Royal Naval Biography/Hayes, John
JOHN HAYES, Esq
A Companion of the most Honorable Military Order of the Bath.
[Post-Captain of 1802.]
This officer is distantly related to the Hays of North Britain, a family descended from the Anglo-Norman Hays, who came into England with William the Conqueror, and at present represented by the Earl of Errol, Hereditary Lord High Constable of Scotland.
His name was first entered on the books of a King’s ship about the termination of the American revolutionary war, at which period he was but little more than seven years of age; but his juvenile predilection for the naval service was shortly after over-ruled by his great-uncle, the late Adam Hayes, Esq., Master Shipwright of Deptford dock-yard, who being without any children of his own, was particularly anxious to have a junior branch of the family educated as a naval architect under his immediate directions; and therefore selected Mr. John Hayes for that purpose, hoping, as he said, to qualify him for the appointment of Surveyor of the Navy, or at all events to be succeeded by him as Builder at Deptford.
In consequence of this arrangement, a nephew whom he had previously been instructing, but whose abilities did not answer his expectations, was discarded, and the subject of this memoir passed four or five years under the sole controul of his great uncle, to whom his father had resigned all authority over him; but immediately on the demise of the old gentleman, an event occasioned by a violent attack of gout in the stomach, he laid aside the rule and compass, and quitting the drawing board, embarked as a Midshipman on board the Orion 74, commanded by the late Sir Hyde Parker, under whom he served during the Dutch armament, in 1787.
Mr. Hayes subsequently joined a brig under the command of Captain (afterwards Admiral) Cobb, with whom he continued, on the Channel station, till 1790, when we find him entrusted with the charge of a watch on board the Pearl frigate, commanded by his friend Captain G. W. A. Courtenay, whom he ultimately accompanied to the Newfoundland station, as an acting Lieutenant, in the Boston, of 32 guns and 217 men.
In July, 1793, Captain Courtenay proceeded towards New York, in hopes of meeting and trying the fortune of war with l’Ambuscade, a French frigate of 36 guns and 340 men, commanded by M. Bompard, who had arrived on the American coast, with another ship of the same description under his orders, and already committed great depredations upon British commerce in that quarter.
On the Boston’s arrival off Sandy Hook, she stood in towards the shore under French colours, and adopted such other deceptive measures as induced a boat, sent from l’Ambuscade, under the impression that she was a friend, to come boldly alongside with orders for her supposed commander’s guidance. By this stratagem M. Bombard was deprived of the services of a Lieutenant and 12 of his crew; but, unfortunately, Captain Courtenay, in the ensuing action, had also to regret the reduction of his complement, by the absence of an officer and 12 men in a small captured vessel.
Mr. Hayes was now sent into New York with a formal challenge from Captain Courtenay to M. Bompard, who, after consulting with his officers, determined upon putting to sea and engaging the Boston, which he accordingly did on the morning of July 31st, at a short distance from the land. The action was long and bloody, but proved indecisive, although the object of the British was in part accomplished, as the damage sustained by the republican frigate incapacitated her for a considerable time from offering any further annoyance to the English trade. Her loss consisted of about 50 men killed and wounded, whilst that of the Boston was proportionably severe, the gallant Captain Courtenay, a marine officer, and 8 men being slain, and 2 Lieutenants, Midshipmen, and 19 men wounded. The combat was viewed by crowds of Americans standing on the Jersey beach, few of whom, on seeing the Boston haul off from l’Ambuscade, whose superior size attracted every one’s notice, were so prejudiced as not to admit that she had done her utmost to obtain a victory. His late Majesty, in consideration of Captain Courtenay’s intrepid conduct, was graciously pleased to settle a pension of 500l. a year on his widow, and an annuity of 50l. on each of his children.
Mr. Hayes returned to England in consequence of the death of his patron, whose high opinion of him may be inferred from the circumstance of his having chosen him, although so young a man, to be one of his executors.
Upon his arrival in London, he appeared before the Board of Admiralty, and gave so satisfactory an account of the recent affair at New York, and his own conduct therein, that their Lordships were induced to grant him a dispensing order, by which he was enabled to pass his examination for a Lieutenant, without completing the usual period of service as a rated Midshipman; and in the following month he received a commission, appointing him to the Dido, of 28 guns, commanded by Sir Charles Hamilton, Bart, with whom he afterwards removed into the St. Fiorenzo frigate, on the Mediterranean station.
His next appointment was to the Brunswick 74, in which ship he served for some time under Lord Lecale, in the Channel fleet; and subsequently accompanied the late Sir Richard Rodney Bligh to the West Indies, where he joined the Queen, a second rate, bearing the flag of Sir Hyde Parker, who promoted him to the rank of Commander on the 1st March, 1J99.
From this period we find Captain Hayes actively employed in various sloops of war on the Jamaica station, till his advancement to post rank, by a commission from the Admiralty, dated April 29, 1802. In Jan. 1809, he commanded a small squadron, left by Sir Samuel Hood at Vigo, to cover the embarkation of part of the retreating army under Lieutenant-General Sir John Moore; and on his return from that service he was removed from the Alfred 74, in which ship he had been acting, to the temporary command of the Achille, another third rate, attached to the expedition then about to sail for the Scheldt; from whence he brought home 700 French soldiers, who had been taken prisoners at Flushing.
Immediately on his arrival, Captain Hayes obtained the command of the Freija frigate, as a reward for his very zealous conduct in voluntarily taking upon himself the sole charge of navigating the Achille to and from the Roompot, although he had never before been employed on any part of the North Sea station. This act of temerity, as his friends termed it, was committed by him in consequence of the absolute impossibility of procuring a sufficient number of pilots for the vast fleet destined to that quarter, and his ardent wish to share in the dangers, and expected glories, of the ensuing campaign.
At the close of 1809, Captain Hayes proceeded to Barbadoes, and joined the flag of Sir Alexander Cochrane, who, confiding in his ability, entrusted him with the command of a squadron, employed on the north side of Guadaloupe, during the operations which terminated in the surrender of that colony to the British arms. His official account of a very gallant exploit performed by the boats of the Freija at Bay Mahaut, will be found under the head of Commander David Hope, in our next volume.
The Freija proving very defective, returned home in Sept. 1810, and was soon after put out of commission; a circumstance that occasioned Captain Hayes to remain on half-pay till the autumn of 1812, when he was appointed, pro tempore, to the Magnificent 74, which fine ship was rescued from a most perilous situation by his cool intrepidity and superior seamanship, during a heavy gale of wind on the 17th Dec. in the same year. His masterly conduct on the occasion alluded to is worthy of record, and will serve as an example for the benefit of less experienced officers, who may be, hereafter, placed in a similar state of danger. It is thus described by an officer who served under him at that period:
“The ship was anchored in the evening of Dec. 16th, 1812, between the reef of Chasseron and that of Isle Rhé, nearly mid-channel, in sixteen fathoms water; the courses reefed, top-sails close reefed, and top-gallant yards got down. At eight o’clock, the weather appearing suspicious, and the wind beginning to blow, the top-gallant-masts were got down on deck: at half-past it came on squally, and we veered away to a cable and a half. At nine the ship was found to be driving, and in only eleven fathoms water; the small bower was instantly let go, which brought her up in ten fathoms, The lower-yards and top-masts were now struck, as close down as they could be got. The moon was not visible, but we had sufficient light to shew us our dangerous situation; the sea breaking with great violence on the reef, about a quarter of a mile astern, and on the starboard quarter. As soon as the top-masts were down, orders were given to heave in upon the best-bower, which appeared to be slack, as though the anchor had broken. Three quarters of a cable were got in, when the stock appearing to catch a rock, it held fast: service was of course put in the wake of the hau-se, and the cable secured. The inner best bower cable was then unspliced, and bent to the spare anchor; and a man was placed in the chains to heave the lead, the same as though the ship had been underway; whilst the deep-sea lead, thrown over the gangway, was carefully attended to by a quarter-master. By means of the hand-lead the ship was found to be immediately over a rock, three fathoms in height, and in this state, with the wind at W. S.W. blowing a gale, with small rain, and a heavy sea, we remained till day-light, when the man at the gangway declared the ship to be driving. The spare anchor was directly cut away, and the range taken out, when she brought up again. On the ebb tide making she took the whole cable service, and rode with the two bowers a-head, and the spare anchor broad ou the starboard bow. The gale appeared to increase; and as the sea broke sometimes outside the ship, it proved that she was in the midst of rocks, and that the cables could not remain long without being cut. The wind at this period was West, St. Marie church bore East, and the shoalest part of the reef was only about two cables’ length distant. The wind afterwards shifted a point to the northward; but to counteract this favourable change, it was a lee tide, and a heavy sea setting right on to the reef: neither officers nor men thought it possible, in any way, to cast her clear thereof, and to make sail, more particularly as the yards and topmasts were down. Captain Hayes, however, gave orders to sway the foreyard two-thirds up outside the top-masts; and, while that was doing, to pass a hawser from the starboard quarter, and bend it to the spare cable, as a spring to cast the ship by; but before the latter could be accomplished the cable parted. The main-yard was next swayed up in a manner similar to the fore, and the spring fastened to the small-bower cable. People were sent aloft to stop each yard-arm of the top-sails and courses in four or five places with spun-yarn, tied in a single bow, and to cast off all the gaskets: those men were strictly enjoined to he quick in obeying the commands given them, and to be extremely cautious not to let a sail fall, unless it was particularly named; as any mistake in that respect would occasion the loss of the ship. The yards were all braced sharp up for casting from the reef, and making sail on the starboard tack. The tacks and sheets, top-sail sheets, and main and mizen stay-sail haliards, were manned, and the spring hove taut: Captain Hayes now told his crew that they were going to work for life or death; if they were attentive to his orders, and executed them properly, the ship would be saved; if not, the whole of them would be drowned in a few minutes. Things being in this state of preparation, a little more of the spring was hove in, the quartermasters at the wheel received their instructions, and the cables were instantly cut; but the heavy sea on the larboard bow would not let her cast that away, the spring broke, and her head paid in towards the reef. The oldest seaman in the ship at that moment thought all lost; but the probability of her casting to starboard had happily been foreseen by Captain Hayes, who now, in the coolest manner, gave orders to ‘put the helm hard a-starboard; sheet home the fore-top-sail; haul on board the fore-tack, and aft fore-sheet; keep all the other sails fast; square the main, mizen-top-sail, and cross jack yards; and keep the main-yard as it was.’ The moment the wind came abaft the beam, he ordered the mizen-top-sail to be sheeted home, and then the helm to be put hard a-port – when the wind was nearly aft, to haul on board the main-tack; aft main-sheet; sheet home the main-top-sail; and brace the cross-jack-yard up. When this was done, (the whole of which took only two minutes to perform,) the ship absolutely flew round from the reef, like a thing scared at the frightful spectacle. The quarter-masters were ordered to keep her South, and Captain Hayes declared aloud, ‘The ship is safe.’ The gaff was down, to prevent its holding wind; and the try-sail was bent ready for hoisting, had it been wanted. The fore-top-mast stay-sail was hoisted before the cables were cut; but the main and mizen-stay-sails, although ready, were not required. Thus was the ship got round in less than her own length; but in that short distance she altered the soundings five fathoms. And now, for the first time, I believe, was seen a ship at sea under reefed courses, and close reefed top-sails, with lower yards and topmasts struck. The sails all stood remarkably well; and, by this novel method, was saved a beautiful 74, with 550 persons on board.”
On his return to port, after performing the above extraordinary piece of seamanship, Captain Hayes proposed the cutting down of some ships of the line, and fitting them out for the express purpose of coping with the heavy American frigates. His plan being approved, he was appointed, in Jan. 1813, to the Majestic, a third rate, ordered to be reduced, and armed, according to his suggestion, with twenty-eight long 32-pounders, and the same number of 42-pr. carronades, to which was added one long 12, as a chase gun. When ready for sea, he proceeded to join the squadron employed under the orders of Sir John B. Warren, on the Halifax station; and during the remainder of that year we find him charged with the blockade of Boston, in which port the Constitution was then lying ready for sea. On the 3d Feb. 1814, he captured a French frigate in the vicinity of the Azores, whither he had gone in quest of the American forty-four, which ship had eluded his vigilance during a snow storm on the first of the preceding month. We here subjoin an extract from his official letter to Sir J. B. Warren, reporting the above capture:
“Majestic, at Sea, Feb. 5, 1814.
“At day-light on the morning of the third instant, in lat. 37 and long. 20, being then in chase of a ship in the N.E. supposed to be one of the enemy’s cruisers, three ships and a brig were discovered about three leagues off, in the S.S.E. of very suspicious appearance; and they not answering the private signal, I gave over the pursuit of the other, hoisted my colours, and proceeded to reconnoitre them, when two of the ships immediately gave chase to me. On closing within four miles, I discovered them to be two 44-gun frigates, a ship mounting 20 guns, and a brig, which I could not perceive to be armed. I determined on forcing them to shew their colours, (which they appeared to wish to avoid,) and for that purpose stood directly towards the headmost frigate, when she shortened sail, and brought to for the other to close. I now made all sail, in the hope of being able to get alongside of her before it could be effected, but in this I was foiled, by her wearing, joining the other, and taking a station a-head and a-stern, with the 20-gun ship and brig on their weather bow. They stood to the S.S.E. with larboard studding-sails, and all the canvas that could be carried; the sternmost hoisting French colours. At 2h 15' P.M. she opened a fire from the aftermost guns upon us; and at three o’clock, being in a good position, (going ten knots an hour,) I commenced firing with considerable effect, the shot going either through, or just over the starboard quarter to the forecastle, and passing over the larboard bow. At 4h 49' she struck her colours to H.M.S. under my command. The wind increasing, the prize being in a state of great confusion, and night fast approaching, obliged rne to stay by her, and to suffer the other frigate, with the ship and brig, to escape. The sea got up so very fast that only 100 of the prisoners could be removed; and even in effecting that, one boat was lost, and 2 Frenchmen were drowned: this, I hope, Sir, will plead my apology for not bringing you the whole of them The captured ship is the Terpsichore, of 44 guns, 18 and 24-pounders, and 320 men, commanded by François Désiré Breton, capitaine de fregate; the other was the Atalante, exactly of the same force: they sailed from the Scheldt on the 20th Oct. and went to l’Orient, from whence they sailed again on the 8th ultimo, in company with la Yade, a similar ship, which parted from them in lat. 45 and long. 16 40’. The enemy had 3 men killed, 6 wounded, and 2 drowned; the Majestic none.”
On the 22d May following., Captain Hayes captured the American letter of marque Dominica, (formerly H.M. schooner of that name,) mounting 4 long six-pounders, with a complement of 36 men.
The chief command on the coast of America had by this time been transferred to Sir Alexander Cochrane; and Captain Hayes was subsequently sent with a small squadron to cruise off Sandy Hook, for the purpose of intercepting Commodore Decatur, who was about to sail from New York with an armament intended to annoy our commerce in the East Indies and China seas, and for which purpose he had hoisted his pendant on board the President, a ship mounting thirtytwo long 24-pounders, twenty carronades of the same calibre as the Majestic’s, one 8-inch brass howitzer, and six smaller pieces of ordnance in her tops.
Notwithstanding the utmost endeavours of Captain Hayes to keep his squadron close in with Sandy Hook, he had the mortification to be repeatedly blown off by frequent gales; but the very great attention paid to his instructions by his associates, Captains Hope and Lumley, of the Endymion and Pomone frigates, prevented separation; and whenever the wind did force him from the coast, he invariably, on the gale moderating, placed the ships under his orders on the point of bearing from the Hook that he supposed, from existing circumstances, would be the enemy’s track. That his indefatigable exertions were crowned with success will be seen by the following extract from a letter addressed by him to Rear-Admiral Sir Henry Hotham, dated Jan. 17, 1815:
“On Friday (Jan. 13), the Tenedos joined me, with your order, to take Captain Parker in that ship under my command. We were then in company with the Endymion and Pomone, off the Hook, and in sight of the enemy’s ships; but that night the squadron was blown off again during a violent snow-storm. On Saturday, the wind and weather became favorable for the enemy, and I had no doubt but he would attempt his escape that night. It was impossible, from the direction of the wind, to get in with the Hook; and, as before stated, (in preference to closing the land to the southward) we stood away to the northward and eastward, till the squadron reached his supposed track. At the very instant of arriving at that point, an hour before day-light, Sandy Hook bearing W.N.W. 15 leagues, we were made happy by the sight of a ship and a brig standing to the S.E., and not more than two miles on the Majestic’s weather bow; the night signal for a general chase was immediately made, and promptly obeyed by all the ships.
“In the course of the day, the chase became extremely interesting by the endeavours of the enemy to escape, and the exertions of the Captains to get their respective ships alongside of him; the former by cutting away his anchors, and throwing overboard every moveable article, with a great quantity of provisions; and the latter by trimming their ships in every way possible, to effect their purpose. As the day advanced the wind declined, giving the Endymion an evident advantage in sailing; and Captain Hope’s exertions enabled him to get his ship alongside of the enemy, and commence close action, at 5h 30' P.M., which was continued with great gallantry and spirit on both sides for two hours and a half, when the Endymion’s sails being cut from the yards, the enemy got a-head. Captain Hope taking this opportunity to bend new sails, to enable him to get his ship alongside again, the action ceased, till the Pomone getting up at 11h 30' P.M. fired a few shot, when the enemy hailed to say he had already surrendered. The ship on being taken possession of, proved to be the President, commanded by Commodore Decatur. The vessel in company with her was the Macedonian brig, which made her escape by very superior sailing.
“And now, Sir, a very pleasing part of my duty is the bearing testimony to the able and masterly manner in which the Endymion was conducted, and the gallantry with which she was fought; and when the effect produced by her well-directed fire upon the President is witnessed, it cannot be doubted but that Captain Hope would have succeeded in either capturing or sinking her, had none of the squadron been in sight.”
To the above account of the President’s capture we shall now only add an extract from Sir Henry Hotham’s letter to the commander-in-Chief, enclosing Captain Hayes’ report of the action.
“The present season of the year, and the dark nights of which he availed himself, have not enabled him (Commodore Decatur) to elude the vigilance of Captain Hayes, and the commanders of H. M. ships under his orders, who have well discharged the important duty I assigned to them; and I beg leave to offer you my congratulations on the design of the American Government being defeated. * * * * The judicious conduct of Captain Hayes, in the direction of the force entrusted to his charge, and the exertions exhibited by him, and by Captains Parker, Hope, and Lumley, have justified the confidence I had placed in their zeal, and have rendered them worthy of your approbation.”
The Majestic being paid off at the termination of the war with America, Captain Hayes remained without further employment till April, 1819, when he was appointed to superintend the ordinary at Plymouth. He received the insignia of a C.B. as a reward for his meritorious services, at the establishment of that order in 1815.
Captain Hayes is the author of a pamphlet on the subject of Naval Architecture, his proficiency in which important science is the result of many years professional experience and deep consideration. His proposed system, we understand, meets a point hitherto considered impracticable, viz:– that of building a thousand vessels, if required, from a given section, without the variation of a needle’s point, reducible from a first rate ship to a cutter, each possessing excelling powers and advantages of every description, in their respective class. Since the publication of the above pamphlet, in which he carefully abstained from saying, or even hinting, that he had made any progress in the formation of such a system, two vessels have been built, in a royal dockyard, on his projection: the first, a cutter of about one hundred and sixty tons, is said to embrace stability under canvas with little ballast, great buoyancy, better stowage, and swifter sailing qualities, than any model yet designed by known schools of naval architecture. The second, a sloop of war, is at present absent on her first experimental cruise, in company with two other vessels of the same class, one of which was designed by Sir Robert Seppings; and the other built by the students of Portsmouth dock-yard, under the superintendence of Professor Inman. Delicacy forbids us saying any thing more on this interesting subject at present; but our readers may rest assured that it will be renewed at a proper opportunity.
JOHN HAYES, Esq. C.B.
This officer’s proficiency in the important science of naval architecture, has been noticed at p. 682 of Vol. II. Part II., which portion of our work was written during the absence of his first experimental ship, the Champion 18, on a cruise to the westward of Scilly, in company with the Thetis frigate and two sloops of war, the Orestes and Pylades, built by Professor Inman and Sir Robert Seppings.
Throughout the various trials which took place on that occasion, and were conducted so perseveringly, and in such a manner, by Captain Sir John Phillimore, of the Thetis, as to prove the ships under all circumstances, so that every excellency in each might be fairly ascertained, it was evident that the Champion could carry more sail, and worked quicker, and behaved better, in a gale of wind and a heavy sea, than either of her consorts. Every subsequent account proves her to be a very superior vessel.
In Dec. 1826, Captain Hayes commissioned the Wolf 18, a second corvette built on fixed principles known by no other person. The Lords of the Admiralty had some time before “made him a grant of £1000, as their first compensation, in consideration of the benefits he has rendered to his country by his improvements in ship-building, as exemplified in the Champion and the Arrow cutter.” His 28-gun frigate Challenger, built at the same time as the Wolf, and likewise commanded by him, is thus spoken of by one of her officers, in a letter dated April 28th, 1827:
“The Challenger is the finest vessel I ever saw; excellent quarters, the best accommodations, and every good quality. We carry our ports 5 ft. 7 in. out of the water; stow four months provisions under hatches; 27 tons of water in tanks, and 30 in casks. Our rate of sailing is as follows:– On a wind, under all sail, light breeze, eight and nine miles an hour; with top-gallant sails, more wind, nine and ten miles an hour; off the wind, under the above sail, from eleven to thirteen miles an hour. She sits like a duck on the water, never wets her main-deck, and is a most excellent sea-boat. To-day we started with the Sapphire 28, and distanced her completely.”
Respecting the Challenger and Wolf, Mr. R. Beecroft, late master of the Crocodile 28, has thus written to Captain Hayes:
“As you may not have heard from any other source of the following circumstance, which is so very favorable to the Challenger and Wolf, I take the liberty to communicate it to you. While those two vessels were on the East India station, they were ordered to Canton, and had to make the passage from Singapore, across the China Sea, during the height of the N.E. monsoon; consequently had to work up the whole way – the latter through the Palamon passage, and the Challenger direct. Both performed it with ease and expedition, though it is considered very difficult at such times, and impracticable to any but good ships. We tried the same passage in the Crocodile, at an earlier period, before the monsoon had reached its greatest strength, and when the sea was comparatively smooth; but the ship only reached up to the North Natanas, after three weeks trial, and we ultimately had to abandon it altogether, and bear up for Singapore.”
In 1827, Captain Sir Charles Malcolm, then just appointed Superintendent of the Bombay Marine, promised Captain Hayes he would order a ten-gun brig to be constructed on his principle. In 1830, he addressed him as follows:
“I did intend writing to you long ago, but have put it off from time to time, to have a report of a trial between the Euphrates and Tigris brigs – the former built from a plan of the navy board, and the latter on your plan. They are both superior vessels: the Tigris is by far the handsomest of the two; and Captain Sawyer says she is the best sea-boat of all the men-of-war, and the best sailer. She is the first vessel that has made the direct passage to the Gulph of Persia in the height of the S.W. monsoon; and I have no hesitation in saying, that upon the whole, the Tigris is by far the finest vessel of her class now in existence.”
With respect to the experimental cutters and ships built by Captain Hayes, we can but add, that they all have performed precisely as he predicted. He clearly pointed out that the restrictions respecting tonnage would prevent them from being so perfect as a greater scope would enable him to make them, but that each should, notwithstanding, prove superior to her class at the time in existence; and in this he has been most decidedly borne out. The constructing a cutter, named the Seaflower, to sail on an even keel, was at the time considered and stated to be an act of insanity, notwithstanding which she beat the six vessels sent to try their good qualities with her, and is now said to be the safest vessel in bad weather in the world.
Captain Hayes was appointed commodore on the coast of Africa in May 1830; and sailed for that station, in the Dryad 42, Sept. 29th following. He was put out of commission on the 13th Sept. 1832; and is now, unrestricted as to tonnage, but confined to masts and yards of certain dimensions, employed in building a 36-gun frigate, to mount on her main-deck guns similar to line-of-battle ships’ lower-deckers.
This officer’s second daughter, Emily, married, Mar. 2d, 1831, the Rev. Samuel Slocock, minister of St. Paul’s, Southsea, and rector of Wasing, co. Berks.
- Lord Lecale was a son of James, first Duke of Leinster, by Lady Emilia Mary, daughter of Charles, second Duke of Richmond. He obtained post-rank May 23, 1780; and died a Vice-Admiral of the Red, Feb. 17, 1810. The Irish Barony of Lecale became extinct, in consequence of his lordship dying without issue.
- See Vol. I. p. 265.
- The yards being all braced sharp up for the starboard tack, it is obvious that the fore-sail and fore-top-sail were set as flat a-back as they could be; and that there was no necessity for altering them in bringing the ship to her course, in the way she was manoeuvred.
- The vessel that Captain Hayes was in pursuit of, when he discovered the French frigates and their companions, was the Wasp, an American privateer of 20 guns; and the other ship alluded to in the above letter, a Spaniard, with a valuable cargo from Lima, captured by the enemy only a few hours previous. The Atalante’s commander has been justly censured for not supporting his friend by closing with the Majestic; but the behaviour of that officer does not lessen the credit due to Captain Hayes for his gallantry in bearing down to attack the frigates, under circumstances which rendered it doubtful whether he had not fallen in with an American squadron.
- Commodore Decatur had left the remainder of his squadron at Staten Island, with directions for them to join him at the island of Tristan d’Acunha.
- The respective loss and damages sustained by the Endymion and President, with other particulars relative to those ships, will be given in our memoir of Captain Henry Hope, C.B.
- See p. 355.