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CHA P. IX.
Sir George Rodney proceeds to Gibraltar, in his way to the West Indies.
Takes a valuable Spanish Convey. Falls in with a Squadron, under the command of Don Juan de Langara. Takes the Admiral, with Jeve. ral men of war, and destroys others. Relieves Gibraltar, supplies Minorca, and proceeds on his destined voyage. Prothee, French man of war, taken by Admiral Digby, on his return from Gibraltar. Dutch convoj, under the conduit of Count Byland, Ropped, and examined, by Commodore Fielding. Count Byland comes to Spithead, with his Squadron and convoy. Consequences of that, and of other precedent and fubfequent measures. Ruffian Manifefto. Northern neutrality. Royal proclamation in London, fufpending certain ftipulations in favour of the fubje&ts of the States General. Retrospective view of affairs in America and the West Indies, in the year 1779. Advantages derived by the Spanish commanders, from their early knowledge of the intended rupa ture. Don Bernardo de Galvez fubdues the British settlements on the Mifilippi. Sullivan's successful expedition against the Indians of the fix zations. Some obfirvations on the policy of that people, and on the state of culture and improvement, which the Americans discovered in their country. Expeditions from Jamaica to tbe Bay of Honduras, and the Mosquito finore, Fortrejs of Omoa and Spanish register ships taken. · Vigilant and successful conduct of Admiral Hyde Parker, on the leeward
island station. THE opening of the year rity in the Mediterranean, toge.
1 1780, seemed to indicate ther with that unhappy state of some return of that naval renown, weakness on the ocean, which dir. which had so long been the pride abled us from keeping the comof the English name and nation; munication with that place open, but which, through some unto- occasioned the garrison's being reward circumstances, feemed for duced to very confiderable distress, some time to have been strangely as well with respect to provisions, in the wane. .
as to military and garrison ftores. Sir George Rodney, being ap- The loss of power, and conse-* pointed to the chief command in quently of influer.ce and respect, the West Indies, was likewise un- in the Mediterranean, among its der orders, to proceed, in his way other ill effects, has been producthither, with a strong squadron to tive of one, which could scarcely the relief of Gibraltar. For that have been expected, at least in important fortress had been very the degree and manner in which closely blockaded, and in part it has taken place. This has been besieged by the Spaniards, ever the defection of the Barbary states; fince the commencement of hofti. or if not the whole, that of their lities between the two nations; principal, and in whom we are and the loss of our naval superio- most interested, the Emperor of
Morocco ; who, contrary to all In about a week the admi. former example, and in contra. ral feil in, off Cape St. To
16th. vention of that mortal enmity, Vincent, with a Spanish squa. which, through a course of ages, dron of eleven ships of the line, had been established and heredi. under the command of Don Juan tary between the two nations, bas Langara. The enemy, being taken little less than an open and much inferior in force, endea. direct part on the side of Spain. voured all they could to avoid an By this means Gibraltar, in the engagement; a design, to which most critical season of danger the different circumltances, of a which it has ever experienced, rough gale, . high sea, short day, has been cut off from its domestic and dangerous coast, were ex. market; and has looked over in tremely favourable. In order to vain to the opposite thore, for counteract this design, Sir Georye that ample suppiy of provisions, Rodney changed the signal for a with which it had hitherto been line of battle abreast, to that furojshed from Barbary.
for a general chace, with orders Fortune seemed attached to the to engage as the thips came up new commander's Aag, in a lignal by rotation; taking at the same manner on the outset. He had time the lee gage, to prevent the only been a few days at Sea, when enemy's retreat into their own he fell in with a very considerable ports. convoy, bound from St. Sebastian The headmost thips began to to Cadiz, consiiting of 15 fail of engage about four o'clock in the merchantmen, under the guard of evening; and their fire was re
och a fine new 64 gun fhip, turned with great spirit and relo
", of 4 frigates, from 32 lution by the Spaniards. The 1780. to 26 guns, and of two night was dark, tempestuous and fmaller armed vessels. The whole dilinal, and the Aeer being nearly fieet was taken; and the whole, involved among the loals of sí. Thips of war, as well as others, Lucar, rendered the aspect more belonging to the royal company of terrible. Early in the action, the the Carraccas. The capture was Spanish ship San Domingo, of exceedingly fortunate ; much the 70 guns and 600 men, blew up, greater part of the vessels being and all on board perished; the loaded with wheat, Aour, and English man of war with which other species of provision; and she was cngaged, narrowly escapthe remainder with bale goods ing a similar fatç. The action and naval fores. The former and pursuit continued, with a the admiral judiciously conveyed constant fire, until two o'clock in to Gibraitar, where their cargoes the morning, when the headmoft were so much wanted, and the of the enemy's line itruck to the latter he sent back to England, admiral. where the naval stores were no less The Spanish admiral's fhip the welcome.
Phonix, of so guns, with three of But this was only the prelude to 70, were taken, and carried safely greater and more brilliant success, into port. The San Julian of 70 guns, commanded by the Mar. by Capt. Macbride of the Bien. quis de Medina, was taken, the faisant, with respect to that genofficers fifted, and a lieutenant tleman and his ship, along with with 70 British seamen put on the Atri& attention to honour Thewn board ; but by her afterwards run. by the Spanish commander, both ning on thore, the victors expe- deserve to be remembered, as lay. rienced the caprice of war, in ing down a rule of conduct worthy becoming themselves prisoners. the imitation of other officers in Another hip of the same force, similar situations. was likewife taken, and her offi- A bad and malignant kind of cers shifted; but the afterwards small pox, prevailing on board run upon the breakers, and was Capt. Macbride's ship, that gal. totally loft. Two more escaped lant officer, disdaining to convey greatly damaged, and two less so, infection even to an enemy, and into Cadiz. Such was the final perhaps considering the peculiar disposal of the whole Spanish terror with which it is regarded squadron.
by the Spaniards, and the general Such were the peculiar circum- ill aspect it bears to that people, stances attending this engage- acquainted Don Langara with ment, that notwithstanding the the circumstance, and with his inferiority of the enemy in point own feelings upon the subject; at of force, few actions have require the same time offering to prevent ed a higher degree of intrepidity, the inevitable danger and mismore consummate naval kill, or chief which must attend shifting greater dexterity of seamanship. the prisoners, by sending an offi Even the light of the ensuing day, cer with an hundred men on board was“ scarcely sufficient to extri- the Phenix, and trusting to the cate several British capital fhips admiral's honour, that neither his from the most imminent danger; officers or, men, (amounting to and it was not until the second above 700) should, in any case, morning after the action, that they of separation or otherwise, in any had entirely cleared the shoals, and degree interrupt the British searecovered deep water. It seems men, whether with respect to na. upon the whole scarcely to admit vigating the ship, or of defendof a doubt, not only that the ing her, against whatever enemy. whole Spanish fleet would have the proposal was thankfully emescaped from a more cautious braced, and the conditions ftri&t. commander ; but that the appa- ly adhered to by the Spanish adrent circumstances of the case miral ; for though there was no would have afforded a full jutti. other ship but the Bienfaisant in fication of his conduct upon any fight, and that the sea and wearetrospect.
ther were exceedingly rough, his The Spanish admiral, Don people gave every allistance in reJuan de Langara, behaved with the fitting the Phenix, and in navi. greatest gallantry ;' was himself gating her to the bay of Gib. forely wounded, and his ship near. raltar. ly a wreck, before he struck. The After this signal success, Sir humanity and generosity displayed George Rodney having executed
Luentele gallanes and his wie? The
his commission at Gibraltar, and During this expedition, govern. waited the return of some men of 'ment having received intelligence, war, which he had sent with a that a number of Dutch Mips, convoy of store.ships and vi&ual- laden with timber and naval stores lers to the island of Minorca, that for the French service, not being commander, animated with success absolutely allowed protection by and covered with glory, proceeded, the States on their voyage, in. about the middle of February, tended to escape the danger which to the West Indies, leaving the they apprehended from the British bulk of the fleet, under the con- cruizers, by accompanying Count duet of Rear Admiral Digby, to- Byland, who, with a small fquadgether with the Sparish prizes, on ron of men of war and frigates, their way to England. They were was to escort a convoy to the Menot many days parted, before the diterranean, Captain Fielding was, returning fleet fell in with, or ra- in consequence of this notice, sent ther perceived at a great distance, a out with a proper force, in order considerable French convoy bound to examine the convoy, and to, to the Mauritius, under the pro- seize any vessels containing those telijon of two fhips of the line, articles which we deemed contraAlthough a general chace ensued," band. most of the convoy escaped ; only Upon the meeting of the fleets, the Prothee of 64 guns, and two and permiffion to visit the mer. or three vessels Jaden with military chant lips being refused to Cap-. ftores, being taken.
tain Fielding, he notwithttanding Thus far, fortune seemed again dispatched his boats for that pur to fmile on the British Flag. This pofe, which were fired at, and expedition was in all its parts prof. prevented from executing their perous. Besides the great damage orders by the Dutch. Upon this, done to the enemy, fix ships of the the captain having fired a shot a. line were added to the royal navy head of the Dutch Admiral, it of England ; and the value of the was answered by a broadside ; and other prizes, in a public view, Count Byland having received his was greatly enhanced, by the na- in return, and being in no condi. ture of their cargoes, the critica? tion of force to purlue the contest season in which they were taken, farther, then immediately struck and the essential services to which his colours, Most of the Dutch they were applied. We have alhips that were in the predicament ready seen, that the highest honour which occafioned the contest, had which he could receive, the public already, through the length and thanks of his country, through darkness of the nights, and by both houses of parliament, was keeping close to the shore, escaped beitowed on Sir George Rodney. the danger, and proceeded without Nor was the nation at large less interruption to the French ports. gratified. The long absence of The few that remained, with na. good news, rendered' this the more val stores on board, were stopt; and highly pleasing. It was besides a the Dutch admiral then informed, triumph over our old and natural that he was at liberty to hoist his . enemies, the house of Bourbon. colours and prosecute his voyage.
That commander, however, chose established among commercial na. only to accept of the former part tions, and going directly to the of the condition. He hoisted his overthrow of that sovereignty, or colours; but he refused to separate pre-eminence on the ocean, which from any part of his convoy; and had been so long claimed and be accordingly, with the whole of maintained by this country.) the feet which remained with him, This was the mani. E accompanied the Britih squadron festo or declaration is."
Feb. 26th. to Spichead; where he continued, sued by the court of Petersburg, until he received fresh instructions which has been the means of form. from his masters.
ing, under the name of an armed This, along with many other, neutrality, that formidable naval both preceding and subsequent and military alliance and confe. matters, led to that unhappy rap. deracy, between the northern pow. ture, which has fince afforded so ers, to which most of the neutral much cause of joy and triumph to states in Europe have fince, ac the enemies of both, between those ceded; and which, Great Britain ancient, natural, and Protestant not being in a fituation directly to Allies, the kingdom of Great- contravene, seems now to be settled Britain, and the States of Hol- as a part of the law of nations, land. Nor had it a lefs Tare The great principle of this piece, probably in other fucceeding and of that confederacy to which events, which were equally per. it gave birth, is, that free bottoms nicious to the interests, and sub- make free goods ; and this is car. verfive of the power of this coun- ried to the degree of suppofing try. The apparent vigour, how- chat neutral states are entitled to ever, of this measure, and the carry on their commerce with the semblance it from thence bore to belligerent parties in a state of war, the great and decided maxims of with the same degree of convenia happier rimes, rendered it in some ence, ease, and safety, which they degree a favourite with many peo, might have practised in time of ple; who from thence augured a peace. Nor is this all; it is farrenovation of our ancient ipirit in ther. laid down, that the neutral council and fortune in war. . bottom has a right to convey,
But the event which fingularly and to render free, all things, marked the opening of the pre- from any one part of a belligerent sent year, and which was proba- state, and even coastwise, to ano. bly, at least, accelerated by that ther, without let or impediment; we have related, was the extraor- saving only such matters as might dinary measure adopted in the be deemed contraband, in consenorth of Europe ; where a power, quence of the ftipulations of for. which however great in other re- mer treaties. fpects, was of inferior note in a ma- This extraordinary measure ritime view, was now seen dictating (which in other times would have a new code of maritime laws to been considered and resented as a mankind, in many respects eflen- declaration of war) was rendered tially differing from those which the more grievous, from its ori. had for several hundred years been ginating with a power, which not