The naval history of Great Britain:
from the declaration of war by France in 1793 to the accession of George IV
London 1824. <!-TEXT TO BE ENTERED HERE->
The American sloop Peacock, [Captain Lewis Warrington] after she had been compelled to part from her consort the Hornet, pursued her way to the East Indies, and on the 30th of June, being off Anjier [Lat 6 South Long 106 West approx.] the Straits of Sunda, fell in with the honourable company's brig-cruiser Nautilus, of 14 guns, (ten 18-pound carronades and four long nines,) commanded by Lieutenant Charles Boyce.
On the Peacock's approach within hail, the lieutenant inquired if her captain knew that peace had been declared [Captain Warrington's reply was to order] "Haul down your colours instantly". This "reasonable" demand Lieutenant Boyce considered, very properly, as an imperious and insulting mandate; and, fully alive to the dignity of the British flag, and to the honour of the service of which he was so distinguished an ornament, prepared to cope with a ship, whose immense superiority, as she overshadowed his little bark, gave him nothing to expect short of a speedy annihilation.
An action ensued; which of course, in a very little time, ended by the Nautilus hauling down her colours. But this she did not do until her gallant commander was most dangerously wounded
"a grape-shot that measured two inches and one-third in diameter, entering at the outside of his hip, and passing out close under the backbone. This severe wound did not, however, disable him. In a few minutes a 32-pound shot struck obliquely on his right knee, shattering the joint, splintering the leg-bone downwards and the thigh-bone a great way upwards. This may be supposed laid him prostrate on the deck"-James Naval Occurrences p. 502
one seaman, two European invalids, and three lascars killed, her first lieutenant, (mortally,) two seamen , and five lascars wounded. The dismounting of a bow gun, and four or five wounded, appears to have been the extent of the injury sustained by the Peacock.
It will scarcely be credited that, about a quarter of an hour before the two vessels came in contact, Mr. Bartlett, the master of the Nautilus, and coronet White, one of her passengers, in one boat, and Mr. MacGregor, the Master-Attendant at Anjier, in another, had gone onboard the Peacock, in a friendly way, to communicate the news of peace scarcely had Mr. Bartlett stepped upon the deck than, without being allowed to ask a question, he was hurried below.
Happily, Mr. MacGregor met with rather better success. The instant he arrived on board, he communicated to the Peacock's first lieutenant, the most authentic information of the peace having been concluded between Great Britain and America, grounded on no less authority than Mr. Madison's proclamation; which Mr. Macgregor had himself received from an American ship, passing the Straits on her way to China.
What effect had this communication? Captain Warrington, whom the single word "peace" ought to have made pause, before he spilled the blood of his fellow creatures, ordered Mr. MacGregor to be taken below.
The Nautilus's first lieutenant, Mr. Mayston, languished till the 3rd of December, a period of five months, when mortification of his wound carried him off.
About a fortnight after the action, Lieutenant Boyce suffered amputation very near his hip, on account of the length and complication of the fracture. The pain and danger of the operation was augmented by the proximity of the grape-shot wound. His life was subsequently dispaired of; but, after a long course of hopes and fears to his numerous friends, this brave and amiable young man (or what Captain Warrington had left of him) survived. Of course, the American captain, who had himself escaped unhurt, the moment he was informed of the casualties on board his prize, either visited, or sent a condoling message to her dreadfully mangled commander?-
Reader! He did neither.
Captain Warrington, in the words of the poor sufferer, in his memorial to the Court of Directors, "proved himself totally destitute of fellow-feeling and commiseration; for, during the time her retained possession of the Nautilus, which was until two o'clock the next afternoon he was not once moved to make a commonplace enquiry after the memorialist, in his then deplorable condition."