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and as a seaman, he was equally eminent. He had a thorough sympathy with all under his command, attended personally to the comfort of his crew, to solace the sick, preserve the health of those who were well, and watch, in every way, over the welfare
He was a strict disciplinarian; but always punished with reluctance, and only when unavoidable. With the officers, bis extraordinary faculty of creating a lively attachment to his person spared him the necessity of frequent censure ; a disapproving glance of his eye had often more effect than the stern rebuke of others. The unwillingness of his officers to offend him was extreme. Among his correspondence there are many evidences of this peculiarity, in letters written after the commission of some trifling fault, evincing not so much an apprehension of his official disapprobation, as the loss of his favorable opinion and esteem. Every germ of merit was sure to be discovered by him, and encouraged, and no opportunity was ever lost of advancing those who performed their duty with cheerfulness and fidelity. His attention to the moral and intellectual training of his midshipmen was unceasing. No want of encouragement from the subjects of his solicitude, no reluctance to learn, no resistance to being taught, turned him back from the determined prosecution of this all-important, but much neglected duty."
“ The person of Perry was of the loftiest stature and most graceful mould. He was easy, and measured in his movements, and calm in his air. His brow was full, massive, and lofty ; his features regular and elegant, and his eye full, dark, and lustrous. His mouth was uncommonly handsome, and his teeth large, regular, and very white. The prevailing expression of his countenance was mild, benignant, and cheerful, and a smile of amiability, irresistibly pleasing, played about bis lips. His whole air was expressive of health, freshness, comfort, and contentment, bearing testimony to a life of temperance and moderation.
" In his private character Perry was a model of every domestic virtue and grace ; an affectionate and devoted husband, fond father, and a faithful and generous friend ; most happy in the domestic and social relations he had formed for himself, and the centre and cause of happiness to those who surrounded him. Thoroughly domestic in his tastes, yet social in his feelings, hospitable without ostentation, and not averse to a measured and regular conviviality in the midst of his family and friends, eminently urbane and modest in demeanor, yet ever willing, as able, to take his fair share in the general entertainment.
“The amiability of Perry was one of his most distinguishing traits, and the susceptibility of his feelings was excessive. Such are some of the attributes of the character of Perry. A brief .
anecdote will show with what sentiments he impressed one of the noblest of Americans. When Decatur was first informed by Mr. Handy of the particulars of the death of Perry, he was sensibly affected ; after a short pause, he remarked, with great solemnity, ‘Sir ! the American navy has lost its brightest ornament.'' Vol. 11. pp. 237 – 244.
We cannot but express our regret that Lieutenant Mackenzie has dwelt at such length upon the angry discussion between Commodore Perry and Commodore Chauncey, concerning the manning of the fleet on Lake Erie. His object is to show the difficulties with which the former had to contend, and his energy in overcoming them ; but we fear that in doing so be implies some censure of the latter. This we do not believe it was his intention to express.
We should be sorry to see any thing detracted from the perfect honor of a venerable name, around which are gathered some of the warmest sympathies and kindest associations of the navy.
Mr. Mackenzie is entitled to the particular thanks of the navy, for having supplied a faithful and true account of the battle of Lake Erie. We have, in a previous Number, * examined critically Mr. Cooper's account of this action in his “ Naval History,” and given in some detail our reasons for rejecting it as utterly false in spirit, statement, and comment. We shall not renew or extend that criticism here beyond a passing remark. Deliberate and repeated examination and reflection, assisted and directed by an intimate acquaintance with some of the most distinguished of Perry's officers, (amongst others the gallant and deeply lamented Commodore Thomas Holdup Stevens, whose old associates mourn his recent untimely death,) lead us now to confirm the opinion we have already expressed. And we heartily congratulate the navy, that it has now in its possession a work to which it can turn for a fair record of the events of the memorable 10ih of September ; a record, just to the living and the dead, which places Perry where he should be, on the pinnacle of the fame won on that glorious day, and awards to the second in command a severe but just condemnation. Mr. Mackenzie, as was his duty, has entered into a full examination of the difficulties between Commodores Perry and Elliott, which we recommend to the particular and careful perusal of every young officer. He will not only learn to avoid the misconduct of the latter,—an unimportant consideration, for, we believe, no such example is necessary in our navy to stimulate commanders to the duty of following their fag into action, — but he will be taught, by the unhappy consequences resulting to the former, never to suffer private feelings to control a sense of obligation to the country and the service. Perry, in his generous sentiment, that "there is honor enough for us all,” forgot that he had no right to make others share in the dishonor of an individual. His neglect to arrest Captain Elliott, on the day of the battle, was the great error of his life, and he had sufficient cause to repent it. No compromise with guilt, whatever the motive that leads to it, can be safe. We are bound to repeat here, our more than contempt, our indignant scorn of the assertion of Mr. Cooper, in a note to his relation of the battle of Lake Erie, that Captain Elliott, when he went to bring up the gunboats, encountered as much danger as Commodore Perry did in passing in an open boat from the Lawrence to the Niagara. This statement, speciously untrue, might be taken on the authority of Mr. Cooper, by careless readers. Let it, however, be simply understood, that Commodore Perry was in an open boat in the hottest of the fire, and that Captain Elliott entered that same boat to go still further from the scene of action, at a moment when the head of his ship, hitherto inotionless, and at a safe distance, was pointed towards the enemy.
* See North American Review, Vol. XLIX. pp. 438 et seq.
We recur, however, to a pleasanter theme, the great value of this faithful record of Commodore Perry's life to the young officer, to whom, if he hope to rise to similar honor in his profession, it should be a texi-book and a guide ; to the old officer, who will find, in its pages, the scenes and recollections of his early life renewed ; and to every American reader, whose heart must glow with delight to find that he had such a countryman as Perry, and that such scenes, as the battle of Lake Erie, were acted in his native land.
If, however, we take pride in recounting the past deeds of our little navy, and contemplating the character of the gallant commanders who led on to their achievement, that feeling receives a severe check when we consider its present condition. A long interval of peace has laid to sleep the vigilance of the government, and, as we are forced to conclude, has broken in seriously upon the subordination of the naval service. We believe that the moral condition of the navy is perfectly sound, that the patriotism and devotion of the officers is by no means
lessened, that the spirit of the last war is still in vigorous lise. But the columns of the daily journals, for the last five or six years, have contained many disgraceful exposures, whilst the general demand for reorganization indicates its necessity. The improvement and confirmation of the discipline of the corps by a new code of regulations adapted to its advanced condition; a reorganization which would include a “ Retired List”; the timely promotion of the junior officers ; the regular and successive employment of officers of all grades, so that each one might perform his fair share of sea-duty ; together with minor changes in the mode of enlistment, and treatment of seamen, are subjects on which we have before expressed some opinions, and to which we may hereafter recur.
We make it our particular object at present to urge upon the public attention, and especially to enforce upon the minds of those who have charge of the national welfare, the insufficiency of the present naval force to the honor and protection of the country.
We are not aware that any statistical statement which we could present would make this insufficiency apparent. gues nothing to say that we have eleven ships of the line, (but one, by the way, ready for service, and that one abroad, seventeen frigates of all classes, and twenty-one sloops of war ; and that of these but one ship of the line, five frigates, and fourteen sloops are in commission, and actually fitted for a cruise. It
may not be unprofitable, however, to compare the amount of tonnage engaged in the foreign trade of England, France, and the United States, and the degree of protection which each country can afford to her commercial marine in the event of a sudden call. It appears from the Parliamentary Report of 1836 that there are 27,895 British vessels employed in the foreign trade, the tonnage of which, taken at an average of 120 tons for each ves:
essel, amounts to 3,347,400 tons, employing 181,642 seamen. The navy of Great Britain consists of 565 vessels, including steamers, brigs, and packets, of which 130 are ships of the line, and about 190 of all classes were in actual service before the breaking out of the China war and the disturbances in the East, by which of course the number is very much increased. The foreign tonnage of France is estimated at 647,000 tons, comprising, at the same average, 5,391 vessels navigated by 35,000 seamen. The navy of France contains 350 vessels, of which 110 are ships of the line, and being almost entirely built since the year 1816,
its condition is very perfect. The foreign tonnage of the United States may be stated at 2,000,000, the number of vessels it employs is between 16 and 17,000, and the number of registered seamen 108,000 to 110,000. The navy comprises 68 vessels, including brigs and schooners, 11 of them ships of the line, and 3 of them large steamers of war; of the whole number 36 are in commission, and 33 in active service. We will put the above statement in a tabular form, to make the comparatively very small amount of protection provided for the American commerce, more apparent.
No. of Mer-
Tonnage. chant vessels.
No. of Seainen, 181,642
Vessels of war of
Besides the above figures, not inexpressive in themselves, it is to be noted that the pavies of England and France are in a more complete condition than ever before ; their dock-yards, machinery, and all conveniences for fitting out ships are wonderfully improved and multiplied; their naval gunnery is perfected by incessant practice in schools whose pupils are distributed among the vessels in commission ; their models, particularly the English, are bettered ; their ships are in finished order ; and, in short, a paval rivalry has sprung up between the two nations, which has brought out the genius of both to the greatest advantage, and led to the highest perfection of naval economy the world has ever witnessed.
We do not forget, that England and France, on account of their propinquity and mutual mistrust, and also as the two most distinguished members of the European family of nations, maintain a naval force competent to preserve the balance of power in Europe, and arrest a sudden invasion, as well as to secure their foreign commerce.
With the politics of Europe we have happily no concern. But, if the above figures should fail to prove any thing, the constant call from our merchants abroad for more cruisers, might show the necessity for increased naval protection. Instances not unfrequently occur, of difficulties which threaten collision, with a painful disparity of force on our side, and these difficulties would often be prevented by the presence of a respectable