Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

to outsail the Rainbow; but Manley endeavouring to 1777* make his ship fail 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 quarter, they must strike immediately. Manley endeavoured to avail himself of a fresh breeze just springing tip, Sir George therefore fired into him, on which he struck aster a chace 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 fail, and being discovered by the Flora on the 7th, was chaced till re-taken. The third was the Boston continental frigate of thirty guns, commanded by capt. McNeal, 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, neither would have been captured. The Hancock's compliment was 290 men, near as many as the Rainbow's.

On the first of Pecember, the ship Flamand, capt. Landais, arrived at Portsmouth from Marseilles. Mr. John Baptiste Lazarus Theveneau de Francey is come supercargo and agent for the house of Roderique Hortales and company, alias Mr. Pierre Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais. The ship has brought 4S pieces of brass cannon, four pounders, with carriages complete —19 njne inch mortars—1-2500 bombs, nine inches—2000 four pound balls—a quantity of intrenching tools—3000 fusees—mo of another quality for dragoons—about 1.8,000 pounds of gunpowder—and 61,051 of brimstone.

The continent is looking out for important news from Fiance.

E 3 LET

LETTER II.

Roxbury, June, i, 1778.

'|1 H E hint you have received of a design to remove -** gen. 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. 1778. The general, being applied to by one of his correspon2j, • dents, answered from Valley-forge January the 23d— "Whether a serious design of placing gen. 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 inquiring. I am told a scheme of that kind is now on foot by some, in behalf of another gentleman—whether true or salse—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 after 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 needle 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

reft with as much content, as ever the wearied pilgrim felt 1778. 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 endeavours, 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 benefitted 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 embark in the opposition to the arbitrary claims of Great Britain, operate with additional force at this day; nor is it my desire to withdraw my 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 endeavouring to effect a change, are practising 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 heartfelt joy than I should, but \ 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-rr" 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

E 4 the

1778. the obligations America has to you, to abet or counte; nance so unworthy a proceeding. I really think your personal welsare, and the happiness of America are intimately connected." The anonymous letter was dated—York Town, Jan. 12, 1778. Jt begins with highly complimenting Mr. Henry, and then proceeds to {ketch out a dismal picture, and to hint at the remedy—cc 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 mcb. 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 month than perished in the field during the whole of the last campaign:—The country distracted with the Don Quixotte attempts to regulate the price of provisions :—An artificial famine created by it, and a real one dreaded from it. The northern army 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 men. 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 counsellors would have ruined her long ago." You may rest assured of each of the sacts related in this letter." When Conway had recovered his original letter, which was written in October, he said to gen. Washington, in one of Janu.ry the 27th,—" I find, with great satisfaction,

that that the paragraph so much spoken of does not exist in 1778* 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 the^e 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 French, artfully calculated to promote the design against Washington, by insinuating into the mind of the reader, ideas tending to lessen him in the eyes 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 {he camp on his return home. But he is commonly possessed of good intelligence, and was careful to keep at a safe distance. Had he fallen into the hands of the officers, when in that paroxism of resentment, they would probably have handled him so as to have endangered his life, and tarnished their own honor.

The plan seems to have been this—To engage the Massachusetts assembly and the Virginia house of burgesses, to give instructions to their delegates in congress,

.to

« ZurückWeiter »