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OLIVER HAZARD PERRY.
OLIVÉR HAZARD PERRY, the “ Hero of Lake Erie," was born at Newport, Rhode Island, in August, 1785. At the age of fourteen he entered the navy of the United States, and shortly after he accompanied the squadron to the Mediterranean, in which he served during the Tripoline war.
At the commencement of the late war with Great Britain, he was appointed to the command of the flotilla of gun-boats, stationed in the harbour of New York, with the rank of master-commandant.
In 1813, he was appointed to the command of the squadron on Lake Erie. As soon as he had equipped and manned his vessels, he set sail from the port of Erie in pursuit of the British fleet, on the 8th of August. Nothing of moment, however, happened until the 10th September, when he discovered the enemy at sunrise, and immediately made for them. The action commenced about ten o'clock, and lasted for three hours, when the whole British squadron struck their colours. Never was a victory more decisive and complete. The captared squadron had more guns and
The enemy's loss in killed and wounded amounted to one hundred and sixty, the Americans to one hundred and twenty-three. Soon after the victory on Lake Erie, the thanks of Congress were voted to the commodore, his officers, seamen, and marines ; and medals were presented to him and his officers.
In 1815, Commodore Perry was appointed to the command of the Java frigate, and sailed with Commodore Decatur's squadron to the Mediterranean, and participated in the negotiation of an honourable peace with the Algerines.
In June, 1819, Commodore Perry sailed from the Chesapeake bay in the United States ship John Adams, for the West Indies and a cruise, with sealed orders.
In September, 1820, the melancholy intelligence of his death reached the United States, on which occasion the secretary of the navy ordered the usual tribute of respect to be paid to the memory of this illustrious officer.
He died at Port Spain, on the 23d August, 1820.
NICHOLAS BIDDLE, captain 11. the navy of the United States, was born in the city of Philadelphia, September 10, 1750.
Among the brave men who perished in the glorious struggle for the independence of America, there are none more entitled to a place in the biographic annals of this country.
His services, and the high expectations raised by his military genius and gallantry, have left a strong impression of his merit, and a profound regret that his early fate should have disappointed so soon the hopes of his country.
Very early in life he manifested his partiality for the sea, and previous to the year 1770, had made several voyages. He afterwards
went to England, with an intention of entering the British navy, and did for some time act in the capacity of a midshipman; but his ardent mind, however, could not rest satisfied with his situation, and he afterwards embarked in the expedition fitted out at the request of the Royal Society, to ascertain how far navigation was practicable towards the north pole; to advance the discovery of the north-west passage into the south seas; and to make such astronomical observations as might prove serviceable to navigation. Impelled by the same bold and enterprising spirit, young Horatio, afterwards Lord Nelson, had solicited and obtained permission to enter on board the same vessel, and both acted in the capacity of
cockswains, a station always assigned to the most ac tive and trusty seamen. These intrepid navigators penetrated as far as the latitude of 810 39. On his return, the commencement of the revolution gave a new turn to his pursuits, and he repaired without delay, to the standard of his country. Soon after his arrival at Philadelphia, he was appointed to the command of the Andrew Doria, a brig of fourteen guns, and sailed in the expedition under Commodore Hopkins, against New Providence. Immediately after taking this post, he was ordered to cruise off the banks of Newfoundland, and was very active in capturing the enemy's vessels. While he was thus indefatigably engaged in weakening the enemy's power and advancing his country's interest, he was disinterested and generous in all that related to his private advantage. The brave and worthy opponent, whom the chance of war had thrown in his power, found in him a patron and friend, who on more than one occasion was known to restore to the vanquished the fruits of victory. In the latter end of the year 1776, he was appointed to the command of the Randolph, a frigate of thirty-two guns. He sailed from Philadelphia in February, 1777, and soon after he captured an English ship of twenty guns, and three sail of merchantmen, and proceeded to Charleston with his prizes.
He immediately refitted, and was joined by other vessels, and sailed for the West India seas. On the night of the 7th of March, 1778, he fell in with the British ship Yarmouth, of sixty-four guns, and engaged her. Shortly after the action commenced, he received a severe wound and fell. He soun, however, ordered a chair to be brought, and being carried forward, encouraged the crew. The fire of the Randolph was constant and well directed, and appeared, while the battle lasted, to be in a continual blaze. In about twenty minutes after the action began, and while the surgeon was examining his wounds on the quarter deck, the Randolph blew up. The number of persons
on board the Randolph was three hundred and fifteen, all of whom perished, except four men, who were tossed about for four days on a piece of the wreck, before they were discovered and taken up.
Thus prematurely fell, at the age of twenty-seven, as gallant an officer as any country ever boasted of. In the short career which Providence allowed to him, he displayed all those qualities which constitute a brave commander. Consummately skilled in his profession, no danger nor unexpected event could shake his firmness or disturb his presence of mind. He was a sincere Christian, and his religious impressions had a decided and powerful influence upon his conduct. His temper was uniformly cheerful, and his conversation sprightly and entertaining.
MERIWETHER Lewis, governor of Louisiana, was born in Albemarle county, Virginia, August 18, 1774, and from infancy was always distinguished for boldness and enterprise.
At the age of twenty-three he received the appointment of captain in the regular army, and in the year 1792, he was selected by President Jefferson, in conjunction with Mr. Michaux, to explore the country of the Missouri ; unfortunately, however, the expedition was abandoned by the recall of Mr. Michaux.
In 1803, Congress, at the recommendation of President Jefferson, voted a sum of money for exploring the Missouri to its source, to cross the highlands, and follow the best water communication which offered itself from thence to the Pacific Ocean.
Captain Lewis, who was at this time intimately known to President Jefferson, for courage and perseverance in whatever he undertook, for an honest, liberal, and sound understanding, and an intimate knowledge of the Indian character, their customs, and principles, and for a fidelity to truth so scrupulous, that whatever he should report would be as certain as if seen by himself, he did not hesitate to confide the enterprise to him as one every way qualified to conduct it. At his request, he was accompanied by Captain Clark, in case of accident to himself, that he might direct the further prosecution of the enterprise.
Ă draught of instructions having been prepared, he left the city of Washington, July 5, 1803, and proceeded on the expedition, and did not return to Washington before the 3d of February, 1807. Congress, in consideration of his services, granted to him and his followers a donation of a large tract of land.
He was, soon after, appointed governor of Louisiana. He died September 20, 1809.
An account of his expedition has been published in two volumes octavo.
INCREASE MATHER, D.D., president of Harvard college, was born at Dorchester, Massachusetts, June 21, 1639. He was graduated at the college, of which he afterwards became president, in 1656. After a period of four years, which he passed in travelling in England and Ireland, he returned to America. Having previously commenced the study of divinity, on his return, he was invited to preach at North church, in Boston, and was ordained pastor of that church in 1664.
In 1683, when king Charles II. expressed his wish that the charter of Massachusetts might be resigned into his hands, Dr. Mather zealously opposed a compliance with his majesty's pleasure, and used all his influence to persuade the people not to surrender their charter, and published his reasons. In 1688, he sailed for England as agent of the province, to procure I redress of grievances. After several years of im