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The Works of Theodore Roosevelt


This historic book may have numerous typos and missing text. Purchasers can download a free scanned copy of the original book (without typos) from the publisher. Not indexed. Not illustrated. 1882 Excerpt: ... Decatur, his adversary, having been thus rendered perfectly helpless, could have simply taken any position he chose and compelled the latter to strike, without suffering any material additional loss himself. As in such a case he would neither have endured the unanswered fire of the Endymion on his quarter for the first half hour, nor the subsequent broadsides of the Pomone, the President's loss would probably have been no greater than that of the Constitution in taking the Java. It is difficult to see how any outsider with an ounce of common-sense and fair-mindedness can help awarding the palm to Decatur, as regards the action with the Endymion. But I regret to say that I must agree with James that he acted rather tamely, certainly not heroically, in striking to the Pomone. There was, of course, not much chance of success in doing battle with two fresh frigates; but then they only mounted eighteen-pounders, and, judging from the slight results of the cannonading from the Endymion and the first two (usually the most fatal) broadsides of the Pomone, it would have been rather a long time before they would have caused much damage. Meanwhile the President was pretty nearly as well off as ever as far as fighting and sailing went. A lucky shot might have disabled one of her opponents, and then the other would, in all probability, have undergone the same fate as the Endymion. At least it was well worth trying, and though Decatur could not be said to be disgraced, yet it is excusable to wish that Porter or Perry had been in his place. It is not very pleasant to criticise the actions of an American whose name is better known than that of almost any other single-ship captain of his time; but if a man is as much to be praised for doing fairly, or even badly, as for do... Hide synopsis

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