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'779* vereignty. The smallest disorder or pillage was.not per-, mkf.ed; and the marquis, in lieu of plunder, rewarded the soldiers and volunteers with a considerable gratuity in ready money. His stay was short: he left a garrison of 1500 men behind him, who with the strength of the works, and the powerful artillery in their hands, will be able to defend Dominica effectually. We are in expectation of hearing soon of count d'Estaing's operations;-, -: --. .... An embargo having been laid in the southern states on the exportation of grain and flour to these eastern ones, occasioned a scarcity of bread at Boston. What from drought the last summer, a blight on the rye, the neglect of tillage by the husbandman's being called off to the army, and divers other causes, the inhabitants of the sarming towns could not afford a sufficient supply to the sea-ports. These have fitted out a number of cruisers, which in some instances have procured a temporary relief; but "the trade and harbours upon the Massachusetts sea coasts have been left in such an unguarded and defenceless situation, that where the Bay-men have taken one vessel from the enemy, their small privateers out of New York have taken ten from them*." The last month the Bostonians were in great distress for want . .. of flour: but th« other day a cargo of it happily arrived 12, from Baltimore. The Massachusetts house of assembly, judging it absolutely necessary that so the army might be kept together, have engaged to make good the wages of the officers and soldiers raised in this state, at the close of the contest, provided it is not done by congress.
* The Maffaohusetts council,
LETTER VII. ,
'TPHE present letter shall begin with what was a chief'77k -*- subject in the former—our British admiral Keppel. When he returned to Plymouth, he experienced the benefit arising from temperate conduct. Unanimity prevailed among the officers, and every exertion was made in refitting the ships: so that he sailed on his second cruise the 24th of August, and kept the sea as long as the approaching winter could admit. The French fleet left Brest a week before -, but steered to the southward, and amused themselves about Cape Finisterre; thus their own coasts and the bay were abandoned to the British, who were in vain endeavouring to obtain intelligence of them. The French commerce now became a prey to the British cruisers, in a degree which few former wars had equalled for the time, while the trade of Britain arrived in a state of security, scarcely exceeded by that of peace.
The reception which adm. Keppel met with,on his return from sea, both at court and at the admiralty, equalled his most sanguine expectations. An attempt however was made on his character from an unexpected quarter. Sir Hugh Palliser, on the 9th of December, preferred to the lords of the admiralty articles of accusation against him, for offences supposed to have been 3 committed
1778* committed on the 27th of the preceding July, after having withheld them near five months. A few hours after the charges were laid, the admiralty, without further inquiry, sent him notice to prepare for his trial. Sir Hugh mentioning in the house of commons, his having demanded a court martial on adm. Keppel, had the mortification to hear his conduct in so doing, and also in publishing, a month before, in the newspaper, a vindication of his own behaviour on the 27th of July, openly and without reserve condemned by every gentleman, of whatever side or party, who spoke on the 'occasion. The admiral's trial commenced at Portsmouth
1779. on the 7th of January. He gave notice to the admiralty, that he might find it useful to his defence to produce his instructions. The admiralty communicated to him his majesty's pleasure, and informed him, that they could not consent that the same should be laid before his council, or be produced at the court martial. Being willing to run any hazard for the benefit of the state, he neither produced them to his council, nor communicated their contents. His trial was not closed till the nth of February; when the court acquitted him of every charge in the fullest, clearest, and to him most honorable terms; further declaring, that he had behaved as became a judicious, brave, and experienced officer. They marked the conduct of his accuser in the body of the sentence, by declaring—" that the charge was malicious and ill-founded." The sentence was a matter of notoriety the next day at Westminster, when it was carried in the house of commons, with only one dissenting voice, " That the thanks of this house be given to admiral Augustus Keppel, &.c. for his having
gloriously gloriously upheld the honor of the British flagon the'779* 27th and 28th of July." The thanks of the lords in nearly the same terms, were agreed to, four days after. Public and unusual rejoicings, in various and remote parts of the kingdom, succeeded the sentence. The illuminations in London and Westminster, were such as have scarcely been exceeded upon any occasion. Sir Hugh Palliser having become the object of general odium, resigned his feat at the admiralty board, his lieutenant generalship of the marines, and his government of Scarborough castle: he also vacated his feat in parliament, and only retained his vice-admiralfhip, as a qualification for his trial by a court martial, which was ordered to be held upon him. The same began on the 12th of April, and closed the 5th of May, the court having, after two days deliberation, agreed upon their sentence. They gave it as their opinion, that his conduct and behaviour on the 27 th and 28 th of July, were, in many respects, highly exemplary and meritorious: at the same time they could not help thinking it was incumbent upon him to have made known to his commander in chief the disabled state of his ship the Formidable. Notwithstanding his omission in that particular, the court were of opinion, that he was not, in any other respect, chargeable with misconduct or misbehaviour on those days, and therefore acquitted him.
Lord Shuldham and commodore Rowley sailed from Spithead, last December the 25th, with their respective squadrons, and a convoy of near 300 sail. His lordship returned after seeing the West India and New York, fleets safe to the distance of 226 leagues from the Lizard; and the commodore proceeded on his voyage to rein
Vol. III. R force
1779* force admiral Byron. On the 8th of March, admiral Hughes, with fix ships of the line under his command, having the East and West India fleets tinder convoy, sailed from St. Helens for the East Indies, accompanied by several other men of war, some- in different services, and others to return after attending the merchantmen to a certain latitude.
The following accounts have been received from the West Indies, ;778. While the marquis de Bouille was engaged in reducing Dominica, admiral Barrington, with two ships of the line and some frigates, lay at Barbadoes, waiting merely for instructions which he had been ordered to expect at that place, and which were not yet arrived. It was the French declaration of war, published at Martinico, that first informed him of hostilities. The loss of two of Sir Peter Parker's frigates, taken by the French on the coast of Hispaniola, proved also the earliest mean of conveying intelligence to that admiral, as well as to the government of Jamaica, where he was stationed, that a war had actually commenced.
No sooner did adm. Barrington receive information of the invasion of Dominica, than he dispensed with the violation of his orders, and proceeded to its intended relief. He' was too late, as the conquest was but the work of a day: his small squadron however, removed the panic which had spread through the neighbouring islands, and effectually curbed the further enterprises of the enemy.
Count d'Estaing sailed from Boston, and commodore Hocham with the troops under gen. Grant from Sandy Hook, each on the fame day for the West Indies.