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1811; upon the european world the american flag owes so

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much of its glory. -
If we consider, that it is only to add about four
feet to the extreme breadth of the President, to

make her a larger ship than the generality of british

74s, and that her yards are as square, and her masts as stout as theirs, some idea may be formed of the size and formidable appearance of the american

stout 44-gun frigate. In point of scantling, also, that to, whichisacknowledged to be the lightestbuilt of these *** frigates is at least equal to a british 74 of the largest ... class. This is proved by taking the thickness of the 44s. topsides at the midship maindeck, and foremost

quarterdeck, port-sill. In the President, the maindeck port-sill measures 1 ft. 8 in., and, in any british 74 of 1800 tons, 1 ft. 7 in: ; and, while in the latter ' ' the quarterdeck port-sill measures only 1 ft. 1 in.,

o it measures in the former 1 ft. 5 inches.

some Now for the armament of these 44-gun frigates. .m. Having had ocular proof of the manner in which the of President was fitted, we shall take her for our guide. ... This beautiful ship has, or rather had, for she has ment, long since been taken to pieces, 15 ports and a

bridle of a side on the main deck, eight of a side on the quarterdeck, and four of a side, without reckoning the chase-port, on the forecastle. This gave the ship 54 ports for broadside guns; but she had the means of mounting 62 broadside guns. For instance, instead of her gangway, or passage from the forecastle to the quarterdeck, being of the usual width of four or five feet, it was ten feet. This deviation from the common plan was to allow room for the carriage and slide of a 42-pounder carronade; and a novel and very ingenious method was adopted,

to obviate the necessity of uniting the quarterdeck

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and forecastle barricades, or bulwarks, and conse*{{uently of destroying that single-decked appearance ‘which, for the |. of deception, it was necessary 'to maintain. Between the two barricades the same open or untimbered space remained, as is seen in any

other frigate; but the stanchions for supporting 811. the hammock-cloths were of extraordinary stout-. ness, and so arranged along the gangway as to form of ports for four guns. The breechings were to pass guns. round the iron stanchions, chocks were fitted to the deck to receive the carriages, and the guns could be as effectively-mounted as any in the ship. We formerly doubted if these eight gangway guns were put on board the President or either of her class-mates; but it has been asserted by british officers, who visited some of the large american frigates during the war with Tripoli, that they at that time mounted F. along the whole extent of their spar-decks. If so, the ships probably landed them upon the return of peace with the Barbary states. The ships were then found to work so much better, that it was decided, we believe, not to supply these eight singularly constructed ports with guns, but merely to add two carronades to the 54 guns, which the ship could mount in the regular way. This was done by fitting the gangway or entrance port to receive a carronade; making nine of a side on the quarterdeck. . . So that the american 44-gun frigate mounted, along ... with her 30 long 24-pounders on the main deck, ledged18 carronades, 42-pounders, on the quarterdeck, . and six carronades, 42-pounders, and two long of the 24-pounders on the forecastle; total 56 guns. This * is the number invariably assigned as the force of each of the three “ 44-gun frigates” in Mr. Clark's american Naval History.* The maindeck guns of the United-States were weight english sea-service guns, measuring nine feet and a .3" half in length, and weighing about 50 cwt. Those of board the Constitution were english land-service, or battery *. guns, in length 10 feet, and in weight about 54 cwt.; but the guns of the President were of american manufacture, measuring eight and a half feet, and weighing only 484 cwt. We may here mention that, although

* Clark's Naval History of the United States, vol. i. p. 171, and vol. ii. p. 22.

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the four masked or gangway ports were left vacant,
a case might occur, in which they would be of
essential benefit. For instance, suppose the ship to
be attacked in port, and to be moored in such a
manner as to be only assailable on her outer side:
she could easily transfer from the opposite side four
of her carronades, and thus present a broadside
force of 32, or, admitting that some inconvenience
would arise from the closeness of the aftermost of
those four guns to the temporary gun in the gang-
way port, of 31, heavy guns.
For the purpose of showing that, if the President
and her two formidable class-mates had been equipped
with the whole of the 62 guns which they were
constructed to carry, they would have required no
addition to their established complement of men,
we will state a few facts relative to the composition
of american crews. When, in the year 1794, the
Americans began arming against the Algerines, the
following were ordered to be the proportions, in

which the different ratings or classes of a crew of

370 men were to bear to each other: officers and
petty officers 66, able seamen 150, ordinary sea-

men 100, marines 54. Here, be it observed, are

wanted two ratings, either of which usually forms no
inconsiderable proportion of a british crew, landmen
and boys. In later years, however, a few boys or
lads were admitted; and, estimating the crew of an
american 44-gun frigate at 475 men and boys, we
may venture to give the following as its organization:
officers and petty officers 80, able seamen 180,

ordinary seamen 145, marines 65, boys 5. But, in

reality, the distinction between the able and the
ordinary seaman was merely nominal, the fasti-
diousness of the american government requiring
the latter to be nearly equal in qualifications to
the former. Nor was it enough to be a practised
seaman; the volunteer must also, in age, stature,
and bodily vigour, be able to stand the test of the
strictest scrutiny.

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While, therefore, the officers, or the greater part of Jo; them, were native Americans, the petty officers con- May. sisted, almost wholly, of the first order of british Bulkot seamen; of whom, also, the bulk of the crew was to it. composed. Owing to the absence of any restraint amon similar to that imposed by the game-laws of England, the american peasant is a sportsman from his infancy. Hence, the marines consisted of native Americans; not only as being the best marksmen, especially with the rifle, but because the british marine corps, to its credit, afforded very few deserters. It may now be understood what is meant, when it is stated, that an american ship of war is manned with a picked crew.

Having now, as we trust, clearly shown, that Acthose who called the american 44-gun frigate a . * line-of-battle ship in disguise,” did not commito the gross mistake with which they were charged, ...” we shall offer a word or two on the subject of the frigate. american 36-gun frigate. Even here was a frigate more than equal to any french or english frigate of the largest class, carrying long 18-pounders; and, be it remembered, in the year 1811, France did not own any, and England only three frigates, (Cornwallis, Indefatigable, and Endymion,) that carried long 24-pounders. Upon a certain occasion, which will soon pass in order of detail, the Americans loudly proclaimed, that the Chesapeake was the very worst frigate they possessed. The Chesapeake was a 36-gun frigate, and, as we have elsewhere shown, had the ports for mounting on her two broadsides 54 guns.” For a short time, we believe, the ship did mount that number of guns, with a crew of about 440 men. Besides the Constellation and Chesapeake, built in 1797, there were the Congress and NewYork, built in 1799. Had the Americans possessed no stronger frigates than the heaviest of these, Europeans would not have been so surfeited with * tales of american naval prowess.

On the 10th of May, 1811, the United States' . 44-gun frigate President, captain Charles Ludlow,

* See vol. iv. p. 480. *

1811.

President

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bearing the broad pendant of commodore John Rodgers, with sails unbent, and the principal part of her officers on shore, lay moored off Annapolis

te in the Chesapeake ; when, at 3 P. M., the commodore

came unexpectedly on board, and immediately all
hands went to work bending sails and getting the
ship ready for sea, The surgeon, too, began pre-
paring his plasters and splinters, and rubbing up his
instruments of amputation; rather an extraordinary
occupation on board a neutral frigate. All this bustle
and preparation was not, however, without an object.
On the 1st of the month, in the forenoon, the british
38-gun frigate Guerrière, captain Samuel John
Pechell, cruising off Sandy-Hook, boarded the ame-
rican brig Spitfire, from Portland bound to New-
York, and impressed out of her a man named John
Deguyo, a passenger and a native citizen of the United
States. The Guerrière had also impressed, or did
shortly afterwards impress, from vessels that she
boarded off the coast, two other native american
citizens, Gideon Caprian and Joshua Leeds. That
John Deguyo was a native american, or, at all events,
that he was not a british subject, is chear from the
circumstance, that on the 12th of June the Guerrière
discharged him into the british 18-gun ship-sloop
Gorée, captain Henry Dilkes Byng; and, on the
30th, the latter put him on board an american ship
for a passage to the United States. Caprian was
also discharged, but not Leeds, because he had
entered. -
The Spitfire arrived at New-York on the same
day, or the day after, Deguyo had been pressed
out of her; and the occurrence, within five or six
days at the farthest, must have been known at
Washington. The written orders to commodore
Rodgers were probably, as Mr. Secretary Munroe
asserts, “to protect the coast and commerce of the
United States; ” but the officers who arrived from
Washington on the 11th of May, to join their ship,
must have brought some verbal orders of a more
particular nature; for one of the President's officers,

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