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The war was extremely unpopular among the people, and the uncharitable portion charged his not capturing any of the enemy's ships, more to cowardice, than to the difficulty he had encountered in finding any thing worth capturing, that was not convoyed by a force superior to his single frigate.

For the first time it occurred to me that the signals, obtained two years previously, might be of service to the commodore, in decoying some of the enemy's vessels within reach of his guns; and the thought no sooner entered my mind, than I sought them from among my papers, and put my plan into immediate execution. I drew a compass, in the centre of which was represented the President, lying at anchor in the harbor, and on the points, the thirty-two signals by which the men-of-war designated to the fleet the course to be steered during the night, to evade a pursuing enemy; below, I painted the ten numbers, represented by as many flags, with two others, forming the affirmative and negative.

I was not personally acquainted with Commodore Rodgers, at the time, although intimate with most of his ward-room officers, by one of whom I sent the picture, with a letter addressed to him, showing how the signals were to be used, and observing, that he should obtain the number of one of the largest class of British frigates, and by hoisting it when an enemy was in sight, it would without doubt decoy her within his reach.

Meeting the officer intrusted with these despatches a few days afterward, he informed me that the commodore, soon after he had taken them into his cabin, appeared on deck, apparently highly pleased, and ordered one of his warrant officers to have some blue bunting painted black, very much to the surprise of the officers, who could not conceive for what purpose he intended it; but I was satisfied that the signals were to be made, one of them being black-and-yellow.

The President' sailed, and I thought no more of the affair, until some weeks after, taking up a newspaper, I therein saw it stated that she had taken the British government schooner Highflyer by stratagem.

Soon after the peace, dining with Commodore Rodgers, at his house in Washington, he related to me the following circumstances, which I give nearly in his own words :

'I acknowledged the receipt of your letter,' he observed,' and was determined to have the signals made on board, and to try the experiment, none of my officers understanding for what purpose they were intended. I cruised some time without meeting an enemy, until one afternoon we fell in with a schooner, some six or eight miles to windward of us. We hoisted the British ensign, which she answered by displaying another, and at the same time a signal at her main-topgallant mast head, which I immediately discovered was like one of those you had given me. From the list of English frigates, I selected the number of the 'Sea-Horse,' one of their largest class, and known to be on our coast, and hoisted it. She bore down at once, and coming under our stern, I ordered her to heave to, and I would send a boat on board of her.

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This order was obeyed, and I despatched a lieutenant to bring her signal-book; enjoining on him, and the crew, the strictest secrecy respecting our character. He was politely received by the captain,

whose schooner proved to be the 'Highflyer.' Our lieutenant's coat attracted his attention, not being of the latest London fashion, although the crown-and-anchor was on the button; but casting his eyes on the frigate, seeing the British ensign; and now and then the red coat of a marine appearing above the hammock-netting, his mind was apparently set at rest.

The lieutenant informed him that he was requested to bring his signal-book on board the 'Sea-Horse,' in order to have some alterations made, as there was a rumor that the Yankees had possession of something like the signals, and it was therefore necessary to change the numbers! This ruse had the desired effect, and our lieutenant returned with the book, which placed me in command of the whole correspondence of the British navy. I then sent the gig for the captain, requesting him to come on board, and bring any despatches he might have in charge.

'On reaching our deck, he seemed surprised at the size of the vessel, praised her cleanliness, and the order in which every thing appeared; admired the new red-coats of the marines, and on being invited into the cabin, handed me a bundle of despatches for Admiral Warren, who, he observed, must be within forty miles to leeward. I ordered refreshments, and in company with several of my officers, we entered into general conversation.

'I asked him what object Admiral Warren had in cruising in that neighborhood? He said, to intercept the American privateers and merchantmen, but particularly to catch Commodore Rodgers, who he understood had command of one of the largest and fastest-sailing frigates in the American navy! I inquired of him what kind of a man this Rodgers was, and if ever he had seen him? He said no; but he had understood that he was an odd character, and devilish hard to catch. After conversing on several other subjects, I abruptly put this question to him:

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Sir, do you know what vessel you are on board of?'

Why yes, Sir,' he replied; on board His Majesty's ship SeaHorse.'


Then, Sir, you labor under a great mistake. You are on board the United States' frigate President, and I am Commodore Rodgers, at your service!

The dying dolphin never assumed a greater variety of colors, than did this poor fellow's face. 'Sir,' said he, you are disposed to be humorous, and must be joking!' I assured him it was no joke; and to satisfy him on that head, handed him my commission. At the same moment the band struck up Yankee Doodle,' on our quarterdeck; on reaching which, he saw the American ensign flying, the red coats of the marines turned blue, and the crown-and-anchor button metamorphosed into the eagle.

'This affair,' observed the commodore,' was of immense importance to our country. We obtained in full the British signals; the operations of Admiral Warren, by the non-receipt of his despatches, were destroyed for the season; and it probably saved the frigate, for the course I was running, at the time of my falling in with the Highflyer, would have brought me into the midst of his fleet during the night.'

New-York, March, 1840.

G. B



'For it doth appear that our young men are becoming inflated with what they call sentimentalism, the which leads to a false estimate and beglect of the every-day pursuits of life. Many have begun (in imitation, I suppose, of that puffed-up young man, GEORGE BYRON,) to write poetry, and one of our youth, BERNARD BARTON, has acquired some reputation with the worldly-minded by so doing.' 'A disease which it appeareth to me can only be overcome, by placing their conduct before them in its proper ridiculous light; for reasoning availeth not.'


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'T was in the mild and pleasant month of June,
When roses 'gin to open to the sun,

And wild birds, with an ever joyous tune,
And brooks that murmur praises as they run,
Tell that the earth once more to smiles is won,
That on the banks of a rock-girdled stream,
A happy band were gathered; sportive Fun
Held there his mirthful court, and he would deem,
Who heard their merry laugh, that all their milk was cream.


Oh, Wissahickon! could the poet's art
Depict thee in thy beauty and thy bloom,
Such as thou seemest to the boyish heart,
Before bright hopes have been begirt 'with gloom,
Or day-dreams found their ever-certain tomb,
Thy praise would swell in every foreign land,
And hotels with a many well-crammed room
Would greet the tourist hastening to thy strand,
To look upon thy hills, and hear FRANK JOHNSON's band.


Many have been the cool though summer hours,
That I have passed on gray rocks by thy side,
Plucking the sweet and delicate wild flowers,
Those fittest types of modest maiden pride,
Or joyed along the stony road to ride,
My courser slowly stepping over rills
Which gently hasten to enrich thy tide:
If any wish to canter o'er these hills,

They'll leave the old 'Ridge Road' at Robinson's flour mills.


Silence reigns o'er thee, and we tread thy banks,

Forgetful for a time of worldly care:

Nought to disturb (confound the noisy pranks
Of those young urchins in the water there!)
The spirit as it mounts into the air,

Above the things of time, and sense, and earth,
Winging its way into those regions fair,

Where all our dreams of happiness have birth;

And oh! without such dreams, what were existence worth!

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What would life be, if we might never know
Fair FANCY, with her changeful magic glass,
Which, like the prism, bids the bright colors glow
Around each object which we swiftly pass,
And all seems fairy land. Too soon, alas!
The charm is broken; yet to her we cling

Mid all the cares that daily life harass,

Leaving them for a while, with hopeful wing,

When cheered by some blest spot, like that which now I sing.


The laurel blooms upon the wrinkled brow

Of time-worn rock, which guards thy rugged path;

And who would pluck, will find, I rather trow,

That here, as in the mingled tears and wrath

Of gory battle-field, that he who hath

Desire to wear the wreath, must danger dare:
Oh! 'it is fun' to see a cooling bath

Given to some big-whiskered, clumsy bear,
Who strives by agile feat to please his ladye-fair!


Adieu, sweet stream! thou fair and holy spot
To all who in the morning's vocal time
Have wandered by thy side, or met the hot
And quiet hour of noon, where merry chime
Of water falling comes like pleasant rhyme
Upon the drowsy ear; or sauntered slow,
Filled with high thoughts, sky-reaching and sublime,
When the soft moon her gentle smile doth throw
Over the valleys hush, and waters' murmuring flow.


We think of thee, and with thy presence come
Thoughts of the young, and beautiful, and gay;
Voices as joyous as the bee's quick hum,
Eyes which then beamed as with a heavenly ray,
Are heard and seen as if but yesterday.
We laughed, or wept with them, in mirth or wo;
We were so happy then! - but who can say
If we again such blissful hours may know,
When with excess of joy the heart shall overflow!


But let us leave this too bewitching theme:
We said, in the commencement of our tale,

Some happy hearts were gathered near this stream;
Pity it is not deep enough to sail

A pleasure-boat, without its timbers frail

Scraping acquaintance with the rocks beneath,

Which from each fair evokes a doleful wail,

Like that which rings on some deserted heath,

Where ghost-chased rustic speeds, with terror-chattering teeth.


Seated around in many a joyful group,

They held brisk converse, or half-chiding, smiled

At foolish jest, while some 'neath boughs which droop
Over the road-side, thought of him who piled
Rock upon rock, in such confusion wild;"

Till startled from their meditative trance

By some mirth-loving, fun-creating child,

Who from far height above, sent stone to dance,

And from sharp crag to crag, like steed to madly prance :


Till with a whizzing and impetuous leap,
It bounced into the middle of the throng;
Scattering 'all hands,' even as a little sweep,
Who, in hot haste courses the pave along,
When our big fire-bell peals its loud ding-dong!
Some seeking shelter behind rocks and trees,
And others shouting in a cadence strong,

"There, stop that ball!' while the rude joker flees, Like one who with long stick has stirred a hive of bees.


But there was one apart from all the rest,
Perched on a peak which overlooked the scene,
Which once for all I know was eagle's nest;
Right noble was the heart that there I ween
Was soaring with an eye as bright and keen
As Freedom's bird, through fancy's upper air,
Through realms by all but poet's ken unseen:
He had a princely brow, and oh! his hair
Foretold that he a wig, or scalp, need never wear.

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