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In June, 1802, the anxiety of Allen to visit his native place and enjoy a short repose in the bosom of his family, and in the society of his numerous friends, (second only to his anxiety to defend the honour and to fight the battles of his country,) was gratified by the return of the Philadelphia to the United States. It was not until the October of the same year, that he was again ordered into service, when he joined the frigate John Adaros, under the cominand of captain Rodgers, and for the third time visited the shores of the Mediterranean. While absent on this voyage, an unfounded report that a younger officer had been promoted before him, was communicated to him by one of his correspondents. He replies, " I am too well grounded in old principles, to mind suchi assaults now. If the government decide thus, I can say amen, with all my heart.” A very uncommon instance of subordination and manly resignation in a boy of serenteen. We take the following extract from a letter written by him about this time.
" During our stay at Malta we had an opportunity of visiting most of the publick buildings; and amongst the rest, the superb church of St. John. The floor is laid in different coloured mar. ble, in Mosaic, representing tomb-stories of the different knights who distinguished themselves in fighting and in falling in defence of Christianity, against the infidels. On every side there is a Latin inscription, describing his death. The walls are hung with the most superbly embroidered tapestry, representing the birth, crucifixion and ascension of our Saviour. The deaths of the saints are likewise represented in the same manner, and they appear like the most beautiful paintings. The wings are divided into chapels; and here they show us crosses and Saints in abundance, and the rich attire of the bishops and clergy, embroidered with gold. In an inner chapel we were shown a number of relicks, one of which they declared was a fragment of the cross on which our Saviour was crucified ; another was the palm of the hand of St. John. The body of St. Clement was exposed, lying in state. This was a room that the French soldiers did not penetrate : it is said that they robbed this church of half a inillion."
Soon after his return from this cruise, he was appointed a sailing master of the Congress, and once more sailed for the Mediterranean. On the outward voyage, his life was wonderful. ly preserved when in the most imminent danger. While lying too in a violent gale and drifting fast, he was, while assisting in handing a sail, precipitated from the fore yard, into the sea, falling very near the anchor on the bows. Inevitable death must now have been his fate, as nó assistance could be rendered him from on board, had he not arose directly by the mizen chains, on which be fortunately caught hold, and thus regained the ship. As a proof in how great a degree he possessed the confidence of bis superiors, and how great reliance was reposed on his coolness and intrepidity, let it be observed, that when Ro contemplating an attack on Tripoli, wished to take the soundings of the harbour, he selected Allen to accompany him in the hazardous expedition. They entered the harbour with muffled oars, and having completed the objects designed, in the midst of extreme danger, being some time in a situation where they distinctly heard the conversations on board the Tripolitan gunboats, and the watch word fron the centinels on the battery; they returned in a tremendous gale to the Nautilus, at the very moment when she was leaving her position.
Thus did a protecting Providence evidently watch over the safety of Allen, until the measure of his glory was full. Thus was he preserved from danger almost inevitable, that he might die, covered with glory, in the battles of his country, and leave behind him, an imperishable fame.
In this voyage he had an opportunity of observing one of the many fanatical ceremonies of the Portuguese Catholics. We give the account of it in his own words.
"I was, while at Lisbon, witness to a very ludicrous ceremony. My ears were saluted by the hoarse chanting of some Portuguese sailors and I perceived abou: twenty in number approaching, bearing a large topsail, barefoot, with their hats in their hands, into which the multitude would now and then drop a sixpence, to save their souls froin purgatory. On inquiry, I was informed, that it was a custom amongst them, when overtaken by a violent gale at sea, instead of trusting to their own exertions, to offer up their prayers to their guardian saint, and to pronise him the best sail in the ship if he would condescend to protect them from the dangers of the element. The top-sail was then taken to the church in the manner described, laid at the foot of the altar, and dedicated to the saint, It was then appraised by an old friar, who, unwilling to distress the votaries of old mother Church, accepted, as an equivalent, in money, one half of its nominal value. The saint has, by this time, become perfectly well acquainted with the value of sailcloth."
In October, 1805, Mr. Allen was promoted to a lieutenancy, and ordered to repair on board the Constitution, under the command of captain Rodgers. During the following cruise he availed himself of the opportunities offered him by his commander, for visiting the mountains Etna and Vesuvius, (the for. mer of which, in company with captain Rodgers, he ascended) and the ancient cities, Herculaneum and Pompeia.
At this period the American navy had acquired no distinguishing character. Wherever it had appeared it had commanded respect, from the good order and correct discipline, prevailing on board the ships, and from the honourable conduct, and gentlemanly carriage of its officers; but opportunities to render its name illustrious and terrible had been wanting. Our valour on the ocean was not disputed, but it had never been shown to the world. Now a circumstance took place, wbich seemed to put all our pretensions to naval glory in question. The disgraceful encounter, between the Chesapeake and the Leopard, would not be to this day forgotten, or remembered without feelings of wounded pride and national mortification, had not our brave tars since washed out the invidious recollection with their blood. Mr. Allen was at this time the third lieutenant on board the Chesapeake. The following is his account of the action.
" On Monday, June 22d we weighed anchor and stood to sea. The Chesapeake had, on this day, twenty-eight eighteen pounders mounted on the gundeck, twelve thirty-two pound carronades on the quarterdeck, and had, fitted for these guns, three hundred and twenty cartridges, thirteen powder horns (not sufficiently filled) and matches ready for action. All these were in the magazine, the keys in charge of the captain, as usual, and which are never delivered to any but the gunner, by the captain, for fear of accidents. In the cable lies, and around the foremast; one thousand wads and spunges; the guns loaded and shotted, but, of course, not primed. Round shots in the lockers were ready on deck, with a box of canister for each gun. At three the Leopard came within hail; at half past three the boat came on board, with a demand from captain Humphries for per mission to search the Chesapeake for deserters ; concluding his orders by saying, I inclose you the orders of the admiral on this subject; any comment from me would be superfluous. But I trust that your answer will be of a nature that will prevent me, in the execution of my duty, from interrupting the amity at present subsisting between the two nations. The orders of the admiral were, · You will offer to the coinmander of the Chesapeake a mutual search; and, in any event, take the men described, wherever they may be found.' Here was a demand which our commodore knew he must absolutely refuse. Why did he not order his men beat to quarters; detain the lieutenant and his boat until we were ready for action ? But no! he gave a positive refusal, which, in composing, penning, and copying, detained the lieutenant half an hour. Our commodore did not order his men beat to quarters until the first gun was fired, nor until then was the key delivered to the gunner, all the officers remaining at this time in perfect ignorance of the contents of the note. I was at the galley (the camboose) and snatching a coal from the fames, fired the only gun, which went through the wardroom of the English ship. A shot came into us, and struck a man on the breast-he fell at my feet, covering me with blood and splinters of bones. One of my guns suffered severely ; one had his leg carried away, two an arm each, and two more were wounded severely-five out of eight... After one gun, one single gun was fired, we struck, by order of the captain, who then called his officers into the cabin, and asked their opinions. My answer was, “ Sir, you have disgraced us."
What the feelings of an officer of so nice a sense of honour must have been on this occasion, may without difficulty be im. agined. Wounded pride and mortified ambition, combined with a sense of perfect self justification and conscious rectitude, must have been struggling together in his breast. Indeed alt the officers of the ward room appear to have had but one feeling on the subject. With one voice, they called on their country to examine their commander's conduct and their own, and to wipe from their characters every suspicion of dishonourable coward. ice, by consigning to infamy the name of Baron. The following is their manly address to the Secretary on this occasion. It is from the pen of Allen, and was composed by him at the request of his brother officers.
a Late United States' ship Cbesapeake, Hampton Roads, June 23, 1807.
« The undersigned, officers of the late United States' ship Chesa. peake, deeply sensible of the disgrace which must be attached to the late (in their opinion) premature surrender of the United States' ship Chesapeake, of forty guns, to the English ship of war Leopard, of fifty guns, without their previous knowledge or consent ; and desirous of proving to their country, and the world, that it was the wish of all the undersigned to have rendered themselves worthy of the flag under which they have the honour to serve, by a determined resistance to an unjust demand, do request the honourable the secretary of the navy to order a court of inquiry into their conduct. At the same time they are compelled, by imperious duty, by the honour of their flag, by the honour of their countrymen, and by all that is dear to themselves to request that an order may be issued for the arrest of commodore James Bar. on, on the charges herewith exhibited, which the undersigned pledge them. selves to prove tiue. * r. On the probability of an engagement, for neglecting to clear his ship
for action. 2. For not doing his utmost to take or destroy a vessel which we. corceive it his duty to have done.
“ BENJAMIN SMITH, first lieutenant.