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Admiral Darby remained atTorbay; but Was soon'781* reinforced by several ships from different ports, till his squadron was increased to 30 sail of the line, with which he was ordered to sea with the utmost expedition, for the preservation of the expected West India convoy. The delay however of waiting for the reinforcement and instructions in the first instance, and contrary winds afterward, detained the fleet till the 14th of September notwithstanding the urgency of the occasion. Before it sailed, the combined fleets had separated. They were in exceeding bad condition. In the first outset they were poorly manned, the Spanish particularly. Beside a great mortality, which had prevailed during the whole cruise, and a prodigious number of sick in both fleets, a considerable majority of the ships were scarcely capable of living at sea in a violent gale, The hard weather there-S^$. fore that came on in the beginning of Septemb«^vvv.;;y frustrated all their views; so that abandoning all hopes ^ ^-^Z of intercepting the Britifli convoys, they were gladi w. .v4'Vi* get into port as soon as possible. The French fleet re*-jr-f>^ turned to Brest the nth of September, and the Spanish 11. proceeded directly home.
The present shall close with extracts from some curious letters—To Mr. Vergennes. Passy, Feb. 13, 1781. "I am grown old, and it is probable I shall not long have any more concern in these affairs. I therefore tak« occasion to express my opinion to your excellency, that the present conjuncture is critical;—that there is some danger lest the congress should lose its influence over the people, if it is unable to procure the aids that are wanted, and that the whole system of the new government in America may thereby be shaken;—and that is
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V78*- the English are suffered once to recover the country, such an opportunity of effectual operation may not occur
again in the course of ages." To . March 12,
1781. "To give the states a signal proof of his friendship, his majesty has resolved to grant them the sum of fix millions [of livres] not as a loan, but as a free gift. The sum was intended for the supply of the army, and it was thought best to put it into the general's [Washington's] hands, that he should draw for it, that it might not get into those of the different boards or committees, who might think themselves under a necessity of divert-, ing it to other purposes. There was no room to dispute on this point, every donor having the right of qualifying his gift with such terms as he thinks proper.—The minister proceeded to inform me, that the courts of Petersburgh and Vienna had offered their mediation. It was not doubted, that congress would readily accept the proposed mediation, from their own sense of its being useful and necessary.—I have passed my seventy-fifth year." [Soon after this was written, col. Laurens arrived, which gave occasion for mentioning] "July 16^ 1781. With regard to the six millions given by the king in aid of our operations for the present campaign, before the arrival of Mr. Laurens, 2,500,000 of it went in the fame ship with him in cash—2,200,000 were ordered by him and are shipped—1,500,000 was sent to Holland to go in the fliip commanded by capt. GillonJ*
* Roxbury, Jan. 12, 1782.
CERTAIN resolutions of congress, as they referl78i* to col. Laurens and the supplies from France (whose arrival has been mentioned) necessarily demand our first attention. On a report of a committee; to .whom was referred a letter of the ados last September, together with sundry papers, containing an account of the negotiation with which he was intrusted, congress ce resolved on the 4th, " That all the clothing, artillery, 4. arms and military stores, shipped in pursuance os the orders of the honorable John Laurens, for the use of the United States, be upon their arrival in any of the ports of these United States^ delivered to the order of the board of war, who are hereby empowered and directed to take charge and direction of the samei—That . all the money shipped by the order of Mr; Lauren?, for the use of the United States, bel upon its arrival, delivered to the order of the superintendant of finance, who is hereby empowered and directed to take charge of the fame." The next day they resolved—" That the conduct of lieut. col. Laurens, in his mission to the court of Versailles, as special minister of the United States, is highly agreeable to congress, and entitles him to public approbation." To supply any deficiency that there might be in their resolution respecting monies arriving from Europe, they resolved on the 3d of Dc
M a cembcr
i781.cember—" That the superintendant of the finances be, and hereby is authorized and directed to apply and difppfe of all monies which have been or may be obtained in Europe by subsidy, loan or otherwise, accord. ing to the several resolutions and acts of congress now existing, or which may hereafter be made for the appro1 priation of monies belonging to the United States." However gratefully they thought of the French king's free gift, they could not with- any propriety accede to the mode in which it was to be applied to the benefit of the United States. By passing into the hands of the commander in chief, it would subject the army to an appearance of being pensioned by France, and when generally known by the troops might loosen their relative dependence upon congress; they therefore wisely directed, that the military stores should be delivered to the order of the board of war, and that the disposal of the monies should rest with the superintendant, subject to their own appointments.
We must now pass to South Carolina.
When the continental officers under gen. Greene had heard of the manner in which col. Hayne was executed, and that notwithstanding the general cartel, several officers of militia were still detained in captivity, tiiey made a representation thereof in writing to Greene on the 20th of August;. and recommended, that a strict inquiry ihould be made into the several matters mentioned, and if ascertained, that he would be pleased to retaliate in the most effeftual manner, by a similar treatment of British subjects which were or might be in his power. They voluntarily subjected themselves to all the consequences, to which they would be exposed in case of ... - • capture. capture. A sew days after, Greene issued from his head'78u t quarters at Camden a proclamations wherein he expressly declared—" It is my intention to make reprisals for all such inhuman insults, as often as they shall take place." —He added, " I further declare, that it is my intention to take the officers of the regular forces, and not the seduced inhabitants who have joined their army, for the objects of my reprisal's." Greene demanded also from the British commanders their reasons for the execution of Hayne. He received a written answer, signed' N. Balfour, in which there was an acknowledgment, "that it took place by the joint order of lord Rawden and himself, but in consequence of the most express directions from lord Cornwallis, to put to death those who should be found in arms, after being at their own requests received as subjects, since the capitulation of Charlestown, and the clear conquest of the province in the summer of 1780." General Greene replied tolieut. col. Balfour on the 19th of September—" Sir, your favor of the 3d instant I have received, and am happy for the honor of col. Hayne, to find nothing better to, warrant his cruel and unjust execution, than the order of lord Cornwallis, given in the hour of victory, when he considered the lives, liberties and property of the people prostrate at his feet: but I confess I cannot express my astonishment, that you and lord Rawdon should give such an extraordinary example of severity, upon the authority of that order, under such a change of circumstances, so long after it had been remonstrated against, and after a cartel had been setded, to restrain improper severities, and to prevent the necessity of retaliation. You will fee by my letter to lord Cornwallis