William Charles (1776–1820)
Etching with watercolor, 1813
In this cartoon, William Charles mockingly depicts the defeat of the British brig Boxer by the American frigate Enterprise. The two ships fought on September 5, 1813, off the coast of Portland, Maine. A later British inquiry acknowledged that the Enterprise exercised a “greater degree of skill in the direction of her fire.” The British commander, Samuel Blyth, and his American counterpart, Lieutenant William Borrows, were mortally wounded in the engagement.
In Charles’s gloating account, King George III/John Bull says, “Stop, Stop, Stop Brother Jonathan [James Madison], or I shall fall with the loss of blood. . . . But I must acknowledge your superior skill—Two blows to my one! And so well-directed too!” Madison responds, “Ha-Ah Johnny! You thought yourself a Boxer did you! I’ll let you know we are an Enterprizeing Nation, and ready to meet you with equal force any day.”