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. 1778repealed ; also that for subjecting papists keeping schools
for the education of youth to perpetual imprisonment;
months of its passing into a law.
mons, that the British ministers had early and complete
parliament; and on the 9th, the earl of Chatham's re-
nument has been ordered to be erected in the same place 1778. 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 Ufhant, with 136 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 requires
What could not be mentioned in the order of time, must now be related, that capt. Jones, of the Ranger privateer from Portsmouth 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 men on the western coast of Scotland, and plundered the house of lord Selkirk, near Kirkubright, of plate, jewels and other valuable articles. He is a Scotchman by birth, and is said to have lived formerly with his lordship
You may expect from me the earliest intelligence of those important transactions, that are about to com mence in this quarter of the world,
LE T T E R IV.
Rotterdam, Aug. 15, 1778.
T HE French, to perplex the councils of the British 1778. 1 court, assembled 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 mancuvres occasioned the calling out and embodying of the militia of England upon the rising of parliament. The militia being joined by the regular forces, camps were formed in different places: but the nation trusted most to the navy.
My last closed with the account of admiral Keppel's having failed. 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 feet, 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 Aag in the adjoining feas. On his arrival ati Portsmouth toward the end 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 fail of the line in any degree of condition for imme
diate service; even these on his reviewing them, with a 1778. 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 was lamentable; 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 his private applications to the admiralty, with such assiduity and effect, that a new spirit and unusual degree of vigor were suddenly seen to pervade 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 fail of the line, at the time already mentioned, He had scarcely arrived at his station in the Bay of Bifcay, when two French frigates, with two smaller vessels, appeared in sight, and were evidently taking a survey of the fleet. War had 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 Tune of the line got at length along side of the Licorne of 17. 32 guns; on her firing a gun, the Frenchman 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 of ten guns in company, were closely pursued by the Arethusa frigate of only twenty-eight six pounders, and the Alert cutter, till out of sight of the, Aeet. The Arethusa getting up with her chase, capt. Marshall requested the French officer, lieutenant Chadeau de la Clocheterie, to bring to, and acquainted him with I 3
1978. the orders for conducting him to the admiral. A com
pliance 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 fide vying with the utmost degree of national emulațion to obtain the palm of victory, in this first action and opening of a new war. The Belle Poule had the fuperiority not only in weight of metal, but in number of men. The Arethusa was so shattered, that she became almost unmanageable, 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 have ing her head in with the land, and meeting with no fur: ther interruption from the Arethusa, embraced the opportunity of standing into a small bay, During the fore part 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 way, as a signal for keeping her course, when to the astonishment of admiral Keppel and the whole feet, she suddenly poured her whole broad-side, accompanied with a general discharge of musketry, into the America of 74 guns, at the instant lord Longford her commander was standing upon the gunwale, and talking in terms of the utmost politeness to the French captain. The frigate instantly struck her colours, as soon as the had discharged her fire. Only four of the America's