« السابقةمتابعة »
A Retrospect of some Naval Tranfactions in the Weft Indies, one thoufand feven hundred and feventy-eight, and feventy-nine.-Affairs in Georgia concisely reviewed.-General Lincoln fent to take the Command at the Southward. The Count de Eftaing's Arrival in Georgia. Savannah clofely befieged by the Combined Forces of France and America--Repulfed by General Prevoft.-The Count de Eftaing leaves the Southern Clime. The Count Pulaski flain in Georgia. Some Anecdotes of Count Kofciusko.
FROM the concise mode of narration hitherto CHAP.XV. observed in these annals, a particular detail of naval operations will not be expected. Yet it is neceffary to look a little back, and obferve that an infular war had raged between the British and French in the Weft Indies, during the winter of one thousand feven hundred and feventy-eight, though they had not yet received any intelligence, that a formal declaration of hoftilities between thofe two potent nations had taken place.
The island of Dominica was feized by the marquis de Bouille, governor of Martinico, as early as September, one thousand feven hun.
dred and feventy-eight; but the terms imposed on the inhabitants by the conqueror, were fo mild, that they scarcely felt the change of fovereignty. No licentious rudeness, or avaricious pillage, was permitted by the humane and honorable commander, who, through all his conduct in the Weft Indies, exhibited a specimen. of that generous compaffion always honorary to the conqueror and to human nature.
The lofs of the island of Dominica was peculiarly mortifying to the court of St. James, as it had been ceded to Great Britain on the laft peace, as a kind of balance of accounts, after a very expensive war with the house of Bourbon.
Admiral Barrington with a confiderable force, lay at this time at Barbadoes, in a very anxious and inactive ftate. He had yet no orders for hoftile operations; but he was foon after reliev ed by the arrival of five thousand men commanded by general Grant, convoyed by fix fhips of the line and a number of frigates, under the direction of commodore Hotham. The want of inftructions, and even of intelligence that might be depended on, had exceedingly embarraffed the British admiral: but on Hotham's arrival, an expedition to the island of St. Lucia was profecuted with celerity and fuccefs.
The chevalier de Micaud, the commandant, took all the precaution of a brave and judicious officer. The main point was to prevent the completion of the British fuccefs, until he fhould be relieved by the arrival of the French fquadron from Bofton, which he had the higheft reason every moment to expect. The count de Eftaing had formed the defign, and was in force fufficient, to have fwept all the leeward islands, before the junction of admiral Barrington and commodore Hotham. But interrupted in his military progrefs by a fecond violent gale in the American feas, and feldom a favorite of fortune, he did not appear in fight of St. Lucia until the last French flag was ftruck. He however made fome spirited, but fuccefsless efforts for the recovery of the islands. The vigilance and valor of the British commander defeated this defign: to which was added the mortification of repeated difappointment, in feveral valiant rencounters with the bold and refolute English.
Though the count de Eftaing's fhips were equal in force, and experience had fhewn that neither his officers nor feamen were deficient in courage, yet after he quitted St. Lucia, he apparently declined a general engagement, and within ten days withdrew to Port Royal. Hé was frequently infulted while there by the appearance of challenge from the British flag; but he ftill adhered to his own fyftem of inac
tion, determined to undertake no capital ftroke before the arrival of fresh reinforcements from Europe. It was not until the month of June,one thousand seven hundred and feventy-nine, that this event took place, when the arrival of monfieur de la Motte, with every thing neceflary for the most vigorous naval operations, excited the count de Eftaing to immediate enterprise.
The first object of attack was the valuable island of St. Vincents, which had formerly coft much British blood to arrest and secure, by the cruel attempt to exterminate the unfortunate and innocent Caraibs. After the eafy acquifition of this island, the count proceeded to the Grenades. He there landed two or three thousand men under the command of count Dillon, a brave Irish officer in the French fervice. He also headed a strong column himself, and attempted to carry the most defenfible fortress by ftorm. His fuperiority of strength insured his fuccefs ; and lord Macartney was obliged to offer a fur. render, on the propofals of capitulation he had at first rejected; but the count received and treated the governor's flag with an unbecoming hauteur. He made new and fevere proposals in fuch a tone of defiance and contempt, that both the governor and the inhabitants chofe rather to furrender at difcretion, than to bind themfelves to fuch hard conditions, as neither the cuftoms of nations nor the justice of courts had ufually required.
There is much reafon to believe, that the count de Eftaing did not exercise all the lenity that ought to be expected from a brave and generous conqueror. On the contrary, after this new acquifition, the inhabitants were plundered and diftreffed; an unbounded license raged among the foldiery, till their exceffes were checked by the humanity of count Dillon, who paid every attention to the miseries of the people; and fupported by his own regiment, he rendered the condition of the conquered ifland lefs deplorable.
The capture of St. Lucia was in a degree fatal to the conquerors. The noxious air of an unhealthy island, in a burning climate, did more than the fword of France to waste the veterans of Britain. Sickness and mortality raged and cut down the troops; and the fquadron weakened by the departure of admiral Byron, to convoy the homeward bound fleet of merchantmen, nothing of confequence was attempted in his abfence,
When he returned, both St. Vincents and the Grenades were in the hands of the French; but fo uncertain were the accounts at first received, of the wretched fituation of the Grenades, that the British commander determined to hazard an attempt for their relief. This brought on a general, though not a decifive action. It was fupported on both fides with lau