페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub

and ally cihelf and The lind the interse have sto 123

drowned in the attempt. With his utmost exertions he could only land 400 men by daylight, and the means of landing more were then at an end.

Knowing the garrison to be nearly double his own number, and that all assistance from his ships and means of retreat were equally cut off, there was nothing but a vigorous attack could save himself and his troops from being either made prisoners or cut to pieces. The landing place was about two leagues from the town and fort, and the way was not only extremely difficult in all its parts, but was intersected by a defile in the hills, where a handful of men could have stopped the approach of an army. The garrison consisted of 723 men of the 13th and 15th regiments, under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Cockburn.

The Marquis de Bouille's troops wore a red uniform, which contributed greatly to facilitate the enterprise. A division of the garrison were going through their exercise, in a field at some distance from the fort — the rest were dispersed among the houses in the town. A volley of small arms, fired from almost within reach of their bayonets, was the first intimation the soldiers at exercise had of their danger : several were killed, and the rest were incapable of resistance. Those in quarters hurried headlong to the fort, and clogged the drawbridge in such a manner that it could not be raised. The enemy entered pell-mell with the fugitives.

Lieutenant-Colonel Cockburn, the governor, who had been taking an early ride, returned at the instant of the surprise, and was made prisoner on horseback. The island was lost in a few minutes, without the expence of a man to the enemy.

£13,000, which the governor claimed as his property, was, by the consent of the French troops, restored to him. But a large sum, the produce of the late sales, and said to be the property of Admiral Rodney and General Vaughan, became a prize to the conquerors. Their whole spoil was estimated at two millions of livres.

Colonel Cockburn was tried by a court-martial for his conduct upon this occasion, sentenced to be cashiered, and declared unworthy of serving his Majesty in any military capacity whateverand the same was to be notified to him publicly, at the head of the regiments he had commanded in the island. The King confirmed the sentence, but ordered that part of it whereby the same was to be publicly made known to him at the head of the 13th and 15th regiments of foot, to be dispensed with.

Saba and St. Bartholomew's followed the fate of St. Eustatia.

[ocr errors]

The convoy, with another large proportion of the St. Eustatia prize property, was taken by the French on its passage to England.

An act was passed, “ To continue several laws relating to the opening and establishing certain free ports in the island of Jamaica — to the allowing the free importation of sago-powder and vermicelli from his Majesty's colonies in North America to the free importation of raw hides and skins from Ireland, and the British plantations in America — to the allowing the exportation of provisions, goods, wares, and merchandize, to certain places in North America, which are or may be under the protection of his Majesty's arms, and from such places to Great Britain, and other parts of his Majesty's dominions,"

[ocr errors]

By an act passed in Jamaica, v. 3. act 91, any slave guilty of felony, robbery, “ compassing or imagining the death of a white person, or any other capital offence,” to be sent to prison by one justice, and tried by two, and five freeholders — the major part of whom, one being a justice, to give sentence of death, or such other punishment as they think proper, and to cause the same to be carried into execution. The justices may respite, not exceeding thirty days, or until the pleasure of the commander-in-chief is known. Two days' notice of the trial to be given to the owner, and £40, if the slave is condemned to death, and considered worth so much, to be paid by the parish.

The number of Negroes in Barbadoes, as given in by Mr. Agent Brathwaite on oath, was 63,208, being 5076 less than the year before.

Upon the 1st of August, Jamaica was again desolated by an hurricane.

The West India planters and merchants petitioned the King, complaining that a sufficient naval force was not kept in that country for the protection of the island. They declared, " That the remaining islands are still so unhappily destitute of protection, that at no moment of the war have they been exposed to more imminent danger, than in the present awful conjuncture.”

Major-General Campbell succeeded St. John Dalling, Bart. as governor of Jamaica.

Wm. Brown, Esq. was appointed governor of the Bermuda Islands, upon the 3d of March, in the room of J. G. Bruere, Esq. deceased.

April the 14th, Thomas Morley, Esq. was appointed captaingeneral and governor-in-chief of the Leeward Caribee islands.

Report of the Lords of the Committee, 1789, Supplement to No. 15. Edwards, vol. i. p. 234.

Annual Register, 1781, pp. 103. 207. $19.

hant with pro future to without amon Perce the

May the 9th, Thomas Shirley, Esq. took the oaths in council as captain-general and governor-in-chief of his Majesty's Leeward Caribee islands.

On the 2d of March, the colonies of Demerary and Essequibo were surrendered to Captain Pender, of his Majesty's sloop Barbuda, and Lieutenant Forrest, who had been sent by governor Cunningham, with a flag of truce, from Barbadoes, to the Dutch governor Van Schuylenburch.

The exports from Essequibo and Demerary to Holland and Zealand employed seven ships, and consisted of 1602 hhds. of sugar, 460 tierces and 10,250 bags of coffee, and 756 bales of cotton.

Sir George Rodney having discovered that some British merchant in the West Indies had agreed to supply the French islands with provisions, ordered that no flag of truce should be allowed for the future to go to those islands, under pretence of exchanging prisoners, without a proper authority from General Vaughan or himself. The common price for a flag of truce was fifty johannes: by this illicit commerce the French got most accurate information. The Jews were deeply concerned in it. • The inhabitants of St. Christopher's were so much offended with Admiral Rodney, that all his remonstrances could not induce the governing powers at that island to supply Negroes to get the cannon and stores which had been landed at Sandy Point up to the fortress at Brimstone Hill. The consequence was, that the French found them at the bottom of the hill when they landed, and used them to reduce the fortress.

The conduct of Admiral Rodney and General Vaughan at St. Eustatia was brought before parliament, December the 4th, by Mr. Burke, who moved for an inquiry into the confiscation of property in the island, and of the sale of that property to his Majesty's enemies.' The motion was opposed by Lord G. Germain.

Whilst actions were depending in the courts below to obtain damages for the seizures, Lord George said, any decision of parliament must be injurious to one of the parties. Mr. Burke replied, that to abstain from interfering, upon that account, would be dishonourable. The outrages committed were without precedent. The merchants and traders were compelled to give in an account of all their plate, jewels, and ready money, all which was declared to be confiscated. Governor Meynell was supposed to have died in consequence of his sufferings. The Dutch were banished because they were Dutch, and the Americans because they were the King's enemies. Mr. Hohen, a Jew, had been caught in the attempt to hide some money about

Bolinbroke's Voyage to Demerary, Appendix Beatson's Memoirs, vol. v. pp. 21. 23. quoting Sir G. Rodney's Letters.-pp. 172. 176.

Adolphus's, History of England, vol. iii, p. 370.

his person, and was ready to attend at the bar of the house to give evidence of the treatment he had received.

The cases of Mr. Gouverneur and of Mr. Curzen were also brought forward ; and Mr. Burke asserted, that the French and Americans had been supplied with stores by the British conquerors, at the rate of 50 per cent. cheaper than they used to get them from the Dutch.

Admiral Rodney said, that when he appeared before St. Eustatia, it was for the purpose of cutting off supplies from the enemy, and with the fixed resolution not to grant any terms to the inhabitants, who had a rooted aversion to us. Some of them were Englishmen, who were not ashamed to disgrace themselves and their country by assisting her enemies. Some weeks before the capture of the island, an application had been made to the inhabitants to purchase stores for the fleet. Their answer was, they had none; and yet when the island was taken, great quantities were found. Some English merchants engaged in traffic with the rebels in America, he seized and sent home, to meet the justice of the laws they had daringly offended. He thought, when the property was seized, that it would all belong to the King: it was for his country, and not for himself, that he had been acting. It was pretended that he had permitted the stores to be circuitously conveyed to the enemy: this was the very reverse of the truth. He had given orders that none should be sold, but all be sent to his Majesty's yard at Antigua, and every vessel which cleared was examined by a commissioned officer, to see that she had none on board. To insure obedience, he had deprived the ships, destined to convey them, of their provisions, save a bare sufficiency for the voyage. Instead of remaining inactive, as had been insinuated, he had planned two expeditions, one against Curaçoa, the other against Surinam, when he received advice that a French fleet of ten or twelve sail, with about seventy transports, was sailing for Martinico, and dispatched Sir S. Hood, with fifteen sail, to encounter them. His intention afterwards to fight De Grasse was disconcerted by intelligence conveyed to the French admiral: and he detailed facts which fully shewed him exempt from blame in not succouring Tobago. The attacks against his character, he said, were impotent and wicked; but he was honourably sheltered from their malignity by the approbation of a gracious prince, and a free and generous people.

Major-General Vaughan declared that he was guiltless of every charge brought against him: he had not gained one shilling by the surrender of the settlement. As to the Jews, it was manifest they had not been treated with cruelty, because he had received an address, signed by the warden and rulers of that people, in

Adolphus's History of England, vol. iii. p. 370.

escorted Colonel

oleme

which they expressed their gratitude for the clemency and goodness which he had shewn them; and he defied his enemies to prove that he had sullied his character, either as an officer or as a private individual.

Mr. Burke's motion was rejected by a majority of 163 to 89.

Captain Lawrence Græme, of his Majesty's sloop Sylph, escorted a detachment of troops, under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Ferguson, which was sent against the French island of St. Bartholemew. On the 17th of March, it surrendered on the first summons. Its harbour had been a rendezvous for the enemy's privateers, who had annoyed the British trade considerably.

April the 12th, Thomas Shirley, Esq. was appointed captaingeneral and governor-in-chief of the Leeward Caribee islands, in the room of William Matthew Burt, Esq. deceased.

An act was passed to continue several laws relating to the opening and establishing certain free ports in the island of Jamaica.

There was a hurricane at Jamaica on the 1st of August: it began from the southward, and veered round to S.E.' Seventy-three

Beatson's Memoirs, vol. v. p. 175.
Annual Register, 1781, pp. 92. 105. 110.

" The following characteristic descrip will clear up at noon, or else blow very i tion of a hurricane, and of the loss of his hard afterwards.'- I wish it would clear Majesty's ship Phænix, was written by up, but I doubt it much: I was once in the first lieutenant of that ship :

a hurricane in the East Indies, and the “ October the 2d, spoke to the Barba. beginning of it had much the same does off Port Antonio in the evening. appearance as this; so take in the topAt eleven at night it began to snuffle, sails -- we have plenty of sea-room.' with a monstrous heavy appearance from “At twelve, the gale increasing still, the eastward - close-reefed the topsails. we wore ship to keep as near mid-channel, Sir Hyde sent for me - What sort of between Jamaica and Cuba, as possible : weather have we, Archer ?' -' It blows at one, the gale increasing still : at two. a little, and has a very ugly look: if we harder yet it still blows harder!' reefed were in any other country but this, I the courses, and furled them; brought to should say we were going to have a gale under a foul mizen-staysail, head to the of wind.' -'Aye, it looks so very often northward. In the evening, no sign of here, when there is no wind at all; how - weather taking off, but every appearance ever, don't hoist the topsails till it clears a of increasing, prepared for a proper gale little - there is no trusting any country.' of wind ; secured all the sails with spare At twelve I was relieved the weather gaskets; good rolling tackles upon the had the same grum look : however, they yards - spanned the booms; saw the boats made sail upon her, but we had a very all made fast ; new-lashed the guns dirty night. At eight in the morning I double-breeched the lower-deckers ; saw came up again — found it blowing hard that the carpenters had the tarpaulines from E.N.E., with close reefed topsails and battens all ready for hatchways; got upon the ship, heavy squalls at times. the top-gallantmasts down upon deck ; Sir Hyde came upon deck 'Well, jib-boom and spritsail-yard fore and aft; Archer, what do you think of it?' _ Oh, in fact, every thing we could think of to Sir, 'tis only a touch of the times we make a snug ship. shall have an observation at twelve o'clock: “ The poor devils of birds now began the clouds are beginning to break - it to find the uproar in the elements, for

« 이전계속 »