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den of oflicial responsibility laid upon him, as the acme of his free youth‘s enjoyment and proud satisfaction.
In a private letter to a friend in Cheshire, dated Mahon, November 28, 1833, he, in an animated, sketchy manner, describes the first portion of the cruise:
“I presume you have caught an occasional glimpse of my letters to Caroline, and to them I refer you for a detailed account of what has occurred since we lef t the United States. Our passage across the Atlantic to Cherbourg and in the English Channel was unusually pleasant, as much so, in fact, as a large, comfortable ship, pleasant messmates, fine weather, and the agreeable company of our minister, Mr. Livingstone, and his family, could render it. On our arrival, several of the oflicers went to Paris, were presented at court, dined with the king, and were received with similar marks of respect by his ministry. Our chaplain. Mr. Stewart, who is a man of fine personal appearance, an accomplished scholar, and a polite gentleman, made one of the party. He told me, on his return, that it was the third court at which he had been presented. I believe Mr. S. to be a good and pious man, notwithstanding I have heard when at home he was extravagant in dress and courted polished society. Yet this opinion has doubtless arisen in consequence of his having a handsome person and pleasing manners. He proposed and carried out his resolution to have evening prayers on board, which, except with him in the frigate Guerm'ere, stands without a precedent in our service. Yet do not imagine from this a better state of things with regard to religion existing among us. Candor, indeed, compels me to state that but three or four out of nearly one thousand souls are professing Christians; and at present there appears to be no more interest on the subject
than when we sailed from New York. Our evening prayers are rarely
held, and sometimes there is no Sunday service; yet this is not attributable to unreadiness on the part of Mr. Stewart.
“On the return of the oflicers from Paris we left Cherbourg, and on the following morning were close to the English coast. The beautiful hedges and fine appearance of the country, and the associations with it as the land of our fathers, gave it a lively and exciting interest with me. I felt disappointed that I could not go to London; but the Paris party were absent so long that this was rendered impracticable. A few days after leaving the coast of England we encountered a severe gale in the Bay of Biscay; after which we ran down the coast of Portugal in
Voyage of the “Delaware.” 37
sight of Lisbon Rock. The wind being strong and fair, two days brought
us off Cadiz, in Spain, and not far from the place where Lord Admiral Nelson captured the combined fleets of France and Spain, near Trafalgar. The Sunday following we anchored at Gibraltar, a place you know re» plets with interest. We remained there three days, and then proceeded up the Mediterranean, passing in sight of Malaga and several other places of note, and arrived here the early part of this month.
“ In Mahon is the second largest organ in‘the world. I went withseweral other ot‘ficers to hear it. That we might have an idea of the power of the instrument, a tempest was represented so well—thunder, wind, and rain—that it seemed to be real; and the church, whose walls are eight feet thick, had a tremulous motion. We shall probably begin to cruise in April. Report says that the commodore will devote the summer to pleasure, and we shall probably visit Naples, Carthage, Smyrna, perhaps Constantinople, and other points of interest.”
CRUISE OF THE “ JOHN ADAMS.”
THE native aptitude of Americans for the sea is abundantly proved in the history of the American Navy. The history of England has not been more wonderful in its-proofs of national genius for maritime operations than that of the United States. In the War of the Revolution there were no twodecked American frigates, properly so called; and yet the small ships in use, imperfectly equipped, with insignificantly light metal compared with their adversaries, manned with hastily collected crews, gave important aid in that great struggle. The early exploits of John Paul Jones, Dale, Manley, Barry, Nicholson, Barney, Rathbnrne, and Biddle, in their active little ships, cutting off English transports, carrying the war into English seas, and by alertness and audacity making up for want of force and organization—these should not be lost sight of,
I for they were the first efforts of a power that has since then
contested the empire of the seas with Great Britain herself. The actual Navy of the Revolution—an emanation from the sea—sank back as suddenly into the sea. Nothing was left of it. For the exigencies of the naval war with France, and for the Algerine and Tripolitan wars, new ships had to be built, and an entirely new system organized. Then arose another brood of naval heroes, who, almost by their individual exertions, redeemed our country from the imbecility into which it sank when it paid tribute to the Dey of Algiers, and was powerless to reclaim its hundreds of American prisoners rotting
\ in his dungeons. The names of Decatur, Preble, Truxton,
Somers, Barron, Bainbridge, Chauncey, Hull, Porter, are now
with us as household words. Some of these continued to be names of inspiration in the two-years’ contest of the War of 1812, in which others of equal if not greater celebrity—such as Lawrence, Stewart, Perry, and Macdonough—were added to the splendid constellation. In the War of 1812, our Navy for the first time assumed something like organization and concentrated efliciency. But at the beginning of the War of 1812 we were worse 0fl than in 1801, at the end of the Revolutionary War. We had actually but seventeen cruising vessels, nine of which were frigates; while Great Britain had more than a thousand ships of war, of which between seven and eight hundred were efiicient cruisers. But new frigates were at once built, immense activity was infused into the Navy, and the government devoted its special attention to this department. And the Navy also became at that time more popular, and was sought for by the youth of the best families in the country. Many of these were introduced almost at once from the quiet of home to the horrors and carnage of the naval combat. “Perhaps one half of the lieutenants in the service at the peace of 1815 had gone on board ship for the first time within six years from the declaration of the war, and many of them within three or four. So far from the midshipmen having been masters and mates of merchantmen, as was reported at the time, they were generally youths that first quitted the ease and comforts of the paternal home when they appeared on the quarter-deck of the man-of-war.”* Young Foote might be numbered among these. He went from the bosom of well-regulated family life in the quiet country village to the hardships and rough realities of the naval service. It is true, his youth had fallen upon reactionary, peaceful times; but doubtless he would have been all the more ardent to join the Navy had there been hard fight
ing and the chance‘ of winning distinction. As it was, the first years of his sea-life were spent in long cruises (like the one we are now to relate), which have in them little of the stir of warlike achievement, but which are, on the contrary, as this one proved to be, in the immediate interest of peace.
On the 4th of November, 1837, Lieutenant F oote was assigned to the East India squadron, under command of Commodore Read, in the sloop-of-war John Adams, and Captain Wyman, in the capacity of first-lieutenant, or executive ofiicer. The John Adams was an old ship that had done good service in the Barbary wars, when she was commanded by that able oflicer, Captain John Rodgers. She was built at Charleston, South Carolina, and underwent many changes. She was constructed for a small frigate, carrying 24 twelves on her gun-deck; was then cut down to a sloop; next raised upon to be a frigate; and finally once more cut down. It is said that the ship was built by contract, and that the original contractor let out one side of her toI a sub-contractor, who, in a spirit of economy, so much reduced her moulds that the ship had actually several inches more beam on one side than the other. As a consequence, she both bore her canvas and sailed better on one tack than on the other. The John Adams was rebuilt entirely, and became one of the most beautiful ships in the Navy.* Ships acquire a certain kind of personality, and through every spar, timber, and bolt there seems to run an individual life. Thus the old Constitution was called "a lucky ship ;” and she never lost this character. “In all her service, as well before Tripoli as in this war (1812), her good-fortune was remarkable. She never was dismasted, never got ashore, or scarcely ever sufiered any of the usual accidents of the sea. Though so often in battle, no very serious slaughter ever took place on board of her. One of her commanders was wounded,