Page images

perior applause, merited from the exercise ing to the knowledge of the late events in of the virtues of humanity and generosity. that province, he determined to stop short Among the numerous sick in the American within the limits of New-York. The scene hospitals, several, incapable of being moved, was henceforth reversed. Instead of mediwere left behind. The victorious general tating the recommencement of offensive opproved himself worthy of success, by his erations, that army which had lately excited treatment of these unfortunate men; he not so much terror in Canada, was called upon only fed and clothed them, but permitted to be prepared for repelling an invasion them, when recovered, to return home. Ap-threatened from that province. prehending that fear might make some con- The attention of the Americans being exceal themselves in the woods, rather than, clusively fixed on plans of defence, their by applying for relief, make themselves general officers commanding in the northern known, he removed their doubts by a procla- department were convened to deliberate on mation, (May 10th] in which he engaged, the place and means most suitable for that " that as soon as their health was restored, purpose. To form a judgment on this subthey should have free liberty of returning ject, a recollection of the events of the late to their respective provinces." This humane war between France and England was of line of conduct was more injurious to the advantage. The same ground was to be views of the leaders in the American coun- fought over, and the same posts to be again cils, than the severity practised by other contended for. On the confines of Lake British commanders. The truly politic, as George and Lake Champlain, two inland well as humane, general Carleton, dismissed seas, which stretch almost from the sources these prisoners, after liberally supplying of Hudson's river to the St. Laurence, are their wants, with a recoinmendation, " to situated the famous posts of Ticonderoga and go home, mind their farms, and keep them- Crown Point. These are of primary necesselves and their neighbors from all participa-sity to any power which contends for the tion in the unhappy war.

possession of the adjacent country, for they The small force which arrived at Quebec afford the most convenient stand either for in May, was followed by several British its annoyance or defence. In the opinion regiments, together with the Brunswick (of some American officers, Crown Point, to troops, in such a rapid succession, that in a which the army on the evacuation of Canada few weeks the whole was estimated at thir- had retreated, was the most proper place for teen thousand men.

erecting works of defence; but it was otherThe Americans retreated forty-five miles wise determined by the council convened before they stopped. After a short halt, they on this occasion. It was also by their advice proceeded to the Sorel, at which place they resolved to move lower down, and to make threw up some slight works for their safety. the principal work on the strong ground east They were there joined by some battalions of T'iconderoga, and especially by every coming to reinforce them. About this time, means to endeavor to maintain a naval supe. general Thomas, the commander-in-chief in riority on Lake Champlain. In conformity Canada, was seized with the small-pox, and to these resolutions, general Gates, with diei; having forbidden his men to inoculate, about twelve thousand men, which collected he conformed to his own rule, and refused in the course of the summer, was fixed in to avail himself of that precaution. On his command of Ticonderoga, and a fleet was death, the command devolved at first on constructed at Skenesborough. This was general Arnold, and afterwards on general carried on with so much rapidity, that in a Sullivan. It soon became evident that the short time there were afloat in Lake ChamAmericans must abandon the whole province plain, one sloop, three schooners, and six of Canada.

gondolas, carrying in the whole fifty-eight The possession of Canada so eminently guns, eighty-six swivels, and four hundred favored the plans of defence adopted by con- and forty men. Six other vessels were also gress, that the province was evacuated with nearly ready for launching at the same time. great reluctance. The Americans were not The fleet was put under the command of only mortified at the disappointment of their general Arnold, and he was instructed by favorite scheme, of annexing it as a four- general Gates to proceed beyond Crown teenth link in the chain of their confederacy, Point, down Lake Champlain to the Split but apprehended the most serious conse- Rock; but most peremptorily restrained from quences from the ascendency of the British advancing any farther, as security against power in that quarter. Anxious to preserve an apprehended invasion was the ultimate a footing there, they had persevered for a end of the armament. long time in stemming the tide of unfavor- AMERICANS DEFEATED ON LAKE CHAM. able events.

PLAIN. General Gates was about this time ap- THE expulsion of the American invaders Dointed to command in Canada, but on com- from Canada was but a part of the British designs in that quarter. They urged the sight. The British pursued with all the pursuit no farther than St. John's, but indulg- sail they could crowd. The wind having ed the hope of being soon in a condition for become more favorable, they overtook the passing the lakes, and penetrating through Americans, and on the seventeenth of Octhe country to Albany, so as to form a com-tober brought them to action near Crown munication with New-York. The objects Point. A smart engagement ensued, and they had in view were great, and the obsta- was well supported on both sides for about cles in the way of their accomplishment two hours. Some of the American vessels equally so. Before they could advance with which were most ahead escaped to Ticonany prospect of success, a fleet superior to deroga. Two galleys and five gondolas rethat of the Americans on the lakes was to be mained, and resisted an unequal force with constructed. The materials of some large a spirit approaching to desperation. One of vessels were, for this purpose, brought from the galleys struck and was taken. General England, but their transportation, and the Arnold, though he knew that to escape was labor necessary to put them together, re- impossible, and to resist unavailing, yet, inquired both time and patience. The spirit stead of surrendering, determined that his of the British commanders rose in proportion people should not become prisoners, nor his to the difficulties which were to be encoun- vessels a reinforcement to the British. This tered. Nevertheless it was so late as the spirited resolution was executed with a month of October before their fleet was pre-judgment equal to the boldness with which pared to face the American naval force on it had been adopted. He ran the Congress Lake Champlain. The former consisted of galley, on board of which he was, together the ship Inflexible, mounting eighteen twelve with the five gondolas, on shore, ia such a pounders, which was so expeditiously con- position as enabled him to land his men and structed, that she sailed from St. John's blow up the vessels. In the execution of twenty-eight days after laying her keel; one this perilous enterprise, he paid a romantic schooner mounting fourteen, and another attention to a point of honor. He did not twelve six pounders, a flat-bottomed radeau quit his own galley till she was in flames, carrying six twenty-four and six twelve lest the British should board her and strike pounders, besides howitzers, and a gondola his flag. with seven nine pounders. There were The American naval force being nearly also twenty smaller vessels with brass field- destroyed, the British had undisputed pospieces, from nine to twenty-four pounders, session of Lake Champlain. On this event or with howitzers. Some long-boats were a few continental troops, which had been at furnished in the same manner. An equal Crown Point, retired to their main body at number of large boats acted as tenders. Be-Ticonderoga. General Carleton took possides these vessels of war, there was a vast session of the ground from which they had number destined for the transportation of the retreated, and was there soon joined by his army, its stores, artillery, baggage, and pro- army. He sent out several reconnoitring visions. The whole was put under the parties, and at one time pushed forward a command of captain Pringle. The naval strong detachment on both sides of the lake, force of the Americans, from the deficiency which approached near to Ticonderoga. of means, was far short of what was brought Some British vessels appeared at the same against them.

time, within cannon-shot of the American No one step could be taken towards ac- works at that place. It is probable he had complishing the designs of the British, on it in contemplation, if circumstances favorthe northern frontiers of New

York, till they ed, to reduce the post, and that the apparent had the command of Lake Champlain. With strength of the works restrained him from this view their fleet proceeded up the lake, making the attempt, and induced his return and on the eleventh of October engaged the to Canada. Americans. The wind was so unfavorable UNSUCCESSFUL ATTACK ON CHARLES to the British, that their ship Inflexible, and

TOWN. some other vessels of force, could not be THE command of the forces which was brought to action. This lessened the in- destined to make an impression on the southequality between the contending fleets so ern colonies, was by the British ministry much, that the principal damage sustained committed to general Clinton and Sir Peter by the Americans was the loss of a schooner Parker; the former with a small force havand gondola. At the approach of night the ing called at New-York, and also visited in action was discontinued. The vanquished Virginia lord Dunmore, the late royal govertook the advantage which the darkness af- nor of that colony, and finding that nothing forded to make their escape. This was could be done at either place, proceeded to effected by general Amold with great judg-Cape Fear river. ment and ability. By the next morning the At Cape Fear a junction was formed bewhole fleet under his command was out of tween Sir Henry Clinton and Sir Peter Parker. They concluded to attempt the re-son, for their good conduct on this memoraduction of Charlestown, as being, of all ble day. In compliment to the commanding places within the line of their instructions, officer, the fort from that time was called the object at which they could strike with Fort Moultrie. the greatest prospect of advantage. They By the repulse of this armament, the had 2300 land forces, which they hoped, with southern states obtained a respite from the the co-operation of their shipping, would be calamities of war for two years and a half. fully sufficient.

The defeat the British experienced at For some months every exertion had been Charlestown, seemed in some measure to made by the Americans to put the colony of counterbalance the unfavorable impression South Carolina, and especially its capital, made by their subsequent successes to the Charlestown, in a respectable posture of de-northward. fence. In subserviency to this view, works The effects of this victory, in animating had been erected on Sullivan's Island, which the Americans, were much greater than is situated so near the channel leading up to could be warranted by the circumstances of the town, as to be a convenient post for an- the action. As it was the first attack made noying vessels approaching it.

by the British navy, its unsuccessful issue On the 18th of July Sir Peter Parker at- inspired a confidence which a more exact tacked the fort on that island, with two fifty- knowledge of military calculations would gun ships, the Bristol and Experiment, four have corrected. The circumstance of its frigates, the Active, Acteon, Solebay, and happening in the early part of the war, and Syren, each of 28 guns; the Sphynx of 20 in one of the weaker provinces, were instruguns, the Friendship armed vessel of 22 mental in dispelling the gloom which overguns, the Ranger sloop, and Thunder bomb, shadowed the minds of many of the coloeach of 8 guns. On the fort were mounted nists on hearing of the powerful fleets and 26 cannon, 26, 18, and 9 pounders. The at- numerous armies which were coming against tack commenced between ten and eleven in them. the forenoon, and was continued for upwards PREPARATIONS AGAINST NEW-YORK. of ten hours. The garrison, consisting of The command of the forces which was 375 regulars and a few militia, under the destined to operate against New-York, in command of colonel Moultrie, made a most this campaign, was given to admiral lord gallant defence. They fired deliberately, Howe, and his brother Sir William, officers for the inost part took aim, and seldom missed who, as well from their personal characters, their object. The ships were torn almost to as the known bravery of their family, stood pieces, and the killed and wounded on board high in the confidence of the British nation. exceeded 200 men. The loss of the garri- To this service was allotted a very powerful son was only ten men killed, and 22 wound- army, consisting of about 30,000 men. This el. The fort being built of palmetto, was force was far superior to anything that little damaged; the shot which struck it America had hitherto seen. were ineffectually buried in its soft wood. were amply provided with artillery, military General Clinton had, some time before the stores, and warlike materials of every kind, engagement, landed with a number of troops and were supported by a numerous fleet. on Long-Island, and it was expected that he The admiral and general, in addition to their would have co-operated with Sir Peter Par- military powers, were appointed commisker, by crossing over the narrow passage sioners for restoring peace to the colonies. which divides the two islands, and attacking General Howe having in vain waited two the fort in its unfinished rear; but the ex- months at Halifax for his brother, and the treme danger to which he must unavoidably expected reinforcements from England, imhave exposed his men, induced him to de- patient of farther delays, on the 10th of cline the perilous attempt. Colonel Thom- June sailed from that harbor, with the force son, with 7 or 800 men, was stationed at the with which he had previously commanded east end of Sullivan's Island, to oppose their in Boston, and directing his course towards crossing. No serious attempt was made to New-York, arrived in the latter end of June land, either from the fleet, or the detachment off Sandy Hook. Admiral lord Howe, with commanded by Sir Henry Clinton. The part of the reinforcement from England, arfiring ceased in the evening, and soon after rived at Halifax soon after his brother's dethe ships slipped their cables; before morn-parture. Without dropping anchor he foling they had retired about two miles from lowed, and soon after joined him near Staten the island. Within a few days more the Island. The British general, on his approach, troops reimbarked, and the whole sailed for found every part of New-York island, and New-York. The thanks of congress were the most exposed parts of Long-Island, fortigiven to general Lee, who had been sent on fied and well defended by artillery. About by congress to take the command in Caroli-fifty British transports anchored near Staten na, and also to co!one's Moultrie and Thom- Island, which had not been so much the ob

The troops



ject of attention. The inhabitants, either voice of the people, from the necessity of from fear, policy, or affection, expressed great the measure in order to obtain foreign as joy on the arrival of the royal forces. Gen-sistance, from a regard to consistency, and eral Howe was there met by Tryon, late from the prospects of glory and happiness, governor of the province, and by several of which opened beyond the war, to a free and the loyalists, who had taken retuge with independent people. Dickinson urged that him in an armed vessel. He was also joined the present time was improper for the deby about sixty persons from New Jersey, and claration of independence, that the war 200 of the inhabitants of Staten Island were might be conducted with equal vigor withembodied as a royal militia. From these out it, and that it would divide the Ameriappearances, great hopes were indulged that cans, and unite the people of Great Britain as soon as the army was in a condition to against them. He then proposed that some penetrate into the country, and protect the assurance should be obtained of assistance loyalists, such numbers would flock to their from a foreign power, before they renounced standard as would facilitate the attainment their connexion with Great Britain, and tha of the objects of the campaign.

the declaration of independence should b DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE. the condition to be offered for this assistance.

WHILE such wern the arrangements of He likewise stated the disputes that existed the British generals, a bold and decisive between several of the colonies, and pro

was taken by their opponents, posed that some measures for the settlement which gave a new complexion to the con- of them should be determined upon, before test, and was soon productive of the most they lost sight of that tribunal which had important consequences. We speak of the hitherto been the umpire of all their differdeclaration of independence.

The public mind had been long prepared After a full discussion, the measure of deby pamphlets and harangues for this import- claring the colonies free and independent ant step.

But in the people the eagerness was approved, by nearly an unanimous vote. for independence resulted more from feeling The anniversary of the day on which this than reasoning. The advantages of an un- great event took place, has ever since been fettered trade, the prospect of honors and consecrated by the Americans to religious emoluments in administering a new govern- gratitude and social pleasures; it is considment, were of themselves insufficient mo-ered by them as the birth-day of their freetives for adopting this bold measure. But dom. what was wanting from considerations of The act of the united colonies for sepathis kind, was made up by the perseverance rating themselves from the government of of Great Britain in her schemes of coercion Great Britain, and declaring their independand conquest. The determined resolution ence, was expressed in the following words: of the mother-country to subdue the colo- “ When, in the course of human events, nists, together with the plans she adopted it becomes necessary for one people to disfor accomplishing that purpose, and their solve the political bands which have conequally determined resolution to appeal to nected them with another, and to assume Heaven rather than submit, made a declara- among the powers of the earth the separate tion of independence as necessary in 1776, and equal station to which the laws of naas was the non-importation agreement of ture and of nature's God entitle them, a de1774, or the assumption of arms in 1775. cent respect to the opinions of mankind reThe last naturally resulted from the first. quires that they should declare the causes The revolution was not forced on the people which impel them to the separation. by ambitious leaders grasping at supreme

“ We hold these truths to be self-evident, power, but every measure of it was forced that all men are created equal; that they on congress, by the necessity of the case are endowed by their Creator with certain and the voice of the people.

unalienable rights; that among these are The motion for declaring the colonies free life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; and independent was first made in congress that to secure these rights, governments are by Richard Henry Lee of Virginia; he was instituted among men, deriving their just warranted in making this motion by the par- powers from the consent of the governed ; ticular instructions of his immediate con- that whenever any form of government bestituents, and also by the general voice of comes destructive of these ends, it is the the people of all the states. The debates right of the people to alter or to abolish it, were continued for some time, and with and to institute a new government, laying great animation. In these John Adams, and its foundation on such principles, and organJohn Dickinson took leading and opposite izing its power in such form, as to them parts. The former strongly urged the im- shall seem most likely to effect their safety mediate dissolution of all political connexion and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dicof the colonies with Great Britain, from the tate that governments long established siould not be changed for light and transient will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and causes; and accordingly all experience hath the amount and payment of their salaries. shown, that mankind are more disposed to “ He has erected a multitude of new of suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to fices, and sent hither swarms of officers to right themselves by abolishing the forms to harass our people and eat out their substance. which they are accustomed. But when a “He has kept among us, in time of peace, long train of abuses and usurpations, pursu- standing armies, without the consent of our ing invariably the same object, evinces a de- legislatures. sign to reduce them under absolute despot- • He has affected to render the military ism, it is their right, it is their duty, to independent of, and superior to, the civil throw off such government, and to provide power. new guards for their future security. Such “ He has combined with others to subject has been the patient sufferance of these col- us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constituonies, and such is now the necessity which tion, and unacknowledged by our laws; givconstrains them to alter their former sys- ing his assent to their acts of pretended tems of government. The history of the legislation : present king of Great Britain is a history of “For quartering large bodies of armed repeated injuries and usurpations, all having troops among us: in direct object the establishment of an ab- “For protecting them, by a mock trial, solute tyranny over these states. To prove from punishment for any murders which this, let facts be submitted to a candid world. they should commit on the inhabitants of

- He has refused his assent to laws the these states : most wholesome and necessary for the pub- “For cutting off our trade with all parts lic good.

of the world : “ He has forbidden his governors to pass “For imposing taxes on us without our laws of immediate and pressing importance, consent: unless suspended in their operation till his "For depriving us, in many cases, of the assent should be obtained ; and when so sus- benefits of trial by jury: pended he has utterly neglected to attend “For transporting us beyond the seas to to them.

be tried for pretended offences : “ He has refused to pass other laws for “For abolishing the free system of Engthe accommodation of large districts of peo- lish laws in a neighboring province, estabple, unless those people would relinquish lishing therein an arbitrary government, the right of representation in the legisla- and enlarging its boundaries, so as to render ture, a right inestimable to them, and for- it at once an example and fit instrument for midable to tyrants only.

introducing the same absolute rule into “ He has called together legislative bodies these colonies : at places unusual, uncomfortable, and dis- " For taking away our charters, abolishtant from the depository of their public rec- ing our most valuable laws, and altering funords, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them damentally the form of our governments : into compliance with his measures.

"For suspending our own legislatures, “ He has dissolved representative houses and declaring themselves invested with powrepeatedly, for opposing, with manly firm- er to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever. ness, his invasions on the rights of the peo- “ He has abdicated government here, by ple.

declaring us out of his protection, and “He has refused, for a long time after waging war against us. such dissolutions, to cause others to be elect- • He has plundered our seas, ravaged our ed; whereby the legislative powers, inca- coasts, burned our towns, and destroyed the pable of annihilation, have returned to the lives of our people. people at large for their exercise; the state “ He is, at this time, transporting large remaining in the mean time exposed to all armies of foreign mercenaries to complete the danger of invasion from without, and the works of death, desolation, and tyranny convulsions within.

already begun, with circumstances of cru“He has endeavored to prevent the popu- elty and perfidy, scarcely paralleled in the lation of these states, for that purpose ob- most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy structing the laws for naturalization of for- the head of a civilized nation. eigners; refusing to pass others to encour- “He has constrained our fellow-citizens, age their migration hither, and raising the taken captive on the high seas, to bear arms conditions of new appropriations of lands. against their country, to become the execu

- He has obstructed the administration of tioners of their friends and brethren, or to justice, by refusing his assent to laws for fall themselves by their hands. establishing judiciary powers.

“He has excited domestic insurrections “ He has made judges dependent on his lamong us, and has endeavored to bring on Vol IV.


« PreviousContinue »