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cerning whose military capacity a very favourable opinion had been formed, was appointed to Canada.
In the hope of exciting universally in that province the sentiments which prevailed through the United Colonies, and of forming with it a perfect union, Mr. Franklin, Mr. Chace, and Mr. Carrol, were deputed as commissioners, with full powers on this subject, and with instructions to establish a free press. Those commissioners were instructed to assure such people that they would be permitted to adopt such form of gorernment as would be agreeable to themselves, to exercise freely all the rights of conscience, and to be considered as a sister colony, governed by the same general system of mild and equal laws which prevailed in the other colonies; with only such local differences as each might deem conducive to its own happiness. They were also instructed to enquire into the conduct of the American officers and soldiers, and to correct any irregularities offensive to the people, of which they might have been guilty.
Congress seemed to have entertained, respecting the Canadians, the opinion expressed by General Washington in a letter to General Schuyler, “that the province could only be secured by laying hold of the affections of the people, and engaging them heartily in the common cause. With respect to individuals who had suffered for their adherence to the Americans, they pursued
the same magnanimous policy which had been adopted with regard to General Lee and others; they indemnified the sufferers.
In the mean time Arnold maintained, under all his difficulties, the blockade of Quebec. The reinforcements ordered by Congress, were of necessity slow in arriving. The great distance of the march, and the difficulty and delay in fitting the soldiers, (for the extreme severity of the winter in that cold region, made it impracticable even for those battalions which were already raised, and which on the first intelligence of the disaster of the thirty-first of December, had been ordered to his assistance,) to reach him till the spring. Aware of his critical situation, they were pressed forward in small detachments as fast as they could possibly be prepared; but such were the difficulties to be surmounted, that they could do little more than supply the places of the discharged, and keep up the shew of an army incapable of efficient service. From the first of January to the first of March, his effectives had never exceeded seven hundred, and had often been as low as five hundred men. In March reinforcements arrived in greater numbers, and the army was increased to a total of seventeen hundred; but many of them were sick. The small-pox had made its way into the camp, and every attempt to remove it was rendered ineffectual by the soldiers, who, disregarding all orders, procured themselves privately to be inoculated, EE 2
In order to render the blockade of Quebec in any degree effectual, this small army, which occupied the island of Orleans and both sides of the St. Lawrence, was unavoidably spread over a circuit of twenty-six miles, and divided by three ferries. About fourteen hundred of them were enlisted to serve only till the fifteenth of April, and no hope was entertained that they could be prevailed on to continue for a longer time. Under these circumstances the establishment of exact discipline was impossible.' Great irregularities and waste of public stores prevailed; and, notwithstanding the earnest and explicit directions both of Congress and General Washington, continually enforced by General Schuyler, the Canadians were often injured and irritated. There is reason to believe that even General Arnold was disposed to think himself in the country of an enemy, and did not exert, in repressing those disorders, the same energy which he always displayed so conspicuously in the field.
The utmost exertions of Congress could not furnish a sufficient quantity of specie for this distant and expensive expedition ; and as the consumption of provisions by the troops exceeded the supplies furnished by General Schuyler, whose attention to the complicated duties of his station was as incessant as it was judiciously directed, it was thought necessary by General Arnold, in order to pay for provisions, as well as for other services
rendered by the country people, to issue a proclamation, making paper money a currency, pro.. mising to redeem it in four months, and declaring those to be enemies who should refuse it. It will readily be imagined that the Canadians were unwilling to exchange their property, or labour, for this article, and that few would receive it but with reluctance.
This circumstance affected their attachment in no inconsiderable degree. They were likewise disappointed in the force brought by the Americans into their country, which was by no means such as they had expected. In addition to these causes of dissatisfaction, the priests, who possessed great influence over the mass of the people, and who were never, as a body, cordial in the American interest, had been, since the death of Montgomery, very injudiciously neglected, and had become almost universally hostile to the views of the United Colonies.
General Carleton, who was no stranger to the revolution which was taking place in the minds of the Canadians, entertained the hope of raising the siege by their assistance. A detachment of about, sixty men from the garrison of Quebec landed twelve leagues below the town on the south side of the river, and were joined by about two hundred and fifty Canadians, who, under the command of a Mr. Beajeau, seized a provision-convoy deE E 3
signed for the American camp. They were ra. pidly increasing in numbers, when they were suddenly and unexpectedly attacked by a detachment sent by Arnold, of about eighty men, under Major Dubois, who surprised their advanced guard, killed seven, wounded a few, and took thirty-eight prisoners; on which the main body dispersed.
The season of the year now approached when reinforcements from England might be expected with certainty; and notwithstanding the feeble state in which their army still continued, the Americans deemed it indispensably necessary, to recommence their active operations, and to renew the siege. They now again erected their batteries, and on the first of April, just as they were about to open them, General Wooster arrived from Montreal, and took the command. The next day the batteries were opened, but without much effect. They had not weight of metal to make a breach in the wall, nor an engineer capable of directing a siege, nor artillerymen who understood the management of the pieces. The few troops of this description originally belonging to the army were prisoners in Quebec.
The day after the arrival of Wooster, Arnold's horse fell with him, and so bruised the leg which had been wounded, as to confine him for some time to his bed. Believing himself to be néglected, be obtained leave of absence as soon as