ron, on which Lieutenant Allen makes this dry remark:
" How the court can reconcile some of the passages of then-
opinion with others, I know not, unless cowardice can be
divided into two kinds, personal and official."
Intrepidity, however, expresses only a part of the cha-
racter of Lieutenant AUen ; his private affections were
as warm as his public. While his mind was inflamed by
a sense of indicrnant sensibility, he was pouring into the
ear of masculine^ confidence the complaints of his lacerated
mind : letters of the same date, to a female friend, are re-
plete with domestic tenderness and affection. With
this correspondence all is quiet and serenity ; he enters
into aU the levity of ordinary converse, and seems as anx-
ious to veil his heroic and indignant passions, as it this
indulgence was criminal in such intercourse.
Not one of the subordinate officers was more decidedly
opposed to the conduct of Commodore Barron, than Lieu-
tenant lllen : yet such was the uniform correctness, pro-
priety, and delicacy of his conduct, that he commanded the
esteem of that officer's most sanguine adherents. With the
officers on board the Chesapeake, he was a peculiar favourite.
29'^ GLORY OF AMERICA.
During the time of the embargo, the Chesapeake, to
which he was still attached, cruised off Block Island, and
captured several vessels violating that law. From motives
of delicacy he desu'ed to be excused, and was excused,
from boarding any vessel belonging ^to his native state!
In a letter on this subject, he says, " I knew that I should
be compelled to detain such vessels for the most trivial ar-
ticle, and tliis would have wounded my feelings even
had I met those which I could have suffered to pass. I
might have laboured under unjust suspicions, when other
officers might be equally just without such imputations."
Lieutenant Allen remained in the Chesapeake, in this
service, till Februaiy, 1809, when he was ordered, by the
government, to join the fris^ate United States, while lyino-
at ^\ashington, under the command of Commodore Deca''-
tur. The commodore was absent, and the equippincr of
the frigate was a duty that devolved on the first lieute-
nant, who was not, for the space of two months, absent
from the navy yard. The ship was a part of the time at
Norfoiiv, and the remainder of the time was eno-ao-ed in
short cruises on the coast, until the declaration of war
against Great Britain, in 1812.
Shortly after, the frigate United States sailed on a cruise,
which resulted in the capture of the Macedonian. In the
action between the two vessels. Lieutenant Allen bore a
conspicuous part. His share in the sflorious conflict can-
not be better expressed than in the words of Commodore
Decatur. -It would be unjust in me, to discriminate,
where all met my fullest expectations. ' Permit me, how-
ever, to recommend to the particular notice of the secre-
tary, my first lieutenant, William Henry Allen, who has
served with me upwards of five years; and to his unre-
mitted exertions, in disciplining the crew, is to be imputed
the obvious superiority of our'gunneiy, exhibited in this
^ To Lieutenant Allen was entrusted the charge of bring-
ing the prize into port, and she safely arrived in the har-
bour of New York, on the first day of January, 1813. amid
the enthusiastic gratulations of our countnTuen. The
corporation and citizens of the city honoured him and his
WILLIAM HENRY ALLEN. 293
commander with a splendid and superb festival ; and the
legislatures of Rhode Island and Virginia presented him
a sword, as a testimonial of their sense of his services, and
in commemoration of his gallant exploits.
After this, Lieutenant Allen was allowed some little res-
pite from the naval service ; he visited his native state,
and received the kind congratulations of his relatives and
friends, at his paternal abode. Tliis repose was, however,
but of short duration ; the strong and imperious calls of
his country once more summoned him to active duty.
Shortly after the arrival of the Macedonian at New
York, the Argns, commanded by Cai^tain Smclair, returned
to that port. He obtained leave to visit his friends ; and
by order of Commodore Decatur, Lieutenant Allen took
the command. He thoroughly repaired the vessel, and
received an order from the Commodore to go in quest of a
British brig of war, reported to be in the Sound. The
crew of the Hornet, commanded by Lieutenant Shubrick,
volunteered their services. He remained in the Sound
for the space of a week, v/ithout meeting the enemy, when
he received the orders of the commodore to return.
On the death of Mr. Barlow, the American minister to
the court of France, his government deemed it expedient
to renevv^ the negotiation. Mr. Crawford was appointed
as his successor ; and Lieutena.nt Allen, advanced to the
rank of master commandant, was directed to command the
Argus, and to conduct that minister to his place of desti-
nation. He accepted the appointment, and sailed with the
new minister for France. He eluded the vigilance of the
blockading squadron, and arrived at L'Orient v\dthin
twenty-three days. He informed the Secretary of the
na\^, in his letter bearing date June 12, 1813, that he
'' shall immediately, proceed to put in execution his orders
as to the ulterior purposes of his destination."
The business so darkly hinted, was undoubtedly, to sail
in the Irish channel, and annoy the English commerce.
This service was extremely perilous ; and the attempt
seemed hardly to admit a possibility of escape. It was a
service to a man fond of glory, peculiarly invidious. Such
conquests were attended with no honour ; and Captain
294 GLOllV OF AMERICA.
Allen, in compliance with his orders, seemed peculiarly
solicitous, to make the enemy feel and confess the motives
by which he was gi.iided. The injury which he did to
the British commerce was estimated to the amount of two
millions. In this depredating warfare his conduct was
marked with the highest traits of honour. The property
of the passengers was sacred from hostility ; not an article
of that description would he suffer to be touched. The
passengers were allowed to go below, and to take what
they claimed as their own, and no hands belonging to the
Argus were permitted to inspect them while they were
employed in so doing.
On one occasion, when a passenger had left his surtout
behind him. it was sent after him in the boat : on another
occasion, Captain Allen ordered one of his hands, v/ho was
detected in the act of some petty plunder of this sort, to be
flogged at the gangway. The English papers, wliile the
merchants were writhing uiider the severe injuries thus
inflicted, were unanimous in their testimonials of respect
to the conduct of this gallant ofiicer, for the humanity and
delicacy with which he performed a ser^dce so invidious.
Probably no action of his life could more plainly distin-
guish his character than this : he loved danger as much
as he abhorred to plunder the defenceless.
It appeared very evident, that if prudence were consult-
ed, it was his imperious duty to avoid an engagement.
The damage which he might have done the enemy, by
another species of warfare, was beyond all comparison
greater than by riskino; a battle, even if fortune had de-
cided the controversy in his favour. Even a victory en-
sured capture : for alone and unsupported as he was, his
own ship would, in all human probability, sufier material
injury, and both the captured and the captor become the
prize of one of the many frigates then swarming in the
Enoflish channel. These considerations, however, would
have but little weiafht with him. He declared, previous
to his setting out, that he would run from no two masted
vessel. Anxious to acquit himself of a business which he
so much disliked, lie sought an opportunity to act in a si-
tuation more congenial to his feeling's.
WILLIAM HENRY ALLEN. 295
Accordino^ly, on the 14tli of Au^ast, 1813, he fell in with
his Britannic majesty's sloop of war Pelican : and after a
severely contested action, the Argiis was compelled to sur-
render ; her commander having received a mortal wound
in the early part of the engagement, of w^hich he died in
the 29th year of his age.
The following letter from John Hawker, Esq., ci-devant
American vice-consul, will speak for itself
Plymouth,, August V^th^ 1813.
Sir, The station I have had the honour to hold for
many years past, of American vice-consul, calls forth my
poignant feelings in the communication I have to make to
3^ou of the death of your son, Captain Allen, late command-
er of the United States' brig of war Argus, which vessel
Avas captured on Saturday last, in the Irish channel, after
a very sharp action of three quarters of an hour, by liis
Britannic majesty's ship Pelican.
Early in the action he lost his left leg, but refused to be
carried below, till from loss of blood he fainted. Messrs.
Edwards and Delphy, midshipmen, and four seamen, were
killed ; and Lieutenant Watson, the carpenter, boatswain,
boatswain's mate, and seven men, wounded. Captain Al-
len submitted to amputation above the knee, while at sea.
He was yesterday morning attended b^r very eminent sur-
gical g^entlemen, and removed from the Argus to the hos-
pital, where every possible attention and assistance would
have been afforded him, had he survived ; but V\^hich was
not, from the first moment, expected, from the sliattered
state of his thisrh. At eleven, last ni2,'ht. he breathed his
last ! He was sensible at intervals, till Vv'ithin X^vl minutes
of his dissolution, when he sunk exhausted, and expired
without a struggle ! His lucid intervals were very cheerful,
and he was satisfied and fully sensible that no advice or
assistance would be wanting. A detached room was pre-
pared by the commissary and chief surgeon, and female
attendants engaged, that every tenderness and respect
might be experienced. The master, purser, surgeon, and
one midshipman, accompanied Captain x4.11en, wlio was
also attended by his tv.' o servants.
I have communicated and arranged with the oflicers
296 GLORY OF AMERICA.
respecting the funeral, which will be in the most respectful,
and at the same time, economical manner. The port Ad-
miral has signified that it is the intention of his Britannic
majesty^s government, that it be puhlichj attended by offi-
cers of rank, and with military honours.*" The time' fixed
for procession is on Saturday, at 11, A. M. A Lieutenant-
Colonel's guard of the royal marines is also appointed. A
wainscot coffin has been ordered : on the breast plate of
which will be inscribed as below.* INIr. Delphy, one of
the midshipmen, who lost both legs, and died at 'sea, was
buried yesterday in St. Andrews' church-yard. I have
requested that Captain Allen may be buried as near him,
on the right, in the same vault, if practicable, as possible.
I remain, respectfully, sir, your most obedient humble
(Signed,) JOHN HAWKER,
Ci-devant American vice-consul.
To General Allen, Providence, R. I.
Agreeably to previous arrangement, the remains of the
departed Allen were interred at Plymouth, on the 21st of
August, with military honours, and" every mark of respect
due to his rank. The flag of his country, under which he
fought, v.^as placed on his coffin, as a testimonial of the
valour with which he had so nobly striven to defend it ;
and his body was deposited at the ricrht of the gallant Del-
phy. who had bled and suffered with him.
Thus lived and thus died William Henry Allen.
By the company and conversation of the elegrant and
polite, the hard and severe duties of the sailor acquired a
sort of polish, and his character presented that combination
of gallantry, grace, and intrepidity, that so irresistibly at-
tracts. In the hour of danger, he was calm, intrepid.' and
perseverino- ; in private intercourse, guarded, affable, and
delicate. Entering into the navy with large and expanded
ideas of honour, tlie perils he encountered, and the hard
services he endured, consolidated his romantic and floatinir
* Tablet whereon will be recorded the name, rank, nae. and character of
the deceased, and also of the midshipman, will be placed, if it can be con-
fnved as I have suggested; both having lost their fives in fighting for th
honour of their country.
WILLIAM HENRY ALLEN. 297
visions into rules and principles of action. By never low-
ering his lofty standard amid the justle of contending dif-
ficulties, he at length arrived at it ; and new trials served
only to call into exercise new and unexplored resources
of fortitude. He had so long forsaken every other con-
sideration for glory, that he finally measured his life by
this standard, and felt a repulsive antipathy to whatever
fell short of that measure.
A sort of compact has seemed to exist among our naval
commanders, never to quit their station on deck. Allen,
in his mutilated state, refused to be carried below, and
fainted on the deck from loss of blood. Lawrence showed
the same determined spirit, and never left his station till
he was too far exhausted by his v/ounds to animate his
men by his example. Burrows, though mortally wounded
at his quarters, still remained at his post, suiwived the ac-
tion, and there received the sword of his gallant and intre-
The following extract from Captain Allen's letter, ad-
dressed to his sister, will show the character of this intrepid
officer in an amiable light :
" When you shall hear that I have ended my earthly
career, that I only exist in the kind remembrance of my
friends, you will forget my follies, forgive my faults, call
to mmd some little instances dear to reflection, to excuse
your love for me, and shed one tear to the memory of
JOHN GUSHING AYLWIN.
Thomas Aylwin, a merchant of the town of Boston, es-
poused the sister of the late William Cushino-, who at the
time of his decease was one of the Justices of'the Supreme
Court of the United States. In the early stage of the
American Revolution, Mr. Aylwin removed from Boston to
29S GLORY OF AMERICA.
Quebec, where he remained diirmg the wliole contest.
At the close of that war, his son John Cashing Aylwin,
was born, in the capital of Lower Canada. His education
was more useful than speculative. He obtained a familiar
knowledge of the French languas"e : was instructed in the
rudiments of Latin, and the elements of mathematics. In
early life he was rated on board a British frigate com-
manded by Captain Coffin. In consequence of the im-
pressment of one of his particular companions, he left the
British service in diss^ust.
Retain inof, however, his predilection for the sea, as soon
as he lost his parents, he abandoned those pursuits which
had been pointed out for him, and entered an apprentice on
board a ship in the London trade.
His master, the captain of the vessel, did not fulfil, on
liis part, the articles which he had entered into with Ayl-
win. Instead of allowing him six months' tuition at a na-
val academy, according to stipulation, his master continued
him on board the ship, which he employed in the "West
India trade. Aylwin, nevertheless, so much profited by a
short experience, that after two voyages, he was advanced
to be mate of the ship, beinor then about fifteen vears of
age. Some dispute having arisen between him and the
Captain, the latter wreaked upon Aylwin, a vengeance to
him emphatically horrible. It was contrived, that he
should be kidnapped by a press-gang.
After his impressment, he was put on board a gun brig;
and here every artifice was practised, and every means
employed, to induce him to enter voluntarily into the
English service. Promotion was offered him in case of
his compliance, and on his refusal, his letters to his friends
were suppressed, and himself continued, from day to day,
and from year to year, without prospect of deliverance,
traversing distant seas, and enduring all the diversities of
climate. The ?sorth Sea. the Mediterranean, the Red
Sea, the Indian Ocean, and the East Indies, with all their
varieties of climate and misery, had tried his patience and
weakened his frame. His diminishins; health rendering
him less serviceable, he was released, and came to Boston,
after being six years in imprisonment. Thus a temporary
JOHN GUSHING AYLWIN. 299
loss of health, was the instrument of a permanent enjoy-
ment of liberty. Nor were his sufferings vmattended or
unrewarded by countervailing advantages. He had be-
come a finished seaman ; and having acquired that ac-
complishment, principally during long service in an armed
vessel, and having borne a part in several engagements,
he was likewise a proficient in naval warfare.
He now entered the merchant service, which he prose-
cuted as master of a vessel for several years. At the be-
ginning of the late war, he was appointed sailing-master
of the frigate Constitution, Captain Hull, with an under-
standinof. that this appointment should not prejudice his
claim to promotion as a commissioned officer, and also,
that such promotion should take place with all proper ex-
pedition. On the first cruise of the Constitution, his sea-
manship was called into exercise. Her escape, after a
pursuit of sixty hours, on her first putting to sea from the
Chesapeake, is reckoned among the most masterly m.a-
noeuvres which have been performed in the navy. In
such circumstances, the duty of sailing-master is most im-
portant ; and in the event of success, he may justly claim
a proportionate degree of credit.
Mr. Aylwin continued on board the Constitution till the
capture of the Jav^a, which terminated his life. At the
capture of the Guerriere, he still officiated as sailing mas-
ter; and by his display of nautical skill, both in bringing
her into action and managing her during its continuance,
called forth the applause of Captain Hull, and of every
person Avho was witness of it. In this action he received
a wound from a musket ball, and was afterwards appointed
lieutenant, in which character he again sailed in the Con-
stitution, Captain Bainbridge. In her action with the Ja-
va, where the capture of the latter was purchased with the
life of Aylwin, his courage and skill came up to the hiffh
anticipations which his former merits had excited. A
musket ball or grape shot, struck him just under the collar
bone, and came out at the shoulder blade. We close this
memoir, by the obituary notice furnished to the public by
' Died, on board the United States' frigate Constitution,
300 GLORY OF AMERICA.
at sea, the 28th of Januarv^, 1813, of wounds received in
the action with the Java, Lieutenant John Gushing Ayl-
win, of tlie United States navy. He entered the service
about the time w^r was declared, as a saiUng-master, and
was promoted to a heutenancy, for his gallant conduct in
the action with the Guerriere. He was an officer of grreat
merit, mucli esteemed by all who had the pleasure of his
acquaintance. He had seen much of the world, and im-
proved his opportunities of observation ; possessed a strong
mind, with great benevolence of disposition. In his death,
our country has suffered a great loss his friends a pain-
" In the action with the Guerriere, he stood on an ele-
vated situation, by the side of his brave comrades, Morris
and Bush, at the time the two vessels came in contact, and
was wounded in the left shoulder with a musket ball.
' In the late action he commanded the forecastle division,
and his bravery and marked coolness throughout the con-
test, gained him the admiration of his commander, and all
who had an opportunity of witnessing him.
" When boarders were called to repel boarders, he
mounted the quarter deck hammock-cloths, and, in the
act of firing his pistols at the enemy, received a ball through
the same shoulder. Notwithstanding the serious nature
of his wound, he cjontinued at his post till the enemy had
struck ; and even then did not make known his situation
till all the others Avourided had been dressed. His zeal
and courage did not forsake him in his last moments : for,
a few days after the action, though labouring under consi-
derable debility, and the most excruciating pain, he re-
paired to quarters, when an engagement was expected
with a ship, which afterwards proved to be the Hornet.
He bore his pain with great and unusual fortitude, and ex-
pired without a groan.
'A dauntless soul erect, who smiled on death.' "
The birth place of William Burrows is Philadelphia
the time, October 6, 1785. His father, at this time in af-
fluent circumstances, designed to give him a belles lettres
education. Left to his own inclination, at thirteen years
of age, his use of books was gratifying only to curiosity
and amusement, subjects not of lasting importance. The
accomplishment of polished life, necessarily embraced
a knowledge of the living languages, and for the attain-
ment of this object alone was parental authority exercised,
which was but partially accomplished. A knowledge of
the French, in particular, was considered an accomplish-
ment of the hig-hest order, in the attainment of which the
son manifested the greatest reluctance. But in acquiring
a knowledge of the German languag-e, with the father a se-
condary object, he was much more successful. He learnt
to speak it in a short period, as fluently as his native
Having undergone a course of preparatory education,
the impulse of his passion was gratified by the reception
of a midshipman's warrant, in November, 1799. From
this moment, he devoted his hours to acquire a complete
knowledge of navigation. In January, 1800, he was or-
dered to repair on board the Portsmouth, Captain M'Neill,
then bound for France. Being as yet a novice in naval
service, he reluctantly wore the naval uniform of his
country, conceiving those only worthy to wear it, whose
experience and knowledge rendered therh capable of per-
forming honourably the duties assigned them. In this ves-
sel he returned to the United States in December, 1800.
A short residence in France conquered his aversion to the
language of that countiy, and he embraced the opportuni-
ty to acquire a knowledge of it sufficient to converse with
ease and elegance.
302 GLORY OF AMERICA.
He now applied, and obtained a fnrlouo;h for a short pe-
riod, which time he ardently devoted to the iarther acqui-
sition of a complete knowledge of the science of navitra-
tion. " ^'
From the year ISOO to 1S03, he served on hoard several
ships of war, in various cruises, unimportant in any point
of view, excepting the opportunities offered him to acquire
a more perfect knowledge of naval affairs.
^In the year 1S03, he joined the frigate Constitution.
This vessel was commanded by Commodore Preble, and
was bound for the 3Iediterranean. The Commodore^ con-
ceiving an attachment to him, appointed him, when in the
Mediterranean, an acting^ lieutenant, the duties of which
station he honourably fulfilled, during the Tripoline war.
The particular part acted by Lieutenant Burrows in
this warfare is not known : he maintained, on the subject
of his personal exploits, a profound silence. He never
would be the herald of his own fame : but he was just to
the merits of his brother officers : and very rarely, could
he be induced to speak of affairs in which 'he was an act-
or. Whatever was known of Burrows came from other
sources. It is a striking fact, that none are more io-norant
of his personal exploits^'than his own immediate relatives.
He professed, on all occasions, his contempt of those offi-
cers who embraced every opportunity to proclaim their
In ISOr, he returned from Tripoli to his native country,
and in the following year, was attached to the Philadel-
phia station, and employed in the bay and river Delaware,
as commander of giin-boat No. J 1-9", enforcing the provi-
sions of the embaroro law.
His wit was mino;led with a species of whim, that may
more properly be^ denomin?.ted humour. With an inflex-
ible gravity efface, he would set the table in a roar, and
then reprove his guests for the turbulence of their mirth.
Not a single smile would enliven the gravity of his visao-e,
while all the company were vociferous in their ioy. In
this action and retro-action, between m^ock solemnity and
uncontrollable mirth, Lieutenant Burrows was pre-eminent.
Under the pretext of repressing the mirth of conversation,
WILLIAM BURROWS. 303
he enlivened it beyond all bounds, and could assume any
character he thoucrht proper. While employed ni a ser-