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1781. derated states fhould direct. The Maryland delegates then proceeded to fign and ratify the articles of confederation. This important event has been communicated to the executives of the feveral states; and the American minifters in Europe have been ordered to notify it to the refpective courts at which they refide.
Though a longer delay on the part of Maryland might have been productive of bad confequences, yet there are feveral members of congrefs, who are fenfible of its having been highly beneficial upon many occafions. As seven states were a majority, whenever that number met it was confidered as the representative body of the thirteen; and if four out of the seven* agreed, it paffed for the voice of the United States, even in thofe cafes, which by the confederation required the concurrence of nine ftates. The want of fuch concurrence, had the confederation been perfected at a very early date, would have prevented the execution of much business of the highest importance.
Congress refolved-" That it be, and hereby is, recommended to the several states, to amend their laws making the bills of credit emitted, under the authority of congrefs, a legal tender, fo that fuch bills fhall not be a tender in any other manner than at their current value compared with gold and filver." The fame day they refolved" That the states be immediately called upon to furnish for the public expences, and for carrying on the war, their proportion of one million five hundred
* When congrefs confirmed the sentence of the court martial on general Lee, it was by a vote of four out of eleven present. See Vol. III. p. 222.
thousand dollars quarterly, the first quarterly payment to be made on the ift day of June next." Neither of thefe refolves will be fufficiently productive.
This fhall clofe with an extract from a letter of gen. Washington, written the beginning of April" I give it decifively as my opinion, that without a foreign loan our prefent force; which is but the remnant of an army, cannot be kept together this campaign, much lefs will it be increased and in readinefs for another. If France delays a timely and powerful aid in the critical posture of our affairs, it will avail us nothing fhould fhe attempt it hereafter. We are at this hour fufpended in the balance we cannot transport the provifions from the states in which they are affeffed, to the army, because we cannot pay the teamfters, who will no longer work for certificates.In a word, we are at the end of our tether, and now or never our deliverance must come.”
Rotterdam, May 5, 1781.
S foon as the rupture between Great Britain and Holland was known at Versailles, the king gave immediate orders that all the Dutch veffels in any of the French ports fhould be made acquainted with it; and F 2
1781. accordingly a circular letter was written by the marquis de Caftries on the 25th of last December, and fent to the feveral ports. The firft material capture made by the British, after the hoftile manifefto against the Dutch, was that of the Rotterdam of 50 guns and 300 men belonging to the states general, by the Warwick, capt. Elphinstone, on the 5th of January.
On the 9th the Dutch council of state proposed, that the marine of the republic fhould confift of 94 fhips and armed veffels, and 18,430 feamen. There were to be II fhips of the line, 15 of 50 guns and 2 of and 2 of 40. Three days after, the ftates general published a placart, granting letters of marque against the British. This was followed after a time by an answer to the British manifefto.
Notwithstanding the neceffary increase of national expences in Great Britain by the Dutch war, yet toward the end of January, the house of commons hearkened to the calls of humanity, and in confequence of different petitions, voted for the relief of the fufferers by the hurricane at Barbadoes 80,000l. and at Jamaica 40,0001.
A fecond attempt has been made on the Isle of Jersey. The baron de Rullecourt, at the head of about 2000 men, conducted it. By the badness of the weather near half his troops were driven back to France, and never joined him. He at length however made his way with difficulty, through the rocks of la Roque-Platte; and landed a number in the dark, three miles from St. Helier, the capital of the island; though five veffels were loft, and 200 of his men perished. A fmall party of militia, meant for the guard of a redoubt in the place, were feized asleep by the enemy, who were thus, for several hours, on the island without an alarm's being
given. The baron, leaving about 120 men in the re- 1781. doubt, marched to St. Helier. He fecured the avenues of the town, furprifed the guards in the dark, and poffeffed the market place without noife. The inhabitants were astonished at break of day, on finding themfelves in the hands of an enemy. Major Corbet, the deputy governor, with the magiftrates and principal people, being brought prifoners to the court-houfe, the French commander wrote terms of capitulation, which he propofed to have figned; and by which the island was to be furrendered to France, and the troops to lay down their arms and be fent to Great Britain. It was in vain remonstrated, that no act of the lieut. governor's could have the smallest validity in his present fituation. Rullecourt was peremptory, and Corbet too inadvertently figned. The French commander then fummoned Elizabeth caftle under the terms of the capitulation, Capts. Aylward and Mulcafter, having escaped thither on the first alarm, and being now in a degree prepared against a sudden attack, rejected the fummons, and refused paying the smallest regard to the capitulation, or any orders issued by the lieut. governor in the present circumstances. The French placing Corbet in their front, advanced toward the gate, but were fired upon with fuch vigor from the caftle, that they foon made the best of their way back to the town for fhelter.
Mean while the alarm extended, and the neareft troops and militia advanced toward the point of danger, and formed on the heights near the town under major Pierfon, who instantly secured a hill of great advantage, which the enemy had overlooked. Rullecourt fent to the major, requiring his compliance with the terms of
1781. the capitulation; and received for answer, " that if he and his troops did not lay down their arms within twenty minutes, and furrender themselves prifoners of war, at the expiration of that time, they might be certain of an attack." Pierfon was punctual to his word; and made an affault on the town in all acceffible parts with fuch impetuofity, that the enemy were driven rapidly upon the centre of their force in the market place, where the action was foon decided; for Rullecourt being mortally wounded, the next in command feeing the hopelessness of their fituation, requested the lieut. governor to refume his authority, and to accept of their furrender as prifoners of war. The fatisfaction arising from fo fudden a deliverance, and so brave an exertion, was damped by the fall of major Pierfon, who was shot through the heart in the inftant of victory. The extraordinary military abilities difplayed by fo young an officer (for he was only five and twenty) rendered his death an object of general regret. During the engagement the redoubt was retaken with fixed bayonets, and without firing a fhot, by the grenadiers of the 83d regiment. Thus the whole French party, amounting to near Soo, were either killed or taken.
On the 24th of January, lord George Gordon was privately taken from the Tower to Westminster-hail, arraigned, and ordered to prepare for trial on Monday the 5th of February. When he came to be tried, though the crowd was very large, order was obferved, and there was no mischief or violence. About five the next morning he was acquitted. On the news of his acquittal, there were rejoicings and illuminations at Glasgow, Paifley, Dunbar, Montrofe, Brechin, and a