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1815 Nautilus and Peacock 387

The communicativeness of one of the American officers having conveyed to the ears of Lieutenant M'Donald the statement in Captain Biddle's official letter, that the Hornet had suffered so slightly in the action, Lieutenant M'Donald took an opportunity of mentioning the circumstance to the American captain ; when; having drowned his native cunning in wine (some of poor Captain Dickinson's probably), Captain Biddle admitted the fact, but attempted to gloss it over by stating, that it was necessary to say so and so, and so and so, in order to make the thing be properly received in the United States. Here was an acknowledgment ! How unnecessary, then, have been all our previous labours in detecting and exposing the misrepresentations contained in the American official accounts. Of course, we are saved all further trouble in showing, how completely Captain Biddle has mistated every important fact connected with the capture of the Penguin. Before, however, we dismiss this action, let us make one remark on the circumstance of Captain Biddle having been informed of the peace on the 20th, three days previous to the action ; if that information was communicated in such a manner as to have satisfied Captain Biddle as to the fact, there is no excuse his fondest admirers could make, which should have screened him from the hands of the hangman ; the action was disreputable; the slaughter criminal. His conscience, perhaps, at this moment is his best judge ; and we are sincere when we say we hope he does not feel that sentence recorded against him, which he must feel if he fought that action, knowing the peace to have been signed.

On the 28th of April, at daylight, in latitude 39 south, longitude 34 west, the Peacock and Hornet bore down upon, in order to capture as an Indiaman, the British 74-gun ship Cornwallis, Captain John Bayley, bearing the flag of Rear-admiral Sir George Burlton, K.C.B. The mistake was soon discovered, and a chase commenced, during which the Peacock separated to the eastward. In the afternoon the Cornwallis, when gaining fast upon the Hornet, had to heave to and lower a boat for a marine that had dropped overboard. this delay, aided by the unskillful firing of the Cornwallis on the following day, saved the Hornet; but the chase continued until 9 a.m. on the 30th, when the 74 ; finding further pursuit useless, shortened sail and hauled to the wind. The closeness of the chase, however, had effected enough to render the Hornet, as a cruiser, utterly useless. She hove overboard her guns, muskets, cutlasses, forge, bell, anchors, cables, shot, boats, spare spars, and a considerable portion of her ballast, and was of course obliged to steer straight for the United States.

The Peacock, after she had been compelled to part from her consort, pursued her way to the East Indies ; and, on the 30th of June, being off Anjier in the Straits of Sunda, fell in with the honourable company's brig-cruiser Nautilus, of 10

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