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The garrison displayed the greatest zeal, vator and constance cy: but in the beginning of February was so much reduced by sickness, that only 660 were left fit for duty : of these, all but one hundred were so far tainted with the scurvy, that the phy. sicians and surgeons declared that they could hold out only a very few days, before they must be sent to the hospital. They also said, that a few days longer obstinacy in defence must prove the destruction of the remains of that brave garrison, as there were no means of keeping the greater part of them much longer alive, but by a speedy relief of wholesome air, aided by an abundant supply of vegetables. The necessary guards on the last night of defence, required 415 men upon duty, so that there were only 245 left, 170 less than the necessary number for the next relief, and no picquet could be at all formed.
Under these circumstances, the governor was reduced to the necessity (Feb. 5.] of capitulating. He obtained all the honors of war, and every thing he required,excepting that of freeing the garrison from being prisoners, which the Duke de Crillon assured him, the Spanish king in his instructions had particularly tied him down from granting ; but the troops were to be sent te Britain subject to the customary conditions of not serving till exchanged, or discharged by a peace. The Corsicans and other foreigners were secured in their persons and effects, and in the liberty of going where they pleased.
The poor remains ot the garrison, while marching through the Spanish and French armies, which were drawn up in opposite lines for their passage, exhibited such a tragical spectacle as is not often seen, though it was at the same time much to the glory of the sufferers. Sixhundred old, emaciated, worn down and decrepit soldiers, were followed by 120 of the royal artillery, and 200 seamen: about 20 Corsicans, and 25. Greeks and Turks, Moors and Jews, &c. closed the procession. When the battalions arrived at the place appointed for laying down their arıns, the soldiers exclaimed with tears in their eyes"We surrender them to God alone.” They seemingly derived great consolation from the opis nion that the victors could not boast of their conquest in taking an hospital. The indignation and grief expressed by the British troops on their being at length vanquished, was mentioned in terms of admiration, and of the highest honor to the garrison, in the Spanish published accounts of this transaction. During the siege from the 19th of August 1781, to the 4th of February, inclusive, the total of the killed was 59, and of the wounded 149.
The sympathy discovered by the enemy upon the occasion, was. highly to their honor. Several of the common soldiers of both
Brmies were so moved by the wretched condition of the garrison, that involuntary tears dropped from them, as the prisoners passed along. The subsequent tenderness shown by the Duke de Crillon, the Count of the same name and family, and the Baron de Falkinhaym, who commanded the French troops, in their continued supply of all necessaries to the sick, and their unremitted attention to their recovery, was beyond all praise. • The meinbers in the British house of cominons opposed to the administration, aimed at binding up the hands of the executive government by a strong and explicit declaration of the opinion of parliament. Gen. Conway [22.] therefore moved That an humble address be presented to his majesty, that he will be pleased to give directions to his ministers not to pursue any longer the impracticable object of reducing his majesty's revolted colonies, b4 force, to their allegiance, by a war on the continent of Anerica, and to assure his majesty, that his faithful commoners will most cheerfully concur with him in such measures as may be found ne*cessary to accelerate the blessings of returning peace.” The debates were warm, and held till two in the morning, when upon the division the numbers for the motion were 193, and against it 1944. The majority of one only on the side of ministry, proved that their influence was nearly at an end. Five days after Conway re- . newed his motion. The debates it occasioned continued till near two in the morning, when the attorney-general moved" That
the present debate be adjourned until the 13th of March.” There · were for the adjournment 215 against 23+. The original motion, and address to the king formed upon the resolution, were then
carried without a division, and the address was ordered to be pre* sented by the whole house. The next day the attorney-general moved to bring in a bill to enable his majesty to conclude a peace or truce with the revolted colonies in America, which was agreed
to. The bill had for its object the repeal of all acts relative to the - commerce of America, from the 12th of Charles II. The same • day the secretaries of state sent a letter to the Lord Mayor of
London, informing him of the apprehension which existed of ri* ots and tumults in the evening ; that so proper measures might - be taken for securing the public peace. It was feared, that the - great and general joy occasioned by the carrying of Conway's motion would have produced those riots. On the 4th of March, his majesty's answer was reported to the house, and the thanks of the house unanimously voted to the king for the same.--After which Conway rose and moved another resolution-" That this house will consider as enemies to his majesty and this country, all those who shall endeavor to frustrate his majesty's paternal
care for the ease and happiness of his people, by advising, os by any means attempting, the further prosecution of offensive war on the continent of North-America, for the purpose of reducing the colonies to obedience by force.” Government made a feeble opposition to the motion, and at length suffered it to pass without a division. On that day also, a commission passed the great seal, appointing Sir Guy Carlton commander in chief in America.
The resolutions that were passed the house, and the warm reception they met with from the public, served to show that a complete revolution in the internal policy of government must succeed, which was an event no wise agreeable to the sentiments of the court.
The opposition sought (8th.] to obtain a vote, from which it. might appear, that the house of commons had totally withdrawn, its confidence from the present administration. Lord. John Cavendish made several motions with that view, and a long debate ensued, when the house divided at last on the order of the day, which had been moved for and was carried by a majority of 10. That day week, [15th.] a motion was made by Sir John Rous, in which it was proposed to resolve, that the house could have no further confidence in the ministers, who had the direction of public affairs. On this occasion the strength of both parties was mustered. Near 480 members were present; and on the divi- : sion the question was negatived by a majority of only 9. Notice was given after the division, that a motion to the same effect would be made on the Wednesday following. .. .
On that day, [20.] the house was again uncommonly crowded; when after a while, Lord North assured the house with au-i thority, that the administration, against which the intended. mo- : tion was levelled, did no longer exist; and that his majesty was come to a full determination of changing his ministers. He then moved for an adjournment, that leisure might be given for the forming of a new administration. He afterward took leave of the house as minister. His speech was decent and pathetic.. He thanked them for the honorable support they had given him. during so long a course of years, and in so many trying situastions; and concluded with signifying, that he was both readyand desirous to encounter the strictest scrutiny into his conduct.
During the adjournment, which was to the 25th, the new ad. ministration was formed under the auspices of the Marquis of Rockingham, on whose public principles and private honor, the nation can rely with confidence, after the violent struggle with which it has been agitated. The cabinet, including the marquis as first commissioner of the treasury, is composed of the Earl of
Shelburne and Mr. Fox, who have been appointed secretaries of state ; lord Canden, president of the council; the Duke of Grafton, privy seal; lord John Cavendish, chancellor of the exchoquer; admiral Keppel, first commissioner of the admiralty; general Conway, commander in chief of the forces; the duke of Richmond, master-general of the ordnance; Barre, treasurer of the navy; and Edmund Burke, paymaster-general. ',.
The public measures for which the new minister is said to have stipulated with the court, before he would consent to enter into any negociation for office, are these-1. Peace with the Americans, and the acknowledgment of their independence not to be a bar to the attainment of the samie-2. A substantial reform in the several branches of the civil list expenditure, un the plan of Mr. Burke-3. The diminution of the influence of the crown, under which article the bills for excluding contract ors from seats in parliament, and disqualifying the revenue officers from voting in the election of inembers, were included.
The revolution that has taken place in the British administra. tion, is chiefly owing to the capture of lord Cornwallis and his army; and must diffuse a general joy through the United States of America, whenever the account reaches them; by exciting their hopes of soon possessing the great object for which they have been contending. But the disagreeable intelligence received at the admiralty-office from the West-Indies on the 12th and 26th of March, did undoubtedly promote and confirm the said revolution.'. · The superiority of the French by 'sea and land in that part of the world, enabled them to undertake what they pleased. The"loss of Statia was but the prelude to further misfortunes on the side of Britain. St. Kitts was doomed to become a victim to the policy and power of France. The marquis de Bouille [Jan. 1}.] landed 8000 men on the island, and was supported by count de Grasse, with 32 ships of the line. The garrison under gen. Fraser, did not exceed 600 effective men; so that the great superiority of the enemy prevented all resistance to their landing. The garrison retired to Brimstone-hill, which, beside some newly erected fortifications, was considered from its height and almost inaccessible situation, as one of the strongest posts in the West-India islands. But the troops were too few for its defence through a long siegc.
- The British feet under Sir Samuel Hood, consisting of 22 ships of the line; was then at Barbadocs. That island was the original object of the French commanders; but they were driven so far to the lecward by contrary winds, that they found it neces.
sary to change their design and direct their attack against St. Kitts. Sir Samuel, notwithstanding his interiority, determined upon boldly attempting the preservation of the island. He accordingly sailed to Antigua, where he took gen. Prescott on board, with the few troops that could be spared; and from thence proceeded in the evening for Basseterre-road, where de Grasse lay at anchor, began at day-break to form his line of battle, for the purpose of bearing down upon and attacking them. The accident of two ships running foul of each other, interrupted the prosecution of this design ; and the fleet was obliged to lie too for a day, during the repair of the damage which one of them sustained. A French frigate from Martinico, full of shells and ordnance stores for the siege of Brimstone-hill, which fell into the hands of the British, seemed to compensate in some measure for this delay. DeGrasse, who could not but be surprised at this unlooked for visit, quitted his anchorage, that so by putting out to sea and gaining a good offing, his ships might have full room to act, and thereby secure all the advantages of their superiority in number, • [Jan. 25.] Sir Samuel instantly perceived how he might profit by this movement. The enemy formed in a line of battle a-head, he carried on every appearrnce of a determined and immediate attack, whereby he drew them further from the shore. He then pushed directly for Basseterre-road, and took possession of that anchorage ground which the count had quitted on the preceding evening. A sense of the possible consequence of this movement, in cutting the French fleet off from all communication with their army on shore, led them to fall upon commodore Affleck with the utmost fury. He commanded and closed the rear of the British squadron, and they were in no small hope of cutting off that division. The commodore, with his two brave seconds, Jord Robert Manners and capt. Cornwallis, kept up so able and "unceasing a fire, that with little loss and damage to themselves, they contributed much to the covering of the other ships of the ; division, while they were getting into their stations. After a sharp conflict, the French were obliged to bear away.
The next morning [26.] by eight o'clock, ihe British line was attacked from van to rear, by 29 sail of the enemy, for near two "hours, without having the least visible impression made upon it.
The French then wore and stood off again to sea. De Grasse, not yet discouraged, renewed the engagement in the afternoon, and directed his attack principally against the centre and rcar divisions. These he hoped to overwhelm by the superiority of his force; but he was again repulsed with greater loss and damage than before. His own ship, the Ville de Paris, suffered severely, and received