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[357] But delays, as usual, intervened. The instruc-
Chap. LXII.} 1776. May.
tions to Clinton were not finished till December, nor received by him till May. He was to issue a proclamation of pardon to all but ‘the principal instigators and abettors of the rebellion, to dissolve the provincial congresses and committees of safety, to restore the regular administration of justice, to arrest the persons and destroy the property of all who should refuse to give satisfactory tests of their obedience.’ From North Carolina he might proceed at his own choice either to Virginia or to South Carolina, in like manner, ‘to seize the persons and destroy the property of rebels wherever it could be done with effect.’ In South Carolina he was to attack and reduce Charleston, as a prelude to the fall of Savannah, and to the restoration of the whole of the sea-coast to the king's government.

The fleet and transports, designed to act under Clinton, did not leave Cork harbor till February; they were scattered by a storm soon after going to sea; for two weeks they met constant and most violent adverse gales; they long continued to be delayed by contrary winds; and not till the third of May, after a passage of more than eighty days, did Sir Peter Parker, Cornwallis, and such ships as kept them company, enter Cape Fear River. Most of the transports had arrived before them.

All joined ‘to lament the fatal delays.’ What was to be done with the formidable armament, was the first question for deliberation. Clinton inclined to look into the Chesapeake, which would bring him nearer New York; but Lord William Campbell earnestly urged upon Sir Peter Parker an attack on

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