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prize,, or of overwhelming the British force by their great superiority. The good disposition of the troops made by Gen. Vaughan, and of the ships by Rear Admiral Parker, however, frustrated their design in both respects.
This visit was soon returned by Sir George Rodney, who with -o ships of the line, and the Centurion of 50 gnns, for two days insulted M. de Guichen in Fort Royal harbour in Martinique, going se close at times, as to be able to count all the enemy's guns, and being even within random (hot of their batteries. Nothing being able, notwithstanding his suprniority, to draw the French commander out to an engagement, the British Admiral found it necessary to depart with the bulk of the fleet to Gross Islet Bay in St. Lucia, leaving a squadron of copper bottomed strips to watch the motions of the enemy, and to give him the earliest possible notice of their attempting to fail.
Things hung irt this state until the middle of April, when the French fleet put to sea in the night, and were so speedily pursued by Sir George Rodney, that he came in light of them on the following day. A general chace took place; and all the manœuvres of the enemy during the night, clearly indicating their full intention of avoiding an engagement, their motions were counteracted with great ability by the British commander.
On the succeeding morning, a very extraordinary degree of lkill and judgment in seamanship seems to have been displayed on both sides; the evolutions on each being so rapid and various, as to re
quire the most watchful attention on the other to prevent disadvantage. The French fleet were considerably superior in force; amoundng to 23 sail of the line, and a 50 gun ship. The English fleet, as before, consisted of 20 of the line, and the Centurion. The van was led by Rear Admiral Hyde Parker; the center, by tbe commander in chief; and the rear division, by Rear Admiral Rowley.
A little before one . -, .. o'clock, the French APnl l7*were brought to action by some os the headmost ships; and about that hour, Sir G. Rodney, in tbe Sand wich of go guns, commenced the action in tbe center. After beating three French ships out of the line. the Sandwich was at length encountered alone, by M. de Guichen, in the Couronne of the fame force, and supported by his two seconds, the Fendant and Triumphant. It seems little less than wonderful, that the Sandwich not only sustained this unequal combat for an hour and half, but at length obliged the French commander, with his two seconds, to bear away, whereby their line of battle was totally broken in the center. This happened at a quarter past four o'clock, when the enemy seemed to be completely beaten. But the great distance of the British van and rear from the center, with the crippled condition of several of the (hips, and the particularly dangerous state of the Sandwich, which, for the succeeding 24. hours, was with difficulty kept above water, rendered it impossible to make the victory complete by an immediate pursuit.
The circumstances of this action were neves well explained or understood. The public letter 1 from 4mm the commander in chief, which was published in the Gazette, teems with implied cen•sure against his officers in general, without the smallest praise or approbation of any one, excepting the captain of a frigate. It was said, that his signals were treated with contempt and disobeyed; and lie seems himself'to convey a charge against some, of not engaging cloleiy. It is certain, that a few of the -ships suffered none, or very little loss; whilst several others were great sufferers. If we recollect rightly, one captain was broke^ or at dealt put under arrest, and his (hip given to another officer; nor are we sure, that more than one court martial was not held. On the other hand, Sir George Rodney passes high encomiums on the French admiral, and is not more sparing in his commendations of the gallantry of his officers.
The affair seemed so dark and mysterious at home, that it brought oat a motion in the House of Peers on the 3d of the following
June, from Lord St. John (whose rother or near relation had been killed, gallantly fighting in the action) for papers, tending to an enquiry into the subject. Upon that occasion, a noble military earl, read a letter in his place, •which he said he had received <rom an officer who was present in tie action, and who stood high in point of character and honour. In that letter, it was said, that the spirit of a certain vice admiral (whose name and conduct have lo lone been objects of public discussion) had gone forth, and infected the British, fleet; and that
the service felt all the evils arising from those distensions which were sown by our great men at home. It held out, besides other matter, that the ships -were foul, and out of repair; that there was a great scarcity of all kinds of naval stores; and that the conjmander in chief was hot only much dissatisfied with the conduct and failure in duty of several of his officers, but likewise with those who had deceived him, relative to the state and condition of the squadron which he commanded. The noble reader, in his corriments on the letter, said, thot the causes of this public misfortune had originated at home; that besides the bad condition at the stiips, officers were put into command, more from their political attachments or principles, than from their reputation or service} and that faction had accordingly spread itself through, aud divided the whole fleet. As the first Lord of the Admiralty declared himself equally in the dark with every other peer present, as to the particular transactions of the 17th of April, which were now the objects of enquiry, and assured the house, that he had not, by private communication or otherwise, received any explanation of the public Gazette letter, the motion was easily overruled upon a division, and the business continues in its original obscurity.
The loss in the British fleet, amounted to 120 killed, and to 353 wounded. Of these, it is remarkable, that the Hon. Capt. St. John of the Intrepid, an! threeof his lieutenants, were killed. Some other brave officer*
[* -PJ * 1 were were killed, and several wounded.
Such expedition was used in repairing1 the damage done to the (hips, and the pursuit was renewed and continued with lb much spirit, that on the aoth they again got sight of the enemy, and chaced them for three succeflive days without intermission. The object of the French commander, besides that of using all possible means to avoid a second action, being to recover Fort Royal Bay, which he had so lately quitted, but where only he could repair his shattered fleet; and that of Sir George Rodney, besides the hope of bringing him again to action, to cut him oft' from- that place of refuge and supply. M. de Guichen was obliged to give up his second object, and for the preservation of his first, to take shelter under Gaudaloupe. Nothing could afford a clearer acknowledgment of victory to 'the Britilh commander; although unfortunately it was not attended with all those substantial advantages which Were to be wished. Sir George Rodney returned to cruize off Fort Royal, hoping thereby to intercept that enemy whom he could not overtake.
The enemy, however, not appearing, the admiral sound it necessary from the condition of Jhe fleet, after several days cruize, and greatly alarming the iiland of Martinique, to put into Chocque Bay in St. Lueia, as well to land the sick and wounded, as to water and refit the fleet. These purposes being fulfilled with great dispatch, and advice received of the motions of the enemy, he
again put to sea, and in four day* had the fortune to ■., ..
gain sight of them, M"/ I0thwithin a few leagues to windward. Both fleets continued in this stale of wind and condition for several days; the French having it constantly in their power to bring on an engagement, and, notwithstanding their superiority, as constantly using essectual means for its prevention. Besides the settled advantage of the wind, they soon perceived, that the cleanness and condition of their (hips, assorded such a superiority in point of sailing, that they seemed to grow playful with respect lo the British fleet; and accordingly used for several days to come down in a line of battle abreast, as if they meant seriously and directly to hazard an engagement, until they were arrived within little more than random cannon shot, when they suddenly hauled their wind, and again departed out of all reach.
It is at all times bad jesting before an enemy; even supposing that enemy to be a much less determined and formidable foe than a British fleet. In the course of this manoeuvring, the bravade being encouraged by a sudden and masterly movement made by the British- admiral for gaining the wind, aud which was mistaken for a symptom of flight, the whole French, fleet were nearly entangled into that which of all things they most wished to avoid. They were only saved from a close and general engagement by a critical shift of wind; and even with that aid, and all the sails they could carry, were not able
pearanceS of things rn South Carolina, at the time of Sir Henry CHritdA's departure from thence, r* s«r>n became obvious, that many of the inhabitants were so little satisfied with the present government, that they endeavoured to dispose of their property upon ftteh terffis as they could obtain, aHff tetatty to abandon the provlaeev This conduct became so fteqiletnt and glaring, that Lord , Cofriwallis found it necessary toward* the end of July to issue a prficlftfnaiion, strictly forbidding allsaffsahd transfers of property, mclndlng1 even negroes, without avKcMi*e; first obtained frora the dttarhandBiit cf Charles Town; arid likewise forbidding all masters if venels, from carrying any perftina wRaWver, whitbrr blafk or ♦rlitft, oiit of the colony, without aV-'wYkten pftffpou from the fame dfmt. '•■ '•' •!<'-■ "ilnt'ffie rflSfHr time, Lord CornwHllisV' \vh« ttxteflded his view's flAlje-'-reductidn of North Ctire* MtfaV'had fr pt up » constant corre^biidencAJvrirtHi the kyalicts in that colony, who eagerly urged Mm fo-;*hc >pft>flJCUtioh of his design. •■But* beltdeS■> that the. heat df ftid suromer.'was so excessive, fhat it Wotoid have rendered action exceedingly destructive to. the ffoeps, ha'likewile found, that HO array cOttid be subsisted in that cbafStry, until the harvest was fiver1. Updn these arcœunts, he earnestly pressed the friends of the British government in North Carolina, to keep themselves quiet, and free stern all suspici'm, though in readineft, until the proper sea* son arrived. But the usual impatience of those people, operated upon by the vigilant jealousy of
that government, or, as they said, by its oppression and cruelty, rendered them incapable of profiting of such salutary counsel. Insurrections accordingly took place, which being conducted without order Or caution, as well a« premature, were easily sjuppreflel. A Col. Bryan, however, with about 9oo halt armed men, escaped into South-Carolina, where they jette ed the royal forces.
During the necessary c^minuance of the commander in chief at Cbarle.s Town, in regulating the government and affairs of the province, the part of the army deftiw ed to active service, was advanced towards the frontiers, under the eon duet of Lnvl llawdon, vshv fitted bis head quarters at thet town of Camden. The advart' tageons situation- of that, place on the great rirer Santee, which affoidid an easy commwrication with sevenilv and-remdte. ports of the country, together with .other joviting- and favourable circnro-> stances, induced Earl CornwalliS to make it not only a place of amis, but a general storehouse sr repository for the supply of the army in its intended operations. He accordingly used the utmost dispatch in. conveying thither from Chariot1 ■ Town, rum, salt, arms, ammunition, and various stores, which from the distance, and excessive heat of the weather, proved a work of infi* nite labour and difficulty. That noble commander hkwise spared no pains in arming and embodying the militia ot' the province, and in raising new military corps under wrll-aftected leadere.
But during these transactions, a great change took place in the