troops were landed under command of Col. John, opposite their ship- 
ping without opposition, their number unknown, but supposed to be 
about 350. To oppose these troops, about 370 militia were then col- 
lected, assisted by lieut. Lewis of the U. S. artillery, who by a forced 
march had arrived from Castine with his detachment of 28 men. Ma- 
ny of the militia were without arms, and most of them without any am- 
munition, and as our numbers were barely sufficient to man our bat- 
teries, I ordered the ship's muskets to be distributed among the mili- 
tia, and further ordered them to be supplied with ammunition. Our 
sick were sent across a creek with orders for such as were able, to 
secure themselves in the woods in case of our defeat. These arrange- 
ments were not concluded until late on the evening of the 2d. As 
the wind was fair for the enemy's approach, and the night dark, rainy, 
and favourable for his attempting a surprize, our men were compelled, 
notwithstanding previous fatigue, to remain at their batteries. 

At day-light on the 3d, I received intelligence from general Blake, 
that he had'been reinforced by three companies, and that the enemy 
were then advancing upon him. A thick fog concealed their early 
movements, and their advance of barges and rocket boats was not dis- 
covered until about seven o'clock. Believing from their movements 
that they intended a simultaneous attack by land and water, I placed 
the hill battery under the direction of my first lieutenant, Wadsworth, 
assisted by lieutenant Madison and Mr. Rogers, the purser, and di- 


ter, — it is a feeble tribute of respect to a juvenile acquain- 

rected lieutenant Watson to place his small detachment of 20 marines 
in a position to watch the movements of the enemy's main body, as- 
sist in covering 1 our flank, and finally to cover our retreat in case that 
became necessary. I had but just joined the wharf battery under the 
direction of lieutenants Parker and Beatty, and sailing-master M'Cul- 
loch, when the enemy's infantry commenced their attack upon the mi- 
litia. The launches still held their position beyond the reach of our 
fire, ready to improve any advantage their troops might obtain. A 
Hew minutes only had elapsed when lieutenant Wadsworth informed 
me that our troops were retreating, and immediately after that they 
were dispersed and flying in great confusion. We had now no alter- 
native but precipitate retreat or captivity. Our rear and flanks en- 
tirely exposed, whhout other means of defence on that side than out 
pikes and cutlasses. The only bridge across the creek above us near- 
er the enemy than ourselves, and the creek only fordable at low wa- 
ter, with the tide then rising, I therefore ordered lieutenant Wads- 
worth to spike his guns, and retire across the bridge, which was done 
in perfect order, the marines under lieutenant Watson covering their 
rear. Orders were given at the same time to fire the ship, spike the 
guns of the lower battery and join our companions across the creek. 
Before these orders were fully executed, the enemy appeared on the 
hill from which our men just retired and were exposed to their fire 
for a short time while completing them. Retreating in front of them 
for about five hundred yards, we discovered it impossible to gain the 
bridge, forded the creek, ascended the opposite bank, and gained our 
companions without receiving the slightest injury from the ill-directed 
lire of the enemy. We continued our retreat towards Bangor, when 
we found and retired upon a road leading to the Kennebec, by a cir- 
cuitous route of 65 miles. Perceiving it impossible to subsist our men 
in a body through a country almost destitute of inhabitants, they were 
ordered to repair to Portland as speedily as they might be able. The 
entire loss of all personal effects rendered us dependant on the gene- 
rosity of the inhabitants between the Penobscot and Kennebec for sub- 
sistence— -who most cheerfully and liberally supplied our wants to the 
utmost extent of their limited means. Our warmest thanks are also 
'bieto the inhabitants ©f Waterville, Augusta and Hallowell, for their 


At the time Com. Preble left the Mediterranean, — that 
jea, its islands, and the nations bordering upon it, had be 

liberality and attention. Our loss was but one marine and one sea 
man made prisoners. That of the enemy was estimated at eight o 
ten killed and from forty to fifty wounded, principally by the H', pound 
er under charge of lieutenant Lewis of the U. S. Artillery. 
As the Constitution was the favorite ship of Com. Preble in the Meil 
iterranean — as Hull and Morris were his favourites in that sea — as 
they, in the same ship, achieved the first victory in the Atlantic 
against Britain, the following, amongst the first, and certainly amongst 
the best Odes and Songs, during the second war with Britain, is offer 
ed to the reader in this place. There is nothing in the author 1 : 
1 Hubert and Ellen," superior to it. 

Britannia's gallant streamers 

Float proudly o'er the tide ; 

And fairly wave Columbia's stripes. 

In battle, side by side. 

And ne'er did bolder foemen meet, 

Where ocean's surges pour. 

O'er the tide now they ride, 

While the bellowing thunders roar. 

While the cannon's fire is flashing fast. 

And the bellowing thunders roar, 

When Yankee meets the Briton, 
Whose blood congenial flows, 
By Heaven created to be friends, 
By fortune rendered foes ; 
Hard then must be the battle fray, 
Ere well the fight is o'er ; 
Now they ride, side by side, 
While the bellowing thunders roar, 
While the cannon's fire is flashing fast 
And the bellowing thunders roar. 

Still, still for noble England, 
Bold Dacres' streamers fly ; 
And, for Columbia, gallant Hull's, 
As proudly and as high ; 


come the expanded theatre of his glory. The ,k Two Si- 
cilies," with their two volcanic mountains, iEtna and Ve- 

Now louder rings the battle din, 

More thick the volumes pour, 

Still they ride, side by side, 

While the bellowing thunders roar, 

While the cannon's fire is flashing fast, 

And the bellowing thunders roar. 

Why lulls Brittania's thunder, 

That waked the watery war ? 

Why stays the gallant Gurriere, 

Whose streamer waved so fair ? 

That streamer drinks the ocean wave ? 

That warrior's fight is o'er ! 

Still they ride, side by side, 

While Columbia's thunders roar, 

While her cannon's fire is flashing fast, 

And her Yankee thunders roar. 

Of Bush, the gallant spirit, 

Starts from the reddening wave ; 

' For the deck it was' his ' field of fame,' 

' And ocean' is his ' grave.' 

The waters high their bosoms heave, 

For valour now no more ; 

That in the clouds, glory shrouds, 

While contending thunders roar, 

And Victory bears from Earth to Heaven, 

As the rolling thunders roar. 

Hark ! 'tis the Briton's lee gun ! , 

Ne'er bolder warrior kneel'd ! 

And ne'er to gallant mariners 

Did braver seamen yield. 

Proud be the sires, whose hardy boys 

Then fell, to fight no more ; 

With the brave, mid the wave, 

When the cannon's thunders roar, 

Their spirits then shall trim the blast, 

And swell the thunder's roar. 


suvius, which disgorge their adamantine contents, in the 
midst of columns of fire, and spread desolation around 
their bases, witnessed the approach of this Christian hero, 
with a dauntless band of warriors from a distant Christian 
land. Malta, (the ancient Melita,) where Paul, once the 
pupil of Gamaliel, and afterwards the apostle of the Gen- 
tiles, preached the gospel, and where the renowned Knights 
of Malta, long enjoyed and practised their mysterious rites 
— Italy, once the dominion of imperial Rome, which once 
conquered the world by arms, and then conquered herself 
by luxury — Corsica, the birth place, and Elba the prison 
of Napoleon, the modern Charlemagne — Sardinia, Genoa, 
indeed every country and island in that portion of the 
globe, which did not acknowledge the supremacy of the 
Sultan — and even the Pope of Rome, with all his rancour- 
Vain were the cheers of Britons, 

Their hearts did vainly swell, 

Where virtue, skill, and bravery, 

With gallant Morris fell. 

That heart, so well in battle tried, 

Along the Moorish shore, 

Again, o'er the main, 

When Columbia's thunders roar, 

Shall prove its Yankee spirit true, 
/ When Columbia's thunders roar. 

Hence be our floating bulwarks, 
Those oaks our mountains yield ; 
'Tis mighty Heaven's plain decree — 
Then take the watery field ! 
To ocean's farthest barrier then, 
Your whitening sails shall pour ; 
Safe they'll ride o'er the tide, 
While Columbia's thunders roar, 
While her cannon's fire is flashing fast. 
\nd her Yankee thunders roar. 


ous bitterness against Protectants, all, all joined their notes 
of praise, in one harmonious concord of applause and ad- 
miration, for the peerless Hero, from the Republic of the 
Western World. 

The Pope, the supreme head of the Roman Catholic 
regime, forcibly declared that — " All Christendom had not 
effected in centuries, what the American Squadron had 
accomplished in the space of a single year !" 

Even British naval officers, whose tutelary deity upon 
the ocean, (Lord Nelson,) declared that " In the germe of 
the American Navy, he saw the future rival of Britain upon 
the ocean" — suspended, for awhile, their deep-rooted jeal- 
ousy, and poured forth the effusions of involuntary admira 
tion for Preble. 

Grateful as such applause undoubtedly was to such an 
aspiring mind as his, no approbation came so " home to 
his business and bosom" as the unqualified demonstration 
of attachment from his own Comrades — his own Govern- 
ment, and his own Family. 

Such approbation from such sources, must have filled 
his capacious heart to repletion. The value of praise is 
doubly enhanced, when it proceeds from those whose ex- 
alted merit deserves the praise they bestow. Like " the 
quality of mercy" 

" It is twice blessed — it blesseth him, 
" Who gives, and who receives." 

The Congress of the United States, the only legitimate 
government in existence, presiding over the only Repub- 
lic upon earth, deeply penetrated with the exalted worth, 
and vast services of " The Commander in Chief of the 
American Squadron in the Mediterranean in 1803 and 
1 804," bestowed upon Edward Preble, a Vote of Thanks 


a reward more grateful to the feelings of that noble offi- 
rer, considering the moving cause of it, than would have 
been an estate equal to the dukedom bestowed upon Arthin 
Wellesley, by the Parliament of Britain. 

As a visible token of the regard of that august body, the 
Congress voted a splendid gold medal, with devices em- 
blematical of his achievements. 

This was presented by the same hand that drafted that 
unequalled state paper " The Declaration of American 
Independence" — by the same statesman who selected Pre- 
ble, as Commander — then President of the American Re 
public, now the Philosopher of Monticello — Thomas Jef- 
ferson. This portable monument of his fame is now, with 
the other archives of this ocean-hero, in the hands of his 
posterity — an invaluable legacy — a treasure of fame ! 

His family and his countrymen, when he was " far away 
over the billow," cast their anxious thoughts to the sangui- 
nary arena in which he and his comrades were contending 
with the thickening hosts of Mahometans. 

When the Turkish Crescent bowed to the " Star-span- 
gled banner" of the Republic, and he returned with his 
rich harvest of honours, the elder portion of Americans re- 
membered the gallant Lieutenant Preble, in the war of the 
Revolution, when in the Protector he assisted in capturing 
the Admiral Duff, and led in capturing a heavy ship of war 
in Penobscot bay, when he sailed in the Winthrop. 

The younger Americans, with the writer, enthusiastical- 
ly recognized in him the redeeming spirit who rescued our 
countrymen from Mahometan bondage ; and compelled a 
strong power, under the Grand Sultan, to submit to Ameri- 
can prowess. 

He might well have wished, at this time to retire into the 


bosom of his family, at his delightful residence in the capi- 
tal of Maine ; but he had become identified with the Amer- 
ican navy, and its future respectability depended essential- 
ly upon the application of the skill and experience of the 
Commodore to its future operations. 

Although considerable experience, as well as man) 
splendid victories were gained in the naval warfare with 
the French Republic, a few years previous, and many 
and much of each under his command in the Mediterra- 
nean, yet the complicated system, requisite in the Navy 
Department, was by no means thoroughly digested. 

The admirable police, which is now systematized on 
board 74s, 44s, 36s, sloops of war, brigs, and schooners, 
was then in an incipient state — it has ever since been pro- 
gressive, and it may now almost be said, that it is perfected. 

Com. Preble had, at the seat of government, the collec- 
ted wisdom of naval officers, and the heads of the different 
departments, to aid him in putting the " American Naval 
System" into operation. 

If it required the wisdom and penetration of Oliver 
Ellsworth* to arrange and digest the Judiciary System— 
if it required the stupendous mind of Alexander Hamil- 
ton, from a chaotic mass, to perfect a System of Finance- 
it also required the scientific and practical knowledge of 
Edward Preble to arrange a Naval System, for the marine 
force of the Republic. 

* The profound discernment of President Washington, and the 
First Congress under the Constitution, selected this exalted man 
and great jurist, to digest the Judiciary System of our vast Republic, 
consisting then of thirteen, and now of twenty-four distinct govern- 
ments. It was a subject full of importance, and abounding in difficul- 
ty. To give sufficient energy to a Federal court, and yet to secure 


His time at the scat of government was not wasted by en- 
joying the fashionable blandishments of the metropolis, in 
the " piping time of peace ;" and although he had recent- 
ly returned from ' attempting the imminent deadly breach,' 
he was in no danger of being effeminated by "listening to 
the soft lulling of the lute." He was not one of those 
courtly retainers who make an accessary of the languishing 
genius of evanescent amusement, in the murder of time, 
the most bounteous gift of heaven. With Preble, as with 
Franklin, ' time was money ;' yea it was more than money 
— ' money is trash,' in comparison to the invaluable results 
of patient study, sound reflection, and matured wisdom. 

The American people employ their civil Rulers, as well 
as their Naval officers, to act, and to act efficiently. The 
aggregated wisdom of the Republic is not annually concen- 
trated at the seat of government to convert and pervert the 
season of legislation into an endless succession of 'holi- 
days,' excursions of pleasure, or intrigues for office.* 

the rights of indiviual State Courts, was a vast undertaking ; and was 
accomplished by the vastness of this great man's mind. Oliver Ells- 
worth succeeded Chief Justice Jay when he was appointed ambassa- 
dor to the Court of St. James; and continued Chief Justice himself 
until he was appointed ambassador to the Court of St. Cloud. 

* The following is an extract Yrom a very recent publication ; and 
is inserted in a note to excuse the presumption of the text. 

" Is it for this that the people of the nation send representatives to, 
Washington, and pay each of them $56 a week ? Is it to spend their 
nights in revelry, and their days in slumber, that they have been sent 
there ? Is it to enable the higher officers of the government " to feed 
and plaister," to corrupt and prostitute their representatives, that they 
have suffered the late great increase of their salaries to pass almost 
unnoticed ? If this apathy is continued, they will only merit the politi- 
cal degradation and perdition which infallibly awaits them." 



The assiduity of the Secretary of the Navy, the Navy 
Commissioners, and Naval Officers, is a shining light that 
points out the path of duty to every officer in every station, 
in every department of the government. 

Com. Preble remained at the seat of government until 
peace was negotiated by Mr. Lear, which he had conquer- 
ed with the American squadron. Com. Barron returned with 
the constellation of ocean- warriors who subjugated Tripo- 
li when under Preble. Gen. Eaton, with Hamet Cara- 
malli, ex- Bashaw, whom he found an exile in Egypt — whose 
dying hopes he revived, and whose motley multitude call- 
ed an army, he conducted through desarts to within a few 
leagues of Tripoli, also returned to America, to reap the 
reward of his well-meant, romuntic,and daring endeavours,* 
and also to induce the government to pay the disheartened 
Caramalli for the loss of his throne, and the disappoint- 
ment of his wishes. It is believed that this is the first and 
only instance of a Mahometan prince begging money of a 
Christian power — they have, for centuries, obtained it by 
blood and plunder. 

Com. Preble, cool, collected, dignified, and gratified, 
lived to behold the consummation of the first wishes of his 
heart---the subjugation of the Barbary powers, and the re- 
storation of the noble Bainbridge,! his gallant officers, and 
fearless crew, and the rest of the Americans, from dismal 
bondage, to the fruition of freedom. 

He cared little for the scramble for office, promotion, or 
money. He saw the happy result of his toils for his coun- 

* Gen. Eaton, in his letter of Dec. 5, 1805, to the Secretary of the 
Navy, says—" Mr. O'Bannon and myself united in a resolution to pe- 

f Amongst the returning heroes, who received the congratulation of 
Corn. Preble — the delivered heroes, Bainbridge, Jones, Porter, 


try. He saw his gallant comrades in the Mediterranean, 
once more in the bosom of the Republic, enjoying the peace 
they had obtained by valour -the blessings they had ren- 
dered secure by their victories, and the applause they so 
richly deserved for their unparalleled services. 

He retired from public life, like Washington, the father 
of his country — like Adams, the father of the American 
navy-— and like Jefferson, his patron and friend, and the 
patron of the Republic, to enjoy the sweets of retirement 
in the bosom of his family, in his native town, where every 
temporal blessing awaited his return. 

There, with a consciousness of having faithfully served 
his country in that tremendous contest, " The War of the 
Revolution," against Britain, in a subordinate station — 
having assisted in chastising Frenchmen — having awed the 
Emperor of Morocco into a peace, and having fought the 

rish with him [Caramalli] before the walls of Tripoli, or to triumph 
with him within those walls." " I have" said a British Peer " reso- 
lutions to make resolutions, if I cannot keep them." 

Biddle, and their gallant crew, once of the unfortunate Philadelphia 
Frigate, after a dismal bondage of nineteen months, must have poured 
out the undissembled gratitude of hearts, glowing with feelings, unap- 
preciated by the luxurious, and effeminate sons of indolent security. 
Their feelings are thus painted by an anonymous poet, who unites, in 
these lines, two of the fine arts, poetry and painting. 

The dawn through my grates the thick darkness dissolves, 

And again the huge bolt of my dungeon revolves ; 

That monster's dread step is a prelude to pains, 

When the lash that he bears will drink blood from my veins. 

Hark ! what notes of sweet music ! they thrill through my soul : 

Columbia's own strain is that soft melting roll ! 

Gracious Heav'n ! my dear countrymen once more I view. 

Hail Liberty's banner ! ve base tyrants adieu. 


blood-stained Bashaw of Tripoli into subjugation, he enjoy- 
ed that repose of body which toils, privations, long service 
and sanguinary batties had rendered necessary; and that 
tranquillity of mind which conscious virtue, rectitude and 
honour, rendered sweet and felicitous. 

But these enjoyments were hardly began before they 
were to be ended. Death, which he had so often undaunt- 
edly faced in the most appalling forms, removed him from 
the scene of his temporal, to that of his eternal glory upon 
the 25th day of August, 1807 — just three years from the 
memorable month of August in which he conquered a pow- 
erful nation of Barbary. 

Like his beloved comrades in that warfare, Stephen De- 
catur, and James Lawrence, he died in the meridian of 
life, being but forty-six years of age. 


Edward Preble, possessed peculiar native powers — 
those which the heroes of antiquity most craved — a sound 
mind, in a sound body. So far as countenance is an index 
of mind, his indicated decision of character. It also indi- 
cated benignity of heart, and generosity of feelings. His 
person was tall and commanding ; his posture erect ; his 
movement natural and unaffected. His whole presence 
pointed him out as a " mighty man of war."* As to the 
qualities of his mind, the prominent traits were a restless 

Wy wrongs are all cancelled — your shore is receding — 
My country has freed me, ray heart has ceas'd bleeding ; 
In the arms of affection I soon shall be bless'd, 
And my dust with the dust of my fathers shall rest. 

* " That form indeed, th' associate of a mind- 
Vast in its pow'rs — etherial in its kind, 


emulation, and an inquietude for enterprise. For listless 
indolence and effeminating inaction, he manifested the most 
sovereign contempt and contemptuous pity. Not satisfied 
with achieving deeds of common renown, he aspired to 
those which would leave previous examples of noble daring 
far behind him. Possessing by nature a high-minded sense 
of independence, he espoused the cause of his country 
when imperious Britain was attempting to subjugate hi? 
countrymen to vassalage. Although then but a youth, 

" He gave the world assurance of the man." 
Returning to the peaceful pursuit of commerce, he placed 
himself and his family in independent circumstances. Ev- 
er ready to avenge the injuries of the Republic, from what- 
ever quarter of the world they should proceed, he repair- 
ed as Commander in Chief to the renowned Mediterranean. 
France, Spain, Italy, Naples, and Genoa, upon the borders 
of that sea. — Sardinia, Sicily, Corsica, Minorca, and Mal- 
ta, islands in its bosom, witnessed with astonishment and 
admiration the approach of this Christian hero from the 
Christian Republic. To the people of these regions, as 
well as to his own countrymen, who were exposed to Tur- 
kish capture and bondage, he was a ministering angel of 
protection and redemption. But, to the merciless disci- 
ples of Mahomet, he was a minister of wrath, armed with 
stores of vengeance, to avenge the barbarous cruelties for 
centuries inflicted upon unoffending Christians. The vol- 
canoes of Vesuvius and iEtna excited but little more con- 
That form- -the labour of Almighty skill, 
Fram'd for the service of a freeborn will, 
Asserts precedence, and bespeaks control, 
But borrows all its grandeur from the soul." 



sternation with exposed Neapolitans and Sicilians, than did 
the gleaming messengers of death, "red with uncommon 
wrath," hurled by the American Preble, into the capital of 
the Tripoiitans. Maliometans were subjugated by him and 
his dauntless band, and the Turkish Crescent fell beneath 
the American Banner. The veteran finished his work in 
the Eastern World, and returned to the enjoyment of civil 
liberty and religious freedom, amongst his redeemed, pro- 
tected, and happy countrymen in the Western World. He 
died, as a hero would wish to die, before the ravages of 
time had debilitated his body or deteriorated his mind. 
Never having been humbled by a mortal enemy, he yield- 
ed all of himself that was mortal to the King of Terrors, and 
gave his body to the tomb — 

" Till mould'ring worlds and tumbling systems burst, 

" Till the last trump shall renovate the dust." 
His exalted soul he gave to that God who gave it to him, 
and he bequeathed his temporal glory to the Republic ; 
and if that Republic hath not yet raised a monument* to his 

* It would be gratifying to learn how much money has been drawn 
from the National Treasury, to erect Mausoleums, Monuments, Sta- 
tues, &c. to Revolutionary Heroes. Soon after the death of Gen. 
Washington, a resolution was passed in Congress on the subject. In 
1818, the following was found in the Congressional Journal : 

" The joint resolution for a monument over the remains of General 
Washington, and some minor business, was postponed to Monday." 

In 1818, the following notice concerning the " Washington Monu- 
ment Association" was published : 

" Boston, Nov. 25. We learn that the Trustees of the Washington 
Monument Association, through the Agency of our countrymen, 
Messrs. West, Allston, and Samuel Williams of London, have engaged 
the celebrated sculptor, Chantry, to form a Pedestrian Statue of 
George Washington, and that some progress has been made in the 

The elegant monument in Portland, to the memory of Capt. Bur- 
rows, was erected by the patriotic munificence of Matthew L. Davis. 
Esq. of New- York. 


memory, he hath a living monument in the heart of every 
surviving Naval Oflicerand Seaman, who knew his virtues, 
appreciated his worth, and emulated his valour. But as 
the government of the American Republic, in the plenitude 
of its gratitude, has seen fit to draw from its treasury the 
small sum of one thousand dollars to erect a monument to 
the memory of Elbridge Gerry ; it may hereafter remem- 
ber the Father of the Modern Sons of the American Navy ; 
and future generations will behold a monument erected to 
his glory, and his glory shining in the monument. 


Of American Naval Officers in the Mediterranean, in the 
years 1803 and 1804, under 


In presenting this Catalogue of Officers to the reader it 
is impossible to repress the feelings of admiration with 
which the mind of every patriotic American must be pene- 
trated. In retrospect, we behold the little infant navy of 
our infant Republic, in that renowned sea where the marine 
of ancient Carthage, spread dismay and consternation upon 
the borders of the three great continents, whose shores are 
laved by its waters. In that sea where the Grecians gain- 
ed their naval renown. In that sea where Cleopatra waft- 
ed in her barge, and captivated Antony. 

It would be invidious to make a selection from this con- 
stellation of ocean heroes, who entered the dangerous path 
of glory with the immortalized Preble — some of whom 
have followed him from temporal warfare to eternal peace 
-from a life of glory on earth to immortal honours in 


heaven. Saying nothing of the Commanders, Rodger*. 
Bainbridge, Stewart, Hull, Smith Somers,* and Decatur,* 
we find among the Lieutenants, — Gordon, Dent, Jones, 
Porter, Trippe, Crane, Read, J. B. Decatur,* Lawrence,* 
and J. Bainbridge. Amongst Midshipmen, Burrows,* 
Morris, Nicholson, Gadsden, Wadsworth,* Israel,* Ridge- 
ley, Henley, Patterson, Mead, Macdonough, Gamble, Ren- 
shaw, Spence, Pettigrew, Warrington, Ballard, Cassin, 
Thompson, &c. These then ardent youth were unknown 
to fame — their names are now inscribed in its temple, and 
their glory is identified with that of the Republic. Their 
monuments will hereafter rise in various parts of our vast 
Republic, and consecrate the places where the naval he- 
roes rest. 

It is however, ungenerous, unjust — to bestow all our ap- 
plause upon the fortunate heroes whose destiny enabled 
them to signalize themselves by some glorious achieve- 
ments. Their associates, equally gallant, equally skilful, 
equally meritorious, are too often obscured by the halo of 
glory that shines around their companions. Had not Gib- 
bon, perished in the flaming theatre of Richmond, he might 
have acted as glorious a part on the theatre of naval glory, 
as his brother midshipmen, Morris, Biddle, Macdonough, 
Burrows, Warrington, etc. As the meed of praise is the 
highest reward of a hero, it ought to be bestowed with im- 

In page 162 of this volume, a List of Ships and Com- 
manders of Com. Preble's S juadron is inserted. It was 
all the information the writer had when he drove through 
this imperfect Sketch of Com. Prebie's life. 

* Dead ! 


Since it was written, the very obliging and ever atten- 
tive Secretary of the Navy, has furnished me with the fol- 
lowing " Official List." 

Officers attached to the Squadron under Com. Edward 
Preble in the Mediterranean in 1803, &c. 

Constitution frigate , Edward Preble, Commodore. 
John Rodgers, Captain. 
Thomas Robinson, Jun. Samuel Elbert. 
William C. Jenckes, Charles Gordon. 

Joseph Tarbell, John H. Dent. 

Nathaniel Harriden, Sailing Master. 

James Wells, Surgeon. 

Thomas Marshall, Surgeon's mate. 

Patrick Sim, do. 

James S. Deblois, Purser. 

Noadiah Morris, chaplain. 

Jonathan N. Cannon, Boatswain. 

William Sweeny, Gunner. 

Isaac Steel, Sail Maker. 

Thomas Moore/Carpenter. 


Hethcote J. Reed, Ralph Izard, Jun. 

David Deacon. William Burrows, 

John Rowe, Daniel S. Dexter, 

Thomas Hunt, Charles Morris, 

John M. Haswell, John Davis, 

Alexander Laus, Francis C. Hall, 

Thomas Baldwin, Leonard J. Hunewell, 

Joseph Nicholson, Louis Alexis, 

Charles Gadsden, Jun. Henry Wadsworth, 

Charles G. Ridgely, Henry P. Casey. 



Joseph Israel. William Lewis, 

John Thompson, Robert Henley. 

John Hall, Captain of marines, 
Robert Greenleaf, 1st Lieut. 
Philadelphia frigate, William Bainbridge. Commander. 
John S. H. Cox, Jacob Jones, 

Theodore Hunt, Benjamin Smith, 

David Porter. 

William Knight, Sailing Master. 
John Ridgely, Surgeon. 
Jonathan Cowdery, Surgeon's mate. 
Nicholas Harwood, do. 

Keith Spence, Purser. 
George Hodge, Boatswain. 
Richard Stephenson, Gunner. 
William Godb), Carpenter. 
Joseph Douglass, Sail- maker. 
James Gibbon, Daniel T. Patterson, . 

Benjamin F. Read, Thomas Macdonough. 

James Biddle, Bernard Henry, 

Wallace Wormeley, William Cutbush, 

Simon Smith, Robert Gamble, 

Richard B. Jones, James Renshaw. 

William S. Osborne, 1st Lieut, of Marines. 
Brig Syren, Charles Stewart, Captain - 
James R. Caldwell, Michael B. Carroll, 

Joseph J. Maxwell. 

Samuel R. Marshall, Surgeon. 
Alexander C. Harrison, Sailing Master. 


Nathan Baker, Purser. 
John Unsworth, Boatswain. 
James Welman, Gunner. 
John Felt, Carpenter. 
Thomas Crippen, Sail maker. 
Thomas O. Anderson. Robert T. Spence. 

John Dorsey, Cornelius de Krafft. 

William R. Nicholson. 

John Howard, 1st Lieut. Marines. 

Brig Argus, Isaac Hull, Captain. 
Joshua Blake, William M. Livingston, 

Sybrant Van Schaick. 

Humphrey Magrath, acting sailing master. 
Nathaniel T. Weems, Surgeon. 
John W. Dorsey, Surgeon's mate. 
Timothy Winn, Purser. 
George Nicholson, Boatswain. 
William Huntress, Gunner. 
Stephen Hurley, Carpenter. 
Charles Smith, Sail-maker. 
Joseph Bainbridge, Samuel G. Blodget. 

George Mann, William G. Stewart, 

Pascal Paoli Peck, John Pettigrew. 

John Johnson, 1st Lieutenant marines. 

Schooner Vixen, John Smith, Commander. 

Acting Lieutenants. 

John Trippe, William Crane, 

Richard Butler, Sailing master. 

Michael Graham, Surgeon. 


Clement S. Hunt, Purser. 
John Clarke, Boatswain. 
James Bailey, Gunner. 
Bartholomew M'Henry, Carpenter. 
Joshua Herbert, Sail-maker. 
John D. Henley, Lewis Warrington, 

William Ballard, John Nevitt, 

John Lyon. 

Schooner Nautilus, Richard Somers, Commander. 
James B. Decatur, George W. Read. 
Edward N. Cox, Acting Sailing-master. 
Gershom R. Jacques, Acting Surgeon. 
James Tootell, Purser. 
Charles Walker, Boatswain. 
James Pinkerton, Gunner. 
Robert Fell, Carpenter. 
Octavius A. Page, Stephen Cassin, 

George Marcellin, William Miller, 

Charles C. B. Thompson. 
Schooner Enterprise, Stephen Decatur, Jr. Commander, 
Acting Lieutenants. 
James Lawrence, Daniel C. Heath, 

Jonathan Thorn, Joseph Bainbridge, 

Seth Cartee. 

William Rogers, Acting Surgeon, 
Alexander M'Williams, Surgeon's mate. 
Mr. Bearry, Boatswain. 
William Hook, Gunner. 


Mr. West, Carpenter. 
Patrick Keogh, Sail- maker. 


Daniel C. Sim, George Mitchell, 

Walter Boyd, Robert Innes, 

Benjamin Turner. 

Samuel Slewellyn, 1st Lieutenant of marines. 

The very names of the vessels composing this little squad- 
ron, have become familiar with Americans, for their 
achievements in the Mediterranean under Com. Preble, 
in the war against Tripoli ; and on the Atlantic, in the 
second war with Britain. 

The Constitution bore the broad pendant of Preble in 
all the victories of the squadron in the Mediterranean. In 
the Atlantic, commanded by Hull, she astonished British 
officers in escaping from a British squadron. Commanded 
by the same officer, she sent the boasting Guerriere to the 
bottom; commanded by Bainbridge, she compelled the 
Java to submit to the same fate, and commanded by Stew- 
art, in one action, added the Cyane and Levant, to the 
American navy. 

The Philadelphia, was conquered only by hidden rocks, 
and a foe, with hearts harder than rocks, who dared not 
point a gun at her while wafting. But her loss to America 
was retrieved by Decatur, in destroying her under the 
tremendous batteries of Tripoli, in the midst of her ma- 

The Syren, commanded by the ever vigilant and intrepid 
Stewart, was constantly in the station of duty and of dan- 
ger. She accompanied the Intrepid to the bay of Tripoli, 
and witnessed the destruction of the Philadelphia. Her 


language, unlike the fabled Syren, was more calculated to 
alarm than to allure. — While commanded by the accom- 
plished Nicholson she fell before a "hell of England." 

The Argus, commanded by Hull, acted well her part in 
the Mediterranean ; and, commanded by Allen in the 
war with Britain, spread dismay upon her coast — swept her 
commerce from her very harbours ; and when she fell be- 
fore superior force, was deemed a trophy, and her com- 
mander who fell gloriously, was 

" By strangers honour'dand by strangers mourn'd." 

The Vixen, was a terror to Tripolitans, and in the war 
with Britain, fell a victim to the elements in company with 
a British Frigate, commanded by the modern pride of Bri- 
tain, James Lucas Yeo, who publickly thanked the gallant 
Reed and his crew for their gallant courage as enemies, 
and magnanimity as friends. 

The Nautilus, was the favourite of the seas. She me- 
naced Tangier, in Morocco — Tripoli on the Barbary coast 
— and her nautical skill extorted admiration, from a Bri- 
tish Commodore when she fell into his hands, and who re- 
turned the gallant Crane his sword for his masterly exer- 
tions to save this ship. 

The Enterprise,* (" who can tell her deeds") has be- 
come the most renowned schooner upon the ocean. In 
the hands of Sterrett she battered a Barbarian corsair to 
pieces — Commanded by Decatur she captured the won- 
derful little Intrepid — Commanded by the lamented Bur- 

* This fine craft was wrecked and lost in July, 1823 ; so that there 
is not now, in the American Navy, a single keel of this renowned 
squadron, but the Constitution (" Old Iron-Sides.") It is to be 
hoped that she may never be sent to sea again, lest the elements should 
destroy, what enemies never could catch or capture. 


rows, she captured the Boxer — and with the frigate Con- 
stitution, is still the pride of Americans. 

As if the whole of these vessels, possessed an "inani- 
mate ardor," corresponding with the animated heroism of 
their commanders, they became renowned for conquests, 
and seemed to extort smiles from the genius of victory in 
the hour of disaster. 









Biographical writers, and subjects of Biography.. ..Alexander Mur 
ray's birth. ...a lineal descendant of the Highland chief, Murray of 
Elginshire, who espoused the cause of the Pretender in the Rebel- 
lion of 1715, who was banished to Barbadoes, and his estates confis- 
cated.... Houses of Tudor, Stuart, and Brunswick... .The grandfath- 
er a Scotch Rebel, the grandson an American Revolutionist.... Dr. 
Murray, Alexander's father.... Alexander, the youngest son.. ..His 
education,. ..Commencement of his nautical life.. .. His highminded 
sentiments.. ..William Murray, Earl of Mansfield.... Alexander, ap- 
pointed a Lieutenant in the Navy, by the Old Congress.... for want 
of a ship, enters Col. Smallwood's regiment as Lieutenant in the ar- 
my.. ..As James Monroe did Col. Weedon's.... Note. ...Battles in 
which he fought... Sufferings of the American army. ..Note. ..Lieut. 

Murray seriously affected by explosion of a battery Is promoted to 

a Captaincy. ...Becomes an invalid for a short time. ...Retires to his 
father's... Forlorn state of the poor and sick soldier... Extortioners... 
Murray recovers, and resumes his station in the Navy as Comman- 
der of a Letter of Marque. ...Fidelity of American officers, but one 
exception, Benedict Arnold.. ..Note. ...Incessant service of Lieut. 
Comdt. Murray. ...He is taken prisoner, paroled and exchanged.... 
He enters the continental frigate Trumbull, 32 guns.. ..Note.. ..She 
encounters a violent gale, and immediately enters into a most des - 
perate engagement with the frigate Iris, 38 guns, and Monk, of 18 
guns.... Description of the battle... Lieut. Murray is severely woun- 
ded.... The wreck of the Trumbull is towed into New York by the 
enemy ...He again recovers, is exchanged, and enters the frigate 
Alliance as 1st Lieutenant.... Peace with Britain, 1783.. ..The fame 
of Murray, and revolutionary veterans. ...He resumes the character 
of the private citizen.. ..Annihilation of the navy.... Meagre resour- 


tes of the colonies at the close of the revolution. ...Caution of Ame- 
rican Statesmen. 

Spoliations upon American commerce, and indignity to American cit- 
izens ...Commencement of a naval force.. ..Lieut. Murray appointed 
Post Captain. ...Sails in corvette Montezuma against French. ..Im- 
mense service to commerce. ..Receives avote of thanks.. .Appointed 
tofrigalc lnsurgente....Soon after to the Constellation.. .Is encoun- 
tered bj' the Razee Magnanimique... .Returns the fire.. ..Injures his 
supposed antagonist.... Finds him to be friendly.... Mutual explana- 
tion, and mutual satisfaction.... Constellation "and Magnanimique, 
(Murray andTaylor,) President and Little Belt, (Rodgers and Bing- 
ham) Chesapeake and Leopard, (Barron and Humphrey).. ..Peace 
between America and France.. ..Note. 

Turkish rapacity against American commerce, and infernal cruelty 
against American seamen. ...Commodore Murray appointed to com- 
mand American Squadron in the Mediterranean, as successor of 
his revolutionary comrade, CDm. Dale. ...Restricted power.. ..His 
flagship, Constellation assailed by Tripolitan corsairs.... He disper- 
ses them, and drives them under the Bashaw's batteries. ...He could 
not act offensively.... In the midst of his defensive operations, is su- 
perseded by Com. Morris.. ..Secret intrigue and palpable injury. 
Com. Murray, though not degraded, feels himself injured, and re- 
monstrates. ..".Inexplicable "affairs of state".. ..Peace with Tripoli, 
and renown of modern Naval Heroes.. ..Affair of the Chesapeake.... 
Com. Murray solicits a command.... Is detained at home.... Secret 

Second war between America and Britain. ...Com. Murray, senior 
Commodore and Post Captain in the Navy, again refused a command 
at sea, and detained at home to discharge duties in the home depart- 
ment.. ..Peace with Britain. ...Com. Murray is appointed Comman- 
dant of an American Navy Yard.. ..Efficiency of Naval defence.... 
Importance of Naval Architecture.. ..Com. Murray's science, skill 
and judgment in his new capacity.... American and British Naval 
Architecture.. ..Com. Murray's indefatigable exertions, and unpar- 
alleled economy in the service of the Republic. ...Increase of the 
Navy and decrease of expenditure... Com. Murray's closing years... 
His death. ...His character.. ..Original Ode.. ..Death of Com. Mur- 
ray's son. 

It is the usual course with writers of Biography, to se- 
lect for the subjects of their researches and lucubrations, 
those fortunate characters who have signalized themselves 
by one or more splendid achievements or literary produc- 
tions, and have become the idols of " the people." The 
name of the hero is a passport for the volume, whether he 
is dressed out in the simple, artless, and beautiful attire of 


Marmontel, or in the heavy, coarse, and clumsy garb of Bos- 

Our own country, from the landing of the pilgrims to 
this time, affords as rich a harvest of biography as Rome 
did for Plutarch — as France has for Marmontel and La 
Montaigne — and as England, Scotland Ireland, and Wales? 
has, for a countless throng of major and minor biographers. 
But notwithstanding u the harvest is truly plenteous, the la- 
bourers are few." 

To the conductors of the Port Folio* and the Analectic 
Magazine, the American reader is more indebted for the 
Biography of modern worthies, than to all other American 
periodical publications. The only regret in the mind of 
their readers is, that although they have multurn in parvo 4 
they do not furnish their patrons with half enough. 

In the last mentioned publication, is found the following 
forcible remark — " We have seen works of this kind 
("American Biographical Works,") too often made the 
vehicles of adulation to the living, and extravagant eulogy 
of the dead, for the sordid purpose of gaining patronage, 
and swelling subscription lists." And, in speaking of au- 
thors, it says that there " is a chance of being dazzled by 
the glare of fresh blown reputations, or of mistaking tran- 
sient notoriety for that solid fame which is slowly collected 
from the sober judgment of the nation." 

One fact however is certain, that the " Analectic Maga- 
zine itself," has suddenly captivated its readers, with high- 
ly coloured and highly finished biographies of " fresh- blown 
reputations" which were gained in a fortunate hour and 
not " slowly collected." 

* With deference, however, Henry Dearborn's " Account of the 
Battle of Bunker Hill," must always be excepted. 


These biographies were to be found in the offices of men 
and upon the toilets of ladies. The faces of these favour- 
ites of fortune, and heroes of renown were exhibited in 
galleries of painting, in parlours and in print-shops ; and 
the lovers of the olfactory cordial could scarcely gratify one 
of the five senses, without snuffing to the " immortal glory'' 
of some matchless hero, looking from the lid of his pocket- 
box. The fatigued nymph, while wafting to her relief the 
refreshing breeze, would suddenly stop — eye the heroe's 
face upon her fan — give a melting sigh ; and, in tender 
tones exclaim "May beauty ever be the reward of the 

Such has not been the high destiny of the venerable 
reteran whose life and character, with deep solicitude, I 
now attempt imperfectly to portray. 

Aexander Murray was born in Chestertown. state of 
Maryland, in the memorable year 1755 — memorable as the 
year which first involved the infant colonies in a war 
with a foreign civilized power, for with native savages they 
had always been at war. 

To trace back the parentage of Alexander Murray, would 
open one of the most capacious fields of biography, and em- 
brace one of the most interesting periods of British history. 
It would require the polished pen of their own Robertson 
to detail, with historical fidelity, the various and deeply in- 
teresting events, in which his grandfather, the " Highland 
Chief Murray" was engaged, and the heart-rending scenes 
through which he, his family and his Clan were doomed to 

The Highland chiefs of Scotland have ever been renown- 
ed as the most daring, romantic, chivalrous and dauntless 
race of men upon earth. Their simple, unvarnished histo- 


ry will speak their eulogy, far better than the inflated ro- 
mances and wizzard fictions which " invade" our country. 

When the House of Stuart became extinct, as it regards 
regal power, by the abdication of the British throne, by 
James 11., and the House of Brunswick began, by import- 
ing the Guelphs from the continent, real high-minded Scots- 
men claimed in the eighteenth century, as a matter of right, 
what, in the nineteenth, has been enforced by the arm of pow- 
er, that none but a " legitimate sovereign" should set upon 
the throne of Britain. 

The ardent and chivalrous young Murray, Alexander's 
grand-sire, put himself at the head of his Clan, possessed 
each of spirits, chivalrous as his own, and espoused the 
cause of the Pretender. 

Every American reader is, or ought to be, well acquaint- 
ed with English history at that period, as it is so much con- 
nected with the history of our own country. History has 
been well denominated " Philosophy teaching by exam- 
ple," and every American, in a certain degree, must be a 
historian, philosopher, and politician, to enable him to ap- 
preciate the invaluable blessings enjoyed in our Republic, 
when compared with the oppression of his fellow-creatures 
in other portions of the globe. 

The cause that Murray's ancestor espoused was the 
cause of the Catholic Religion and the cause of his Prince ; 
a religion which may well claim the greatest antiquity of 
any system adopted under the Christian dispensation ; and 
since the Reformation effected by the immortal Martin Lu- 
ther, may claim quite as much consistency. 

It was a master-stretch of policy in the House of Tudor, 
to alarm their subjects about the horrors of the Catholic 
religion, and to set at defiance the Papal power, in order 


to exercise as corrupt a power themselves over their own 

It was well for the House of Brunswick to denounce the 
House of Stuart — to adhere to the " Protestant Succes- 
sion" — to raise the alarm of " gun-powder plots and trea- 
son" in order to furnish a pretext for the persecution of 
the unoffending Catholics, whom they still persecute ; and, 
to secure themselves upon the throne of Britain. 

It is unnecessary to ascertain whether the ancient Mur- 
rays were advocates of the Pope, of Luther, Calvin, or 
Knox — suffice it to say that in the memorable " Scots Re- 
bellion" in seventeen hundred and fifteen, the gallant 
Scots Chief, Murray, and his dauntless clan fought as much 
in the cause of a legitimate sovereign, as did the Irish gen- 
eral, Arthur Wellesley^ in the " Holy Alliance" of eigh- 
teen hundred and fifteen.! 

* The history of Henry VIII. and his daughter, Queen Elizabeth. 

f Attend for a moment to what a high-minded Englishman said up- 
on this subject "to the People 1 ' — (in Feb. I780,) which met the eye 
«f Geo. III. in an hour after it issued from the press. — 

" Let me conjure you to be no longer deceived by the pious hypoc- 
risy of the present king ; he has done more in the short space of a feis 
years, to subvert your religion and liberties, and to ruin the nation, 
than ever Charles thejirst did during the whole course of his life, and 
yet he was brought to the block, by the virtue, firmness, and resolu- 
tion of our forefathers ; if ke had not, we at this day should not have 
had either liberty or freedom to have contended for, nor would Eng- 
land have been reduced to its present miserable, disgraceful and ru- 
inous state, by a dasterdly, mulish tyrant, of the house of Brunswick." 

" James the second at his first coming to the crown of England, pro- 
fessed (though not BORN a BRITON) so much tenderness for the 
people, and so great a regard for the preservation of their liberties 
and their property, that the parliament and people gave him more 
money than he asked, and he himself had honour enough to put a stop 
to the profusion of their grants and foolish loyalty. The deluded peo- 


A successful rebellion acquires the more courtly name 
of a revolution ; while a suppressed one is denominated 
treason. The rebellion of Scotland, in 1715, was crushed 
by the hand of English power, and her union with the 
British crown annihilated her ancient greatness forever. 

Murray's immense estates were confiscated to pay for 
his valour — he was banished from the land of his nativity. 
as Napoleon was from Europe, because his presence might 
endanger the safety of a then new dynasty, but which has 
now become legitimatized, by the legerdemain of princes 
and the force of arms. 

The British king, little thought that from the loins of this 
banished Chief, in little more than half a century after the 
sentence of banishment was promulgated and executed, 
there would arise a gallant warrior in the New World, who 
would act a most distinguished part in a drama, the catas- 
trophe of which would be, in wresting from the crown of 
Britain the finest section of the British empire — and such 
was Alexander Murray, the subject of this sketch. He 

pie presently saw their error, for he soon began to put the imperial 
law of his own WILL in execution, and to exercise an arbitrary and 
uncontroled power over them." 

" James being deserted by his priests and chaplains (who had in- 
vested him with all his illegal arbitrary power) he was at length obli- 
ged to fly from the face of an injured people, and seek refuge in a for- 
eign land, as a proper and just reward for all his villainy. That anoth- 
er base, ungrateful, perjured, hypocritical and blood-thirsty tyrant, 
may share the same or a worse fate, is the sincere wish of millions." 

Thus it would seem from the days of the Charleses and the Jameses 
of the House of Stuart, and down to the third George of the House of 
Brunswick, there has been a succession of changes from bad to worse, 
until no change could render the British monarchy more oppressive 
to the people. It was the House of Brunswick that the Murrays op- 
posed, and for that they were banished as rebels. 


was surely a legitimate, and he was also a successful rebel — 
a revolutionist. 

The reader may wish to he informed of the destiny of 
the Chief, subsequent to his banishment. What would fur- 
nish materials for a volume, must be despatched in a few 
sentences, and this will lead directly to the notice of his 
descendant, the American Murray. 

The banished Highland Chief landed with the wreck of 
his fortune, and with his family, upon the island of Barba- 
does. The attachment of a Scotsman to " Auld Coila" 
is proverbial ; and although the pensioned Johnson sneer- 
ed at her barren fields, and oaten cakes, and declared that 
*' The best prospect he saw in Scotland was the high road 
that led to Old England" — yet a more high minded — a 
more profound literati — a more virtuous peasantry, were 
never known than she has aiways produced. 

Although on the beautiful island of Barbadoes, it must, 
for a season, have seemed to him like a waste, and he to 
himself but an exile and a wonder.* But his innate great- 
ness could not be diminished by being driven from a once 
powerful kingdom to an island in the West Indies. 

It was here the father of our hero was born, as was also 
a sister of his father, the grand-mother of Benjamin Chew, 
Esq. of Philadelphia. 

His father and his aunt, in early life, directed their 
views to America, which was then, is now, and heaven 

* The situation of this banished chief, reminds the historian of thai 
of the Doge of Genoa, at Paris, who had been ordered to leave his 
dominions, and appear before his Most Christian Majesty. A French 
courtier asked the Doge " What was the greatest wonder he there 
saw ?" He indignantly answered. M The Doge of Genoa in the city 
of Paris." 


grant it ever may be, the most capacious tield for manly 
enterprise, and the safest ' asylum for oppressed humanity.' 

He selected Chestertown, in Maryland, as the place of 
his residence, and soon became distinguished as a physi- 
cian. His dignified manners, his scientific acquirements, 
and his manly virtues, attracted the attention of people of 
the first rank, and secured the affection of a Miss Smith, 
the daughter of a distinguished citizen, whom he mar- 
ried. They were blessed with a numerous progeny, who 
have all sustained the high standing of their exalted pro- 

Alexander Murray, (the late Commodore) was the 
youngest child of this numerous family. Had he been 
born in the dominions of Britain, where the hereditary 
principle exalts the first-born, and leaves younger sons to 
press forward to fortune and to fame, by their own efforts, 
this circumstance alone would have served as a sort of 
impetus to urge him forward. But in our beloved Repub- 
lic, primogeniture is known only in family records, or the 
parish register. All sons are here ' born equal,' and like 
Paul, are ' born free.' 

Young Murray received as good an education as the se- 
minaries of learning in that portion of the country, at that 
time, could afford. The literary and scientific acquire- 
ments of his father led him to appreciate duly the inesti- 
mable value of knowledge, in any and in every situation 
in life ; and he spared no pains to qualify his numerous 
children to act well their parts, as they entered, one after 
the other, upon the stage of life. 

It will not comport with the limits or design of this im- 
perfect Sketch, to notice further any branch of this inter- 
esting family, except the one who is the subject of it. A 


Biography of the Family of Murray would make a capa- 
cious and deeply interesting volume. 

Horn and educated in a state, which hounds upon the 
largest hay in the world, and has for its capital one of the 
most important commercial cities in the Republic, the an- 
imating scenes upon the bosom of the Chesapeake, and the 
ceaseless activity in the city of Baltimore, led young Mur- 
ray to select the nautical profession as his pursuit for life. 

It was a circumstance peculiarly favourable to the then 
future renown of the American navy, that those who after- 
wards became commanders in it, first made themselves 
masters of the theory and practice of navigation. As it 
would be but repeating what the writer hastily expressed 
in a recent publication upon this subject, he hopes to be 
excused for referring the reader to that volume.* 

In the organization of the British navy a vast many 
young men, who can scarcely distinguish the main from 
the quarter-deck — the starboard bow from the larboard 
quarter — the mainsail from the jib, being " younger sons 
of younger brothers," " the cankers of a calm world," and 
yet having the clumsy blood of a degenerated nobility 
sluggishly coursing through their nerveless bodies, are ap- 
pointed officers to command the weather-beaten sons of 
Neptune in their floating dungeons, who were forced into 
them by a press-gang. Such men there, have to obey 
such boys there. 

Not so was it in the little marine force of the Thirteen 
Colonies in the War of the Revolution, which sprang up, 
as if by magic, and as if by magic conquered the floating 
bulwarks of the " Q.ieen of the Ocean." 

* " Life and Character of Com. Decatur." 2d Edition, 



The little Continental Ships were then commanded by 
such men as Nicholas Biddle, George Little, John Manley 7 
James Nicholson, Edivard Preble, John Paul Jones, Thomas 
Truxton, the Subject of this Sketch, and a list of men too 
numerous to mention here, and too valiant and patriotic 
ever to be forgotten. 

They learned to serve themselves, before they ordered 
others to service — they learned the necessity of obedience, 
before they aspired to the rank of commanders. 

So indefatigable was young Murray as a navigator — so 
skilful, so trust-worthy, that at the early age of eighteen, he 
became master of a valuable ship in the European trade. 

The early education of this high-minded descendant, of 
a high-minded race, made him well acquainted with the 
history of the country of his ancestors, and more minutely 
with the tragical history of his ancestors themselves. 

His classical parents infused into his naturally ardent 
mind, a high sense of independence — detailed to him the 
scenes of sufferings through which his grandsire passed — 
gave him an account of the confiscation of his ample estates 
in Scotland, to satiate the almost insatiable cupidity of the 
reigning House of Brunswick, wielding the sceptre of pow- 
er over the land of Wallace, Bruce, Lovatt, and " Murray 
of Elginshire." 

As the same dynasty began to stretch her powerful arm 
across the Atlantic, and to wield the rod of oppression over 
his adopted, as she had for a century over the native land 
of his ancestors, he rekindled in the bosom of his son the 
noble flame which three quarters* of a century before glow- 
ed in the bosom of his grandfather, a Chief of the Clan of 
* The Rebellion in Scotland began in 1715, in America in 1775, 


it was not so with all the Murray s who sprang from 
Scotland. The classical William Murray crossed the Riv- 
er Forth, — became a subservient courtier to George III, — 
left the muses which he had courted in the land of Ossian, 
Campbell, and Burns, and became a peer of Old England. 
This defection made Pope, the Bard of Twickenham, ex- 

" How great an Ovid was in Murray lost." 

This Prince of British poets, had he not been somewhat 
captivated with the princes of Hanover, might better have 

" How great a Murray* was in Mansfield lost." 

* William Murray, by his subserviency to the house of Brunswick, 
was created " Earl of Mansfield." Well may the American Mur- 
rays despise the memory of a Scots Murray, springing from the same 
country, and from the same stock, when they reflect, that he, in the 
court of Britain, advised his master George III. to exterminate them 
in their adopted country. 

In" The Scourge" No. IV. published in London, Feb. 19, 1780, 
ais lordship is thus addressed. 

To the Right Hon. (subtle Scotsman) William Murray, Earl of 
My Lord, 

The wicked, mischievous, and hellish conspiracy your Lordship 
had formed (in conjunction with others,) under the auspices of a das. 
tardly tyrant, against the common rights of mankind, and envied con- 
stitution of the British empire, was laid deep, and it spread wide, you 
urged it on with a steady zeal, and an unwearied application, but as 
soon as your infernal scheme of destroying charters, and arbitrarily 
imposing taxes, on a people whom you never saw, in America, contrary 
even to any pretence or legal claim of right failed ; you watched aU 
opportunities to begin the bloody execution and slaughter of mankind, 
that you might satiate your Scots revenge with human gore ; thefirs^ 
opposition to despotic power you declared in the privy council, to be 
an act of rebellion, and in consequence of that diabolical advice which 


But the Earl of Mansfield, once the companion of Pope, 
and once the idol of the House of Brunswick, and still the 

you knew would please the temper of your master, whose aim is to be 
the imperial tyrant and butcher of the human race ; many thousand 
distressed orphans, and unhappy widows are now bewailing the loss 
of their murdered fathers and husbands, and daily call to Heaven for 
vengeance on your head, as the author of their miseries ; for they 
%vell know, my Lord, that you have been the artful friend who planned 
and advised their total extirpation by the sword, if they would not 
submit to be slaves. This, my Lord, the whole kingdom must be con- 
vinced of, and believe, for none but a monster in human shape, or 
some malignant devil could have said what you uttered in the House 
of Peers against the people of America more than four years since, 
" If we don't kill them, they will kill us ;" yes, my Lord, it was your 
advice and your design to kill them, and you, together with your hu- 
mane master, gloried in the slaughter : Heaven be praised, your suc- 
cess has not been so great as you expected, they have gloriously and 
manfully resisted your tyranny, and frustrated all your schemes of ' 
despotism and arbitrary power over them. 

As you found, my Lord, the Americans were too wise, too brave, 
and too virtuous to be cheated out of their birth-rights as Englishmen, 
by your chicanery, sophistry, and Scotch cunning, or by force ; you 
and your master the tool of a desperate faction, are now determined to 
try the same experiment upon the deluded people of this country." 

It is well known to the legal profession what broad strides towards 
despotic power " Lord Chief Justice Mansfield," made in the trial of 
Woodfall, for publishing the " Letters of Junius"— Letters which 
now rank with the very first of the " British Classics," — Letters which 
William Murray might have considered as cheaply suppressed al the 
price of his " Earldom in Scotland," — Letters which must make the 
present hereditary Earl of Mansfield blush at the " bad eminence" of 
his ancestor, and which may well make the American Murrays exult 
that their ancestor became a victim instead of a favourite to the 
House of Brunswick. The following language was used by another 
patriotic Englishman. 

"Freedom of speech and public writing, is the birthright of every 
man, a sacred and most invaluable privilege, so essential and necessa- 
ry to the happiness of a free people, that the security of property, and 


oracle with the iegal profession, will never be forgotten, 
for the Letters of Junius will forever be read; and Wil- 
liam Murray, will " Be dam'd to everlasting fame." 

Alexander Murray, when the olive branch of peace 
ceased to wave over his native land, and the clarion of 
war echoed along its extended shores, and over its lofty 
mountains, left the peaceable and profitable pursuits of 
commerce, to face the enemies of his country arm to arm. 

From eighteen to twenty one, he had been in command 
of merchant vessels, and had become acquainted with eve- 
ry part of the Atlantic ocean, where it was most probable, 
that the British marine, would bring its force to operate, 
and where British commerce would be most exposed to 

the preservation of liberty, must stand or fall with it. Whoever, like 
the present king and his ministers, would undermine an equal, limited 
and free government, and destroy the natural rights of mankind, must 
begin by subduing freedom of speech and public writing (this was at- 
tempted in the second year of this blessed reign, against the authors, 
printers and publishers of the Monitor, North Briton, &c.) which 
that hoary traitor Mansfield (who has more than once on his knees 
drank damnation to the present family on the throne) calls the licen- 
tiousness of the press, because he and his master wish to do public 
mischief without hearing of it, conscious that it has been a terror to 
tyrants, traitors, and oppressors." 

That great and able statesman, the Lord Treasurer Burleigh, used 
frequently to say that England would never be ruined, unless it was 
by a Parliament ; he consequently foresaw, that other oppressions 
wrought by violence, would be at once resisted and by violence shaken 
off again. This maxim those notorious enemies to the peace and 
freedom of mankind, Lords Bute and Mansfield, instilledjinto the mind 
of the king, and he with a narrowness of soul, peculiar to himself, and 
to every tyrant upon earth, sucked in the poison ; and Lord North, 
the contemptible puppet of the court faction, was singled out as a 
proper tool to carry into execution the grand design of public mis- 
chief and public ruin. 


In 1 776, he was appointed a Lieutenant in the Continen- 
tal Navy, although there was then no navy but " in em- 

Although privateering was then, as it still continues to 
be, a legalized mode of warfare, yet it was a pursuit not 
congenial with the lofty sentiments of the lieutenant. 

Although the ocean was his adopted and favourite ele- 
ment, he solicited a command in the first Maryland regi- 
ment, then about to be organized under the command of 
Col. William Smallwood,* who afterwards highly distin- 
guished himself. 

* Fully persuaded that the reader will be gratified with a conclusive 
testimony of the high reputation of Com. Murray's first commander 
upon land, I present him with that from the lips of the dying and gal- 
lant Baron De Kalb, communicated by his gallant aid-de-camp 
Chevalier Dubuyson, who, when his general had received eleven 
wounds, flung his own body between him and the enemy's bayonets, 

and received them himself. 

Charlotte, August 26, 1780. 
" Dear General, 

" Having received several wounds in the action of the 16th instant, 
I was made a prisoner with the Honourable Major General the Baron 
de Kalb, with whom I served as aid-de-camp and friend, and had an 
opportunity of attending that great and good officer during the short 
time he languished with eleven wounds, which proved mortal on the 
third day. 

" It is with pleasure I obey the Baron's last commands, in present- 
ing his most affectionate compliments to all the officers and men of 
his division : expressed the greatest satisfaction in the testimony giv- 
en by the British army of the bravery of his troops : and he was 
charmed with the firm opposition they made to superior force, when 
abandoned by the rest of the army. The gallant behaviour of the De- 
laware regiment, and the companies of artillery attached to the brig- 
ades, afforded him infinite pleasure, and the exemplary conduct of the 
whole division, gave him an endearing sense of the merit of the troops 
he had the honor to command. I am, dear General, 

With regard and respect, your most obedient, humble servant, 
La Chevaliek Dubuyson. 

To Brigadier General Smallwood. 


He was immediately appointed a Lieutenant in this re 
■^imcnt, and, with his gallant company of Marylanderv 

In less than thirty days after this battle, (at Camden, S. C.) in 
which Brig. Gen. Smallwood bore a distinguished part (and in which 
the Maryland regimeut in which Alexander Murray was once a Cap- 
tain, "covered itself with glory,") he was appointed Major General 
of the division then lately commanded by the heroic De Kalb. 

Confident that the reader will be pleased with the following lette; 
in my possession, I insert it ; and would add, that Gen. Morgan men 
tioned in the letter was the Hero of the battle of the Cowpens, and 
afterwards commander of the Virginia forces in suppressing the 
" Whiskey Rebellion," in the western counties of Pennsylvania. 
Col. Washington was a captain at the victory of Trentou ; and, with 
Lieut. James Monroe, (the President) took from the British artiller- 
ists two cannon in the act of firing, and were both there severely 
wounded. The pine log stratagem was admirably calculated to intim- 
idate the detested tories of the south, who infested that country a= 
much as they did New York, when Capt. Murray was in the army. 
(Copy) Camp, Dec, 6, 1780. 

Dear Sir, 

Receiving intelligence, on the first of this instant, that parties of 
the tories were advancing from the outposts of the British, up to Cane 
and Lynche's creeks, with a view to intercept our waggons, and avail 
themselves of the supplies in those settlements, from whence the prin- 
cipal support of the troops under my command has been drawn for 
some time past. 

I detached General Morgan, with 500 infantry, and Lieut. Colonel 
Washington with 100 cavalry, to cover a number of waggons which 
were ordered down in that quarter after corn and pork, and if possible 
to intercept the tories. 

The enemy, gaining intelligence of the advance of our troops, re- 
treated, and whilst the covering party remained on that duty, Lieut. 
Col. Washington, with the contiuental and some militia horse, reduced 
Col. Rugely, Maj. Cook and 112 tory officers and soldiers, (in a log- 
ged barn, on Rugely's plantation, strongly secured by abatis) to sur 
render at discretion, without fii ing a shot. 

The Colonel's address and stratagem, on the occasion, deserve ap 


followed Colonel Smallwood to the "tented field," as 
Lieutenant Monroe (now the admired President of the 
American Republic) did, with his company of gallant Vir- 
ginians, follow Col. Weedon. 

Both of these regiments joined the main army near New 
York. Both of these ardent Lieutenants fought in the 
battle of White-plains. Both of them were promoted to 
a captaincy for their steady conduct and cool courage. 
Each contracted a friendship for the other, which lasted 
and which strengthened until the day of Alexander Mur- 
ray's death. 

Lieut. Murray was also in the sanguinary battle of Flat- 
bush, where he displayed his usual gallantry. In this bat- 
tle Maj. Gen. Israel Putnam was senior officer, as he was 
the preceding year, at the battle of Bunker Hill. Lieut. 
Murray was in the masterly retreat from Long Island with 
Gen. Putnam's division of the army, and again joined the 
main army in the city of New York. 

Capt. Murray had hitherto escaped unhurt, although in 
the midst of danger. But he was soon to receive an injury 
which was to end only with his life. 

Gen. Washington's whole force in New York was less 
than 20,000, while Sir William Howe's army, as estimated 

plause ; having no artillery, he mounted a pine log-, and holding out 
the appearance of an attack with field pieces, carried his point, by 
sending in a flag, and demanding an immediate surrender. 
With very sincere regard, 

I remain, your most obedient, 

Humble servant, 

Wm. Smallwood. 
Hon. Gen. Greene. 

Published by order of CoDgress, 

Charles Thomson, Sec'ry. 


by the British minister, consisting of British and Hessian 
troops^ amounted to more than 30,000. 

The city was invested by a strong naval force — Hudson 
and East rivers were commanded by British men of war, 
and the whole American army seemed to be in the same 
state as a " forlorn hope." 

That consummate general, Washington, like the Roman 
Fabius, and the French Moreau, knew that the salvation of 
an army by a skilful and military retreat,* was far more 
glorious than to expose it to almost inevitable destruction, 

*In relation to this retreat, which might be said to have been the 
salvation of the American cause, I find the following fact in relation to 
the imminent danger of about one fifth of the whole force, in " Thatch- 
er's Journal." 

"When retreating from New York, (in 1776) Major General Put- 
nam at the head of 3500 continental troop9, was in the rear, and the 
last that left the city. In order to avoid any of the enemy that might 
be advancing in the direct road to the city, he made choice of a road 
parallel with, and contiguous to, the North River, till he could arrive 
at a certain angle whence another road would conduct him in such a 
direction as that he might form a junction with our army. It so hap- 
pened that a body of about 8000 British and Hessians were at the same 
moment advancing on the road which would have brought them in im- 
mediate contact with Gen. Putnam, before he could have reached the 
turn in the other road.— Most fortunately, the British generals, seeing 
no prospect of engaging our troops, halted their own, and repaired to 
the house of a Mr. Robert Murray, a Quaker and a friend of our 
cause. Mrs. Murray treated them with cake and wine, and they were 
induced to tarry two hours or more. Governor Tryon frequently 
joking her about her American friends. By this happy incident, Gen. 
Putnam, by continuing his march, escaped a rencontre with a greatly 
superior force, which must have proved fatal to his whole party.— One 
half hour, it is said, would have been sufficient for tlJI enemy to secure 
the road at the turn, and entirely cut off Gen. Putnam's retreat. It 
has since become almost a common saying among our officers, (hat 
Mrs. Murray saved this part of the American army." 


a rushing precipitately upon an overwhelming superiority 
of force. 

Capt. Murray at about the time of the evacuation of the 
city of New York, was stationed at the battery, and there, 
by the hursting and explosion of numerous pieces of cannon 
was severely deafened. 

The loss of one eye and one arm to Nelson, was scarcely 
a greater calamity than the partial loss of hearing was to 
Capt. Murray. Nelson had one eye remaining to descry 
the enemy, and one arm left to wield his sword ; but Mur- 
ray could not distinctly hear the deserved applauses of his 
friends, or the mysterious whispering of his enemies — for 
such a man will always have them. 

The approbation of Washington, the Commander in 
Chief, — of Putnam, his chief Commander at Flatbush, and 
of Smallwood, his immediate commander, all evidenced 
by promoting him to a Captaincy, was a volume of com- 

Had Capt. Murray retired from the army with such a 
rank — obtained for such services, — from such exalted men, 
it would have been announced at his death that he was an 
HtRo in the War of the Revolution. 

But Murray knew that his countrymen had " passed the 
Rubicon ;" and although but a youth of twenty-one, he 
was resolved to face the enemy, until the last glimmering 
of hope from resistance was extinguished — then sullenly to 
retire before them, fighting as he retired ; and, when he 
had reached the utmost verge of the land of liberty, that 
place should be his sepnlchre. 

He continued in the service of the American army, until 
the close of the campaign of 1777, embracing, from the 
time he entered it, to that period, the most gloomy, des- 


pairing, and desperate period, of the unequal contest be- 
tween the infant colonies of America, and the kingdom of 
Great Britain, probahly when he entered into it, — during 
the progress of it, and to the close of it, the most powerful 
kingdom in Europe. 

During the two campaigns of '76 and '77, Captain Mur. 
ray was always at the post of duty and of danger, as a sol- 
dier ; but he impatiently awaited the time when he could 
resume his station of Lieutenant, as an ocean-combatant. 

The service he had to perform when in the army, as was 
that of all the officers and soldiers in those two desponding 
years, was more arduous and dangerous, than during any 
other period of the revolutionary struggle. 

They not only had to contend against the best disciplined 
troops which Europe could produce, but they suffered all 
the wants, privations, sicknesses, and despair which an ill 
appointed camp invariably occasions. 

There was scarce any arrangement that would make an 
American officer of 18-23 think of a Quarter-master, Com- 
missary, or Hospital Department. 

In addition to these disheartening circumstances, that ef- 
feminate, nerveless, heartless race of beings called then by 
a name, which is now almost synonimous with traitor, — the 
American tories, were an annoyance to the American 
troops, worse, if worse could be, than the arms of a foreign 
enemy in the field of battle, or the ravages of want and dis- 
ease in the camp. But, as the clemency of the American 
government then spared them, let them now be remember- 
ed only with indignant and contemptuous pity. 

Of the many thousand patriotic Americans who aided in 
the holy cause of freedom, in the city of New York and 
its vicinity ; more became victims in British prison ships 


■ — by the predatory incursions of tories and cow-boys, (not 
meaning the stern unyielding patriots, Williams, Van 
Wert, and Paulding, who captured Andre,) and also by un- 
wholesome food and want of medical aid, than ever fell by 
the arms of the enemy in open contest.* 

Capt. Murray, besides the serious injury sustained by 
the explosion at the battery in New- York, was so much 

* The writer, Dot having' been born until the close of the War of 
the Revolution, hopes to be indulged with a brief note, to allude to 
circumstances relating to his immediate connections , detailed to him 
by the surviving veterans of that awful contest. 

In 1777, Gen Putnam, from incessant anxiety and exertions as 
Commander of the most important post between the armies of Sir 
Henry Clinton and General Burgoyne, was seized with sickness, as a 
prelude to the paralytic shock, which afterwards suddenly prostrated 
one half of his powerful frame. His Head Quarters were near West 
Point, where the Military Academy, and Fort Putnam are now situa- 
ted. Major (now Col) Daniel Putnam, his son, his constant aid, and 
unlimited confidant, endured the excessive fatigue attached to his 
office, and the anxiety of a son for a sick father. Doctor Albigence 
Waldo, — the intimate of Gen. Putnam — the principal surgeon of his 
division — and afterwards his eulogist at his grave, by perpetual pro- 
fessional labour, in attending upon his sick, and dyiDg comrades, was 
reduced almost to the grave himself. Mr. Samuel Waldo, (son in 
law to Gen. Putnam,) and a non-commissioned officer in his division, 
beheld more than one half of the company to which he was attached, 
carried corpses from their beds of straw to the grave, expecting every 
hour to follow his departed companions to the common grave of the 

Such tales of distress, made an impression upon the mind of the 
writer, in very early years which become more deepened as he ad- 
vances in life. How must the hearts of the present race of Ameri- 
cans, glow with admiration, when they know, that amidst this army of 
calamities, as well as amidst an army of foreign and domestic foes, not 
a murmur was heard but against the common enemy — not an execra- 
tion was uttered but against the barbarous banditti of Tories and Cow 


affected in his health, as to render it indispensably neces- 
sary for him to retire for a season to the hospitable man- 
sion of Dr. Murray, his father, in Chestertown. 

Happy for him was it that he had such a refuge from the 
" peltings of the pitiless storms" which he had for twenty- 
four tedious months, endured. 

But " pitiful, wondrous pitiful" like the sufferings of 
Othello, was the destiny of many war-worn and veteran 
officers and soldiers, whose frames had been mutilated by 
wounds, — emaciated by want of food, — uncovered for want 
of clothing — and debilitated by hard service and wasting 
sickness, when wandering towards their distant homes 
through a country swarming with tories, more merciless 
than the king of terrors, or with avaricious tavern keepers, 
whose pendant signs, perhaps with the face of Washington, 
Putnam, Warren, Montgomery, or Greene, upon them, to 
induce the war-worn veteran to enter for refreshment and 
repose — for which these harpies extorted from them, per- 
haps the whole avails of a campaign, for twenty-four hour:? 
rest, and a small pittance of food. 

Many overgrown estates in the country were begun in 
this way ; and the present holders of them roll in wealth 
and splendour upon the hard-earned gains of the veterans 
of the revolution ; and who would now spurn from their 
doors these few surviving heroes, unless their pockets were 
lined with the pension money from government, obtained 
fcr them by one of the wounded Heroes of Trenton, James 

Capt. Murray, as soon as his health would permit, resum- 
ed his station in the navy : and although there was no go- 
vernment vessel of suitable force for him as first lieutenant: 
and as the grade of Master Commandant was not then es- 
tablished ; he urgently solicited some immediate command. 


He had become well acquainted with the enemy by two 
years' constant service in the army. He had seen them di- 
vest themselves of the noble sentiment of the ancient Sax- 
on> from whom they derive their origin, and assume the fe- 
rocious character of Goths. 

His whole soul was enthusiastically alive in the sacred 
cause of his country, of liberty, and of man. Inaction to 
him, was next to despair. 

The Marine Committee, for there was then no Navy 
Department organized as it now is, selected Lieutenant 
Murray to command a Letter of Marque. 

The Oid Congress confirmed the appointment; for the 
congress, then as a body, discharged nearly all the various 
duties which are now discharged in the various departments 
of the Treasury, War, and Navy, and as to the " Depart- 
ment of State," that consisted ostensibly of Charles 
Thomson,* whose counter-signature to that of " President 

* It may not be uninteresting to some readers to learn, that the 
venerable Secretary of the Old Congress still survives; and that at 
his retired mansion in the vicinity of Philadelphia, he has occupied 
much of his time in latter years, in translating the whole of the Old 
and New Testament, and, with the utmost care and scrupulous accura- 
cy, revising the proof sheets as they issued from the press, when his 
translation was printed in four volumes. A perusal of that translation 
would be interesting in this age of Biblical criticism. It is however to 
be regretted that this " Octogenarian" did not occupy the same time 
in giving outlines of the proceedings of the Old Congress. We have, 
to be sure, his official signature to the most important Acts, Resolu- 
tions, Recommendations, &c. &c. of the 18th century— But we want 
detail, minutce, incidents, characters, in the Army, JSavy, &c. from 
such a source. The exalted Secretary, in his exalted employ of 
translating the Bible, may be in danger of being remembered with such 
sacrilegious translators as Hone, &c. in Great- Britain, who by Mr. 
Gilford is called " The mocker of his God, the rude scorner of his 
Savieur, the buffoon parodist of Holy Writ — the cold blooded, heartless, 


of Congress" operated upon American officers much more 
forcibly than does the amulet and charm upon Mahometans. 

To see the names of Peyton Rudolph, Juhi\ Hancock, 
Henry Laurens, Jonathan Trumbull, &c. with Secre- 
tary Thomson's upon the same parchment, was a pledge 
that those who carried this evidence, were true to their 
country ; and what must forever excite wonder, but one 
officer of any considerable grade, ever proved to be false, 
and he was the once gallant, but afterwards the disappoint- 
ed, revengeful, diabolical, and traitorous Benedict Arnold. 

While 1 feel a. pride as a native citizen of Connecticut, 
whose ancestors were true to their country, and evidenced 
their fidelity by leading and joining the embattled ranks of 
the Republic — when I remember that that little beloved 
and patriotic state furnished double her proportion of sol- 
diers, and treble her quota of officers in the army — when 
it is not forgotten that she furnished Major Gen. Israel 
Putnam — Major Gen. Parsons, — Major Gen. Huntington — 
Brig. Gen. Wocster, Col. Trumbull, Col. Allen, Col. Hum- 
phreys, Col. Knowlton, Col. Grosvenor, Col. Chester, 
Maj. Daniel Putnam, Maj. Pierce and others of inferior 
grade, but probably of equal valour ; — and that in the Na- 
vy she furnished Capt. Harden, Capt. Tryon, &c. as enga- 
ged in the same cause with Alexander Murray,* all of 
whom distinguished themselves — while this gallant cata- 
logue is looked upon with a laudable pride, with the very 
extremity of mortification is it remembered that Arnold 

malicious infidel, who labours day and night to rob the sick of their 
consolations of religion, and the dying of their hopes of immortality." 

* In the war of '98 with France,. of 1803 and 4 wifch Tripoli, and in 
1812 with Britain, Connecticut also produced Isaac Hull, Isaac Chaun- 
cey and Charles Morris, 


also was a native of Connecticut.* His galiantry at Que- 
bec and Saratoga ivas tarnished, yea, obliterated by his 
treason at West- Point, and his barbarity in Virginia and at 
Groton and New-London in Connnecticut. The mental 
happiness he once derived from integrity and patriotism, 
was converted to anguish of heart for his treason.! 

* Since the above was in type, the Author has been informed, by 
good authority, that Arnold was a native of New Jersey. 

f While the detested Arnold was plotting " treason, stratagems, 
and spoils" at West Point, the most important inland post in Ameri- 
ca, the Father of the Republic, the now sainted Washington, was in 
council at Hartford, Con. at the residence of the patriotic Jeremiah 
Wadsworth, devising measures of defence and offence against the 
enemy, with Gen. Knox, and other American officers, together with 
Count Rochambeau, Admiral Tern ay, and Marquis De la Fayette. 
The treason was announced by that consummate general, Nathan- 
iel Greene, in General Orders. 

Orange Town, Sept. 26, 1780. 

Treason, of the blackest die, was yesterday discovered. General 
Arnold, who commanded at West Point, lost to every sentiment of ho- 
nour, of private and public obligation, was about to deliver up that 
important post into the hands of the enemy. Such an event must have 
given the American cause a deadly wound, if not a fatal stab ; happi- 
ly, the treason has been timely discovered to prevent the fatal misfor- 
tune. The providential train of circumstances which leads to it, af- 
fords the most convincing proof the liberties of America are the 
object of Divine Protection. At the same time the treason is to be 
regretted, the General cannot help congratulating the army on the 
happy discovery. 

Our enemies, despairing of carrying their point by force, are prac- 
tising every base act to effect by bribery and corruption, what they 
cannot accomplish in a manly way. 

Great honour is due to the American army,* that this is the first in- 
stance of treason of this kind, where many were to be expected from 
the nature of the dispute, and nothing is so bright an ornament in the 
character of the American soldiers, as their having been proof against 
all the arts and seductions of an insidious enemy. 


The reader is now respectfully invited to leave the gal- 
lant Murray as a Captain in the army, and follow the wri- 
ter in attempting to portray his no less, and, if possible, his 
more brilliant career, from a lieutenant, to the senior Post 
Captain and Commodore in the American navy. 

In the narrative thus far, it was totally impossible to 
avoid noticing events in which he was an actor, and indi- 
viduals with whom he acted. Indeed, history and biogra- 
phy are like twin brothers, and as they were produced to- 
gether by nature, so history and biography must travel 
hand in hand ; and, to make a quotation from ' The word,' 
which never should be quoted with levity — " Can two walk 
together unless they are agreed ?" 

In his Letter of Marque, Capt. Murray made his pas- 
sage into the Atlantic ocean ; and, in the midst of an im- 
placable, boastful, and imperious enemy, fought " various 
battles with various success." 

To give a particular detail of all his services---of all his 
rencontres — of all his dangers, and all his escapes, would 

Gen. Washington, who by the direction of Congress, reprimanded 
Arnold, even before his treason, says, after he had committed it—" 1 
am mistaken, if at this time, Arnold is not undergoing- the torments of 
a mental hell." 

When upon his expedition against Virginia, he had a Virginian 
captain as prisoner, whom he asked — "What would the Americans do 
with me if they should take me ?" The noble Virginian, worthy of the 
btate that produced Washington, answered—" They would first cut 
off that lame leg, which was wounded in the cause of freedom and 
virtue [at Quebec] and bury it with the honours of war ; and after- 
wards hang the remainder of your body in gibbets." But let us dis- 
miss the disgusting subject, and of all traitors say, with the Prince 
of the drama- 
Why let the stricken deer go weep, 
The hart itngalled play. 


be so similar with those previously attempted in this vol- 
ume, that it would be, to readers, like " tales twice told 
to the ears of a drowsy man." 

Suffice it to say, that as long as he sailed under the ' Con- 
tinental Flag,' he acted worthy of the glorious cause in 
which he patriotically engaged ; and advanced in reputa- 
tion, as his country advanced towards the conclusion of the 
glorious struggle for independence. 

After a long, laborious, and incessant course of service, 
the persevering Lieutenant, near Newfoundland, encoun- 
tered an enemy's armed ship, of about equal force to his 

After a determined contest for victory, the proud Briton 
struck to the undaunted American. 

Murray's ship was encumbered by prisoners equal in 
number to his own crew, and manifested strong indications 
of attempting a re-capture. But the Lieutenant bore 
away for a port in France, with his prize in company, un- 
til his hopes of landing with it were blasted, and his soli- 
citude for his prisoners was relieved by being himself, 
together with his officers and crew, his ship and his prize, 
captured by a British fleet, and all were carried into New- 
York, then in possession of Sir William Howe's army. 

This was the theatre of the once gallant Capt. Murray's 
military career. He now found himself, by pursuing his 
naval profession, a prisoner to an overwhelming naval 

But the time had come when imperious Britain began 
to treat her rebel children in her possession as prisoners 
of war ; and to extend to them the rights belonging to ci- 
vilized nations. 

Lieut. Murray was not incarcerated in the Jersey pris* 


on-ship, once " a floating," but here a stationary, " hell of 
Old England," in which thousands of his gallant country- 
men had perished as the victims in the cause of freedom. 

If the reader has condescended to peruse the preceding 
sketch of Com. Biddle, he will recollect the measures pur- 
sued by that noble hero of the revolution — by the Old 
Congress, and by Gen. Washington, to insure proper treat- 
ment to one of his lieutenants by the name of Josiah.* 

Powerful as Britain was, and feeble as she imagined the 
" rebel colonies" to be, she began to be deterred — yes, de- 
terred, from treating American prisoners with b'arbarity, 
lest their government should resort to the lex talionis. 

Capf. Murray Avas paroled — visited his admiring friends 
in Philadelphia, and was soon after exchanged for a British 
prisoner of equal rank with himself. 

Although he had been commandant of a number of well 
appointed letters of marque, yet he expressed the deepest 
anxiety to enter as a subordinate officer, on board of a con- 
tinental frigate. 

That heroic and consummate officer, and gallant warrior 
in the cause of his country, Capt. James Nicholson, had 
been for some time the victorious commander of the Fri- 
gate Trumbull. 

Believing that the reader will be gratified with a brief 
account of an engagement between this frigate and a supe- 
rior ship of war, before Murray entered her, I present it as 
published in a Boston Gazette, of June 15, 1780. 

" Yesterday arrived here the Continental frigate Trum- 
bull from a cruise, James Nicholson, Esq. commander, who 
on Friday the 2d inst. in lat. 45, Ion. 64 10, had an engage- 

* See sketch of Biddle, where the particulars relating to lieutenant 
Josiah, and Capt. Cunningham, are detailed. 


ment with a British ship of 36 twelve and sis pounders. 
The action was close and severe, and supported with great 
gallantry by the Captain, officers and company of the 
Trumbull, against the superior force of the enemy, for 
five glasses, when both ships were equally disposed to part, 
the Trumbull having all her masts wounded in such a man- 
ner as to render it impossible for her to continue the en- 
gagement, and the British ship in a situation equally unfit 
for it. In ten minutes after the action ceased, the Trum- 
bull lost her main and mizen topmasts within musket shot 
of the cliemy, which they took no notice of, and soon lost 
her main and mizen masts. The masts of the British ship 
were left in a tottering condition, and it is supposed, must 
be gone. She was hulled in many places, all her pumps 
going, hove over many dead ; and, it is presumed, she suf- 
fered more than the Trumbull, and must have struck to 
her, if the Trumbull had not unfortunately sustained the 
loss of her masts. The Trumbull had 8 men killed, and 
31 wounded, six of whom have since died of their wounds ; 
among the latter was Daniel Starr, the third Lieutenant. 
The British ship appeared to be bound to Charlestown ; 
but, as no questions were asked, and the action commenced 
without ceremony, her name or destination are unknown." 

As much as the American reader has been astonished at 
the almost miraculous effect of American naval gunnery in 
the splendid triumphs of our navy in the second war with 
Britain, yet if the combats in the first, were as well known 
as those in the last, they might well excite equal wonder. 
Witness the Richard and Seraphis — the Randolph and Yar- 
mouth — the Protector and Admiral Duff, the one just de- 
tailed, and to which another will now be added. 

Such a commander as Nicholson, and such a ship as the 


Trumbull,* were well fitted for such an officer as Murray, 
and he entered her as first lieutenant. 

As soon as the Trumbull was fitted for sea, a most gallant 
band of officers and seamen were ready, and anxious to 
catch the first favouring breeze that would waft her along 
side of any hostile sail of equal force, that would presume 
to point her guns at this " rebel Frigate" named after the 
" Rebel Governor of Connecticut." 

Capt. Murray, as lieutenant on board the Trumbull, al- 

* This frigate was named after Jonathan Trumbull, of Connec- 
ticut, president of Congress, and the first of that name, governor of 
Connecticut. His son, the renowned historical painter, who is now, 
1 1823) in the employ of Congress, delineating, and painting, historical 
views of the most interesting events of the Revolution, was imprisoned 
in London during that war, in consequence of the following " word to 
the wise," from a " loyal American," alias, an American tory. He 
did not perish in the " conflagration," as appears from a note announ- 
cing his arrival in America. He returned to London after the peace, 
and there finished his " Battle of Bunker Hill," and the " conflagra 
tion of Charleston." 

From the London Morning Post, August 17. 

" As a loyal American, and a friend to the best of kings, I think it 
my duty through the channel of your paper, to inform administration, 
that there are arrived in this city, two Americans (via Holland) and 
the one is son to the rebel Governor]- of Connecticut ; the latter an in- 
habitant of Boston, INew England, and a Major in a rebel regiment, 
by the name of Massachusetts. \ If such persons are suffered to be at 
liberty in England, another conflagration may soon happen.— A word 
to the wise is sufficient. 

Your humble servant, 

J T— PLE. 

f Mr. John Trumbull. 

| John-Steel Tyler. 

" I have the pleasure to acquaint you, that Governor Trumbull'.'; 
son, who was a prisoner in England, is arrived at Falmouth, Casco- 
Bay, and a number of vessels from Holland." • 


though not first in command, yet, being next to the first, a 
very important duty devolved upon him. The reputation 
of his commander, as well as the fame of the ship, from 
previous achievements, inspired him with a restless emu- 
lation to identify his name with both. 

The Trumbull sailed about the middle of August, 17ol, 
to convoy a fleet of merchantmen to the Havanna. 

It was (he last cruise she ever made under American 
colours ; and probably the last she made under any col- 

Flushed far more with hopes of victory over some of 
the boasted " wooden walls of Old England" than over 
rich transports or merchantmen, which would swell their 
cotFers with prize money, the gallant and daring Nichol- 
son, with officers and sailors, daring and gallant as himself, 
bore away for the Capes of Delaware with his convoy. 

Lieut. Murray was as familiar with these waters as the 
village swain is with the rivulets and fish-ponds of his dis- 
trict, and as fearlessly wafted towards the station of the 
powerful foe, as he angles for the finny tribe. But, 
" A storm was nigh — an unsuspected storm." 

Scarcely had the Trumbull cleared the dangerous Capes 
before she was struck with a most violent gale of wind. 
To this, in rapid succession followed the most tremendous 
peals of thunder, and momently succeeded by gleaming 
chains of lightning, which increased the horrors of the sur- 
rounding darkness. 

The ship was severely injured in her spars, and rigging ; 
and needed a port to refit. But, such is the fate of naval 
warfare, the war of the elements which was rending the 
tackle of the Trumbull asunder, was also precipitating her 


into a host of foes, though less powerful, more malignant 
than the elements themselves. 

The darkness was so intense, that no sail could be des 
cried, until the gale had somewhat abated. Capt. Nich- 
olson then discovered that his ship was close along side 
H. B. Majesty's Frigate the Iris of 33 guns, and Sloop of 
War Monk, of 18 guns ! ! 

The phlegmatic calculator of chances would perhaps 
gravely declare that Capt. Nicholson ought immediately 
to have lowered his flag. But amongst his officers were 
Lieut. Murray, and Lieut. Dale,* who, like their com- 
mander, took no counsel from fear, were ready to enter 
into the contest. 

Instantly all hands were beat to quarters, and with fear- 
less promptitude repaired to them. The sea was still in 
terrible commotion from the gale, and the rival ships went 
furiously into action. The combat was long and doubtful, 
and the first signal of a cessation of it, was the extinguish- 
ment of the battle-lanterns of the Iris, which enveloped her 
again in darkness. 

The exulting victors were about to board the Iris, as a 
prize, when the Monk, which had before taken but little 
part in the action, gained a raking position — run directly 
under the stern of the Trumbull, which was almost bat- 
tered to pieces, and poured into her a succession of raking 

In this dreadful situation — the ship unmanageable — 
Lieuts. Murray and Dale severely wounded, and more than 
one third of the crew killed or bleeding upon the deck, or 
in the cockpit, Capt. Nicholson, cool and collected, low 
ered the flag of the gallant little Trumbull. 

* Afterwards the justly respected and valiant Com. Dale, 


She was towed into New- York, a useless wreck,-r-and 
object of curiosity — a hard earned trophy of the prowess 
of Britain ! 

As her name does not appear in the " List of the Royal 
Navy" of the " Queen of the Ocean," she is probably in 
the same state (allowing for the decay of a third of a cen- 
tury) as the Chesapeake, Essex, and President frigates, 
which like the "Continental frigate" Trumbull, were so 
gallantly defended against superior force as to render them 
better fitted for the situation of the once British frigates, 
the Guerriere, and Java, and the British Sloops of War, 
Peacock, and Penguin ! 

Capt. Murray might have said, in regard to this action, 
as he did, as President of the Court Martial, in 1 8 1 5, which 
tried the lamented Decatur, for surrendering the frigate 
President to a squadron, after conquering the Endymion, 
" The enemy gained a ship — the Victory was ours." 

After languishing with his wounds — fortunately (for his 
country) surviving them, and obtaining an exchange, Lieut. 
Murray, was solicited by the government of The Colonies, 
(for so the British continued to call Congress to that time, 
1731,) to be First Lieutenant, of the Continental frigate, 

This ship was for some time upon the coast of Britain, 
and belonged to Com. Jones' squadron, when the memora- 
ble engagement between the Good Man Richard, and the 
Seraphis occurred. 

When Lieut. Murray entered her, she was commanded 
by Capt. Barry, one of the earliest " Naval Heroes of the 

* This frigate was so named from the Treaty of Amity and " Alli- 
ance," between America and Louis XVI. and belonged to the squad- 
ron of Com. .Tone?. See " Sketch of Jones." 


Revolution," and who, through a great variety of grades, 
and a long succession of important services, became the 
senior Commodore of the American navy. 

The revolutionary services of Capt. Barry, and Capt. 
Murray, (acting as lieutenant,) were now drawing towards 
a close ; and it would be useless to tell what these gallant 
officers " might have done" had not the proud, and hith- 
erto unconquered " King of England," sued for peace with 
his " Rebel Colonies." 

George III. was happy to give a quit claim deed to his 
tenants in America, in 1783, and to suffer them to be 
" Lords of the Manor ;" and, by the Treaty of Ghent, in 
1815, he very nearly promised to " warrant and defend 
the premises." 

His son, then " Prince Regent," now George IV. may 
rest assured that if Americans surrender the Rupublic, the 
surrendry will be made to a power " more powerful" than 
the United Kingdoms of Great Britain and her dependen- 

Peace, " with healing in her wings" now shed her be- 
nign influence over the " Free, Sovereign, and Independ- 
ent American Republic." The clarion of war, which for 
seven years of sanguinary contest, had echoed from the em- 
battled hosts of Republican soldiers, and from the floating 
bulwarks of Republican seamen, was now succeeded by 
the harmonious "concords of sweet sounds-" Th»e Olive 
Branch waved tranquilly over the swelling hills and fertile 
vallies, where late the unfurled banners of hostile foe? 
challenged to combat. 

A grateful, a protected, an emancipated people, raptur 
ously embraced the peerless champions of their national 



Conspicuous in (he midst of this band of matchless war 
riors, stood the grandson of a Highland Chief. Alexander 
Murray. j 

If.the immortalized spirits of the' illustrious dead are per- 
mitted to blend with their ceiestial joys a participation in 
the scenes of terrestrial felicity, the ancient Murray, who 
was banished from the land of his fathers, by the implaca- 
ble vengeance of the house of Brunswick, must have look- 
ed down with complacent delight upon his heroic descend- 
ant, who had avenged the injuries of his oxen house — the 
house of Murray. 

Capt. Murray of the Navy, and Capt. Murray of the Ar- 
my, uniting in himself the gallant soldier, and the ocean- 
hero • and divesting himself of the double wreath of laurels 
acquired in both, assumed the character of the plain and 
dignified citizen ; proving then, by his amiable and unas- 
suming deportment, that, with the scars of honour as a 
warrior, he could return to the gentle pursuits of peace 
as a citizen; and proving afterwards that he could re-assume 
the character of the determined warrior, and conduct the 
victorious arms of his country to any ocean or sea where 
the enemies of his country were to be found. It might be 
amusing to trace the life of this early veteran through the 
season of uninterrupted peace, (excepting the occasional 
skirmishing with native savages and native insurgents*) 
which intervened between the conclusion of the war of the 
revolution, in 1783, and the commencement of the naval 
warfare with France in 1798. But his life is so exceed- 
ingly fertile in incidents of a public nature, that a descrip- 
tion of his private virtue:, however exalted, would be like 

* Shays' Insurrection in Massachasetts, and the Whisky Rebellion 
_n Pennsylvania. 


the transition from an animating breeze that swells the can- 
vas of the ship upon her course, clown to the lifeless calm, 
when sleep, the image of death, holds dominion. 

Upon the conclusion of the war, every single vestige of 
the little gallant wonder-working navy of America, was an- 
nihilated; or, what is the same as to warlike power, was 
converted into merchantmen. 

The same keels, that for years had carried the thunder 
of freemen to the very shores of tyrants, were now trans- 
porting the productions of every quarter of the globe into 
the bosom of the Republic. 

The civil fathers of the country knew well that although 
America was at the Zenith of national glory, she was at the 
Nadir of national bankruptcy — that she was plus in fame, 
that she was minus in wealth. 

It would have been the xevy extremity of madness to 
continue -the expense of a naval establishment, when the 
wounds of the revolutionary heroes were scarcely healed ; 
and the treasury had scarcely coin enough to defray the 
expense of medicine for healing them. 

The gigantic statesmen of that portentous period knew 
it was as difficult to secure, by constitutional, legislative; 
judicial, and financial regulations, the rights and liberties 
of the Republic, as it had been to obtain them by some of 
the best blood that flowed in the eighteenth century. 

They acted upon the great and exalted principle, that 
national glory would be more permanently established by 
national justice, than by standing armies and powerful 
fleets in time of peace, requiring a never-ending succession 
of taxes and burthens to support them. 

The reader will again excusethe writer for referring him 


to a previous publication, and for adopting some hasty re- 
marks therefrom into this volume.* 

The profound sagacity, and wary policy of American 
Statesmen, who set the intricate machine of government in 
operation under our Republican Constitution, well under- 
stood the overwhelming bankruptcy in which the British 
empire was sinking, or rather sunk, by her immense naval 

They sought to bestow upon their Republic richer bles- 
sings than the blessing of na^nal debt. No human saga- 
city, however, could, at that time foresee that Americaa 
commerce would'soon become the direct road to suddee 
national wealth ; although they must have known that an 
extended commerce could not long be protected without a 
naval force, nor a naval force be supported without com- 

England, the imperious, and then almost undisputed mis- 
tress of the ocean, wielding the trident of Neptune over 
every sea, beheld American canvas in every latitude. 

Her jealousy was roused ; her armed ships searched our 
vessels for " contraband goods," and impressed our seamen, 
and immured th6m in their " floating dungeons." 

Other petty naval powers, whose power on the ocean is 
now merged with that of Britain, the real dictator of, be- 
cause the most powerful nation in, Europe, followed the 
example of aggression, as feeble whappets follow in the 
train of a ferocious mastiff. 

The pride of American seamen arising from the national 
glory of America, acquired in the glorious revolution, was 
compelled to succumb to the mandate of every puny whip- 

* Vide Life of Decatur, 2d edition, chap. VI. " National glory an* 
national taxes." 


ster who could show a gun upon his deck. It was not vol- 
untary submission, but submission " ex necessitate m," — 
the necessity of the case, — a most painful necessity. 

The national resources had been almost exclusively de- 
rived from individual wealth, and that wealth had for years 
been committed to the ocean as the road to immediate opu- 

Other nations, which were contending for dominion upon 
land and upon water, for a considerable period, lost sight 
of the advancing wealth, and, as a consequence, national 
power of the American Republic. 

Contending for crowns which sat loosely upon the fear- 
ful heads that sustained their ponderous weight, and dread- 
ing to see them fall, these nations, although contending 
with each other, seemed to unite in trying to blast the 
growing commercial importance of America. 

The Barbary powers, whose corsairs hovered over that 
portion of the ocean where some part of our enterprising 
merchantmen were pursuing their lucrative business, plun- 
dered their vessels, and made slaves of their crews. The 
greater commercial nations, with more power, and also 
with more humanity, endeavoured to extirpate American 
commerce, and check the rapid progress of American 
wealth. They possessed naval power ; of which our Re- 
public was then destitute. 

Our patriotic rulers, as soon as they found our country in 
possession of the means adequate to the hard task of sup- 
porting our natural rights upon the ocean, began to devise 
" ways and means" to do it. 

It would require more pages than the limits of this sketch 
will admit, to epitomize the diversified arguments resort- 


ed to by the most eminent of American statesmen, in favour 
of, and against, an efficient naval power.* 

Some of them looked upon the " thousand armed ships" 
of England, and despaired. They saw also the Russian. 
French, Spanish and Danish fleets, and dismissed all hopes 
of ever coping with any naval power. 

But Washington was still alive ; and guiding the high 
destinies of our Republic in peace, as he had done in the 
war of the Revolution. His prescience readily suggested 
to his great and expanded mind, the indispensable necessity 
of a naval force to protect our extensive and extending 

Negotiation, to be sure, had obtained some indemnifica- 
tion for spoliations upon it ; but the most successful nego- 
tiations have always been made at the mouth of the cannon. 

Our rulers could no longer endure the thought that our 
citizens, who had sought a " home upon the deep," should 
become victims to every prince who could send out a few 
cruisers, with a rapacious crew. They were determined 
that American citizens, pursuing a lawful commerce upon 
the ocean should, as they ought, be protected there as well 
as those pursuing lawful business on land. 

This was not the gasconading threat of a nurse, who on- 
ly brandishes the rod before the eyes of a truant child, 
without daring to strike ; it was the decisive language of a 
parent, having a right to command, and power sufficient 
to enforce his decrees. 

The year 1794, the auspicious period which laid the 
foundation of our present naval power, ou^ht to be remem- 
bered with equal enthusiasm as that of 1776, which made 

*See Journal of Congress, 1797, 98. 


the declaration, and laid the foundation, for American Inde- 

The first keel of a frigate that was laid by our govern- 
ment, was the key-stone to the triumphant arch of Ameri- 
can glory. 

If fancy might be indulged upon a subject which needs; 
not its felicitous aid, we might see Neptune approaching 
our shores, and surrendering his trident to the banners of 
Columbia, when (he first American frigate was launched 
into the bosom of the deep. 

The writer, then a boy, may hope to be indulged for ex- 
pressing now, the enthusiasm he felt when he beheld the 
frigate Constitution launched from a Boston ship yard. 
This untutored enthusiasm was occasioned, not by knowing 
then, the immeasurable power of a navy, but from the im- 
mense assemblage of animated citizens who witnessed the 
animating scene. They might have exclaimed : — " There 
is one of our protectors upon the ocean ; while she swims, 
she will not only protect our individual wealth, but she 
will manfully sustain our national rights upon the waves. r 
What might have then been prophecy is now history. 

Proceeding with that caution and judgment which must 
mark the course of our rulers, they authorised the building 
of only four frigates of forty-four guns, and two of thirty- 

Although this diminutive force was hardly sufficient to 
defend a single port in our own country, or to blockade a 
single island of any belligerant power, yet the amount of 
the force was of a secondary consideration to the adoption 
of the principle that a Naval Force was necessary for the 
defence of the vast extent of the seaboard of the American 
Republic, and for the convoy and protection of her im- 
mensely extended commerce. 


For fifteen years, the naval ardour of Americans, which, 
during the revolutionary struggle elicited such brilliant 
sparks of ocean valour, had been extinguished by the lu- 
crative pursuits of commerce — the sordid love of wealth, 
and the luxury and effeminacy which wealth invariably 

Towards the close of the administration of the political 
father and saviour of the Republic, Washington, the 
younger and middle aged class of Americans seemed to 
have degenerated alarmingly from the exalted spirit of 
their ancestors ; who, from the conclusion of the " French 
war," to the commencement of the " War of the Revolu- 
tion," were inspired with the " Amor Patriae," far more 
than they were with the gaudy charms of wealth. 

The historian will never forget, that the victorious army 
of Hannibal was conquered upon the plains of Capua 
where there was no enemy but luxury ; and that Rome 
herself, having conquered Greece by arms, was herself 
conquered by the effeminate refinements of Greece ; and 
the Grecians themselves, after the lapse of many centuries 
of abject slavery, seem again to be returning to the hero- 
ism of the days of Achilles ; and may the God of armies 
fire their souls and strengthen their arms, till the Crescent 
shall bow to the banner of Greece. 

John Adams, who with John Hancock, Samuel Adams, 
and others, first began to rock the " Cradle of Independ- 
ence" — who manfully sustained the majesty of the warring 
colonies in foreign courts, when alone and unassisted, and 
which defied the gigantic power of Britain, was advanced, 
by the suffrages of his countrymen, in 1797, to the chair 
which the exalted, the august, the almost adored Wash- 
ington, had Jeff. 


No prince of the House of Brunswick — of Bourbon — of 
Braganza, or of any other house, or of any other realm, 
ever ascended a throne so really exalted, as the Chair of 
the Chief Magistrate of the American Republic. 

And here, let every surviving American Murray feel a 
glow of patriotic rapture, that, amongst the first acts of the 
second President, was giving his signature to the commission 
of Alexander Murray as a PustCaptain* in the American 
navy, and designating him to assist in organizing it. 

This early notice of the new President, must have been 
doubly gratifying to Capt. Murray, as it was an unsolicited 
appointment — unknown to his nearest friends, and wholly 
unknown and unexpected to himself till the moment it was 
announced to him. 

Notwithstanding the long and arduous course of service 
in the army and navy, and the numerous battles in which 
he had valiantly fought, upon land and water, Capt. Mur- 
ray when called again into service, was but little over forty 
' years of age. 

As soon as the French marauders in the West Indies laid 
aside all disguise, and began to prey upon American com- 
merce, as wolves prowl and prey amongst unprotected 
flocks, Capt. Murray was ordered to leave the further 
organization of the navy to other hands, and to conduct a 
small Corvette into the midst of picaroons (another name 
for buccaneers and pirates) and neither of them deserving 
even the humble name of privateersmen. 

Capt. Murray, in the Corvette Montezuma, with officers 
and a crew of real Americans, dashed fearlessly amongst 
these despoilers of merchant ships ; spread dismay and 

* The writer is not positive that this commmission was signed by- 
Adams. If it were bv Washington, it was equally flattering. 


consternation amongst them, — rescued thousands, and per- 
haps millions of dollars from their grasp, and diffused joy 
amongst hundreds, and perhaps thousands of American 
merchants, who might otherwise have been reduced from 
independence to bankruptcy. 

While he was thus securing the wealth of individuals, he 
was pouring treasures into the national coffers. 

So sensible was the government of his invaluable servi- 
ces, that Congress passed a vote of thanks* to him, and 
promoted him to the frigate Insurgente, which had been 
captured by Com. Truxton. 

Before he had an opportunity to turn the guns of this ship 
against the nation that built her, he was removed to the 
ship that took her. 

Capt. Murray was then appointed to the command of 
the frigate Constellation of 32 guns. This little ship had 
before become a favourite with sailors from her splendid 
victory over the Le Insurgente, one of the finest frigates 
in the marine of France. While her gallant commander was 
walking upon her quarter deck, where the veteran Truxton 
had walked and conquered before him, his naturally ardent 
mind must have experienced a sort of extra stimulus. He 
felt, if he did not express, these sentiments. " This little 
ship is one representative of the power and energy of the 
American Republic. The French Republic, once the 
friend of America, when the murdered Louis XVI, and his 
matchless queen. Maria Antoinette of the house of Theresa, 
wielded the gentle sceptre of power over that most charm- 
ing portion of our world, is now the deadly enemy of my 

* It is believed that this was the first and only vote of thanks by 
Congress for similar service. Thanks for single victories hav.e be- 
come (perhaps) too common. 


beloved country. Washington, who went on majcslicully 
conquering and to conquer, with Fayette, Rochambeau, 
and Ternay, in the War of the Revolution, resolved that 
my country, which he, and his compatriots, of which I was 
one, and whose commission I then bore, rescued from the 
despotic power of the House of Brunswick, should not be 
overwhelmed in the tremendous vortex of the French Re- 
volution. His prescience enabled him to fathom the very 
dedth of that destruction which would accompany the mo- 
dern Gauls, when they tore asunder the ligament of des- 
potism with which they had been bound from the time of 
Clovis, her fiist monarch, to Louis XVI., her last and her 
best. He declared America a neutral power. Adams, his 
successor, now presides over the destiny of the Republic, 
and will support, by an armed neutrality, what Washington 
published as an edict." 

Capt. Murray was as indefatigable in this ship, as he was 
in the corvette Montezuma, in extending protection and 
affording convoy to merchantmen. It can hardly be con- 
ceived how an American Frigate can be more profitably, 
or indeed, more honourably engaged, than by preserving 
the wealthy commerce of their countrymen from the ra- 
pacity of marauders and picaroons, and their persons from 
imprisonment, indignity and insult. It is a fact commu- 
nicated directly to the writer from some of the present dis- 
tinguished officers of the American navy, who were then 
midshipmen upon the West India station, that the French, 
and even the Spanish officers and seamen, treated Ameri- 
cans in their possession with a barbarism which would as- 
similate the naturally humane Frenchman to the morose 
and sullen Spaniard, and both of them to the malignant and 
implacable disciples of Mahomet. This treatment arous 


ed all the latent sparks of American indignation in the bo- 
som of Capt. Murray, and his manly and determined ship's 
crew. They panted for an opportunity to let the little 
Constellation once more exhibit her corruscations to the 
boasting Monsieurs and sulky Dons. They knew that the 
gallant Little, in the Boston frigate, had all but sent the La 
Burceau to the bottom. They most impatiently waited 
and sought for an opportunity to achieve deeds and gather 
laurels of equal renown. 

It would be a hopeless undertaking to endeavour to con- 
trovert the prevalent sentiments of the sons of glory who 
make a profession of arms; and it would be deemed arro- 
gance to doubt the correctness of their opinions. Far be it 
from Americans to entertain even a thought in opposition 
to that high sense of honour and fame, which inspires the 
bosoms of our noble countrymen in the navy and army. 
It is that, that has pressed them forward to give to Ameri- 
cans a pre-eminent rank, and to America the title of The 
only Republic. But it may well he asked, if in the be- 
stowment of applause, of medals, of swords, and rewards, 
the favourites of fortune are not always the favourites of 
the nation ? In the naval warfare with France, the names 
of Truxton and Little, echoed from the Atlantic to the 
Mississippi — from the lakes to the Mexican Gulph, while 
those of Com. Decatur the elder, Capt. Murray, Capt. 
Tryon, and others whose unceasing assiduity and sleepless 
vigilance had swept the ocean of picaroons, and tilled our 
harbours with richly laden merchantmen, are remembered 
only as "good men and true," who instead of encounter- 
ing and conquering an equal or superior armed ship, have 
only saved the citizens and the commerce of the country 
from the rapacious grasp of ocean robbers. 

Allusion might be made to the war <>f 1803 ami i. with 

Tripoli and of I 8 I J. w itli Britain ; but a- we air drawn 

ski tch of the venerable veteran, Alexander Murra) . to^i arcU 
bhose periods, in which man) ofhia cotemporariea acquired 
a deathless fame ; and as many of them, thank heaven, 
still survive, as the honour and the hopes of the Republic, 
a deep solicitude i^ fell lesi the labours, even of the "hon- 
est chronicler," should be converted into a " vehicle of 
adulation to the living or' extravagant eulogy of the dead." 

But, living, Alexander Murray never courted the ephe- 
meral adulation of the day. He possessed a native ener- 
gy of mind which could not be enervated by fulsome praise, 
or disheartened by censure or neglect. And, dead, his 
memory needs not " extravagant eulogy" to transmit his 
name down to latest posterity amongst the high worthies of 
Ins species, and the benefactors of the Republic. 

During the most sanguinary period of the naval contest 
between America and France, the British had a considera- 
ble naval force on the West India station. 

The natural hostility of Britons against Frenchmen, was 
heightened by the tremendous strides that mighty power 
was making through the falling kingdoms of Europe. 

The unnatural hostility of Britons against Americans, 
was in some measure lowered by the splendid victories the} 
had recently gained over their deadly foe. 

The naval commanders of " the Queen of the Ocean" 
were compelled to manifes-t at least an involuntary respect 
towards the American flag. 

The. Magnanimique, once a French ship of the line ot 
64 guns, was captured and razeed down to a British frigatt 
of 48 guns. She was able to sink the Constellation at a 
single well-directed broadside. 


Capt. Murray was cruising in the leeward islands in the 
Constellation, (then of 32 guns) Capt. Taylor, in the Mag- 
nanimique, in the dead of night gave the Constellation a 

This was done, without exhibiting any signal, or in any 
way discovering the character of his ship. 

Whether this was an intentional insult to Capt. Murray — 
a design to disgrace the ship, as the Little Belt attempted 
to disgrace the President frigate, and as the Leopard actu- 
ally did disgrace the frigate Chesapeake, years after, the 
reader will judge from the sequel. 

Capt. Murray, in the Constellation, set the first example 
to his brother officers of repelling any indignity to the 
American flag, proceeding from any cause whatever. 

His gallant cotemporary, Com. Rodgers, followed his 
example ; but the commander of the Chesapeake, in 1 807, 
did not follow it. 

That ill fated ship, manned from the fine bay where she 
first embraced her destined element, and on the borders of 
which still was visible insignia of the Gothic devastations, 
perpetrated by a Gothic British Admiral in the second war 
between America and Britain, seemed to have something 
ominous in her very name. 

A field for digression is here opened ; but here — " Be- 
shrew the sombre pencil ;" and return, with delight, to the 
gallant Capt. Murray, who, upon this singular occasion, dis- 
covered that cool discretion which constitutes the charac- 
ter of a great warrior, quite as much as dauntless bravery. 

Upon receiving the shot, he immediately ordered his 
ship cleared for action. The result I have the pleasure of 
giving in the language of a Philadelphia correspondent : 

" In that doubtful moment of conflict, in the bosom of 


his officers, he ordered the reefa out oi his topsail 
time in preparing the ship for battle. \- 30011 as that ob- 
ject was attained, the ship was pal in II hands beat 
'o their quarters- -she passed close under the lee, on oppo 
site tacks, bringing all the guns t*» bear and poured mt<» th< 
strange sail a rnosl destructive broadside- As the sail did 
not return the fire, the Constellation was immediately put 
tliuiit ; and it was resolved to hail before a second fire was 
made. Tliis was instantly done, and «' was soon dis< over 
ed thatthe ship had fired into a friendly sail. Her boat was 
then despatched to the Constellation, and satisfactory ex- 
planations were made. 

" The British officer, from the Magnanimique, assured 
Capt. Murray that nothing but the uncommon prudence of 
Capt. Taylor, her commander, and the course pursued by 
Capt. Murray, checked a dreadful combat, which would 
have ensued. Every officer and seaman on board each 
ship, could scarcely be controled from keeping up the tire, 
as each supposed that it was a French frigate that each had 
encountered, both which ships were on the look out for. 

" Capt. Taylor cast not the least censure upon the con- 
duct of Capt. Murray ; but observed, that he had been se 
verely injured in his spars, sails and rigging, that he should 
be obliged to go into port to repair damages." 

Capt. Taylor probably discovered his error from the 
lire of an American frigate, as suddenly as Capt. Murray 
did his, from the display of a British ensign. British offi 
cers had become sufficiently familiarized with French and 
Spanish manoevering and gunnery to know that a single 
broadside, even from a French or Spanish ship of the line 
could not have produced such disastrous effect as the fire of 
an American frigate of the small^t c J a6 


It was the first broadside which a ship of war, bearing St. 
George's cross, had received from one, carrying the Amer- 
ican stars and stripes, since the war of the Revolution ; and 
fortunate would it have been for the boasted superiority of 
British naval prowess, had it been the last. 

From this brief detail of an interesting incident in Capt. 
Murray's " meridian life," a useful lesson may be deduced 
by those who traverse the highway of all nations, in public 
ships ; which, when afloat, are as sacred as the territory of 
the nation, whose power they in part represent. 

Had the " affair of the Chesapeake and Leopard," been 
adjusted on the spot, as was that of the Constellation and 
the Magnanimique, the leading cause of the second war be- 
tween America and Britain might not have widened and 
widened the breach between the two countries, until it 
could be healed only by an appeal to arms, which cost some 
of the best blood which the American Republic and the 
British Empire have, in modern days, produced. 

When hostilities ended between America and France, 
by negotiation, in 1802, the gallant little American navy 
was rendered still smaller by an act of Congress for the re- 
duction of it. 

A great number of accomplished officers, either left the 
service entirely — retired upon half-pay, or held themselves 
in readiness once more to unfurl the banners of their coun* 


Capt. Murray, having passed through the whole revolu- 
tionary struggle, either in the army or navy — having also 
been in constant and active service during the whole naval 
warfare with France, might well have wished to retire. 

Thomas Jefferson, who, like his immediate predeces- 
sor, was assiduously engaged in the cabinet and council of 


be nation, and of Virginia, in the revolution— who drew 
the I )eclaration of American Indepond 
now our ofthe three survh ora who Bigned it 
of State, and Ambassador, by th< tment of Washing- 

ton, was elevated to the chair of Chief Mag i the 

Republic, when the war-worn Mun once mon 

lieved from incessant and toilsome duty. 

The French Republic, as the great and | 'werful, and 
humiliated French Empire was then called, notwithstand- 
ing >he had, with resistless strides, prostrated surrounding 
kingdoms, and out of their wrecks carved kingdoms for 
her- elf, was rejdy and willing, and even anxious to avail 
herself of the pacific disposition of the American adminis- 
tration, to negotiate a peace with the American Republic. 
She had a specimen of such kind of negotiation as Truxton, 
Little, Murray, Barry, Decatur the elder, Tryon, kc. 
displayed upon their tapis. 

Charles Maurice Talleyrand, once the traveller in Ame- 
rica, afterwards bishop of Autun, and then the " primum 
mobile 1 ' of the vast designs of Napoleon, the modern Char- 
lemagne, perfectly understood the American character and 
country,* and, in Oliver Ellsworth, C. Cotemvorth 
Pinckney, and Gouverneur Davie, recognized dignified 
and decided American diplomatists. 

: The writer enjoyed the high honour of hearing- from the tongue 
of the great Oliver Ellsworth, many deeply interesting anecdotes of 
that unsurpassed minister, Talleyrand. Said Judge Ellsworth, • Mj 
official duty, as Chief Justice, led me to explore the most interesting- 
portions of the United States. I thought myself tolerably acqu 
with the relative situation of the different states,— the different puP 
suit^ of the people, in different portions of the country. I thought I 
had a considerable acqi tance with the American character ; judge 
then of mj surprise, in occasional interviews with Talleyrand, when 1 



An honourable peace was made, and the American cha= 
racter, which had begun to decline, was restored to its 
pristine vigour. It somewhat declined again, and was again 
restored by the second war with Britain. 

During the naval warfare with France, the detested and 
vengeful barbarian Turks, and the graceless and ruthless 
disciples of the arch impostor of Mecca, were preying in 
the Mediterranean upon American merchantmen, and 
American citizens, with that diabolical ferocity which for- 
ever is stamped upon the conduct of cowards, when they 
conclude they can rob, ravish and murder, with impunity. 

Having, in the imperfect sketch ofthejeteran Edward 
Preble, a successor of the veteran Alexander Murray, 
briefly alluded to the merciless treatment of the Mahom- 
etan Turks towards American Christians, I will barely refer 
the reader to that sketch, as it is almost impossible, in our 
copious language, to find terms of abhorrence and execra- 
tion sufficient to pour out against the ireful, detested, im- 
placable, blood thirsty, God defying, infernal Turks, who 
are now preying upon the noble Grecians, as they then 
were upon our noble countrymen in bondage. Although 
we may well exclaim with the bard, 

" Let not this weak and erring hand, 

Presume thy bolts to throw, 
Nor deal damnation round the land. 

On each I judge a foe." — 

heard from this arch Frenchman, more minute descriptions of the 
country, and more penetrating observations upon the comparative 
"•wealth, and power, and future prospects of the various states, than I 
^iave often heard from an American ; and I must confess I was as- 
tonished at obtaining ideas of my native country, at a hotel in Paris, 
which were entirely novel to me." These, according to recollection, 
and a common-place book, are very near the remarks of Judge Ells- 

v mm. ALEX wi>! i; mii;i; u . 

when reflecting upon tin- unvarying ferocit] of Maho- 
metans towards Christians, it is hardlj possible <<> eipn si 
our sentiments in Christian language ; and to make us hop< 
that the spirit of crusading ma) revive thatawui of sub 
jugation, if not of extermination, be waged by the ( Christian 
against the Mahometan world.* 

Capt. Murray had hardly come out of the smoke and 
thunder of the West Indies, in chastising Frenchmen and 
Spaniard-, before he was designated as Commodore of a 
small squadron designed to pour out a portion of American 
wrath against the Tripolitans, at the head of whom the 
blood-glutted Jussiiff had placed himself, after embruing 
his hellish hands in the blood of his father and elder bro- 
ther ; and driving another brother, the miserable Hamet 
Caramalli into exile ; either of whom, with equal power, 
would have been equally merciless as JussufF himself. 

Com. Murray hoisted his broad pendant upon that match- 
less little frigate, the Constellation. 

He seemed to be as partial to that ship, as Nelson, in his 
earlier life, was to the Agamemnon, a heavy British ship 
of the line, which, to use the language of one of his nume- 

* The following forcible description of the Mahometan Turks, in 
the 19th century, is from the production of an anonymous writer, pub- 
lished since this Sketch was written. Another late author says : — 
" The bitter draught prepared for Christians by Mahometans, is drug- 
ged by the hand of death, and brewed in hell." 

" The character of the Turks is too well known to require com- 
ment. Ignorant, fanatical, brutal, and ferocious, destitute of almost 
every virtue, and tainted with every vice, the sworn foes of every 
thing bearing the name of Christian, whom no treaties can bind, and 
whose faith with all but Mahometans is given but to be violated, they 
ought to be treated as enemies to mankind ; and all civilized nations 
ought to combine, either in exterminating them from the earth they 
have polluted, or in depriving them of power for future mischief." 


rous biographers — " Nelson wore out the Agamemnon, and 
the Agamemnon almost wore out Nelson." 

Com. Dale, his gallant associate in the war of the Rev- 
olution, and his brother officer in the Trumbull, when she 
beat the Iris, and then struck to the Iris and the Monk, 
and in which both were severely wounded, had preceded 
him in the command of an American squadron in the Me- 

It would be extraneous to the object of this sketch to 
dwell upon the services rendered to his country by Com. 

It is sincerely hoped, that some hand far abler than the 
one that is now attempting a faint outline of his energetic, 
persevering, and valiant comrade, will present to the Amer- 
ican reader, a full biography of this hero in three wars — 
in the most important ocean, and in the most extensive sea 
in our world. 

It may, however, be remarked, that Com. Dale led the 
American van'm the Mediterranean — first exhibited a smalt 
specimen of that increasing naval power, which, in the 
hands of one of his successors, Com. Preble, produced 
such astonishing dismay amongst Turks. 

One of Com. Dale's officers, Lieut. Sterrett, in the little 
schooner Enterprise, (which has become the most celebra- 
ted schooner in the world) gained the first American vic- 
tory over Turks, as Capt. Hull in the second war did over 
Britons, in the most celebrated frigate, the Constitution. 

Com. Dale's squadron was so small, he was not, by his 
government, permitted to act offensively on any occasion. 
Lieut. Sterrett acted only defensively, when he battered a 
Tripolitan corsair of much superior force, almost to pieces, 
and sent home the wreck of her and her surviving crew, to 

COM. \U\ V.NDKi; Ml RR \\. 

be bastinadoed, and to be ridden on asses, (like Christians) 
as an indelible disgrace, for striking bis flag to a " kellup 
en Baurha" (( !hristian dog.) 

Com. Dale thus restrained by instructions from bis go 
rernment — thus inhibited from striking, until he was 
struck, and perhaps from the Mow, unable to strike at all, 
was iii the wors! possible situation a naval comma] 
could be placed. 

If he had been unable to blockade his enemy, and (hey 
should have escaped from port, and assailed him with tre- 
ble his force, he must either have escaped, if possible, or 
have patiently waited for a general attack from the whole 
marine of Tripoli before he could fire a gun, or board a 
corsair! ! 

Com. Murray relieved Com. Dale from his arduous du- 
ty, and embarrassing situation, and had a duty equally ar- 
duous, and a station equally embarrassing to till himself. 

This contracted sketch might be swelled to a volume by 
dilating upon the peculiar relations subsisting in 1802, be- 
tween the American government and the Barbary states, 
as they had a peculiar effect upon Com. Murray. 

Although this skilful and consummate commander could 
exercise the coolest judgment, and the soundest discretion, 
yet he never could be brought to think with the gascona- 
ding knight in Shakspeare, that " the better part of valour 
is discretion," or to act like him in " counterfeiting death, 
thereby to save life." 

However much the philanthropist, the moralist, and the 
Christian may applaud that pacific disposition in govern- 
ments which endeavour to bring about " Peace on earth. 
good will to men," yet, when civilized and christianized 
nations, who scrupulously regard the faith of treaties — the 


dictates of reason, and the injunctions of humanity, are 
compelled to enter into collision with the modern Saracens, 
and the disciples of Mahomet, who habitually violate them 
all, it would be feminine pusillanimity to exclaim Peace ! 

peace ! 

Missionary societies may send missionaries to convert 
them to Christianity— governments may send ambassadors 
to negotiate with them— the wealth of nations may be ex- 
hausted in paying them tribute— they detest the very sound 
of Christianity— they hold it a canon of Mahometan faith to 
violate compacts with christians, and the tribute they ex- 
tort, increases their means of waging war with the whole 
Christian world. 

They are restrained by nothing but fear • and fear can 
be excited in them by nothing but the display of power, and 
the roaring of hostile cannon. 

From 1803 to 1823 the American Republic have wisely 
acted upon this principle ; and a Turk would now as soon 
rattle his beads in the face of an emir of the Sublime Porte, 
as to offer injury or indignity to an American. 

Com. Murray, with the frigate Constellation, displayed 
the American banner, the insignia of which the Tripolitans 
had learned from his predecessor. He had but little other 
force • but so vigilant was he and all his officers and sea- 
men, that these lawless robbers were kept in continual 

Their marine force was sheltered in the bay of Tripoli, 
under the protection of the powerful batteries of the Ba- 
shaw. He still felt the most sovereign contempt for Amer- 
icans, and yet the extremest mortification at beholding his 
inactive navy moored under his immediate view for safety. 
He however derived a sort of devilish satisfaction in 

COM. \U.\ VNDEB Ml RRA1 . 

ting his infernal eyes, l>> gazing into In dungeon 
where man) Americans were in pinions and in < bains. 

Although the American commander could not relieve 
them, the hapless captives felt the cheering balm of hope, 
'•vrn in their dungeon. It was a consoling consideration 
that the} were held in remembran< e bj their gallant coun- 
trymen ; and thai the government of their country was be- 
ginning the work of their redemption. 

The name of Alexander Murray was familiar with thi m. 
is was that of Dale and Sterrett; and they felt assured 
that there was a redeeming spirit in the American Repub- 
lic, that would sever their chains asunder — rescue them 
from Mahometan bondage, and emancipate them by the 
arm of power, rather than by exorbitant ransom. 

But their hope was to be " long deferred;" and hundreds 
of their co'antrj nun, who aft* i wards came to redeem them, 
were to linger away many — many tedious months in the 
same gloomy cell with themselves. 

Com. Murray so distributed his small force, as not to 
suffer a single Tripolitan keel to escape, to prey upon 
American merchantmen. 

By this arrangement, he was, atone time, entirely alone 
with his ship before the bay of Tripoli. He was for some 
time totally becalmed, but a little distance from the same 
fatal rock upon which one of his gallant successors, Com. 
Bainbridge immoveably struck; and who with Irs unrival- 
ed officers and crew, became prisoners to the detested Jus- 
suff, the reigning bashaw of Tripoli. 

In this perilous situation, an overwhelming superiority 
of force came out in small vesst Is which would be mana- 
ged in a calm, by sweeps, and gave battle to Com. Mui 


He sustained the attack for a long time, by wearing ship 
and keeping the enemy at a respectful distance, who still 
felt secure of victory. 

A favourable breeze at length sprang up — he made im- 
mediate sail into the midst of the Bashaw's fleet — poured 
out starboard and larboard broadsides, and shots from his 
forecastle guns and stern-chasers with such astonishing ra- 
pidity, and destructive effect, that the Tripolitan vessels, 
shattered, battered, and scattered, made their escape into 
their harbour, and under protection of their own batteries. 

The nature of the warfare was such, that had Com. 
Murray been able, as he unquestionably was, to have cap- 
tured a part at least, of this squadron, it would not have 
corresponded with his instructions. He could only de- 
fend himself. 

Com. Dale, after the gallant Sterrett had silenced and 
completely beaten a heavy corsair, could not make a prize 
of her, but sent her home to the bashaw. 

It was as impossible for the bashaw to conceal his severe 
chagrin at the result of this rencontre, as it was for the 
American prisoners to conceal their high exultation at the 
success of it, on the part of the gallant commodore. 

During his continuance upon this station, he had no oth- 
er opportunity to display his skill and valour in defending 
his force against the enemy. He had " scotched the snake, 
but not killed him ;" and the bashaw was permitted to 
eject his venom at a harmless distance ; or, like the casti- 
gated ape, to bruise himself by the threshings of his own 
arms. The American Commodore, by his instructions, 
could do nothing but brandish his rod — he could not strike 

Com. Murray continued to stand off, and to stand on. — 


blockading and defying the mortified Tripolitans. It * i 
i sluggish pursuit for an active warrior, who had conquer 

ed BritonB upon land and upon water ; and who had ad 

ministered effectual chastisement to boasting Frenchmen 
and insolent Spaniards. 

But. devoted, from innate and acquired principle, to hi- 
country, he would serve it in any station, so be it he could 
support its rights, and advance its interests. 

He little knew what secret influence was operating in his 
own country, to displace him, even from the station he 
then held. He was soon to receive a blow from the other 
side of the Atlantic ; but the hand that was to inflict it, 
was concealed from his view. President Jefferson had 
ever manifested the utmost respect for Com. Murray, and 
continued to manifest it till the day of his death. Without 
attempting to deduce the reasons, a priori, for the measure, 
we know the ultimatum was, that Com. Murray was super- 
seded by Capt. Morris, and returned to America in the 

This was the third war from which Alexander Murray 
had returned to the bosom of his country, and to the circle 
of his friends, with unfading laurels acquired in each, and 
without a blot to tarnish his escutcheon. It is often the 
fate of rash and impetuous valour, heedless of fixed princi- 
ple, to commit some untoward act that dims the lustre of 
brilliant achievements. The applause that is justly be- 
stowed upon " deeds of noble daring," is immediately fol- 
lowed by expressions of regret that some indelible stain is 
impressed upon the actor, that can never be obliterated. 
It was not so, most fortunately for his imperishable reputa- 
tion, with Com. Murray. Although he was superseded, in 

his command in the Mediterranean by Com. Morris, as one 



of his immortal successors, Com. Preble was, by Com. 
Barron, Murray could not be degraded. As a finished sta- 
tue upon a lofty pedestal is diminished to the view only by 
its superior elevation, so the fame of this warrior cannot 
be lessened, only by surpassing the comprehension of those 
who contemplate it. 

Although at this period, Com. Murray had not reached 
fifty years in the calender of his life, he had spent nearly 
one third of that time in sanguinary warfare in righting for 
the cause of the Republic. Yes! he had fought, and 
fought valiantly in thirteen battles ! Many of his gallant 
countrymen have acquired their fame and their fortune too, 
in one victory, and in one hour ; and the great mass of 
their countrymen who never faced an enemy, or exposed 
their lives in the perils and dangers of war, now participate 
in the glory which they have attached to the name of 

As to the course pursued by the immediate successor of 
Com. Murray in the command of the American squadron in 
the Mediterranean, it belongs not to this brief sketch of 
his immediate predecessor. At this period of American his- 
tory, the writer was too young, and ought to have been en- 
grossed too much by other pursuits, to take any interest in 
the political commotions that then agitated the councils of 
this country. They did not then interest him : but, anxious 
to acquire at least a superficial view of measures then adop- 
ted, he has recently recurred to the publications of that 
day. It was like groping one's way through a wilderness 
of "thorns and thistles," and as the traveller made his 
egress, ingress, and regress, he would be most sensibly con- 
vinced, at every step, that the curse denounced against this 
world in consequence of " Adam's first transgression," had 

COM. ALEX wnr.R mi i;i: \\. 

not ceased to operate ; — that the sentci i <• against th< Bei 
pent, " on thj bellj ahall thou go," w; ( - then in fall for< i . 

( !om. Murray had then the proud satisfa< tion ot mm ord« 
nvj, in the catalogue of lu> friends ami patrons, the exalted 
names of George Washington, John Adams, and Thomas 
Fefferson ; and at the da) of his death might add those of 
James Madison, and James .Monroe. 

\i the time Com. Morris was appointed to succeed C 
Murray, the Navy Department had become so organized, 
that the President did not deem it his duty to interpose hie 
authority in regard to the arrangements therein digested. 
That department acted to a certain degree as a nominating 
body, and the President as the approving power of the nom- 
inations therein made. When he approved of the nomina- 
tion of Com. Morris, he could not foresee what would be 
the course of that officer as commander of the Mediterra- 
nean squadron. But the American people now know wha* 
tool: place at the seat of government, after that officer was 
succeeded by the veteran Preble. 

Here that subject will be dismissed. The man of research 
needs not to be reminded of it ; and those who catch their 
opinions second handed, from those who adopted them 
without reason, and cannot be reasoned out of them, will 
be dismissed with perfect indifference, whether they ap- 
prove or disapprove of the treatment towards Com. Mur- 

To a sluggish and neutralized mind, which is neither el- 
evated by pleasure, or depressed by pain — which knows 
not how to appreciate the acute sensibility of a high- 
minded man, when honoured, or the extremity of his mor- 
tification when neglected, it would seem that Com. Murray 


ought to have been satisfied, and even thankful for being 
removed from active service ! 

The prince of the drama makes the injured Leonato thus 
address the consoling Antonio — 

" It is all men's office to preach patience 

" To those who wring under a load of injury." 

The phlegmatic beings, whose hearts are as cold as an 
anchorite, and whose affections can no more be warmed 
than polar ice, most generally place themselves uncalled 
into the monitory chair, and deal out a string of thread-bare 
proverbs, which their nurses taught them upon the stool 
at the same time they cudgelled into their brains the or- 
thodox catechism. 

Such neutral creatures will have the presumption to of- 
fer advice and consolation to such a man as was Alexan- 
Murray ! " Fillip me with a three-man betle," (as Fal- 
staffsaid) " before I would condescend to receive either 
advice, consolation, or cash from such miserable comfort- 

It is a man's own soul that measures the injury that is 
done him ; and it is aggravated or softened as his mind is 
more elevated, or more stupified. 

Com. Mcirray was too exalted to descend to the low lev- 
el of the swarms of insects who were warmed into life by 
the resuscitating rays of Presidential favour. He would 
neither smile upon them for their officious intermeddling 
in his favour, or frown upon them for their machinations to 
effect his degradation. 

He brushed these ephemera away from him, as a lion 
would shake dew-drops from his mane, and remonstrated 
against his removal to the Executive. He had one privi- 


lege left him : the privilege of i omplaining, and he did it 
at " Head-Quarters." 

ft was ever the course <>j' tin sainted Washington, bo 
far as executive favours could constitutionally extend, to 
bestow the rewards of honour and emolument upon those 
who had devoted themselves to the service of the Repub- 

If any sort of proportion could he maintained between 
services rendered, and rewards to be bestowed, what would 
have been the reward of Com. Murray ? 

It is unhesitatingly averred, that at the time he returned 
to America from the Mediterranean in 1802, there was not 
a single American living who had passed through more ar- 
duous duty ; faced more dangers — fought in more battles ; 
or achieved more victories. 

His locks were blanched by the elements ; his body was 
wounded by hostile arms ; his sense of hearing was affect- 
ed, by the concussions of roaring cannon, and a premature 
old age had insidiously stolen upon him by his prodigality 
of his own blood. 

This is no coloured fiction, unless the plain story of the 
unsurpassed services of Murray, may be ranked amongst 
the varnished tales of romance. 

When speaking of rewards due to this veteran of the 
Republic, money is as far from the conceptions of the wri- 
ter, as it was from him. It was rank — it was station — it 
was command, he sought for, and which he so meritoriously 

Was age an objection to him ? let it be remembered thai 
the then President, at just about this time, when answering 
an objection to an officer in Connecticut on account of age, 
said, " at eighty, Franklin was the ornament of human na- 
ture," and at eighty-rive he is now. himself. 


Com Murray to be sure had reached the meridian of life ; 
and, by regular gradation, had ascended to the meridian of 
glory ; and had the American government permitted him 
to go forward in the path to the temple of fame, in which 
he had so successfully travelled all his life, Com. Morris, 
his first successor, might have escaped from the adimadver- 
sions of his government, and country — Com. Preble, his 
second successor, might have died without some of the lau- 
rels which he won, and carried to his grave — and Com. 
Barron, his third successor, might have returned to Ameri- 
ica without the honour of blockading the Tripolitan navy, 
until Mr. Lear had negotiated a peace which Preble had 

One of the profoundest, and altogether the most interest- 
ing of Roman historians, remarks (to put it in plain Eng- 
lish) " A wise government will avail itself of the successful 
example of its enemy." The British government, when 
Nelson had continued to conquer, continued him in service, 
until he prostrated the combined navy of France and Spain 
at Trafalgar ; and it is no extravagant conjecture to pre- 
sume, from the uniform judgment and courage of Com. 
Murray, that if he had been continued in the command of 
the Mediterranean squadron, with its subsequent augment- 
ation, he would have triumphantly returned to America in 
1 805 ; and that he would now be remembered as the first 
Christian hero who made the followers of Mahomet hum- 
bly submit to Christian prowess. 

To use a term of the legal profession, the " quo animo^ 
with which he was treated, cannot, at this remove of time, 
be fathomed ; and, to resort to another axiom of lawyers, 
" suggestio falsi, et suppressio veri," are stamped in a mor- 
al sense, with eqnal turpitude. 


Whether it was the suggestion of falsehood, or the ■ 
pression of truth, that removed him, the surviving offi< ei 
of the Navy Department at that period, ma) possibly de- 

These remarks arc not made to harrow up the acrimo- 
ny of part) feelings. The writer rejoices, most Bincerely. 
that the " era of good feelings" now most happily prevails 

m our beloved Republic. But, notwithstanding Alexander 
Murray is removed from his temporal to his eternal glory — 
notwithstanding his sublimated spirit is now equally regard- 
•>f the deserved applause of his earthly friends and the 
insidious machinations oX his ungenerous competitors, it is 
the solemn duty of his surviving countrymen, to enter a 
solemn protest against any injury committed against this 
sleeping hero, when in life. 

Com. Murray, after having expressed his dignified indig- 
nation at the course pursued in regard to the command in 
the Mediterranean, retired with the consciousness of hav- 
ing served his country, and in that way, served his Creator 

He was not one of those querulous, petulant men, who 
utter forth their quotidian ditties of effeminate and useless 
lamentation. But, with the heart and with the ken of a 
patriot, he watched the progress of the American navy. 
He gloried in the fame of Preble, who finished what his 
compatriot and friend Com. Dale began. He welcomed 
the returning Bainbridge, Porter, Jones and Biddle from 
bondage; and Decatur (the younger) Stewart. Hull, Law- 
rence, Morris, (the younger) Macdonou^h, Trippe, &c. 
from victory. He might then have said to his Maker — 
" Now let thy # servant depart in peace, for mine eyes have 
seen thy salvation. " 


But, scarcely had two years more rolled over his hon- 
oured head, before the most flagrant outrage was commit- 
ted against the American Republic and her little navy. 

An imperious British officer, in H. B. Majesty's ship the 
Leopard assailed the American frigate Chesapeake ! 

It was the tocsin of war to all true Americans ; and the 
ieading cause of the second war between America and Bri- 

Notwithstanding more than half a century had been ad- 
ded to years gone by since his birth ; like a sleeping Samp- 
son, he was again aroused to the highest possible pitch of 
patriotic indignation. 

He saw Britons, with a course unvarying as the march 
of time, still determined to treat Americans as rebels, as 
she continued to treat Scotsmen, till Scotsmen bowed to 
her prowess. 

A monitory voice from his grandsire, the Highland Chief, 
seemed to arise from his cerement, " My grandson, never 
submit to Britons. Her grasp is the grasp of death ; and 
if Americans bow to her, the tranquillity that will afterwards 
remain to them, will be like the tranquillity of my surviving 
countrymen in Scotland— the tranquillity of trembling 

Com. Murray again urgently solicited a command in the 
navy, and was again repulsed. He had exhausted his all, 
but his life for his country, and his magnanimous spirit 
could but illy brook this mysterious neglect. 

Romans sometimes made voluntary sacrifices of them- 
selves, if they could not sacrifice their lives for their coun- 
try. Englishmen have improved upon the example ; and 
Americans, for this cause, have capped the cjimax, by sac- 
rificing each other. 

( OM. ALEX \M>KR MURR \Y. 309 

But Com. Murray was too courageous to turn th 
arms which he had bo succe sfullj wielded against the en 
emies of the Republic", against himself; and above all deeds 
of desperation, he shuddered at the thought of imbruing 
his hand in the blood <>!' his countrymen, however regard 
less his country were of hi> merits. 

He remembered that Aristides was banished his coun- 
try because he was "too just;' 5 and that his grandfathei 
was banished Scotland because he was too unyielding to 
bow to foreign or domestic foes. 

The young, and ardent, and ambitious candidates for 
fame were impetuously rushing forward to the Executive, 
and to the Navy Department, foi office and for promotion ; 
and however much a junior officer might respect his sen- 
iors, they were willing to see them removed to make a 
place for themselves. 

The admirable nautical song of the British " Post Cap- 
tain" is familiar with seamen. He had grown bald in the 
service of his king and country ; and, when asked why hie 
locks had left him, coolly answered : 

" Because so many have travelled o'er my head.' 1 

The executive was not only thronged with those who 
wanted and who deserved promotion, but was surrounded 
by hordes of caterers for their companions. 

Without any pretensions for themselves, they fell, like 
hyaenas and jackalls, upon those who stood between them 
and their friends. 

Richard of England and Jussutf of Tripoli, forgot con- 
sanguinity, and waded through the blood of fathers and 
brothers to their thrones. Bloody as were their deeds, 
there was something in them more noble than in the con- 
duct of the sycophantic grovellers—secret underminers— 



assassins of reputation, who tried to rob from veterans the 
hard-earned fame they had acquired by their toils, their 
valour, and their blood. 

The character of Murray, with all who knew him, (and 
the whole of the five Presidents of the Republic knew him 
well) all dignified men at the American court knew him 
personally, and all intelligent Americans knew him by re- 
putation, carried with it an antidote against the vile, vil- 
lainous, venomous vermin, whose clandestine machinations 
endeavoured to effect his degradation ; knowing that mi- 
ners, by a concealed train, may demolish a fortress which 
might defy the attacks of open assailants. 

The excitement produced by the disgrrceful affair of the 
Chesapeake, was in some measure allayed by the disavow- 
al of young Mr. Erskine, then British minister at the Amer- 
ican court; but a wound inflicted upon national honour, is 
always slow in healing ; and although Mr. Rose was sent 
to America on a special mission to effect an accommoda- 
tion, the masterly diplomatic correspondence of Mr. Mon- 
roe, then Secretary of State, presented the subject to his 
countrymen, in such determined and dignified language, 
that although all the atonement and reparation which Bri- 
tain could make, was made, yet, like a secret malady in a 
robust svstem, it preyed upon the feelings of all true Amer- 
icans, and especially upon those attached to the nautical 
profession ; and upon no one more than upon Com. Mur- 

Although he had now arrived at the head of the profes- 
sion, and was senior to all the Post captains and Commo- 
dores in the American Naval Register, yet the Navy De- 
partment chose to detain him at home. 

Certainly he was of vast importance, from his unequal- 

( OM. ALEX \M)KK vil in; w. oil 

fed experience, in the '' home department ;" yet like Bri- 
tish admirals and able American naval offi< ers, he wu te- 
nacious ot* rank; not only from seniority, but from abilit) 

to command. 

Because Vdmiral John Jervis, afterward Earl of St. 
Vincent, and now lirst Lord of Admiralty, designated Ho- 
ratio NeJsion to command a squadron, detached against 
the French fleet menacing Egypt, John Orde, mentor to 
Nelson, challenged the Eari, when they both met at home ; 
and had not the civil power interfered, John Orde migbl 
have acquired as much honour (with men " highly honour- 
able,") by conquering John Jervis at Hyde Park, (the 
Bladensburgh of England) as Horatio Nelson did at Obou* 

Com. Murray, with " honours thick upon him" still dis- 
played the great man ; for a great man cannot be rendered 
small by being placed by his government in a small place. 
But [ must retract. It is not a small place to be director of 
naval stations, and ship yards, as will hereafter be shown. 

From 1807, when the noble, the heroic, the chivalrous 
Decatur succeeded Barron in the command of the Chesa- 
peake, a systematic course of aggressions was pursued 
against American commerce, by the two great belligerant 
powers of Europe — France and Britain ; and a " restrict- 
ive system," by way of temporary retaliation, was resorted 
to by the government of the American Republic. 

The widely extended commerce of America, was sub- 
jected to the insatiable grasp of the Orders in Council of 
Britain, and the Berlin and Milan decrees of France, when 
abroad ; and detained in port when at home. 

Each was almost equally destructive of national and in 


dividual prosperity. The whole system of American bu- 
siness was diverted from its established channel. 

American seamen, amounting to as many as an eighlh of 
a million, were driven from their wonted employ, and com- 
pelled, for subsistence, to become followers of the plough, 
handlers of the scythe, sickle and hoe, or spinners of cot- 

Having from change to change been reduced from inde- 
pendence to a bare competency — from active pursuits, to 
the irksome business of gathering in out-standing debts, 
from debtors deprived almost of the means of payment, by 
loss of prosperous business, Americans demanded of their 
government a decisive course. 

In 1812 America " was herself again." In the war of 
1755, she had driven Frenchmen from their American 
colonies. In the war of 1775 she compelled Britain to 
surrender all their American colonies excepting those they 
had conquered from France for her, when Americans were 
subjected to British power. 

In the war of 1798, she had, by her infant navy, compel- 
led France to respect — yea, to fear the American flag. 

In the war of 1802, with the Turks, she had completely 
humbled that portion of the dominions of the " Sublime 
Porte," bordering upon the shores of the Mediterranean. 

Com. Murray was born the year the first of these wars 
broke out. The second of these wars, of nearly eight 
years continuance, he went completely through. The 
third he also passed through as serviceably and as victori- 
ously as the second. In the fourth war, he succeeded the 
first commander, and just begun to conquer, when he was 
checked in his progress, and called home. 

When the fifth war in which his countrymen were en- 


i with a foreign foe commenced, he onc< ro< r< iU p- 
ped forth as the champion <>f his countrj . 

Having been neglected 1>\ preceding Se< retariee of the 
N:«\ \ . from 1802, the Secretary in 1812 found a sorl of ei 
cusc for detaining him Mill at home ! ! 

It is -aid that defective hearing was again urged as a rea- 
son why i\n> faithful and victorious veteran should -till be 
i oneigned to some domestic station. 

It was no objection to Nelson that he had lost one eye , 
and the fact that his last despatches to the admiralty were 
signed by his left hand, for the want of a right one (and 
Com. Barclay at Lake Erie had but one arm) shows that 
our bitter enemy, when carrying their arms against almost 
the whole of the world, never degrade their own heroes by 
neglecting them. 

If, at a time of such high excitement in our government, 
from the unceasing aggressions of Britain, and the deep and 
hostile machinations of a secret domestic junto, made pel- 
lucid as glass, during the progress of the war — If political 
considerations had any influence upon the Navy Depart- 
ment in designating officers, they surely ought to have pre- 
ponderated in favour of Com. Murray ; for not an Ameri- 
can who inhaled American air, was a more sincere, d-evo- 
ted, and patriotic friend to the Republic, or more deter- 
mined enemy to Britain. 

As Andrew Jackson's Irish ancestors had been almost 
annihilated by British vengeance, so had Alexander Mur- 
ray's Scots ancestors been banished by the same power; 
and both were born Americans. A parallel of services ren- 
dered by, and rewards bestowed upon, each, will not be 

Com. Murray's attachment to his country was never 


evidenced by inflated protestations of patriotism; nor his 
decided opposition to Britain by noisy and frothy declama- 
tion. He surely had no predilection for France, for he 
had fought that power nearly half as long as he had Bri- 
tain. He was not merely eo nomine, American, but he was 
in heart and soul an American ; and his body carried hon- 
ourable wounds, received in the cause of his country ; and 
his archives, now in the hands of his surviving friends, show 
that he carried arms and carried them victoriously against 
Britons, Frenchmen and Turks, for one eighth of a cen- 

In 1812, this ardent veteran fervently wished for an op- 
portunity to afford his active aid in securing the independ- 
ence by that war, which was acquired in the arduous con- 
flict, the War of the Revolution. 

In the campaigns of 1812 and 1 3, he saw many officers 
of the highest grade taking the field, many years older than 
himself; and he panted to resort to the ocean as the thea- 
tre of his exertions. 

He longed to meet the inveterate foe of America, which 
assailed his country in 1775, comparatively an infant upon 
the ocean, to what she had become, (small as her marine 
was) in 1812. 

His application for a command, correspondent with his 
rank, was received with the utmost respect, at the Navy 
Department ; for Com. Murray had too much weight of 
character — too much dignity, to meet with a disdainful re- 

In the Executive at that period, indeed, in all the pre- 
ceding Presidents, he had found friends who evinced their 
high estimation of his character, by their courteous deport- 
ment, and marked attention to him. But owing either to 


ior influence around the Navj Department] more 
potent than the Department itself, or Borne other unfath- 
omable cause, with which " strangers intermeddle not," 
Com. Murray's senior claim to command, was granted to 
In- juniors ; for every PosM 'aptain in the American Na- 
vy was junior to him at the commencement of the second 
war between the American Republic and the Kingdom o( 

It is readily admitted that Com. Murray retained his 
rank in the Navy — that he was paid— that every man in 
America who could read, and boys who could not read, but 
who could be taught the Naval Register, as boys sometime*- 
learn the alphabet and catechism by recitation, pronoun- 
ced the name of Alexander Murray, JirsU 

As a first-rate ship, with timbers as sound as they were 
when they studded the mountain's side, is sometimes laid 
up " in ordinary" until the " powers that be" put them in 
commission, so this veteran warrior was detained in port, 
while many aspiring and gallant young officers, who were 
Midshipmen when he was Commander of a squadron, were 
sent forth to encounter an enemy which he had conquered 
when still younger than they were. 

While Com. Murray was at home, presiding in Courts- 
martial for the trial of his juniors, who lost their ships by 
the war of the elements, or by the overwhelming superiority 
of force of the enemy. — While, with his countrymen, he was 
exulting in the splendid victories of that navy in which he 
served in the whole naval warfare with France, until the 
peace in 1802, and of which he was Commander in Chief 
in the Mediterranean in 1802 and 3; he was deprived of 
an opportuniy of adding to the number of battles in which 
he had fought, and to the victories he had won. 


Although his advice and counsel, from his superior judg- 
ment and practical knowledge, were of incalculable ser- 
vice during the last war, yet he would have much prefer- 
red to have died in the arms of victory, yea, in the hour of 
defeat ; or, as many of his younger brethren did, to have 
returned the Conquering Hero. 

The achievements of the war of 1812, were heightened 
with exploits in the little American navy of equal splen- 
dour with those of any period since the power of nations 
was exemplified in floating batteries. 

To mention names in the order in which they stand ac- 
cording to seniority, and not regarding the time when vic- 
tories were obtained over H. B. Majesty's ships of war of 
equal, and often of superior force — and what was of as 
great, or greater detriment to the enemy, and benefit to 
the Republic, the capture and destruction of the immense, 
amount of British merchandise, and protection of our own 
— the names of Rodgers, Bainbridge, Decatur,* Stewart. 
Hull, Chauncey, Porter, Jones, Morris, Perry,* Macdon- 
ough, Warrington, *Blakeley, &c. were familiar with eve- 
ry reader of the journals of the day. But the name of 
Murray, senior to them all, was not — excepting with those 
who knew and who duly appreciated the vast services he 
had previously rendered to the Republic. 

The unqualified respect and admiration of the surviving 
veterans of the revolution — of the statesmen who guided 
the helm of state, when American naval officers made im- 
perious Frenchmen bow, and merciless Turks tremble, 
was a full measure of consolation to this dignified warrior, 
conscious as he was of his own services, and his own high 

This time-honoured and war-worn hero, knew that he 

* Dead. 

COM. ALEXANDER Mi in: \\ . 

had been prodigal of his blood in the cause of his country 
from his boyhood ; and that he should reap a rich harvest 
of reward in the plaudit- of a grateful people. 

1 1< lived to rejoice in the peace of 1 8 1 .;>, and to exult ii 
the augmented glory of die American navy. The navy had 
become the theme of all Americans, of all parties ; 
from thai day to the time when these bastj Bketches are 
writing, (1823) every American na\al officer, from a Post 
Captain to a midshipman, finds a ready passport to the 
presence of the great — the circles of the refined, and even 
to the admiration of the fair. 

When the gust of joy, at the conclusion of an honourable 
peace, had subsided into tranquillized pleasure, and the 
high honours and rewards to the officers of the army, as 
well as the navy, had been apportioned, the sound judg- 
ment and deep penetration of the American cabinet, di- 
rected its attention to those who could best advance the 
growing importance and future greatness of the American 
navy in the " home department," as America was at peace 
with all the world. 

Alexander Murray was appointed Commandant of the 
Navy Yard at Philadelphia ; and, as will be shown in the 
conclusion, he soon evinced that he still possessed a sound 
mind, in a sound body. 

As to his mental faculties, the result of his exertions wili 
elucidate their original and augmented vigour. As to his 
bodily powers it will be shown that he could see — that he 
could/eel — that he could even " hear.'' 1 

To adopt a fashionable expression, the small American 
navy had " conquered a peace" with France in 1802 — with 
Tripoli in 1305 — had essentially hastened a peace with 

Britain in 1815; and one of the greatest conquests it had 



made, it had " conquered the principle" that a navy wa? 
the most safe, most efficient, most immediate, and least 
expensive mode of defending the coast of our vast Repub- 
lic, and if necessary, carrying on offensive operation? 
against her enemies. 

Most safe, because it is the crowning glory of American 
seamen, never to desert from their country, or to turn 
their arms against her. In their floating garrisons, they 
never annoy their countrymen, or depredate upon their 

Most efficient, because a ship of war, has her crew, her 
munitions, her stores, her implements of movement, and 
all the " pomp and circumstance of war," always in com- 
plete preparation. 

Most immediate, because, at a " moment's warning," 
they move with the celerity of the wind, and, with the 
power and celerity of lightning, strike the approaching foe. 

Least expensive,* because, 74s, 44s, 36s, 18s, &c. can 
face a foreign enemy destined against any port from Ma- 
chias to New-Orleans 5 and, when necessary, can concen- 
trate their dispersed power at any given point, (if the ex- 
pression is allowable) like so many portable fortifications. 
Therefore, as a guarda costa, naval power is almost incal- 
culably less expensive than the immense number of sta- 
tionary fortifications necessary to defend a sea -board ex- 
tending from the 30th to the 15th degree of north latitude. 

For centuries, the " Wooden Walls of Old England" 
have been her impregnable defence. They have defended 
that " fast anchored isle" from the Armada of Philip of 
Spain, to the Flotilla of Napoleon of France. 

But while orators are exhausting their eloquence, and 
poeta are draining their store-houses of imagination in eu- 


logizing kt Naval Heroes ;" and painters are delineati 
vivnl colours, naval achievements, it ought not to be for- 
gotten, thai while expatiating upon the astonishing effect ol 
nasal power, (lie causi "fii should come in for a Bhare of 
consideration* That cause originates in Navai Archi 

rm T\ RE, and N \\ \i. Arm \mi.\ i al home. 

The following documentary evidence of the effici 
of naval defence, is from a Secretar) of the navy who 
■• knew what \\o said, and -aid what he knew." 

" The importance of a permanent naval establishment 
appears to be sanctioned by the voice of the nation : and 
1 have a satisfaction in stating, that the means of its gradu- 
al increase are completely within the reach of our national 
resources, independently of any foreign country. The 
materials for building and equipping ships of war are all 
at command. Steps have been taken to ascertain the best 
growth and quantities of timber for naval construction, 
preparatory to contracts and purchases. The want of a 
mould loft for the naval constructor to lay out the moulds 
by which the timber is to be cut and shaped previous to 
transportation, has delayed the completion of arrangements 
for an adequate supply, A building has been erected at 
the navy yard in this city for that purpose, and will soon 
be finished, when the business will progress. 

Cannon founderies, manufactories of sheet copper, cor- 
dage, canvas, and the mechanical branches, are in a state 
to furnish the several supplies mhich may be required. 

The commerce of the United States increasing with the 
resources and population of the country, will require a 
commensurate protection, which a navy alone can afford ; 
and the experience derived from the active and vigorous 
employment of a limited navy, during the period of the late 
war, has demonstrated its efficient utility. 


I do, therefore, with confidence recommend an annual 
increase of our navy, of one ship of the rate of seventy- 
four guns, two frigates of the first class, rates at forty-four 
guns, and two sloops of war, which can be built with the 
surplussage of smaller timber, and with a great saving in 
that material. 

The act to increase the navy, passed January 2d 1313, 
authorized the building of " four ships to rate not less than 
seventy-four guns, and six frigates to rate forty- four guns 
each." This act has partly been carried into effect, by 
building three ships of the rate of seventy-four guns, and 
three frigates of forty-four guns, in the Atlantic ports. — 
Txie residue of the appropriation under that act, was ap- 
plied to the building of large ships and frigates upon Lake 

The concentration of our navy in one or two of the 
principal ports of the United States, where the depth of 
water is sufficient for the convenient ingress and egress of 
the larger vessels, will necessarily lead to the enlargement 
of the navy yards at such places, with docks for repairs, 
and the collection of all important materials for the arma- 
ment and equipments of the different classes of vessels, in 
order to bring them into active service, upon any emer- 
gency, with the advantage of combined force. 

A general system for the gradual and permanent increase 
of the navy, combining all the various objects connected 
with an enlarged naval establishment, such as building 
docks, and extending the accommodation of navy yards 
and arsenals of general deposit, will form the subjects of a 
more extensive report to be laid before congress during 
the present session." 

To such energetic, and scientific minds as Alexander 

( OM. \ j i\ \NDi:i; MURRAY. 

\li RRAY 9 S ; :tli(l BUI 1 1 t licit nt k;i| and pi.Kli, ;t( ;tihi|-i- ac 

lli kphreys, and E< ford, air our unequalled captains in 
the ua\> indebted for much of the renown justly atta< he< 
io their deathless names. 

Bui the aspiring ions of fame, when pressing forwaid, 
are (<><> prom to forget the unostentatious aids who facili 
tate their progress to it- lofty temple* 

When Com. Murray assumed the command of the Navj 
Yard at Philadelphia, he brought into operation the exten- 
sive and minute knowledge he had acquired from long and 
continued experience. 

In Mr. Humphreys, he found a coadjutor exactly cor- 
responding with his own views ; and they went forward, 
hand in hand, supporting and supported, in their highly im- 
portant pursuit. 

To shew the inquisitive reader the progress of Naval Ar- 
chitecture, I present him with a copy of the following doc- 
ument in the Navy Department, prepared nearly twenty- 
five years since, by one of the architects just mentioned. 

It is a precious document, as it goes to show, that, as the 
ship-builders, in the employ of government, have been ad- 
vancing with rapid strides towards perfection in the con- 
struction of ships from the highest to the lowest rates, they 
have, in about the same degree, diminished the expenses of 
building and fitting them. — 

" Estimate of the expense of building and equipping a 7 t 
gun ship of 1G20 tons, prepared some years since by 
Joshua Humphreys, Esq. of Philadelphia, a shipwright 
of great respectability and professional talents : 
Live oak timber, < 10,000 

White oak and pine ditto. 30,000 

Labour. 85.100 


Cables, rigging, &c. 


Smith's work, 


Anchors, marling, 


Sailmaker's bills, two suits, including 



Joiner's bill, including stuff. 


Carver's bill, 


Tanner's ditto, 


Rigger's do. 


Painter's do. 


Cooper's do. 


Blockmaker's do. 


Boatbuilder's do. 


Plumber's do. 


Ship Chandlery. 


Turner's bill, 


Copper bolts, 


Sheathing copper, nails, &c. 


Woollens for sheathing. 





Total, $ 342,700 

The frigate President, of 1444 tons cost the sum of 
$220,910. The frigates Constitution, United States, and 
Philadelphia, probably the same sum each. These frigates 
and some others, were built twenty-five years since; be- 
fore the naval warfare with France commenced. 

Americans have, by some piquant foreigners, been de- 
nominated a " cyphering race" — by others u shop-keepers, 
pedlars and jockies" — and by others " penny-wise and 

COM. \u:\ \.\ui::; mi i;i; w . 

pound-foolish." If. twenty- fiv< , although 

in the midst of the "golden days of commercial prosp< ri 
our cyphering countrymen could calculate far i i 
^certain thai twelve 74's and twenty-four frigates oi 
li guns, at the ahove rate would amount to $9,414,2 
and that the annual expense of a 74; in commission wa 
$202,1 io, and a frigate oi . about $\ 55,000, 

might well have asked, when "counting the cost" whal 
will this come to . ; 

The profound statesmen, and the profound leaders oi 
statesmen in the American Republic, when they commen- 
ced the establishment of our present Navy, aimed at noth 
but defence against foreign augre^-ion. 

No mad or diabolical schemes of foreign conquest en 
tercd into their views. The safety of the Republic wa£ 
committed to their care; and they iiitle thought of drain- 
ing its wealth to gratify the wicked projects of unhallowed 
ambition. This steady and magnanimous course has been 
pursued to near the close of the first quarter of the nine- 
teenth century ; and ten millions of happy and independ- 
ent freemen now reap the fruits of their wisdom. 

Our respectable navy has progressed gradually from in- 
fancy towards manhood. It has afforded protection to our 
commerce — it has chastised our foes abroad; and even 
now can afford protection to our immense coa>t — and. 
Americans feel not the burden of it. 

Turn now to the vaunting •• Queen of the Ocean" and 
behold her. to be sure at the height of Naval glory, and in 
the lowest depth of national distress, national bankruptcy 
and (remember India) national guilt ! ! 

I feel both pleasure and pain in presenting to the reader 
the following picture, drawn by the hand of a master. 


Pleasure, that we find no resemblance to it in our Repub= 
lie — Pain, that the land of our ancestors presents, in per- 
spective, the following figure : 

" We have before us the warning fate of the British na- 
tion, where the avails of the hard earnings and the life- labor 
of thousands and tens of thousands are screwed from them 
to glut the rapacity of an individual, who regards them less 
than he does his dogs. Time was, when the people of the 
British Lies would not have borne with this ; but, with the 
people's money, the devouring government buys men and 
arms to enable it to wrest the means of defence from the 
oppressed, build prisons to incarcerate, and gallowses to 
hang those on, who dare to murmur or complain." 

To the departed Alexander Murray is our Republic vastly 
indebted for that system of economy, which for the last years 
of his laborious life, he introduced into our navy yards. 

He had one of those rare minds which enabled him to 
reach the most comprehensive views ; and, at the same 
time, to investigate the minutest concerns, relative to his 
important station. It is related of Nelson, that after he 
fell mortally wounded upon his deck, and as his officers 
were carrying him below, he exclaimed, in the agony of 
death, - doirt you see the tiller is not right ?" A great 
mind is never too exalted to descend to things that are 
small, and never so little as not to embrace things that are 

Com. Murray, with the constant aid of Mr. Humphreys, 
the chief shipwright, spared no labour nor pains in the very 
important business of superintending the erection of public 

Public property, to an immense amount, was at his dis- 
posal ; and waste and improvidence, unless palpably enor- 


mous, would pass unheeded. Prom the immense variety 
of articles necessary in the construction and equipment of 

a public ship, and from the great varict) of artists engaged 
in working them, losses, too trifling to mention in detail, 
but too serious to be overlooked in the aggregate, ma) be 
incurred by public agents, who arc more anxious to amass 
a fortune for themselves, and to aggrandize their posterity* 
than to advance the essential and permanent interest oi the 

There is often a pompous affectation discernible in 
public officers and public agents, which seems to render it 
inconsistent with their official dignity to descend to the mi- 
nutiae of debit and credit — day-book and ledger — income 
and expenditure. 

The channels through which wealth flows into the na- 
tional treasury are few — the outlets are as numerous as 
their calls for supply are insatiable ; and like the many 
mouths of the Nile, or those of our own majestic Mississip- 
pi, disgorge the contents as fast as they are accumulated. 

That portion of public expenditure which is bestowed 
upon Executive, Legislative, Judiciary, Army and Navy 
officers, in specific compensations, for services rendered 
the Republic is not here meaned — the moderate amount of 
salaries and pa) to such men, who are fit for the stations 
they fill, is acquiesced in by Americans with pleasure, and 
looked upon by foreigners with astonishment. 

But that expenditure is meaned, which consists of annual 
grants of 1 ' round numbers," to be expended, and accoun- 
ted tor, not only with mathematical accuracy, but with 
sound judgment, and rigid economy. Instance the grants 
for the Commissary, Quartermaster, and Hospital depart- 



But of all annual grants, that for the " gradual increase 
of the Navy," according to its amount, is of the greatest 
importance to the American Republic ; and it requires 
the most sound heads, honest hearts, and skilful hands, to 
make an advantageous application of it. 

Entering such a " protestation," as Coke calls the " ex- 
clusion of a conclusion," against the supposition that this 
sketch is designed as an eulogy, it is averred that Alexan- 
der Murray possessed such a head — such a heart — such a 

He availed himself of the knowledge and wisdom of his 
predecessors so far as it was tested by the sanction of 
" successful experiment ;" but he never said to experiment. 
" thus far shalt thou go and no farther." 

Essential improvement in the mechanic arts, oftentimes 
equals and sometimes surpasses original invention. Com. 
Murray had an original strength of mind, which, while it 
enabled him to comprehend the principles upon which hu- 
man inventions were founded, enabled him also to extend 

Architecture is justly ranked amongst the sciences ; and 
it is certainly amongst the first and most useful arts. But, 
it will readily be admitted, that there is scarcely an analogy 
between land-architecture, and naval architecture. *The 
ancient orders of architecture, in erecting temples, palaces 
and mansions upon earth ; and the little improvement, and 
great injuries they have sustained by modern architects, 
are easily learned by the commonest ability, and reduced 
to practice by mere mechanical ingenuity. 

So plain is the correct road in this art, that he who read? 
may run in it ; and if, by ignorance or wilfulness, he strays 
* Sec " Life of Decatur." 


from it, he gets involved in an inextricable labyrinth of 
blunders, from which he can only be relieved bj retracing 
his wandering steps. 

But in the erection of Ships, there can hardly be said to 
be an established principle ; for where there is, there may 
be uniformity. Why is it often said, that such and such a 
ship is the best sailer in the American or British navy ? 
Wh\ did Com. Decatur say so of the Macedonian ? and 
why was his noble father, in the Philadelphia, beaten by 
Capt. Tryon in the Connecticut in a sailing match ? \\ hy 
did the naval architects of Britain take models from the 
wretched Chesapeake, when broken up, when she was 
deemed altogether the most ill-constructed ship in the 
American navy . ; It was owing even to her superiority over 
their own. If the President and the Essex frigates were 
not. too much battered and riddled by the squadrons of 
Commodores Hays and Hillyar, to have reached British 
ports, perhaps the ship carpenters of his majesty Geo. IV. 
may derive a still greater benefit from scrutinizing the 
wrecks of them. They are the only American models 
they will ever have in their ports, unless they are gained 
by the same overwhelming superiority of force. As to the 
Chesapeake, Britain is welcome to her — she was disgraced 
by British outrage in 1807, and captured by British strata- 
gem in 1 8 1 3. 

Although our navy cannot number the years contained in 
a quarter of a century ; in point of elegance, strength, 
power, and celerity, our ships, most decidedly surpass any 
that have floated upon the ocean, from the days of Carthage 
to this age. Witness the escapes of the Constitution, Ar- 
gus, Hornet, Peacock, &c. and the victories of every one 
of them in fair and equal combat — and, to mention the 


most signal instance of rapidity in movement, witness the 
Guerriere, and Com. Decatur's second* squadron, of nine 
sail in 1815. 

It is to the skill, genius, and inventive faculties of our 
Navy-Commissioners, Superintendents of Navy-yards, and 
naval architects, that we owe this American superiority, 
in the construction of our ships. But their armament also 
is of prime consideration. 

The reader may be gratified by a very brief sketch ; made 
from voluminous documents of the comparative force of 
ships of different rate. 

In the British navy there are four denominations of ships, 

1. Ships of the line, from the largest, down to Sixty-fours. 

2. Fifty-fours, to fifties, a distinct class, but rated with line 
of battle ships. 3. Forties, to Twenties, unexceptionably 
rated as Frigates. All the foregoing are commanded by 
Post-Captains. 4. Eighteens to Sixteens, are Sloops of 
War. All are pierced for, and mount more guns than they 
are registered at. Besides these, there are Schooners, Fire- 
ships, Bombards, Gun-boats, Tenders, Cutters, &c. &c. 

In the American navy are Seventy-fours, Forty-fours, 
Thirty-sixes, Eighteens, Brigs, Schooners, Gun-boats, &c. 

The comparative force of Seventy-fours, and Forty- 
fours, (although at first it may excite surprise) is as one to 
three. It is demonstrated thus, a 74, at one round, dis- 
charges 3224 lbs. of shot, a 44 discharges 1360 lbs. As the 
class of ships is increased, the force is increased, in pro- 
portion of one to three. 

Seventy fours are stronger in scantling ; thicker in sides 
and bottom ; less penetrable to shot, and less liable to be 

* Decatur's first squadron, in 1815 was the President, Hornet, and 


battered. A Seventy-four is a fair match for three 1 l'a 
in action. To give the frigates the most favourable posi- 
tion ; two at the quarter and stern, and one abreast of the 
74. From the superior weight of metal in the destructive 
batter) of the 74, the frigate abreast would he dismasted 
or sunk with two broadsides. In the mean time, the quar- 
ter and stern of the 74, might not be essentially injured ; 
and when a broadside could be brought to bear upon the 
other two frigates, they must share the fate of the first. — 
Still, three frigates might take a 74, and what is quite as 
probable, a 74 might capture or sink three frigates. 

The relative efficiency, of Frigates and Sloops of War, 
is at least as one to two ; and nearly the same reasoning 
will apply to them as to 74's and 44's. The CyaDe was 
frigate built, and mounted 34 guns, the Levant 21, and yet 
the galiant and accomplished Capt. Charles Stewart (from 
whose communications the preceding statement was col- 
lected) captured them both in 40 minutes. 

From the preceding concise sketch, the reader may have 
a faint conception of the importance of the duties devolv- 
ed upon Com. Murray, as Superintendant of the Navy 
Yard at Philadelphia, as it regards Naval Architecture and 
Naval Armament. 

The Commodore must have been gratified with the un- 
qualified and undivided approbation of his intelligent fellow 
citizens at home — of inquisitive and investigating visitors 
from every portion of the Republic, and with the admira- 
tion of distinguished foreigners, at the rapid progress of 
naval science, in this New World. 

But how much would the satisfaction of this veteran offi- 
cer, and practical financier have been abated, if, in the 
midst of this concord of approbation; many sullen and di6- 


cordant notes — many " curses, not only loud, but deep, v - 
were heard from a people, groaning under a weight of taxes 
excise, and impositions upon every thing they ate, drank, 
and wore — the ground upon which they walked — the horses 
Upon which they rode, and the bridles that guided them — 
upon the chaises in which they rolled along, and upon the 
harness that glittered upon their horses — upon the light of 
heaven that enlivened their habitation by day, upon the 
candle that enabled them to labour, or study at night, and 
upon the taper that lighted them to bed — upon the bed upon 
which they reposed, and upon the curtains that concealed 
them from intruders. 

Such taxes had been avoided and such murmurs had al- 
ways been prevented by the provident economical gov- 
ernment of the Republic ; and Com. Murray, with his co- 
adjutors, the Naval Commissioners, and the skilful Hum- 
phreys carried retrenchment and economy in the navy 
department to the minutest objects under their direction 
and superintendence. 

Twenty-five years ago the expense of a 74 was $342,700 
and of a 44 gun frigate, $220,910 ; and the expense of 
smaller rates, in the same proportion. 

It would fatigue the writer, without amusing the reader 
to point out the specific objects in which savings to the 
government have been effected in the erection of our une- 
qualled ships of war of every rate. Suffice it to say, that 
under the superintendance of Alexander Murray, at the 
navy yard in Philadelphia, ships of war, of superiour model, 
beauty, and strength, have been erected at only a fraction 
more than two thirds of the sums just mentioned. 

The following observations upon that all-important arti- 
ticle ship timber, are well worthy of the consideration of 


£uperintendants of Navj Yards* To use a popular adage 
• an ounce of experience is worth a ton of conjecture." 

■ \ piece from the National Intelligencer, signed " Expe 
rience," has induced rue to offer some further observations 
upon tin- subject. I had touched upon it but slightl) be- 
fore, and am always pleased to hear o[ Experience, if it be 
real 1 j founded upon just e cpt riments. The subject may be 
useful, but is not interesting tomany readers. As an amuse- 
ment, 1 have attended to the growth, durability, and d< i ajf 
of vegetable substances ; but of ship-building I have no 
practical knowledge, therefore I extend my observations no 
further than the two last qualities in timber which appear 
to render it tit, or unlit for that purpose. Fermentation,, 
in vegetable substances, is equivalent to putrefaction, in 
animal ones. The three great agents in their decomposi- 
tion or decay, are heat, air, and water; the same whick 
support them when alive.* Jn timbers, water is the pri- 
mitive agent, as it brings the other two into operation. 
Acting upon the saccharine matter it produces spiritous 
fermentation, and upon acidity, the acid fermentation. In 
its progress, fermentation excites heat and air. A more 
minute and technical explanation would be foreign to my 
purpose ; it may be found in essays expressly upon the 

I have seldom found the saccharine or acid principle to 
abound in any tree, which was durable as a timber. For 
instance, the black walnut and hickory belong to the same 
genus of plants, the walnut to the taste is destitute of sac- 
charine matter, and the hickory abounds with it— the con- 
sequence is, that the walnut is as remarkable for its dura- 

* Oxygen, which gives much life and spirit to animals and vegeta- 
bles, is the greatest decomposer. 


bility, as the hickory for premature decay — when I speak 
of acidity in timber trees, I shall confine myself to the gallic 
acid, as the other acids are seldom found in large trees. 
The gallic acid is a second great cause of decay. The live- 
oak has very little, in proportion to the black-oak (quercus 
tinctoria) or the black jack (quercus nigra) yet the first 
will last for half a century, and the two last not a tenth of 
that time. The loblolly-bay (gordonia) abounds with the 
gallic acid, so much so, that the bark is thought better than 
that of oak for tanning — but the wood, when exposed to 
wet, will scarcely last a year. Upon this subject I could 
multiply instances. Both these secondary causes of decay 
are brought into operation by a partial wetting, and yet may 
be removed by total immersion. Instance, the furs dug out 
of the bogs in Ireland, and the oak piles found in the 
harbour of the ancient Brundusium, which were driven 
down there by Julius Caesar ; both of them in a sound 
state. The reason is, a partial wetting excites only a slight 
motion of the particles, and produces fermentation ; where- 
as, immersion excludes the air, and on account of the affin- 
ity of water for the acid and saccharine, it will, in time, at- 
tract and diffuse them throughout the surrounding fluid. 
Thus, it is, that timber may be seasoned and preserved by 
total immersion. 

It is much to be regretted that there is so little of the 
live oak in the southern states ; and to make way for cot- 
ton, the little we have are constantly falling under the axe. 
It inhabits only the sea islands, and a slip of about twenty 
miles along the coast. Ten miles from the sea it generally 
becomes scarce ; but the turkey-oak, which " Experience" 
says is the second best timber, abounds in our uncultivated 
swamps. Many trees also attain a great size there, which 


ire seldom used for an} purpose. The water-oak (quercuc 
palustris) and the cotton tree (populous nigra) are of this 
description, and in fence-rails appear to be durable. " Ex- 
perience' 1 says " the Chesapeake frigate had a numb 
her top timbers of black cypn --. and when that Bhip was. 
stripped down at this navy-yard, the cypress was found to 
be totally rotten, so thai no further experiment is necessary 
on cypress." — How ominous i> the name of the Chesa- 
peake ! Those timbers could not have been black cypi 
but an inferior and sappy species found near the 
The region of the best cypress commences where the 
flowing of the tides ceases ; but one experiment contrary 
to the mass of experience upon this subject, is not sufficient. 
I know two houses built of cypress, which men of the last 
century informed me were built about seventy years ago : 
about five years since one of them had never had but one 
coat of shingles ; it was tight, and both of them appear as 
though they would last seventy years or more. An indigo 
planter having a set of indigo vats to build, chooses black 
cypress for this purpose ; he calculates that his vats, al- 
though alternately exposed to wet and heat, will last thirtv 
years before they begin to decay at the grooves — after that. 
he or his sons, if he be dead, cut away the ends of the 
boards, and either reduce the size of the vats, or convert 
them into pannel-worked window-sashes. Rice planters 
universally prefer black cypress* for their rice field-trunks, 
which are exposed to the alternation of the tides. Yellow- 

* To the botanists, there is a curious lusiis natures allied to the 
•ypress, called cypress knees. It is an imperfect tree, wanting 1 leaves 
and branches. They are said to be excrescences from the roots of 
the tree, but all I have examined have perfect roots of their own. 



pine is thought quite inferior for this purpose. Finally y 
cypress boards and shingles command the highest price in 
market, and cypress boats are preferred both in fresh and 
salt water. Yet upon the spot where these things occur 
every day of our lives, we are told from Washington, that 
cypress is worth one slight experiment. It is ceded, that 
it is " well calculated for boats." Now, I ask, if in point 
of durability it be calculated for boats, why is it not for 
ships, supposing both to be exposed to sea air and water ? 
But lest it should be thought that I am interested in the 
matter, I can assure all who think it worth while to read 
my observations, that I own no cypress but the shingles ol 
my house. I wish only to contribute my mite of experi- 
ence where it might be of service to my country." 

While this astonishing reduction of expense in the erec- 
tion and armament of ships has been effected in at least, 
one navy yard, the annual expense of ships of war in com- 
mission, have also been surprizingly reduced. 

In this respect, as well as in the erection of ships, it is 
unnecessary to point out the specific objects in which re- 
trenchments have been made. Suffice it again to say, our 
country is year after year gradually increasing the most 
efficient defence of the Republic, and annually decreasing 
the National Debt. Yet Americans scarcely feel a mo- 
ment's gratitude towards the indefatigable Officers attached 
to the Navy Department, while Europeans contemplate 
this miracle in the Science and Art of Republican Govern- 
ment, with that wonder which is the effect of novelty upon 

While the writer of this imperfect sketch of the life of 
the patriotic, the gallant, the faithful, the venerable Mur 


,ay, rl.iiins for his memorj 1 1 1 * - unqualified reapei t ol his 
jurviving countrymen, h<' would presume to claim for the 
ent Secretary ofthe Navy/ and th< Pavy Comraia 
turners, then- full share of respect, as constituting the i en 
tceofthe American Naval System, around which all the 
primary and secondary agents revolve in the spheres de- 
signed for them. 

These claims however, are wholly unnecessary. The 
citizens of the Republic, from the hoarj headed statesmen 
down to the school-boy with his satchel, voluntarily pour 
forth the notes of applause in harmonious concord to the 
scientific and practical powers ofthe officers of the Navy 
Department, and to the gallautry and glory of the off 
and seamen of our justly renowned navy. 

The duties devolved upon Com. Murray from the time 
he was superseded in the command of the American squad- 
ron in the Mediterranean, to the day of his death, had but 
little of that imposing glare which draws forth the gust of 
applause from an admiring and an enraptured populace. 
He led the " noiseless tenor of his way" in discharging 
the more retiring, but yet no less important duties imposed 
upon him by his government in presiding at courts of en- 

* The Hon. Smith Thompson, formerly Chief Justice of tbcState 
of New York. I cannot forbear to extract into this note a part of a 
Letter from a Philadelphia Correspondent, as it goes to corroborate 
what I have ventured to incorporate in the preceding Sketch. I E< 
(Com. Murray) was slighted and disregarded by every succeeding 
Secretary of the Navy, until the appointment of Mr. Smith Thompson 
to that office, from whom he received the kindest attention and civili 
ly ; but he has notwithstanding (this slight and disregard,) been treat 
ed with the most polite and courteous attention by all our Presidents 
whom I presume did not think proper to interfere with the arrange- 
ments and appointment ofthe Navy Department. 1 ' 


quiry, courts martial, and in council with the officers of the 
Navy Department and of the navy. In the multifarious 
duties of the Senior Officer of the American Navy, he con- 
stantly called forth from the capacious storehouse of expe- 
rience, the maxims of matured judgment, sound science, 
and practical knowledge. 

But it was as Commandant of the Navy Yard, that the 
mild rays of his setting sun shone with a splendour, surpas- 
sed only by its meridian glory. He lived to enjoy the 
most satisfactory reward of an exalted mind — " The ap- 
probation of his country" at the closing scenes of his life. 

To a mere sordid heart, a Vote of Thanks, without a 
golden reward as an accompaniment, is looked upon as 
nothing superiour to a " sounding brass and a tinkling cym- 
bal." It was not so considered by the veteran Murray, 
when he received such a vote, but a few months before he 
closed his temporal career, couched in terms of unqualified 

Although less expressive, yet no less flattering were the 
numerous letters, of the most distinguished officers of the 
Republic, received from time to time by the Commodore 
in his declining years. 

Such cheering notes of commendation, emanating from 
those whose high deserts impart an inestimable value to 
praise, must have produced an exhilaration, in a heart 
which had beat near three score years and ten, and must 
have made it re-beat the animated throbs of meridian life. 

In a recent communication from the very obliging Sec- 
retary of the Navy, in answer to one soliciting information 
from him on various subjects connected with this publica- 
tion, he says — 

" The vote of thanks to the late Com. Murray, to which 


dfade did not emanate fr >m this I U partment ; though 
hi> character as an officer and gentleman, was held in the 
highest ( stimation ; and 1 ii ^ uniform discretion, fidelity and 
zeal for the public service, were always duly appreciated 
by the government," 

-• Fbrlunatu, s ," maj we well say of mis departed 
patriot and hero ; fortunate, almost beyond conception. 
when his declining years are contrasted with many of hi- 
eompatriots in the war of Independence. 

Says Gen. Washington, in his last letter to Gen. Putnam 
— " Ingratitude has been experienced in all ages, and Re- 
publics, in particular, have ever been famed for the ex- 
ercise of that unnatural and sordid vice." 

What a catalogue of names which might be ranked with 
the best Grecians in the best days of ancient renowned, 
and modern struggling Greece, whose declining years were 
embittered by the relentless grasp of indigence ; and with 
whom the meagre genius of poverty " Froze the genial 
current of the soul ;" and of whom might well be asked 
the torturing question put by the anonymous insurgent to 
the matchless officers of the Revolutionary army before 
they were disbanded : 

"Can you consent to be the only sufferers of this revo- 
lution, and, retiring from the field, grow old in poverty and 
wretchedness, and contempt ? Can you consent to wade 
through the vile mire of dependancy, and owe the misera- 
ble remnant of that life to charity which has hitherto 
been spent in honour ?"* 

Maj. Gen. Arthur St. Clair was not the only Hero of the 
Revolution who lived to witness the fulfilment of the muti 
nous prophecy. 

See Revolutionary PamphleU 


Admitting the Pension Law has recently, in a small de- 
gree, wiped off the stain of " avarice, that unnatural and 
sordid vice," the very terms upon which the small boon is 
obtained, are excessively humiliating to the high-minded 

With a just claim upon the government for a right, they 
are compelled in " forma paupe?is' > ' > to call God to witness 
that they are in the depths of bankruptcy, before they can 
obtain now what was the most meritorious due forty years 

Whether Com. Murray inherited a fortune from his sci- 
entific father, is unknown to the writer. But it is known, 
that from his exalted grandfather, the Chief of Elginshire, 
his descendants inherited nothing but his fame — a most in- 
valuable legacy. His estates were confiscated for his fidel- 
ity to the House of Stuart, by the rapacious Guelphs, to 
erect gibbets for the ancient heroes of Scotland, the des- 
cendants of Wallace and Bruce. 

Com. Murray had a fortune sufficiently independent to 
save him from dependance upon the treasures of the Repub- 
lic. God knows they are hardly sufficient to satisfy the 
retainers of government, who, like birds of prey, harpies, 
and devouring locusts, are perpetually preying upon a fund 
which is constantly diminishing, and augmenting the civil 
list of the Republic faster than did ever the same list in- 
crease in the profligate government of Britain.* 

* Lest this " bold assertion" should be deemed presumptuous, I will 
just state, that in 1790 the civil list was g 141, 492 72. In 1821, more 
than gl, 500,000. In 1790, the Departments of State, the Treasury, 
the Navy, and the Department of War, cost the Republic $16,750. 
In 1821, the expenditures of the same Departments were $51,500. 

Mark now. how a plain tale shall put you down." 


While such sterling men as Mexander Murraj wen ei 
riching the nation l»v economy and retren< bment, thousand! 
of officers, little better than sinecures, who would no -«><>n 
erthan tin- grave exclaim •• it ia enough, 91 were draining th< 
treasury <>l'ii> irerj dregs ; and wresting from the " mouth 
of labour" its merited reward. 

The command, " 'Thou shall not muzzle the mouth ol 
the ov that treadeth out the corn,' 5 seemed to be revoked, 
that drones might wallow in insolent wealth, and luxuriate 
in effeminate indulgence. 

The perpetual succession of these hungry swarms of 
■hunters, would remind one of Esop's fable of the fox 
and the llies, and of Tope's ideas of resuscitation. 

" All forms that perish, other forms supply, 
By turns they catch the vital breath and die, 
Like bubbles on the sea of matter borne, 
They rise, they break — and to that sea return. 7 ' 

Com. Murray, in the full possession of his mental and 
material faculties — in the active and vigilant discharge of 
his high trust upon earth, was summoned to his final audit 
in heaven, upon the Gth day of October 1821. 

Like a ' ; shock of corn fully ripe in its season," lie ap- 
peared before the Great Commander and Supreme Ar- 
chitect of the Universe to render an account of his ser- 
vices in that world, where man was destined to discharge 
his duty to man, and to prepare to meet a GOD in heaven. 

His life evinced that ib man was created little lower than 
the angels" — his death impressively taught, that " all flesh 
js as grass." 

As his life filled a capacious space, his death occasioned 
a vacancy, which may be tilled, but cannot be filled better. 

The deepened marks of sorrow that were depicted upon 


the countenances of the great and good men who viewed 
his sheeted manes, were a speechless eulogy from fixed 
eyes, and dumb mouths ; far more impressive than the 
sonorous exclamations of funereal eloquence. 

It would be useless to insert the order of the funeral 
procession at his interment. As he lived without ostenta- 
tion, he would, (could he have wished) have desired to be 
carried to his cemetery without imposing ceremony. 


Alexander Murray possessed the qualities of a vigor- 
ous, decided and energetic mind. He seemed to be design- 
ed by Heaven as a blessing to his country. 

Born at an era pregnant with the most important events 
of the eighteenth century, his life embraced near one half 
of it. It also embraced near one quarter of the nineteenth 
century, a period still more astonishing* 

Although he did not move in the highest sphere, he was 
ever in the midst of the ardent beings who approximated 
it. If he did not design vast operations, he was amongst 
the first active agents who insured their execution. 

He was born with an innate detestation of tyranny, and 
his arm was constantly nerved and raised against oppres- 
sors. He inherited from his progenitors, a high sense of 
Independence, and an invincible hostility against the an- 
cient enemy of the land of his ancestors in Europe, and 
the inveterate foes of that of his own birth in America. 
Hence when the potent arm of imperious Britain was lift- 
ed in wrath against her high-minded children in the New 
World, Murray, then in ardent youth, manfully espoused 
the cause of Freemen against tyrants-. 


He commenced his career ofglor) in tl 
ingtofy and followed the destiny oi Ibe Father oft! i 
lie, through the most desponding period of the Revolution. 

Without any respite, he repaired to his favourite ele- 
ment, to face in arms the vaunting " Queen of the Ocean.'' 
In numerous battles, and with various success, !. 
rated with the peerless " Naval Heroes of the American 
Revolution;" and desperate wounds received in furious 
contests furnished demonstrative evidence that he v. 
the post of duty and of danger. 

When Peace, crowned with Independence and glory, 
blessed the new-born, and first-born Republic, in the West- 
ern Hemisphere, the war-worn Murray became the unas- 
suming citizen. 

His native energy and decision of character, was exem- 
plified in the mild arts of peace, as signally as was his cour- 
age in the midst of war, carnage, bloodshed and death. 

When the house of Bourbon fell, and the French Repub- 
lic rose upon its ruins, like a Phoenix from embers — when, 
in her ravishing strides, she laid her rapacious hands upon 
American Commerce, Murray, with the high approbation 
of Washington and Adams, repaired again to the floating 
bulwarks of his country, and with the unrivalled ocean 
combatants in ocean warfare, afforded protection to Amer- 
icans, and spread dismay amongst lawless French marau- 

The objects of his government effected, and the naval 
ardor of his countrymen revived, the Post-Captain Murray 
again retired to the bosom of his admiring friends and ap- 
plauding countrymen. 

He was retained in the naval service of the Republic, and 

was one of the thirteen original Captains in the American 



Navy designed to keep alive the naval flame, and to avenge 
the injuries sustained by Americans upon every ocean and 
in every sea. 

When the detested disciples of the arch impostor Ma- 
homet, raised the blood-stained Crescent over the Star- 
spangled Banner of America — robbed her commerce, and 
enslaved her citizens, the sagacious and profound Jepfer- 
son selected the cool, experienced, and veteran Murray 
as the Commander in Chief of a little American squadron 
in the renowned Mediterranean. 

His character scarcely began to develope itself, as a 
Commander in Chief, before he was required to yield his 
command to a successor. In this capacity, he shewed that 
he possessed the courage of the champion, but he was per- 
mitted only to menace his foe at a distance, and defend 
himself when assailed. 

For the third time, he retired from the warring ocean as 
a distinguished ocean warrior. In three different wars, 
with three different powers, he had fought and fought val- 
iantly in thirteen battles, and the crimsoned current that 
copiously flowed from his mortal body, evinced the hero- 
ism of his immortal soul. 

When imperious Britain, a second time by her unhal- 
lowed aggressions, caused the second war between the 
American Republic and that haughty power, Murray's 
name stood at the head of the American Naval Register ? 
and his fame, without a blot, in the register of American 

The cautious and wary Madison, then, and the no less 
penetrating Monroe, afterwards, detained this experienced 
veteran in the home department, to digest and mature the 
system which has given imperishable glory to the Ameri- 


can navy, and almost absolute perfection to American na 
val architecture. 

Inline: this honoured Naval Hero and American Pat- 
riot, went forth, from grade to grade, spending his life and 
exhausting his bodily vigour, in the cause of our beloved 
Republic, which lie loved better than be loved himself. 

He lived well known, highly honoured, and invariably 
respected by Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Madison and 
Monroe, the five renowned Presidents of the only pure 
Republic on earth ; and of how many departed worthies 
can higher honours be told ? 

But, with all his justly merited honours, he shewed no 
ostentation. He was a dignified, genuine, Republican : 
who, although honoured by the great, was courteous to the 
*mall ; and " those who knew him best, loved him most 



Tune — " The sea was calm," &c\ 

I. Young Murray, brave, of noble mein 

Gave " strong assurance of the man," 
With Neptune's sons, was often seen, 
The ocean's vast expanse to scan. 

When eighteen years had mann'd his brow, 

A master on the deck he stood, 
Of merchant's ship, with lofty bow, 
A youth esteem'd both great and good, 

II. When first Americans arose, 

Against the hostile British foe. : 


Did valiant Murray, firm, espouse 
The purest cause of Man below. 

With young Monroe.* placed in command 

By WASHINGTON— both straight repair'd 
To join the fearless patriot band, 

Who, (dauntless,) haughty Britons dar'd. 

III. Next Murray on the deck was view'd, 

There pouring Freemen's thunders forth ; 
There spill'd his blood — but quick renew'd 
His vengeance 'gainst the fiends of wrath. 

From waves return'd with wounds and scars, 

He found the lov'd Republic Free ; 
He stood 'mongst men, like son of Mars, 
And Neptune's fav'rite from the sea. 

IV. ^iext, dauntless Murray wafted off, 

To meet the boasting Frenchmen's frown ; 
He gave broadsides, for Gallic scoff, 
And gain'd Columbia's tars renown. 
Once more return'd, he saw, with joy, 

His country rising high in Fame ; 
He found his name, by high employ, 
Inscrib'd upon the rolls of Fame. 

V. Again, in high and chief command, 

Murray, the Commodore, repair'd 
To that fam'd sea " midst famed land" 
Where Greece and Rome in glory shar'd. 
'Twas there the Crescent, quiv'ring, fled, 
When his proud banner waved high 

* Lieut. Monroe, (the President) fought with Lieut. Murray in the 
sanguinary battle at White Plains, before he took command at sea. 

COM. ALEX \M)i:i; Ml RR \\. 

On that proud Ship/ v. hi< I) « loth'd in dread 
Made Frenchmen — Britons, frightened, iJ v . 

VI. Once more tin- u Conq'ring Hero" cam( 

Murray, with deathless honours crown'd ; 
Was weh oro'd home, with loud acclaim, 
A " Naval Hero' 1 — high renown'd. 
There, by the great and L r <><><l rever'd, 

He liv'd admir'd, and died in Fame; 
A monument's already rear'd, 

In Patriots' hearts to Murray's name. 

While the preceding sketch was in preparation for the 
press, the disastrous intelligence was announced, that a fa- 
vourite son of commodore Murray fell a victim to the mal- 
ady which proved fatal to so many gallant spirits on board 
the well known Macedonian Frigate. 

She was well known to the gallant Carden. as a British 
ship, in which he lost more than eighty of a gallant crew 
when the matchless Decatur captured her. She was well 
known to the chivalrous hero, Jones, when he challenged 
the Statira, and when commanding her in the renowned 
squadron of Decatur in the Mediterranean, in 1815. She 
was well known, alas ! too well known, by the heroic, the 
accomplished Biddle, the younger, in the cruise which was 
terminated in 1822 ; and which terminated the lives of so 
many promising American officers and seamen. 

Alexander M. Murray was the son of the late Com. 
Alexander Murray. His excellent father educated him 

* The Constellation frigate ; in which Truxton captured the Le 
Insurgente, French frigate, aDd in which then C'apt. Alexander Mur- 
ray beatoflfby mistake, the Magnanimique, British line of battle ship 
in the naval warfare with the French Republic. 


with the view of making him an accomplished young offi- 
cer in the navy, of which he might himself be called a ven- 
erable father. 

His studies were principally directed to this primary ob- 
ject, although he became an early proficient in the liberal 

It would be superfluous to descant upon the inestimable 
value of early literary and scientific attainments to gentle- 
men of the Navy, from the lowest grade to the highest. 

Their duty often leads them to oral discussions, and 
written correspondence — to make official communications 
to their own government, and sometimes to the enemies of 
the Republic* 

* The following very recent specimen of a communication from the 
American " Senior Naval Officer of the U. States, in the West In- 
dies" once one of Com. Murray's midshipmen, shows that Capt. R< 
Treat Spence, although a warrior, can maintain the dignity of the 
Republic by his pen, as well as sustain its rights by his cannon. The 
" decree of Francis Thomas Morales," the gasconading representative 
of the puerile, weak, and vascillating Ferdinand VII. is known to 
the reader. Captain Spence's note to the " general in chief" does 
honor to him and his government. 

" Curacoa, 10th November, 1822. 
From the commander of the U. S. ship Cyane, and Senior Naval Offi- 
cer in the West Indies, to his excellency Francis Thomas Mo- 
Rales, General in Chief of the Spanish Royal Forces on the Main. 
Sir — I have been presented with your Excellency's public de- 
cree of the 15th of September last — a declaration of the most despotic 
and sanguinary nature, against all foreigners, whose love of glory, 
commercial pursuits and lawful occupations, may enlist in the service, 
or detain them in the territories possessed by the enemies of Spain, 
recognized by the U States as independent governments. 

A manifesto so extraordinary, so hostile to the rights of nations, so 
disparaging and prejudicial to the character of the era in which we 
live, cannot fail to excite astonishment, and to attract the attention of 


in the high honour and reputation of American N 
officers, their official accounts of enj , ■ ments, and othe 

.ill who wish (o 'preserve civilization from the encroachment! of bar 
barism, or have rights to protect from military misrule and in\ asion. 

As commander in chief of the royal forces ineffectually employed in 
\ enezuela, you are accountable to your king onlj for your pro 
ings against his subjects. Bui for acts of rapacity, cjueltj and oj 
pression, exercised against foreigners -for their illegal imprisonmenl 
- for their seizure and confiscation of their property— for tluir degra- 
dation under the aforesaid proclamation, you are answerable to th< 
world, because by such acts of hostility you wage an indiscriminate 
war against all governments, and by trampling on the sacred rights o* 
men, place at defiance nations, who hold the laws and Immune usage- 
of civilized society as rules of action. 

War, under the mildest aspect, is a calamity to be deplored; bul 
when to its inseparable horrors are superadded cruelties perpetrated 
without necessity, and men pursuing peaceable avocations are inclu 
ded in the most sanguinary proscriptions, without reference or re 
spect to the nation which owes them protection, it becomes a demoni- 
ac scourge, a hydra curse, which policy and humanity are equally in 
terested in arresting. 

Against such a course of violence as you have proclaimed to the 
world, in behalf of my countrymen I protest, and do hereby premonish 
your excellency not to enforce the penalty, punishment and ignominy, 
threatened in your manifesto against the citizens of the United States, 
who are at present, or may hereafter be found by your excellency, in 
the independent territories to which you refer, prosecuting their 
commercial concerns under the guarantee of laws and usages, which 
no Christian soldier, fighting either for glory, his monarch, or his 
country, can violate with impunity. The soldier, whose sword is 
stained with the blood of unoffending men, superfluously shed, wins 
not the wreath of the warrior, but the reputati >n of the recreant. 

The blockade declared by Gen. Mori 11 o, Lo which your excellency 
alludes, exists not, neither has it, at any anterior period been enforc- 
ed in conformity to rules prescribed by the accepted decisions of the 
highest authorities rendered valid by time and acquiscence. It there- 
fore has hitherto been a pretext for the interception of our lawful 
trade — for the seizure and deteutiou of our property, for the abuse and 


events in the Second Waf with Britain, acquired for them 
unqualified approbation from the enemy, and undissembled 
admiration from Americans. 

maltreatment of our mariners— for purposes of plunder and outrage-— 
all of which evils it has produced. 

For spoliations committed on the commerce of the United States, 
under the sanction of that paper interdiction, restitution will be re- 
quired— and to the dignity which characterizes the govenment of the 
republic is Spain indebted for that magnanimous forbearance from 
reprisal, justifiable on every principle of self preservation and defence- 

The citizens of the United States, from the peaceful and neutral 
course prescribed by their government, are justly entitled to the re- 
spect of the belligerent parties, and if their enterprize induces them to 
reap the advantages of a lawful trade within territories alternately in 
the occupancy of either, they are there as citizens of a truly neutral 
power— a power that has at no time afforded aid, or exercised influ 
ence of any kind in the present unhappy contest. 

Between the United States and the Sovereign of Spain there exists 
a treaty recently made, and consecrated by the most formal observ- 
ances, the acknowledged basis of which is good will, and a cordial 
spirit of conciliation. How then, in the face of this pledge and con' 
cord, do you sir, undertake to threaten with forfeitures and ignomini- 
ous penalties— with slavery and death — the citizens of a Republic who 
have a right to expect, under this token of friendship, safety and ex- 
emption from molestation. 

Wrongs and injuries that may accrue to citizens of the Union from 
your unlawful decrees, whether visited on their persons or property, 
will be numbered with the catalogue of outrages already sustained, 
and for which Spain must be answerable. Against all such wrongs 
and injuries I protest, and do hereby solemnly call upon your Excel- 
lency to abstain from the adoption of measures fraught with most evil 
consequences— measures coercing a spirit of retaliation and reaction, 
the end and issue of which may be conceived, foreseen and prevented 
by your Excellency. And I invite your Excellency, as a lover of the 
character and honor of Spain, of the amity and good faith so happily 
preserved between her and the Republic, to annul all such restrictions 
as lead to a violation of the laws of nations— as infringe the just rights 
of citizens of the United States— as deprives them of the benefits of 


I'll* ii' ii. -|w ini\ in d\ scribing, ivaa equal to their 

cool courage in achieving victories. Thej evince, thai 
ouv naval heroes can wield the pens of scholars, is well as 
the swords of champions. 

The rapt'. II \ increasing reputation of young midshipman 
A. M. Murray, was amongst the most cheering hop 
his venerable father in his declining years. 

II* looked upon his son Alexander, as the great friend 
of America, Edmund Burke, once looked upon his admired 
son Richard ; but, like Burke, he did not live to witness 
the death of a son, who the former hoped, would transmit 
his name to posterity 

Had young Murray died upon the deck of the Macedo- 
nian, as the lamented Allen lately fell, in chastising unhal- 
lowed pirates, in the region where the beloved midship- 
man languished, and died of a raging fever, it would have 
been no greater less to the Repubjic ; but, such is the ca- 
price of men, it might have been a theme of more glory to 
the memory of the accomplished young Murray. 

The following very recent extemporaneous effusion of 
Com. Porter, who was a warm friend of the late venerable 
Com. Murray — a patron of his lamented son, and who is 
the designed avenger of Lieut. Allen's murder, by Pirates, 
shows that he has a mind to express his indignation against 
the infernal enemies of man ; and that his arm is raised to 
avenge their audacious and sanguinary murders. 

" The cause we are engaged in is the most just and right- 
peace, tend to augment to an alarming amount the account which 
hereafter must inevitably be balanced between the two nations. 
1 have the honor to be, &c. 

Senior Naval officer of tbe U. States in the West Indie*., , 


eous, as we war against the enemies of mankind — monsters 
who disgrace human nature — we carry with us the best 
wishes, not only of our own country, but of the civilized 
world. And it is only necessary to pronounce one name 
to awaken our resentments, and inspire us with vengeance 
— a name distinguished in the annals of our country — a 
name synonymous with patriotism, courage and self devo- 
tion — The name of Allen. 

" Let then, " Remember Allen," be our watchword. If 
it is honorable in our country to be the first to take mea- 
sures to exterminate those enemies of the human race, it 
is no less so in us to be the instruments of its will — A mar- 
tyr was necessary to rouse its sleeping energies. The blood 
of Allen has sealed the pirates' doom — and humanity will 
shudder less at their punishment than at their crimes. 
Justice, demands it — and the world will approve it." 

Amongst the first acts of Com. Porter, after conducting 
his squadron to the West Indies, was the following impres- 
sive general order, to demonstrate the grief felt at the out- 
rageous murder of Lieut. Cooke. It shows that in the depth 
of sorrow he can, 

" Think as a sage, and feel like a man." 

The afflicting intelligence which has this day been re- 
ceived, relative to the death of that most excellent officer 
and man Lieut. William H. Cooke, by a shot fired from 
the castle at St. Johns, has filled us with the most lively 
sorrow and regret. Had he fallen in battle — had he died 
by the hands of declared enemies, our sorrow would be 
assuaged by the knowledge of his having died in the de- 
fence of the rights of his country, and while doing his duty 
as au officer. But to be thus cruelly torn from his family. 


.. friends, and from his country, l>\ the conduct of a das 
tard, (whose aim was rendered more sure bj his perfect 
safety, and b) the helpless condition of t lie* vessel of our 
lamented friend,) is heart-rending in the extr< 

But while we deprecate the act of the individual who 
committed it, we must not involve in it the conduct of the 
whole people. The Captain General of the Island has 
given the mo>t unequivocal proofs of the most sincere re- 
gret that the event has taken place; Every thing has been 
done by him that I could reasonably expect of him to do at 
present, to satisfy me of lus friendly disposition towards us, 
and as no act of ours can recall to life the estimable man 
who has been taken from us, we must leave what remains 
yet to be done to our country, whose demands will no doubt 
be prompt and effectual. All that remains for us to do is 
to grieve ; and as a slight token of what we feel, it is pro- 
posed to wear crape on our left arms, and on our swordi 
for one month. 

Signed D. PORTER. 

U. S. ship Peacock, 

March 10, 1823. 
A true copy from the General Order Book 

Captain to Squadron. 

The following is an extract from the Letter of Com. 
Porter, to the Governor of the island of Porto Rico, in re- 
gard to the murder of Lieut. Cooke. It contains u thoughts 
that breathe and words that burn." 

" Your excellency in conversation with the officer you 
wish to implicate, adverted to the affair of the Panchita as 
one of palliation for the offence, and there is too much 
reason to apprehend that the officer who gave the order to 


prevent the entrance of my squadron, as well as those who 
executed it, thought this a fair opportunity to retaliate. 
Otherwise why heat shot in the furnaces to destroy my 
squadron ? Why open two hatteries on the schooner, and 
why fire round shot and langrage, while the lamented vic- 
tim was hailing the fort, and why the remark of the man 
who pointed the gun, that, the shot was intended to avenge 
the Panchita ? 

" Your excellency will recollect that in the case of the 
Panchita, there was an equality of force. Such an occur- 
rence would not have taken place had there been as great a 
disparity as in the present instance. The cases are not 
therefore parallel, and if the satisfaction of retaliation was 
sought for, the offenders have failed in their object ; it is 
yet to be obtained. 

" I shall leave the Island to-morrow morning with a 
heavy heart, and shall without delay communicate to my 
government the melancholy result of my visit here, which 
was intended for the benefit of the civilized world in gene- 

Within eighteen years, the patriotic and ancient city of 
Philadelphia, has been called to deplore the loss of six 
brilliant ornaments of the ancient and modern navy of the 
Republic — Truxton, Murray the elder, Decatur the 
elder, his two noble sons, (" the property of our country") 
Stephen Decatur, and James B. Decatur, and Alexan- 
der M. Murray. 

Amidst the tears of grief for this " wide waste of great- 
ness," the 6miles of joy may be seen that this city still 
claims, as living citizens, Bainbridge and Biddle, and ma- 
ny other juniors of these exalted heroes ; the two first of 
whom, if possible, may add to their already gathered lau ■ 


and tin- others, yet unknown to fame, 

ll< .1 in it- temple* 
>m an obituary notic< . i taken the following 
imium upon the deceased father and son. Sp< aki 
complished, deceased, and lamented midshipman, it 
! --•• He was a son of* the late Com. Alexander Mui 
ind, from the high opinions entertained <»i | 
merit b) his commanding officers ; by bi- enterprising 
position, his gallant and generous feelings, ami above all, 
by his humane ami affectionate heart, he gave fairproi 
to prove to his country and kindred a worthy repre < 
tive of that venerable and highly valued officer." 

The author of the following pathetic and solemn etiii 
sion, occasioned by the death of midshipman A. M. Mui 
ray, will excuse the writer for adding it to the Sketch ofhh 
exalted lather's eventful life. 

No, he will not return — in a distant land. 

Far from home and from kindred they laid him ; 
And lonely and sad was the hour, when the hand 

Of his messmate, the last duties paid him. 
The wild burst of grief it is over, and now 

Fancy flies where the white surf is roaring ; 
And then, on the shore, 'neath the orange tree, bough 

Or, where the broad bananas are waving, 
They picture the spot where the brother and 

Has entered his last narrow dwelling, 
His course it was finished ; his race it was run : 

And sighs, murmuring sighs, they are swelb. 
For he will not return — and in this vale of woe, 

Why! why! should'st thou e'er wish to greet hii 
No, haste on thy journey — to Him thou shalt go. 
And where joy reigns forever shall meet him. 


But he will not return ! CansH thou wish his return 
To this region of darkness and sorrow ? 

No ! haste on thy journey ; thou shalt pass from this 
And rise on that glorious morrow, 

Where friends meet him again — never, never to part ; 
"Where hope is all lost in enjoyment; 

And to praise the Redeemer, of each grateful heart 
Is the soul's everlasting employment. 

While Americans may justly feel proud of their naval 
glory, from the revolution to near the close of the first 
quarter of the nineteenth century — while as freemen 
they exult in our unsurpassed achievements, and as moral- 
ists rejoice that our navy has never been stained by un- 
hallowed aggressions against feeble powers, but has saved 
Christians of many different nations from the accumulated 
horrors and hopeless misery of Turkish bondage, as well 
as the citizens of the American Republic from the same 
state of suffering, gloom, and despair — while with proud 
satisfaction we can reflect that no public ship of the king- 
doms of Britain, France, or Spain, dare point a hostile gun 
against American commerce or American citizens — while 
with mingled sentiments of approbation and indignation we 
behold our dignified government assuming a vindictive at- 
titude against the buccaniers and pirates of the islands of 
America — in the very depths of sorrow are we compelled 
to utter forth the moans of anguish that the fearless " Naval 
Heroes of the Revolution" have almost all "gone to their 
long home, and the mourners go about the streets" — and 
that during the year just closed, (182-2) full one eighth of 
the gallant, accomplished, patriotic, and matchless officers 
of the present navy of the Republic, by death or retire- 


men! have been Bnatched from the service, and arc ten- 
ants <>f the tomb, the mansion, or (Ik- cottage. Those high 

minded men whose motto was 

• Vlnus ibunt, <|iii ad summa oituntur" 
arc now either in the congregation of the dead, or in the 
promiscuous mass of the living. 

But with a Roman civilian, let Americans exclaim, ''Nev- 
er despair of the Commonwealth* 1 — let our surviving and 
remaining ollicers and seamen say, with the departed Law- 
rence, " Never give up the ship" — and let all, in the lan- 
guage of a favourite* of Washington, — " Thank God that 
we have constantly witnessed his protecting care of our he- 
loved country ; that we have seen the tree of Liberty, the 
emblem our Independence and Union, while it was a re- 
cumbent plant, fostered by vigilance, defended by toil, and 
not unfrequently watered with tears — and that, by his fa- 
vour, we now behold it in the vigour of youthful maturity, 
standing protected from violation, by the sound heads, 
glowing hearts and strong arms of a new generation, eleva- 
ting its majestic trunk towards heaven, striking its strong 
roots in every direction through our soil, and expanding 
its luxuriant branches over a powerful, united and prosper- 
ous nation." 

* Oliver Wolcott, Govemour of Connecticut, (1823) on<~ - 
rv of the Trcasurv, and successor to Alexander Hamilton 


As James Monroe was the revolutionary comrade of 
Alexander TV 1 1 rray, and his unvarying friend to the day 
of Ins death, the following hasty sketch of that great m \\ 
is attempted with deep solicitude, and inserted here with a 
diffidence which cannot be expressed. — 






James Monroe was born upon the soil which his ances 
tors acquired in the early settlements of Virginia. It was 
his beneficent destiny to have been born in the midst of 
great men ; and to have had the examples of the great, con- 
stantly within his aspiring view. That human pre-emin- 
ence, which, to human beings at a distance, assumes an in- 
accessible elevation, became familiar with him by being in 
contact with it, and almost imperceptibly rising as that as- 

His was not a sudden flight from humble mediocrity to 
unrivalled eminence — but a regular gradation from minor 
stations, to the most elevated post occupied by living man. 

In youth, he passed through the discipline of the schools, 
and acquired the honours of an academician. No sooner 
was he invested with these distinctions, than he assumed 
those of a character totally diverse — the insignia of a war- 


358 \PPENDIX. 

Asa youug subaltern, he first faced the implacable foe of' 
the rising Republic, at the Heights of Haerlem. At White 
Plains he met the same foe, clad in American armour. 

At seventeen, when even hoary-headed veterans were 
desponding, and hoary-headed, and iron-hearted tories 
were exulting over the desperate emergencies of the strug- 
ling colonies, the lieutenant remained true to Washington. 
to America and to Independence. 

At Trenton, in the midst of the warring elements, and 
the warring danger between Freemen and vassals, and at 
the moment of victory, he was prostrated by a wound, all 
but mortal. He survived — not to shew his shattered limb, 
or boast of a desperate wound, but to follow, to face and to 
fight the enemy, until they yielded, or until he fell. 

As Aid-de-Camp to a superior officer, he fought in the 
sanguinary battles of Brandywine, Germantown and Mon- 
mouth. He entered the army of the Revolution as Lieu- 
tenant—he left it a Colonel — and left it with the unquali- 
fied approbation of his comrades and of Washington, the 
Father of his Country. 

With a man who united in himself the qualities of a great 
jurist, a profound statesman and a sound philosopher. 
Thomas Jefferson, he studied the science of law — the 
science of government, and the science of human nature. 
Deeply versed in them all, he commenced his civil, legis- 
lative, and diplomatic career ; or rather he was propelled 
into these various and responsible situations, by the unsoli- 
cited suffrages of his discerning countrymen. 

The motto that has governed his whole conduct, in eve- 
ry public station is found in his own official language — 
u From a just responsibility I shall never shrink.'* 


At iii< age ol twenty-thn e ycai be wu 
the highest branch of the legislature <>f \ii^iih.i. 
At t w<nt y-('oiir . he was elected a member <>f the mosl 

.iinil t>M(|\ of men i • ened in the \\ est< i n H 

isphere, and who had to discharge the most importanl and 
solemn dut) ever devolved upon an human tribunal. it 
to less tli. in to govern three millions of high-minded 
people, in whom was awakened the Blumb< 
Freedom which once glowed in the bosoms of Saxon Free- 
men in England. They were always English Freemen in 
America — they had now become Independent American-. 

They had dauntlessly hurled the gauntlet of defian< 
the most potent empire on earth, and had tore asunder 
the ligament that bound them to it. Mr. Mo 
fought with them as a soldier — he had legislated with them 
is civilians — he knew them theoretically and practically. 
Although the youngest member of that august body, and 
although he had acquired by intuition, the maturity of age 
and the wisdom of experience, he was still " Vvt sapientia 
studlosus.' ) ' , 

The course he pursued, pointed him out to the venera- 
ble, and gigantic statesmen of that unequalled assembly, as 
one of the rising hopes of the rising Republic. When, by 
the cautious limitation of civil power, he could no longer 
retain a seat in that body, he left it with the approbation of 

He retired to the bosom of his native state, and found, in 
every citizen a warm friend. He was elected a member 
of the Virginia Convention, which was amongst the first tc 
adopt the American Constitution. The year after its 
adoption. ;d the age of thirty-one. he was elected to the 


highest legislative branch of the government of the Ameri- 
can Republic. 

The first Congress, by this master compact of human wis- 
dom, first found itself in the possession of efficient power. 
Mr. Monroe, as a Senator, was aware that he was invested 
with power, and that that power must be exercised con- 
sistently with the civil, moral, religious, and political rights 
of American Freemen. 

It was in the Senate that the vast and comprehensive 
views of this Statesman were developed. The natural and 
geographical divisions of our vast Republic, vanished from 
his view. His mental grasp embraced the whole region 
from the Atlantic to the Mississippi — from the Canadas to 
the Mexican Gulph. He never could be brought to com- 
promit the rights and privileges of one section of the Re- 
public for the benefit of another. He had been in the 
Senate four years. He had been in the councils of Wash- 
ington during that period, as he had been in his army dur- 
ing the War of the Revolution. His cool, collected, and 
regulated courage in the field, was equalled by his judg- 
ment, penetration and prescience in the Cabinet. He was 
an efficient actor in the establishment of the Judiciary and 
Financial System ; and aided essentially in organizing the 
Departments of State, the Treasury, the Army and the Na- 
vy. He was there the man of business and the practical 

If he was not one of those splendid luminaries that blind 
the beholders by excess of light, he tvas a mild and shining 
lamp, that guided the doubting, hesitating, and fearful, in 
the safe path of statistical experience. In the midst of the 
difficulties which encompassed the American Statesman 
who put the intricate machine of a Republic's government 


into operation, Mr. Monroe was designated bj V 

td till a Btation -till more difficult- o station upon 
v\ hich " -i';t<l<>\\ •- clouds and darkness rested." 

!!«• was appointed Ambassador to 1 1 »< ■ French Republic. 
Twenty-five millions of Frenchmen had disenthralled and 
emancipated themselves from a monarchical despotism 
an e< < U siastical tyranny, which had chained them to ira 
salage for thirteen centuries. 

It was not like the American Revolution, in which Mr. 
Monroe acted a conspicuous part — an unequalled design, 
effected bj unparalleled measures — it was a sudden convul- 
sion, .and revulsion, that transcended, and prostrated the 
whole system of ordinal) human operations. It showed 
that the modern Gauls knew no medium between absolute 
destruction, and systematic reformation. It was like the 
suppressed lire of a volcanic mountain, gathering strength 
by suppression and evincing its latent power by a devasta- 
ting and irresistable eruption. 

In the midst of this combustion, Mr. Monroe appeared 
in the metropolis of the then French Republic, (the ally of 
America in the War of the Revolution) as the mild and dig- 
nified representative, of a mild, dignified, and rising Repub- 
lic in the New World. 

lii^ post was a post of duty and of danger. The una- 
dorned majesty of his character, shone with a lustre, which, 
while it conciliated the ardent leaders of the French Revo- 
lutionist-, maintained, unimpaired, the exalted administra- 
tion of the exalted Washingron. 

Recalled to the Cabinet of the American Republic. In 
evinced to his government that in the land of Fayette, 
Rochambeau, and Mirabeau, and in the midst of the 
Robespierres, Mar at s. and Dantons, of the. French Revolu- 


tion, he was still the cool, the firm, the unshaken, American 
Republican. The sentence of Washington, at this por- 
tentous period, is the best eulogy — " I believe James Mon- 
roe to be an honest man." 

The citizens of his native state, also the native state of 
Washington, Jefferson, Madison and Henry, deeply 
penetrated with, and fully conscious of his worth, placed 
him in the gubernatorial chair of Virginia, from which, after 
the expiration of the constitutional term, he carried an 
unanimous vote of thanks, for the faithful, dignified, and 
impartial manner in which he had discharged the duties of 
Chief Magistrate. 

Retiring from the perpetual excitement and solicitude of 
public life, Mr. Monroe had scarcely began to enjoy the 
sweets of repose, before Mr. Jeffrson, at the head of the 
Republic, designated him to assert and maintain the rights 
of America, before the Court of France. 

The native expanse of his views, continued to expand 
with his expanding country. He viewed the waters of the 
Mississippi, and the Missouri, as of little less importance to 
his country than those of the Atlantic ; and the immense 
region of Louisiana a wild territory at the West, of a future 
value approximating to the invaluable worth of the cultiva- 
ted region at the East. 

His masterly penetration, as a diplomatist, secured them 
both for the Republic. 

Devoted to his country from innate and acquired princi- 
ple, and clothed with its authority, he repaired to the vas- 
cillating court of Spain, and left it as he found it, the 
sink of intrigue and corruption. 

From thence he passed to the court of Britain. He there 


round himself, Burrounded bj the imperious ministen 
the mosj potent nv:il <>l the American Republic. 

Serene, unmoved, and perfect master of himself, and of 
bis business, be effected what then could be effected l>\ n< - 
gotiation- -returned home, and left the event with hie i ouni 

The opinion formed of his services abroad, was eviden- 
ced by pla< ing him again in the office of Chief Magistrate 
of Virginia. 

But his character had become identified with the rights 
the glory and the dignity of the whole Republic ; and M to 
he successor of Jefferson, called him to fill the all- 
important Department oftState. 

In this station the Scholar, the Patriot, and the States- 
man shone conspicuously, and perspicuously, in James 
Monroe. No British subtilty could enthrall — no vapid 
promises allure — no menacing tone could deter the Secre- 

The tirm language of remonstrance gave place to the 
sonorous notes of war ; and the insulted country was man- 
fully told that protracted negotiation was ended by an ap 
peal to arms. 

Mr. Monroe, during the two first compaigns of the se- 
cond war with Britain, sustained the dignity of the State 
Department, and, amidst the accumulated horrors of Van- 
dal invasion, and Gothic devastation, was called also to 
head the Department of War. 

Upon one day he had to act a significant part in the Ca- 
binet — upon another to give official direction to the thun 
ders of Pittsburgh, the Canadian Peninsula, and New- 

Upon the return of an honourable peace, after a glori- 


ous war, upon the land and on the ocean, the Secretary ot 
State and of War enjoyed a temporary repose from the tur- 
moil and agitation, of a vast accumulation of official duty. 
, The highest honour which man can claim in the nine- 
teenth century, now awaited the acceptance of James Mon- 

He had been virtually elected the Fifth President of the 

American Republic, by the spontaneous voice of the Amer- 
ican People ; and needed only the Constitutional Formu- 
lae to inaugurate him into that station — above all other 
temporal elevation — the Chief Ruler of the only genuine 
Republic on earth ; and made such by the election of ten 
millions of the freest, happiest, .and most intelligent peo- 
ple in the world. 

The most impassioned language of eulogy would lag far 
behind reality, in speaking of his administration. It is 
found in the increasing happiness ; the augmenting wealth ; 
the moral and intellectual energy ; the rising glory, and 
impregnable defence of the great nation over which he 

This feeble sketch of the Character and Public Services 
of James Monroe will be closed by a sketch still more im- 
perfect, of his person. 

He is a very little above the middle height of Americans, 
in his stature. Although he does not possess a robust 
frame, his presence would evince, to a close observer, that 
he was a man of very considerable muscular power. 

There is not the least appearance of lassitude in his per- 
son ; but it exhibits a natural compactness, increased by 
bodily activity and vigorous exertion. 

In the expression of his countenance, there is nothing 
that would attract attention, were it not for the character 
he has acquired, and the sphere in which he moves. 


lie seems to be a perfect novice in the art of ' for emu in- 
to his (ace, oceular evidence of deep thought, wonderful 
acuteness, m the lineaments of wisdom ; and the phisiog* 
nomist would despair of gathering (he qualities ol his mind, 
from exterior indices. Nor would the crcmiologiri six 
any belter; for Ins head, like Ins (ace, in i(s exterior, is 
not striking!) different from other men's ; and as lie is sixty- 
three years of age, it dees not exhibit more of the ravages 
oftime than usually falls to the human lot. 

When silent, his countenance indicates something like 
forbidding austerity ; but in familiar conversation, and 
when reciprocating civilities, it is often lighted up with a 
smile, beaming with benignity and benevolence. 

When disengaged from official duties, his deportment is 
easy, unaffected, and unassuming. The disciples of Stan- 
hope, although they would discover in the President a suf- 
ficiency of " modest assurance," they would look in vain 
for that artificial " suavity of manners" so captivating with 
superficial courtiers. 

His manners are those of a plain, dignified gentleman. 
The graces, at his command, seem to have volunteered 
their services, conscious that into his service they never 
would have been impressed. His courtesies proceed from 
his native benignity, and his artless display of them would 
suffuse the cheek of affectation with the blush of shame. 

If the President Ijas any affectation, it is in his dress ; 
which though neat and rich, is so exceedingly plain, that, 
in a promiscuous assemblage, he could with difficulty be 

In his different Tours* through our vast Republic, for 

* The following elegant extract is from an address delivered to 
Mr. Monroe upon reaching the borders of the State of Maine in 1817. 



eigners, and those who ape the wardrobe of foreigners* 
wondered where he was ; and, when they saw him, won- 
dered ! ! 

Such, imperfectly drawn, is the person, the deportment, 
and appearance of the man, whose character is known in 
the two hemispheres — duly appreciated in the East — ad- 
mired, respected, and venerated in the West. 

If he survives his Presidential Dignities, and, like his 
great predecessors, Washington, Adams, Jefferson and 
Madison, seeks repose in retirement* — there, when ap- 
pearing in native, unadorned majesty — " Nature may stand 
up to all the world, and claim him as her own." From 
this " private station," which to him will be " the post of 
honour," he may in retrospect, (retiring into himself) con- 
template upon a Life devoted to the great cause of the 

The Committee who offered it consisted of the present Gov. Parris, 
Hon. John Holmes, and W. P. Preble, (son of Com. Preble:) 

" This journey, like the journey of your life, is commenced and pur- 
sued for the public good. Like that, its fatigues have been endured 
with patience, its obstacles overcome with perseverance, its storms 
encountered with firmness, and its refreshing sunshines relished with 
equanimity and gratitude. In each, as you have advanced, you have 
acquired additional honour, reverence, and love. In your future pro- 
gress in both, may your health be preserved, your country's prosperi- 
ty and glory secured ; and the affections, confidence, and union of the 
people increased and confirmed. And when these respective journies 
shall be ended, and you shall return home, may you at the close of 
the one, be received in health and happiness to the embraces of an af- 
fectionate family, and of the other, to the favour and fruition of Him. 
who will never fail to reward the great and the good." 

* " It has ever been my proudest ambition from early youth to serve 
my country, in such offices as my fellow. citizens have thought fit to 
confide to me. It will be my most consoling reward, when I retire 
from public life, to find, that my conduct has been such as to merit 
and obtain their approbation." Tour of Monroe, p. 198, 3d edition- 


Great Republic— upon the honour- conferred upon him 
in his country— and patientlj wail for thai Older of his 
Supreme Commander, which will remove him from his 
temporal to his eternal honours. 

The following " Familiar Letters," and opinions of the 
Second and Third Presidents of the American Re- 
PUBLic, both of whom were (he warm friends of Com. 
Murray, are annexed with undissembled delight. 

The language of these " venerable octogenarians," the 
one labouring under years near half in number of those of 
Civilized New England, and the other of an age more than 
one third of that which is sometimes called the " Ancient 
Dominion" of the Republic, ought to be treasured up by 
the rising generation of American Patriots, with as much 
avidity, as were the " more last words," of an eminent di- 
vine in the 17th century, by the devotional professors of 

These " last words" of Adams and Jefferson, are al- 
most like a " voice from the tomb," uttered by dead wor- 
thies, to their surviving posterity. " Fortunatus Senex .'" 
may Americans exclaim to each of these venerated Pat- 
riots, Scholars, and Statesmen, You have lived for the Re- 
public, and in the remembrance of that Republic you will 
never die. The motto of these great men may well be— 

" After my death, 1 wish no other herald, 
No other speaker of my living actions, 
To keep mine honour from corruption, 
But such an honest chronicler as Griffith." 

This letter may be said to be " multum in parvo." This 
Doctor of Laws probes the wounds of the colonies to the 
bottom ; as a Doctor of Medicine searches the remote 
cause of the disease of his patient. He does not try to 


remove the eruption upon the surface, but endeavours t* 
extirpate the impurities of the blood which occasion it. 
It proves, in few words, the truth of Mr. Jefferson's re- 
marks regarding Mr. Adams. " No one is better calcula- 
ted than he, to give to the reader a correct impression of 
the earlier part of the contest." [The War of the Revo- 

quincy, Feb. 13, 1818. 

Mr. Niles — The American Revolution was not a com- 
mon event. Its effects and consequences have already 
been awful over a great part of the globe. And when and 
where are they to cease ? 

But what do we mean by the American Revolution ? 
Do we mean the American War ? The Revolution was 
effected before the War commenced. The Revolution 
was in the minds and hearts of the people. A change in 
their religious sentiments, of their duties and obligations. 
While the king, and all in authority under him, were be- 
lieved to govern in justice and mercy according to the 
laws and constitution derived to them from the God of na- 
ture, and transmitted to them by their ancestors — they 
thought themselves bound to pray for the king and queen 
and all the royal family, and all in authority, under them ; 
as ministers ordained of God for their good. But when 
they saw those powers renouncing all the principles of au- 
thority, and bent upon the destruction of all the securities 
of their lives, liberties and properties, they thought it their 
duty to pray for the Continental Congress and all the thir- 
teen state congresses, &c. 

There might be, and there were others, who thoughtless 
about religion and conscience, but had certain habitual 
sentiments of allegiance and loyalty derived from their ed- 


ucation; but believing allegiance and protection to Ik re 
ciprocal, when protection was withdrawn, the j thought al- 
legiance an as diss oh i d< 

Another alteration was common to all. The peoi I 
America had been educated in an habitual affection for 
England as their mother country ; and while they thought 
her a kind and tender parent, (erroneously enough, how- 
ever, for she never was such a mother) no affection could 
be more sincere. But when they found her a cruel Bel- 
dam, willing like lady Macbeth, to " dash their brains out," 
jt is no wonder if their filial affections ceased and were 
changed into indignation and horror. 

This radical change in the principles, opinions, sentiments 
and affections of the people, was the real American revolution. 

By what means, this great and important alteration in 
the religious, moral, political and social character of the 
people of thirteen colonies, all distinct, unconnected and 
independent of each other, was begun, pursued and accom- 
plished, it is, surely interesting to humanity to investigate? 
and perpetuate to posterity. 

The colonies had grown up under constitutions of gov- 
ernment so different, there was so great a variety of reli- 
gions, they were composed of so many different nations, 
their customs, manners and habits had so little resemblance, 
and their intercoorse had been so rare and their knowledge 
of each other so imperfect, that to unite them in the same 
principles of theory and the same system of action, was 
certainly a very difficult enterprize. The complete ac- 
complishment of it, in so short a time and by such simple 
means, was perhaps a singular example in the history of 
mankind. Thirteen clocks were made to strike together ; 
a perfection of machinery which no artist had ever before 


In this research, the glorioroles of individual gentlemen 
and of separate states is of little consequence. The means 
and the measures are the proper objects of investigation. 
These may be of use to posterity, not only in this nation, 
but in South-America and all other countries. They may 
teach mankind that revolutions are not trifles ; that they 
ought never to be undertaken rashly ; nor without deliber- 
ate consideration and sober reflection ; nor without a solid, 
immutable, eternal foundation of justice and humanity ; 
nor without a people possessed of intelligence, fortitude 
and integrity sufficient to carry them with steadiness, pa- 
tience, and perseverance, through all the vicissitudes of 
fortune, the fiery trials and melancholy disasters they may 
have to encounter. 

The town of Boston early instituted an annual oration 
of the fourth of July, in commemoration of the principles 
and feelings which contributed to produce the revolution. 
Many of those orations I have heard, and all that I could 
obtain I have read. Much ingenuity and eloquence ap- 
pears upon every subject, except those principles and 
feelings. That of my honest and amiable neighbour, Josi- 
ah Quincy, appeared to me the most directly to the pur- 
pose of the institution. Those principles and feelings 
ought to be traced back for two hundred years, and sought 
in the history of the country from the first plantations in 
America. Nor should the feelings of the English and 
Scots towards the colonies, through that whole period ever 
be forgotten. The perpetual discordance between British 
principles and feelings and of those of America, the next 
year after the suppression of the French power in Ameri- 
ca, came to a crisis, and produced an explosion. 

It was not till after the annihilation of the French do- 


minion in America, that any British ministry ha<l dared to 
gratify their own wishes, and the desire of the nation, b; 
projecting a formal plan for raising a national revenue from 
America, f>\ parliamentary taxation. Th»- first great man- 
ifestation of this design was bj the order to can*) into Btri< I 
executions those acts ofparliament which were well known 
by the appellation of the acts of trade, winch bad lain a 
dead letter, for more than half a century, and some of th» in 
1 Relieve, for nearly a whole our. 

This produced in 1760 and 17G1, an awakening and a 
revival of American principles and feelings, with an enthu- 
siasm which went on increasing, till in 1775, it burst out in 
open violence, hostility and fury. 

The characters the most conspicuous, the most ardent 
and influential in this revival, from 1 7G0 to 176G, were — 
first and foremost, before all and above all, James Otis ;* 
next to him was Oxenbridge Thatcher; next to him 
Samuel Adams ; next to him, John Hancock ; then Dr. 
Mayhev/, then Dr. Cooper and his brother. Of Mr. Han- 
cock's life, character, generous nature, great and disinter- 
ested sacrifices, and important services, if I had forces, i 
should be glad to write a volume. But this I hope will be 
done by some younger and abler hand. Mr. Thatcher, 
because his name and merits are less known, must not be 
wholly omitted. This gentleman was an excellent barris- 
ter at law, in as large practice as any one in Boston. There 
was not a citizen of that town more universally beloved 
for his learning, ingenuity, every domestic and social vir- 

♦Tudor's life of James Otis may well occupy the same bureau as 
Wirt's Life of Patrick Henry. The ancient dominion of Massachu- 
setts has found an advocate, as well as the ancient dominion of Vir- 


tue, and conscientious conduct in every relation of life. 
His patriotism was as ardent as his progenitors had been 
ancient and illustrious in this country. Hutchinson often 
said that « Thatcher was not born a plebeian, but he was 
determined to die one." In May, 1763, I believe he was 
chosen by the town of Boston one of their representatives 
in the legislature, a colleague with Mr. Otis, who had been 
a member from May 1761, and he continued to be re-elec- 
ted annually till his death in 1765, when Mr. Samuel 
Adams was elected to fill his place, in the absence of Mr. 
Otis, then attending the congress at New-York. Thatcher 
had long been jealous of the unbounded ambition of Mr. 
Hutchinson, but when he found him not content with the 
office of Lieutenant-Governor, the command of the castle 
and its emoluments, of judge of probate for the county of 
Suffolk, a seat in his majesty's council in the legislature, 
his brother-in-law secretary of state by the king's commis- 
sion, a brother of that secretary of State, a judge of the 
Supreme Court, and a member of council, now in 1760 and 
1761, soliciting and accepting the office of chief justice of 
the superier court of judicature, he concluded, as Mr. Otis 
did, and as every other enlightened friend of his country 
did, that he sought that office with the determined purpose 
of determining all causes in favour of the ministry at St, 
James's and their servile parliament. 

His indignation against him henceforward, to 1765, when 
he died, knew no bounds but truth. I speak from personal 
knowledge. — For, from 1758 to 1765, I attended every 
superior and inferior court in Boston, and recollect not one 
in which he did not invite me home to spend evenings with 
him, when he made me converse with him as well as I 
' v ould, on all subjects of religion, morals, law, politics, his- 


philosophy, belles lettres, theology, mytholog 
gany, metaphysics.— Locke, Clark, Leibwite, Bohngb* 

kley, — the pre-established barmonj of the universe, 
the nature of matter and of r-pi rit, and the eternal estab- 
lishment of coincidences between their operations, late. 
foreknowledge, absolute — and we reasoned on such un- 
fathomable subject as iii^h as Milton's gentry in pande- 
monium ; and we understood them as well as they did, and 
no better. — To such mighty mysteries he added the news 
of the day, and the tittle-tattle of the town. But his fa- 
vorite subject was politics, and the impending threatening 
system of parliamentary taxation and universal government 
over the colonies. On this subject he was so anxious and 
agitated that I have no doubt it occasioned his premature 
death. From the time when he argued the question of 
writs of assistance to his death, he considered the king, 
ministry, parliament and nation of Great-Britain as deter- 
mined to new model the colonies from the foundation ; to 
annul all their charters, to constitute them ail royal gov- 
ernments ; to raise a revenue in America by parliamentary 
taxation ; to apply that revenue to pay the salaries of gov- 
ernors, judges and all other crown officers ; and, after alt 
this, to raise as large a revenue as they pleased, to be ap- 
plied to national purposes at the exchequer in England ; 
and further to establish bishops and the whole system of the 
church of England, tythes and all, throughout all British 
America. This system, he said, if it was suffered to pre- 
vail would extinguish the flame of liberty all over the 
world ; that America would be employed as an engine to 
batter down all the miserable remains of liberty in Great- 
Britain and Ireland, where only any semblance of it was 

left in the world. To this system he considered Hutchin- 



son, the Olivers' and all their connections, dependants, ad~ 
herents, shoe-lickers— as entirely devoted. He asserted 
that they were all engaged with all the crown officers in 
America and the understrappers of the ministry in England, 
in a deep and treasonable conspiracy to betray the liberties 
of their country, for their own private personal and family 
aggrandizement. His phillippicks against the unprincipled 
ambition and avarice of all of them, but especially of 
Hutchinson, were unbridled ; not only in private, confiden- 
tial conversations, but in all companies and on all occasions. 
He gave Hutchinson the sobriquet of " Summa Protestatis," 
and rarely mentioned him but by the name of " Summa." 
His liberties of speech wer^ no secrets to his enemies. I 
have sometimes wondered that they did not throw him over 
the bar, as they did soon afterwards major Hawley. For 
they hated him worse than they did James Otis, or Samuel 
Adams, and they feared him more — because they had no 
revenge for a father's disappointment of a seat on the supe- 
rior bench to impute to him as they did to Otis ; and 
Thatcher's character through life had been so modest, de- 
cent, unassuming — his morals so pure, and his religion so 
venerated, that they dared not attack him. In his office 
were educated to the bar, two eminent characters, the late 
judge Lowell, and Josiah Quincy, aptly called the Boston 

Mr. Thatcher's frame was slender, his constitution deli- 
cate ; whether his physicians overstrained his vessels with 
mercury, when he had the small pox by inoculation at the 
castle, or whether he was overplyed by public anxieties 
and exertions, the small pox left him in a decline from which 
he never recovered. Not long before his death he sent for 
me to commit to my care some of his business at the bar. 


(asked him whether he had seen the Virginia resolv< 
" O yes — they are men! they are noble spirits ! It kilU 
me to think of the lethargy and stupidity tlinf prevail h 
I longto be out. I will go out. I will g<> out. I will go 
into court, and make a spe< i h \\ hich shall be read after mj 
death as m) dying testimony against this infernal tyrann) 
which the} are bringingupon us." Seeing the viol< nt 
tation into winch it threw him, I changed tin subject as soon 
as possible, and retired. Had he been confined for some 
time. Had he been abroad among the people, he would 
not have complained so pathetically of the " lethargy and 
stupidity that prevailed," for town and country were all 
alive ; and in August became active enough, and some of 
the people proceeded to unwarrantable excesses, which 
were more lamented by the patriots than their enemies. — 
Mr. Thatcher soon died, deeply lamented by all the friends 
of their country. 

Another gentleman who had great influence in the com- 
mencement of the revolution, was Dr. Jonathan Mayhew, 
a descendant of the ancient governor of Martha's Vineyard. 
This divine had raised a great reputation both in Europe 
and America, by the publication of a volume of seven ser- 
mons in the reign of king George the second, 1749, and by 
many other writings, particularly a sermon in 1750, on the 
thirtieth of January, on the subject of passive obedience 
and non-resistance ; in which the saintship and martyrdom 
of king Charles the first are considered, seasoned with wit 
and satire superior to any in Swift and Franklin. It was 
read by every body ; celebrated by friends and abused by 
enemies. — During the reigns of king George the first and 
king George the second, the reigns of the Stuarts, the two 
Jameses and the two Charleses, were in general disgrace 


in England. In America they had always been held in ab- 
horrence. — The persecutions and cruelties suffered by their 
ancestors under those reigns had been transmitted by his- 
tory and tradition, and Mayhew seemed to be raised up to 
revive all their animosities against tyranny, in church and 
state, and at the same time to destroy their bigotry, fanati- 
cism and inconsistency. David Hume's plausible, elegant, 
fascinating and fallacious apology, in which he varnished 
over the crimes of the btuarts, had not then appeared. To 
draw the character of Mayhew would be to transcribe a 
dozen volumes. This transcendant genius threw all the 
weight of his great fame into the scale of his country in 
1751, and maintained it there with zeal and ardour till his 
death in 1 76G. In 1 763 appeared the controversy between 
him and Mr. Apthorp, Mr. Caner, Dr. Johnson and Arch- 
bishop Seeker, on the charter and conduct of the society 
for propagating the gospel in foreign parts. To form a 
judgment of this debate, I beg leave to refer to a review 
of the whole, printed at the time and written by Samuel 
Adams, though by some, very absurdly and erroneously, 
ascribed to Mr. Apthorp. If I am not mistaken, it will be 
found a model of candor, sagacity, impartiality, and close, 
correct reasoning. 

If any gentleman supposes this controversy to be nothing 
to the present purpose, he is grossly mistaken. It spread 
an universal alarm against the authority of parliament. It 
excited a general and just apprehension that bishops, and 
diocesses, and churches, and priests and tythes, were to be 
imposed on us by parliament. It was known that neither 
king nor ministry, nor archbishops, could appoint bishops in 
America without an act of parliament ; and if parliament 
could tax us, they could establish the church of England, 


with all its^reeds, articles, tests, ceremonies and tythes, 
and prohibit all other churches as i onventicles and b< hism 


.Nor must Mr. ( lushing be forgotten. 1 li- good Bense and 
Sound judgment, 1 1 1 < - urbanity of his manners, his universal 
good character, his numerous friends ami connexions, and 
ontinual intercourse with all sorts of people, added to 
his constant attachment to the liberties of his countrj . gave 
him a great and salutary influence from the beginning in 

Let me recommend these hints to the consideration of 
Mr. Wirt, whose life of Mr. Heur) I have read with great 
delight. I think, that after mature investigation, he will 
be convinced that Mr. Henry did not --give the first im- 
pulse to the ball of independence" — and that Otis, Thatch- 
er, Samuel Adams, Ma) hew, Hancock, Cushing, and thou- 
sands of others were labouring for several years at the 
wheel before the name of Henry was heard beyond the lim- 
its of Virginia. 

If you print this, I will endeavor to send you something 
concerning Samuel Adams, who was destined to a longer 
career, and to acta more conspicuous and, perhaps, a more 
important part than any other man. But his life would re- 
quire a volume. If you decline printing this letter, 1 pray 
you to return it, as soon as possible, to, 
Sir, your humble servant, 


The following letter is a precious morccau ; as it evinces 
the exalted magnanimity of Mr. Jeffersok, in giving to 
his once great political rival, Mr. Adams the rank he de- 

378 . APPENDIX. 

serves amongst that matchless constellation of Statesmen 
who composed the Old Congress. — 

" Monticello, February 19, 1813. 

Sir — Your favour of the 13th has been duly received, 
together with the papers it covered, and particularly Mr. 
Barralet's sketch of the ornaments proposed to accompany 
the publication of the Declaration of Independence, con- 
templated by Mr. Murray and yourself. I am too little vers- 
ed in the art of design, to be able to offer any suggestions to 
the artist. As far as I am a judge, the composition appears 
to be judicious and well imagined. Were I to hazard a 
suggestion, it should be, that Mr. Hancock, as president of 
Congress, should occupy the middle and principal place. 

No man better merited than Mr. John Adams to hold 
a most conspicuous place in the design. — He was the Pil- 
lar of its support on the Floor of Congress, its ablest advo- 
cate and Defender against the multifarious assaults it en- 
countered ; for many excellent persons opposed it on doubts 
whether we were provided sufficiently with the means of 
supporting it, whether the minds of our constituents were 
yet prepared to receive it, &c. who, after it was decided, 
united zealously in the measures it called for. 

I must ask permission to become a subscriber for a 
copy when published, which, if rolled on a wooden roller, 
and sent by mail, will come safely. 

Accept the assurance of my respect and best wishes. 


Mr. Wm. P. Gardner, Washington." 

This extract from one of the late letters of the venerable 
Adams, shows his anxiety to rescue from oblivion the mem- 
ories of the distinguished fathers of New-England. He 


has lived himself for posterity, and •<< posterity while he 
yet livt s : — 

" I have no disposition to vilify the character of th< il 
lustrious William Penn, or to depreciate his meril 
celebrated for \\\< wisdom, toleration, and humanity to tin 
Indians ; bui I think thai Ne* England furnishes tl" biog 
rapby of several characters, who, more than halt' a century 
before him, had exerted equal talent-, equal exertions, 
greater sacrifices, and severer sufferings, in the same piom 
and virtuous cause. Mr. Penn was verj fortunate in hav- 
i choose his own companions, and in meeting with In- 
dians of a very mild and pacific character; but the first 
settlers in New-England had spies and emissaries sent out 
with the express purpose of counteracting and destroying 
their puritanical establishments. The character of Sir 
Christopher Gardiner, of Weston, the heart of the estab- 
lishment of Wessaguscus, and Thomas Morton, of Mount 
\V ailaston, ought to be minutely investigated. They were 
all in the confidence of Arch-bishop Laud, as appears ex- 
plicitly, by the writings of Thomas Morton, in his New Ca- 
naan, This Thomas Morton was as great a plague to our 
Forefathers, as Tom Paine has been to us in our day. His 
writings, conduct, and character, ought to be examined, 
and stated at full length. He and those other emisaries 
furnished the Indians with arms, and other ammunition, and 
taught them the use of them; and, what was worse, gave 
them spirituous liquors, and commenced their habits of in- 

Of the writers of the two following letters, who talk away 
in all the charming playfulness of a " green old age.' w< 

may say — 

" They are men— take them all in all, 

" We ne'er shall look upon their like again." 


From Mr. Jefferson to Mr. Adams, 

" Monticello, June 1, 1822. 
k4 It is very long, my dear sir, since I have written to 
you. My dislocated wrist is now become so stiff that I 
write slowly and with pain ; and, therefore, write as little 
as I can. Yet it is due to mutual friendship to ask once in 
a while how we do ? The papers tel! us that Gen. Stark is 
off at the age of ninety-three. — ***** still lives, at about 
the same age, cheerful, slender as a grasshopper, and so 
much without memory that he scarcely recognizes the 
members of his household. An intimate friend of his call- 
ed on him not long since. It was difficult to make him re- 
collect who he was, and sitting one hour, he told him the 
same story four times over. Is this life ? — with laboring 


To tread our former footsteps ? pace the round- 
Eternal? — to beat and beat 
The beaten track — to see what we have seen — 
To taste the tasted — o'er our palates to descant 
Another vintage ? 
" It is, at most, but the life of a cabbage, surely not worth 
a wish. When all our faculties have left, or are leaving ua 
one by one, sight, hearing, memory, every avenue of pleas- 
ing sensation is closed, and athumy, debility, and mal aise 
left in their places, when the friends of our youth are all 
gone, and a generation is risen around us, whom we know 
not, is death an evil ? 

When one by one our ties are torn, 
And friend from friend is snatch'd forlorn ; 
When man is left alone to mourn, 
Oh, then, how sweet it is to die ! 

When trembling limbs refuse their weight 
And films siow gathering dim the sight j 
When clouds secure the mental light, 
'Tis nature's kindest boon to die ! 


•• 1 really think so. I have ever dreaded a floating did 
age ; and my health has been generally bo good and is QOM 
bo good, that I dread it still. The rapid decline of my 
strength during the last winter has made me hope some- 
times that I see land. During summer, I enjoy its tempe- 
rature, hut 1 shudder at the approach of winter, and wish I 
eould sleep through it with the dormouse, and only wake 
with him in spring, if ever. They say that Starke could 
walk about his room. I am told you walk well and firmly. 
I can only reach my garden, and that with sensible fatigue. 
I ride, however, daily ; but reading is my delight. I should 
wish never to put pen to paper ; and the more because of 
the treacherous practice some people have of publishing 
one's letters without leave. Lord Mansfield declared it a 
breach of trust, and punishable at law. I think it should 
be a penitentiary felony ; yet you will have seen that they 
have drawn me out into the arena of the newspapers. Al- 
though I know it is too late for me to buckle on the armour 
of youth, yet my indignation would not permit me passively 
to receive the kick of an ass. 

" To turn to the news of the day, it seems that the can- 
nibals of Europe are going to eating one another again. A 
war between Russia and Turkey is like the battle of the 
kite and snake ; whichever destroys the other, leaves a 
destroyer the less for the world. This pugnacious hu» 
mour of mankind seems to be the law of his nature, one of 
the obstacles to too great multiplication provided in the 
mechanism of the Universe. The cocks of the hen yard 
kill one another ; bears, bulls, rams, do the same, and a 
horse in his wild state, kills all the young males, until worn 
down with age and war, some vigorous youth kills mm. * 
** I hope we shall prove how much happier for man the 


Quaker policy is, and that the life of the feeder is better 
than that of the fighter ; and it is some consolation that the 
desolation by these maniacs of one part of the earth, is the 
means of improving it in other parts. Let the latter be 
our office ; and let us milk the cow, while the Russian 
holds her by the horns, and the Turk by the tail.* God 
bless you, and give you health, strength, good spirits, and as 
much of life as you think worth having. 

Mr, Adams' 1 Reply. 

Montezillo, June 11, 1822. 
Dear Sir. — Half an hour ago I received, and this mo- 
ment have heard read for the third or fourth time, the best 
letter that ever was written by an Octogenarian, dated 

June 1st. 


I have not sprained my wrist ; but both my arms and 
hands are so overstrained that I cannot write a line. — Poor 
Starke remembered nothing and could talk of nothing but 
the battle of Bennington. ***** is not quite so reduced. 
I cannot mount my horse but I can walk three miles over a 
rugged rocky mountain, and have done it within a month ; 
yet I feel when sitting in my chair as if I could not rise out 
of it ; and when risen, as if I could not walk across the 
room ; my sight is very dim, hearing pretty good, memory 
poor enough. 

I answer your question — is death an evil ? — It is not an 
evil. It is a blessing to the individual and to the world ; 

* In the War of the Revolution, when Gen. Putnam commanded at 
Philadelphia, and Sir Wm. Howe at New-York, the general was ask- 
ed how much he could depend upon N. Jersey. " She is true," said 
he, " but what can she do when Pennsylvania has her by the horns, 
and New-York by the tail ?" 


yel we ought not to wish lor it (til life becomes insupporta- 
ble. We must wait the pleasure and convenience of the 
'Gn at Teai her.' Winter i^ as terrible to me as to you. 
I am almos! reduced iii it to the life of a bear or a torpid 
swallow. 1 cannot re. id, but my delight is to hear others 
read ; and 1 tax all my friends most unmercifully and tyran- 
nically against their consent. 

The ass has kicked in vain ; all men say the dull animal 
has missed the mark. 

This globe is a theatre of war — its inhabitants are all 
heroes. The little eels in vinegar and the animalcules in 
pepper-water, I believe are quarrelsome. The bees are 
as warlike as the Romans, Russians, Britons or Frenchmen. 
Ants, caterpillars and canker-worms, are the only tribes 
among whom I have not seen battles ; and heaven itself, if 
we believe Hindoos, Jews, Christians and Mahometans, 
has not always been at peace. We need not trouble our- 
selves about these things, nor fret ourselves because of evil- 
doers ; but safely trust the ' Ruler with his skies.' Nor 
need we dread the approach of dotage ; let it come, if it 
must. *****, it seems, still delights in his four stories ; 
and Starke remembered to the last his Bennington, and ex- 
ulted in his glory : the worst of the evil is, that our friends 
will suffer more by our imbecility than we ourselves. 

In wishing for your health and happiness, I am very 
selfish ; for 1 hope for more letters ; this is worth more 
than five hundred dollars to me, for it has already given me, 
and it will continue to give more pleasure than a thousand. 
Mr. Jay, who is about your age, I am told experiences 
more decay than you do. I am your old friend. 


President Jefferson. 


The following is from the pen of a distinguished scholar 
who visited President Adams in 1822. 

"The residence of the venerable patriot stands in a 
beautiful retired spot, shaded with trees, and every thing 
within and without the premises, wears an air of neatness, 
comfort and genuine republican simplicity, that charms 
one. A modern fashionable, about visiting those whom the 
world calls great, would expect to find the vestibules, the 
drawing rooms, and boudoirs choked up with fiery dragons 
and serpents as decorations to their costly Parisian furni- 
ture. But not so with this veteran father of our Republic. 
With him, extravagance has not superseded convenience, 
nor fashion banished comfort and good taste from his dwel- 
ling. This distinguished benefactor of his country, whose 
life was for a time embittered by injustice and persecution, 
is now 87 years old. He may be said u fairly to have out- 
lived the prejudices which party animosity excited against 
him ; in his own time the storm has passed by, and the last 
hours of his course are unclouded and serene." We found 
him in tolerable health, cheerful, and in good spirits. In 
conversation he was quick and sprightly ; and I was pleas- 
ed to find that his faculties, apparently, were not benumbed 
by age. Upon every subject he was perfectly at home. 
Indeed J never saw the man of whom, notwithstanding the 
imperceptible ravages of time, it might more truly be said, 
in the language of Shakspeare — 

" He is a scholar, and a ripe and good one ; 

Hear him bat reason in divinity, 

And, all admiring-, with an inward wish, 

You would suppose him the most learned prelate. 

Hear him debate of Commonwealth affairs, 

You'd say it hath been all-in-all, his study. 

List his discourse of war, and you shall hear 

.» fearful battle rendered jroe in music. 

Turn him to any cause of policy, 

The Gordian Knot <>f it he >nll unloose! 

Familiar as his garter." 

(Ii - knowledge of the ever- varying politics of the several 
states, i- perfect up to the present time ; and I found thai 
is thoroughly acquainted with all the political 
squabbles of New York, their causes and consequences, 
with the proceedings of the late convention in that state, 
and with every point of the new constitution, as though h< 
had attended and written down the journals and arguments- 
himself. I have seldom seen the man who appeared so 
perfectly happy." 

The following elegant remarks upon the two last prece 
ding letters are from the pen of a distinguished Americar. 

" The following Letters have been obtained by solicita 
tion ; and are sent to the press by the permission of their 
venerable authors. The character, standing, and age of 
the writers, the one in his eightieth, the other in his eighty- 
seventh year, give them peculiar interest, and they cannot 
fail to be read with great pleasure. It is delightful to wit- 
ness this kind of correspondence between these two distin- 
guished men, the asperities of party by which they were 
at one time separated, worn down, and nothing remaining 
but the interchange of sentiments of unfeigned kindnes- 
and respect. It is charming to see an old age like this 
retaining, even under its decays and infirmities, the intel- 
lectual vigour unimpaired ; and displaying amidst its snows. 
the greenness and freshness of the summer of life. It is an 
enviable and privileged height to which these great men 
have attained ; from which they are permitted to look 


down upon an extensive and eminently happy country, 
enjoying the fruit of their labours and sacrifices, more than 
realizing their boldest anticipations ; and regarding them 
with that gratitude and respect to which their magnanimity 
and distinguished patriotism so emphatically entitle them. 

The letter of Mr. Jefferson was written soon after an at- 
tack upon him by the " Native Virginian ;" and when 
there was a strong expectation of a war between Russia 
and Turkey ; this will explain some allusions in them." 

The following remarks of the distinguished Editor of 
" The London Morning Chronicle" must have been 
" wormwood" to " the miserable beings who fill the thrones 
©f the Continent." The Editor may be asked whether he 
considers the " fast anchor'd isle" of Britain as belonging 
to " the Continent ?" Whether in the "absence of pure 
monarchy" there, he can help " despising the idols he wor- 
ships ?" But he is undoubtedly a loyal Englishman : and 
although he scatters the " paper bullets of the brain" he 
can readily adopt the language of the British knight in 
Shakespeare, " No abuse, Hal ! no abuse ^pon honor, Hal ."' 
; ' The Lion ivill not touch the true Prince." 

" America and Europe. — What a contrast the following 
Correspondence of the two Rival Presidents of the great- 
est Republic of the world, reflecting on old age dedicated 
to virtue, temperance and philosophy, presents to the 
heartsickening details occasionally disclosed to us of the 
miserable beings who fill the Thrones of the Continent. 
There is not, perhaps, one Sovereign of the Continent who 
in any sense of the word can be said to honour nature 
while many make us almost ashamed of it. The curtain 
is seldom drawn aside without exhibiting to us beings worn 


out with vicious indulgence, diseased in mind, if not in 
body, the creature of caprice and insensibility. On the 
other hand, since the foundation of tin- American Repub- 
lic, the Chair lias never been filled by a man, for whose 
life (to say the least) an) American need o'nee to blush 
It must, therefore, be some compensation to the Ameri. 
cans for the absence of pure Monarchy, that when they look 
upwards their eyes are notalways met by vice and meanness 
and often idiocy ; as it is a deduction from the advantage 
of those who possess not Kings that they cannot help de- 
spising the idols they worship." 

The following authentic document must extort from ev- 
ery reader the most unqualified admiration. It goes to 
confirm the declaration of the energetic Adams in one of 
the preceding letters, that in New England — " thousands 
were labouring for several years at the wheel before the 
name of Henry was heard beyond the limits of Virginia." 

The writer of the preceding sketches, acknowledges the 
rapturous delight with which he perused and still peruses 
" Wirt's Life of Henry." In that master-piece of Ameri- 
can Biography, the author is no longer " The British Spy" 
— he is the whole-souled Virginian in Virginia. Virginia. 
in his hands is " all in all" in the " old thirteen colonies," 
and Patrick Henry is all in all in Virginia. Like a song of 
enchantment, his harmonious "concord of sweet sounds," 
allures his New England reader from Fanueil Hall, where 
the cradle of Independance was first rocked : where Han- 
cock, the Adamses, Otis, &c. " raised such a flame in Mas- 
sachusetts as expelled all royal rule in America ;" — yes, he 
ravi-hes him away from the land of his ancestors, — places 
him in the " House of Burgesses in Virginia," and makes 
him forget the descendants of the pilgrims in the sonorou- 


notrs of Henry, and the fascinating tones of Lee, who, he 
almost makes him believe—' 4 gave the first impulse to the 
ball of Independence." 

" In the year 1813, I paid a visit to Mr. Jefferson, in his 
retirement to Monticello. During the visit, the credibility 
of history became a topic of conversation, and we naturally 
adverted to that of our own country. He spoke with great 
freedom of the heroes and patriots of our Revolution, and 
of its gloomy and brilliant periods. I will give the sub- 
stance of a part of his remarks. " No correct history o* 
that arduous struggle, has yet been or ever will be written. 
The actors in important and busy scenes are too much ab- 
sorbed in their immediate duty, to record events, or the 
motives and causes which produced them. Many secret 
springs, concealed even from those upon whom they ope- 
rate, give an impulse to measures which are supposed to be 
the result of chance ; and an accidental occurrence of cau- 
ses is often attributed to the connected plan of leaders, who 
are themselves as much astonished as others at the events 
they witness. They who took an active part in these im- 
portant transactions can hardly recognize them as they are 
related in the histories of our Revolution. That of Botta, 
an Italian, is the best. In all of them events are misrep- 
resented, wrong motives are assigned, and justice is seldom 
done to individuals, some having too much, and some too 
little praise. The private correspondence of three or four 
persons in different official stations at that time, would form 
the best history. 1 have heard that Mr. Adams is writing 
something on the subject. — No one is better qualified thaa 
he to give to the reader a correct impression of the earlier 
part of the contest. No history has done him justice, for 
no historian was present to witness the Continental Con 


In 1 lis zeal for independence he was ardent; in 
contriving expedients and originating measures, be was al« 
- busj ; in disastrous times, when gloom sal on the 
; um ee of mosl of us, his courage and fortitude i 01 
tinued unabated, and his animated exhortations n tored 
confidence to those who had wavered. H<- seemed to for 
\cv\ thing but his country, and the cause which he had 

" In a journey to the southward, I fell in company with 
an aged and highl) respected gentleman, a native of one of 
the middle states, who in our revolutionary war espoused 
the cause of the King, and held an important post in the 
royal army. He conversed with great frankness of his 
principles and motives, and appeared to have been well ac- 
quainted with the events of that period. " It has been dis- 
puted,* 1 said I. " where the Revolution originated, in Ma- 
sachusetts or Virginia. What was the opinion of the Roy- 
alists of that period, and what is yours ? " That it origina- 
ted in Massachusetts," was his reply, " and if I was to 
state who, in my opinion, contributed most to bring on the 
tontest, I should name JOHN ADAMS, who was after- 
wards your President. Concerning him 1 will relate an 
anecdote. He came into notice during the administration 
of Governor Bernard, and distinguished himself by his re- 
solute opposition to many of his measures. The Attorney 
General, Sewell, was however his bosom friend. At that 
time the office of a Justice of the Peace was, on many ac- 
counts, advantageous to a young man ; and with (he 
knowledge of Adams, the Attorne} General requested Ber- 
nard to appoint his friend to that office. The Governor 
expressed his deiire to oblige Mr. Sewell, but observed, 



' This young man has ranked himself with mj opponent*, 
He denounces and endeavours to thwart my measures and 
those of the ministry. I could not justify it to my sovereign 
to bestow a favour on such a person. And I wish you to tell 
him from me, that so long as he continues to oppose me and 
the ministry, he must expect no promotion." Sewell con- 
veyed the message to Adams. " Then tell the Governor 
from me," replied the latter, " that i will not change 


from America." The truth of this anecdote has been con- 
firmed to me by another respectable gentleman, who was 
then a student in the office of Mr. Sewell." 

The following Letter from Mr. Jefferson to Lieut. Gov. 
Barry of Kentucky, evinces the unaffected modesty of the 
writer. While his countrymen are literally saturating him 
with eulogy, he shrinks from it, not as Cesar did from a 
crown, that he might grasp it the stronger, but that he may 
give place to the superlative merits of his compatriots. His 
whole life has been a practical comment upon this language. 
Witness his generous applause of his immediate predecessor, 
and his potent rival, the ex-President Adams ! Witness his 
invariable courtesy to his successors the ex-President Ma- 
dison, and the present Executive Monroe. And, notwiths- 
tanding the baleful and blasting anathemas of ascetic and 
frigid malice, witness his veneration for the Father of the 
Republic — the departed Washington. 

The political axioms in this little letter, so truly great, 
ought to become the text-book of American Statesmen ; and 
be appended to Washington's Farewell Address. This 
idea forces upon the mind the melancholy consideration 
that Adams, Jefferson and Madison, await only the 


"Greal J , e.lrhe^ :, s ,, summons, to join the IflNBOftalizi -«1 

\\ kSBlNGTOW in eternity. Then may we Bay with tli. 


-*• Whilr others hail the rising Sim, 

"• WV1I bow to those whose race is run." 

"Monticello, July 2d, 1822. 

" Sir — Your favour of the 15th June is received, and 1 
am very thankful for the kindness of its expressions res- 
pecting myself; but it ascribes to me merit which I do not 
claim. 1 was one only of the band devoted to the cause «»t 
Independence, all of whom exerted equally their best en- 
deavours for its success, and have a common right to the 
merits of its acquisition. So also in the civil revolution of 
1801, very many and very meritorious were the worthy 
patriots who assisted in bringing back our government to its 
republican tack. To preserve it in that, will require un- 
remitting vigilance. Whether the surrender of our oppo- 
nents, their reception into our camp, their assumption of out 
name, and apparent accession to our objects, may strength- 
en or weaken the genuine principles of republicanism — may 
be a good or an evil, is yet to be seen. I consider the party 
divisions of whig and tory, the most wholesome which can 
exist in any government 5 and well worthy of being nour- 
ished to keep out those of a more dangerous character. 
We already see the power, installed for life, responsible to 
no authority, (for impeachment is not even a scare crow) 
advancing with a noiseless and steady pace to the great ob- 
ject of consolidation ; the foundations are already deeply 
laid, by their decisions, for the annihilation of constitution- 
al state rights, and the removal of every check, every coun- 
terpoize to the ingulfing power of which themselves are to 
make a sovereign part. If ever this vast country is brought 


under a single government, it will be one of the most ex- 
tensive corruption, indifferent and incapable of a whole- 
some care over so wide a spread of surface. This will not 
be borne, and \ou will have to choose between reformaiion 
and revolution. If I know the spirit of this country, the 
one or the other is inevitable. Before the canker is be- 
come inveterate, before its venom has reached so much of 
the body politic as to get beyond control, remedy should 
be applied. Let the future appointments of Judges be for 
4 or G years and renewable by the President and Senate. — 
This will bring their conduct at regular periods, under re- 
visio. and probation, and may keep ihem in equipoise be- 
tween the general and special governments. We have er- 
red in this point by copying England where certainly it is a 
good thing to have the Judges independent of the King ; 
but we have omitted to copy their caution also, which makes 
a judge removeable on the address of both legislative 
houses. That there should be public functionaries inde- 
pendent of the union, whatever may be their demerit is a 
solecism in a republic of the first order of absurdity and in-