Patrick O’Brien, ASMA“A Friendly Race: USS Constitution in the Caribbean, 1799”Oil, 24” x 36”
This painting depicts a little known event in Constitution’s long career. While stationed in the Caribbean in 1799, a British frigate was sighted. This was a time of peace between England and America. The English captain came on board and expressed admiration for the ship, but declared that his own was faster. He bet a cask of Madeira on a trial of speed. The two commanders arranged the conditions of the race for the following day. The contest began at dawn. The two ships raced, until at the end of the day the British ship was left far behind. Just after dark, the English captain was rowed over to the American ship, a large cask of Madeira in the boat with him.