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1782. The eagerness of the Spaniards to gain poffeffion of Minorca after landing on the island, was fo exceffive, as to induce them, through the medium of a bribe, infidiously to attempt corrupting the fidelity of the governor. The duke de Crillon fuffered himself to become the inftrument in this business. General Murray treated the infult with a fuitable difdain. The close inveftiture of Fort St. Philip, from the time of the enemy's landing, wholly prevented the garrison's being fupplied with vegetables. The want of thefe, destroyed in a great meafure, the benefits which might have been otherwise expected from the general plenty enjoyed in other respects. The fcurvy raged among the troops to a high degree, and was attended by a putrid peftilential fever and a mortal dyfentery. Much the greater part of the British foldiers had been eleven years on the island, and had lived conftantly upon falt provifions, fo that the want of vegetables was the more fenfibly felt, when they came to be deprived of them. The progrefs of the diftemper was alfo much furthered by the clofe confinement of the men within the narrow limits of the fortress; and ftill more fo by the tainted air of the cafemates and fouterrains, which the cannonade and bombardment of the enemy rendered their only habitations, and which became every day more pernicious by occupancy.

The combined forces amounted to 16,000 regulars, attended by a prodigious artillery, confifting of 109 pieces of the heaviest cannon, and 36 great mortars, The garrifon confifted only of 2692 men; of thefe 2016 were British and Hanoverian regular troops, including however in this number, 400 invalids, who had been fent from Britain in 1775. A marine corps, which had been formed

formed upon the prefent occafion, and was of excellent 1782. fervice, compofed the greater part of the remainder. A handful of Greeks and Corficans also behaved with much bravery. The works of the fortrefs were fo numerous, that the garrison, in full health, did not amount to half the number which would have been neceffary to their effectual defence. This weakness probably led the duke de Crillon to lie fomewhat unguardedly in his head quarters at Cape Mola, which induced a vigorous and fuccessful fally from the garrifon. The troops employed in it furprised and routed the enemy; chafed the duke from his poft, and fecured themfelves fo effectually in it, that though he brought up his whole army to diflodge them, he defifted from the attack; and left them to return the following night in fafety. This happened early in November, about the time when the enemy opened their bomb batteries. Though the befiegers kept a cautious distance in the conftruction and progrefs of their works; yet their vaft and numerous artillery were fo weighty, powerful and inceffant in their battery, and fuch showers of great fhells were continually poured into the place, that they foon ruined the upper defences of the fortrefs, and rendered ufelefs a great number of


The garrifon displayed the greatest zeal, valor and conftancy; but in the beginning of February was fo much reduced by fickness, that only 660 were left fit for duty of these, all but one hundred were fo far tainted with the fcurvy, that the physicians and furgeons declared, that they could hold out only a very few days, before they must be fent to the hofpital. They also faid, that a few days longer obftinacy in defence must Q& prove

1782. prove the deftruction of the remains of that brave garrifon, as there were no means of keeping the greater part of them much longer alive, but by a speedy relief of wholesome air, aided by an abundant fupply of vegetables. The neceffary guards on the last night of defence, required 415 men upon duty, fo that there were only 245 left, 170 lefs than the neceffary number for the next relief, and no picquet could be at all formed.

Under these circumftances, the governor was reduced to the neceffity of capitulating. He obtained all the honors of war, and every thing he required, excepting that of freeing the garrifon from being prisoners, which the duke de Crillon affured him, the Spanish king in his inftructions had particularly tied him down from granting; but the troops were to be fent to Britain, fubject to the customary conditions of not ferving till exchanged, or discharged by a peace. The Corficans and other foreigners were fecured in their perfons and effects, and in the liberty of going where they pleased.

The poor remains of the garrifon, while marching through the Spanish and French armies, which were drawn up in oppofite lines for their paffage, exhibited fuch a tragical fpectacle as is not often seen, though it was at the fame time much to the glory of the fufferers. Six hundred old, emaciated, worn-down and decrepid foldiers, were followed by 120 of the royal artillery, and 200 seamen: about 20 Corficans, and 25 Greeks and Turks, Moors and Jews, &c. clofed the proceffion. When the battalions arrived at the place appointed for laying down their arms, the foldiers exclaimed with tears in their eyes-"We furrender them to God alone." They seemingly derived great confolation from the opi̟


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nion that the victors could not boaft of their conquest 1782. in taking an hofpital. The indignation and grief expreffed by the British troops on their being at length vanquished, was mentioned in terms of admiration, and of the highest honor to the garrifon, in the Spanish published accounts of this tranfaction. During the fiege from the 19th of Auguft 1781, to the 4th of February inclufive, the total of the killed was 59, and of the wounded 149.

The fympathy discovered by the enemy upon the occafion, was highly to their honor. Several of the common foldiers of both armies were fo moved by the wretched condition of the garrifon, that involuntary tears dropped from them as the prisoners paffed along. The fubfequent tenderness fhown by the duke de Crillon, the count of the fame name and family, and the baron de Falkinhayn, who commanded the French troops, in their continued fupply of all neceffaries to the fick, and their unremitted attention to their recovery, was beyond all praise.

The members in the British houfe of commons oppofed to the administration, aimed at binding up the hands of the executive government by a strong and explicit declaration of the opinion of parliament. Gen. Conway therefore moved-" That an humble address 22. be prefented to his majesty, that he will be pleased to give directions to his minifters not to purfue any longer the impracticable object of reducing his majesty's revolted colonies, by force, to their allegiance, by a war on the continent of America, and to affure his majesty, that his faithful commons will most cheerfully concur with him in fuch measures as may be found neceffary to



1782. accelerate the bleffing of returning peace." The debates were warm, and held till two in the morning; when upon the divifion the numbers for, the motion. were 193, and againft it 194. The majority of one only on the fide of ministry, proved that their influence was nearly at an end. Five days after Conway renewed his motion. The debates it occafioned continued till near two in the morning, when the attorney general moved -“That the present debate be adjourned until the 13th of March." There were for the adjournment 215 against 234. The original motion, and an address to the king formed upon the refolution, were then carried without a divifion, and the addrefs was ordered to be prefented by the whole houfe. The next day, the attorney general moved to bring in a bill to enable his majefty to conclude a peace or truce with the revolted colonies in America, which was agreed to. The bill had for its object the repeal of all acts relative to the commerce of America, from the 12th of Charles II. The fame day the fecretaries of ftate fent a letter to the lord mayor of London, informing him of the apprehenfion which exifted of riots and tumults in the evening; that fo proper meafures might be taken for fecuring the public peace. It was feared, that the great and general joy occafioned by the carrying of Conway's motion would Mar. have produced thofe riots. On the 4th of March, his majesty's answer was reported to the house, and the thanks of the houfe unanimoufly voted to the king for the fame. After which Conway rofe and moved another refolution-" That this houfe will confider as enemies to his majefty and this country, all those who shall endeavour to frustrate his majesty's paternal care for the


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