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THE CRUISE OF THE ESSEX,

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the harm I could. Had I been supported as I was prom- CHAP: ised, I would have done more. But my warriors are killed, and I can fight no longer ; I look back with sorrow 1814. that I have brought ruin upon my nation. I am now in your power, do with me as you please ; I too am a warrior.” Such were the words of Wetherford, the destroyer of Fort Mimms. Jackson could appreciate the man who would fight for his country ; though the volunteers murmured, he spared the life of the chief. The General, so stern in the performance of duty, was not devoid of humane sympathy. When walking on the field of battle his attention was arrested by the wail of an Indian babe. He himself was a childless man, yet his heart was touched. Ordering the infant to be brought to the camp, he asked the Indian women to take care of it. “ Its mother is dead, let it die too,” was their reply. The General took the child himself, carried it to his home, and reared it in his own family

The Essex, Captain Porter, passed round Cape Horn, 1813. expecting to meet the Constitution in the Pacific ; but she, as has already been noted, returned home after the capture of the Java. When he arrived at Valparaiso, Porter was gratified to be received as a friend. Chili had thrown off her allegiance to Spain, and was no longer an ally of England. Learning there that the viceroy of Peru had, in expectation of war between Spain and the United States, authorized cruisers against American whalers, he put to sea in order to chastise these cruisers, one of whom he captured and disarmed. He then went in pursuit of the British whalers, who were all armed, and carried commissions from their own government to capture American whaling vessels. In a few months he captured twelve of these whalers. Hearing that the British frigate Phæbe had been sent in pursuit of him, he returned early in the year to Valparaiso, in search of the enemy. Soon the

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CHAP. Phoebe appeared, accompanied by the sloop-of-war Cherub.

In guns and men, the Phæbe was a full match for the 1813. Essex. The two hostile vessels took their position off the

harbor. Porter determined to avoid the unequal contest by escaping to sea ; but, when passing out of the harbor, a sudden squall carried away his main-topmast, and as he could not return to port, he was at the mercy of the Phæbe and Cherub. After an encounter, perhaps the

most desperate of any naval engagement during the war, Mar. he was forced to surrender ; but he did not strike until 1814. he had lost the unusual number of fifty-eight killed, and

sixty-six wounded. In giving an account of the affair to the Secretary of the Navy, he wrote: “We have been unfortunate, but not disgraced.”

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