« ForrigeFortsett »
sacceeded; and that projects and experiments relative to government, are of all schemes the most dangerous and fatal." He concluded his address with resigning the office of president and commander in chief, into their hands, and requesting them •to accept it, and elect some person in his stead. A majority of their suffrages were in favor of the honorable -Arthur Middleton, bbt he had his difficulties as to passing the bill, and declined the office. The honorable Rawlins Lowndes was soon after elected, and on the 19th of March gave his assent to the bill containing the new constitution".*
Some weeks before this law was passed the Randolph frigate, of 36 guns and 305 men, comanded by captain Biddle, sailed on a cruise from Charleston. The Yarmouth, of 64 guns, disco"vered her and five other vessels in the evening of the 7th of March, and came up with her by nine o'clock at night. Captain Vincent hailed her to hoist colours, Orhe would fire into her, orr "which she hoisted American, and immediately gave the Yarmouth her broad side, which was returned, and in about a quarter of an hour she blew up. Four men were saved upon a piece of her wreck, and subsisted for five days upon nothing more than raiti water, which they sucked from a piece of blanket they -had picked up. On the fifth, the Yarmouth being in chace of a ship, happiiy discovered them waving; the captain humanely suspended the chace, hauled up to the wreck, got a boat out, ami brought them on board.f Three days before this, the Alfred frigate, of 20 nine pounders, was taken by the Ariadne and Ceres. The Americans have also lost the Virginia frigate-. - The erew of an American privateer, in the night of the 27th. ■of January, took the fort of New-Providence, being joined by a number of Americans in the place. They continued two days in possession of it, during which time they made themselves masters of a ship of 16 guns, that was repairing some damage sustained by running on a reef of rocks. They likewise possess* ed themselves of five prizes that had been sent in by a letter of marque. The letter of marque returned, prepared to attack, and got very near the privateer, when she cut her cables and sailed off, having about half an hour before sent away the ship and three of the prizes, and set fire to the other two.
Captain James Willing, in the service of the United States, arrived with a detachment of men from Fort Pitt, at the Natcheyj a British settlement in West-Florida, on the evening of the 19th of February; and the next morning early sent out sundry parties,
♦ Dr. R»wfay'« Hillary,, vol. i. p. 119—138.
"tPai't. yiue«iit'« letter oi Marsh 1be.17.th- .Jticraerdbtjrxer, voJ, yi. p. 143*
. . * who . who almost at one and the same time made the inhabitants pit soners of war on their parole. The colours of the United States being hoisted, and the country taken possession of in ther name. the inhabitants fearing the confiscation of their property, waited on captain Willing, to propose terms of accommodation, to which he readily agreed. They are not to take up arms against the United States, or to assist their enemies; but are to observe a strict neutrality. . During such neutrality, their persons, slaves and other property, of what kind soever, are to remain safe and unmolested; but the property of all public officers of the British crown is excepted, as also the property of all British, who are not residents in the district, The agreement was signed by the delegates from the people and their associates, on the one part, and by the captain on the other, the 21st of February. . . . . . . Since the earliest return of Spring, a succession of detachments from . gen. Howe's army, having ranged the country for many miles round Philadelphia and in the Jerseys, chiefly to open the communication for bringing in supplies, and to collect forage. They have been pretty successful. Col. Hand, in answer to col. Mawhood, charged his troops not only with denying quarters, but butchering the Americans who had surrendered prisoners, and bayonetting, on the 21st qf March, in the most cruel manner, in cold blood, men who were taken by surprise, when they neither could nor did attempt to make any resistance, and some of whom were not fighting men. The suecessful sur. prise of a party of Americans, consisting of some handreds posted about seventeen miles from the city, took place on the 4th of May. On the 7th, the second battalion of British lightinfantry, in flat-boats, attended by three gallies and other armed boats, proceeded up the Delaware, in order to destroy all the American ships and vessels lying in the river, between Philadelphia and Trenton. They landed the next morning, advanced toward Bordentown; drove the Americans that opposed them; 'entered the town, and burnt four store-houses containing provi, sions, tobacco, some military stores and camp cquipage. The country being alarmed and a strong body collected, the battalian crossed to the Pennsylvania shore. The next day they resumed their operations, and at sun-set embarked and returned to Phi, ladelphia. While upon the expedition they burnt two frigates, one of 32 guns, the other of 28—nine large ships—three priva, teer sloops of 16 guns each—three of 10—twenty-three brigs—e with a number of sloops and schooners. Two of the ships were loaded with tobacco, rum and military stores, - ***
Thus ends, most probably, the history of general Howe's successes in North-America; for Sir Henry Clinton arrived at
* . . . . Philadelphia
Philadelphia on the 8th of May, to succeed the former, who wiłł soon-return to Great-Britain. - : The British officers to express their esteem for Sir William Howe, prepared a magnificent entertainment with which to grace his departure for Great Britain. It consisted of a variety of parts, on land and water ; was called the Mischianza; and was given on Monday the 18th of May. It was indeed magnificent, began at four in the afternoon, and concluded at four the next morning. There was a grand and beautiful exhibition of fire works ; toward the conclusion of which, a triumphal arch appeared gloriously illuminated, with Fame blowing from her trumpet in letters of light—“'Thy laurels shall never fade.”— This prediction would be more likely to receive a fulfilment, had the military atchievements of the general been more answerable to the force he has commanded against the Americans. The American officers planned a different entertainment for him ; which had proved fatal to themselves, but for the oversight of one British general. - - - - - . . . *. -: Marquis de la Fayette, with a select corps of about 2500 men rank and file, crossed the Schuylkill, and proceeded to take post at Barron-hill, about twelve miles in front of the army at ValJey-forge. He planned his pickets and videttes, and sent out patroles on all the roads by which it was probable the enemy would approach him. About two miles on his left was Whitemarsh, where a number of roads form a junction. The rharquis intrusted the guard of these roads to some militia, whom he ordered there, but who never went. A quaker inferring from the marquis’ directing him to provide lodgings for the night, 'that he intended remaining there, sent information of it to the enemy, who by their spies having obtained intelligence of the marquis’ situation, formed an instantaneous design of surprising him. For that purpose, on the night of May the 19th, general Grant marched out of Philadelphia with full 7000 men. and a number of cannon. By taking the Frankfort road, and crossing the country through the old York road and White-marsh the next morning he entered the road on which the marquis was about two miles in his rear, at Plymouth meeting-house. Front this place to Matson's-ford on the Schuyskill is abóut one-mile and a quarter, the only ford by which the marquis could effect a retreat and about two miles from Barron-hill church. Other troops were advancing to take the marquis in front, and to cooperate with gen. Grant ; who instead of hastening to and se– curing the ford, marched down toward the marquis on the maint road, by which means the letter gained intelligence of the other's being in his rear. The marquis happily by an instant o -: * : * - 1 to treate
retreated by the road leading from Barron-hill church to Mat. son's-ford, and had nearly effected his retreat over the Schuylkill before the enemy were sensible of their error. They then doubled their pace to come up with his rear; but his retreat was so handsome and timely, that the troops were all crossed-and -formed before they could come near the ford in force. - His whole loss was no more than nine men. The American army had early information of the marquis’ danger, and were in great anxiety about him, They began firing some of their heaviest artillery, hoping as the wind being fair, the sound would be conveyed to the enemy in such a manner as to excite mistaken apprehension ; which they think was the case, as the enemy, af. ter the marquis had crossed, made a precipitate march back to Philadelphia, seemingly under an apprehension that they should be pursued and attacked by the whole army. Had gen. Grant marched down at once to Matson's-ford and secured it, the marquis with his select-corps, must have surrendered or been cat to pieces. Their loss would have obliged the rest of the American army to have made an hasty flight, in a most distressing situation, the chief of them being without shoes and stockings, and otherwise badly provided. The orderly manner in which the Americans retreated, and which contributed much to their escaping, is to be ascribed to the improvements made in their discipline, owing greatly to the baron de Steuben, the inspector.
general. . . . . . . . - - - - • * * *
Yo. will not be surprised at seeing from whence this is das ted ; nor be at a loss to account for my removal. The present residence will be more favorable to general intelligence than Great-Britain, as it affords an opportunity of visiting and hearing from Paris without danger. My last year's letter closed with the account of capt. Cunningham's having taken: ter;" ... iCi'
jpr Holland, in the beginning of May 1777. The captain and his crew were committed to prison for some irregularities: and to save appearances were continued there for a short time by the Quench; but were speedily released from their mock, confinement, and permitted to purchase and fit out a much stronger vessel avowedly to infest the British commerce. Mr. Hodge, ijfhom you. know, was committed also to the Bastile, at the request of lord Stormont, for having acted publicly as Cunningbana's-agent, in fitting out the privateer that took the Prince of Orange packet.. While in the Bastile he was treated with the Utmost politeness and civility ; and entertained in the most elegant fanner. But the American commissioners being dissatisfied with his confinement and expressing themselves in strong terms upun the subject, he was released, that the harmony between the French and Americans might not sufFer an interruption. - , Upon some reports tending to discourage the French commerce with the Americans,.Mr. de Sartine, minister of the marine, assured the several chambers of commerce by a public instrument, signed the 4th of July 1777, and in direct contravention to all the British navigation laws, that the king was deterJjiined to afford the fullest protection to their commerce, and -»»uld reclaim all ships taken undei*that pretext. Still the policy- of Versailles prevented France's being hurried into a rupture. She determined to riske no decisive step, till the issue of the American campaign was known, her sailors were returned from the Newfoundland fishery,and her naval equipments were compleated. Therefore when the British ministry made heavy complaints attended with manaces, on account of the many prizes carried into the French ports by the American privateers, and there disposed of, as also of the countenance and protection given to the said privateers, she granted lord Stormont, an order for all of them to depart immediately.
The news of gen. Burgoyne's success atTyconderoga and advance toward Albany, excited the greatest triumph on the side of administration. The promising prospect of the northern expedition's answering fully the wishes of ministry, enabled them to press Fiance harder than ever; and dictated to the latter greater pliableness and complaisance. Express orders were sent to Nantz, and all the other parts of the kingdom, forbidding the admittance of any American privateers, unless they entered ioorderto refit, ©r were driven in by stress of weather or want fcf provisions, and in either of these cases they were to be gone aa soon as possible. "Notwithstanding all this parade, pi ivafcrers come in, tarry and take military stores: and their pihxfSi are publicly sold, but as formerly practised after similar com
Vol, Jd. TV plaints,