« ForrigeFortsett »
it. It at length proved fatal to his personal liberty. While he lay carelessly and without a guard at Baskinridge, some way distant from the main body, he was made prisoner. The circumstances of his situation were communicated to col. Harcourt, commanding the light horse, and who had then made a desultory ex-' cursion at the head of a small detachment, to observe the motions of that body. [Dec. 13.] The colonel conducted with such address and activity as to captivate and carry off the general. The capture was considered by the British officers as a matter of the greatest consequence. Their words were, “We have taken the American palladium;” such was the opinion they had of the general deficiency of military skill among the Americans, and the inexperience of their officers. The command of the troops, af. ter Lee's capture, fell to gen. Sullivan, who soon after crossed the Delaware and joined gen. Washington. The general needed this reinforcement, notwithstanding his having been joined by the Philadelphia militia. He had sent gen. Mifflin to Philadelphia, , while retreating before lord Cornwallis, and on the 27th of November, there was a large and general town-meeting, when the intelligence of the probability of gen. Howe's invading the state was communicated, as also the request of Congress that the miJitia of the cities and counties might march to the Jerseys. Gen. Mifflin, who was detained by congress for the purpose, enforced it by a spirited, animating and affectionate address to his fellowcitizens; who expressed their approbation of the measure proposed, and soon marched forward some hundreds of militia to join the commander in chief. After that, gen. Mifflin left Philadelphia by the direction of congress, who knew of what importance his influence was, and repaired to the back counties, where his exertions were equally successful, so that they pourcd in their yeomanry in support of the common cause. [Dec. 14.] The royal forces lay much scattered in the JerSeys, and to all appearance in a state of security. Gen. Washington wished to strike them; sensible that a lucky blow in that quarter would be fatal to them, and most certainly raise the spirits of the people, which were quite sunk by the late misfortunes;*but prudence would not admit of it. The Pennsylvania militia were ordered to Bristol, and the remainder of the troops were cantoned along the Delaware, so as to oppose any attempts of the royalists to cross it. - Should it be true, as reported, that the American general once wept while he fled through the Jerseys, that will not prove the want of personal fortitude. He is neither less nor more than man, Agitation of mind, occasioned by the threatening state of
public liberty, and a reflection on the horrid calamities that would . . . . . . . . . to ** # , , , follow
- * * ***
fbHow the loss of it, to the present and future generations, anight produce that event, without any mixture of private concern for his own safety.
During the royal successes in the Jerseys, gen. Clinton, with, two brigades of British and two of Hessian troops, with a squadron of men of war under Sir Peter Parker, was sent to attempt Rhode-Island. The American forces, being incapable of making effectual resistance, abandoned it on his approach; so that, on the day when- gen. Washington crossed the Delaware, the British took possession of it without any loss, and at the same time blocked up commodore Hopkins's squadron and a number ©f privateers at Providence,
- Let me now offer you-a summary account oS the captures made by gen. Howe and the forces under his command, during the campaign^ down to the total, evacuation of the Jerseys. Of privates there have been made prisoners, 4101—of officers304—and of stair 25—in all 4430- The catalogue of ordnance and miiitujcy stores stands thus—Brass ordnance, 1 thirteen inch mortar—■ I ten ditto—-4 five and a half inch howitzers—5 six pounders— 1 three ditto. Iron- ordnance—2. thirteen inch, mortars—l ten ditto—1 eight ditto—30-thirty-two pounders—6 twenty-four ditto—8 eighteen ditto—24 twelve ditto—26 nine ditto—40 six ditto—55 four ditto—16 three ditto—26? dismounted. Brass ordnance 12. Iron ditto 235. Shells empty, 210 thirteen inch—■ 1255 ten ditto—1535 eight ditto—1908 five and a half ditto.— 19,071 four and two-fifths ditto—total 23,979. Shells filled, with fusees drove, 5 thirteen inch—12 ten ditto—30 eight ditto—53 five and a half ditto—35 four and two-fifths ditto—tota-1 145. Shot—2052 thirty-two pounders—9300 twenty-four ditto—548 eighteen ditto—3979 twelve ditto—332 six ditto—911 three ditto—total 17,122. Double-headed shot of all sorts, 2634—grape .quilted, 140 thirty-two and twelve pounders, besides 42 boxes—■ .tase of aii sorts 813, with powder 44—muskets of all sorts 2800— cartridges 400,000—barrels of powder 16-—iron frize of four hundred weight each, intended to stop the navigation of the NorthRiver 200—bar iron 20 tons—rod 5—entrenching tools of all sorts 500—sets of armourers tools 6—breast-plates for engineers armour 35—waggons covered 4—hand-barrows 200—1 gwyn complete—2 sling carts—iron crows 6—mantelets 52—chevauxde-fiize complete 81—besides 4000 barrels of llourat forts Washington and Lee—baggage, tents, long pikes, ammunition carts, and a large quantity of other stores of various kinds. These losses to the Americans arc very considerable; but to the British are of small advantage. The civil affairs of New-York may now engage our notice. On the 16th of October, the inhabitants of
the city and island presented a petition to lord Howe and genv Howe, signed by David Horscmandca, Oliver Delancy, and 946 others, declaring their allegiance, and their, acknowledgment of the constitutional, but not absolute suprtmacy of GreatBritain over the colonies, and praying that the city and countymay be restored to his majesty's peace and protection. This petition was followed by another to the same purpose, from the freeholders and inhabitants of Queen's county, on Long-Island. It is observed of these petitions, that they are guardedly ex— pressed, all mention of parliament being omitted, aad the great question of unconditional submission left totally at large, hob . it be remarked, that though the inhabitants of York island andj Queen's county, have given every testimony of their .loyalty, . their petitions have not been attended to,.not-they restored U» thej rights expected in consequence of the declarations, as well as of the law for the appointment of commissioners. • .
Let us pass to the southern states; and from thence travel northward, gathering up as we return, all the intelligence thai? offers. . i . ml-'ift
In the month of. July an invasion of East-Florida was pint . jected, with the double view of securing Georgia and South*: Carolina from the depredations of their more southern neiglu bors, and of drawing the attention of the British from their northern conquests. General Lee was entrusted with this busk, ness soon after the repulse of the British under Sir Peter Parker;. After the troops had proceeded as far as Ogeechee, in Georgia, the general received orders to join the northern army, on which • the expedition was given up.
While the general was at Savannah, he wrote a letter, on the 28th of August, to the French minister, which was committed . to Sieur de la Plaine. In that letter he held up these ideas—That it was the exclusive commerce of the colonies which empowered Great-Britain to cope with France—gave to her a decided superiority in the marine department, and of course enabled her, in> the frequent wars between the two nations, to reduce her rival -. to the last extremity—that if France can obtain the monopoly, or the greatest part of this commerce, her opulence, strength and prosperity, must grow to a prodigious height, and that if Ameri« . ca is enabled to preserve the independence she has now declared* ■ the greatest partof this commerce must fall to the share of France ■—that without the colour of injustice, but on the contrary, only assuming the patronage of the rights of mankind, France lias it now in her power to become not only the greatest, but the most glorious monarchy which has appeared on the stage of the world—her possessions in the islands will be secured against
aij possibility of attack—th'e royal revenues "immensely increased—. her people eased of her present burdens-—an eternal incitement be presented to their industry—and the means of increase, by th£ facility of 'providing sustenance for their families, multiplied'—i in short, there is no saying what degree of eminence, happiness and'glory* she may derive from the independence of this continent-—that some visionary writers have asserted, that could this country once shake off her European trammels, it would soon beeome more formidable alone, from the virtue and energy natural to a young people, than Great-Britain can be with her colo* nies united in a state of dependency—but the men who have built such hypotheses must be utter strangers to the manners, genius, disposition, turn of mind, and circumstances of the continent. As. long as vast ti acts of land remain unoccupied, to which they can send colonies (if I may so express it) of their offspring, they will never entertain a thought of marine or manufactures—their ideas are solely confined to labor, and to plant for those nations who can, on the cheapest terms, furnish them with the necessary titensijs for laboring and planting, and clothes for their families; antl till the whole vast extent of continent is fully stocked with people, they wiil never entertain another idea—that this cannot be effected for ages, and what may then happen is oat of th'e line of politicians to lay any stress upon; most probably they will be employed in wars among themselves before they aim at foreign conquests—that it is worthy of attention^ what will be the consequence should Great-Britain succeed in the present contest-^America will be wretched and enslaved—but a number of slaves may compose a formidable army and fleet, and the proximity of situation, with so great a force entirely at.the disposal of Greats Britain, will put it into her power to take possession of the French islands on the first rupture—that it is for the interest, as well as the glory of France, to furnish the Americans with every mean of supporting their liberties, to effect which they only demand a constant, systematic supply of the necessaries of war, small arms, powder, field-pieces, woollens and linens to clothe their troops, with drugs, particularly bark, in return for which every necessary pi ovision for the French islands may be expected, as corn; rice, lumber, 8cc. If indeed the French could spare a few able engineers and artillery officers, they may depend upon' an honorable reception and comfortable establishment.'
The Carolinians have been engaged in a successful war with, the Chcrokces, for the origin of which we mustgo back to the year 1775. John Stuart, esq. an officer of the crown, and wholly devoted to the royal interest, had for years the exclusive management of both them and the Creeks. When the appearance . ~ . of
of a rupture between Great-Britain and the colonies took place; he conceived himself under obligations to attach the Indians to the royal interest. The state of public affairs in the colonies, furnished him with many arguments subservient to this design. It was easy for him to persuade them that the colonists had, unprovoked by Britain, adopted measures which prevented the Indians from receiving their yearly supply of arms, ammunition, and clothing. He might also insinuate, that if the colonists succeeded in opposing Britain, they would probably aim next at the extirpation of the Indians. A plan was at length settled by Mr. Stuart, in concert with the king’s governors and other reyal setvants, to land a British army in Florida, and to proceed with it to the western frontiers of the southern colonies, and there, in conjunction with the tories and Indians, to fall on the friends of congress at the same time that a fleet and army should invade them. on the coast. Mr. Moses Kirkland, who has already been mentioned, was confidentially employed by Mr. Stuart, governor Tonyn and other royalists to the southwärd, to concert with gem. Gage the necessary means for accomplishing the above plan. The whole was fully detected by the providential capture of the vessel which was conveying Kirkland to Boston toward the close of 1775. The publication of the letters found in his possession; produced conviction in the minds of the Americans, that the British administration meant to employ the Indians for the effecting of their schemes. The discovery of the ministerial designs, made it necessary for congress to attend to such measures as might ef. fectually counteract the influence of Mr. Stuart. A meeting of their Indian commissioners with the Cherokees, was appointed at Fort Charlotte, in South-Carolina, and took place on the 22d of April, when about 630 were present. The Cherokees complained heavily of sundry encroachments made on them by the white people, which gave them the greatest uneasiness. When the commissioners came to make their presents, the Indians were displeased at the small quantity of goods and ammunition delivered to them. The commissioners pleaded, that they did not expect to meet with so great a number; and promised, that if the presents were received, they would try and purchase a few more and send them. The Cherokees were not satisfied with the proposal. The commissioners, without goods, were little more than eya phers. Talks alone, if ever so flattering, do not answer. Foreign manufactures were to the Indians indispensably requifite; and it was not to be thought that they could prefer American friendship, naked and hungry, to British, attended with all the necessaries and comforts of life. The British had carried great quantities of goods even to their towns. On the 27th, the congress commiss - S10Ile IS