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CHAP. V.. to be substantially decided. Though the war 1777. might be kept up longer, no further doubt
was entertained of the success with which their struggles would be ultimately crowned. Nor was it among the smallest advantages expected from it, that it would probably decide the un. certain and balancing politics of foreign courts, anxious to separate America from Britain, but apprehensive of the hazards to be encountered by taking open part in the war.
The thanks of congress were voted to general Gates and his army; and a medal of gold, in commemoration of this great event, was ordered to be struck, to be presented to him by the president in the name of the United States. Colonel Wilkinson who served as adjutant general in the northern department, and who was very strongly recommended to congress, was appointed brigadier general by brevet.
In the opinion that the enemy would not immediately abandon the passes in the highlands, the recovery of which was extremely desirable, it was voted in congress that Putnam should join general Washington with a re-enforcement not to exceed two thousand five hundred men, and that Gates should take command of the army on the Hudson, with unlimited powers to call for aids of militia from the New England states, as well as from NewYork, and New Jersey, for the different objects to be recommended to him by congress.
• A proposition, to authorize the commander Chap. V.
in chief, after consulting with Gates and 1777. governor Clinton, to increase the detachment designed to strengthen his army, if he should
then be of opinion that it might be done with· out endangering the objects to be accomplished
by Gates, was very seriously opposed. An attempt was made to amend this proposition by making the increase of the re-enforcement depend on the approbation of Gates and Clinton; but this amendment was lost by a considerable majority, and the original resolution carried. These resolutions were attended with no other consequence than to excite some degree of attention. The passes in the highlands were already in possession of the Americans, and a re-enforcement of about five thousand continental troops had already been ordered to join the army in Pennsylvania.
The loss of the army commanded by Burgoyne entirely disabled the enemy from detain- Ticonderoga ing the posts of Ticonderoga, and mount Independence Independence. After burning, and otherwise th destroying the buildings and works, and throw. ing the heavy stores into the lake, the garrison retired precipitately to Isle Aux Noix, and St. Johns.
The effect produced by this event on the British cabinet and nation, may be readily conceived. It seemed to remove every delusive hope of conquest with which they had so long VOL. III.
evacuated by the enemy.
CHAP. V. been flattered, and suddenly to display in open 1777. view the mass of resistance which must yet be
encountered. Previous to the reception of the intelligence communicating the unfavourable issue of the expedition, the employment of savages in the war was very severely animad: verted upon. Parliament assembled on the 20th of November, and, as usual, addresses were proposed, in answer to the speech from the throne, entirely approving the conduct of the administration. In the house of lords, the earl of Chatham moved to amend the address, by introducing a clause recommending to his majesty, an immediate cessation of hostilities, and the commencement of a treaty of concilia. tion“ to restore,” he said, “ peace and liberty to America, strength and happiness to England, security and permanent prosperity to both countries.” In the course of the very animated observations made by this extraordinary man in support of his motion, he said, " " but my lords, who is the man that, in addition to the disgraces and mischiefs of war, has dared to authorize and associate to our arms the toma. hawk and scalping knife of the savage ? to call into civilized alliance the wild and inhuman inhabitants of the woods? to delegate to the merciless Indian the defence of disputed rights, and to wage the horrors of his barbarous war
u Belshani's Life of Chatham.
against our brethren? my lords, these enormi. CHAP. V. ties cry aloud for redress and punishment. 1777. Unless thoroughly done away it will be a stain on the national character. It is not the least of our national misfortunes that the strength and character of our army are thus impaired. Familiarized to the horrid scenes of savage cruelty, it can no longer boast of the noble and generous principles which dignify a soldier. No longer you sympathize with the dignity of the royal banner, nor feel the pride, pomp, and circumstance of glorious war that makes ambi. tion virtue. What makes ambition virtue? the sense of honour. But is this sense of honour consistent with the spirit of plunder, or the practice of murder? can it flow from mercenary motives, or can it prompt to cruel deeds ?"*
The conduct of administration, however, re. ceived the full approbation of very large majorities : but the triumph these victories in parliament afforded them was of short duration. The disastrous issue of the expedition, from the success of which the most sanguine expec. tations had been formed, was soon known, and the mortification it produced was extreme. A reluctant confession of the calamity was made in parliament, and a desire to restore peace on: any terms short of the dismemberment of the empire, found its way into the cabinet.
* See Note, No. IV. at the end of the volume.
Red bank evacuated....General Howe marches out of Phi.
ladelphia..Skirmishes with the American army.... Returns to the city....General Washington goes into winter quarters at Valley Forge.... Defects in the commissary department.... Distress of the American army at Valley Forge for provisions.... Representations of general Washington to congress on this subject.... The army subsisted in a great measure by impressments....Combination formed in congress against general Washington... General Gates supposed to be concerned in it.... Correspondence on this subject between the two gene. rals.... Distress of the American army for clothes.... General Washington's exertions to increase his force and to place it on a respectable footing before the ensuing campaign....Congress send a committee of their own body to the army.... Attempt to surprise captain Lee's corps, and the gallant resistance made by him.... Congress determine upon a second expedițion against Canada.... Before its execution, it is abandoned....General Conway resigns.... Duel between him and general Cadwalader.
So soon as the battle of the 19th of September had been fought, and the superiority of Gates : over the enemy ascertained, a superiority which it was not doubted would every day in-:crease, general Washington supposed that: Burgoyne would most probably return to Ti. conderoga, and that the situation of the northern: army would enable general Gates to spare him Morgan's rifle corps; a corps which the then moving situation of the enemy in Pennsylvania