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Events of 1778 continued. Recognizance of M. Gerard as Min
ister from the French King-Dr. Franklin appointed Minister Plenipotentiary to France--Marquis de la Fayette returns to France.-Count D'Estaing sails from Boston. Unsuccessful attempt of Admiral Byron-General Gates arrives to take command at Boston.-Movements of Sir Henry Clinton-his expedition against Bedford against Egg Harbour - Slaughter of Pulaski's Light Infantry-of Baylor's regiment of Horse Congress grant half pay to the American officers.-Exchange of prisoners.--Expeditions against East Florida.-Sir Henry Clinton sends an expedition against Georgia.-Defeat of General Robert Howe, and capture of Savannah,' by Colonel Campbell.–Marauding incursions into Georgia from East Florida. General Prevost arrives takes Sunbury, and the whole of Georgia falls.-Expedition from Scoharie-Gallant exploit of Major Talbot.-Conduct of the enemy at Cherry Valley. Mr. Silas Deane makes an appeal to the people—Is answered by “ Common Sense.”—Monsieur Gerard presents a memorial to Con. gress- The French and British fleets meet in the West Indies. Generals Schuyler and St. Clair honourably acquitted by their Courts Martial.-Sentence against General Lee confirmed.Reflections on the state of the Country.
The honourable Sieur Gerard, who had been for some time resident in the United States as a publick agent of the Crown of France, was very soon after the conclusion of the Treaties, appointed by his master Minister Plenipotentiary to the United States. This was an epoch in the history of our infant nation; and his presentation to Congress was attended with much ceremony. The 6th of August had been fixed upon for his introduction; the government of Pennsylvania were invited to attend, and each member of Congress was authorized to give two tickets of ad
mission to his friends. The new Minister was introduced by two members of Congress appointed for that duty, and being led to a seat, his Secretary delivered to the President of Congress, the credentials of his Excellency in a letter from his most Christian Majesty, which being read, the President formally announced to the Congress M. Gerard as Minister Plenipotentiary. His Excellency then addressed them in his native tongue; the President replied with suitable compliments; and a publick entertainment, given by Congress, closed the transaction.
A few weeks after this, Congress appointed, by ballot, Dr. Franklin to be Minister Plenipotentiary to France. One of the most important points of his instructions, was to lay before the Court of France a plan which had been formed in conjunction with the Marquis de la Fayette and M. Gerard, for the conquest of Canada; and the young Marquis soon after obtained leave from Congress to return to France. He took with him a letter of strong recommendation to the French King; and our new Minister was directed to cause an.elegant sword to be made and presented to him in the name of the United States. The plan of an expedition to Canada, which had been first suggested by Mr. Gerard, had manifestly other objects in view than to aid the cause of the United States. It has been hinted, in the early part of this work, that France saw the struggles of the Colonies with the Mother Country, with secret satisfaction, and that she looked forward to the time when a cooperation with us might be the means of regaining her own conquered possessions in America. That this was the present object of the French Minister and of France, there is no reason to donbt; and it certainly relieves
the United States from the obligation of gratitude te France for disinterested aid in the accomplishment of their independence. The character of the Marquis de la Fayette, his high sense of honour, his chivalrous spirit, (evinced in his challenging the Earl of Carlisle to single combat, to answer for some of his expressions in his publick capacity of Commissioner,) and his ardent love of glory, forbid any suspicion that he was acquainted with the ultimate views of France ; his having entered into the arrangement, therefore, may be attributed solely to his hope of acquiring military fame, and his attachment to the cause of liberty and indedendence.
It has been observed that the Count D’Estaing left Rhode Island and sailed to Boston, in direct opposition to the wishes and remonstrances of General Sullivan and all the American officers. This circumstance, the causes and incidents of wbich bad been considerably exaggerated in the relation, produced rather a cool reception for him at Boston : but his explanation of the affair, and the great urbanity and strict propriety of his subsequent deportment at Boston, completely satisfied the reflecting part of the community of the purity of his intentions. To his good sense and sound discretion it was owing, that an affray which commenced with a party of captive Bri, tish sailors and the French bakers, did not end in a serious and general riot. Two of his officers were wounded in endeavouring to put a stop to the quarrel, one of whom died of his wound a few days afterwards; but the conduct of the Count on this occasion showed that he knew how to distinguish between the lawless outrage of a few individuals, and the disposition of the publick. Every facility in the power of the peo
ple of Boston was afforded to the Count for the repair of his feet; so that when Admiral Byron arrived off the harbour from New York, with a fleet well appointed aud prepared for attack, the Count was in a situation to defend himself with every prospect of success. His security was still further increased by
. a battery of near a hundred guns, which he had erected on George's Island. Whether Admiral Byron would have had the boldness to make an attack under such circumstances, was left altogether to con. jecture, as another severe storm soon compelled him to change his position, and seek shelter at Rhode Is. land. The Count, whose force was considerably inferiour to that of the English, and who was of course desirous of avoiding an engagement, seized the opportunity of a change of weather to depart for the West Indies, whither he sailed on the 3d of November. Previous to his departure from Boston, the Count, as a part of the contemplated plan against Canada, addressed a letter to its French inhabitants, in the name of their former master, in which he endea. voured to prepare them for the intended expedition, and for a probable change in their political situation. Two days after his departure, General Gates arrived at Boston, to take command of that portion of the Ame
We have seen that Sir Henry Clinton arrived at Rhode Island with his reinforcements of 4,000 men, too late to accomplish his purpose of cutting off the masterly retreat of General Sullivan, who notwithstanding his abandonment by the French fleet and the whole corps of New England volunteers, forced his way through the British and Hessian troops to the main land. Frustrated in this design, Sir Hen
ry returned to New York, whence he soon after deg. patched an expedition under Major General Grey, against Bedford and New Haven on the Acushinot river. Tbe Major General took with him a fleet of transports, and having landed his troops, met with little difficulty in effecting his object, which was the destruction of the shipping and privateers of these places, from the vigilance of which the British commerce had suffered considerable loss. He destroyed about seventy sail of vessels, and all the magazines, warehouses, wharves and ropewalks which were to be found on both sides of the river. From Bedford, Major General Grey proceeded to Martha's Vineyard, from which he took off a considerable number of sheep and oxen, which enabled Sir Henry to equip another more important expedition against Egg Harbour, immediately on the return of the Major General from this marauding excursion. Lord Howe had, in the mean time, resigned his command of the fleet, to Admiral Gambier, and had returned to England.
The expedition against Egg Harbour consisted of a strong body of troops, under Lord Cornwallis, who advanced into Jersey, and took a position between Newbridge on the Hackinsack, and the North Ri. ver :-and Lieutenant General Knyphausen with another division of the army, who advanced on the side of West Chester, and placed himself between the North River and the Brunx, thus forming a parallel line with Lord Cornwallis, and having only the North River between the two divisions. The British army thus having complete command of the ri and as it were blockading the American forces in the Highlands. Captain Ferguson of the 70th Re