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irregularities; and to save appearances were continued 1777* there for a short time by the French; but were speedily released from their mock confinement, and permitted to purchase and fit out a much stronger vessel, avowedly to infest the British commerce. Mr. Hodge, whom you know, was committed also to the Bastile, ar the request of lord Stormont, for having acted publicly as Cunningham's agent, in fitting out the privateer that took the Prince of Orange packet. While in the Bastile he was treated with the utmost politeness and civility; and entertained in the most elegant manner. But the American commissioners being dissatisfied with his confinement, and expressing themselves in strong terms upon the subject, he was released, that the harmony be- . tween the French and Americans might not suffer an interruption.
Upon some reports tending to discourage the French commerce with the Americans, Mr. de Sartine, minister of the marine, assured the several chambers of commerce by a public instrument, signed the 4th of July July 1777, and in direct contravention to all the British na- +" vigation laws, that. the king was determined to afford the fullest protection to their commerce, and would reclaim all ships taken under that pretext.' Still the policy of Versailles prevented France's being hurried into a rupture. She determined to risk no decisive step, till the issue of the American campaign was known, her sailors were returned from the Newfoundland fishery, and her naval equipments were completed. Therefore when the British ministry made heavy complaints, attended with menaces, on account-of the many prizes carried into the French ports by the American privateers,
1777*teers, and there disposed of, as also of the countenance and protection given to the said privateers, she granted lord Stormont an, order for all of them to depart immediately.
The news of gen. Burgoyne's success at Tyconderoga and advance toward Albany, excited the greatest: triumph on the fide of administration. The promising prospect of the northern expedition's answering fully the wishes of ministry, enabled them to press France harder than ever; and dictated to the latter greater pliableness and complaisance. Express orders were sent to Nantz, and all the other parts of the kingdom, forbidding the admittance of any American privateers, unless they entered in order to refit, or were driven in by stress of weather or want of provisions, and in either of these cases they were to be gone as soon as possible. "Notwithstanding all dais parade, privateers come in, -tarry and take military stores; and their prizes are publicly fold, but as formerly practised after similar complaints, at the mouth of the harbour to people who go off in boats to buy them; and are then brought in and unloaded. Lord Stormont hears of it, flies to court, complains and threatens afresh: the court storms at and threatens its officers; the officers make their excuses; and the affair is soon hushed up, or terminates in a tedious controversy, by which the wished-for time is gained." Before the subject of shipping is dropped, let it be noted that the king's cruisers have taken several American vessels and privateers, and retaken some of their prizes; and will be likely soon to check the progress of American success in naval operations on the European coasts. •. -. .... By
By the beginning of November, advices were received 1777* <?f the Bennington action, the failure of St. Leger's expedition against Fort Stanwix, and Burgoyne's first engagement. These advices overthrew, in a great measure, the sanguine expectations that had been formed of speedily reducing the colonies; and were a, bad prelude to the meeting of parliament, which took place the 20th Nov* of November. The royal speech was in the usual tone, but mentioned an augmentation of the naval force, considering that the armaments in the ports of France and Spain continued. It concluded with a resolution of pursuing the measures in which administration was engaged. When the address of the commons was before the house, the marquis of Granby proposed an amendment, and that his majesty should be requested to adopt measures for accommodating the differences with America, and that a cessation of hostilities should be recommended. It was strenuously supported by1 the opposition on the following grounds, that three years war, at an immense expence, with 55,000 land forces, and 100 ships of war, had only left the nation in nearly the fame situation as when it began. They had lost Boston, and had gained New York: and every hope of obtaining a revenue from America had been long over. The country gentlemen were unusually blank: they saw not only an end to all their expectations of an American revenue; but found themselves saddled, with the burden of a war, infinitely more ruinous than any other in which the nation had ever been involved. Some of the ministerial party however, threw out hints for their consolation, that America when subdued would be taxed. Mr..Hartley mentioned in the debate, that there was one ray of hope. a left
j.A left to the British, if they had wisdom to seize the Opportunity of opening a treaty with the Americans, while these were discontented with the cool and dilatory proceedings of the court of France. After all that could be advanced by opposition, the amendment was rejected by a majority of 243 against 86. The earl of Chatham moved for an amendment in the house of lords. He was for bringing about an accommodation with the Americans by a treaty, and rested the stress of his argument upon this point, that the house of Bourbon was upon the eve of breaking with us. His motion was rejected by 97 to 28.
When the news of the Saratoga convention reached France, and was communicated to the court of Versailles by the American commissioners, the latter were almost instantly received and publicly treated in that character. The capture of Burgoyne's army convinced the French, that the American opposition to Great Britain, was not owing to a faction, a few leading men that had gotten into power, but that the body of the people must be engaged, and that they were numerous, or that they could not have made such an effort as not only to have stopped a conquering army, but to have captivated it. It was therefore determined by a majority of the French court, to take the Americans by the hand, and to acknowledge their independence. They knew that Great Britain could not subdue, though they might distress France; and that if the United States would persevere, these must at length establish, their independence in connection with France, though they might be reduced to greater difficulties than they had already felt. The marquis de la Fayette's correspondence with his family and friends, undoubtedly doubtedly proved influential in procuring the determina-1777. tion. His letters were eagerly sought after; and counteracted those prejudices that were raised by several Frenchmen, who returned from America in disgust. His sentiments were imbibed from their being frequently confirmed by events. The American cause being now popular in his native country, and the French court having adopted it, they cannot longer resent the early part he took in it, notwithstanding the offence given at the moment by his disobedience and departure.
Such is the present state of the contest between Great Britain and the Americans, that it will more than ever suffice to give you a few occasional hints upon the par-" liamcntary debates respecting it. In one that took place on the 2.d of December, a federal commercial union was talked of by some, as the only hope left with regard to America; but reprobated by ministry. Mr. Fox moved for laying certain papers before the commons: while the matter was debating, intelligence was received, that a similar motion had been complied with in the house of lords, by the lords in administration agreeing to it; and yet such was the influence of the ministry in the house of commons, that Mr. Fox's motion was, in a manner which in other seasons would have been deemed incredible, rejected upon a division of 178 to 89.
The succeeding day was marked by the disclosure of Dec the melancholy catastrophe of Burgoyne's expedition— ! 3* a disclosure, which excited no less grief and astonishment in both houses, than dismay on the fide of the ministers; \ who were bitterly reproached upon.the occasion. Tha business relating to the pecuniary supplies being finished, and little short of nine millions voted for the service of
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