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By an odd
coincidence, another of the same class, bearing the nearly identical
name, "Lion," was operating at the same time in the same waters, and
with like results; which may possibly account for a contemporary
report in a London paper, that an American off the Tagus had taken
thirty-two British vessels. The "Leo" destroyed thirteen, and took
four others; while the "Lion" destroyed fifteen, having first removed
from them cargo to the amount of $400,000, which she carried safely
into France. A curious circumstance, incidental to the presence of the
privateers off Cape Finisterre, is that Wellington's troops, which had
now passed the Pyrenees and were operating in southern France, had for
a long time to wait for their great-coats, which had been stored in
Lisbon for the summer, and now could not be returned by sea to Bayonne
and Bordeaux before convoy was furnished to protect the transports
against capture. Money to pay the troops, and for the commissariat,
was similarly detained. Niles' Register, which followed carefully the
news of maritime capture, announced in November, 1813, that eighty
British vessels had been taken within a few months in European seas by
the "President," "Argus," and five privateers. Compared with the
continuous harassment and loss to which the enemy had become hardened
during twenty years of war with France, allied often with other
maritime states, this result, viewed singly, was not remarkable; but
coming in addition to the other sufferings of British trade, and
associated with similar injuries in the West Indies, and disquiet
about the British seas themselves, the cumulative effect was
undeniable, and found voice in public meetings, resolutions, and
addresses to the Government.

Although the United States was not in formal alliance with France, the
common hostility made the ports of either nation a base of operations
to the other, and much facilitated the activities of American cruisers
in British seas. One of the most successful of the privateers, the
"True Blooded Yankee," was originally equipped at Brest, under
American ownership, though it does not appear whether she was American
built. On her first cruise her prizes are reported at twenty-seven.
She remained out thirty-seven days, chiefly off the coast of Ireland,
where she is said to have held an island for six days. Afterwards she
burned several vessels in a Scotch harbor. Her procedure illustrates
the methods of privateering in more respects than one. Thus, two large
ships, one from Smyrna and one from Buenos Ayres, were thought
sufficiently valuable to attempt sending into a French port, although
the enemy watched the French coast as rigorously as the American. The
recapture of a third, ordered to Morlaix, received specific mention,
because one of the prize crew, being found to be an Englishman, was
sentenced to death by an English court.[224] Eight others were
destroyed; and, when the privateer returned to port, she carried in
her own hold a miscellaneous cargo of light goods, too costly to risk
in a less nimble bottom. Among these are named eighteen bales of
Turkey carpets, forty-three bales of raw silk, seventy packs of skins,
etc.[225] The "True Blooded Yankee" apparently continued to prefer
European waters; for towards the end of 1814 she was taken there and
sent into Gibraltar.

While there were certain well-known districts, such as these just
mentioned, and others before specified, in which from causes constant
in operation there was always to be found abundant material for the
hazardous occupation of the commerce-destroyer, it was not to them
alone that American cruisers went. There were other smaller but
lucrative fields, into which an occasional irruption proved
profitable. Such were the gold-coast on the west shore of Africa, and
the island groups of Madeira, the Canaries, and Cape Verde, which
geographically appertain to that continent. Thither Captain Morris
directed the frigate "Adams," in January, 1814, after first escaping
from his long blockade in the Potomac. This voyage, whence he returned
to Savannah in April, was not remunerative; his most valuable prize,
an East India ship, being snatched out of his hands, when in the act
of taking possession, by an enemy's division in charge of a convoy of
twenty-five sail, to which probably she had belonged, and had been
separated by the thick weather that permitted her capture.[226] A year
before this the privateer "Yankee," of Bristol, Rhode Island, had had
better success. When she returned to Narragansett Bay in the spring of
1813, after a five months' absence, she reported having scoured the
whole west coast of Africa, taking eight vessels, which carried in the
aggregate sixty-two guns, one hundred and ninety-six men, and property
to the amount of $296,000. In accordance with the practice already
noticed, of distributing the spoil in order better to insure its
arrival, she brought back in her own hold the light but costly items
of six tons of ivory, thirty-two bales of fine goods, and $40,000 in
gold-dust.[227] This vessel was out again several times; and when the
war closed was said to have been the most successful of all American
cruisers. Her prizes numbered forty, of which thirty-four were ships
or brigs; that is, of the larger classes of merchantmen then used. The
estimated value of themselves and cargoes, $3,000,000, is to be
received with reserve.[228]

It was in this neighborhood that the privateer schooner "Globe,"
Captain Moon, of Baltimore, mounting eight 9-pounder carronades and
one long gun, met with an adventure illustrative of the fighting
incidental to the business. To this the privateersmen as a class were
in no wise loath, where there was a fair prospect of the gain for
which they were sent to look. Being off Funchal, in the island of
Madeira, November 1, 1813, two brigs, which proved to be English
packets, the "Montague" and "Pelham," were seen "backing and filling;"
that is, keeping position in the open roadstead which constitutes the
harbor, under sail, but not anchored. Packets, being in government
service, were well armed for their size, and as mail carriers were
necessarily chosen for speed; they therefore frequently carried
specie. In one taken by the "Essex," Captain Porter found $55,000,
which as ready cash helped him much to pay his frigate's way in a long
and adventurous career. It does not appear that the "Globe" at first
recognized the character of these particular vessels; but she lay-by
during the night, watching for their quitting the shelter of neutral
waters. This they did at 9 P.M., when the privateer pursued, but lost
sight of them in a squall. The next morning they were seen in the
southwest, and again chased. At 10.15 A.M. the "Montague" began firing
her stern guns. The schooner replied, but kept on to board, knowing
her superiority in men, and at 12.30 ran alongside (1). The attack
being smartly met, and the vessels separating almost immediately, the
attempt failed disastrously; there being left on board the packet the
two lieutenants of the "Globe" and three or four seamen. Immediately
upon this repulse, the "Pelham" crossed the privateer's bow and raked
her (P 2), dealing such destruction to sails and rigging as to leave
her unmanageable. The "Montague" and "Globe" now lay broadside to
broadside (2), engaging; and ten minutes later the "Montague" by her
own report was completely disabled (M 3). Captain Moon claimed that
she struck; and this was probably the case, if his further incidental
mention, that the mailbags were seen to be thrown overboard, is not a
mistake. The action then continued with the "Pelham," within
pistol-shot (3), for an hour or so, when the schooner, being found in
a sinking condition, was compelled to haul off; "having seven shot
between wind and water, the greater part of our standing and running
rigging shot away, and not a sail but was perfectly riddled and almost
useless." After separating, the several combatants all steered with
the tradewinds for the Canaries; the British going to Teneriffe, and
the American to the Grand Canary.[229]

From the injuries received, it is apparent that, for the armaments of
the vessels, this was a very severe as well as determined engagement.
The British had six killed and twelve wounded; the American five
killed and thirteen wounded, besides the prisoners lost in boarding.
All three captains were severely hurt, that of the "Montague" being
killed. The figures given are those reported by each side; how
exaggerated the rumors current about such encounters, and the
consequent difficulty to the historian, is shown by what each heard
about the other's casualties. A Spanish brig from Teneriffe told Moon
that the enemy had twenty-seven men killed; while the British were
equally credibly informed that the "Globe" lost thirty-three killed
and nineteen wounded.

Near about this time, in the same neighborhood of Madeira, the
privateer schooner "Governor Tompkins," of New York, captured in rapid
succession three British merchant vessels which had belonged to a
convoy from England to Buenos Ayres, but after its dispersal in a gale
were pursuing their route singly. Two of these reached an American
port, their bulky and heavy ladings of dry goods and hardware not
permitting transfer or distribution. The sale of one cargo realized
$270,000.[230] At about the same moment came in a brig of like
value, not improbably another wanderer from the same group, captured
near Madeira by the ship "America," of Salem. This vicinity, from the
islands to the equator, between 20 and 30 west longitude, belongs
essentially to the thronged highway and cross-roads of commerce, which
has been noted as a favorite cruising ground of American ships of war.
Hereabouts passed vessels both to and from the East Indies and South
America. The bad luck of several frigates, and the rough handling of
the "Globe" by the packets, illustrate one side of the fortune of war,
as the good hap of the "America" and "Governor Tompkins" shows the
other.

[Illustration: Diagram of the Montague, Pelham, Globe battle]

It is, however, the beginnings and endings of commercial routes,
rather than the intermediate stretch, which most favor enterprises
against an enemy's trade.



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