Page images

ions, and negro booty, (say 1000,) with a fleet of about 50 vessels, to Florida, Bermuda, &c. where the negroes were sold for the benefit of the concern.

Virginia saw the necessity of augmenting her military establishment, from two, to nine regiments, for the protection of her own coast, and interior quiet, and these regiments were afterwards taken into the continental establishment.

The same troubles awaited North-Carolina that we have witnessed in Virginia: Governor Martin retired on board a ship of war in Cape Fear River, and attempted to rally his party around the royal standard, by calling in the Scotch emigrants, who had settled in the back country, and other royalists, to support his cause, until Sir Henry Clinton could give him support, and Sir Peter Parker and Lord Cornwallis could arrive from Ireland, with a squadron and 7 regiments, early in the spring.

A banditti, who stiled themselves regulators, had for some time set at defiance all law, but their own, and this depended upon their own wills; these now joined the standard of the governor, and when assembled at Cross-Creek, on the 19th of February, amounted to about 1600. The Scotish Chief, General M-Donald, who had been commissioned by the governor, commanded this force.

General Moore, assembled a party, which together with his own regiment, amounted to about 1100 men, marched in quest of the enemy, and halted and intrenched themselves near to Cross-Creek, to reconnoiter their position. On the 12th, the enemy advanced to meet him, and sent to his camp the governor's proclamation, with a manifesto, and a letter to the general; and on the two following nights General M Donald drew off his army towards Negro-head-point. General Moore ordered Colo

nels Caswell and Lillington to unite their forces with him, and pursue the enemy.

Colonels Lillington and Caswell formed a junction at Moore's Creek bridge; proceeded to destroy part of the bridge, and throw up a small breast-work, and awaited the movements of the enemy. On the morning of the 27th, the enemy advanced in force at day break, and commenced a furious attack upon the breast-work, under the command of Captains M'Cleod and Campbell, (General M'Donald being detained by sickness.) When they had approached within about 30 paces of the intrenchment, the patriots opened a severe fire upon them; their captains fell, and the remainder soon fled, the patriots pursued, and their General M'Donald became their prisoner the next day, together with all the waggons, bagg age, and military supplies of the army, amounting in the whole to 13 waggons, 350 guns, &c. 150 swords and dirks, and about 1500 rifles. General Clinton and Lord William Campbell were at this time in Cape Fear River, waiting the issue of events, and ready to join the royalists in support of the governor; but this defeat suppressed the insurrection in North-Carolina, and established the patriots.

Congress had recommended to South-Carolina to establish a new form of government, which was strongly opposed in their provincial congress; but at this critical moment, the act of Parliament bearing date December 21st, 1775, eonfiscating all American property found afloat on the high seas, and compelling the crews of all vessels, so taken, to serve as common sailors in the British ships of war, arrived by express from Savannah, which turned the scale so far as to obtain a vote for an independent constitution, with this saving clause--" till a reconciliation with Great Britain shall take place."

Gen. Howe, while at Boston, sent four transports, under the command of Capt. Maitland, to Georgia, to obtain a quantity rice; but the Georgians rose in arms, and with the assistance of the South-Carolinians, burnt the vessels, captured the crews, and thus defeated the enterprise, as well as the expectations of Gen. Howe.

Congress had now under their command a naval force consisting of two ships, two brigs, and a sloop, carrying a force of about 200 marines, under the command of Commo. dore Ezekiel Hopkins. On the 17th of February, this fleet sailed from Cape Henlopen, and in 15 days came to anchor off the island of Abacco, lying near New-Providence. From this station the marines were embarked on board several small transports, and made a descent upon the island of New-Providence on the 2d of March, which they took with but little opposition, and carried off from the fort 40 cannon, 15 brass mortars, &c. together with the governor, lieut. governor, and one counsellor of the island.

On the 4th of April, the fleet fell in with, and took a British schooner, near the east end of Long-Island, and on the 5th they took a bomb brig, laden with arms and military stores, which was to them a most valuable prize.. On the 6th, part of the fleet engaged the British ship Glasgow, of 20 guns, in a severe action, which continued from half past two in the afternoon, until night parted the combatants, and the next morning the Glasgow took advantage of the wind, and joined the fleet at Newport. Commodore Hopkins stood in for New-London, where he deposited his stores taken on the the cruize, by order of Congress.




PENDING these operations in America, the battles of Lexington and Bunker's Hill, together with the appointment of General Washington as commander in chief of the American armies, had reached England, as well as the addresses and petitions of Congress, that have been noticed, all which produced very serious impressions upon the people, and upon government; but the king and the ministry were obstinately bent on war. The sentiments of the lower class of people were strongly expressed by that reluctance they shewed at enlisting into the service, which so much embarrassed ministers that they were constrained to the alternative of withdrawing the garrison from the fortress of Gibraltar, to fill their ranks in America, and of supplying their place in garrison by detachments from Hanover. Their next dependence was on parliament, which commenced its sittings on the 26th of October. The king, in his speech to parliament, reproached the American colonies with ambitious views, and as aiming at independence; and added-"I have received the most friendly offers of foriegn assistance; and if I shall make any treaties, they shall be laid before you. I have in testimony of my affections for my people, sent to the garrisons of Gibraltar and Port Mahon, a part of my electoral troops, that a larger number of the established forces of this kingdom may be applied to the maintenance of its authority. When the deluded multitude against whom this force will be employed, shall become sensible of their error, I shall be ready to receive the misled with tenderness and mercy. I shall give authority to certain persons to grant general,

or particular pardons, and indemnities, in such manner, and to such persons as they shall think fit, and to receive any province which may be disposed to return to its allegiance," &c.

Such was the spirited opposition to this speech, that the debates spun out through the night. The madness and folly of that war into which ministers had involved the country, were pourtrayed in the most glowing colours, as well as the necessity, and immediate expediency of closing the expensive and sanguinary scene, by treating with America upon such terms as would restore her to her former standing in her relations with the mother country; but all to no effect, the die was cast, and although Lord North acknowledged that he had been deceived in American affairs, yet" to recede will be ruin and disgrace." At five o'clock in the morning, the motion of the opposition to amend the motion for an address to his majesty in answer to his speech, was negatived by 278, to 108; and the address was carried forward without further opposition.

In the House of Lords the opposition was equally spirited; but ministers prevailed, with about the same majority as in the House of Commons; yet nineteen peers signed, and entered their protest against prosecuting the American war, in which they animadverted with great severity upon the measures of ministers, in employing foreign troops, &c.

The legality of the question of introducing foreign troops into Great-Britain, or any of her dependencies, became serious, as a national, constitutional question; but it was overruled in both houses by decided majorities.

These points being settled, Parliament now saw their way clear to go all lengths with ministers in prosecuting the war with vigour. It was now proposed in a committee of supply, that the naval establishment of sailors, and

« PreviousContinue »