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In the house of peers, the duke of Richmond, its principal codductor, brought all matters relating to it, into a clear and perspi-f cuous arrangement. He at length, on the 7th of April, put ano end to that intricate and laborious service, by one of the 'most . resolute and animated speeches ever pronounced in that assembly. He moved for an address to the king, in which a repre-s sentation of the state of his dominions was given, and the conduct of the ministers severely censured, and his majesty urged. to put an end to that system which had prevailed in his court and administration. He insisted upon it, as he had repeatedly done: on former occasions, that the only measure of safety was to recal. the British forces from the colonies, and to conclude an accommodation with them upon the most advantageous terms that could pe obtained. He would even agree to their independence. Opposition was not, however, unanimous. The earl of Chatham. resisted it with a strength of determination, and a vehemence of speech that were peculiar. The earl of Shelburne embraced similar sentiments. They jointly protested againstany measure: thattended to the dismemberment of the empire, and to the acknowledgment of American independence. The latter emphatically stiled it the “setting forever of the British sun.”. Alt. dangers and all trials were to be encountered sooner than to sub-. mit to such a dismemberment. Great-Britain was in possession of ample resources to prevent such a disaster. The numbers' and spirit of her people, their riches and their strength, were greater than her foes suspected; and even than she herself could well ascertain till they had been justly tried. During the debate. of the day, the earl of Chatham, while engaged in his eager. speech against the acknowledgment of American independence, was seized with that fainting which was the prelude to his death: on the 11th of May, in the seventieth year of his age. He has, left behind him the character of one of the greatest orators and statesmen that this or any other country has ever, produced; with the finest opportunities in his hands of acquiring an ample fortune, he left his family destitute of all suitable provision: The house of commons, however, to testify their gratitude to him for his important and eminent public services, provided for the payment of his debts, and settled an honorable income upou. his posterity. - - - , - -, The Duke of Richmond's proposed address was rejected by a great majority. But a protest was signed upon the occasion,” by twenty peers, wherein they condemned, with the utmost, freedom and asperity of language, the design to persist in the: measures carried on in the colonies, * . . . . . . . * = *- - - - - - --- [April:
-fApril 13.] A French squadron which had for several months been equipping at Toulon, sailed from that port under the command of count d'Estaing. It consisted of twelve ships of the line, and four frigates of superior size. Mr. Silas Deane and Mr. Gerard, who has been appointed the French minister to congress, were on board. On the 4th of May, authentic intelli- gence of his sailing, arrived at St. James's. Some of the ministers happening to be out of town, the cabinet could not meet till the sixth; when orders and instructions were instantly dispatched to Portsmouth; and on the next day all hands were emplayed in preparing for the immediate sailing of a powerful squadron. On Friday the 8th, the wind changed to the west, and it w?as not till the-20th that admirals Byron and Hyde Parker sailed from Portsmouth, with twelve ships of the line; but the British minister's not knowing whither count d'Estaing's squadron was destined, nor that Deane and Gerard were on board, they sent an express to stop their final sailing till further orders, so that they put into Plymouth. At length being relieved from their doubts by the 5th of June, they determined to send admiral Byren to America, and at the same time to give him the command on that station, by sending with him that leave to return which lord Howe had desired; and on the 9th the admiral sailed from Plymouth. Lord Howe had been deceived into hiscomniand; had been deceived while in the exercise of it; and being tired and disgusted, had required permission to resign.*
■[May 13.] General Burgoyne landed at Portsmouth. On his arrival at London, he soon discovered that he was no longer an object of court favor. He was refused admission to the royal presence; and from thence experienced all those marks of being in disgrace, which are so well understood, and so quickly observed by the retainers and followers of courts.
-■[May 14.] Sir George Saville moved for leave to bring in a bill for the repeal of certain penalties and disabilities provided in an act of the 10th and 11th of William III. entitled an act to prevent the further growth of popery. He proposed that a sufficient test might be formed, by which the papists should bind themselves to the support of the civil government by law established. The motion was received with universal approbation. A bill was brought in and carried through both houses with uncommon unanimity; ministry and opposition vied with each other in activity to forward it; the first considered it as a prelude to-the employing of papists in the fleets and armies; that respect* able body who called themselves old whigs, took the lead avow*edly in support of it; and the bench of bishops co-operated heartily with the other promoters of it; it was passed without* * Lord Howe in the heufe ef c*mmon««
single negative, and received the royal assent on the 27th of May. By this aet the clause in the act of William III. for prosecuting of popish bishops, priests or jesuits, is repeated ; also that for subjecting papists keeping schools for the education of youth, to perpetual imprisonment; and that likewise which disables papists from inheriting lands by descent, and gives to the next of kin (being protestants) a right to inherit such lands; beside that which disables papists from purehasing manors, lands or hereditaments, in England or Wales; but the act leaves all lands in possession, just as they were, and all causes in litigation, as if it had never been made; and the benefits arising from it, rest on the condition of taking a certain prescribed oath of allegiance within six months of its passing into a law. : [May 25.] Sir William Meredith observed in the house of commons, that the British ministers had early and complete intelligence of the French preparations at Toulon. He said that on the 3d of January they had notice of the equipment; on the 8th of February they had advice of the number of ships that was to compose the squadron; and on the 28th of the same month, that the crews were all completed; and that they had early information of count d’Estaing's arrival, and of the day on which he intended to sail. He moved, among other matters, that it did not appear to the house, that any orders were sent until the 29th of April, for any fleet of observation, to attend the motions of that from Toulon; but the strength of ministry was too great to admit of its being carried. * - a On the 3d of June a period was put to the session of parliament; and on the 9th the earl of Chatham's remains were homorably interred in Westminster Abbey, at the public expence; at which also, a magnificent monument has been ordered to be erected in the same place, to his remembrance. “ • * ** Warlike preparations are going forward in every part of Great-Britain; but the French have undoubtedly the start, and are in the greater forwardness. Admiral Keppel sailed from St. Helen's on a cruise off Ushant [June 13.] with twenty ships of the line; but not in that excellent order, nor so well manned, as the critical situation of affairs between the two nations appears to require. - :What could not be mentioned in the order of time, must now - be related, that capt. Jones, of the Ranger privateer, from Ports. mouth, in New-Hampshire state, toward the end of April, landed in the night, at Whitehaven, in Cumberland, a party of 30 men, and set fire to one of the ships in the harbour; by the exertion of the inhabitants the flames were extinguished before they had reached the rigging. He afterward landed some meason the - - Westers,
western coast of Scotland, and plundered the house of Lord Setkirk, near Kirkudbright, of plate, jewels and other valuable atticles. He is a Scotchman by birth, and is said to have lived forInjerly with his lordship. , - - - - You may expect from me the earliest intelligence of those im-, Portant transactions, that are about to commence in this quarter of the world.
THE French, to perplex the councils of the British court asoil sembled a multitude of regiments from all parts of the kingdom, and marched them down to the sea side, where they formed large encampments opposite to the shores of Great Britain.-These manoeuvres accasioned the calling out and embodying of the militia of England upon the rising of parliament. The missitia being joined by the regular forces, camps were formed in different places: but the nation trusted most to the navy. cosy last glosed with the account of Admiral Keppel's having sailed. He was deservedly in the highest esteem with his own profession, as well as the public. It was extremely proper therefore that he should be appointed to command that fleet, to which was committed the defence of the island, the protection of the homeward bound trade, and the preservation of the dignity of the British flag in the adjoining seas. On his arrival at Portsmouth toward the chd of March, he found matters very different from the opinion that had been generally circulated, and from what he himself had been led to expect. Instead of a strong and well appointed fleet, he discovered to his astonishment, that there were only six sail of the line in any degree of condition for immediate service; even these on his reviewing them, with a seaman's eye, gave him no peculiar pleasure. The paucity, and condition of both men and ships was not more alarming, than the deficiency of all kinds of naval stores wo la4 : , ‘’ II, (; silä Hit
mentable; but the admiral acted with such prudence and caution, as to prevent that increase of the public alarm, that a display of these circumstances must have occasioned. He urged This private applications to the admiralty, with such assiduity and effect, that a new spirit and unusual degree of vigor were suddenly seen to prevade the naval department: and such industry was used, that beside dispatching the twelve ships for America under Byron, he was enabled to take the seas with a fleet of twenty sail of the line, at the time already mentioned. . He had scarcely arrived at his station in the Bay of Biscay, when two French frigates, with two smaller vessels appeared in sight, and were evidently taking a survey of the fleet. Warhad not been declared nor reprisals ordered: but it was necessary to stop these frigates, as well to obtain intelligence, as to prevent its being conveyed. A general signal for chasing, was made ; a ship of the line got at length along side of the Licorne of 32 guns ; on her firing a gun, the Frechman stood to her and was brought into the fleet. Mean while, the other French frigate, La Belle Poule, of twenty-six heavy twelve pounders, beside several others of lighter metal, with a schooner often guns in company were closely pursued by the Arethusa frigate of only twenty-eight
six pounders, and the Alert cutter, till ought of sight of the fleet,
The Arethusa getting up with her chase, captain Marshall requested the French officer, lieutenant Chedeau de la Clocheterietó bring to, and acquainded him with the order for conducting him to the admiral. A compliance being refused, the captain fired. a shot across the Belle Poule, which she instantly returned, by pouring her whole broadside into the Arethusa. A desperate engagement ensued with unusual warmth and animosity for above two hours, each side vying with the utmost degree of national
emulation to obtain the palm of victory, in this first action and
opening of a new war. The Belle Poule had the superiority not only in the weight of metal, but to number of men. The Arethusa was so shattered, that she became almost unmanagear ble as there was little wind. The captain was obliged to act with the more caution, as he was upon the French coast, and close on shore at midnight. The Belle Poule having her head in with the land, and meeting with no further interruption from the Arethusa, embraced the opportunity of standing into a small bay. During the forepart of this action, the engagement was no less warm between the Alert cutter and French schooner.— Their force was about equal. The contest was well supported for upward of an hour, when the schooner was compelled to strike. Next morning an unexpected movement made by the Licorne, occasioned one of the convoy to fire a shot across her * * - - o, Way,