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In the meantime, General Gage landed at Boston on the 13th of May. The Port Bill had preceded him a few days, and the tone of the other colonies rendered the Bostonians firmer in their temper than ever. On the 25th of May General Gage announced to the Assembly at Boston the unpleasant fact, that he was bound to remove, on the 1st of June, the Assembly, the courts of justice, and all the public offices, to Salem, in conformity with the late Act. As they petitioned him to set apart a day for fasting, he declined that, and, to prevent further trouble, adjourned them to the 7th of June, to meet at Salem.

Sir Samuel Garth, author of "The Dispensary," a mock-heroic poem in six cantos, and Sir Richard Blackmore, another physician, and author of a whole heap of epics in ten or twelve books eachas "King Arthur," "King Alfred," "Eliza," "The Redeemer," etc.may still be found in our collections of verse, but are rarely read. Dr. Young's "Night Thoughts" yet maintain their place, and are greatly admired by many, notwithstanding his stilted style and violent antithesis, for amid these there are many fine and striking ideas.

MEN OF WAR OFF PORTSMOUTH.

Another successful expedition this year was one against the Cape of Good Hope. This settlement, so desirable for Britain, with her Indian possessions, had been yielded up by the Addington Administration, at the Peace of Amiens, most[522] imprudently. A body of five thousand men was dispatched for its recovery, under Sir David Baird, in a fleet commanded by Sir Home Popham. They arrived in January, and the Dutch soldiers fled at the first attack. Retiring into the interior, General Beresford was dispatched after them, whereupon they surrendered, on condition that they should be sent to Holland without being deemed prisoners of war.

[590] Warren Hastings had saved Madras and the Carnatic, but only at the cost of extortion. To obtain the necessary money, he began a system of robbery and coercion on the different princes of Bengal and Oude. The first experiment was made on Cheyte Sing, the Rajah of Benares, who had been allowed to remain as a tributary prince when that province was made over to the British by the Nabob of Oude. The tribute had been paid with a regularity unexampled in the history of India; but when the war broke out with France, Hastings suddenly demanded an extraordinary addition of fifty thousand pounds a year, and as it was not immediately paid, the Rajah was heavily fined into the bargain. This was rendered still more stringent in 1780, when the difficulties in Madras began. Cheyte Sing sent a confidential agent to Calcutta, to assure Hastings that it was not in his power to pay so heavy a sum, and he sent him two lacs of rupees (twenty thousand pounds), as a private present to conciliate him. Hastings accepted the money, but no doubt feeling the absolute need of large sums for the public purse, he, after awhile, paid this into the treasury, and then said to Cheyte Sing that he must pay the contribution all the same. He compelled the Rajah to pay the annual sum of fifty thousand pounds, and ten thousand pounds more as a fine, and then demanded two thousand cavalry. After some bargaining and protesting, Cheyte Sing sent five hundred horsemen and five hundred foot. Hastings made no acknowledgment of these, but began to muster troops, threatening to take vengeance on the Rajah. In terror, Cheyte Sing then sent, in one round sum, twenty lacs of rupees (two hundred thousand pounds) for the service of the State; but the only answer he obtained for the munificent offering was, that he must send thirty lacs more, that is, altogether, half a million.

During this year the Americans continued to hope for relief to themselves from the progress of the Armed Neutrality, but derived little good from it, though, through their exertions, they beheld Holland added to the open enemies of England. The Dutch Government, flattering themselves that, with nearly all the world against her, England must succumb, had long been secretly in negotiation with the insurgent subjects of England, and their treachery was now suddenly, by a singular circumstance, brought to light. Captain Keppel, cruising in the Vestal frigate off the banks of Newfoundland, in the month of September, captured one of the American packets. On the approach of the British boats to the packet, it was observed that something was hastily flung overboard. A sailor leaped from one of the boats into the sea, and succeeded in securing this something before it had sunk beyond reach. It turned out to be a box, which had been weighted with lead, but not sufficiently to render it so rapid in its descent as to prevent its seizure by the British tar. On being opened, it revealed a mass of papers belonging to an American emissary to the Court of Holland, and opened up a long course of negotiations, and an eventual treaty of peace and commerce between Holland and our American colonies. The bearer of these papers was discovered on board the packet, in the person of Henry Laurens, late president of the American Congress. These most important papers, together with their bearer, were sent with all speed to England. Copies were forwarded to Sir Joseph Yorke, our Ambassador at the Hague, who was instructed to demand from the States General the disavowal of the negotiations. The States General, confounded by the discovery of their clandestine negotiations, remained silent for a week, and then only replied by advancing complaints of violence committed by the British navy on their traders, and of its having insulted the Dutch flag by seizing some American privateers in the port of the island of St. Martin, under the very guns of the fort. Sir Joseph did not allow himself to be diverted from his demand, but again, on the 12th of December, a month after the presentation of his memorial, demanded an answer. No answer was returned. England was thus compelled to declare war against Holland on the 20th of December, Sir Joseph Yorke being recalled by the king, and Count Welderen receiving his passports in London.