« ForrigeFortsett »
ainted with de la Motte Picquet's having joined hurt, They* anged their intention, and steered for the relief of Grenada. The British commanders arrived within sight of the Frenchfeet at break of day, [July 6.] Their force consisted of 2L ships of the line and a single frigate. They were embarrassed, by the somewhat greater number of transports which conveyed! the troops. The French having received previous information, of the approach of the British fleet, were then mostly getting under/way, and those ships which had not already hoisted thcir anchors, slipt. their cables, and kept stretching out to sea. The objects'of the hostile commanders were totally differen t. The British admirals wanted to bring the enemy to close action innopes of conquest and of saving Grenada, D'Estaing sought for no further advantage than the preservation of his new acquisi-* tion,' which to him was a sufficient victory. His ships being; cleaner, and consequently sailed better than the. British, he chose 4partial action, rather than be exposed to the doubtful issue .of a desperate conflict. The first signal made by Byron was for -ai. general chase ; and the second, for the ships to engage and form as they could get up. By eight o'clock the action was commence, ed by adm. Barrington in the Prince of Wales, with the captains, Sawyer and Gardner in the Boyne and Sultan, they hav-,' ing closed with the van of the enemy. Being obliged to. endues the whole weight of fire from that division, for a considerable time before they could be supported, and suffered accordingly • beside the damage of the ships and the loss of the men, the ajmi-. raj was himself wounded. The French eluded every effort made by the British jommanders to bring on a close and dec!-; sive engagement. When the evolutions on both sides, and the. eagerness on one, threw a few of the British ships into a situation, which obliged, them to endure a conflict with a much greats er number of the enemy, a close engagement ensued. Thus the Giufton, the Cornwall and the Lion, sustained the whole fije 6f the French fleet. The Monmouth attempting singly to arrest the progress of the enemy's van, hoping thereby, to bring on A general action, but failing, was reduced almost to a wreck. The Suffolk, adm. Rowley with the Fame, suffered also considerably in similar situations.
The action ceased about twelve o'clock; but although renewed at two, and at other times, in a degree, during the evening, yet nothing essential was effected. During the heat of it, some British ships pushing their way to the very entrance of the harbour of St. George's, beheld French colours on the fort, and were-fired at by the batteries. The object of the British commanders was thecefJoxe totally changed. The relief of the island
was at an end. . The protection of the transports, along with that of the disabled ships, was now the main point to be consigered. Three of the disabled ships were a great way astern: the Lion was obliged to bear away singly, in the best manner she could, before the wind. That and the other two might seemingly have been cut off by the French: but d’Estaing would not risk the bringing on of a decisive action by attempting their capture. In the evening, the Monmouth and the transports were ordered to make the best of their way to Antigua of St. Kitts. Byron drew up his line, reduced now to 19 ships, about three miles distant from d’Estaing, and expected to be attacked in the morning; but during the night, the count returned to Grenada. The loss of men in the British fleet was moderate; the other circumstances of the action however were exceeding grievous; for the great damage sustained by the ships in their masts and rigging, which could not be easily remedied in that quarter, af. forded an astonishing superiority of force to the French, which while it continues, will render it impossible for the British longer to dispute the empire of the sea with them in the West-Indies.— All accounts concur in describing the French loss of men in the action as prodigious. The published number of officers killed and wounded, both in the naval and land departments, is considerable. The other must be in a great degree conjeetural. The latter end of July, there sailed from Port l'Orient the Bon Hömme Richard, of 40 guns and 375 men, commanded by capt. Paul Jones, the alliance of 36 guns, the Pallas, a French frigate of 32, the Vengeance an armed brig of 12 together with a cutter: Jones acted as commodore to the squadron. He steered for the Western coast of Ireland and app, “red off Keity. From thence he ranged round the north of Scotland, tilt he came off Forth Frith on September the 19th ; when he directed his course to Flamborough Head. Being off the Head, he fell in with the fleet [Sept. 23.J from the Baltic, under the pretection of the Serapis, capt. Pearson, and the Courtess of s: borough, capt. Piercy. Before noon, Capt. Pearson reeeived intelligence from the bailiffs of Scarborough, of the squadron under Jones being on the coast. Between twelve and one the headmost of the fleet got sight of it, when the Serapis made all the sail she could to get between the enemy and the convoy, which she soon effected. Capt. Pearson, by four o’clock plainly discern. ing o the deck, that the squadron consisted of three large ships, and a brig, (the cutter was not now with them) made the Countess of Scarborough signal to join him, which was dome about half past five. A little after seven, the Bono Hernme Richard brought to within musket shot of the Scrapis, when the . . . . - . . . . . fight
fight began, and was maintained with equal fury on both sides, «uth vessel using all possible means to gain an advantageous situation to rake the other, Capt. Pearson had infinitely the supe
- .tiority over the Bon Homme Richard in working the Serapis, and obtained adv antages in spite of every effort of Jones to prevent it. Jones to render such superiority useless, aimed at lying his ship athwart the hawse of the other. Though he did not
^ -succeed to his wish, yet as the bowsprit of the Serapis ran between his poop and mizen-raast, lie seized the opportunity of lashing the vessels together, when the wind driving the head of the Serapis against the bow of the Bon Homme Richard, they became so close fore and aft, that the muzzles of their guns touched each other's sides. - la this position they engaged from •half past, eight till half past ten. But before it commenced, the
: Bon Homme Richard had received many 18lb. shot between wind and water, and was become very leaky. Her tier of 12 ..pounders Was entirely silenced and abandoned. Her six IS . pounders, which were old, were of no service, and were fired but eight- times in all. During the succeeding action, joncs made use only of three nine pounders, whose fire was seconded ■by that of his men in the round-tops. At the same time others threw such a quantity and variety of combustible matters into the decks, chains, and every part of the Serapis, lhat she was on fire not less than 10 or 12 times indifferent rjarts, and it Was . with the greatest difficulty that the same could be extinguished. At half past nine, by some accident the Serapis had a cartridge •of powder set on fire, the flames of which communicating from <>ne to another all the way aft, blew up all the people and officers ■ abafc, the main-mast, and rendered all those guns useless for the remainder of the action. When both ships were on fire together, as it happened at times, the spectacle was dreadful beyond expression. The Alliance repeatedly sailed round both while engaged, raking the Serapis fore and aft, and thereby killing or wouning many of her men on the quarter and main decks.*— After ten she came up afresh, and renewed the fire ; but through the darkness of the night, and both ships being so close along
. Side each other, it was not poured into the Serapis alone, but' also into the Bon Homme Richard, eleven of whose men were
• killed, beside an officer mortally wounded, by one of her broad
. * The account printed in the Courier de I'Europe of November $, i 779, flgned Paui Jones, ftates tbe matter fo as to imply a denial ot what is *fP:rtrd in thf Gaz:tte account figned R. lsearfon ; but front the known vanity of Jiwiep, ahd the inter improbability or the Alliance's remaining totally inactive for Jo iang a timc.it is highly wafonable t 0 conchirftfj (bat the dfi\ account U erroneous* V01-. II. M 3 sides.
sides. Capt. Pearson however, perceiving that it was impracticable to stand out any longer with the least prospect of success, struck, after having (by his conduct, and persevering bravery) secured to his convoy the opportunity of saving themselves. The Serapis was a much superior ship to the Bon Homme Richard,, being built on an excellent model, and carrying 44 guns in twotiers, the lower 18 pounders. The number ot men killed and. wounded on each side was necessarily great. Both ships suffered* much, but the Bon Homme Richard was reduced to a wre.ck; she had near seven feet water in her hold, which kept increasing. The wounded were removed, and only the first lieutenant of the Pallas, with some men left on board to keep the pomps going,, while the boats were disposed witLin call to take them in when occasion required. On the twenty-fifth the water rose to hex: lower deck and she went down -, but nobody was lost with her..* . It still remains to be mentioned, that the Countess of Scarho- . rough engaged the Pallas for near two hours, when capt, Piercy was obliged to strike. Commodore Jones, with the remains of. his flying squadron and prizes, made for Holland, and on the 3d of October anchored off the Texel. The commodore estimates the prizes taken and ransomed by the Bon Homnae Richard, during her cruize, at more than ,£.40,000. .•• "•';
Sir Joseph Yorke soon applied to their high mightinesses fop the delivering up of the Serapis and Countess of Scarborough, On the 29th ot October, he presented a memorial to thera^.iw which by his majesty's order, he renews, " in the strongest and most pressing manner, his request that those ships andtheir crews« may be stopped and delivered up, which the pirate Paul Jones, of Scotland, who is a rebel subject, and a criminal of the-stater has taken." Jones is stiled a pirate upon the. supposition that hisiet- ■ ters of marque or commission are illegal for want of being granted by a sovereign power, which the British do not allow the; congress to be. But it may be at length discovered, that Jones' . letters are legal upon their own principles, and have been granted by the French, whatever, other letters he may possess. The whole of Jones' expedition was probably concerted at Versailles, •with the design of catching the eastern fleet laden with naval, stores, while the continetal frigate, the Alliance was borrowed for a cover, and the cammand of the whole given to Jones on, , account of his acquaintance with the Irish and British coasts.-r-r ; i The memorial contains a threatening insinuation of serious con- , sequences in case of non-compliance. The answer which their . .. high mightinessess have given isjn, brief—" That they wili,.i(fc^r * Captain Joaej' account* •• •- '-uj:' no respect whatever,' pretend to judge of the legality or illegality of 'the actions- of those who have on the open sea, taken any vessels which do not belong to this country, and bring them-into any of the ports of this republic; that they only open their ports to them to give them shelter from storms or other disasters, and oblige them to put to sea again with their prizes, withoutunloading or disposing of their cargoes, hut letting them remain; • exactly as when they arrived; and that they are not authorized to pass judgment either on these prises or the person of Paul Jones." What would be the fate of Jones-, could the British once make him their prisoner, is hard to determine; considering; that capt. Cunningham was brought in irons from New-York to Falmouth, and sent ironed to Pendennis cast'e; from which however, he was removed in a few weeks to Mill prison, Plymouth; and being a native American, he is now rated as an exchangeable prisoner.
The present state of Ireland must not be passed over without notice.
The long continued embargo on provisions, the only staple export of that kingdom, has been viewed asparticu'larly" insulting and most highly resented by the people; on their reflecting that a set of contractors reaped the greatest benefit from it, while the interest of the country was sacrificed, and the whole nation distressed. Taxes became fnore numerous, and the national debt accumulated every session of parliament. Advantag'e was taken of these circumstances, and the peculiar situation of GreatBritain, by the most sagacious'among the Irish, for the obtaining of those privileges which might otherwise never be secured. The doctrines of taxation without representation, and of uncoaiditional submission, which ministry applied to America, were urged as matter of apprehension to Ireland; arid it was openly said, that the chains forged for the former, in case of success, would afford a mode for the fetters which would soon be fitted for the latter. The smothered flame at length broke out with violence, on finding that parliament would afford them no effectual relief. Associations against the purchase and use of British manufactures, and for the encouragement of their own, became universal. But beside these, there were associations of a more effective and terrifying nature. Being alarmed with the danger ef a French invasion," it was urged, that the defence of the kingdom must be placed in those who had the best interest in it. Miikary associations were therefore proposed, and universally adopted. The associators declined, that they were intended for the double purpose of defending their safety against foreign enemies, and their rights against domestic usuipation. In every part of the kingdom were seen instarvtly to arise, as if by magic, . ''vast