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1773. Coffee, which is about nine-pence sterling the pound, is substitued by vast numbers for 'the once favourite herb of China; now the more readily exploded for having been the accidental occasion of the troubles with which the colonists are exercised.
[April 1.] Dr. Warren's merit obliges me to mention, that the lodge of Free Masons, whereof he was late grand master, agreed to take up his remains, and in the usual funeral solemnities of that society, decently to inter the same. The spot where he was buried, was pointed out with those attending circumstances that assured them, that they had gained the possession thereof, though consisting of bones only; which were honourably interred in Boston, (April 8) being attended by a grand procession of the society, accompanied by a crowd of spectators.
Commodore Ezekiel Hopkins's naval expedition is the last article of intelligence to be related. The fleet consisted of two ships, two brigs, and a sloop, all armed and well manned, including better than 200 marines. On the 17th of February they left Cape-Henlopen, and after a pleasant passage of fifteen days, came to an anchor off the island of Abacco, about seventeen leagues from New-Providence, which gave the commodore an opportunity of enquiring into the state of the last island, and of learning that it was well supplied with warlike stores; on which it was deemed a proper object The marines were embarked on board some small vessels belonging to New-Providence, which had been taken; and the whole sailed Saturday evening, March the 2d; the next morning all the men were landed at the east end of the island. They were inarched toward the fort built about half way between the landing and town. Upon their approaching it, the garrison fired upon them, then spiked up the cannon, and retired to the fort within the town. The Americans took possession of that which had been abandoned, (March 3) and stayed there the whole night to refresh themselves. The next morning they marched forward to the town, and entered it without meeting any interruption. The officer went to the governor, and demanded the keys of the fort which were immediately given. Upon taking possession of it, he found 40 cannon mounted and all well loaded, beside a great quantity of shot and shells, with 15 brass mortars, but missed of the grand article, 150 casks of powder, which the governor carefully sent off the night before. They remained on the island, till they had gotten all the stores on board the fleet, and then the whole took their departure on the 17th. They brought away with them governor Monford Brown, the lieut. governor, and a counsellor.
[April 4.] The fleet fell in with a British schooner, on the east end of Long-Island, and took her. The next day they took a bomb brig of eight guns and two howitzers, ten swivels and forty-eight men, well found with all sorts of stores, arms, powder, &c. On the 6th, about one in the morning, they fell in with his majesty's ship the Glasgow (of twenty nine pounders and 150 men) and her tender. At half past two, the Cabot brigantine, capt. Hopkins, jun. came up with the Glasgow, and upon finding who she was, immediately fired her broadside; when the Glasgow made her a return of two-fold, and with the weight of her metal damaged her so much in her hull and rigging, as obliged her to retire for a while to refit. On her retiring, the Alfred of twenty nine pounders on the lower, and ten six pounders on the upper deck, commanded by the commodore, capt. Hopkins, sen. came up and engaged the Glasgow for three glasses as hot as possible on both sides. While thus engaged, the Columbus, capt. Whipple, of eighteen nine pounders on the lower, and ten six pounders on the upper deck, ran under the Glasgow's stern, raked her as she passed, and then luft on her lee beam, while the Anandona brig of sixteen six pounders, took her station on the larboard quarter of the Glasgow; the Providence sloop of twelve six pounders altered her station occasionally. By day light the station of the American Vessels was changed, as the two ships had dropt on each quarter of the Glasgow, while one of the brigs kept a stern, giving a continual fire. Captain Tyringham Howe, of the Glasgow, perceiving the force of the American fleet, seemingly increased by a large ship and a snow, which kept to windward as soon as the action began, and discerning none of captain Wallace's fleet to afford him the prospect of support, very prudently made all the sail he could crowd, and stood in for Newport. The bravery of captain Howe's behaviour is to be commended. That he should have escaped from a force, so much superior when united, does not give satisfaction to the Americans, and is imputed to some failure in conduct or courage on the side of their commanders. Commodore Hopkins, in his account of the action, has written," We received considerable damage in our ship, but the greatest was in having our wheel-rope and blocks shot away, which gave the Glasgow time to make sail, and I did not think proper to follow, as it would have brought on an action with the whole of their fleet, and I had upward of thirty of our best seamen on board the prizes: I therefore thought it most prudent to give over the chace, and secure our prizes; and having taken the Glasgow's tender, arrived the seventh with all the feet"at New-London. [April 16.] The congress have given orders, VOL. II. "that
"that the cannon and such other stores as are not necessary for the fleet, be landed and left at New-London; and that such of the cannon and wheels as governor Trumbull shall direct, may be employed for the defence of that harbor.
Commodore Hopkins is thought not to have followed his instructions and to have displeased by departing from them.The Alfred had six men killed and as many wounded. The Cabot had four men killed and seven wounded, the captain among the latter. The Columbus had one man who lost his arm. The Glasgow had one man killed, and three wounded by the musketry from the Americans. The main damage on each side lay in the hulls and rigging.
Many of your papers, it is observed, are very liberal in bestowing upon the colonists the appellation of rebels, traitors, cowards, &c. while those printed on this side the Atlantic are calling the partics employed against the Americans by sea and land, pirates, banditti, ministerial butchers, butchering assassins, cut-throats, thieves, &c. These abusive names take with the unthinking multitude, whether in high or low life, and set a keener edge upon the spirit of party; but are productive of much cruelty, and tend to beget a rooted antipathy. You will not object to any expence, that may attend the conveyance of this letter by way of France, no other safe one offering at present. My correspondent there will cheerfully undertake the care of any you may want to forward to America.
London, May 25. 1776.
HE choice of George Washington, esq. by congress, to be commander in chief of the American army, is adjudged highly prudent by the first military characters that have served in America, and who conjecture from his acceptance, that the reduction of the colonies by an armed force will be more difficult than is generally expected. The ministers of state however are
bent upon making the attempt. They have not profited by the Lexington skirmishes, nor the Breed's Hill battle. It would be happier for the nation, would they copy the conduct of the Spanish court, toward the inhabitants of Biscay, near upon a hundred and fifty years back. In 1632, the court laid a duty upon salt, contrary to the privileges of the people. Upon this the inhabitants of Bilboa rose, and massacred all the officers appointed to collect it, and all the officers of the grand admiral. Three thousand troops were sent to punish them for rebellion; these they fought, and totally defeated, driving most of them into the sea, which discouraged the court from pursuing their plan of taxation, and induced them to leave those, whom they had considered in a state of rebellion, to the full enjoyment of their ancient privileges. It is thought that a treaty with the court of Petersburgh for 20,000 Russians, was at one time the last year in considerable forwardness; but that the extreme distance of the service, the difficulty of recal, the little probability of the return of many, and the critical state of public affairs through Europe, rendered it abortive, after the most sanguine hopes of success.
In all the European countries, where public affairs are a subject of writing or conversation, the general voice is rather faverable to the Americans. In this particularly, the lower class of people are adverse to the war. They have boldly and without restraint condemned the conduct of their rulers in terms of the utmost acrimony. But this has not been regarded, other than as it has obstructed the recruiting service, which never proceeded so heavily before. The reluctance of individuals has been striking and peculiar; they have not only refused the usual proffers of encouragement, but reprobated, with indignation, the cause in which they were solicited to engage, and exerted themselves to hinder others engaging. Neither protestants, nor catholics in any number, have been prevailed upon either in England or Ireland, to inlist for the American service, though the bounties have been raised, and the usual standard lowered, to facilitate the levies. The recruiting officers have declared, they never before met with so many mortifications in this branch of military business. But among the higher orders of men, a strange insensibility with respect to public affairs seemingly prevailed. The accounts of the late military actions, as well as political proceedings of no less importance, were received nearly with as much indifference, as if they wholly concerned other nations with whom we were scarce connected. You must except from these observations the people of North-Britain, who, almost to a man, so far as they can be described under any particular denomination, not only applauded, but proffered life and fortune * Mr. Adam's defence of the American Conflitutions, p. 18,
in support of the present measures. The same approbation was: also given and assurances made, though with less earnestness and unanimity, by a number of towns in England.
The loss of the American commerce was not generally felt. The prodigious remittances of corn during the British scarcity, and the larger than usual sums which the colonists were enabled to pay from the advanced prices of various articles, these together occasioned an extraordinary influx of money; while an unusual demand for goods and manufactures of various sorts, from different parts of Europe, produced a quick circulation of trade, kept up the spirit of the mercantile classes, and prevented their complaining for want of the American market. Great numbers at the same time were rendered perfectly unconcerned at what had happened in America, or were even rejoiced, because of the benefits they were receiving from the contest. The war being carried on at such a distance, gave employment and emolument to an amazing number of people; and caused that bustle of business and plenty of cash, which checked all observation of deficiences in other branches of traffic. Add, that a tribe of contractors, dealers, and gamesters in stcoks and money transactions, were themselves animated, and encouraged others to join in justifying and supporting governmental measures. Hence, that apathy which has been noted; and which continued till toward the meeting of parliament.
The ministry gave into great expences, to supply the army at Boston with fresh provisions and other articles. It is said that five thousand oxen, and fourteen thousand of the largest and fattest sheep, beside a vast number of hogs, were purchased and sent out alive. Vegetables of all kinds were bought up in incredible quantities. Ten thousand butts of strong beer were supplied by two brewers. The seemingly trifling necessaries of vegetables, casks and vinegar, amount in two distinct articles, detached from the general comprehension of other provisions, to near twentytwo thousand pounds: and the hay; oats and beans, for the single regiment of light cavalry there, amount to nearly as much. To whatever it was owing, the transports were not ready to sail, till the year was far spent. By this mean they were detained on the coasts by contrary winds, or tossed about by tempests, until the greater part of their live cargoes of hogs, and particularly of sheep, perished, so that the channel was every where strewed with their floating carcases. A large part of the vegetables must also have been destroyed by excessive fermentation.
The retaliation practised by congress in cutting off the British fisheries from all colonial provisions and supplies, threw the whole business upon the banks and coasts of Newfoundland into.