To the Right Honorable Charles Philip Yorke, First Lord of the Admiralty,This Print elucidating the extreme disproportion of Force between the American Frigate President Commodore Rodgers, and His Majesty's Sloop the Little Belt Arthur Batt Bingham Esquire Commander, and representing the situation of both Ships in the morning after the Action of the 11 May 1811. is respectfully inscribed by his obliged Servant Josh. Cartwright.
London, Pub. 1 Dec. 1811 by J. Hassell, No.11 Clements Inn & J. Cartwright, 39, Arundel Street, Strand.
Hand coloured aquatint, very scarce, image 350 x 520mm. 13¾ x 20½".
This fine aquatint records the 'Little Belt Affair' on the night of May 16, 1811, a key incident which led up to the War of 1812 It involved the American frigate USS President and the British sixth-rate HMS Little Belt, a sloop-of-war. The incident took place off Sandy Hook on the North Carolina coast. This action was one of many incidents and events that led to the War of 1812 between the countries. It was a mismatch; President sustained only one human injury while Little Belt took ten deaths and 22 injuries, and the sloop was badly damaged in the attack. On the morning of May 17th, American Lieutenant John Creighton went to Little Belt to apologize for the 'unfortunate affair' and to offer space at any of the 'Ports of the United States', which the British Commander Bingham declined. When Bingham asked why President had attacked his much smaller ship, Creighton claimed that it was because Little Belt had provoked the action. Bingham staunchly denied this account. President sailed to New York City, and Little Belt went to Halifax, Nova Scotia. The two nations continued to argue about how the battle began for several months. Joseph Cartwright (1789? - 1829), marine painter, was apparently a native of Dawlish in Devonshire, and was attached to the navy in a civil capacity. When the Ionian Islands came into the possession of the English, he was appointed paymaster-general of the forces at Corfu, which post he held for some years. On his return to England he published a volume entitled ‘Views in the Ionian Islands,’ and henceforth devoted himself to art, and especially to painting marine subjects and naval engagements. He exhibited many pictures at the Royal Academy, the British Institution, and the Society of British Artists, and obtained a great reputation in his particular line. In 1825 he was elected a member of the Society of British Artists, and in 1828 he was appointed marine painter to H.R.H. the Duke of Clarence, lord high admiral of England Ships captioned below inscription, with numbers of guns and men recorded. Offered with the following found behind the print in an old frame: a copy of The Bath And Cheltenham Gazette for April 14th, 1813 and one for February 17th 1813, both mentioning the 1812-3 war with America; a scrap of contemporary watermarked paper bearing ink calculations; and a scrap of wrapping paper annotated by hand: "Open Dec. 25th. Mrs. De Sausmarez 19. Devon Road Bedford".
Parker: 213b. Provenance: de Saumarez collection.
[Ref: 8103] £1,500.00