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try cannot at once accomplish all that may be desired and intended,--but must wait until the increase of its population, the accumulation of wealth, and the acquirement of the requisite science and skill, enable it to embark in great enterprises of improvement, with a sure prospect of completing them.
We now come to a subject, which, since the late war, has been, and will long be, a sore one with most Englishmen. We make proper allowances for the provocation; and excuse, so far, the irritability produced by it. The Reviewer, assuming the tone and air of a competent judge, but with affected diffidence, says, “it is not for us to decide on the policy of the American government, with regard to the increase of its naval force. A few successful contests, always with an inferior force to oppose, (notoriously untrue,) and the tumultuous blustering of the democrats, who, in fact, rule the country in turbulent times, were the stimulus to this measure.” He then gives, ex cathedra, the usual exaggerated English accounts of the force of our seventy-fours; as if a British rated seventy-four does not always carry a greater number of guns, and keeps to the number of her denomination, in the strict faith of a legal contract; and he proceeds, “ The order of Congress, for building these ships, limited their size to that of seventy-fours ;" and then very gravely details the reasons which produced the deceptive termination, and made it expedient to call them seventy-fours. We need not examine the correctness of his speculations upon the difference between the orders of Congress, and the size of the ships, as he happens, unfortunately, to be entirely mistaken in the fact. The law, or as it is called, the order of Congress, for building these ships, does not “limit their size to that of seventy-fours; but is as follows:“For the gradual increase of the navy of the United States, the sum of one million of dollars per annum, is hereby appropriated for three years ;" and further, “The President of the United States is hereby authorized to cause to be built, nine ships, to rate not less than seventy-four guns each; and twelve ships, to rate not less than forty-four guns each.” Thus is refuted, the whole charge of artifice and deception made upon our Congress in passing the law, and our President in executing it--all of which, is supposed by the Reviewer, to be a trick to take in the English, as to the real strength of our vessels.
The great ship in the dock-yard at Philadelphia, “ attracts the special notice of the Reviewer, who says, “she is considered, in size and strength, a prodigy"-he might have added, in workmanship, materials, beauty, and naval skill, too.—Mr. De Roos says, “the Americans call her the largest ship in the world." This big ship is a terrible annoyance to the Reviewer, and as disturbed his imagination and judgment most powerfully.-His nerves give way, under the fearful excitement. In his agony, he flounders about, seeking for consolation, from the most irreconcilable sources. --First he reposes on the belief, that she will break her back. “This is,” he says, “unquestionably an enormous ship, and so was the Commune de Marseilles, which we took at Toulon; and which, though new and strongly built, broke her back the first strong gale she encountered in our keeping.”—But should “our ship,” escape this dreadful spinal accident, all hope is not lost; for it is profoundly observed, “it is yet to be seen, how the ‘Pennsylvania' will act at sea.” Cers tainly this cannot be denied, as she is still on the stocks in the dock-yard; from which fact, it might have been inferred, and may safely be asserted, that we have not yet seen how she will act at sea ; and, indeed, whether she will ever get to sea at all. Having imparted to his readers all the comfort they can derive from a probable broken back, and the uncertainty of the good conduct of the Pennsylvania at sea, the Reviewer explores other grounds, to calm his apprehensions. -—“The main question is, so far as we are concerned, have we, in the British navy, any ships to meet and match this monster? Our answer is, many; but, let us take one, the Caledonia.”—He does not tell us, whether this meeting and matching are to be before or after the Pennsylvania has broken her back, but he is “bold enough to say, she, (the Caledonia,) is, in all respects, as fine and powerful a ship, and, if we mistake not, (no inconsiderable qualification,) a better sailer, and an easier working ship, than the Pennsylvania will turn out to be.”—Here we have a ludicrous mixture of assertion and prophecy; of facts without evidence, and anticipations without reason. It will, however, entirely satisfy every Englishman, who clearly sees, in his mind's eye, the poor Pennsylvania, broken in her back, out-sailed, out-worked, and dwindling into a cock-boat, in comparison with the redoubtable Caledonia. How charming it is to have such visions at command, and to derive from them all the pleasures of reality!—The very name of this extraordinary Caledonia, which out-monsters the Pennsylvania, seems to have imparted to the critic a power of looking into futurity, even beyond the second sight of the country from which she has her name. His confidence in his favourite Caledonia, grows, as he dwells on her excellence; and amounts to certainty, when he announces that “we need hardly say, there is not a captain in the British navy, (mark, not one,) that would not, in the event of a contest, be delighted to meet with the Pennsylvania, while in command of the Caledonia.” We have no doubt, that British naval officers are ever willing and eager to meet and fight any thing, in the shape of a ship. -A thousand instances attest the truth of their fearless valour; and a thousand brilliant successes have proved that their skill is equal to their courage; but, it is nevertheless true, that they have been vanquished, and their ships made captive by Americans. The delight with which an officer may go into a battle, is no guarantee that he will come out of it with the same satisfaction. He
may do all that he ought to do to obtain success, and be obliged to yield the victory to his adversary. We all remember with how much ecstacy Captain Dacres, of the Guerrier, saw the approach of the American frigate, “Constitution;" with what delight he looked to the combat, his only fear being that the Yankee would not fight, but would give him too cheap a victory. We recollect his promise of the prize to his first lieutenant, and his numbering the minutes in which he would put him in possession of her. - The Yankee did fight, and received the flag and sword of the delighted English captain, in about the same time he had promised the American ship to his delighted lieutenant. We doubt not that the captains of the Java, Macedonian, &c. were equally delighted to meet their enemy, but the issue of the contest proved the fallacy of their confidence. We do not assume, that our officers are more brave than those of England; but our navy being comparatively small, our ships are better built and equipped, and our crews selected and exercised with more care, than can be done in a navy so monstrous as the British. For a long time, we shall, generally, beat them, especially in combats between single ships. This, however, is running into the future; we wish to speak only of the present and the past.
Determined no longer to be frightened by the American “monster," and gathering confidence as he goes along, the Reviewer gives us a long list of ships, in addition to the Caledonia, in the British navy, with magnificent names, “most of which are of more than equal metal to the American line of battle ships, under whatever name they may be designated.” It has not occurred to him, that while he has predicted that the Pennsylvania, from her great size, must break her back, and will neither sail well, work well, nor act well at sea, he has no such fears for the “Royal George,” the “ Royal William," and forty others, that are severally more than equal to any of the American line of battle ships. It is only a republican “monster" that is liable to this dorsal weakness, while royalty is protected by a charm. If, indeed, the Reviewer feels safe, in this respect, because his Majesty's ships have floated along without meeting this calamity; we may be allowed to take the benefit of their experience as a security for us.
The Reviewer goes into an argument of no mean length, to prove that their thirty-two pounders are more effectual than our forty-two pounders. A short time before the late war, the same question arose between Commodore Decatur, then in command of the Frigate “United States," and Captain Carden, of the Macedonian, both lying at Norfolk. The argument of the English captain was pretty much the same with that now advanced, particularly in the reliance on the circumstance, “that a thirty-two pounder will fire three rounds, while a forty-two pounder will fire only two;” and thus, as Captain Carden expressed it, will throw more iron into the enemy's ship in a given time. Neither of these commanders was convinced by the other, and Decatur ended the dispute by good-humouredly saying to Captain Carden ; if our countries should be at war, and we should meet at sea, I will convince you of the truth of my argument. It happened, somewhat strangely, that they did afterwards meet as enemies in the same ships; and Decatur kept his promise, and established the soundness of his opinion by an unanswerable argument; the capture of Captain Carden and his ship. We tender the same argument to the Reviewer. If, however, he is right in asserting the superiority of the British armament and metal, it but increases his difficulties in accounting for our victories.
We will not follow this true-hearted John Bull through the various remaining topics which he discusses to restore the spirits of his countrymen, mortified and depressed by their naval defeats. Heretofore, there was not a man in England who believed any one of the thirty-nine articles half as sincerely, as the impossibility of taking an English ship. Their critical comforter very gravely assures them, they “had no occasion for uneasi
This is pleasant enough. The subject of steam-ships and steam-boats, is next brought in review. The “Fulton Steam-ship," is laughed at as a ridiculous failure; but it is acknowledged, that in common steam-boats, we " beat them out and out;" and, immediately returning to his national reluctance to allow us superiority in any thing, he declares he does not believe the fact on which he had made the acknowledgment, although the authority appears to be good.” To soften the pain of this hesitating confession, he says,- as a set-off, however, the only steam-vessel sent from America across the Atlantic, was so complete a failure, that it is not probable they will try another such experiment.” We are glad to have an opportunity to say a word on this subject. When, within the last two years, a steam-vessel departed from England for India, it was pompously announced in an English journal, beating our Reviewer “out and out," that it was the first attempt to perform a distant voyage in such a ship. And this was said in the face of the notorious fact, published in every part of Europe and America, that several years before, a steam-ship had left the United States ; had gone to England ; to Sweden, and to Russia ; and returned, without interruption or accident. We now beg the Reviewer to explain to us what he means by asserting, that our experiment was
“complete failure.” It may be true that it was found, as the English will probably find, that voyages of this description are
better made by sails and the wind, perhaps on the score of expense or the difficulty of providing fuel, and therefore the experiment has not been tried again ; but as to the main purpose of ascertaining the practicability of making such voyages in steamvessels, the experiment was no failure, but completely successful. Many years elapsed before it was ventured upon by the English ; and we are yet to see whether they will repeat it. At all events, we led the way in this bold enterprise.
Our diplomatic intercourse with the European states, is brought under the animadversions of the critic, who attacks it with the same intrepid carelessness of facts, with which he spoke of our navy. He charges our Government, roundly, with being “generally prepared to start so many points of controversy, to put forward so many unfounded claims, and extravagant pretensions ; many of them contrary to the established law of nations, their self-interest predominating," &c. In the same sweeping tone of authoritative condemnation, it is declared, that “under an affectation of humility and republican simplicity, no absolute monarchy can be more ostentatious and vain-glorious ;" and finally, our President or his ambassadors scorn to be " guilty of any of those little acts of courtesy and mutual civility, which subsist in the diplomatic intercourse between the organs of the monarchical governments of Europe.” To such undefined accusations, it is impossible to reply, but in the general terms of denial, and a reference to our foreign correspondence, to show, not only that a spirit of justice, but of moderation, courtesy, and forbearance, has been its general character. If we look back to the stormy period of the French revolution, and the wars that grew out of it; to the shameless disregard by all the belligerents of the rights of neutrals, manifestly to force them into the conflict; to the unparalleled injustice and violence with which they trod down every thing which interfered with their eagerness and efforts to injure each other; if we advert to the British orders, and French decrees, under which millions of American property were plundered, without any defensible pretext or apology; "contrary to the established law of nations, their self-interest predominating;" and then turn to the firm but moderate remonstrances ; to the unanswerable arguments; to the long and patient forbearance of our government under such injuries and insults, we shall have more reason to charge them with undue humiliation, than with “unfounded claims and extravagant pretensions.” The truth is, that this critic has the same grudge against our diplomatic “ argumentation” that he has against the strength of our ships ; they have found them both too strong; and this is an offence not to be forgiven. This superiority of our correspondence is proved, not only by the documents themselves, but by the acknowledgment