By George C. Daughan
In The Shining Sea, award-winning historian George C. Daughan tells the entire tale of Porter’s exciting, action-packed voyage, revealing the heights of Porter’s hubris and the genuine depths of his failure in this fateful cruise. motive on reaching own glory, Porter made the treacherous trip round Cape Horn and into the Pacific Ocean, the place he deliberate to catch a British man-of-war. From Valparaiso to the Galapagos to the Marquesas, the Essex roamed the South Seas, seizing British whaling and service provider ships, wreaking havoc on British trade, and incomes Porter and his males wealth and acclaim. Flush together with his victories, Porter welcomed the scoop British frigate—the HMS Phoebe—was on his tail, and he resolved to trap her. yet Porter couldn't conquer the Phoebe’s more desirable firepower. Over the process a determined, bloody conflict, he misplaced the Essex and over two-thirds of her crew—a surprising finish to a bold journey.
A swashbuckling story of chance and smash at the excessive seas, The Shining Sea brings to existence the monomaniacal quest of 1 of the main misunderstood commanders of the conflict of 1812. Porter’s singular voyage, Daughan indicates, stands as a cautionary story for any chief who might positioned own glory and ambition sooner than reason and countrymen.
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Extra resources for The Shining Sea: David Porter and the Epic Voyage of the U.S.S. Essex during the War of 1812
They looked as if it would reside within the utmost concord, like affectionate brethren of 1 kin, and the authority in their chiefs seemed to be simply that of fathers between childrens. Porter additionally spotted that there has been no thievery—either within or outdoor the encampment—by any of the Taiohae who got here in day-by-day touch with Porter’s males. On November three, an awesome occasion happened. Porter had drawn up a plan for housing his males, and used to be astonished whilst 4 thousand natives from diverse tribes suddenly assembled on the camp with development fabrics. ahead of evening they'd outfitted a abode for Porter and one other for the officials, a sail loft, a coopers’ store, and a spot for the unwell, a bake condominium, a guardhouse, and a shed for the sentinel. the 2 homes have been fifty ft lengthy, hooked up to one another through a wall twelve ft lengthy and 4 toes excessive. the development used to be crescent formed and the road laid out by means of the water casks, that have been got rid of whilst the solid wood and cane constructions have been accomplished. Porter was once struck via the paintings ethic he witnessed. “Nothing can exceed the regularity with which those humans carried on their work,” he wrote in his magazine, “without any leader to steer them, with out confusion, and with no a lot noise; they played their exertions with excursion and neatness; each guy looked to be grasp of his company, and each tribe looked as if it would try which may still whole their condo with the main day trip and within the such a lot excellent demeanour. ” because the days glided by, Porter and his males got here to have a better and better regard for the island humans. Porter wrote, they've been stigmatized via the identify savages; it's a time period wrongly utilized; they rank excessive within the scale of people, even if we ponder them morally or bodily. we discover them courageous, beneficiant, sincere, and benevolent, acute, inventive, and clever, and their attractiveness and usual proportions in their our bodies, correspond with the perfections in their minds: they're a ways above the typical stature of the human race, seldom lower than 5 ft 11 inches, yet most typically six ft or 3 inches, and each method proportioned: their faces are remarkably good-looking. Their sexual habit used to be of significant curiosity to Porter. He wrote: cross into their homes, it's possible you'll there see cases of the most powerful affection of better halves for his or her husbands and husbands for his or her other halves, mom and dad for his or her daughters, and daughters for his or her mom and dad; yet on the camp they met as excellent strangers: all our males seemed to have a correct to all their girls; each girl was once left at her personal disposal, and every little thing referring to her individual used to be regarded as her personal particular estate. advantage between them, within the mild which we view it, was once unknown, and so they connected no disgrace to a continuing which they not just regarded as traditional, yet as an blameless and innocuous entertainment, in which not anyone was once injured. many oldsters thought of themselves commemorated via the choice given to their daughters, and testified their excitement by way of huge provides of hogs and fruit.