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breastworks. They were almost entirely destitute of heavy artillery, the ship that bore it having foundered near Sandy Point. Their industry and patience, however, succeeded in recovering from the bottom of the sea the greater part of the pieces. They bastened also to procure them from the neighboring islands. They likewise made themselves masters of some heavy cannon at the foot of the mountain, which had been sent from England a long time before, and which through the negligence of the governor had not been carried into the fortress. Independent of this artillery, a considerable quantity of bombs and cannon-ball fell into the power of the French. Thus the arms and ammunition sent by the British government for the defence of the island, were left to be employed for its reduction. The late surprise of St. Eustatius ought, however, to have put the commandant of St. Christophers upon the alert.
The French, thus finding themselves provided with the apparatus necessary for their operations, established themselves upon the most commanding of the neighboring heights, and began to batter the fortress. The garrison defended themselves valianuly, and with more effect than could have been expected from their small number.
In the meantime, admiral Hood returned from the coasts of America to Carlisle Bay, in the island of Barbadoes, with twenty-two sail of the line. Upon intelligence of the peril of St. Christophers notwithstanding the great inferiority of his force to that of the count de Grasse, he put to sea again immediately for the relief of the island attacked. He first touched at Antigua to take on board general Prescott with a corps of about iwo thousand men, and then sailed without delay for the road of Basse Terre, in St. Christophers. At the unexpected appearance of the British feet, the count de Grasse instantly took his resolution ; he weighed anchor, and sailed forthwith to meet the enemy. His intention, in standing out of the harbor, was to put bimself in condition to take advantage of the superiority of his force, and to prevent Hood from anchoring off Sandy Point, whence he might easily have thrown succours into the fort on Brimstone II. The British admiral, who observed the movements of his adversary, made a seint of intending to await the baitle; then, all at once fell back, in order to draw the count de Grasse more and more distant from the fort. As soon as he had effected this object, availing himself of the swifiness of his ships and the advantage of wind, he stood into the bay of Basse Terre and came to anchor in the same spot whence the French admiral had departed. This able maneuvre was admired by the French themselves. They followed, however, and with their van engaged that of the English, but to little effect. The count de Grasse afterwards presented bimself with all his feet at the entrance of the bay. The attack was extremely vigorous; but the British ships, lying fast at anchor in a line across the mouth of the harbor, afforded no
assailable point. The French were unable to make the least effective impression, and lost not a few men in the attempt. It was followed, however, by a second, which had no better success. The count de Grasse then renounced open force, and contented himself with cruising near enough to block up the British fleet in the bay, and protect the convoys of munitions which were on the way to him from Martinico and Guadaloupe.
Admiral Hood, on finding that the French had given up all thoughts of disturbing bim in his anchorage, pu: ashore general Prescott, with a corps of thirteen hundred men ; that general baving driven in a French post stationed in that part, encamped in a strong position upon the heights. He hoped to find some favorable occasion to succour the fortress. The strength of the place seemed to promise him that general Frazer would be able to hold out still for a long time. Admiral Hood, moreover, had received positive advice, ibat Rodney was not far off, and that he had brought from Earope a reenforcement of twelve sail of the line. It appeared to him impossible that after the junction of all the British forces, the count de Grasse, and still less the marquis de Bouille, should be able to keep the field.
The capture of all the French troops then on shore was in his opinion an infallible event. But, in spite of all calculations, already the marquis de Bouille having marched two thousand men against general Prescott, had compelled bim to evacuate the island and reembark precipitately. On the other hand, the French artillery kept up so terrible a fire against Brimstone Hill, that a number of breaches began to open in the walls, one of them in the part fronting the French camp was already practicable. A general assault would inevitably carry the place. The governor did not think proper to await this terrible extremity. All hope being now extinct, he demanded to capitulate. The conditions granted him were honorable for the soldiers, and advantageous for the inhabitants of the island. In consideration of their gallant defence, the generals Frazer and Shirley were left in perfect liberty upon their parole. The surrender of Brimstone Hill, placed the whole island of St. Christophers in the power of the French. Admiral Hood, therefore, had no longer a motive for maintaining his anchorage in the bay of Basse Terre; and moreover his fleet was in some degree exposed there to the fire of the batteries which the French might have established upon the shore. Nor could he overlook the importance of effecting his junction with admiral Rodney, who was daily expected, and who perhaps was already arrived at Barbadoes. Retreat, however, was perilous in the presence of so formidable a force as the French fleet. But the conjuncture admitted of no hesitation. Accordingly, in the night that followed the capitulation, the French being four leagues off, the English cut their cables in order to get under way at the same
time, and thus keep their ships more collected and together. This manauvre succeeded perfectly; they gained Barbadoes without opposition. Great was their joy at meeting Rodney in that island, who had just arrived there with iwelve sail of the line. The count de Grasse incurred on this head, the most violent reproaches of negligence and excessive circumspection. It was maintained, that he should have closely blockaded ihe British feet in its anchorage, or attacked it at its departure, or else pursued it in its retreat. His partisans defended him, by alleging that he experienced an extreme scarcity of provisions; that bis ships were by no means so good sailers as those of the enemy, and finally, that he was under an absolute necessity of returning promptly to Martinico in order to cover ihe arrival of convoys which were expected there from Europe. However these things might be, it remains denonstrated that the junction of the two British admirals, produced in the issue, an incalculable prejudice to the interests of France; as the sequel of this history will sufficiently evince. About the same time, the island of Montserrat surrendered to the arms of the counts de Barras and de Flechin. A few days after, the count de Grasse caine to anchor at Martinico.
We have just seen the fortune of Great Britain depressed alike upon the American continent, and in the West Indies. The arms of king George were not more successful in Europe than in the New World. His enemies had there also the gratification of witnessing the declension of bis power. It was especially agreeable to Spain, who first gathered its fruits. The duke de Crillon, knowing with what ardor the Catholic king desired to have in his power the island of Minorca, applied himself with the utmost zeal to the siege of Fort St. Philip. All the resources of the art of war had been employed to reduce it; a more formidable artillery had never been levelled against a place. But its natural strength, the immense works which covered it, and the perseverance of the besieged, creating apprehensions that the defence might be protracted still for a long time, the Spanish general had recourse to an expedient too little worthy of hiin. He attempted to seduce governor Murray, and to obtain by corruption what he despaired of carrying by force. He had, it is true, for this degrading step, the positive instructions of his government. General Murray repulsed the offers of his adversary with as much dignity as disdain. He reminded the duke de Crillon, that when one of his valiant ancestors had been requested by his king to assassinate the duke de Guise, he had made him the answer that bis descendant should also have made to those who had presumed to commission him to attempt the honor of a man sprung from a blood as illustrious as his own, or that of the Guises. He ended his letter with praying him to cease to write or offer parley, his resolution VOL. II.
being to communicate with him no more, except at the point of the sword.
The duke de Crillon gave general Murray to understand, that be could not but honor him for his conduct; that he rejoiced it bad placed them both in that position which befitted them alike; and that it had greatly increased the high esteem in which he had always held the governor. Meanwhile, the situation of the besieged was become painful in the extreme. Notwithstanding the success of a vigorous sortie, in which they had dislodged the duke de Crillon from Cape Mola, where he had established his bead-quarters, their weakness rendered this transitory triumph more hurtful to them than beneficial. The garrison would by no means have sufficed for the defence of so extensive fortifications, even if they had beep free from sickness. But very far from that was their condition. The seeds of the scurvy, with which they were infected, even before the opening of the siege, had developed themselves with a fury which increased from day to day. All who were seized with it either died, or became totally useless for the defence of the place. The causes of this mortal disease were principally the scarcity, or rather absolute want, of vegetables, the ainassment of soldiers in the casemates, the horrible fetor which resulted from it, and the excessive fatigues of a service almost without remission. To the scurvy, as is not sufficient of itself to exterminate the unhappy garrison, putrid fevers and the dysentery united their destructive rage. Overwhelmed by so many evils, these intrepid warriors piqued themselves upon braving them. Those who were already attacked with pestilential maladies, dissembled their sufferings, for fear of not being admitted to share the perils of their comrades. Their ardor had survived their bodily strength ; some of them were seen to expire under arms.
Nature at length triumphed over the firmness of these generous spirits. In the beginning of February, the garrison found itself so diminished, that there remained only six hundred and sixty men capable of any sort of service; and, even of this number, the most part were tainted with the scurvy. It was to be feared lest the enemy, apprised of this disastrous state of things, might precipitate bis attacks, and carry the place by storm. There was the more foundation for such an apprehension, as the artillery had already ruined the greater part of the upper defences. Scarcely did there remain a
* Henry III. despairing of being able to reduce the duke of Guise, consulted the Mareschals a' Aumont, de Rambouilet and de Beauvais Nangis, who decided that, considering the impossibility of bringing that illustrious rebel to trial, it was necessary to take him off by surprise. The king proposed to the celebrated Crillon to undertake the execution of this murder; “I will not assassinate him, answered the brarest of the brave, but I will fight him. When a man is ready to give his life, he is master of that of another.'
The affectation of general Murray in vaunting in his answer the nobility of his origin, grew out of his pretending to have descended from the earl of Murray, natural son of James V. and brother of Mary Stuart.
few pieces of cannon in a serviceable state, and the fire of the enemy was still unremitting.
In a situation so utterly hopeless, to resist any longer would have been rather the delirium of a senseless obstinacy, than the effect of a generous constancy. Murray accepted a capitulation, the tenor of which was honorable for his garrison. He was allowed all the honors of war; the British troops were to be sent to England as prisoners upon parole ; all the foreigners had permission to return to their countries with their effects; the Minorcans who had adhered to the British party, were left at liberty to remain in the island in the undisturbed enjoyment of their possessions. When the remains of this valiant garrison evacuated Fort St. Philip, they had more the appearance of spectres than of men.
They marched through the French and Spanish armies, which were drawn up fronting each other, and formed a lane for their passage. They consisted of no more than six hundred old decri pid soldiers, one hundred and twenty of the royal artillery, two bundred seamen, and about fifty Corsicans, Greeks, Turks and Moors. The victors manifested compassion for the fate of their prisoners ; they could not refuse them even a tribute of admiration, when, arrived at the place where they laid down their arms, they heard them declare, while lifting up to heaven their eyes bathed in tears, that they had surrendered them to God alone. The humanity of the French and Spaniards was highly conspicuous, and worthy of lasting praise. Yielding to the most generous emotions, the common soldiers of the two nations were forward to administer refreshments and consolations to their unfortunate enemies. The duke and count de Crillon, as well as the baron de Falkenhayn, commander of the French troops, signalised themselves by the most feeling and delicate attentions. Such actions and conduct cast abroad a pleasing shade, which serves 10 soften the horrors of war, and to hide and alleviate its calamities; should they not also mitigate the fury of national rivalships and animosities?
Thus did the island of Minorca return to the dominion of Spain, after it had been in the possession of Great Britain for upwards of seventy years.
The news of so many and so grievous disasters, and especially that of Yorktown, produced in England a general consternation, accompanied by an earnest desire of a new order of things. The length of the war was already become wearisome to all; the enormous expenses it had occasioned, and which it still exacted, were viewed with disquietude and alarm. The late reverses still increased this universal discontent; and with the diminution of the hope of victory was strengthened in all the impatience for the return of peace. The possibility of resuming the offensive upon the American continent, and of reestablishing there, by dint of arms, the sovereignty of