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on the 8th of July, by Sir George Collier, of his majesty's ship the Rainbow.
Sir George, in company with the Victor brig, discovered three sail in the morning of the sixth. Hechased with all the sail he could crowd: but observing the next day that they steered different courses, about two in the afternoon he tacked after the Hancock, which appeared the largest ship. She seemed at first rather to outsail the Rainbow ; but Manly endeavouring to make his ship sail better, started all his water forward, and so put her out of trim. At half past eight the next morning Sir George hailed her, and let the men know, that if they expected quarters, they must strike immediately. Manly endeavoured to avail himself of a fesh breeze just springing up Sir George therefore fired into him, on which he struck after a chase of thirty-nine hours. He had lately taken the Fox of twenty-eight guns on the banks of Newfoundland ; which was one of the three sail, and being discovered by the Flora on the seventh was chased till retaken. The third was the Boston continental frigate of thirty guns, commanded by capt. M'Neal, which escaped. The public are not satisfied with the conduct of the latter, imagining that if he had not left his consort, and that if both had behaved well, nei. ther would have been captured. The Hancock's compliment was 290 men, near as many as the Rainbow's.
On the first of December, the ship Flamand, capt. Landais, arrived at Portsmouth, from Marseilles. Mr. John Baptiste Lazarus Thevaneau de Francey is come supercargo and agent for the house of Roderique Hortales and company, alias Mr. Pierre Augustin Coron de Beaumarchais. The ship has brought 48 pieces of brass cannon, four-pounders, with carriages complete--19 nine inch mortars-250 bombs, nine inches----2,000 four-pound balls a quantity of intrenching tools-3000 fusces--1110 of another quality for dragoons--about 18,000 pounds of gun-powder--and 61,051 of briinstone. • The continent is looking out for important news from France.
THE hint you have received of a design to remove general
Washington from the command of the American army, will have made you desirous of knowing more of that business; let it then be first related. The general being applied to by one of his correspondents, answered from Valley-forge, January the 23d, 1778 " Whether a serious design of placing general Lee, (before captivation) at the head of the army, had ever entered into the head of a member of congress or not, I never was at the trouble of enquiring. I am told a scheme of that kind is now on foot by some, in behalf of another gentleman-whether true or false-serious or merely to try the pulse-I neither know nor care. Neither interested nor ambitious views led me into the service. I did not solicit the command; but accepted it alter much entreaty, with all that diffidence which a conscious want of ability and experience equal to the discharge of so important a trust must naturally excite in a mind not quite devoid of thought; and after I did engage, pursued the great line of my duty, and the object in view (as far as my judgment could direct) as pointedly as the ncedle to the pole. So soon as the public gets dissatisfied with my services, or a person is found better qualified to answer her expectation, I shall quit the helm with as much pleasure, and retire to a private station with as much content, as ever the wearied pilgrim felt upon his safe arrival at the holy land, or haven of hope, and shall wish most devoutly, that those who come after, may meet with more prosperous gales than I have done, and less difficulty. If the expectation of the public has not been answered by my endeavors, I have more reasons than one to regret it; but at present I shall only add, that a day may come, when the public cause is no longer to be benefited by a concealment of our circumstances, and till this period arrives, I shall not be among the first to disclose such truths as may injure it, however my character in the mean while may suffer.” On the 15th of February he had occasion for writing-“I can assure you that no person ever heard me drop an expression that had a tendency to resignation. The same principles that led me to einbark in the opposition to the arbitrary claims of Great-Britain, operate with additional force at this day; nor is it my desire to withdraw iny services while they are considered of importance in the present contest. But to report a design of this kind, is among the arts which those who are endeavoring to effect a change, are pracVol. II.
tising to bring it to pass. There is not an officer in the service of the United States, that would return to the sweets of domestic life with more heart-felt joy than I should, but I mean not to shrink in the cause. The design is not only seen through, but reprobated.” On the 20th, Patrick Henry, esq. governor of Virginia, forwarded an anonymous letter which had been sent him, to the general, and added-“There may be some scheme or party forming to your prejudice. The enclosed leads to a suspicion. Believe me, Sir, I have too high a sense of the obligations America has to you, to abet or countenance so unworthy a proceeding. I really think your personal welfare, and the happiness of America are intimately connected." The anonymous letter was dated-York-Town, January 12, 1778. It begins with highly complimenting Mr. Henry, and then proceeds to sketch out a disinal picture, and to hint at the remedy-"America can be only undone by herself. Her representation in congress is dwindled to only twenty-one members-her Adams--her Wilson-her Henry-are no more among them. Her counsels weak—and partial remedies applied constantly for universal diseases. Her army-what is it? a mob. Discipline unknown, or wholly neglected the quarter-masters and commissioners departments filled with idleness, ignorance and peculation. Our hospitals crowded with six thousand sick, and more dying in one months than perished in the field during the whole of the last campaign. The country distracted with the Don Qnixote attempts to regu. late the price of provisions. An artificial fainine created by it, and a real one dreaded from it. The northern arıny has shown what Americans are capable of with a general at their head. The southern army is no ways inferior. A Gates, a Lee, or a Conway, would in a few weeks render them an irresistible body of nien. The last in one of his letters to a friend, says, “A great and good God hath decreed America to be free; or the---and weak councellors would have ruined her long ago. You may rest assured of each of the facts related in this letter.” When Conway had recovered his original letter, which was written in October, he said to gen. Washington, in one of January the 27th_"I find, with great satisfaction, that the paragraph so much spoken of, does not exist in said letter, nor any thing like it. I must depend upon your justice, candor and generosity, for putting a stop to this forgery." Had he sent the letter itself, the conviction of the forgery might have been deemed much stronger; whereas many will doubt whether there was a forgery, upon being told that one of his warmest friends quoted the paragraph as authentic so early as October the 21st. Periodical letters were published and circulated in the continental newspapers, under the signature
of De Lisle, and the pretence of being translations from the brench, artfully calculated to promote the design against Washington, by insinuating into the inind of the reader, ideas tending to lessen him in the eye of the public. The writer of the preceding anonymous letter, is supposed to be the author of them. The design has not succeeded. The general has had too great a share of the people's. confidence and affection, to admit of an open attempt to remove him. Several members of.congress were engaged in the business—some of the Massachusetts delegates-particularly Mr. Samuel Adams. The army was so confident of it, and so enraged, that persons were stationed to Watch him as he approached, the camp, on his return home. Bui he is cominonly possessed of good intelligence, and was care un to keep at a safe distance, Had he fallen into the hands of the officers. when:in that paroxism of resentiment, they would probably have handled him so as to have endangered his
, and tarnished their own honor..
sassembly and Virginia house of burgesses to give instructi. resolo Llei delegates in congress, to move for an enquiry into tre causes of the ill success attending the campaign of 1776 ; and then to contrive that such resolves should be given into, as would either remove the general or produce his resignation, Mean while the names of Gates and Mifflin were held up, and played off to ripen the incasure. But the anonymous attempt upon the governor of Virginia, was reprobated by him, and the Massachusetts assembly was not in a temper to adınit of the trial tocnsnare them. As to generals Gates and Miffin, they had cleared themselves from having any design of removingchecoinniander in chief. The former has written to an intimate.correspondent —“ York-Town, 4th April, 1778. Dear Sir, Last night I re, ceived your affectionate letter of the 16th last; that of the 25th of February came to hand a few days before. Your remarks up: on the works and defences of your capital city are just; and I am convinced the town is lost in a very few hours after they are attacked. I have daily and weekly been telling your, and the other eastern delegates, that not only the metropolis, but the whole coasts of New-England were, in my opinion, the grang object of the enemy's resentment for the ensuing campaigo they were a parcel of blundering blockheads not to make that their object the last year. I think they might then bave united their whole force, and have made a much more honorable end of their summer's work than it pleased Heaven to give them. 1. find by your letters, that Boston, as well as this part of the continent, is infected by incendiaries, who endeavor, by ever
sy villainous art, to impress a belief that general Miffin and myself, are in a league with other designing and ainbitious spirits, to supersede general Washington. Nothing can be more wick: ed, nothing more false, than this diabolical calumny. General Mifflin, to whom I made known the industry of his enemies and mine, and the tricks of their emissaries, writes to you by this conveyance. You know his honor, inerit and services to the public'; you also know that whenever I have been called forth, I have done my best for the establishment of independence and peace: Is it generous, therefore, that we two should be selected for a sacrifice to a junto? For my part, I solemnly declare; I never was engaged in any plan or plot for the removal of general Washington,* nor do I believe any such plot ever existed --so help me Yours most truly." '
You may credit Gates's not believing such plot; but you must believe differently. The stile of general Mifflin's letter was “Dear Mr.
Audi et alterem partem. I declare to you, with the greatest sincerity and solemnity, that I never formed a plan or a party to injure general Washington's command. I never desired to have any person whomsoever, take the com: mand of the American army from him; nor have I said or donc any thing of, or respecting him, which the public service did not require ; and which I would not have said, with great freedom to you, as his friend, and as a friend to American inde. pendency. I never aspired, in thought, to the command of the army; and always would have deprecated the idea as improper and dangerous to myself and to America, had that idea occurred, which it never did to me-I hope to see you before long--I most ardently wish it and I pledge myself to you and my country, that I can and will justify my character of a patriot in all points, to your satisfaction.” This disagreeable relation will finish with a paragraph from general Washington's letter of March the 28th.- "My caution to avoid every thing that could injure the scrvice, prevented me from communicating, but to a very few of my friends, the intrigues of a faction whichi I know was formed against me, since it might serve to publislt our internal dissentions; but their own restless zeal to advance their views, has too clearly betrayed them, and made conceal. ment on my part fruitless."
Let us pass on to another event, which lias the appearance of being related to some plot. On Monday, January the 12th, the president laid before congress a packet containing blank papers, , * When gen. Gates's letters were examined by me, at his feat in Virginia, the latter end of 1781, there was not a lingle paragraph to be met with, that contained any intimation of his being concerned in Tuch a plan.