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i LETTER XVv. ..... j:

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Motttrdotm, May 14, 177AU o Friend G- .

THE present letter shall begin with what was a chief subject in the former—our British admiral Keppel. When he re* turned to Plymouth, he experienced the benefit arising from tern* peiate conduct. Unanimity prevailed among the officers, and every exertion was made in refitting the ships: so that he sailed ©n his second cruise the 24th of August, and kept the sea as long as the approaching winter would admit. The French fleet left Brest a week before ; but steered to the southward, and amused themselves about Cape Finisterre ; thus their own coasts and the bay were abandoned to the British, who were in vain endeavouring to obtain intelligence of them. The French commerce mow became a prey to the British cruisers, in a degree which fe^* former wars had equalled for the time, while the trade of Britain arrived in a state of security, scarcely exceeded by that of peace. • .

The reception which admiral Keppel met with on his return from sea, both at court and at the admiralty, equalled his most sanguine expectations. An attempt,;howevcr was made on his (Character from an unexpected quarter. Sir Hugh Palliser, on the 9th of December, preferred to the lords of the admiralty articles of accusation against him, or offences supposed to have keen committed on t{ie 27th of the preceding July, after halving withheld them near five months. A few hours after the charges were laid, the admiralty, without further inquiry,-sent him notice to prepare for his trial. Sir Hugh mentioning in the house of commons, his having demanded a court-martial on admiral Keppel had the notification to hear his conduct in so doing, and also in publishing, a month before, in the newspapers, a vindication of his own behaviour on the 27th of July, openly and without reserve condemned by every gentleman, of whatever side or party, who spoke on the occasion. The admiral's trial commenced at Portsmouth on the 7th of January, 1779.-^He gave notice to the admiralty, that he might find it useful to his defence to produce his instructions. The admiralty communicated to him his majesty's pleasure, and informed.him, that they could not consent that the same should be laid before his counsel, or be produced at the court-martial. Being willing to run tvery- hazard for the benefit of the state, he neither produced them to his counsel, nor communicated their contents. His trial was not closed till the 11th of February ; when the court acquitted him of every charge in the fullest, clearest and most honorable terms; further declaring that he had behaved as became a judicious, brave and experienced officer. They marked the conduct of his accuser, in the body of the sentence, by declaring—'* that the charge was malicious and ill-founded." The sentence wasa matter of notoriety the next day at Westminster, when it was carried in the house of commons, with only one dissenting voice, "That the thanks of this house be given to admiral Augustus Keppel, &c for his having gloriously upheld the honor of the British flag on the 21th and 28th of July."—* The' thanks of the lords in nearly the same terms, were agreed to, four days after. Public and unusual rejoicings, in variou* and remote parts of the kingdom, succeeded the sentence. The illuminations in London and Westminster, were such as have scarcely been exceeded upon any occasion. Sir Hugh Palliset having become the object of general odium, resigned his seat at the admiralty board, his lieutenant-generalship of the marines', and his government of Scarborough castle: he also vacated his teat in parliament, and only retained his vice-admiralship, as a qualification for his trial by a court-martial, which was ordered to be held upon him. The same began on the twelfth of April, ■and closed the 5 th of May, the court having,- after two days aleliburation, agreed upon their sentence. They gave it as their opinion, that his conduct and behaviour, on the 2~th and 28th of July, were, in many- respects, highly exemplary and meritorious ; at the same time they could not help thinking it was incumbent upon him to have made known to the commander iti chief the disabled state of his ship the Formidable. Notwithstanding his omission in that particular,- the court were of opinion, that he was not, ;n any other respect, chargeable with mis•conduct or misbehaviour on those days, and therefore acquiP-ted him.

»;;:Lord Shuldam and commodore Rowley sailed from Spithead, last December the 25th, with their respective squadrons and* •convoy of near 300 sail.- His lordship returned after seeing the AVcst-India and New-York fleets safe to the distance of 22K •leagues from the Lizard; and the commodore proceeded on his •voyage to reinforce admiral Byron. - On the 8-th of March, admiral Hughes, with six ships of the line under his command, ^having the East and West- India fleets under convoy, sailed from ■&t. Helen's for the fcasi-lndies, accomimned wj several other sun ti.'Tjt:^.i . '- - men

men of war, some in different services, and others to return aftet attending the merchantmen to a certain latitude. . The following accounts have been received from the WestIndies. - * - - - * - [1778.] While the marquis de Bouille was engaged in reducing Dominica, admiral Barrington, with two ships of the line and some frigates, lay at Barbadoes, waiting merely for instructions which he had been ordered to expect at that place, and which were not yet arrived. It was the French declaration of war, published at Martinico, that first informed him of hostilities. The loss of two of Sir Peter Parker's frigates, taken by the French on the coast of Hispaniola, proved also the earlies: Imean of conveying intelligence to that admiral, as well as to the government of Jamaica, where he was stationed, that a war had actually commenced. - - -

No sooner did admiral Barrington receive information of the

invasion of Doolinica, than he despensed with the violation of

his orders, and proceeded to its intended relief. He was too late, as the conquest was but the work of a day; his small squadron, however, removed the panic which had spead through the neighboring islands, and effectually curbed the further en“g. of the enemy. . . . . . . !ount d'Estaing sailed from Boston, and commodore Hotham with the troops under gen. Grant from Sandy-Hook, each on the same day for the West-Indies. Both fleets were equally involved in a gale of wind while on their passage. The French were greatly dispersed, which probably saved the British convoy from the danger of cncountering an unequal force, steered unknown to the commodore the like course with himself. The relative situation of the fleets was a secret to both commanders; but they were so near on the 28th of November, that a British brigantine with four horses, fell into the hands of d’Estaing.— The commodore's fleet was the most numerous ; but he had the skill and happiness of keeping them together during the gale, and of getting the start of the count, so as to arrive without any other loss than that of the brigs at Barbadoes, where he joined admiral Barrington on the 10th of December. - An expedition for the reduction of St. Lucie, was inamediately undertaken without suffering the troops to land. Within two days they sailed for the island; and the reserve of the army, cons sisting of the 5th regiment, with the grenadiers and light-infantry of the whole, under gen. Meadows, landed at the grand Cul de Sac on the 13th in the evening. That officer immediately pushed forward with his detachment, to the heights on the north side of the bay, which were occupied by the French * ant

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iant with the regular forces and militia. These posts he sooa forced. White this was doing, gen. Prescot landed, with five regiments, with which he guarded the environs of the bay, and pushed on advanced posts, so as to preserve a communication during the night with the reserve. When morning appeared, the resdfve, supported by Present, advanced and took possession ef'the stria'! capital of Mornfe Fortune. The chevalier de Mieand made what defence he was able, but was compelled by the superiority of force, to retire from one post to aitother, as the' British pressed for ward. Prescot took possession of the batteries arid posts in;the rear of the reserve as they advanced. Meadows pushed forward under the heat of a burning sun, and possessed himself of thcViergie, which commanded the north side of the Careenage harbour; and Sir Henry Calder, with the four remaining battalions, guarded the landing place, kept up the'eomrounication with the fleet, and sent detachments to occupy se. vera! posts^ on the mountains, which looked down upon and commanded the south side of the grand Cul de Sac.

The last French flag on those posts which herein sight a^~ Along the neighboring hills, was scarcely struck when count d'Estaing appeared in view of the fleet and army, with a prodigious force. Beside his original squadron of twelve ships of the line, he was accompanied by a numerous fleet of frigates, privateers and transports, with a land force estimated at 90OU nied. The count intended the reduction of Barbaddes, the Grenades and St. Vincents. In his way to the first, where he expected* to have found Barrington with only two line of battle ships '.ami a few frigates, he received intelligence of the attack 011 St. Lucie, which he might consider as a circumstance that seemed to throw the whole British force by sea and land, an easy prey .into his hands. In all human probability, this must have been the inevitable event, had he arrived twenty-four hours sooner ■ but the day being far advanced, he deferred his operations till the ensuing morning. During the night adm. Barrington- exerted all his power in getting the transports warped into the bottom of the bay, to be as remote from danger as possible, and the ships of brought in their respective stations, so-as to form a line effectually to cover its entrance, Which was-still further secured by a battery on the "Southern, and another on the northern opposite ■points of land. His force consisted of a T4, a 70, two 61, and) two 50 gun ships, beside 3 frigates. In the morning [Dee. tj.J the count-stood in with his whole fleet for the Careenage, apprehending that the British had not possession of that part of the •island. A well directed fire which his own ship received froni ♦ae'of those batteries that had so lately changed masters, cort1~a£'"'. > •" vinced -'■ * * * - - vinced him of his mistake, and made him bear away with his fleet and transports. He was apparently disconcerted and at a loss how to act; but after much hesitation, bore down with ten sail of the line upon the Britirh squadron, just before noon. He met with so warm a reception from the ships and batteries, that after a while he drew off. About four o’clock he made a fresh attack with twelve ships of the line ; which was better supported and longer continued than the first. The French cannonade concentrated within a narrow direction, and was heavier than before; but this effort was not more effectual than the forme. The count's fleet fell into evident confusion, and retired from action with great loss. On the following day he plied to the windward, and anchored in the evening off Gross-islet, about two leagues to the northward. The night and the next morning he spent in landing his troops in Choc Bay, between Gross-Islet and the Careenage. The same time was employed by the British admiral in preparing for every possible future event. General Meadows, with the reserve, was nearly shut up in the peninsula of the Viergie; for by his distance and situation, as well as the decided superiority of the enemy, he was totally cut off from the support of the main body, any further than what might be derived from those batteries commanding the land a proaches to the Viergie, which that possessed. The j. of those positions which had been taken by the British on their first landing, became now apparent to both armies. The chaf. and disappointment of the French was great, when after anding they discovered that Sir H. Calder's brigade was in possession of the mountains on the south side of the grand Cul de Sac; for the bombarding of the British fleet from théséheights, was one great object they had in view; which, from the strong positions taken by that brigade, was unattainable without a general engagement by sea and land, the issue of which the French were not as yet for trying. They determined upon directing their first effort separately against Meadows. [Dec. 18.] For this purpose about 5000 of their best troops were drawn out, and advanced in three columns to attack the British lines, reaching across the isthmus, which joins the peninsula to the continent. The right was led -by count d'Estaing, the centre by Mr. Lovendahl, and the left by the marquis d'Bouille. The remainder of their troops were kept disengaged to watch the motions of Prescot's brigade, and to check any attempt to succour Meadows. On the near approach of the columns, they were enfiladed with great effect by the aforementioned batteries; however, they rushed on to the charge with great impetuosity, supported the conflict with much resolution, and suffered considerably before they were . . . . -- - - - entirely

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