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on the appearance of the enemy, he considered its loss ,?80* as a matter of course, and inevitable necessity.
Sir George Rodney arrived at Gross Islet bay on the 127 th of March. The French admiral de Guichen, having put to sea from Martinico with a fleet of 23 fail of the line and a 50 gun ship, Sir George speedily pursued him with 20 ships of the line and the Centurion. The French were brought to action by some of his headmost ^pr^ ships, a little before one o'clock; and about the fame 1> hour, he himself in the Sandwich of 90 guns, commenced the action in the centre. After bearing three ships out of the line, he was at length encountered alone by Mr. de Guichen in the Couronne of the fame force, supported by his two seconds. The Sandwich sustained the unequal combat for an hour and a half, when the French commander with his seconds bore away, whereby the French line of batde was totally broke in the centre. The great distance of the British van and rear from their own centre, and the crippled condition of several of their ships, and the particularly dangerous state of the Sandwich, rendered an immediate pursuit impossible. The French took shelter under Guadaloupe, and Sir George his station off Fort Royal. In his public letter he spoke of de Guichen as a brave and gallant officer, and as having the honor of being nobly supported during the whole action; but commended none of the British officers, except those of the Sandwich; though it appears from his list, that while the Sandwich had 18 killed and 51 wounded, the Cornwall, capt. Edwards, had 11 killed and 49 wounded; the Trident, capt. Molloy, had 14 killed and 26 wounded; and the Conqueror, adm. Rowley's ship, capt. Watson, had 13 killed and
1780. 3g wounded: capt. St. John of the Intrepid, and threeof his lieutenants, were killed, out of seven belonging, to said ship. Sir George kept his station for some time, and then returned to St. Lucie. On receiving fresh intelligence of de Guichen's approach to the windward of Martinico, he put to sea and got fight of his fleet: the 10th of May. The French had it constantly in
.. .their power to bring on an engagement, and as con. stantly avoided it: but in the course of their manœuvring they had nearly been entangled, and were faveJ from a close and general action only by a critical shift of the wind; and even with that aid, and all the sails M tliey could carry, their rear was not entirely preserved
15. from conflict about seven in the evening of the 15th. After this they took care to keep at a greater distance. The vigorous efforts of Sir George so involved the fleets
*9* Qn the 19th, that the French, for the preservation of their rear, were under the necessity of hazarding a partial engagement, by which, having extricated their rear, they bore away with all the sail they could possibly press, and got into Martinico. Sir George sent three of his fleet to St. Lucie, and stood with the remainder toward Barbadoes.
Before the Christmas recess of parliament, the duke of Richmond made a speech on the necessity of practising the most rigid œconomy, in order to extricate the country from its many difficulties; which was followed by a motion for an address to his majesty, representing that a considerable reduction of his civil list would be an example well becoming his paternal affection for his people, and his own dignity. The motion was rejected by a majority of more than two to' one. This was folt. c lowed
towed some days after, by a successful motion of lord x78or Shelburne, the purport of which was, to consider of the appointment of a committee for inquiring into the several parts of the public expenditure, as alfa of the reductions or savings that could be made with consistency. In the house of commons Mr. Burke proposed a plan of ceconomy and reform; and gave notice of his intending to bring it shortly before them, as a business that was become indispensible. Schemes of ceconomy and reform were highly adapted to the prevailing taste of the nation as was soon apparent;. for during the recess of parliament, the business of public meetings, of petitions to the house of commons, and of associations for the redress of grievances, was commenced. The adoption of these means for procuring a reform in the executive departments of the state soon became very general; and the minds of the .public being agitated and warmed by these meetings, the views of many per-, sons of no mean weight and consequence were extended still further. They gradually began to consider, that nothing less than shortening the duration of parliament, and the obtaining a more equal representation of the people, could reach to a perfect cure of the present/ and afford an effectual preservative against the return of similar evils.
The large, populous and opulent county of York, led the way and set the example to the rest of the kingdom. A.very numerous and respectable meeting of the! gendemen, clergy and freeholders, including persons of the first consideration and property, was held at the city of York on the 30th of last December. Their petition to the house of commons was unanimously agreed upon; and .. '» » accompanied
t'jSe. accompanied with a resolution, that a committee of sixty-one gentlemen be appointed, to carry on the necessary correspondence for effectually promoting the object of the petition; and likewise to prepare a plan of an association, on legal and constitutional grounds, to sopport a laudable reform, and such other measures as may conduce to restore the freedom of parliament.
Jan. she counties of Middlesex and Hants stood forth as the seconds of Yorkshire; and adopted similar measures. The example was soon followed by the county palatine of Chester; and in a close succession of time, by the counties of Herts, Sussex, Huntingdon, Surrey, Cumberland, Bedford, Essex, Somerset, Gloucester, "Wilts, Dorset, Devon, Norfolk, Berks, Bucks, Nottingham, Kent, Northumberland, Suffolk, Hereford, Cambridge and Derby. The Welsti counties of Denbigh, Flint and Brecknock, likewise petitioned, as did the cities of London, Westminster, York, Bristol, Gloucester, and Hereford, with the towns of Nottingham, Reading, Cambridge, Bridgewater, and Newcastle upon Tyne. Northamptonshire declined petitioning, but voted resolutions and instructions to their representatives, including the-purport of the petitions. The measure of forming committees and entering into aflbeiations, was a great stumbling block in some of the counties, and was omitted by several. The members of administration and men in office, were not wholly deficient in their endeavours to prevent the county meetings: but they were generally overborne by the torrent.
Feb. The Yorkshire petition, subscribed by upward of
8* eight thousand freeholders, was the first presented. Sir George Saville introduced it, and in his speech said— ** It was first moved in a meeting of six hundred gentle- 1780. men and upward. In the hall where that petition was conceived, there was more property than in the walls of this house" of commons. The freeholders comprised within the compass of that single hall, possessed landed property to the amount of eight hundred thousand pounds sterling a year. The house of commons took APn* into consideration the petitions of the people of England and Wales, amounting to about forty, and signed by above a hundred thousand electors. Mr. Dunning' opened the business in an accurate and weighty speech, and then moved—" That the influence of the crown has increased, is increasing, and ought to be diminished." \' The lord advocate of Scotland, to obtain a negative, moved an amendment in the following words—" That it is now necessary to declare;" the. opposition readily agreed to it, and the question thus amended was carried bya majority of *8'*-233 to 215. Mr. Dunning then moved a second proposition-^' That it is competent to this house to examine into, and to correct abuses in the expenditure of the civil list revenues, as well as in every other branch of the public revenue, whenever it shall seem expedient to the wisdom of riiis house so to do-," which was carried without a division. Mr. Thomas Pitt then moved the following resolution—" That it is the Opinion of this committee, that it is the: duty of this house to provide, as far as may be, an immediate and effectual redrese of the abuses complained of in the petitions presented to this house,- from the. different Counties, cities and towns in this kingdom;" which was carried in the affirmative without any apparent dissent;