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•were to enable Sir Henry Clinton to act with suitable *779* vigor.- i The 2ist*of September Sir Andrew Hammond 21.* arrived'with an additional force of 1500 men from Corke. These several arrivals however, did not make the British at New York easy, when they had the news of count d'Estaing's being on the American coast. The intelligence occasioned an apprehension of a formidable attack by sea and land, supposed to have been concerted between the count and gen. Washington, and defensive measures were thought of. Beside adopting every other mean of a vigorous defence, transports were dispatched 26. to Rhode Island to bring off the garrison. All things! being in readiness, the royal troops evacuted Newport , on the 25th of October; embarked in the evening, sailed nst at night, and reached New York on the :27th. They 27*. were in sufficient force while at Newport, to have made predatory excursions, and to have done much mischief; notwithstanding the troops that gen. Gates, who was stationed at Providence, had under his command. But gen. Sir Robert Pigot's humanity might revolt at such barbarous expeditions; which is the more probable, from the strict and positive orders he gave for the observance of the most exact regularity and discipline during the evacuation. As it was universally known that he meant to be obeyed, so obedience was as uni, versally practised. The men were no wise chargeable at their quitting the island, with any wanton cruelties, or needless destruction, or with an unjust seizure of property *. However, as gen. Gates could not know but that
* This is the substance of what was related to me by disinterested persons at Newport and the neighbourhood, some short time aster the evacuation. • .
1779. military commands might require Sir Robert Pigot to » ravage the country to the extent of his power, he secured to himself the mean of gaining the earliest intelligence of every capital movement upon the island, by the aid of lieut. Seth Chapin. The lieutenant employed a trusty woman living at Newport to write down all the information she could procure. A certain place in a rock near the water side was agreed upon, where the written intelligence was put. The woman had her particular signals; and by putting up poles or sticks as though only drying linen, and making a show of such business in a certain way, notified to the lieutenant oh the other side of the water, that there was some special matter to be communicated. At night the lieutenant passed over in his boat from Little Compton, landed aijd brought it away. Through this settled correspondence, Gates learnt the next day what were the movements and talk of the enemv. After the evacuation, the general desired the lieutenant to mention what consideration would satisfy him for the dangerous service in which he had been engaged. The answer was, v I shall be fully satisfied with 1 aoo dollars for myself, and 2 or '300 for some others that were concerned." Such was the depreciation then, that the whole 1500 were not worth 75 hard dollars, now they are worth about 30.
Sir H. Clinton having received certain intelligence of the repulse given the combined troops in their attack j on Savannah, resumed the plan of an expedition against South Carolina, which the appearance of count d'Estaing obliged him to suspend. Every thing was prepared, and about 7000 troops were embarked, but detained till he had full assurance of the French fleet's having
wholly wholly quitted the American coast, when they sailed »779. under the convoy of adm. Arbuthnot, on the a6th of December, Their operations will be related in a future letter. Congress having obtained satisfactory evidence of what was in contemplation, had ordered on the ioth of November, three of the continental frigates to Charlestown for its defence.
-- "On the 19th of November, they resolved that it be Nor. earnestly recommended to the several states forthwith; 19* to enact laws for establishing and carrying into execution a general limitation of prices throughout their respective jurisdictions, on certain prescribed principles, the operation to commence from the 1st of next February—by which time the operation may be found to be impossible. They concluded on the 23d, that bills of ex- 23* change be drawn on Mr. Jay for 100,0001. sterling, and on Mr. Laurens for 100,0001. payable at fix months light, and the fame to be fold at-the current rate of exchange.*' They after that directed the committee of 29. foreign-affairs to write to Messrs. Jay and Laurens, informing them of the drafts to be made upon them, explaining fully the reasons that urge congress to draw, and 'directing them to keep up a mutual correfponderiW, and to afford each other every assistance in procuring money to pay the bills. A committee of seven having been appointed by congress to wait on the minister of France, and to receive his communications, reported Dec. the following extracts and summary of the commuriicafeons—That the minister of France had it in command from his king, to impress on the minds of congress-^ That the British cabinet have an almost insuperable re'r -foctance to admit the idea of the independence of thesjb <'' * United
,779'United States, and will use every possible endeavour to prevent it:—That they have filled several of the courts of Europe with negotiations, in order to excite them to a war against France, or to obtain succours, and arc employing the most strenuous endeavours to persuade the several powers, that the United States are disposed to enter into treaties of accommodation; that many persons in America are actually employed in bringing such treaties to perfection; and that they have no doubt of their success:—That the objects which the British cabinet hope for from these measures are, to destroy the superiority which France has now at sea, by diverting her powers and resources from naval to land operations, and by engaging her in a land war, where she must risk very important interests, while England would risk nothing but money; or to break or weaken the alliance by destroying the confidence, which the allies ought to have in each other:—That his most christian majesty gives no credit to the suggestions of Britain relative to the dispositions of the United States, and that it is necessary that measures be taken for the preventing of other powers from being deceived into a belief of them: —That the negotiation of Britain, as far as could yet be learned, had not succeeded :—That the dispositions of all the European powers are, as far as can be known, very friendly to France, but some of them may be engaged in secret treaties with Britain,- which may oblige them in some event to assist her with troops, even against their inclinations;—That such event may arise, and if it should, it is probable it will produce an armed mediation, the consequences of which would be, that the allies must accept of the terms proposed by the medi
ation, or continue the was under the disadvantages of 1779. having the forces of the mediator united with those of their enemies :—That in such event, it is possible the terms proposed will be such as Spain offered, and Britain rejected on the last proposed mediation:—That though the powers, who may be under such engagements by treaties to Great Britain, from trieir friendly disposition toward his most christian majesty, may be very unwilling to give assistance to his enemies, yet they may find it indispensably necessary in compliance with their engagements: but it is not improbable that their reluctance, or the distance of their dominions, may delay such assistance, if granted at all, so as to be too late for the next campaign :—That should the enemy be in possession of any part of the United States at the close of the next campaign, it will be extremely difficult to Great Britain to acknowledge their independence; and if a mediation should be offered while the enemy are in possession of any part, an impartial mediator could not easily refute the arguments which might be used for his retaining such possessions; and probably s mediator well disposed toward Great Britain might insist on her holding them, and if not agreed toj the hostility of such mediator would be the necessary consequence:—That should Great Britain form such alliances, or procure such aids as are the objects of her present negotiations, there will be every reason to fear a long and an obsti-, nate war, whereof the final event may be doubtful:— That the view of affairs plainly points out, the necessity for the greatest possible vigor in the operations of the next campaign, in order to dispossess the enemy of every part of the United States, and to put them in Vol. III. Z condi