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although a species of revenge calculated to “heap coals of fire upon the head” of a subdued enemy, yet it must have melted an heart of adamant. The Bashaw knew that one of his officers had basely slain the brother of the exalted Decatur; and could not comprehend the motives of his humanity. His savage subtilty augured evil, even from an act of pure benevolence. But when he heard the restored and wounded Tripolitans exclaim in the rapture of enjorced gratitude—“The Americans in battle are fiercer than lions, and after victory, kinder than JMussulmen,” his savage heart began to soften. But, without a great ransom, he would not release a single prisoner who belonged to the Philadelphia frigate. From the 3d to the 7th of August, Com. Preble, Capt. Decatur, and the rest of the officers and seamen, had but little time for repose after their arduous toils in reaching the harbour of Tripoli, and administering to the Bashaw a portion of American vengeance. They were all incessantly engaged in preparing for another visit. Capt. Decatur had become perfectly familiar with the theatre of action on which the American squadron was now acting its various parts. Every scene was drawing toward the developement of the tragedy. The imperious tone of the Bashaw was lowered, as his hopes of safety diminished. He however would surrender no prisoners without a ransom beyond what Com. Preble thought himself authorised by his government to offer. He rather preferred to have Consul Lear negotiate upon land; and he felt confident of his powers to negotiate with his invincible squadron.
Capt. Decatur, indeed all the officers of every grade, and every seaman, exerted every nerve to aid Com. Preble. They stood around him like affectionate and obedient children around a beloved and dignified parent, anxious to learn his precepts, and prompt to obey his commands. He stood in the midst of them in the double capacity of their father, and a representative of his and their country. He knew they would follow wherever he would lead, and would lead where necessary prudence would prevent him from following. Well might the astonished Turks compare them to lions; for they had proved themselves irresistible in battle—generous and noble in victory.
tapt. Decatur receives high commendations from Com. Preble— Grief at the death of Lieut. J. Decatur—Notice of him—Proposals of the Commodore to the Bashaw—Renewal of the attack upon Tripoli–Capt. Somers, Lieuts. Wadsworth and Israel enter into the squadron of the enemy's boats, with the Ketch Intrepid as a fire-ship—She explodes —Awful effects of the explosion —Reflection—Notice of Lieut. Wadsworth–Com Preble superseded by Com. Barron–Brief notice of Edward PREBLE.
CAPT. Decatur, having thus far taken such a distinguished and leading part in all the gallant achievements in the naval warfare of America against Tripoli, it became indispensably necessary to be somewhat minute in describing them, in order to present him to the reader, For his unparalleled bravery, desperate courage. and unequalled success in the battle of the 3d of August, Com. Preble could bestow nothing but his highest and most unqualified commendation. This was not the mere effusion of an admiring commander, surrounded by his victorious comrades around the festive board, after a signal victory, but it was officially announced to the whole squadron in a “general order” upon the 4th. The Commodore knew well where to bestow applause, and when to make, or rather to recommend promotion. His general order is in the Navy Department; and as to promotion, it was out of the question, as Decatur, although but twenty-five years of age, had reached the highest grade in the American Navy. Amidst the congratulations in the squadron for the successful issue of the first attack upon Tripoli, a silent gloom irresistibly pervaded the hearts of the officers and seamen. It was not caused by contemplating upon the arduous and yet uncertain contest which they were directly to renew. Inured to duty, and familiar with victory, they were total strangers to fear. But Lieut. JAMES DECAt UR “ was dead!” While they were floating triumphantly upon the waves of the Mediterranean, his body was reposing in death upon its bed, and his gallant spirit had flown to heaven. The shouts of joy over all Britain for the victory of Trafalgar, were mingled with groans of grief for the death of Nelson. No less pungent was the sorrow of intrepid Americans at the fall of Lieut. Decatur. He had unremittingly pursued the duty of the naval profession from the time he entered the navy, until the day he was basely and treacherously slain. It is inconsistent with the design of this volume, to go into a minute detail of his life. The life of his admired brother is the object of it. Suffice it then to say, that by a long course of assiduous duty, in various ships of the American navy, and under different commanders, he secured to himself the confidence of his superiors, and the approbation of his government. The post assigned him upon the 3d of August, evinced the high estimation in which he was holden by the discerning and penetrating Com.
Preble. The manner in which he discharged the duty imposed upon him, and the manner in which he fell, have already been mentioned. His memory is embalmed with those of Somers, Wadsworth, and Israel, who followed him into eternity, thirty days after he left the world, and who made their exit from the same sanguinary theatre upon which he fell. The fearful, yet temporising Bashaw, through the medium of a foreign consul, offered terms to Preble which he indignantly rejected, as degrading to his government. Upon the 7th, another attack was resolved upon, and the squadron arranged in order to execute it. The effect desired was produced. A heavy battery was silenced—many bomb-shells and round shot were thrown into the town—and although the damage to the enemy was not so essential as the attack of the 3d, it increased the dismay of the Bashaw.—Amongst the Gun-boats engaged in this second attack, was one taken from the enemy by Decatur. She was blown up by a hot ball sent from the batteries, and Lieut. Caldwell, Midshipman Dorsey, and eight seamen were killed; six were wounded; and Midshipman Spence, with eleven seamen, were rescued unhurt from the waves. Two days afterwards, Commodore Preble took a deliberate view of the harbour in one of the Brigs, in order to determine the best mode of commencing a third attack. He gave “no sleep to the eyes nor slumber to the eyelids” of the sullen and incorrigible wretch who wielded the sceptre of blood-begot