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Little Belt, before any shot or provocation had anxious to stop the firing.–Commodore's state. BOOK XI. been given from the President.
Had not seen
ment confirmed. the commodore's account.
John M. Funk, fourth lieutenant, commanded
CRAP. I. Richard Carson, midshipman.-Was on the third division gun-deck; heard hail, reply; second
1811. forecastle and gangways. Commodore R. hailed, hail, and gun from Belt
, as before; beard no gun and was answered by repeating his words; se- or provocation from President, and there certainly cond hail was answered by a shot. Was looking was none from bis division; gun from Belt reat the Belt, and saw and heard the gun, before turned from President in five or six seconds, and any provocation from Commodore Rodgers. Gun broadside from Belt ensued.-Orders of Commo. from the President was followed by the Belt's dore R. as before. Round and grape only fired. broadside, as stated by others. Commodore's No fire or sheering off. Another broadside would account confirmed.
bave sunk the Belt. Commodore R. exerted him Matthew C. Perry, Silas Duncan, and John self to stop the firing.–Official account confirmed . M'Clack, midshipmen, gave their evidence to Peter Gamble, midshipman, was on gun-deck, the same effect.
at second division; heard first shot from Little Thomas Gamble, second lieutenant.-Com- Belt, and felt no jar on board the President. No manded the first division of guns. Commodore gan or provocation from Commodore Rodgers.Rodgers hailed, “ Ship a-koy!” Was answered, Confirmed the official account. " halloo.” Asked “ what ship is that ?" Receiv- Edward Babbet, midshipman, was on guned his own words repeated in reply. Hailed deck, at third division ; was looking at the Belt, again, “ wbat ship is that?” Then a gun from and saw and heard the first gun from her. No the Belt. Heard no gun or provocation from gun or provocation had been given by the Prethe President-swears no gun was fired from his sident.-Official account confirmed. division. Nothing but round and grape shot fired Mr. Mull testified that the damage on board after the action commenced. Commodore's or- the President was one boy wounded ; a shot in ders as before stated; when firing ceased finally. the mainmast, and another in the foremast, with Belt was in a favorable position for firing, but some of the back-stays cut away; but not a single another broadside from the President probably shot of any kind from the Little Belt struck the would have sunk her. Saw no colours on the hull of the President. Belt, and took her for a frigate of thirty-six or Edward Rutledge Slubrick, midshipman, was thirty-eight guns. No firing on board or sheering forward on gun-deck, at first division ; was lookoff by the President; statement of Commodore ing at the Belt, and saw and heard the first fire Rodgers confirmed.
from her before any gun or provocation from the John Neese, captain of the first gun.-In the President. first division on the gun-deck, was looking at the Philip Dickenson Spencer, midshipman, was conLittle Belt, and saw and heard her first fire. fident that the first shot came from tbe Little Belt.
Lieutenant Creighton testified farther, that Breasted Barnes, carpenter, was on gun-deck when the Belt was silenced the second time, she to attend pumps, and looking at the Belt when Juffed up towards the commodore, instead of she fired the first shot, before gun or provocation keeping way, as she should have done, to fire at from Commodore Rodgers. The President did the President, and would have done if her rud- not receive a shot of any kind in the bull, but one der had been free. Commodore Rodgers expres- in her main-mast and another in her foremast. fed much humanity and anxiety to stop the firing. Edward Walker, captain first gun, fourth diLieutenant Creighton also testified to the officers vision forecastle, from hearing the report and feel- . of assistance from Commodore Rodgers w the ing no jar, believed the first shot came from the Little Belt the next inorning.
Belt. Moses Dumbar, second captain (first absent) Alexander James Dallas, third lieutenant, com- second gun, fourth division, was looking at the manded third division guns; heard first and se- Little Belt, and saw her fire first. George Simcond hail, and question repeated back from the mons, third captain, (first absent) third gun, fourth Little Belt; then tbird hail and gun; was look- division ; John M'Cornick, second captain (first ing at the Belt when she fired, when no gun or absent) fourth gun, fourth division; William provocation had been given from the President; Campbell, first gun, fourth division, quarter-deck, was in the bridle-port when the Belt fired, and all
testified the same as Moses Dumbar. after the shot was received, got into the port and Thomas Taylor, captain second gun, quarterfired a gun in return, from general order, without deck, saw the Little Belt fire six seconds first. particular direction. A broadside from the Belt Six captains of guns on the quarter-deck said the immediately succeeded. None but round and grape used in his division, and no fire or sheering Mr. Mull testified that the commodore shewed off.
A broadside more would probably have great hamanity.—Lieutenant Dallas heard two sunk the Belt. Commodore Rodgers was very reports, Midshipman S. H. Stringham, J. H.
BOOK XI. Ludlow, and D. G. Ingraham, saw the Little hailed, and was not answered; wore again, to Belt fire the first shot.
close to us, on larboard beam., Captain Bingbam CHAP. I. Here the examination closed, and the result of hailed the ship, “ a-hoy!" which was repeated
the trial was the acquittal of Commodore Rod. word for word by the frigate: Captain Bingham 1811.
gers. The American government, by putting asked what ship that was, which was also repeated the commodore on his trial, disavowed the act as as before, and on asking a second time, was anbelonging to themselves, and transferred it to the swered by a broadside. Captain Bingham was individual. They divested, therefore, the out then standing on the midship gun, jumped off, rage upon the Little Belt, of a national insult, and gave orders to fire, which was done in less and rendered it as a private or individual action than a minute after her first fire, we being quite But the record of this trial, the evidence, the de- ready, guns pointed, and continued firing for fence, and the sentence, were not communicated to about an hour, when the frigate ceased firing, the British government; and, of course, it was sus- and bailed us to know what ship this was. Cappected that the whole was an affair of mapage- tain Bingham answered, his majesty's ship Little ment; that the evidence had been wilfully pro- Belt, several times, before he understood us. He cured on the part of the government of the coup- then asked if our colours were down? No! was try to answer a particular purpose; and that the Captain Bingham's answer. Captain Bingbam sentence was unjust; therefore, instead of being a then hailed to know wbat ship that was; and was satisfaction, it was by some considered as an answered the United States frigate,—the name aggravation of the injury.
we could not understand. In tbe mean time the In a court of inquiry held at Halifax, relative frigate had filled, and was standing from us ;-a to this business, the evidence considerably va- short time after lost sight of her,-hove-to for the ried. This court was held before the Right night, having no sail set. At day-light, saw a Honorable Lord James Townshend, captain of sail to windward; made her out to be the same his majesty's ship Eolus, and senior officer at we had engaged ;-at six she bore up for us under Halifax, Nova Scotia; Charles Jobn Austen, easy sail; at eight she passed within hail, asked esq. captain of his majesty's ship Cleopatra; and permission to send a boat on board, which was Alexander Gordon, esq. commander of his ma- granted: boat came on board, staid ten minutes, jesty's ship Rattler.
then returned; understood the frigate to be the Lieutenant Mobèrty, senior lieutenant, stated, President, belonging to the United States, Com“that on the 16th inst. while cruizing off the coast modore Rodgers; observed the President to fill of America, Cape Charles bearing west fifty- and stand on, on the starboard tack, under her four miles, at eleven a. m. saw a strange sail,
top-sails." that she was a lugger was reported from the Lieutenant Thomas Leveel, Mr. James Frankmast-head, on the star-board beam; we then lin, boatswain, and Mr. Hinshelwood, purser, corsteering SS. W. the wind aft, or a little on the roborated the whole of the foregoing statement. starboard quarter; on which took in our studding In addition to whom, Mr. William Turner, sails, and hauled our wind for her on the star- surgeon, stated, " that at ten minutes past eight board tack:-shortly after, made her out to be a o'clock p.m. Captain Bingham bailed the stranger ship. At thirty past two p.m. baving then made twice, very loudly, but received no answer: about out the chace to be a frigate, with a commodore's five minutes after, Captain Bingham again hailed, broad pendant flying, being then about six miles, and was answered from the frigate, to what purand not having answered any of our private sig- pose I could not distinctly understand. Captain pals, viz. 275, private signal, and our number, Bingham again hailed twice, and immediately concluded her to be the American frigate United heard the frigate fire, and the whole passed over States; showed our colours, and steered our us. I then distinctly heard Captain Bingham give course south. Set-studdivg-sails at five o'clock, orders to fire away: we returned the broadside - observed the frigate make all sail; and to keep within the space of twenty seconds; the action more away from us: at seven found she was gain- continued with great vigour for about forty-five ing on us fast. Captain Bingham then thinking minutes, to the best of my judgment. it best to speak her before dark, shortened sail, and bove to, colours up: we then making out her 66 The examination and information of Wilstars in her broad pendant, beat to quarters, and liam Burkit, mariner, taken before John Howe got clear, for action, a second time, having beat and Thomas Boggs, esquires, two of his majesbefore at two.p. m.; double shotted and double ty's justices of the peace for the county of Halibreached the guns. At fifty past seven, observed fax, this 22d day of June, in the year of our Lord the frigate to have shortened sails to top-sails, 1871; wbo, being duly sworn, deposeth and top-gallant-sails, and jib, and standing down as saith, that he was born at Deptford, in England; if with an intention of passing under our stern; that he is about twenty-three years of age; that be woré twice to evade this. Captain Bingham has reason to think he has a mother still living at Deptford; that he left home about three years that they continued after this period to approach BOOK XY. ago, and went to Montego-bay, Jamaica; that ber until beiween eight and nine o'clock, when he left that place afterwards, and proceeded to New they were within pistol-shot; that Commodore Chap. I. York, in a brig called the Pizarro; that some Rodgers then gave orders to stand by their
guns, time in August, 1809, being in a state of intoxi- and not to fire till orders were given; that the
1811. cation, he was forcibly carried on-board the United commodore then hailed; and when he was bailStates armed schooner Revenge, in which he ing a second time, a gun in the division to which continued until she was cast away in Long Island this belongs, being the second division, went ofis Sound; that he was afterwards transferred to the he thinks by accident; and that there were four United States' ship the President; that he was or five men leaning on the gun at the time; that entered on board the Revenge, and afterwards he instantly turned, to acquaint the lieutenant that on-board the President, by the name of Elijah the gun had gone off by accident, the lieutenant Shephardson; that he was on-board the Pre- then standing only three guns from him; that besident the first week in May last, when that fore he could do this, the whole broadside of the ship was lying at Annapolis, in Maryland; that President was discharged; and that immediately Commodore Rodgers suddenly came on-board after a general order was given, “ fire away as from Havre-de-Grace, where he had been with quick as possible;" that before the firing of the his family; that instantly after the arrival of gun of this division, which he thinks went off by the commodore, all was bustle in the ship; that accident, and the broadside which immediately the sails, some of which were unbent, were im- followed, this deponent is satisfied, as he was mediately bent, and the ship got ready, with all looking out of the port, and distinctly saw the possible expedition, to proceed to sea; that she Little Belt, that not a gun had been fired from got under weigh next day, and proceeded down her; that the President, he thinks, continued the river; ihat they spoke a brig, which said they firing about half an hour without cessation ; that had been boarded the day before by a British an order was then given to cease firing; that the cruiser, and that she had taken a man from her, President then filled her main-top-sail, and stood who had been sent back again; that, as they from the Little Belt, with her head to the southwere going down the river, they got up a much ward, and continued all night on that tack, withlarger quantity of shot and wads ihan had ever out heaving to; that the commodore, before he been customary on any other occasion, while he steered from the Little Belt, hailed her to know was on-board the ship; and that be knows this if she had struck; the only part of the answer to have been the case, from having held the sta- given, that he could distinctly hear or understand, tion of quarter-gunner; that after proceeding to was, that she was a British ship. sea, they cruised off the different parts of the “ This deponent further saith, that the Precoast without any thing materially happening un- sident was wounded in her foremast and maintil the 16th of May; that at twelve o'clock on mast, a 22-pound shot baving entered each of that day, being below at dinner, word was brought them; and the rest of the night, after the engagethat a frigate, supposed to be British, was in ment, they were employed in repairing the damsight; that orders were then given for clearing age sustained in the rigging.' This deponent away the bulk-heads, and preparing for action; farther saith, that the crew of the President conthat, soon after, all bands were beat to quarters; sists of about 500 men, upwards of 300 of which that every thing was then immediately got ready he knew to be British seamen, from having confor action; that at this time it was about two versed with them, and having heard them deo'clock; that all sails were then set, and they clare they were so, and from many of them havwent eagerly in chase of the supposed frigate; ing designated the place they came from; that that orders were soon after given for pricking the engagement with the Little Belt had excited and firing the guns; before dark, while they were great disgust in the British seamen on-board the approaching nearer the chase, orders were given President, who had manifested their reluctance to take the aprons off the guns; and at that time
and at that time to fight against their country; that one man, in this deponent looked at the ship they were in particular, had so plainly expressed this feeling, chase of, through the bridle port, and he saw as to have drawn on him the resentment of Com ber colours flying; that he saw red in them, but modore Rodgers, who had put him in irons; in could not correctly ascertain what colours they which situation he remained when this deponent were; that at the distance they were, he is satis- left the ship for the aforesaid defence, and for fied that with glasses they could easily be distin- having said the first gun was fired from the Preguished; that he beard Lieutenant Belding, who sident. had a glass, and who commanded in his division, “ This deponent further saith, that, after the say, that her colours were British; that when President came iuto New York, and was lying in this deponent looked at her, le could see her the North River, that, by the assistance of his hull, and was satisfied that she was a small sbip; hammock lashings, he got in the night from the
BOOK XI. fore-chains into the river, and swam to a place of a removal of the existing obstructions to her com
safety, and has since procured a passage to merce with the United States. CRAP. I. Halifax.
“ Iostead of this reasonable step towards satis« WILLIAM Burkit, his Mark. faction and friendship between the two nations, 1611. “ Sworn at Halifax, the day and year afore
the orders were, at moment when least to have said,
been expected, put into more rigorous execution; “ John Howe, Justices of the Peace."
and it was communicated through the British envoy just arrived, that, whilst the revocation of
the edicts of France, as officially made known to Bristol, July 25, 1811. the British government, was denied to have taken “ John Russell deposes, that he belonged to the place, it was an indispensable condition of the President American frigate; that he did his duty repeal of the British orders, that commerce should in the foretop; was quartered at the aftermost gun be restored to a footing that would admit the on the forecastle, before they fell in with the Lit- productions and manufactures of Great Britain, tle Belt. The commodore informed the ship's when owned by neutrals, into markets shut company, that he was ordered to demand two against them by her enemy; the United States American seamen that had been pressed by a being given to understand, that, in the mean British frigate; if they were not given up, be was time, a continuance of their non-importation act to take them by force: when they went down to would lead to measures of retaliation. the Little Belt the guns were double-shotted, and “ At a later date it has, indeed, appeared, loaded with grape; that the first gun was fired that a communication to the British government, from the President, but he believes from accident, of fresh evidence of the repeal of the French deas no orders were given from the quarter-deck crees against our neutral trade, was followed by to fire; the guns had locks, and were all cocked. an intimation, that it had been transmitted to the After the action, be was informed by the men in British plenipotentiary here, in order that it might the waste, that a mau was entangled with the lan- receive full consideration in the depending disyard of the lock, that occasioned the gun to go cussions. This communication appears not to off.”
have been received: but the transmission of it The
hither, instead of founding on it the actual repeal (Signed) “ JOHN RUSSELL. of the orders, or assurances that the repeal would mark of.
ensue, will not permit us to rely on any effective " The within-named John Russell was sworn change in the British cabinet. To be ready to in tbe truth of the within affidavit, before me, one meet, with cordiality, satisfactory proofs of such a of his majesty's justices of the peace for the city change, and to proceed, in the mean time, in and couniy of Bristol, the 25th day of July, 1811.” adapting our measures to the views which have (Signed)
been disclosed through that minister, will best
cousult our wbole duty. On the meeting of Congress, this affair was “ In the unfriendly spirit of those disclosures, particularly dwelt upon in the president's speech, indemnity and redress for other wrongs have communicated by Mr. Edward Coles, his private continued to be withheld; and our coasts and the secretary, and which was as follows:
mouths of our harbours have again witnessed
scenes, not less derogatory to the dearest of our “ Fellow-citizens of the Senate, and of the national rights than vexatious to the regular House of Representatives,
course of our trade. “ In calling you together sooner than a sepa- Among the occurrences produced by the ration from your bomes would otherwise have conduct of British ships of war bovering on our been required, I yielded to considerations drawn coasts, was an encounter between one of them from the posture of our foreign affairs; and in fix- and the American frigate commanded by Captain ing the present for the time of your meeting, re- Rodgers, rendered unavoidable on the part of the gard was had to the probability of farther deve- latter, by a fire commenced without cause by the lopements of the policy of the belligerent powers former; whose commander is, therefore, alone towards this country, which might ihe more unite chargeable with the blood unfortunately shed in the national councils in the measures to be pur- maintaining the honor of the American flag. The sued.
proceedings of a court of inquiry, requested by " At the close of the last session of congress, it Captain Rodgers, are communicated; together was hoped that the successive confirmations of with the correspondence relating to the occurthe extinction of the French decrees, so far as rence between the secretary of state and his Brithey violated our neutral commerce, would have tannic majesty's envoy. To these are added, induced the government of Great Britain to re- the several correspondences which have passed peal its orders in council; and thereby authorize on the subject of the British orders in council; and to both, the correspondence relating to with the addition of a frigate, have been chiefly BOOK XI. the Floridas, in which congress will be made employed as a cruising guard to the rights of our acquainted with the interposition which the coast;
and such a disposition has been made of our Chap. I. government of Great Britain has thought proper land-forces, as was thought to promise the services to make against the proceedings of the United most appropriate and important. In this disposi- .
tion is included a force consisting of regulars and " The justness and fairness which have been militia, embodied in the Indian territory, and evinced on the part of the United States towards marched towards the north-west frontier. This France, both before and since the revocation of measure was made requisite by several murders her decrees, authorised an expectation that her and depredations committed by Indians; but more government would have followed up that measure especially by the menacing preparations and asby all such others as were due to our reasonable pect of a combination of them on the Wabash, claims, as well as dictated by its amicable profes. under the influence and direction of a fanatic of sions. No proof, bowever, is yet given of an inten- the Schawanese tribe. With these exceptions, the tion to repair the other wrongs done to the United Indian tribes retain their peaceable dispositions States; and, particularly to restore the great towards us, and their usual pursuits. amount of American property seized and con- " I must now add, that the period is arrived, demned under edicts, which, though not affecting which claims from the legislative guardians of the our neutral relations, and therefore, not entering national rights a system of more ample provisions into questions between the United States and for maintaining them. Notwithstanding the scruother belligerents, were nevertheless founded in pulous justice, the protracted moderation, and the such unjust principles, that the reparation ought multiplied efforts on the part of the United States, to have been prompt and simple.
to substitute, for the accumulating dangers to the “ In addition to this and other demands of peace of the two countries, all the mutual advanstrict right on that nation, the United States have tages of re-established friendship and confidence; much reason to be dissatisfied with the rigorous we have seen, that the British cabinet perseveres, and unexpected restrictions to which their trade not only in with holding a remedy for other wrongs, with the French dominions has been subjected; so long and so loudly calling for it, but in the exand which, if not discontinued, will require, at ecution brought home to the threshold of our terleast, corresponding restrictions on importations ritory, of measures which, under existing circumfrom France into the United States.
stances, bave the character as well as the effect of “ On all those subjects our minister-plenipoten- war on our lawful commerce. tiary, lately sent to Paris, has carried with him the “ With this evidence of hostile inflexibility, in necessary instructions; the result of which will be trampling on rights which no independent nation communicated to you; and by ascertaining the can relinquish,
congress will feel the duty of putulterior policy of the French government towards ting the United States into an armour and an attithe United States, will enable you to adapt to it tude demanded by the crisis, and corresponding that of the United States towards France.
with the national spirit and expectations. “ Our other foreign relations remain without “ I recommend, accordingly, that adequate prounfavorable changes. With Russia they are on vision be made for filling the ranks and prolonging the best footing of friendship. The ports of Swe- the enlistments of the regular troops; for an auxden have afforded proofs of friendly dispositions iliary force, to be engaged for a more limited term; towards our commerce in the councils of that for the acceptance of volunteer corps, whose panation also. And the information from our spe- triotic ardour may court a participation in urgent cial minister to Denmark, shews, that the mission services; for detachments, as they may be wanted, had been attended with valuable effects to our of other portions of the militia; and for such a precitizens, whose property bad been so extensively paration of the great body, as will proportion its violated and endangered by cruisers under the usefulness to its intrinsic capacities. Nor can the Danish flag
occasion fail to remind you of the importance of “ Under the ominous indications which com- those military seminaries, which, in every event, manded attention, it became a duty to exert the will form a valuable and frugal part of our milimeans committed to the executive department, in tary establishment. providing for the general security. The works of “ The manufacture of cannon and small arms defence on our maritime frontier have accord. has proceeded with due success, and the stock and ingly been prosecuted with an activity leaving lit- resources of all the necessary munitions are tle to be added for the completion of the most im- adequate to emergencies. It will not be inexpeportant ones; and, as particularly suited for co- dient, however, for congress to authorise an enoperation in emergencies, a portion of the gun- largement of them. boats have, in particular harbours, been ordered “ Your attention will, of course, be drawn to into use. The ships of war before in commission, such provisious, on the subject of our naval force,