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great services. Mr.' Dc Sartine was net a man of rank; but he had the merit of following up, with extraordinary spirit arid diligence, the plan of increasing the marine, which had been adopted in the late reign; but more languidly pursued on account of the ill (late of the revenue. But the present king took a still stronger step in the regulation of that important object. Louis the XVI. had the magnanimity to ptace Mr. Necker, a foreign gentleman, and a protestant, at the head of his finances. The success and reward were equal to the liberality and wisdom of rhe measure. France recovered her public credit. The people of France, for the first time, had the satisfaction of seeing a war carried on by sacrifices on the part of the king, and with an attention to the ease and relief of the people. This measure could not fail to encourage and promote their confidence in government; and must prove a source of strength, which that great monarchy never possessed before. The virtues of a republican state were professed, and in some measure practised.
France opened the year by a successful expedition to the coast of Africa. The squadron employed upon this service was commanded by the Marquis de Vaudn*vil, and a land force, much greater than was necessary (but both taking Africa only in their way to reinforce D'Estaing in the West Indies), was commanded by the Duke de Lauzun. As the garrisons in that quarter were totally incapable of making any resistance, the British forts, settlements, factoric>» and property, at Senegal, in the river Gambia, and other parts
of that coast, fell (tirhout trouble into the hands of the enemy, between the latter end of January, and that of February, 1779. The French upon that success, abandoned the island of Goree, whic^i they had recovered by the late peace; and transported the artillery and garrison xo strengthen Senegal. Sir Edward Hughes soon afterwards, on his passage to tjbe East Indies, seized and garrisoned the ifland of Goree; and a> he had a body of troops on board the squadron, it was eagerly expected and hoped by the public at home, that he would have recovered those settlements which we had so newljr lost. But as no attempt of that sort, was made, it must be concluded that offer's orders did not extend so far. It was perhaps an object not lo important as to risque upon it the much greater object* which were then in view.
As the summer advanced it wat thought necessary in France to attempt something, which might shew an early alacrity in somp sort correspondent to their great military preparations. The first was an attempt on the isle of Jersey, part: of the ancient dutchy of Normandy. This, with Guernsey and the lesser islands, being the sole remains of our vast possessions on the continent of _ Europe.
The design was laid by a prince, or count of Nassau; whose ancestor, if we are not misinformed, had rendered a very disputed claim, of being in some manner descended from a defunct branch of that illustrious family, the means of much furthering his fortunes in France. The force employed upon this service has been estimated, by different accounts, from three,
to to five or fix thousand men. They
j. „ appeared in sight of the May ut, island> in about fisiy flat_
''"" bottomed boats, under tat convoy of five frigates and some armed cutters, early in the rooming, and attempted a debarkation in St. Ouen's Bay.' But they were so warmly and vigorously received, by the 78th regiment, and by the militia of ihe island, that after a faint, spiritless, and ill-supported attempt, they relinquished the enterprise, with very little loss on either side
- Trifling and ineffective as this diversion was, it had the'fortune of being productive of some consequences, with respect to the American war. For it happened that Admiral AibuthnoJ, with a squadron of men of war, and a prodigious convoy, amounting to about four hundred merchantmen and transports, was then on the outset of his voyage to New York. He happened to fall in with the vessel wh.ch was sent express from Jersey to England, with the first account os the attack upon, and the apparent imminent danger of the island. That commander had spirit and resolution enough, - rather to hazard any personal consequence that might attend his venturing upon a breach of orders, rhan to suffer the loss 'of so valuable an island, whilst be commanded a force in the channel. He accordingly ordered the convoy to wait for him at Torbay, and proceeded himself with the squadron, to the relief of Jersey. Although the delay immediately occasioned by this measure, was in the first instance but trifling, yet through the succeeding casualties of wind and weather, the sleet was not able to get
clear of the land of England, until the beginning of the ensuing month, and did not arrive at New York till near the end of August. As that sleet conveyed the reinforcements, camp equipage, stores, and other necessaries, which were to enable Sir Henry Clinton to open the campaign with any vigour, the consequences of so late an arrival are sufficiently obvious.
Notwithstanding the repulse and disappointment which attended the late attempt upon Jersey, the design did not, however, seem to be relinquished. The French troop* were landed and retained for several days on the small islands which, lie between it and the continent; while the armed vessels paraded on the opposite coasts of Normandy. The spirit, activity, and gallantry of Sir James Wallace, in the Experiment of 50 guns, being seconded by two frigates, and as many armed brigs, by which he was accompanied, put an end to this appearance of threat, and state of alarm. That officer having pursued several large frigates, with some smaller craft, into the bay of Concalle in Normandy, until they had run ashore under the cover of a battery, and his pilots not venturing to take any farther charge of his ship, he directly took that charge and risque upon himself, and boldly carried her M h
up the bay, and layed 'J
her ashore abreast os the battery. In that situation he continued to engage, until he had silenced the guns of the battery, and compelled the French crews to abandon their sliies,; which being then boarded by the armed boats from the Experiment and Cabot brig, the La Danae, of 34 guns, and rated ac
150 2?o men, with two small loaded prizes, were brought safely off; but the country people, with some troops and militia, now keeping op a constant fire, with cannon and howitzers, as well as small arms from the shore, they weie obliged to be contented with burning, or otherwise destroying, two other stout frigates, an armed cutter of 16 guns, with a number 'of small craft. 1
The attempt upon Jersey appeared, however, to be only a prelude, or intended as a preparatory exercise, to that grand invasion of Great-Britain, Ireland, or both, which seemed at that time, and during the greater part of the summer, to be in the immediate contemplation of France. Whether that design was really adopted, was, with some, a matter of doubt; but it was certainly strongly indicated by appearances; the northern provinces of France were every where in motion; as well on the coasts, as in the interior country. Armies were marched down to the sea coasts of Normandy and Brittany; the ports in the bay and on the channel, which were the best calculated for the purpose, were crowded with shipping; and the king named the generals and principal officers, who were to command or to act in a grand intended expedition. The milieary power of England was not at that time fully called forth; and the defenceless state of Ireland in the beginning of the year might well have given birth to such a design.
Whatever the designs of the enemy were, Great Britain seemed to have one great object of policy with respect to the direction and disposi
tion of her naval force in Europe. This was to prevent the junction of the French and Spanish fleets, by blocking the former up in the port of Brest, until the season of enterprize was over.
Although this measure was undoubtedly in contemplation, yet, whether the naval preparation of Great Britain was not so forward as was imagined and given out; or from whatever caufr, the sea was left open; and the French fleet at Brest was permitted to join the Spanish at Cadiz. This neglect, or necessity, was the more felt, as it served in its consequences to govern all the ensuing naval events of the campaign; and to give a new cast and colour to the (late of public affairs between the house of Bourbon and Great Britain. The murmur and dissatisfaction were likewise much increased, from a general report and opinion, not only that the French fleet wis more backward in point of preparation and condition than the British, but that the latter had been dilatory in its motions after it had sailed, as well as flack in its endeavours to, prepare for failing. However these charges or opinions might have been founded, they could not but derive great strength from the subsequent insult on our coasts, which appeared to be the direct consequence of that junction of the enemies united force.
The French fleet, consisting of about z8 sail of the line, under the command of M. D'Orvilliers, sailed from Brest early , in the month of June, and *" by directing it? course to the southward indicated its destination to the coast of Spain. It has been since said, that it was very defective ri»e in point of preparation; but that it hurried to sea in that condition, from an apprehension of its being intercepted by the Bri'tifli fleet under Sir Charles Har
dy, which was then daily expected in the Bay of Biscay. It (pent some considerable time on the Spanish culls; and it was reported, that some misunderstanding, or difference,, between some of the commanders.on both sides, prevented an enterprize of the utmost impoitance from taking place. It would seem that this must allude to an attack upon Gibraltar, a design which does not, however, seem very consistent with their subsequent conduct. It does not seem improbable that the delay proceeded from the defect of preparation on both fides.
However that may be, the whole force being at length joined,, the combined fleets made a tremendous appearance; amounting to between sixty and seventy line of battle ships, besides a cloud of frigates, firefhips, and all those smaller kinds and denominations of vessels which in any manner appertain to war. THfs formidable force, having turned its face to the northward, continued to direct its course to the coasts of Great Britain.
It,was rather singular, that the British home fleet, under Sir Crurles Hardy, amounting to about 35, or from thence to 38 ships of the line, was then cruizing in some part of the bay, or somewhere near the chops of the Channel, and was passed by this great armament, which covered io great an extent of ocean, with
out their having any knowledge of each other.
The enemy entered the British channel about the middle of August, and paraded two dr three days before Plymouth, to the great alarm of the people, but without making any attempt on the place. The Ardent man of war, of 64 guns, which was on her way from Portsmouth to join Sir Charles Hardy, mistaking them for the British fleet, had, however, the misfortune of being taken in fight of Plymouth. A strong easterly wind, which continued for several days, seems to have, driven them out of the channel. They however pretended, that they went in search of the British fleet; and they continued to range about the Land's End, the Scilly Islands, and the chops of the channel, until the end of the month. On the last of* August, the wind being-in his savour, Sir Charles Hardy gained the entrance of the channel, in sight of the combined fleets, without their being able to prevent him. The great object of that commander, was to draw them up to the narrow part of the channel, where, if he should be obliged to an engagement, he could engage upon less disadvantageous terms; and where, either a defeat, or certain changes of the wind, might have been productive of the molt ruinous consequences to the enemy.
The enemy pursued him as high up as Plymouth; but being sensible of the danger, particularly at that season of the year, they did not adventure much farther. And as the combined fleets were now become sick!/ in. the most - extreme
extreme degree, so as almost wholly to disable some of the stips; that their ships were otherwile much out of condition; and the equinox fist approaching; their commanders thought it necessary, pretty early in September, totally to abandon the British coasts, 2nd to repair to Brest for the assistances which they wanted.
Thus ended the expectation; of the enemy, and the apprehensions pf Great Britain. Never had perhaps so great. a naval force been assembled on the seas. Ne
ver any by which less was done, or, except by sickness, less suffered.
Nothing could have been more fortunate in these circumstances, than the arrival in England, a few day^ Before the appearance of the enemy, of a great Jamaica fleet, amounting to about 200 ships; and that eight homeward bound East Indiamen, having timely notice of the danger, had thereby an opportunity of putting into Limerick in Ireland.
State of public affairs previous to the meeting of parliament* Fafi combination nf power again/I Great Britain. Proclamations; for rcprizali on Spain; and for defensive measures in cose of an invasion. Various manifestos, and public pieces, issued by the belligerant powers. Seme observations on the charges exhibited by Spain. Ojlenstble cam'es, and real motives fir ivar, on the fide of the house of Bourbon. Ireland. Causes tuhicb led to the present Jiite os affa:rs in that kingdom. Commercial, and non-consumption ^agreements. French iwaston threater.ed. Military associations. People become Jl' ongly armed. Exemplary conduS of the ajfcciators. Prudent measures cf government in that country. Gineral demand of a fee and unlimited commerce. Discontents in Scotland, under an apprehenf.on of a relaxation of the popery laics. Outrages in Edinburgh and Gl-sgonv. Subscriptions for rasing troops, and other public purposes. Eojl Iniia company grunt bounties for raising 6000 seamen, a d undertake to build three ships of the lint, as an augmentation to the royal navy. State of parties. Changes in adminifiration. Electing of the Irish parliament.
TH E recess of parliament, in the year 1779, opened a period of great danger, and presented a new and unusual face of public affairs, with respect to this country. Our situation in the preceding year had been deemed sufficiently alarming and -perilous. We had, however, the fortune to sustain our ancient naval reputation; to maintain our so
vereignty perfect in the European seas; to afford the fuljest protection to our own commerce, whilst we nearly ruined that of the enemy, and to <suffer no disgrace any where. It is true, that abroad we lost the valuable island of Dom'nica: but if this was not compensated for in point of commercial value by the reduction of St. Lucia, it was amply