its charter,—while Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, Virginia, and at least one of the Carolinas, might claim by royal grant an almost boundless extension to the north and west,—alone arrested the consummation of the confederation by demanding that the public lands north-west of the Ohio should first be recognised as the common property of all the states, and held as a common resource to discharge the debts contracted by congress for the
Chap. V.} 1778. July 8. expenses of the war.
Gerard to Vergennes, Philadelphia, 12 August, 1778.
On the eighth of July the French fleet, consisting of twelve ships of the line and three frigates, after a rough voyage of nearly ninety days from Toulon, anchored in the bay of Delaware; ten days too late to intercept the inferior squadron of Lord Howe and its multitude of transports on their retreat from Philadelphia.
Its admiral, the Count d'estaing, a major-general in the French army, had persuaded Marie Antoinette to propose the expediti