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impraéticable without swimming a deep watery swamp, 1778. were obliged to sue for quarters. The Americans saved three field pieces out of four ; but many lost their arms. That part of the army which escaped retreated up the river Savannah to Zubly's ferry, and crossed over into South Carolina *
No place in similar circumstances suffered less by depredation, than Savannah did upon this occasion. A strong circumstantial testimony, that those enormities fo frequently attributed to the licentiousness of the soldiers, should with much more justice be charged to the indefenfible conduct of their superiors; whether by a previous relaxation of discipline, an immediate participation in the guilt, or a no less culpable sufferance of the enormity. About the time that the embarkation took place at New York, gen. Prevost marched from East Florida into the southern parts of Georgia. The royal troops, in traversing the desert that feparates the one from the other, were obliged to live for several days on oysters. After encountering many difficulties, they heard of col. Campbell's arrival and success. They at length appeared before and surrounded the town and fort of Sunbury. The garrison consisting of about 200 men, made a show of defence, and gave the general the trouble of opening trenches ; but all hope of relief being cut off by the fall of the capital, they surrendered at discretion. The general marched to Savannah, and took the command of the combined forces from New York and St. Auguftine, and consequently of Georgia. Previous to his arrival, a proclamation had been isued to encourage the
* Dr. Ramsay's History of the Revolution in South Carolina, vol. i, p. 1-6. : P4
3778. inhabitants to come in, and submit to the conquerors,
with promises of protection on condition, that «s with their arms they would support royal government.” Numbers fubmitted, but the determined republicans Aled up into the western parts of the country, or into South Carolina.
The attention of congress and the public has been much engaged about Mr. Silas Deane since his return from France. You will recollect what has been written relative to his recall-p. 38. Congress in Auguft desired him, to give from his memory, a general account of his whole transactions in France, from the time of his first arrival, as well as a particular state of the funds of congress, and the commercial transactions in Europe, especially with Mr. Beaumarchais. They appear not to have been thoroughly satisfied; and to have had apprehensions left there had been a misapplication of the public money. Mr. Deane seems not to have relifhed his situation; but to have been desirous of changing it by returning to France, or exciting a general resentment against congress. He had not yet accounted for his expenditure of public money; and had carefully left his papers and vouchers behind him, though he had the opportunity of d'Estaing's feet to procure them a safe transportation to America. On the 30th of November he addressed a Jetter to congress, signifying his intentions of returning to France, and pressing to have his affairs brought to fome conclusion. December the ift congress resolved, “ that after to-morrow they will meet two hours at least each e7ening, Saturdays excepted, beginning at six o'clock, until the present state of their foreign affairs be fully confidered.” On the fourth Mr. Deane wrote again to them
acquainting them of his having received their notifica- 1978 tion of the resolve, and expressed his thanks; and yet Die on the day following he published in the news papers, 5 An address to the free and virtuous citizens of America, dated November, but without any day of the month. The address threw the public into a convulsion, and made them jealousy uneafy : for it expressed a necessity of appealing to them, and communicating that information against which their reprefentatives had shut their ears ;-declared or insinuated that their public fervants, Messrs. Arthur and William Lee, were deficient in abilities, application and fidelity, and were universally disguftful to the French nation ;-intimated a design to lead them into a breach of their national faith and honor, solemnly pledged to their ally ;--reflected upon the integrity of some leading members in congress ;-and strongly hinted at further important information to be brought forward if there should be occasion. Mr. Deane" by publishing his address on the Saturday, secured the advantage of the Sunday for its being more universally şead in the city and neighbourhood, while fresh from the press, than it would otherwise have been. In the morning of the day when it appeared, and before congress (as must be supposed) were acquainted with its contents, they assigned Monday evening for hearing him, and ordered his being notified to attend. The intervening space gave the members an opportunity of perusing it, 1o that when they met on Monday evening at fix o'clock, they resolved, “ That Silas Deane esq; report to congress in writing, as soon as may be, his agency of their affairs in Europe, together with any intelligence respecting their foreign affairs which he may judge proper :
7778. That Mr. Deane be informed, that if he hath any thing
to communicate to congress in the interim, of immediate
present, but for leaving him to the public as he had ap· pealed to them, till he had done with them and they with
him. They judged that the honor of congress bound them to this measure: but others apprehended that discontents would arise froin a supposed inattention, and were therefore inclined to a different line of conduct. This division of sentiment on what might be supposed the honor of the house, occasioned Mr. Laurens, who
adhered to the former opinion, to resign the chair, on 9. the, gth of December. The next day John Jay esq;
was elected president.
Such was the clamor rapidly raised, and the torture occasioned through the United States, by Mr. Deane's publication, that Mr. Payne, under the former signature of Common Sense, endeavoured to allay them in an address to him. This led on to further publications proand con, in which Mr. Payne made a conspicuous figure, and had great advantage, from being secretary to the committee of congress for foreign affairs. They have brought to light several important secrets, and particu, larly the following-The commissioners, Messrs. Frank
lin, Arthur Lee and Deane, in their joint letter of Febru- 1778. ary 16, 1778, say, “ We hear Mr. Beaumarchais has fent over a person to demand a large sum of money of you on account of arms, ammunition, &c. We think it will be best for you to leave that matter to be settled here (in France) as there is a mixture of public and priyate which you cannot fo well develop.” [Though Mr, Deane was privy to Mr. Francey's coming, and had even by letter recommended the business he came upon, yet in this joint letter he appears to know no more of the matter than the other two. In the spring of 1776, a subscription was raised in France to send a present to America of two hundred thousand pounds sterling, in money, arms and ammunition. All that the suppliers wanted to know was, through what channel it should be remitted, and Mr. Beaumarchais was fixed upon as their agent. [If this subscription had not the pecuniary support, it undoubtedly had the countenance, of the crown, for the despotic police of France would otherwise have immediately crushed it.] Mr. Beaumarchais appears to have been employed by the subscribers, to offer the supplies purchased by their money as a present to America, and a contract was made for the freightage of them: they were sent in the Amphitrite, Seine and Mercury, two years ago.—The duplicates of the dispatches of October 6 and 7, 1777, which should have arrived by capt. Folger, but who had received blank papers in their stead, were brought over with the treaty of alliance by Mr. Simeon Deane. These show, that had the dispatches arrived safely, congress would have had a clew to guide them, in settling with Mr. Francey as Mr. Beaumarchais’ agent, and have escaped paying for the present.