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and then moved at his leisure towards the Hudson river to the strong hold at West Point.
Captain Hewson and his brother officers, after they were taken to the Provo prison, in New York, in a few days obtained their paroles to a boarding-bouse at Flatbush on Long Island, and after they had been boarding for several weeks, some of the envious tories became jealous of their easy condition, and laid information against them to the commanding officer on that station, that they saw them in a boat trying to make their escape, when the officer sent them to the Provo prison at New York. After a hearing before the Provo officer in New York, and their informers could prove nothing against them, only that they saw them a little distance from the shore of the island in a small vessel a fishing, the commanding officer of the Provo sent them back to their boarding-house on the island, without renewing their paroles; when they all instantly saw that according to the rules and articles of war in use among belligerent nations of modern times, that their former paroles had become null and void, (like the dark mass of wild matter, before the Eternal Spirit said, “Let there be light, and there was light,"') by the oversight of the commanding officer of the day, at the Provo in New York. So that if they could by any means get off the island and make their escape, they could do it now without a breach of inilitary honour. After this they watched every opportunity that the island presented to their view, in order to make their escape from the house of bondage; and as they often walked out on Sundays to different places on the island within the limits of their paroles, they examined some of the inlets and small creeks of the island, that lay opposite the strand on which Sandy Hook Light House is built, and also to find some kind of a water vehicle, to convey them by night to the Jersey shore: when they discovered one of those small craft, used by the islanders, in taking the clams and oysters out of their creeks and bays about the island, called a canoe. Captain Hewson and his four brother officers that boarded at the same house, cast their vision on one of the canoes which lay upon one of those small inlets, when the next thing was to procure some kind of instruments to propel the canoe through the water to the Jersey shore, a distance of about twelve miles, so as to strike the strand about three miles to the south of the light-house, towards the sea, at the point they marked to descend upon, when one of the officers by the military name of Captain Hogdon, a master shipwright, obtained a few tools from the German host at the house they billeted at, and made about four or five paddles, and after conveying some of their clothes to the vicinity of the canoe, they hid them among the bushes, near their small watery vehicle; and thus having their expedition all ready for starting, they immediately retired to their beds, and lay till about ten o'clock in the evening; and then as secretly as possible left the house. Having put their clothes on board their canoe, they started in this small vessel over a rough sea of about twelve miles wide.
Captain Hogdon, the master shipwright, being the most acquainted with the management of a small craft in rough water, was appointed
as the steersman of the canoe, while three of the other officers were appointed to handle the paddles in order to propel the canoe through the water, and the fifth officer, who was the least acquainted with boats and water travelling, sat in the bottom of the canoe, in order to bale out the water, as they often shipped some from the spray of the sea, while they were crossing from Long Island to the strand of Sandy Hook: and it required no small skill in Captain Hogdon to keep a continual look-out, when a large wave of the sea was coming, to cause the canoe to head the same. Just about day they made the strand, on which the main light house of the harbour of the city of New York is located, and taking it for the fast land of the Jersey shore, they landed; and after walking about a quarter of a mile over the strand, they saw that there was water between them and the fast land of the Jersey shore, and as they had not physical strength sufficient to take their heavy, canoe over the strand, to the water which lay between them and the Jersey shore, they were all at a stand to know what to do; as a body of British troops were always stationed at the light house, to protect the same, which was not three miles from them: when Captain Hogdon called out to Captain Hewson not to “give up the ship of liberty. I know you are a good swimmer: come on then, let us make another effort for our lives and the cause of freedom.” But two of the poor fellows could not swim; these two hid themselves among the bushes on the strand; when the other three that could swim bade them adieu, with a promise that if the Supreme Being should spare their lives to reach the Jersey shore, they would obtain a boat and bring them off to the land of liberty. The three that could swim went over to the other side of the strand next the Jersey shore, where the dividing water did not appear to them to be more than two or three hundred yards over, and commenced swimming for nearly a quarter of an hour, but seemed to gain nothing on the fast land, so that the Jersey shore appeared no nearer then when they started: which inauspicious phenomena was caused by the ebb and tide of a small river that passed into York Bay, on the inner side of the strand, which separates what is called Sandy Hook from the main land on the Jersey shore. When Captain Hogdon discovered that the ebb tide was sweeping into the bay, he cried to Hewson and the other officer, “Come on, my brave men; place your hands on your boards and breathe a minute, and let us make one more struggle for our lives, our liberty, and our families.” After swimming about a hundred yards, Captain Hogdon let down his feet and cried out, “Bottom, my good fellows;" and in a few minutes they were all safe on the Jersey shore: Captain Hewson being so much exhausted of his strength, that he wished to lay down on the shore to rest for a few minutes; but Captain Hogdon told him if he went to sleep on the shore, he would wake no more in this world. So after he had roused him from the lethargy that was fast insidiously creeping on him, they went up from the shore about half a mile to a farm house, in which dwelt a warm friend to the cause of his country, who kindly received them and sent his boat with two of his hands, to bring off the two brother officers they had left on the
strand at Sandy Hook, with the remainder of their clothes. After they had breakfasted, he had his wagon geared up, and sent them several miles on their road, for fear some of the tories in the neighbourhood might send word to the enemy at the light house, (which was not above four or five miles distant from his farm house, ) when they all arrived safe at Philadelphia.
Admiral Lord Howe had scarcely left the Delaware Bay with the British fleet, and the transports with the prisoners on board, when Count D’Estaign, the French admiral, with a much superior force, appeared off the coast of Virginia, and in a few days after came to the mouth of the Delaware Bay. The French admiral's object was to have surprised the British fleet at Philadelphia. Had not his voyage been greatly prolonged in consequence of head winds, and bad weather, he could hardly have failed in accomplishing his object; for had the French admiral arrived about ten days earlier, the enemy's fleet would have been taken. So that in consequence of General Washington being re-enforced with some thousands of French troops, from on board Count D’Estaign's fleet, he would very likely have taken or destroyed a great part of Sir Henry Clinton's army before it reached New York. But the God of nations saw that the time had not yet come to put a final end to the war; as his servant Peter observes, « One day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day." After this the French admiral sailed for New York, and on the 11th of July, 1778, commenced the blockade of the British fleet in that harbour. But the British being soon re-enforced, the French Admiral raised the blockade.
Sir Henry Clinton, after his flight from Philadelphia, on the 18th of June, 1778, experienced no very great predilection to return to Pennsylvania, in order to spend his royal master's money, and
sacrifice the lives of his army in that state. Sir Henry turned his military genius to the South, especially through the states of Virginia, North and South Carolina and Georgia; so that in order to give the greater success to his royal master's cause in that section of the revolted colonies, he gave the command of the South to Lord Cornwallis. Through the years 1779 and 1780, the seat of the war lay mostly in Virginia, North and South Carolina and Georgia. During this period of the war, there were many hard-fought battles, on both sides, by the British and Americans. But we return to the consecutive progress of the war, after the surrender of Burgoyne's army on the plains of Saratoga, on the 17th of October, 1777. Very little had been done in the North, or Middle States, either to increase the fame, or advance the glory of the arduous struggle in laying the corner stone of the civil and religious freedom of the colonies.
Burgoyne's expedition was commenced under the highest hopes, which were still more inflated by the most flattering circumstances of the final success that would attend its early operations. It terminated on the plains of Saratoga most gloriously in favour of the American arms, and at the same time produced the most inexpressible mortification and disappointment to the British government, in consequence of the loss of an army of ten thousand veteran and experienced troops, under an able and enterprising commander, well equipped and amply provided, with all necessary munitions of war; while at the same time this renowned officer of the royal army was only opposed by one of the rebel generals with a much inferior force of new continental regulars, and some militia of the surrounding country, which, for the time being, inspired the mind of the British sovereign with the highest expectation of the full success of the royal arms, against the infant struggle of the Americans for their just rights: which they were led conscientiously to believe, the Supreme Ruler of mankind was shortly about, in his overruling and all-wise providence, to bless them with as a people; and finally through them as an encouraging example to all nations, in the fear of the Most High, to look for a time when a benign and gracious Providence, should kindly grant both civil and religious liberty, to be the inalienable privilege of the human family from the rising to the setting sun. But to return to our little history of the revolutionary war. The government of this most puissant maritime nation viewed itself as fully justified in indulging the expectation, that such an army, commanded by such a leader, would most assuredly march through a country mostly destitute of fortresses, and in every other military point of view very feebly defended : at the same time indulging the pleasing hope that the British arms under the generalship of Burgoyne would finally triumph over Washington and his few ships of war with their thirteen stars, and striped bunting at their mast-heads, and the end of the rebellion would soon be accomplished, without the least difficulty. This result was most confidently expected by all the decided friends of monarchy in the British empire. They hoped that the revolted colonies of North America would soon be coerced into humble submission at the
Á FEW REFLECTIONS ON GEN. BURGOYNE'S CHARACTER.
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feet of the prince on the British throne. But, alas! this formidable array of military prowess, with all the hopes depending on the same, were annihilated in a few months, by a dark cloud which the overruling providence of the God of nations spread over the British army; which also entirely obscured the military sun of Burgoyne's glory, and caused all his fame to set in darkness for ever. How often is it the case that the greatest, and apparently the wisest of men perish, . neglecting the caution of holy writ: “Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might; let not the rich man glory in his riches.” How appositely may this be applied to Burgoyne's case, as well as thousands of others in this probationary world.
On the 17th of October, 1777, the remains of General Burgoyne's army, amounting to nearly six thousand men, surrendered to General Gates. This was one of the most important events of the war, and at the same time it gave the first serious shock to the assumption of British power over the colonies in North America. It was not so much the capture or destruction of ten thousand of the royal army, that gave such importance to this victory, as this loss to the British army might very easily be supplied by that powerful empire; but it was the civil and moral influence which this victory gave on the side of justice, in behalf of this ardent struggle for the heaven-born rights of all the nations of the earth; and seems most intimately associated with the promise of the Supreme Being to Father Abraham: “In thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed." We most confidently believe that the doctrine of civil and religious liberty that rose on a dark and enslaved world, in the days of George Washington, shall, by the promise and providence of the same just and righteous Being, in the latter days, fill the whole earth with his glory; and although, when compared to the nations and governments of the rest of the earth, as our great Teacher, in one of his allegories, or parables, justly obseryes, it was like a grain of mustard seed, which he remarks is the smallest of all seeds, yet as in the land of ancient Israel, where it grows to such magnitude, that the fowls and birds of different colour and plumage can lodge in the branches thereof: just so, in a moral sense, shall this little seed be the germinating cause of the final emancipation of all the nations of the earth that sprung up on the American soil in the days of George Washington, under the special protection of the Supreme Being; which shall finally extend its branches over our enslaved world, until birds and fowls of every wing and colour shall be able to lodge under its shade, or rest on its branches. Or by dropping the figure, all the families of the earth of every tribe, colour and language, shall finally enjoy those blessings that our beloved father Washington, and the rest of our fathers, fought, and many of them bled for, in the war of the revolution, that commenced in 1775, and ended in 1783.
This victory over Burgoyne greatly revived the drooping crest of the young republic, and at the same time inspired them with fresh confidence in the moral justice of their cause in the sight of Heaven;