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lution will detail with pleasure and pride, the proceedings of this illustrious assembly : the firmness and precision with which they stated their grievances, and petitioned their sovereign to redress them; the eloquence with which they addressed the people of Great Britain, the inhabitants of Canada, and their own constituents ; the judicious mea. sures they adopted for cementing union at home and procuring friends abroad. They will also inform the world of the unsuccessful termination of all plans proposed for preserving the union of the empire, and that Great Britain, proceeding from one oppression to another, threw the colonies out of her protection, made war upon them, and carried it on with a view to their subjugation. All these matters, together with the commencement of hostilities at Lex. ington, and the formation of an American army by the coJony of Massachusetts, for defending themselves against a royal army in Boston, must be here passed over. Our business is only with George Washington. The fame he had acquired as commander of the Virginia forces, together with his well known military talents, procured for him the distinguishing appellation of the Soldier of America. Those who, hefore the commencement of hostilities, looked forward to war as the probable consequence of the disputes between Great Britain and her colonies, 'anticipated his appointment to the supreme command of the forces of his native country.
As long as he continued a member of Congress, he was chairman of every committee appointed by that body to make arrangements for defence. These duues in the Se. nate were soon superseded by more active employment in the field. As soon as the Congress of the United Colonies had determined on making a common cause with Massachusetts, against which a British army had commenced hostilities, they appointed, by an unanimous vote, George Washington, commander in chief of all the forces raised or to be raised for the defence of the colonies. His election was accompanied with no competition, and followed by no envy. The same general impulse on the public mind, which led the colonies to agree in many other particulars, pointed to him as the most proper person for presiding over their armies.
To the president of Congress announcing this appointment, General Washington replied in the following words:
« MR, PRESIDENT,
“ Though I am truly sensible of the high honourdone me in this appointment, yet I feel great distress froin a consciousness that my abilities and military experience may not be equal to the extensive and important irust. However, as the Congress desire it, I will enter upon the momentous duty, and exert every power I possess in their service, and for support of the glorious cause. I bega they will accept my most cordial thanks, for this distinguished testimony of their approbation.
“ But lest some unlucky event should happen unfavourable to my reputation, I beg il may be remembered by every gentleman in the room, that I this day declare with the utmost sincerity, I do not think myself equal to the command I am honoured with.
“ As to pay, Sir, I beg leave to assure the Congress that as no pecuniary, consideration could have tempted me to accept this arduous employment, at the expense of my domestic ease and happipess, I do not wish to make any profit from it. I will keep an exact account of my expenses; those I doubt not they will discharge, and that is all I desire.”
A special commission was made out for him, and at the same time an unanimous resolution was adopted by Congress, “ that they would maintain and assist him, and adhere to him with their lives and fortunes, for the maintenance and preservation of American Liberty.'
He immediately entered on the duties of his high station, After passing a few days in New-York, and making some arrangements with Gen. Schuyler, who commanded there, he proceeded to Cambridge which was the head-quarters of the American army. On his way thither, he received from private persons and public bodies, the most flattering attention, and the strongest expressions of determination to support him. He received an address from the provincial Congress of N.York, in which, after expressing their approbation of his elevation to command, they say, “ We have the fullest assurances, that whenever this important contest
shall be decided by that fondest wish of each American soul, an accommodation with our mother country, you will cheerfully resign the important deposit committed into your hands, and re-assume the character of our worthiest citizen." The General, after declaring his gratitude for the respect shewn him, added, “ Be assured that every exertion of my worthy colleagues and myself, will be extend. ed to the re-establishment of peace and harmony between the mother country and these colonies. As to the fatal, but necessary operations of war, when we assumed the soldier we did not lay aside the citizen, and we shall most sincerely rejoice, with you in that happy hour, when the re.establishment of American liberty, on the most firm and solid foundations, shall enable us to return to our private sta. tions, in the bosom of a free, peaceful, and happy coun. try.'
A committee from the Massachusetts Congress received him at Springfield, about one hundred miles from Boston, and conducted him to the army. He was soon after addressed by the Congress of that colony in the most affectionate
In his answer, he said, “ Gentlemen, your kind congratulations on my appointment and arrival, demand my warmest acknowledgments, and will ever be retained in grateful remembrance. In exchanging the enjoyments of domestic life for the duties of my present honourable, but arduous station, I only emulate the virtue and public spirit of the whole province of Massachusetts, which, with a firmness and patriotism without example, has sacrificed all the comforts of social and political life in support of the rights of mankind, and the welfare of our common country, My highest ambition is to be the happy instrument of vindicating these rights, and to see thig devoted province again restored to peace, liberty, and safety." When Gen. Washington arrived at Cambridge, he was received with the joyful acclamations of the American army. At the head of his troops he published a declaration previously drawn up by Congress, in the nature of a manifesto, setting forth the reasons for taking up arms. In this, after enumerating various grievances of the colonies, and vindicating them from a premeditated design of establishing independent states, it was added ; “ In our own native land, in defence of the freedom which is ous birthright, and
which we ever enjoyed till the late violation of it; for the protection of our property, acquired solely by the industry of our forefathers and ourselves, against violence actually offered; we have taken up arms; we shall lay them down when hostilities shall cease on the part of the aggressors, and all danger of their being renewed shall be removed, and not before.
When Gen. Washington joined the American army, he found the British intrenched on Bunker's Hill, having also three floating batteries in Mystic River, and a twenty gun ship below the ferry between Boston and Charlestown. They had also a battery on Copse's Hill, and were strongly fortified on the Neck. The Americans were intrenched at Winter Hill, Prospect Hill, and Roxbury, communicating with one another by small posts over a distance of ten miles, nor could they be contracted without exposing the country to the incursions of the enemy.
The army put under the command of Washington amounted to fourteen ihousand five hundred men. Several circumstances concurred to render this force very in. adequate to active operations. Military stores were defi. cient in camp, and the whole in the country was inconsiderable. On the 4th of August, all the stock of powder in the American camp, and in the public magazines of the four New England provinces, would have made very little more than nine rounds a man. In this destitute condition the army remained for a fortnight. To the want of powder was added a very general want of bayonets, of clothes, of working tools, and a total want of engineers. Under all these embarrassments, the General observed, that “he had the materials of a good army; that the men were able bodied, activo, zealous in the cause, and of unquestionable courage." He immediately instituted such arrangements as were calculated to increase their capacity for service. The army was distributed into brigades and divisions, and on his recommendation, general staff officers were appointed. Economy, union, and system, were introduced into every department. As the troops came into service under the authority of distinct colonial governments, no uniformity existed among the regiments. In Massachusetts the men had chosen their officers, and, rank excepted, were in other respects, frequently their equals. To form one uniform mass of these discordant materials, and to subject freemen animated with the spirit of liberty, and collected for its defence, to the control of military discipline, required patience, forbearance, and a spirit of accommodation This delicate and arduous duty was undertaken by Gen. Washington, and discharged with great address. When he had made considerable progress in disciplining his army, the term for which enlistments had taken place was on the point of expiring. The troops from Connecticut and Rhode Island were only engaged to the first of December, 1775; and no part of the army longer than to the first of January, 1776. The commander in chief made early and forcible representations to Congress on this subject, and urged them to adopt efficient measures for the formation of a new army. They deputed three of their members, Mr. Lynch, Dr. Franklin, and Mr. Harrison, to repair to camp, and, in conjunction with him and the chief magis. trates of the New England colonies, to confer on the most effectual mode of continuing, supporting, and regulating, a continental army. By them it was resolved to list twenty three thousand seven hundred and twenty two men, as far as practicable, from the troops before Boston, to serve till the last day of Dec'r, 1776, unless sooner discharged by Congress. In the execution of this resolve, Washington called upon all officers and soldiers to make their election for retiring or continuing. Several of the inferior officers retired. Many of the men would not continue on any terms. Several refused, unless they were indulged with furloughs. Others, unless they were allowed to choose their officers. So many impediments obstructed the recruiting service, that it required great address to obviate them, Washington made forcible appeals in general orders, to the pride and patriotism of both officers and men. He promised every indulgence compatible with safety, and every comfort that the state of the country authorized. In general orders of the 20th of October, he observed, “ The times, and the importance of the great cause we are engaged in, allow no room for hesitation and delay. When life, liberty, and pro. perty, are at stake ; when our country is in danger of being a melancholy scene of bloodshed and desolation ; when our towns are laid in ashes, innocent women and children driven from their poaceful habitations, exposed to the