« ForrigeFortsett »
then quitted her; and in less than half an hour after she blew
• There were many thousand shot fired at the fort from the ship. ping; but the works suffered little damage ; those which struck the fort were buried in its soft wood. Hardly a hut or tree on the island escaped. Seven thousand balls have been picked up since the engagement.
When the British feet appeared off the coast, there was so scanty a stock of lead, that to supply, the musquetry with balls, it became necessary to strip the windows of the dwelling housesin Charleston of their weights. Powder also was very scarce, notwithstanding a seasonably supply received a few days before the engagement. The proportion allotted for the defence of the fort was but barely enough for slow firing. It was expended with great deliberation. The officers, in turn, pointed the guns with such exactness, that most of their shot took effect on the shipping. In the beginning of the action the flag-staff was shot away. Sergeant Jasper of the grenadiers immediately jumped on the beach, took up the fag, and fastened it on a sponge-staff. He mounted the merlon with it in his hand; and though the ships were directing their incessent broad sides at the spot, deliberately fixed it. The day after the action, gov. Rutledge presented the sergeant with a sword, as a mark of respect for his distinguished valor. Seven of the wounded of the garrison lost their limbs; but not with these their spirits; for they enthusiastically encouraged their comrades, never to abandon the standard of liberty and their countryf. This was particularly noticed of sergeant M‘Donald who being mortally wounded by a cannon ball, employed the interval between the wounding and his death in exhortations to that purpose. He expired in a few minutes, when Jasper removed the body out of sight, calling out at the same instant,“ revenge the brave mans death."
. Charleston has certainly, had a narrow escape. Gen. Lee, wrote to the board of war July the second, " For the want of cavalry, Charleston and its dependencies had certainly been lost, if the enemy had acted with that vigor and expedition we had reason to expect, but a most unaccountable laugor and inertness on their parts have saved us.” The unfinished state of the fort, the danger of its being enfiladed, and the difficulty of a retreat for want of a durable communication between the island and the main by a bridge, led the general to view the fort rather as untenable, and to incline to the abandoning of it : but when he found that col. Moultrie was determined at all adventures to
Lot General Lec's letter to congress,
attempt its defence, he satisfied himself with advising to a season: able evacuation, and against risking too much in its support. The colonel and his garrison have deserved the praises and thanks of their country and will undoubtedly meet with due honor. •
Some think there was a capital mistake on the part of the British commander in stopping at the fort, when Charleston was the object; and that the feet should have passed the island, in order to their attacking the town, which with a leading wind and tide, might have been done with a tenth part of the loss and damage that the ships have sustained. But had they passed the furt a successful attack upon the town was not a necessary consequence. The very attack of the fort would have been successful had the Acteon got safe to her station, instead of rund ning aground.
The fate of this expedition will contribute greatly to establish the popular government it was intended to overset ; while the news of it will fly like a meteor through the continent, and carry with it a most malignant influence on the royal cause. Sir Peter Parker will most probably sail soon, with the fleet and troops for the Hook, and in order the join lord Howe. · Now let us resume the momentous business of independency.'
The Pennsylvania assembly withdrew from its union with con gress, in consequence of instructions to their delegates, upon the congressional resolve of May the 15th, for suppressing all autho. rity derived from the crown of Great-Britain in the united colo: nies. The committee of the city and liberties of Philadelphia apprehended, that by this step an appeal was made to the people ; and in compliance with the request of a large majority of the inhabitants, issued letters on the 20th of May (by virtue of a power given to them in the provincial convention held in Janus ary 1775) for calling a conference of the committees of the counties, in order to collect the sense of the inhabitants upon the aforesaid resolve of congress, and to bring about a re-union of the provinces with the other colonies, by calling a provincial convention, with a view to form a government for that purpose. They intimated their belief, that the assembly bad been dragged: into a compliance with most of the resolutions of congress from fear of a provincial convention. Messrs. John Bayard and Das niel Roberdeau were particularly active in this business. The deputies of the people assembled (June 24.) in full provincial: conference, and unanimously declared their willingness to concur in a vote of congress declaring the united colonies free and independent states. A change in their delegates followed. Mr. Dickenson opposed openly, and upon principle, the declaration of independence, and was therefore removed. • The
* The Maryland convention had instructed their delegates, last December, tu propose the question of independency. These therefore, having given their vote against it, withdrew; 10 from a personal opposition, but in compliance with their rahe lic representation. Mr. Samuel Chase was strongly attached to it; and when he was returned to Maryland, procured colaty instructions to the members of convention, by which the last were induced to alter their own instuctions. He transmitted an account of it to his friend in congress, in the following terms " Annapolis (June 28.] Friday evening, nine o'clock. Iain this moment from the house to procure an expresss to follow the post with an unanimous vote of our convention for independence, &c. See the glorious effects of county instructions. Our people have fire, if not smothered. S. Chase.”
[July 1.] Congress resolved itself into a committee of the whole upon the subject of independency; but neither colonies nor members being unanimous, it was postponed till the nextday. · [July 4. They had it under further consideration, when the declaration of independence was agreed to and adopted. The title of it is,
A DECLARATION by the Representatives of the UNITED
States of AMERICA, in Congress assembled... - The preamble follows in these words: “ When, in the course e of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dis
solve the political bards which have connected them with ano66 ther, and to assume, among the powers of the earth, the se66 parate and equal station, to which the laws of nature and “ of nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions " of mankind, requires that they should declare the causes which “ impel them to the separation .." We hold these truths to be self-evident--that all mea are “ created equal--that they are endowed by their Creator, with o certain unalienable rights that among these are life, liberty, " and the pursuit of happiness-That to secure these righis, " governments are instituted among meni, deriving their just “ powers, from the consent of the governed--that wbenever any " form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is " the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute
a new government, laying its foundation on such principles, " and organizing its powers in such form as to them shall secin “ most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudeocas " indeed, will dictate, that governments long established, should " not be changed for light and transient causes and accordingly * all experience hath shown, that mankind are were disposed
“ to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves “ by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But . when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invari. « ably the same object, evinces a design to reduce them under « absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw “ off such government, and to provide new guards for their fu: “ ture security. Such has been the patient sufferance of these “ colonies, and such is now the necessity which constrains thein
to alter their former systems of government.” The declaration proceeds to give “a history of repeated injuries and usurpa“ tions, all having in direct object ihe establishment of an ab: " solute tyranny over these states. To prove this, let facts be
submitted to a candid world.” It then enters upon a specification of injuries and complaints, to the following purport· Assent has been refused to laws the most wliviesoine and necessary for the public good. . Governors have been forbidden to pass laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till assented to in Britain; and when so suspended, an attention to them has been utterly neglected.
Legislative bodies have been called together at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into a compliance with favorite measures.
Houses of representatives have been dissolved repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness, invasions on the rights of the people.
For a long time after such dissolution, it has been refused to permit others to be elected; whereby the legislative power, incapable of annihilation, have returned to the people at large for their exercise; the state remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within. · Endeavors have been made to prevent the population of these states, by obstructing the laws for naturalization of foreigners, refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new appropriations of land.
The administration of justice has been obstructed by the refusing of assent to laws for establishing judiciary powers.
Judges have been made dependent on the crown alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
A multitude of new offices have been erected, and swarms of officers have been sent hither to harrass the people, and eat out their substance.
Standing armies have been kept up among us in times of peace, without the consent of our legislatures. • The military has been rendered independent of, and superior to the civil power.
A plan has been formed to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws.
Acts have been passed by the British legislature, for quartering large bodies of armed troops among us for protecting - them by a mock trial, from punishment for any murders which
they should commiton the inhabitants of these statesfor cutting off our trade with all parts of the world--for imposing taxes on us without our consent for depriving us, in many cases, of the benefits of trial by jury--for transporting us beyond seas to be tried for pretended offences--for abolishing the free system of English laws in a neighboring province, establishing therein an arbitrary government, and enlarging its boundaries, so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these colonies--for taking away our charters, abolishing our most valuable laws, and altering fundamentally the forms of our governments--for suspending our own legislatures, and declaring the British parliament invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
. The crown of Great-Britain has abdicated governnient here, by declaring us out of its protection and waging war against us.
Our seas have been plundered, our coasts ravaged, our towns burnt, and the lives of our people destroyed.
Large armies of foreign mercenaries are at this time transporting, to complete the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun, with circumstances of cruelty and perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy a civilized nation.
Our fellow-citizens, taken captive on the high seas, have been constrained to bear arms against their country, to become the executioners of their friends and brethren, or to fall themselves by their hands..
Domestic insurrections have been excited amongst us, and ena deavors have been used to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers the merciless Indian savages, whose known rule of warfare is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions. The declaration proceeds, saying,
" In every stage of these oppressions, we have petitioned for " redress in the most humble terins. Our repeated petitions have “ been answered only by repeated injury. Nor have we been "wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warni Yol. II.