« ZurückWeiter »
Living as of the dead who were instrumental in gaining one of the most important victories of the war. The American squadron carried two thousand and twenty-three pounds weight of metal, and eight hundred and twenty men; that of the British nineteen hundred and fifty weight of metal, and one thousand and fifty men.
It was in this action that the far-famed manæuvre of coming down head first upon the enemy was first tried against the Americans, and the result was, what we will venture to predict it always will be, when tried against a force any way equal in skill, numbers, and courage. The British vessels were cut to pieces before they were in a situation to bring their guns to bear against the Americans, and nothing carries a stronger conviction to our minds, of the want of proper skill and self-possession in the officers and men of those fleets that have been taken or defeated by this maneuvre, than the fatal effects which resulted from the attempt in this instance,
The anxiety of the public had long drawn the attention of all that were capable of reasoning upon the probable effect of sir George Prevost's operations, or who felt an interest in the fate of this country. It was justly feared that the enemy, after succeeding against the fleet on Lake Champlain, and forcing the intrenchments of general Macomb at Plattsburg, would penetrate into the heart of the state of New York, and perhaps establish a communication, by means of the Hudson, with the Atlantic fleet and forces, should these succeed against the city of New York. But the news of this victory, and the consequent precipitate retreat of sir George, turned their gloomy anticipations into triumphant rejoicings. Every soul slept in peace that night, and many a prayer, we warrant, was breathed for Macdonough, and his gallant associates, who had thus saved the hopes of the peaceable farmer, and
We are indebted for this latter information to Mr. Niles's Register, which contains perhaps more valuable information than any work now published in this country.
freed his innocent folds from probable plunder and devastation. Independently of the real magnitude of the effects produced by this victory, it derived a peculiar and picturesque character from the circumstances under which it was gained. It was fought in sight of two hostile armies, whose hopes of ultimate success depended upon its issue; and in the view of thousands of people, who watched in breathless anxiety the result of a struggle that was to decide whether they were to be driven from their homes in beggary, or remain in the peaceable enjoyment of their firesides. The shores of the lake adjacent, the projecting points of land, and the neighbouring hills were animated with spectators, and the victory was greeted by the shoutings of multitudes. It is full brother to that of the gallant and amiable Perry; and equally young, gallant, and fortunate, the names of Perry and Macdonough will, we trust, be associated together to the latest times, as brothers in deserving, and brothers in success.
Amid the usual demonstrations on such occasions, the state of New York, which had been most peculiarly benefited by Macdonough's victory, gave more solid testimonials of her gratitude. He received a grant of land from the legislature of one thousand acres, we think, which is, in itself, an independency, and must be doubly dear to him and his posterity, because it lies on the bay where he achieved the action which merited this reward. The corporation of Albany, as well as that of the city of New York also, made him each a grant of a valuable lot, so that, to use his own expressions, in one month, from a poor lieutenant, he became a rich man, by the liberality of his countrymen. No man, we fully believe, is more worthy of these gifts and distinctions, for no man will employ his fortune more usefully, or enjoy bis distinctions with more manly modesty than himself. His steady mind remains the same it was before, and neither by his words, his looks, or his actions, can it be discovered that he ever varies from that self-balanced consciousness, which is ever the accompaniment of talent, and is never either palpably depressed or exalted by the opinions of others. Though a married man, he is still young; and though a soldier, strict in his deportment, and exemplary in his piety. He has a fine head, light hair, complexion, and eyes; and his person
is tall and dignified. It is, indeed, a source of uncommon gratification to think how many of our distinguished officers are still so young, that we may look to them in many years to come, whenever the situation of this country shall call for their exertions. Few of them are past the middle age, and many of them, whose names are familiar to us, have just reached the period of manhood. They seem, like this country and every thing in it, bearing the stamp of vigorous youth, and promising yet more than they have ever yet performed.
Having annihilated the enemy's force on Champlain, captain Macdonough, now promoted, requested his recall from that command, as his health was somewhat affected by his long stay on the lake, which, at some seasons, is very unbealthy to strangers. Since then he has been in the command of the station at Portsmouth, New Hampshire, where he now is. Should the passions of men, the interests of commerce, or the ambition of an enemy again force us into a war, he is one of those to whom we shall look for new exploits; and should the chance of battle again give him an opportunity for the exercise of skill and courage, we feel confident the chance will not occur in vain; nor the victory of Champlain want its parallel in the life of Macdonough.
DESCRIPTION OF THE ISLAND OF TRISTAN D'ACUNHA, OFF
WHICH THE ACTION BETWEEN THE HORNET AND PENGUIN
The island of Tristan d' Acunha, in the South Atlantic ocean, lies in latitude 37, 6 south, and longitude 11, 42 west. It is at present inhabited by three men. Thomas Currie, who has been on it the longest, that is to say about four years, claims the sovereignty, and is styled governor; the second is a Portuguese, has been there about a year, and the third, whose name is Johnson, is believed to be a German, and was left on the island, about four months since, by the American privateer Young Wasp of Philadelphia. They appear to be perfectly contented and happy in their situation, dreary and uncomfortable as it may seem. Their houses are entirely built of straw, and covered with sea elephants' skins, which renders them impervious to the rain.
The soil of this island is of excellent quality, capable of producing vegetables of every kind in profusion. Governor Currie now raises potatoes, cabbages, and carrots in abundance, and some turnips, sallad, and beets. Of the three last he carefully preserves the seed. The governor has also a good stock of hogs, of a small breed, which he caught wild, and reduced under his government. The authority of governor Currie, though founded on the title of preoccupancy, extends only to his hogs, as neither the German nor the Portuguese acknowledge his superiority. The most perfect system of equality prevails among the three; but it is feared that ambition will, one day or other, occasion a struggle for power that may possibly produce another triumvirate equal to Cæsar, Pompey, and Crassus. There are an immense number of birds on the island, principally of two kinds, the largest of the size of a robin, the other not larger than the yellow bird, both of a dirty brown colour. When we first went on shore, they were so very tame, that we could knock them down with our hats; but they afterwards became more shy, owing to our killing a great many of them for the use of the sick. We al50 killed several sea lions, with which the shore abounds, and whose tongues, hearts, and flippers are excellent eating. There are also, at certain seasons of the year, a number of seals and penguins, particularly on the south side of the island.
Tristan d'Acunha appears to be about fifteen miles in circumference. It is very high land, and, in clear weather, may be seen at the distance of twenty-five or thirty leagues. We made it at about forty-five miles, owing to the weather being hazy. Part of the island, from the north, rises perpendicularly from the sea, apparently to the height of near one thousand feet; a level then commences, forming what is called table land, and extends towards the centre of the island, whence rises a conical mountain four thousand feet in height. The top of this mountain is almost constantly enveloped in elouds, and it was only when the weather was very clear, and the sun very bright, that we could see the summit, which is covered with perpetual snows.
The coast of Tristan d'Acunha is very bold, and appears to be clear of danger, except the west point of the island, where there are breakers about two cables’ length from the shore. The ship, while at anchor, was overshadowed by that part of the island under which she lay, which rises, like a moss-grown wall, from the bosom of the ocean. In other places the shore was covered with a kind of seaweed called kelp, and by our sailors Cape Ann moorings. The landing place is perfectly safe for the smallest boats, except in heavy blowing weather. A stream of water, which takes its origin in the mountain, empties itself on the beach, by a cataract about forty feet high, and may be seen at the distance of eight or ten miles at sea, tumbling down the mountain as white as the snow on its summit. The water is very fine and pure, and the casks can be filled by means of a hose of about one hundred feet long, without removing them from the boat. The anchorage is on the northeast side of the island, and vessels wishing to make it for the purpose of procuring wood and water, should run in until the watering place bears southwest by south, about one mile distant, where they will get seventeen fathoms water in a gravelly bottom mixed with pieces of shells. But it would be advisable not to come to an anchor, owing to the steepness of the anchorage ground, and the frequency of sudden squalls from off the island.