Imagens da página
PDF
ePub

LUBLIC LIBRARY
166178

ASTOR, LENOX AND
TILDEN FOUNDATION3

1900.

[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

AROUND the car of the conqueror, the bright halo of glory ever bovers. Whether he dare the storm of battle, to wrest the liberties of a nation from a tyrant's grasp; or force bis triumphant course over protrasted rights and a subjected people; whether he fight for freedom, or conquer to enslave ; still his progress is dazzling and glorious. There is a glitter acconpanging successful atchievement, which takes the reason caplive, and forces on the mind, respect for the favorites of fortune. But true fame is not always dependent on success. Glory may surround defeat and gleam from the tomb. Cato, “nobly falling with a falling state,” and disdaining to survive the death of his country's liberties, has transmitted to the latest age a name, whose lustre dims the feebler glory of “ the world's great victor.”-On the fame of the truly great man, misfortune can never throw a shade. « 'Tis not in mortals to command success," and greatness of soul shines forth with a brighter ray amid dis. astrous circumstances.

VOL. I.

[ocr errors]

Happy those heroes who are called from the scene of action, before envy, springing from their virtues, has undervalued their names; while the memory of their valorous deeds is still recent, and e'er their laurels have begun to fade. “ Every soul, sensible to honour, envies, rather than compassionates their fate."

Such has been the proud destiny of Allen. He has fallen in the meridian of his glory; fighting the battles of his country ; and death has set the stamp of eternity on his fame. Clouds of misfortune and defeat gathered around his setting sun ; but they obscured not its brightness-they only mellowed it into a more interesting splendour. His conquerors have published his worth, his bravery in battle, his fortitude in suffering and in death; and victory mourns over a triumph purchased at the price of such a life.

William Henry Allen, the deservedly lamented subject of the present memoir, was born at Providence, Rhode Island, October 21, 1784. He was the son of General William Allen, a brave and distinguished revolutionary officer, and the nephew, by his mother's side, of his Excellency William Jones, the present Governour of Rhode-Island. In the very morning of life, when the bias of his mind first began to develope itself, he evinced that ardour for distinction, that devotedness to virtuous fame, which has, in the event, covered him with glory and a pall. It was the anxious wish of his friends chat he should devote himself to the arts of peace. His venerable parent had intimately known the hardships, the dangers and the horrors of a military life; and though he had unmoved dared them all in his own person, he shrunk from encountering them again in the person of his son. But the spirit which distinguished the father had descended to the child, and remonstrance was unavailing to extinguish the fire of emulation in his breast. Connected with this ardour for fame, was a romantick inclination to visit foreign lands, and learn the varieties of men and manners : and that both might be gratified at once, he selected the navy for his profession, and in May, 1800, entered the service of his country as midshipman, In the month of August following, he was ordered on board the frigate George Washington, which shortly after sailed, under

the command of captain Bainbridge, for Algiers, bearing presents to the reigning Dey. The following extract from a letter, written to his father just before sailing, shews the high sense of duty which then animated him, and gives an early instance of that determined resolution, which has marked every transaction of his short and interesting life. " I now bid you a short adieu; but should it be the last, you shall have the satisfaction to hear of my good conduct in my station, as an officer and as a gentleman." Under the instruction of his excellent commander, Al. len rapidly progressed in the acquirement of naval tacticks, and obtained so high a rank in the esteem of his officers and the confidence of the government, that when on his return in 1801, a reduction of the navy took place, by which many officers were discharged from active duty, so highly were his services appreciated, that he was on shore but eight days before he received orders to repair on board the Philadelphia, then bound on a cruise to the Mediterranean, under the command of captain Baron. Actuated by that devotion to his country's wishes, which should characterize every officer in her service, he exchanged a hasty farewell with his friends, and cheerfully obeyed the mandate, which so unexpectedly separated him from their tenderness, and devoted him to the labour and peril of a lengthy and hazardous voyage. From Algiers, they were ordered by the Dey to Constantinople. No incidents marked this cruise which ding any light on the character of Allen. Complete subordination to superior officers, and the strictest attention to all the duties of their station, were the characteristicks of every officer in the Tripolitan service. They were all emulous of distinction, all jealous for the honour of their flag, and all devoted to their country's service. Among such men the principles of honour and of humanity, would be fostered, as well as the sterner virtues of courage and fortitude. The Mediterranean has been with justice styled the school of our naval officers. It was there, by obeying, they learned to command-it was there they first encountered danger-it was there that they pledged themselves to each other, and to their country, to ennoble the navy of the United States by conquest or by death.

« AnteriorContinuar »