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The Rise, Progress and Termination of the American Revolution by Mrs. Mercy Warren of Plymouth Massachusetts

Volume 3 -- From Yorktown in 1781 to the Treaty of Paris in 1783, Plus a Few Subsequent Events and Observations About the Constitution (1787), the French Revolution (1789), and the Presidencies of Washington and Adams (up to 1801)

volume 1, volume 2

The original 3-volume work is 1317 pages long. Mercy wrote early drafts of this work near the time of the events described, and completed the work about four years before it appeared in 1805. She explains the delay as due to health problems, temporary bouts of blindness, and grief at the death of one of her five sons.

Mercy wrote in the third person even when dealing with events involving her immediate family. Keep in mind that James Otis (early advocate of the rights of the colonies) was her brother, James Warren (speaker of the Massachusetts House of Representatives) was her husband, and Winslow Warren (would-be diplomat) was her son.

Chapter 21 -- A first view of the forces of the contending parties. The Generals Washington and Rochambeau meet at Weathersfield. Attack on New York contemplated. The design relinquished. Combined armies march toward Virginia. Count de Grasse arrives in the Chesapeake. Sir Samuel Hood arrives at New York. Sails to the Chesapeake. Naval action. Lord Cornwallis attempts a retreat. Disappointed. Offers terms of capitulation. Terms of surrender agreed on. Lord Digby and Sir Henry Clinton arrive too late. Comparative view of the British commanders. General exchange of prisoners.
Chapter 22 -- General Wayne sent to the south. Embarrassments of General Greene in that quarter. Recovery of Georgia and evacuation of Savannah by the British. Death and character of Colonel Laurens. Character of General Greene. Consequent observations.
Chapter 23 -- General observations on the conduct of the British King and Parliament after the intelligence of the capture of Lord Cornwallis and his army. King's speech. Address of thanks opposed. Proposition by Sir Thomas Pitt to withhold supplies from the Crown. Vote carried in favor of granting supplies. General Burgoyne defends the American opposition to the measures of the Court. Variety of desultory circumstances discussed in Parliament.
Chapter 24 -- Naval transactions. Rupture between England and France opened in the Bay of Biscay. Admiral Keppel. Serapis and the Countess of Scarborough captured by Paul Jones. The protection given him by the States-General resented by the British Court. Transactions in the West Indies. Sir George Bridges Rodney returns to England after the capture of St. Eustatia. Sent out again the succeeding year. Engages an defeats the French squadron under the command of the Count de Grasse. Capture of the Ville de Paris. The Count de Grasse sent to England. Admiral Rodney created a peer of the realm on his return to England.
Chapter 25 -- Continuation of naval rencounters. Affair of Count Byland. Sir Hyde Parker and Admiral Zeutman. Commodore Johnstone ordered to the Cape of Good Hope. Admiral Kempenfelt. Loss of the Royal George. Baron de Rullincort's expedition to the Isle of Jersey. Capture of Minorca. Gibraltar again besieged, defended, and relieved. Mr. Adams's negotiations with the Dutch provinces.
Chapter 26 -- General uneasiness with ministerial measures in England, Scotland, and Ireland. Loud complaints against the Board of Admiralty. Sir Hyde Parker resigns his commission. Motion for an address for peace by General Conway. Resignation of Lord George Germaine. Created a peer of the realm. Lord North resigns. Some traits of his character. Petition of the city of London for peace. Coalition of parties. A new ministry. Death and character of the Marquis of Rockingham. Lord Shelburne's administration. Negotiations for peace. Provisional articles signed. Temper of the loyalists. Execution of Captain Huddy. Consequent imprisonment of Captain Asgill. Asgill's release.
Chapter 27 -- Discontents with the provisional articles. Mr. Hartley sent to Paris. The definitive treaty agreed to and signed by all parties. A general pacification among the nations at war. Mr. Pitt, Prime Minister in England. His attention to East India affairs. Some subsequent observations.
Chapter 28 -- Peace proclaimed in America. General Carleton delays the withdraw of the troops from New York. Situation of the loyalists. Efforts in their favor by some gentlemen in Parliament. Their final destination. Their dissatisfaction and subsequent conduct.
Chapter 29 -- Conduct of the American army on the news of peace. Mutiny and insurrection. Congress surrounded by a part of the American army. Mutineers disperse. Congress removes to Princeton. Order of Cincinnati. Observations thereon.
Chapter 30 -- A survey of the situation of America on the conclusion of the war with Britain. Observations on the Declaration of Independence. Withdraw of the British troops from New York. A few observations on the detention of the western posts. The American army disbanded, after the commander in chief had addressed the public and taken leave of his fellow soldiers. General Washington resigns his commission to Congress.

Chapter 31 --Supplementary observations on succeeding events, after the termination of the American Revolution. Insurrection in the Massachusetts. A general convention of the states. A new Constitution adopted. General Washington chosen President. British treaty negotiated by Mr. Jay. General Washington's second retreat from public life. General observations

Chapter Twenty-One:  A first view of the forces of the contending parties. The Generals  Washington and Rochambeau meet at  Weathersfield. Attack on New York contemplated. The design relinquished. Combined  armies march toward Virginia. Count de  Grasse arrives in the Chesapeake. Sir Samuel Hood arrives at New York. Sails to the  Chesapeake. Naval action. Lord  Cornwallis attempts a retreat. Disappointed. Offers terms of capitulation. Terms of  surrender agreed on. Lord Digby and Sir  Henry Clinton arrive too late. Comparative view of the British commanders. General  exchange of prisoners.

The additional weight of maritime force that appeared in the American seas in the year  1781 was serious and eventful.  In the view of every sagacious eye, this  appearance portended events of magnitude that might hasten to a decision the long  disputed point between Great Britain and the United States.  The European  nations considered the present period a crisis of expectation and that the exertions of this  year would either extinguish American hopes, or establish their claims as an  independent nation.

Before the arrival of Admiral Barras, the naval power of Britain in the American waters  was much superior to anything that had yet arrived from abroad that could  give assistance tot he United States.  The acquisition of strength by the arrival of a  squadron under the command of Sir Samuel Hood might have given an irresistible  preponderance to the British flag, had not the Count de Grasse fortunately reached the  Chesapeake a few days before him.

 There was now just reason to expect the most violent naval concussions would take  place between the Bourbon fleets and the still more powerful squadrons of  Britain.  They were soon to meet near the American shores, where they were destined to  dispute the decision of an object that, from the emulation of power, the  long existing jealousies between two potent sovereigns, and the prospect of a new face  of affairs from the resistance of America, equally interested the Kings of  England and France.

On the part of Britain, their armies were bold, their troops well appointed, and the pride  of conquest urged to prompt execution to insure success.  The Americans,  inured to fatigue, become disciplined from necessity. Naturally sanguine and brave,  conscious of the justice of their cause, and persuaded of the favor of Heaven,  they were ready to engage in defense of their country and their lives, which they were  sure would be the certain forfeit if defeated.  Both, determined and valorous,  and perhaps both equally weary of the contest, they might equally wish for some capital  stroke of military prowess, some honorable action, which might lead to  equitable and amicable decision.

In this attitude of expectation, hope, and uncertainty, of the two original parties, now  combined with the strangers and aliens of different nations, who had adopted  the ardor of conquest equal to their employers, nothing less could be anticipated than  new scenes of carnage.  The auxiliaries on the part of Britain were the feudal  vassals of despotic lords, the mere automatons of German princes, who held them as  their hereditary property.  The allies of America were Frenchmen, who had  long felt the weight of the chains of Le Grand Monarque. They were commanded by  polite and erudite officers who just beheld the dawn of freedom rising on their  native land.

Thus the two armies finally met in the Virginian fields, the germ of the New World, the  first British plantation in America; a state dignified for its uniform adherence to  and its early firm defense of the natural rights of mankind.  Here they were to decide the  last stake for the freedom of nations, a game which had been beheld with  interest and expectation by many of the officers before they left Europe, and which  might eventually have an extensive influence, to enlighten and free the more  enthralled parts of the world.

Previous to the junction of the French and the American armies, General Washington,  the Count of Rochambeau, and several other distinguished officers had met  and held a conference at Weathersfield, in Connecticut.  In consequence of this  interview, it was reported and believed for a time that the combined armies would  immediately attempt the reduction of New York.  This was a favorite object with the  Americans, who generally viewed the dislodgment of the British forces from  that island as a measure that would expedite relief to every other quarter invested or  oppressed by their fleets and armies.  Accordingly, great preparations were  made, and high expectations indulged through most of the summer that the army under  the immediate command of Sir Henry Clinton, weakened by detachments for  the southern service, and no reinforcements yet arriving from England, would soon be  driven from the important post of New York.

General Washington had neglected no argument to impress the necessity of immediate  and vigorous exertions in all the states to enable him to act with decision.  He  urged the expectation of the allied army, commanded by officers of the first abilities, of  the highest military character, some of them of the prime nobility of France,  and all ambitious of glory and eager for action.  The disappointment they would feel if  any languor appeared in the United States was obvious; and every  consideration was urged and enforced that might induce the whole body of the people to  aid in facilitating the measures adopted by the military commanders, which  could not be executed without union and prompt decision in all the legislatures.

Preparations were accordingly made, and on July 6, the junction of the French American  armies took place at White Plains.  They soon after took a nearer position,  with every preparation for, and all the appearance of, a formidable attack on the city.   But notwithstanding the sanguine hopes of the Americans on this occasion, and  well founded apprehensions of the British commander in chief, a combination of  circumstances prevented an enterprise, which both the army and the people thought  was not only designed, but had calculated that it would be effected without much  difficulty.

Nor was this less respected by Sir Henry Clinton, who had no idea that nay system had  been formed for the combined armies to move toward Virginia.  He had  taken every measure to obtain the most correct information.  In this he succeeded. The  letters of General Washington were intercepted.  His dispatches taken by the  agents employed for the purpose were conveyed to New York, by which the British  commander obtained intelligence which alarmed his apprehensions for the safety  of New York, and led him to forget all danger in any other quarter.

While the mind of the British commander remained in this situation, a sudden reverse  took place on the part of America.  Their measures were disconcerted, their  operations slow; and for a time they appeared as indecisive in their determinations,  though not so divided in their councils, as the commanders of the British troops.   The energies of a few leading characters were not sufficient to control the many in the  several states who in their present disconnected police must all be consulted.

In spite of the exertions and the zeal of individuals, the requisitions from the respective  states came in for some time, but slowly.  Many of those which were sent on  to complete the battalions, were very far from being strong, effective men.  Some  companies appeared to be a rabble of boys; others very unfit for immediate  service; and the numbers far short of the calculations in the British camp, where  imagination had multiplied them almost to a Russian. army.

In short, it was found that it was impossible to establish an army at a call, fit for duty at  the moment of their entrance in the field.  Nor was it less difficult, in the  existing circumstances of the infant republic, to provide at once for the exigencies which  the magnitude of military enterprise at this time required.  The design, if it  ever was really intended, of assaulting that post and reducing New York, was a second  time relinquished.  The apprehensions of Sir Henry Clinton that a similar  enterprise would have been attempted the preceding winder had not continued long,  before other objects intervened, which opened new views to both the British  and American commanders.

A different system was adopted from that expected by both sides on the opening of the  summer campaign.  This might probably have been owing in part to the  information recently given by Colonel Laurens, who had lately arrived from France.  He  had immediately repaired to the southward and reached the headquarters of  the combined army in the month of August.  The most interested part of this intelligence  was that an alliance had been renewed between the Emperor of Germany  and the King of Great Britain; that the Emperor had sent out a considerable  reinforcement to the aid of the British commanders in America, and that additional  troops  were to follow; that this had greatly encouraged the Court of Britain, and was not a  pleasing circumstance to France.

It yet remains doubtful whether it was a stroke of generalship or the necessity of taking  new ground that induced the Count de Rochambeau and General Washington  secretly to draw off most of the continental and French troops at a period when they  momently expected orders for an attack on the city of New York.  It is success  oftener than judgment that crowns the military character; and as fortune followed their  footsteps, few, if any, doubted the superiority of genius that dictated the  measure.  The movement was sudden, and the march rapid.  The combined army crossed  the North River on August 24. They moved on hastily to Philadelphia; and  by a difficult and fatiguing route, reached Williamsburg in Virginia on September 14.

Sir Henry Clinton, apprehensive only for New York, had not the smallest suspicion of  this maneuver.  By the address of a few Americans left behind for that  purpose, every appearance of an attack on New York was for a time kept up.  The  deception was so complete and the maneuvers of the American commander so  judicious that the British themselves acknowledged their won was fairly out-generaled.   The illusion was so well calculated for the purpose that its effects were fully  adequate to the design. The British commander continued his diligence in preparing for  the reception of the combined armies.

The intelligence, at this time, of an alliance between his Britannic Majesty and the  Emperor of Germany, and the arrival of 2000 or 3000 German troops gave an  exhilaration of spirits to the city, to the soldiers, and to the general, who, from the  protraction of the illusion without, had the highest reason to expect the assault of  their works would not much longer be delayed by the Americans. Though General  Clinton had received intelligence that the French squadron had left Rhode Island,  he did not yet dream that they were destined to the Chesapeake, or that Washington and  Rochambeau had adopted a new system. It was long before he could be  persuaded to believe that they were concentrating their forces and moving southward,  with design effectually to defeat all farther attempts on Virginia, and stop the  progress of the British arms in the Carolinas.

It was indeed too long for the interest of the Crown of Great Britain before Sir Henry  Clinton could prevail with himself to look beyond the defense of New York.   But when he found the allied armies had in reality marched toward Virginia, he did not  neglect his duty.  He countermanded the orders to Lord Cornwallis of sending  a part of his troops to New York, and made all possible preparations to support him.  He  sent on a fresh detachment of troops, and made  arrangements to follow  them himself with a hope of being timely enough for the relief of His Lordship.

In the mean time, the fortunate arrival of the Count de Grasse in the Chesapeake  hastened the decision of important events.  A short passage from the West Indies  transported the French fleet under his command safely to the Capes of Virginia, where  they arrived on August 30.  No intelligence of his near approach had reached  the British quarters; nor could anything have been more unexpected to the British naval  commander, Sir Samuel Hood, who arrived soon after in the Chesapeake,  than to find a Gallic squadron of 28 sail lying there in perfect security.

Commodore Hood, who arrived from the West Indies soon after the middle of August,  with near 20 sail of the line, joined the squadron under Admiral Graves  before New York.  He was solicitous to have sailed immediately to the Chesapeake with  all the naval strength that was not necessary to be left for the defense of  New York.  But an unaccountable delay took place which in his opinion could not be  justified; and however it counteracted his inclination, it was too late before he  sailed.  He did not reach the Chesapeake until September 5 -- six days after the arrival  there of the Count de Grasse.  The French fleet had not been discovered by  the British commander, nor had he gained any intelligence that de Grasse was on the  American coast until the morning of September 5, when the English observed  them in full view within Cape Henry.

Nothing could have been more mortifying to a man of the spirit and enterprise of Sir  Samuel Hood than to find so respectable a French fleet had arrived in the  Chesapeake before him.  The national rivalry, prejudices, and hatred of the British  commanders, and the gallant English seamen could not be suppressed on such an  occasion.  These were a strong stimulus to immediate action, which had their full effect.   The pride and valor of a renowned British commander could not admit of  the smallest delay; and the boldness of English seamen urged all with the utmost alacrity  to prepare for an engagement.

The British maritime force that had now arrived was nearly equal to the French squadron  under Count de Grasse.  Both fleets immediately moved, and a spirited  action ensured. Equal gallantry was exhibited, but neither side could boast of victory.   The ships on both sides were considerably injured, and one British 74  rendered totally unfit for service; to this they set fire themselves.  The loss of men was  on the usual average of naval action.  The English, indeed, were not beaten,  but the French gained a double advantage. For while the Count de Grasse remained at a  distance, watched by the British navy, he secured the passage of the Count  de Barras from Rhode Island, and gained to himself the advantage of first blocking up  the Chesapeake.  The Count de Barras brought with him the French troops  from Rhode Island, amounting to about 3000 men. These joined the Marquis de la  Fayette, whose numbers had been greatly reduced. This reinforcement enabled  him to support himself by defensive operations until, in a short time, they were all  happily united under the command of the valiant Rochambeau.

The British fleet continued a few days in the Chesapeake. Their ships were much  injured; and in a council of war it was determined to be necessary for the whole  fleet to return to New York, to refit and prepare for a second expedition.  This they had  reason to flatter themselves would be more successful, as they were sure of  a great acquisition of strength on the arrival of Lord Digby, who was hourly expected  with a with a reinforcement from England.

While Sir Henry Clinton remained in suspense with regard to the operations in the  Chesapeake, his anxiety prompted him to endeavor to obtain immediate  intelligence.  He had no suspicion that he should receive this by the return of Admiral  Graves and the respectable squadron under his command; and before the  untoward circumstances which occasioned this had reached New York, his impatience  had urged him to send on a gallant officer with letters to Lord Cornwallis.   Major Cochran executed this business at no small hazard.  The British fleet had left the  Capes of Virginia before his arrival; but at every risk, he ran through the  whole French fleet in an open boat.  He landed safely, delivered his dispatches, and  immediately had his head shot off by a cannonball.  Thus this unfortunate officer  had not a moment to rejoice in the success of his bravery.

After the return of the fleet to New York, it might reasonably have been expected that  Sir Henry Clinton would have acted with more decision and energy.  Previous  to this unfortunate transaction, it had been determined in a council of war to send 5000  men to the aid of Lord Cornwallis.  But the spirit of delay still pervaded the  mind of the British commander.  He thought proper yet further to postpone this wise  measure, from a motive which he doubtless considered justifiable.  This was to  wait a little longer of the arrival of Admiral Digby; whose junction with the forces  already in New York he judged would insure victory over the combination of  France and America, both by sea and land.  Flattering letters were again sent on to Lord Cornwallis; but promises and distant  expectations were far from being adequate to the relief of a mind borne down by  disappointment and the failure of the means of supporting his own military character.   He was also sensible that the dignity of command and the royal cause were  suffering by delay, indecision, and, as he thought, from less justifiable motives.  He was  exhorted to hold out until about October 12, when Sir Henry Clinton thought  it probable he might receive assistance, if no unavoidable accident should take place; or  at farthest by the middle of November.  At the same time, he intimated that if  His Lordship should be reduced to the utmost extremity, before the arrival of  reinforcements, he himself would endeavor to make a diversion by an attack on  Philadelphia, in order to draw off a part of Washington's army. [See Sir Henry Clinton's  letter to Lord Cornwallis, dated September 30, 1781.] These all appeared  to Lord Cornwallis very undigested, absurd, and inconsistent ideas.  He immediately  informed Sir Henry Clinton that he saw no means of forming a junction with him  but by York River, and that no meditated diversion toward Philadelphia or anywhere  else could be of any use.

Lord Digby, however, arrived at New York on September 29.  One of the princes [This  was Prince Henry, the Duke of Clarence] of the blood had taken this  opportunity to visit America, probably with a view of sovereignty over a part, or the  whole of the conquered colonies.  This was still anticipated at the Court of St.  James; and perhaps, in the opinion of the royal parents, an American establishment  might be very convenient for one of their numerous progeny.

Lord Digby was several days detained at New York before arrangements were made for  the embarkation of the troops to reinforce Lord Cornwallis, and for the  sailing of the might naval armament for the Chesapeake.  In the mean time, Sir Henry  Clinton busied himself in writing letters full of specious promises, as if artfully  designed to buoy up the hopes of Lord Cornwallis by strong assurances that no time  should be lost in sending forward a force sufficient for his relief.  He informed  him that a fleet under the commander of Lord Digby, who had recently arrived at New  York, would sail for the Chesapeake by October 5; that himself was nearly  ready to embark with a large body of troops; and, in the most sanguine terms, exhorted  His Lordship to endeavor to keep his opponents in play, and to hold out  against every discouragement until he should receive the needful assistance, which  another British fleet and the addition of a body of troops headed by himself, would  secure.

These flattering assurances and pressing entreaties from the commander in chief induced  Lord Cornwallis to evade a general action. It was his opinion that when the  combined troops arrived, he could only attempt the defense of Yorktown.  He was  posted there by General Clinton's express orders, contrary to his own judgment.   

He had always (as has been before observed) thought this an ineligible situation and far  from being long defensible, without much larger reinforcements both by land  and sea, than he had reason to expect would arrive seasonably.

 His situation had been for some time truly distressing.  Embarrassed between his own  opinion and the orders of his superior in command, flattered by the promise of  timely relief, and that in such force as to enable him to cope with the untied armies of  France and America, he thought it his duty to wait the result, and not suffer  himself to be impelled by contingent circumstances to risk his army beyond the  probability of success.  This prevented any advance to action, at the same time that it  forbid his endeavoring to retreat from Virginia, until too late, when he had only to wait  suspended between hope and fear, the uncertain chances of war.  He  acknowledged afterwards that, had he seasonably retired toward Carolina, though the  attempt would have been difficult, he might have saved his army from their  impending fate.

Though the courage and the inclination of Lord Cornwallis might prompt him, in his  present circumstances, to lead out his troops and hazard an engagement in the  open field, yet his judgment or his prudence could not justify the risk, while he had the  smallest hopes that a few days might place him in a situation to combat on  more equal terms.  His destiny often marked by disappointment, he had at the same time  much reason to despair of a successful termination of the campaign, even if  the forces from New York should arrive in season.  Yet, he observed to Sir Henry  Clinton that "if he had no hopes of relief he should rather risk a general action  than attempt to defend his half-finished works.  But, as you say Digby is hourly  expected, and promise every exertion to assist me, I do not think myself justified in  putting the fate of the war on so desperate an attempt."

The British commander was fully apprised of the difficulties that would attend his  armament under existing circumstances, even if the troops from New York should  arrive before his fate was decided.  The mouth of the river was blocked up by a very  large French fleet. The American army in high health and spirits, strengthened  by daily recruits led by Washington, in whom they had the highest confidence, in  conjunction with a fine army of Gallicans, headed by the Count de Rochambeau, an  officer of courage, experience, and ability, were making rapid advances.  On September  28, they had left Williamsburg, and on October 6, they opened their  trenches before Yorktown.

His Lordship determined, however, notwithstanding the choice of difficulties that  pressed upon him, to make the best possible defense. His army was worn down by  sickness and fatigue, but there was no want of resolution or valor. His officers were  intrepid, and his men brave.  They acquitted themselves with spirit; and kept  either ground from October 6 to 16, when they became convinced that the abilities and  the experience of the Count of Rochambeau, the cool equanimity of General  Washington, and the vigor and valor of their officers and troops rendered the united  army irresistible in the present situation of their opponents.

Lord Cornwallis had now only to choose between an immediate surrender or an effort to  escape and save a part of his army by flight.  He contemplated either a  retreat southward or an endeavor to force his way through the states between Virginia  and New York, to join General Clinton.  But, equally hazardous, he  determined on the last expedient. For this purpose, he, with the utmost secrecy, passed  in the night of the 16th the greatest part of his army from Yorktown to  Gloucester leaving only a detachment behind to capitulate for the town's people, the  sick, and the wounded.

But fortune did not favor the enterprise. It is true the boats had an easy passage, but at  the critical moment of landing hi men, His Lordship observed that "the  weather suddenly changed from moderate and calm to a violent storm of rain and wind,  that carried the boats down the river with many of the troops who had not  time to disembark.  It was soon evident that the intended passage was impracticable; and  the absence of the boats rendered it equally impossible to bring back the  troops that had passed, which I had ordered about two in the morning." [Lord Cornwallis  to General Clinton.] Here the serious mind will naturally reflect how often  the providential interference of the elements defeat what appears to be the most  judicious design of the short-sighted creature, man.

The state of Lord Cornwallis's mind at this time, the insurmountable difficulties of his  situation previous to his surrender, and the subsequent consequences may be  seen at large in his letter to Sir Henry Clinton, dated October 21, 1781. [see Note 1 at  the end of this chapter.]

In this letter, he details the circumstances of his disappointment, in the last mode  adopted for the safety of his army. It has been observed that his troops were  dispersed by the storm, by which the boats were driven down the river, though some of  them returned to Yorktown the ensuing day.  Desperate as was the situation  of the British troops, a feint of resistance was still made by an order to Lieutenant  Colonel Abercrombie, to sally out with 400 men, to advance, attack, and spike the  cannon of two batteries which were nearly finished.  This excursion was executed with  spirit and success, but attended with no very important consequences.  [Several reconnoitering parties on both sides met and skirmished during the siege.  In  one of these, Colonel Scammel, a brave American officer who was respected  and beloved for the excellence of his private character, was captured by some British  partisans. He surrendered and delivered his sword, the usual signal of  submission, after which he was mortally wounded by one of the British.  He expired  after languishing a day or two.]

The combined armies of France and America had continued their vigorous operations  without the smallest intermission, until prepared for the last assault on the town,  which they began at the dawn of the morning after the circumstances above related had  taken place.  In this hopeless condition, his own works in ruins, most of his  troops sick, wounded, or fatigued, and without rational expectation of relief from any  quarter, the British commander found it necessary, in order to escape the  inevitable consequence of further resistance, to propose terms of submission.

Lord Cornwallis, confident of the humanity and politeness of his antagonists, made  proposals on the 17th to the commanders of the combined army, for a cessation  of hostilities for 24 hours.  This was granted; but toward the expiration of the term,  General Washington, in a letter to the British commander, acquainted him that  desirous to spare the farther effusion of blood, he was ready to listen to such terms of  surrender as might be admissible; and that he wished, previous to the meeting  of any commissioners for that purpose, to have His Lordship's proposals in writing.  At  the same time, he informed Lord Cornwallis that after the delivery of this  letter only two hours of suspension of hostilities would be granted for consideration.

The time limited being thus short, the British commander, without a detail of many  particulars, proposed terms of capitulation in a very concise manner.

General Washington, equally perspicuous and decisive, in a few words intimated to His  Lordship the only terms that would be accepted; that if his proposals were  rejected, hostilities would be recommenced within two hours of delivery of these terms.

In consequence of these negotiations between the commanders, commissioners were  immediately appointed to prepare and digest the articles of capitulation.  It is  not easy to conceive or to relate the mortification His Lordship must have felt at seeing  his troops conquered by superior prowess and good fortune, and laying down  their arms at the feet of the victorious Washington.  This chagrin was undoubtedly much  heightened by the necessity of submitting to terms imposed in conjunction  with the servants of a rival power, whom the Kings of Great Britain, and the nation they  govern, had viewed for many centuries with hatred and detestation.

The gentlemen appointed on the part of America to draw up the articles of capitulation  were the Count de Noailles, a French nobleman who had served as an officer  in the defense of the United States for a considerable time, and Colon John Laurens, a  distinguished character, a son of the unfortunate ambassador who had been  deputed to negotiate in behalf of America at the Hague, but at this time was confined in  the Tower of London, and very severely treated.

The singularity of some circumstance relative to this gentleman cannot be passed over  unnoticed in this place.  He was suffering a rigorous imprisonment in England.  He had presented a petition for some amelioration of the severities exercised against  him. This was rejected; his veracity disputed by the minister; and his detention  justified by Lord Mansfield as legal, politic,  and necessary to prevent the accomplishing  

of his pernicious projects. [See Parliamentary Debates.]

By a strange concurrence of events, the Earl Cornwallis, constable of the Tower of  London, was now on the point of becoming a prisoner and submitting to articles  of surrender for himself and his army, under the dictation of the son of Mr. Laurens, the  same gentleman heretofore alluded to, when an attempt was made by the  British administration to corrupt the integrity of both father and son. By the capitulation,  His Lordship was reduced to the humiliating condition of a prisoner to the  American Congress, while the father of Colonel Laurens remained shut up in the Tower,  a prisoner to the captured Earl.

However, as soon as circumstances permitted, an interchange of prisoners took place.   The noble Lord, who with his army fell into the hands of the American  commander, was restored to liberty by an exchange for Mr. Laurens, who had long  languished in the Tower of London.  The Court of Britain had before rejected  the proposal that Mr. Laurens should be exchanged for General Burgoyne; but they were  soon after this glad to receive an officer of equal rank to almost any in  the  nation in exchanged for the American minister.

A detail of the particular articles of capitulation may not be necessary; for them the  reader is referred to Note 2 at the end of this chapter. It is enough to observe at  present that the British army as permitted only the same honors of war that Lord  Cornwallis had granted the Americans on the surrender of Charleston the preceding  year.  The officers were allowed their side-arms, but the troops marched with their  colors cased and made their submission to General Lincoln, precisely in the same  manner his army had done to the British commander, a few months before.

Here we cannot but pause a moment to reflect on the vicissitudes of human life, the  accidents of war, or rather the designations of Providence, that one day lift the  pinnacle of human triumph, and another smite the laurel from the brow of the conqueror  and humble the proud victor at the feet of his former prisoner.

As General Lincoln had recently felt the mortification of yielding himself and his troops  into the hands of the royal army, he was selected to conduct the military  parade, and receive the submission of the British veterans.  His might be thought by  some to wear rather too much the air of triumph; but it was judged a kind of  compensation for his own military misfortunes, while it might call into exercise the  feelings of benevolence. These ever operate more strongly on the human character  from the experience of sufferings, except in such ferocious minds as are actuated only  by the principles of revenge.

This was far from being the spirit of Americans.  Their victories were generally  accompanied with so much moderation that even their enemies acknowledged their  generosity.  General Burgoyne and others had often done this; and Lord Cornwallis now  expressed both pleasure an surprise at the civility, kindness, and attention  shown by the victor to the vanquished foe.  In a letter to Sir Henry Clinton, after  mentioning the Americans in very handsome terms, His Lordship observed that "he  could not describe the delicate sensibility of the French officers on this occasion;" and  that "he hoped their conduct would make an impression in the breast of every  British officer, when the fortune of war might again put any prisoners, either American  or French, in the power of that nation."

Thus terminated the efforts of administration to reduce the United States by first  conquering the southern colonies.  On October 19, 1781, a second British army  yielded themselves prisoners to the Confederated States of America.  The humiliation of  the present captured army, as above observed, was enhanced by the  circumstances that made it necessary for the British battalions to bow beneath the  banners of their hereditary enemies of France, in conjunction with the stars of  America. [The American standard at this time was ornamented with only thirteen stars.]   One of these armies, before its capture, had ostentatiously anticipated the  conquest of the north; the other had enjoyed the cruel triumph of devastation and spoil,  through the warmer latitudes of the south.

With incredible fatigue and fortitude and no less zeal and havoc had the British army  and the royal partisans belonging to the American states who had joined them,  harassed and spread terror and desolation for many months, from the borders of Georgia  to the extremities of Virginia.

Within five days after the surrender of all the posts that had been held by Lord  Cornwallis, a British fleet from New York under the command of Lord Digby, with  Sir Henry Clinton and 7000 troops on board, entered the Bay of Chesapeake in full  confidence of success; but to their inexpressible mortification, they had only to  appear and retreat.

By the capitulation, all the shipping in the harbor was left to the disposal of the Count de  Grasse, with the exception only of the Bonetta sloop of war.  This was  granted to Lord Cornwallis to carry his dispatches to New York.  It included the liberty  of conveying as many of his troops as was convenient to be exchanged for  an equal number of American prisoners.  His humanity prompted him to avoid himself  of this liberty, to ship off, instead of soldiers, the most obnoxious of the  loyalists, terrified beyond description at the idea of falling into the hands of their  countrymen, against whom they had made every exertion, both by their influence and  their arms.  After the return of the Bonetta, as stipulated, she also was to be delivered at  the order of the French Admiral.

The delay of reinforcements both by sea and land, until Lord Cornwallis and his army  were irretrievably lost, was a misfortune and a neglect that could not easily be  excused or forgiven, either by the ministry, the nation, or the numerous friends of this  unfortunate nobleman.  Much altercation took place afterwards between Sir  Henry Clinton and Lord Cornwallis, with little satisfaction to the wounded feelings of  the last and as little advantage to the sinking character of the first.

The surrender of Lord Cornwallis's army was an event that produced more conviction in  the minds of men that the American colonies could not be conquered by the  arms of Great Britain, than any circumstance that had previously taken place.  It was  asserted by some British writers at the time that "this was an event which  carried a kind of irresistible conviction with it, even to those who were the least inclined  to the admission of so humiliating a truth.  When it was seen that the most  distinguished and successful general that had engaged in the royal cause was obliged to  surrender himself and his whole army prisoners of war, the generality even of  those who had been the most earnest for the subjugation of America, began now to be  convinced that it was totally impracticable. But those who had a sincere  regard for the honor and interests of Great Britain could not reflect but with the utmost  regret that nearly 100 millions of money should have been expended, and so  many thousand valuable lives lost in this unhappy contest; in a contest which had  produced nothing but the loss of our American colonies, an accumulation of the  public debt, an enormous load of taxes, and a great degree of national dishonor; and  which had afforded too much ground for the triumph and exultation of our most  inveterate enemies." [British Annual Register for 1781.]

The defense of Yorktown and Gloucester had always appeared chimerical to the British  commander in Virginia. Yet from the printed correspondence afterwards in  every hand, he appeared perfectly right in his adherence to the orders of General  Clinton, and justifiable in his endeavors to support himself there, until the promised  reinforcements should arrive.

No man ever appeared more embarrassed when dangers approached or more indecisive  in many instances of his conduct through the course of his American  command than Sir Henry Clinton.  Yet he was not deemed deficient in point of courage.  Though he never discovered, either in design or execution, those traits of  genius or capacity that mark the great man or the hero.

He had often been mistaken in his calculations, as had most of the British commanders,  with regard to the ability, vigor, and valor of American troops.  But combined  with a European army, commanded by officers of the first military knowledge and  experience, and the number that flocked with alacrity tot he American standard, as  they moved southward, in the fullest confidence in the judgment and abilities of General  Washington, were circumstances sufficient to have eradicated those opinions,  and to have quickened the movements of the commander at New York, in the same ratio  that it awakened the apprehensions of an officer of more judgment in  Virginia.

But whatever impression a combination of French and American troops might at that  time make on the mind, yet the hereditary hatred of the one, and the affected  contempt of the other, had always led the commanders of Albion armies to hold the  haughty language characteristic of the national pride of Britain. After this period,  the defeat of their armies and their most renowned officers taught them a more humble  deportment, and more just and modest accents were dictated from the lip of  captured generals.

The comparative military merits of the distinguished British characters that figured and  fell in America may be left to the master of tactics to decide. But it may not be  improper to observe that the tribute of applause, both for generalship and abilities, may  be more justly attributed to Lord Cornwallis than to Sir Henry Clinton.  Notwithstanding the unfortunate conclusion of His Lordship's southern campaign, he  was doubtless a man of understanding, discernment, and military talents, better  qualified to act from his own judgment than as subordinate to General Clinton.

Nothing of the kind could exceed the exhilaration of spirits that appeared throughout  America on the defeat at Yorktown and the capture of the British army. The  thanks of Congress were given and recorded on their journals to the Count de  Rochambeau, General Washington, and the Count de Grasse; expressive of the sense  they had of their merits and the high esteem they felt for the services they had rendered  to the United States.  Public rejoicings were everywhere displayed by the  usual popular exhibitions. Thanksgivings were offered at the sacred altars; and the truly  religious daily poured out of their orisons of praise for the interposition of  Divine Providence in  favor of the American states.

By other descriptions of persons, little less gratitude and devotion was expressed toward  Washington, Rochambeau, and the Count de Grasse.  They were the  subjects of their eulogies and their anthems; the admiration of the brave, and the idols of  other multitude; and in the complimentary addresses of all, they were  designated the instruments of their salvation, the deliverers from impending ruin, and  the protectors from the concomitant evils of protracted war. [The Americans did  not soon forget the merits or the services of the Count de Grasse.  Their gratitude and  respect for his memory was exhibited by Congress, who generously pensioned  four of his hapless daughters, who arrived in the Massachusetts in extreme poverty, after  the ruin of their family in the general wreck of nobility and the destruction of  monarchy in France.]

Among the horrors that attend the operations of hostile armies, the situation of those  unfortunate men captured by their enemies is none of the least.  There has yet  been no attempt in these annals at a particular description of the sufferings of those  victims of misery. The compassionate heart would rather draw a veil over those  principles in human nature, which too often prompt to aggravate, rather than to relieve,  the afflictions of the wretched, who are thrown into the hands of their enemies  by the uncertain chances of war.

In consequence of the capture of Lord Cornwallis and his army, and some other decided  strokes of success in the southern states, a general exchange of prisoners  soon after took place between the hostile parties. There were doubtless many instances  of individual cruelty and unjustifiable rigor exercised toward prisoners who  fell into American hands.  Impartiality forbids any extenuation of such conduct on either  side.  It has been alleged by some that, instigated by the shocking inhumanity  inflicted on their countrymen, retaliation and summary punishment was in some  instances necessary; but this will not excuse a deviation from the laws of benevolence,  and is far from being a sufficient plea for the victor to enhance the sufferings of the  vanquished.

Yet it must be allowed that the general treatment of this unhappy class of man by the  contending powers will not bear a comparative survey.  Many of the captured  Americans were sent to Great Britain, where they were for a time treated with almost  every severity short of death. Some of them were transported to the East  Indies; others put to menial services on board their ships; but after some time had elapse,  those in general who were conveyed to England might be deemed happy  when their sufferings were contrasted with those of their countrymen who perished on  board the prison ships in America, under the eye of British commanders of  renown and who in many respects were civilized and polite.

No time will wipe off the stigma that is left on the names of Clinton and Howe, when  posterity look over the calculations, and find the during six years of their  command in New York, 11,000 Americans died on board the Jersey, a single prison ship,  stationed before that city for the reception of those victims of despair.  Nor  was the proportion smaller of those who perished in their other jails, dungeons, and  prison hulks.

It is true that in England, the language of government held up all the American prisoners  as rebels, traitors, insurgents, and pirates. Yet this did not prevent the  compassionate heart from the exercise of the benign virtues of charity and brotherly  kindness.  The lenient hand of many individuals as stretched out for their relief.  Subscriptions were repeatedly set on foot and very liberal donations were made by  several characters of high rank; and many well disposed persons exhibited the  most generous proofs of compassion to the languid prisoner.

This charitable department was not confined within the circle of those who had either  secretly or openly avowed themselves the friends, or had advocated the  principles of the American opposition.  For some time before peace took place, more  lenient measures were observed by government toward those who were  captured and carried to England. They were considered and treated as prisoners of war;  compassion as everywhere extended to the unfortunate strangers; and the  liberal contributions of various classes ameliorated their sufferings in a distant land,  where no tender connections could extend the hand of pity.  While their sorrows  were being softened, their brethren in America, in the neighborhood of parents, children,  and the most affectionate partners, not permitted to receive from them the  necessary relief, were dying by thousands, amid  famine, filth, an disease.

Great efforts had been made for earlier relief to many of the sufferers of every condition,  but without effect.  Not even General Burgoyne had yet been exchanged;  from the many difficulties that arose with regard to the Convention at Saratoga  he was  still held on parole as a prisoner. The various delays and equivocations relative  to the detention of this gentleman and the refusal of the minister to exchange him for  Mr. Laurens had induced Congress to summon him to return to America,  agreeable to his parole.  The ill state of health to which this unfortunate officer was  reduced, from his fatigue of body in long military services, and his vexation of  mind in consequence of the ill treatment of his employers, prevented his compliance  with this requisition.  General Clinton endeavored, as far as in his power, to  procure his exchange; but as no officer of equal rank as then in the hands of the  Americans, it had been stipulated that 1040 men should be given for his ransom.   This was humorously said by a member of Parliament [Mr. Burke], to be a fair  equivalent -- "a quantity of silver for a piece of gold."

General Burgoyne very justly thought himself highly injured by the treatment of the  ministry; but he observed himself in the House of Commons, in the beginning of the  session of the ensuring winter that he had not complained though every officer in the  army, down to the sergeants, had been exchanged.  He said, however, that he  acceded to the propriety of this, because he had resigned his commission, and thereby  put himself into a situation, which rendered it impossible for him to be of any  service to his country in a military capacity.  He also observed that he thought it more  proper that those should be first exchanged, from whose exertions in the field  the nation might receive advantage.  But, with the spirit of a man of honor and an officer  of resolution, he declared that "sooner than condescend either to seek or to  receive the smallest favor, from the hands of men who had heaped the grossest injuries  on his head, he would even return to America, be locked up in the gloomiest  dungeon which the Congress might assign him, and devote himself as that sacrifice,  which his enemies had long endeavored to offer up to their resentment."  [Parliamentary Debates.]

General Burgoyne observed that the circumstances of the Cedars men, which had been  the subject of so much altercation, was well known to the ministry; and he  thought all who knew the resolution of Congress on that subject as well as himself, must  be convinced that the conduct of the ministry in this matter was very singular  and extraordinary. The determined spirit of that body was so well known that a second  proposition to exchange the Cedars men for him could be calculated only to  delay or prevent his release. He added "that it was surely singularly hard that he should  be the only one of all the army that had surrendered at Saratoga, who had not  been included in the exchange of prisoners and restored to liberty.  It was an injustice  beyond all example that every officer and every man in the army should have  received the valuable privilege of freedom, and that he alone, who was commander in  chief on that occasion, should still be continued a prisoner."

The dispute in point was concisely this: The British government insisted that a party of  Americans, who some time before the Convention at Saratoga had been taken  at a place called the Cedars and had made their escape, should still be considered as their  prisoners; and offered them as part of the number stipulated for the  

exchange of General Burgoyne.  This Congress peremptorily refused; and demanded the  whole number agreed on, exclusive of the Cedars men, for the release of  the British commander from his parole.  They did not consider the party at the Cedars,  who had been surprised, but not held in duress, as the description of men to  be exchanged for a British general.

The mutual charges of breaches of the articles, between Congress and the British  commander, occasioned a long and grievous captivity to the convention troops.  As  

each side justified their own conduct and no compromise could be made in the state of  things which had long existed, these unfortunate men had been removed by  order of Congress from Cambridge, and conducted to the interior parts of one of the  southern states.  There they remained until the auspicious events above related  returned them to the bosom of their country and friend, in lieu of an equal  number of  Americans, who had many of them languished for as long a period in the dreary  apartments assigned the prisoners in New York, Charleston, and wherever else British  headquarters were established in any part of the United States.

The American Congress, in a few weeks after the termination of the campaign in  Virginia, resolved that as a preliminary to the discharge of the convention troops, all  accounts of expenditures for their support should be immediately settled and discharged.   At the same time, they authorized General Washington to set Lord  Cornwallis at liberty, on condition of the complete liberation of Mr. Laurens.  These  several proposals and demands were made and received in England in the  beginning of the winder, 1782.

On the offer of the Congress of the United States, immediately to release Lord  Cornwallis on fair and honorable terms, Mr. Burke, with his usual dexterity of  combining and bringing into view objects the most striking and impressive on the  passions of men, observed that the British ministry had been brought to some sense  of justice in a moment;  "warned by a star that had arisen, not in the east, but in the west,  which had convinced them of the danger of longer persevering in their  unmanly, revengeful, and rigid treatment of Mr. Laurens. This was no other than the  news arriving that the son of Mr. Laurens, a brave, worthy, and accomplished  officer in the American service, had Earl Cornwallis in his custody; and that his  treatment of his noble prisoner was directly the reverse of that experienced by Mr.  Laurens's father, who was then locked up in that Tower, of which Lord Cornwallis was  the constable."

Mr. Burke, in a very pathetic style, detailed the variety of sufferings, hardships, and  injustice which had been inflicted on Mr. Laurens during his long imprisonment.  This, with other instances of severe or injudicious treatment of prisoners, he made the  groundwork of a proposed bill to obviate the difficulties arising from the  present mode of exchanging American prisoners; a mode which, re remarked, was at  once disgraceful and inconvenient to the government of the kingdom. He urged  that "motives of humanity, of sound policy, and of common sense called loudly for a  new law, establishing a regulation totally different from the present, which was  fundamentally erroneous."  However, Mr. Laurens obtained his release from the  circumstances above mentioned, before any new regulation of the British code of  laws relative to prisoners or any other object took place.


Note 1

Earl Cornwallis to Sir Henry Clinton, K. B., dated Yorktown, Virginia, October 21,  1781


"I have the mortification to inform Your Excellency that I have been forced to give up  the posts of York and Gloucester and to surrender the troops under my  command by capitulation on the 19th instant, as prisoners of war, to the combined forces  of America and France.

"I never saw this post in a very favorable light; but when I found I was to be attacked in  it, in so unprepared a state, by so powerful an army and artillery, nothing but  the hopes of relief would have induced me to attempt its defense; for I would either have  endeavored to go to New York, by rapid marches from Gloucester side,  immediately on the arrival of General Washington's troops at Williamsburg, or I would  notwithstanding the disparity of numbers, have attacked them in the open field,  where it might have been just possible that fortune would have favored the gallantry of  the handful of troops under my command. But being assured by Your  Excellency's letters that every possible means would be tried by the navy and army to  relieve us, I could not think myself at liberty to venture upon either of those  desperate attempts.  Therefore, after remaining for two days in a strong position in front  of the place, in hopes of being attacked, upon observing that the enemy  were taking measures which could not fail of turning my left flank in a short time; and  receiving on the second evening your letter of September 24, informing that the  relief would sail about October 5, I withdrew within the works on the night of  September 29, hoping by the labor and firmness of the soldiers to protract the defense  until you could arrive.  Everything was to be expected from the spirit of the troops, but  every disadvantage attended their labor, as the works were to be continued  under the enemy's fire, and our stock of entrenching tools, which did not much exceed  400, when we began to work in the latter end of August, was now much  diminished.

"The enemy broke ground on the night of the 30th and constructed on that night and on  the two following days and nights, two redoubts, which, with some works  that had belonged to our outward position, occupied a gorge between two creeks or  ravines, which come from the river on each side of the town. On the night  October 6, they made their first parallel, extending from its right on the river to a deep  ravine on the left, nearly opposite to the center of this place, and embracing  

our whole left, at the distance of 600 yards. Having perfected this parallel, their batteries  opened on the evening of the 9th, against our left, and other batteries fired  at the same time against a redoubt advanced over he creek on our right, and defended by  about 120 men of the 23rd Regiment and Marines, who maintained that  post with uncommon gallantry.  The fire continued incessant from heavy cannon and  from mortars and howitzers, throwing shells from 8 to 16 inches, until all our  guns on the left were silenced, our work much damaged, and our loss of men  considerable.  On the night of the 11th, they began their second parallel, about 300  yards nearer to us; the troops being much weakened by sickness, as well as by the fire of  the besiegers, and observing that the enemy had not only secured their  flanks, but proceeded in every respect with the utmost regularity and caution, I could not  venture so large sorties as to hope from them any considerable effect.  But  otherwise, I did everything in my power to interrupt this work, by opening new  embrasures for guns, and keeping up a constant fire with all the howitzers, and small  mortars that we could man.  On the evening of the 14th, they assaulted and carried two  redoubts that had been advanced about 300 yards, for the purpose of  delaying their approaches and covering our left flank, and during their approaches and  covering our left flank, and during the night enclosed them in their second  parallel, on which they continued to work with the utmost exertion.  Being perfectly  sensible that our work could not stand many hours after the opening of the  batteries of that parallel, we not only continued a constant fire with all our mortars, and  every gun that could be brought to bear on it, but a little before daybreak, on  the morning of the 16th, I ordered a sortie of about 350 men, under the direction of  Lieutenant Colonel Abercrombie, to attack two batteries which appeared to be  in the greatest forwardness, and to spike the guns.  A detachment of guards, with the 8th  Company of Grenadiers, under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Lake,  attacked the one, and one of light infantry, under the command of Major Armstrong,  attacked the other, and both succeeded in forcing the redoubts that covered  

them, spiking 11 guns, and killing or wounding about 100 of the French troops, who had  the guard of that part of the trenches, and with little loss on our side.  This  action, though extremely honorable to the officers and soldiers who executed it, proved  of little public advantage; for the cannon, having been spiked in a hurry, were  soon rendered fit for service again, and before dark the whole parallel and batteries  appeared to e nearly complete. At this time, we knew that there was no part of  

the whole front attacked on which we could show a single gun, and our shells were  nearly expended.  I, therefore, had only to choose between preparing to  surrender next day, or endeavoring to get off with the greatest part of the troops; and I  determined to attempt the latter, reflecting that though it should prove  unsuccessful in its immediate object, it might at least delay the enemy in the prosecution  of farther enterprises. 16 large boats were prepared, and on other pretexts  were ordered to be in readiness to receive troops precisely at 10 o'clock.  With these, I  hoped to pass the infantry during the night, abandoning our baggage, and  leaving a detachment to capitulate for the town's people and the sick and wounded;  on  which subject a letter was ready to be delivered to General Washington.  After making my arrangements with the utmost secrecy, the light infantry, greatest part  of the Guards, and part of the 23rd Regiment, landed at Gloucester. But at  this critical moment, the weather, from being moderate and calm, changed to a most  violent storm of wind and rain, and drove all the boats, some of which had  troops on board, down the river.  It was soon evident that the intended passage was  impracticable, and the absence of the boats rendered it equally impossible to  bring back the troops that had passed, which I had ordered about 2 in the morning. In  this situation, with my little force divided, the enemies' batteries opened at  daybreak. The passage between this place and Gloucester was much exposed, but the  boats having now returned, they were ordered to bring back the troops that  had passed during the night; and they joined us in the forenoon, without much loss.  Our  works were in the mean time going to ruin; and not having been able to  strengthen them by abbatis, nor in any other manner but by a slight fraizing, which the  enemy's artillery were demolishing wherever they fired, my opinion entirely  coincided with that of the engineer and principal officers of the army, that they were in  many places assailable in the forenoon, and that by the continuance of the  same fire for a few hours longer, they would be in such a state as to render it desperate  with our numbers to attempt to maintain them.  We at that time could not fire  a single gun, only one eighth inch, and little more than a hundred cohorn shells  remained.  A diversion by the French ships of war that lay at the mouth of the York  River was to be expected.  Our number had been diminished by the enemy's fire, but  particularly by sickness, and the strength and spirits of those in the works were  much exhausted, by the fatigue of constant watching and unremitting duty. Under all  these circumstances, I thought that it would have been wanton and inhuman to  the last degree to sacrifice the lives of this small body of gallant soldiers who had ever  behaved with so much fidelity and courage, by exposing them to an assault,  which, from the numbers and precautions of the enemy, could not fail to succeed. I,  therefore, proposed to capitulate; and I have the honor to enclose to Your  Excellency the copy of the correspondence between General Washington and me on that  subject, and the terms of capitulation agreed upon.  I sincerely lament that  better could not be obtained, but I have neglected nothing in my power to alleviate the  misfortunes and distresses of both officers and soldiers. The men are well  clothed and provided with necessaries, and I trust will be regularly supplied by the  means of the officers that are permitted to remain with them...."


Note 2

Copy of articles of capitulation settled between His Excellency General Washington,  commander in chief of the combined forces of America and France; His  

Excellency the Count de Rochambeau, Lieutenant General of the armies of the King of  France, great cross of the Royal and Military Order of St. Louis,  commanding the auxiliary troops of His Most Christian Majesty in America; and His  Excellency the Count de Grasse, Lieutenant General of the naval armies of His  Most Christian Majesty, commander of the Order of St. Louis, commander in chief of  the naval army of France in the Chesapeake, on the one part; and the Right  Honorable Earl Cornwallis, Lieutenant General of His Britannic Majesty's forces,  commanding the garrisons of York and Gloucester; and Thomas Symmonds,  Esquire, commanding His Britannic Majesty's naval forces in York River in Virginia, on  the other part.

Article 1 The garrisons of York and Gloucester, including the offers and seamen of His Britannic  Majesty's ships, as well as other mariners, to surrender themselves prisoners  of war to the combined forces of America and France; the land troops to remain  prisoners to the United States; the navy to the naval army of His Most Christian  Majesty.


Article 2 The artillery, arms, accouterments, military chest, and public stores of every  denomination shall be delivered unimpaired to the heads of departments appointed to  receive them.


Article 3 At 12 o'clock this day the two redoubts on the left flank of York to be delivered, the one  to a detachment of American infantry, the other to a detachment of French  grenadiers.

Granted. The garrison of York will march out to a place to be appointed, in front of the  posts, at 2 o'clock precisely, with shouldered arms, colors cased, and drums  beating a British or German march. They are then to ground their arms and return to  their encampments, where they will remain until they are dispatched to the  places of their destination.  Two works on the Gloucester side will be delivered at 1  o'clock to a detachment of French and American troops appointed to posses  them.  The garrison will march out at 3 o'clock in the afternoon; the cavalry, with their  swords drawn, trumpets sounding, and the infantry in the manner prescribed or  the garrison of York.  They are likewise to return to their encampments until they can be  

finally marched off.

Article 4 Officers are to retain their side arms.  Both officers and soldiers to keep their private  property of every kind; and no part of their baggage or papers to be at any time  subject to search or inspection.  The baggage and papers of officers and soldiers taken  during the siege to be likewise preserved for them.

Granted. It is understood that any property obviously belonging to the inhabitants of  these states in the possession of the garrison shall be subject to be reclaimed.

Article 5 The soldiers to be kept in Virginia, Maryland, or Pennsylvania, and as much by  regiments as possible, and supplied with the same rations of provisions as are  allowed to soldiers in the service of America.  A field officer from each nation, to wit,  British, Anspach, and Hessian, and other officers on parole, in the proportion  of 1 to 50 men to be allowed to reside near their respective regiments, to visit them  frequently, and be witnesses of their treatment, and that their officers may receive  and deliver clothing and other necessaries for them, for which passports are to be  granted when applied for.


Article 6 The general, staff, and other officers not employed as mentioned in the above articles  and who choose it, to be permitted to go on their parole to Europe, to New  York, or to any other American maritime posts at present in the possession of the British  forces, at their own option, and proper vessels to be granted by the Count  de Grasse to carry them under flags of truce to New York, within 10 days from this date,  if possible, and they to reside in a district to be agreed upon hereafter, until  they embark.

The officers of the civil department of other army and navy to be included in this article.  Passports to go by land to be granted to those to whom vessels cannot be  furnished.


Article 7 Officers to be allowed to keep soldiers as servants, according to the common practice of  the service. Servants not soldiers are not to be considered as prisoners,  and are to be allowed to attend their masters.


Article 8 The Bonetta slop of war to be equipped and navigated by its present captain and crew,  and left entirely at the disposal of Lord Cornwallis, from the hour that the  capitulation is signed, to receive an aid du camp to carry dispatches to Sir Henry  Clinton; and such soldiers as he may think proper to send to New York, to be  permitted to sail without examination.  When his dispatches are ready, His Lordship  engages on this part that the ship shall be delivered to the order of the Count de  Grasse, if she escapes the danger of the sea; that she shall not carry off any public stores.  Any part of the crew that may be deficient on her return and the soldiers  passengers to be accounted for on her delivery.

Article 9 The traders are to preserve their property, and to be allowed three months to dispose of  or remove them; and those traders are not to be considered as prisoners of  war.

The traders will be allowed to dispose of their effects, the allied army having the right of  pre-emption. The traders to be considered as prisoners of war upon parole.

Article 10 Natives of inhabitants of different parts of this country at present in York or Gloucester  are not to be punished on account of having joined the British army.

This article cannot be assented to, being altogether of civil resort.

Article 11 Proper hospitals to be furnished for the sick and wounded.  They are to be attended by  their own surgeons on parole; and they are to be furnished with medicines  and stores from the American hospitals.

The hospital stores now in York and Gloucester shall be delivered for the use of the  British sick and wounded.  Passports will be granted, for procuring them further  supplies from New York, as occasion may require; and proper hospitals will be  furnished for the reception of the sick and wounded of the two garrisons.

Article 12 Wagons to be furnished to carry the baggage of the officers attending the soldiers and to  surgeons when traveling on account of the sick, attending the hospitals at  public expense.

They are to be furnished is possible.

Article 13 The shipping and boats in the two harbors, with all their stores, guns, tackling, an  apparel, shall be delivered up in their present state to an officer of the navy  appointed to take possession of them, previously unloading the private property, part of  which had been put on board for security during the siege.


Article 14 No article of capitulation to be infringed on pretense of reprisals; and if there be any  doubtful expressions in it, they are to be interpreted according to the common  meaning and acceptation of the words.



Chapter Twenty-Two:  General Wayne sent to the south. Embarrassments of General  Greene in that quarter. Recovery of  Georgia and evacuation of Savannah by the British. Death and character of Colonel  Laurens. Character of General Greene.  Consequent observations. Immediately after the successful operations in Virginia, the Count of Grasse took leave  of his American friend's and, conformably to orders received from his Court  before he left France, sailed for the West Indies.  He left the continent in the beginning  of November, 1781.  He was accompanied with the gratitude and good  wishes of almost every individual in the United States; nor was this more than justice  required.

A most extraordinary reverse of fortune and prospects had taken place in America after  the arrival of this brave commander and the auxiliaries of his nation who had  come forward and lent their aid to the Americans.  This assistance was received by the  United States at a period when her armies and America herself stood in the  most serious and solemn point of her distress.

Decorated with the laurels of military fame, several of the principal officers withdrew  from Virginia and repaired to other quarters.  General Washington, laden with  the splendid trophies of victory, went on to Philadelphia, where, by particular request of  Congress, he continued for some time.  There he received a personal and  complimentary address from that body and the applauses of all conditions of men, in a  degree sufficient to stimulate the least ambitious mind to pursue the path of  victory, until time should bring a period of rest to the pursuits of war.

The Marquis la Fayette, desirous to revisit his native country, which had been several  years involved in a war with Great Britain, embraced the present opportunity  and returned to France.  He was complimented by Congress with an advance of  rank in the army and the highest expressions of esteem for his bravery and  good conduct in their service.  With a strong attachment to the inhabitants, and the most  friendly disposition toward the United States, he promised to return again to  America with further aids if it should be found necessary to try the fortune of another  campaign before the contested object should be completely obtained.

After the capture of the British army, the surrender of their shipping in the Chesapeake,  and the restoration of tranquility in the state of Virginia, General Wayne was  ordered on with the Pennsylvania line to march with the utmost dispatch to South  Carolina to aid General Greene, who had yet many difficulties to encounter in that  quarter.  The distance from the central states and the long service at the southward had  exposed the American commander and the army there to sufferings  indescribable.

After the action at the Eutaw Springs, we left General Greene on the High-Hills of  Santee, where he thought it necessary to repair to secure and recruit the remainder  of his army and to wait the exigencies that might again call him forward to the more  active scenes of the field.  He did not continue there long before he thought  proper to move forwards toward Jacksonborough.  There the light troops from Virginia,  that had been commanded by the Colonels Laurens and Lee, joined him.   But the whole army was so destitute of ammunition and every other necessary for an  advance to any action that they had scarcely the means of supporting  themselves in a defensive condition. Of consequence, only some small skirmishes  ensued, without much advantage to either party.  It was happy for the Americans  that their enemies were now almost as much reduced in numbers as themselves.  Yet the  variegated causes of distress among this small remnant of continental  soldiers were almost innumerable.

They were in an unhealthy climate, always unfriendly to northern constitutions. They  were destitute of many of the necessaries for carrying on war with advantage,  and almost without the means of supporting human life.  In addition to this, the general  had to combat disaffection, discontent, and mutiny, in his own army.  The  Maryland line, particularly, had indulged a mutinous spirit to an alarming extreme,  which required all the address of the commander in chief to suppress.  At the same  time, he had to encounter dangers of every kind from a valiant enemy, stimulated to  cruelty by many circumstances that led them almost to despair of their own  cause.

On the other hand, the disaffection of most of the inhabitants of Charleston, and the  sickliness of the country on which he had depended had been indeed  discouraging circumstances to Lord Rawdon.  Not willing to risk his constitution longer  in that insalubrious latitude, he had embarked for England in the summer, was  captured on his passage by the Count de Grasse, but was soon after stored to his native  country.  The troops he left behind were not in want of food, clothing, or  warlike stores; while the little American army under General Greene was naked to that  extreme that they had scarcely rags left to veil them from the most indecent  appearances. [General Greene's letters at this period to General Washington and others.]

In this wretched situation, General Greene and his little army continued through the  winter; and such was the severe and vigilant duty of the officers that for seven  months the general himself was not able to take off his clothes for a night.  This is  sufficient to prove the assertion in one of his letters that the army was so destitute of  everything that it was not able to make a march of a day.

General Leslie had again, by proclamation, called on all who had still any remains of  attachment to the British government to adhere firmly to the royal cause.  He  assured them of the strongest support in his power, notwithstanding the acts of  disenfranchisement, confiscation, and banishment which took place after Governor  Rutledge had again resumed the administration of civil government.  However, Leslie  did not receive any new additions of strength by his proclamations or his letters  of altercation with the governor who succeeded Mr. Rutledge, relative to the civil police  of the country.  Nor (as observed) was General Greene able to advance or  take a single step further to put a period to the power of the British arms in that state.   But it was not long  before general Leslie proposed a cessation of arms.  The  citizens were sickly, the loyalists disheartened, and his own troops reduced. Every  circumstance and every party required a respite from the distresses of war.  As  general Greene had not yet been authorized by Congress to accede to the proposal, he  did not immediately comply.

The advance of General Wayne with his detachment from the army in Virginia, which  reached South Carolina before the close of the present year, was a necessary  acquisition, and had been impatiently expected.  Without this, it would have been  impossible for General Greene to have held out much longer.  Some provisions,  clothing, and other necessaries, reached the army in the ensuing spring.  This partially  relieved the American commander from the complicated distresses he had  suffered the preceding winter.  It restored more order an satisfaction among his troops.  The discontents and mutinous disposition among some of them were  dissipated; and he was able, with truth, soon afterwards to observe in general orders that,  "It is his happiness that he has the honor to command an army that has not  been less distinguished for its patience, than bravery; and it will add no small luster to  your character to say that you have rejected with abhorrence the practice of  plundering and the exercise of cruelty, although urged by your necessities to the former,  and by the example of your enemies to the lat. United by principle, and  connected by affection, you have exhibited to the world a proof that elevated souls and  persevering tempers can triumph over every difficulty."

General Wayne did not stay long in South Carolina, but marched forward by order of  General Greene, to cross the Savannah.  He was reinforced by a party from  Augusta, sent  forward to his aid. Though the state of Georgia was considered by the  British as completely subjugated to their power, yet there was a considerable  number of the inhabitants who still cooperated with Congress and continued a  delegation of members of that body, though all the hostile movements or changes that  had for several years been shifting the prospects of the inhabitants, who had been  generally the subjects of the British Crown more in name than reality; and the  greater their distance from the center of British operations, the less were they disposed  to submit to British authority.  A few other troops besides those from the  neighborhood of Augusta, who had been stationed at different posts, but retained their  attachment to the American cause, joined the troops collected under the  command of General Wayne.

Thus the state of Georgia was relieved at a time when they least expected it.  Animated  by the successes in Virginia, and ambitious for the honor of relieving the state  of Georgia, the advance of General Wayne was rapid, and his arrival on the borders very  unexpected to General Clarke, who commanded at Savannah.

On the first rumor of the march of this party of victorious Americans, orders were given  by General Clarke to the officers commanding the British outposts to burn  and destroy everything on the fertile banks of the river and to retire with the troops  within the works in the suburbs of the town.

After this waste of property and the destruction of their crops, the Georgians and the few  American troops there to support them had more to endure than at any  period before, from hunger, fatigue, the attacks of British partisans, the irruptions of the  Creek Indians, and other savages in British service.  We have seen the  sufferings of that state had been grievous for several years, from invasion, slaughter, and  conquest.  Their subsistence now totally destroyed in the conflagration of the  borders, the inhabitants were reduced to despair, until the arrival in Georgia of Wayne's  detachment.

This happy event revived their sinking spirits and invigorated them to new exertions in  defense of their country.  The inhabitants from every quarter repaired  immediately to the assistance of General Wayne; who, soon after he had crossed the  river, was attacked by Colonel Brown, who had marched with a considerable  party from Savannah.  With this body of troops, he fell suddenly on and attacked  General Wayne.  They fought with great spirit and valor, but were soon defeated,  and driven back by the Americans.

A few days after this, a very large body of Creek Indians, accompanied by their  principal warriors and chieftains, headed by a British officer, attempted in the night  to surprise General Wayne in his quarters.  He, ever vigilant, and defying all personal  danger, was in greater readiness for their reception than was expected.  The  assailants gained little advantage by this sudden onset.  The affray was fierce, but did  not continue long before the Indians were willing to retreat, having lost a  number of their principal associates.  But he capture of Lord Cornwallis and his army, the low state of British affairs in the  Carolinas, and the advance of a body of American troops were circumstances  so discouraging that the British did not think proper to make any vigorous resistance. A  period was soon put to those hostilities that had for several years ravaged the  state of Georgia and destroyed or driven away many of its former inhabitants.

General Wayne was an officer of high military reputation.  His prudence and judgment  had been conspicuous in the trying scene which called out his talents in 1780  on the mutiny and secession of the Pennsylvania line, which he commanded.  His valor  had been signalized at Stoney Point and in Virginia, as well as in many other  places where decided action was necessary.  He now had the honor of terminating the  war in the state of Georgia.

On the expectation of the British leaving Savannah, some proposals were made to  General Wayne by the merchants and others for the security of their property;  and every reasonable indulgence was promised by him to those who chose to remain  there.  He engaged that those merchants who did not owe allegiance to the  United States should be permitted to remain there a reasonable time to dispose of their  property and settle their affairs; and that they should be protected by the  military until delivered into the hands of the civil authority.

Thus, in a few months after the events above mentioned, the whole state of Georgia was  evacuated by their formidable enemies.  This was early in the ear 1782. Not  a single British soldier was left in the pay of the King of England, except such as were  prisoners to the Americans.  Much to the honor of General Clarke, he quit the  post without any injury to the town of Savannah, and left the works standing that had  been erected by the industry of the royal troops.

This defeat of the efforts of the British government to hold the state of Georgia in  subjection fully justified the observations of Lord Maitland, who had served his  country with ability and applause in several parts of America.  by his exertions, in  conjunction with General Prevost, the sate of Georgia had been long retained  against the combined force of an American army under General Lincoln and a French  fleet commanded by the Count de Estaing.

The sum of Lord Maitland's speech in the British Parliament on his return to England  afterwards was that those men who had brought the nation into its present state  had come into life at a time when the arms of their country were carried to an  unprecedented height of splendor and glory; when the Empire was under the benefit of  wise councils and of a vigorous system, great and respectable abroad, opulent and happy  at home, when her trade covered every sea and filled every port in the  world, and when her navy claimed and enjoyed the proud and enviable dominion of the  seas.

He observed that "their predecessors had come into life with gay prospects and with  pleasing hopes; but how different was the fate of himself and those who entered  into public life at the present moment?  They came upon the stage of public action at a  time when their country was perhaps upon the eve of dissolution; when it  certainly was fallen from the high consideration in which it stood a few years before and  when every prospect of grandeur was vanished; when every incitement to  great and laudable ambition was extinguished, and when they had not even the  consolation to believe that the efforts of their youth could snatch their country from  impending ruin."  His Lordship added, "that the prosecution of the war against America  was criminal and absurd beyond expression; and that nothing short of the  immediate discontinuance of it could save the nation from irretrievable destruction.  It  was, therefore, the duty of that house to raise their sinking country, which lay  prostrate at their feet, and sought, amid the bitterest hours of calamity, their aid to snatch  her from impending ruin."

Though the state of Georgia was now happily relieved from the oppression of its foreign  forces, South Carolina continued some time longer in a state of hostility.   They remained several months exposed to the ravages of small parties of the British,  sent out for various purposes; the most important of which was to collect  provisions for their own immediate necessities.

Among the most painful events which took place on these occasions and which was  justly regretted by all America was the death of Colonel John Laurens.  No one  acquainted with his merits can forebear to drop a tear over the memory of so worthy an  officer.  His zeal for the interests of his country and the cause of freedom  had often been exhibited by his exertions in the field; nor was he less distinguished as an  able negotiator in France, where he had repaired in some of the darkest  days of America.  There he rendered his country the most essential service by procuring  a loan of money and expediting, by his address, the troops and the navy that  came to its relief in the year 1780.

Colonel Laurens was a gentleman, not only of great military talents and public virtues,  but was endeared to everyone by his affability and manners, his polite  accomplishments, refined understanding, and the most amiable private character.

Immediately after the capture of Lord Cornwallis, Colonel Laurens returned to the state  of South Carolina to exert his talents in emancipating his native state from the  power and oppression of its enemies.  His zeal and activity ever prompted him to go  forward on smaller, as well as the greatest occasions that required his  assistance.  He met his premature fate in one of the many desultory skirmishes that took  place not far from the environs of Charleston.  General Leslie had sent out a  party to march toward the Combahee River to secure rice and other provisions, which  his army greatly wanted.  They were followed by a detachment sent on by  General Greene.  In this party, Colonel Laurens was a volunteer.  He was mortally  wounded in a severe rencounter, almost at the moment when victory declared in  favor of the party commanded by General Gist.

His death was universally lamented.  The tears of his country were but a just tribute due  to his own merits; while grief was heightened in every compassionate bosom  when reflecting on the sorrow this premature stroke must occasion to his respected  father, just released from the calamities of a long imprisonment in England.

The work to be completed in the state of South Carolina was yet arduous.  The  sufferings of General Greene and his little army have been already portrayed.  A  more ample detail of these may be seen in his own letters, if curiosity is not sufficiently  gratified.  The distressing accounts from his own hand, above referred to, were  not ameliorated, or did his military conflicts cease, until the final embarkation of the  British troops from Charleston.  Such had been the deranged state of affairs  there, and such the distance of South Carolina from the central states, as had rendered it  impossible for him to procure support, supplies, and pay, for his own army.   He was obliged, in order to procure subsistence for them, to enter into large contracts on  his own private security; this embarrassed him the remainder of his life.

As General Greene had now nearly finished his military drama, it may not be improper  to observe here that this worthy officer survived the war but a few years.  He  died in Georgia by a coup de soliel, or sudden stroke of the sun, not unusual in the  southern parts of America, which instantly puts a period to human life.  His  property was afterwards seized by his creditors, and his family, after his death, left to the  mercy of the public.

It would not be doing justice to his memory to pass unobserved  that General Greene  conducted the whole campaign at the southward with the most consummate  prudence, courage, and ability, notwithstanding the innumerable difficulties that lay in  his way.  He entered on the command under every disadvantage. He  superseded a brave, unfortunate, popular officer, just beaten from the field. The country  was divided in opinion and intimidated by the power of Britain.  His troops,  unprovided, naked, and desponding, had to march a long way through a barren and  inhospitable country, tripped of its small produce by the previous march of the  British army.  They had to attack and retreat, to advance and to fly, over rivers, swamps,  and mountains, in opposition to a conquering foe flushed with recent  success, who considered at that time South Carolina and Georgia as already subdued,  and North Carolina on the point of submission to royal authority.

Cities have often contended for the honor of giving birth to men of eminence;; and when  a great degree of celebrity has been acquired, it awakens a curiosity in  everyone to inquire after their origin.  General Greene was a native of the state of Rhode  Island.  He was a gentleman of moderate fortune, who, previous to the  American war, had lived in the plain and sober habits in which he was  education, which  were in that simplicity of style that usually marks the manners of those  denominated Quakers.

It is well known that he religious tenets of that sect are averse to all the operations of  offensive war.  The situation of America was then such that no man of principle  could balance on the line of conduct which duty impelled him to take.  The natural and  civil rights of man invaded, and all the social enjoyments interrupted, he did  not think himself bound to sit a quiet spectator of the impending distractions and  distresses of his country.  He viewed the opposition to the oppressions of Great  Britain in the light of necessary and defensive war.

On these rational principles, he early girded on the buckler and the helmet; and with the  purest intentions in his heart, and the sword in his hand, he came forward.   Nor did he resheathed it until he had, without the smallest impeachment of reputation,  passed through many of the most active and arduous scenes, as already related,  and in conjunction with many others of the same patriotic and heroic feelings,  essentially aided in delivering his country from foreign domination.

His valor and magnanimity, humanity and probity, through all his military career, need  no other encomium than a just detail of his transaction to complete the  character of a brae and accomplished officer, formed for the command of armies, by the  talents and resources of his own mind, which were discoverable in a variety  of instances.

Beloved by the soldiery, esteemed by his country; a confidential friend of the  commander in chief; endowed by nature with a firmness of mind that in great characters  runs parallel with hazard and fatigue; and possessing that amor patriae that bids defiance  to danger and death, when contrasted with the public safety; General  Greene did not leave the southern department until the British troops were beaten from  post to post, their proud designs of conquest and subjugation extinguished,  the whole country recovered, and the inhabitants who survived the severe convulsion  again restored to the quiet possession of their plantations.  This was not finally  completed until the latter part of the year 1782, when the last remnant of British troops  in the southern states embarked under the command of General Leslie.  This  finished the invasion of the Carolinas, and the inglorious ravage of so fair a part of  America.

Savannah and Charleston evacuated, the British troops driven from the Carolinas and  captured in Virginia; the southern sates were restored to that kind of repose  which is felt after a frightful and turbulent dream which exhausts the strength and so far  unnerves the system that energies of nature cannot be immediately called into  exercise.  After such a total derangement of government, of civil order, and the usual  course of business, it must require a considerable lapse of time to awake from  that kind of torpor, the result of too much agitation, and from the languor which  pervades the mind when former habits are interrupted, and the usual stimulants to  action annihilated.  They had to restore confidence and justice at home, to settle  equitably the demands of creditors, and at the same time to secure the debtor from  oppression on each side of the Atlantic, where long commercial intercourse had  subsisted for so many years.

This variety of difficulties must be left to the arrangements which may take place when  the independence of America shall be acknowledged by foreign powers.  We  shall here only observe that by the invasion of America and the attempts of the British  government to reduce the colonies by conquest, the narrow prejudices of  national attachment were laid aside, and those ideas nearly obliterated that by long habit  had led America to view with peculiar respect the customs, manners,  religion, and laws of the country whence she originated and on whom she too partially  leaned in the days of infantile weakness.

The American colonies, from their first settlement, had little reason for this partial  attachment to the parent state.  Their progress in arts and manufactures was  continually checked.  They were prohibited from working up many of the raw materials  which the country produced, for their own necessary use.  They were  restricted from carrying wool from one colony to another, though the coldness of the  climate in many parts of America required the most ready means of procuring  and working it into clothing.  In a country abounding with iron ore, they were restrained  by act of Parliament from erecting slitting mills to manufacture it for their own  use.  In instances too innumerable to be again recapitulated, the British government had  endeavored to cramp the growth of the young settlements, to keep them in  poverty an dependence, and to compel them to repair to their stores for almost all the  necessaries of life.

It was a cruel exercise of power to endeavor to prohibit a great people from making all  the advantages they could of their own produce and employing their stock  and industry in their own way.  This, as observed by a writer, "is a manifest violation of  the most sacred rights of mankind.  Such prohibitions are only impertinent  badges of slavery, imposed without sufficient reason, by groundless jealousies." The  same writer had observed, "When the English colonies were established and had  become so considerable as to attract the attention of the mother country, the first  regulations which she made with regard to them had always in view to secure to  herself the monopoly of their commerce; to confine their market, and to enlarge her own  at their expense; and consequently, rather to damp and discourage than to  quicken and forward the course of their industry." [Smith's Wealth of Nations.]

In what way, therefore, it may be asked, has the policy of England contributed, either to  the first establishment or the present grandeur of America? Let the same  writer reply. "In one way, and in one way only, it has contributed much. Magna virum  mater! It bred and formed the men who were capable of achieving such great  actions and of laying the foundation of so great an empire; and there is no other quarter  of the world of which the policy is capable of forming or has ever actually  and in fact formed such men.  The colonies owe to the policy of Europe the education  and great views of their active and enterprising founders; and some of the  greatest and most important of them, so far as concerns their internal government, owe it  to scarce anything else."

The folly and misguided policy of the government of England has dissevered the  colonies from them forever.  Their oppression, their invasions, and aggressions first  taught America to view the island of Great Britain with an averted eye and an alienated  mind.  Their alienation was completed when the King of England sent out his  fleets and his armies, strengthened by subsidized strangers, to subjugate and bend to  servile submission the inhabitants of a country which has been emphatically  styled by one of the first statesmen and patriots [Lord Chatham.] of the nation "the  promised land, the Eden of England, her seminary for seamen; that from thence  England supplied the neighboring nations with fish, tobacco, rice, and indigo; thence she  draws all her naval stores; and that the command of the sea would give her  the dominion of the land."

The happy termination of the melancholy events which had for a series of years  pervaded America, soon after the present period raised the United States to the  zenith of their respectability.  The world now viewed with humane satisfaction, millions  of people, by unexampled sufferings and steady perseverance, emancipated  from a foreign yoke. This pleasure as heightened by the contemplation that a more  universal sprit of liberality and a more perfect knowledge of the rights of man  might be disseminated by their struggles for freedom, not only in the colonies, but  through a considerable part of the civilized world.

The singular combination of events which effected a total separation and annihilated the  former political relation between Great Britain and the colonies may be held  up by the philosopher or the statesman in various points of view.  While the reflective  mind, which believes and rejoices in the intervention of Divine Providence,  keeps its eye on the Superintending Power which governs the universe and whose finger  points the rise and fall of empires.  Nor dare a weak mortal to suggest amid  all  the confusion of the present world that this may not be permitted in order finally to  complete the beauty and harmony of the divine system. The world has recently  beheld an infant nation at once arise from the vigor of manhood and with the cool  resolution of maturity, opposing the intrigues and resisting the power of Britain.  In  strictest amity with the hereditary foe of Britain, America has been seen leading captive  the armies and smiling at the impotent threats of the King of England, to hold  her longer in bondage.

This liberation of the American colonies was the wish of the first statesmen and  politicians of the world, exclusive of Englishmen; and even among them America had  many powerful friends.  The great Lord Chatham, whose unshaken patriotism and  incorruptible integrity had braved the storms of court faction and intrigue until the  frowns of majesty, the fury of party and the arts of ambitious courtiers had caused him  to retire from the helm of state, stood at the head of the distinguished list of  nobles who advocated the American cause.  But though his humanity an justice led him  to vindicate the American opposition to ministerial measures, it was with the  utmost reluctance that he contemplated the alienation of the colonies from their  dependence on the Crown of Britain.

The commanding and comprehensive genius of a Chatham, viewed the consequences of  such a dismemberment of the Empire in a clearer light and with superior  penetration to most of the statesmen in England.  Yet he was among the most strenuous  advocates for the maintenance of the constitutional rights claimed by  Americans; and on many occasions had exerted his brilliant talents in opposition to the  ministerial measures relative to the colonies.  He criminated the war, its  prosecution, and its effects in the most glowing epithets which ever marked his superior  elocution.  It is recorded [Life of Lord Chatham.] that he once in the House  of Lords felt himself so interested in the American cause and so warmed by the subject  that though he had passed his grand climacteric, he, with the vigor of youth  and the strong language of maturity expressed himself in his own peculiar manner.  He  asserted that as "he saw the declining liberties of England and the growing  spirit of the colonies, were it not for invincible obstacles, he would infallibly retire from  Britain and spend the remainder of his days in that glorious asylum of liberty,,  of manliness, and of virtue."

Yet his patriotism with regard to Great Britain and his just ideas relative to the  oppression of the colonies an their laudable opposition to ministerial measures could  never reconcile him for a moment to the thoughts of a total separation, and the  unqualified independence of the United States.  But his energies in their defense were  called forth to the latest period of his lie, when he had nearly reached the term allotted of  the existence of man.

Though debilitated by pain and sickness, tortured by gout almost to the dislocation of  his limbs, and from feebleness of body rendered unable to stand alone, at a  critical period of national affairs, he caused himself to be supported and led into the  House of Lords by his friends; where the vigor of a great soul was exerted and  the oratory of Greece and Rome rivaled by the pathos, energy, and argument which  flowed from a lip quivering on the marge of eternity.

The sudden seizure of this noble patriot in the House of Lords, while thunder rolled  from his tongue, and the acumen of his arguments, like lightning, flashed  conviction to the bosoms of the advocates of a continuance of war, has been told and  repeated with so many affecting circumstances that it is needless to say more in  this place than that the event of his death seemed for a time to palsy all parties and make  a pause in the prosecution of public measures.

No example in English story has exhibited a character more zealous to extricate his  country, plunged in difficulties which were indeed irretrievable.  To arise from the  chamber of sickness and the bed of lassitude, while "every limb was a rebel to his will,"  and with the awakened energies of a most vigorous mind and the marks of a  "never ebbing spirit," is one among the singular efforts of the human soul to continue  the elevation hoped for in immortality, when the teguments of the brittle casement  were on the verge of crumbling into dust.  One of his biographers has observed that  those exertions of the intellectual powers, discoverable to the last in the  character of Lord Chatham, "were of all others the most unparalleled, in whatever view  considered, and must be forever admired. Those instances in which the soul  bursts the ands of earth and stands alone in confessed eternity, are the most beautiful,  the most pathetic, the most sublime exhibitions of which the mind of man is  capable to conceive."

The death of this illustrious champion of freedom, a justly boasted ornament of the  British nation, took place at a very interesting period.  It was soon after the  misfortunes, the defeat, and the capture, of General Burgoyne a his army, an before the  nation had recovered from their deep consternation and dismay, on the  unexpected intelligence of the failure of the northern expedition.  In the last speech  made by the illustrious character above mentioned, who will never be passed over  in silence in any historic record connected with the affairs of Great Britain, he observed  when he adverted to the disaster at Saratoga that "the presiding deities of  Great Britain appeared to have abandoned her, and that Providence militated against her  arms, and spurned with indignation at her cause."

But though the most brilliant talents were displayed and the firmest opposition made by  many of the best orators, and most enlightened and disinterested patriots of the  nation, against the continuance of a ruinous war that produced nothing but defeat and  disgrace, yet we have seen that only a short time elapsed before the King and  his ministry were again ready to prosecute their hostile intentions and to continue  desolation and carnage among the inhabitants of the United States.  Reiterated  barbarities have been detailed, miseries displayed, and the tragic tale continued, until the  mortifying surrender of a second British army.  The bosom of humanity was  lacerated  in the barbarous scenes of protracted war. Yet the breast of His Britannic  Majesty seemed rather hardened by the misfortunes of the nation; and the flinty  hearts of a majority in Parliament still urged that the scourge of war might pursue those  who claimed the just rights of men, in whatever part of the globe there  appeared any attempt to defend them.

This was exhibited, not only in their determined coercion of the American colonies, and  their hostile dispositions toward the Batavian Republic, but even in their  refusal of assistance to the little distressed state of Geneva, when struggling against the  encroachments of the aristocratic branch of the government.  The people of  Geneva had borne too much to continue longer silent under their oppressions. They had  complained that the magistrates had encroached on their privileges further  than their constitution authorized. These complaints only drew upon themselves new  severities from an ambitious aristocracy. The democratic party had required a  new code of laws, which should be a standard for the conduct of rulers and also a clear  decision on the fundamental principles of their own constitution that they  might thereby be excited to a prompt and willing obedience to the laws, when the  foundation which demanded it was clearly defined.  Mutual confidence would have  rested on this basis of public order and common security, had the intrigues of the  aristocratic party defeated the salutary project.

The magistrates not only employed the most unjustifiable practices for the support of  their authority, but represented their internal disputes in such exaggerated colors  and in such a favorable light for themselves that they successfully interested several  foreign powers to support their claims. The Court of France interfered; the  aristocratic cantons of Zurich and Berne, and the King of Sardinia cooperated; and  brought forward a body of 12,000 men, with whom they blockaded the city of  Geneva. The citizens were thus compelled to admit these military mediators within their  city.  A code of laws was prepared under the point of the bayonet, for the  future regulation of their government.

This was so inconsistent with the liberties of the people or the independence of their  republic that vast numbers of the Genevese abandoned the city to seek an  asylum in distant regions, where they might again possess that freedom their ancestors  had one enjoyed.  The deserted habitations of the citizens were converted into  barracks, and a great part of the city, once flourishing under the benign influence of their  liberal institutions, reduced to a desert. Thus, as observed "It is a just subject  of regret that the ambition of some individuals who aimed at a degree of power to which  they had no just claim, should have thus put a period to the prosperity of a  republic which has been the abode of so much liberty and happiness."

Amid the distresses of their state, the Genevese had applied to the Earl of Abingdon,  once a resident among them, and a known friend to the liberties of mankind in  every part of the world, to employ hi influence in their favor with the Court of Great  

Britain.  In this, His Lordship was successes. They had besought the noble Earl  to continue his friendly disposition and to urge his nation to watch over the situation of a  little state, now on the point of being sacrificed to the principles of  despotism, to urge his nation to watch over the situation of a little state, now on the  point of being sacrificed to the principles of despotism, whose struggles must be  interesting to all in whom the fine feelings of humanity were not totally extinguished.   He replied that it was with much regret that he had not succeeded in his  application to the British ministry to afford relief to the oppressed state of Geneva, and  that there was too much reason to fear no assistance would be sent them.

He attributed this to the present situation in Great Britain, rent by divisions at home, and  surrounded by enemies abroad. [See the Earl of Abingdon's reply to the  applications of the Genevans.] It is, however, probable that their indifference might arise  from the general spirit of all monarchies to discountenance every effort of the  people in favor of republicanism.  It is not to be expected there should be any partial  bias to those liberal principles of democratic government where a monarch is  enthroned with all the powers of despotism in his hands, a parliament at command to  enforce his mandates, and a people ready to relinquish their own will to the  caprice or pride of a sovereign.

His Lordship had observed in answer to the Genevan application that "there was a time  when the fleets of England were the speaking trumpets to the whole world.  At that period their grievances would have been listened to, and their redress would  have been certain.  But there was  sad reverse in the affairs of Great Britain,  which was no longer in a capacity to speak to the enemy so the liberties of mankind in  its wonted tone of authority."

In Ireland, the emigrants from the ruined state of Geneva met with the most liberal  encouragement from the government, from the nobility, and from the nation at  large.  In an assembly of delegates in the province of Leinster, it was unanimously  resolved "that the virtuous citizens of Geneva, who wished for an asylum in that  kingdom, from the hand of tyranny an oppression, deserved their highest  commendation; and that such of them as had established themselves among them,  should  upon every occasion receive their utmost attention and support." Sympathy for  oppressed sufferers under the hand of despotic power had been taught the inhabitants  of Ireland from similar afflictions, under which they had long groaned, and against  which they were still struggling to rescue their prostrated rights and privileges,  which were invaded by the haughty and domineering spirit of a more potent sister  kingdom.

The history of Geneva displays a striking portrait of the means by which most republics  have been subverted. This is generally done by the pride of a few families, the  ambition of individuals, and the supineness of the people. Thus an undue authority is  established by a select number, more mortifying to the middling class of mankind  and which has a tendency to render more abject and servile the mass of the people than  the single arm of the most despotic individual. [The history of Geneva has  very properly been recommended to the study of every American citizen by a political  writer.]


Chapter Twenty-Three:  General observations on the conduct of the British King and  Parliament after the intelligence of the  capture of Lord Cornwallis and his army. King's speech. Address of thanks opposed.  Proposition by Sir Thomas Pitt to  withhold supplies from the Crown. Vote carried in favor of granting supplies. General  Burgoyne defends the American  opposition to the measures of the Court. Variety of desultory circumstances discussed in  Parliament.

The close of the campaign in Virginia in 1781 was an era interesting to the Empire of  Britain and indeed to the European world, as well as the United States of  America.  The period was beheld by the latter with a mixture of pleasure an  astonishment, more easily imagined than described; and by some of the former,  especially great Britain, with chagrin an mortification, equal to their designs of conquest  and subjugation.  The relief of the southern colonies an the capture of Lord  Cornwallis and his army was not less unexpected than humiliating to the King, the  minister, and the British nation at large. Yet from their deportment, there did not  appear any immediate prospect of peace.

From the situation of American affairs at home, from the expected accession of new  allies, and the general disposition of the European powers, to acknowledge the  independence of the Unite States and, from their successes and their perseverance, it  might rationally have been expected that the contemplation of a general  pacification among the contending power would at this time have originated in England;  more especially when the expenses of the nation were calculated and the  misfortunes Great Britain had suffered during the war were considered.

Her national enemies abroad were accumulating; discontents and riots at home  increasing; the complains of Scotland alarming; and Ireland nearly in a state of  insurrection.  But the pride, the spirit, and the resources of the nation appeared almost  inexhaustible; and the stake of the colonies was too great to relinquish yet,  though the ministry had hitherto played a losing game.

Thus when the British Parliament met, after the confirmation of the loss of the army in  Virginia, the capture of Lord Cornwallis and his brave troops, the total defeat  of the expedition to the Chesapeake, and the declining aspect of affairs in the more  southern colonies, the speech from the Throne was yet manifestly dictated by the  spirit of hostility.  The King, though he lamented in the preamble of his speech the loss  of his brave officers and troops and the unfortunate termination of the  campaign in Virginia, he still urged the most vigorous prosecution of the war, and the  measures that might extinguish that spirit of rebellion that reigned in the colonies,  and reduce his deluded subjects to the due obedience to the laws and government of  Great Britain.

"The war," he observed, "is still unhappily prolonged by that restless ambition which  first excited our enemies to commence it, and which still continues to disappoint  my earnest and diligent exertions to restore the public tranquility. But I should not  answer the trust committed to the sovereign of a free people, nor make a suitable  return to my subjects for their constant and zealous attachment to my person, family,  and government, if I consented to sacrifice, either to my own desire of peace, or  to their temporary ease and relief, those essential rights and permanent interests, upon  the maintenance of which the future strength and security of this country must  ever principally depend."

The late accounts from America had in some measure weakened the influence of the  ministry, and, in proportion, strengthened the party who had always execrated  the American war.  The administration, too much agitated by the desire of revenge, and  too haughty and powerful to bend to terms of pacification, flattered  themselves that events had not yet fully ripened a general disposition for peace. Of  course, the usual compliment of an address of thanks for the speech from the  Throne was brought forward; but it was opposed with unusual acrimony.

It was boldly asserted that the speech breathed nothing but "rancor, vengeance, misery,  and bloodshed."  The war was directly charged, by the advocates of peace,  to the wild systems of government adopted early in the present reign.  They alleged that  it was ineffectual, delusory, and ruinous; that it was founded, not in the  restless ambition of the Americans, but that it ought to be charged on a ministry who  were "a curse to their country; who had cut up the British possessions in the  colonies, and separated England from their fellow subjects in America;" who had drawn  them to the point of losing their settlements both in the East and the West  Indies; who had distressed their commerce, robbed them of the once undisputed  sovereignty of the seas, and rendered the nation the ridicule of Europe. [See Mr.  Fox's speech in the House of Commons; also, several speeches in the House of Lords at  this period.]

This was the language of Mr. Fox. Sentiments and opinions nearly similar were  expressed by Burke, Barre, and the son of the celebrated Pitt; by the Lords Saville,  Shelburne, Conway, and others, in the House of Commons.  The same temper and  opinions appeared in the House of Lords; the Duke of Richmond, the Lords  Rockingham, Fitzwilliam, Maitland, an many others on the list of nobility varied little in  opinion or expression from the minority in the House of Commons.  They, with  equal warmth, opposed an address to the King.  They freely discussed the principles  held up in the speech, and as severely censured the measures it tended to  enforce.

The dissenting lords observed that "by an address of thanks, their honor might be  pledged to support a war that, from near several years'' experience, a  determination to pursue it appeared in the highest degree frantic, desperate, and ruinous;  that the principles of the present war could never be justified; that the  delusions y which Parliament had been led on from year to year to pursue it were  criminal; that the abuse and mismanagement of the marine department had  occasioned the loss in Virginia; that the minister at the head of the Board of Admiralty  might be justly charged with negligence, incapacity, and guilt."

The character of Sandwich, First Lord of the Admiralty, was justly portrayed on this  occasion, and exhibited in those glaring colors merited by his private life, as well  as his political blunders.  In short, every motion for a further coercion of the colonies, as  reprobated by a large and respectable party in both departments of the great  assembly of the nation.  The opponents of administration in both houses of parliament  observed that they were actuated by the same principles and urged by the  same motives that had induced them to oppose for several years the pernicious,  destructive, and ruinous system of government that had involved the nation in  irretrievable difficulties.

It was even proposed in the House of Commons that the representatives of the nation  

should withhold all farther supplies of moneys to the Crown until a redress of  grievances should take place; and thus by a legal compulsion oblige their Sovereign and  his ministers to act with more moderation and justice.

The son and nephew of the late Lord Chatham distinguished themselves in this debate.   They seemed at that time to have the national interest at heart and to inherit  the graces of oratory and the fire of eloquence that had through all his life been  displayed by their admired and illustrious ancestor.

Sir Thomas Pitt called for a division of the house, on the question of withholding  supplies.  He declared at once, "that if he retired to the doors of the House alone, he  should withhold his assent to entrusting any more public moneys in the hands of  ministers who had already dissipated so much wealth and wasted such streams of  human blood in wild and fruitless projects and who had yet shown no contrition for the  peril and disgrace in which they had involved their country."

On the other hand, many powerful reasons were urged against a step that would tend to  disunite and stain with dishonor a nation which had been renowned for their  unconquerable spirit.  Lord North observed that a generous grant of supplies to the  Crown would convince the enemies that no calamities could sink them into  despair.  He added that he always considered the American war as a matter of cruel  necessity, but that it was founded on a truly British basis; that he regretted it as  peculiarly unfortunate for himself, and that he would willingly make any personal  sacrifices for the restoration of peace; but that he refusal of supplies to the Crown, in  the midst of a war raging like the present, must inevitably lead to irretrievable calamity  and disgrace, while it gave strength, animation, and triumph to France, Spain,  Holland, and America."

But eh party in opposition, not appalled by his reasoning, stood firm and immovable.  They claimed a right coeval with the institution of Parliament and essential to a  free government to withhold supplies from the Crown when measures were adopted that  threatened to involve the Empire in endless calamities.

It is undoubtedly true that the most effectual check on an arbitrary executive is for the  representatives of the people to hold their hand on the string of the purse.  This  privilege, once relinquished to the will of a sovereign of whatever name, his power is  without control, and his projects and his extortions may lead to poverty, misery,  and slavery beyond redemption, before a nation is apprised of its danger.  "Honest and  generous nations perish oftener through confidence than distrust."

 To return to the question in debate: it terminated according to the expectations of the  observers of political operations.  The rhetoric or the reasonings of a member  of the British Parliament seldom do more than display the brilliancy of his genius and  the graces of elocution.  His arguments on the one side or the other have little  influence on the predetermination of party.  Their opinions are generally made up before  the public discussion of the subject.  All parties are so sensible of this that  they mutually consent, when weary of their places by protracted debate, and agree to  what they call pairing off; that is, when one chooses to retire, a member of the  opposite party retires with him.  Thus the equilibrium or the balance continues the same  at the conclusion of the most pathetic, interesting, and energetic debate, that it  was in the beginning. The minister holds his dependents, the popular speakers retain  their adherents.

The numbers and names of each are generally known before they enter the dome that  rings with the beauty, the harmony, the sublimity of their language and the  musical elegance of their finished periods.  Thus the decision of the question is usually  calculated, both within and without doors, previous to entering on debates on  which depend the honor, the interest, and the fate of the nation.

This mode of conduct may be consistent enough with the present state of society in  Europe. It is a fair deduction that the result of human action is owing more to the  existing state of stage of society than to any deviations in the nature of general  disposition of mankind.  All political transactions were now systematized. Reasoning  on the principles of equity and truth lost all its efficiency, if it clashed with the measures  of a minister preconcerted in the cabinet of his prince.

A very sensible writer has observed "that in the state of society which had taken place in  America, the foundations of her freedom were laid long before the nations  of Europe had any ideas on what was taking place in the minds of men.  Conquest,  religion, law, custom, habits, and manners, confirmed by military power, had  established a state of society in Europe in which the rights of men were obliterated and  excluded.  The property and power of a nation had passed into the hands of  the sovereign, nobility, and church.

"The body of the people were without property, or any chance of securing any, and  without education or knowledge to form them to any rational principles and  sentiments. Without property and without principle, they were of little or no  consequence in the view of government. Nothing was to be seen but one general  degradation of the people and an unnatural and excessive exaltation of those who had  acquired power.  This everywhere tended to corrupt both, and to give the  most unfavorable idea to the capacity of the former, and of the dispositions of the latter.

"Thus, (he observes) the ministers of Britain at the time of the American contest were  men of great eminence and ability in managing business upon the European  system; but they had no ideas of the state of things in America, or of a system in which  nature an society had combined to preserve freedom.  What they called  rebellion was only the tendency of nature and society to preserve freedom made more  active by their opposition." [Dr. Williams' History of Vermont.]

Thus when the motion was made by Sir Grey Cooper for the decision of a question that  held out a signal for peace or the continuance of an absurd and luckless war,  the vote in favor of the latter and of generous supplies to the Crown for its support was  carried by a large majority.  172 appeared in support of administration, while  only 77 were counted in the minority.

It would be unjust to pass over in silence the behavior of General Burgoyne at this  period.  He had recovered his seat in Parliament, his health, and some measure of  his military reputation; and no one more warmly advocated every measure for the  immediate restoration of peace.  H supported a motion for the recall of all British  troops from America. He pressed an immediate exchange of prisoners both in England  and America; and strenuously urged every pacific advance that might  comport with the honor, the equity, and the dignity of the British nation.  He even  justified the principles of American opposition to the measures of administration  and parliamentary decrees. He acknowledged that when he engaged in the service  against the United States, he thought differently; but that he had been brought to  conviction by the uniform conduct of the American states.

He added that it was presumption to allege that they were not in the right to resist.  He  observed that it was reason and the finger of God alone that had implanted  the same sentiment sin the breasts of three million people; and that comparing the  conduct of the ministry, as time had developed their system, he was convinced that  the American war was formed on a part of the general design against the constitution of  Britain and the unalienable rights of man.

Thus had the experience of severity from the cabinet, of ingratitude from his king and  country, and of adversity in the wilds of Saratoga taught this veteran officer ,  once armed for the destruction of her rights, and the desolation of America, to stand  forth a champion for her invaded liberties, a defender of the principles of her  resistance to the Crown of Great Britain, and an advocate for the restoration of peace,  which equity required, and humanity claimed.

It is true, the principles of Americans were so fixed, and the opposition to the  encroachments of Parliament had been so long sustained by the united colonies which  such cool intrepidity, such a spirit of perseverance, and such a defiance of danger as had  brought almost all England to wish for the restoration of peace, even on the  humiliating idea of a dismemberment of the Empire and an explicit acknowledgment of  American independence. Though their affection was too generally alienated  from the inhabitants beyond the Atlantic, they saw the ruin of their trade and  manufactures, and felt the miseries of a war protracted from year to year without any  nearer prospect of obtaining its object.

Yet, notwithstanding the disposition of the people, neither the King, the ministry, now  the majority in Parliament were at all softened by the wishes or sufferings of the  nation.  Nothing that could touch the passions or operate on the national interest or pride  was left unessayed by the orators in favor of reconciliation and peace. A  retrospect was taken of every important transaction in the course of the war; the conduct  and maneuvers of the principal actors revised, scrutinized, and censured;  yet this interesting session ended without any conciliatory prospects.

 Among the variety of affairs that were brought forward relative to America and that  were discussed with masterly precision and dignity, the cruelties exhibited at St.  Eustatia, which will be immediately related, were not forgotten.  The injustice exercised  toward the sufferers of that unhappy island as criminated in the most pointed  language.

The treatment Mr. Laurens had received, while a prisoner in the Tower of London, was  recollected and reprobated with equal severity. The situation of other  prisoners in the jails and prison ships was painted in colors that could not fail to excite  compassion.  The defeat of British armies, the degradation of their best  officers, the disgrace brought on the nation by the rank given to and the confidence  placed in the infamous Arnold, were brought into the scale of accusation.   Indeed, every ministerial measure was in their session censured in the House of  Commons, with the acrimony of resentment and the boldness of truth, without being  softened by the delicacy of the courtier.

We have seen above that immediately after General Arnold had forfeited his honor,  betrayed his  trust, and endeavored to sell his country, he received his pecuniary  reward from General Clinton and was appointed to a distinguished military command in  the Chesapeake. He was in a few months recalled from Virginia to Sir Henry  Clinton, ostensibly to assist in the defense of New York, but more probably to quiet the  murmurs of men of more virtue, talents, and merit than himself.  They could  not brook the insolence with which this dignified traitor sustained the caresses of his  employers, nor the degradation felt by many officers of high rank and superior  genius to see one placed over their heads, whom all acknowledged deserved no  elevation but a halter.

The British commander in chief at New York, contrary to the old adage, appeared not to  hate, but to love the traitor as well as the treason.  Immediately on his  recall from the Chesapeake, General Clinton had vested him with a new commission,  and licensed him to ravage the borders of the state of Connecticut, and to  pillage and burn their fair towns that spread along the margin of the Sound.  This was a  business very congenial too the character and genius of Arnold.  He was  accompanied by a detachment under the command of Colonel Eyre.  This excursion was  attended with much slaughter and devastation; the inhabitants of several  defenseless towns were shamefully plundered and abused, without distinction of age of  sex.

New London as more seriously attacked; and after a short and brave resistance,  plundered and burnt.  As soon as the town had surrendered, a number of soldiers  entered the garrison. The officer who headed the party inquired who commanded it?   The valiant Colonel Ledyard stepped forward and replied with ease and  gallantry, "I did, sir, but you do now." At the same moment he delivered his sword to a  British officer.  The barbarous ruffian, instead of receiving his submission, like  the generous victor, immediately stabbed the brave American. Nor was his death the  only sacrifice made in that place to the wanton vengeance of the foes of  America. Several other officers of merit were assassinated, after the surrender of the  town; while their more helpless connections experience the usual cruel fate of  cities captured by inhuman conquerors.

Some members in Parliament endeavored to extenuate the guilt and defend the  promotion of General Arnold and the confidence placed in him by Sir Henry Clinton.   But after a recapitulation of the above transactions and some similar events, Mr. Fox  observed that Arnold "had dispersed his panegyrics and scattered abuse on the  characters of British officers; but that he shuddered at the predicament in which his  gallant countrymen were placed, when in their military capacity they were marked  with so infamous a degradation, as to have anything to apprehend, either from the  reproaches or the applauses of General Arnold; that in the character of an  American officer, he had treacherously abandoned his command; and now, rewarded  with an active military promotion in t British service, he might probably  proceed hereafter to similar transactions, and sacrifice for lucre the troops of Britain."

Mr. Burke was equally severe on the character of this perfidious traitor.  He observed  "that such a person could not be held by any laws to serve with strict fidelity  the people and the sovereign against whom he was before in arms, and to whom he had  fled in the very midst of acts of treachery to the states whose cause he had  deserted.  A man whose conduct had been marked by glaring strokes of cruelty and  perfidiousness, and which had furnished an indubitable proof that he who on  one side would have sacrificed an army, was too dangerous to be trusted with the  command of troops belonging to the opposing party." He lamented that the honors  of high office were thus scattered on the worthless, and frequently on men who had no  inconsiderable share in the measures that tended to disgrace and ruin their  country.

Mr. Burke, indeed, had always appeared to have a thorough detestation of corrupt men  and measures.  HE advocated the cause of liberty, not only with the ability  

of an orator, but with an enthusiasm for the establishment of freedom in all countries.   He was an advocate for the distressed Irish; and stretched his genius to the  eastern world, to survey the abuses and to criminate the cruelties perpetrated there by his  own countrymen; and, with a pathos peculiar to himself, brought before the  tribunal of the public eye, the criminal laden with the rich spoils, the diamonds and  jewels of the princely widows, and the immense treasures of the distant nabobs.

 He ever appeared opposed to the powerful oppressors of the people, and attached to the  defenders of freedom in every nation; was the friend of Franklin and  Laurens; corresponded with the first on American affairs, and made great exertions to  mitigate the sufferings of the last, while in rigorous imprisonment.  But this  unfortunate gentleman, notwithstanding the influence of many powerful friends, which  he had in the House of Commons, was refused his liberty, and detained in the  Tower until near the close of the war.

However, Mr. Laurens survived his persecutions in England, returned to his native  country, and spent the remainder of his days in private life.  After several years of  virtuous preparation for his exit, his only surviving son closed his eyes.  His fond  affection for his father led him to deviate from the usual customers of his countrymen  in the manner of interring their friends.  He reared an altar on which he burnt the body of  the patriarch and carefully gathered the ashes from the hearth, deposited  them in a silver urn, and placed them in his bed-chamber, with reverence and veneration,  where they remained to the day of his death.  This circumstance is  mentioned as a peculiar instance of filial affection, and at once a mark of the respect due  to the memory both of the patriot and the parent.

The celebrity of Mr. Burke for his general conduct, and his spirited speeches in favor of  the rights of man, during the Revolutionary War, were justly appreciated  throughout America.  He was admired for his oratorical talents, and beloved for the part  he took in the cause of suffering individuals, either American prisoners or the  oppressed in his own country.  His feelings of humanity extended to the Ganges; and by  his lively descriptions of the miseries of the wretched inhabitants of India, he  has expanded the human heart, and drawn a tear from every compassionate eye.   Certainly, to such a man, the tribute of a tear is equally due, when he shall be  beheld in the decline of life, deviating from his own principles, and drawing his  energetic pen to censure and suppress the struggles for liberty in a sister kingdom.  [Philippic against France.]

When we retrace the powers of the human mind, and viewed the gradations of the  faculties, or the decline of genius, it is a humiliating reflection that a more advanced  period of life so often subtracts from the character of the man, as it shone in full luster in  the meridian of his days.  Perhaps in the instance before us, a deviation from  former principles might be more owing to a decline in correct political sentiment than to  any physical debility that was yet apparent.

It is an anticipation which many reasons render excusable to bring forward in this place  the subsequent declension of this gentleman's zeal in favor of the general  liberties of mankind, when his flowery epithets, argumentative elocution, and flowing  periods were often equally entertaining with the beset theatrical exhibitions.  But,  

without further apology, it is proper to observe that before he finished his political  drama, the world was astonished to behold Mr. Burke fulminating his anathemas  against a neighboring nation, who were struggling with every nerve for the recovery of  the freedom and the natural rights of man, of which they had long been  robbed, and which had been trodden under foot, if not annihilated by despotic kings,  unprincipled nobles, and a corrupt clergy.  It was surprising to hear a man who  had so often expressed the most humane feelings for the depression of his fellow beings  of every class, afterwards regretting, in the most pathetic strains, only the  sorrows of royalty, without a momentary pang for the miseries of a nation. [A political  writer has observed that "the late opinions of Mr. Burke furnished more matter  of astonishment to those who had distantly observed than to those who had correctly  examined the system of his former political life.  An abhorrence for abstract  politics, a predilection for aristocracy, and a dread of innovation have ever been among  the most sacred articles of his public creed.  It was not likely that at his age  he should abandon to the invasion of audacious novelties, opinions which he had  received so early and maintained so long, which had been fortified by the applause  of the great and the assent of the wise, which he had dictated to so many illustrious  pupils, and supported against so many distinguished opponents.  Men who early  attain eminence repose in their first creed. They neglect the progress of the human mind  subsequent to its adoption; and when, as in the present case, it has burst  forth into action, they regard it as a transient madness, worth only of pity or derision.   They mistake it for a mountain torrent, that will pass away with the storm that  gave it birth. They know not that it is the stream of human opinion, in omne volubilis  avum, which the accession of every day will swell, which is destined to sweep  into the same oblivion, the resistance of learned sophistry and of powerful oppression."  Mackintosh's Vindiciae Gallica, on Mr. Burke's Philippic against the French  Revolution.]

If a just portrait has been drawn below, and Mr. Burke was never at heart a genuine  friend of the liberties of mankind, we will sigh over the versatility of human  conduct, and leave him to reflect on his own inconsistency; while the florid diction of  his oratory is admired by his contemporaries, and the generations that succeed  him will be delighted with the brilliant periods that adorned his eloquence on every  occasion.

The admiration of the finished rhetoric and fascinating talents by which the speeches of  Fox, Burke, and many  other British orators were embellished, has  occasioned the above digression, which we now wave and observe that the agents who  had brought on a ruinous war with the colonies, and defection, alienation,  and hostility, with surrounding nations, had not sufficient talent, subtlety, sophistry to  quiet the people under the ideas of a longer continuance of the war.  They had  long amused them by the musical powers of language, which they also possessed; but  they could no longer counteract the arguments and efforts of men of abilities  equal to any in the ministerial interest, and possessed of more humanity, who wished to  put a period to the destructive calamities that had now for seven years  embarrassed and distressed the nation.

The most gloomy prospect pervaded every mind on the contemplation of a further  protraction war, at the same time that the termination of the campaign in Virginia,  had nearly defeated the flattering hopes of those who had labored with so much zeal and  fervor to subjugate the united colonies of America.  It was said in  Parliament that "the immense expense, the great accumulation of public debt, by the  ever to be lamented contest with America, the effusion of human blood which it  had occasioned, the diminution of trade and the increase of taxes were evils of such  magnitude as could scarcely overlooked even by the most insensible and  inattentive."

It was the unanimous opinion of those who had ever been favorers of more lenient  measures that any further efforts to reduce the revolted colonies to obedience by  force, under the present circumstances, would only increase the mutual enmity, so fatal  to the interests of Great Britain and America, and forever prevent a  reconciliation; and that it would weaken the efforts of Great Britain against the House of  Bourbon and other European enemies.

It is true that the standard of respectability on which Great Britain had long been placed,  was already shaken; that she had in a degree lost her political influence with,  and was view by, surrounding nations through a less terrific medium than at any period  since the immense increase of power acquired by her formidable navy.

The colonies alienated, Ireland in a state of desperation, Scotland little less discontented,  a considerable part of the West Indies lost to Great Britain, the affairs of  the kingdom in the East Indies in the most deranged and perturbed state, by the  mismanagement and avarice of their officers vested with unlimited powers wantonly  abused; it was impossible, under the load of calumny, opposition, and perplexity, for the  old ministry, the ostensible agents of these complicated evils, longer to resist  the national will.

Many plausible arguments were urged in vindication of the measures of administration,  at the same time that the fatal consequences were acknowledged by their  defenders; but acknowledged only as the common events which have been experienced  by other nations, who have failed in their best concerted enterprises, and  been humbled before the enemies whose destruction had too sanguinely been calculated.  But the minister was implicated by the increasing opposition, as the author  of all the calamities a just Providence had seen fit to inflict on a nation, who at the close  of the preceding reign had considered all the world at their feet.

The parliamentary debates, indeed, were at this time very interesting.  Lord John  Cavendish observed that above a hundred million sterling had been expended within  five years on the army and navy, and backed his assertion by several resolves,  criminating the ministry as totally deficient in point of ability to retrieve the wretched  state of the nation, after they had thrown away the thirteen colonies and other  appendages of the empire.  However, had their talents been sufficient to have retrieved  the public misfortunes, in which their pernicious councils had involved their country,  there did not appear the smallest disposition in the present ministry to make the  attempt or to resign their places.

A detail of the expenses of the fruitless war with America was laid before the House of  Commons in a very impressive style; and though many arguments were used  in favor of the ministry, no subterfuge could screen them, nor any reluctance they felt,  retard the necessity of their resignations.  This was called for from every  quarter, in terms severe and sarcastic.  "One gentleman requested that "whenever the  prime minister, to the unspeakable joy of the nation, should really go to his  sovereign to resign his employments, as he had once promised to do when "Parliament  should withdraw its confidence from him, he hoped now that period was  come, he would not forget to lay before the King a fair representation of the flourishing  state in which he found His Majesty's Empire when the government of it was  entrusted to his hands, and the ruinous condition in which he was about to leave all that  remained of it."

Some thought that the party in opposition were too ready to draw degrading pictures of  the calamitous state of the nation and the blunders of its officers; it was their  opinion that thus by exposing the national weakness, they might strengthen the hands of  their enemies, now triumphant at the misfortunes that had already befallen  them.  But the irresistible force of truth, combined with  imperious necessity, wrought  conviction on some and softened the obstinacy of others, by which a majority  was obtained and the late measures decidedly condemned.

The old ministry were soon after obliged to relinquish their places, and a new line of  public measures adopted.  The hollow murmur of discontent at last penetrated  the ear of royalty and impelled the pride of Majesty to listen to the general voice in favor  of the immediate restoration of tranquility; and however sanguine the King of  England had long been, in favor of coercing his American subjects to unconstitutional  and unconditional obedience, he could not much longer withstand the torrent of  opposition to the cruel system.

Events were now nearly ripened, which soon produced a truce to the scourge of war,  which had so long desolated families, villas, and cities.  The energetic  arguments and perspicuous reasonings, which do not always apply in their full force on  the minds of those prepossessed by partial affection and esteem, covered  with the veil of prejudice in favor of political opinions similar to their own, were  necessarily lad aside, and the opposition to peace daily drawn into a narrower  compass.  Reason, humanity, policy, and justice urged so forcibly by men of the best  abilities, could not longer be withstood. Among these were many who shed the  tears of sorrow over the ashes of their friends, who had fallen in the "tented fields" of  America.  In others, the feelings of indignation arose from a survey of the  profuse expenditure, and the wanton waste of public money.  Besides these, not a few  persons were mortified at the eclipse of military glory, which had formerly  emblazoned the laurels and illumined the characters of British chieftains.

Indeed, America at this period was not a theater on which generous Britons could  expect, or with to acquire glory.  They were sensible that their success must  eradicate the noble principles of liberty for which their ancestors had reasoned,  struggled, and fought against the invasions of their arbitrary kings from the days of  William the Norman to the Tudors, and form the last of the Tudor line, their adored  Queen Elizabeth, through the race of the Stuarts, no less contemptible than  arbitrary, until the necessity of equal exertion was revived in the reign of George III.  At  the same time, it was too evident to all that repeated defeat had already  tarnished the luster of British arms.  The celebrity of some of their most renowned  commanders was shrouded in disappointment; their minds enveloped in chagrin  doubly mortifying, as it was the result of exertion from enemies they had viewed with  contempt, as too deficient in talents, courage, discipline, and resources to  combat the prowess and imagined superiority of British veterans.  From these  circumstances, it had been calculated that the Americans might be reduced even by the  terror of their approach, and the fame of that military glory long attached to the  character and valor of British soldiers.

But He who ordains the destiny of man, conceals his purposes until the completion of  the deigns of divine government.  This should teach mankind the lessons of  humility and candor, instead of an indulgence of that fierce, vindictive spirit that aims at  the destruction of its own species, under the imposing authority of obtrusive  despotism.


Chapter Twenty-Four:  Naval transactions. Rupture between England and France  opened in the Bay of Biscay. Admiral Keppel.  Serapis and the Countess of Scarborough captured by Paul Jones. The protection given  him by the States-General resented by  the British Court. Transactions in the West Indies. Sir George Bridges Rodney returns to  England after the capture of St.  Eustatia. Sent out again the succeeding year. Engages an defeats the French squadron  under the command of the Count de  Grasse. Capture of the Ville de Paris. The Count de Grasse sent to England. Admiral  Rodney created a peer of the realm on his  return to England.

To prevent breaking in on and interrupting the thread of narration, through a detail of the  important and interesting scenes acting on the American theater, many great  naval operations have been passed over in silence, and others but slightly noticed.  A  particular description of nautical war was never designed by the writer of these  pages; yet a retrospect may here be proper, and a cursory survey necessary, of some of  the most capital transactions on the ocean, which were closely connected  with  American affairs and the interests of her allies.

The beginning of naval hostilities between Great Britain and France took place in the  Bay of Biscay in June 1778.  A fleet commanded by Admiral Keppel, a  gentleman in whom the nation had the highest confidence, from his bravery, his  prudence, and long experience in naval transactions, was at this critical period  directed to sail with discretionary orders.  A member of Parliament of eminence  observed "that all descriptions of men seemed pleased with the choice, and to feel  their own security included in the appointment" of such an able commander at so  anxious a moment.  He met a squadron of 32 ships of the line and a large number of  frigates, commanded by the Count D'Orvilliers, before he was in reality prepared for an  interview with such a formidable force on the part of France.  This was  indeed before any formal declaration of war had taken place between the rival nations.

Two frigates from the squadron of D'Orvilliers were very soon discovered near enough  to prove evidently that they were on a survey of the British fleet. They were  pursued, and a civil message delivered to the captain of the Licorne from the English  admiral; but it was not civilly returned. Some shot were exchanged, and in a  short time, the frigate surrendered.

The other French frigate, called the Belle-Poule, was of heavier metal and, appearing  disposed for a rencounter, Captain Marshal, who commanded the Arethusa,  pursued her until out of sight of the fleet. When near enough to announce his orders, he  informed the captain of the Belle-Poule that he was directed to conduct him  to the British admiral.  A peremptory refusal of compliance on the part of the French  captain induced Captain Marshal to fire a shot across the Belle-Poule. This was  returned by the discharge of a whole broadside from the Bell-Poule into the Arethusa.

A severe action ensured, which continued near two hours.  Both frigates suffered much.  The Arethusa was so far disabled that she was conducted off the French  coast by two British ships that accompanied the chase and arrived in time to tow her  back to the fleet. The Belle-Poule escaped only by running into a small bay on  the coast of France. The resolute deportment of the French captain, in this beginning of  naval hostilities between the two nations, was much applauded by his  countrymen, and munificently rewarded by the King of France.

For some time after this action, a mutual display of the strength of the two fleets was  kept up: chasing, re-chasing, maneuvering, and gasconade continued for several  days, with little effective action and no decision. During the cruise, Admiral Keppel  discovered by the officer of a frigate taken after the action of the Belle-Poule and  the Arethusa, that D'Orvilliers was in daily expectation of reinforcements of strength,  while there was yet no formal declaration of war, while the French admiral  played off, as unwilling to begin hostilities and while, from may circumstances, Keppel  himself was in no situation for a general engagement.  Thus, to the unspeakable  mortification of this meritorious officer, he found it convenient to turn his back on the  French squadron and repair to England.

His own inadequate force and equipment to meet the powerful squadrons of France,  which had been prepared with diligence and system for the execution of great  designs, was viewed by him with the deepest regret, both for his own share in the  disappointment and the disgrace brought on his nation by such unpardonable  negligence.  He had, however, from the discoveries he had made, from the officers of  the captured frigates and the causes which had induced his immediate return,  kept his opinions very much within his own breast, disposed to think candidly of men in  high office, great responsibility, and some of them endowed with superior  talents.  He hoped, from the necessities of the moment, the honor of the nation, and the  hazard of their own characters, they would adopt and adhere to more  decisive and efficient measures in the future.

The motives of the admiral unknown to the people at large, occasioned much censure  from the lips of those who were unacquainted with the circumstances.  The  superiority of the French fleet under D'Orvilliers, and the additional strength he  expected from several other armaments prepared to join him, rendered it impossible  for Admiral Keppel, with only 20 ships of the line, to make any effectual resistance, if a  declaration of war should warrant an attack from the French commander,  who had a fleet of between 30 and 40 sail of the line, besides a great number of frigates,  ready for action.

Admiral Keppel very judiciously apprehended that the most cautious and prudent steps  were necessary, not only to prevent the loss of his own fleet, but other  inseparable evils to his nation, which might have been the consequence of defeat.  He  had certain information of the meditated designs of France, unexpectedly to  strike at the trade of the nation by interrupting their convoys and giving a wound to the  honor of the English navy, which would redound much to their own advantage  in the outset of a war; while his own fleet, deficient in almost everything necessary for  any effectual resistance, was incapable of maintaining its station.

Conscious that his conduct needed no apology, that the failure of the hopes of the  English was owing to the neglect or want of judgment in the ministry, the admiralty,  and other departments, he silently bore the censure of his enemies, the clamors of the  multitude, and the opprobrium that often lights on character from the tacit  demeanor of false friends, and prepared with the utmost dispatch again to sail and meet  the commander of the French squadron.

New exertions were made by the directors of naval affairs; and within a few days, the  brave admiral was enabled again to sail with better prospects of success, in  pursuit of the Brest fleet, which was also reinforced by some of the heaviest ships and  most distinguished commanders in the French service.  The two fleets met,  maneuvered, fought, retreated, chased, bid mutual defiance, and fought again; but  neither of them had a right to claim the palm of victory, from any circumstances of  the interview.

The failure of this second expedition might have been owing, in part, to a  misunderstanding between Admiral Keppel and some of his principal officers.  Other  causes might cooperate.  There is a delicacy of feeling in the mind of man, or rather a  moral sense that forbids aggression and excites a reluctance to striking the first  blow that must involve the human species in carnage and murder.  But, when war has  been denounced by regal authority, and the usual sanction of public  proclamation, licensed by the common formalities on such occasions, and hardened by  repeated irritation and violence, the crash of burning or sinking ships,  swallowed in the yawning deep, ceases to excite due compassion in the sanguine bosom,  inured to behold the miseries of his fellow men.

This disappointment in the beginning of a war with France occasioned much party  bitterness through the English nation.  The odium of ill success was bandied for  some time between the partisans of Sir Hugh Palliser, rear admiral of the blue, and those  of the brave Keppel.  Both admirals were tried by court martial; and after  long investigation, the business finally terminated in the honorable acquittal of Admiral  Keppel, from the charge of negligence, want to ability, or misconduct in any  respect; -[For a particular detail of this interesting affair, the trials of the two admirals,  and the virulence of party on the occasion, the reader may be referred to their  trials and to other British authorities.] and his reputation completely restored, his calm  dignity and cool deportment, through many trying circumstances, more strongly  attached his old friends and procured him many new ones.  He was afterwards appointed  First Lord of the Admiralty.  He received the thanks of both houses of  Parliament for his many and essential services to his country.  Public rejoicings on his  acquittal testified the general esteem of the people, while the ratio of disgrace  that fell on Admiral Palliser led him to resign all his public employments.

There had, previous to the late engagement, been the appearance of the strictest  friendship between Admiral Keppel and Sir Hugh Palliser, rear admiral of the blue.   It is uncertain what interrupted this amity. It might have arisen from a spirit of rivalry or  the pride of a subordinate officer who persecuted the aged commander with  unceasing bitterness and divided the opinion of the public for a time, relative to the  appropriate merits of each; but the balance continued in favor of Lord Keppel to  the end of his life.

A naval rencounter took place the next year which, though of less magnitude than many  others, is worthy of notice from the valor of the transaction and some  circumstances that attended it which were interwoven with the political conduct of the  Dutch nation.

Captain John Paul Jones had sailed from L'Orient in the summer of 1779 in order to  cruise the North Sea. The Bon-homme Richard, which he commanded, was  accompanied by the Alliance, a well-built American ship, and two or three other smaller  frigates.

About the beginning of September, they fell in with the Serapis, an English ship of  superior force, commanded by Captain Pierson. She was accompanied by a  smaller ship the Countess of Scarborough.  They soon engaged. The action was valorous  and desperate, severe and bloody; and taken in all its circumstances,  perhaps one of the bravest marine battles that took place during the war.  Both the  English ships were taken by the Americans.  The Bon-homme Richard and the  Serapis were several times on fire at the same moment.  The Bon-homme Richard was  reduced to a wreck, and sunk soon after the action, which continued long  enough for the Baltic fleet of British homeward-bound ships, which had been under the  convoy of the Serapis and Countess of Scarborough, to make their escape  and get safe to England.  After this tremendous blaze of horror and destruction, the little  American squadron repaired to the Texel to refit, carrying with them their  prisoners and their prizes.

Captain Pierson acquitted himself with the gallantry of a British commander, zealous for  the honor of his nation. But he was not permitted by the American officers to  go on shore in Holland and pay his respects to Sir Joseph Yorke, the British ambassador  resident at the Hague.  This he reported in the close of his account of the  engagement, received at the admiralty office.  It was a circumstance grievous to himself  and highly resented by the British ambassador.  He demanded of the  States-General that the Alliance and the other ships commanded by the rebel and pirate,  John Paul Jones, should, with their crews, be stopped an delivered up.

Their high mightinesses replied to the demand of Sir Joseph Yorke that they should not  take upon themselves to judge of the legality or illegality of those who had  taken vessels on the open seas belonging to other countries; that their ports were open to  shelter from storms and disasters; that they should not suffer the Americans  to unload their cargoes, but should permit them to go to sea again after refitting; without  taking on themselves to judge, as they did not think they were authorized to  pass an opinion on the prizes or the person of Paul Jones.

The naval rencounters between the nations were too numerous to particularize.  Those  who are acquainted with maritime affairs, the phrases of navigation, and are  fond of the exhibition of sea fights, may dwell longer on the description of single  actions; while the curiosity of every inquirer may be sufficiently gratified by the proud  boasters who insolently describe the British flag as controlling the nations and defying  the universe to attack their fleets.

We shall pass over the more minute transactions and again recur to the general  expectation relating to the siege of Gibraltar, which was long kept awake before a  final decision.  It is, however, necessary, previous to the relinquishment of the conquest  of the contested spot, to observe on several intervening transactions of  moment.  It has been related in a former chapter that this fortress was relieved for a time  by Sir George Bridges Rodney on his way to the West Indies in 1780.

He had been remarkably successful in the interception of convoys, the interruption of  the trade of the enemies of Britain, and the capture of the homeward-bound  ships of France and Spain. He fell in with 15 sail of merchantmen, under the convoy of a  64 gun ship and several frigates, found from St. Sebastian's to Cadiz.  He  captured the hole fleet, which belonged to the royal company of the Caracas.  The  principal part of their cargoes was wheat and other provisions much wanted at  Gibraltar, where the admiral immediately sent them.  A large quantity of bale goods and  naval stores, equally necessary for the use of his countrymen, he sent  forward to England.

He soon after fell in with a Spanish squadron of 11 ships of the line, under the command  of Don Juan Langara, who declined an engagement, from the inequality of  his force. But Admiral Rodney, determined to pursue his success, gave chase until the  enemy were nearly involved among the shoals of St. Lucar; and not  approaching, the brave Spaniard was compelled to the conflict.  Early in the  engagement, the Spanish ship San Domingo, of 70 guns and 600 men, blew up and all  on board perished.  The English man of war with which she was engaged narrowly  escaped a similar ate.

The action was severe and conducted on both sides with the greatest intrepidity, until the  Spanish admiral was dangerously wounded and most of his ships had  surrendered.  He then struck his flag, surrendered his own ship, reduced to a wreck, and  submitted to the valiant English.  This action continued nearly through the  night; and many singular instances of valor and generosity were displayed on both sides,  before the palm of victory was insured to the gallant Rodney.

His good fortune followed him to the tropical seas; an his rencounters with the Admiral  de Guichen and other brave commanders of the Bourbon fleets, always  terminated in his favor.  Indeed, his successes were sometimes a little variant, and his  squadron frequently suffered much loss and damage in his severe conflicts with  French and Spanish fleets; yet he was always victorious.  On his way to the West Indies,  nothing stood before him. Many of the enemies of Great Britain, both in the  commercial and military line, fell into his hands.

A plan had been meditated by the combined fleets of France and Spain to seize the rich  island of Jamaica. The interference of Rodney more than once prevented the  loss of this valuable spot.  This was a favorite object with the French; nor was it  relinquished until fortune had frowned repeatedly on the lilies of France and humbled  the Gallican flag beneath her victorious rival, who waved her proud banners around her  insular possessions, to the terror of France and the mortification of America.

From the capture of Dominca by the Marquis de Bouille in 1778, the West India islands  had been alternately agitated by the various successes of the contending  fleets, until the seizure of St. Eustatia by Sir George Bridges Rodney in February 1781.

In the autumn of 1780, tempest, hurricane, and earthquake had raged through all the  islands in a degree unparalleled in those latitudes, though always subject to the  most violent tornadoes.  Several of the best of the islands had been nearly ruined by  those recent devastations of nature, and others rendered too weak for defense  against less potent foes than those who waved the flag of Britain.

The winter after the accumulated misfortunes occasioned by those convulsions, Admiral  Rodney arrived in the West Indies with a strong and potent fleet and army.   The army was commanded by General Vaughan. Rodney and Vaughan in conjunction  took advantage of the weak, dismantled state to which St. Vincent's was  reduced and attempted the reduction of the island.  But, unexpectedly repulsed by the  bravery of the French, commanded by the Marquis de Bouille, the next  enterprise of Sir George Bridges Rodney was against the rich, but defenseless island of  St. Eustatia.

The unexpected attack on the Dutch island was in consequence of secret orders received  before they left England, from the Board of Admiralty.  The arrival of the  British armament in the West Indies as accompanied by intelligence, not suspected by  the islanders, that hostilities were denounced against the Republic of Holland  by a manifesto of the King of England.

The United Netherlands had not yet ratified any formal treaty with the American states,  though, as has been observed, a plan for that purpose had been found among  the paper of Mr. Laurens.  It is true, the design of a close connection with Congress and  the colonies was avowed by the principal citizens of Amsterdam. It also  appeared from strong circumstances that many of the most respectable inhabitants in  other parts of the Batavian circles were equally disposed to unite with the  Americans.  But it was some time after this period before the independence of the  United States of America was acknowledged by the Stadtholder and their high  mightinesses in the Hague.

Yet the assistance given by the merchants of some of the capital provinces, their  negotiations with the agents of Congress, and their temporizing with regard to  receiving a minister, sent on after the misfortune of Mr. Laurens to complete the terms  of amity and commerce with the rebellious subjects of America, as they were  termed, were steps too bold and affrontive to the Sovereign of Britain and to the English  nation, then the ancient ally of the Batavians, to be passed over with  impunity.

The Dutch Court, as observed, did not openly countenance these proceedings.  Yet, we  have seen above that when repeatedly called upon by Sir Joseph Yorke, in  the name of his Sovereign, publicly to disavow them and to punish by inhibitions,  penalties, and other severities, all who held any correspondence with Congress or  encouraged and supported the revolted colonies; yet no explicit declaration for that  purpose could be obtained.  Vexed at the equivocal conduct of the  States-General, and there being no prospect of the minister's succeeding in his wishes,  he was recalled from the Hague, and reasons were soon after assigned by  manifesto for the commencement of hostilities against the Batavian provinces, in the  usual style of regal apology for the waste of human life.

Thus the storm burst on the Dutch West India islands before they were apprehensive of  the smallest danger from a state of war.  St. Eustatia had long been  considered, by Europeans and Americans, as the most advantageous mart of any of  the tropical  islands. Consequently, their trade and their wealth had increased  beyond all calculation.  The inhabitants were generally absorbed in their own private  business, the bulk of the merchants affluent and secure, the magistrates at ease,  and the Dutch officers totally unapprehensive of an attack from any foreign foe.  The  fortresses in a state of ruin and the island weakened by the late hurricanes, they  were in no condition for defense, nor did they attempt the smallest resistance, on the  approach of a powerful British fleet and army.

The surprise and astonishment of both the governor and the people, on the summons to  surrender themselves and their island, cannot be described. Their  deliberations were short. Mr. de Graaf, the Dutch governor, with the consent of the  magistrates and the principal inhabitants, returned a laconic answer to the  summons of the British commander.  He concisely observed "that confident of the lenity  of Sir George Bridges Rodney and General Vaughan, the whole island and  its dependencies surrendered. Firmly relying on their honor and humanity, they only  recommended the town and the inhabitants to their mercy."

This submission proved the consignment of themselves and families to immediate  poverty, desolation, and every species of misery.  All descriptions of persons were  at once involved in the same common ruin.  Not only the officers of government and the  independent sojourner in this devoted island, but the merchant, the factor,  the planter, and the innocent individual of every class, whether Dutch or British,  Americans or Jews, were all overwhelmed in one promiscuous, unexampled insult,  outrage, and plunder.  Slaves were bribed to betray their maters and inveigled to  discover the smallest pittance of property that might have been secreted by the  opulent or the aged to preserve a wretched existence after the loss of connections,  fortune, and prospects.

When obstinate resistance and high-toned language irritates the passions of men, it may  be thought by some an apology for the extreme rigor too frequently exercised  by the illiberal mind toward a conquered enemy.  But when full confidence has been  placed in the generosity, urbanity, and equity of the victor, and submission made  without a blow, the cruel inflictions imposed on the unfortunate by the successful  assailant are violations of the feelings of humanity, and a departure from the nobler  principles of the soul, that can never be justified by the laws of policy or even the hostile  usages of war.  Nor can the dignity of rank, or the glittering badges of  ancestral honor prevent the indignation that must ever arise in the bosom of humanity on  a survey of the rapacity, insolence, and atrocity of conduct in the conquerors  of St. Eustatia.

Submission undoubtedly entitles to protection, and the vanquished have ever a claim  both for compassion and support from the victor.  Instead of this just and  generous line of action, all safety was precluded, by indiscriminate abuse and plunder.   After the surrender of this opulent island, one general pillage, confiscation,  banishment, or death succeeded; and, as observed afterwards by Mr. Burke in the House  of Commons, "the Dutch were robbed and banished, because they were  Dutch; the Americans, because they were the King's enemies; the Jews, because their  religion was different from that of the conquerors."

Some gentlemen of the most capital commercial characters were confined as criminals  of a peculiar cast and punished in a two-fold sense.  An extraordinary instance  of this nature was exhibited in the treatment of Messrs. Courzen and Governier, two of  the first merchants on the island. As Dutchmen, their property was  confiscated.  As Englishmen, they were sent to England as traitors to the King, charged  with corresponding with "American agents, imprisoned and tried for high   treason.

Mr. Hohen, an eminent Jewish merchant, a native of Amsterdam who had resided at St.  Eustatia 25 years, received notice, without any crime alleged, that he must  quit the island without a day's delay.  Ignorant of the place of his destination, while on  his ay to embark, he experienced every severe usage.  His trunk was rifled; his  clothes ripped open; and a small sum of money he had secreted to preserve him from  famine, taken from him, even to his last penny.  Thus, suddenly robbed and  reduced from high fortune to absolute want, when he arrived in England, he petitioned  the House of Commons for redress, and his cause was supported by the  brilliant elocution of Mr. Burke and others. Yet the injured Israelite found no relief from  the justice or compassion of the nation.

 Such was the rapacity of the plunderers of this unfortunate island that in many other  instances the garments of the aged and respectable were rent open in search of a  bit of gold that might possibly have been concealed for the purchase of a morsel of  bread for their innocent and helpless families.  Thus, from the pinnacle of  affluence, many were reduced in a day to the extreme of penury and despair.  All the  Jews on the island received similar treatment to that above related. Their  sufferings had no amelioration.  They were informed that they were all to be transported,  and only one day was allowed to any of them for preparation, before they  were robbed of their treasures, and sent away penniless among strangers.

Indeed, three was little discrimination among the miserable inhabitants of this once  wealthy spot.  The whole property of the island, collected by every undue method,  was exposed to public sale; and Admiral Rodney, the commander of a British fleet of  upwards of 30 ships of the line, and the renowned General Vaughan, at the  head of 3000 or 4000 troops, were engaged from the beginning of February until the  May following in the little arts of auctioneering and traffic, in a manner that  would have disgraced the petty merchant, who had not renounced all pretenses to honor.

The islands of Saba, St. Martin's, and others had surrendered to some detachments from  the British fleet and army on the same easy terms; and, with similar hopes  of security and protection, they suffered nearly the same merciless fate from the hands  of British conquerors that had been recently experienced by the inhabitants of  St. Eustatia.

Meantime, the Marquis de Bouille improved the favorable opportunity, while the British  commanders were engaged in securing the plunder of the conquered isles, to  reduce Tobago to the arms of the French monarch.  This required a little more military  prowess than had yet been called into action by his competitors for the  possession of the West India islands.

Governor Ferguson, who commanded at Tobago, made a manly defense for eight or ten  days; but receiving no succors from Admiral Rodney, though within 24  

hours' sail, and too weak to hold out longer without assistance, he was obliged to  capitulate.

The terms granted by the noble Frenchman were honorable and lenient.  The officers  and troops in garrison were permitted to march out with the honors of war;  after which, the soldiers were to lay down their arms, but the officers had liberty to  retain theirs.  the inhabitants were allowed to preserve their own civil government,  laws, and customers; to enjoy their estates, rights, privileges, honors, and exemptions,  with a promise of protection in the free exercise of their religion, until peace  should take place.  No other engagement was required on their part than an oath of  fidelity tot he King of France, to observe a strict neutrality until that happy event  should be accomplished.  They were left at full liberty to dispose of their property at  leisure and to proceed in their commercial affairs as usual; with this father  indulgence, that no merchant ships, the property of the inhabitants of the island or its  dependencies, that might arrive from England within six months, should be liable  to confiscation or seizure.

It is observable that the distinguished traits of generosity in the demeanor of the Marquis  de Bouille were not forgotten by those who witnessed and experienced his  clemency.  Some time after the transactions above related, a large number of gentlemen  in England, belonging to the several islands, met and unanimously passed a  vote expressive of their high sense of gratitude for his humanity, justice, and generosity,  exemplified and displayed in this treatment of the conquered isles; and as a  testimony of their veneration and esteem, they ordered a piece of plate, with an  inscription of their thanks, to be presented him by Sir William Young, chairman of the  committee. [Analytical Register.]

After this short narration of the capture of the island of Tobago and the moderation  shown by the inhabitants by the victor, a further detail is not necessary to contrast  the behavior of the British and French commanders in the West Indies a this period of  the war.

Many particulars through the busy scene kept up in the tropical seas, through this and  the succeeding year, need not here be related; though it is proper to observe  that it was but a few months after the surrender of these islands and the sufferings they  experienced from the severity of the British conquerors, before St. Martin's,  Saba, and St. Eustatia were surprised and recovered by the Marquis de Bouille.

It may be anticipating time, yet, to prevent the interruption of the story of other events, it  will not be deemed improper to continue the narration of the insular war that  raged with unabating fury in the West Indies through the succeeding year.

From the arrival of the Count de Grasse in these seas, with his brave, victorious fleet  from the Chesapeake, at the close of the year 1781, not the smallest mitigation  of the horrors of war took place until after the defeat of the squadron commanded by  him, an event which did not happen until April 12, 1782.

Soon after the entire ruin of the inhabitants of St. Eustatia, Sir George B. Rodney had  returned to England with his disgraceful booty, the indiscriminate spoils of the  aged, the innocent, and the affluent.  He was graciously received by His Majesty and the  ministry; but, his laurels stained by his avarice an cruelty, it was impossible,  either by address, deception, or effrontery to parry the severe reprehensions he received  from some of the first nobility in the House of Lords, as well as from many  members of distinction and talent in the House of Commons.  A particular inquiry into  his conduct and that of General Vaughan was urged in the most strenuous and  pathetic manner, but with little effect.  Notwithstanding the general sense of mankind  criminated the inhumanity of their proceedings, yet the favoritism that generally  prevails in courts overruled, as usual, the dictates of justice, and all investigation was  postponed.

Admiral Rodney was again immediately sent out in full force, with design to prevent the  valuable island of Jamaica from falling under the arms of France.  Indeed, the  apprehensions of the ministry on this point were sufficiently grounded.  Barbadoes,  Antigua, and Jamaica were all the possessions of consequence that the English  still retained in the West Indies.  The others, as observed, had most of them been  recaptured by the French, who were  pursuing victory with vigilance and success,  and in sanguine expectation of wresting all the wealthy islands from the Crown of  Britain.

When Sir George Bridges Rodney returned to the command in that quarter, where he  arrived about the middle of February 1782, he found the French inspirited by  repeated successes, ready for any enterprise, and a formidable fleet in the highest  preparation for attack or defense.

Jamaica was indeed the prime object of expectation, but the first important step taken by  the Count de Grasse after his arrival in the West Indies was the capture of  the little island of Nevis, where he lost no time, but immediately hastened on and set  down before St. Christopher's.  There he found a large armament had been  landed some days before his arrival by the brave Marquis de Bouille.

Sir Samuel Hood, with 20 sail of the British line, attempted the relief of that island.   This brought on several rencounters between him and the Count de Grasse, with  various success, but with little decision.

St. Christopher's had been vigorously defended five weeks by General Frazer, a brave  British officer. He acquired more honor by his gallant behavior through the  whole siege.  Shirley, governor of Antigua, brought forward 300 or 400 militia and  fought, hazarded, and suffered equally with his friend General Frazer, until  necessity compelled them at last to yield.  The island was surrendered by capitulation to  the Crown of France on February 12, 1782.

The same lenient and generous terms were admitted by the conqueror as had before been  granted by him to the inhabitants of Tobago, Demerara, Essequibo, and  several other places of less consequence than St. Christopher's or St. Eustatia, who had  repeatedly, as well as those, changed their masters in the struggle and were  now again the subjects of France.  But the inhabitants of St. Christopher's, by the  moderate terms of capitulation, were scarcely sensible of a change of sovereignty.   The garrison was permitted the honors of war in the strictest sense.  The troops were  transported to England until an exchange of prisoners should take place.

By a particular article, the Marquis de Bouille, as an acknowledgment of their  intrepidity and valor, discharged Brigadier General Frazer and Governor Shirley, who  had aided in the defense of the island, from the condition of being considered prisoners  of war.  To Mr. Shirley he gave liberty to return to his government in Antigua,  and to General Frazer the permission of continuing in the service of his country, in  whatever place he chose.

The generosity of the Marquis merited and received a large share of applause, both from  friends and foes; and the name of Bouille was everywhere respected, for his  equitable, humane, and honorable deportment toward all the captured islands that fell  into his hands.  But, notwithstanding the valor, the virtue, the magnanimity, and  the repeated successes of the Marquis de Bouille, over the best and bravest troops and  officers that had been employed in any part of the worth; notwithstanding the  fame and valor of the Count de Grasse and the strength of the French navy; fortune soon  changed her face, frowned on the flag of France, caused her lilies again to  droop beneath the showers of fire poured on them by the and of the intrepid Rodney,  and, as usual, placed her laurel son his brow.

On his second arrival in the West Indies, where the Bourbon flag had waved for some  months under the most favorable aspect, he found both his reinforcements and  his vigilance necessary to impede the blow meditated against Jamaica.  A powerful  Spanish fleet had arrived at Hispaniola, also a large number of land forces, amply  supplied with everything necessary to join the Count de Grasse in the designed  expedition. Besides these, there was a body of troops at Cuba for the same purpose.

Though the island of Jamaica still belonged to the British Crown, it was in no respect  prepared for an invasion.  the island was naturally strong and defensible, but  here were few troops in garrison, and the inhabitants, more attentive to their wealth and  pleasure than tenaciously attached to a foreign sovereign of their island,  security was their object, under whatever authority they held their immense estates; and  conquest would have been easy to any power that should guarantee the  enjoyment of fortune, luxury, and idleness.

When Admiral Rodney arrived, they had little to fear.  He was joined by the squadron  under the command of Sir Samuel Hood, and another commanded by  Admiral Drake.  Thus the British flag among the islands appeared in a capacity to  challenge, not only the naval forces of France, but all the maritime powers of  Europe.

Sir George B. Rodney very early and very judiciously endeavored, by various  maneuvers, to draw the French admiral into immediate action.  This the Count de  Grasse was equally industrious to avoid.  he was aware that it might defeat the important  objects before him, and prevent the capture of the most valuable of the  British possessions yet remaining under their jurisdiction.  but, however reluctant, he  was, much against his wishes, obliged first to come to a partial, and within a few  days, to a general engagement.  This ruined the expectations, the enterprise, and the  hopes of the House of Bourbon in this quarter, saved Jamaica from its  impending fate, and destroyed a considerable part of the French fleet.

The conflict was long, severe, and bloody indeed.  The Count de Grasse, the Marquis  Vaudreuil, the renowned Bougainville, and many other characters among the  Gallic commanders had never before experienced the mortification of defeat.  They  fought with the impulse of the brave soldier, the enthusiasm of chivalry, the pride  of nobility, and the dignity of the hero, confident of success.

The order of their line was, however, broken by the experienced and indefatigable  Englishmen, and several of the beset of the French ships were either captured,  sunk, or blown up.  This decisive action began early in the morning and lasted until the  evening.  he carnage on this occasion, on both sides, was sufficient to shock  the boldest heart.  The surrender of the admiral's own ship, the Ville de Paris, of 110 guns, completed the  triumph of the day.  Before the Count de Grasse struck his  colors, he had 400 men slain, and scarcely anyone left on deck without a wound.  This  ship, aimed at as the point of victory by all the British whose thunder could  reach her, was reduced to a wreck, and on the point of sinking, when the admiral  surrendered to Sir Samuel Hood at the close of the day of action.

The commanders of the other ships in the French navy conducted with equal gallantry,  and suffered in equal proportion with the Ville de Paris.  the captains of the  Centaur, the Glorieux, and the Caesar did themselves immortal honor in the eye of  military glory.  They kept their stations until most of their men were killed or  wounded, their canvas short away, and their ships reduced to splinters, before they  submitted; and the lives of many valiant seamen, with some of their bravest  officers, was the price of victory to their enemies.

On the other side, the loss of many valiant men and distinguished officers spread a  temporary glom over the face of success.  Among the number of gallant  Englishmen who fell on this awful day of carnage, no one was more lamented than the  commander of the Resolution, Lord Robert Manners, the only son of the  Marquis of Granby, whose gallant and noble military exploits have perpetuated his  fame; nor did his son fall short of his merit, or in any respect disgrace the memory  of this heroic father.

After the surrender of the Count de Grasse, which terminate the action, he was received  on board a British ship with the highest marks of respect, and uniformly  treated with every attention due to his distinguished character.  The commanders  Bougainville and Vaudreuil conducted the remainder of the fleet which escaped  capture or sinking, to Cape Francois; and Admiral Rodney, with his wounded ships an  numerous prizes, repaired to Jamaica to refit, and to secure that island from  any further danger of attack, either from France or Spain.

The Count de Grasse was immediately conveyed to England in the Sandwich, of 90  guns, commanded by Sir Peter Parker, who had the honor of delivering this  noble prisoner on the shores which had long dreaded his prowess.

The reception of the unfortunate French commander at the Court of Great Britain, by  His Majesty, by the royal family, and by all ranks, was in the highest degree  respectful.  His own sword, which, according to form, had been delivered to Sir George  Bridges Rodney, was returned to his hand by the King Himself.  Apartments  were provided for him in the royal hotel; and during his short residence in England,  nothing was neglected that could in any degree ameliorate the mortification of a  mind inured to victory, an amid expectations of conquest reduced to a state of captivity.

All that a most sumptuous elegance and hospitality could invent was displayed, to  express the general esteem of the firs characters in the nation, and the high sense  entertained by every class of people, of the magnanimity, merits, and misfortunes of the  brave and noble commander of the French navy.  He, indeed, needed  consolations superior to the efforts of politeness and humanity.  He was sensible that his  court was disgusted, and his nation chagrined beyond description, at the  disappointment of their projects, the loss of the Ville de Paris, and the destruction of  other capital ships.  the wound given to national pride appeared in the  countenance of every Frenchman on this unexpected degradation of the Bourbon flag.  "The Ville de Paris in the Thames," was mentioned with a shrug of contempt  by everyone; and a subscription was set on foot among the Parisians for another ship of  the same name, size, and weight of metal, to be immediately built.

Public opinion had its usual operation on military character, which seldom escapes  untarnished when not accompanied by success.  Thus, ;while the Count de Grasse  was oppressed by public considerations, and the odium mankind are prone to attach to  misfortune, his feelings were hurt by the personal sufferings of himself and his  family, and the imagined depreciation of fame; and in addition to the fear of a sinking  reputation, the death of a favorite son completed the climax of his afflictions.

This amiable and promising young gentleman, unable to bear the reverse of fortune, the   reproaches, however unjust, which he feared might all upon his father, and  the incalculable consequences to his family that might take place in a despotic court,  from the present misfortune, put a period to his own existence by a pistol ball,  soon after the tiding of his father's defeat. [The writer had the above account verbally of  the death of the son of the Count de Grasse, from a gentleman then in  Paris.]

Thus merit languished in captivity, assailed by private sorrow, apprehensive of public  censure, and uncertain of the duration of his confinement, or the grade of  punishment that might be inflicted by his King. He very well knew that in an arbitrary  court, death or the Bastille might cover his head forever, for the failure of  achievements impracticable by the valor of man.  Meanwhile, the rival of his glory, or  rather the conqueror of the noble count, might justly be deemed one of the  favorite sons of fortune.

Sir George B. Rodney was undoubtedly a brave officer, and his repeated successes in  the West Indies greatly augmented his military fame;.  But for his cruelty and  his avarice the preceding year, he was justly and severely censured by every virtuous  man in the nation. His accumulation of property in the plunder of the Dutch and  French islands, was thought abundantly sufficient to have satisfied the grasping hand of  avarice, without the extreme of rapacity exercised toward every individual of  the conquered plantations.

Though in the midst of inquiry into his conduct he had again been sent out on the most  honorable command, his cruelty on the capture of St. Eustatia was not  forgotten in his absence.  His injustice toward Messrs. Hohen, Courzen, Governier, and  others was brought forward and criminated in the most pointed language. A  scrutiny was again called for in the House of Commons.  His reputation impeached; and  a supercedure of his command directed.

But at the critical moment when his destruction was ripening, the news of his splendid  and decided victory over so respectable a part of the French navy hushed the  voice of clamor, and even of justice.  The suffering islanders were forgotten in the  exultation of national glory.  His friends were emboldened, his enemies silenced, his  interest reestablished; and instead of a rigid censure for former transactions, he received  the thanks of Parliament for his services.  This was accompanied by the  acclamations of the people, and the applauses of the nation, for his victory over their  hereditary enemies; a victory that secured to Great Britain her insular  possessions, checked the pride of the House of Bourbon, and was felt with no small  degree of mortification by the American states.  The smiles of the Court and the  favor of the King lifted him to rank, and on his return, he was by His Sovereign created  a peer so the realm of England.  To this dignity was added a pension of 2000  pounds sterling per annum, during his own life, and the lives of the two next successors  to the title of Lord Rodney.

The maritime spirit of Britain has always been encouraged and kept up by the  munificent rewards of royal bounty, to all who signalize themselves by their naval  prowess. This encourages the nobility to place their sons in the navy at an early period  of life, as the road to preferment.  The service was always deemed honorable;  and the interests and feelings of the first families in the nation were engaged to support  the respectability of maine employ.  This, with many other combining  circumstances, has contributed to the strength, glory, and terror of the British navy, and  raised it to a pitch of elevation and fame, scarcely paralleled in any notion,  either ancient or modern.

But the time may arrive when the haughty superiority of her fleets may be checked and  their power and aggression be restrained by a combination formed on  principles of justice and humanity, among all the nations that Britain has insulted and  invaded, under the domination of her proud flag.  She may feel an irresistible  opposition; an opposition that may redound to the advantage of commerce, the peace of  mankind, and the prevention of that wanton waste of human life, that has  cemented her strength, and at once rendered Great Britain respected and dreaded,  envied, and perhaps, in a degree, hated by all the nations; who were sometimes  ready to apprehend that the axiom formed in Greece about 3000 years ago that -- The  nation that is master at sea will become master on the continent -- might be  realized in modern Europe.


Chapter Twenty-Five:  Continuation of naval rencounters. Affair of Count Byland. Sir  Hyde Parker and Admiral Zeutman.  Commodore Johnstone ordered to the Cape of Good Hope. Admiral Kempenfelt. Loss  of the Royal George. Baron de  Rullincort's expedition to the Isle of Jersey. Capture of Minorca. Gibraltar again  besieged, defended, and relieved.  Mr.  Adams's negotiations with the Dutch provinces.

While the active and interesting scenes in the West Indies, related in the preceding  pages, commanded the attention of America, and deranged the systems of France,  other objects of importance, by sea as well as by land, equally occupied the arms, the  industry, and the energies of the European powers, and equally affected the  great cause of freedom and the entire independence of the United States.  The French  navy had indeed suffered much in the West Indies, and the Batavians there  were nearly ruined by the unexpected operations of war. Yet the Dutch flag still waved  with honor over the ocean, and in several instances maintained the courage,  the character, and the glory won by their Van Trumps, de Ruyters, and other naval  heroes distinguished in their history.

They had been called out to try their strength on the ocean, by the open hostilities of  Britain, in consequence of a declaration by the King, which relieved them from a  state of suspense. This declaration, dated April 1780, annihilated all former treaties of  neutrality, friendship, or connection and suspended all stipulations respecting  the freedom of navigation and commerce in time of war, with the subjects of the States- General.

A few weeks previous to the date of this declaration of war, the government of Great  Britain had exercised its assumed right of searching the vessels of all nations for  contraband goods.  This presumptuous right they had for many years arrogated to  themselves, though no other nation had acceded to the claim. Yet it had been  submitted to, from want of power sufficient for an effectual opposition, while all  considered it an infringement on the free trade of nations that could not be justified by  the laws of equity.

A number of Dutch merchantmen, laden with  timber and naval stores for the use of  France had taken the advantage of sailing under the protection of Count Byland,  who, with a small fleet of men of war and frigates, was to escort a convoy to the  Mediterranean.  In consequence of this intelligence, the English government sent out a  squadron of armed ships under the command of Captain Fielding, in pursuit of them,  with a commission to search, seize, and make prizes of any of the Dutch ships  that might have on board articles deemed contraband goods, according to the  construction of the British laws of trade.

The Dutch refused to submit to the humiliating orders. Notwithstanding which, Fielding  dispatched a number of boats to execute the business.  These were fired upon  by the Dutchmen; on which, Captain Fielding fired a shot across the head of the Dutch  admiral's ship, who returned a broadside.  This salute was answered in a  manner that might have been expected from a British naval commander, and several  shot were exchanged.  But Count Byland, though sensible that he was in force  sufficient for a severe action that might ensure, from the humane idea of saving the lives  of his men, thought proper to strike his colors and surrender to the English.  [British Annual Register.]

In the meantime, most of the convoy, under cover of night, made their escape into some  of the ports of France. The remainder were detained; and the Dutch admiral  informed that he was at liberty to hoist his colors and pursue his voyage.  He refused to  leave any part of his convoy, but hoisted his colors and sailed with them to  Spithead, where he continued until he received fresh instructions from his masters.

This affair enkindled much resentment in the bosoms of the Hollanders, who considered  an attempt to search their ships as an act of unwarrantable insolence.  This,  with many other concurring circumstances which then existed, had ripened their minds  for the open rupture which soon after took place between the English and  Dutch governments.

Many feats of maritime bravery were exhibited on the ocean during the existing war  between the two nations.  The most signal event of the kind in the European seas  the same year was an action which took place between Admiral Zeutman, commander of  the Dutch fleet, and Sir Hyde Parker, who commanded a British squadron  of superior force.  They met near a place called Dogger-Bank, as Admiral Parker was  returning from Elsineur with a large convoy.  An engagement immediately  took place. Equal valor and prowess animated the officers on each side, and equal fury  and bravery stimulated the sailors. An action bloody indeed was kept up for  three or four hours, but without either allowing the honor of victory to hi antagonist.

After a short pause, within a little distance from each other, they withdrew to their  native shores.  Admiral Zeutman was honored, caressed promoted, and happy in  

the applauses of his countrymen; while Admiral Parker returned chagrined and  disgusted. He indeed received the approbation and was honored with a visit from the  King and an invitation to dine with him on board the royal yacht; but he refused the  honor of knighthood His Majesty was about to confer on him, complained heavily  that he had not been properly supported, and attributed the escape of any part of the  Dutch fleet to the negligence of the Admiralty.

Notwithstanding the renown of the British navy, the nation had little to boast from the  termination of several marine adventures, through the course of the present  year.  Their fleets had fallen under some disappointments and disasters, which  heightened the clamor against the admiralty officers, and increased the discontent of  the nation.

Commodore Johnstone, with a handsome squadron, had been ordered to sail for and take  possession of the Cape of Good Hope.  Had he succeeded, his next  enterprise was designed to surprise Buenos Ayres, and sweep the Spanish settlements  from Rio de la Plata, in South America. But he was attacked by Monsieur de  Suffrein, who intercepted him near Cape de Verde Islands. Johnstone was found rather  in an unguarded situation. A considerable number of the officers and men  were on shore at the Island of St. Jago, in pursuit of health and pleasure, and many of  the crews of all the ships were absent, employed either in hunting, fishing, or  plundering cattle from the islands.

Signals for repairing on board were made, and an action immediately ensured, but it did  not redound to the honor of the British commander.  After suffering much in  the engagement, and his original design totally defeated, he returned homewards, with  the small reparation of his ill fortune by the capture of a few Dutch East India  ships, which were at anchor in the Bay of Soldana.

The brave Admiral Kempenfelt was not much more fortunate in an interview with the  French fleet which he met with in the winter 1781. This squadron, commanded  by Monsieur Guichen, was unexpectedly to him so much superior to his own that  Admiral Kempenfelt did not think it prudent to engage.  He, however, captured a  number of transports laden with all the implements of war, and upwards of 1000 French  soldiers and sailors, designed for the West Indies.

Success so inadequate to expectation was the occasion of much uneasiness and censure  in the nation.  The First Lord of the Admiralty was charged with  negligence  and incapacity, in conducting the maritime affairs of England. The magnitude of the  object, and the strength of the combined foes of Great Britain required the first  abilities, penetration, and industry; neither of which adorned the character of Lord  Sandwich, the First Minister in the Naval department.  But the great Admiral  Kempenfelt lived but a short space after his late disappointment, either to reap the  applauses or to fear the censures that arose from the fortuitous or natural events of  time.

His ship, the Royal George, of 118 guns, required a slight repair before he proceeded, as  was designed, to join the fleet before Gibraltar.  For this purpose, the ship  a little on the careen, the weather fine, and no danger to be apprehended, a great crowd  of persons of both sexes were on board to visit and take leave of their  husbands, brothers, and friends, when a sudden, small gust of wind struck the ship, and  carried her instantly down.

In this unfortunate moment, perished near 1000 persons, among whom was the  respected admiral himself, who had scarcely time to rise from his writing desk after  the alarm, before he met his watery grave. [Annual Register.]

A few of the guards and most of the men who happened to be on the upper deck were  picked up by boats and saved from sharing the melancholy catastrophe of  their associates.

No man could have been more justly and universally lamented than Admiral  Kempenfelt.  Far advanced in years, he had retained a character unimpeached in his  professional line, nor was he less meritorious in his deportment in private life.

The various naval rencounters among the contending powers were too diffuse for the  present design, which is meant only as a sketch of a few of the most important  events, in order to give a general idea of the sources of censure or applause bestowed on  the principal actors.  It may also elucidate the causes of that weight of  opprobrium which fell on the Admiralty Department in England, at the close of the war.   The bravery of many of the British naval commanders was signalized though  existing circumstances so frequently combined to render abortive their valorous  exertions.

Amid the many enterprises of this busy period among the nations, it would not be just to  pass over the year without recollecting the honor due to a young hero who  perished in the gallant defense of the island of Jersey.

The unsuccessful attempt made to reduce the place by a number of troops commanded  by the Baron de Rullincort, in the year 1780, did not discourage a second  enterprise. This first attempt was finally defeated by relief from Admiral Arbuthnot,  who was then on his way to America.  He had thought proper to stop and lend  his assistance to prevent the impending fate of the island.  It is true he saved it from  falling into the hands of the French at that time, but a very heavy balance of  disadvantage was felt in consequence of this delay. The very large reinforcement and the  prodigious number of transports and merchantmen under his convoy, thus  retarded, operated among other causes to prevent timely succors to Lord Cornwallis, of  which he stood in the utmost necessity in Virginia.

On January 6, 1781, the Baron de Rullincort made a second effort to recover the island  of Jersey.  The design was so secret and the attack so sudden that the  out-guards were surprised, and the avenues to the town of St. Helena seized, while the  inhabitants lay in perfect security.  In the morning of the 7th, in the utmost  dismay, they found themselves in the hands of their enemies.

Major Corbet, the lieutenant governor, received the first intelligence that the French  troops were in possession of the town, from his own servant, before he had risen  from his bed.  He was in a few minutes after surrounded and taken prisoner; and by the  peremptory demand of the Baron de Rullincort, he was so far intimidated as  to sign a capitulation in behalf of the town, and issued orders that his officers on the  their stations should do the same.

A few of them obeyed; but Captain Pierson, a brave young officer of only 25 years of  age, assembled the militia of the island, and with a party of British troops  withdrew to the neighboring heights, on which the French commander, agreeably to the  articles of capitulation, summoned him to surrender.  Instead of a  compliance, he, with the utmost intrepidity, advertised the Baron de Rullincort, that  unless he and his troops laid down their arms and surrendered within 24 minutes,  he should attack them in their post.

At the expiration of this short time, Captain Pierson, agreeably to his threat, proceeded  to the desperate enterprise. This was done with such vigor and success that  the French were driven to a decided action. The Baron de Rullincort was morally  wounded; and within half an hour from the commencement of the engagement, the  French troops were totally routed, and Major Corbet, who was kept as a forlorn hope by  the side of their commander until Rullincort fell, was urged by the French  troops to resume his command and permit them to surrender as prisoners of war.

But the valiant Pierson did not live to enjoy the fruits of this splendid action, or  applauses of his country.  He was unfortunately shot through the head, almost at the  moment victory declared in his favor.  The death of this brave young office, who a so  early a period had exhibited such proofs of military genius and capacity, was  greatly an justly lamented.  On the other hand, the passive Corbet was tried by court  martial censured, and dismissed from further service.  While engravings of the  action and the portraits of Captain Pierson were displayed through the nation,  accompanied with the highest encomium on his valor and merit.

It has been observed that Spaniards had never relinquished their design of subduing the  strong fortress of Gibraltar, though obliged the last year to suspend it for a  time. The reduction of Minorca previous to their progress against Gibraltar, was by the  Spaniards deemed an object of high importance.  The island was invested by  an armament under the command of the Duke of Crillon, in August 1781; but the  conquest was not completed until February 4, 1782.

Many circumstances peculiarly affecting accompanied the siege and surrender of Fort  St. Philip. Shut up by a large armament, surrounded by a heavy train of  artillery, commanded by the most able and experienced officers, the garrison was totally  unable to make any effectual resistance.  They were reduced by an  inveterate scurvy that had long prevailed, infested with a pestilential fever, dysentery,  and other disorders, without medicine for the sick or food for the healthy: no  extreme of misery could exceed theirs before they yielded to the arms of Spain.

Yet, in  this condition of wretchedness they displayed every mark of valor and fortitude,  until the combined circumstances of distress obliged the remnant of British  troops, reduced to about 600, old, worn-out, emaciated skeletons, to lay down their  arms. This they did with tears of regret and with an exclamation extorted by the  

pride of valor that they "submitted to God alone."

Their appearance and their behavior equally excited the sympathy of the conqueror, and  even drew involuntary tears from the victorious soldiers amid the glory of  success.  The most compassionate attention was shown to those aged and unfortunate  veterans who had been 11 years in garrison, by the noble Crillon, who directed  everything necessary to be provided for the relief of the sick and ample supplies of  prison and clothing were furnished by him, for the naked troops who still retained  a degree of health.

We now leave events of less observation and notoriety to pursue the termination of the  interesting siege of Gibraltar.  In the beginning of the autumn of the present  year, all the powers of invention were called forth to bring into action the most  ingenious and fatal means of destruction; and the most glorious display of European  valor was exhibited before the impregnable fortress of Gibraltar, that perhaps any age  had beheld.

 Battering ships of formidable size, and fireworks of the most curious construction  awakened the attention in all.  The fierce sons of Ishmael, whose hands are against  every man, and every man's hand against them, at this time held their work of carnage  among the tributary nations near their own coasts. [It may be properly asked,  whenever the mind adverts to the situation and circumstances of the Barbary states, how  long the European world will submit to their lawless depredations? It is a  strange phenomenon in human affairs that the nations should so long have been kept in  awe by their corsairs, and be compelled from time to time to purchase a  temporary peace, by becoming tributary to a people so much inferior to themselves in  manners, in arts, in arms, and in everything that aggrandizes the powers of the  earth.]  As they took no part in the conflict, the barbarian shores of Africa were covered  with spectators, to view the frightful engines and the awful play of the  artillery of death.

The Duke of Crillon was vested with the chief command of the mighty armament  destined for the reduction of this proud fortress that thundered defiance to all the  neighboring nations.  Minorca reduced, and some other impediments surmounted, the  Duke, in conjunction with some of the first naval commanders in Europe,  opened the formidable onset about September 10.  He was an officer equally  distinguished for his politeness and his bravery. The last was conspicuously displayed  from the beginning to the termination of this awful enterprise; and a signal instance of  the first appeared when he sent a supply of vegetables and other delicacies for  the table of General Elliot, while the garrison was almost without the smallest means of  subsistence.

This present was accompanied with the highest expressions of personal regards for the  British commander.  The Duke de Crillon assured him, "that he cherished a  hope of meriting and meeting his future friendship, after he had learned to make himself  worthy of that honor by facing him as an enemy."  General Elliot replied with  equal gallantry that however he felt himself obliged by those tenders of politeness and  generosity, yet as long as his brave troops suffered and patiently endured a  scarcity of provisions, he should accept nothing for himself; that as he was determined  to participate in common with the lowest of his fellow soldiers, every hardship  they might suffer, he must of consequence be excused from the acceptance of any future  favor.

The Count de Artois, a brother of the King, and many other princes of the blood of  France and the royal house of Spain, were in the action before Gibraltar; an  action that surpassed the descriptive pen of the historian or the poet, to do ample justice  to the display of military skill in both parties, to the magnificence of design,  the intrepidity of execution, the grandeur of the scene, and the valor and magnanimity of  both officers and soldiers.

6000 canon shot, and upwards of 1000 shells were discharged on one side every 24  hours; while an equal scale of vigor was kept up by the unceasing blaze of the  other, until several of the best ships of the assailants were blown up, others enwrapped  in a torrent of fire and reduced to such a scene of misery and distress as  excited not only the pity, but the boldest exertions of the valiant English in several  instances, to snatch their enemies from destruction and death.

The intrepid Captain Curtis at the head of a brigade of marines, and at the hazard of his  own life and the lives of his associates, dragged many men on the point of  perishing from the burning ships of the combined fleet.

The Spanish Admiral don Marino abandoned his ship but the moment before she was  blown up.  A number of ships, both of France and Spain were reduced to the  same distressed condition.  A severe storm increased the catastrophe of the navy; but  every compassionate mind will be willing to abridge a particular detail of such  a period of horror; a period which portrayed images that seem to require a solemn pause,  rather than a further dilation on the wretchedness of so many of our  fellow-mortals.

Lord Howe's arrival, toward the termination of this tremendous scene, with a force  sufficient for the entire relief of the besieged, completely defeated the hopes of the  the House of Bourbon, of obtaining the long contemplated object.  Thus this strong  fortress, of which the English had been in possession from t he Treaty of Utrecht  in 1731, was again left to the triumph of the British nation.  Its impregnable strength had  often defied the hostilities and as now likely to continue the envy of the  neighboring nations.

The memory of Elliot and Boyde, the two principal officers who sustained this long and  perilous siege, will be immortalized.  They, with unexampled fortitude,  endured the miseries of fatigue and famine, until worn down by the first and on the point  of perishing by the last.  With skill, bravery, and resolution, unparalleled in  modern story, they drove back the formidable invaders, blasted the expectations of their  enemies, and obtained the most signal victory, when all Europe had  denounced the fall of Gibraltar.

It was about the middle of October when Lord Howe arrived, with everything necessary  for the relief of the distressed garrison. This extinguished all remains of hope  that might have been indulged in the breasts of some individuals among the  commanders of the combined fleet, already too much wounded an shattered for  exertions  of any kind.  It is true a feint was made for an engagement with the British fleet, by don  de Cordova on the part of Spain and Monsieur de Guichen the French  admiral; but they soon discovered themselves willing to retire, without any decisive  operations.  The greatest part of the squadron took the first favorable opportunity  to sheer off, and repaired with all possible expedition to Cadiz.

Let us now rest a little from the roar of cannon, and the dread sound of bombardment,  thunder, and death, those horrid interpreters of the hostile dispositions of man,  and listen to the milder voice of negotiation.  This often assimilates or unites nations by  more rational and humane discussions than the implements of slaughter and  destruction produce; and political altercations are frequently terminated before decisions  are announced by torrents of fire, spouted by the invention of man, to  spread frightful desolation over his own species.

The capture of Mr. Laurens, who had been appointed to negotiate with the Dutch  provinces, and the steps taken to effect a treaty of amity and commerce between  the United States of America and the inhabitants of the Netherlands, have already bee  related; also, the manner in which his packages were recovered by an  adventurous sailor.  In this deposit as found, when presented to the British minister, the  form of a treaty of amity and commerce between the Republic of Holland and  the United States of America, containing 34 articles.  These were indeed obnoxious  enough to the Court of Great Britain; but it appeared that it had been a very  deliberate business.  These articles had been examined and weighed by William Lee,  esquire, a commissioner from Congress then resident in Europe.  This had been  done by the advice of Van Berkel, counselor and pensioner of the city of Amsterdam,  and some other judicious Dutchmen.  Thus everything had promised the  speedy completion of  treaty between the two republics. [See copies of these papers  found in Mr. Laurens's trunk in the British Annual Register, 1780, in Journals of  Congress, and many other records.]

In consequence of this discovery, orders were sent to the British minister resident at the  Hague, which were acted upon by him with energy and fidelity. Sir Joseph  Yorke complained and memorialized to the States-General on the nature and form of the  designed treaty. He also expatiated on the conduct of many of the principal  characters in the several united provinces and on the treacherous and dangerous nature  and tendency to Great Britain of several other papers and letters found  among Mr. Laurens's dispatches.

He repeated his complaints of the countenance and protection given by their High  Mightinesses to the piratical Paul Jones, while lying in the Texel, and recapitulated  other circumstances of their conduct which had given offense to his nation; and  intimated that he expected within three weeks from the date of his memorial some  decided answer would be given relative to the succors reclaimed eight months before;  otherwise His Majesty would look upon their conduct as breaking off the  alliance on the part of their High Mightinesses, and would not in future consider the  United Provinces in any other light than on a footing with other neutral powers,  unprivileged by treaty.  But the minister obtained little satisfaction from the reply of  their High Mightinesses, or the deportment of the Hollanders.

The sum of their short reply was that their High Mightinesses were very desirous to  coincide with the wishes of the King of England, but they could give no positive  answer to his memorial, as it was impossible to return an answer in the short term of  three weeks.  They observed that the memorial must be deliberated upon by the  several provinces, and their resolutions waited for; that they were persuaded His  Majesty would not wish rigorously to adhere to the afore mentioned time.  They  waved the business by observing further "that their High Mightinesses might be able to  conclude upon an answer in a manner conformable to the constitution of the  Republic, in which they had no right to make any alteration; and promised to accelerate  the deliberations on that head as much as possible."

The final result, however, was that within a short time the vengeance of Britain was  denounced against the Hollanders by an explicit declaration of war.  This in some  measure relieved the Batavian provinces from the constrained attitude in which they had  for some time stood between Great Britain and the United States of  America. But no treaty of alliance, amity, and commerce was settled between the two  republics until it was effected by the negotiation of Mr. Adams, who was  appointed by Congress and repaired to the Hague immediately after the unfortunate  capture of Mr. Laurens; but the business of his mission was not completed until  the present year.

On Mr. Adams's arrival in Holland, he found everything in a happy train for negotiation;  the people well-disposed, and many of the most distinguished characters  zealous for a treaty with the American states, without any farther delay. Perhaps no man  was better qualified to treat with the Batavians, than Mr. Adams.  His  manners and habits were much more assimilated to the Dutch than to the French nation.   He rendered himself acceptable to them by associating much with the  common classes, by which he penetrated their views. Yet he made himself acquainted  with the first literary characters among the citizens.  He took lodgings at  Amsterdam for several months at the house of Mr. Dumas, a man of some mercantile  interest, considerable commercial knowledge, not acquainted with manners or  letters, but much attached to the Americans, from the general predilection of Dutchmen  in favor of republicanism.

Though this was the disposition of most of the inhabitants of the United Provinces, yet,  as has been observed, there was a party attached to the Stadtholder, and to  the measures of the British cabinet, that hung as a dead weight on the wishes of the  generality of their countrymen, and for a time retarded the business of the  American plenipotentiary.

Vigilant himself, and urged by men of the best information in the Batavian provinces,  Mr. Adams, soon after his arrival in Holland, presented a long memorial to the  States-General.  In this he sketched some general ideas of the principles and the grounds  of the Declaration of Independence, and the unanimity with which it was  received and supported by all the thirteen united colonies in America. [See Mr. Adams's  memorial presented to the States-General 1781.]

He vindicated the American claim to independence in a very handsome manner, and represented it as the  interest of all the powers of Europe, and more particularly of the United  Provinces of the Netherlands, to support and maintain that claim.  He pointed out the  

natural and political grounds of a commercial connection between America and  Holland, reminded them of the similarity of their religious and political principles, of  their long and arduous struggles to secure their rights, of the sufferings of their  

ancestors to establish their privileges on principles which their sons could never derelict.   In short, he urged in the memorial every reason for an alliance, with  clearness, precision, and strength of argument.  He observed "that principles founded in  eternal justice and the laws of God and nature both dictated to them to cut in  sunder all ties which had connected them with  Great Britain." [Memorial.]

Before Mr. Adams presented this memorial, he had been indefatigable in his endeavors  to cherish the attachment already felt by individual characters, toward the  cause of America, and to strengthen the favorable opinion that most of the Dutch  provinces had adopted before his arrival in Holland.

He had at the request of a private gentleman, [Dr. Calkoen, an eminent civilian of the  city of Amsterdam.] given him in a series of letters, a general idea of the  situation of America before and at the present period.  He drew a portrait of her temper,  her manners, her views, and her deportment. He stated the universal  alienation and aversion to Great Britain, that prevailed throughout the United States;  their ability to endure the protraction of the war; and observed on the small  proportion of people that still adhered to the royal cause.  He gave a concise statement of  the public debt, the resources and population of America; and asserted  that they could boast a multitude of characters of equal ability to support the American  cause, either in the field or in Congress, on the supposable circumstance that  any of the officers of the one or the other should be corrupted by British gold.

In one of these letters he observed that "they considered themselves not only contending  for the purest principles of liberty, civil and religious, but against the greatest  evils that any country ever suffered; for they knew, if they were deceived by England to  break their union  among themselves and their faith with their allies, they  would ever after be in the power of England, who would bring them into the most abject  submission to the government of a Parliament the most corrupted in the  world, in which they would have no voice or influence, at 3000 miles distance." [See  letter second to Dr. Calkoen.]

In another letter to the same gentleman, he affirms, "that nothing short of an entire  alteration of sentiment in the whole body of the people can make any material  change in the councils or conduct of the United States; and that Great Britain had not  power or art enough to change essentially, the temper, the feelings, and the  opinions of between 3 million and 4 million people, at 3000 miles distance, supported as  they are by powerful allies; that the people in America were too enlightened  to be deceived in any great plan of policy.  They understood the principles and nature of  government too well to be imposed on any proposals short of their object."  [Their object then was a free, independent republic, without any approximation to regal  authority, or monarchic usages.  There was then no sighing for rank, titles,  and the expensive trappings of nobility.]

 These letters were published and put into the hands of influential characters and had a  powerful effect on the liberal minds of the Batavians, already pre-disposed to  union and friendship with the Americans.  No  ready reply was made by the States-

General to the judicious memorial presented by Mr. Adams. In consequence of  this delay, petitions, remonstrances, and addresses were presented to their High  Mightinesses from all the Dutch provinces.  In these, they urged both the propriety  and the policy of receiving a public minister in due form, from the United states of  America.

The deputies to the States-General were everywhere instructed to concur in the measure  of receiving Mr. Adams as ambassador from the American Congress,  without farther deliberation.  they insisted that his letters of credence should be received,  an that negotiations should be immediately entered on, between him and the  high authorities of the United Provinces.  Yet, still the business lagged heavily.  The  intrigues of the Duke of Brunswick, the favorite and prime counselor of the  Stadtholder, and the influence of the British minister were for a time an overbalance for  the energy of republican resolves or entreaties.

This occasioned great dissatisfaction. A general murmur was heard through the several  departments in the Dutch provinces.  The measures of the court, and the  Duke of Brunswick as the adviser, were attacked from the presses; his dismissal as field  marshal was urged; and his retirement from Holland insisted on.  To him, in  conjunction with the designs of England and the subservience of the Stadtholder to the  cabinet of Britain as attributed the derangement of their marine, and the  mismanagement of all their public affairs.

Previous to this, in the Assembly of the States of Guelderland, in November, 1781,  Robert Jasper Van de Capellen, in a very spirited speech, enforced with  much  precision, the necessity of opposing the measures which had created a general  discordance through all the provinces of Holland.

He observed, "that a mean condescension, a fawning compliance with the measures of  England ought no longer to prevent us from acknowledging the independence  of a republic, which after our own glorious example, has acquired its freedom by arms,  and is daily striving to shake off entirely the galling yoke of our common  enemy."  He said it was his opinion, that a treaty of amity between the two republics had  been already too long held in suspense, and that it was injuring both nations  for their High Mightinesses to postpone the reception of the American minister, or keep  back the negotiation.

This was the general spirit of the most distinguished members of the provinces, while  Mr. Adams still persevered in every prudent measure to facilitate the object of  his mission.  He was everywhere cordially received as an American, respected as a  republican, and considered in the light of an ambassador from a new and great  nation.

Mr. Adams was not, indeed, honored with a reply to his first memorial, but he was too  zealous in the cause of his country to submit long to such an evasive step.   Determined to bring on a speedy decision, a short time only elapsed before the  American minister, without waiting for a replication to his first, presented a second  address to the States-General.  In this, he referred them to his former memorial and  demanded a categorical answer that he might be able to transmit to the authority  under which he acted an account of his negotiation. [See Mr. Adams's address presented  to Van der Sandheuvel, president of the States-General, January 9, 1782.]

This second memorial was more effective in promoting the wishes of the friends of  America than any previous step.  We have already seen, from a variety of  circumstances, that such was the desire, not only of the mercantile, but of most of the  distinguished and patriotic characters in Holland, to enter into a close alliance  with the American states, that it could not longer be postponed, without throwing the  United Provinces into distraction and confusion that could not easily have been  accommodated. The resolute and undaunted deportment of Mr. Adams, concurring with  their dispositions, and with the interests and views of the United  Netherlands, at last accomplished the object of his mission, entirely on his own, and to  the satisfaction of both republics, though it had been impede by Great Britain,  and not encouraged by any other power in Europe.

On April 22, 1782, Mr. Adams was admitted to the Hague, and with the usual  ceremonies on such occasions, received as a minister plenipotentiary from the United  States of America.

Articles of alliance and a treaty of amity were signed by both parties, and a loan of  money was soon offered by the Dutch, and accepted by Mr. Adams for the use  of the United states.  This treaty of alliance and friendship between the sister republics  of Holland and America was the subject of much triumph to the latter, and not  less to the minister who finished the negotiation.  Every expression of satisfaction and  joy appeared in all classes of inhabitants through the Batavian provinces, on the  confirmation of their union and alliance with a sister republic.

The treaty between their High Mightinesses the States-General and the United States of  America contained 29 articles.  They were in substance, first that there  should be a firm, indissoluble, and general peace between the United Provinces of the  Netherlands and the United States of America, and the citizens, inhabitants of  their respective states.  The second and third articles stipulated mutually the duties to be  paid and the freedom of trade and navigation, without interruption by either  nation, to whatever part of the universe their trade might be extended.

The fourth article was principally relative to the rights of commerce, the enjoyment of  their own religion, and the rites of decent sepulture to persons who might die in  the territories of their allies. A number of other articles were inserted which discovered,  even in their treaties, the peculiar taste, genius, and apprehensions of  republicans.  They were in language and expression, in several instances, very different  from the usual style and manner observed between monarchic powers, more  tenacious of the obedience of their subjects, while living, than attentive to the  preservation of their lives or to the decent deposit of their ashes, when dead.

The other articles contained in this treaty, principally related to commercial intercourse  between the contending powers.  These were of great importance to the  Dutch, whose energies were remarkable as a trading nation; nor were they of less  consideration to the Americans, whose advantages promised that they might  become one of the first commercial powers in the world.

The British minister, Sir Joseph Yorke, sent on for the purpose, still zealously  endeavored, as he had done before, to shake the engagements of the Republic of  Holland, and draw them off from the interests of the American states.  Though the Court  of Great Britain had been irritated until they had proceeded too the most  vigorous and severe measures against the Dutch, yet on the successes of America, and  the prospect of new acquisitions of strength and dignity from foreign alliances,  they had condescended so far, as to permit their minister to make proposals of a separate  

peace with the Untied States of Holland.

These overtures for a separate peace, which England had recently made, might probably  quicken the measures of the Unite States of Holland, and hasten the  completion of the wishes of the Americans.  They were rejected with disdain by the  honest republicans; and at this period of amity between the tow republics, the  American minister boasted in a letter to the author that he "should look down with  pleasure from the other world, on the American flag-staff planted in Holland."

The exultation and joy exhibited in the Batavian provinces, on signing the treaty  between the two republics, was more than usually animated, and rose to an  exhilaration of spirits seldom discovered in such a phlegmatic nation.  Among many  other instances of the general approbation of the measure, a society of citizens  established at Leon Warden, under the motto Liberty and Zeal, presented a medal to the  States of Friesland, as the first public body that had explicitly proposed a  connection and alliance with the American states.

No people on earth were more passionately enamored with liberty, or more obstinate in  the defense of freedom than the inhabitants of Friesland. This is known from  their ancient history.  They enjoyed their liberty and retained a greater degree of  independence than their neighbors, through a long course of years, even from Drufus  to Charlemagne, and from Charlemagne down to the present time. [See Universal  History.] They have always been distinguished for their free, independent spirit; for  their valor, magnanimity, and bold defense of the liberties of their province.

Though a general uneasiness had long prevailed through every part of Holland, the  deputies of Friesland had been more explicit than any of he provinces with regard  to the pernicious influence of the Duke of Brunswick.  They had strongly expressed  their discontent in general with respect to public measures and particularly with  those relative to the navy department.  They had written to the Stadtholder and strongly  expressed the universal distrust and discontent, respecting the manner in  which the affairs of the nation had been conducted, and the consequences they  apprehended, which could not fail to be highly prejudicial to public tranquility.  They  attributed these disorders to the mal-administration of the Duke of Brunswick, requested  that he might no longer be permitted to continue either s an actor of adviser  in the affairs of Holland, but that his Serene Highness the Stadtholder would cause him  to be removed from court immediately.

This, however, was not done, nor was there any reason to suppose, notwithstanding he  had acceded thereto that the Stadtholder and such as were attached to his  family interest and to the schemes and projects of the Duke of Brunswick, were well  pleased with the alliance between the United States of America and the  Batavian provinces.  Subsequent transactions evinced this to be the conviction of  everyone. But notwithstanding the secret chagrin which might pervade his or the  mind of any other individual, the great body of a nation, that had for near a century  discovered an enthusiastic attachment to liberty, and who had surmounted  inexpressible sufferings to maintain it, did not suppress the most lively demonstrations  of general satisfaction on the happy event.

The medal above mentioned, presented by the Society of Leon Warden to the State of  Friesland, was expressive of the general sentiment of the nation, as well as of  their own alienation from England and their attachment to America.  On one side of it,  dedicated by the Society of Liberty and Zeal, was represented a Frisian,  dressed according to their ancient characteristic custom, holding out his right hand to a  North American, in token of friendship and brotherly love, while with the left  he rejects a separate peace which England offers him.

There had been dissensions in Holland, which had existed a number of years previous to  the present period. The people had been divided between an aristocratic  and a republican party; the one influenced by their attachment to the Stadtholder, the  other had operated with the interests of France.  In the midst of the animosities  occasioned by the dissensions of these two parties, a third arose of a still more important  nature, which embraced a system more free than had yet existed in the  Republic of Holland.

This gave rise to the observations in a work of celebrity that "Animated by the example  of North America and by that spirit of liberty and independence which has  lately diffused itself in the world, in favor of democracy, the language of pure  republicanism has been held by its citizens.  They have publicly talked of choosing  delegates and asserting the rights of nature.  Their merchants an manufacturers have  taken to the use of arms, and are daily improving themselves in military  discipline.  To judge from the auspicious contagion that has been caught from the  revolution in America, we should be almost ready to say -- One more such  revolution would give freedom to the world!"

The prevalence of this spirit in the Batavian provinces rendered the work of negotiation  less arduous for the American ambassador. Yet while in Holland, Mr. Adams  was in no point deficient in vigilance, nor did he neglect to fan the republican zeal by  every argument in favor of civil liberty, of the equal rights of man, and of a  republican form of government, during his residence in the Low Countries.

His satisfaction at the successful termination of his mission was evinced both in this  public conduct and in the private effusions of his pen. In his diplomatic character,  Mr. Adams had never enjoyed himself so well, as while residing in Dutch Republic.  Regular in his morals, and reserved in his temper, he appeared rather gloomy in a  circle; but he was sensible, shrewd, and sarcastic among private friends.  His genius was  not altogether calculated for a court life, amid the conviviality and gaiety of  Parisian taste. In France, he was never happy; not beloved by his venerable colleague,  Doctor Franklin; thwarted by the minister, the Count de Vergennes, and  ridiculed by the fashionable and polite, as deficient in the je ne sais quoi, so necessary in  highly polished society; viewed with jealousy by the Court, and hated by  courtiers, for the perseverance, frigidity, and warmth blended in his deportment. He  there did little of consequence, until the important period when, in conjunction  with Dr. Franklin and Mr. Jay, a treaty of peace was negotiated between Great Britain  and the United States of America.

Soon after the present period, Mr. Adams was summoned from the Hague by order of  the American Congress, directed to repair to Paris, and assist in the  important work of negotiating a peace between Great Britain and her former colonies,  now a confederated and independent nation.  In this business, he acquitted  himself with equal firmness and equally to the satisfaction and approbation of his  country, as he had before done in Holland.  His reputation was enhanced among his  countrymen, and his popularity kept up for a number of years after the honorable part he  had acted as a diplomatic character, in his treaty with Holland and as a firm  and zealous friend to the interests of his country through the negotiations for peace with  his colleagues in France.

The loan of money obtained from Holland by the address of Mr. Adams was a great  relief to the United States. This was at a crisis when their resources were  drained by a long expensive war, and a paper substitute for specie had ceased to be of  any farther utility.  He had so handsomely anticipated the future resources of  America, and contrasted the immense public debt of Great Britain with the  comparatively small expenditures for national purposes in America, that not only the  Dutch government conceded willingly to the propriety of assisting the United States, by  the advance of moneys, but the affluent merchants, and others in possession  of vast private property in that rich commercial country, offered, with the utmost  alacrity, some handsome loans to assist and facilitate the freedom and growth of a  young sister republic, from whom they expected to derive the greatest commercial  advantages when the war should cease and her independence was universally  acknowledged.

Mr. Adams's opinion at this early period seemed to favor the idea that America would be  capable of bearing taxes to an immense amount in future, though this was a  burden of which they had had comparatively little experience.  He observed that "the  people in America had not yet been disciplined to such enormous taxation as in  England, but that they were capable of bearing as great taxes in proportion as the  English; and if the English force them to it by continuing the war, they will reconcile  themselves to it."

But it might have been observed that it would require a great number of years, and many  contingent events to reconcile the inhabitants of the United States to the  taxing of houses, lands, hearths, window-lights, and all the conveniences of life, as in  England.  Not the necessity of extricating themselves from old foreign debts, or  newly contacted expenses for exigencies or projects, which they considered unnecessary  in a republican government, could suddenly lead a people generally to  acquiesce in measures to which they had heretofore been strangers.  The artificial  creation of expenses by those who deem a public debt a public blessing will easily  suggest plausible pretenses for taxation, until every class is burdened to the utmost  stretch of forbearance, and the great body of the people reduced to penury and  slavery.

It does not always redound to the benefit of younger states and less affluent nations to  become indebted to foreigners for large sums of money; but without this  assistance from several of the European powers, it would have been impossible for the  United States, under their complicated inconveniences and embarrassments,  to have resisted so long the opulent and powerful nation of Britain. America was  necessitated to borrow money abroad to support her credit at home; and had not  the Dutch loan been obtained, it is impossible to calculate what would have been the  consequences to the United States, who had not, at this period, even the weak  support of an artificial medium, while their armies were unpaid, and their soldiers on the  point of mutiny, for the want of immediate subsistence.  His countrymen  thought themselves highly indebted to Mr. Adams, for procuring this timely supply of  cash, as well as for so ably negotiating a treaty of amity and commerce.  It gave  a new spring to all their exertions, which had for some time lagged heavily, for want of  the necessary sinews for the protraction of war, or for enterprise in any other  lien of business.


Chapter Twenty-Six:  General uneasiness with ministerial measures in England, Scotland, and Ireland. Loud complaints against  the Board of Admiralty. Sir Hyde Parker resigns his commission. Motion for an address  for peace by General Conway.  Resignation of Lord George Germaine. Created a peer of the realm. Lord North resigns.  Some traits of his character. Petition  of the city of London for peace. Coalition of parties. A new ministry. Death and  character of the Marquis of Rockingham.  Lord Shelburne's administration. Negotiations for peace. Provisional articles signed.  Temper of the loyalists. Execution of  Captain Huddy. Consequent imprisonment of Captain Asgill. Asgill's release.

While new alliances were negotiating between the Americans and several European  powers, and the importance of the United States was appreciating in the scale of  nations, the councils of Britain were confused, and the Parliament and the nation split  into parties.

The American war was become very unpopular in England, and discontents prevailed in  all parts of the Empire.  Many of the favorites of the present reign had been  taken from beyond the wall of Hadrian, [No national reflection is here designed. It is  very immaterial, as observed by the great Lord Chatham, whether a man was  rocked in his cradle on one side of the Tweed or the other.  The writer of these pages has  the highest respect for the distinguished literary characters that adorn the  Scotch nation.  Their strength of genius, and profound investigations in philosophic,  political, theological, and historic compositions are at least on an equal scale of  ability with any of the learned luminaries of the law or any other science nearer the  splendid beams of monarchy; and when called to distinguished office, they have,  perhaps, with some few exceptions, discharged their public functions with equal honor,  capacity, and integrity.] yet there was a growing dissatisfaction with all the  measures of administration, and a prevailing discontent and uneasiness through the  Scotch nation; but this was owing more to some religious dissensions, than from  any liberal or enlarged views of political liberty, among the class of people loudest in  complaint.

Yet much less as to be apprehended from the discontents in Scotland than from those of  the oppressed Irish, driven nearly to the point of revolt.  They had long and  justly murmured at the high-handed measures of the Parliament of England, and the  degraded and inferior rank in  which they were viewed at the Court of St. James.   The late restrictions on their commerce, a recent embargo for three years on their staple  export, the inhibitions, the disqualifications, and frequent severe penalties  load on the great body of the Roman Catholic inhabitants, with a long list of other  grievances that might be enumerated, they considered as marks of national  contempt, and a sacrifice of the interest of Ireland to favor the avarice of British  contractors, speculators, and pensioners.  they were sensible that no means were  neglected to rivet the chains in which they were held by the prejudices of Englishmen,  with regard to their commerce, their police, and their religious opinions.

Their resentment did not evaporate in unmeaning and inactive complaint. They entered  into combinations against the use and purchase of British manufactures, and  prohibited their importation into Ireland, under very heavy penalties.  Measures for  defense, and military associations were everywhere adopted. This they justified  from the apprehension of foreign invasion, and the extraordinary weakness of the state,  in consequence of drawing off the troops for active service in America, which  had usually been stationed in Ireland for the defense of that kingdom.

The Irish volunteers who assembled in arms on this occasion soon amounted to near  60,000 men, and daily increased in number and strength.  These were not  composed merely of the middling or lower classes of people. Men of fortune and  character were seen in the ranks, and even many of the nobility appeared to  encourage these associations.

This armament was very alarming to Great Britain, but it could not be suppressed.  The  inhabitants of Ireland were bold and undaunted; and, encouraged by the  example of America, they strenuously supported their rights, and made use of the same  arguments against a standing army in time of peace, which had been urged in  the assemblies and congresses of the colonies.  they resolutely refused to submit longer  to such unconstitutional and dangerous measures, resisted the Mutiny Act,  denied its validity, and opposed and prevented the magistrates in making provision for  the remnant of the King's troops still left in the country.

One of their patriots [Mr. Gattan.] of mane and ability, asserted that the act was  dangerous and unconstitutional; that "the Mutiny Bill or martial law methodized, was  not only different from, but directly opposite to the common law of the land. It set aside  trial by jury, departed from her principles of evidence, declined her ordinary  tribunals of justice, and in their place established a summary proceeding, arbitrary  

crimes, arbitrary punishments, a secret sentence, and a sudden execution."

The determinations of the Irish to recover their freedom, and maintain their native rights,  were represented in the most eloquent strains of rhetoric. The strong and  pointed language was dictated by the heart, approved by the judgment and expressed in  the periods of the best orators.  The names of many well-informed Irish  gentlemen were distinguished, and will be handed down on the conspicuous list, both  for the brilliancy of their epithets and their strength of reasoning.  Among these,  the celebrated Mr. Grattan was marked for his superior eloquence, learning, patriotism,  an other virtues.  The talents of Mr. Flood and others were called forth; an  by the energies an exertions of those patriotic leaders, they obtained some amelioration  of the burdens complained of.  Thus by the decided spirit of many eminent  characters in the nation, the British Parliament was induced to take some steps that  produced a temporary quiet in Ireland. More lenity was shown toward the  Roman Catholics, and some other small indulgences granted, but nothing sufficient to  restore lasting tranquility to the country.

While the sister kingdoms were thus restless and dissatisfied, a general uneasiness  discovered itself throughout England, on the disappointment of their naval  operations.  After the affair on the Dogger Bank, Sir Hyde Parker thought he had been  so far unsupported that his honor impelled him to resign.  The neglect of  proper support to the worthy Kempenfelt and other brave naval commanders was highly  censured throughout the kingdom.

Mr. Fox brought a number of direct and explicit charges against the Board of Admiralty;  first, in suffering the Count de Grasse to sail to the West Indies without an  effort to intercept him; secondly, the loss of the St. Eustatia convoy, when nearly 60 sail  of British ships, with much property and many prisoners, were sent into  Cadiz by don Lewis de Cordova, who commanded the combined fleet of France and  Spain at the time.

The engagement with Admiral Zeutman, the failure of Admiral Kempenfelt to cut off  the Count de Guichen, and several other disappointments in the naval line were  all attributed to the same cause: negligence and incapacity in the First Lord of the  Admiralty.  An address to the King was proposed that the Earl of Sandwich should  be removed from His Majesty's councils forever.  His character was universally vilified  in England. A writer of that country may have delineated it more exactly than  can be expected from anyone at a distance.

He observes "that future historians may do justice to his moral character, but that in so  barren a wilderness, it would be happy if one solitary virtue could enliven the  prospect.  But, as destitute of felling as of principle, amid the copious crop of vices  which overwhelmed his whole character, not even that of cowardice was  wanting, to move contempt as well as detestation; and strange it is that though his  sentiments with regard to both natural and revealed religion were well known, yet  so timid was his nature that he never dared to be alone.

"After these general traits, we cannot wonder that he was in his political life the decided  enemy of his country, and the devoted instrument of a corrupt cabinet.  His  name, indeed, was never mentioned without exciting sentiments of contempt.  If nature  had endowed him with talents, the course of dissipation in which he was  engaged must have disqualified him for their exercise. He professed an active, but not a  strong mind. Practiced in the intrigues of a Court and habits of Parliament, he  could speak with facility, but his ideas never took an extensive range. The paltry  maxims of court intrigue finished the outlines of his character." [See History of the  Reign of George the Third by Wenderburne.]

Mr. Fox's address for the removal of the Earl of Sandwich was supported by Lord Howe  and Admiral Keppel. They censured his mismanagement and prodigality,  exposed his blunders and want of capacity, and painted in glowing colors his  misconduct and the fatal consequences to the navy and to the nation, by his having been  thus long continued in an office of such high trust and responsibility. But he had his  friends and defenders; and after long and warm debates, the motion for his  removal was lost by a small majority.

After many desultory grounds and circumstances of uneasiness were discussed, a motion  of high importance was made in the house by General Conway. This was  for an address to the King, requesting him to put an immediate period to the destructive  war in America.  This motion was lost only by a single vote -- 193 were in  favor, and 194 against it.  But the object of peace was not relinquished. The address was  again brought forward, and finally carried.

After various expedients had been proposed, which were reprobated in strong terms,  Lord Cavendish moved that the House should resolve that the enormous  expenses of the nation, the loss of the colonies, a war with France, Spain, Holland, and  America, without a single ally, was occasioned by a want of foresight and  ability in His Majesty's ministers and that they were unworthy of further confidence.

In short, such a general reprobation of all former measures ensued, and such a universal  vilification of the heads of departments, and such unlimited censure fell on  ever part of their conduct, through a seven years' war, that the old ministry found  themselves on the point of dissolution.

Lord George Germaine, who had kept his ground beyond all expectation, through a very  tempestuous season, now found himself obliged to resign his office as  Minster of the American Department. Though rewarded for his services by peculiar  tokens of His Majesty's favor, and dignified by a peerage, he stood for a time in  a most humiliating predicament. Several of the House of Lords thought the nation  disgraced and themselves affronted by the creation of a man to that illustrious order  who had formerly been censure by a court martial and dismissed from all employment in  a military line, and who had recently and obstinately pursued measures in the  cabinet and supported a destructive system that had brought the nation to the brink of  ruin. [The Marquis of Carmarthen stood at the head of opposition against the  promotion of Lord George Germaine.]

His promotion was also opposed in the House of Commons from the "impolicy of  rewarding in the present conjuncture of affairs a person so deeply concerned in the  American war." It was observed that it might have a tendency to defeat the purposes of a  great and solemn inquiry in  which the conduct of that noble personage  might appear to deserve the severest punishment.  But supported by royal prerogative,  His Lordship retained his high rank, and enjoyed a kind of triumph in the  favor of the King, in spite of the reproaches of his enemies. Yet, neither ribbons nor  stars could erase the stigma that hung on his character, both as a minister and a  soldier.

Nor at this period could the puissant nobleman at the head of the treasury any longer  stand the torrent of reproach and complaint that was poured out against him.   On March 20, 1782, Lord North resigned his place and declared to the House of  Commons that the present administration from that day ceased to exist.

It has been observed by a British writer of ability that "Lord North was educated in the  school of corruption; naturally of an easy, pliant temper; that the disposition  was increased by the maxims he had imbibed. He was rather a man of wit, than  consummate abilities; ready and adroit, rather than wise and sagacious He  considered the faculty of parrying the strokes leveled at him in the House of Commons  as the first qualification of a minister.  Under his administration, a regular  system of pension and contract was adopted, more pernicious than the casual expedients  of Walpole to facilitate his measures." [See a view of the reign of George  

III. Another British writer has thus sketched the character of Lord North: "It must be  remarked that a certain confusion and indistinctness of ideas unfortunately  pervaded his general system of thinking.  He seemed habitually to aim at the thing that  was right, but invariably stopped short of the true and genuine standard of  political propriety. With the reputation of meaning well, he acquired the imputation of  indecision and instability.  The general tenor of his administration must certainly  be allowed to exhibit very few indications of energy, wisdom, or force of penetration.   But occasionally capable of resolute and persevering exertions, his temper  

was mild, equable, and pleasant, although his notions of government evidently appeared  of the high Tory cast." Belsham.]

However he might merit the severities contained in the several sketches of his character,  His Lordship quit his station with as much firmness, address, and dignity as  any man of understanding and political abilities possibly could have done, who had  stood at the head of administration during an unfortunate war that continued near  seven years.  At the same time, what had greatly enhanced his difficulties and his  responsibility, all the other powers in Europe were either in alliance with America,  or stood by as unconcerned spectators of a combat which augured a train of most  important events to the political, civil, and religious state of Christendom, if not to  the world.

His Lordship declared that he did not mean to shrink from trial; that he should always be  prepared to meet it; that a successor might be found of better judgment and  better qualified for the high and arduous station; but none more zealously attached to the  interest of his country, and the preservation of the British constitution than  himself.

It is indeed easy to believe that His Lordship was willing to retire, and happy to quit the  helm of state which he had held with such an unsuccessful hand. He had sent  out his mandates and proclaimed his recisions until the thirteen United States of  America were irretrievably lost to Great Britain; until Minorca was capture by the  Spaniards... Dominica, St. Vincent's, Tobago, Granada, and other islands in the West  Indies by the French; and until two British armies, commanded by some of the  most distinguished officers in the nation, were prisoners in the American states.

Thus after the blood of thousands of the best soldiers in England, of the best officers in  the nation had been sacrificed, and multitude of Americans, formerly the best  subjects to the Crown of Britain, had been immolated on the altar of ambition, avarice,  or revenge; after the nation was involved in expenses beyond calculation, her  trade ruined, and the national character disgraced by the iniquitous principles of the war;  it is not strange that the Parliament was agitated, the ministry dismayed, and  the people thrown into consternation and disgust.  The murmur was universal, the public  councils were divided, and the ministry and their measures were become the  ridicule of foreign nations.

Through all the struggle between Great Britain and her colonies, not one of the powers  of Europe had declared against America; but, on the contrary, most of them  had either secretly or openly espoused her cause.  Yet it is not to be supposed that the  passive demeanor of some and the friendly deportment of others, was the  result of a general love of liberty among potent nations, or splendid courts, where the  scepter of royalty was swayed, at least in some of them, with a very despotic  hand.  Their interests and their ambition were united; and led them to anticipate and to  boast the pernicious consequences to England of this unfortunate war.

Doubtless a jealousy of the enormous power of Britain, and the proud glory to which she  had arrived in the preceding reign, operated strongly to cherish the pacific  disposition of some, and to prompt others to lend a hostile arm to dissever the growing  colonies from the Crown and authority of Great Britain. They could not but  rejoice a the dismemberment of an Empire that had long been the dread of some and the  envy and hatred of other nations. It was too soon for them to forget that  under the wise and energetic administration of a Chatham, the kingdoms of the earth had  trembled at the power of England; that in conjunction with the American  colonies, Britannia, mounted on a triumphal car, had bid proud defiance to all the  potentates in Europe; that the thunder of her cannon was dreaded from the eastern  seas to the western extreme; and that her flag was revered, and that her navy gave laws  from the Ganges to the Mississippi.

The insolence of this proud mistress of the seas only partially checked, her glory  shrouded, and the haughty islanders humbled... humbled by their own injudicious  and overbearing measures, was a spectacle viewed with delight by neighboring nations,  and contemplated by France with peculiar satisfaction.  Yet it was perhaps,  equally the policy and the interest of both the French and the British prime ministers at  this period to promote pacific measures.  It was the wish of both nations to be  relieved from the distresses of a long and expensive war; and the officers in the first  departments were convinced, more especially in England, that they had little  other chance to keep their places, than by a compliance with the general will of the  people.

The discontents among the inhabitants of Great Britain ran higher than ever. Chagrined  by repeated defeat and losses both by sea and land; alarmed at the monstrous  accumulation of the national debt, the weight of taxes; the value of landed property daily  sinking, and the public burdens increasing; many gentlemen who had been  sanguine in favor of the American war seemed to awaken at once from their lethargy  and to appear sensible that ruin stare din the face of themselves, as well as of  the nation.

From the present temper that discovered itself within the House of Commons, or from  appearances without, the minority had no reason to be discourage with regard  to their favorite object, which was the restoration of peace between Great Britain and the  colonies.  On February 27, 1782, General Conway made a second motion  for addressing the Throne, and urging that the ruinous war with America should no  longer be pursued.

Fortunately, a petition from the city of London was the same day presented, praying that  a cessation of hostilities between Great Britain and her former provinces  might immediately take place.  The motion for peace was now carried in the House  without much opposition. An address was presented for that purpose to the King  on March 1.  In this he was humbly implored to lend his sanction to measures for a  restoration of general harmony.  His answer, though in miler language than had of  late been the fashion of the court, was not sufficiently explicit, but it was not left open to  retraction. The prompt measures, the zeal and vigor of an opposition that  had long been in the minority, at last gained the ascendancy, and secured a truce so  much desired by a people weary of war, and so necessary for the relief, the  honor, and the restoration of character to a gallant nation.

In order to facilitate this happy event, a proposal for conciliation was made, that could  scarcely have been expected to succeed. A coalescence of parties where  animosities had run so high, and the minds of men had been so embittered by a series of  

disappointments and unceasing irritation, was a circumstance not within the  calculation of anyone.  But it was found necessary to bury or at least to suppress, the  

prejudices of party, to lay aside private resentment, and to unite in one system  for the general good. All were so convinced of this necessity that the proposal was  conceded to; and after the resignation of Lord North, a complete change of  ministry took place, composed of active and conspicuous characters from each party; but  according to a trite saying, it proved indeed not more than a rope of sand.

Sir Welbore Ellis had been appointed Minister for the American Department,  immediately on the removal of Lord George Germaine.  But is principles and his  reasonings relative to American affairs; his general observations on the transactions of  war, of the belligerent powers, of the French nation, of the American loyalists,  of the mean of harmony, and the restoration of peace; subjected him to the satirical  strokes and the severe epithets of pointed ridicule that have always flowed so  easy from the lip of the oratorical Burke. The chastisement also of his opinions by Mr.  Fox and others, zealous for the termination of the contest between Great  Britain and her colonies showed that the friend and pupil of Lord Sackville did not stand  on very firm ground.

Though it appeared to the world to be composed of motley materials, yet all matters  were adjusted for the establishment of a new administration, and the nation  cherished the most sanguine hopes from the change.  the Marquis of Rockingham stood  at the head of the new arrangement. No character among the nobility of  Britain was at this time held in higher estimation than his; nor was any man better  qualified for the appointment of First Lord of the Treasury as a successor to Lord  North, whose character, principles, abilities, and perseverance have been sketched in the  course of narration.

The manners of Rockingham were amiable; his temper, mild and complacent; his rank,  fortune, and personal influence, commanding; his principles, uniform in favor  of the rights of man; and is capacity, and constant opposition to the American war  rendered him a fit person to stand in this high station of responsibility.  He was  well qualified to correct the political mistakes of his predecessor, and to retrieve the  honor of the nation on the approach of negotiations for peace.  But as in human  life the most important events sometimes depend on the character of a single actor, the  sudden exit of such a character often blasts the hopes, clouds the minds, and  defeats the expectations of contemporaries.

This observation was fully verified in the premature death of the noble Marquis, who  lived only three months after his appointment to the helm of administration.  All  eyes had been fixed on him as the band of union, and the promoter and the prop of both  public and private peace; but his death, which took place on July 1, 1782,  involved his country in new difficulties and created new scenes of dissension and  animosity.

Many other departments in the new system of ministerial measures were filled by  gentlemen of the first character and consideration. Lord John Cavendish was  appointed Chancellor of the Exchequer; the Duke of Richmond, Master of the  Ordnance; Grafton, Lord of the Privy Seal; Admiral Keppel, First Lord of the  Admiralty; Lord Camden, President of the Council; General Conway, Commander in  Chief of All Forces in Great Britain; Mr. Thomas Townsend, Secretary at  War; Lord Shelburne and Mr. Fox, Principal Secretaries of State; Colonel Barre,  Treasurer of the Navy; and Mr. Burke, Paymaster of the Troops.

On the death of the Marquis of Rockingham, Lord Shelburne, to the surprise of his  associates in the ministry, had gained such an interest as to obtain the  appointment of First Lord of the Treasury, in the room of a favorite of the nation and of  the new ministry.  To the newly coalesced administration, the unexpected  advancement of Lord Shelburne to this dignified and important station was so disgusting  that it broke the coalition.  Mr. Fox and Lord Cavendish resigned their  places.  This precipitant dereliction of office at such a critical period, by gentlemen of  their high consideration, was regretted by some, severely censured by others,  and was mortifying indeed to their friends, who, though far from being pleased,  continued to act with the new Lord Treasurer.

The reasons assigned by Mr. Fox for thus quitting his place, at such a crisis, were "that  the system in  which he consented to unite in the coalition was not likely to be  pursued"; that the first principle of this system was an express acknowledgment of the  independence of the United States of America, instead of making it an article in  the provisional treaty, as proposed by some. To this unequivocal independence of  America, he knew Lord Shelburne to be opposed.

In reply to this, His Lordship rose and defended his own opinions.  He declared he was  not ashamed to avow and to act upon the ideas of the great Lord Chatham.  He said it was well known that this distinguished statesman had asserted that "the sun of  England's glory would set if independence was granted to America."  He  added that he "wished himself had been deputed to Congress that he would then have  exerted all his talents to convince them that if their independence was signed,  their liberties were gone forever." He expressly declared that it was his opinion "that the  independence of the United colonies not only threatened the extinction of  their own liberties, but the ruin of England; and that certainly by giving them  independence, they would finally be derived of that freedom they had been struggling to  secure and enjoy."

It was difficult, even at this late period to convince many of the most intelligent  gentlemen in England that independence was a gift that America did not now ask; the  boon was their own; obtained by their own prowess and magnanimity, in conjunction  with the armies of their brave allies.

It may be proper to observe that if England should in reality feel that the splendor of her  solar rays are eclipsed by the dismemberment of such a branch of the  Empire, the amputation might not yet be fatal to her prosperity and glory.  They   might  yet prosper in a friendly alliance with the colonies, if the Parliament, the  nation, and their sovereign should be in future disposed to moderation and justice, and  would show themselves sincere in promoting friendship and harmony with an  infant republic.  It is true this republic had been forced into pre mature existence; yet she  held herself in all diplomatic concerns on a footing with any other nation, and  was now ready to form alliances with them and all other foreign powers, without  becoming dependent on, or tributary to any.

Affairs were now brought to a point.  There was no possibility of oscillating longer  

between peace and war. Coercion had been long enough unsuccessfully tried.  Negotiation was now the only path to be trodden, however thorny it might appear to the  pride of royalty, or to the omnipotence of a British Parliament.

After repeated captures of the best appointed armies, composed both of domestic and  foreign troops, despair of subjugating the United States had lowered down  the spirit of the nation, and of the King of England so far as to become willing to treat  on terms for the restoration of amity, and to speak with some degree of temper  of the total separation and independence of America.

Lord Shelburne's opinions had been so diametrically opposite to those of the gentlemen  who had seceded from the administration that they thought themselves fully  justified in withdrawing from public service, even while the important business was in  agitation, and everything ripening for new negotiations, replete with events  beyond the calculations of the wisest statesmen and politicians.  In their self  approbation, they were confirmed, when they thought they discovered a degree of  duplicity in the business.  Notwithstanding Lord Shelburne had explicitly avowed that  his own wishes were of a different nature, it appeared he had directed General  Carleton and Admiral Digby to acquaint the commander in chief of the American army  and to request him to inform Congress that the King of Great Britain, desirous  of peace, had commanded his ministers about to negotiate, to insure the independence of  the thirteen provinces, instead of making it a condition of a general treaty.  [This sentiment had been communicated by order of the minister in a joint letter from  General Carleton and Lord Digby to General Washington, dated New York,  August 2, 1782.]

But when Mr. Oswald, who had been appointed to act as the commissioner of peace in  behalf of Great Britain, and to arrange the provisional articles for that  purpose, arrived at Paris, in the autumn of 1782, it appeared that his instructions were  not sufficiently explicit.  They did not satisfy the American agents deputed by  congress to negotiate the terms of reconciliation among the contending powers.  These  were Doctor Franklin, John Jay, and John Adams, esquires. Mr. Adams was  still at the Hague; but he had been directed by Congress to repair to France, to assist his  colleagues in their negotiations for peace.

The ambiguity of Mr. Oswald's commission, occasioned much altercation between the  Count de Vergennes and Mr. Jay on the subject of the provisional articles.   their disputes were not easily adjusted; and the Spanish minister, the Count de Aranda,  rather inclined to an acquiescence in the proposals of the British  commissioner.  Mr. Jay, however, resisted with firmness; and was supported in his  opinions by Mr. Adams, who soon after arrived in Paris.  But before his arrival,  Mr. Reyneval, the secretary and confidential friend of the French minister repaired  rather privately to England. It was suspected, and not without sufficient grounds,  that this visit was decidedly intended to procure a conference with Lord Shelburne.

It was undoubtedly the wish of both France and England to exclude America from the  right of fishing on the Banks of Newfoundland; an advantage claimed by  Americans as a right of nature, from their continuous situation, and as their right by  prescription. The American commissioners insisted that their claims were equally  just with any exclusive pretensions either of Great Britain or France. The navigation of  the Mississippi, British debts, and the American loyalists were matters of  dissension, debate, and difficulty.

The American ministers were not disposed to relinquish any claims of honor, equity, or  interest either to the haughty demands of Great BRitain, the intrigues of  France, or even to the condescending instructions, in some instances, of their own  national Congress.  This body had, in the enthusiasm of their gratitude for the  assistance lent in their distress by France, instructed their agents to take no step of  importance without the advice and counsel of the Marquis de la Fayette, which  would have given great advantage to the French ministry. [See Journals of Congress.]

The limits of the eastern boundaries of the United States were a subject of dispute,  thought by some of them of less consequence; but with regard to the western  territorial rights, the American commissioners were tenacious indeed.  The American  territory has been parceled out, and patented by the sovereigns of Europe, from  the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean; and by existing treaties, the United States have no  inconsiderable claim in the distribution.  Their claims were undoubtedly founded  on as equitable a basis as those of Great Britain and France.  The negotiating ministers  of Congress were unwilling to relinquish any part of their claim. they  supported their independent attitude with manly dignity, nor did they yield in the  smallest degree to the encroaching spirit of Britain.

The American claims to a vast, uncultivated tract of wilderness, which neither Great  Britain, France, nor America had any right to invade may ultimately prove a most  unfortunate circumstance to the Atlantic states, unless the primary object of the  American government should be to civilize and soften the habits of savage life.  But if  the lust of domination, which takes hold of the ambitious and the powerful in all ages  and nations, should be indulged by the authority of the United States, and those  simple tribes of men, contented with the gifts of nature that had filled their forests with  game sufficient for their subsistence, should be invaded, it will probably be a  source of most cruel warfare and bloodshed, until the extermination of the original  possessors.  In such a result, the mountains and the plains will perhaps be filled  with a fierce, independent race of European and American emigrants, too hostile to the  borderers on the seas to submit willingly to their laws and government, and  perhaps too distant, numerous, and powerful to subdue by arms. [The reader will  observe that the author of this work has been in the habit of making appropriate  observations on events as they passed and has often hazarded conjectures on probable  results.  The work was written a number of years before publication, but she  did not think proper either to erase them or alter the manner on revision.  Some of those  conjectures have already taken place; others probably may, at some  subsequent period.]

It was the opinion of some of the American commissioners for negotiating the treaty of  peace that the Count de Vergennes was opposed to the claims of the United  States in every stage of the business; not because, in equity, he thought they had no right  to the fisheries or the western lands, but from a general unfriendly  disposition to America, and a reluctance to her being declared by Great Britain an  independent nation.  But it is more probable that his cold, equivocal demeanor  arose not so much from any personal disaffection to the people or to individuals, as from  a desire to hold the Americans forever dependent on France.  It was  suggested by some to be the policy of that nation to endeavor to keep the United States,  as long as possible, dependent on her aid and protection.

The political creed of Monsieur de Vergennes is said to have been that "it was  absolutely necessary to hate the English... to cajole the Spaniards... not to hurt the  Emperor... to live on good terms with Prussia... to gain over the Dutch... to protect the  Turks... to respect Rome... to support the infant republic of America... to  subsidize Switzerland... and to inspect the conduct of the colonies."

The French were indeed generally sensible that most of the citizens of America spurned  at all ideas of a dependence on any foreign power, after her emancipation  from Britain.  Yet they were jealous that many others felt so warmly prejudiced in favor  of a nation from whom they derived their origin, that they little doubted a  renewal of the connection with, or even a dependence again on Great Britain, when the  noise of war should cease and the old habits of intercourse, so natural from  consanguinity, language, and manners, should be reassumed.  This jealousy as  disseminated and these apprehensions were expressed by gentlemen of judgment and  penetration throughout the kingdom of France, both in public and in private circles.   Indeed, it was the general opinion there that a predilection in favor of England  would supersede, in the American mind, a connection with  any other European power,  as soon as recent injuries were forgotten, and the passions of men had  subsided.

Time and opportunities afterward evinced that the most liberal sentiments toward  America governed the French nation in general. It appeared by their conduct in  many subsequent transactions that there was very little to justify the opinion that the  design of the nation was to hold the American colonies dependent on France, or  even to continue the alliance, but on terms of reciprocity and mutual advantage.

No national contracts ever yet bound mankind so firmly as not to b shaken when they  militate with personal or national interests.  Much less does a religious  observance of treaties prevent their abandoning former obligations when the balance of  advantage is likely to be thrown into the hands of their foes.

From the jealousy of the French of the power and rivalry of the English nation, they  might rationally infer that if the old and natural connection with the parent state  

should again be revive, it would cut off the many advantages they had promised  themselves from an irreparable breach between Great Britain and the colonies.   Thus, some of the politician in France judged this a reason sufficient for the most  strenuous efforts in the ancient, hereditary enemy of Great Britain, to hold, and, if  possible, to bind America by treaties, to conditions that might in some measure make  her dependent on themselves; at least, these were reasons of policy. Reasons  of equity, when inconsistent with interest, are seldom to be found among statesmen and  politicians deputed to transact national affairs.

Among the many difficulties that occurred in the negotiations for peace, the demands  made in favor of the American loyalists, both by the British and the French  ministry were not the most easily accommodated of any of the impediments thrown in  the way of conciliation.  But on Mr. Oswald's receiving a new commission  from his Court, soon after the Count de Reyneval's visit to England, negotiations went  forward, all difficulties were surmounted, and provisional articles of peace  between Great Britain and America were signed by both parties on November 30, 1782.

In the mean time, the pacific dispositions of the British cabinet were (as observed)  announced to the commanders of their armies and the fleets in America, and.  through them, to Congress and the commander in chief of the troops of the United  States.  But though the ideas of peace were congenial to their wishes, and  flattering to their hopes, they still considered that they had much to apprehend before  they could quietly sit down in the enjoyment of domestic felicity.  The  Americans, on this intelligence, lost no part of their vigilance. They thought it more than  ever necessary to be guarded at all points against the machinations and  intrigues of their enemies, the emissaries of Britain, and the rancor and violence of  American refugees and loyalists. This description of persons were how, more than  ever, embittered by the idea that England was about to be reconciled to the colonies on  their own terms -- absolute and unconditional independence.

Their situation at the time, indeed, appeared to be hapless enough.  the corps of  provincial troops that had been exposed in the service of Britain and had risked  everything during the war, expected now to be disbanded on the peace, when both  officers and privates had little to hope from government, according to the  provisional articles, and still less from their country.

According to the stipulations of the British negotiators, the whole body of loyalists were  left unprovided for any further than by an engagement from the American  commissioners to suggest to Congress and to urge in their behalf a recommendation to  the several legislatures of the Untied States.  The purport of this  recommendation was a proposal that they would suffer such as had property to return for  a limited time to endeavor to recover or repurchase their confiscated  estates.  Twelve months was the time agreed upon by the commissioners for the  residence of the Tories in their native provinces after the ratification of peace.

Thus, abandoned by their friends, and cast on the mercy of their country, they had little  lenity to expect from their countrymen, after a war of seven years, in which  many of  them had perpetrated every treacherous and cruel deed, to facilitate the  subjugation of their native land, and to consign succeeding generations to the  shackles of foreign domination.  No prospect now appeared before them, but to decamp  in hopeless poverty, and seek some unexplored asylum, far from the  pleasant borders of their natal shores.

Instigated by despair and revenge, some of this class of people had recently given new  proofs of their vindictive feelings and new provocations to their countrymen.   The most unjustifiable rigor, and the most outrageous cruelties had been practiced on  those who were so unfortunate as to fall into their hands. The story of one  hapless victim will be a sufficient specimen of the atrocious length of villainy to which  man may be prompted by disappointment and party rage.

The Associated Board of Loyalists of New York, impatient for the laurels they had  expected to reap from the ruin of their neighbors, their country, and the cause of  freedom; provoked at the desertion of their British patrons, and despairing of the  triumph they had promised themselves in the complete success of the ministerial  troops and the conquest of America by the arms of Britain; adopted the unjust and  dangerous resolution of avenging on individuals anything which they deemed  injurious to their partisans.

They said in their won vindication, and perhaps they had too much reason to allege,  that  the troops of Congress, in many  instances, had not bee less sanguine than  themselves in the inflictions of summary punishment.  Doubtless, both parties were far  from exercising that lenity and forbearance toward their enemies that both  humanity and equity require. This was often made a pretext to justify enormities and  even private executions, at which compassion and virtue shudder.

Nothing of the kind had recently occasioned so much public observation as a the wanton  murder of a Captain Huddy, who, with some others, had been captured by  a party of loyalists.  He had been some time their prisoner, without any singular marks  of resentment; but on the death of a man while prisoner, killed by the guards  from whom he was endeavoring to escape, Huddy was brought out of his cell,  deliberately conveyed to the Jersey shore, and, without a trial, or any crime alleged  against him, he was in the most ludicrous manner hanged amid the shouts of his  enemies, who exclaimed at the solemn period of execution "Up goes Huddy, for  Philip White."

General Washington considered this transaction as too insolent and cruel to be passed  over with impunity.  It drew him into the painful resolution, by the advice of  the principal officers of the army, to retaliate by selecting some British prisoner of equal  rank to suffer death, unless Lippencot, one of the associated loyalists, who  commanded the execution of Huddy, was given up to justice.  The designation of an  innocent victim to suffer death for the crime of an unprincipled murderer is a  circumstance from which the mind turns in horror; but according to the laws of war,  there was no receding from the determination, however severe might be the fate  of him who was selected as the hapless victim.

General Washington previously demanded justice on the guilty perpetrators of the  crime; but Sir Henry Clinton and other officers to whom he represented the  business waved a compliance for some time and appeared in some measure to justify the  deed, by asserting that it was done only by way of example, to prevent  similar enormities, which their partisans, the loyalists, said they had frequently  experienced.

Several British officers of the same rank with Huddy were prisoners in the American  camp; and, according to the denunciation made by the American to the British  commander in chief, they were brought forward with great solemnity, and a lot cast for  the sacrifice to be made to justice.  This was done with much tenderness,  sympathy, and delicacy; when the lot fell on Captain Asgill of the Guards, a young  gentleman of education, accomplishments, and family expectations, who was only  19 years of age. He was immediately ordered into close custody until the trial and  punishment of Captain Lippencot should take place.  But his trial was conducted  with so much partiality and party acrimony that Lippencot was acquitted After this, Sir  Henry Clinton demanded the release of Asgill, as on a legal trial no guilt was  affixed to the transaction of Lippencot.

This occasioned much uneasiness to General Washington and to others, who though  fully convinced of the iniquity of the murderous party that procured the death of  Huddy, yet they wished for the release of Captain Asgill.  Every humane bosom revolted  at the idea of seeing a youth, whose character was in all respects fair and  amiable, condemned to die instead of a wretch whose hands, stained with blood, and his  heart hardened by repeated murder and crime, might have had an earlier  claim to a halter.

Great interest was made by many British officers, and by Sir Guy Carleton himself, for  the life and release of Captain Asgill, but without effect.  He remained a  prisoner under the sentence of death, although execution was delayed, until every  compassionate heart was relieved by the interference of maternal tenderness.  The  address of Lady Asgill, his mother, whose heart was wrung with agonizing fears for the  fate of an only son, procured his release.

After the first pangs of grief and agitation, on the news of his critical and hazardous  situation had subsided, she wrote in the most pathetic terms to the Count de  Vergennes; urging that his influence with General Washington and the American  Congress might be exerted to save an innocent and virtuous youth from an  ignominious death, and restore the destined victim to the bosom of his mother. This  letter, fraught with sentiments that discovered a delicate mind, an improved  understanding, and a sensibility of heart, under the diction of polished style, and replete  with strong epithets of affection, the French minister showed to the King and  Queen of France, as a piece of elegant composition.

Though on a despotic throne, where the sovereign disposes of the subject by his fiat, and  cuts off life at pleasure, without regret or hesitation, the King of France and  his royal partner were touched by the distress of this unhappy mother, and lent their  interest for the liberation of her son.  The Count de Vergennes was directed to  send a letter to General Washington; which he did, accompanied with the observations  of the King and Queen, and combined with his own request in favor of young  Asgill.

The commander in chief was happy to transmit to Congress the several requests and  observations, which he had reason to expect would relieve him from an affair  that had embarrassed his mind, both as a man of humanity and the commander of an  army. Congress immediately directed that Captain Asgill should be liberated  from imprisonment, and left at his own option to choose his future residence; on which,  he took leave of the army and of America, and repaired to his friends in  England.

The reply of General Washington and the resolutions of Congress relative to granting a  passport to Mr. Morgan, secretary to General Carleton, to go to  Philadelphia, was not equally condescending.  On his arrival at New York, Sir Guy  Carleton had requested that he might be permitted to send some letters of  compliment to Congress.  General Washington forwarded the request, which drew out a  resolve of Congress "That the commander in chief be hereby directed to  

refuse a compliance with the request of General Carleton to grant a pass to Mr. Morgan  to bring dispatches to Philadelphia." It was also resolved that no intercourse  should be opened or that any of the subjects of Great Britain should be permitted to pass  or repass from the British to the American posts while the provisional  articles of peace were held in suspense.

This was not only a judicious, but a necessary precaution in the Congress of the United  States.  At this period, a small circumstance of intelligence or information  might have given a pretext to defeat a pending negotiation for peace.  The fleets and  armies of Britain still kept their station in America; while the clashing interests of  foreign nations, with regard to American claims, were not yet adjusted; and while the  loyalists were clamorous and vindictive, watching the opportunity of impeding  the present measures, which, if ratified, must leave them in a hopeless state of  despondency; at the same time, it set their countrymen on a point of elevation, contrary  to their predictions, their wishes, and their interests, which had prompted them to  opposition, and for which they had hazarded their ease, their lives, and the  friendship and esteem of their former associates and friends.  These people certainly had  high claims of gratitude from the British government for their unshaken  loyalty, through the sharp conflict that severed the colonies from the dominion of  Britain, and themselves from their native country forever.


Chapter Twenty-Seven:  Discontents with the provisional articles. Mr. Hartley sent to  Paris. The definitive treaty agreed to and  signed by all parties. A general pacification among the nations at war. Mr. Pitt, Prime  Minister in England. His attention to  East India affairs. Some subsequent observations.

After provisional articles for peace had been agreed on at Paris, between the British and  American commissioners, the impatient curiosity of the British nation for a  full communication of their contents was inexpressible. The ultimate determinations  with regard to the unconditional independence of America were among the most  interesting of their inquiries.  But the necessity of concealing affairs of such national  moment for a time, within a veil of secrecy, was urged by the ministry, as it would  bring on discussions and objections which might embarrass the work of peace. All  ambiguity was opposed in the House of Commons by several members, with no  small degree of warmth. They insisted that no disguise ought to be used, but that the  whole business should be laid open before irretrievable stipulations should bind  the nation to disadvantageous or dishonorary terms. But when the general tenor of the  provisional articles was made known, it was far from restoring tranquility or  harmonizing the several parties.

The general dissatisfaction expressed by persons of high rank and consideration against  both the provisional articles with America and the preliminary articles for  peace with France, Spain, and Holland, which now lay under consideration, was so great  that many began to be alarmed, lest all the pacific measures should be set  afloat and the hope of tranquility, which had dawned upon the nations, might yet finally  be defeated.

Some of the first characters in the cabinet, the Parliament, and the nation discovered the  most singular disgust and uneasiness at the proposed Articles of  Accommodation, and debate and contention ran high in both Houses of Parliament.  The  Lords Walsingham, Stormont, Sackville, Carlisle, and others were violent in  their opposition to the whole system of peace comprised in the provisional articles.   They thought the character of the nation tarnished, in the concession made by the  negotiators on the part of Britain in favor of the revolted colonies; whose obstinacy had  involved the Crown and the Kingdom in distresses incalculable, but that the  nation was not yet so reduced as to submit to a mean dereliction of their rights.  They  asserted that they yet an army, a navy, and resources sufficient to chastise the  insolence of the House of Bourbon.  It was observed that though the councils of France  had upheld the revolted colonies in opposition to the power of Britain, and  now justified their bold demands, that the combined fleets and France and Spain had  recently felt the superiority and fled from the power of the British flag.

It was not passed over in silence that all hearts had lately been warmed by their gallant  conduct, and every tongue loud in the applauses of the magnanimous officers  who had defended Gibraltar; that the House of Commons had expressed their gratitude  by a vote of thanks to Governor Elliot and General Boyde, for the  astonishing example of courage, patriotism, and patient suffering which they had  displayed, in the vigorous defense of a fortress devoted to destruction by a most  formidable foe; that the navy had contributed its full share in this glorious success, and  that the just thanks of the nation had been offered to Lords Howe, Rodney,  and others, who were still ready for the most gallant defense of all the claims of England  against the combined fleets of France, Spain, and the world.

In short, the sum of their declamations were that the proud glory of conquest, which had  so often perched on the helmet of British officers, was not, by the dash of an  inexperienced pen, [Mr. Oswald's.] to be meanly prostrated to obtain a peace, either  from old hereditary enemies, or the pertinacity and refractory conduct of their  own offspring in the colonies.

 Little delicacy was observed.  Mr. Oswald's abilities for the business of a negotiator  were highly ridiculed. Many objections were made, and copiously dwelt on by  the orators in the British Parliament, with regard to the pending articles; particularly on  the right of the fisheries, on the boundaries of the United states, the free  navigation of the Mississippi, and the forlorn condition of those Americans who had  been attached to the Crown from the beginning of the contest.  Their friends  asserted that the abandoning the loyalists and consigning them over to the cold  recommendation of the American Congress, only on the promise of their  commissioners that their situation should be considered y the several legislatures and  that the legislative powers should advise to a placable spirit and urge the people  to forgiveness, was a fallacious security on which no reliance could be placed.  I was  observed that the commissioners themselves could not expect that such a  measure would succeed. They know too well that this class of men were considered in  America as a ten-fold more inveterate foe than any of the native sons of  Britain.

The proposal of their return to and residence in the United States for a limited term as  viewed by gentlemen of the first penetration as a chimerical project. They were  too well acquainted with human nature to imagine that this description of persons would  be received by them, when they knew that "the Americans in general would  consider it as taking a viper into their bosoms, whose nature could not be altered, and  however well fed, its benefactor could not be secured from its sting."

The neglect of stipulations in favor of a class of people who had forsaken their country,  lost their property, and risked their lives in the field from their attachment to  the British Crown, and their fondness for the government of England, was styled  criminal in every view. It was asserted that it was marked with cruelty, injustice, and  ingratitude.

Doubtless, many of the advocates of the loyalists in the British Parliament, argued from  what they though the principles of rectitude, rather than from the prejudices of  party; and could those principles along have had their full operation in the minds of  men, notwithstanding past provocations, it might have been the policy of the  Americans at this period to have laid aside their prejudices. At the same time, it would  have exemplified their benevolence to have forgiven, cherished, and secured  the friendship of a large body of people, instead of perpetuating an alienation, and  transmitting it from sire to son, through successive generations.  But it was the  indispensable duty of the British government to protect and to compensate.  This they  afterwards did in some instances, in a very ample manner; but many of this  unfortunate class were espoused to sufferings which they had never contemplated, when  they forsook their neighbors, their relations, and their families, for the  precarious hope of better fortune from the oppressors of their country.

These and other circumstances shook the minister in his place. He felt he did not stand  on very firm ground, however, recently encircled by favoritism, though at the  summit of power, and still the bubble of popularity. the gale was about to pass off, and  leave him in private life, the sport of change, but not in the quietude of  retirement.  The rivals of Lord Shelburne were powerful, his enemies subtle and  sagacious; and the inconsistency which appeared in his principles relative to the  independence of America gave them a fair occasion to discuss his opinions and to  displace him from office.

Desirous as was Mr. Fox and some other gentlemen for a happy accommodation with  America, and a happy termination of war with all the nations, they spurned at  several of the proposed articles of peace; an singular as it may appear, the consequence  of the present fermentation was a second coalition, composed of still more  jarring atoms than the first... the leopard was indeed to lie down with the lamb.

Notwithstanding their former disagreement in opinion, their rancor and bitterness on  many occasions; the antipodes in political sentiment, with regard to the  prerogative of the Crown, the majesty of the people, and the American war; a strange  connection took place, viewed by the nation as a kind of political  phenomenon.  Lord North and Mr. Fox were seen acting together in administration, in  conjunction with Lords Cavendish and Stormont, Keppel and Carlisle. The  Duke of Portland was appointed First Lord of the Treasury in the room of Lord  Shelburne, who had enjoyed little tranquility in that elevated station. The reputation  of neither party was much enhanced by the coalition. It created a general suspicion of  the patriotism of both; and both were considered as acting a part for the  gratification of their won interests and passions, rather than from a regard to the public  welfare.

Mr. Fox was reproached with forsaking his former friends, and assimilating his  character and his attachment, as convenience required, to the politics of the day. To  this he replied that "for the painful losses he had experienced in his friendships, he must  find a consolation in the purity and consistency of his intentions, and that  rectitude of design which had ever been his guide in his political career."

While the general expectation of a resheathing of the sword had spread a humane  satisfaction over the countenances of man in Europe and in America, the minds of  the contemplative and sagacious characters in the United States were filled with anxiety  on the variety of difficulties which lay before them.  They anticipated the  impracticability of disbanding an army become discontented from deficiencies in  payment. They saw the impossibility of a speedy discharge of the public debt; of  defraying the expenses of a long war, and paying up the arrearages due to the soldiery,  who had bravely borne the toils of the field, amid poverty, hunger, danger,  and death.  They were too well acquainted with human nature to expect that a people  who had been so long in such a perturbed state should sit down in tranquility  and order, until some necessary arrangements for the operations of a free, yet energetic  government, should be established. This they considered, in the situation of  their country, a work that required the talents of the most able statesmen, and the virtues  of the most disinterested patriots to digest.  The jarring interests of the states  and of individuals, and their dissonant opinions of forms and modes of government  might prevent the adoption of the best that could be suggested and create  jealousies and ferments that might terminate in domestic confusion and war, until  anarchy or despotism should succeed.

In addition to all other difficulties apprehended by speculative and judicious Americans,  previous to the provisional articles terminating in a definitive treaty of peace,  they dreaded the idea of a large body of loyalists left by Great Britain, to make terms of  reconciliation with their offended countrymen.

It was a very precarious hope on which these refugees had to build. they had little reason  (as observed) to expect the resentment of a whole people would be  annihilated merely by the recommendation of the American agents. They could not but  be sensible that if the governing powers were mollified and should recommend  moderation and forbearance, yet the mutual injuries and affronts between individuals  and families, in consequence of political dissonance, would not be likely to lie  dormant, but would be brought back to recollection on every trivial occasion.  It was to  be expected that old animosities would be raked open, that would forever  disturb the peace of society, when they took their stand beside their injured neighbors,  weeping the loss of a father, a husband, or a son, who had perished in the  dreadful conflict, many of them by the hands of a class of men now thrown back on their  wounded feelings.

In the mean time the business of negotiation went forward among the belligerent  powers. Some new arrangements were made. Mr. Hartley was sent to Paris, whose  commission superseded that of Mr. Oswald. We have seen that Mr. John Adams had left  Holland and joined the plenipotentiaries of the United States, previous to  the agreement on provisional articles for peace, signed November 1782. He was no  favorite of the officers and administration of affairs at the Gallican Court. His  manners were not adapted to render him acceptable in that refined and polished nation;  nor did he appear to have much partiality for, or confidence in them.  But  firm to the interests of his country, and tenacious of its claims, he advocated and  defended them with ability; and by his determined spirit was essentially serviceable  in maintaining the stipulations required in behalf of the United States.

Now was Mr. Jay less strenuous or indefatigable to counteract everything he thought  might militate with the interest of America.  He invalidated difficulties as they  arose, with the accuracy of the statesman, and obviated every objection to just and equal  advantages in the treaty which his countrymen required.  Dr. Franklin's  known attachment toe the interests of the United States, and his conspicuous talents as a  negotiator preclude the necessity of any observations on his abilities, his  character, or his conduct.

It has been before observed that Congress shad inadvertently endeavored to fetter their  agents by directing them to be under the councils of France, rather too much  for a free and independent nation. These gentlemen considered such restrictions  dishonorary to themselves and their country; and by their vigor, zeal, and address,  acted, through every stage of the business, as the agents of a free nation, not to be  influenced by foreign considerations or councils.

Near ten months elapsed, after singing the provisional articles, before the definitive  treaty was completed. Previous to the adjustment of all the articles contained in  this treaty, much address, altercation, intrigue, and finesse among the parties, was is  usual on similar occasions, was intermixed with fair negotiation.  All preliminaries  at length agreed to, this important instrument was signed at Paris on September 3, 1783.

David Hartley, esquire, on the part of Great Britain, and Benjamin Franklin, John Jay,  and John Adams, esquires, on behalf of America, affixed their names and their  seals to the treaty for the restoration of harmony between Britain, and the ancient potent  parent, and the emancipated colonies, and sent it forward for the ratification  of Congress and of the British Parliament.

The definitive treaty between Great Britain and the United States contained only nine  articles.  The first of these was a full and complete acknowledgment of the  independence of America. His Britannic Majesty, in the first article, "acknowledges the  United States, viz. New Hampshire, Massachusetts Bay, Rhode Island and  Providence Plantations, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware,  Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia, to be  Free, Sovereign, and Independent States; that He treats with them as such; and for  Himself, His heirs, and successors, relinquishes all claim to the government,  property, and territorial rights of the same, and every part thereof." [See Note 3 at the  end of this chapter]

On the same day, September 3, the definitive treaty between Great Britain and France  was signed at Versailles by the Duke of Manchester in behalf of the King of  England, and on the part of France by the Count de Vergennes.

The count de Aranda and the Duke of Manchester mutually exchanged their seals for the  happy event of a peace  between England and Spain. The definitive treaty  of peace and friendship between His Britannic Majesty and the King of Spain was also  signed at Versailles September 3, 1783.

All impediments that barred the accommodation between England and Holland had been  removed, and peace and harmony restored between His Britannic Majesty  and the States-General of the United Provinces. Preliminary articles for this purpose  were adjusted and singed at Paris by the ministers of the respective courts on  September 2, 1783.

The King of Sweden had invited a treaty of amity and commerce with America, in a  very handsome, complimentary manner. He observed that he was "desirous of  forming a connection with a people who had so well established their independence, and  who, by their wisdom and bravery, so well deserved it."  This treaty had  been singed April 3, 1783, and a stipulation made for its continuance for the term of 15  years, before any revision or renewal should take place.

Denmark ordered the American flag to be treated like that of the republics of the first  order.  Indeed, after the independence of the United States was explicitly  acknowledged by the King of Great Britain, most of the European nations were, or  appeared to be, fond of forming connections with a young, growing republic.   The independent rank of America was now viewed in connection with her prolific soil,  abundant resources, commercial genius, and political principles, which  indicated her rising into eminence and consideration, that would set her on a footing  with any nation on earth, if she did not become corrupted by foreign vices, or  sunk by the indulgence of her own foolish passions.

 The Batavian Republic was the first nation beyond the Atlantic, after the French, who  sent an envoy in form to the Congress of America. On October 31, 1783,  Peter John Van Berkel was received by them as minister plenipotentiary from the States- General of the United Netherlands.  By the president and members of  Congress, every mark of respect, cordiality, and friendship was shown; and on the other  side it was amply returned by the address and politeness of the Dutch  minister; who, with many eloquence and grace, addressed that venerable body, and  expressed his own regard and the esteem of his constituents for the citizens of  the United States. In the president's reply, he acknowledged the high sense Americans  had of the importance of the alliance, and the gratitude they all felt for the  services rendered the United States by individuals of his nation and particularly by  himself and family, previous to the completion of the late treaty.

Thus, after the horrors of war had shed their baneful influence over the nations, without  cessation, for seven or eight years; and after  the havoc of human lie had, as  usual, displayed the absurdity of mankind, in the delight they seem to discover in the  destruction of their own species; a truce of the miseries of the inhabitants of the  earth, on the one side of the globe, was promised for a season. Though the nations had  been long engaged in war, peace seemed now to lift up her declined head,  and promise a general tranquility. her advances were made across the Atlantic; yet no  official accounts were received by Congress that a definite treaty had been  signed by the ministers of the several belligerent powers until the conclusion of the year  1783.

It has already been observed that the provisional and preliminary articles for a general  pacification among the contending powers had been signed at Paris November  29, 1782; but the completion of the definitive treaty productive of a general peace, was  not agreed to until the succeeding autumn; when, as related above, the  signatures and seals of the commissioners on  all sides were affixed to the several  stipulate articles, and the world relieved from a long constrained situation of mind,  between hope, expectation, and fear.

Yet the intelligence of the spring of 1783 had been equally impressive in the American  army, as if peace had actually been proclaimed by sound of trumpet. Nor was  it strange that the military departments, nor indeed that all the inhabitants of the Untied  

States, should feel the same impression.  The intelligence of the present  prospects of a complete accommodation of existing differences was accompanied with  private as well as public letters from Mr. Adams, Mr. jay, and other  distinguished Americas, replete with the strongest assurances that hostilities would not  be recommenced; and that the fleets and armies of Great Britain would, in a  few months, be withdrawn from the ports and cities of the United States.

But there was yet much to be done on both sides of the water.  it could not be expected  that after a convulsion of such magnitude that the American officers and  soldiers could at once retire and sit down quietly, each under his own vine and fig tree;  or that the turbulent spirit of hostile nations could in a moment be tranquilized;  much less, that the pride of the British ministry and Parliament should suffer them to  settle down in tranquil repose among themselves, after the long series of  mortification, discontent, and disunion that had embittered every department, and almost  every individual against the political opinions of his neighbor, and the civil and  political administration of the affairs of his country.

The preliminary and provisional articles had terminated in a definitive treaty of peace. In  this, the general sense of the nation and the wishes of the people were  gratified. Yet  there were still sources of discontent sufficient to indicate that the present  ministry stood on slippery ground.

Lord North had been long unpopular. Mr. Fox had many and potent enemies. But  "naturally of a comprehensive mind and constitutionally fraught with good humor  and general kindness, the field of popular applause seemed to be perfectly congenial to  him." But he had a powerful rival in a son of the late favorite of the nation,  Lord Chatham. This young gentleman had in a remarkable manner won the favor of His  Sovereign and the hearts of the people. On may interesting questions, he had  argued on the popular side and had gained an ascendancy that promised eminence,  celebrity, and station in the first grade of office and influence. He was among the most strenuous advocates of a reform in Parliament. He was zealous  for a commercial treaty with the United States, and ridiculed the language,  

the conduct, and the impediments thrown in the way; and condemned the regulations  and restrictions on the American trade, which, he observed, must forever keep  open the door of animosity between the two countries.

Nor did he less oppose and ridicule the India Bill, so much the subject of investigation  and discussion, introduced by Mr. Fox, and rejected by a majority of the  House of Lords. But the confusions and distractions in the East Indies required that  some energetic and wise measures should be immediately adopted to reform  abuses and restore justice and peace in that oppressed country.  This produced a second  India Bill, brought forward by Mr. Pitt himself, which was also rejected,  and the door still left open for much contention and debate relative to the affairs of India  and the distresses of the unhappy inhabitants.

Thus animosities were kindled among the first characters of the nation, and discontents  fomented until everything verged to the extreme of disunion.  "It was  impossible for Mr. Fox to do anything in a cold, uninterested, or indifferent manner. He  therefore always went considerable lengths for the attainment of his object."   But he finally lost ground and left his rival to wave his laurels triumphantly in the field  of party, and the favor of his King.

The fluctuation of office, and the changes in administration had been so frequent in the  present reign that it was viewed as a thing of course, on every dispute or  variation of opinion on great political questions. From the accession of George III in  1761 to 1783, when Lord Shelburne came in, there had been many different  hands who had taken the helm of the head of the ministry and set the political bark  afloat in a tempest without the ability to recover and moor it in the haven of peace.

In these circumstances, and at this critical period, Mr. William Pitt, in the fire of youth,  in the pride of brilliant talents, and with the ambition, if not the hereditary  capacity, of the aged statesman, was appointed Chancellor of the Exchequer.  Tenacious  of his own character, he held the high office in spite of opposition or  flattery; and so perseveringly stood his ground and held the reins of power so long that  his friends ceased to fear his removal, and his enemies at last despaired of  carrying any point against a minister that was become at once a favorite both of the  prince and the people.

Notwithstanding the abilities of the new minister and the exertions of some of his  predecessors, now out of place; notwithstanding a pacification had recently taken  place among the European powers; Great Britain was still tottering under the enormous  expenses of the late war, and her own internal dissensions on subjects of  magnitude and importance. Men of the first abilities and information were wide in  opinion, and divided on every political point.  the spirit of party was heightened and  produced continual altercation in Parliament on the conduct, projects, and character of  the young minister. Supported by royal favor, and sufficiently conscious of his  own talents, he was not borne down by any opposition. It was soon perceptible that the  embarrassments of government, the derangement in political, commercial,  domestic, and foreign affairs, still required much energy and decision, and perhaps the  capacity of older and more experienced statesmen.

The cruel mismanagement in the East Indies interested the whole nation.  The  derangement and distraction of their affairs there, the enormities committed, and the  tragical scenes of barbarity perpetrated under the presidency of Warren Hastings,  governor general of Bengal, which reduced the country tot he extreme of penury  and misery, were afterwards copiously displayed and amply detailed in his long  protracted trial.  This finally terminated without decision on  delinquency or  satisfaction to the public.

The dreadful famine in Calcutta in 1779 is well know; that which succeeded it in 1781  was still more deplorable, when 14,000 persons died weekly of hunger at  Madras; while the provinces of Oude and Benares suffered in equal degree under the  same calamity, brought on by means which will never be blotted from the  memory of man. [Read the story of the nabob of Oude (See a part of speech made by  Mr. Sheridan on this subject in Note 4 at the end of this chapter) of Cheitsing  -- the widow of Sujah Dowla -- of the conquest of Benares -- the treatment of the nabobs  of Bengal; and, indeed, of all who fell under the power of the English  government, in their wars with the unfortunate Indians. These are to be found in a  variety of authentic accounts of the conduct and intercourse of the English with the  oriental nations.] These were too complicated and diffuse for a place here, but some  cursory observations on the conduct of British officers in that country may be  admitted.

A specimen of the tragedy acted by General Matthews at Onore, where he directed no  quarter should be given, but every man be put to the sword, will be  impressive from an extract of a letter from one of his own officers. He observed that  "The carnage was great. We trampled thick on the dead bodies that were  strewed in the way. It was rather shocking to humanity, but such are only secondary  considerations; and to a soldier whose bosom glows with heroic glory, they are  thought accidents of course. His zeal makes him aspire after further victory."

What a perversion of just ideas! The true glory of man is benignity and kindness to his  fellow mortals; nor can even military glory be enhanced by the triumphant  butchery of mankind. But the same cruel apathy expressed by one of them, seemed to  pervade most of the officers on this expedition. The riches and splendor of the  peninsula and the extermination of the inhabitants that they might possess their wealth  seemed to be the only object.

From Onore, General Matthews proceeded to Hydernagur, the capital of Canara. It is  true, by astonishing feats of valor, he reached the metropolis where the wealth  of the inhabitants was immense. The place was surrendered  by capitulation. The general  possessed of the treasure and no distribution made. The avarice of the  officers to obtain their full share of the plunder raised murmur and mutiny that wee    not  easily quieted; nor was it ever ascertained in whose coffers the whole was  finally deposited.

Before General Matthews returned to Bombay, he sent a detachment from Hydernagur  to Annanpour, under the command of Major Campbell. The orders were for  a storm and no quarter.  The cruel mandates were received with alacrity and put in  execution without delay. every man in the place was put to the sword, except one  horseman, who escaped after being wounded in three different places.  The women,  unwilling to be separated from their relations, or exposed to the brutal  licentiousness of the soldiery, threw themselves in multitudes into the moats with which  the fort was surrounded.  400 beautiful young women, pierced with the  bayonet and expiring in each other's arms were in this situation treated by the British  with every kind of outrage. The avenging hand of justice soon overtook the  barbarous, butchering Matthews. He fell into the hands of Tippoo Saib, after that  victorious commander had recaptured Hydernagur, as loaded with chains,  imprisoned, and soon after put to death by his orders. [It has been said that the manner  of his death was that of pouring melted gold down his throat: a strong  expression of the ides the natives had of his avarice.]

For a further detail of the enormities committed by the servants of Britain and the  sufferings of the inhabitants of India for a number of years, without mitigation, the  reader is referred to the history of that unfortunate country.  There he will find a  description of a great part of this garden of nature, whose prolific shoots have  expanded over the four quarters of the globe, few of whose inhabitants have yet arrived  to a perfect knowledge of the arts, the ingenuity, the sciences, contained in  their Sanskrit and other languages.

Indeed, new discoveries have been recently brought to light, by the investigation of  learned and virtuous Englishmen; who, while pursuing their inquiries weep to  behold so fair a spot of creation [Bengal has been described as exhibiting the most  charming and picturesque scenery, opening into extensive glades, covered with a  fine turf, and interspersed with woods filled with a variety of birds of beautiful colors;  amongst others, peacocks in abundance, sitting on the vast horizontal branches,  displayed their dazzling plumes to the sun; the Ganges winding its might waters through  the adjacent plains, adding to the prospect inexpressible grandeur; while the  artist at his loom, under the immense shade of the banyan tree, softened his labor by the  tender strains of music.] bathed in the blood of its native sons, by the hands  of a nation who boast higher degrees of civilization, without possessing their simplicity,  urbanity, and perhaps their knowledge.  But their progress in the arts, their  histories of the firs progenitors of mankind, their astronomical discoveries, and their  knowledge of nature and its operations, must now lay buried with the wreck of  their fortunes, and many of them enveloped in the rubbish of complete ruin, brought  on them by European avarice and ambition.

But a correction of some abuses in India took place early in the administration of Mr.  Pitt. New regulations were adopted; and critical inquiry made into the conduct  of the East India company, and their officers. Several of the old officers of government  were removed, and men of more humanity sent forward in their places.  Among them, Sir William Jones was appointed one of the judges of the supreme court  of judicature. The character of this gentleman deserves every encomium.  From his writings and the testimony of contemporaries, he was an honor to his country,  a benefactor to mankind, and an ornament to the world.  His elegant  manners, profound erudition, pure morals, and strict justice were conspicuous in all the  transactions of his life. The deep researches of Sir William Jones in ancient  oriental history have thrown great light on the customers, manners, habits, and the  various religions among the Indians, both ancient an modern.  His learned labors  must undoubtedly tend to improvements in science, and the culture of virtue and true  religion, through the enlightened part so of the world; and perhaps to soften and  humanize the hearts of his own countrymen, in their future unwarrantable invasions of  the inhabitants of the East.

The English are, indeed, an astonishing nation.  Though frequently involved in  hostilities with half the world; confounded by the immensity of their own national debt,  accumulating almost beyond calculation; plunged in luxury and venality; their manners  and their constitution corrupted; yet, by their extensive commerce, the strength  of their navy, their valor, their genius, and their industry, they surmount all  embarrassments with address and facility, and rise superior to the evils that would augur  the  downfall of any other nation on earth.

No country has produced men more learned and liberal, of more comprehensive genius,  

virtue, and real excellence, than England. Yet the contrast may as justly be  exhibited there, as in any part of the world.  But the balance of real merit, both  individual and national, must be left to the all-pervading eye, which , with a single  glance surveys the moral and intellectual system of creation.  We now leave them to the  rotations of time, and the reaction of human events, to the period which shall  be pointed by the providential government of Him, to whom a thousand years are as one  day; when they also may be viewed a spectacle of woe, by the remnant  nations, annihilated by their rapacity, ambition, and victorious arms.

Let us hasten to turn our eyes from the miserable Mahrattas, the desolated tribes of  Hindustan, and the naked Carnatic [See Mr. Burke's speech in the House of  Commons relative to the desolation of the Carnatic.] divested of everything that had  breathed, by the ravages of a relentless foe.  A dead and dreary silence reigns  over an extent of 500 or 600 miles of these once full peopled plans. Nor will we dwell  longer on any of the proud projects of conquest in the cabinet of Great  Britain, either in the East or the West; but carry the mind forward, and indulge a  pleasing anticipation of peace and independence to the United States of America.


Note 3

The definitive treaty of peace and friendship between His Britannic Majesty and the  United States of America, signed at Paris September 3, 1783.

In the name of the most holy and undivided Trinity.

It having please the Divine Providence to dispose the hearts of the most serene and most  potent prince, George III, by the grace of God King of Great Britain,  France, and Ireland, defender of the faith, Duke of Brunswick and Lunenburg, Arch  Treasurer and Prince Elector of the Holy Roman Empire, etc., and of the United  States of America, to forget all past misunderstandings and differences that have  unhappily interrupted the good correspondence and friendship which they mutually  wish to restore and to establish such a beneficial and satisfactory intercourse between  the two countries, upon the ground of reciprocal advantages and mutual  convenience, as may promote and secure to both perpetual peace and harmony; and  having for this desirable end already laid the foundation of peace and  reconciliation by the provisional articles signed at Paris on November 30, 1782 by the  commissioners empowered on each part; which articles were agreed to be  inserted in and to constitute the treaty of peace proposed to be concluded between the  Crown of Great Britain and the said United States, but which treaty was not  to be concluded until terms of peace should be agreed upon between Great Britain and  France, and His Britannic Majesty should be ready to conclude such treaty  accordingly; and the treaty between Great Britain and France having since been  concluded, His Britannic Majesty and the United States of America, in order to  carry into full effect the provisional articles above mentioned, according to the tenor  thereof, have constituted and appointed; that is to say, His Britannic Majesty on  his part, David Hartley, Esquire. member of the Parliament of Great Britain; and the said  United States on their part, John Adams, Esquire, late a commissioner of  the United States of America at the Court of Versailles, late delegate in Congress from  the state of Massachusetts, and chief justice of the said state, and minister  

plenipotentiary of the said United States to their High Mightinesses the States General  of the United Netherlands; Benjamin Franklin, Esquire, late delegate in  Congress from the state of Pennsylvania, president of the convention of the said state,  and minister plenipotentiary from the United States of America at the Court of  Versailles; and John Jay, Esquire, late president of Congress and chief justice of the  state of New York, and minister plenipotentiary from the said United States at  the Court of Madrid; to be the plenipotentiaries for the concluding and signing the  present definitive treaty, who, after having reciprocally communicated their  respective full powers, have agreed upon and confirmed the following articles

Article 1 His Britannic Majesty acknowledges the said United States, viz. New Hampshire,  Massachusetts Bay, Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, Connecticut, New  York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South  Carolina, and Georgia, to be free, sovereign and independent states; that he  treats with them as such, and for himself, his heirs, and successors, relinquishes all claim  to the government, proprietary, and territorial rights of the same, and every  part thereof.

Article 2 And that all disputes which might arise in future on the subject of the boundaries of the  said United States may be prevented, it is hereby agreed and declared that the  following are and shall be their boundaries, viz. From the northwest angle of Nova  Scotia, viz. that angle which is formed by a line drawn due north from the source  of the St. Croix River to the high lands, along the said high lands which decide those  rivers that empty themselves into the River St. Lawrence, from those which fall  into the Atlantic Ocean, to the northwestern-most head of the Connecticut River; thence  drawn along the middle of that river to the 45th degree of north latitude;  from thence by a line due west on said latitude until it strikes the River Iroquois of  Cataraquy; thence along the middle of said river into Lake Ontario; through the  middle of said lake until it strikes the communication by water between that lake and  Lake Erie; thence along the middle of the said communication into Lake Erie,  through the middle of said lake, until it arrives at the water communication between that  like and Lake Huron; thence through the middle of said lake to the water  communication between that lake and Lake Superior; thence through Lake Superior  northward to the isles Royal and Philipeaux, to the Long Lake; thence through  the middle of said Long Lake, and the water communication between it and the Lake of  the Wood, to the aid lake of the Woods; thence through the said lake to the  most north-westernmost point thereof and from thence on a due west course to the River  Mississippi; thence by a line to be drawn along the middle of the said  Mississippi, until it shall intersect the northernmost part of the 31st degree of north  latitude; south, by a line to be drawn due east from the determination of the line  last mentioned, in the latitude of 31 degrees north of the equator to the middle of the  River Apalachicola or Catahouche; then along the middle thereof to its junction  with the Flint River; thence straight to the head of St. Mary's River, to the Atlantic  ocean; east, by a line to be drawn along the middle of the River St. Croix, from its  mouth in the Bay of Fundy to its source, and from its source directly north to the  aforesaid high lands, which divide the rivers that fall into the Atlantic Ocean from  those which fall into the River St. Lawrence, comprehending all islands within 20  leagues of any part of the shores of the United States, and lying between lines to be  drawn due east from the points where the aforesaid boundaries between Nova Scotia on  the one part and East Florida on the other, shall respectively touch the Bay  of Fundy and the Atlantic Ocean, excepting such islands as now are or heretofore have  been within the limits of said province of Nova Scotia.

Article 3 It is agreed that the people of the United States shall continue to enjoy unmolested the  right to take fish of every kind on the Great Bank, and on all the other banks  of Newfoundland; also in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and at all other places on the sea  where the inhabitants of both countries used at any time heretofore to fish; and  also that the inhabitants of the United States shall have liberty to take fish of every kind  on such part of the coast of Newfoundland as British fishermen shall use, (but  not to dry or cure the same on that island) and also on the coats, bays, an creeks, of all  other of His Britannic Majesty's dominions in America; and that the  American fishermen shall have liberty to dry and cure fish in any of the unsettled bays,  harbors, and creeks of Nova Scotia, Magdalen Islands, and Labrador, so long  as the same shall remain unsettled; but so soon as the same shall be settled, it shall not  be lawful for the said fishermen to dry or cure fish at such settlement, without a  previous agreement for that purpose with the inhabitants, proprietors, or possessors of  the ground.

Article 4 It is agreed that the creditors on either side shall meet with no lawful impediment to the  recovery of the full value in sterling money of all bona fide debts heretofore  contracted.

Article 5 It is agreed that Congress shall earnestly recommend it to the legislature of the  respective states to provide for the restitution of all estates, rights, and properties,  which have been confiscated, belonging to real British subjects; and also of the estates,  rights, and properties of persons resident in districts in the possession of His  Majesty's arms and who have not borne arms against the said Untied States; and that  persons of any other description shall have free liberty to go to any part or  parts of any of the thirteen United States, and therein to remain twelve months  unmolested in their endeavors to obtain the restitution of such of the estate, rights, and  properties as may have been confiscated; and that Congress shall also earnestly  recommend to the several states a reconsideration and revision of all acts of laws  regarding the premises, so as to render the said laws of acts perfectly consistent, not  only with justice and equity, but with the spirit of conciliation which, on the  return of the blessings of peace, should invariably prevail; and that Congress shall also  earnestly recommend to the several states that the estates, rights, and  properties of such last mentioned persons who may be now in possess, the bona fide  price, (where any has been given), which such persons may have paid on  purchasing any of the said lands, rights, or properties, since the confiscation.

And it is agreed that all persons who have any interest in confiscated lands, either by  debts, marriage settlements, or otherwise, shall meet with no lawful impediment  in the prosecution of their just rights.

Article 6 That there shall be no future confiscations made, nor any prosecutions commenced  against any person or persons, for or by reason of the part which he or they may  have taken in the present war; and that no person shall on that account suffer any future  loss or damage, either in his person, liberty, or property; and that those who  may be in confinement on such charges, at the time of the ratification of the treaty in  America, shall be immediately set at liberty, and the persecutions so commenced  be discontinued.

Article 7 There shall be firm and perpetual peach between His Britannic Majesty and the said  United States, and between the subjects of the one and the citizens of the other;  wherefore all hostilities, both by sea and land, shall from henceforth cease; all prisoners,  on both sides, shall be set at liberty; and His Britannic Majesty shall, with all  convenient speed, and without causing any destruction, or carrying away any negroes or  other property of the American inhabitants, withdraw all his armies,  garrisons, and fleets from the said United States, and from every post, place, and harbor  within the same, leaving in all fortifications the American artillery that may be  therein; and shall also order and cause all archives, records, deeds, and papers belonging  to any of the said states, or their citizens, which in the course of the war  may have fallen into the hands of his officers, to be forthwith restored, and delivered to  the proper states and persons to whom they belong.

Article 8 The navigation of the River Mississippi, from its source to the ocean, shall forever  remain free and open to the subjects of Great Britain and the citizens of the United  States.

Article 9 In case it should so happen that any place or territory belonging to Great Britain or to  the United States should  have been conquered by the arms of either from the  other before the arrival of the said provisional articles in America, it is agreed that the  same shall be restored without difficulty and without requiring any  compensation.

Article 10 The solemn ratifications of the present treaty, expedited in good an due form, shall be  exchanged between the contracting parties in a space of six months or sooner  if possible, to be computed from the day of the signature of the present treaty.

In witness whereof, we, the undersigned, their ministers plenipotentiary, have in their  name, and in virtue of our full powers, signed with our hands the present  definitive treaty, and caused the seals of our arms to be affixed thereto.

Done at Paris, September 3, 1783.

David Hartley John Adams Benjamin Franklin John Jay


Note 4

The celebrated Mr. Sheridan observed in a speech on the ravages in India under the  government of Mr. Hastings "Had a stranger at this time gone into the Kingdom  of Oude, ignorant of what had happened since the death of Sujah Dowla, that man, who  with a savage heart had still great lines of character, and who, with all his  ferocity in war, had with a cultivating hand preserved to his country the riches which it  derived from benignant skies, and a prolific soil; if this stranger, ignorant of all  that had happened in  the short interval and observing the wide and general devastation  and all the horrors of the scene; vegetation burnt up and extinguished; villages  depopulated and in ruin; temples unroofed and perishing; reservoirs broken down and  dry; he would naturally inquire, What war has thus laid waste the fertile fields  of this once beautiful and opulent country? What civil dissensions have happened, thus  to tear asunder and separate the happy societies that once possessed those  villages? What disputed succession? What religious rag has with unholy violence  demolished those temples and disturbed fervent but unobtruding piety in the exercise  of its duties  What merciless enemy has thus spread the horrors of fire an sword? What  severe visitation of Providence has thus dried up the fountains, and taken  

every vestige of verdure from the earth? Or rather, What monsters have stalked over the  country, tainting and poisoning with pestiferous breath, what the voracious  appetite could not devour? To such questions what must be the answers? No wars have  ravaged these lands, and depopulated these villages; no civil discords have  been felt; no disputed succession; no religious rage; no merciless enemy; no affliction of  Providence, which, while it scourged for the moment, cut off the sources of  resuscitation; no voracious and poisoning monsters; no; all this has been accomplished  by the friendship, generosity, and kindness of the English nation. they have  embraced us with their protecting arms , an lo! these are the fruits of their alliance."


Chapter Twenty-Eight: Peace proclaimed in America. General Carleton delays the  withdraw of the troops from New York.  Situation of the loyalists. Efforts in their favor by some gentlemen in Parliament. Their  final destination. Their dissatisfaction and subsequent conduct.

The discordant sounds of war that had long grated the ears of the children of America  were now suspended, and the benign and heavenly voice of harmony soothed  their wounded feelings, and they flattered themselves the dread summons to slaughter  and death would not again resound on their shores.  The independence of  America acknowledged by the first powers in Europe, and even Great Britain willing to  resheathe the sword on the same honorable terms for the United States,  every prospect of tranquility appeared.

These were events for which the statesman had signed in the arduous exertions of the  cabinet; for which the hero had bared his breast, and the blood of the citizens  had flowed in copious streams on the borders of the Atlantic, from the River St. Mary's  to the St. Croix, on the eastern extreme of the American territory.  Peace  was proclaimed in the American army, by order of the commander in chief, on April 19,  1783. This is just eight years from the memorable day when the first blood  was drawn in the contest between the American colonies and the parent state, in the  fields of Concord and Lexington.

The operation and consequences of the restoration of peace were now the subject of  contemplation.  This opened objects of magnitude indeed to a young republic  which had rapidly passed through the grades of youth and puberty, and was fast arriving  to the age of maturity -- republic consisting of a number of confederated  states, which by this time had received many as inhabitants, who were not originally  from the stock of England.  Some of them, indeed, were from more free  governments, but others had fled from the slavery of despotic courts. From their  numbers and abilities they had become respectable, and their opinions weighty in the  political scale. From these and other circumstances, it might be expected that, in time,  the general enthusiasm for a republican system of government in America might  languish and new theories be adopted or old ones modified under different names and  terms, until the darling system of the inhabitants of the United States might be  lost or forgotten in  a growing rabidity for monarchy.

Symptoms of this nature already began to appear in the language of some interested and  ambitious men, who endeavored to confound ideas and darken opinion by  asserting that republicanism was an indefinite term. In social circles they frequently  insinuated that no precise meaning could be affixed to a word by which people  were often deceived and led to pursue a shadow instead of an object of any real stability.   This was indeed, more the language of art than principle, seemed augur  the decline of public virtue in a free state.

It required the utmost vigilance to guard against, and counteract designs thus secretly  covered. It was not unexpected by the judicious observers of human conduct,  that many contingencies might arise to defeat of to render fruitless the efforts that had  been made on the practicability of erecting and maintaining a pure,  unadulterated, republican government.

Time must unfold the futility of such an expectation, or establish a system on a basis  that will lead mankind to rejoice in the success of an experiment that has been  too often tried in vain.  Those who have been nurtured in the dark regions of despotism,  who have witnessed the sale of the peasantry with the glebe they have  cultivated from infancy, and who have seen the sire and the son transferred with the  stables and the cattle, from master to master, cannot realize the success of a  theory that has a tendency to exalt the species and elevate the lower grades of mankind  to a condition nearer to an equality with adventitious superiority. It is not  wonderful that a people of this description and education should be incredulous of the  utility of more free modes of government.  They are naturally tenacious of old  customs, habits, and their own fortuitous advantages. They are unable to form an idea of  general freedom among mankind without distinction of ranks that elevate  one class of men to the summit of pride and insolence, and sink another to the lowest  grade of servility and debasement.

But Americans born under no feudal tenure, nurtured in the bosom of mediocrity,  educated in the schools of freedom; who have never been used to look up to any  lord of the roil as having a right by prescription, habit, or hereditary claim to the  property of their flocks, their herds, and their pastures, may easily have been  supposed to have grown to maturity with very different ideas, and with a disposition to  defend their allodial inheritance to the last moment of their lives.

The United States of America, however, had yet many matters of the highest importance  to adjust. They had many descriptions of persons to quiet, and many  circumstances connected with  foreign nations that required diplomatic discussion,  particularly with regard to the laws of trade and the regulation of commerce, both  at home and abroad, before a stable form of government could either be adopted or  organized.  The army was not yet disbanded, and a powerful body of loyalists  were retarding the completion of some of the articles of the treaty of peace and  embarrassing the commander in chief of the British army by their murmurs and  discontents.

When Sir Henry Clinton was recalled from the command of the King's forces in  America, he was succeeded by Sir Guy Carleton, who was vested with a very  extensive commission. He had the direction and government of all military affairs in  Canada, New York, and wherever else the Crown of England claimed any stand  in the United States.

According to the articles of the definitive treaty, all the posts held by the troops of His  Britannic Majesty within the territories of the United States were to be  immediately evacuated; and on the certitude of a general accommodation, every British  and Hessian soldier was to be drawn off and retire from the continent.  But a  delay took place which, in some instance, we shall see was fatal to the pace of the  United States.

The British troops still occupied New York, though by treaty it was to have been  relinquished on the declaration of peace.  It is true, however, that General Carleton  had usually conducted with great politeness both toward Congress and the commander  in chief of the armies of the United States; but he was himself embarrassed  between his duty and his honor.

The reasons for staying longer at New York than was stipulated by treaty, were not  grounded on mere plausible pretense.  The principal argument offered by hi for a  non-compliance with orders and delaying the expectations of the Americans was the  obligation he thought Great Britain under, to protect the loyalists.  At the same  time, his own mind was impressed with the necessity and justice of aid and support to a  body of hapless men, "who ought when administration no longer needed the  assistance of disaffected Americans and refugees."

Whether wholly influenced by compassion towards the loyalists, or whether stimulated  by political reasons in the cabinet of his court, General Carleton did not  appear to show any extraordinary degree of moderation in consequence of the delay.  Several months after the proclamation for peace, General Carleton wrote the  president [See General Carleton's letter to Mr. Boudinot, then president.] of the  Congress of the United States that he wished to accelerate his orders to evacuate  New York; and that "he should lose no time as far as depended on him, to fulfill His  Majesty's commands, but that the difficulty of assigning the precise period for  this event is of late greatly increased."

He complained in this letter that the violence of the Americans, which broke out soon  after the cessation of hostilities, increased the number of their countrymen who  looked to him for escape from threatened destruction; and that these terrors had of late  been so considerably augmented that almost all within the line conceived the  safety both of their property and their lives, depended on being removed by him, which  rendered it impossible t say when the evacuation could be completed. He  said, "whether they had just grounds to assert that there was either no government within  the limits of the American territory, for common protection, or that it  secretly favored the committees, in the sovereignty they assume and are exercising, he  should not pretend to determine."

He observed that "as the public papers furnished repeated proofs, not only a disregard to  the articles of peace, but contained barbarous menaces from committees  formed in various cities and districts and even at Philadelphia, the very place which the  Congress had chosen for their residence; that he should show an indifference  to the feeling of humanity, as well as to the honor and interest of the nation, whom he  served, to leave any of the loyalists, that are desirous to quit the country, a prey  to the violence they conceive they have so much cause to apprehend."

He intimated that Congress might learn from his letter how much depended upon  themselves and the subordinate legislatures to facilitate the service he was  commanded to perform; that they might abate the fears and lessen the number of the  emigrants.  But should these fears continue and compel such multitudes to  remove, he should hold himself acquitted from every delay in fulfilling his orders, and  the consequences which may result therefrom.  He also added that "it made no  small part of his concern that the Congress had thought proper to suspend to so late an  hour recommendations stipulated by the treaty and in the punctual  performance of which, the King and his ministers had expressed such entire  confidence."

This letter was considered by Congress, the officers of the army, and the people in  general as evasive, if not affrontive; and taught them the necessity of standing on  their guard, and holding their arms in their hands, until the removal of all hostile  appearances, the entire evacuation of New York, and until the fleets of His Britannic  Majesty were withdrawn from the American seas.

The loyalists were still very numerous in the city, though some of them had dispersed  

themselves in despair to seek an asylum without much dependence on  government.  Their situation was indeed truly deplorable. They had everything to fear if  the British troops withdrew and left them to the clemency of their countrymen  now elated by success, and more hardened against the feelings of humanity, by the cruel  scenes of war they had witnessed.

The conduct of the American refugees had been such from the commencement of  hostilities that they could not but be conscious, as expressed by a celebrated  American patriot, [Governor Livingston.] that "they were responsible for all the  additional blood that had been spilt by the addition of their weight in the scale of the  enemy." He observed "they were sensible they could never regain the confidence of  their late fellow subjects, whose very looks must confound and abash men who  in defiance of nature and education have not only, by a reversed ambition, chosen  bondage before freedom, but waged an infernal war against their nearest  connections, for not making the like abhorred election."

Everyone will readily conceive that these people at this time were really in a distressed  situation. Their own ideas of the improbability of harmony and quiet, even if  permitted to return to the bosom of their country, comported with the above  observations. These were strongly expressed in a memorial tot he British Secretary of  State, forwarded by them soon after the definitive treaty.

In this memorial, they observe "that the personal animosities that arose from civil  dissensions had been heightened by the blood that had been shed, to such a degree  that the two parties could never be reconciled. They, therefore, prayed, that they might  have an assignment of lands, and assistance from the Crown to make  settlements for themselves and families."

The experiment of this intermixture and reunion of heterogeneous characters had not yet  been tried; but from the temper of the people throughout the continent, there  did not appear to be any great probability that the recommendation of Congress to the  legislative bodies would disarm the resentment or eradicate the painful ideas  that the presence of American refugees would revive. The minds of many had suffered  too much in their persons or connections from such as they thought ought to  have assisted in the struggle for the independence of their country to be healed in a  moment.

It is beyond a doubt that there was little conciliatory feeling on either side. So far from  it, the vanquished in New York were threatened with severe vengeance by  one party, while the other poured out the most bitter expressions of resentment against  the Congress and the people of America, now rejoicing in the success of their  own arms.  This temper was far from justifiable. It was neither acting as wise politicians  or real Christians; but it was the natural ebullition of injured and provoked  human nature which too seldom pays the strictest regard to national faith, honor, or  moral precept, when passion has been wrought up beyond a certain degree of  forbearance.

It is matter of wonder that the whole class of loyalists, though disarmed of power, were  so imprudent as not to discover any disposition to harmonize with or a wish  to conciliate the affections of their former friends and associates.  They expressed their  rancor on the all occasions, and when assured that the definitive treaty was  actually signed, they broke out into the most violent paroxysms of rage and  disappointment. Epithets of the most indecent and vindictive nature often fell from their  lips, and increased the general disgust planted in the bosoms of their countrymen from  their first defection from the American cause.

The recent outrages that had been committed, sanctioned by orders from the Associated  Board of Loyalists, as they styled themselves, had given reason to  apprehend that a spirit of revenge would be excited, that might preclude all lenity and  forbearance in the minds of those citizens who had been pillaged, insulted, and  abused. It was justly apprehended that the unhoused mourners for father, brothers, or  beloved sons betrayed into the hands of pitiless enemies by this description of  persons, could not readily forgive.

In order to check this rancorous spirit, or rather to lessen the influence of such an  invidious temper, and present the fatal effects that might on both sides arise from its  indulgence, General Carleton, soon after his arrival at New York, had directed the  dissolution of the society and forbidden any more meetings as an associated  body, under any name of form. But he considered the situation of this class, more  particularly those who had been active members of the Board of Associated  Loyalists, as too hazardous to desert at the present moment.  It has been observed that he  thought it his indispensable duty to reside in the city and to retain the  British troops for a time, for the protection of all the unhappy people under the  description of Tories or loyalists.  He therefore waited until some arrangements and  proper provisions could be made for their subsistence.

Notwithstanding the British negotiators had been obliged to leave them in a very  indeterminate situation, or recede from the negotiations for peace, great attention  had been paid to this description of persons in the debates of the British Parliament.  Sir  Adam Ferguson had suggested, some time before the peace, in the course  of debate, that they ought to be divided into three classes: "first, those who had early  taken arms in the cause of Britain; secondly, those who had fled to England with  their families; lastly, those who had continued at home and did not act or style  themselves loyalists until the King's troops called them out to express their opinions by  personally acting against the Americans." He said that "a discrimination ought to be  made and that they should be rewarded according to their merits and sufferings."

This discrimination was attended with difficulty; but everyone though that government  was under obligations to each of these classes that could not be winked out of  sight; but they all had claims of consideration and compensation, for their efforts to  support the measures of Parliament, if not for any essential services rendered to  the Crown.

Many noblemen were zealous that suitable provision should be made for the American  loyalists of all descriptions, and no one appeared more interested in their  favor than Lord Shelburne. In consequence of this, some arrangements were made for  their establishment, and an apportionment of lands assigned them in the  province of Nova Scotia. They were there assisted by the British government to erect a  town which was incorporated by the name of Shelburne, and patronized by  His Lordship.  But it was a sterile spot, and many of them took better ground for  themselves at New Brunswick, St. John's, and other parts of Nova Scotia,  Canada, and within the limits of any part of the American territory yet claimed by Great  Britain.

The officers of the provincial corps were allowed half pay for life, but notwithstanding  any partial compensations made to the loyalists by the British government, their  situation in every view was truly pitiable.  many of them had been long separated from  their families and tenderest connections. They had flattered themselves with the  hope of returning in very different circumstances at the conclusion of a war which they  had expected would much sooner have terminated and have terminated in a  manner equal to their sanguine ideas of the irresistible arm of Britain.

The most exalted opinion of the strength and power of that nation, a reverential  attachment to the Monarch, and the fond influence of old habits of government and  obedience to parliamentary regulations, had all cooperated with their ideas of the  complete subjugation of the American colonies.  They naturally calculated that they  should then be stored to their former residences, and become the favorite subjects of  royal patronage.  They had reason to expect that their unshaken loyalty and  

uniform exertions to facilitate the designs of the Court of St. James, justly deserved a  higher tribute of gratitude from the Crown than they had received.  Their  banishment to an iron shore, with a cold recommendation to the sate legislatures to  permit them to revisit those friends that might yet have survived the hand of time  and misfortune; and to make an effort to recover their scattered property that had  frequently shifted hands, as is usual in the confusion of revolutionary struggles,  could not be viewed by them as very high marks of consideration.

Yet many of them submitted afterwards to their condition, with a spirit of enterprise and  resolution, an endeavored to establish their new settlements on a respectable  footing.  But their embarrassments in a situation so new, the soil unprolific, the climate  frigid, and the natural propensity of the human mind to sigh after a return to its  natal spot, to finish the career of present existence, all cooperated to defeat their success  Shelburne, the pride of their hopes was in a few years nearly depopulated  and many expensive and elegant buildings left without an inhabitant.

As we shall not again have any further occasion to recur to the subject of the loyalists, a  few observations, the result of their subsequent conduct, may be here  introduced with propriety, though it is rather an anticipation.

Those who fixed themselves on the more fertile borders of the Bay of Fundy and St.  John's River, succeeded better than those at Shelburne; but though a few of  them felt themselves greatly obligated to the justice or the generosity of the British  government, they continued their fealty and attachment to the Crown of England,  with the same zeal and fervor which formerly glowed in the bosoms of the inhabitants of  all the American colonies.

The planting a new settlement is an unpleasant task to those who have been used to  softer habits, from the industry, fatigue, and self-denial necessary to promote its  success. Nor does the laborious exercise of felling trees and erecting log huts for  themselves yield much satisfaction to those of a rougher class, but in the anticipation  of better prospects in future.  The hand of time, which generally ameliorates the miseries  of man or reconciles the mind to its misfortunes, was not sufficiently lenient  to make happy these once voluntary emigrants either in Canada, Nova Scotia, or even in  England. Impatient under the sentence of exile from their native land, some  of them returned to America as aliens, and availed themselves of the benefit of the Act  of Naturalization, afterwards passed by the American government, in favor of  those who wished to become citizens of the Untied States.  But under the influence of  their old prejudices in favor of monarchy, and their minds lowered down by  habit, to succumb to the doctrine of passive obedience, some of them were restless and  uneasy in the society of men who had recently suffered so much to procure  liberty and independence to themselves and posterity. They fomented divisions,  disseminated party opinions, ridiculed the principles of the revolution, and vilified  many of the first characters who had exerted themselves to secure the liberties of their  country. These, combined with other circumstances that took place, seemed  to throw a temporary veil over the republican system.

All those who returned to the bosom of  their country after the peace, ought not to be  implicated as inheriting such vindictive dispositions. Whenever the loyalists are  mentioned in a collective body, it is but just to make a reservation of some exceptions in  favor of such as fled, from the terrors awakened in their bosoms by the  convulsive sounds of war. These only wished to return to their native soil, enjoy a quiet  residence in the land which gave them birth. Persons of this description were  to be found in every state in the union, after they were permitted by treaty to return.   These were objects of commiseration rather than blame. They had lost their  property, their friends, and their felicity, from a mistaken apprehension of the power of  the hostile arm that had been stretched out for the invasion of America, before  their emigration.

Whatever testimony truth may required from an historian, when investigating the  motives of action in public bodies or scrutinizing individual character, the proneness  of man to err should always admonish him that it is an indispensable duty "to be candid  where he 'can'."

It is to be lamented, when political opinion is the only bond of attachment, when merit,  however conspicuous is not acknowledged, but by the party in which  it is  enlisted, the web of prejudice is then so thickly interwoven that no ray of brotherly  kindness can penetrate, and that charity which covers a multitude of sins is totally  annihilated.

Though the anticipation in the preceding short chapter may not exactly accord with the  rules of historic writing, no other apology is necessary than that the awakened  curiosity of the reader, as well as his compassion, will naturally excite a wish to trace  the destiny of a body of men, who had set their faces against the liberties  mankind and the exertions of their countrymen. This class had hazarded their own  fortune and liberty, which  were staked against the independence of America, and  the freedom of future generations.

This cursory review of the situation of those unhappy emigrants, the treatment which  they received from the British government, their destination and compensation in  consequence of their attachment to the Monarch of England, will doubtless permitted,  though not in due order of time, as it was the natural result of a survey of their  character, their condition, their fate at the close of the war, and their subsequent  department.


Chapter Twenty-Nine:  Conduct of the American army on the news of peace. Mutiny  and insurrection. Congress surrounded by  a part of the American army. Mutineers disperse. Congress removes to Princeton. Order  of Cincinnati. Observations thereon.

Before we close the curtain on the scenes that have empurpled the plains of America,  with the blood of some of the best of her citizens, or before we congratulate  the European world on the opportunity of closing the temple of Janus, for a season, it is  proper to retrospect and mark some of the intermediate transactions of the  American troops, from the capture of Lord Cornwallis and his army to the proclamation  for peace, and the disbanding the troops of the United States.

We have seen through the narration of events during the war, the armies of the  American states suffering hunger and cold, nakedness, fatigue, and danger, with  unparalleled patience and valor. A due sense of the importance of the contest in which  they were engaged, and the certain ruin an disgrace in which themselves and  their children would be involved on the defeat of their object, a strong stimulus to  patient suffering.  An attachment to their commanding officers, a confidence in the  faith of Congress, and the sober principle of independence, equity, and equality, in  which the most of them had been nurtured, all united to quiet any temporary  murmurs that might arise from present feelings, and to command the fidelity of soldiers  contending or personal freedom, and the liberties of their country.

The deranged state of the American finances from a depreciating currency the difficulty  of obtaining loans of moneys, and various other causes had sufficiently  impressed them with the danger that threatened the great object, the independence of the  United States of America. These circumstances had led the army to submit  to a delay of payment of their equitable dues, notwithstanding their personal sufferings,  and to wait the effects of war more efficient stipulations for adequate rewards  in some future day.

But, on the certain intelligence that peace was at hand, that it had been proposed to  disband the army by furloughs, and that there was no appearance of a speedy  liquidation of the public debts, many of both officers and soldiers grew loud in their  complaints, and bold in their demands. They required an immediate payment of  all arrearages; and insisted on the security of the commutation engaged by Congress  some time before, on the recommendation of General Washington. He had  requested that the officers of the army might be assured of receiving seven years' whole  pay, instead of half pay for life, which had been stipulated before; this, after  reducing the term to five years, Congress had engaged.

They also demanded a settlement for rations, clothing, and proper consideration for the  delay of payment of just debts which had long bee due, and an obligation  from Congress for compensation or immediate payment.  They chose General  McDougal, Colonel Brooks, and Colonel Ogden, a committee from the arm to wait  on Congress, to represent the general uneasiness, and to lay the complaints of the army  before them, and to enforce the requests of the officers, most of whom were  supposed to have been concerned in the business.  Anonymous addresses were scattered  among the troops; poisonous suggestions whispered, and the most  inflammatory resolutions drawn up, and disseminated through the army These were  written with ingenuity and spirit, but the authors were not discovered.

Reports were everywhere circulated that the military department would do itself justice;  that the army would not disband until Congress had acceded to all their  demands; and that they would keep their arms in their hands, until they had compelled  the delinquent states to a settlement, and Congress to a compliance with all the  claims of the public creditors.

These alarming appearances were conducted with  much art and intrigue. It was said and  doubtless it was true that some persons not belonging to the army, and who  were very adroit in fiscal management, had their full share in ripening the rupture.

Deeply involved in public contracts, some of the largest public creditors on the continent  were particularly suspected of fomenting a spirit and encouraging views  inconsistent with the principles and professions of the friends to the Revolution.  These  were disgusted at the rejection of the late 5 per cent impost, which had been  contemplated. The were thought to have been busy in ripening projects which might  bring forward measures for the speedy liquidation of the public demands.  The  private embarrassments and expenses of some of this class had frequently prompted  them to all-digested systems of relief to themselves, in which the public were  also involved, from the confidence placed in men by men of the first consideration. But  their expedients and their adventures ended in the complete ruin of some  individuals.

Those gentlemen, however, most particularly implicated in the public opinion, sustained  a character pure, and morals correct, when viewed in comparison with others  who were looking forward to projects of extensive speculation, to the establishment of  banks and funding systems, and to the erected a government for the Untied  States, in which should be introduced ranks, privileged orders, and arbitrary powers.   Several of these were deep, designing instruments of mischief; characters able,  artful, and insinuating; who wee undoubtedly engaged in the maneuvers of the army;  and though their designs were not fully comprehended, it was generally believed  that they secretly encouraged the discontents and the attempts of the disaffected  soldiery.

In answer to the address of the officers of the army, Congress endeavored to quiet by  palliatives and by expressions of kindness, encouragement, and hope, Several  months passed in this uneasy situation. The people anxious, the officers restless, the  army instigated by them and by ambitious and interested men in other  departments, proceeded to the most pernicious resolutions and to measures of a very  dangerous nature.

In the mean time, General Washington, both as commander in Chief and a man who had  the peace of his country at heart, did everything in his power to quiet  complaint, to urge the patience, and to dissipate the mutinous spirit that prevailed in the  army.  By his assiduity, prudence, and judgment, the embers were not slightly  covered, but the fire was not extinguished. The secret murmurs that had rankled for  several months, and had alternately been smothered in the sullen bosom or  blazed high in the sanguine, now broke out into open insurrection.

On June 20, 1783, a part of the Pennsylvania line, with some others belonging to the  different corps of several of the United States, in defiance of all order and  military discipline, and in contempt of the advice and even importunity of such as were  better disposed, marched from Lancaster to Philadelphia. There they were  joined by some discontented soldiers in the barracks within the city, who had recently  returned poor, emaciated, and miserable, from the southern service.

This seditious host surrounded the State House when Congress was sitting, placed  guards at the doors, and threatened immediate outrage, unless their demands  were complied with in the short space of 24 minutes.

Prompt requisitions and immediate decision, all well-disciplined armies are used to, but  this is no apology for the precipitation of their present measures. However,  from the pride and success of military maneuvers, to which they had been accustomed,  they felt themselves superior to all civil subordination or control. This is  usually the case with all armies or detachments from them, in all countries, after they  have stood their ground long enough to feel their strength sufficient to indulge that  military tyranny which grows by habit, and makes a standing army a fit instrument for  the support of the most cruel despotism.

It was indeed very alarming to see the General Congress of the United States held in a  kind of duress, by a part of their own army; but though extremely clamorous  and insolent, the mutineers did not proceed to personal abuse; and, as if struck by a  consciousness of the impropriety of their own conduct, or over-awed by the  appearance of that honorable body in a state of imprisonment by those whom they ought  to command, the members were soon permitted to separate.  Indeed, they  did not meet with any personal insult from the rude and disorderly soldiers, though their  demands were not complied with, nor any new concessions made in favor of  men who threatened to become the military masters of the country.

Congress, thus rudely assaulted, resented the public affront as they ought, and judged it  improper for themselves to continue longer in a city where they could not be  sure of protection.  The president and the members of Congress agreed to leave  Philadelphia immediately, and to meet on the 26th at Princeton, to proceed on the  business of the United States.

General Washington, very far from countenancing any of the measures of these  disturbers of order and tranquility, and very unhappy at the discontents that had  appeared among many of his officers, lost not a moment after he was informed of the  riotous proceedings of a part of his army in Philadelphia. He ordered General  Robert Howe to march without delay, with a body of 1500 men, to quell the mutineers.  Aided by the prudent conduct of the magistrates of the city, things were not  carried to the extremities apprehended. The refractory soldiers were soon reduced to  obedience, tranquility restored, and no blood spilt.

Some of the ringleaders of sedition were taken into custody, but soon after received a  pardon from Congress. The most decided steps were immediately taken, not  only to quell the clamors of the rioters, but to do justice to the armies of the United  States. The commutation, which had labored in Congress for some time, was  finally agreed on: five years' full pay was acceded to, instead of half pay during the live  of the officers of the army. To this was added a promise of large proportion of  uncultivated land in the western territory, to be distributed among them according to  their rank in the army. Yet they were not satisfied. Their complaints were loud,  the grievances and the merits of the army recapitulated, and their demands high, even to  the alarm of all who had the interest of their country at heart, lest the  consequences of this mutinous sprit might be fatal to its future tranquility.

The disbanding of an army and throwing a number of idle people at once on the  community always requires the most guarded, cautious, and judicious steps.  Congress, sensible of this, had immediately on the news of peace recommended to  General Washington the measure of furloughing a number of commissioned and  non-commissioned officers. They were of the opinion that if a considerable part of the  soldiery who had enlisted for three years were sent from the army in this way,  it would be the most prudent method of separating a body of men, usually dangerous to  the liberties and morals of their own country, when no foreign foe obliges  them to unite in the general defense.

But it was a measure not pleasing to the army, and had fomented the uneasiness and  increased the clamor among the officers, previous to the audacious step of  investing the congressional assembly, and obliging them, under the threats of an armed  force, to disperse for their own personal safety. Yet this mutinous disposition  did not appear to have infected the whole army. Many of the soldiers were the  substantial yeomanry of the country. Many of the officers had stood in the same grade  of life, and were far from wishing to involve the inhabitants of their native country in  scenes of new confusion and distress for the redress of their complaints or the  payment of their arrearages.

At the same time, the people at large generally thought that the compensations engaged  by Congress were equal to the services and sufferings of the army, however  meritorious. It was judged, that if held up in a comparative view with the exertions, the  sufferings, and the dangers of men in other departments, that gratitude was not  exclusively due to the military line; but that others, who had with vigilance and energy  opposed the common enemy, were entitled to some consideration in the public  eye. Every sober and judicious man considered patience and moderation requisites that  ought to adorn every public character and censured, in strong terms, the  indulgence of that restless and turbulent spirit that had recently appeared to prevail in  the army of the United States.

The public in general were soon confirmed in the opinion that the intrigues of some of  the officers were deep, ambitious, designing, and pernicious.  In the outset of  the American Revolution, the institution of ranks, the creation of nobles, the rearing a  monarchy, or the aggrandizement of a monarch, and the factitious ideas of  aristocratic birth had no existence in the minds of a rising republic or their army,  organized to oppose the encroachments of kings. These were ideas afterwards  suggested by aspiring individuals who had no prescriptive rights by any superiority of  birth, wealth, or education, to assume dignified names or ennobled orders.  By  degrees, these views were nurtured by certain designing characters and matured by  circumstances to which the inhabitants of the states had hitherto been strangers.

But a connection with European powers, formed from necessity, kept open by  negotiation, and the intercourse strengthened by speculators and men of pleasure,  tainted the purity and simplicity of American manners, long before the conclusion of the  war.  The friendships formed in the field with  a foreign army had their  influence, and the habits and opinions of military men, who had long been the servants  of monarchy or despotism, were adopted by a considerable part of the army  of the United States. Nor were some men of other descriptions less fascinated with the  splendor of courts and the baubles of ambitious spirits, scepters, diadems,  and crowns. Doubtless, some of these had lent their cooperating influence to undermine  the beautiful fabric of republicanism, which Americans had erected with  enthusiastic fondness, and for which they had risked ease, property, and life.

It may be observed that pure republicanism is cherished by the philosopher in his closet  and admired by the statesman in his theories of government. Yet, when  called into operation, the combinations of interest, ambition, or party prejudice too  generally destroy the principle, though the name and the form may be preserved.

There is a change of manners, of sentiments, of principles, and of pursuits which  perhaps similar circumstances will in time produce, in all ages and countries. But  from the equality of condition to which they had been used, from their modes of life,  and from the character and professions of its inhabitants; such a change in  America was not contemplated, nor could have been expected to approach, at so early a  period of her independence.  But new ideas, from a rivalry of power and a  thirst for wealth, had prepared the way to corruption, and the awakened passion were  hurried to new images of happiness. The simpler paths which they had   trodden in pursuit of competence and felicity were left to follow the fantastic fopperies  of foreign nations, and to sigh for the distinctions acquired by titles, instead of  that real honor which is ever the result of virtue.

A writer of celebrity has observed that "military commanders acquiring fame and  accustomed to receive the obedience of armies are in their hearts generally enemies  to the popular equality of republics." Thus, the first step taken in the United States for  the aggrandizement of particular families by distinguished orders, and assumed  nobility, appeared to originate in the army; some of whom, as observed of the ancient  barons of England, "soon forgot the cause and the patriotism of their ancestors,  and insensibly became the servant of luxury of government."

By the Articles of Confederation unanimously acceded to by each legislature on the  continent, the great American Republic admitted no titles of honor, no ennobled  or privileged orders. But willing to make the experiment, and reap the first fruits of  exclusive dignity, a self-created rank was contemplated by some officers of the  army, and an order of military knighthood projected, before the disturbances at  Philadelphia, but not publicly avowed until after the insurrection was subdued.

This institution embraced the whole body of officers belonging to the army and navy,  both French and Americans. The right of admitting as honorary members  persons of eminence of any nation was also assumed.  This adoption of honorary  members gave the right only of partaking present munificence, and the enjoyment of  the honor during their own lives, however they might have been distinguished in name  or character.  A hereditary claim to the peerage of the Order of Cincinnati, and  the privileges annexed thereto, was confined solely to the military line.

The Count de Rochambeau, the Duke de Noailles, and many of the principal officers of  the French army, and several other foreign officers, whose term of service  had been too short to admit a claim according to the rules of the order were, however,  adopted on its first institution. The French ambassador and many other  gentlemen bred in the schools of monarchy in various parts of Europe, and even some  princes and crowned heads, were invited to dignify the order by becoming  honorary members.

This was a deep laid plan, which discovered sagacity to look forward, genius to take  advantage, and art to appropriate to themselves the opening prospects of  dignity and rank, which had fired the minds of ambitious men.  the ostensible design of  this novel institution was striking to the compassionate mind, and flattering to  the lovers of freedom among the American officers.  many of them knew not enough of  the world and of the history and character of man to suspect any latent  mischief or any concealed object that must not yet be divulged, for fear of disgusting the  public ear. Others had comprehensive ideas of the system, and with great  complacency of mind anticipated the honor of hereditary knighthood, entailed on their  posterity.

The members were invited to embody as a society of friends, to perpetuate the memory  of the Revolution, and to engage to be vigilant in preserving inviolate the  exalted rights and liberties of human nature, for which they had fought and bled. On his  initiation into the society, each member was to advance a month's pay, in  order to begin a fund for the relief of any unfortunate family or distressed individual,  who did himself or whose father had belonged to the order.

They mutually engaged that this union should not be dissolved but with their lives; and  that their attachment and their honors should descend to the eldest of their mail  posterity, and in failure thereof, to the collateral branches.

They were to be furnished with a diploma, and to appropriate to themselves as a badge  of their order, a golden medal, with a bald eagle spread on the one side, and  on  the other a symbol and a motto indicative of the dignity of their order.  The medal  was to be suspended on a broad blue ribbon edged with white, designed to  intimate the union between America and France. This was to be hung to a buttonhole of  their vest.

As the officers of the American army had styled themselves of the order and assumed  the name of Cincinnatus, it might have been expected that they would have  imitated the humble and disinterested virtues of the ancient Roman; that they would  have retired satisfied with their own efforts to save their country, and the  competent rewards it was ready to bestow, instead of ostentatiously assuming hereditary  distinctions and the insignia of nobility. But the eagle and the ribbon dangled  at the buttonhole of every youth who had for three years borne an office in the army, and  taught him to look down with proud contempt on the patriot grown grey in  the service of his country.

Arduous indeed was the talk of raising, regulating, and maintaining an army, to secure  the freedom, the mediocrity, and the independent spirit, as well as the name of  Americans Those who had been long engaged in this laborious work had never  imagined, that any class of the citizens of the United States would pant for peerages  in the shade of retirement, instead of practicing in their primeval state, the humble  virtues, and imitating the laudable manners of their ancestors.

The benevolent principles avowed in the declarations of the society, allured many to  unite with them who had no ideas of establishing an hereditary rank of nobility in  America. Their views were too circumscribed, and perhaps too virtuous, to wish for  

anything more than independence, retirement, and peace, and to return to the  plow or to the humbler occupations of their former life, with the conscious disposition  of doing good to their old associates, if affliction should assail, or misfortunes  render them, in any future day, the objects of commiseration and beneficence. But  America had nurtured sons of boundless ambition, who thus early contemplated  stars, garters, and diadems, crowns, scepters, and the regalia of kings, in the yet simple  bosom of their country.

General Washington was looked up to as the head of the society, though for a time he  prudently declined the style of president or grand master of the order, and  chose to be considered only as an honorary member.  This might have been from an  apprehension that it would give a stab to his popularity, but more probably it  was from a sense of the impropriety of an assumption so incompatible with the  principles of a young republic. The commander of the armies of the United States,  however, after the Baron de Steuben had acted as grand master of the order until  October, 1783, publicly acknowledged and subscribed himself the president of the  Society of the Cincinnati.

It was observed by a writer in England that "this was the only blot hitherto discovered in  the character of this venerable hero." The same writer adds "It is impossible,  however, to exculpate him. If he understood the tendency of his conduct, his ideas of  liberty must have been less pure and elevated than they have been represented;  and if he rushed into the measure blindfold, he must still be considered as wanting in  some degree that penetration and presence of mind so necessary to complete his  character." He was censured by several opposed to such an institution, who wrote on the  subject both in Europe and America. It was considered as a blamable  deviation in him from the principles of the Revolution, which he had defended by his  sword, and appeared now ready to relinquish by his example.

The name of Washington was alone sufficient to render the institution popular in the  army; but neither his or any other name could sanction the design in the eye of the  sober republican, and other men of moderate views in the common grades of life.  These  were tenacious of the principles and the Articles of the Confederation,  which expressly forbade any rank or dignity to be conferred on the citizens of the United  States, either by princes abroad or self-created societies at home.  [Confederation, article 6].

Much less satisfied were many high-spirited individuals in the higher classes of life.  Ambassadors abroad, who had adopted a fondness for nominal distinctions,  members of Congress and state legislatures, and many others who had acquired a taste  for the external superiority that wealth and titles bestow, could not be  pleased to see themselves and their children thus excluded from hereditary claim to the  honors, privileges, and emoluments of the first order of American nobility.   These asserted without hesitation that this self-created peerage of military origin would  throw an undue weight into the scale of the army; while the sincere votaries to  freedom and the natural equality of man apprehended that this institution would give a  fatal wound to the liberties of America.

Many judicious observers of the story of mankind thought that the United States had  now, at the conclusion of the war, an opportunity to make a fair experiment  between the advantages of a republican form of government and more despotic modes.

It is true, America had obtained her independence, and spurned at every idea of kingly  power. Yet, at this period it was difficult to conjecture into what form of  government the United States would finally settle.  Republicanism had been the order of  the day. The theory was beautiful and the system warmly advocated by  many of the best political writers. But the manners and the opinions of many discovered  that they had not entirely shaken off their prejudices in favor of monarchy,  under which their ancestors had suffered enough to lead them to impress the wisest  lessons on their posterity.

Some circumstances augured symptoms that Americans, like most other nations, would  succumb to the will of assumed superiority, and by their servility justify the  attempt to establish inequalities of rank; and that they would relinquish with their rights,  the spirit that ought to support them; that the dignity of republican principles  would, in some not very distant day, be lost in the adulation of the sycophant, trembling  under the frown of despotic master.

This was consistent with the ideas of a sensible American writer on the subject of the  institution of the Cincinnati. He observes "that this order was a deep laid plan,  to beget and perpetuate family grandeur in an aristocratic nobility, which might  terminate at last in monarchical tyranny.  But (adds the same writer) never let so foul a  stain be fastened on the human character as that the very men who, with unfading honor,  rescued their country from the galling yoke of foreigners, should lay the  corner stone for erecting a tyranny themselves. Let not their example provide that all  that Plato, Sidney, and Locke have said and others have bequeathed to  posterity on the subject of political happiness was no more than ideal pictures of a fine  imagination." [Edanus Burke, esquire, chief justice of the state of South  Carolina.]

The Baron de Steuben and many other foreign officers were very active and zealous in  promoting this new institution. It was, however, generally thought it originated  more in the ambition of some American, than in the influence of any European officers;  and perhaps the society was not more indebted to any individual who was a  native son of America for this dignified innovation, than to Major General Knox, a man  of extensive ambition, who had imbibed ideas of distinction too extravagant  for a genuine republican.

Mr. Knox had not had the advantages of a literary education; but his natural inquisitive  disposition and attention to books rendered him a well-informed, agreeable  man, with ingratiating accomplishment. His love of military parade, and the affability of  his manners brought him forward to the command of a cadet company in  Boston before the commencement of the American war. Naturally of a complacent  disposition, his jovial humor and easy deportment rendered him acceptable in all  companies, and made him a favorite with the commander in chief, even before his  talents as a soldier were called into exercise. With an assemblage of pleasing  qualities, it is not strange that he rose rapidly in the military line. He commanded the  artillery department for several years before the conclusion of the war; and  performed his duty in this line with courage and vigilance, which did honor to this  military character.

Towards the close of the war, many gentlemen had indulged the most expensive modes  of life, without resources sufficient to support the pernicious habits, which  they had adopted from a wild fondness for novel ideas of rank, titles, and privileged  orders, little short of men of princely education, birth, and expectations. These  probably might think that some badge of hereditary nobility might give consequence to  certain characters and families. While they might have sagacity to see that new  exigencies might arise that would open new sources of wealth to favored individuals,  sufficient to maintain the pageantry, assumed by self-originated titles and  distinguished orders.

Friendship and brotherly kindness, patriotism and charity were held up as the basis of  the institution; and however the pride of man might be flattered by the ideas of  a frivolous honorary title, attached to his family forever, doubtless the urbanity of Mr.  Knox, as well as many other gentlemen, members of the society, was gratified  more by the expectation that much utility would redound to a very large class in the  community who might be benefited by the donations of the society, though they  reaped none of the honors of the institution.

But it was not long before the people were generally aroused from their supineness by  the alarming aspect of these pretensions of the officers of the army. Instead of  an affectionate respect to them, which had been generally felt, or any new veneration  awakened toward the new military nobles, a universal disgust was intermingled  with the apprehensions of danger. This innovation was considered as striking at once at  the equality, liberty, simplicity, and interest of the nation at large.  The  legislatures of several states announced their disapprobation of the institution, in strong  and pointed language. They declared it an unjustifiable, dangerous, and bold  presumption; and threatened, if persisted in, to manifest stronger tokens of their  displeasure against the officers of the army, for separating themselves from their  fellow citizens and erecting a pedestal on which they might be elevated to distinguished  rank, and grades of honor inhibited by the Confederacy of the States, and the  principles of the Revolution.

The state of Rhode Island carried their resentment still farther.  They cut them of from  the usual privileges which had been enjoyed by the subjects of the state, and  annulled their claims to the common right of citizenship by declaring that any who were  members of the Cincinnati should be considered as incapable of holding any  office under the government.  In short, so general was the dissatisfaction expressed at  the appearance of a deep laid foundation for building up a strong aristocracy, if  not a monarchy, on the ruins of the American Republic, that at the meeting of the Order  of Cincinnati in May, 1784, they withdrew, or rather drew a veil over, some  of their former pretensions. They apparently renounced the idea of hereditary  distinctions, and several other obnoxious claims, but in reality they relinquished nothing.

They afterwards continued the general and state meetings, the former once in three  years, and the latter annually, retained their badges of honor, invited the eldest  sons of deceased officers to accept the diploma and to wear the eagle of their fathers, to  associate with them on all public occasions, and to keep up the ancestral  claim, in spite of the disapprobation of most of their countrymen. Their funds increased  rapidly. According to their articles, the yearly interest only was to be annually  appropriated to charitable purposes. this was much more than expended. Thus the wealth  of the society was continually enhancing; and by their riches and their  numbers they were indeed a formidable body, capable of becoming a preponderating  weight in the political scale of their country, in whatever exigencies it might  hereafter be in involved.

There was undoubtedly much merit in the conduct of the American officers and soldiers  through the war. There was also much to apprehend from them by the  existing circumstances at the close of hostilities. Various combinations and  circumstances rendered it improbable that such a corps of ambitious spirits, hardened in  the field of valor and enterprise, should at once return to their former occupations and sit  down as quiet citizens, without intriguing or intermeddling too much, and  claiming a kind of prescriptive right to dictate in the civil administration of government.

The distressed state of American finances was alarming. Congress was without revenue,  resource, or fiscal arrangements that promised to be sufficiently productive;  without power or energy to enforce any effectual measure, until the consent of each  individual state was obtained.  There had been a violent opposition to a proposal  for raising a revenue, by an impost of 5 per cent on all goods imported from foreign  countries. As this was an experiment, it was limited to 25 years. Had the  expedient been adopted, it might have prevented many subsequent difficulties and  embarrassments that took place previous to, as well as after, the adoption of a  permanent Constitution of the United States of America.

It was said, however, by  some very wise and judicious statesmen, that this  imperceptible mode of drawing money from the pockets of the people was better suited  to more despotic forms of government, than to the free and independent spirit that had  produced the Confederacy of the American States; that more open measures,  and even direct taxes were more consistent with republican opinions and manners, than  the secret drains of imposts and excises, which might bankrupt a nation,  admit the delusory dreams of wealth and independence.

Though this opinion was not universal, yet it had it influence so far as to retard the  measure. Rhode Island rejected it entirely. Massachusetts and some other sates  threw impediments in the way; and finally, no effectual step was yet taken to restore  public credit, or to quiet the murmurs of the army, just on the point of  dissolution. The sate, thus incapable of satisfying their just demands, had everything to  fear from that "peremptory and untemporizing spirit which is usually the fruit of  a series of military service."

America now beheld an existing clamorous army, on the point of dissolution, or about to  assume military domination.  There now appeared a large body of proud,  ambitious officers, unsatisfied wit the honor of victory, and impatient under the promise  of pecuniary compensation as soon as the exigencies of public affairs would  admit. many of them were needy from the delay of payment for meritorious military  services an sufferings.  They were now (as observed) fighting for distinction,  aiming to establish hereditary rank among themselves, and eager for wealth sufficient to  support the taste and style of  nobility; a taste newly adopted by an  intercourse with foreigners of high rank, and habits of expense an dissipation under  monarchic governments.

It was obvious to everyone that dignified ranks, ostentatious titles, splendid  governments, and supernumerary expensive offices to be supported by the labor of the  poor or the taxation of all the conveniences of the more wealthy, of the aggrandizement  of a few, were not the objects of the patriot in the cabinet; nor was this the  

contemplation of the soldier in the field, when the veins of the children of America were  first opened, and the streams of life poured out, both on the borders and the  interior of the United States, against the combinations of civilized and savage warriors.  The views of the virtuous of every class in those exertions, were for the  purchase of freedom, independence, and competence, to themselves and their posterity.

At the same time, the Congress of the United States as without sufficient powers by the  old Confederation, either to restrain the most dangerous irregularities, or to  command public justice. They were also deprived by absence, ineligibility, or death of  the abilities of many of the members who first composed that honorable body.  

Some men had been introduced in their stead, whose ideas of public liberty were very  different; who had neither the capacity, the comprehension, nor even the  wishes to establish the freedom of their country on the basis of equal liberty, and the  renunciation of monarchic principles.  Some of them had always been men of  doubtful character; others had decidedly favored the claims of the British King and  Parliament.

The several governments involved in a weight of public debt; the people embarrassed in  their private resources, from the expensive exigencies of an eight years' war;  and every difficulty enhanced by being long without a medium of stability, without  confidence in the faith of public bodies, or securities that could be relied on in  private contracts -- the public mind was now agitated like a forest shaken in a tempest,  and stood trembling at the magnitude of opening prospects, and the  retrospect of past events.

We have seen the seeds of animosity and dissension were sown among themselves  before the American army as disbanded; dangerous symptoms, indeed, in a  young republic, just setting out for itself, with the command and entire jurisdiction of an  immense territory, while yet no digested system was formed, or seriously  contemplated but by few, for governing a newborn nation, still in its pupilage with  regard to the ends, the origin, and the most perfect mode of civil government.

America was a country remarkable for its rapid population, not yet so much from the  ingress of foreigners, as in consequence of the operations of nature, where a  people are not corrupted by habits of effeminacy, where subsistence for a family was  easily acquired, and where few factitious wants had yet cankered the minds of  the great mass of the people, and dislodged that complacency which results from  competence and content.  Many, indeed, at the present period, seemed to have lost  sight of their primeval ideas and obligations; yet they were not eradicated from the  

intelligent, the virtuous, and well-informed mind. The genial flame of freedom and  independence blazed in its original luster in the breasts of many, long after the  termination of the Revolutionary War.

After this period, the American continent was viewed by all nations as a theater just  erected, where the drama was but begun. While the actors of the Old World,  having run through every species of pride, luxury, venality, and vice, their characters are  become less interesting than those of the new.  America may stand as a  monument of observation, and an asylum of freedom. The eyes of all Europe were upon  her. She was placed in a rank that subjected her to the inspection of  mankind abroad, to the jealousy of monarchs, and the envy of nations, all watching for  her halting, to avail themselves of her mistakes, and to reap advantages from  her difficulties, her embarrassments, her inexperience, or her follies.

Perhaps at no period of her existence was America viewed with an eye of higher  

veneration than at the present, both by statesmen and princes.  At the same time,  the philosopher in his retirement contemplates, and the lovers of mankind of every  description behold, the shackles of ancestral pride annihilated, in a respectable  portion of the globe.  Yet, it may be observed that it will require all the wisdom and  firmness of the most sagacious heads, united with the most upright hearts, to  establish a form of government for an extensive nation, whose independence has been  recently acknowledged by Great Britain.  This must be done on a just medium,  that may control the licentiousness of liberty, and the daring encroachments of arbitrary  power; a medium that may check the two extremes of democracy, and the  overbearing influence of a young aristocracy, that may start up from a sudden  acquisition of wealth, where it had never before been tasted.

But after all the speculative opinions with regard to government that have occupied the  minds and pens of men, before many years roll over, some aspiring genius,  without establishing the criterion or waiting the reward of real merit, may avail himself  of the weakness, the divisions, and perhaps the distresses of America, to make  himself the designator and the fountain of honor and expectation.  Such a sovereign  without a crown, or the title of king, with his favorites and his instigators about  him, may not be a less dangerous animal, than the monarch whose brow is decorated by  the splendor of a diadem.

These are, however, ideas that may vanish with time; or if realized, it must e to the grief  of the genuine patriot and the misery of thousands, who now dream only of  freedom, wealth, and happiness, beneath the protection of just, equal, and lenient  governments of their own, without any commixture of foreign influence or  domination.


Chapter Thirty:  A survey of the situation of America on the conclusion of the war with  Britain. Observations on the  Declaration of Independence. Withdraw of the British troops from New York. A few  observations on the detention of the  western posts. The American army disbanded, after the commander in chief had  addressed the public and taken leave of his  fellow soldiers. General Washington resigns his commission to Congress.

We have seen the banners of Albion displayed, and the pendants of her proud navy  waving over the waters of the western world, and threatening terror, servitude,  or desolation to resisting millions. we have see through the tragic tale of war, all  political connection with Great Britain broken off, the authority of the parent state  renounced, and the independence of the American states sealed by the definitive treaty.  The mind now willingly draws a veil over the unpleasing part of the drama,  and indulges the imagination in future prospects of peace and felicity; when the soldier  shall retreat from the field, lay by the sword, and resume the implements of  husbandry -- the mechanic return to his former occupation, and the merchant rejoice in  the prosperous view of commerce; when trade shall not be restricted by the  unjust or partial regulations of foreigners; and when the ports of America shall be  thrown open to all the world, and an intercourse kept free, to reap the advantages  of commerce extended to all nations.

The young government of this newly established nation had, by the recent articles of  peace, a claim to a jurisdiction over a vast territory, reaching from the St. Mary's  on the south, to the River St. Croix, the extreme boundary on the east, containing a line  of post roads of 1800 miles, exclusive of the northern and western wilds, but  partially settled, and whose limits have not yet been explored. Not the Lycian League,  nor any of the combinations of Grecian states, encircled such an extent of  territory; nor does modern history furnish any example of a confederacy of equal  magnitude and respectability with that of the United states of America.

We look back with astonishment when we reflect that it was only in the beginning of the  seventeenth century, that the first Europeans landed in Virginia, and that  nearly at the same time, a few wandering strangers coasted about the unknown Bay of  Massachusetts, until they found a footing in Plymouth. Only a century and a  half had elapsed before their numbers an their strength accumulated, until they bade  defiance to foreign oppression, and stood ready to meet the power of Britain,  with courage and magnanimity scarcely paralleled by the progeny of nations, who had  been used to every degree of subordination and obedience.

The most vivid imagination cannot realize the contrast, when it surveys the vast surface  of America now enrobed with fruitful fields, and the rich herbage of the  pastures, which had been so recently covered with a thick mattress of words; when it  beholds the cultivated vista, the orchards and the beautiful garden which have  arisen within the limits of the Atlantic states, where the deep embrowned, melancholy  forest had from time immemorial sheltered only the wandering savage; where  the sweet notes of the feathered race, that follow the track of cultivation, had never  chanted their melodious songs; the wild waste had been a haunt only for the  hoarse birds of prey, and the prowling quadrupeds that filled the forest.

In a country like America, including a vast variety of soil and climate, producing  everything necessary for convenience and pleasure, every man might be lord of his  own acquisition. It was a country where the standard of freedom had recently been  erected to allure the liberal-minded to her shores, and to receive and to protect  the persecuted subjects of arbitrary power, who might there seek an asylum from the  chains of servitude to which they had been subjected in any part of the glove.   Here it might rationally be expected that beside the natural increase, the emigrations to a  land of such fair promise of the blessings of plenty, liberty, and peace, to  which multitudes would probably resort, there would be exhibited in a few years, a  population almost beyond the calculation of figures.

The extensive tract of territory above described, on the borders of the Atlantic, had, as  we have seen, been divided into several distinct governments, under the  control of the Crown of Great Britain.  These governments were now united in a strong  confederacy, absolutely independent of all foreign domination. The several  states retained their own legislative powers. They were proud of their individual  independence, tenacious of their republican principles, and newly emancipated from  the degrading ideas of foreign control, and the sceptered hand of monarchy. With al  these distinguished privileges, deeply impressed with the ideas of internal  happiness, we shall see they grew jealous of each other and soon after the peace, even of  the powers of the several governments erected by themselves. they were  eager for the acquisition of wealth, an the possession of the new advantages dawning on  their country, from their friendly connections abroad, and their abundant  resources at home

At the same time that these wayward appearances began early to threaten their internal  felicity, the inhabitants of America were, in general, sensible that the freedom  of the people, the virtue of society, and the stability of their commonwealth could only  be preserved by the strictest union; and that the independence of the United  States must be secured by an undeviating adherence to the principles that produced the  Revolution.

These principles were grounded on the natural equality of man their right of adopting  their own modes of government, the dignity of the people, and that sovereignty  which cannot be ceded either to representatives or to kings. But, as a certain writer has  expressed it, "Powers may be delegated for particular purposes; but the  omnipotence of society, if anywhere, is in itself.  Princes, senates, or parliaments are not  proprietors or masters. They are subject to the people, who form and  support that society by an eternal law of nature, which has ever subjected a part to the  whole." [See Lessons to a Prince, by an anonymous writer.]

These were opinions congenial to the feelings, and were disseminated by the pens of  political writers; of Otis, Dickinson, Quincy, [The characters of Dickenson and  Otis are well known, but he early death of Mr. Quincy prevented his name from being  conspicuous in the history of American worthies. He was a gentleman of  abilities and principles which qualified him to be eminently useful in the great contest to  obtain and support the freedom of his country.  He had exerted his eloquence  and splendid talents for this purpose, until the premature hand of death deprived society  of a man whose genius so well qualified him for the investigation of the claims  and the defense of the rights of mankind.  He died on his return from a voyage to Europe  a short time before war was actually commenced between Great Britain  

and the colonies. The writings of the above-named gentleman, previous to the  commencement of the war, are still in the hands of many.] and many others, who with  pathos and energy had defended the liberties of America, previous to the  commencement of hostilities.

On these principles, a due respect must ever be paid to the general will; to the right in  the people to dispose of their own moneys by a representative voice; and to  liberty of conscience without religious tests. On these principles, frequent elections, and  rotations of office were generally thought necessary, without precluding the  indispensable subordination an obedience due to rulers of their own choice. From the  principles, manners, habits, and education of the Americans, they expected  from their rules, economy in expenditure (both public and private), simplicity of  manners, pure morals, and undeviating probity. These they considered as the  emanations of virtue, grounded on a sense of duty, an a veneration for the Supreme  Governor of the universe, to whom the dictates of nature teach all mankind to  pay homage, and whom they had been taught to worship according to revelation and the  divine precepts of the Gospel.  Their ancestors had rejected and fled from  the impositions and restrictions of men vested either with princely or priestly authority.  they equally claimed the exercise of private judgment and the rights of  conscience, unfettered by religious establishments in favor of particular denominations.

They expected a simplification of law; early defined distinctions between executive,  legislative, and judiciary powers; the right of trial by jury, and a sacred regard to  personal liberty and the protection of private property, were opinions embraced by all  who ha any just ideas of government, law, equity, or morals.

These were the rights of men, the privileges of Englishmen, and the claim of Americans.  these were the principles of the Saxon ancestry of the British Empire, and of  all the free nations of Europe, previous to the corrupt systems introduced by intriguing  and ambitious individuals.

These were the opinions of Ludlow and Sydney, of Milton and Harrington. These were  principles defended by the pen of the learned, enlightened, and renowned  Locke; and even Judge Blackstone, in his excellent commentaries on the laws of  England, has observed "that trial by jury and the liberties of the people went out  together." Indeed, most of the learned and virtuous writers that have adorned the pages  of literature from generation to generation, in an island celebrated for the  erudite and comprehensive genius of its inhabitants, have enforced these rational and  liberal opinions.

These were the principles which the ancestors of the inhabitants of the United States  brought with them from the polished shores of Europe, to the dark wilds of  America. These opinions were deeply infixed in the bosoms of their posterity, and  nurtured with zeal, until necessity obliged them to announce the Declaration of  Independence of the United States.  We have seen that the instrument which announced  the final separation of the American colonies from Great Britain was drawn  by the elegant and energetic pen of Jefferson, with that correct judgment, precision, and  dignity, which have ever marked his character.

The Declaration of Independence, which has done so much honor to the then existing  Congress, to the inhabitants of the United States, and to the genius and heart of  the gentleman who drew it, in the belief, and under the awe of the Divine Providence,  ought to be frequently read by the rising youth of the American states, as a  palladium of which they should never lose sight, so long as they wish to continue a free  and independent people.

 This celebrated paper, which will be admired in the annals of every historian, begins  with an assertion that all men are created equal and endowed by their Creator  with certain unalienable rights, which nature and nature's God entitle them to claim; and,  after appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of their  intentions, it concludes in the name of the good people of the colonies, by their  representatives assembled in Congress, they publish and declare that they are and of  right ought to be Free and Independent States. In the name of the people, the fountain of  all just authority, relying on the protection of Divine Providence, they  mutually pledged themselves to maintain these rights, with their lives, fortunes, and  


These principles the Sons of Columbia had supported by argument, defended by the  sword, and have now secured by negotiation, as far as the pledges of national  faith and honor will bind society to a strict adherence to equity.  This, however, is  seldom longer than it appears to be the interest of nations, or designing individuals  of influence and power.  Virtue, in the sublimest sense, operates only on the minds of a  chosen few. In their breasts, it will ever find its own reward.

In all ages, mankind are governed less by reason and justice than by interest and  passion. The caprice of a day, or the impulse of a moment will blow them about as  with a whirlwind, and bear them down the current of folly, until awakened by their  misery.  By these, they are often led to breaches of the most solemn engagements,  the consequences of which may involve whole nations in wretchedness.  It is devoutly to  be hoped that the conduct of America will never stand on record as a  striking example of the truth of this observation.  She has fought for her liberties. She  has purchased them by the most costly sacrifices. We have seen her embark in  the enterprise with a spirit that gained her the applause of mankind. The United States  have procured their own emancipation from foreign thralldom, by the sacrifice  of their heroes and their friends. They are now ushered on to the temple of peace, who  holds out her wanted and beckons them to make the wisest improvement of  the advantages they had acquired by their patience, perseverance, and valor.

They had now only to close the scenes of war by a quiet dispersion of their own armies,  and to witness the last act of hostile parade, the decampment of the  battalions of Britain, and the retirement of the potent fleets that had long infested their  coasts.  This was to have been done at an earlier day. It was expected that on  the ratification of the definitive treaty, there would have been an immediate evacuation  of all the posts which had been held by the British within the limits of the  United States.

The seventh article of the treaty expressly stipulated that "His Britannic Majesty shall,  with all convenient speed and without causing any destruction or carrying away  any negroes or other property of the American inhabitants, withdraw all his armies,  garrisons, and fleets from the said United States, and from every post, place, and  harbor within the same; leaving in all fortifications the American artillery that may be  therein; and shall also order and cause all archive, records, deed, and papers  belonging to any of the said states, or their citizens, which in the course of the war may  have fallen into the hands of his officers, to be forthwith restored and  delivered to the proper states and persons to whom they belong."

General Carleton had assigned his reasons for delay relative to the evacuation of New  York, in his correspondence with the president of Congress and General  Washington.  Some satisfactory arrangements were, however, soon after made, relative  to the loyalists, the exchange of prisoners, and several other points, for  which the reader is referred to the Journals of Congress.  When this was done, a  detachment from the American army, under the command of General Knox, was  directed to enter New York, in order to prevent any irregularities, confusion, or insult  among the citizens on the important movement now about to take place.

On November 25, 1783, all the British, Hessian, and other foreign troops in the pay of  His Britannic Majesty were drawn off from the city of New York. General  Carleton embarked the same day; and Admiral Digby sailed for England with the  remainder of the British fleet that had for many years invaded the sea coasts of  America.  Thus the shores of the Atlantic states that had so long been alarmed by the  terrific thunders of the British navy, and ravage by hostile squadrons, were let in  repose.  In consequence of this much desired event, a general joy pervaded the borders,  from Georgia to the extreme boundaries of the New England states.

No sufficient apology was, however, yet made for the detention of the western posts.   They were long retained; and this breach of faith was afterwards attended with  very important consequences.  Under various frivolous pretenses of non-compliance on  the part of the United States, with some articles stipulated in the definitive  treaty of peace, a long line of posts in the western territory were not relinquished.

We have seen the seventh article of the treaty, that the King of England was to have  immediately withdrawn not only his fleets and armies from the sea coasts, but  that all the garrisons, forts, and places of arms within the United States should at the  same time have been evacuated.  But the British interest and trade with the  natives of the wilderness in the extensive territories from the Mississippi to the  Allegheny Mountains on the River Ohio could not easily be relinquished by their  government.  The forest of Michillimackinak and Detroit, the posts on Lake Erie,  Niagara, Oswego, and several others were held by British officers and troops, and  a jurisdiction long exercised over all the country in the vicinity, under the direction of  Colonel Simcoe, afterwards governor of Upper Canada.

The disposition of this man toward the United Sates was no less cruel and savage than  that of the fierce uncultivated natives beyond the lakes. This we have seen him  display when a marauding partisan in the Jerseys, Virginia, and other places.  He was  now left at full liberty to indulge this disposition among savages whose ferocity  and cruelty seemed to be perfectly congenial to the feelings of his own heart, when,  while in command there, he instigated the fierce and blood-thirsty warriors to  make incursions on the frontier settlements.

The hostile character of Governor Simcoe, the licentiousness and barbarity of the  borderers, both European and American, united with the interests of Britain and the  weakness of an infant government in America, some time after the present period,  produced a horrid India war, in which, assisted by British soldiers in disguise,  many brave officers of the old army and some of the flower of the American youth  perished in the wilderness.

Those subsequent circumstances in American story, which have been cursorily  mentioned above, suggest the reflection that it might have been happy for the United  States, and happier for the individual "who weeps alone its lot of woe," if, instead of  extending their views over the boundless desert, a Chinese wall had been  stretched long the Appalachian ridges, that might have kept the nations within the  boundaries of nature.  This would have prevented the incalculable loss of life and  property and have checked the lust of territory, wealth, and that ambition which has  poured out streams of innocent blood on the forlorn mountains.  The lives of our  young heroes were too rich a price for the purchase of the acres of the savages, even  could the nations be extinguished who certainly have a prior right to the  inheritance. This is a theme on which some future historians may more copiously  descant.

The acquisition and possession of territory seems to be a passion inwoven in the bosom  of man.  We see it from the peasant who owns but a single acre, to the prince  who commands kingdoms, and wishes to extend his domains over half the globe.  This  is thought necessary at some times to distance troublesome neighbors, at  

others to preserve their own independence. But if the spring of action is traced, it may  generally be found in the inordinate thirst for the possession of power and  wealth.

A writer of celebrity has observed, "The enlargement of territory by conquest is not only  no a just object of war, but, in the greater part of the  instances in which it is  attempted, not even desirable.  It is certainly not desirable where it adds nothing to the  numbers, the enjoyments, or the security of the conquerors. What, commonly,  is gained to a nation by the annexing of new dependencies or the subjugation of other  countries to its dominions but a wider frontier to defend, more interfering claims  to vindicate, more quarrels, more enemies, more rebellions to encounter, a greater force  to keep up by sea and land, more services to provide for, and more  establishments to pay?  Were it true that the grandeur of the prince is magnified by those  exploits, the glory which is purchased and the ambition which is gratified by  the distress of one country, without adding tot he happiness of another, which at the  same time enslaves the new and impoverishes the ancient part of the empire, by  whatever names it may be known or flattered, ought to be an object of universal  execration." [Paley's Moral Philosophy.]

These are the reflections of a philosopher. Princes and statesmen view things in a very  different light.  The expense of either treasure or blood, the waste of human  life, the anguish of the afflicted bosom, or the tears wrong from the eye of sorrow have  little weight in the scale of ambition, whose object is the extension of territory  and power of the utmost of their limits, however contrary to the laws of nature and  benevolence.

Perhaps neither reason nor policy could justify the American government in offensive  war on the natives of the interior of the western territory; but the detention of  the posts on the borders by the British obliged them, after peace took place, to make  some military defense against the incursions of the savages on the frontiers, the  consequences of which will be seen hereafter.

We have already observed that New York was relinquished and the British forces  withdrawn from the Atlantic states only, and the further adjustment relative to the  outposts left to the decision of a future day. [The defense made by the British for the  breach of treaty in the detention of the western posts may be seen at large in a  correspondence since published between Mr. Jefferson, The American Secretary of  State, and Mr. Hammond, the British plenipotentiary to the United States; on  which a British writer observed to his countrymen, 'Your diplomatists have shrunk  before the reasonings of Jefferson."]

Immediately after the British armament was withdrawn from Nee York, all hostile  arrangements disappeared, and the clarion of war ceased to grate the ear of  humanity; and notwithstanding the obstacles that had arisen, and the dangers feared  from the face of general discontent among the officers and soldiers, the American  army was disbanded with far less difficulty than was apprehended.  The commander in  chief, and many of the officers, conducted the business of conciliation and  obedience, after the late mutiny and insurrection, with the most consummate judgment  and prudence; and the whole American army was dismissed in partial  detachments, without tumult or disorder.

The merits of the commander in chief of the united armies of America have been duly  noticed through the preceding pages of this work, in their order of time; and  ample justice has been done to the integrity and valor, to the moderation and humanity,  of this distinguished character.  The virtues and talents which he really  possessed have been appreciated in a measure consistent with a sacred regard to truth.  Imputed genius and luster of abilities ascribed beyond the common ratio of  human capacity and perfection were the result of his commanding good fortune, which  attached to his person and character the partiality of all ranks and classes of  men.

An exclusive claim to the summit of human excellent had been yielded as a kind of  prescriptive right to this worthy and justly venerated citizen, from action, from  gratitude, and from the real services rendered his country, under existing circumstances  that had never before and perhaps never will again take place.  His  remarkable retention of popular favor and goodwill carried him through a long and  perilous war without a change in public opinion or the loss of confidence in the  commander first appointed by the Congress of America to meet the veterans of Britain  and other European powers on hostile ground.

Thus, the renowned WASHINGTON, without arrogating any undue power to himself,  which success and popularity offered, and which might have swayed many  more designing and interested men to have gratified their own ambition at the expense  of the liberties of America, finished his career of military glory with decided  magnanimity, unimpeached integrity, and the most judicious steps to promote the  tranquility of his country.  He had previously published a circular letter to each  governor of the individual states.  This as an elegant address, replete with useful  observations and excellent advice to the inhabitants of the United States, in their  social, civil and military capacities.  Nor did he neglect on all occasions, after the  approach of peace, to inculcate on the soldiery and to impress on the minds of the  people the necessity of union, subordination, economy, and justice, in the punctual  discharge of all contracts, both public and private.

In full possession of the confidence of the people, the applause of his country, the love  of the army, the esteem of foreigners, and the warm friendship and respect of  the Gallican nation, whose armies and treasures had aided him to glory and victory,  General Washington disbanded the troops without noise, inconvenience, or any  apparent murmur at his measures.  By order of the commander in chief, the peace was  celebrated at New York on December 1, 1783, with high demonstrations of  satisfaction and joy; an on the 23rd of the same month, General Washington resigned his  commission to Congress, and, after acting so conspicuous a part on the  theater of war, retired from public scenes and public men, with a philosophic dignity  honorary to himself and to human nature.

Before the separation of the army, the general took a very affectionate leave of his brave  and faithful soldiers, and of each of the officers singly.  His farewell to his  brave associates through the perilous scenes of danger and was attended with singular  circumstances of affection and attachment.  His address to the army was  warm, energetic, and impressive.  While the sensibility of the commander in chief  appeared in his countenance, it was reciprocated in the faces of both officers and  soldiers; and in the course of this solemn adieu, the big tear stole down the cheeks of  men of courage and hardihood, long inured to scenes of slaughter and distress,  which too generally deaden the best feelings of the human heart. [General Washington's  farewell orders to the army of the United States may be seen in Note 5, at  the end of this chapter.]

Congress was then sitting at Annapolis, where they received the resignation of the  magnanimous and disinterested commander of the army of the United States with  the same emotions of veneration and affection that had agitated the breast of the soldier.   He had refused all pecuniary compensation for his services, except what  was sufficient for his necessary expenditures, and laid his accounts before Congress.  He  then hastened with all possible celerity to his peaceful mansion in the state  of Virginia. There his return was hailed by the joyous acclamations of his friend, his  neighbors, his servants, and the crown of his domestic felicity, his amiable  

partner.  Mrs. Washington had long signed for the return of her hero, whom she adored  as the savior of her counted and loved as the husband of her fond affection.   In this lady's character was blended that sweetness of manners that at once engaged the  partiality of the stranger, soothed the sorrows of the afflicted, and relieved  the anguish of poverty, even in the manner of extending her charitable hand to the  sufferer.

Thus possessed of all the virtues that adorn her sex, Mrs. Washington now contemplated  the completion of her happiness; and observed afterwards, in a letter to the  author, that she little thought when the war was finished that any circumstance could  possibly happen to call the general into public life again; that she anticipated that  from that moment they should have grown old together, in solitude and tranquility.  This, my dear madam, as the first and fondest wish of my heart." [Mrs.  Washington's letter to Mrs. Warren, 1789.]

But General Washington had yet much to do on the theater of public action; much for  his own fame, and much for the extrication of his country from difficulties  apprehended by some, but not yet realized.

America has fought for the boon of liberty. She has successfully and honorably obtained  it. She has now a rank among the nations.  It was now the duty of the wise  and patriotic characters who had by inconceivable labor and exertion obtained the prize,  to guard on every side that it might not be sported away by the folly of the  people or the intrigue or deception of their rulers.  They had to watch at all points that  her dignity was not endangered, nor her independence renounced by too  servilely copying either the fashionable vices or the political errors of those countries  where the inhabitants are become unfit for any character but that of master and  


Thus, after the dissolution of the American army, the withdrawing of the French troops,  the retirement of General Washington, and the retreat of the fleets and armies  of the King of Great Britain, a solemnity and stillness appeared, which was like the  general pause of nature before the concussion of an earthquake.  The state of  men's mind seemed for a short time to palsied by the retrospect of dangers encountered  to break off the fetters and the hazards surmounted to sweep away the  claims and cut the leading strings in which they had been held by the crown of Britain.

But though the connection was now dissolved, and the Gordian Knot of union between  Great Britain and America cut in sunder; though the independence of the  United States was, by the treaty, clearly established on the broad basis of liberty; yet the  Americans felt themselves in such a state of infancy that as a child just  learning to walk, they were afraid of their own movements.  Their debts were unpaid,  their governments unsettled, and the people out of breath by their long struggle  for the freedom and independence of their country.  They were become poor from the  loss of trade, the neglect of their usual occupations, and the drains from every  quarter for the support of a long and expensive war.

From the versatility of human affairs and the encroaching spirit of man, it was yet  uncertain when and how the states would be tranquilized, and the union  consolidated, under wise, energetic, and free modes of government; or whether such, if  established, would be administered agreeable to laws founded on the  beautiful theory of republicanism, depictured in the closets of philosophers and idolized  in the imagination of most of the inhabitants of America.

It is indeed true that from a general attention to early education, the people of the United  States were better informed in many branches of literature than the common  classes of men in most other countries. Yet many of them had but a superficial  

knowledge of mankind.  They were ignorant of the intrigues of courts, and though  convinced of the necessity of government, did not fully understand its nature or origin.   They had generally supposed that there was little to do but shake off the yoke  

of foreign domination and annihilate the name of king.

They were not generally sensible that most established modes of strong government are  usually the consequences of fraud or violence against the systems of  democratic theorists. They were not sensible that from age to age the people are  flattered, deceived, or threatened until the hoodwinked multitude set their own seals  to a renunciation of their privileges, and with their own hands rivet the chains of  servitude on their posterity. They were totally fearless of the intrigues or the ambition  of their own countrymen, which might in time render fruitless the expense of their blood  and their treasures. These they had freely lavished to secure their equality of  condition, their easy modes of subsistence, and their exemption from public burdens  beyond the necessary demands for the support of a free and equal government.  But it was not long before they were awakened to new energies by convulsions both at  home and abroad.

New created exigencies or more splendid modes of government that might hereafter be  adopted had not yet come within the reach of their calculations Of these, few  had yet formed any adequate ideas, and fewer indeed were sensible that though the name  of liberty delights the ear, and tickles the fond pride of man, it is a jewel  much oftener the plaything of his imagination than a possession of real stability. It  maybe acquired today in all the triumph of independent feelings, but perhaps  tomorrow the world may be convinced that mankind know not how to make a proper  use of the prize, generally bartered in a short time, as a useless bauble, to the  first officious master that will take the burden from the mind, by laying another on the  shoulders of ten-fold weight.

This is the usual course of human conduct, however painful the reflection may be to the  patriot in retirement and to the philosopher absorbed in theoretic disquisitions  on human liberty, or the portion of natural and political freedom to which man has a  claim. The game of deception is played over and over to mislead the judgment of  men, and work on their enthusiasm, until by their own consent, hereditary crowns and  distinctions are fixed and some scion of royal descent is entailed on them  forever. Thus by habit they are ready to believe that mankind in general are incapable of  the enjoyment of that liberty which nature seems to prescribe and that the  mass of the people have not the capacity nor the right to choose their own masters.

The generous an disinterested of all nations must, however, wish to see the American  Republic fixed on such a stable basis as to become the admiration of the world.  Future generations will then look back with gratitude on the era which wafted their  ancestors from the European shores. They will never forget the energetic struggles  of their father to secure the natural rights of men.  These are improved in society and  strengthened y civil compacts. These have been established in the United States  by a race of independent spirits who have freed their posterity from the feudal vassalage  of hereditary lords. It is to be hoped that the grim shades of despotic kings  

will never hover in the clouds of the American hemisphere to bedizen the heads of the  sons of Columbia, by imaginary ideas of the splendid beams of royalty.

Let it never be said of such a favored nation as America had been, as was observed by  an ancient historian, on the rise, the glory, and the fall of the republic of  Athens, that "the inconstancy of the people was the most striking characteristic of its  history."  We have, with the historian who depictured the Athenian character,  viewed with equal astonishment the valor of our soldiers and the penetration of the  statesmen of America.  We wish for the duration of her virtue. We sigh at every  appearance of decline; and perhaps, from a dread of deviations, we may be suspicious of  their approach when none are designed.

It is a more agreeable anticipation to every humane mind to contemplate the glory, the  happiness, the freedom, and peace which may for ages to come pervade this  new-born nation, emancipated by the uncommon vigor, valor, fortitude, and patriotism  of her soldiers and statesmen.  They seemed to have been remarkably  directed by the finger of Divine Providence, and led on from step to step beyond their  own expectations, to exhibit to the view of distant nations, millions freed from  the bondage of a foreign yoke, by that sprit of freedom, virtue, and perseverance, which  they had generally displayed from their first emigrations to the wilderness to  the present day.

Let us here pause a few moments and survey the vast continent of America, where the  reflecting mind retrospects and realizes the beautiful description of the wide  wilderness before it became a fruitful field; before "the rivers were open in high places  and fountains in the midst of the valleys;" when He who created them  pronounced, " I will plant the cedar, the myrtle, and the oil tree. I will set in the desert  the fir tree,  and the pine and the box tree together; that all may see and know  and consider and understand together that the hand of the Lord hath done this, and the  Holy One of Israel hath created it." [Isaiah chapter 41.]

Let the striking contrast, since the forest has been made to blossom as the rose, be  viewed in such an impressive light as to operate on the mind of every son and  daughter of America and lead to the uniform practice of public an private virtue.

From the education, the habits, and the general law of kindness which has been nurtured  among the children of those pious worthies who first left the pleasant and  prolific shores of Europe, and took up their residence in the bosom of a wilderness, to  secure the peaceful enjoyment of civil and religious liberty, it may reasonably  be expected that such a unanimity may long be preserved among their posterity as to  prevent the fatal havoc which dissension and war have brought on most nations  found in the records of time.

The mind now rejoices to return from the scenes of war in which it has been immersed  and feels itself sufficiently collected to take and abstracted view of the  condition of human nature.  Here we might, before we leave the local circumstances of  America, survey the contrasts exhibited in their conduct by a world of beings  who boast their rationality. We might indulge some moments of reflection and calm  contemplation on the infinite variety of combinations in the powers of the human  mind as well as the contrarieties that make up the character of man. But amid the various  images which present, in viewing the complex state of man, we will only  add in this place a few observations on their hostile dispositions toward each other.

It must appear among the wonders of Divine Providence that a creature endowed with  reasons should, through all ages and generations, be permitted the wanton  destruction of his own species.  The barbarous butchery of his fellow mortals exhibits  man an absurd and ferocious, instead of a rational and humane being.  May it  not be among the proofs of some general lapse from the original law of rectitude that no  age or nation since the death of Abel has been exempt from the havoc of  war?  Pride, avarice, injustice, and ambition have set every political wheel in motion to  hurry out of existence one half the species by the hands of the other.

The folly of mankind in making war on each other is strongly delineated on the  conclusion of almost every hostile dispute; and perhaps this folly was never more  clearly exhibited than in that between Great Britain and her former colonies.  Each  circumstance will in future be weighted, when the world will judge of the great  balance of advantage to the one country or the other, on the termination of the  struggle.

A full detail of the sufferings of the English nation, in consequence of the absurd war on  their colonies, may be left to more voluminous writers; while we only observe  that Great Britain lost an extensive territory containing millions of subjects, the fruits of  whose genius and industry she might have reaped for ages, had she not been  avaricious of a revenue by methods which neither the much-boasted constitution of  Englishmen or the laws of prudence or equity could justify... She lost the  extensive commerce of a country growing in arts and population to an astounding  degree... She lost the friendship of thousands and created the alienation of millions  that may last forever... She lost a nursery for seamen that had replenished her navy from  the first settlement of America... She lost, by the best British calculations,  100,000 of her best soldiers, either by sickness or the sword, and a proportionate number  of most gallant officer... [See British Encyclopedia, published 1792.] She  sunk an immensity of her treasures for the support of her armies an navies for the  execution of the chimerical project of subduing the colonies by arms, which by  justice, protection, friendship, and a reciprocity of kind officers would have been hers  for ages.

And what has she gained by the contest? Surely not an increase of honor or reputation.   Corroborative evidence of these truths may be drawn from the testimony of  British writers. A very sensible man [See View of the Reign of George the Third.] of  this class has observed that "Thus ended the most unfortunate war in which  England has ever been engaged; a war commenced in the very wantonness of pride and  folly, which had for its object to deprive America of the rights for which our  ancestors have contended; a war the professed object of which was to levy a tax that  would not have paid the collectors; a war conducted with the same weakness  and incapacity on the part of the British ministry, with which it was commenced; which  might in the early stages of the dispute have been avoided by the smallest  concession; and which might have been terminated with honor but for the incorrigible  obstinacy and unparalleled folly of the worst administration that ever disgraced  the country.  This deplorable war has ended in the dismemberment of a considerable part  of the British Empire, cost the nation more money than the  ever-memorable campaigns of Marlborough, and the still more glorious war of Lord  Chatham; more indeed than all the wars in Which Great Britain has been  engaged since the Revolution to the peace of Aix la Chapelle."

On the other hand, it may be proper here to take a survey of the United States and to  view them on every ground. They have struggled with astonishing success for  the rights of mankind and have emancipated themselves from the shackles of foreign  power. America has indeed obtained incalculable advantages by the Revolution;  but in the innumerable list of evils attendant on a state of war, she, as well as Great  Britain, has lost her thousands of brave soldiers, veteran officers, hardy seamen,  and meritorious citizens, that perished in the field or in captivity, in prison ships, and  in the wilderness, since the beginning of the conflict. She has lost an immense  property by the conflagration of her cities and the waste of wealth by various other  means.  She has in a great measure lost her simplicity of manners, and those ideas  of mediocrity which are generally the parent of content.  The Americans are already in  too many instances hankering after the sudden accumulation of wealth and the  proud distinctions of fortune and title. They have too far lost that general sense of moral  obligation, formerly felt by all classes in America.  The people have not  indeed generally lost their veneration for religion, but it is to be regretted that in the  unlicensed liberality of opinion there have been some instances where the  fundamental principles of truth have been obscured. This may in some measure have  arisen from their late connections with other nations; and this circumstance may  account for the readiness of many to engraft foreign follies and crimes with their own  weak propensities to imitation, and to adopt their errors and fierce ambition,  instead of making themselves a national character, marked with moderation, justice,  benignity, and all the mild virtues of humanity.

But when the seeds of revolution are planted, and the shoots have expanded, the various  causes which contribute to their growth and to the introduction of a change  of manners are too many to recount.  The effervescence of party rage sets open the flood  gates of animosity, and renders it impossible to calculate with any degree  of accuracy on subsequent events.  Not the most perspicacious human eye can foresee,  amid the imperious spirit of disunion and the annihilation of former habits and  connections, the benefits that may result from the exertions of virtue or the evils that  may arise from problematic characters which come forward, the new-born  offspring of confusion, and assume merit from the novelty of their projects and the  inscrutability of their designs.  These are like hot-bed plants, started from  extraneous causes. Prematurely forced into existence, they are incapable of living but in  the sunshine of meridian day.  Such characters often hurry to irretrievable  mischief before time has ripened the systems of men of more principle and judgment.

Thus, after the conclusion of peace and the acknowledgment of the independence of the  United States by Great Britain, the situation of America appeared similar to  that of a young heir, who had prematurely become possessed of a rich inheritance, while  his inexperience and his new-felt independence had intoxicated him so far as  to render him incapable of weighing the intrinsic value of his estate, and had left him  without discretion or judgment to improve it to the best advantage of his family.

The inhabitants of the United States had much to experiment in the new rank they had  taken, and the untrodden ground which they were now to explore, replete with  difficulties not yet digested or apprehended by the most sagacious statesmen. They had  obtained their independence by a long and perilous struggle against a  powerful nation. We now view them just emancipated from a foreign yoke, the blessings  of peace restored on honorable terms, with the liberty of forming their own  governments, enacting their own laws, choosing their own magistrates, and adopting   manners the most favorable to freedom and happiness. Yet it is possible that  their virtue is not sufficiently steadfast to avail themselves of those superior advantages.

The restless nature of man is forever kindling a fire and collecting fuel to keep the flame  alive that consumes one half the globe without the smallest advantage to the  other, either in a moral or in a political view.  Men profit little by the observations, the  sufferings, or the opinions of others. It is with nations as with individuals. They  must try their own projects and frequently learn wisdom only by their own mistakes. It  is undoubtedly true that all mankind learn more from experience than from  intuitive wisdom. Their foolish passions too generally predominate over their virtues.  Thus civil liberty, political and private happiness are frequently bartered away for  the gratification of vanity, or the aggrandizement of a few individuals who have art  enough to fascinate the undistinguishing multitude.

If the conduct of the United States should stand on  record as a striking example of the  truth of  this observation, it must be remembered that this is not a trait  peculiar to the character of America. It is the story of man. Past ages bear testimony to  its authenticity, and future events will convince the unbelieving.

It is an unpleasing part of history when "corruption begins to prevail, when degeneracy  marks the manners of the people, and weakens the sinews of the state." If this  should ever become the deplorable situation of the United states, let some unborn  historian in a far distant day detail the lapse and hold up the contrast between a  simple, virtuous, and free people, and a degenerate, servile race of beings, corrupted by  wealth, effeminated by luxury, impoverished by licentiousness, and become  the automatons of intoxicated ambition.


Note 5

General Washington's farewell orders to the army of the United States.

"Rocky Hill, near Princeton, November 2, 1783.

"The United States in Congress assembled, after giving the most honorable testimony to  the merits of the federal armies and presenting them with the thanks of their  country for their long, eminent, and faithful services, having thought proper, by their  proclamation, bearing the date October 18 last, to discharge such parts of the  troops as were engaged for the war, and to permit the officers on furlough to retired  from service, from and after tomorrow, which proclamation having been  communicated in the public papers, for the information and government of all  concerned; it only remains for the commander in chief to address himself once more, an  that for the last time, to the armies of the United States, (however widely dispersed  individuals who composed them may be) and to bid them an affectionate, a long  farewell.

"But before the commander in chief takes his final leave of those he holds most dear, he  wishes to indulge himself a few moments in calling to mind a slight review of  the past; he will then take the liberty of exploring with his military friends their future  prospects; of advising the general conduct which in his opinion ought to be  pursued; and he will conclude the address by expressing the obligations he feels himself  under for the spirited and able assistance he has experienced from them in  the performance of an arduous office.

"A contemplation of the complete attainment (at a period earlier than could have been  expedited) of the object for which we contended, against so formidable a  power, cannot but inspire us with astonishment and gratitude.  The disadvantageous  circumstances on our part, under which the war was undertaken, can never be  forgotten. The singular interpositions of Providence in our feeble condition were such as  could scarcely escape the attention of the most unobserving; while the  unparalleled perseverance of the armies of the United States through almost every  possible suffering and discouragement, for the space of eight long years, was little  short of a standing miracle.

"It is not the meaning, nor within the compass of this address, to detail the hardships  peculiarly incident to our service, or to describe the distresses which in several  instances have resulted from the extremes of hunger and nakedness, combined with the  rigors of an inclement season; nor is it necessary to dwell on the dark side of  our past affairs. Every American officer and soldier must now console himself for any  unpleasant circumstances which may have occurred, by a recollection of the  uncommon scenes in which he has been called to act no inglorious part, and the  astonishing events of which he has been a witness; events which have seldom, if ever  before, taken place on the stage of human action, nor can they possibly ever happen  again. For who has before seen a disciplined army formed at once from such  raw materials? Who that was not a witness could imagine that the most violent local  prejudices would cease so soon, and that men who came from the different parts  of the continent, strongly disposed by the habits of education to despise and quarrel with  each other, would immediately become but one patriotic band of brothers?  Or who that was not on the spot can trace the steps by which such a wonderful  revolution has been effected and such a glorious period put to all our warlike toils?

"It is universally acknowledged that the enlarged prospects of happiness opened by the  confirmation of our independence and sovereignty almost exceed the power  of description; and shall not the brave men who have contributed so essentially to these  inestimable acquisitions, retiring victorious from the field of war to the field of  agriculture, participate in all the blessings which have been obtained?  In such a  republic, who will exclude them from the rights of citizens, and the fruits of their  labors? In such a country so happily circumstanced, the pursuits of commerce and the  cultivation of the oil will unfold to industry the certain road to competence. To  those hardy soldiers who are actuated by the spirit of adventure, the fisheries will afford  ample and profitable employment; and the extensive fertile regions of the  west will yield a most happy asylum to those, who, fond of domestic enjoyment, are  seeking for personal independence. Nor is it possible to conceive that anyone of  the Untied States will prefer a national bankruptcy and the dissolution of the union to a  compliance with the requisitions of Congress and the payment of its just  debts, so that the officers and soldiers may expect considerable assistance in  recommencing their civil occupations, from the sums due to them from the public,  which  must and will most inevitably be paid.

"In order to effect this desirable purpose, and to remove the prejudices which may have  taken possession of the mind of any of the good people of the States, it is  earnestly recommended to all the troops that, with strong attachments to the union, they  should carry with them into civil society the most conciliatory dispositions;  and that they should prove themselves not less virtuous and useful as citizens than they  have been persevering an victorious as soldiers. What though there should be  some envious individuals, who are unwilling to pay the debt the public has contracted,  or to yield the tribute due to merit; yet let such unworthy treatment produce no  invective, or an instance of intemperate conduct; let it be remembered that the unbiased  voice of the free citizens of the United States has promised the just rewards  and given the merited applause. Let it be known and remembered that the reputation of  the federal armies is established beyond the reach of malevolence; and let a  consciousness of their achievements and fame still excite the men who composed them  to honorable actions, under the persuasion that the private virtues of  

economy, prudence, and industry will not be less amiable in civil life than the more  splendid qualities of valor, perseverance, and enterprise were in the field;  everyone may rest assured that much, very much of the future happiness of the officers  and men will depend on the wise and manly conduct which shall be adopted  by them, when they are mingled with the great body of the community. And although  the general has so frequently given it as his opinion, in the most public and  explicit manner, that unless the principles of the federal government were properly  supported, and the power of the union increased, the honor, dignity, and justice of  the nation would be lost forever; yet he cannot help repeating on this occasion, so  interesting a sentiment, and leaving it as his last injunction to every officer and  every soldier who may view the subject tin the same serious point of light, to add his  best endeavors to those of his worthy fellow citizens towards effecting those  great and valuable purposes on which our very existence as a nation so materially  depends.

"The commander in chief conceives little is now wanting to enable the soldier to change  the military character into that of a citizen, but that steady and decent tenor of  behavior which has generally distinguished not only the army under his immediate  command, but the different detachments and separate armies, through the course of  the war. From their good sense and prudence, he anticipated the happiest consequences;  and while he congratulates them on the glorious occasion, which renders  their services in the field no longer necessary, he wishes to express the strong obligation  he feels himself under for the assistance he has received from every class and  in every instance.  He presents his thanks, in the most serious and affectionate manner,  to the general officers, as well for their counsel on many interesting occasions,  as for their ardor in promoting the success of the plans he had adopted; to the  commandants of regiments and corps and to the officers, for their zeal and attention in  carrying his orders promptly into execution; to the staff, for their alacrity and exactness  in performing the duties of their several departments; and to the  non-commissioned officers and private soldiers, for their extraordinary patience in  suffering, as well as their invincible fortitude in action.  To various branches of the  army, the general takes this last and solemn opportunity of professing his inviolable  attachment and friendship. He wishes more than bare professions were in his  power, that he was really able to be useful to them all in future life.  He flatters himself,  however, they will do him the justice to believe that whatever could with  propriety be attempted by him has been done.  And, being now on leave in a short time of  the military character, and to bid a final adieu to the armies he has so long  had the honor to command, he can only again offer in their behalf his recommendations  to their grateful country, and his prayers to the God of armies. May ample  justice be done them here, and may the choicest of Heaven's favors, both her and  hereafter, attend those who, under the divine auspices, have secured innumerable  blessings for others!  With these wishes, and this benediction, the commander in chief is  about to retire from service; the curtain of separation will soon be drawn,  and the military scene to him will be closed forever.

"Edward Hand, Adjutant General."


Chapter Thirty-One:  Supple observations on succeeding events, after the termination of the American Revolution.  Insurrection in the Massachusetts. A general convention of the states. A new  Constitution adopted. General Washington  chosen President. British treaty negotiated by Mr. Jay. General Washington's second  retreat from public life. General  observations.  

The narration of the revolutionary war between Great Britain and her former colonies  brought down to its termination leaves the mind at leisure for more general  observations on the subsequent consequences, without confining it to time or place.

At the conclusion of the war between Great Britain and America, after the rejection of  the claims of a potent foreign nation, the dissevering of old bands of  governmental arrangement, and before new ones were adopted, the proud feelings of  personal independence warmed every bosom, and the general ideas of civil  and religious liberty were disseminated far and wide.

On the restoration of peace, the soldier had returned to the bosom of his family, and the  artisan and the husbandman were stimulated to new improvements; genius  was prompted to exertion, by the wide field opened by the Revolution, and encouraged  by the spirit of inquiry to climb the heights of literature, until it might stand  conspicuous on the summit of fame.

Under such circumstances, every free mind should be tenacious of supporting the honor  of a national character and the dignity of independence.  This claim must be  supported by their own sobriety, economy, industry, and perseverance in every virtue. It  must be nurtured by that firmness and principle that induced their ancestors  to fly from the hostile arm of tyranny, and to explore and begin a new nation in the  forlorn and darksome bosom of a distant wilderness.  The social compacts, the  religion, the manners, and the habits of these wandering strangers, and their immediate  successors taught their sons the noble example of fortitude and love of  freedom, that has led them to resist the encroachments of kings and nobles, and to  dissipate the cloud that threatened to envelope the mind in darkness, and spread  the veil of ignorance over the bright hemisphere that encircles the children of Columbia.

Indeed, America was at this period possessed of a prize, replete with advantages seldom  thrown into the hand of any people. Divided by nature from three parts of  the globe, which have groaned under tyrants of various descriptions, from time  immemorial, who have slaughtered their millions to feed the ambition of princes, she  was possessed of an immense territory, the soil fertile and productive, her population  increasing, her commerce unfettered, her resources ample. She was now  uncontrolled by foreign laws; and he domestic manufactures might be encouraged,  without any fear of check from abroad; and under the influence of a spirit of  enterprise, very advantageous in a young country, she was looking forward with  expectations of extending her commerce to every part of the globe.

Nothing seemed to be wanting to the United States but a continuance of their union and  virtue.  It was their interest to cherish true, genuine republican virtue, in  politics; and in religion, a strict adherence to a sublime code of morals, which has never  been equaled by the sages of ancient time, nor can ever be abolished by the  sophistical reasonings of modern philosophers.  Possessed of this palladium, American  might bid defiance both to foreign and domestic intrigue, and stand on an  eminence that would command the veneration of nations, and the respect of their  monarch; but a defalcation of these principles may leave the sapless vine of liberty  to droop, or to be rooted out by the hand that had been stretched out to nourish it.

If, instead of the independent feelings of ancient republics, whose prime object was the  welfare and happiness of their country, we should see a dereliction of those  principles, and the Americans ready to renounce their great advantages, by the imitation  of European systems in politics and manners, it would be a melancholy trait  in the story of man. Yet, they, like other nations, may in time, by their servility to men  in power, or by a chimerical pursuit of the golden fleece of poets, become  involved in a mist ascending from the pit of avarice.  This may lead to peculation, to  usurious contracts, to illegal and dishonest projects, and to every private vice, to  support the factitious appearances of grandeur and wealth which can never maintain the  claim to that rich inheritance which they so bravely defended.

Thus it was but a short time after the restoration of peace and the exhilarating view of  the innumerable benefits obtained by the general acknowledgment among  foreign nations of  the independence of America, before the brightened prospect, which  had recently shone with so much splendor, was beclouded by the face of  general discontent.  New difficulties arose, and embarrassments thickened, which called  for the exercise of new energies, activity, and wisdom.

The sudden sinking of the value of landed, and, indeed, of all other real property,  immediately on the peace, involved the honest and industrious farmer in  innumerable difficulties.  The produce of a few acres had been far from sufficient for the  

support of a family, and at the same time supply the necessary demands for  the use of the army, when from the scarcity of provisions every article thereof bore an  enhanced price, while their resources were exhausted, and their spirits wasted  under an accumulated load of debt.

The General Congress as yet without any compulsory powers to enforce the liquidation  of public demands; and the state legislatures totally at a loss how to devise  any just and ready expedient for the relief of private debtors.  It was thought necessary  by some to advert gain to a paper medium, and by others this was viewed  with the utmost abhorrence. Indeed, the iniquitous consequences of a depreciating  currency had been recently felt too severely by all classes to induce any to  embrace a second time with cordiality such a dangerous expedient.  Thus, from various  circumstances, the state of both public and private affairs presented a very  serious and alarming aspect.

The patriotic feelings of the yeomanry of the country had prompted them to the utmost  exertions for the public service.  Unwilling to withhold their quota of the tax of  beef, blankets, and other necessaries indispensable for the soldiery, exposed to cold and  hunger, many of them had been induced to contract debts which could not  be easily liquidated, and which it was impossible to discharge by the products from the  usual occupations of husbandry. While at the same time, the rage for  privateering and traffic, by which some had suddenly grown rich, had induced others to  look with indifference on the ideas of more moderate accumulation of  wealth.  They sold their patrimonial inheritance for trifling considerations in order to  raise ready specie for adventure in some speculative project.  This, with many  other causes, reduced the price of land to so low a rate that the most valuable farms and  the best accommodated situations were depreciated to such a degree that  those who were obliged to alienate real property were bankrupted by the sales.

The state of trade and the derangement of commercial affairs were equally intricate and  distressing at the close of the war.  The natural eagerness of the mercantile  body to take every advantage that presented in that line, induced many, immediately on  the peace, to send forward for large quantities of goods from England,  France, and Holland, and wherever else they could gain a credit.  Thus the markets  loaded with every article of luxury, as well as necessaries, and the growing  scarcity of specie united with the reduced circumstances of many who had formerly  been wealthy, the enormous importations either lay upon hand, or obliged the  possessor to sell without any advance, and in many instances much under the prime cost.  In addition to these embarrassments on the mercantile interest, the whole  country, from north to south, was filled with British factors, with their cargoes of good  directly from the manufacturers, who drew customers to their stores from all  classes that were able to purchase. Every capital was crowded with British agents, sent  over to collect debts contracted long before the war, who took advantage of  the times, oppressed the debtor, and purchased public securities from all persons whose  necessities obliged them to sell, at the monstrous discount of 17 shillings and  6 pence on the pound. At the same time, the continent swarmed with British emissaries,  who sowed discord among the people, infused jealousies, and weakened  their reliance on the public faith, and destroyed all confidence between man and man.

Nor did religion or morals appreciate amid the confusion of a long war, which is ever  unfavorable to virtue, and to all those generous principles which ennoble the  human character, much more than ribbons, stars, and other playthings of a distempered  imagination.  These soon sink to the level of their own insignificance, and  leave the sanguine admirer sickened by the chase of ideal felicity.

The wide field of more minute observation on these great and important subjects shall at  present be waved. Agriculture may be left to the philosophic theorist, who  may speculate on the real value and product of the lands, in a country in such an  improvable state as that of America; while the advance in the profits of the  husbandman must be estimated by the ratio of future experiment.  The statesman versed  in the commerce and politics of Europe, and the commercial treaties which   may be or have already been formed has a labyrinth to trace, and investigations to  unfold, before everything can be fixed on the principles of equity and reciprocity,  that will give complete satisfaction to all nations.  Religious discussions we leave to the  observation of the theologian, who, however human nature may be vilified by  some and exalted by others, traces the moral causes and effects that operate on the soul  of man.  The effects only are level to the common eye, which weep that the  result is more frequently productive of misery than felicity to his fellow beings.

Besides the circumstances already hinted, various other combinations caused a cloud of  chagrin to fit on almost every brow, and a general uneasiness to pervade the  bosoms of  most of the inhabitants of America.  This was discoverable on every  occasion. They complained of the governments of their own instituting  and of  Congress, whose powers were too feeble for the redress of private wrongs, or the more  public and general purposes of government.  They murmured at the  commutation which Congress had agreed to for the compensation of the army.  They felt  themselves under the pressure of burdens for which they had not calculated;  the pressure of debts and taxes beyond their ability to pay.  These discontents artificially  wrought up, by men who wished for a more strong and splendid  government, broke out into commotion in many parts of the country, and finally  terminated in open insurrection in some of the states.

This general uneasy and refractory spirit had for some time shown itself in the states of  New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and some other portions of the  union; but the Massachusetts seemed to be the seat of sedition.  Bristol, Middlesex, and  the western countries, Worcester, Hampshire, and Berkshire, were more  particularly culpable. The people met in country conventions, drew up addresses to the  General Assembly to which were annexed long lists of grievances, some of  them real, others imaginary.  They drew up many resolves, some of which were rational,  others unjust, and most of them absurd in the extreme.  They censured the  conduct of the officers of government, called for a revision of the constitution, voted the  Senate and judicial courts to be grievances, and proceeded in a most daring  and insolent manner to prevent the sitting of the courts of justice in several counties.

The ignorance [Some of them indeed were artful and shrewd, but most of them were  deluded and persuaded to attempt, by resistance to government, to relieve  themselves from debts which they could not pay, and from the hand of tax-gatherers,  who had distrained in some instance to the last article of their property.] of this  incendiary and turbulent set of people, might lead them to a justification of their own  measures, from a recurrence to transactions in some degree similar in the early  opposition to British government.  They had neither the information, nor the sagacity to  discern the different grounds of complaint. Nor could they make proper  distinctions with regard to the oppressions complained of under the crown of Britain,  and the temporary burdens they now felt, which are ever the concomitants and  

consequences of ar.  They knew that a successful opposition had been made to the  authority of Britain, while they were under the dominion of the King of England;  but they were too ignorant to distinguish between an opposition to regal despotism, and  

a resistance to a government recently established by themselves.

County meetings and conventions and the opposition of the body of the people to submit  to judiciary proceedings in direct violation of their charter and the stipulated  indulgences which they claimed in common with their fellow subjects in Great Britain,  wore a very different aspect from those of the clamorous and tumultuary  proceedings of the Massachusetts' insurgents. These were violating the constitutions of  their own forming, and endeavoring to prostrate all legal institutions before  they were cemented on the strong basis of a firm and well-established government.

Those disturbances were for a time truly alarming and gave cause for serious  apprehensions that civil convulsions might spread through the country within the short  term of three or four years after independence had been established, and peace restored  to the United States of America.  Under existing circumstances, the  high-handed and threatening proceedings of the insurgents wore a very formidable  aspect. There were among them very many men hardy, bold, and veteran, who  had been very serviceable in the field during the late Revolutionary War. They had  assembled in great numbers, in various places, and at different times, and seemed  to bid defiance to all law, order an government.

In the winter of 1786, several thousand of those disorderly persons armed and embodied  and appeared in the environs of Springfield. They chose for their leader a  man who had been a subaltern officer [Daniel Shays.] in the Revolutionary War,  threatened to march to Boston, and by compulsory measures oblige the governor  and General Assembly to redress the grievances of the people, which they alleged were  brought on them by enormous taxation and other severities from their own  government. they, however, thought proper to send forward a petition, instead of  marching sword in hand to the capital.

In the mean time, the exertions and the resolves of the legislative body, with a view of  relieving the public distress, only increased the discontents of the people.  They  were much divided in opinion, relative to the best modes of quieting the disturbances.  Tender laws and sumptuary regulations were superficial expedients, that, like  paper money, eventually would increase, rather than eradicate the evils complained of;  while the temper of the people of various descriptions, and from various  motives, augured an approaching crisis that might produce convulsions too extensive for  calculation.

In this situation of affairs, the governor was empowered by the legislature to order a  military force to be in readiness to march under the command of General  Lincoln.  The temerity of the insurgents had emboldened them to move forward in  hostile array, which made it necessary to direct General Lincoln to a check to their  insolvence and to restore peace and order to the state. But before the troops from the  lower counties had collected at Worcester, great numbers of the insurgents  had embodied and moved forward to Springfield, with a design to attack the continental  arsenal. This was defended by General Shepard, who took every precaution  to prevent the shedding of blood. He expostulated with their leaders and warned them  against the fatal consequences of perseverance in their rebellious and hostile  proceedings. they, however, neglected the warning and rushed on in  the face of danger.  This obliged General Shepard to fire on them, which so disconcerted them  that they immediately retreated. General Lincoln reached Springfield about the same  time, which  entirely defeated this project. The field was left with dismay, and  with the loss only of two or three of their party.  The next movement of any importance  was their again collecting from all quarter and taking a position on the heights  of Pelham.

General Lincoln, unwilling to see his countrymen involved in a war among themselves,  passed on to Hadley without proceeding to extremities.  There he received  letters from some of the leaders of the insurgent parties, and with his usual mildness and  humanity endeavored to persuade them to quit their hostile parade and by  their peaceable demeanor to render themselves worthy of the lenity of government,  which was ready, on their return to proper submission, to extend a general  pardon, and throw a veil of oblivion over past transactions. But there appeared no signs of  repentance or of a relinquishment of their atrocious projects; and though  without system or any determinate object and with out men of talents to direct or even to  countenance their disorderly conduct, in any stage of the business, they  soon moved from Pelham in a strong body, entered and halted in the town of Petersham.

General Lincoln heard of the decampment of Shays and his followers from Pelham at 12  o'clock and had certain intelligence by the hour of six that they had moved  on to Petersham. Convinced of the necessity of a quick march, he ordered his troops to  be ready at a moment's warning. By 8 o'clock, they began their route.  Notwithstanding the intrepidity of General Lincoln, when immediate hazard required  enterprise, he would not have exposed his troops to a march of 30 miles in one  of the severest nights of a remarkably severe winter had not the entrance of the evening  been mild an serene.  The sky unclouded and the moon in full splendor, they  began their march under the promise of a more easy termination; but after a few hours,  the wind rose, the clouds gathered blackness, and the cold was so intense  that it was scarcely supportable by the hardiest of his followers. Nothing but the  quickness of their motion prevented many of his men from falling victims to the  severity of the season. The difficulty of their march was increased by a deep snow that  had previously fallen and lain so uncemented that the gusts drove it in the  faces of the army with the violence of a rapid snow storm.  They, however, reached  Petersham before 9 o'clock the next morning, but so miserably fatigued and  frost-bitten that few of them were fit for service; and had not a general panic seized the  insurgents on the first alarm of the approach of the government troops, they  might have met them with great slaughter, if not with total defeat; but through in warm  quarters, well supplied with arms and provisions, they left this advantageous  post with the greatest precipitation, and fled in all directions.

General Lincoln was not in  a capacity for immediate pursuit. It was necessary to halt  and refresh his men. Besides, his known humanity was such that he might be  willing they should scatter and disappear without being pushed to submission by the  point of the sword. The insurgents never again appeared in a collective body, but  spread themselves over the several parts of the western counties and even into the  neighboring states, plundering, harassing, and terrifying the inhabitants, and  nourishing the seeds of discontent and sedition that had before been scattered among  them.  It was not long before General Lincoln pursued and captured many of  them, who implored and experienced the clemency of the commander, and only a few  were taken into custody for future trial.  Thus those internal commotions,  which had threatened a general convulsion, were so far quelled that most of the troops  

returned to Boston early in the spring. Before his return, General Lincoln  marched to the borders of the state and found many in the counties Hampshire and  Berkshire ready to take the oath of allegiance, with all the marks of contrition for  their late guilty conduct.  Commissioners were afterwards sent forward, with powers to  pardon, after due inquiry into the present temper and conduct of individuals;  to administer the oath of allegiance to the penitent and to restore to the confidence of  their country all such as were not stigmatized by flagitious and murderous  conduct.

Perhaps no man could have acted with more firmness, precision, and judgment than did  Governor Bowdoin, through the turbulent period of two years in which he  presided in the Massachusetts. Yet, notwithstanding his conspicuous talents and the  public and private virtues which adorned his character, the popular current set  strongly against him on approaching annual election; and governor Hancock, who had  once resigned the chair, was again requested to resume his former dignified  station, and was brought forward and chosen with eclat and expectation. He did not,  however, contravene the wise measures of his predecessor. He was equally  vigilant to quiet the perturbed spirits of the people and to restore general tranquility.  This he did by coercive and lenient measures, as circumstances required; and by  his disinterested conduct and masterly address, he was very influential in overcoming  the remains of factious and seditious spirit that had prevailed. Thus he did  himself much honor, and acquired the applause of his constituents.

The governor was authorized by the legislature to keep in pay any number of troops that  might be thought necessary to preserve the public peace. 800 men were  stationed on the western borders of the state but before the summer elapsed, the  insurgents were so generally subdued that the troops were recalled and dismissed.

The governors of all the neighboring states had been requested not to receive or protect  any of the guilty party, who had fled for security within their limits.  These  were all so sensibly impressed with the danger of disunion and anarchy, which had  threatened the whole, that they readily gave assurances of detection, if any should  flatter themselves with impunity, by flying without the jurisdiction of their own  government.  Several of the most notorious offenders were secured and tried by the  supreme judicial court, and received sentence of death; but the compassion of the  people, coinciding with the humane disposition of the governor, induced him to  grant reprieves from time to time, and finally prevented the loss of life by the hand of  civil justice in a single instance.

Thus, by well-time lenity, and decided energy, as the exigencies of the moment  required, as terminated an insurrection that, by it dangerous example, threatened the  United States with a general rupture, that might have been more fatal than foreign war,  to their freedom, virtue, and prosperity. But though the late disturbances were  quelled, and the turbulent spirit which had been so alarming was subdued by a small  military force, yet it awakened all to a full view of the necessity of concert and  union in measures that might preserve their internal peace. This required the regulation  of commerce on some stable principles, and some steps for the liquidation of  both public and private debts. They also saw it necessary to invest Congress with  sufficient powers for the execution of their own laws, for all general purposes  relative to the union.

A convention was appointed by the several states to meet at Annapolis, in the state of  Maryland, in the year 1786, for these salutary purposes; but the work was too  

complicated. The delegates separated without doing anything, and a new convention  was called the next year to meet at Philadelphia, with the same design, but  without any enlargement of their powers. They, however, framed a new constitution of  government, and sent it for the consideration and adoption of the several  states; and though it was thought by many to be too strongly marked with the features of  monarchy, it was, after much discussion, adopted by a majority of the  states.

We must consult the human heart, says the Marquis Beccaria, for the foundation of the  rights of both sovereign and people. "If we look into history, we shall find that  laws which are or ought to be conventions between men in a state of freedom have been  for the most part, the work of the passions of a few, or the consequences of  a fortuitous temporary necessity, not dictated by a cool examiner of human nature, who  knew how to collect in one point the actions of a multitude and had this only  end in view, the greatest happiness of the greatest number."

It was thought by some, who had been recently informed of the secret transactions of the  the convention at Philadelphia, that the greatest happiness of the greatest  number was not the principal object of their contemplations, when they ordered their  doors to be locked, their members inhibited from all communications abroad,  and when the proposals were made that their journals should be burnt, lest their  consultations and debates should be viewed by the scrutinizing eyes of a free people.  [This convention was composed of some gentlemen of the first character and abilities;  of some men of shining talents and doubtful character. Some of them were  uniform republications, others decided monarchists, with a few neutrals, ready to join  the strongest party. It was not strange there was much clashing and debate  where such dissentient opinions existed. but after some modification and concession, a  constitution was formed which, when the amendments took place immediately  on its adoption, the government of the United States stood on a basis which rendered the  people respectable abroad and safe at home.] These extraordinary  movements appeared to them the result of the passions of a few. It is certain that truth,  whether moral, philosophical, or political, shrinks not from the eye of the  investigation.

The ideas of royalty, or anything that wore the appearance of regal forms and  institutions, were generally disgusting to Americans, and particularly so to many  characters who early came forward and continued to the end of the conflict, steadfast in  opposition to the Crown of Britain. They thought that after America had  encountered the power, an obtained a release from foreign bondage and had recently  overcome domestic difficulties and discontents and even quieted the spirit of  insurrection in their own states; that the republic system for which had had fought  should not be hazarded by vesting any man or body of men with powers that might  militate with the principles which had been cherished with fond enthusiasm by a large  majority of the inhabitants throughout the union.

Republicanism, the idol of some men, and independence, the glory of all, were thought  by many to be in danger of dwindling into theory. The first had been defaced  for a time by a degree of anarchy, and fears were now awakened that the last might be  annihilated by view of private ambition.

The people were generally dissatisfied with the high pretensions of the officers of the  army, whose equality of condition previous to the war as, with few exceptions,  on the same grade with themselves. The assumption of an appropriate rank was  disgusting, in a set of men, who had most of them been taken from mechanic  employments, or the sober occupations of agriculture.  Thus jealousies for diffused with  regard to the officers of the old army, the Cincinnati, and several other  classes of men whom they suspected as cherishing hopes and expectations of erecting a  government too splendid for the taste and professions of Americans. They  saw a number of young gentlemen coming forward, ardent and sanguine in the support  

of the principles of monarchy and aristocracy. They saw a number of  professional characters too ready to relinquish former opinions, and adopt new ones  more congenial to the policy of courts than to the maxims of a free people.   They saw some apostate Whigs in public employments, and symptoms of declension in  others, which threatened the annihilation of the darling opinion that the whole  sovereignty in the republic system is in the people, "that the people have a right to  amend and alter, or annul their constitution and frame a new one, whenever they  shall think it will better promote their own welfare and happiness to do it."

This brought forward objections to the proposed constitution of government then under  consideration.  These objections were not the result of ignorance. They were  made by men of the first abilities in every state; men who were sensible of the necessity  of strong and energetic institutions, and a strict subordination and obedience  to law.  These judicious men were solicitous that everything should be clearly defined.  They were jealous of each ambiguity in law or government, or the smallest  circumstance that might have a tendency to curtail the republican system, or render  ineffectual the sacrifices they had made, or the security of civil and religious liberty  to themselves. They also wished for the transmission of the enjoyment of the equal  rights of man to their latest posterity. They were of opinion that every article that  admitted of doubtful construction should be amended before it became the supreme law  of the land. They were now apprehensive of being precipitated, without due  consideration, into the adoption of a system that might bind them and their posterity in  the chains of despotism, while they held up the ideas of a free and equal  participation of the privileges of pure and genuine republicanism.

Warm debates in favor of further consideration, and much energetic argument took  place, between gentlemen of the first abilities, in several of the state conventions.   The system was, however, ratified in haste by a sufficient number of states to carry it  into operation, and amendments left to the wisdom, justice, and decision of  future generations, according as exigencies might require. [Many amendments were  made soon after the adoption of the Constitution.] This was not sufficient to  dissipate the apprehensions of gentlemen who had been uniform and upright in their  intentions and immovably fixed in the principles of the Revolution, and had never  turned their eyes from the point in pursuit, until the independence of America was  acknowledged by the principal monarchs in Europe.

But while the system was under discussion, strong objections were brought forward in  the conventions of the several states. Those gentlemen who were opposed to  the adoption of the new Constitution in toto, observed that there was no Bill of Rights to  guard against future innovations. They complained that the trial by jury in  civil causes was not secured. They observed that some of the warmest partisans, who  had been disposed to adopt without examination, had stated at the discovery  that this essential right was curtailed; that the powers of the executive and judiciary were  dangerously blended; that the appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Federal  Court subjected the inhabitants of the United States, by a litigious process that militated  with the rights formerly claimed by the individual states, to be drawn from  one end of the continent to the other for trail.  They wished for a rotation in office or  some sufficient bar against the perpetuity of it, in the same hands for life. They  thought it necessary there should be this check tot he overbearing influence of office,  and that every man should be rendered ineligible at certain periods, to keep the  mind in equilibrium, and teach hi the feelings of the governed, and better qualify him to  govern in his turn. It was also observed by them that all sources of revenue  formerly possessed by the individual states were now under the control of Congress.

Subsequent measures were not yet realized. Banks, monopolies, and a funding system  were projects that had never been thought of in the early stages of an infant  republic, and had they been suggested before the present period, would have startled  both the soldier and the peasant.  The sober-principled statesmen, and the  judicious band of worthies who originated the system of freedom, digested it in the  cabinet and conducted the public councils which led to the independence of  America, with a firm, disinterested magnanimity, and an energy seldom found in the  courts of princes, would have revolted at those ideas.  Nor were they less  alarmed at the contemplation of a president with princely powers, a sextennial senate,  biennial elections of representatives, and a federal city, "whose cloud-capt  towers" might screen the state culprit from the hand of justice, while its exclusive  jurisdiction might, in some future day, protect the riot of standing armies encamped  within its limits. These were prospects viewed by them with the utmost abhorrence.

Indeed, the opinions of the gentlemen who formed the general convention differed very  widely on many of the articles of the new Constitution, before it was sent  abroad for the discussion of the people at large. Some of them seceded and retired  without signing at all, others complied from a conviction of the necessity of  accommodation and concession, lest they should be obliged to separate without any  efficient measures that would produce the salutary purposes for which many  characters of the first abilities had been convened.  The philosophic Doctor Franklin  observed when he lent his signature to the adoption of the new Constitution,  "that its complexion was doubtful; that it might last for ages, involve one quarter of the  globe, and probably terminate in despotism."  [See Doctor Franklin's speech  on his singing the articles of the new Constitution of government which was to be laid  before the people.] He signed the instrument for the consolidation of the  government of the United States with tears, and apologized for doing it at all, from the  doubts and apprehensions he felt that his countrymen might not be able to do  better, even if they called a new convention.

Many of the intelligent yeomanry and of the great bulk of independent landholders who  had tasted the sweets of mediocrity, equality, and liberty read every  unconditional ratification of the new system in silent anguish, folded the solemn page  with a sigh, and wept over the manes of the native sons of America, who had  sold their lives to leave the legacy of freedom to their children. On this appearance of a  consolidated government, which they thought required such important  amendments, they feared that a dereliction of some of their choicest privileges might be  sealed, without duly considering the fatal consequences of too much  precipitation. "The right of taxation, and the command of the military," says an  ingenious writer, "is the completion of despotism." The last of these was consigned to  the hands of the president and the first they feared would be too much under his  influence. The observers of human conduct were not insensible that too much power  vested in the hands of any individual was liable to abuses, either from his own passions,  or the suggestions of others, of less upright and immaculate intentions than  himself.

Of thirteen state conventions to which the constitution was submitted, those of  Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, and Georgia ratified it  unconditionally, and those of New Hampshire, Massachusetts, New York, Virginia, and  South Carolina, in full confidence of amendments which they thought  necessary, and proposed to the first Congress. The other two, Rhode Island and North  Carolina, rejected it. Thus, it is evident that a majority of the states were  convinced that the Constitution, as at first proposed, endangered their liberties; that to  the opposition in the federal state conventions are the public indebted for the  amendments and amelioration of the Constitution, which have united all parties in the  vigorous support of it; and that in a land of freedom, sovereignty, and  independence, the great and important affairs of state will be finally subject to reason,  justice, and sound policy.

Thus, notwithstanding the many dark appearances that for a time spread a cloud over the  United States; notwithstanding the apprehensions and prejudices against  the new Constitution, which had pervaded the minds of many; though strong parties had  arisen, and acrimonious divisions were fomented, on the great and important  question of ratification; yet, by the mode adopted by five states, of proposing  amendments at the time of ratifying it, the fears of the people in general evaporated by  degrees. The new Constitution was adopted with applause and success, ad the promise  and expectations of amendments, flattered all classes with every advantage  that could be rationally expected.

The new system of government was ushered into existence under peculiar advantages;  and no circumstance tended more rapidly to dissipate every unfavorable  impression than the unanimous choice of a gentleman to the presidential chair, at once  meritorious popular, and beloved, beyond any man.  Washington, the favorite  of every class of people, was placed at the head of a government of experiment and  expectation. Had any character of less popularity and celebrity been designated  this high trust, it might at this period have endangered, if not have proved fatal to the  peace of the union.  Though some thought the executive vested with too great  powers to be entrusted to the hand of any individual, Washington was an individual in  whom they had the most unlimited confidence.

After the dissolution of the American army, and the retirement of the commander in  chief from the conspicuous station in which he had been placed, the celebrity of  this life and manners, associated with the circumstances of a remarkable Revolution, in  which he always stood on the foreground, naturally turned the eyes of all  toward him.  The hearts of the whole continent were united to give him their  approbatory voice, as the most suitable character in the United States to preside at the  head of civil government.

The splendid insignia of military command laid aside, the voluntary retirement of  General Washington had raised his reputation to the zenith of human glory. Had he  persevered in his resolution never again to engage in the thorny path of public life, his  repose might have been forever insured in the delightful walks of rural  occupation. He might, in his retirement on Mount Vernon, have cherished those  principles of republicanism which he always professed, as well as the patriotism  which he exhibited in the field; and by his disinterested example he might have checked  the aspiring ambition of some of his former associates and handed down his  own name to posterity with redoubled luster. [This was the opinion of some of his most  intimate associates at the time; yet doubtless General Washington thought it  his duty to aid his  country at so critical an era.] but man, after long habits of activity, in  the meridian of applause, is generally restless in retirement. The difficulty of  entirely quitting the luminous scenes on the great stage of public action is often  exemplified in the most exalted characters. Thus, even the dignified Washington could  not, amid the bustle of the world, become a calm, disinterested spectator of the  transactions of statesmen and politicians.  His most judicious friends were confident  he had no fame to acquire and wished him to remain on the pinnacle he had already  reached. But, urged by the strong voice of his native state, and looked up to by  every state in the union, the call was strong and impressive, and he again came forward  in public life, though it appeared to be in counteraction of his former  determinations.

Thus the former commander of the armies of America had been chosen one of the  delegates for a general convention of the states, and lent his hand to the formation  of a new Constitution of civil government. This instrument, as above observed, appeared  to the public eye to lie open to many objections. It was viewed a doubtful in  its origin, dangerous in its aspect, and for a time very alarming to the feelings of men,  who were tremblingly alive on the smallest encroachment of rights and  privileges, for which they had sacrificed their fortunes, immolated their friends, and  risked their own lies.  General Washington himself observed when he signed the  new Constitution that "it was an experiment on which the destiny of the republican  model of government was staked." But the system was adopted with expectations  of amendment, and the experiment proved salutary, and has ultimately redounded as  much to the honor and interest of America as any mode or form of government  that could have been devised by the wisdom of man.

It is beyond a doubt that no man in the union had it so much in his power to assimilate  the parties, conciliate the affections, and obtain a general sanction to the new  Constitution as a gentleman who commanded their obedience in the field, and had won  the veneration, respect, and affections of the people, in the most distant parts  of the union.  Yet, soon after the organization of the new Constitution of government, a  struggle began to take place between monarchists and republicans, the  consequences of which some future period must disclose.  From a variety of new  sources; of new objects of magnificence opening before them; of new prospects of  wealth anticipated, the spirit of intrigue was matured even among the politicians of  yesterday. Some of them were sighing for more liberty, without discretion or  judgment to make a proper use of what they already possessed. Others were grasping at  powers which neither reason nor law, constitutions of their won forming,  nor the feelings of nature could justify.

Thus it appeared, convulsions might ensure, great conflicts be sustain, and great spirits  be subdued before the minds of every class could be perfectly tranquilized,  even under the wisest system of human government.  But such a people s the Americans  cannot suddenly be reduced to a state of slavery; it is a work of time to  obliterate old opinions, founded in reason, and fanned by enthusiasm, till they had  become a part of the religious creed of a nation.  Notwithstanding the  apprehensions which have pervaded the mind of many, American will probably long  retain a greater share of freedom than can perhaps be found in any other part of  the civilized world. This may be more the result of her local situation, than from her  superior policy or moderation. From the general equality of fortune which had  formerly reigned among them, it may be modestly asserted that most of the inhabitants  of America were too proud for monarchy, yet too poor for nobility, and it is to  be feared, too selfish and avaricious for a virtuous republic.

The people of America, however, were not yet prepared, like the ungrateful Israelites, to  ask a king, nor were their spirit sufficiently broken to yield the "best of their  olive grounds to her servants, or to see their sons appointed to run before his chariots."  Yet it was to be regretted that there soon appeared a class of men, who,  though taken from the bar, the shop, or the more simple occupations of life, to command  armies and to negotiate with foreign nation, had imbibed ideas of  distinguished rank and ostentatious titles, incompatible with republican principles, and  totally repugnant to the views of the zealous advocates of American freedom.   Indeed, many of these had been swept off by the hand of time and death. Those who still  lived in the shade of retirement observed with regret that unless  counteracted with firmness, the fiat of an individual might become more respected than  the general will of the people.

There yet remained a considerable class of these firm adherents to the principles of the  Revolution.  They were strongly impressed with the necessity of an energetic  government and the weakness of the old confederation.  They were also sensible of the  many difficulties that must arise in the fiscal arrangements of a people who  had been long without a stable medium of trade, while agriculture, commerce, and every  other pursuit wore a new face, in consequence of a long war. But they had  not contemplated the introduction of new projects, which were thought designed to  enrich and ennoble some of the officers of the army, to create a splendid  government, and to support the dignity of new orders in the state. These were articles  that had made no part of their creed.

The spirit of finance, which, a sensible writer observes, "accumulates woes on the head  of a people, by stripping them of the means of subsistence, and what is  infinitely more to be regretted, saps the foundations of morality," had heretofore been  only the dream of some overgrown public creditor.  A funding system  afterwards introduced, attended with all the intricacies of more aged financiers, which  never could be understood, and a public debt thereby enhanced, which was  probably never intended to be paid, was impregnated in the brain of a young officer  [Alexander Hamilton] of foreign extraction, an adventurer of a bold genius,  active talents, and fortunate combinations, from his birth to the exalted station to which  he was lifted by the spirit of favoritism in American arrangements. Yet when  the system appeared, it as embraced with warmth by a considerable class, as the  legitimate child of speculation.  But it appeared a monster in the eye of a very large  part of the community, who viewed it as the parent of a national debt that would hang on  the neck of American to the latest generations.

Hence, a train of restless passions were awakened that excited to activity an created a  rage for project, speculation, and various artifices to support a factitious  dignity, which finally ruined multitudes of unsuspecting citizens. Hence, a spirit of  public gambling, speculation in paper, in lands, in everything else, to a degree  unparalleled in any nation.  Many other contingencies were felt too severely to require a  particular specification.

When General Washington was placed in the presidential chair, he doubtless felt all the  solicitude for the discharge of his duty which such a sacred deposit entrusted  to his integrity would naturally awaken.  His own reputation was blended with the  administration of government on those principles of republicanism which he had  always professed and which he had supported by his sword; while time, circumstances,  and interests had changed the opinions of many influential characters.

Thus, the favored and beloved Washington, called from his first retirement to act as  chief magistrate in the administration of civil government, whatever measures he  sanctioned were considered as the best, the wisest, and most just by a great majority of  the people. In most instances, it is true, he presided with wisdom, dignity,  and moderation, but complete perfection is not to be attributed to man. Undue prejudices  and partialities often imperceptibly creep into the best hearts; and with all  the veneration due to so meritorious a character, there were many who though him too  much under the influence of military favorites.

A very judicious gentleman, well acquainted with ancient history, and with modern  politics, [Letter to the author.] observed during the administration of General  Washington that "the president of the United States held the hearts of all America in his  hand, from the moment of his elevation to the command of her armies to his  honorable retirement to private lie, and from his dignified retreat to his inauguration at  New York. Placed in the executive chair by the united voice of all parties, it  was expected the chief magistrate, whom flattery endows with all perfection, and to  whom justice attribute many excellent qualities, would have felt himself above the  partialities that usually hang about the human heart; and that, divesting himself of the  little prejudices that obtrude and frequently sully the greatest characters, he  would have been of no party in his appointments, and that real merit, whether federal or  anti-federal, would have been equally noticed.

"It was not expected that those gentlemen who wished for a more perfect system of  government or some amendments to the present would have been cut off from  every social and political claim; and that only the officers of the late army, and the  devotees to unconditional ratification would have been thought worthy of  confidence or place under a government that has yet the minds of a considerable part of  the people to soothe, and the affections of a judicious and discerning party  to conciliate." [This letter was written before several important amendments were  made.]

"True policy should have dictated the most impartial distribution of office in the new  arrangement. It is a new and untried experiment into which many of the people  think they have been precipitated without time for due consideration.  Thy begin to feel  the weight of taxes and imposts to which they have not been accustomed.  they begin to inquire whether all the late energetic exertions were designed only to  subserve the interests of a certain party and to furnish salaries, sinecures, and  extravagant compensations for the favorites of the army and the sycophants of power, to  the exclusion of all who had not adopted the creed of passive obedience."

A cool examiner, who may hereafter retrospect the period from the establishment of the  American Constitution to the close of the administration of the first president  will judge, on the detail of facts, whether there was or was not just reason for the above  observations. Future historic writers may scrutinize and survey past  transactions with due criticism and candor, when whatever may have been observed on  any other subject, all will allows that no steps during the civil functions of  President Washington were so unpopular as the Indian war, sanctioned by the President  soon after the operation of the measures of the new government and his  ratification of a treaty with Great Britain, negotiated by John Jay, Esquire.  The  appointment of this gentleman to a diplomatic character, while Chief Justice of the  Supreme Court of the nation, was thought very objectionable, and very sensible protest  were entered in the Senate against the blending of office. It was thought very  incompatible with the principles of the Constitution to act in the double capacity of a  negotiator abroad and the first officer of justice at home.

Notwithstanding these objections, Mr. Jay was commissioned and repaired to England,  ostensibly to require the surrender of the western posts, the retention of  

which had brought on the war with the savages, as observed above, and to demand  satisfaction for the depredations and spoliations that had for several years been  made on American commerce, in defiance of the late treaty of peace. The war in which  England as then engaged against France had give a pretext for these  spoliations. The happiness and tranquility of the English nation had not appeared to  have been much enhanced either by the struggle or the termination of the war  with their former colonies.  After the pacification of the nations at war, and the  conclusion of peace between Great Britain and America, such feuds arose in England  from various sources and causes of discontent, as discovered that the nation for a time  far from being more tranquilized than a United States, previous to their  adoption of the present Constitution.

Indeed, the English nation had few causes of triumph; their system of policy had been  everywhere deranged and their fatal mistakes exemplified in the distresses of  their eastern dominions, as well as those in the west. The confusion in the East Indies,  and the misconduct of their officers there, called aloud for inquiry and reform;  and amid the complicated difficulties which embarrassed the measures of  administration, their King became insane, the royal family were at variance, and the heir  apparent had many causes of discontent, besides the alienation of his parents, which had  been some time increasing. The Parliament and the ministry were intriguing  for power, and various parties claimed the right to assume the reins of government  during the King's disability, and the recollections of all were embittered by a  retrospect of the misfortunes they had experienced during the late war. Their losses had  been incalculable, nor could the wisest of their statesmen devise methods for  the payment of even the interest of the enormous national debt, and the recovery of the  nation to that scale of honor, prosperity and grandeur they had formerly  enjoyed.

In this summary view of the state of the British nation for the last ten years, a treaty with  England was not a very desirable object in the eyes of many of the most  judicious statesmen in America. Perhaps no man was better qualified than Mr. Jay to  undertake to negotiate a business of so much delicacy and responsibility. He  was a gentleman of strict integrity, amiable manners, and complacent disposition; whose  talents for negotiation had been evinced by his firmness in conjunction with his  colleagues, when they effected a treaty of peace at Paris, in 1783. But while in England,  whether from the influence of the Court of St. James or from any  predetermined system with regard to England or France or from the yielding softness of  a mind, naturally urbane and polite, is uncertain. Yet, whatever might have  been the principal operative cause, it is beyond a  doubt that Mr. Jay fell from that  dignified, manly, independent spirit which ought to have marked an American  negotiator. He was led to succumb too far to the dictations of Lord Grenville. This  condescension, undoubtedly arose more than the apprehension that he could not  do better than from any inclination to swerve from the interests of his country.  The  consequence was, he agreed to  a treaty highly advantageous to Great Britain,  degrading to the United States, very offensive to France, the ally of America in the days  of her tribulation, and who was now herself at war with Great Britain, in  conjunction with most of the European potentates [See treaty of Pilnitze) combined to  overthrow the newly established government in France.

This government they had erected through civil convulsions that distorted everything  from its ancient form and order. Monarchy was overthrown, their king  decapitated, hierarchy  abolished, and a superstitious priesthood annihilated, amid the  destruction of the lives of thousands of all classes, an a series of such bloody  deeds of horror a freeze the soul of humanity on the recollection.  These revolutionary  scenes in every nation are generally attended with circumstances shocking to  the feelings of compassion; yet, undoubtedly all nations have a right to establish such  modes and forms of government as a majority of the people shall think most  conducive to the general interest.  The various causes which contributed to more  distressful scenes of barbarity than are usually exhibited in so short a period may be  left to the discussion of those who have written or may write the history of the late  revolution in France and the character and conduct of that wonderful people.

It was with apparent reluctance that President Washington signed the treaty negotiated  by Mr. Jay. He hesitated and observed "that it was pregnant with events."  Many gentlemen of the first penetration foresaw and dreaded the consequences of this  diplomatic transaction. Some scrupled not to declare that it was not only  "pregnant with events," but "with evils." But, notwithstanding it wore so disgusting an  aspect to more than one half the citizens of the United States, it was ratified by a  majority in the Senate, signed by the President, and became the supreme law of the land.

This ratification created a division of sentiment which was artfully wrought up until a  disseveration of opinion appeared throughout the union.  In Congress, the parties  on every great question seemed nearly equally divided. Each had their partisans. The  spirits of the people were agitated and embittered to an alarming degree by the  extreme point of opposition in which the instrument was viewed. The whole body of the  people were designated under traits of distinction which never ought to exist  in the United States; and a struggle took place, the consequences of which some future  period must disclose.

It is disgraceful indeed to Americans, who had just broken the shackles of foreign  domination, to submit to the unhappy distinction of British or French partisans. But  the attachment of many to their old allies, to whom they felt themselves obliged, of  many others to the British nation, its modes of government and its commerce,  occasioned such a stigma to mark them for a tie.

America should indeed forever have maintained a character of her own, that should have  set her on high ground, whence she might have looked on from the pinnacle  of independence and peace, and only have pitied the squabbles, the confusion, and the  miseries of the European world. A quarter of the globe blessed with all the  productions of nature, increasing astonishingly in population, improving rapidly in  erudition, arts, and all the sciences necessary to the happiness of man; bounded by  a vast ocean, by rivers, by mountains, that have been the wonder of ages, ought forever  to hold herself independent on any power on earth.

Imagination may indulge a pleasing reverie and suppose for a moment that if the  government of the United States had reared a defense around her sea board, that  might have reached to the heavens by her bold inhibitions against all foreign  connections or commercial and political intercourse with distant nations, it might have  been the best barrier to her peace, liberty, and happiness. But there  are no mounds of  separation, either natural or artificial, and perhaps had it been practical there  should have been, they might have been penetrated by a thirst for wealth; commerce  might have shaken them to the foundation, or ambition might have broken down  the battlements.

Instead of guarding round the infant republic of America, by a total detachment from  foreign connections, affection, or influence, we have already seen the inhabitants  of the United States interesting themselves beyond the common feelings of humanity in  the operations of European wars, dissensions, politics, and government.

It is not strange that the astonishing revolution in France should be beheld with very  extraordinary emotions.  The world had viewed the excision of a king, queen,  and the royal family of the House of Bourbon. The existing generation had witnessed  the extinction of the claims of a long line of ancestral dignitaries, that had been  supported from Charlemagne to Louis XVI, under all the appendages of despotism that  had oppressed its millions, until they had reached that point of degradation  and servility beyond which the elastic mind of man can bend no farther. This yoke was  broken, and the bars burst in sunder by the strong hand of the people, and by  the operations of a resentment which discovered more than the imaginary reactions of  nature, among the inhabitants of a vast domain.  This people had been too long  viewed as a nation of slaves, and their struggles for freedom and the equal rights of man  ought to have been cherished by Americans, who had just obtained their  own independence, by a resistance that had cost them much of the best blood of their  citizens.

But the Gallican nation at this period was not viewed with that cordiality by some  classes in America, which might have been expected. The government of the  United States manifestly discovered a coolness to a nation which had so essentially  aided the great American cause, in the darkest of its days; a nation with whom  the United States had formed treaties and become the allies, from interest, necessity, and  gratitude, and to whom they yet felt obligations that could not be easily  canceled.

The President had indeed published a proclamation of neutrality, and made great  professions of friendship to the Republic of France. HE also sent an envoy to reside  there, while the government of France was in the hands of the Directory. But it was  thought the appointment was not the most judicious.

A character eccentric from youth to declining age; a man of pleasure, pride, and  extravagance, fond of the trappings of monarchy, and implicated by a considerable  portion of the citizens of America as deficient in principle, as not a suitable person for a  resident minister in France at so important a crisis.  The Gallican nation was  in the utmost confusion. the effervescence of opposition to their revolution boiling high  in most parts of Europe. Dissensions were heightening in America, and existing  treaties in danger of being shaken. These circumstances required a man of stable  principles, and respectability of character, rather than a dexterous agent of political  mischief, whose abilities and address were well adapted either for private or court  intrigue.

The exigencies of affairs, both at home and abroad, required an American negotiator of  different habits and manners. A supercedure took place. Mr. Monroe, a  gentleman of unimpeachable integrity, much knowledge and information, united with  distinguished abilities, great strength of mind, and a strong attachment to the  republican system, was appointed and sent forward by President Washington.

A full detail of the state and situation of France on the arrival of Mr. Monroe in a  diplomatic character, the impressions that had been made on the Directory, relative  to American affairs, the conduct of his predecessor [Governeur Morris.], and his own  negotiations, may be seen at large in a general view afterwards given by him of  existing prejudices which had arisen from misrepresentation, neglect, or design, from  the excision of the King of France, until the recall and return of Mr. Monroe to  his native country.  It was generally believed that America derived no advantage from  the former minister's repairing to England, after his mission was ended in  France. He there continued for some time, fomenting by his letters the jealousies that  had already arisen between the United States and the Republic of France.

These jealousies were increased by a variety of causes and the dissensions of party in  America arose to such a height as to threaten the dissolution of that strong  cement which ought to bind the colonies together forever.  These differences of opinion,  with the assuming demeanor of some of his officers, who often urged to  measures that he neither approved nor wished for, rendered the President of the United  States less happy than he was before he sanctioned by his name a treaty  which was disgusting to almost every state in the Union, and which perhaps he never  would have signed, but from the impressive influence of heads of departments,  and other favorites about his person. This was a class of men who had been implicated  by a considerable portion of the people as prompting the President of the  United States to call out a body of militia, consisting of 15,000 men, ostensibly to  subdue a trivial insurrection at the westward, which it was asserted by many  judicious persons, acquainted with the circumstances, might have been subdued by 500  only. [See Findley's history of the disturbances in the back parts of  Pennsylvania.] They attributed this effort to a wish to try the experiment of the  promptitude with which an army might be called forth to subserve the purposes of  government, to enhance the dignity of office, and the supreme power of the first  magistrate. [General Hamilton was believed to be the prime mover and conductor of  this extraordinary business.] There was certainly a class who aimed not so much to  promote the honor of the national character as to establish the basis of a standing  army, and other projects approaching to despotic sway, which cannot be supported in  America, without the aid of that dangerous engine.

It is dangerous indeed for the ear of the chief magistrate to be open to favorites of such a  complexion. Such a one will probably neglect his old associates, and confer  places on men of not the first abilities in the Union.  These are selected only in times of  imminent danger; after which their service, integrity and zeal are too frequently  repaid by the ingratitude of the people, which joins the cry of the artful, who have never  labored in the vineyard, to send them into oblivion.

The men most opposed to the British treaty negotiated in 1794, and who stated their  objections on the most rational grounds, were generally those who had been  distinguished for their patriotism, firmness, and abilities. They had been very influential  in a variety of departments, previous to the year 1775. Nor had they ever  relaxed in their energies during the course of the war, to effect the emancipation of their  country from the tyranny of the crown of Britain, and to obtain the  independence of the United States.

These circumstances, with the approach of a period when nature requires rest, rendered  the weight of government oppressive to declining age. The man who had  long commanded, in a remarkable manner, the affection, the esteem, and the confidence  of his country, again abdicated his power, took leave of the cares of state,  and retired a second time from all public occupations, to the delightful retreats of private  life, on is highly cultivated farm, on the banks of the Potomac.

Previous to General Washington's second return to his rural amusements, he published a  farewell address to the inhabitants of the United States, fraught with advice  worthy of the statesman, the hero, and the citizen. He exhorted them to union among  themselves, economy in public expenditure, sobriety, temperance, and industry  in private life. He solemnly warned them against the danger of foreign influence,  exhorted them to observe good faith and justice toward all nations, to cultivate peace  and harmony with all, to indulge no inveterate antipathies against any, or passionate  attachments for particular nations, but to be constantly awake against the  insidious wiles of foreign influence, observing that "this was one of the most baneful  foes of republican government." This was indeed, after they were split into  factions; after an exotic taste had been introduced into America, which had a tendency to  enhance their public and to accumulate their private debts; and after the  poison of foreign influence had crept into their councils, and created a passion to  assimilate the politics and the government of the United States nearer to the model  of European monarchies than the letter of the Constitution, by any fair construction  would admit. It was also, after luxury had spread over every class, while the  stimulus to private industry was in a degree cut off by the capture of their shipping by  the belligerent powers, under various pretenses of the breach of neutrality.

After this period new contingencies arose, and new discussions were required with   regard to foreign relations and connections, that had no pacific operation, or any  tendency to conciliate the minds, or to quiet the perturbed spirits of existing parties.

The operations and the consequences of the civil administration of the first president of  the United States, notwithstanding the many excellent qualities of his heart,  and the virtues which adorned his life, have since been viewed at such opposite points  that further strictures on his character and conduct shall be left to future  historians, after time has mollified the passions and prejudices of the present generation.   A new Constitution, and an extensive government, in which he acted eight  years as chief magistrate, open a new field of observations, for future pens to descant on  the merits or demerits of a man, admired abroad, beloved at home, and  celebrated through half the globe. This will be done according to the variety of opinions  which will ever exist among mankind, when character is surveyed in the cool  moments of calm philosophy, which contemplates the nature and passions of man, and  the contingent circumstances that lift him to the skies or leave him in the shad  of doubtful opinion.

Public opinion is generally grounded on truth; but the enthusiasm to which the greatest  part of mankind are liable, often urges the passions to such a degree of  extravagance, as to confound the just ratio of praise or reproach; but the services and  merits of General Washington are so deeply engraved on the hearts of his  countrymen, that no time or circumstance will or ought ever to efface the luster of his  well-earned reputation.

We have already seen that after the peace, the infant confederated states exhibited  scenes and disclosed projects that open too wide a field for discussion to bring  down a regular historical work, farther than the moment when winds up the drama of the  military, political, and civil administration of a man, whose name will have a  conspicuous place in all future historical records.

History may not furnish an example of a person so generally admired, and possess of  equal opportunities for making himself the despotic master of the liberties of his  country, who had the moderation repeatedly to divest himself of all authority and retire  to private life with the sentiments expressed by himself in the close of his  farewell address.  He three observed, "I anticipate with pleasing expectation that retreat  in which I promise myself to realize, without alloy, the sweet enjoyment of  partaking, in the midst of my fellow citizens the benign influence of good laws under a  free government -- the ever favorite object of my heart, and the happy reward,  as I trust of our mutual cares, labors, and dangers."

The commander of the armies of the United States has been conducted from the field of  war, and from the zenith of civil command tot he delicious retreats of  peaceful solitude.  We now leave him in the shade of retirement, with fervent wishes  that he may wind up the career of human life in that tranquility which becomes  the hero and the Christian.

The administration of his immediate successor we shall also leave, after some general  observations on the character of a man who long acted in the most conspicuous  departments of American affairs. The veracity of an historian requires, that all those who  have been distinguished, either by their abilities or their elevated rank,  should be exhibited through every period of public life with impartiality and truth. But  the heart of the annalist may sometimes be hurt by political deviations with the  pen of the historian is obliged to record.

Mr. Adams was undoubtedly a statesman of penetration and ability; but his prejudices  and his passions were sometimes too strong for his sagacity and judgment.

After Great Britain had acknowledged the independence of the dismembered colonies,  Mr. Adams was sent to England, with a view of negotiating a treaty of  commerce; but the government too sore from the loss of the colonies, and the nation too  much soured by the breach, nothing was done.  He, however, resided there  four or five years; and unfortunately for himself and his country, he became so  enamored with the British Constitution, and the government, manners, and laws of the  nation, that a partiality for monarchy appeared, which was inconsistent with his former  professions of republicanism. Time and circumstances often lead so imperfect  a creature as man to view the same thing in a very different point of light.

After Mr. Adam's return from England, he was implicated by a large portion of his  countrymen as having relinquished the republican system, and forgotten the  principles of the American Revolution, which he had advocated for near twenty years.

The political errors of men of talents sometimes spring from their own passions; often  from their prejudices, imbibed by local or incidental circumstances; and, not  infrequently, from the versatile condition of man, which renders it difficult, at one  period, to decide on the best system of civil government; or at another, on the most  effectual means of promoting the general happiness of mankind.  This may lead the  candid mind to cast a veil over that ambiguity which confounds opinion, and that  counteraction of former principles, which often sets a man in opposition to himself and  prevents that uniformity of conduct which dignifies and that consistency which  adorns the character.

Pride of talents and much ambition were undoubtedly combined in the character of the  president who immediately succeeded General Washington, and the existing  circumstance of his country, with his own capacity for business, gave him an  opportunity for full gratification of the most prominent features of his character.

Endowed with a comprehensive genius, well acquainted with the history of men and of  nations; and having long appeared to be actuated by the principles of integrity,  by a zeal for the rights of men, and an honest indignation at the ideas of despotism, it  was viewed as a kind of political phenomenon, when discovered that Mr.  Adams's former opinions were beclouded by a partiality for monarchy. It may, however,  be charitably presumed that by living long near the splendor of courts and  courtiers, with other concurring circumstances, he might become so biased in his  judgment as to think that a hereditary monarchy was the best government for his  native country. [Circumstances may in some future day render it necessary to adopt this  mode of government in the United States. Rome had not a master until the  people had become prepared for the yoke of their dissensions and follies. These, more  than the arm of Caesar, riveted their chains, and sunk them to a level with the  most abject and servile nations.] From his knowledge of men, he was sensible it was  easy to turn the tide of public opinion in favor of any system supported by  plausible argumentation.  Thus he drew a doleful picture of the confusion and  dissolution of all republics, and presented it to the eyes of his countrymen, under the  title of a "Defense of their constitutions." This had a powerful tendency to shake the  republican system through the United States. Yet the predilection of Americans in  general, in favor of a republican form of government was so strong, that few had the  hardiness to counteract it, until several years after the United States had become  an independent nation.

On Mr. Adams's return from England, he undoubtedly discovered a partiality in favor of  monarchic government, and a few scrupled to asset for a time that he  exerted his abilities to encourage the operation of those principles in America. But any  further strictures are unnecessary in this place on the character of a gentleman  whose official stations, abilities and services, amid the revolutionary conflict, may  probably excite some future historian to investigate the causes of his lapse from  former republican principles and to observe with due propriety on his administration and  its consequences while president of the United States.

It is with more pleasure the writer records that notwithstanding any mistakes or changes  in political opinion, or errors in public conduct, Mr. Adams, in private life,  supported an unimpeachable character. His habits of morality, decency, and religion  rendered him amiable in his family, and beloved by his neighbors. The opinions  of a man of such sobriety of manners, political experience, and general knowledge of  morals, law, and government will ever have a powerful effect on society, and  must naturally influence the people, more especially the rising generation, the young  men, who have not had the opportunity of acquainting themselves with the  character, police, and jurisprudence of nations, or with the history of their own country,  much less with the principles on which the American Revolution was  grounded.

There is a propensity in mankind to enlist themselves under the authority of names and  to adopt the opinions of men of celebrity, more from the fashion of the times  than from the convictions of reason.  Thus with the borrowed language of their chieftain,  they impose upon themselves until they think his opinions are their own, and  are often wrought up to such a fierce spirit of contention that they appear ready to  defend them in all the cruel modes of the savage, who is seldom actuated by  motives of candor and forgiveness of injuries.

Both history and experience have proved that when party feuds have thus divided a  nation, urbanity and benevolence are laid aside; and, influenced by the most  malignant and corrupt passions, they lose sight of the sacred obligations of virtue, until  there appears little difference in the ferocious sprits of men in the most refined  and civilized society or among the rude and barbarous hordes of the wilderness.  Though  some symptoms of the degradation of the human character have appeared  in America, we hope the cloud is fast dissipating, and that no vicissitudes in human  affairs, no intrigues of the interested, or any mistakes of upright men will ever  damp the prospect of the establishment and continuance of a republican system, which  appears to be best adapted to the genius of Americans. This form of  government has the voice of the majority. The energies and sacrifices of the sons of  Columbia have been exerted to leave a republican form, defined, modified, and  digested as a model to promote the happiness of posterity.

Yet there is still a division of parties, and a variety of sentiment, relative to a subject that  has heated the imaginations, and divided the opinions of mankind, from the  rise of the Roman Republic to the destruction of her splendid Empire; and from that day  to the present, when the division of the literati of every age have called the  attention of genius and ability to speculate and to dissent in their ideas of the best modes  and forms of government.

It may be a subject of wonder and inquiry, that though so many ages have elapsed and  so great a part of the world been civilized and improved that he science of  politics is still darkened by the variety of opinions that prevail among mankind.  It may  be beyond the reach of human genius to construct a fabric so free as to release  from subordination, nor in the present condition of mankind ought it ever to be wished.   Authority and obedience are necessary to preserve social order, and to  continue the prosperity or even the existence of nations. But it may be observed that  despotism is not always the certain consequence of monarchy, nor freedom the  sure result of republican theories

It would be presumption in the writer to entangle herself on a subject of such magnitude  and importance as to decide peremptorily whether aristocratic, monarchic,  or democratic government is best adapted to the general happiness of the people.  This  shall be left to bolder pens. She will indulge little farther this aberration of  hers, after the expression of her wishes that amid the heterogeneous opinions of a  theoretic age, America may not trifle away her advantages by her own folly and  levity, nor be robbed of any of the essential rights which have cost her so dear, by the  intrigues or ambition of any class of men.

The speculative of every age have theorized on a system of perfect republicanism, but  the experiment has much oftener failed in practice among all mankind, than  been crowed with success.  Those that have come nearest thereto, the free states of  Greece, the Achaean League, the Amphyctions, and other confederacies fell  under the power of Philip, Alexander, and their successors. The republic of Athens, the  most conspicuous among the ancients, corrupted by riches and luxury, was  wasted and lost by the intrigues of its own ambitious citizens.

The Roman commonwealth, the proud boast, the pattern, and exemplar of all republics,  fell under the despotism of a long line of Caesars, generally the most  debauched and brutal race of emperors that ever disgraced human nature. More modern  experiments, Venice, and indeed all the Italian states who boasted their  freedom, were subjected to the tyranny of an oligarchy or aristocracy, frequently more  severe and cruel than that of monarchy. In England, the struggles of Hampden  and his virtuous associates were lost, and the strong reasonings of the patriots of that day  in favor of freedom were obliterated after the death of Charles, by the  artful, the hypocritical, and the arbitrary Cromwell; and the most voluptuous of kings  was restored and reseated on the throne of Britain.

Thus, from the first of the Stuarts to the last of the line of Brunswick who have yet  reigned, their republican opinions and the freedom of the nation have been in the  wane, and have finally sunk into an empty name under the tyranny of George III.  Indeed, the most enlightened, rational, and independent characters in Great Britain  continue still to defend the principles of liberty with their pens, while they have had  reason to apprehend its total extinction through the realm.

Innumerable other instances might be adduced of the defeat of republicanism, in spite of  the efforts of its most zealous friends. Yet this is no proof that this system of  government may not be more productive of happiness to mankind than that of monarchy  or aristocracy.

The United States of America have now a fair experiment of a republican system to  make for themselves. they may perhaps be possessed of more materials that  promise success than have ever fallen to the lot of any other nation. From the peculiar  circumstances of the emigration of their ancestors, there is little reason to fear  that a veil of darkness, tyranny, and barbarity will soon overspread the land to which  they fled. These were a set of men very different in principles and manners from  any that are to be found in the histories of colonization, where it may be observed the  first planters have been generally either men of enterprise for the acquisition of  riches or fame, or convicted villains transported from more civilized societies.

In the outset of the American Revolution, the arm of foreign power was opposed by a  people uncontaminated by foreign luxury, the intricacies of foreign politics, or  the theological jargon of metaphysical skeptics of foreign extract. Philosophy then  conveyed honorable ideas of science, of religion, and morals. The character is  since degraded by the unprincipled sarcasms of men of letters, who assume the dignity  of philosophic thought. Instead of unfolding the sources of knowledge and  inculcating truth, they often confound without convincing, and by their sophistical  reasonings leave the superficial reader, their newly initiated disciple, on the  comfortless shores of annihilation.

 These observations are not confined to any particular nation or character. The historians  

of Britain and the philosophers and poets of France, Germany, and England  are perhaps equally culpable; and it is to be regretted that America has not preserved a  national character of her own, free from any symptoms of pernicious  deviation from the purest principles on morals, religion, and civil liberty.  She has been  conducted through a revolution that will be ever memorable, both for its origin,  its success, and the new prospects it has opened both at home and abroad. The  consequences of this revolution have not been confined to one quarter of the globe,  but the dissemination of more liberal principles in government, and more honorable  opinions of the rights of man, and  the melioration of his condition have been  spread over a considerable part of the world.

But men prone to abuse of best advantages, lent by the beneficent hand of Providence,  sometimes sport them away or confound causes with effects, which lead to  the most erroneous conclusions.  Thus it has been the recent fashion of courtiers and of a  great part of the clergy, under monarchic governments, to impute the  demoralization and skepticism that prevails to the spirit of free inquiry, as it regards the  rights of civil society.  This fashion has been adopted by all anti-republicans in  America; but it may be asked whether the declamation and clamor against the  dissemination of republican opinions on civil government, as originating the prevalence  of atheistic folly is founded on the basis of truth?

Examine the history of the ancient republics of Greece and the splendid commonwealth  of Rome. Was not the strictest regard paid to the worship of their gods and   a sacred observance of their religious rites enjoined, until the Grecian republics were  overthrown by ambitious individuals? It was then that skeptical disputes more  generally employed the philosophers. In consequence of which, the rulers and the people  sunk into an indifference to all religion. The rich city of Athens, particularly,  was early corrupted by the influx of wealth, the influence of aristocratic nobles, and the  annihilation of every principle connected with religion.

Survey the Roman commonwealth before its decline, when it was most worthy of the  imitation of republicans. Was not a general regard paid to the worship of their  deities among this celebrated people, and a superstitious attention observed relative to  omens, prodigies, and judgments, as denounced and executed by their gods,  until republicanism was extinguished, the commonwealth subverted, and the scepter of a  single sovereign was stretched over that vast empire?  It was then that  Caligula set up his horse to be worshipped, as a burlesque on religion, and the  sycophants of the court encouraged every caprice of their emperor.  the people did  not become so universally corrupt as to throw off all regard for religion, and all homage  to the deities of their ancestors, until the libidinous conduct of their august  sovereigns and the nobles of the court set the example.

Nor do we read in more sacred history, through all the story of the Israelites, that the  fool ever said in his heart that there is no God, until under the dominion of  kings.

It may be observed in the character of more modern republics that religion has been the  grand palladium of their institutions.  Through all the free states of Italy,  democracy and religion have been considered in union.  Some of them have indeed been  darkened by superstition and bigotry, yet not equally hoodwinked under  republican governments, as are the neighboring kingdoms of Spain and Portugal,  subjected to monarchic despotism.

By no fair deduction can it be asserted that the skepticism an the late appearance of a  total disregard to religious observances in France are in consequence of the  democratic struggles of the nation.  The dereliction of all religious principles among the  literati of France, and the abominable opinions of some of their philosophers  cannot be too much detested; but they have spring from various causes, remote from  political freedom, and too complicated to trace their origin, in a page of cursory  observations.

The French have long been a highly civilized, refined, luxurious nation, divided into two  classes, the learned and the infidel, the ignorant and superstitious, both equally  pursuing present pleasure, with little regard to moral principle, the laws of reason, of  God, or of nature, any further than prompted by the gratifications of the  moment.  The first were patronized by the court; the rich and the noble had been  generally infidel for more than a century before the revolution. The last were poor,  depressed, and degraded by monarchic and prelatic power, until their indigence and  misery produced universal murmur, and revolution burst on a nation, too  ignorant to investigate the sources of their own wretchedness, and too volatile and  impatient to wait the operation of measures adapted for relief by men of more  information and ability than themselves.

Thus from the ignorance and imbecility of a people degraded by oppression, and long  the dupes of priestly as well as monarchic tyranny, they naturally followed the  lead of their superiors. These had long been the infidel disciples of Voltaire,  D'Alembert, and Diderot. The atheistic opinions of these men and others of their  character had been cherished only by courtiers and academicians, until near the middle  of the 18th century, when their numerous adherents, who had concealed their  pernicious opinions under the veil of modesty, threw off the mask, came out openly, an  set religion at defiance.  But the shackles of superstition were not yet broken,  nor were any remarkable struggles made in favor of civil liberty, until the flame was  caught by their officers and soldiers and resistance to tyranny taught them, while  in union with the sober and pious Americans. They were animated by the principles of  freedom while they lent their arm in aid of the energies of a people whose  character had never been impeached as favorers of atheistic opinions, and who were  only exerting their abilities, both in the cabinet and the field, in supporting the  civil and social rights of men.

On the return  of this veteran band of officers and soldiers to their own nation, they  found as they had left, a voluptuous court, a licentious and extravagant nobility, a  corrupted priesthood, and an ignorant multitude spread over the face of one of the finest  countries on earth. Yet the murmurs against tyranny and oppression had  become so general, that some ineffectual efforts for relief had been made without any  digested system of means that might produce it.  Previous to this period, some  of their parliaments had discovered spirit and energy to resist the despotic mandates of  the crown; but the arm of royalty was yet too potent to receive any check,  while the whole nation was held in bondage by the strong hand of their grand monarch.

These combined circumstances brought forward an assembly of notables, and a national  convention, neither of which were capable of quieting the universal  discontent and disaffection to royalty that prevailed. Hence the destruction of the  Bastille; the imprisonment and decapitation of their king and queen; the  

extermination of their nobility and clergy; the assassination of many of their first literary  characters; and the indiscriminate murder of ladies of the first fame and virtue,  and women of little consideration; of characters of the highest celebrity, of nobles,  magistrates, and men without name or distinction.

These sudden eruptions of the passions of the multitude spread, like the lava of a  volcano, throughout all France, nor could men of correct judgment, who aimed only  at the reform of abuses, and a renovation in all the departments, check the fury of the  torrent. This confusion and terror within, and an army without, sent on by the  combined despots of Europe, with the professed design of subjecting the nation and re- establishing the monarch of France, gave an opportunity to ambitious,  unprincipled, corrupt, and ignorant men to come forward, under pretense of supporting  the rights and liberties of mankind, without any views but those of disorder  and disorganization. Thus, in the midst of tumult and confusion, was indulged every  vicious propensity, peculation, revenge, and all the black passions of the soul. The  guillotine was glutted with the blood of innocent victims, while the rapidity of execution  and their jealousy of each other involved the most guilty and cut down many  of the blackest miscreants, as well as the most virtuous characters in the nation.

But from the rise and progress of this period of horror, this outrage of humanity, it is  evident that it originated more from former monarchic and priestly oppression  than from the operation of infidel opinions, united with republican efforts. In  consequence of this state of things, though there were very many characters of the best  intentions, principles, and abilities, animated and active for the promotion of civil liberty  in France, they had to regret with all the humane, benevolent, and pious, that  while engaged to eradicate the superstitions of their country and the arbitrary strides of  their civil rulers, law was annihilated and even the government of Heaven  renounced..  Thus, all religious opinions were set afloat, the passions let loose, and all  distinctions leveled. Decency, humanity, and everything else respected in civil  society disappeared, until the outrages of cruelty and licentiousness resembled the  regions of pandemonium.  Thus was republicanism disgraced by the demoralization  of the people, and a cloud of infidelity darkened the hemisphere of France; but there is  nothing to countenance the opinion that skepticism was the origin or the result  of the struggles of the Gallican nation in favor of civil liberty. [The above summary of  the French Revolution was written several years before monarchy was  re-established in France.]

This people may have had their day of licentious enjoyment, of literary fame, of taste,  elegance, and splendor. They have abused His gifts and denied the God of  nature, who, according to the usual course of His government among men, may devote  them to that ruin which is the natural consequence of luxury and impiety. Yet,  the God of Providence, when national punishment has been sufficiently inflicted, may  

bring them back again to a due sense of religion and order; while the seeds of  liberty, which they have disseminated far and wide, may ripen in every soil, and in full  maturity extend the branches of general freedom through Europe, and perhaps  throughout the world. After all, we are inadequate to any calculation on future events.  The ways of Heaven are hidden in the depths of time, and a small circumstance  frequently gives a new turn to the most probable contingencies that seem to measure the  fate of men of empires. [The Duke D'Alencourt, who visited the family of the  author, in his exile under the tyranny of Robespierre, observed justly that "the sources of  disorder in France were so innumerable that it was impossible to conjecture  when tranquility would be again restored or what maters or what government the nation  would sit down under, after their violent convulsions subsided." Through a  very interesting conversation relative to the causes and consequences of the revolution,  the deepest marks of grief and sensibility sat on the countenance of the noble  sufferer, expressive of the pain he felt for the miseries of his country, and the  misfortunes of his family.]

We will now leave this extraordinary nation, which has furnished materials for history  of the most interesting nature, as it regards the character of man; their civil,  political, and religious institutions, and the moral and social ties that connect society.  From them we will look over to the island of Britain, and survey the gradations  of principles, manners, and science, there. We shall find that Lord Herbert, one of the  first and most notorious infidels in England, sprung up under kingly  government; and none will deny that skepticism has prevailed, and has been gathering  strength both in France and England, under monarchy, even before the  correspondences of British infidels with St. Evremond, and other skeptical Frenchmen.   Hobbes, Hume, and Bolingbroke were subjects of a king of England; and  while their disciples have been increasing, and their deistic opinions have poisoned the  minds of youth of genius and shaken the faith of some even in clerical  professions, yet no democratic opinions have been generally spread over the nation.

In the zenith of British monarchy, and the golden age of nobility, while republicanism  has been quite out of fashion, has not the cause of Christianity suffered by the  fascinating pen of a Gibbon, whose epithets charm while they shock, and whose learned  eloquence leads the believer to pause and tremble for the multitudes that  may be allured by the sophistry of his arguments, his satirical wit, the elegance of his  diction, and the beautiful antithesis of many of his periods.

The elegance of his style confers an "alarming popularity on the licentiousness of his  opinions." The rise and fall of the Roman republic will probably be read by many  who have not the  inclination or the opportunity to study the writings of Locke, Boyle,  Butler, Newton, Clarke, and many others, who have by their example and by  the pen supported and defended the Christian system on principles of reason and  argument, that will forever adorn the character of Englishmen. A writer of ingenuity  has observed that "there are probably more skeptics in England than in any other  country." [Dr. F.A. Wenderburne. He gives his reason for his assertion, page 475  of his view of England at the close of the 18th century.] Yet, we do not infer that the  examples of infidelity that disgrace the world, by blasting the principles of truth,  though nurtured under princely patronage, are in consequence of the cherishing  influence of monarchy. Nor is it more just to suppose that the writings of French  philosophists or the jejune trumpery that has for years exuded from the brain of other  theorists of that nation is the result of speculative opinions with regard to civil  liberty.

It is neither a preference to republican systems, nor an attachment to monarchic or  aristocratic forms of government that disseminates the wild opinions of infidelity. It  is the licentious manners of courts of every description, the unbridled luxury of wealth,  and the worst passions of men let loose on the multitude by the example of  their superiors. Bent on gratification, at the expense of every moral tie, they have broken  down the barriers of religions, and the spirit of infidelity is nourished at the  fount; thence the poisonous streams run through every grade that constitutes the mass of  nations.

 It may be further observed that there is a variety of additional causes which have led to a  disposition among some part of mankind to reject the obligations of religion  and even to deny their God. This propensity in some may easily be elucidated without  casting any part of the odium on the spirit of free inquiry relative to civil and  political liberty, which had been widely disseminated an had produced two such  remarkable revolutions as those of America and France. It may be imputed to the  love of novelty, the pride of opinion, and an extravagant propensity to speculate and  theorize on subjects beyond the comprehension of mortals, untied with a desire  of being released from the restraints on their appetites and passions; restraints dictated  both by reason and revelation; and which, under the influence of sober  reflection, forbid the indulgence of all gratifications that are injurious to man.  Further  elucidations, or more abstruse causes, which contribute to lead the vain inquirer,  who steps over the line prescribed by the Author of nature, to deviations form, and  forgetfulness of its Creator, and to involve him a labyrinth of darkness, from  which his weak reasonings can never disentangle him, may be left to those who delight  in metaphysical disquisitions.

The world might reasonably have expected from the circumstances connected with the  first settlement of the American colonies, which was in consequence of their  attachment to the religion of their fathers, united with a spirit of independence relative to  civil government, that there would have been no observable dereliction of  those honorable principles for many ages to come.  From the sobriety of their manners,  their simple habits, their attention to the education and moral conduct of their  children, they had the highest reason to hope that it might have been long, very long  before the faith of their religion was shaken or their principles corrupted either by  the manners, opinions, or habits of foreigners, bred in the courts of despotism or the  schools of licentiousness.

This hope shall not yet be relinquished.  There has indeed been some relaxation of  manners, and the appearance of a change in public opinion not contemplated  when revolutionary scenes first shook the western world. But it must be acknowledge  that the religious and moral character of Americans yet stands on a higher  grade of excellence and purity than that of most other nations  It has been observed that  "a violation of manners has destroyed more states than the infraction of  laws." [Montesquieu.] It is necessary for every American with becoming energy to  endeavor to stop the dissemination of principles evidently destructive of the cause  for which they have bled. It must be the combined virtue of the rulers and of the people  to do this and to rescue and save their civil and religious rights from the  out-stretched arm of tyranny, which may appear under any mode or form of government.

Let not the frivolity of the domestic taste of the children of Columbia, nor the examples  of strangers of high or low degree, that may intermix with them, or the  imposing attitude of distant nations, or the machinations of the bloody tyrants of Europe,  who have united themselves and to the utmost are exerting their strength to  extirpate the very name of republicanism, rob them of their character, their morals, their  religion, or their liberty.

It is true the revolution in France had not ultimately tended to strengthen the principles  of republicanism in America.  The confusions introduced into that unhappy  nation by their resistance to despotism and the consequent horrors that spread dismay  over every portion of their territory have startled some in the United States,  who do not distinguish between principles and events, and shaken the firmness of  others, who have fallen off from their primary object and by degrees returned back  to their former adherence to monarchy.  Thus, through real or pretended fears of similar  results, from the freedom of opinion disseminated through the United States,  dissensions have originated relative to subjects not know in the Constitution of the  American republic.  This admits no titles of honor or nobility, those powerful  spring of human action; and from the rage of acquisition which has spread far and wide,  it may be apprehended that the possession of wealth will in a short time be  the only distinction in this young country. By this it may be feared that the spirit of  avarice will be rendered justifiable in the opinion of some, as the single road to  superiority.

The desire of distinction is inherent in the bosom of man, notwithstanding the equality  of nature in which he was created. Few are the number of elevated souls,  stimulated to act on the single motive of disinterested virtue; and among the less  powerful incentives to great and noble actions, the pursuit of honor, rank, and titles is  undeniably as laudable as that of riches.  The last, too, generally narrows the mind,  debased it by meanness, and renders it disgracefully selfish, both in the manner of  hoarding and squandering superfluous wealth; but the ambitious, stimulated by a thirst  for rank, consider the want to generosity a stain on the dignity of high station.

It may be asked, are not those states the most likely to produce the greatest number of  wise and heroic spirits, where some mark of elevation, instead of pecuniary  compensation, is affixed to the name and character of such as have outstripped their  contemporaries in the field of glory or integrity?  A Roman knight ennobled for  his patriotism or his valor, though his patrimonial inheritance was insufficient for a  modern flower garden, was beheld with more veneration than the most wealthy and  voluptuous citizen.  But we shall not here decide how far honorary rewards are  consistent with the principles of republicanism. Indeed, some have asserted that  "nobility is the Corinthian capital of polished states;" but an ingenious writer has  

observed that "a titled nobility is the most undisputed progeny of feudal barbarism;  that the august fabric of society is deformed and encumbered by such Gothic ornaments.  The massy Doric that sustains it is labor, and the splendid variety of arts and  talents that solace and embellish life from the decorations of its Corinthian and Ionic  capitals." [Mackintosh's Vindiciae Galliciae, p. 77, 79.]

It is to be regretted that Americans are so much divided on this point as well as on many  other questions.  We hope the spirit of division will never be wrought up to  such a height as to terminate in a disseveration of the states, or any internal hostilities.   Any civil convulsions would shake the fabric of government, and perhaps  entirely subvert the present excellent Constitution; a strict adherence to which, it may be  affirmed, is the best security of the rights and liberties of a country that has  bled at every vein to purchase and transmit them to posterity.  The sword now  resheathed, the army dismissed, a wise, energetic government established and  organized, it is to be hoped many generations will pass away in the lapse of time before  America again becomes a theater of war.

Indeed, the United States of America embrace too large a portion of the globe to expect  their isolated situation will forever secure them from the encroachments of  foreign nations and the attempt of potent Europeans to interrupt their peace.  But if the  education of youth, both public and private, is attended to, their industrious  and economical habits maintained, their moral character and the assemblage of virtues  supported, which is necessary for the happiness of individuals and of nations,  there is not much danger that they will for a long time be subjugated by the arms of  foreigners, or that their republican system will be subverted by the arts of  domestic enemies.  Yet, probably some distant day will exhibit the extensive continent  of America, a portrait analogous to the other quarters of the globe, which have  been laid waste by ambition, until misery has spread her sable veil over the inhabitants.   But this will not be done until ignorance, servility, and vice have led them to  renounce their ideas of freedom and reduced them to that grade of baseness which  renders them unfit for the enjoyment of that rational liberty which is the natural  inheritance of man.  The expense of blood and treasure, lavished for the purchase of  freedom, should teach Americans to estimate its real worth, nor ever suffer it to  be depreciated by the vices of the human mind, which are seldom single.  The sons of  America ought ever to bear in grateful remembrance the worthy and of  patriots who first supported an opposition to the tyrannical measures of Great Britain.   Though some of them have long since been consigned to the tomb, a tribute  of gratitude is ever due to their memory, while the advantage of freedom and  independence are felt by their latest posterity.

The military character of the country has rung with deserved applause. Many of the  heroes who have been sacrificed in the field are justly recollected with a sigh; but  the laborious statesmen who with ability and precision defined the rights of men, and  supported the freedom of their country; without whose efforts America never  would have had an army, are, many of them, neglected or forgotten. Private virtue may  be neglected; public benefits disregarded as they affect the individual, while at  the same time society feels their cherishing beams, which like the silent rills that water  the great garden of nature, pour forth their bounties, unasked, on the whole  family of ungrateful man.

It has been justly said that "there is seldom any medium between gratitude for benefits  and hatred to the authors of them. A little mind is hurt by the remembrance of  obligations, begins by forgetting, and not uncommonly ends by persecution." And, "that  that circle of being which dependence gathers around us is almost ever  unfriendly. They secretly wish the terms of this connection or equal. Increasing the  obligations which are laid on such minds only increases their burden.  They feel  themselves unable to defray the immensity of their debt." Thus the names of many of the  men who laid the foundations of American independence and defended the  principles of the Revolution, are by the efforts of the artful, depreciated, if not vilified.   The ancient Persians considered ingratitude as the source of all enmities among  men.  They considered it "an indication of the vilest spirit, nor believed it possible for an  ungrateful man to love the gods or even his parents, friends, or country."

The partiality to military honor has a tendency to nourish a disposition for arbitrary  power; and wherever there is a tyrannical disposition, servility is its concomitant;  hence, pride of title and distinction, and an avarice for wealth to support it. Where these  passions predominate, ingratitude is usually added. This makes a tripodium  to lift the ambitious to the summit of their nefarious designs. Under an established  despotism, mankind are generally more prone to bend than to resist; losing their  ideas of the value of independence, the timid, the doubtful, and the indiscreet, for the  

most part, determine in favor of whatever wars the appearance of established  authority.  This should be a lasting admonition which should forever prevent the vesting  any individual or body of men with too much power.

The people of the United States are bound together in sacred compact and a union of  interests which ought never to be separated.  But the Confederation is recent,  and their experience immatured. They are, however, generally sensible that from the  dictatorship of Sulla to the overthrow of Caesar, and from the ruin of the Roman  tyrant to the death of the artful Cromwell, deception as well as violence have operated to  the subversions of the freedom of the people. They are sensible that by a  little well-concerted intrigue, an artificial consideration may be obtained, far exceeding  the degree of real merit on which it is founded.  They are sensible that it is not  difficult for men of moderate abilities and a little personal address to retain their  popularity to the end of their lives, without any distinguished traits of genius, wisdom,  or virtue. They are sensible that the characters of nations have been disgraced by their  weak partialities, until their freedom has been irretrievably lost in that vortex of  folly which throws a lethargy over the mind, until awakened y the fatal consequences  which result from arbitrary power, disguised by specious pretexts, amid a  general relaxation of mankind.

An ingenious writer has observed that "the juvenile vigor of reason and freedom in the  New World, where the human mind was unencumbered with that vast mass of  usage and prejudice, which so many ages of ignorance had accumulated to load and  deform society in Europe," brought forward those declarations of the rights of  men, which hastened  the emancipation of their own country and diffused light to others.

It is equally just to observe that in the 18th century, the enlightened writers of Europe  had so clearly delineated the natural rights of men, that the equal freedom of the  human race, before they by compact had yielded a part for the preservation and safety of  the whole, as to have a powerful effect on public opinion.  This had  manifestly, in some degree, broken the fetters that had long enthralled and dissipated the  darkness that shrouded the mind under the influence of superstitious bigotry,  and their ideas of the divine right of kings.  The Colossus of tyranny was shaken, and  the social order meliorated by learned sages, who evinced that government, as  elegantly expressed by one [Mackintosh.], is not "a scientific subtlety, but a practical  expedient for general good; all recourse to elaborate abstractions is frivolous  and futile, and the grand question in government is not its source, but its tendency; not a  question of right, but a consideration of expediency.

"All the governments in the world," the same writer adds, "have been fortuitously  formed. They are the produce of chance, not the work of art. They have been  altered, impaired, improved, and destroyed by accidental circumstances, beyond the  foresight or control of wisdom.  Their parts thrown up against present  emergencies, formed no systematic whole.  It was certainly not to have been presumed  that these fortuitous governments should have surpassed the works of  intellect and precluded all nearer approaches to perfection."

Perfection in government is not to be expected from so imperfect a creature as man.  Experience ha taught that he falls infinitely short of this point; that however  industrious in pursuit of improvements in human wisdom, or however bold the inquiry  that employs the human intellect, either on government, ethics, or any other  science, man yet discovers a deficiency of capacity to satisfy his researches or to  announce that he has already found an unerring standard on which he may rest.

Perhaps genius has never devised a system more congenial to their wishes or better  adapted to the condition of man than the American Constitution. At the same  time, it is left open to amendments whenever its imperfections are discovered by the  wisdom of future generations, or when new contingencies may arise either at  home or abroad to make alterations necessary. On the principles of republicanism was  this Constitution founded; on these it must stand.  Many corrections and  amendments have already taken place, and it is at the present period [The beginning of  the 19th century, which circumscribes the limits of the supplementary  observations subjoined to the History of the Revolution.] as wise, as efficient, as  respectable, as free, and we hope as permanent, as any constitution existing on  earth.  It is a system admired by statesmen abroad, envied by distant nations, and  revered by Americans. They pride themselves on this palladium of safety,  fabricated at a dangerous crisis, and established on the broad basis of the elective voice  of the people.  It now depends on their own virtue to continue the United  States of America an example of the respectability and dignity of this mode of  government.

Notwithstanding the advantage that may be derived and the safety that may be felt under  so happy a constitution, yet it is necessary to guard at every point against  the intrigues of artful or ambitious men who may subvert the system which the  inhabitants of the United States judged to be most conducive to the general happiness  of society.

It is now indeed at the option of the sons of America to delegate such men for the  administration of government as will consider the designation of this trust as a  sacred deposit, which binds them to the indispensable duty of aiming solely at the  promotion of the civil, the economic, the religious, and political welfare of the  whole community.  They, therefore, cannot be too scrutinous on the character of their  executive officers.  No man should be lifted by the voice of his country to  presidential rank who may probably forget the republican designation, and sigh to wield  a scepter, instead of guarding sacredly the charter from the people.  It is to  be hoped that no American citizen will hereafter pant of nobility. The senators of the  United States should be wise, her representatives uncorrupted, the judiciary  firm, equitable, and humane, and the bench of justice ever adorned by men uninfluenced  by little passions, and adhering only to the principles of law and equity!  The  people should be economical and sober; and the clergy should keep within their own line,  which directs them to enforce the moral obligations of society and to  inculcate the doctrines of peace, brotherly kindness, and the forgiveness of injuries,  taught by the example of their Divine Master, nor should they leave the  appropriate duties of their profession, to descant on political principles or characters! [It  is true that this respectable order of men interested themselves on the great  subject of opposition to the aggressions of the British Parliament. This was sometimes  done at the request of legislators, who thought every aid necessary to awaken  the people to a sense of their rights. But the ground on which the clergy came forward  on political subjects was then very different from the present party disputes.  There was then, (with few exceptions) a united opposition of the whole collective body  of the people against a foreign power aiming to deprive them of their civil and  religious privileges and to load them with taxes, impositions and innovations, novel and  grievous. The dissensions are now wholly internal, which render the influence  of every pious clergyman necessary to soothe the passions and heal the animosities  enkindled among the people of his own particular charge.] Such a happy  combination of propriety and dignity in each department might prevent all  apprehensions of danger to religion from the skeptical absurdities of unprincipled men.  Neither the foolish, the learned, or licentious would be able to sap the foundations of the  Kingdom of Christ. In the present state of society and general information,  there is no reason to fear the overthrow of a system, by the efforts of modern infidels,  which could not be shaken by the learned unbelievers of Greece, the  persecutions of the Caesars, nor the power of the Roman Empire.

All who have just ideas of the equal claims of mankind to share the benefits of a free  and benign government, and virtue sufficient to aid its promotion, will fervently  pray that the narrow passions of the selfish or the ambitious views of more elevated  minds may never render fruitless the labors of the wise and vigilant patriot, who  sacrificed much to this noble purpose, nor defeat the severe efforts of the soldier, who  fell in the field, or stain the laurels of such as have survived the conflict.

 However literature has been improved and knowledge diffused by the pen of genius and  the industry of liberal-minded and erudite instructions, there has been a  conspiracy formed against the dissemination of republican opinions by interested and  aspiring characters, eager for the establishment of hereditary distinctions and  noble orders.  This is a conspiracy formidable for the wealth and talents of its supporters  in Europe, and not less so from the same description of men in America.   This should stand as a beacon before the eyes of an infant republic, recently established  by the suffrages of the inhabitants of the United States, who already have  had to fear the progress of opinion, which produced the American Revolution, might  change its complexion, and there might yet be a tyranny to depose, more  formidable than kinds.

Public opinion, when grounded on false principles and dictated by the breath of  ambitious individuals, sometimes creates a tyranny, felt by the minority more severely  than that usually inflicted by the hand of the sceptered monarch.  From this tyranny of  opinion often starts a political enthusiasm which is expressed by the Cardinal  de Retz, "would at one period exalt to a throne, and at another conduct the enthusiast to  a gallows." This tyranny of opinion is spread or extinguished by factitious  circumstances, sometimes combining to exalt the mind to the most sublime ideas of  human freedom; at others, beclouding it with prejudices which sink it into habitual  servility, when reason languishes until overwhelmed by a torpor become too general to  awaken, without producing convulsion more to be dreaded than submission,  and too painful for the contemplation of benevolent minds.

Great revolutions ever produce excesses and miseries at which humanity revolts. In  America, indeed, it must be acknowledged that when the late convulsions are  viewed with a retrospective eye, the scenes of barbarity were not so universal as have  been usual in other countries that have been at once shaken by foreign and  domestic war. Few histories have recorded examples of equal moderation and less  violation of the feelings of humanity, where general revolt and revolution had  pervaded such an extensive territory.  The enthusiasm of opinion previous to the year  1775 bore down opposition like a torrent, and enkindled the flame which  emancipated the United States. Yet, it was not stimulated by a fierce spirit of revenge,  which, in similar circumstances, too frequently urges to cruelties which can  never be licensed by the principles of justice or freedom, and must ever be abhorrent to  humanity and benevolence.

The United States may congratulate themselves on the success of a revolution which has  done honor to the human character by exhibiting a mildness of spirit amid  the ferocity of war, that prevented the shocking scenes of cruelty, butchery, and  slaughter, which have too often stained the actions of men, when their original  intentions were the result of pure motives and justifiable resistance. They have been  hailed by distant nations in terms of respect and applause for the glorious an  successful stand made by them in favor of the liberties of mankind. They have now to  maintain their well-earned fame by a strict adherence tot he principles of the  Revolution and the practice of every public, social, and domestic virtue.

The enthusiastic zeal for freedom which had generally animated all classes throughout  the United States was retained, with few exceptions, to the conclusion of the  war, without any considerable appearance of relaxation in any part of the union, until the  sword was resheathed and the conflict terminated by a general peace. After  this, indeed, though the spirit for freedom was not worn down, a party arose actuated by  different principles. New designs were discovered, which spread suspicions  among the people that the object of their exertions as endangered from circumstances  they had never calculated as probable to take place in their country, until some  ages had elapsed. But notwithstanding the variety of exigencies and the new  opportunities which offered to interested individuals for the aggrandizement of family  and  the accumulation of wealth, no visible dereliction appeared, nor any diminution of that  general partiality in favor of republicanism which had taken deep root in the  minds of the inhabitants of the United States.  These principles did not apparently  languish until some time after the adoption of the new Constitution. Exertions were  then made to damp their ardor by holding up systems of government asserted by some to  be better adapted to their happiness and absolutely necessary for the  strength and glory of the American states. The illusion was, however, discovered, and a  constitutional ardency for the general freedom revived among the people.   The feelings of native freedom among the sons of America, and their own good sense  taught them that they did not need the appendages of royalty and the baneful  curse of a standing army to support it.  They were convinced that rational liberty might  be maintained, their favorite system of republicanism might be revived,  established, and supported, and the prosperity of their country heightened, at a less  gorgeous expense than a resort to the usages of monarchic states, and the  introduction of hereditary crowns and the proud claims of noble ancestry, which usually  involve the mass of the people in poverty, corruption, degradation, and  servility.

Under the benediction of Divine Providence, American may yet long be protected from  sanguine projects and indigested measures that have produced the evils felt  or depictured among less fortunate nations, who have not laid the foundations of their  governments on the firm basis of public virtue, of general freedom, and that  degree of liberty most productive of the happiness of mankind in his social state.  But  from the accumulated blessings which are showered down on the United  States, there is reason to indulge a benign hope that America may long stand a favored  nation and be preserved from the horrors of war, instigated either by foreign  combinations or domestic intrigue, which are equally to be deprecated.

Any attempt, either by secret fraud, or open violence, to shake the union, to subvert the  Constitution, or undermine the just principles which wrought out the  American Revolution, cannot be too severely censured. It is true, there has been some  agitation of spirits between existing parties; but, doubtless, the prudence of the  inhabitants of the United States will suffer this to evaporate, as the cloud of the morning,  and will guard against every point that might have the smallest tendency to  break the union.  If peace and unanimity are cherished, and the equalization of liberty,  and the equity and energy of law maintain by harmony and justice, the present  representative government may stand for ages, a luminous monument of republican  wisdom, virtue, and integrity.  The principles of the Revolution ought ever to be  the polestar of the statesman, respected by the rising generation; and the advantages  bestowed by Providence should never be lost by negligence, indiscretion, of  guilt.

The people may again be reminded that the elective franchise is in their own hands; that  it ought not to be abused, either for personal gratifications, or the indulgence  of partisan acrimony.  This advantage should be improved, not only for the benefit of  existing society, but with an eye to that fidelity which is due to posterity.  This  can only be done by electing such men to guide the national counsels, whose conscious  probity enables them to stand like a Colossus, on the broad basis of  independence, and by correct and equitable arrangement, endeavor to lighten the  burdens of the people, strengthen their unanimity at home, command justice  abroad, and cultivate peace with all nations, until an example may be left on record of  the practicability of meliorating the condition of mankind.

The internal strength of America is respectable, and her borders are fenced by the  barriers of nature.  May the wisdom, vigor, and ability of her native sons, teach  her to surmount every difficulty that may arise at home or abroad, without ever calling  in the aid of foreign relations!  She wants not the interference of any other  nation to give a model to her government, or secretly influence the administration by  bribes, flatteries, or threats. The enterprising spirit of the people seems adapted  to improve their advantages, and to rival in grandeur and fame those parts of creation  which for ages have been meliorating and refining, until the period of decay  seems to have arrived, that threatens the fall of some of the proudest nations. Humanity  recoils at a view of the wretched state of vassalage in which a great part of  mankind are involved. Yet, American may sit tranquil, and only extend her compassion  to the European world, which exhibits the shambles of despotism, where the  purple of kings is stained by the blood of their subjects, butchered by thousands to glut  the ambition of a weak individual, who frequently expires himself before the  cup of his intoxication is full.  The vesture of royalty is, however, still displayed, and the  weapons of war spread death over three fourths of the globe, without  satiating the thirst that drinks up rivers of human gore, when the proud victor wipes the  stained lip and covers the guilty visage with a smile at the incalculable carnage  of his own species, by his mandates an myrmidons.

It will be the wisdom and probably the future effort of the American government,  forever to maintain with unshaken magnanimity the present neutral position of the  United States. [The limits of the present work preclude any historical record subsequent  to the year 1801.] The hand of nature has displayed its magnificence in this  quarter of the globe in the astonishing rivers, lakes, and mountains, replete with the  riches minerals and the most useful materials for manufactures.  At the same time,  the indigenous produce of its fertile lands yields medicine, food, and clothing, and  everything needful for man in his present condition.  America may, with propriety,  be styled a land of promise; a happy climate, though remarkably variegated; fruitful and  populous, independent and free. Both necessity and pleasure invite the hand  of the industrious to cherish and cultivate the prolific soil, which is ready to yield all that  nature requires to satisfy the reasonable wishes of man, as well as to  contribute to the wealth, pleasure, and luxury of the inhabitants.  It is a portion of the  globe that appears as a  fair and fertile vineyard, which requires only the  industrious care of the laborers to render it for a long time productive of the finest  clusters in the full harvest of prosperity and freedom, instead of yielding thorns,  thistles, and sour rapes, which must be the certain fruits of animosity, disunion, venality,  or vice.

Though in her infantile state, the young republic of America exhibits the happiest  prospects.  Her extensive population, commerce, and wealth, the progress of  agriculture, arts, sciences, and manufactures have increased with a rapidity beyond  example. Colleges and academies have been reared, multiplied, and endowed with  the best advantage for public instruction on the broad scale of liberality and truth.  the  effects of industry and enterprise appear in the numerous canals, turnpikes,  elegant buildings, and well-constructed bridges over lengths and depths of water that  open and render the communication easy and agreeable, throughout a country  almost without bounds.  In short, arts and agriculture are pursued with avidity,  civilization spreads, and science, in full research, is investigating all the sources of  human knowledge.

Indeed the whole country wears a face of improvement, from the extreme point of the  northern and western wood, through all the southern states, and to the vast  Atlantic Ocean, the eastern boundary of the United States. The wisdom and justice of  the American governments, and the virtue of the inhabitants, may, if they are  not deficient in the improvement of their own advantages, render the United States of  America an enviable example to all the world of peace, liberty, righteousness,  and truth.  The western wilds, which for ages have been little known may arrive to that  stage of improvement and perfection beyond which the limits of human genius  cannot reach, and the last civilized quarter of the globe may exhibit those striking traits  of grandeur and magnificence which the Divine Economist may have reserved  to crown the closing scene, when the angel of His Presence will stand on the sea and on  the earth, lift up his hand to heaven and swear by Him that liveth forever and  ever, that there shall be time no longer.


Volume 1

Volume 2

Typed by hand from the edition of 1805 by Richard Seltzer, modernizing the spelling and punctuation and making other edits for readability. The original three-volume work is 1317 pages long.

This edition Copyright (c) 2002 Richard Seltzer   Permission is granted to make and distribute complete verbatim electronic copies of this item for non-commercial purposes provided the copyright information and this permission notice are preserved on all copies. All other rights reserved. Please contact us first if you are interested in making copies for commercial purposes, Comments welcome.

Mercy wrote early drafts of this work near the time of the events described, and  completed the work about four years before it appeared. She explains the  delay was due to health problems, temporary bouts of blindness, and grief at the death of her only son. privacy statement