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tled. I replied, "I do not feel myself authorised in my present situation to receive any satisfaction you may have in your power to offer for such a wilful insult offered to the U.States. I was then ordered on board, and proceeded with the despatches.
Capt. Stewart to the Secretary of the Navy.
U. S. frigate Constitution, May,—1815. SIR-On the 20th of February last, the Island of Madeira bearing about W. S. W. distant 60 leagues, we fell i with his B. M's two ships of war, the Cyane and Levant, and brought them to action about 6 o'clock in the evening, both of which after a spirited engagement of 40 minutes, surrendered to the ship under my command.
Considering the advantages derived by the enemy, from a divided and more active force, as also their superiority in the weight and number of guns, I deem the speedy and decisive result of this action the strongest assurance which can be given to the government, that all did their duty, and gallantly supported the reputation of American seamen.
Inclosed is a list of the killed and wounded; also a statement of the actual force of the enemy, and the number killed and wounded on board their shpis as near as could be
I have the honor to be, &c.
FORCE OF THE CONSTITUTION.
32 twenty-four pounders.-20 thirty-two pounders.52guns. Officers, men and boys 466.
FORCE OF THE CYANE.
22 thirty-two pounders-10 eighteen do.-2 twelve do.2 brass swivels, 36 guns.-officers men and boys 180.
FORCE OF THE LEVANT.
18 thirty-two pounders-2 nine do.-1welve do. 21guns.-officers, men and boys 156.
Killed 3-wounded 12.
Killed 35-wounded 39-prisoners 301.
Capt. Biddle to Commodore Decatur.
U.S. S. Hornet, off Tristan'd Acunha, March 25, 1815. SIR-I have the honor to inform, that on the morning of the 23d inst. at half past ten, when about to anchor, off the north end of the island of Tristan'd Acunha, a sail was seen to the southward and eastward, steering to the westward, the wind fresh from the S. S. W. In a few minutes she had passed on to the westward so that we could not see her for the land. I immediately made sail to the westward, and shortly after getting sight of her again, perceived her to bear up before the wind. I hove too for him to come down to us. When she had approached near, I filled the maintopsail, and continued to yaw the ship, while she continued to conie down; wearing occasionally to prevent her passing under our stern. At 1 40 P M. being nearly within musket shot distance, she hauled her wind on the starboard tack, hoisted English colors, and fired a gun. We immediately luffed too, hoisted our ensign and gave the enemy a broadside. The action being thus commenced, a quick and well directed fire was kept up from this ship, the enemy gradually drifting nearer to us, when at 1 55 he bore up, apparently to run us on board. As soon as I perceived he would certainly fall on board, I' called the boarders so as to be ready to repel any attempt to board us. At the instant every officer and man repaired to the quarter deck, where the two vessels were coming in contact and eagerly pressed me to permit them to board enemy but this I would not permit, as it was evident from the commencement of the action that our fire was greatly superior both in quickness and in effect. The enemy's bowsprit came in between our main and mizen rigging, on our starboard side, affording him an opportunity to board us, if such was his design, but no attempt was made. There was a considerable swell on, and as the sea lifted us a head, the enemy's, bowsprit carried away our mizen shrouds, stern davits, and spanker boom, and he hung upon our larboard quarter. At this moment an officer, who was afterwards recognized to be Mr. M'Donold, the first Lieut. and the then commanding officer, called out that they had surrendered. I directed the marines and musketry-men to cease firing, and, while on the taffrail asking if they had surrendered, I received a wound in the
neck. The enemy just then got clear of us, and his foremast and bowsprit being both gone, and perceiving us wearing to give him a fresh broadside, he again, called out that he had surrendered. It was with difficulty I could re
strain my crew from firing into him again as he had certainly fired into us after having surrendered. From the firing of the first gun, to the last time the enemy cried out he had surrendered, was exactly 22 minutes by the watch. She proved to be H. B. M. brig Penguin, mounting sixteen 32 ib carronades, two long 12's, a twelve lb carronade on the top gallant forecastle, with swivels on the capstern and in the tops. She had a spare port forward, so as to fight both her long guns of a side. She sailed from England in Sept. last. She is in all respects, a remarkably fine vessel of her class. The enemy acknowledge a complement of 182 men; 12 of them supernumerary marines from the Medway 74. They acknowledge, also, a loss of 14 killed, and 28 wounded; but Mr. Mayo, who was in charge of the prize, assures me that the number of killed was certainly greater. Among the killed is Capt. Dickenson, who fell at the close of the action, and the boatswain; among the wounded, is the second Lieut. purser, and two midshipmen. Each of the midshipmen lost a leg. Hav
ing removed the prisoners, and taken on board such provi sions and stores as would be useful to us, I scuttled the Penguin, this morning before day-light, and she went down. As she was completely riddled by our shot, her foremast and bowsprit both gone, and her maiumast so crippled as to be incapable of being secured, it seemed unadvisable, at this distance from home, to attempt sending her to the U. States.
This ship did not receive a single round shot in her hull, Hor any material wound in her spars! the rigging and sails were very much cut; but having bent a new suit of sails and knotted and secured our rigging, we are now completely ready, in all respects for any service. We were eight men short of complement, and had nine upon the sick list the morning of the action. Enclosed is a list of killed and wounded. J. BIDDLE.
Killed, 1.-wounded, 11
Killed 14.-Wounded, 28.
WASHINGTON, Oct. 10, 1814.
To the Senate and House of Representatives of
I lay before congress communications just received from the Plenipotentiaries of the U. States, charged with negociating peace with G. Britain; shewing the conditions on which alone that government is willing to put an end to the war..
The American Plenipotentiaries to the Secretary of state. GHENT, Aug. 12th, 1814.
SIR-We have the honor to inform you, that the British commissioners, lord Gambier, Henry Goulburn, Esq. and William Adams, Esq. arrived in this city on Saturday evening, the sixth inst. The day after their arrival, Mr. Baker, their Secretary, called upon us to give us notice of the fact, and to propose a meeting, at a certain hour, on the ensuing day. The place having been agreed upon, we accordingly met, at 1 o'clock, on Monday, the eighth inst.
We enclose, herewith, a copy of the full powers exhibited by the British commissioners, at that conference; which was opened on their part by an expression of the sincere and earnest desire of their government, that the negocia tion might result in a solid peace, honorable to both parties. They, at the same time declared, that no events which had occurred since the first proposal for this negociation, had altered the pacific disposition of their government, or varied its views as to the terms upon which it was willing to conclude the peace.
We answered, that we heard these declarations with great satisfaction, and that our government had acceeded to the proposal of negociation, with the most sincere desire to put an end to the differences which divided the two countries, and to lay upon just and liberal grounds the foundation of a peace which securing the rights and interests of both nations, should unite them by lasting bonds of amity.
The British commissioners then stated the following subjects, as those upon which it appeared to them that the discussions would be likely to turn, and on which they were
1. The forcible seizure of mariners on board of merchant vessels, and in connection with it, the claim of his Britannic majesty to the allegiance of all the native subjects of G. Britain.
We understood them to intimate, that the British govern ment did not propose this point as one which they were par ticularly desirous of discussing; but that as it had occupied so prominent a place in the disputes between the two countries, it necessarily attracted notice and was considered as a subject which would come under discussion.
2. The Indian allies of G. Britain to be included in the pacification, and a definite boundary to be settled for their territory.
The British commissioners stated, that an arrangement upon this point was a sine qua non; that they were not authorised to conclude a treaty of peace which did not embrace the Indians, as allies of his Britannic majesty; and that the establishment of a definite boundary of the Indian territory was necessary to secure a permanent peace, not only with the Indians, but also between the U. States and G. Britain.
3. A revision of the boundary line between the U. States and the adjacent British colonies.
With respect to this point, they expressly disclaim any intention, on the part of their government, to acquire au increase of territory, and represented the proposed revision as intended merely for the purpose of preventing uncertainty and dispute.
After having stated these three points as subjects of diseussion, the British commissioners added, that before they desired any answer from us, they felt it incumbent upon