« ZurückWeiter »
Of the loyalists, general Burgoyne thus observes :-“ Many of them had taken refuge in “ Canada the preceding winter, and others had “joined us as we advanced. The various in“ terefts which influenced their actions, render“ed all arrangement of them impracticable. “ One man's views went to the profit he was “ to enjoy when his corps should be complete;
another, to the protection of the district in " which he resided; a third was wholly in“ tent upon revenge against his personal ene“ mies; and all of them were repugnant even “ to an idea of subordination. Hence, the set“tlement who should act as a private man, and “ who as an officer, or in whofe corps either “ should be, was seldom fatisfactorily made
themselves ; and as surely as it failed, “ succeeded a reference to the commander in “ chief, which could not be put by, or delega. “ted to another hand, without diffatisfaction, “ increase of confusion, and generally a loss of “ such services as they were really fit for; viz. « fearching for cattle, ascertaining the practica“bility of routes, clearing roads, and guiding “ detachments or columns upon the march.” He farther observed, that “the interests and “ the passions of the revolted Americans, con“ center in the cause of the congress, and those “ of the loyalists break and subdivide into va“rious pursuits, with which the cause of the “ king has litile or nothing to do.
From these and other circumstances above CHAP. XI. detailed, even prejudice itself ought to allow a due share of praise to general Burgoyne, for maintaining his resolution and perseverance so long, rather than to wound his character by censure, either as a soldier, a man of honor and humanity, or a faithful fervant to his king.
But talents, valor, or virtue, are seldom a security against the vindictive spirit of party, or the resentment that results from the failure of favorite political projects. Thus, though the military abilities of general Burgoyne had been conspicuous, and his services acknowledged by his country, yet from the mortification of the monarch, the court, and the people of England, on the disgrace of their arins at Saratoga, he was not only suffered, but obliged to retire.
Though the marked resentment of adminis. tration was long kept vp against this unfortunate ossicer, he did not spend all the remainder of his days in private and literary pursuits. It is true he never again acted in a military capacity ; but time relieved the present oppression, when he again took his seat in parliament, and with manly eloquence, not only defended the rights and liberties of his native isle, against the arbitrary fyftems in vogue, but asserted the jultice and propriety of American opposition.
This he did with becoming dignity, and an im. partiality which he never might have felt, but from the failure of his northern expedition. The reputation the American arms acquired by this defeat, not only humbled the proud tone of many British officers besides general Burgoyne, but did much to haften the alliance with France, and brought forward events that accelerated the independence of America.
Observations on the Conduct of the British Parliament,
previous to the Capture of Burgoyne.The ineffectual Efforts of the Commissioners sent to America, in consequence of Lord North's Conciliatory Bill—Their Attempts to corrupt Individuals and Public Bodies.--Ne. gociation broken off.-Manifesto published by the Commiffioners-Counter Declaration by Congress.-Sir William Howe repairs to England.
WHILE America gloried in her recent fuccesses against the northern army, and was making all possible preparations for vigorous action at the southward, the coercive system in Brit. ain was so far from being relaxed, that the most severe measures were urged with bitterness and acrimony. The speeches of the king were in the same tone of despotism as formerly : the addresses of parliament were in the usual style of compliment and applause; as if they had little else to do, but to keep each other in good humor, until alienation was complete, and the colonies so far connected with other powers, that there could be no hope of reconciliation.
But though a unison of sentiment, and a perfect conformity to the royal will, previous to
the news of Burgoyne's defeat, appeared in the majority of both houses of parliament, yet the measures of the ministry were, as usual, warmly opposed by some gentlemen of the first abilities in the nation. Several of the principal nobility were in the minority, and urged an accommodation before America should be irretrievably loft. It was recommended to the minister, “ rather to forge bands of amity for the minds, “than chains for the bodies of Americans." The present moment of uncertainty with regard to success, was urged as the proper season for giving the most unequivocal proofs of cordiality, by requesting his majesty to order a cessation of hoftilities, and the immediate adoption of measures for accommodation.*
Mr. Fox, whose powers of oratory were the admiration of the world, not only reasoned against their measures, but ridiculed the miniftry in the most pointed manner, for their ignorance of America from the outset of the controversy. He alleged, “ that they had mista“ ken the extent of the thirteen colonies, and “considered the Massachusetts as including the “whole.” Nor were they less mistaken in the weight of opposition they had to encounter. He observed, “ they had ever been blind to the “consequences of their own measures, or they
* Debates in parliament, before the news of the termination of the northern campaign reached England.