Imágenes de página

informed the house that the king's ministers had not 1780a
held the smallest previous communication with him upon
the subject; that he had been in town three days, and
had never been asked whether his health would enable
him to continue in the chair, nor had he been applied
to directly or indirectly, on the subject of choosing a
new speaker. He called upon the ministers to declare,
why he was thus disgracefully dismissed. After debates,
lord George Germain's 'motion for the appointment of
Mr. Cornwall was carried by a majority of 203 votes
to 134, who supported Mr. Dunning's motion.

The king went the next day to the house of peers, Nov.
and delivered his speech to the parliament. In it he
took notice of the signal successes which had attended
the progress of his arms in Georgia and Carolina.
These he trusted would have important consequences in
bringing the war to a happy conclusion. When the
commons were debating upon the address, Mr. Fox re-
prehended the ministers in the most pointed terms, for
having dared to send orders to officers in all the towns
of the kingdom, as well in those where there had not
been the smallest proneness to tumult, as in those where
it had entirely subsided and quiet was perfectly restored,
giving them power to act at discretion, without the
authority of the civil magistrate. These orders, he de-
clared, had not been recalled, till almost every election
was over. He likewise arraigned the ministers in terms
of the utmost severity, for the insult which, he said,
had been offered to the navy, and the prejudice done to
that service, by the late appointment of Sir Hugh Pale-
liser to the government of Greenwich Hospital. The


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

$780. address was carried, upon a division, by a majority of

212 to 130.

Major Tyler, who served formerly in one of the American continental regiments, by his irregular purfuit of pleasure, 'occasioned an information to be lodged against himself and Mr. John Trumbull, who was deputy adjutant general with Gates af Tyconderoga in 1776. Tyler efcaped: but Trumbull was taken and committed to prison on the 21st of November, being charged with holding a treafonable correspondence with the enemy. When he was re-examined the next day, three letters were produced and read, one to his father the governor of Connecticut, the second from Dr. Franklin's grandson at Passey, where the doctor refides, and the third from a Mr. White of Lyme in Dorfetfhire. Mr. Trumbull in his answers to the queftions asked him, said, that he arrived in England in the beginning of Joly; and that the profession he had in view was that of painting, of which Mr. B. West, the historical painter, could inform the bench fully, as well as of the manner how he usually fpent his time. Nothing appeared particularly criminal : but circumstances were fuch, that the bench conceived he was not entitled to his liberty; they therefore signed his warrant of commitment for New Prison, on account of the unrepaired state of Newgate. Confinement will be his chief fuffering; and his relations may dismiss all apprehensions of any further danger to his personal safety. · Some detached pieces of European intelligence will close the present epistle.

Mr. Jay has been laboring at the court of Madrid to effect a treaty between Spain and the United States of


America ; but to no purpose. For particular reasons 1780 that court declines making the treaty with France, the basis of one with them. Congress was much overseen in drawing bills upon him. The importance of Spain to America should not have been brought forward, at least should not have been placed in such a glaring point of view. The measure of drawing, in expectation that the Spaniards would supply. the cash, was considered by them as desperate, and as what congrefs were prompted to by their imbecility. It was in the power of the Spanish court to have made the loan that was asked: whereas, instead of furnishing Mr. Jay with 30 or 40,000 1. sterling, the fum requested for immediate service, be was supplied with only about 42001.

On the 29th of September died Maria Theresa, empress of Germany, queen of Hungary and Bohemia, and archduchess of Austria, and natural sovereign of all the widely extended dominions appertaining to that great house. Her death has occasioned no convulsions in the European fyftem of politics.

Lord George Germain, in his letter to lord Cornwallis of November the gth, commended Cornwallis'e “ determination to inflict exemplary punishment on those traitors, who had repeated the violation of their oaths of allegiance, or broken their parole, and taken arms against the king, as wise and promotive of the great object of the war.” He added, “ I have not the least doubt, from your lordship's vigorous and alert movements, the whole country, south of the Delaware, will be restored to the king's obedience in the course of the [next] Campaign.”


[ocr errors]

3780. The French king this year dignified and for ever ren

dered his name-day memorable, by a present to his sub-
jects, worthy the humanity and magnificence of a great
and enlightened monarch. It was no less than abolish-
ing for ever, that relic of barbarism, so long the oppro-
bium of the christian name, and a standing disgrace to
the most civilized and learned quarter of the world
the inhuman custom of putting the question, as it was
called, by torture. It had been so long established and
rivetted, that it seemed to be an original and indivisible
part of the constitution of their courts of justice. The
French king did also, in order to lessen the burdens of
his people, make a prodigious reform in his houshold.
In pursuance of the new plan adopted in his court, no
less than 406 offices in that department were abolished.

The torture having been mentioned, let it be remarked
that no one is capitally condemned in Holland, till he
acknowledges himself guilty; and that the torture is
practised, when needful, to produce such acknowledg-

But then it must observed, that no one is put to the torture without that evidence, which would hang him in Great Britain. If the accused has firmness of body and mind to support under the rack through the whole process, he is discharged though guilty ; but though innocent, if (overcome by excruciating pain) he pronounces himself guilty, to obtain momentary ease, execution follows.

The bounty and kindness extended by the bishop of Lugo to the British prisoners, deserves every degree of praise and gratitude. Although some of their commanders behaved otherwise, the Spanish nobility and merchants, in general, showed extraordinary marks of



friendship, and even of affection, to those British gen-
tlemen who fell in their way, while national hostilities
were carrying on. The Spaniards labored hard in push-
ing on their works against Gibraltar, but had often the
mortification of seeing them when nearly completed,
destroyed in a few hours by the weight of fire from the
batteries. Gen. Elliot would let them proceed to a
certain point, and then at once throw all their hopes to
the ground. Some judicious and successful sallies were
likewise made occasionally, though sparingly, by the
garrison. The vexation of being so baffled by a hand-
ful of men, has at length whetted the invention of the
Spaniards to a project, that may afford much trouble to
the garrison when perfected, and infinitely increase the
difficulties and dangers of the defence.

The conduct of the duke of Modena, in abolishing
the inquisition in his dominions, must be enumerated

the remarkable circumstances, that have diftinguished the year 1780. It affords a fresh instance of the progress, which liberal ideas, with respect to toleration and the rights of conscience, are now making throughout Europe. Upon the death of the grand inquisitor at Reggio, the prince immediately ordered that tribunal to be for ever abolished; its revenues to be

applied to laudable purposes; and the prisons and other buildings, which could preserve any memorial of its having ever existed, to be demolished.

In the course of this year a considerable number of well-fought and desperate actions have taken place between British and French frigates; in which, though the former had almost continually the advantage when upon equal terms, and the latter were frequently taken; yec



« AnteriorContinuar »