Page images
PDF
EPUB

XX.

1782.

illé, that, with a rigor unknown and unheard-of BOOK amongst civilized nations, the immense property found on the island was declared to be confiscated, on pretence of the assistance afforded by the inhabitants to the Americans-as if the inhabitants of Eustatia were amenable to the laws of Great Britain. The stores and merchandize, estimated at three millions sterling, were publicly sold for about one-fourth of their real value ; and the world saw with astonishment British naval and military officers, of the highest rank and reputation, degraded by a kind of harlequin metamorphosis into salesmen and auctioneers. A prodigious number of trading ves. sels lying in the harbor also became the property of the victors, with two men of war, one of which was a flag-ship commanded by admiral count Byland,

Nearly at the same time the Dutch settlements of Demerary, Berbicia, and Issequibo, on the Southern Main, also submitted without resistance to the arms of his Britannic majesty. Here, however, the same indiscriminate confiscation of private property did not take place. But the proceedings at St. Eustatia excited universal consternation; and a memorial was presented to admiral Rodney and general Vaughan by the hands of Mr. Glanville, his majesty's solicitor-general for St. Christopher's, strongly representing, “ that if by the fate of war

1782.

BOOK the British West-India Islands should fall into the XX.

hands of an enraged enemy, the conduct of St. Eustatia would be a pretext for them to retaliate ; that the conquerors of all civilized countries had avoided the invasion of private property ; that the generosity of the enemy had been very conspicuous ; and even in the case of Grenada, which had been taken by storm, the rights of individuals had been held sacred; that Eustatia was a free port, and the rich and various commodities found there were far from being the sole property of the Dutch; that a great proportion of it belonged to British subjects; and that, previous to the declaration of war, the trade to Eustatia was strictly legal, and the officers of his majesty's customs cleared out vessels from all the ports of Great Britain and Ireland for this island. And not merely the legality, but the propriety of this trade was confirmed by the conduct of his majesty's naval officers in those seas; for if the king's enemies were supplied by the trade of his subjects through Eustatia, they were likewise supplied, through the same channel, by the sale of the prizes captured by his majesty's ships of war."--The admiral haughtily replied to Mr. Glanville, “ that he had not as yet LEISURE to peruse the memorial ; but that the island of Eustatia was Dutch, every thing in it was Dutch, every thing was under the protection of the Dutch flag, and as Dutch it should be treated.”

ХХ.

1782,

While the British arms were thus ignobly em- BOOK ployed, the French fleet under count de Grasse, after a partial engagement with admiral Hood, who, in the absence of sir George Rodney, commanded the English fleet, steered its course to the island of Tobago, on which M. de Bouillé, with a considerable land force, made an immediate descent. Admiral Rodney, on receiving intelligence of an attack, detached in no great haste a squadron for the relief of the island, which finding the French in great force was obliged to return; and the admi. ral, accompanied by general Vaughan, now sailed in person with the whole fleet for Tobago, off the coast of which he arrived the 4th of June, but had the mortification to learn that the island had surrendered on the second.

At the latter end of the year the island of Eusta- Eustatia retia was lost in a manner not less disgraceful than the French. that by which it had been gained. M. de Bouillé, receiving certain intelligence of the habitual negligence of the garrison, landed by night about four hundred troops, part of a much larger force which the tempestuousness of the weather had separated, in a cove at the back of the island. This spirited officer, confiding in his fortune, advanced with his troops, as soon as day-light appeared, to the citadel, which they immediately stormed, and carried with little difficulty; and the surprise being very complete, pear seven hundred men, with colonel Cock,

XX.

1782.

Naval and

BOOK burne their commander, were, by a most humili

ating necessity, constrained to surrender themselves
prisoners of war. The generosity of M. de Bou-
illé was on this occasion, as on every other, no less
conspicuous than his gallantry, forming a contrast
with the conduct of the late captors, very flattering
to the feelings of his countrymen. Restitution, so
far as circumstances would permit, was immediately
made to those unfortunate individuals who had been
stripped and plundered of their property; and a
declaration published, that the forces of his Most
Christian majesty defended the island only till re-
lieved by the troops of their High Mightinesses.

On the continent of America, the war in the cenoperations tral colonies, though conducted by the opposing in America.

commanders in chief, seemed to languish, and af-
fords scarcely any incident worthy of historic regard.
Early in the present year it happened that the whole
Pennsylvania line in the continental army, from
causes of dissatisfaction not well ascertained, at once
revolted; and, collecting the artillery, stores, &c.,
belonging to them, moved in an entire body out of
the camp. General Clinton, anxious to improve
to the utmost this seeming advantage, immediately
passed over to Staten Island with a large body of
forces, and dispatched messengers to the revolters
with alınost unlimited offers of pay, pardon, and
protection. These propositions were not only re-
jected with disdain, bụt the messengers were actually

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

XX.

1782

success.

delivered up by them to congress; and having ob- BOOK tained a promise of the redress of grievances, they soon returned to their duty,

An expedition under the conduct of general Arnold and general Philips was soon after this undertaken into Virginia, where they signalized themselves by laying waste the country, and did much damage to the Americans by the destruction of an immense quantity of provisions, merchandize, and stores, deposited in different parts; and a permanent station was established at Portsmouth, in order to co-operate with lord Cornwallis, whose transactions to the southward were still carried on with spirit and

A plan having been formed between the French and American commanders, count Rochambeau and general Washington, to invest the post occupied by general Arnold, a warm engagement took place in the month of March between admiral Arbuthnot and a French squadron under M. Destouches, at the entrance of the Chesapeak, in which the former obtained the advantage, and was left master of the navigation of the bay; and in his dispatches to the Admiralty, the naval commander writes, “ The count Rochambeau must seek another opportunity of visiting Virginia—the plan of the REBEL campaign is entirely disconcerted.” But the event of the campaign ill corresponded with the confidence of this prediction.

At the conclusion of the year 1780, general Gates,

« PreviousContinue »