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[220] more distinctly the general expectation that America
Chap. LV.} 1775. Dec.
would soon form itself into a republic of united colonies. Such was become the prevailing desire of the army, although Lee still hoped to act a part in bringing about a reconcilement through a change of the British ministry. This is the real purport of an elaborate letter addressed by him to Burgoyne, who was about to sail for England; for which he excused himself to an American friend by saying: ‘I am convinced that you have not virtue enough for independence, nor do I think it calculated for your happiness; besides, I have some remaining prejudices as an Englishman.’

In December, Lee left the camp for ten days to inspect the harbor of Newport, and plan works for its defence. His visit, which had no permanent effect, was chiefly remarkable for his arbitrary conduct in ‘administering a very strong oath to some of the leading tories.’ After his departure the British vessels of war plundered the islands in Narragansett bay as before.

Meantime Dunmore, driven from the land of Virginia, maintained the command of the water by means of a flotilla, composed of the Mercury of twenty four guns, the Kingfisher of sixteen, the Otter of fourteen, with other ships, and light vessels, and tenders, which he had engaged in the king's service. At Norfolk, a town of about six thousand inhabitants, a newspaper was published by John Holt. About noon on the last day of September, Dunmore, finding fault with its favoring ‘sedition and rebellion,’ sent on shore a small party, who, meeting no resistance, seized and brought off two printers and all the

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