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of the latter ship, and witnessed the great delay in the equipment of the former, I had no cause to congratulate myself. The Peacock has ere this spread her plumage to the winds, and the Frolick will soon take her revels on the ocean, but the Wasp will, I fear, remain for some time a dull, harmless drone in the waters of her own country. Why this is, I am not permitted to inquire.''
These extracts will strike the reader as being strongly indicative of an amiable and heroic character. There is something touching in his gratitude to the good old lady who had manifested an interest in his successes. There is something noble in his reference to the memory of his father, as a motive stimulating him in the path of honour; and there is something heroic, we think, in the unaffected manner in which he expresses his regret at having left the Enterprise. It is not necessary to remind the reader that it was in the action between that vessel and the Boxer that Burroughs conquered, and lost his life. Yet Blakeley regretted he had not been in his place, either because he considered the sacrifice of life as a cheap price for the purchase of glory, or had forgot, in his love of fame, that such a price had been paid. But he was determined before long to acquire at least equal reputation, and to perish equally with the regrets of his country.
After various services, which it is unnecessary to particularize, as they afforded no opportunity to acquire distinction, Blakeley was made a master commandant, in 1813, and soon after appointed to the Wasp. In this vessel he fell in with, in latitude 48° 36', north, his Britannic majesty's ship Reindeer, mounting sixteen twenty-four-pound carronades, two long ninepounders, and a shifting twelve-pound carronade; and having a complement of one hundred and eighteen men. An action commenced; and, in nineteen minutes, ended in the capture of the Reindeer. The loss of the Americans was twentyone killed and wounded; that of the enemy sixty-seven. The Reindeer was cut to pieces, in such a manner as to render it impossible to save her; and she was accordingly set on fire. After this the Wasp put into L'Orient; from which port she sailed the 27th of August, and four days afterwards falling in with ten sail of merchantmen, under convoy of a ship of the line, she succeeded in cutting off one of the vessels.
The evening of the 1st of September, 1814, she fell in with four sail, two on each bow,--but at considerable distances from each other. The first was the British brig of war Avon, which struck after a severe action; but captain Blakeley could not take possession, as another enemy was now approaching. This enemy, it seems, however, was called off to the assistance of
the Avon, which was now sinking. The enemy reported that they had sunk the Wasp by the first broadside; but she was afterwards spoken by a vessel off the Western Isles. After this we hear of her no more; and though her fate is certain, the circumstances attending it are beyond the reach of discovery. The most general impression is, that she was lost by one of those casualties incident to the great deep, which have destroyed so many gallant vessels, in a manner no one knows how; for there are so many uncertainties connected with the unfathomable deep, that even imagination is bewildered in tracing the fate of those who are only known to have perished, because they are never more heard of or seen. Another impression is, that the Wasp, very shortly after being spoken off the Western Isles, had a severe engagement with a British frigate, which put into Lisbon in a shattered condition; and reported having had an action, in the night, with a vessel, which was not seen next morning, although the whole night had been calm.
But whatever may have been the fate of Blakeley, this much is certain,--that he will
, to use his own expression, “be classed among
those names that stand so high. The lustre of his exploits, not less than the interest excited by those who remember how, in his very boyhood, he was left, as he says, without a single being around him with whom he could claim kindred blood, -how, by his merit, he obtained friends, and conferred honour on that country which was not only his parent, but which has become the parent of his only child, -and how, last of all, he perished God only knows how or where,—has all given to his character, his history, his achievements, and his fate, a romantic interest, marking the name of Blakeley for lasting and affectionate remembrance.
In his person captain Blakeley was rather below the middle stature; his eyes black, expressive, intelligent, and animated; his manners, mild, manly, and unassuming; and his person handsome. Notwithstanding his professional duties, which were scarcely interrupted from the time of his obtaining a warrant, his literary and scientific acquirements were very respectable; and among his brother officers he was always considered as a man of uncommon intellect, as well as of great courage and professional skill. He was married, in December, 1813, to Miss Jane Hoope, the daughter of his father's old friend, Mr. Hoope, of New York; and has left an only daughter, who has lately received one of the most noble and substantial and affecting tributes of national gratitude which has occurred in the history of this country. The legislature of North Carolina, on the 27th of December, 1816, after prescribing the destination of the sword they had voted to captain Blakeley, “Resolved unanimously, That captain Blakeley's child be educated at the expense of this state; and that Mrs. Blakeley be requested to draw on the treasurer of this state, from time to time, for such sums of money as shall be required for the education of the said child.'
This, we repeat it, is substantial gratitude. It is classical, too, and reminds us of those noble eras in the history of some of the illustrious states of Greece, when the offspring of those who had fallen for their country, became the children of that country whose cause had made them fatherless. It is in this way that our states may acquire a sort of parental character, that will endear them still more to the hearts of the citizens; that will inspire fathers to die in defence of their country, and mothers to educate their children to follow the example. It is in this way, too, that the different members of the union may nobly indulge their local feelings, and display their honest home-bred affections. Let them exemplify their desire to appropriate to themselves the fame of their distinguished citizens, by their peculiar care in honouring their memory, and cherishing their helpless orphans. It is thus that our sister states ought ever to display their rivalry;—by being as zealous to reward, as they are to appropriate the achievements of their sons.
Art. III.—Histoire de l'Origine, &c. History of the Rise,
Progress, and Extinction, of the different Factions which agitated France from the 14th of July, 1789, till the Abdication of Napoleon. In three Volumes. By Joseph Lavallee.
Price 11. 7s. Murray. 1816.–From the Eclectic Reviews IF F the French are not first rate historians, they are at least ex
cellent narrators. They seize with admirable dexterity, and touch with inimitable skill, those marking points which comprise the main interest of the story; but they neglect those minor and connecting details which give it its colour and character. They write as they declaim, with spirit and rapidity; but their vehemence and superfluous energy are injurious to that calmness and steadiness of mind, that keenness of penetration, and that power of combination, which distinguish the historian from the narrator. The Frenchman, in all that he writes, as in all that he does, aims at effect; and this cannot, in narration at least, be always obtained, without the sacrifice of truth; not that he designedly falsifies, but the vivacity of his imagination, the rapid and fluctuating movements of his mind, and the readiness and felicity of his expression, seduce him, and he wanders. There is a great deal of all this in the work before us. It is exceedingly superficial, but uncommonly interesting. It has much brilliant colouring, and much spirited grouping, together with, here and there, facts both novel and important; but it is utterly deficient in that soundness of intellectual and moral principle, in those just, comprehensive, and penetrating views, which, in their combination, men have for want of a better epithet, agreed to call the Philosophy of History. In most of the publications we have seen, relating to the revolution, the writers continually betray the partisan; and in compliance with the rules established in such cases, on one side they lavish a redundant portion of laudatory adjectives, while on the other they heap an average quantity of vituperative substantives. Their own friends are vertueux, incorruptible, intrepide, sublime; while their opponents are traitres, poltrons, energumenes, or scelerats. M. Lavallee is not quite exempt from this; on the whole, however, he is as free from partiality as can reasonably be expected from one who was an interested spectator, and occasionally an interlocutor in the scenes which he describes. We by no means acquiesce in all M. L's discriminations of character; we think some of them defective, and others directly at variance with undeniable facts; but there is an air of conviction and sincerity in his very errors, which, while we differ from his sentiments, leaves our confidence in his honesty unabated.
In his preface M. Lavallee justly complains of the erroneous notions entertained in England, respecting the revolution; and he very fairly assigns the reasons. After adverting to the enthusiasm with which the first circumstances of that great event were hailed in this country, he attributes the aversion which subsequently arose, to the war, to the misconceptions and misrepresentations of the emigrants, and to the venal and factious character of the French journals. In truth, for want of authentic materials, it has been impossible hitherto to form a fair and impartial estimate of the general character of the French revolution. Respecting the more overt acts of the various transactions, we have evidence more than is requisite; but of their secret—that is, of their real history, we know little or nothing. As in all great events and sudden changes, much no doubt was the result of what is called accident, but much more was the effect of intrigue; and of this, who, excepting the parties immediately concerned, shall give us the history; and even when given, who shall insure its correctness? Be this however as it may, every new summary of these events, furnishes us with additional facts, and brings out something at least of those deeper machinations; and if the world should be permitted to enjoy a few years of peace and quietness, we may hope that in that respite from revolutionary madness, and from the far less
curable frenzy of imperial ambition, the means and opportunity may be obtained, of forming a more accurate and impartial judgment of the troubled period through which we have passed. After having vindicated his countrymen from the charge of jacobinism, M. Lavallee describes the vast majority of Frenchmen as desirous only of a government which shall be the guarantee and conservator of public liberty; careless about the name, provided the reality be secured.
Why, (he asks,) has France suffered and fought through the course of five-and-twenty years? It was to attain such a state of things as I have just described. What does she, at the present moment, require?" That her strife shall not have been in vain.... But I fear that there are still some, whose interests and prejudices are in opposition to this anxious hope of the great majority of the French people, and who endeavour by an odious epithet to discredit the wisdom and the purity of this desire. These tactics are not new. Thus the jacobins stigmatized as royalists all the partisans of an equal liberty, and thus the ultra-royalists reproach as jacobins, those Frenchmen who stand up for a constitutional government.'
In a brief sketch of his own qualifications for the task he has undertaken, M. L. describes himself as having enjoyed the confidence of the count de Clermont-Tonnerre, and as having assisted him in his efforts to save Louis XVI. He then passed into the service of Roland, and until the close of the session of the national assembly, was at the head of the office des comptes decadaires. During the ministry of Benezech, he was principal commissary of the executive power; afterwards he became confidential secretary to a member of the directory, and finally, for ten years, chief of division in the grand chancery of the legion of honour. M. L.'s introduction, without any particular claim to novelty or interest, leads us through the usual routine of preparatory causes, which gradually but surely brought on the revolution; the low and selfish debauchery of Louis xv., the intriguing sycophancy of Maupeou, the indecisive character of Louis XVI., the unguarded and expensive dissipation of Marie Antoinette: and in addition to these defects of character, the practical errors of Louis in the recall of the refractory parliaments, and the alliance with the United States of America; these, with innumerable other blunders, and repeated failures, both theoretical and practical, were eagerly made use of by desperate and ambitious intriguers, to exasperate the public mind. Independently of the weakness of character, (very different from intellectual weakness) of Louis, his manners and habits were not calculated to command respect. He was an excellent and sensible man, but without any thing dignified or kingly in his composition. His tastes were simple, but somewhat low;