Abbildungen der Seite
[ocr errors]

Rhode Isand, had no sooner received certain intelligence of his departure from Cape-Francois, than he sailed himself with clever capital ships and four frigates, for New York. ****

The combined fleets in the European seas have been more successful. A rich and considerable convoy for the East and West-Indies, sailed from Portsmouth in the latter end of July, under the conduct of captain Moutray of the Ramilies, and two frigates; the whole were intercepted on the 9th of August, by the combined fleets under Don Louis de Cordova. The convoy included, beside the merchantmen, eighteen victuallers, storeships and transports, destined for the service in the West-Indies Five East-India men made a part of it, and together with arms ammunition and a train of artillery, conveyed a large quantity of naval stores, for the supply of the British squadron in that quarter. The East-India, and fifty West-India ships, including those upon governmental account, were taken. The Ramilies, with the frigates and a few West-India ships escaped. Such a prize never before entered the harbour of Cadiz. A Britisti fleet of near sixty ships, led captive by a Spanish squadron, was ex tremely flattering to a people to whon naval captures from such an enemy, were an unusun! spectacle. The appearance of the numerous prisoners rendered the triumph more complete, and made the sight still more singular. They consisted of 1250 seamen, officers included; of 1255 soldiers, and 74 officers; of 149 ivomen, and of 137 passengers of both sexes, among whom were some married and unmarried ladies of eondition. The whole amounted to 2865 persons. The value of the salcable commodities was great, but the loss of the military and naval supplies was much more considerable, as they could not be replaced in time. Advantageous purchases will undoubtedly be made out of this capture, for the service of the American army. "

The strong appearances of an approaching storm, with which administration was threatened, having subsided, and every thing going on smoothly and prosperously, there was reason to expect inat elections for a new parliament would go greatly in favor of the court. A dissolution of the present, was therefore determined upon (Sept. 1.] but the design was kept a profound secret. When the proclamation for the dissolving of it appear ed, it wrought like a thunder clap, with respect to suddennėss and surprise, on those who were unacquainted with the design. A new prorogation had taken place within a few days, which served io render the shock still more unexpected. The elec tions went inuch in favor of the court. One hundred and thirteen new representatives obtained scats in parliament.


Mr. Laurens was taken on his way from congress to Holland, in the beginning of September on the banks of Newfoundland. A package of papers, when thrown overboard, not sinking suddenly, was saved by theboldness and dexterity of a British sailor, and most of them were recovered from the effects of the water. On his arrival in England, [Oct. 6.] he was committed upon a charge of high treason), as a state poisoner to the Tower, under au order signed by the three secretaries, of state. He claimed the privileges of his public character, as a commissioner from the United States of America; and declined answering any questious whose tendency he could not immediately perceive, so that Jitlle information was obtained from him. But by the mediuni of nis papers the administration came to the knowledge of the eventual treaty of amnity and commerce between America and Holland. The papers relating to this business were delivered about the beginning of November to the prince of Orange, who on the 15th laid them before the states of Holland and West Friesland. On the 10th, Sir Joseph Yorke presented to the States General, a memorial concerning them. Tie demanded in the name of the king his master, not only a formal disavowal of (what was pronounced) so irregular a conduct, as that which was charged upon the states of Amsterdam, of carrying on a long clandestine correspondence with the American rebels, and of giving instructions and powers for entering into a treaty with those rebels, but also insisted on a speedy satisfaction, and the punishment of the pensionary Van Berkel and his accomplices. This conduct was declared to be no less contrary to the most sacred engagements of their high mightinesses, than repugnant to the Dutch constitution.

The reference to such engagements seems to have been ill timed, as the royal order of the 17th of April last had declared Holland to be on the footing of other neutral powers; and had disannulled the efficacy of such engagements for the present, by suspending till further orders all the particular stipulations respecting the subjects of the States General, contained in the several treaties then subsisting. The States-General disavowed this intended treaty of the city of Amsterdani, and eagaged to prosecute the pensionary according to the laws of the country. This not being deemed satisfactory, Sir Joseph Yorke received orders to withdraw from the Haglie; and on the 20th of December, at manifesto against the Dutch was publised in a London Gazette Extrordinary, followed by an order of council-" That general reprisals be granted against the ships, goods and subjects of


the States General.” A few days before the publication, the States General had acceded to the confederation of the armed neutrality. ; On Tuesday, October the 3d, Jamaica was visited with a complicated calamity, a most extraordinary swell of the sea, ten feet higher than its common level, succeeded by an earthquake and hurricane, brought dreadful destruction on particular parts of the island. Savannah La Mar, á considerable trading iown on the south side of the island in Westmoreland parish, was totally destroyed, by the sea's suddenly bursting through all bounds and surmounting all obstacles. Every thing was so completely.swept away upon its retreat, as not to leave the smallest vestige of man, beast or habitation behind. About 200 persons of all colours perished by this terrible irruption. The sca flowed up half a mile beyond its usual fixed limits. This was the prelude to the succeeding earthquake and hurricane.. The damage in the parish of Westmoreland only amounted to near £.700,000 sterling. In that of Hanover, one fourth part of the absolute property is said to be lost for ever. The merchants of Kingston generously sent down for the immediate relief of the unhappy fufferers, £.10,000 value in different kinds of provision, clothing and other articles.

A yet more tremenduous hurricane began at Barbadoes (Oct. 10.) in the morning, and continued with little intermission about 48 hours. The ships were driven from their anchors, and obliged to encounter all the horrors of a most outrageous sea, It prevailed chiefly in the night; and Bridge-Town, the capital, was nearly levelled with the earth. The inhabitants who escaped anxiously waited the break of day, flattering themselves that with the light they should see a cessation of the storm. But the strongest colours cannot paint the miseries, they were under.--The ground was covered with the mangled bodies of their friends and relations. Reputable families wandered through the ruins in search of food and shelter. Meanwhile there was a continual scene of rapine and confusion. The negroes, instead of attempts ing to save the effects of the unhappy sufferers, were plundering every part of the town. The tempest was but little abated. The day served but to exhibit the most melancholy prospect. The devastation on all sides was terrible--not a building standing the trees, if not torn up by the roots, stripped of their leaves and branches--the most luxuriant spring changed in one night to the dreariest winter--the few public buildings, notwithstanding their strength, fallen in the general wreck. The loss of human lives was great even among the whites; but including the blacks was


estimated at some thousands. To increase the calamity, most of the living stock on the island, particularly of the horned cattle, perished. · An extraordinary instance of the united force of the winds and waves was apparent upon this occasion, in the removal of a cannon, a twelve pounder, from the south to the porth bat, tery, being a distance of one hundred and forty yards. The truth of this fact and of the others was supported by public documents,

transmitted to the secretary of state by the gov. of the island, and · by general Vaughan. Be it mentioned to the honor and praise

of Don Pedro St. Jago, a captain of the regiment of Arragon, and of the other Spanish prisoners at Barbadoes, who were all, under his immediate direction, that they acted the kind part of

friends, instead of behaving like enemies, or even with indiffer- ence, in this season of calamity; and omitted no lobor or service

in their power, for the assistance of the distressed inhabitants, and the preservation of public order.

The islands of St. Lucie, Grenada, and St. Vincent, were likewise laid nearly desolate. Most of the ships of war were driven : out to sea froni St. Lucie, in the beginning of the hurricane : The transports, victuallers and traders, were dismasted, and geperally driven on shore. A prize of 18 guns was wrecked on the back of the island, and all except 17 perished. The Andromeda and Laurel of 28 guns each, were lost on the coast of Martinico; none of the officers and but few of the crew were saved.-

The Deal castle of 24 guns suffered the same fate. The squad»ron under Adm. Rowley, which convoyed the Jamaica trade on

its way to Europe, experienced no less calamity, and sustained still greater loss. The adm. returned to Jamaica with five ships, mostiy dismasted and all disabled. The Sterling Castle of 64 guns, was totally lost on the coast of Hispaniola, and only about 50 of the crew saved. TheThunderer, commodore Boyle Walsingham, was undoubtedly swallowed up, no traces of her fate having yet come to light. The Phænix of 44 guns, Sir Hyde Parke

Parker, was wrecked on the island of Cuba ; but her officers and 4• most of her crew were saved. The Barbadoes and Victor sloops

of war, with the Camelion, Scarborough, and la Blanch frigates became likewise, with a partial or total loss of men and officers, victims to the rage of this inerciless season. The French islands

appear to have suffered even more than the British, Barba. - does only excepted. At Martinico the public buildings and ... private houses of Fort-Royal town, to the amount of more than

'fourteen hundred, were blown down, and an incredible num.

. ber of persons lost their lives. Every house in St. Pierre shared ... the same fate, and more than a thousand people perished. The i * VOL. III.

R *


numbers lost upon the island, including negroes, is computed at about 9000, and the damage at 700,000 louis d’ors. Sixty-two sail of transports from France, which arrived that miorning at Martinico, with stores and 2500 troops on board, were all drive en out to sea, and several were lost. The Experiment of 50 guns, and the Juno of 40, with some other royal French frigates were destroyed; and 19 sail of loaded Dutch vessels were dashed to pieces on Grenada. The destruction of people (wbites and blacks) at St. Eustatia, was reputed to be between 4 and 5000. A number of houses were blown down and washed away with the inhabitants into the sea. The pecuniary loss must be very great.

The humanity of the Marquis de Bouille affords some relief to these scenes of horror and devastation. He sent 31 British sailors (the remains that were saved of the crews of the Laurel and Andromeda) under a flag of truce to Commodore Hotham at St. Lucia, accompanied with a declaration that he could not consider in the light of enemies, men who had so hardly escaped in a contention with the force of the elements; but that they

having, in common with his own people, been partakers of the · same danger, were in like manner entitled to every comfort and relief that could be given, in a season of such universal calamity and distress. He only lamented, he said, that their number was so small, and particularly that none of the officers were saved.

The new parliament met on the 31st of Oct. the late speaker, Sir Fletcher Norton, having offended the ministry, by exercising too much of an independent spirit, they determined upon choosing another person in his room. Mr. Dunning moved, that Sir Fletcher should be continued. The ministry pretended that an anxiety for his health was the real cause of moving that a different member might be chosen: but Sir Fletcher, after declaring that he came there with a full determination not to go again into the chair upon any account, informed the house that the king's ministershad not held the smallest previouscommunication with him upon the subject; that he had been in town three days, and had never been asked whether his health would enable him to continue in the chair, nor had he been applied to directly or indirectly on the subject of choosing a new speaker. He called upon the ministers to declare, why he was thus disgracefully dismissed. After debates, Lord George Germaine's motion fur the appointment of Mr. Cornwall was carried by a majority of 203 votes to 134, who supported Mr. Dunning's motion.

The king went next day to the house of peers, [Nov. 1.] and delivered his speech to the parliament. In it he took notice of


« ZurückWeiter »