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The Orders in Council, though ostensibly a 1812. belligerent retaliation on the Berlin and Milan Decrees, operate so severely on the neutral and maritime rights of America, that to vindicate her lawful claim to a participation of the common ocean, she has recourse tó arms ;* and, with comparatively a nominal navy, of 8 frigates and 6 sloops, declares war against Great Britain, whose disposable naval force consists of 200 ships of the line, 20 fifty-gun ships, 220 frigates, and 250 sloops, exclusively of other vessels. It is the general expectation that the infant navy of the Republic will be swept from the sea.
July 16. The American sloop of war Nautilus, is captured by a British squadron.
* On this subject the President of the United States thus addresses his fellow citizens : “ We forebore to declare war until to other ag
gressions had been added the capture of nearly 1000 American
vessels, and until a final declaration had been made by the Govern5 ment of Great Britain, that her hostile orders against our commerce “ would not be revoked, but on conditions as impossible as unjust, 6s whilst it was known that these Orders would not otherwise cease " but with war, which had lasted nearly twenty years, and which ac
cording to appearance at that time, might last as many more. Our “ resolution, therefore, to oppose the enemy's persevering outrages, “ must carry with it the good wishes of the impartial world, and the " best hopes of support from an omnipotent and just Providence."
17. The American frigale Constitution, Captain Isaac Hull, in going from Lynnhaven Bay to Boston, is becalmed off the Capes of Virginia, in sight of the Africa of 64 guns, the Guerriere, the Sbapnon, the Belvidera, and the Eolus, British frigates. The boats of the squadron take in tow two of the frigates, which get for a short time within gon shot of the Constitution; but, by the nautical skill and promptitude of Mr. Aylwin, the master, she, by kedging and other admirable manoeuvres, effects her escape, after having been chased sixty-four hours.
August 13. The British sloop of war Alert, Captain Laugharne, is captured by the American, frigate Essex, Captain David Porter.
15. The whole coast of Nova Scotia, from Canso to Cape Sable, swarms with American privateers, who give the British cruizers incessant employment, and, in spite of their utmost vigilance, pick up valuable trading ships.
17. Arrived at Annapolis, the American privateer schooner Rolla, Captain Dewly, from a cruize. In a heavy gale at sea all her guns were thrown overboard, except the Long Tom, but the ardour of her officers and crew (in all sixty) remained unabated; for they captured from the Cork fleet, without the loss of a man, the ship Mary, of Bristol, of 14 guns, with hardware and crates; ship Eliza, of the same port, 10 guns, with 20,000 bushels of wheat; ship Rio Nova, of London, 13 guns, with dry goods; ship Apollo, of the same port, deeply laden with king's stores; brig Barossa, of Cork, 6 guns, with beef;
schooner Swift, of Plymouth, and another belonging to Aberdeen.
BETWEEN THE GUERRIERE AND CONSTITUTION.
19. The British frigate Guerriere, Captain Dacres, returning from a cruize in the Atlantic to Halifax, is taken by the American frigate Constitution, Captain Hull, after a severe conflict, in which the English ship was totally dismasted. With a fresh breeze from the N.W. and cloudy weather, at 2 in the afternoon, the sailor on the look-out from the mast-head of the Constitution, descried a vessel in the S. W. when all sail was made towards her; and, between 3 and 4, she was distinguished to be a frigate close-hauled upon the starboard-tack, under an easy sail. When Captain Hull came within about three miles of her, he took in his light sails, and hauled up his courses. He then cleared ship for action, and, on beating to quarters, the American crew gave three cheers, and called out to be laid close alongside the enemy; unawed by the attitude of the Guerriere, who had now laid her main-top-sail to the mast, and displayed that flag which had annihilated the proud armadas of France and Spain. The fact is that the men and the ships of both nations are made of the
same sterling carpentry-the heart of oak;-and that yankey tars possess capabilities for rivalling the most celebrated achievements ever performed on sea by their distinguished progenitors. There were eight American seamen on board the Guerriere, who had been several years in her. As the Constitution was bearing down under American colours, Captain Dacres with exemplary liberality ordered the word to be passed fore and aft to the crew assembled at their guns, that the services of the Americans would be dispensed with; and they all went joyfully below, except one poor fellow, who, stationed on the forecastle, did not hear the tidings, but remained at his quarters during the action an involuntary foe to the flag that he rallied round in heart. The Guerriere was the first that fired; at 4 as the Constitution was closing fast, she wore to avoid being raked, and at 10 minutes past 4 began to open the fire of her main-deck guns. The Constitution did not return her opponent's fire for ten minutes, when the two ships exchanged broadsides, and manoeuvred to obtain advantageous positions. At 5 the Constitution closed on the starboard beam of the Guerriere, with the evident design of crossing her bow; when the Guerriere bearing up, the two ships entered warmly into the contest, broadside and broadside, within halfpistol-shot, steering free, with the wind on the quarter, under top-sails and jib. The American now poured in so heavy a fire upon her adversary, that, in twenty minutes from the time of engaging alongside, the mizenmast of the English ship went by the board, falling over on the starboard quarter, and bringing the ship up in the
the wind. Upon this accident, Captain Hull luffed the Constitution short round, and placing her on the Guerriere's larboad bow, opened a dreadful raking fire with his great guns, while the rifle-men from the tops took deliberate and effectual aim at the English officers and crew. It is, I believe, a practice peculiar to the American navy, that eight men are stationed in each top with rifles; of whom six are constantly employed in loading for the other two who are reputed the most dexterous marksmen. It was at this juncture that Mr. Ready, the lieutenant who commanded the main-deck-guns on board the Guerriere, was killed, and Mr. Grant, who directed those on the forecastle, was carried below badly wounded; while Mr. Scott, the master, was shot through the knee, and Mr. Kent, the first lieutenant, together with Captain Dacres, received rifle-shot wounds. While the Guerriere lay exposed to the heavy raking fire of the American, she could bring only a few of her bow guns to bear in return; and at length fell on board of the enemy, her bowsprit getting foul of the Constitution's larboard mizen-rigging. The American now shewed a disposition to board the Guerriere, when Captain Dacres ordered bis crew up from the main-deck guns to anticipate them in the act; but perceiving the Constitution's deck crowded with men prepared to resist, he judged his force too disproportionate, and that the assault would probably not succeed ;* and the ship coming to, he brought some of his
* Throughout my relation I have not departed from the letter of the British official documents; and I now cite the words of my autho