Sivut kuvina
[blocks in formation]


It is, perhaps, not very generally known, that among the warriors of Britain who are so successfully conducting her arms in the mighty contest in which she is now engaged, some, of not the least heroic, may be claimed by this country as her alien sons.

In the list of her naval commanders especially, many an American name can be traced, which is illustrated by a series of the most gallant and splendid achievements. Not to mention others of less distinction, we find two of our countrymen elevated to the rank of admirals: the one contributing by his valour to the triumphant issue of the memorable battle on the 1st of June;* while the othert has vexed every sea by his extensive enterprize, and is signalized by services in almost every region where the British flag has been unfurled.

Nor is her army less indebted to us. It was on the plains of Maida that an American, by a decisive victory, first retrieved the reputation of her arms, and taught her no longer to enter* Admiral sir Isaac Coffin.

tAdmiral Hallowell. VOL. VII.

3 'T

tain a panic terror of the veterans of France. How much she owes to the valour and military genius of another of our countrymen may be seen in the ensuing memoir.

Sir Samuel Auchmuty, the youngest son of the late reverend Samuel Auchmuty,* rector of Trinity Church, Newyork, was born on the 22d of June, 1758, and was educated at King's, (now Columbia) college.

From his early youth he bent his mind to the study of divi. nity, and, during the four years of his residence at college, made it not only an object of attention but of delight.

The then unhappy differences between this country and Eng. land obliged his father, who was a royalist, to shut up his churches and retire to Newjersey. This first gave sir Samuel the idea of entering the army. As a volunteer in the 45th regiment he carried a musket in the battle of Longisland, and the next day was made an ensign in that regiment, and was with it in most of the actions in that and the subsequent campaign.

At the peace he went with his regiment to England; but dissatisfied with an idle life, he exchanged into the fifty-second, and accompanied it to India. Having served during the Mysore war and against the Rohillas, he attracted the notice of lord Cornwallis, and was appointed deputy judge advocate of Madras, prior to the celebrated trial of sir J. Burgoine; which office he enjoyed with reputation for several years; and although it was very lucrative, yet, as it interfered with his military promotion, he resigned it, and was by the marquis Cornwallis appointed brigadier of the British troops at Bombay.. On the removal of general Meadows, in whose staff he then was, from that place to Madras, he was

* Dr. Auchmuty was descended from a Scotch family of the same name. One of his ancestors, a colonel under king William at the battle of Boyne, afterwards settled in Ireland. The doctor's father, Robert Auchmuty, one of bis descendents, received a liberal education in Ireland, and after completing his studies at the Middle Temple, London, came to America, and having practised the law for several years with great reputation in Boston, was, by George the second, appointed judge of the vice admiralty court at that place, and held the office until his death.

selected, by his successor colonel Abercrombie,* as his confidential staff-officer; and having served many years as adjutant general in India, and military secretary to the commander in chief, returned to England in 1797.

. In the year 1799, then colonel Auchmuty, he was ordered to the cape of Good Hope, to take under his command a brigade of troops and sail for Suez, to meet sir David Baird with the forces from India, and with him crossed the desert to Egypt, where he was appointed adjutant general.

In 1802 he returned to England, and, on the threat of a French invasion, was appointed to the honourable command of the Isle of Thanet, the part of England most accessible to invasion, and shortly after received the honour of knighthood.

In 1806, general Beresford's capture of Buenos Ayres being known in England, he was ordered in October with a detachment for that place; but on his arrival in Rio de la Plata, finding the whole army defeated and prisoners of war, and learning that colonel Backhouse was with a body of troops from the cape at Maldonado, he hastened to that post and assumed the command. After a consultation with rear admiral Sterling, he determined on the attack of Monte Video, and on the 18th of January landed about nine miles from the town, in view of a formidable enemy, who annoyed him with a distant cannonade, and the next day attacked his line of march with 4000 cavalry, which were repulsed with a severe loss after a sharp engagement. In this action, sir Samuel had his horse shot under him. The next day the Spaniards came out of the town with six thousand men in two.columns; one of which being defeated, the other dispersed, and shortly disappeared. The siege of the place was then commenced under the fire of the castle and town, mounted with 160 heavy cannon, and continued until the 2d; when the breach being reported practicable, he determined on an assault the next morning before day light, and carried the place. This daring mode of attack sir Samuel was under the necessity of adopting, as his

* Now lieutenant general sir Robert Abercrombie, brother to the celebra. ted sir Ralph Abercrombie

ammunition was nearly consumed, and general Leniers was within a day's march with an army of near 8000 men for the relief of the place. For this gallant affair he had the unanimous thanks of the lords and commons, and was particularly compli. mented for his humanity and discipline, which were attested by the fact, that at noon, after the assault, the inhabitants of the town were transacting their business as usual!

Sir Samuel continued in Monte Video until he was superseded by general Whitelocke on the 10th of May, to the regret of the inhabitants, whose respect he had gained by his victory, and whose affection he afterwards acquired by his mild and just administration.

The unsuccessful attack on Buenos Ayres shortly after followed, to the disgrace of the commanding officer, though much to the honour of sir Samuel, who with great personal intrepidity and skill carried the Plaza de la Toros, defended with thirty pieces of cannon. In this desperate assault he was exposed to a hot and destructive fire of grape and musketry, while cheering and leading on the grenadiers of the army against the earnest expostulations of his gallant comrades, who fell in numbers around him.

At the conclusion of the disastrous business, already alluded to, sir Samuel returned to England, and the next year, being promoted to the rank of major general, enjoyed a short repose at his estate in Kent: when, without being consulted, he was appointed commanderin chief at Madras, with the rank of lieutenant general. As he had expressed to his friends his determination of never again going to India, he gave to one of them, in the following words, his reasons for accepting the appointment. “This situation was offered to me in such a manner that I knew not how to refuse it—as it was totally unsolicited on my part; as it was so creditable a command for an officer of my rank; and as the situation of affairs at Madras make it as honourable as arduous my resolutions have been got the better of.”

That he had been successful in quieting the serious disturbances to which he refers, we may conjecture by his appointment by lord Minto, governor general of India, to the important command of the forces against Java. The brilliant success of

that expedition, by attacking in their strong works an army superior in numbers, well disciplined, fully appointed, and headed by experienced generals, the taking or destroying nearly the whole of them, is a military achievement which has scarcely ever been surpassed.

For this distinguished service, as we have lately seen by the papers, he has been introduced to the notice of parliament by the prince regent, and received the unanimous thanks of both houses.

On the total reduction of the island, we hear he intends returning to Madras, of which he is now both civil and military commander, · The following extract, so honourable to sir Samuel, is from an English publication. “ There are few officers in the service who have had the advantage of a more liberal education than sir Samuel Auchmuty, or who possess a greater fund of military information. In his character there is nothing superficial, volatile, vain-glorious, or self-sufficient: it is marked by the most unassuming modesty, a trait which ever accompanies true merit, and gives additional lustre to the other qualifications by which he is adorned.”




BY BENJAMIN SMİTH BARTON, M. D. Correspondent-member of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland; member of

the American Philosophical Society; fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences of Boston; corresponding-member of the Massachusetts Historical Society; and Professor of Materia Medica, Natural History, and Botany, in the University of Pennsylvania.

The continent of America, on its first discovery, was regarded by the various characters of Europe, in a light corresponding to their several dispositions and stations, habits and

« EdellinenJatka »