« AnteriorContinuar »
• Our conduet in America, fince that epocha *, has been far from blameable. Upon advice being received, in the beginning of the year 1755, that the French were preparing a fleet
to be sent to North America, with troops on board, under the • command of Mr. Dubois de la Mothe, Mr. Boscowen was fent • with a numerous fleet in quest of the French, and to attack * them, in cale they endeavoured landing their forces in Ame.
rica. Here the unthinking, uninform'd censurer †, takes oc• cafion-to let us know, that the French fleet was fuperior to the • English that failed from here, and that if Mr. Macnamara's
return 10 Brést had not diminithed it, we should certainly have been vanquilhed before Mr. Holbourne's arrival in the Ameri.
can feas, to remaforce the squadron under Adiniral Boscawen ; * and this step be atuibutes to the ignorance of the mai • But this he would not have asserted, could he but have reflected,
that a rore certain intelligence than ever he could have come at, might very well have informed the me -,“ That tho " the French Squadron was superior to the English, having no “ orders to attack Mír. Boscawen's feet, and Mr. Macnamara's “ division of it being deitined to sail only to a certain latitude, " and then recurn to Brest, a superior English fleet would be ún.
neceflary in the European seas; and as this fleet, when arrived
at America, would be reinforced by several ships there already “ starioned, it would be next to impossible for the English Reet " to miss in:ercepting the French in their paffage to St. Law“ rence's river." So chat if any comment can be made upon the • conduct of the me er, or super-intendent of public affairs, • in this respect, it inust be to applaud the parfimony with which
they applied the public money, where the unnecessary expence • of equipping a larger fleet at firft, with such great diligence, ..could not have been attended with more success than the taking • the Alcide and Lys, two fine French ships, now riding in our < harbours.
There is also a note at the foot of page 34, in wbich, speaking of the Fourth Letter to ihe People of England, he says,
i There are but two facts stated in it that are probable; and they, upon
* Washington's defeat. + See the first and fourth Letters to the People of England.
I ' The fleet which was fent under the Command of Admirals • Boscawen and Mostyn, was composed of no less than twelve men • of war of the line, besides frigates : and that truly experienced ' failor, who fo worthily presides at the head of our naval affairs,
being apprehensive, that accident of some sort or other right re
duce the force of this formidable fleet, before it arrived in the • Amuricani feas, judiciously caused a second fleet to be equipped, 'vib ürprizing diligence, and which failed under the command of
Admiral Holbourne. This second fleet confifted of fix men of * war of the line, besides frigate:,'
enquiry, prove absolutely without foundation--namely, the dittribution of the ammunition destined for America; and the purchase of Dutch gun-powder, that evaporated like saw duft.'
And again, in p. 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, we have the revelations following:
. But the French, finding we would not give into their lure, • played an after game, unthought of will they found their feint o would not succeed. As soon as we had certain advices of their do real design, we were not behind-hand in taking such measures
as the exigence of the case required, and if our feet did not fait till the beginning of-April, it was not to be attributed to
backwardness in the orders from the Admiralty they 1 wwwere repeated and reiterated for the speedy equipment of these
-Hips;-and, indeed, the fleet was 'ready fome weeks before
bathey failed, but they were not completely manned till the very god day of their departure from Spithead, and then the only expe
dient that could be found for manning them, was the turning set over all the crews of the other ships in that port on board them, Er which is a fufficient answer to all questions, “Why did we 544 not send a superior fleet under Mr. Byng ?” as there were then ads båt three wen of war in Plymouth Sound, and two of them
were returned from Sir Edward Hawke's fleet in the Bay of Biscay: *, on account of the sickness of their crews ;--the other was the guard-thip at Plymouth.
• But I believe no body has doubted, that if Mr. Bog had * made all the fail he could to Gibraltar, and carried there no longer than was-needful; or behaved well in the action of the 20th of May, that the French would have gained any victory over us in the Mediterranean, either by land or fea.
• As to any inviduous insinuations, that Mr. B-g had not or! ders to fight, or land the troops that were on board his fleet at • Minorca ; it will be only necessary to cite, verbatim, Lord' An• fon's letter to Mr. Byng, concerning the disposition of Lord
Robert Bertie's regiment, which was produced at Genera!
Majesty having issued orders by the Secretary at war, to Gene17" ral Fowke, to make a detachment equal to a battalion, from
his garrison, for the relief of Minorca ; you are to conform
* I fuppofe none of the most inveterate ministerial critics would pretend saying, we should have sent Admiral Hawke's fleet to the
Mediterranean, any more than the cruizers in the Channel ; fince • the first of these measures muft inevitably have produced the re
lease of the Breft squadron, and the other given the French all the advantages they could defire for a descent here.
yourself to the said orders, and to carry that detachment on “ board your fleet, and land them at Miñorca. And in cafe,
upon conference bad with Géneral Blakeney, he shall think it si necessary, you shall then land Lord Robert Bertie's régiment also 5 at Mahon, from on board your
" Signed Anson.” After this, I am positive, no man that feels for his native land, and has not some fidiffer view in raising, commotions in
the state, can suppose, that Lord A-n's orders, or any from i the Ada -ty, initructed Mr. Bg to behave like a coward,
or a villain. I wish I were authorized to publish' here this Ad l's instructions at large, which I am sure (if you are a lover of your country) would give you all that satisfaction which must be conceived in being convinced that nobody at home, was privy to any daftardly actions in the Mediterranean ; but as I am not, take this letter as a sample, and be not so ungrateful to a man, who did his couňtry fuch real service in the
Taft war, as not to have as much confidence in him as you • would in the most common trader, whose goods you purchase
upon a specimen ; at least suspend your judgment till' Mr. Byng's trial, which cannot' now be får off, when, as your gracious Sovereign has told yoù, :“ He will not fail to do justice upon any persons who shall have been wanting in their duty to “ him and their country.”
How well qualified this writer was for the trust reposed in kim of arrangeing these documents, and of making the most notable use of them, the reader has it in his own power; from these excerpts, to determine. V. An Essay on the Times. 8vo. Is. Henderson.
This is a miscellaneous piece, written in a quaint, tumid, and verbofe ftile; notwithstanding which, it is in many respects, worthy of more notice than perhaps it has met with: for tho’the author confines his animadversions to a few known facts, and makes an antiministerial use of almost all of them, he does not revile one party, for the sake of making his court to the other : on the contrary, he takes occasion to thew, that opposition may be abused, as well as power; and upon the whole, throws a good Mare of political knowlege into lo equal a mixture of light and frade, that it is hard to say, whether his wit or his discretion is predominant.
He begins with a severe censure on that rage of patching up a Peace in a hurry; which, according to him, produced the definitive treaty of Aix; and, what was an unpardonable fault, left our own claims undefined. He then takes some pains to prove, that the French were notoriously the aggressors in the present quarrel, and by consequence, that the eventual instructions given to Braddock, stand in need of no vindication : but having done this piece of justice to his country, he makes as free an use of his
pen, in condemning the next meafure we took, of letting loose our marine against the innocent traders, fishermen, and seamen of France, initead of declaring war in form, as we had sufficient provocation to do, against the
French crown and French nation. Our Ruffian, Meffian, and Proffian measures to preserve ourselves, and our Hanoverian co-relatives, from the effects of the enemy's refentment, fall"next" under his censure. And here, by over-refining on a posible event, it so happens, that he stands confuted by the event irfelf; we mean, the march of the Pruffian troops into Saxony: for notwithstanding all our concessions to Pruffia, he fupposes we may nevertheless be the dupes of Pruffia; who, by a concerted, collufive game with France, or adhering to a cold fyftem of observation, might do us more mischief as a fubtiliz. ing, insidious, pretended friend, than an open eremy: which, is now apparently out of his power, if it was ever in his thoughts.
He then sums up our case, with regard to allies, in che following paragraph.
. Thus then. deserted' at its greatest need, the nation sees itself ** precisely in the condition of a filly prodigal, who having mør,
gaged, and destroyed his estate, in undistinguishing liberalities, and senfetefs profusions, finds no friend left him in his distress, and wonders as much at its, as if his conduct had been of a na, cure to deserve any.' Concerning our land forces, he asks the following questions. "yft. What qualifications of the head and heart are necessary in Generals, to beget effectively the soldiers love and confidence in them?
2dly. How far the officers have been taught to consider their military duty as a science, and, in truth, a profound one; and wbat care has been taken to inure them to fatigues,, and warlike exploits ? * 3dły; Engineership having become the most capital.branch
in the modern practice of war, since the artillery, has taken-fo “much the place of hand arms even in the field, whether the “indispensible ftudy of that, and of military architecture, bave
been duly, generally, and early enough, to be at this time a march for the French in.them, recommended and cultivated?'
of the present state of the navy, so far as regards the treatment of our seamen, he thus delivers his sentiments.
• It were to be wished, for many folid reasons, that fome method had been, in time, found out to procure for the navy its complement of men, in lieu of that wretched expedient of preff. ing, which may fave a fleet; but never man it: and every such
fleet must, proportionably to the number of its forced hands, carry within itself a principle of defeat. If this abuse has been "of ancient standing, and-hitherto produced 'no fatal effects, from ..the innate, courage of our English sailors, formounting every
confideration, in the instant of action, so much the more maftfo valuable a class of subjects deferve the redress of a grievance,
i cised upon them, under the notion, that it is absolutely necessa. , .
• which is not of a nature for any prescription of time, to recon
cile to it the objects of its arbitrary oppreffion. What goodI will to the service of their country can be expected from the
captives of their own country-men? or into what enemies hands could they fall, that would give them worse than such usage? • It is said too that the unwillingness of the common seamen to enter on board men of war, does not entirely proceed from the wages being less than what are given in merchantmen, nor from their considering them as floating jails, but from the intolerable domineering and insolence, generally speaking, exer
ry to what they call carrying a command, a term, of which the • mif-construction has probably done more mischief to the naval • service, than all the points of abuse besides ; ' as surely it can
never be the way to raise the courage of the men by crushing
of their spirit. Those poor heads, whom a little power is enough i to intoxicate, will have no conception of this. But how much
more nobly and wisely did that great admiral Blake think, and
address himself to his ship's company, when he told them, “ That the meanest of them were free-born Englishmen as well
as himself, and that officers and fore-mast-men were all fellow“ servants to the government of their country.” Words of this ' import must found rather more animating to a British eas, than o those with which the public papers (falsely no doubt) make an admiral lately conclude his harangue
's there are only two “ choices, fight or be hanged !" an alternative surely to • be addressed with more propriety to a pirate crew, on a man
of war's coming up with them, than to English failors going against the enemies of their country.'
The idolatry of pelf; the mercenary habit grafted upon it; the danger to be apprehended from an overgrown national debt, and an unweildy mass of precarious wealth created by it; a nonattention to the endangered condition of our colonies ; ill-timed, ill-proportioned, ill-directed fupplies ; the want of a great perwhole one system ;
Characters and qualifications of our ministers at foreign courts; and the manner of filling and sustaining the great offices at home, are the next topics that he expatiates upon. After which he proceeds in these words :
• Even the old manly British eloquence, was not proof against the epidemical enervity, and degenerated into fuftian rants, pue
rile conceits, and those witticisms, which may more properly • be esteemed florishing the point, than pushing it, the most cele• brated harangues, presented an image of fquibs, crackers, and ' artificial fire works, bouncing and bursting into a thousand little • sparks, the false glare of which rather created a momentary • dazzle, than threw a steady light upon the point in debate. The petulance of groundless presumption, an intemperance of acri