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their object, retreated-laying waste every thing within their reach, and carrying off whatever they could manage to transport.
In the mean time, General Prevost, who had been ordered to cooperate with Colonel Campbell on the side of East Florida, having collected his scattered forces, marched from St. Augustine, and after encountering many hardships and difficulties, arrived at Sunbury just after the defeat of General Howe at Savannah. The fort now surrendered at discretion, and the General continued his march to Savannah, and took command of the united forces.
To the honour of Colonel Campbell it must be mentioned that his conduct to the inhabitants of Savannah and the neighbouring country, was very different from that of most of the British commanders in our captured towns. Immediately after entering the town he issued a proclamation, encouraging the inhabitants to come in and offer their submission, and promising them protection on condition of their submitting to the royal government. He restrained the soldiers from every species of oppression and depredation, and by his mild and prudent policy, for a time, silenced all republican opposition. The whole state was compelled to yield after the loss of the capital, and once more the royal government was established in Georgia.
In the beginning of October an expedition was undertaken by Colonel William Butler from Scoharie, to the country between the head waters of the Delaware and the Susquehannah, against the Indians and tories of that district. They succeeded in destroying a great deal of property on both sides of the river, and, returned at the end of a fortnight, after having encountered innumerable dangers and difficulties, from
the heavy rains which had so swelled the rivers and creeks as to render their passage extremely hazardous. The advantages arising from this expedition did not compensate for the fatigue and trouble attending it.
About the same time a most gallant exploit was performed by Major Talbot, who had formed the design of taking the British schooner Pigot, of eight 12 pounders, which lay at Howland's ferry, on the east side of Rhode Island. He embarked with a number of
. troops on board a small vessel from Providence on the 26th October, and arriving on the night of the 28th off the fort on Rhode Island, to prevent an alarm, suffered his vessel to drift down under bare poles until he came within sight of the schooner. Being hailed from the schooner, and returning no answer, he received a volley of musketry, which however he took care not to return, until more sure of his prize. He ran on until the jib boom of his vessel was locked in the foreshrouds of the schooner, and then opened a fire from his cannon and musketry, which proved so destructive, that the enemy soon sued for quarters. The Captain of the Pigot, however, behaved with heroic gallantry; having fought single handed for a considerable time, just in the state in which he had been roused from his bed ; Major Talbot succeeded in car
; rying off his prize, and arrived safely with her at Stonington. For this gallant enterprise he received from Congress the promotion of Lieutenant Colonel.
A similar expedition to that under the American Colonel Butler was undertaken in November, by the Anglo-Indian Butler, but attended with circumstances of barbarity and cruelty, at which the American chief would have shuddered. At the head of a large party
of Indians, tories, and regulars, he entered Cherry Valley, in the State of New York, on the 11th of November. The fort at that place was under the command of Colonel Alden, whose name it bore. He was unfortunately killed before he could reach the cover of the fort, upon which the enemy opened a heavy fire which lasted for three hours: but finding they could make no impression, they then desisted, and employed themselves until the next day in murdering and scalping the inhabitants of the place.
Before we close the record of events for 1778, it will be proper to call the attention of the reader to our allies, and to some circumstances which grew out of our connexion with them.
We have already seen that Mr. Silas Deane had on many occasions, transcended the powers vested in him by Congress, and that he had in consequence been recalled by that body, in a manner the least offensive to the feelings of Mr. Deane and his friends. On his arrival he was required by Congress to give an account of his transactions in France, and of the state of American affairs in Europe, as well as a particular account of the application of the funds entrusted to his management.
Under a pretence that his papers and vouchers had been left behind, (though he must have known when he left France, that it was not the intention of Congress to send him again to that court,) he was unable to give any satisfactory explanation; and thus the affair remained until the 5th December, when an address appeared in the newspapers from Mr. Deane to the people of the United States. It was calculated and intended to excite a prejudice in the people against their representatives, and boldly in. sinuated that it was their intention to break the faith plighted to their allies. This publication became the subject of debate in Congress, and excited such diversity of opinion and warmth of discussion, that Mr. Laurens was induced to resign his presidency, which was immediately given to John Jay. In the course of the clamour which this affair excited, Thomas Paine again appeared before the publick, under his former signature of “Common Sense." His situation enabled him to bring many things to light, which established almost to demonstration the truth of the suspicion before hinted, that Mr. Deane was to be the partner of Beaumarchais, in the unwarranta ble claim which had been made upon the Congress for supplies gratuitously furnished by the French people. Mr. Deane had the art to gain over the most of the army to his side, by seizing occasion to declare his confi. dence in the Commander in Chief, though his declaration was immediately contradicted by the publication of one of bis letters, in which he had strongly recommended that some of the European Generals should be invited to take command of our armies.
Monsieur Gerard, the Minister Plenipotentiary of bis most Christian Majesty, to whom Congress had acknowledged the validity of the claim, fearful from the publick situation of Mr. Payne, that his publication was sanctioned by that body, presented a memorial to them on the subject, which produced the following resolution : “Resolved unanimously that the President be directed to assure the said Minister, that the Congress do fully, in the clearest and most explicit manner, disavow the publication referred to in the said memorial; and as they are convinced by indispu. table evidence, that the supplies shipped in the Amphetrite, Seine and Mercury, were not a present, and
that his most Christian Majesty, the great and generous ally of these United States, did not preface his alliance with any supplies whatever sent to America, that they have not authorised the writer of the said publication to make any such assertions as are contained therein, but on the contrary do highly disapprove of the same.'
This, though it may have been a commendable act, so far as it showed the disposition of Congress to redeem the pledge which had been given to Monsieur Gerard, was carrying the acknowledgment rather beyond the warranty of evidence. Nothing can be said indeed to justify the whole conduct of Congress as it regarded this business, from its first introduction in 1777 to the final rejection of the claim in 1818. Mr. Paine, to whom a hearing in the case had been refused by Congress, resigned his place of Secretary to the foreign committee.
It has been seen that the Count D’Estaing sailed from Boston on the 3d of November for the West Indies, a storm having compelled Admiral Byron of the British fleet to give up his design of offering battle to the Count. It deserves to be remarked as a singular fact, that on the very day that the Count sailed from Boston, a squadron of the enemy's fleet under Commodore Hotham, having under convoy a large number of transports with Major General Grant, and 5000 men, sailed from Sandy Hook, destined also for the West Indies. They had been despatched by Sir Henry Clinton, with a view to protect the English West India islands from the offensive measures which had been pursued by the Marquis de Bouille. The two fleets were for several days pursuing the same course, within a few leagues of each other, mutually ignorant