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The
Tripolitans allowed the vessel to come alongside without any suspicion
on their part. Suddenly a score of Americans sprang up and leaped
through the port-holes of the frigate. It took them but a few minutes to
clear the deck, when the vessel was fired in several places and the men
safely withdrew. The _Philadelphia_ burned to the water's edge.

Early in August, Commodore Preble bombarded the town of Tripoli from his
mortar boats. During a fight with the gunboats James Decatur, a brother
of Stephen, received the surrender of one he was fighting, and stepped
on the deck to take possession. As he did so, the captain shot him dead.
Stephen had just destroyed a gunboat when he learned of this treacherous
occurrence and dashed after the craft, which he boarded. Recognizing the
captain from his immense size, he attacked him, and, in a desperate
personal encounter, in which he narrowly escaped death himself, killed
the Moor.


THE BOMB KETCH.

The Americans fixed up the _Intrepid_ as a bomb ketch, storing a hundred
barrels of powder and missiles and a hundred and fifty shells on deck.
Under command of Captain Richard Somers, and accompanied by twelve men,
the vessel ran slowly into the harbor one dark night. The intention was
to fire a slow-match and then for the officer and men to withdraw in
boats. Captain Somers was discovered by the enemy, and in some unknown
way the ketch was blown up with all on board, and without doing any
material harm to the shipping and fortifications in the harbor.

Commodore Preble was superseded in November by Commodore Barron, who
arrived with the _President_ and _Constellation_. This gave the
Americans ten vessels, carrying 264 guns. Hostilities were pressed with
so much vigor that the Dey of Tripoli became anxious to make peace
before the terrible fleet from the West destroyed him and his people.
Accordingly, a treaty was signed on the 3d of June by which the
Tripolitans were given $60,000 for the prisoners in their hands, and the
payment of tribute to them was ended.


EXPEDITION OF LEWIS AND CLARK.

In those comparatively modern days the vast region west of the
Mississippi was almost unknown. President Jefferson recommended a
congressional appropriation for the exploration of the country. The
appropriation being made, a party of thirty men left the Mississippi,
May 14, 1804, under command of Captains Meriwether Lewis and William
Clark. Both had had a good deal of experience in the Indian country, and
they ascended the Missouri in a flotilla for 2,600 miles. To the three
streams which form the Missouri they gave the names of Jefferson,
Gallatin, and Madison. A detachment was then left in charge of the
boats, and the remainder, riding the horses they had captured and tamed,
made their way across the mountains. They discovered the two streams
which bear their names, and traced the Columbia to its outlet in the
Pacific Ocean.

The expedition was absent for two years, and its report on returning
added much to our geographical knowledge of the section. They were the
first party of white men to cross the continent north of Mexico. Captain
Lewis was appointed governor of Missouri Territory in 1806, and was
acting as such when he committed suicide in 1809. Captain Clark was also
governor of Missouri Territory, and afterward superintendent of Indian
affairs. He died in St. Louis in 1838.


THE BURR AND HAMILTON DUEL.

No one read the wicked character of Aaron Burr more unerringly than
Alexander Hamilton. He saw that he was ready to ruin his country for the
sake of gratifying an insatiate ambition. Hamilton was always outspoken
in expressing his opinions; and the hostility between the two became so
bitter that Burr challenged Hamilton to a duel. Although the latter had
had a son killed through the barbarous code within the preceding year,
he was foolish enough to accept the challenge, and the duel was fought
at Weehawken, New Jersey, July 12, 1804. Hamilton fired in the air, but
Burr aimed straight for his antagonist and inflicted a wound from which
he died the next day.

Although Burr presided in the Senate after the duel, the whole country
was shocked by the occurrence, and his friends fell away from him. In
1804, when Jefferson was re-elected to the presidency, George Clinton
took the place of Burr as Vice-President. Burr then engaged in a plot to
form a new empire in the southwest, the precise nature of which is
uncertain. He found a few to join with him, but it came to naught, and
in 1807 he was tried at Richmond, Virginia, on the charge of treason,
but acquitted. He spent some years in wandering over Europe, and then
returned to resume the practice of law in New York. He died in obscurity
and poverty on Staten Island in 1836.

[Illustration: DEVELOPMENT OF STEAM NAVIGATION FOLLOWING FULTON'S
DISCOVERY.]

A notable event of Jefferson's administrations was the first voyage of a
steamboat up the Hudson. This was the _Clermont_, the invention of
Robert Fulton, who was born in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, in 1765.
This boat was slightly over one hundred feet in length and about twenty
feet broad, with side paddle-wheels and a sheet-iron boiler brought from
England. There was general ridicule of the idea of moving boats by steam
against a current, and the craft was called "Fulton's Folly." The crowd
which gathered on the wharf in New York, August 1, 1807, indulged in
jests which were not hushed until the craft moved slowly but smoothly up
stream. Heading against the current, she made the voyage to Albany in
thirty-two hours. She met with some mishaps, but after a time made
regular trips between that city and New York, at the rate of five miles
an hour.


OCEAN STEAMERS.

This incident marked an epoch in the history of the West, where the
first steamboat was built in 1811. Within a few years, they were plying
on all the important rivers, greatly assisting emigration and the
development of the country. The first steamer to cross the Atlantic was
the _Savannah_ in 1819. The screw propeller was introduced by the great
Swedish inventor, John Ericsson, in 1836. Really successful ocean
navigation began in 1838, when the _Sirius_ and _Great Western_ made the
voyage from England to the United States.

[Illustration: ROBERT FULTON.]


OPPRESSIVE COURSE OF ENGLAND.

The devastating war raging between England and France was destructive to
American commerce and interests. The star of the wonderful Napoleon
Bonaparte was rapidly in the ascendant, and his marvelous military
genius seemed to threaten the "equilibrium of the world." England had no
love for the United States and played havoc with our shipping. Her
privateers infested our coasts, like swarms of locusts. Because of her
immense naval superiority, she pestered us almost beyond bearing. She
stopped our vessels off-shore, followed them into rivers and harbors,
overhauled the crews, and in many cases took sailors away under the plea
that they were English deserters. Her claim was that "once a British
subject, always a British subject;" no sworn allegiance to any other
government could release the claim of England upon him.

Our vessels were prohibited from carrying imports from the West Indies
to France, but evaded the law by bringing imports to this country and
then reshipping them to France. England peremptorily ordered the
practice to stop and declared that all vessels thus engaged should be
lawful prizes to her ships. This action caused general indignation in
this country and thousands of citizens clamored for war.

Jefferson never lost his self-poise. While a thorough patriot, he knew
the meaning of war. He sent a message to Congress on the subject in
January, 1806, and the question was one of earnest and prolonged
discussion, ending in the adoption of a resolution to prohibit certain
articles of British manufacture.

But matters rapidly grew worse. In May following England declared the
coast of Europe, from the Elbe in Germany to Brest in France, in a state
of blockade. Bonaparte retaliated with the famous Berlin Decree, which
blockaded the British Islands. In the spring of 1807 the British ship
_Leander_ fired into a coasting vessel and killed one of the men. The
President issued a proclamation forbidding the _Leander_ and the two
ships in her company from entering any of the waters of the United
States; calling upon all officers to apprehend the captain of the
_Leander_ on a charge of murder; prohibiting all communication between
the shore and the ships, and warning all citizens from giving them aid
under penalty of the law. Envoys were sent to England to adjust the
trouble, but their efforts came to naught.


THE AFFAIR OF THE LEOPARD AND CHESAPEAKE.

Matters were in this tense state when the most glaring outrage of all
was perpetrated. The British ship-of-war _Leopard_, of fifty guns, was
cruising off the capes of Virginia, hunting for the American frigate
_Chesapeake_, which she claimed had a number of English deserters on
board. The _Chesapeake_ was hailed, and the English captain asked
permission to send dispatches on board. Such courtesies were common, and
Captain James Barron, the American commander, willingly complied with
the request. When the boat arrived, a letter was presented to Captain
Barron, containing the orders of the British admiral to search the
_Chesapeake_ for a number of deserters, who were mentioned by name.
Captain Barron sent word that he had no knowledge of any deserters, and
refused to submit. Thereupon the _Leopard_ fired several broadsides into
the _Chesapeake_, which, being entirely unprepared for battle, was
obliged to strike her flag, three men having been killed and eighteen
wounded. Four men were then selected from the crew of the _Chesapeake_,
three of whom were negroes, all declared to be deserters, and taken on
board the _Leopard_.

The country was thrown into a tumult of excitement, and the President,
by proclamation, closed all American harbors and waters against the
British navy, prohibited any intercourse with such vessels, and sent a
special minister to England to demand satisfaction.



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