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.*, valuables in the ship removed on shore; and, as the M. boats of the Essex had been nearly all destroyed, it Lands was considered fortunate that lieutenant Downes was .*, present with the three boats from the Essex-Junior, and A portion of the british subjects belonging to the .." crew took this opportunity of effecting their escape; and others, alarmed by captain Porter's report that “flames were bursting up each hatchway,” flames of which not a trace could afterwards be discovered, leaped overboard to endeavour to reach the shore, In the midst of all this confusion, at about 6 h. 20 m, P. M., the Essex hauled down her numerous flags, and was taken possession of just in time to save the lives of 16 of her men, who were struggling in the waves; 31 appear to have perished, and between 30 and 40 to have reached the shore. Da- The damages of the Phoebe were trifling. She .#" had received seven 32-pound shot between wind loss on and water, and one 12-pound shot about three feet }... under water, Her main and mizen masts, and her to sails and rigging, were rather seriously injured. "Out of her crew of 278 men, and 22 boys, total 300, the Phoebe had her first lieutenant (William Ingram) and three seamen killed, four seamen and marines severely, and three slightly wounded. The Cherub's
larboard foretopsail sheet was shot away, and replaced
in five minutes: several of her lower shrouds were cut through, also the main topmast-stay, and most of the running rigging; and three or four shot struck her hull. One marine killed, her commander SeVerely, and two marines slightly, wounded, was all the loss which that ship sustained; making the total loss on the british side five killed and 10 wounded. When the Essex was boarded by the british officers, buckets of spirits were found in all parts of the main deck, and most of the prisoners were in a state of intoxication. This decided proof, that “american sailors want no grog,” accounts for the Phoebe and Cherub having sustained their principal injury during the first three broadsides. Afterwards, the firing of 1814, the Essex became very irregular; and nearly all her TT' shot went over the british ships, The damages of the Essex were confined to her Same upperworks, masts, and rigging. “The battered .ard state of the Essex,” says captain Porter, “will, I Essex. believe, prevent her ever reaching England.” There is strong reason to believe that the greater part of the Essex-Junior's crew came on board the Essex, and returned when the colours were about to be struck; but we shall consider the american frigate to have commenced action with only 260 men, and five lads or boys. Out of this number, the Essex, as far as is borne out by proof, (the only safe way where an American is concerned,) had 24 men killed, including one lieutenant, and 45 wounded, including two acting lieutenants and the master. But captain Porter, thinking by exaggerating his loss, both to prop up his fame and account for the absentees of his crew at the surrender, talks of 58 killed and mortally wounded, 39 wounded severely, and 27 slightly. How then did it happen, that 23 dead (lieutenant Wilmer had been previously knocked overboard and drowned) were all that were found on board the Essex, or that were reported as killed to the British? As only 42 wounded were found in the Essex, and only three were acknowledged to have been taken away by lieutenant Downes, what became of the remaining 21 * The loss, too, as we have given it, is quite as much as from the damages of the Essex one might suppose that she had sustained. But it is captain Porter, the author of the “Journal of a Cruise into the Pacific, &c.,” who has made these extraordinary statements; therefore, no more need be said about them. For having done what was done, no merit is claimed . by the two british captains. They had heard soo. much of american prowess, that they expected little * short of being blown out of the water; and yet, after the Essex had struck, the Phoebe, without the - 2 E 2
1814; assistance of the Cherub, was ready to tackle with another american frigate of the same force. On the 31st of May the Phoebe and Essex, the latter commanded by lieutenant Charles Pearson, set sail for England; and on the 13th of November, having stopped some time at Rio-Janeiro, the two ships anchored in Plymouth sound. Lieutenant Pearson was immediately promoted to the rank of commander. * Let us now endeavour to trace what became of the ; 12 whale-ships captured by the Essex, Qn the 25th ii. of July, 1813, captain Porter despatched home the Georgiana armed with 16 guns, manned with a lieutenant and about 40 men, and laden with a “full cargo of spermaceti oil, which would be worth, in the United States, about 100000 dollars.” She was captured in the West Indies, by the 18-pounder 36-gun frigate Barrossa. The Policy, laden also with a full cargo of oil, was retaken by the Loire frigate; and the New-Zealander, having on board “all the oil of the other prizes,” by the Belvidera. The Rose and Charlton were given up to the prisoners. The Montezuma, it is believed,was sold at Valparaiso. The Hector and Catherine, with their cargoes, were burnt at sea. The Atlantic, afterwards called the EssexJunior, was disarmed by the orders of captain Hillyar, and sent to America as a cartel. The Sir-AndrewHammond was retaken by the Cherub; the Greenwich, burnt by the orders of the american officer in charge of her; and the Seringapatam, taken possession of by her american crew. The mutineers carried her to New South-Wales; whence she was brought to England, and delivered up to her owners, on payment of salvage. Thus have we the end of all the “prizes taken by the Essex, in the Pacific, valued at 2500000 dollars;” and, as another item on the debit side of captain Porter's account, the Essex herself became transferred to the british navy. ... At the risk of being charged with impiety, we of capt. - ---> --- - Hijo must express a wish that, instead of announcing his success in the words: “It pleased the Almighty Disposer of events to bless the efforts of my gallant so. companions, and my personal, very humble ones, ~~ with victory,” captain Hillyar had stated, in a plain manner, the surrender of the Essex, and left the ublic to judge, by what means, other than the welllirected 18-pounders of the Phoebe, the comparatively unimportant event had been brought about. It was only a few months before, that an american commander announced his success over a lilliputian british fleet on Lake Erie, in the following words: “It has pleased the Almighty to give to the arms of the United States a signal victory over their enemies on this lake.” We remember, also, looking over the log-books of british ships, and some hundreds have passed under our inspection, once coming to the words, “ Mustered the crew and read prayers for the victory.” And what was the “victory”? Why, the success of three ships over one, and that not until after the sacrifice of nearly 100 lives. In our view of the matter, appeals to the Deity on such occasions of blood and carnage are, to say the least of them, quite at variance with the spirit of true religion. The best part of captain Hillyar's public letter. is, we think, the following passage: “The defence encoof the Essex, taking into consideration our supe-. riority of force, the very discouraging circumstance Porter. of her having lost her main topmast, and being twice on fire, did honour to her brave defenders, and most fully evinced the courage of captain Porter, and those under his command. Her colours were not struck, until the loss in killed and wounded was so awfully great, and her shattered condition so seriously bad, as to render further resistance unavailing.” Captain Hillyar penned this encomium two days after the action, and nothing could better evince the goodness of his heart; but he soon found that he had praised the unworthy. As one proof among many that could be adduced, captain Porter, in a letter dated in July, accuses captain Hillyar of acting towards him with “perfidy.” Yet the conduct of this same
1814, slanderer of a gallant british officer, of this same ... captain David Porter, of whom few in his own country will venture to speak well, is declared by our eon. temporary to have been “perfectly honourable.” Early in the month of February the first launched of the american “18-gun” ship-sloops, of which we formerly gave some account; the Frolic, commanded by master-commandant Joseph Bainbridge, sailed from Portsmouth, New-Hampshire. On the 20th of April, at daylight, latitude 24° 12 north, longitude o, 81° 25' west, the Frolic fell in with the british 18. to pounder 36-gun frigate Orpheus, captain Hugh Pigot, * and 12-gun schooner. Shelburne, lieutenant David shel. Hope. When the chase commenced, both british !... ships were to-leeward; but, in an hour or two, the on schooner weathered the american ship. At a few * minutes past noon the Orpheus, then on the Frolic's lee quarter, standing upon the opposite tack, fired two shot, both of which fell short. However, they produced as good an effect as if they had struck the american ship between wind and water; and, in about half an hour, just as the Shelburne was closing her, down went the “star-spangled banner” and its stripes from the Frolic's mizen peak. As soon as the Orpheus, who was but an indifferent sailer, could get near enough to take possession of her, this fine american sloop of war was found with 171 officers and men, all “high-minded Americans,” on board. : According to the report of the british officers, this of gentle surrender was attended with a circumstance ... in other respects disgraceful to the Frolic's officers Ameri- and crew. The locks of the great guns were broken, i..." and the muskets, pistols, pikes, swords, bar and chain shot, &c. were throwfi Öwerboard, together with the pendant that was strúčk! A Nassau paper, of the 25th of April, adds: "[The purser's storeroom was next sacked; theft" the men got into the gun-room and the captain's cohol, and pillaged them. 1453
* Brenton, vol. v. p. 161. t See p. 214.