Page images

340. There needs no comment on this; and every one must be satisfied that such exhibitions, constantly kept before the eyes of the people of England, and being known to be substantially correct, must necessarily make the American institutions dangerous to the order of things as carried on in England. To destroy the means of making such comparisons; to put an end to the hateful fact, that government there was carried on at one eighteenth part of the expense of carrying on government here, was an object at the heart of every one who was interested in the upholding of this state of things in England. But, besides this object there was another, which was to destroy the germ, as it was called, of the American navy. This object was openly avowed. But, the parties avowing it would not perceive, though duly warned by me at the time, that they might make the matter worse; that their danger was great, if the American institutions and the American navy were left as they then were; but that their danger would be perfectly terrific, if the cheap institutions should happen to stand through a war with England single-handed; and if the navy should happen not to be destroyed. If the institutions should live throughout such a war; and if the American navy should happen to show itself anything like equal to such a contest; then the consequence must be, great and

imminent danger to the whole system then car-
ried on in England.

341. We now know, that the institutions did outlive this formidable war; we know that the laws taken thither by the brothers of our fathers did resist that terrible attack; aye, and that too, without any of those measures resorted to in England during the late war, to stifle free dis cussion, or abridge the political or civil liberties of the people in any respect whatsoever; we saw them live through that war, without any sus pension of the act of Habeas Corpus, without the accusation of any man of treason or sedition, during the whole time, without a thought of introducing foreign mercenaries to assist in the defence of the country; and with a scorn of every idea of resorting to auxiliaries and to subsidies: and, now it remains for us to see how the English government rucceeded in destroying the American navy "in the bud."

342. I beg the reader to turn back to JOHN WILSON CROKER's manifesto, in paragraph 305; and also to the proclamation of the LONDON | PRESS, in paragraph 310. I beg him to keep these constantly in his eye, while surveying the events of this naval war. This press spoke the voice of the government, of the aristocracy, of the clergy, of the money-mongers of England. It represented that the American navy "must

be annihilated;" that it must be "crushed to atoms;" that it now "stood alone;" that it might "hereafter have allies;" that we must, therefore, "strike while the iron is hot." We did strike while it was hot; and now we are going to see the success with which the "striking" was attended.

343. The reader will remember (paragraph 317) the flippant boastings of CANNING, and his contemptuous sneer at the American navy, consisting of "six fir frigates, with bits of striped bunting flying at their mast-heads." It is very true that the republic did begin with six frigates, and these having bits of striped bunting flying at their mast-heads; but it is not true that they were made of fir, they being made of the very best wood in the world. But, fir, or not fir, we are now going to see how this American navy dealt with the mighty navy of Engiand.

344. The first fair trial with the "bits of bunting" was with the British frigate called the GUERRIÈRE, which word, in English, means "warrior," or "famous fighter," or "hero." Before we come to speak of this battle, which took place on the 20th of August 1812, just two months after the Congress declared war; before we speak of this battle, it is not inapt to observe that this frigate, the Guerrière, was the immediate provoker of that very war. On the 1st of May 1811, she was commanded by SAMUEL

JOHN BROOK PECHELL, who, off SANDY HOOK, and in the American waters, boarded an American coaster, bound from PORTLAND to NEW YORK, and impressed out of her a native citizen of NEW YORK, a passenger on board that ship. He afterwards took other American citizens out of other ships, he being still upon the same station. The American government could endure this tyranny no longer; and, if that go. vernment had been so far overawed by the mercantile and paper-money herd as to have endured this tyranny, the people of America would have torn that government to pieces. The government sent out their frigate, called the PRESIDENT, to protect the coasts and commerce of the United States, and to demand from the GUERRIERE the American citizen whom she had impressed. The PRESIDENT

fell in, in the night time, with the English ship LITTLE BELT, commanded by Captain BINGHAM, hailed her; and, receiving no answer, fired into her. The LITTLE BELT was of very inferior force; was greatly damaged by the PRESIDENT; and thirty-two British subjects killed and wounded was the first payment of the price of PECHELL'S seizure of the American citizens as aforesaid. But this conduct of PECHELL filled the measure of provocation, so that it ran over; and it was, in fact, the immediate cause of the war, which does not prevent this SAMUEL JOHN BROOK

PECHELL from being a baronet, and being now (1834) a member of parliament for WINDSOR, and a Lord of the Admiralty!

345. The GUERRIÈRE had changed commanders before the 30th of August 1812; and JAMES A. DACRES had become her commander. DACRES, after the declaration of war, being cruising on the coast of America, met, on the 27th of August, an American ship, called the JOHN ADAMS, coming from LIVERPOOL. He boarded her, and indorsed, on the register of the ship, the following words :

"Captain Dacres, commander of his Britannic Majesty's frigate Guerrière, of 44 guns, presents his compliments to "Commodore Rodgers, of the United States frigate Presi"dent, and will be very happy to meet him, or any other "American frigate of equal force to the President, off Sandy Hook, for the purpose of having a few minutes tête-à-tête.”

346. The JOHN ADAMS very soon spread about intelligence of this piece of insolence. SANDY HOOK is a bay not far from the city of NEW YORK. It was not exactly there that DACRES was destined to be humbled. Sailing on to the northward, he met with the frigate CONSTITUTION, commanded by ISAAC HULL. Now then he had an opportunity of enjoying that téte-à-tête. Now it was that the "bits of bunting" were to be tried. It does not comport with my plan to give detailed accounts of actions, much less to give the official docu

« PreviousContinue »