Page images
PDF
EPUB

vened at Augufta on the 16th of Auguft. General 1781, Greene's fuccefs in South Carolina, having opened the way for gov. Rutledge's fafe return to that ftate, he ex+ ercifed his authority afresh, and on the 27th of September, iffued a proclamation, offering those inhabitants of the state who had joined the British, pardon on condition of their doing fix months militia duty, with the exception of fuch as had taken commiffions, figned congratulatory addreffes on British victories, or who had been otherwise active in fupport of their government. In a few weeks, several hundreds came out of the British lines, and greatly reinforced the American militia. Many were now as affiduous in framing excufes for having arranged themselves under the British standard, as they had been the year before to apologize for their involuntary support of rebellion. Several caft themselves on the public mercy, though excepted by the proclamation. The governor afterward iffued writs for a new election of reprefentatives, by virtue of the extraordinary power delegated to him before the furrender of Charlestown. The elections were to be held in the ufual places where it was practicable, and in other cafes as near as fafety and other circumstances would permit. It was ordered by the fame authority, that at the election the votes of fuch only fhould be received as had never taken British protection, or who having taken it, had notwithstanding rejoined their countrymen, on or before the date of the proclamation. Other perfons, though residents, were not confidered as freemen of the ftate, or entitled to the full privilege of citizenship. To counteract the feveral -measures of the governor, general Leslie issued a proclamation on the 15th of December, affuring his maP 2 jesty's

1781. jesty's loyal fubjects in the province, that they might rely on speedy and effectual fupport being given to them, by the exertions of the forces under his command; and at the fame time giving notice, that the fevereft punishments should be inflicted on all who, having folicited for and obtained the enjoyment of the privileges of a British subject, should again take arms against his majesty's government, or serve in any civil capacity under a fecond ufurpation.

Vermont, though not admitted into the confederation, nor acknowledged by the United States, exercifes all the powers of an independent state-has her legislative, judicial and executive branches, and will continue them, without fubjecting herself to the payment of any part of the continental debt till received into the union.

LETTER VII.

Rotterdam, April 30, 1782.

FRIEND G.

ΤΗ

HE congrefs of the United States of America, having at length (that they might gain Spain) agreed to recede from their claim to the navigation of the Miffiffippi, Mr. Jay, agreeable to the request of the count de Florida Blanca, delivered in propofitions relaSept. 22. tive to an intended treaty, on the 22d of laft September.

The

The 6th article was thus expreffed-" The United 1781. States fhall relinquifh to his catholic majefty, and in future forbear to use, the navigation of the river Miffifsippi from the point where it leaves the United States down to the ocean." But it was accompanied with this remark of his among others-" If the acceptance of it fhould, together with the propofed alliance, be poftponed to a general peace, the United States will cease to confider themselves bound by any propofitions or offers, which he may now make in their behalf." The defign of the Spanish court appears to be the drawing of all fuch conceffions from the United States, that their prefent diftrefs and the hopes of aid may extort. Befide, by protracting negotiations about the treaty, they may intend to avail themselves of these conceffions at a future day, when the inducements for offering them have ceased. They neither refuse nor promise to afford the United States further aids. Delay may be deemed their fyftem. The American commiffioners at the European courts labor under great difadvantages, as their dispatches brought by the captains of veffels are not fent to them by a trufty officer, and therefore are liable to be opened and fuppreffed, as is known to have been done in certain inftances. Few of the proceedings of congrefs remain long fecret; and one of their agents has informed them, that he had very good authority for faying, that copies of the letters which paffed between the committee and the late commiffioners in France, are now in the hands of a certain foreigner. How he got them the agent knows not; but he afferts it as a fact.

[blocks in formation]

1781.

The arrival of the British Weft India trade was fo much later than had been expected, that adm. Darby kept the fea till November. It is fomewhat remarkable, that neither the allied fleets, nor the British, took a fingle prize during the long term they were respectively.. at fea.

27.

The Spaniards, though they engaged in the expedition against Minorca, did not relax in their operations against Gibraltar. For the more certain and fpeedy reduction of the place, they erected ftupendous works, which were at length arrived at the highest state of perfection, after immenfe labor and expence. Gen. Elliot confidered this as the proper feason for attempting at once to frustrate all their views, by attacking, storming Nov. and destroying them. The time being fixed and the arrangements made, a ftrong detachment iffued from the garrifon upon the fetting of the moon, at 3 o'clock in the morning. The troops were divided into three columns, and the whole commanded by gen. Rofs. Each column was formed in the following order, viz. an advanced corps, a body of pioneers, a party of artillery men carrying combuftibles, a fuftaining corps, and a reserve in the rear. The pioneers of the left column were feamen. Nothing could exceed the filence and order of the march, the vigor and fpirit of the attack, or the exact combination of all the parts. The whole exterior front of the Spanish works was every where attacked at the fame inftant, and the ardor of the troops was irrefiftible. The Spaniards gave way on every fide, and foon abandoned their works with the utmost precipitation. In half an hour, two mortar batteries of ten 13 inch mortars, and three batteries of heavy cannon, with

all

all the lines of approach, communication and traverse, 1781. were in flames, and whatever was fubject to the action of fire was finally reduced to afhes. The mortars and cannon were spiked, and their beds, carriages and platforms deftroyed. The magazines blew up one after another in the courfe of the conflagration. The whole Spanish camp continued fpectators of the havoc, without an effort to fave or even avenge their works, unless an ill directed and ineffectual fire of round and grape fhot might be confidered as either. The whole service was performed, and the detachment returned to the garrifon before day break. Its lofs was too inconfiderable to be mentioned.

[ocr errors]

On the 27th of November, his British majefty went to the house of peers and opened the feffion of parliament. The fpeech expreffed the king's determined refolution to perfevere in the defence of his dominions, until fuch a pacification could be made as might consist with the honor of his crown, and the permanent interest and fecurity of his people. The loffes in America were neither diffembled nor palliated; but stated as the ground for requiring the firm fupport of parliament, and a more vigorous, animated and united exertion of the faculties and refources of the people. The favorable appearance of affairs in the East Indies was noticed; which was the only ray of fuccefs with which the fpeech was illuminated. An account had been received, that on the 1ft of July, Sir Eyre Coote with his little army came to a general action with Hyder Ally, which lasted eight hours, and was a hard fought day on both fides. The amazing fuperiority of the enemy yielded at length to the fteadiness, fpirit and bravery of Sir Eyre's troops. P 4

Hyder

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »