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now he was at the head of the admiralty, not only recalled promulgated in a work on naval evolutions by Father Paul Rodney because he was of another party, but did it in the Hoste, a French Jesuit, so early as 1697 ; but Rodney had coldest and most direct manner, through his secretary, Mr. the merit of estimating its importance, and of first adopting Stephen. Providence was, however, preparing a due punish- it. About noon a breeze sprang up, and afforded the longment for this deed, which was sacrificing the interests of the desired opportunity. Rodney was now in the van, and country to party feeling, as is the general wont of party. after captain Gardiner, in the Duke, had made the first At the very time this order of recall was issued—the 1st of attempt and fallen back disabled, Rodney's own ship, the May-Rodney had fought one of the greatest and most Formidable, broke through, followed by the Namur and the decisive battles which embellish the history of our navy. Canada. Sir Gilbert Blane, who was on board Rodney's He had gone in all haste to the West Indies, with fourteen vessel, says: “We passed within pistol-shot of the Gloricus, ships of the line, to join Sir Samuel Hood, who was vainly of seventy-four guns, which was so roughly handled, that contending against the fleet of De Grasse and a strong land she was shorn of all her masts, bowsprit, and ensign-staff, force at St. Christopher's. As we have seen, Hood had con- but with the white flag nailed to the stump of one of her tended stoutly, with only twenty-two ships of the line, with masts, and looking defiance, as it were, in her last moments. De Grasse's thirty-three, off Basseterre, in St. Christopher's. Thus become a motionless hulk, she presented a spectacle He had skilfully dispossessed the French of their anchorage- which struck our admiral's fancy as not unlike the remains of ground, and repulsed, with terrible loss to the enemy, two a fallen hero; for, being an indefatigable reader of Homer, attempts to regain it. But, as De Grasse had landed eight he exclaimed, that now was the contest for the body of thousand men, under De Bouillé, and Hood had no land Patroclus." troops, he could not save the island. After its capture The great end of Rodney was gained. He had cut in two Rodney fortunately fell in with him, and their united fleet the great fleet, and his ships doubling on one half threw the now amounted to thirty-six ships of the line. It was well, whole into confusion. The half to the windward were for Hood informed Rodney that De Grasse was intending to terribly raked, whilst the half to the leeward were unable to join the Spanish general, Galvez, at St. Domingo, where come up to their aid. The battle, however, continued withthey were to sail for a grand attack on the chief of the out respite from noon till evening, the leeward half enBritish West India Islands, Jamaica, almost the only island, deavouring to join and return to the charge, but without with the exception of Barbadoes and Antigua, which being able. The most striking part of the action was the England had left. So confident were the Spaniards of the attack on the great ship of De Grasse, the Ville de Paris. conquest of Jamaica, that, before Galvez sailed from the That huge vessel, the pride of the French navy, towering Havannah, the council there had formally addressed him as over all far and near, attracted the ambition of captain governor of that island. But Rodney declared that nothing Cornwallis, of the Canada, the brother of lord Cornwallis, should prevent his saving that valuable possession, having to whose surrender De Grasse had so greatly contributed. now thirty-six sail of the line, though some of them were Captain Cornwallis, as if determined on a noble revenge, in very bad condition. He dispatched some swift sailers to attacked the Ville de Paris with fury, hugely as it towered watch Port Royal, whilst he lay ready for a start in St. Lucien. above him, and so well did he ply his guns that he soon
On the 8th of April he was signalled that the French reduced the monster almost to a wreck. De Grasse fought fleet was unmoored and proceeding to sea. Rodney instantly desperately, but Hood coming up to the assistance of Corn: put out, and the next morning discovered this fleet under wallis, in the Barfleur, about sunset, De Grasse was comDominica. The wind being in favour of De Grasse, he pelled to strike his flag. That was a sight that sent a stood away for Guadaloupe ; but Rodney gave chase, and thrill of victory," says Dr. Blane, through every heart in Hood's squadron getting far in advance, De Grasse veered the fleet, a sensation defying description. In fact, when the round in the hope of beating him before the rest of Rodney's news reached Europe, the French naval officers exclaimed fleet could coine up. Hood received the fire of three men- that the report was false. "It is impossible !" they cried; of-war in the Barfleur, his ship, for some time; but he stood “not the whole British fleet could take the Ville de Paris!" bravely to the enemy, and the wind now favouring Rodney, At the close of the engagement it was found that the he came up and joined in the engagement. Several ships on English had captured five large ships, to which two others each side were so much damaged that they were almost were almost immediately added by admiral Hood, and an useless, and captain Bayne, of the Alfred, was killed. The eighth was sunk. Owing to the condition of the French next morning, the French were nearly out of sight; but vessels, crowded with the soldiers who were to have conRodney pressed after them under all sail, for he knew that quered Jamaica, the slaughter was terrible. The killed were if they succeeded in joining the Spaniards, he should have computed at nearly three thousand; the wounded at double sixty sail, instead of thirty-six, to contend with.
that number. The English lost two hundred and fifty On the evening of the 11th he had the satisfaction to find killed, and had seven hundred and sixty wounded. Rodney himself close to the enemy, and at day-break of the 12th the declared it, in his opinion, " the severest battle ever fought battle began. At first, there was so little wind that Rodney I at sea." On board the Ville de Paris were found thirty-six was unable to put into execution his long-cherished scheme chests of money, intended to pay the conquerors of Jamaica, of breaking right through the centre of the enemy's line, and on the other ships nearly all the battering trains for and beating one half before the other could come to the tbat purpose. The remainder of the fleet made all sail, and rescue. There has been much dispute as to the first idea of Rodney pursued, but was stopped by a calm of three days this plan. It was certainly no new one, for it had been 1 under Guadaloupe, and they escaped.
VICTORY OF RODNEY OVER DE GRASSE. It was with a just pride that Rodney wrote to his wife, York Town had been surrendered, the vengeance of the - Within two little years I have taken two Spanish, one republicans on the unhappy royalists became perfectly French, and one Dutch admiral ;” adding, beautifully, “ It fiendish. Stung to madness by their sufferings, and by the is Providence does it all, or how could I escape the shot of barbarous assassination of one of their party, Philip White, thirty-three sail-of-the-line, every one of which I believe the royalists seized on one Joshua Huddy, a captain in attacked me?” Rodney had, it must be remembered, Washington's army, whom they declared had been one of thirty-six of the line, and De Grasse only thirty-three, but the most cruel of their persecutors, and who with his own three of De Grasse's ships were disabled by the four days' hand had tied the knot and put the rope round the neck of battle, and of Hood's division five or six never got into one of the most inoffensive of the royalists. This man they battle owing to the wind, so that the French were not only hanged on the 30th of March, with a label on his breast in numerically, but in weight of metal stronger, showing the these words :—“We, the refugees, having with grief long infinite advantage of breaking the line. Rodney, in the joy beheld the cruel murders of our brethren, and finding of his heart, not only desired his wife to kiss “ his dear girls nothing but such measures carried daily into execution,
I determine not to suffer without taking vengeance for these at home" for him, but his faithful dog Loup too !
He received De Grasse on board his vessel with much numerous cruelties, and thus begin, and have made use of respect. He was the first commander-in-chief of the French
captain Huddy as the first object to present to your view;
and further determine to hang man for man while there by land or sea who had been taken, since Tallard gave up
is a refugee existing Up goes Huddy for Philip White !” his sword to Marlborough. Both in the West Indies and in
Sir Henry Clinton arrested captain Lippincot, the comEngland De Grasse was honourably received, but in France
mander of the party, and several others of the ringleaders ; the news of this great defeat fell like a thunderbolt. “ It
but the royalists made strong declarations of the justice and carried,” says Botta, “ the most profound despair from one
necessity of retaliations. Clinton appointed a court-martial end of the country to the other, and poor De Grasse was
to try these men ; but this court returned a verdict of not not only disgraced, but insulted in all possible ways." In
guilty, on the ground that captain Lippincot had only America, too, the news spread the deepest consternation.
obeyed the orders of the board of directors of the associatel The great French admiral who enabled them to win York
royalists, captain Lippincot not doubting the validity of the Town, and the surrender of the English force there, was
orders of that board. thus thoroughly beaten, the invincible Ville de Paris taken,
But this did not satisfy Washington, the author of all the West Indies were saved, and England was once more
the atrocities by his unwarrantable and implacable execu. the empress of the ocean !
tion of major André, a British officer, acting under a pass Rodney sailed to Jamaica, which he had thus saved, and
from one of their own generals. Washington demanded - was received with the acclamations of honour and grati
that captain Lippincot, the assassin, as he termed him, tude. There, however, he received the order for his recall,
should be given up to him, to be treated according to the and returned home. To the eternal dishonour of the laws of the republicans. Of course, Sir Henry could not do Rockingham administration, on receiving the news of this
this. The republicans had commenced this barbarous superb and most important victory-a victory which at once
y-a victory which at once practice. Washington himself had been the great sanctioner restored the drooping glories of Great Britain—they had
of it; and captain Lippincot, having been duly submitted not the heart to cancel his recall, though the feeling of the
to a court-martial and acquitted, was exempt from further country compelled the crown to grant him a pension, and to proceedings by all the laws of war. On all such occasions, raise him to the peerage by the title of baron Rodney. Sir
however, Washington showed himself as unprincipled and Samuel Hood was also made an Irish baron; admiral Drake as destitute of the nobler qualities which so highly distinand commodore Affleck were made baronets; and monu- guished him from his countrymen, as the average of them. ments were voted for captains Bayne, Blair, and lord Robert He at once ordered an English officer of the same rank to Manners, who were killed in the action. It was about the be seized and treated in the same manner. He waited for middle of May when this inspiriting news reached England, no order from the congress—he took the matter upon himand effaced the memory of a hundred disasters and feebly- self, and ordered, on the 3rd of May, twenty-one days after conducted enterprises,
the death of Huddy, brigadier Hazen to cast lots upon a During this time the hostile army in America had re- number of unconditional prisoners, and the lot fell on capmained much in the condition we have described. The tain Asgill, a young man of nineteen, the son of Sir Charles English, too few for any active operation—the Americans | Asgill. Now, captain Asgill was not an unconditional in the last condition of misery and destitution. But the prisoner, but one of the English surrendered by lord Cornranceur which burned betwixt the American republicans and wallis at York Town, under express conditions. This was royalists continised to show itself the more fiercely from the pointed out to Washington, and he ordered a lieutenant opportunities afforded for its exercise by the presence of large Turner, a British officer, who had been taken without conarmies. Throughout the war the royalists had been treated ditions, to be substituted. This, however, was not done ; without mercy by their republican countrymen ; their and Washington, with full knowledge that his orders were property had been confiscated or destroyed remorselessly not obeyed, suffered the matter to go on! Gordon, the historian wherever it could be seized, and their persons insulted, and of the war, says :—"If you inquire why Turner, or some other their lives destroyed with a savage pleasure. Now the officer, was not sent on to take the place of Asgill, it is not English had retired from the Carolinas and Georgia to in my power to answer.” And another writer adds, “ The within the walls of Charlestown and Savannah, and, since' Americans, no doubt, thought it proper and spirited to adhere to the principle of captain for captain, though lord arrived, and her daughter as seized with a fever and Cornwallis's capitulations stood in their way; and they may, delirium, on hearing of her brother's danger, and, as she besides, have given their cruel preference to young Asgill, wrote, raving wildly about him. This letter had produced from the knowledge of his being a person of family and the utmost compassion in the king and queen of France; superior consideration, whose fate would excite more atten- and their majesties begged “ that the inquietudes of an tion than that of a more obscure officer."
unfortunate mother might be calmed, and her tenderness This is sufficient answer, as it regards Americans in reassured.” But Vergennes put the matter on still stronger general, for we have seen that through the whole war they grounds, properly reminding Washington of the sacred set the usual laws of honour and of nations at defiance in obligations he had vowed to violate, and of the laws of the case of André and of Burgoyne's army ; but it does not nations, so strangely forgotten. “ Captain Asgill," he wrote, satisfy us with regard to Washington—in most cases, a " is your prisoner ; but he is amongst those whom the arms brilliant exception. Yet nothing is clearer than that of the king, my master, contributed to put into your hands Washington continued, with a full knowledge of all the at York Town. And," he added, “ in seeking to deliver facts, to hold Asgill, and menace the full execution of Mr. Asgill from the fate which threatens him, I am far retaliative death. In no case, as it seems to us, could such from engaging you to select another victim; the pardon, to retaliation be justified, except in the case of a royalist, where be perfectly satisfactory, must be entire.” the royalists were the offenders, and that the selection of a This was the language of civilisation as well as humanity; British officer at all was an unwarrantable piece of violence; and, coming from all-important allies, could not be disthe selection of one surrendered under the most explicit and regarded. Washington forwarded the letters to congress, most solemn conditions, beyond all conception flagrant and and, after some obstinacy also in that quarter, captain atrocious.
| Asgill was eventually freed on the 7th of November. On Washington announced the very day for the death of this liberating the young officer, who had been kept without any unoffending youth by a letter written on the 5th of May; fault of his own, or of the army to which he belonged, for but at this moment Sir Henry Clinton was superseded by six months in daily expectation of death, Washington Sir Guy Carleton, formerly governor of Canada, and Sir assured him that he had never been influenced by any Guy brought with him the proposals of the Rockingham sanguinary motives; and Gordon thinks captain Asgill was administration and the votes of the English house of rather ungrateful for expressing no acknowledgment of the commons for peace, as well as a bill enabling the king to general's kindness in his release! The best and ablest conclude a preliminary truce.
biographer of Washington (judge Marshall), however, very These important and conciliatory documents Sir Guy, in prudently passes over the whole of this transaction in silence; conjunction with admiral Digby, sent to Washington, evidently as a matter that admitted of no defence. informing him that he had duplicates for the congress, and At this moment, when the offers of peace had arrived in requested a passport for his messenger, adding that with America, never was a country in a more deplorable necessity such amicable dispositions on the part of England there for it. Washington's army was suffering all the horrors of could be no difficulty in a perfect arrangement, provided nakedness and destitution recently described. He was America showed the same feeling. But Washington, with himself, as he stated candidly in his letter to congress, the same sternness and discourtesy which most unhappily deeply apprehensive that, unless peace came quickly, his seized him in the André affair, bluntly refused the pass- soldiers would make use of their arms to force an existence port, and paying no attention to the friendly overtures, from the population at large; and that the desultory warfare turned again to the subject of captain Huddy, reiterat- going on in the Carolinas betwixt the republicans and ing his determination to hang young Asgill. Sir Guy, royalists, full of horrors, would become general. Congress, surprised at this most unamiable rebuff, but maintain- however, had no means of helping him. Their coffers were ing the courtesy of a good diplomatist, expressed his regret empty, and their treasurer, Morris, declared it was imposfor the circumstances which had occurred, and his readiness sible to raise another penny. Money was in vain asked for to make further inquiries into the death of Huddy; but at sixty per cent. The French troops, under these circumWashington repeated his peremptory demand for the stances, took their departure for the West Indies, the victory surrender of captain Lippincot, and asserted, in default, his of Rodney having left their own islands exposed to imminent certain resolve to hang Asgill. It was not till the 19th of peril. It must be a startling revelation for those who ever August that Washington thought well to remove this entertained the grand idea that the Americans could have responsibility to congress, which, had he taken it finally on liberated themselves, or were now in any condition to continue himself by the youth's execution, would have branded his the war, to read Washington's own statements in his letters name for ever with just infamy.
on this subject. Peace, however, was approaching; but it During these four anxious months, the news had reached appeared as impossible for congress to accomplish it as they the young man's distracted family, and astonished England. had found it to prosecute the war. It was in Paris, and Lady Asgill, the youth's mother, haul written to the count through Franklin, that this desirable consummation was to de Vergennes, the French minister, and in September be aimed at. But before entering on the negotiations there, Washington received a letter from count de Vergennes, we must notice yet a few circumstances which rendered this inclosing another from lady Asgill. In the letter of lady object as necessary for France, Holland, and Spain, as for Asgill to Vergennes, she represented her husband, Sir England or America. Charles, at the point of death, at the moment that the news! It was not in America or in the West Indies alone that
305 France, and Spain, and Holland were, by combined and August the carpenters were busy caulking a seam, previous gigantic efforts, endeavouring to pull down Great Britain, to her going out again on the voyage to Gibraltar. The and for ever crush her proud and envied power. Besides the ship was therefore laid somewhat on her side, but not so transactions that we have narrated, La Perouse, the un- much as to inconvenience any one. The admiral and his fortunate French officer who afterwards left his bones on officers remained on board. The brave Kempenfelt was the desert coast of the New Hebrides, revisited and destroyed writing in his cabin, the bulk of the people were between the defenceless trading stations of the Hudson's Bay Com- decks, when a sudden squall plunged the open gun-ports pany. The Spaniards took the Bahama Isles, soon again to under water on the lowered side, and as, it is said, the guns, lose them, and we, on our part, captured the Spanish settle- in the process of cleaning the ship, being unlashed, ran all ments on the Mosquito shore. These, however, were small to that side, the great vessel went down in a moment, matters; this stupendous war was waging round the whole with all in her. The admiral, officers, all who were between globe. Every Dutch settlement on the African coast, except decks, perished, as did also, it is supposed, upwards of one the Cape of Good Hope, had fallen into our hands. Still thousand persons in number. A victualler lying alongside more did we punish the French and Dutch in the East was swallowed up in the whirlpool occasioned by the sinking Indies, where they had also, at enormous cost, attacked our of so vast a body. All in and about her perished, except power, and both these nations were now contemplating, in about three hundred men, chiefly sailors, who escaped by astonishment and dismay, the triumphs of the people whom swimming, or were taken up by boats. they had so fondly hoped to reduce to utter insignificance. But this awful catastrophe did not hinder the sailing of We shall immediately come to the great details of our lord Howe. He had by great exertion mustered a fleet of Indian campaigns, but we must now narrate one of the thirty-four sail-of-the-line, and on the 11th of September inost extraordinary, as it was one of the last, transactions of steered out for Gibraltar. For upwards of three years this the war, which, more than almost any other, convinced the famous rock had now been beleaguered. In the summer of numerous enemies of this country that England had still in 1779 the Spaniards had sate down before the place at San her ages of inextinguishable valour.
Roque with a powerful camp, and had sent out a fleet to cut The tide of our maritime success appeared running ad- off all supplies. We have seen how the place had been versely during the summer of 1782. The prizes of Rodney, stoutly defended by the gallant old general George Augustus including the great Ville de Paris, on their way home were Elliot, an officer who had learned originally the art of war assailed with a violent tempest, and went down, so that the at La Fere, in France, but had completed his military English people had not the gratification of seeing the experience in Germany, had fought at Dettingen under greatest ship in the world, which had been captured by George II., and afterwards in Gerinany under the duke of Rodney. Besides the Ville de Paris, the Glorieux, the Cumberland and prince Ferdinand of Brunswick. We have Centaur, the Hector, and an English ship, the Ramilies, all also seen the united efforts of the Spaniards and Frenchwent down. The Dutch were encouraged to attempt coming both by sea and land—to take it, and the successful out of the Texel, and waylaying our Baltic merchant fleet, endeavours of Rodney, Digby, and Darby to throw in but lord Howe, with twelve sail-of-the-line, was sent after supplies at successive periods. To such distress was this them, and they quickly ran back into the Texel. His undaunted garrison sometimes reduced that the price of a lordship remained there blockading them till the 28th of pound of the mouldy crumbs of biscuit was one shilling, and June, when he was compelled to leave his post and sail such luxuries as geese one pound ten shillings each-turkeys westward, with twenty-one ships -of-the-line and some two pounds eight shillings each. The consequent ravages frigates, to watch the great combined fleet of France and of scurvy and other disease were dreadful. After the relief Spain, which had issued from Cadiz. On his cruise he had thrown in by admiral Darby, the Spaniards, despairing of under him vice - admiral Barrington and rear - admiral reducing the garrison by blockade, determined to destroy Kempenfelt. The great combined fleet—thirty-six sail-of- the town and works by a terrific bombardment. This bomthe-line, besides frigates-kept aloof, and allowed him safely bardment was, accordingly, opened with unexampled fury, to convoy home the Jamaica merchant fleet, guarded by Sir and continued incessantly for days and weeks. The town Peter Parker.
was set on fire, and numbers of houses consumed; the No sooner did Howe return to port than he had orders to damage done to the ramparts and public buildings was sail in aid of Gibraltar, which was not only greatly in need appalling. Vast masses of rock, loosened by the balls and of stores and provisions, but was menaced by the combined shells, came toppling down on the houses, and thus were laid armies and fleets of France and Spain with one great and over- open many magazines of provisions, secreted by base traders, whelming attack. The evil fortune of England did not yet, to be dealt out at famine prices in the moments of deepest however, seem to bave disappeared. The Royal George, the distress. The soldiers and inhabitants, enraged at the disfinest vessel in the British service, carrying one hundred and covery, seized the goods and appropriated them; others eight guns, was the flag-ship of Kempenfelt, as it had been drank freely of the discovered stores of wine and spirits, and of lord Hawke in his celebrated action on the coast of in their intoxication comunitted other excesses. Captain Brittany, and of several others of our admirals. This | Drinkwater, in his able history of the siege, deseribes many magnificent ship on its return, lying off Portsmouth, singular features of this wild extravagance; such as seeing was crowded not only with its own crew, but with numbers a party of soldiers roasting a pig at a fire of cinnamon ! of other people who had gone on board, including three General Elliot displayed the utmost temper and skill hundred women and many children. On the 29th of l through this bombardment, as he did through the whole siege. He continued by night, and at all other opportunities, following month of December, however, they slowly resumed to repair actively the damages done; and, reserving his fire their bombardment. It was not till the spring of the present for occasions when he saw a chance of doing particular year, 1782, that the Spaniards were cheered by the news damage, he caused the enemy to wonder at the little im- that the duke of Crillon was on his way to join them with pression tbat they made.
the army which had conquered Minorca. But, in the autumn of 1781, they resolved on a renewed In April, De Crillon arrived, and was followed by the attack of the most vigorous kind. Elliot received informa- Spanish and French troops from Minorca. From eighteen tion of this, and determined to anticipate the plan. At to twenty thousand men were added to the army already midnight of the 26th of November he ordered out all his encamped before the place, and the most able engineers were grenadiers and light infantry, including the two veteran engaged from almost all countries of Europe, at extravagant regiments with which he had seen service in Germany so salaries, and great rewards were offered for inventions which many years ago, the 12th, and the regiment of general might demolish the formidable works of the English on the Hardenberg. These amounted to about two thousand men, rock. Nearly forty thousand troops were now congregated under the command of brigadier-general Ross. Three against the old fortress, and vast numbers of French princes hundred sailors volunteered to accompany them, and the and Spanish nobles flocked to St. Roque to witness the brave old general himself could not stay behind. The anticipated triumph over Gibraltar, as over Fort St. Philip detachinent marched silently through the soft sand, and in Minorca. One hundred and seventy pieces of heavy
entered the fourth line almost before the Spanish sentinel artillery were directed against it, and immense stores of was aware of them. In a very few minutes the enemy was ammunition were accumulated for this final and triumphant in full flight towards the village of Campo, and the English achievement. On the other hand, general Elliot had now set to work, under direction of the engineer officers, to repaired and strengthened his defences more than ever. His destroy the works which had cost the Spaniards such garrison was augmented to seven thousand men, including enormous labour to erect. They spiked the cannon, dug a marine brigade; eighty pieces of cannon frowned from the mines, and blew the fourth line, with all its bastions and walls, and the bulk of his men were of the best and most magazines of gunpowder, into the air. They then marched seasoned kind. At this conjuncture, the Corsican general, back in perfect order into their own defences, having lost Paoli, with sixty volunteers, joined the garrison, and two not a single musket, spade, or tool of any kind. There were princes of the blood, the comte D'Artois and the duc de only four men killed, twenty-six wounded, and one missing. Bourbon, were, on the other hand, with the French troops. In the quarters of one of the officers a report was found The coming encounter fixed the attention of all Europe, drawn up, to be dispatched to the general the next morn- and at length roared forth such an inferno of fire, and balls, ing, saying, “nothing particular had occurred." The news and shells against the fortress, that its continued resistance that morning was rather different; and the Spaniards for appeared impossible. Charles III., the king of Spain, a several days appeared so stupefied that they allowed their man whom nothing had ever appeared capable of rousing into works to burn without any attempt to check the fire. In the anything like life and interest, was now so much excited