Page images

rangements could be made for dislodging the would have been a strong temptation to their French from their second eminence. In the easy and general surrender. St. Domingo midst of these preparations, their whole was the only spot which the French still force descended from the hill, sallied out of retained in the Archipelago of America; the town, and made a furious assault on the and the loss of that did not appear to be far advanced posts; but they were immediately distant. An object of more consequence repulsed by the British troops, who, hurried diverted the storm to one of the most valuon by their ardor, improved a defensive ad-able possessions of the Spaniards in the vantage into an attack, passed the gullies, West Indies. mingled with the enemy, scaled the hill,

ARMAMENT DISPATCHED AGAINST seized the batteries, dispersed the militia,

THE HAVANNAH. and drove the regulars into the town. All BEFORE the success of the expedition 1 the positions which overlooked and com- against Martinico was known in England, manded Fort-Royal being now secured, the the ministry, confident that it could not have batteries against it were no sooner com- failed, had given orders for a considerable pleted, than it surrendered on the fourth of part of the forces employed there to reFebruary; and in three days after, Pidgeon- imbark, and to sail in a westerly direction island, which was deemed one of the best to a certain rendezvous, where, in case of a defences of the harbor, followed the example rupture with Spain, they were to be joined of the citadel. Fourteen French privateers by another armament, in order to make a were found there; and a much greater num-descent upon the island of Cuba.

The ber, from other ports in the island, were latter squadron left Portsmouth the fifth of afterwards delivered up to admiral Rodney, March, and very happily met the proposed in consequence of the favorable terms grant- division of the former fleet, under Sir James ed to the inhabitants.

Douglas, at Cape Nichola, the north-west Still

, however, St. Pierre, the capital, re-point of Hispaniola, on the twenty-seventh mained to be reduced ; and it was appre- of May. After this junction, their force hended that the resistance there might be amounted to nineteen ships of the line, considerable, if the spirit and perseverance eighteen small vessels of war, and near one of the garrison corresponded with the hundred and fifty transports, with about ten strength of the fortifications, and with the thousand troops on board. A supply of four natural advantages of the country. But thousand more was also expected from north the reduction of Fort-Royal had greatly America. Lord Albemarle, the friend and abated the enemy's confidence. The militia, disciple of the duke of Cumberland, had the in particular, despaired of making any effec-command of the land forces: the marine tual defence. Influenced by these motives, was under admiral Pococke, who having and disheartened by the train of misfortunes contributed by his valor towards that sovewhich had everywhere attended the French reignty which his country had obtained in arms, they resolved to hold out no longer; the East Indies, was now chosen to extend and on the twelfth of February, just as gen- its empire in the West. eral Monckton was ready to embark for the As the hurricane season was more to be reduction of St. Pierre, he was prevented dreaded than the resistance of the enemy, by the arrival of two deputies, who came to the utmost expedition was necessary. The capitulate for the surrender of that place admiral, therefore, instead of keeping to the and of the whole island.

south of Cuba, which though very safe, would The conquest of Martinico, which was prove by far the most tedious way, resolved the seat of the superior government, the to run along the northern shore of that principal mart of trade, and the centre of island, pursuing his career from east to west the French force in the Caribbees, naturally through the old straits of Bahama, a much drew after it the submission of all the de- shorter, but more dangerous passage, being pendent islands. Grenada, though, from the very narrow, and bounded on the right and nature of its situation, it might have made left by sands and shoals, which render the a vigorous defence, surrendered without op navigation so hazardous, that it has usually position. The British troops found as little been avoided by single and small vessels. difficulty in taking possession of St. Lucia, There was no pilot in the fleet whose expeTobago, and St. Vincent, the right to which rience could be depended on to conduct them had so long been an object of dispute be- safely through it. The admiral, however, tween the two nations. The Grenadillas being provided with a good chart of lord and the other little isles, which are scatter- Anson's, was determined to make the experied up and down in the same seas, were in- ment, and to trust to his own sagacity, concapable of making any resistance; and it is duct, and vigilance. So bold an attempt also probable, that if they had been places had never been made; but every precaution of much greater strength, the prosperity of was taken to guard this boldness from the Guadaloupe under the British government imputation of temerity. A vessel was sent

to reconnoitre the passage, and, when re-reduction of that fort must infallibly be folturned, was ordered to take the lead: some lowed by the surrender of the city; whereas, frigates followed: sloops and boats were if he had attacked the town first, his army stationed on the shallows to the right and might have been so much weakened as to left, with well-adapted signals both for the be unable to surmount the vigorous resistday and the night: the fleet moved in seven ance of the fort, defended by the garrison, divisions; and being favored with pleasant and by the flower of the inhabitants, zealous weather, and secured by the admirable dis- to save their own and the public treasure. positions which were made, they, without All was confusion and alarm, at the first the smallest loss, or interruption, got clear sight of a hostile armament. Common pruthrough this perilous passage, seven hundred dence would have suggested the propriety miles in length, on the fifth of June, having of keeping their fleet ready for action; and entered it the twenty-seventh of May. as they were not far from an equality, and

The Havannah, the object of their long could be of very little service in the port, voyage, and of so many anxious hopes and they should have put out to sea, and hazardfears, was now before them. This place is ed the issue of an engagement. A battle not denominated the capital of Cuba: St. maintained with spirit, though finally unsucJago, situated at the south-east part of the cessful, might have so far disabled their island, has that title: but the Havannah, opponents as to unfit them for any farther though the second in rank, is the first in attempts, after a dear-bought naval victory. wealth, size, and importance. The harbor, The loss of the whole Spanish fleet in this which is perhaps the best in the world, is way might have saved the city; but the city entered by a narrow passage about half a once taken, nothing could possibly save the mile long, and expanding itself afterwards fleet. Either through extreme cowardice or into a capacious basin, sufficient to contain infatuation, the only use they made of their a thousand sail of the largest ships, having shipping was to sink three of them behind almost throughout six fathom water, and a strong boom at the mouth of the harbor. being perfectly covered from every wind. When the British commanders had got Here the rich fleets from the several parts everything, in readiness for landing, the of the Spanish settlements rendezvous, be- admiral, with a great part of the fleet, bore fore they finally set out on their voyage to away to the westward, and made a feint of Europe;-a circumstance which has ren- disembarking the troops; while a detachdered the Havannah one of the most opulent, ment, protected by commodore Keppel and fourishing, and populous cities in the west-captain Harvey, approached the shore to the ern world. Suitable to its importance was eastward, and landed there without opposi. the care with which the narrow entrance tion, a small fort which might give some into the bay was fortified. On a projecting disturbance, having been previously silenced. roint of land, to the east of the channel, On this side, the principal army was desstood the Moro, a very strong fort, having tined to act. It was divided into two bodies; two bastions towards the sea, and two more the one being immediately occupied in the on the land-side, with a wide and deep ditch attack on Fort Moro, and the other in covcut out of a rock. The opposite point to ering the siege, and in protecting the parties the westward was secured by another fort employed in procuring water and provisions. called the Puntal, which was also surround- The former corps was commanded by majored by a ditch cut in the same manner, and general Keppel

, and the latter by lieutenantwas every way well calculated for co-opera- general Elliot. A detachment under coloting with the Moro in the defence of the nel Howe was encamped near the west side harbor. It had likewise some batteries that of the town, to cut off its communication opened upon the country, and flanked part with the country, and to keep the enemy's of the town wall. But this wall and the attention divided. fortifications of the city itself were not in The hardships, which the troops sustained very good condition. The wall and the in carrying on the siege, are almost incredibastions wanted repair: the ditch was dry ble. The earth was everywhere so thin, and of no considerable width; and the cov- that it was with great difficulty they could ered-way was almost in ruins, but it was cover themselves in their approaches. The utterly impracticable to attack it by sea, the want of water was also very distressing. entrance of the harbor being not only de- They were obliged to fetch it from a great fended by the forts, but by fourteen Spanish distance, as there was not any spring or river ships of the line, three of which were after- near them; and so scanty and precarious wards sunk in the channel, and a boom laid was the supply, procured with much labor, across it.

that they often found it necessary to have SIEGE OF THE MORO.

recourse to what the ships could afford. LORD ALBEMARLE resolved to begin with Roads of communication were to be cut the siege of the Moro. He knew that the through thick woods; and the artillery was to be dragged, for a vast way, over a rough thousand soldiers were at one time unfit fot rocky shore. In these painful efforts, under service, through various distempers; and a burning sun, many of the men dropped three thousand sailors were in the same down dead with heat, thirst, and fatigue. miserable condition. The want of necessaEvery obstacle was at length surmounted by ries and refreshments aggravated their sufferthe most astonishing perseverance; and bat- ings, and retarded their recovery. The pro teries, erected along a ridge on a level with visions were bad; and the necessity of bring. the fort, were opened with great effect. The ing, from a distance, a scanty supply of water, ships in the harbor were driven farther back; exhausted all their force. Besides, as the so as not to be able to molest the besiegers; season advanced, the prospect of succeeding and a sally made by the garrison was re- grew fainter. The hearts of the most san pulsed with great slaughter.

guine sunk within them, when they beheld Whilst these works were vigorously this gallant army wasting away; and con pushed on shore, the navy, not contented sidered that the noble fleet, which had rode with the great assistance which they had be- so long on an open shore, must be exposed fore lent to every part of the land service, to inevitable ruin, if the hurricane season resolved to make an attempt which was should come on before the reduction of the more directly within their province. Ac- place. A thousand languishing and impacordingly, on the first of July, the very day tient looks were cast out for the reinforcethat the batteries were opened, three of the ment, which was expected from North Amelargest ships, under captain Harvey, laid rica : but none appeared ; and the few, who their broadsides against the fort, and began still preserved some remains of strength, a terrible fire, which lasted seven hours with- were obliged to bear up under the load of out intermission. The Moro returned it double duty, and of afflicting accidents. Anwith great constancy, and being situated on other battery took fire, before the former a very high and steep rock, was proof against could be repaired; and the toil of the be all efforts. Besides, the guns from the op- siegers unfortunately increased, in proportion prosite fort of Puntal, and from the town, as their strength was diminished. Many galled them extremely; insomuch, that in fell into despair and died, overcome with faorder to save the ships from absolute destruc-tigue, anguish, and disappointment. tion, they were obliged at length, and un- But however great the distresses, however willingly, to bring them off. Even this re- small the numbers of those that were left, treat was not effected without difficulty, as they made efforts which would not have disthey were very much shattered in so long graced the largest and the best appointed and unequal a contest. But, though no im- army. The rich prize which lay before pression was made on the works which the them, the shame of returning home baffled, ships attacked, the attempt was nevertheless and even the strenuous resistance of the of considerable service. The attention of enemy, engaged their interest, their honor, the defendants was so much engaged that their pride; and roused them to the exertion they neglected the other side of the fort, and of every nerve. The batteries were reallowed the fire of the English batteries to placed : their fire became equal, and soon become superior.

superior to that of the fort: they silenced its As soon, however, as the Spaniards were guns; they dismantled its upper works; and, released from the ships of war, they re- on the twentieth of July, they made a lodgtumed to their duty on the land-side, and re- ment in the covered-way. Not many days vived their defence with great spirit. An after, they received a considerable part of unremitted cannonade was kept up by both the reinforcement from America. Four of parties for several days with a fierce emula- the transports had been wrecked in the tion: and the military skill and spirit of the straits of Bahama ; but the men were saved cassailants were put to the severest trial. In on the adjacent islands, and were happily the midst of this sharp and doubtful conten-brought off by five sloops, which the admition, the capital battery against the fort took ral had immediately detached on this service. fire, and being chiefly constructed of timber Five other transports, having about five hunand fascines dried by intense heat, the flames dred soldiers on board, had been taken by a soon became too powerful for opposition. French squadron. All the rest of the troops The battery was almost wholly consumed. arrived in perfect health. The labor of six hundred men for seventeen These favorable events gave fresh vigor days was destroyed in a few hours, and all to the operations of the siege: but a sudden was to begin anew. This stroke was the difficulty appeared, just at the seeming acmore severely felt, as it happened at a time complishment of the work. An immense when the other hardships of the siege were ditch, cut in the solid rock, eighty feet deep, become almost intolerable. The diseases of and forty wide, yawned before them and the climate, increased by rigorous duty, had stopped their progress. To fill it up by any reduced the army to half its number. Five means appeared impossible. Difficult as the work of mining was in those circumstances, | The English had but two lieutenants and it was the only expedient. It might have twelve men killed ; and one lieutenant, with provet: impracticable, had not a thin ridge four serjeants, and twenty-four privates of rock been fortunately left, to cover the wounded. ditch towards the sea. On this narrow ridge, SURRENDER OF THE MORO, AND THE the miners, though quite exposed, passed the

ISLAND. gulf with very little loss, and buried them- No sooner did the Spaniards in the town selves in the wall.

and in Fort Puntal see the besiegers in pos It now became visible to the governor of session of the Moro, than they directed all the Havannah, that the Moro must be speedi- their fire against that place. Meanwhile ly reduced, if left to its own strength. He the British troops, encouraged by their suctherefore resolved to attempt something for cess, were vigorously employed in remountits relief. Accordingly, on the twenty-ing the guns of the captured fort, and in second of July, before break of day, a body erecting batteries upon an eminence that of twelve hundred men, mostly composed of commanded the city. These batteries being the country militia, mulattoes and negroes, completed, and sixty pieces of cannon ready were transported across the harbor, climbed to play upon the Havannah, lord Albemarle, the hills, and made three different attacks on willing to prevent an unnecessary carnage, the English posts. The ordinary guards, sent his aid-de-camp, on the tenth of August, though svrprised, defended themselves so with a flag of truce, to summon the governor resolutely, that the Spaniards made little to surrender, and make him sensible of the impression, and were not able to ruin any unavoidable destruction that was ready to part of the approaches. The attacked posts fall upon the place. The governor replied, were speedily reinforced ; and the enemy, that he was under no uneasy apprehensions, who were little better than a disorderly rab- and would hold out to the last extremity. ble, and not conducted by proper officers, fell But he was soon brought to reason. The into terror and confusion. They were driven very next morning, the batteries were openprecipitately down the hill with great slaugh- ed against him with such effect, that in six ter: some gained their boats; others were hours all his guns were silenced: flags of drowned; and they lost in this well imagined, truce were hung out in every quarter of the but ill executed sally, upwards of four hun-town; and a deputy was sent to the camp dred men.

of the besiegers, in order to settle the terms This was the last effort for the relief of of capitulation. A cessation of hostilities the Moro; which, abandoned as it was by immediately took place; and, as soon as the the city, and while an enemy was under- terms were adjusted, the city of Havannah, mining its walls, held out with a sullen reso- and a district of one hundred and eighty lation, and made no sort of proposal to ca- miles to the westward included in its gove pitulate. The mines at length did their ernment, the Puntal castle, and the ships in business. On the thirtieth of July, a part the harbor, were surrendered to his Britanof the wall was blown up, and fell into the nic majesty. The Spaniards struggled a ditch, leaving a breach, which, though very long time to save the men-of-war, and to narrow and difficult, was judged practicable have the harbor declared neutral; but after by the general and engineer. The troops, two days' altercation, they were obliged to ordered on this most dangerous of all ser- give up those capital points as wholly inadvices, rejoiced that they had so near a pros- missible. The garrison were allowed the pect of terminating their dreadful toils. honors of war, and were to be conveyed to They cheerfully prepared for the assault, Spain. Private property was secured to the and mounting the breach, under the com- inhabitants, with the enjoyment of their formand of lieutenant Forbes, supported by mer laws and religion. Without violating lieutenant-colonel Stuart, they entered the this last article, which rendered the proper fort with so much order and intrepidity, as ty of individuals sacred, the conquerors, who entirely disconcerted the garrison. Four took possession of the city on the fourteenth hundred of the Spaniards were cut in pieces, of August, found a booty there, computed at or perished in attempting to make their es near three millions sterling, in silver and cape by water to the city. The rest threw valuable merchandise belonging to the Cathdown their arms, and received quarter. The olic king, besides an immense quantity of Tarquis de Gonzalez, the second in command, arms, artillery, and military stores. was killed in making brave but ineffectual This was the most considerable, and in its efforts to stop the flight of his countrymen; consequences the most decisive blow which and don Lewis de Velasco, the governor, had been struck since the beginning of the having collected a small body of resolute war. It united in itself all the honors and soldiers

, in an intrenchment round the flag-advantages that can be acquired in hostile staff, gloriously fell in defending his colors, enterprises. It was a military triumph, that which nothing could induce him to strike. reflected the brightest lustre on the courage.

steadiness, and perseverance of the British secution. Nothing was demanded but a light troops. Its effect on the enemy's marine frigate to carry colonel Draper to Madras, made it equal to the greatest naval victory. where he arrived in the latter end of June, Nine ships of the line and four frigates were with orders to employ such of the troops and taken: three of the former description had squadrons then in India as could be spared, been sunk by the Spaniards, as already men- to execute his important project. tioned, at the beginning of the siege, to stop This plan seemed the more feasible, as no up the entrance into the port; and two more, great force was thought necessary to be kept that were in forwardness on the stocks, were in the peninsula after the total expulsion of destroyed by the conquerors. The harbor the French and the humiliation of the Dutch itself was of still greater value than the fleet. in that quarter. The whole force for the It absolutely commanded the only passage by land operations amounted to two thousand which the Spanish ships could sail from the three hundred men, commanded by brigadier bay of Mexico to Europe; so that the court general Draper, who had been promoted to of Madrid could no longer receive any sup- that rank on his arrival: the naval force plies from the West Indies, except by such consisted of nine men-of-war and frigates, routes as were equally tedious and uncertain. besides some store-ships, under the direction The reduction of the Havannah, therefore, of rear-admiral Cornish. In three weeks not only distressed the enemy by stopping the preparations for forming this body, and the sources of their wealth, but likewise getting ready all the stores, were begun, opened to the English an easy avenue to the completed, and the whole shipped through a centre of their American treasures. The raging and perpetual surf. plunder found at this place should also be A ship of force was dispatched before the taken into the account: it impoverished fleet through the straits of Malacca, in orSpain, and enriched the captors; and though der to watch the entrance of the Chinese it contributed nothing directly to the public sea, and to intercept whatever vessels might service, it might be said to increase the be bound to Manilla, or sent from the neighstock of the British nation, and to supply boring settlements, to give the Spaniards those prodigious drains of specie, foreign notice of the design. The East India comsubsidies and foreign armies.

pany were to have a third of the booty or CAPTURE OF THE HERMIONE. ransom: the government of the conquered The capture of the Spanish register-ship, country was also to be vested in them: and the Hermione, which happened in the latter the land and sea forces were, by mutual conend of May, just as she was on the point of sent, to share between them the several entering one of the ports of old Spain, must captures according to the rules established be added to these resources. She was load- in the navy. ed with treasure and valuable effects, esti- The fleet sailed from Madras the first of mated at one million sterling, which was August. Proper dispositions were made for considerably more than had ever before been landing to the south of the town, on the taken in any one bottom. The prize was twenty-fourth of September. The garrison brought from Gibraltar to England: and the consisted of eight hundred regular troops ; gold and silver, being conveyed in covered and as the place was too extensive to be enwagons to London, was carried to the Tower tirely surrounded by the English army, its with great parade. The wagons entered communication was open with the country, St. James's street in the morning of the which poured in to its assistance ten thoutwelfth of August, just after her majesty sand natives, a fierce and daring race, as had been safely delivered of her first son, remarkable for their hardiness and contempt the prince of Wales; and the king, with of death, as most of the other Indians are many of the nobility, who were present, for their cowardice and effeminacy. Had it went to the windows over the palace gate, been the interest of the Spaniards to have to see the procession, and joined their accla- taught them the use of arms, Manilla would mations to those of the populace on two have been impregnable. The governor such joyful occasions.

who was also the archbishop of the PhilipINVASION OF THE PHILIPPINES. pine islands, united in his own person, by a But these losses, though immense, were policy not wholly without precedent in the not the only ones, in which Spain was in- Spanish colonies, the civil power, the comvolved by her treacherous and precipitate mand of the forces, and the ecclesiastical junction with France. She soon received dignity. But however unqualified by his another dangerous wound in a very remote priestly character for the defence of a city quarter, where she little expected so sudden attacked, he seemed not unfit for it by his an attack. The plan for invading the Phi- intrepidity and resolution. In less than two lippine islands, which colonel Draper had days all the defences of the Spaniards were laid before ministry upon the first rumor of completely destroyed; and they had no a war with Spain, was now carried into ex- resource left but in vigorous sallies.

« PreviousContinue »