Abbildungen der Seite

rity, disclaim the supremacy of the British legislature, reject with disdain the means of reconciliation, and labour to erect their un. lawful confederacy into separate states. They then, with reverence and gratitude to Divine Providence, offer their congratulations for the success which has attended the feets and armies, that have been employed to oppose the violence of rebellious, subjects, and to reclaim them to a sense of their duty : and conclude with acknowledging it their immediate duty, in the present situation of public affairs, to increase their diligence, not one ly in confirming the people under their care in sentiments of loy. alty, but by inciting them to such reformation in their hearts and lives, as will avert from their country those judgments which their iniquities justly deserve.

[June 6.] His majesty went to the house of peers, and after giving his, royal assent to a number of bills, closed the session with a speech which finished with saying, “ My lords and gentlemen, I trust in Divine Providence, that by a well-concerted and vigorous exertion of the great force you have put into my hands, the opperations of this campaign, by sea and land, will be blessed with such success as may most effectually tend to the suppression of the rebellion in America, and to the re-establishinent of that constitutional obedience which all the subjects of a free state owe to the authority of the law.”

In the beginning of May, a captain Cunningham, in a privateer fitted out from Dunkirk, took and carried into that port the British packet going to Holland. Not understanding thoroughly the business on which he was sent, and being hurried, he was not careful to secure instantly, upon the capture of the vessel, the packet intrusted with the king's messenger, which he therefore missed of; but the mail was taken and forwarded to the American commissioners at Paris. Adieu,


[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

Roxbury, October 30, 1777. " DE not surprised at reading that there is in the United States,

D. one enemy more formidable than famine, pestilence and the sword-a prevailing corruption in American hearts, a depravity more incompatible with their republican governments Than darkness with light. Such languor and supineness reigns every where, that they seem unable to effect any point, though ever so important and interesting. In the military departnient, it looks as if all public spirit was sunk into the means of making money by the service, or quarrelling upon the most trivial points of rank. Did you know the pullings and haulings, the jealousies and emulations of the military and other gentlemen, which come before congress, you would be greatly confirined in your ideas of the sameness of human nature in Britain, here, and every where.

[April 8.] Congress concluded upon the erection of a monument to the memory of gen. Warren, in the town of Boston ; and another to the memory of gen. Mercer, in Fredericksburgh in Virginia ; and that the eldest son of gen. Warren, and the youngest son of gen. Mercer, be educated from henceforward at the expence of the United States. They conveyed in a few words the highest eulogium on the characters and merits of the deccased. As Mercer had a good landed estate, the propriety of adopting his youngest as the child of the public was obvious.Through inattention, gen. Warren, who fell on Breed's Hill, had not been properly noted when congress passed their resolve res specting gen. Montgomery the prososal for paying duc respect to the memory of Mercer, led to the like in regard to Warren.

But to advert to military operations. Gen Lincoln was posted with only 500 men fii for duty at Boundbrook, to guard an extent of five or six miles, which occasioned their flanks being exposed. Lord Cornwallis formed the design of attacking this post, and chose the morning of the 13th for his execution. The plan was exceedingly well laid, and nearly as well executed.Gen. Lincoln had expected a manæuvre of this kind, and been. particularly cautious against a surprise. The enemy however, through the neglect of the patroles, crossed the Rariton just above the general's quarters, undiscovered till they had advanced within 200 yards of him. At the head of this party, consisting of about 1000 men, were generals Cornwallis and Grant. About

1000 were advanced up each side of the Rariton to Boundbrook, to attack the Americans in front, where the action began nearly at the same time the others were surrounding Lincoln's quarters:-This happened between day break and sun risc. The general and one of his aids had just time to mount and leave the house before it was surrounded. The other aid, with the general's papers and their bagage, tell into the hands of the enemy. The artile lery copsisting of one six pounder, and two three pounders, were also taken. Gen. Lincoln went immediately to give directions to those engaged in front;---while lord Cornwallis flung a party into the rear of the right of the Americans. Another party, frona their reserve body of about 2000, was flung over Boundbrook in the rear of the left, with the design of encircling the Aineri, cans and preventing their retiring to the neighbouring mountain. Lincoln was hereby reduced to the necessity of being either in. prisoned with the whole party in front, or of passing between the two columns of the enemy, which had nearly closed. But he effected his passage with the small lass of not more than 60 killed, wounded and taken...The enemy soon evacuated the place after destroying twenty barrels of flour, a few casks of rum, and some other articles.

Congress are well assured that Sir William Howe had the last year instructions from ministry, to secure the North-River, and thereby to separate the northern from the southern states.--The general's successes carried him into the Jerseys, and led him to believe that the business with the Americans was at a clase, se that the North-River was neglected. Under a persuasion that Philadelphia was the object this year, congress resolved upon forming a camp inmediately on the western side of the Delaware,

(April 15.] The following prudential act was passed-----" Whereas the continental battalions are all on footing, liable tua the same kind of services, and entitied to equal privileges; Rör solved, That the appellations-congress's own regiinent-gero. Whashington's life guards, &c. given to some of thein, are improper and ought not to be kept up ; and the officers of ine said bats talions are required to take notice hereof, and to conform theilla selves accordingly."

[April 17.] Resolved, that the stile of the committee of the cret correspondence bc altered, and that for the future it beplice -the committee of foreign affairs ; that a secretary he appointed to the said committce. Congress proceeded to the cicctioa os the said secretary, and the ballots being taken, Thomas Puina was elected,”--the author of Cominon Sense.

** The committee appointed to inquire into the conduct of the enemy, reported (April 18.]

..." That in every place where the enemy has been, there are heavy complaints of oppressions, injury and insults suffered by the inhabitants from officers, soldiers and Americans disaffected to their country's cause. The committce found these complaints so greatly diversified, that it was impossible to enumerate then, so it appeared difficult to give a distinct and comprehensive view of them, or such an account as would not if published, appear ex-' tremely defective, when read by the unhappy sufferers or the country in general.”

“In order however, in some degree, to answer the design of their appointment, they determined to divide the object of their inquiry into four parts--First, the wanton and oppressive devastation of the country and destruction of property.-Second, tlic inhuman treatment of those who were so unhappy as to become prisoners. Third, the savage butchery of many who had submitted or were incapable of resistance. Fourth, the lust and brutality of the soldiers in the abusing of women." . “ They will therefore now briefly state what they found to be the truth upon each of these heads separately, and subjoin to the whole, affidavits and other evidence to support their assertions.” . “1. The wanton and oppressive devastation of the country and destruction of property.” . “ The whole track of the British army is marked with desolation and a wanton distruction of property, particularly through West-Chester county in the state of New-York; the towns of Newark, Elizabeth-town, Woodbridge, Brunswick, Kingston, Princeton and Trenton, in New Jersey. The fences destroyed, the houses deserted, pulled in pieces or consumed by fire, and the general face of waste and devastation spread over a rich and once well cultivated and well inhabited country, would effect the most unfeeling with melancholy or compassion for the unhappy sufferers, and with indignation and resentment against the barbarous ravagers. It deserves notice, that though there are many instances of rage and vengeance against particular persons, yet the destruction was very general and often undistinguished : those who submitted and took protections, and some were known to favor them, having frequently suffered in the common ruin. Places and things, which from their public nature and general utility, should have been spared by a civilized people, have been destroyed, or plundered, or both. But above all, places of worship, ministers and religious persons of some particular protestant denominations, seem to have been treated with the most ran,

-. corvus

corous hatred, and at the same time with the highest contempt.”

“ 2. The inhuman treatment of those who were so unhappy 'as to become prisoners.” • “ The prisoners, instead of that humane treatment which

those who were taken by the United States experienced, were in general treated with the greatest barbarity. "Manv of them were near four days kept without food altogether. When they received a supply, it was both insufficient in point of quantity, and often of the worst kind. They suffered the utmost distress from cold, nakedness and close conínement. Freemen and men of substance, suffered all that a generous mind could suffer, from the contempt and mockery of British and foreign merce, naries. Multitudes died in prison; and when others were sent out, several died in the boats while carrying ashore, or upon the road attempting to go home. The committee, in the course of their enquiry, learned, that sometimes the common soldiers expressed sympathy with the prisoners, and the foreigners more than the English, But this was seldom or never the case with the officers, nor have they been able to hear of any charitable assitance given them by the inhabitants who remained in, or resorted to the city of New York; which neglect, if universal, they believe was never known to happen in any similar case, in a christian country.” . .“ 3. The savage butchery of those who had submitted and were incapable of resistance.” . “The committee found it to be the general opinion of the people in the neighborhood of Princeton and Trenton, that the enemy, the day before the battle of Princeton, had determined to give no quarter. They did not however, obtain any clear proof that there were any general orders for that purpose; but the treatment of several particular persons at and since that time, has been of the most shocking kind, and gives too much countenance to the supposition. Officers wounded and disabled, some of them of the first rank, were barbarously mangled or put to death. A minister of the gospel in Trenton, who neither was nor had been in arms, was massacred in cold bloud, though humbly 'supplicating for mercy:"--[Mr. Roseburgh, of the Forks of Delaware.]

“ 4. The lust and brutality of the soldiers in the abusing of women."

" The committee had authentic information of many instances of the most indecent treatment, and actual ravishinrent of married and single women ; but such is the nature of that most irreparable injury, that the persons suffering it, and their relations, Vol. II,



« ZurückWeiter »