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board colonel Laurens and suite, on an important embassy to the French court.
He sailed from L'Orient early in 1781, on a cruize; and, having taken many valuable prizes, on the 29th of May an event occurred that deserves notice. On the preceding day two sail were discovered on the weather bow, standing for the Alliance; after approaching near enough to be in sight, during the night, they hauled to the wind, and stood on the same course with the frigate.
At daylight on the 29th it became. quite calm: at sunrise the American colours were displayed on board the Alliance; the drum beat to quarters. The strange sails were discovered to be a ship and a brig; the British flag was displayed, and haying, by means of their sweeps, got within hailing distance, they respectively hailed, when it appeared that the ship was his Britannic majesty's ship of war Atalanta, captain Edwards, carrying between twenty and thirty guns, and her consort, the brig Trepasa, captain Smith. The commodore ordered them to haul down their colours, which being refused, the cannonading immediately began: the Alliance, from want of wind, was like a log upon the water; while the enemy, by means of their sweeps, could select their position: they accordingly kept on the quarters, and athwart the stern of the Alliance, so that but few guns could be brought to bear upon them. About two o'clock the commodore was wounded in the left shoulder by a grape shots Though his wound was dangerous, and excessively painful, he remained on the quarter deck some time, when the loss of blood obliged him to be carried to the cockpit. Shortly after, the colours of the Alliance were shot away, and this happening in the interval of loading her guns, the enemy concluded they had been struck: they manned the shrouds and huzzaed. The American flag was soon hoisted again, and the renewal of the fire from the Alliance sent the enemy to their quarters. A little wind fortunately springing up, the broadside of the frigate was brought to bear upon the enemy; it did great execution, and at three P. M. they both struck their colours. When captain Edwards was conducted to the commodore, who was then confined in the cabin, he presented his sword, which was immediately
returned to him, as a testimonial of the high opinion entertained of his bravery; the commodore observing, at the same time, “ that he richly merited it, and that his king ought to give him a better ship."
Soon after the commodore was wounded and left the deck, one of his lieutenants went to him while in the cockpit, and representing the shattered state of the sails and rigging, the number of killed and wounded, and the disadvantages under which they laboured, from the want of wind, desired to know if the colours should be struck: “ No," said he; " and if the ship can't be fought without, I will be carried on deck.” When the lieutenant made known to the crew the determination of their brave commander, fresh spirit was infused into them, and they one and all resolved to “ stick by him.” As soon as his wound was dressed, he insisted upon being carried on deck; but before he reached it the enemy had struck. The Alliance had eleven killed, and twenty-one wounded; among the latter several of her officers; her rigging and spars much shattered, and severely damaged in her hull. The enemy had the same number killed, and thirty wounded. We have been led into the detail of this victory, as it was considered at the time of its achievement, a most brilliant exploit, and as an unequivocal evidence of the unconquerable firmness and intrepidity of the victor.
In the fall of 1781 orders were received to fit the Alliance for taking out the marquis de la Fayette and count de Noailles to France on public business. On the 25th of December she sailed from Boston, with them on board.
The Alliance left L'Orient in February, 1782, from which time she continued cruising, with great success, till March of the following year; when, shortly after leaving Havanna, whither she had been ordered, to bring to the United States a 'large quantity of specie, having in company the continental ship Luzerne, of twenty guns, captain Green, three frigates were discovered right ahead, two leagues distant. The American vessels were hove about: the enemy gave chace. The Luzerne not sailing as fast as the Alliance, the commodore ordered her captain to throw her guns overboard. A sail was then discovered on the weather bow, bearing down upon them; the Alliance hove
out a signal, which was answered: she proved to be a French ship, of Gfty guns. Relying upon her assistance, the commodore concluded to bring the headmost of the enemy's ships to action; after inspiriting his crew, by an address, and going from gun to gun, cautioning his men against too much haste, and not to fire till ordered, he prepared for action. The enemy's ship was of equal size with the Alliance; a severe engagement followed: it was very soon perceptible that the Alliance was gaining the advantage; most of the enemy's guns were silenced; and after an action of fifty minutes, his ship was so severely damaged, that she hoisted a signal of distress, when her consorts joined her. The loss on board the Alliance was very trifling: three killed, and eleven wounded. The enemy's loss was severe: thirty-seven killed, and fifty wounded. The other English frigates were watching the movements of the French ship; the captain of which, upon coming up with the Alliance, assigned as a reason for keeping aloof from the action, that he was apprehensive the Alliance had been taken, and that the engagement was only a decoy. Chace was made, but the French ship being unable to keep up with the American, it was given over.
A respectable gentleman of this city, to whose politeness we are indebted for the important aid he has given us in preparing this article, was in the Luzerne at the time of the engagement, and had his eye upon the commodore throughout the action: he says language cannot do justice to his gallantry.
A gentleman of distinguished naval reputation, when in the Mediterranean with the American squadron, was introduced to captain James Vashan, esquire, now vice admiral of the red, the commander of the British frigate engaged with the Alliance. In the course of conversation, he made particular inquiry after captain Barry, related the circumstances of the action; and, with the frankness of a generous enemy, confessed that he had never seen a ship so ably fought as the Alliance; that he had never before, to use his own words," received such a drubbing, and that he was indebted to the assistance of his consorts."
We are sensible we have indulged in greater particularity in the relation of these engagements than most readers will think necessary. Our reason must apologise for us; we wish it to be
known, that the gallantry of our seamen is not of recent date, but is coeval with our national existence.
These are the most interesting incidents that our imperfect materials furnish. Suffice it to say, that commodore Barry served throughout the revolution with distinguished honour to himself, and signal benefit to his country. Even during the intervals of suspension from public employment, occasioned by the chances of war, he was actively and efficiently employed in annoying the commerce of the enemy in letter of marque vessels.
Having espoused the cause of liberty from principle, he was attached to it with all the glow of patriotic enthusiasm; nothing could divert him from it, nor damp his ardour.
The following anecdote may be relied on as authentic; it evinces at once the high estimation in which his services were held by the enemy, and the constancy of his resolution: General Howe, appreciating the commodore's character, and thinking him important to the successful progress and issue of the contest, made an attempt to detach him from his country; for this purpose, he authorised an offer to the commodore of fifteen or twenty thousand guineas, and the command of the best frigate in the English navy. The general availed himself of a period that seemed to him the most auspicious to the accomplishment of his object, it was when the metropolis was in possession of the British, when the enemy triumphed, and even the best friends of America began to dispair. The offer was rejected with the indignation of insulted patriotism. The answer he returned to the general was, that “ he had devoted himself to the cause of his country, and not the value and command of the whole British Aeet could seduce him from it."
After the termination of hostilities, the commodore was retained in the public service; and when, under Mr. Adams's auministration, it was deemed expedient to increase the naval establishment, he was appointed to superintend the building of the frigate United States in Philadelphia, which was designed for his command. His opinion was very influential in the adoption by the government of that excellent model for ships of war, the superiority of which, over every other, has been so strikingly
proved, as to have extorted the acknowledgments even of our enemies.
During the partial maritime war into which we were drawn by the aggressions of the cruisers of the French republic, commodore Barry was constantly and actively employed; and though fortune did not afford him an opportunity of signalizing himself by any splendid victory, yet he rendered essential service to the commercial interests of the country, by protecting its flag from the depredations of the French privateers which infested the Oconn.
After our differences with France were accommodated, he retained the command of the United States until she was laid up in ordinary, soon after the introduction of Mr. Jefferson to the executive chair.
Commodore Barry did not long survive the termination of his public services: though naturally of a strong and robust consti. tution, he had been for many years subject to an asthmatic affection, to which he fell a victim, at Philadelphia, on the thirteenth day of September, 1803.
Thus closed the life of one of the first of patriots, and best of men.
He was eminently qualified for the important stations which he filled. He possessed courage without rashness-a constancy of spirit which could not be subdued a sound and intuitive judgment-a promptitude of decision equal to the most trying emergenciesconsummate skill a generosity of soul which tempered the sterner qualities of the hero, and recommended him to the esteem of all-a humanity of feeling which made him no less attentive to the comfort and happiness of those whom the fortune of war threw into his power, than he had been ambitious to conquer them. Having spent the greater part of a long life upon the ocean, he had seen every possible variety of service; he knew how to sympathize, therefore, with those who were subjected to his command: to this it was owing, that though a rigid disciplinarian, he always conciliated the attachment of his sailors. It is worthy of remark, that no person who has sailed with him, as seaman, officer, or passenger, has ever been heard to speak of him but with the most respectful gra