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was fent; the Eveillie a 64 gun fhip, and two frigates, 1781. under the command of Monf. Tilly. They failed from Newport on the 9th of February, with orders to go to 1 the Chesapeak, and attempt the deftruction of the Britifh fhips there, and the frigates that protected them.. They returned on the 25th without accomplishing the object of their miffion, through the precaution taken by the enemy. They however took or destroyed ten vessels, and brought to Newport the Romulus of 44 guns, which they captured at the entrance of the bay. Washington, defirous of ftopping the progrefs of the enemy in Virginia, proceeded to Newport, that he might difcourfe with the French commanders on the measures proper to be purfued. He went first on board d'Eftouches' fhip in the forenoon of March the 6th, where Rochambeau met him. It was agreed that d'Eftouches fhould fail immediately; and that Rochambeau fhould fend on board the men of war, a detachment of the army under the baron de Viomeuil. After spending an hour or two on board, Washington and Rochambeau landed at Newport about one o'clock. The neceffary measures were taken to expedite the fleet: but instead of failing the next day when the wind was as favorable for the French, and as adverse to the British as it could blow, they were delayed 24 hours for want Mar. of fupplies. They failed on Thursday evening the 8th 8. of March. They were followed on the Saturday by the British from Gardener's bay under adm. Arbuthnot, whỏ made fuch expedition as to intercept them off Cape Henry on the 16th. The two fleets were well poised in point of ftrength, the fuperiority of a few guns on the fide of the British, being counterbalanced by the greater number
1781. number of men on the other. The line was composed of eight fhips on each fide, including the Romulus of 44 guns in the French, and the Adamant of 50 in the British. A partial engagement took place. Each fide claimed the advantage: but the French abandoned their defign of fuccouring Virginia, and returned to Newport on the 26th. Had they gained the Chesapeak before overtaken by the British, Washington is of opinion, that the plan against Arnold could not have failed of fuccefs. The return of the French difconcerted the marquis de la Fayette. On his arrival at Annapolis in Maryland, he left his troops there, and haftened down the Chesapeak to get a body of militia in readiness for co-operation: but upon hearing what had taken place, he marched back with his detachment to the Head of Elk.
Sir Henry Clinton, to fupport the fouthern operations and increase their fuccefs, forwarded a convoy to the Chesapeak, with about 2000 choice troops on board
under gen. Phillips, whom he appointed to the chief Mar. command in Virginia. They arrived on the 25th of 25. March. Among the greatest misfortunes to the Ame
rican cause occafioned by the invasion of this ftate, must be reckoned the obstructions it has thrown on every preparation for the fupport of the fouthern army. It has kept back the raifing of recruits and every fupply.
Certain acts and concerns of congrefs remain to be related.
The capture of Mr. Laurens by the British made it neceffary for congrefs to appoint another gentleman tó fupply his place. They therefore commiffioned Mr. John Adams, on the 1ft of January, to be their minifter
plenipotentiary to the States General of the Dutch 1781. United Provinces. He was alfo empowered to negotiate a loan of money among the Hollanders; and in confidence of his fuccefs they directed, on the 3d of January, bills of exchange to be drawn upon him at fix months fight. On the 3d of February they agreed-" That it 3. be recommended to the feveral ftates, as indifpenfably neceffary, that they veft a power in congrefs, to levy for the ufe of the united states, a duty of five per cent. ad valorem, at the time and place of importation, upon all goods and merchandises of foreign growth and manufactures, which may be imported into any of the faid ftates from any foreign port, ifland or plantation, after the 1ft day of May, 1781, except arms, ammunition, clothing, and other articles imported on account of the united states, or any of them; and except wool cards and cotton cards, and wire for making them; and alfo except falt during the war :-Alfo a like duty of five per cent. on all prizes and prize goods, condemned in the court of admiralty of any of these states as lawful prize :-That the money arifing from the faid duties be appropriated to the dif charge of the principal and interest of the debts already contracted, or which may be contracted, on the faith of the united states, for fupporting the prefent war :That the faid duties be continued until the faid debts fhall be fully and finally discharged." Some gentlemen object to the recommendation, or at least a compliance with it, and say—" Drawing money infenfibly from the people by impofts may be a favorite scheme in monarchies and ariftocracies; but in republican governments, fuch as are established in America, is inexpedient, if not dangerous. When money is drawn from the people in
1781. fenfibly, they are lefs attentive to abuses in the expenditure: but when they are called upon for taxes and feel the burden of them, they are more watchful to fee that they are properly applied, and to prevent the rulers. from bribing the people with their own money, and fubverting the public liberty by the means put into their hands for fecuring and defending it." It will be long before the feveral ftates can be prevailed upon to veft congress with the defired power.
Congrefs on the 6th of February, ordered that the drawing of the fourth and laft clafs of the united states lottery should begin on the 2d of April. Through the amazing depreciation of the paper currency, the whole will turn out a fimple piece of business, and disappoint the original hopes both of the fortunate adventurers and of congrefs.
They proceeded by ballot to the election of a super20. intendant of finance, to examine into the ftate of the
public debts, expenditures, and revenue: to digest and report plans for improving and regulating the finances, and for establishing order and economy in the expenditure of the public money: and to the exercise of many other powers neceffary to complete the financier. Robert Morris efq; of Philadelphia was unanimously elected.
They paffed a commendatory refolution refpecting capt. John Paul Jones; and further refolved, that Dr. Franklin fhould acquaint his moft Chriftian majefty, that his majesty's offer of adorning capt. Jones with the cross of military merit was highly acceptable to congrefs. The finall fquadron which the captain commanded in 1779, was fitted out at the expence of his moft Chriftian majefty, who honored him with a French commiffion.
Monf. de Sartine, the minifter of the marine, requested 1781. Dr. Franklin to strengthen the fquadron by ordering the Alliance to join it, which was immediately done.
On the 12th of February the Maryland delegates laid before congress an act of their ftate, empowering them to subscribe and ratify the articles of confederation. The 1st of March was afterward fixed upon for their doing it. Maryland having no vacant western territory, contended with great juftice, that the unappropriated western country should be the common property of the union, and pledged as a fund for finking the continental debt; and declined acceding to the confederation till fome fatisfaction should be given upon that fubject. But congrefs having recommended it to the states, claiming fuch country, to remove the only obftacle to a final ratification; and then earnestly requested the legislature of Maryland to empower their delegates, they accordingly did fo on the 30th of laft January. They concurred in the measure, as well from a defire to perpetuate and ftrengthen the union, as from a confidence in the juftice and generofity of the larger ftates, and that fuperior to local interefts, they would consent to fuch arrangements of the unappropriated lands, included in their respective charters, as good policy required, and the great exertions of their own state in the common cause had fo highly deserved. When the 1ft of March was arrived, the New Mar. York delegates, by virtue of the powers with which their legislature had intrufted them, proceeded by an official act in congrefs to limit and reftri&t the boundaries of that state, and to relinquifh all right, jurisdiction and claim, to all lands to the northward and weftward of the fame, to be difpofed of as the congrefs of the confeVOL. IV. F