1816 - Battle of Algiers


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1816 Battle of Algiers 409

off, accompanied by Mr. M'Donell the British consul. On the same afternoon Captain Brisbane went on shore ; and, by the aid of the interpreter, Mr. Salamé, a conference was had with the dey at his palace. Several other conferences took place, in the three last of which Rear-admiral Sir Charles Vinicombe Penrose, who had arrived on the 29th in the 36-gun frigate Ister, was present ; and the final result was, the delivery to the British of upwards of 1200 christian slaves, with an engagement (of no great value certainly) to abolish the practice of slave-making in future ; the restoration of 382,500 dollars for slaves redeemed by Naples and Sicily ; peace with the king of the Netherlands ; the payment of 30,000 dollars to the British consul for the destruction of his effects, and a public apology to him, before the ministers and officers of the palace, in terms dictated by Captain Brisbane, for the detention of his person. Having thus accomplished to the fullest extent, the object of his mission to Algiers, Lord Exmouth, at midnight on the 3d of September, weighed on his return, leaving the Prometheus to attend the British consul, and embark the few remaining slaves that were then on their way from the interior.

Those only, who may not be aware to what a pitch of extravagance the pretensions of the Americans have attained, will feel any surprise, that they should rank their performance at Algiers very little if at all below the glorious exploit we have just done narrating : as if the act of Commodore Decatur, in exchanging 500 Algerine prisoners for 10 slaves, citizens of the United States, could be compared with the act of Lord Exmouth ; who, with cannon-balls only to give in exchange, obtained the freedom of, including the 1792 given up to the admiral in his spring visit to the bay of Tunis, * upwards of 3000 slaves ; not one of whom, as a proof how little of selfish feeling had actuated the framers of the expedition, was a native of the British isles. The release of so many christian slaves from the iron fangs of barbarians was, indeed, an act worthy of Britain ; an act calculated to raise the character of her navy, high as it already stood, higher still in the estimation of the world. Nor will the triumph at Algiers pass to posterity, without the name of Exmouth, as the leader of the brave band by whose prowess it was gained.

For the skill and valour he had displayed in consummating this glorious achievement, Lord Exmouth was created a viscount of the United Kingdom. Rear-admiral Milne, also, was made a knight-commander, and Captains Ekins, Aylmer, Wise, Maitland, Paterson, and Coode, companions, of the Bath. All the lieutenants named in the list in the preceding page, and some others, including Lieutenant Fleming who commanded the explosion-vessel, were promoted to the rank of commanders ;

* See p. 398.

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