| American History Stories, Volume III|
|by Mara L. Pratt|
|Anecdotes from the time Washington became president through the War of 1812, the rise of Andrew Jackson, and the sectional differences leading to the Civil War. Numerous black and white illustrations complement the text. Ages 8-12 |
AN ADVENTURE OF THE SHIP PRESIDENT
The "President," a Yankee frigate under Commodore Rogers,
sailing into the Irish Channel, took up its position
just where it could worry the British vessels going in
and out and prey upon the British commerce.
"This must be stopped," said the British authorities.
"That one little frigate is doing more harm and making
more trouble than a whole squadron. We will send a
squadron out to meet this vessel. It is weak, foolish,
absurd for the English government to allow the vessel
 cruise about our channels in this manner. Has the
English navy no power, no authority, no dignity?"
And a squadron was sent out to meet this vessel. But
no sooner did it set forth than Commodore Rogers, who
someway seemed never to be caught napping, heard of its
approach and put out to sea.
"We will go home," said Commodore Rogers, cheerily, "I
think the British will remember us even if we do stay
no longer in their waters."
It was a brisk September morning—so clear and
bright. Gaily the little frigate sped before the
breeze, her white canvas gleaming, her cordage creaking
merrily, her prow cutting the dancing waves.
All was well. But towards evening a sail was seen.
"It is a British vessel," said Rogers, scanning it
closely. "I think they are following
us—yes—I am sure they are."
"Quick, quick, my men," said Rogers. "Up with our
British banners—on with your British uniforms,
and remember now we are the British 'Sea
"Aye, aye, sir," answered the crew, ready enough to
deceive the pursuing vessel—for 'all things,' you
know they say, 'are fair in love and war.' "
On came the British vessel, nearer and nearer, till at
last its banner could be seen. "Welcome the 'High
flyer,' be ready, my men," shouted Rogers, "H. M. S.—the Highflyer."
 Nearer and nearer came the vessel—now she is
alongside. "Now, my good British lieutenant," said
Rogers to one of his men, "you will go on board the
'Highflyer' with this message from the commodore of
this, the English 'Sea Horse' to the commodore of the
English 'Highflyer.' "
With great dignity and mock gravity, the lieutenant
received his orders and went on board the "Highflyer."
"I am," said he to the "Highflyer," "the bearer of this
message from the commodore of the British vessel, the
'Sea Horse,' it is requested that the ship books of the
'Highflyer' be sent on board the 'Sea Horse' for
comparison and, if need be, for revision.
The commodore of the "Highflyer" received the
lieutenant and his message with that courtesy always
observed between officers either in the army or in the
navy, and on his return to his own vessel accompanied
"Ah, this is a fine vessel," said the commodore of the
"Highflyer" as he examined the "Sea Horse." "Indeed,
you do not find such a ship as this in any outside the
English navy. Ah, England is the mistress of the sea!
Now those little American crafts—I boarded one
once—paugh! such a vessel! And by the way, have
you seen anything of that little frigate, the
'President!' We are to overtake her—she's made
trouble enough for one frigate so
 we think. They say she put out to sea this morning.
Probably knew we were after her, so ran away, coward
that she is." And the commodore laughed loudly at what
he considered a huge joke.
It was a joke, no doubt; for the commodore and the
officers of the "Sea Horse" laughed—yes, roared
with laughter; and the commodore of the "Highflyer"
strutted and puffed up and down the deck, filled with
pride and satisfaction at his own wit.
"By-the-by, what sort of a fish is that Rogers, the
commodore of the 'President,' " asked Rogers, a twinkle
in his eye.
"A mighty odd fish, I am told," answered the commodore
of the "Highflyer." "At any rate he proves a hard fish
to catch. But he shall be my prisoner yet," growled
the commodore—and little mercy will he get from
me. No sir! Americans—the miserable,
"Hold sir! do you know on whose vessel you
stand—do you know to whom you speak?" interrupted
Rogers, his eyes flashing fire at the word
cowardly, as applied to his nation. "You are
this minute on board the 'President,' I am Commodore
Rogers and you are my prisoner.
"Hoist the American flag—down with the British
banner!" called Rogers to his crew.
The commodore of the "Highflyer" stared, turned pale,
actually gasped. But there was nothing to be
said-  —nothing to be done. The "Highflyer" was
surrendered, and away sailed Rogers, a harder fish to
catch than ever—at least so thought the
"Highflyer" and its bragging, busting commodore.
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