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nique that night. Both fleets prepared for with unabated violence till the close of the action by daybreak on the succeeding day. day, when the admiral's ship, the Ville de The English, however, lay becalmed under Paris, struck to Sir Samuel Hood in the the high lands of Dominique, till near nine Barfleur. Four other ships of the line were o'clock, when the breeze at length reached taken; one was sunk, and another blew up the fleet, and carried the van directly into in the action. Sir Samuel Hood pursued the centre of the enemy, while the centre the flying squadron, and on the nineteenth and the rear of the English were still be overtook and captured two of them in the calmed. The French admiral could not re- Mona Passage, the Jason and the Caton, sist the temptation of falling upon one-third with two frigates. Sir George Rodney imof the force of his adversaries, with his mediately proceeded with the ships and whole fleet. The combat commenced with prizes for Jamaica, and on his return to the van of the English, which was greatly England, was honored with an English, and pressed for more than an hour by the supe- Sir Samuel Hood with an Irish, peerage. rior force of the enemy. Upon the approach This victorious fleet, however, suffered of some ships to the assistance of the van, afterwards from the inclemency of the ele the French admiral perceived that he had ments. On the twenty-sixth of July, admifailed in his design of crushing the first di- ral Graves sailed from Jamaica, with seven vision of the British; he therefore withdrew ships of the line, including the Ville de his fleet from the action, and, having the Paris, and some other of the prizes, the Pal. command of the wind, completely evaded las frigate, and about one hundred sail of all the efforts of the British commanders for merchantmen. The admiral had not been its renewal. Two of the French ships were long at sea, before the Hector of seventy: so much disabled, as to be under the neces- four guns, one of the prizes, from her bad sity of putting into Guadaloupe to refit. The condition, lost company with the fleet, and damages the English received were not so was never able afterwards to recover it. On great, but that they were reparable at sea. the eighth of September, the Caton of sixtyOn the eleventh, the French were so far to four guns, another of the French vessels
, the windward as to weather Guadaloupe; sprung a leak in a hard gale of wind, and and had gained such a distance, that the the admiral ordered both her and the Pallas body of their fleet could only be perceived to Halifax to refit. This was only a prefrom the masts of the English centre. About lude to their future misfortunes; for on the noon, however, two of the disabled ships tenth the fleet and convoy, which still were observed to fall considerably to lee- amounted to nearly ninety, encountered, on ward. The British admiral made signals the banks of Newfoundland, one of the most for a general chase; and the pursuit became dreadfiul storms which was ever known in so vigorous, that these ships must have been that quarter. The hurricane increased duinevitably cut off before the evening, had ring the night, and was accompanied with not M. de Grasse borne down to their as- a dreadful deluge of rain. At ten o'clock sistance. The scene of action is described in the morning, the Ramillies, the admiral's as a moderately large basin of water, lying ship, had five feet of water in her hold, and between the islands of Guadaloupe, Domi- she was obliged to part with several of her nique, the Saints, and Marigalante. The guns, and other heavy articles, to enable her hostile fleets met upon opposite tacks; and to keep afloat. The water increasing, the the line of battle being formed early in the admiral removed the people on board some morning of the twelfth, the battle commenced of the merchantmen. About four o'clock, about seven, and continued with unremit- the water in her hold was increased to fif ting fury till about the same hour in the teen feet, and at the same period she was so evening. The ships were so near each other, completely set on fire, that captain Morithat every shot told; and those of the French arty and the people had quitted her but a being full of men, a dreadful carnage en- few minutes when she blew up. sued. The Formidable, Sir George Rod-l. The fate of the Centaur was still more ney's ship, fired no less than eighty broad- dreadful. After losing her masts and rudsides, and every other ship in proportion; der, she was, by the unwearied exertions of and the gallantry of the French was in no the crew, kept afloat till the twenty-third ; instance inferior to that of their opponents. but the struggle was then at an end. The
About noon, the British admiral, with his ship rapidly filling with water, while the asseconds the Duke and the Namur, broke pect of the sea indicated that neither boat through the enemy's line; and immediately nor raft could live for any length of time, throwing out the signals for the van to tack, the majority of the crew had given themthe British got to windward, and completed selves up for lost, and remained below. In the general confusion of the French squad- this extremity, captain Inglefield came upon ron. In this state the contest continued deck, and observed that a few of the people
had forced their way into the pinnace, and (On the fifth of January, also, Sir Edward
jects for this purpose, one which had been For an account of the fate of the Ville de formed by the chevalier d'Arcon was deemParis, and the Glorieux, the public are in-ed the most worthy of trial. This was to debted to a singular accident. A Danish construct such floating batteries as could merchant-ship returning from the West In- neither be sunk nor fired. With this view, dies, found a man floating upon a piece of a their bottoms were made of the thickest wreck, who appears to have been insensible timber, and their sides of wood and cork when taken on board. When restored to long soaked in water, with a large layer of his senses, he reported that his name was wet sand between. Wilson; that he had been a seaman on board To prevent the effects of red-hot balls, a the Ville de Paris; and added, that when number of pipes were contrived to carry she was going to pieces, he clung to a part water through every part of them, and of the wreck, and remained in a state of in- pumps were provided to keep these consensibility during most of the time that he stantly supplied with water. The people continued in the water; he perfectly recol- on board were to be sheltered from the fall lected that the Glorieux had foundered, and of bombs by a cover of rope netting, which that he saw her go down on the day pre- was made sloping, and overlaid with wet ceding that on which the Ville de Paris hides. perished.
These floating batteries, ten in number, The crew of the Hector, after suffering were made out of the hulls of large vessels, great hardships, were saved by the good for- cut down for the purpose, and carried from tune of meeting with a merchant-ship called twenty-eight to ten guns each, and were the Hawke, commanded by Thomas Hill
, of seconded by eight large boats mounted with Dartmouth, who humanely received them guns of heavy metal, and also by a multion board his own vessel, and conveyed them tude of frigates, ships of force, and some to Newfoundland. The Hector had previ- hundreds of small craft
. ously had a desperate engagement with two General Elliot, the intrepid defender of of the enemy's frigates, who left her in that Gibraltar, was not ignorant that inventions miserable condition in which the merchant- of a peculiar kind were prepared against ship found her. Thus of seven ships of the him, but knew nothing of their construction. line, which composed the Jamaica squad- He nevertheless provided for every circumron, only two, the Canada and the Caton, stance of danger that could be foreseen or escaped.
imagined. The thirteenth day of SeptemThe victory of Rodney was in some mea- ber was fixed upon by the besiegers for sure damped by the taking of the Bahama making a grand attack, when the n'wIslands by the Spaniards on the eighth of invented machines, with all the united powMay, which were found in a defenceless state ers of gunpowder and artillery in their by the enemy. This loss was however again highest state of improvement, were to be nearly compensated by the capture of Acra, called into action. The combined fleets of and four other Dutch forts on the coast of France and Spain in the bay of Gibraltar Africa, by captain Shirley in the Leander. amounted to forty-eight sail of the line. Vol. TV.
Their batteries were covered with one hun- along-side of the floating batteries, one of dred and fifty-four pieces of heavy brass them blew up, and some heavy pieces of
The numbers employed by land timber fell into his boat, and pierced through and sea against the fortress were estimated its bottom. By similar perilous exertions
, at one hundred thousand men. With this near four hundred men were saved from inforce, and by the fire of three hundred can- evitable destruction. The exercise of hunon, mortars, and howitzers, from the adja- manity to an enemy under such circumcent isthmus, it was intended to attack every stances of immediate action and impending part of the British works at one and the danger, conferred more true honor than same instant. The surrounding hills were could be acquired by the most splendid se covered with people assembled to behold the ries of victories. It in some degree obspectacle. The cannonade and bombard- scured the impression made to the disadment were tremendous. The showers of vantage of human nature, by the madness shot and shells from the land batteries and of mankind in destroying each other by the ships of the besiegers, and from the va- wasteful wars. The floating batteries were rious works of the garrison, exhibited a most all consumed. The violence of their exdreadful scene. Four hundred pieces of the plosion was such, as to burst open the doors heaviest artillery were playing at the same and windows at a great distance. Soon moment. The whole peninsula seemed to after the destruction of the floating battebe overwhelmed in the torrents of fire which ries, lord Howe, with thirty-five ships of the were incessantly poured upon it. The Span- line, brought to the brave garrison an ample ish floating batteries for some time answered supply of everything wanted, either for the expectations of their framers. The their support or their defence. This comheaviest shells often rebounded from their plete relief of Gibraltar was the third detops, while thirty-two pound shot made no cisive event in the course of a twelvemonth
, visible impression upon their hulls. For which favored the re-establishment of a some hours the attack and defence were so general peace. equally supported, as scarcely to admit of any appearance of superiority on either side. NEW ADMINISTRATION. The construction of the battering ships was The prosperity of nations often depends so well calculated for withstanding the com- upon unforeseen contingencies. We have bined force of fire and artillery, that they seen the government, in the year 1782, seemed for some time to bid defiance to the wrested out of the unskilful hands which powers of the heaviest ordnance. In the had conducted it almost to the verge of deafternoon the effects of hot shot became vis struction; and the whole ability, the patriotible. At first there was only an appearance ism, the landed interest of the nation, at of smoke, but in the course of the night, once united in support of an administraafter the fire of the garrison had continued tion formed on the most popular basis. But about fifteen hours, two of the floating bat- this pleasing prospect was clouded by the teries were in flames, and several more vis lamented death of the marquis of Rockingibly beginning to kindle. The endeavors ham on the first of July. He was the centre of the besiegers were now exclusively di- of union which kept up the jarring particles rected to bring off the men from the burn- of the whig interest united. A few days ing vessels; but in this they were inter- after the death of the marquis, a meeting rupted. Captain Curlis, who lay ready with of the Rockingham party was convened by twelve gun-boats, advanced and fired upon Fox, the avowed object of which was, to dethem with such order and expedition, as to feat the appointment of Lord Shelburne to throw them into confusion before they had the situation of prime minister. At this finished their business. They fled with meeting it was agreed to support the nomitheir boats, and abandoned to their fate great nation of the duke of Portland to the first numbers of their people. The opening of office in the treasury, and that Fox should daylight disclosed a most dreadful specta- wait on his majesty with this resolve
. It is cle. Many were seen in the midst of the said that Fox arrived at the royal closet only flames crying out for help, while others were in time to learn that the treasurer's staff had floating upon pieces of timber, exposed to just been committed to the hands of lord equal danger from the opposite element. Shelburne. It is added, that Fox then reThe generous humanity of the victors equal- quested leave to name the new secretary of led their valor, and was the more honorable, state ; and, on being informed that the office as the exertions of it exposed them to no less was already disposed of, he requested per: danger than those of active hostility. In mission to resign, and was followed by lord endeavoring to save the lives of his enemies, John Cavendish, the duke of Portland, Burke, captain Curtis nearly lost his own. While Sheridan, Montague, lord Althorpe, Jord for the most benevolent purpose he was Duncannon, J. Townshend, and Lee.
The Shelburne administration was re- Though lord Shelburne had formerly despectable, but it was feeble: it wanted both clared in the house of lords," that whenparliamentary interest and parliamentary ever the parliament of Great Britain should ability
. Lord Grantham, a nobleman more acknowledge the independence of America, distinguished by his amiable character than the sun of England's glory was set for ever;" by the extent of his abilities, succeeded to he took occasion to observe, in the same the office of Fox; Pitt was made chancellor house, when he came into administrati of the exchequer, and earl Temple succeed that he now considered it as a necessary evil ed the duke of Portland as lord-lieutenant to which the country must inevitably submit of Ireland.
Motives for a general Peace-Preliminaries Signed with America-With France,
Spain, &c. - Meeting of Parliament-Debates on the Peace-Resolutions carried against Ministry-Lord Shelburne resigns-Coalition Ministry-Bill preventing appeals from Ireland—India Affairs-Pitt's Motion on the Subject of a Parliamentary Reform-The Quakers petition the House of Commons against the Slave Trade
Fox introduces his India Bill—A second Bill for the internal Government of the British Dominions in India, The Bill lost in the House of Peers-Contest belween the Crown and Commons—The Conduct of the High Bailiff of Westminster in refusing to return Fox brought before the House of Commons—Pitt's India BillThe Commutation Tax-Bill for the Restoration of the Estates forfeited in Scotland in 1715 and 1745, passed.
MOTIVES FOR A GENERAL PEACE. to the termination of a war, from the con
The events which disposed the hostile na- tinuance of which, neither profit nor honor tions to pacific measures have been amply was to be acquired. At the close of the war, detailed in the two preceding chapters. The a revolution was effected in the sentiments capture of the British army in Virginia, the of the inhabitants of Great Britain, not less defeat of count de Grasse, and the destruc- remarkable than what in the beginning of it tion of the Spanish floating batteries, incul- took place among the citizens of America. cated on Great Britain, France, and Spain, In the course of the summer of 1782, the policy of sheathing the sword, and stop Fitzherbert, the minister at Brussels, was ping the effusion of human blood. Each na- appointed plenipotentiary on the part of tion found, on a review of past events, that Great Britain, to conclude the treaty with though their losses were great, their gains the ministers of France, Spain, and Holland; were little or nothing. By urging the and Mr. Oswald, a merchant, who had been American war, Great Britain had increased long conversant in American affairs, was her national debt upwards of one hundred nominated as commissioner from his Britanmillions of pounds sterling, and wasted the nic majesty to treat with John Adams, Benlives of at least fifty thousand of her sub- jamin Franklin, John Jay, and Henry Laujects. To add to her mortification, she had rens, the commissioners from America. brought all this on herself, by pursuing an PRELIMINARIES OF PEACE WITH AMERobject, the attainment of which seemed to
ICA-FRANCE, SPAIN, &c. be daily less probable, and the benefits of On the thirtieth of November 1782, prowhich, even though it could have been at- visional articles were signed by the British tained, were very problematical.
and American commissioners, which were The empress of Russia, and the emperor to be inserted in the general treaty of peace, of Germany, were the mediators in accom- whenever it should be concluded between plishing the great work of peace. Such the European powers. By these articles the was the state of the contending parties, that independence of America was acknowledg. the intercession of powerful mediators was ed in the fullest extent; very ample boundano longer necessary. The disposition of ries were assigned to the States, compreGreat Britain to recognize the independence hending the extensive countries on both sides of the United States had removed the prin- the Ohio, and on the east of the Mississippi
, cipal difficulty which had hitherto obstruct- and the full right of fishing on the banks of ed a general pacification.
Newfoundland. The avowed object of the alliance be- The preliminary articles between Great tween France and America, and the steady Britain and France were signed at Versailles adherence of both parties not to enter into by Fitzherbert and the count de Vergennes. negotiations without the concurrence of each on the twenty-eighth of January 1783, and other, reduced Great Britain to the alterna- those with Spain on the same day. By the tive of continuing a hopeless unproductive former of these treaties the fishery on the war, or of negotiating under the idea of re- coast of Newfoundland was permitted to the cognizing American independence. Seven French, from Cape St. John, on the eastem years' experience had proved to the nation side, round the north of the island, to Cape that the conquest of the American states was Ray on the west.—The islands of St. Pierre impracticable; they now received equal con- and Miquelon were ceded to France. In the viction, that the recognition of their inde- West Indies Great Britain ceded also the pendence was an indispensable preliminary island of Tobago, and restored that of St.