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,78l-use by those whose precaution led them to store up their hard money, will prevent the mischiefs that must otherwise have ensued from a total want of a circulating medium. The extraordinary change of this medium without shaking the United States to the very foundation, 'intimates a peculiarity in the circumstances and disposition of the Americans, distinguishing them from the inhabitants of old countries.
A few detached particulars remain to be related before the present letter is forwarded. ■ On the nth of August, 3000 German troops arrived at New York from Europe. The fame day the American frigate Trumbull was carried in by one of the king's ships. This capture has reduced the naval force of the United States to two frigates, the Alliance and the Deane. A number of fine privateers have also been taken by the royal navy; but there are still a great many from the different states which have been very successful.
- By various channels, and particularly the arrival of a French frigate from Brest on the 15th of August, cerr tain advice has been received of the French having captured a number of ships from Statia. It seems, that France determining to profit from the absence of the British grand fleet, equipped 7 or 8 ships of the line -at Brest, which were sent out in the beginning of May, un-, der M. de la Motte Piquet, in order to intercept the Statia convoy, freighted with the most valuable commodities taken at that island, as well as a rich fleet on its way home from Jamaica. Mr. Piquet succeeded in the first part of the design. Commodore Hotham had only four ships for the protection of the Statia con
voy. Fourteen of the merchantmen were taken: but 178u the men of war, with the remainder of the convoy, sheltered themselves in some of the western ports of Ireland. The French commander Considering the number and richness of the prizes, gave up all views upon the Jamaica fleet, and returned immediately to Brest, by which mean he escaped falling in with the British squadron. We have learned, that the sale of the prizes was advertised in France for the ioth of July last.
On the 25th of August, another French frigate Arrived in Boston, with two large vessels under her convoy. They were on their passage 36 days longer than the frigate which arrived on the 15th. They have brought clothing, military stores, and a quantity of specie. Col. Laurens returned by this conveyance. He reached France by the middle of March, and executed his commission with great dispatch and success.
Rotterdam, OElober 13, 1781.
Friend G. n
COmmodore Johnstone's squadron, which sailed for the East Indies, consisted of a 74, a 64, and three 50 gun ships, beside several frigates, a bomb vessel, fire ship, and some floops of war. A land force, com
JL 2 manded
1781. manded by gen. Meadows, and composed of three new regiments of 1000 each, accompanied it. Several outward bound East Indiamen, and store or ordnance vessels, went out with this convoy; and the whole fket, including transports and armed ships, amounted to more than 40 fail. The Dutch war undoubtedly occasioned a change of the object of the armament, and the substitution of an attempt upon the Cape of Good Hope, instead of an enterprise against the Spaniards in South America. This change did not escape the penetration of France and Holland. The latter therefore applied to her new ally for assistance, to ward off the danger to which all her East India possessions would be exposed, if Johnstone succeeded. On that a squadron of five ships of the line, and some frigates, with a body of land forces, were destined to this service, under Mr. de Suffrein, who sailed from Brest in company with count de Grasse. The naval part of the armament was ultimately designed to oppose the British fleet in the East Indies: but Suffrein's particular instructions were to pursue and counter-act Johnstone, upon every occasion and in every possible manner, keeping at the same time a constant eye to the effectual protection of the Cape. The court of Versailles was accurately informed of Johnstone's force, and of all the circumstances attending the convoy; and might not be totally ignorant of his coursel any more than of his destination.
Commodore Johnstone put into the Cape de Verd islands for water and fresh provisions. There being no particular apprehension of an enemy, the ships lay without much care or order, in an open harbour belonging to the principal town of St. J ago, the most considerable
of of the islands. A great number of the crews were ab-i78i. sent from the ships, and were engaged in various occupations, necessary to the preparation or supply of so many vessels for so long a voyage. Several officers and men were on shore partaking of the health and recreation of the island. In this unprepared state, the Ifis . .. man of war discovered in the morning a squadron ap- 16. proaching the entrance of the harbour, which was soon judged to be French. Signals were instantly thrown out for unmooring, for recalling the people on shore, and preparing for action. The British fleet was taken at a great disadvantage. Mr. de Sussrein, leaving his convoy, was soon in the centre of it j the French ships firing on both sides as they passed. The French Hannibal of 74 guns led the way with great intrepidity, under the command of Mr. de Tremingnon. When as near to the British as he could fetch, he dropped his anchor with a noble air of resolution. The Heros of the fame force, Mr. de Sussrein's own ship, took the next place; and the Artesien of 64, -anchored astern of the Heros.. The Vengeur and Sphynx, of 64 guns each, ranged up and down as they could through the crowd of ships, and fired on either fide at every one they passed. Commodore Johnstone's own ship, being too far advanced toward the bottom of the bay, and too much intercepted by the vessels that lay between to take an active part in the action, he quitted her and went on board another. The engagement lasted about an hour and a half. Some time after it began, several of the East India ships fired with good effect on the French. In about an hour the situation of the French ships at anchor became too intolerable to be endured; and the captain of the Artesien
1781. being killed, she cut her cable, and made the best Of her way out. Suffrein deserted by his second astern, found the danger so great that he followed the example. The Hannibal was now left alone to be fired at by every ship whose guns could be brought to bear on her, while she herself was so injured, that her returns were slow and ineffective. She lost her bowsprit and all her masts, and remained a mere hulk upon the water. She however joined the other ships at the mouth of the bay; was towed off and assisted in erecting jury masts. • The commodore pursued, but the damage sustained by the Isis, the nature of the winds and currents, with the lateness of the- day, concurred in preventing his renewing the engagement. The French bore away no trophy of the action. Considering the closeness of it, the smoothness of the water, with the number and crowded situation of the shipping, the loss of men was very small.
Ma>- The British fleet sailed from St. Jago, and toward the middle of June, the commodore dispatched capt. Pigot, with some of the best sailing frigates and cutters, toward the southern extremity of Africa, to gain intelligence if possible of the state of the enemy in that quarter, with instructions to rejoin him at a given point of latitude and longitude, Pigot fell in with and took a large Dutch East India ship, from Saldanha bay near the Cape, She was laden with stores and provisions, had on board 4-o,00ol, in bullion, and was bound for the isle of Ceylon, From her the commodore learned, that Suffrein, with five ships of the line, most of his transports, and a considerable body of troops, had arrived at the Cape on the 21st of June; and that several homeward bound Dutch East India ships were then at anchor