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The Two Admirals   By: (1789-1851)

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THE TWO ADMIRALS.

A Tale BY James Fenimore Cooper

THE AUTHOR OF

"THE PILOT," "RED ROVER," "WATER WITCH," "HOMEWARD BOUND," ETC.

COMPLETE IN ONE VOLUME REVISED AND CORRECTED WITH A NEW INTRODUCTION, NOTES, &c, By the Author.

NEW YORK: GEORGE P. PUTNAM & Co., 10 PARK PLACE. 1852.

Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1851, by STRINGER & TOWNSEND, In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States for the Southern District of New York.

STEREOTYPED BY BILLIN & BROTHERS, 10 NORTH WILLIAM STREET, N.Y. R. CRAIGHEAD, PRINTER

Come, all ye kindred chieftains of the deep, In mighty phalanx round your brother bend; Hush every murmur that invades his sleep, And guard the laurel that o'ershades your friend.

Lines on Trippe.

PREFACE.

It is a strong proof of the diffusive tendency of every thing in this country, that America never yet collected a fleet. Nothing is wanting to this display of power but the will. But a fleet requires only one commander, and a feeling is fast spreading in the country that we ought to be all commanders; unless the spirit of unconstitutional innovation, and usurpation, that is now so prevalent, at Washington, be controlled, we may expect to hear of proposals to send a committee of Congress to sea, in command of a squadron. We sincerely hope that their first experiment may be made on the coast of Africa.

It has been said of Napoleon that he never could be made to understand why his fleets did not obey his orders with the same accuracy, as to time and place, as his corps d'armée . He made no allowances for the winds and currents, and least of all, did he comprehend that all important circumstance, that the efficiency of a fleet is necessarily confined to the rate of sailing of the dullest of its ships. More may be expected from a squadron of ten sail, all of which shall be average vessels, in this respect, than from the same number of vessels, of which one half are fast and the remainder dull. One brigade can march as fast as another, but it is not so with vessels. The efficiency of a marine, therefore, depends rather on its working qualities, than on its number of ships.

Perhaps the best fleet that ever sailed under the English flag, was that with which Nelson fought the battle of the Nile. It consisted of twelve or thirteen small seventy fours, each of approved qualities, and commanded by an officer of known merit. In all respects it was efficient and reliable. With such men as Hallowell, Hood, Trowbridge, Foley, Ball, and others, and with such ships, the great spirit of Nelson was satisfied. He knew that whatever seamen could do, his comparatively little force could achieve. When his enemy was discovered at anchor, though night was approaching and his vessels were a good deal scattered, he at once determined to put the qualities we have mentioned to the highest proof, and to attack. This was done without any other order of battle than that which directed each commander to get as close alongside of an enemy as possible, the best proof of the high confidence he had in his ships and in their commanders.

It is now known that all the early accounts of the man[oe]uvring at the Nile, and of Nelson's reasoning on the subject of anchoring inside and of doubling on his enemies, is pure fiction. The "Life" by Southey, in all that relates to this feature of the day, is pure fiction, as, indeed, are other portions of the work of scarcely less importance. This fact came to the writer, through the late Commodore (Charles Valentine) Morris, from Sir Alexander Ball, in the early part of the century. In that day it would not have done to proclaim it, so tenacious is public opinion of its errors; but since that time, naval officers of rank have written on the subject, and stripped the Nile, Trafalgar, &c, of their poetry, to give the world plain, nautical, and probable accounts of both those great achievements... Continue reading book >>




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