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distressing situation of public affairs led the late president 1779of congress, Mr. Laurens, to write to his friend—" Let 14, us look around and inquire into the state of the army, the navy, the treasury—the view is truly affecting; but what is most of all to be deplored is, the torpitude of national virtue. How many men are there who now in secret say, could I have believed it would have come to this, I would —. — I am not of that number."
Captain Cunningham, who took and carried the Dutch packet into Dunkirk, (Vol. II. p. 453) being captured on board a private armed cutter in the West Indies, was brought to New York, put under a rigorous and ignominious confinement, and ordered to be sent to Great Britain. Congress was induced by it to order a letter to be written to the British naval commander at «7, New York, demanding the reasons for the treatment he had met with; and resolved, that if they had not a satisfactory answer by the 1st of August, one or more persons should be confined to abide the fate of the said Cunningham. Two days after, congress having well considered the letters before them, giving an account, of the devastations of the enemy, and the burning of Fairfield, Norwalk and Bedford, " Resolved—That the marine committee be and are hereby directed to take the most effectual means to carry into execution the manifesto of October 30, 1778, by burning and destroying the towns belonging to the enemy in Great Britain and the West Indies."
The operations of war demand our further notice.
A daring and dangerous enterprise against the enemy's post at.gowk's Hook was committed to major Lee, The objects was to throw a lustre upon the American
X779-arms by 'surprising the posts, and immediately retiring with such prisoners as the major could conveniently make. Did it appear too hazardous, either in the exe-~ cution or the difficulty of effecting a retreat, he was at liberty to abandon it. The necessity of making a timely and safe retreat, was strongly inculcated by the commander in chief, and the major was desired to lose no time in attempting to remove or destroy any stores, or even in collecting stragglers. The major, with a party of 300 Virginians, a troop of dismounted dragoons, and - . one company from the Maryland line, proceeded on the 19. service, and very early'in the morning, before day light, completely surprised the post. Major Sutherland the commandant, with a number of Hessians, had the good for*"' tune to escape, by reason of the darkness, to a small block house on the left of the fort. Major Lee killed about. 3b of the enemy, and took 161 prisoners, including 7 officers, at the expence of about half a dozen men killed and wounded. In conformity to his orders, he made an immediate retreat without tarrying to destroy either barracks or artillery. The approach of day, and the' vicinity of the enemy's main body, rendered it absolutely' necessary. Lord Stirling took judicious measures to forward the enterprise, and to secure the retreat of Lee's' party. This affair for the size of it, may be ranged . with the most heroic actions of the war; considering the peculiar position of Powle's-Hook, and its being garri-' soned by 200 men.
The expeditions carrying on against PenObscot by the. Massachusetts, and against the Mohawks by the United States, will be related when brought to a close. . Gen. Sullivan being called away to command-the latter,
gen.- Gates left Boston and went.to Providence. In r779. May a number of,the troops under him, mutinied and were upon the point of marching off for want of bread" he prevailed upon them to stay a few days. „ During that period, he by express ordered flour,immediately tip from Boston, which however could not have been procured, had it not been from the captures just brought in by the cruisers. . The American privateers, the state and continental vessels, have been very successful in capturing and getting safe into port a number of West India ships and others of great value, more than sufficient to counterbalance by much the losses the United States have sustained in a similar way. It was computed, on the 15th of July, that within six or seven weeks preceding, upward of 20,000. barrels of provisions, designed for the use of the enemy, had found their way into the Massachusetts ports. But fo': these and such like captures, the inhabitants would have been under the greatest difficulty through a prevailing scarcity. One while there was such a want of bread in Boston, that samilies who had lived well were without it many days. The price however of all articles, is rapidly rising in a continual succession, occasioned chiefly by the enormous quantity of paper currency, genuine and counterfeit, that is in circulation. This rise of commodU ties, and the associated depreciation of continental money; has spread such an alarm, that at Philadelphia and inthp Massachusetts, the inhabitants are attempting afresh-, so, remedy both, by a regulation of prices—which, like Sisyphus's stone, will never reach the summit of thf evil..- TIM *1T
1779* We haVe heard within these few days, by a letter' from Martinico of June 29th, that adm. Byron having left St. Lucie with an intention, aS it is thought, of convoying a large British West India fleet through the passages, count d'Estaing immediately embraced the opportunity, and planned an expedition against St. Vincent, which succeeded. We are also informed, that since then, Mr. de la Motte Piquet, with five ships of the line, had joined the count; who finding himself sufficiently strong, had planned an expedition against Grenada, and was to sail for that island the day after the date of the letter.
The count sent lieut. De Trolong Du Rumain to St;
. Vincent, with about 450 men, only half of them regulars,
\6. who landed the 16th of June, and were immediately joined by the Carribs; they then possessed themselves of the heights which commanded the town of Kingston; On the 18th, the island was delivered up by capitulation without having made any resistance. This may have been owing partly to the inhabitants being in dread bf the Carribs, and partly to -their apprehended danger from attempting a defence; and hone from changing sovereigns.
Mr. Gerard has obtained leave to return to France^ on account of the ill state- of his .health; arid the new"
. minister plenipotentiary, the chevalier de la Luzerne, i& 3. arrived at Boston in a French frigate. Mr. John Adarrft accompanied him, his commission having been superfedtdi the last September, by the appointment of Dr. Franklin, minister plenipotentiary at the court of France. The carrying of this appointment was a savorite measure inch Mr. de Vergennes -, as he expects from the
doctor doctor singly more obsequious devotion to the pleasure '779' of the French court, than he could have obtained had the doctor been still joined to both or either of his former colleagues, Messrs. John Adams and Arthur Lee.
Rotterdam, Nov. 10, 1779.
TOWARD the end of April, an expedition against