General Schuyler was hastening to support Ticonderoga, when, on reaching Saratoga, he was met by the news of this succession of defeats. He had, when joined by St. Clair and Long, who had been left to defend St. John's in vain, about five thousand men, the whole now of the northern army; but many of these were militia hastily called togethermany of them without armsmore, destitute of ammunition, and still more, of discipline. But Schuyler depended much more on the nature of the country which the British would have to traverse from this point than on his men. The whole region between Skenesborough and the Hudson was an almost unbroken wilderness. Wood Creek was navigable as far as Fort Anne; from Fort Anne to the Hudson, over an exceedingly rough country, covered with thick woods, and intersected by numerous streams and morasses, extended a single military road. Whilst Burgoyne halted a few days at Skenesborough to bring up the necessary supplies, Schuyler seized the opportunity to destroy the navigation of Wood Creek, by sinking impediments in its channel, and breaking up the bridges and causeways, of which there were fifty or more on the road from Fort Anne to Fort Edward. Had[241] Burgoyne been well informed, he would have fallen back on Ticonderoga, have embarked on Lake George, and proceeded to Fort George, whence there was a waggon-road to Fort Edward, the place he was aiming at. Instead of this, he determined on separating himself from his baggage and artillery, sending these, under General Philips, to Fort George, and proceeding with the main portion of the army across the rugged country that lay between himself and Fort Edward. On this route they had not only to contend with swamps swarming with mosquitoes, deep gullies, ravines, and rivulets, but to make temporary bridges to supply the place of those destroyed by Schuyler, and remove the trees felled by him. The weather, to add to their stupendous labour, was intensely hot; yet, surmounting everything, on the 30th of July Burgoyne and his army hailed with enthusiasm the sight of the Hudson, which they had thus reached through a series of brilliant successes. He waited on Sir Spencer Compton with the royal command. This gentleman was confounded at the proposal to draw up the declaration to the Privy Council, and begged Walpole to do it for him. Walpole instantly recovered his spirits. He saw that such a man could never be his rival, and he advised his colleagues, if they went out of office, not to engage in any violent opposition, as they would soon be wanted again. He knew, too, that he had the queen in his favour, who was too clear-headed not to see that Walpole was alone the man for the time. To complete his favour with her he offered to procure her a jointure from Parliament of one hundred thousand pounds a year, whilst the impolitic Compton had proposed only sixty thousand pounds. The queen did not oppose the king's attempt to change the Ministry, but she impressed him with the danger of disturbing an already powerful and prosperous Cabinet, and she made him aware of the fact that Compton had been compelled to get Walpole to draw up the Declaration. Besides the liberal jointure which he promised she added that he intended to add one hundred thousand pounds to the Civil List. Horace Walpole, arriving from Paris, threw his whole weight into the scale, representing difficulties which must beset foreign negotiations in new hands. These combined circumstances told strongly on George; but the finish was put to Compton's government by his feeling overwhelmed by his own incompetence, and resigning the charge. The king had, therefore, nothing for it but to reappoint the old Ministry again. Some slight modifications took place. Lord Berkeley, who had joined the opposition of Carteret and Roxburgh, was replaced by Lord Torrington, and Compton received the title of Lord Wilmington, the Order of the Garter, and the Presidency of the Council. The coronation took place on the 11th of October, 1727.

France ceded Canada, Nova Scotia, and Cape Breton, stipulating for the free exercise of their religion by the inhabitants of Canada, and for their leaving the country if they preferred it, carrying away their effects, if done within eighteen months. Nova Scotia and Cape Breton were given up unconditionally. The boundaries of Louisiana were more clearly defined. The French retained the right to fish on part of the coast of Newfoundland and in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and to retain the two little islets of St. Pierre and Miquelon, as places of shelter for their fishermen, on condition that no batteries should be raised on them, nor more than fifty soldiers keep guard there. Their fishermen were not to approach within fifteen miles of Cape Breton. [483]

Scarcely was the Rockingham Administration formed when they determined to recall England's ablest admiral, Sir George Rodney, and they carried this into execution in May of this year, and appointed Admiral Pigott in his stead. Lord Keppel, who had shown himself so sensitive in his own case, now he was at the head of the Admiralty not only recalled Rodney because he was of another party, but he did it in the coldest and most direct manner, through his secretary, Mr. Stephen. However, before this order of recall was issuedthe 1st of MayRodney had fought one of the greatest and most decisive battles which adorn the history of our navy. He had gone in all haste to the West Indies, with fourteen ships of the line, to join Sir Samuel Hood, who was vainly contending against the fleet of De Grasse and a strong land force at St. Christopher's. But, as De Grasse had landed eight thousand men, under De Bouill, and Hood had no land troops, he could not save the island. After its capture Rodney fell in with him, and their united fleet amounted to thirty-six ships of the line. It was well, for Hood informed Rodney that De Grasse was intending to join the Spanish general, Galvez, at St. Domingo, where they were to sail for a grand attack on the chief of the British West India Islands, Jamaica, almost the only island, excepting Barbadoes and Antigua, which Britain now owned in that part of the globe. On the 8th of April he was signalled that the French fleet was unmoored and proceeding to sea. Rodney instantly put out, and the next morning discovered this fleet under Dominica. The wind being in favour of De Grasse, he stood away for Guadeloupe; but Rodney gave chase, and Hood's squadron getting far in advance, De Grasse veered round in the hope of beating him before the rest of Rodney's fleet could come up. Hood received the fire of three men-of-war in the Barfleur, his ship, for some time; but he stood bravely to the enemy, and the wind now favouring Rodney, he came up and joined in the engagement. Several ships on each side were so much damaged that they were almost useless, and Captain Bayne, of the Alfred, was killed. The next morning the French were nearly out of sight; but Rodney pressed after them, for he knew that if they succeeded in joining the Spaniards, he should have sixty sail, instead of thirty-six, to contend with. "To propose to Parliament no other measure than that during the sitting before Christmas. To declare an intention of submitting to Parliament immediately after the recess a modification of the existing law, but to decline entering into any details in Parliament with regard to such modification.