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superiority of his enemy--he says not a word of his being short of men—that his crew was sickly-he does not complain that the American boys were as big as his men—and he is altogether silent on the subject of the mighty bulwarks of the Wasp, “almost equal to those of a frigate.” Is it to be supposed for a moment, that captain Whinyates, in “his bitter sorrow and distress,” “at the unhappy issue of this contest," would not have urged these things in extenuation of that "unhappy issue?” The author of the Synopsis has stated the number of the Wasp's guns correctly; but says, “the Frolick mounted eighteen guns, besides, perhaps, a single boat-gun.” Captain Jones says, “ the Frolick of twenty-two guns, sixteen of them thirty-two-pound carronades, four twelve-pounders on the main-deck, and two twelve-pound carronades on the topgallant-forecastle, making her superior to us by four twelvepounders;" and certainly the official statement of captain Jones is at least of equal authority to the assertion of an anonymous writer in the British Naval Chronicle. We may judge of the accuracy of this writer, when he says, that the Wasp of eighteen guns, was, in measurement, as four to three, compared with the Frolick of twenty-two guns, both vessels carrying guns of the same calibre. The falschood as well as folly of this statement, must be apparent to every man of experience. It is equally ridiculous, because it must strike the least reflecting mind, that captain Whinyates, who sailed in company with the Wasp, after she was taken by the Poictiers, to Bermuda, must have perceived this vast difference, and secing it, would most assuredly have stated it in his official communication.So with regard to the alleged inferiority of the crew of the Frolick. Captain Whinyates had an equal opportunity of ascertaining the number of men on board of the Wasp; yet he is silent also as to any superiority. Is not this conclusive proof, that no such superiority, in number at least, existed?
“ The British official account of the action,” says the writer of the Synopsis, “omits stating the number of killed and 200'entled on either side, only mentioning that not twenty of the Frolick's men remained unhurt."
The reason why captain Whinyates departed from the usual practice on such occasions, of stating the number remaining unhurt, instead of the number killed and wounded, is obvious enough. If he had given a fair account of his killed and wounded, he would have betrayed, probably, an alarming fact respecting the number of his crew before the action. merely stating the number of the survivors he betrays nothing. It is ridiculous to say that he was separated from the Frolick, and, therefore, could not furnish the list; for his letter, if really written on board the Poictiers the day it is dated, could not have been sent till her arrival at Bermuda; and, at the date of that letter, the Poictiers, the Frolick, and the Wasp, were all proceeding together on their way to that island. The same reason that prevented his ascertaining the number lost, would have operated equally in preventing him from finding out how
survived. It is sufficiently evident, therefore, that the usual mode of making returns, was studiously and designedly departed from in this instance, in order to disguise, not only the number of the Frolick's crew before the action, as well as the dreadful loss she sustained.
" It is not attempted to be insinuated," says the Synopsis, “that any of our people had left their quarters that were not disabled."
It is true that no such insinuation is made by captain Jones in his official letter; but it is, nevertheless, a fact, that the survivors of the Frolick's crew did quit their quarters and go below. When our people first saw the deck of the Frolick, nobody remained on it but the seaman at the wheel and three officers. If twenty of the crew, as captain Whinyates states, remained unhurt, where were they at that time? The truth is, they were below, and had broken into the spirit-room; information of which being given to one of our officers, a sentinel was placed over the room in consequence.
The last part of the Synopsis I shall notice, is that in which the writer is “ under the painful necessity," as he affirms, “of comparing the Americans with the Algerines, because they did not board the Frolick, immediately on running upon
her.” The inference the writer plainly attempts to palm upon his readers, is, that the Americans are not only cowardly but cruel. The charge of cowardice recoils on himself; for if the Americans, who have so frequently beaten the British in naval actions, are cowards, what must be those whom they have conquered, and what egregious folly it was to make such a noise about the capture of the Chesapeake! The charge of cruelty, in taking advantage of an enemy whose flag was still fying, by making the most of a favourable position, is equally ridiculous and unsupported. The assertion that the Frolick fell on board the Wasp, “very soon after the action commenced,” is equally unfounded, as this did not occur until the conclusion of the affair, and but one gun was fired into the Frolick after the two vessels fell on board each other. By referring his readers to the American papers for confirmation of all he says, the writer displays the petly art of a disingenuous mind. He well knew that few or none of his readers would ever see these papers, and very safely made them the foundation of statements which never received any support from any American publication, or any admissions on the part of the Americans. This is a safe way of propagating falsehoods, and fully answers every purpose of deception, since it appeals confidently to authorities to which his readers can have no access, and states facts of which the contradiction will probably never be seen by those intended to be made the dupes. Nothing can more strikingly indicate the declining state of the British navy, once so renowned, than the desperate misrepresentations and low-bred arts resorted to by “ a British naval officer," to cover its numerous disgraces and deceive his credulous countrymen.
I am, &c.
OFFICIAL LETTER OF CAPTAIN JONES, REFERRED TO IN THE
New York, 24th November, 1812.
I HERE avail myself of the first opportunity of informing you of the occurrences of our cruise, which terminated in the capture of the Wasp, on the 18th October, by the Poictiers, of seventy-four guns, while a wreck from damages received in an engagement with the British sloop of war Frolick, of twenty-two guds, sixteen of them thirty-two pound carronades, four twelve pounders on the main deck, and two twelve pound carronades on the top-gallant forecastle, making her superior in force to us by four twelve pounders. The Frolick had struck to us, and was taken possession of, about two hours before our surrendering to the Poictiers.
We had left the Delaware on the 13th. The 15th had a heavy gale, in which we lost our jibboom and two men. Half past eleven, on the night of the 17th, in latitude thirty-seven degrees north, longitude sixty-five west, we saw several sail, two of them appearing very large. We stood from them some time, then shortened sail, and steered the remainder of the night the course we had perceived them on. At day-light, on Sunday the 18th, we saw them ahead-gave chase, and soon discovered them to be a convoy of six sail, under the protection of a sloop of war, four of them large ships, mounting from sixteen to eighteen guus. At thirty-two minutes past eleven, A.M. we engaged the sloop of war, having first received her fire, at the distance of fifty or sixty yards, which space we gradually lessened, until we laid her on board, after a well supported fire of fortythree minutes; and although so near while loading the last broadside that our rammers were shoved against the sides of the enemy, our men exhibited the same alacrity which they had done during the whole of the action. They immediately surrendered upon our gaining their forecastle, so that no loss was sustained on either side after boarding.
Our main topmast was shot away between four and five minutes from the commencement of the firing,—and falling, together with the main topsail yard, across the larboard fore, and fore topsail braces, rendered our head yards unmanageable the remainder of the action. At eight minutes the gaft and mizen top gallant mast came down; and at twenty minutes from the beginning of the action, every brace, and most of the rigging was shot away. A few minutes after separating from the Frolick, both her masts fell upon deck; the mainmast going close by the deck, and the foremast twelve or fifteen feet above it.
The courage and exertions of the officers and crew fully answered my expectations and wishes. Lieutenant Biddle's active conduct contributed much to our success, by the exact attention paid to every department during the engagement, and the animating example afforded the crew by his intrepidity. Lieu. tenants Rodgers, Booth, and Mr. Rapp, showed, by the incessant fire from their divisions, that they were not to be surpassed in resolution and skill. Mr. Knight, and every other officer, acted with a courage and promptitude highly honourable, and I trust they may be relied on whenever their services may be required.
I could not ascertain the exact loss of the enemy, as many of the dead lay buried under the masts and spars that had fallen on deck, which two hours exertion had not sufficiently removed. Mr. Biddle, who had charge of the Frolick, states, that from what he saw, and from the information of the officers, the num. ber of killed must have been about thirty, and that of the wounded between forty and fifty. Of the killed, is her first lieutenant and sailing master,—of the wounded, captain Whinyates and the second lieutenant.
We had five killed and five wounded, as per list. The wounded are reco. vering. Lieutenant Claxton, who was confined by sickness, left his bed a little previous to the action; and though too much indisposed to be at his division, re. mained upon deck, and showed by his composed manner of noticing the incidents, that we had lost by bis illness the services of a brave officer,
I am, &c.
CAPTURE OF THE FROLICK.
From the London Gazette, December 26.
LETTER FROM THE CAPTAIN OF THE FROLICK TO ADMIRAL WARREX.
His Majesty's ship Poictiers, af sea, October 23. SIR,
It is with the most bitter sorrow and distress I have to report to your excellency the capture of his n ajestv's brig Frolick, by the ship Wasp, belonging to the United States of America, or the 18th instant.
Having under convoy the home ward bound trade from the bay of Honduras, and being in latitude thirty-six degrees north, and sixty-four degrees west, on the night of the 17th, we were overtaken by a most violent gale of wind, in which the Frolick carried away her maingard, lost her topsails, and sprung the main topmast. On the morning of the 18th, as we were repairing the damages sustained in the storm, and reassembling the scattered ships, a suspicious ship came in sight, and gave chase to the convoy.
The merchant ships continued their voyage before the wind under all sail: the Frolick dropt astern, and hoisted Spanish colours, in order to decoy the stranger under her guns, and to give time for the convoy to escape. About ten o'clock, both vessels being within hail, we hauled to the wind, and the battle began. The superior fire of our guns, gave every reason to expect its speedy termination in our favour, but the gaff-head braces being shot away, and there being no sail on the mainmast, the brig became unmanageable, and the enemy succeeded in taking a position to rake her, while she was unable to bring a gun to bear.
After laying some time exposed to a most destructive fire, she fell with the bowsprit betwixt the enemy's main and mizzen rigging, still unable to return his fire.
At length the enemy boarded, and made himself master of the brig, every individual officer being wounded, and the greater part of the men either killed or wounded, there not being twenty persons remaining unhurt.
Although I shall ever deplore the unhappy issue of this contest, it would be great injustice to the merits of the officers and crew, if I failed to report that their bravery and coolness are deserving of every praise; and I am convinced, if the Frolick had not been crippled in the gale, I should have to make a very different report to your excellency. The Wasp was taken, and the Frolick recaptured the same afternoon, by his majesty's ship Poictiers. Being separated from them, I cannot transmit at present a list of killed and wounded. Mr. Charles M’Kay, ibe first lieutenant, and Mr. Stephens, the master, have died of their wounds. I have the honour to be, &c. &c.