wreck passed her on the morning of the 25th, Captain Taylor did not know that an action had taken place, until informed, the same afternoon, by the governor of Demerara, of the Peacock's destruction.
It was fortunate, perhaps, for the character of the British navy, that the disordered state of her rigging prevented the Espiègle from sailing out to engage the ship, which, at noon on the day of action, she plainly saw, and continued to see for nearly an hour, until the Hornet tacked and stood to the south-east ; as, at the court-martial subsequently held upon him, Captain Taylor was found guilty of having "neglected to exercise the ship's company at the great guns." It seemed hard, however, to punish the Espiègle's commander for a piece of neglect, which prevailed over two thirds of the British navy ; and to which the admiralty, by their sparing allowance of powder and shot for practice at the guns, were in some degree instrumental.
Much good as, we flatter ourselves, we have done to the cause of truth, by analyzing the American accounts of their naval actions with the English, the inattention of a contemporary may throw some doubt upon the accuracy of our statement respecting the relative force of the parties in the case that has just been detailed. Captain Brenton, with a particularity not common with him, states that " the force of the Peacock was sixteen 32-pound carronades and two long sixes. * Admitting that neither our former work on the subject published nine years ago, nor the first edition of the present work, and into which, we know, our contemporary has occasionally dipped, was deemed of sufficient authority, what has Captain Brenton to say to Lieutenant Wright's letter, published in all the London papers ? Nay, what objection has he to offer to the official statement of Captain Lawrence himself, " She, (the Peacock) mounted sixteen 24-pound carronades and two long nines ?"
The counter-statement of our contemporary, it is true, may have little weight in this country; but not so in the United States, not so among a people whom the are, and long have been, labouring so hard to convince of the inutility, even in a profit-and-loss point of view, of telling a falsehood. There the high rank and presumed practical experience of the author, and his long list of kings, princes, princesses, dukes, and officers of the navy, for subscribers, will produce their full effect: the Americans will be convinced that, in the hurry of the moment, Captain Lawrence made a mistake respecting the force of his prize. By the by, Captain Brenton is not the only British officer who has given the Peacock 32-pounder carronades : a post-captain, who, about 13 months ago, volunteered to correct the mistatements of a very captivating writer, both for and against the Americans, did the same. That the established
* Brenton, vol. v., p. 111.
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