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CHAP. hours, in the morning he fell in with the British squadron,
by whom he was chased. One of the enemy, the frigate 1815. Endymion, commenced an engagement, but after a run
ning fight, she was effectually disabled, and fain to haul off. The President unfortunately was also crippled, and the other British vessels coming up, Decatur was compelled to strike his colors.
A few days after, the Hornet and Peacock avoided the blockade, and proceeded to their rendezvous, off the Cape
of Good Hope. On her way the Hornet, Captain Biddle, Mar. fell in with and captured the British brig Penguin. The
latter was made a complete wreck, and as such was set on fire. The Peacock joined her consort, and in company they sailed to the Indian Ocean. The Hornet was soon after chased by a British seventy-four, and in order to escape, she was compelled to throw her guns and nearly all her armament overboard, in which condition she re
turned to New York. The Peacock, Captain WarringJune ton, continued on to the East Indies, where she captured
the cruiser Nautilus.
The Constitution, Captain Stewart, also evaded the blockade off Boston harbor. On a moonlight night she fell in with two war vessels off the port of Lisbon. They prepared to engage, but the Constitution manæuvred to
keep the wind at about an equal distance from her anFeb. tagonists. Captain Stewart, seizing a favorable oppor20. tunity, directed all his force upon the vessel nearest,
which almost immediately struck; then he captured the other in a similar manner. The prizes proved to be the British sloops-of-war Cyane and Levant. These captures were all made after the articles of peace were signed.
Soon after the commencement of the war with Britain, the Dey of Algiers, thinking the Americans would hare no means of punishing him, renewed his old practice of piracy. Pretending to be dissatisfied with the presents he had received from the American government, he dis
COMMODORE DECATUR HUMBLES THE DEY OF ALGIERS.
missed Lear, the consul, threatening to reduce him and CHAP. his family, and all the Americans in Algiers, to slavery, a fate which Lear escaped by paying a large ransom. Some 1815. American vessels were afterward seized by the pirates, and their crews reduced to slavery.
Two months after the conclusion of peace, an American squadron, under Decatur, consisting of three large frigates and seven other vessels of war, sailed for the Mediterranean. Six weeks later, Bainbridge followed May. with the Independence, the new seventy-four, accompanied by other war vessels ; on the way he was also joined by the Congress frigate. But before his arrival in the Mediterranean, the energetic Decatur had brought the Dey to terms. On the second day after passing through the Straits of Gibraltar, he fell in with the largest frigate of the Dey under his high Admiral, on a cruise for American merchantmen. After a fight of less than thirty minutes the Algerine was captured ; two days after another cruiser shared a similar fate. When the squadron appeared before Algiers, the intelligence of these disasters, by which he had lost his best ship, and six hundred men, had greatly humbled the Dey. To escape a worse punishment, he gladly submitted to the indignity of signing, on Decatur's quarter-deck, a humiliating treaty. He Juno bound himself to make indemnities for his extortions ; to surrender all his prisoners without ransom, and to renounce all claim for tribute from the American government, as well as his barbarous practice of piracy and reducing prisoners to slavery.
Decatur proceeded immediately to Tunis and Tripoli, where he demanded and received indemnity for some American vessels, at whose captures, in their harbors, by the English, they had connived. Thus, in a few weeks, these barbarians were taught a lesson which they have not yet forgotten. When Bainbridge arrived, he found all the difficulties arranged. The united navy, consisting of
CHAP. fourteen vessels, visited the principal ports of the Medi
- terranean. Their victories over the mistress of the ocean, 1815. secured them treatment manifesting high respect.
The autumn following the close of the war, a great council of the North-western Indian tribes was held, at which they made peace with each other. Afterward they
all made peace with the United States. Thus apprehenSept. sions of future Indian hostilities were removed.
The war left the finances of the country in a very confused state. The banks in existence, except those in New England, were unable to redeem their notes in specie, and confidence in their promises to pay was wanting. The national debt, in consequence of the war, was known to be more than one hundred millions of dollars. In order to remove some of the burdens resting upon the people, the Secretary of the Treasury, A. J. Dallas, proposed to remit some of the internal taxes, which had been levied during the last few years. Instead of which he advised the imposition of duties on imports, not merely to secure a revenue, but also to protect the manufactures which had sprung into existence during the war. The President likewise, in his annual message, urged the adoption of such a policy.
To aid in rectifying the financial disorders in the 1817. country, Congress chartered, for twenty years, a National Mar.
Bank, with a capital of thirty-five millions of dollars. It commenced operations at Philadelphia, and, in connection with its branches in other States, afforded the people a uniform currency redeemable at all times with gold and silver.
A bill designed to compel the local banks to pay specie was passed, ordering that all dues to the government should be paid in gold and silver, or "in treasury notes, notes of the Bank of the United States, or in notes of banks payable and paid on demand in specie."
The Territory of Indiana having adopted a constituSept. tion, presented herself for admission into the Union, and
FITCH-FULTON-THE FIRST STEAMBOAT.
John Fitch, an uneducated watchmaker of Philadel- CHAP.
XLV. phia, conceived the design of propelling boats by steam. He applied to Congress for assistance, but, unfortunately, 1785. was refused ; then, with a similar result, he applied to the Spanish authorities of Louisiana. Some years later he found means to construct a boat, and to make a trial trip on the Delaware. The boat went at the rate of eight miles an hour, but unfortunately the boiler exploded. One disaster followed another, and poor John Fitch died, the victim of disappointment, but full of faith that others would yet perfect his invention : he desired to be buried on the banks of the Ohio, that boats propelled by steam might pass near his last resting place. In less than twenty years after his death the steamer Clermont passed up the Hudson from New York to Albany.
1807. The Clermont was the work of Robert Fulton, a native of Pennsylvania, once a pupil of West, the painter. He had a decided turn for mechanics, and had studied the subject many years in Europe, where he received pecuniary aid and encouragement from Robert R. Livingston, then American minister at Paris.
To American enterprise is due the honor of launching the first steamboat and the first Ocean steamer-the Savannah—that crossed the Atlantic. She left New York, 1818. went to Savannah, and thence to Europe, where she was an object of great interest. Twenty years later the April
1838. British steamer Great Western came to New York in fourteen days.
Madison's Administration, so full of important events, drew to a close. James Monroe, also from Virginia, had been elected his successor, and Daniel D. Tompkins, of New York, Vice-President. The latter had been Governor of that State, and in that capacity been most efficient in aiding the country in the war just closed. At one time he sustained the garrison of the city by his own private credit.
A Return to the earlier Policy of the Government.—The President's Tour
in the Eastern States.—The Colonization Society.-Revolutions in the Spanish Colonies.—Indian War; the Seminoles.-General Jackson in the Field.—Purchase of Florida.—The Missouri Compromise. Janufactures.- Increase of Tariff.–Visit of Lafayette.
CHAP. SINCE the close of the war, party distinctions were fast
losing their influence. In the minds of the great majority 1817. of the people, names were giving place to ideas. The na
tion was prepared for the quiet revival of the leading principles of Washington's administration. The people had not in so many words thus formally decided;—but to returii to the policy of the earlier days of the Government seemed the only means to remedy existing evils, and to guard against their recurrence in the future. This may be said in relation to the revenue as arising from commerce, finances, the policy toward foreign nations, and in the means of national defence both by sea and land.
The new President in his inaugural fully indorsed these doctrines, and they were echoed and re-echoed throughout the land as the true policy, while some of the old Republicans characterized them as being veritable Federalism under another name. The President pointed to the experience of the nation in the last struggle, and unhesitatingly advised not only fortifications on the coast with garrisons, but a navy strong enough to maintain the dig.