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for, even from the vast numbers Baron Ofborne; Lord Polwarth who thought themselves officially, (fon to the Earl or Marchmont). or by connection, bound to give Baron Ham; Lord Mount Stuart a countenance to the war as a fa- (fon to the Earl of Bute) Baron vourite court measure, nor the fill Cardiff; Sir Eward Ha ke, Bagreater, of thofe who profited by its ron Hawke; Mr. Onflow, Baron Continuance. Cranley; Sir Jeffery Amherst, Baron Amberft; Sir Brownlow Cutt, Baron Brownlow; Mr. George Pitt, Baron Rivers; Mr. Rider, Baron Harrowby; and Mr. Foley, Baron Foley. The Dutchess of Hamilton and Argyll was created Baronefs Hamilton, with defcent to her heirs male. Her prefent hufband, the Duke of Argyll, had fome time before obtained the Englifh barony of Sundridge.
In this ftate of public affairs and difpofition at large, adminiftration had acquired fuch an appearance of ftability, as feemed to render them, for fome confiderable time to come, fuperior to the frowns of fortune. Supported by an irrefiftible majority in parliament, they were already armed with every power which they were capable of defiring or withing for the establishment of their American fyftem; whilft, as the nation was now too deeply engaged in their measures to be capable of retracting, it would be found equally difficult to commit the profecution of them to any other hands. Thus the power which produced the meafares, was infured during their continuance. All apprehenfion from the oppofition of an ill-united minority had been long worn off; and it feemed now rather neceffary to give a colour and fanction to their proceedings, by recording the vait fuperiority which decided every question in their favour, than as at all capable of counteracting, or even impeding their defigns.
In this ftrong ftate of fecurity, no changes took place among the ministers. Though the force of government in the House of Lords feemed to require no addition, feveral new Peers were called up May 14, a few days before the recefs. The Marquis 1776. of Carmarthen (fon to the Duke of Leeds) was created
Of thefe new creations, two were only anticipations of honour, the Marquis of Carmarthen and Mr. Onflow being already in immediate fucceffion to the peerage. Some exceptions were taken in difcourfes and writings, on the granting of English baronies to the Scotch nobility, or the immediate fucceffors in their titles, with a view of enabling them to fill feats in parliament. It was urged as a very difputable meafure, and confidered by many as an evafion, if not direct violation of the conditions of union between the two kingdoms; yet many confider it as a proceeding, which may in time be productive rather of fecunty than danger to the conflitution. For whatever influence may at prefent operate upon those who hold themselves under an immediate obligation upon that account, it will of course wear away in a little time with them or their fucceffors; and the more numerous they grow, the lefs liable to management; fo that they may become in fome degree a ballance to the fixteen Peers, who,
Within a few days after 28th. the recefs, an unexpected change took place in the depart ment for the education of the royal brothers, the Prince of Wales and the Bishop of Ofnaburgh; the Earl of Holderneffe, Governor, the Bishop of Chester, Preceptor, Mr. Smelt, Sub-Governor, and the Rev. Mr. Jackson, Sub-Preceptor, having all refigned their refpective employments. This measure has been attributed to fome difagreement between the Governor and Preceptor; but it feems as if the Caufes were not thoroughly known. As no new arrangement was in readiness, it alfo feems as if the court was not prepared for the
Lord Bruce was first appointed Governor, with a promise of being created Earl of Aylesbury, a title which he had for fome time coveted. But this office not fuit ing his temper or inclination, he in a few days refigned, when his brother, the Duke of June 8th. Montague, was appointed Governor to the Princes; Dr. Hurd, Bishop of Litchfield, Preceptor; Colonel Hotham, SubGovernor; and the Rev. W. Arnold, Sub-Preceptor. Lord Bruce obtained his earldom, the government of Windfor, which had been held by the Duke of Montague, and was called to the privy council; the Marquis of Carmarthen, who was married to Lord Holderneffe's daughter, was appointed a Lord of the bed-chamber; and
towards the clofe of the year, upon the death of Dr. Drummond, the Bishop of Chester was promoted to the metropol in fee of York.
Though the government of Ireland was not, et difpofed of, means were used to smooth the way for the future Viceroy. A great promotion in point of rank, and an enormous augmentation as to number, tock place in the peerage of that country. Five Viscounts were advanced to earldoms, seven Barons to be Viscounts, and no less than eighteen new Barons created, in the courfe of one day. Towards the end of No. July 2d. vember, the Earl of Buckinghamfhire was appointed Lord-Lieutenant of that kingdom.
The melancholy prognoftications, which at the time had been treated rather as chimerical, and the exaggeration of party, than a well-founded deduction drawn from reafon and a knowledge of the fubject, relative to the calamities in which the American troubles would involve the Weft-India Islands, began already to be too fenfibly fulfilled. Several of the moft effential neceffaries of life,, particularly the articles of fuftenance used for the fupport of the negroes, as well as of the poor and laborious whites, had rifen from three to four times their cufionary price. Staves, which in the next degree to food were an object of the greatest neceflity, were not to be procured in a fufficient quantity at any price. Other wants and dittreffes multi plied, and would have been more fenfibly felt, had not the dread of famine abforbed all leffer confiderations. The prizes taken from the Americans, and difpofed of in thofe iflands, prevented these diftreffes
treffes from being perfectly ruin
As there are feafons in which misfortunes feem to be epidemical, fo in this period of diftrefs, a confpiracy and infurrection of the Negroes in Jamaica, though happily difcovered in good time, and easily crushed in the bud, yet in its confequences helped much to increafe the general calamities both at home and in the islands. As the fmall military force in Jamaica had been weakened for the American fervice, and that the departure of a great fleet of merchantmen, amounting to about 120 fail, with a part of the fmall fquadron on that ftation to be their convoy, would render the island ftill more naked and defenceless, the Negroes fixed upon that time for carrying their defign into execution.
clufive of tranfports and government ftore-fhips, was eftimated confiderably higher than a million fterling.
In the mean time the French and Spanish ports, in Europe, began, fome time before the clofe of the year, to fwarm with American privateers, and to be crowded with their English prizes, which were at first openly fold without any colour of disguise. On remonftrances from this court, a little more decorum was observed; fome check was given to the open and avowed fale of prizes; but the practice ftill continued. In the prefent unhappy state of affairs, it was thought neceffary for a while to fufpend the affertion of the national dignity At no time had that dignity fuffered such an eclipfe. In the Welt-Indies, the American depredations were carried on to a much greater extent, and much more avowedly countenanced in all the French colonies. Even French fhips took American commiffions; and with few, and fometimes no American feamen on board, carried on a war upon the British commerce with impunity. In the mean time the King's ships, on their parts, took an infinite multitude of prizes from the Americans, moftly indeed of fmall value; but they proved a very timely relief to the fuffering iflanders.
The American declaration of independency afforded an opportunity to thofe to triumph much in their fagacity, who had at all times urged and fupported the most coercive measures, and who now infifted that this had been the grand object and operative motive with the colonies during the whole conteft, and the real fource of all the
The fleet which was to have failed in July, was detained in confequence of the difcovery of the plot, for about a month, when the Thips were loaded and just ready for the fea; a detention, which though an immediate heavy lofs and expence to the owners, was productive of much greater misfortune. For they not only met with bad weather which fcattered the fhips and laid them open to danger, but the Americans thereby gained time to equip their privateers, and feize the critical stations for intercepting their paffage. Some blame was allo thrown upon the convoy; but, however it was, many fhips of that rich fleet fell into the hands of the enemy. Nor was the trade from the other islands more fortunate. So that though the Americans did not begin their diftant depredations till late in the year, the British lofs in captures during 1776, ex
the prefent troubles. The knowledge of the fact, with there and other reafonings upon it, nad alio an effect upon many others, in reconciling them to the prefent meafures, and leading them to confider the difagreeable fituation of public affairs, rather as arifing from an inevitable neceflity, than proceeding from any error in their fuperintendence or conduct. It will be cafily conceived that the great lofies fuftained by the capture of British thips, and which trade otherwife funered by the prodigious rife of infurance, (that upon homeward bound West India fhips now amounting to 231 per cent.) muft have exceedingly embittered the minds of the fufferers against the Americans; nor could it be without effect upon the temper of the nation in general.
The great armaments, which were continually increafing, in the French and Spanish ports, the avowed dipofition of thofe ftates with respect to Portugal, and many other fufpicious appearances, afforded very fufficient grounds of alarm to the minifters during the recefs. The caufe and effect increafed with the feafon, until at length, towards the approach of winter, the political horizon appeared not a little gloomy.
In thefe circumftances, fixteen additional fhips of the line were fuddenly put into commiffion, and a proclamation iffued,
Oct. 25th. by which the reward to able feamen for entering in the navy was increased to five pounds per man. This was followed by another proclamation, recalling all feamen who were in any foreign fervice; by two others, laying an embargo on the exportation of pro
vifions from Great Britain and Irelard; and by a fifth, enjoining the obfervance of a general fast.
An hot prefs had attended the proclamation for the bounty to feamen. As the public conduct of the city of London in political matters, has or feveral years paft, in various inflances, drawn upon it the mot marked and unequivocal indications of the refentment and indignation of government, fo the prefent occafion afforded an opportunity for a fquabble between that body and the admiralty.
The Lord Mayor claimed an exemption for the watermen of his barge. The city claimed an exemption from preffing within its jurifdiction. The court of King's Bench held that thefe claims did not appear to them fupported by adequate proof. This difpute continued very hotly for a time, and ended without any definitive decifion on feveral of the most material
points of law. However, the right of preffing feemed to grow in irengti, and all ideas of local or perfonal exemptions, to lofe ground very confiderably.
Towards the clofe of the year, and in the beginning of the enfuing, much contufion, apprehenfion, and fufpicion was excited, by the machinery of a wretched enthufiaft and incendiary, fince well known by the appellation of John the Painter, but whole real name was James Aitken. This man, who was born in Edinburgh, and bred a painter, poffeffing an extraordinary fpirit of rambling, with a strong propensity to vice, had paffed in the courfe of a few years thro' an uncommon variety of thofe fcenes, which attend the moft profligate and abandoned ftate of a vagabond
gabond life. A kind of life, for which a manual trade, however followed, affords the most perfect opportunity and cover.
political matters, by that order of the people with whom he lived and converfed, gave birth to that madness of enthufiafm in him, which afterwards became fo dangerous. He accordingly returned to England with the moft deadly antipathy to the government and nation, and foon after, if not originally, adopted the defign of fubverting, in his own fingle perfon, that power which he so much abhorred.
The fcheme was as deteftable, as could even be expected from the villainous character of the framer. It was to destroy the maritime force of this country, as well as its internal ftrength and, riches, by fetting fire to the royal dock-yards, and burning the principal trading cities and towns, with their fhipping, of whatever fort, fo far as it could pofiibly be done. In the profecution of this atrocious defign, he traverfed the kingdom to discover the state of the feveral docks, and the nature of the watch by which they were guarded, which he in general found to be as lax and infufficient as he could have wifhed. He alfo took wonderful pains in the conftruction of fireworks, machines, and combuftibles, for the purpote, but was ftrangely unfuccefsful in all his attempts of this nature.
Among his other exploits, he had paffed through feveral marching regiments of foot, from each of which he deferted as foon as opportunity ferved, after receiving the bounty money. In his various peregrinations through the different parts of England, he alternately committed highway robbe ries, burglaries, petty thefts, rapes, and worked at his trade, as occafion invited, villainy prompted, or fear or neceffity operated. Whether it proceeded from the apprehenfion of punishment, or that the original bent of his genius led him to new fcenes of action, whatever was the operative motive, he hipped himself off for America, where he continued for two or three years. His being of a melancholy folitary nature, which neither fought for affociates in crimes, nor admitted of partners in pleasure, as it contributed mach to his prefervation for fo long a time from the juftice of thofe laws which he was conftantly breaking, ferved equally to throw in utter darkness all thofe parts of his life, which he did not himfelf think fitting or neceffary to communicate. His tranfactions in America are accordingly unknown, any further, than that he traverfed, and worked at his trade in, feveral of the colo
As his pilgrimage on that contient was in the beginning, and daring the progrefs, of the prefept troubles, it may well be imagined, that the violence of the language and fentiments held in
It was owing to this unaccountable failure in his machines, that . the nation was faved from receiving fome dreadful, if not irretrievable fhock. One of them, which extinguished of its own accord, without any human interference, was found, feveral weeks after it had been laid, in the center of a prodigious quantity of