That a bill providing six frigates, to exist during the war with the Algerines, should excite apprehensions of a large permanent navy, and of an immense debt, was truly astonishing. But even if the bill had not contained a clause enabling the President to discontinue the armament provided peace should be concluded with the regency of Algiers, the weight of the objection was denied.
Then followed the destruction of the Algerine frigates and other shipping in the port, which were set on fire by bombs and shells and burned together with the storehouses and the arsenal. The Algerines, none the less, made a most determined resistance, and maintained a fire upon the squadron for no less than eleven hours.
These transactions placed the United Provinces on a still higher pinnacle of glory than they had ever reached. Intestine disputes were suddenly calmed. The Algerines and other pirates were swept from the seas by a succession of small but vigorous expeditions. The mediation of the States re-established peace in several of the petty states of Germany.
Relieved from the terror of immediate destruction, the Algerines returned to their old ways, making descents on the coast of Provence, where they committed the most dreadful ravages, killing, burning and destroying all that came in their way.
His life was for some time despaired of; but through the kind attention he received, he was rescued from the threatened dissolution. His recovery was concealed, for fear of his being demanded back to work; and a few months after, the Spanish peace of 1784 being concluded, a ransom was accepted by the Algerines for this suffering family, and they were set at liberty.
For instance, in 1804 Admiral Nelson menaced the town with a large fleet, and not long afterwards the Americans absolutely declined to pay their "black-mail," and sent a squadron to procure, or, if need were, to compel a favourable treaty of peace with the Algerines.
But the Algerines reserved their fire, confident in the strength of their defences, and expecting to carry the flagship by boarding her from the gun-boats, which were all filled with men. Steered by the master of the fleet, Mr. Gaze, who had sailed with Lord Exmouth in every ship he commanded from the beginning of the war, the Queen Charlotte proceeded silently to her position.
Severe as had been the punishment inflicted on the Algerines, the allied squadrons suffered considerably, the British having lost 128 killed and 690 wounded, and the Dutch 13 killed and 52 wounded; while many of the ships had had their masts injured, and the Impregnable and Leander had received numerous shot in their hulls the first ship to the number of 233; an 18-pound shot had entered the bulwark, passed through the heart of the main-mast, and had gone out on the opposite side.
Part of Colonel Colepeper's papers relate to the particulars of a secret marriage, which he says, in a petition to the Court of Chancery, had taken place between him and the daughter and heiress of Alexander Davies, of Ebury, the widow of Sir Thomas Grosvenor; the unusual engagement into which they entered on the wedding-night; the pretended capture of the lady by the Algerines; his correspondence with the French Government to procure her release; the various attempts to violate her person by one Fordwich; her refusal after her return to England to acknowledge the Colonel as her husband, and his efforts to effect that recognition.
The Algerines did not appeal in vain, and an instant promise of succour was forthcoming. Kheyr ed Din was away at sea, but Uruj, that indomitable fighter, started at once. From whence we are not told, but he must have been somewhere in the neighbourhood, as he and his men marched along the shore; while, keeping pace with them, came a fleet of eighteen galleys and three barques laden with stores.