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Admiral Darby remained at Torbay; but was foon 1781. reinforced by feveral fhips from different ports, till his fquadron was increased to 30 fail of the line, with which he was ordered to fea with the utmost expedition, for the preservation of the expected West India convoy. The delay however of waiting for the reinforcement and inftructions in the firft inftance, and contrary winds afterward, detained the fleet till the 14th of September, notwithstanding the urgency of the occafion. Before it failed, the combined fleets had feparated. They were in exceeding bad condition. In the first outfet they were poorly manned, the Spanish particularly. Befide a great mortality, which had prevailed during the whole cruise, and a prodigious number of fick in both fleets, a confiderable majority of the fhips were fcarcely capable of living at fea in a violent gale. The hard weather therefore that came on in the beginning of September, fruftrated all their views; fo that abandoning all hopes of intercepting the British convoys, they were glad to get into port as foon as poffible. The French fleet reSept. turned to Breft the 11th of September, and the Spanish 11. proceeded directly home.

The prefent fhall close with extracts from fome curious letters To Mr. Vergennes. Paffy, Feb. 13, 1781.

I am grown old, and it is probable I fhall not long have any more concern in thefe affairs. I therefore take occafion to exprefs my opinion to your excellency, that the prefent conjuncture is critical;-that there is fome danger left the congrefs fhould lofe its influence over the people, if it is unable to procure the aids that are wanted, and that the whole fyftem of the new government in America may thereby be fhaken;--and that if VOL. IV. M the

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1781. the English are fuffered once to recover the country, fuch an opportunity of effectual operation may not occur again in the courfe of ages." To ToMarch 12, 1781. "To give the states a signal proof of his friendship, his majesty has refolved to grant them the fum of fix millions [of livres] not as a loan, but as a free gift. The fum was intended for the fupply of the army, and it was thought beft to put it into the general's [Washington's] hands, that he should draw for it, that it might not get into thofe of the different boards or committees, who might think themfelves under a neceffity of diverting it to other purposes. There was no room to difpute on this point, every donor having the right of qualifying his gift with fuch terms as he thinks proper.-The. minister proceeded to inform me, that the courts of Petersburgh and Vienna had offered their mediation. It was not doubted, that congrefs would readily accept the proposed mediation, from their own fense of its being ufeful and neceffary.-I have paffed my feventy-fifth year." [Soon after this was written, col. Laurens arrived, which gave occafion for mentioning] July 26, 1781. With regard to the fix millions given by the king in aid of our operations for the prefent campaign, before the arrival of Mr. Laurens, 2,500,000 of it went in the fame fhip with him in cafh-2,200,000 were ordered by him and are fhipped-1,500,000 was fent to Holland to go in the hip commanded by capt. Gillon.”

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LET

LETTER VI.

Roxbury, Jan. 12, 1782.

CER

ERTAIN refolutions of congress, as they refer 1781. to col. Laurens and the fupplies from France (whose arrival has been mentioned) neceffarily demand our first attention. On a report of a committee, to whom was referred a letter of the 2d of last September, together with fundry papers, containing an account of the negotiation with which he was intrusted, congress Sept. refolved on the 4th, "That all the clothing, artillery, 4. arms and military ftores, fhipped in pursuance of the orders of the honorable John Laurens, for the ufe of the United States, be upon their arrival in any of the ports of these United States, delivered to the order of the board of war, who are hereby empowered and directed to take charge and direction of the fame:-That all the money fhipped by the order of Mr. Laurens, for the use of the United States, be, upon its arrival, delivered to the order of the fuperintendant of finance, who is hereby empowered and directed to take charge of the fame." The next day they refolved" That the conduct of lieut. col. Laurens, in his miffion to the court of Versailles, as fpecial minifter of the United States, is highly agreeable to congrefs, and entitles him. to public approbation." To fupply any deficiency that there might be in their refolution refpecting monies arriving from Europe, they refolved on the 3d of DeM 2

cember

1781.cember-" That the fuperintendant of the finances be, and hereby, is authorized and directed to apply and dispose of all monies which have been or may be obtained in Europe by fubfidy, loan or otherwife, according to the feveral refolutions and acts of congress now exifting, or which may hereafter be made for the appropriation of monies belonging to the United States." However gratefully they thought of the French king's free gift, they could not with any propriety accede to the mode in which it was to be applied to the benefit of the United States. By paffing into the hands of the commander in chief, it would fubject the army to an appearance of being penfioned by France, and when generally known by the troops might loofen their relative dependence upon congrefs; they therefore wifely directed, that the military ftores fhould be delivered to the order of the board of war, and that the disposal of the monies fhould reft with the fuperintendant, fubject to their own appointments.

We must now pass to South Carolina.

When the continental officers under gen. Greene had heard of the manner in which col. Hayne was executed, and that notwithstanding the general cartel, feveral officers of militia were still detained in captivity, they made a reprefentation thereof in writing to Greene on the 20th of Auguft; and recommended, that a ftrict inquiry fhould be made into the feveral matters mentioned, and if afcertained, that he would be pleased to retaliate in the most effectual manner, by a fimilar treatment of British fubjects which were or might be in his power. They voluntarily fubjected themfelves to all the confe-quences, to which they would be expofed in cafe of

capture.

capture. A few days after, Greene iffued from his head 1781. quarters at Camden a proclamation, wherein he exprefsly declared" It is my intention to make reprisals for all fuch inhuman infults, as often as they fhall take place." -He added, "I further declare, that it is my intention to take the officers of the regular forces, and not the feduced inhabitants who have joined their army, for the objects of my reprifals." Greene demanded alfo from the British commanders their reafons for the execution of Hayne. He received a written answer, figned N. Balfour, in which there was an acknowledgment, "that it took place by the joint order of lord Rawdon, and himself, but in confequence of the most exprefs directions from lord Cornwallis, to put to death those who fhould be found in arms, after being at their own requests received as fubjects, fince the capitulation of Charlestown, and the clear conqueft of the province in the fummer of 1780." General Greene replied to lieut. col. Balfour on the 19th of September-" Sir, your favor of the 3d inftant I have received, and am happy for the honor of col. Hayne, to find nothing better to warrant his cruel and unjust execution, than the order of lord Cornwallis, given in the hour of victory, when he confidered the lives, liberties and property of the people proftrate at his feet: but I confefs I cannot express my astonishment, that you and lord Rawdon shouldgive fuch an extraordinary example of severity, upon the authority of that order, under fuch a change of circumstances, so long after it had been remonftrated against, and after a cartel had been fettled, to restrain improper severities, and to prevent the neceffity of retaliation. You will fee by my letter to lord Cornwallis

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