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himself, or a Pennsylvania 'refugee--by his leaving the troops under Burgoyne to shift for themselves, in case the reinforcement from Europe did not arrive in time, the subjugation of the country may be entirely prevented. Gen. Gates was directed, on the 15th of April, to repair forth with to Fish-kill, and to take the conuand of all the troops on the North-River and in the whole northern department. He was also to take effectual measures, to secure the communication between the eastern and southern states, by maintaining the possession of the river; and for that purpose was empowered to provide gallies, gun--boats, fire-rafts, chains, cassoons and chevaux-de-Frise, and to erect all necessary fortifications. West-Point has for some time been pitched upon as a proper spot; and the troops have begun, and are going on to fortify it. When the works are completed, is will be a much stronger post than Fort Montgomery, and is higher up the river, and projects into it. The soldiers, whether militia or continentals, will according to custom, be employed upon them till finished without putting the states to any particular charge for labor in erecting them.
Congress were expecting that something would turn up in Eus rope favorable to America ; and were confirmed in their expects ation, upon the receipt of draught of a bill for declaring the intention of the British parliament as to the exercise of their right of imposing taxes on the Americans as also the draught of it bill to enable the king to appoint commissioners with powers to treat, consult and agree upon the means of quieting certain disorders with the colonies. These drauglits were sent from Philadelphia togen. Washington who forwarded them to York-Town.[April 22. congress took thcminto consideration, and, olsserving that they had been industriously circulated in a partial and secret man. ner, ordered that they should be forthwith printed forthc publiein. formation ; but at the same time took care to counteract their in. fluence by the remarks they published respecting them. The. declared their belief, that the parliament would conter on their the usual solemnitics of their laws and then observed, that upon supposition the matters contained in them should really go ind to the British statute book, they would serve to show, in a cleax point of view, the weakness and wickedness of the enemy : 01 these they expatiated. This done they said—“ It appears erin dent that the said bills are intended to operate upon the hopesan fears of the good people of these states, so as to create divisions among them, and a defection from the common cause; and the they are the sequelofthat insidious plan, which from thedaysoftlic stamp-act down to the present time, hath involved this country in a contention and bloodshed.” Congress went on to pronounce, tha2 if any man or body of men presume to make any separate or partial convention or agreement with the British commissioners, they ought to be considered and treated as open and avowed enemies of the United States. They declared, “ That these United States cannot with propriety hold any conference, or treaty with any commissioners on the part of Great-Britain unless they shall, as a preliminary thereto either withdraw their fleets and armies, or else in positive and express terms acknowledge the indepen. dence of the said states.” They then, from an apprehension that it is the design of the enemy to lull them into a fatal security, call upon the states to use the most strenuous exertions to have their respective quotas of continental troops in the field as soon as possible, and to hold all their militia in readiness to act as occasion may require. The congress at this period had no knowledge of a treaty's liaving been entered into by France with their commissioners; but they conjectured that there would be a rupture in Europe between the French and British nations, and to avail themselves of the occasion, and detach the tories from the enemy, they the next day recommended to the states the of fering of pardon, under the restrictions that might be thought expedient, to such of their inhabitants or subjects who had levi. ed war against them, or had adhered to the enemy, as should surrender theniselves to any civil or military officer of any of the states, or return to the state they belonged to before the íoth of next June. The arrival of the conciliatory bills at New-York and Philadelphia, excited equal astonishment and indignation in the royal forces. These thought their personal honor wounded in the recantation now made of all that high language and treatment, which they had been accustomed to hold or to offer to the Americans. The disappointment was the greater, as the bills were the substitute to a reinforcement of twenty thousand men, which they had expected. But the feelings of the numerous body of American refugees is not to be described.
A committee of congress was appointed on the 1st of May, “ to inquire into the laws and customs of nations respecting neutrality and to report whether the conduct of the king of Portu. gal in forbidding the vessels of the United States, to enter his ports and ordering those already there to depart at a short day, is not a breach of the laws of neutrality and will not justify acts of liostility against the subjects of the said kingdom.” On the third, during the Sunday's adjournment, Mr. Simeon Deane, brother to Silas Deane, esql arrived express from France, with sundry important dispatclies, whereupon congress was convened, and the dispatches opened and read, among which, to their in. conceivable joy, were a trcaty of cornmerce and a treaty ofalliance;
concluded between his most Christian majesty the king of France and the United States of America. The treaties were duly weighed and considered separately the next day, and upon each it was unanimosly resolved," That the same be and is hereby ratified." There was an act separate and secret in the following terms_-" The most Christian king declares, in consequence of the intimate union which subsists between him and the king of Spain, that in concluding with the United States of America this treaty of amity and commerce, and that of eventual and defensive alliance, his majesty hath intended and intends to reserve expressly, and he reserves by this present separate and secret act to his said Catholic majesty, the power of acceding to the said treaties, and to participate in their stipulations. at such time as he shall judge proper.---it being well understood nevertheless, that if any of the stipulations of the said treaties are not agreeable to the king of Spain, his Catholic majesty may propose other con
ditions analagous to the principle aim of the alliance, and con· formable to the rules of equality, reciprocity and friendship."
This act being duly weighed, it was resolved unanimously, “That the same be and is hereby ratified." The next resolution was. “ That this congress entertain the highest sense of the magnanimity and wisdom of his most Christian inajesty, so strongly exemplified in the treaty of amnity and comınerce, and the treaty of alliance; and the commisioners representing these states, at the court of France, are directed to present the grateful acknowledgemnents of this congress to his most Christian majesty, for his truly magnanimous conduct respecting these states, in the said geneTous and disinterested treaties, and to assure his majesty, on the part of this congress, it is sincerely wished that the friendship so happily commenced between France and these United States nay bé perpetual.” On the 5th they resolved, “That the commissioners be instructed to inform the court of France, that although congress have readily ratified the treaties and the act sea parate and secret ; yet from a sincere desire of rendering the friendship and aliiance so happily begun, permament and perpeta nal, and being apprehensive that differences may arise from the 14th and 12th articles in the treaty of amity and commerce, congress are desirous that the said articles may be utterly expunged." Mr. Lee was against admitting these articles, and assigned his reasons to Messrs. Franklin and Deane on the 30th of January ; who on the first of February wrote to Mr. Gerard, that they concurred in desiring that the same might be omitted, notwithstanding which they were retained. You will not expect me to delineate the inexpressible satisfaction that the report of these treaties spread through the United States. The people were in raptuies. VOL. II.
'The several brigades of the army, by gen. Washington's orders, assembled in the morning of the 6th, when their chaplains communicated the intelligence, offered up a thanksgiving, and deli. vered a discouise suitable to the occasion. They were then form. cd into two lines, when thirteen cannon were discharged; at the firing of the last, a running fire of infantry began on the right and continued through the whole front line ; it was then taken up on the left of the second line, and continued to the right. A signal was given and the whole -army huzzaed, “ Long live the king of France." The artillery fired as before, which was succeeded by a second general discharge of all the musketry in a running fire, and by a “ Long live the friendly European powers.” The military ceremony was reitered, and closed with a huzza “ for the American states.” The remainder of the day passed away in universal joy and gladness. Every American will soon have, from the publication of the treaties, an opportunity of learning their contents ; mean while congress have recominended to all, “ to consider the subjects of his most Christian majesty as their brethren and allies, and to behave toward them with the friendship and attention due to the subjects of a great prince, who with the bighest, magnanimity and wisdom hath treated with these United States on terms of perfect equality and mutual advantage, thereby rendering himseif the protector of the rights of mankind.”
The congress, after receiving the treaties, had a stronger feeling of their own importance than before, and resolved, “ That the cominissioners appointed for the courts of Spain, Tuscany, Vienna and Berlin, should live in such stile and manner at their respective courts as they may find suitable and necessary to support the dignity of their public character.” They elected Ralph Izard, esq. cominissioner for the court of Tuscany; and William Lee, esq. for the courts of Berlin and Vienna, On the 8th of May they agreed to a draught of“ An address to the inhabitants of the United States of America.” In it they recapitulate in a masterly and affecting manner, the occurrences and state of the three preceding years. Their language is calculated to seize and lead the passions captive at pleasure. When they come to the French treaties they say~" You have still to expect one severe conflict. Your foreign alliances, though they secure your independence, cannot secure your country from desolation, your habitations from plunder, your wives from insult or violation, nor your children from butchery. Foiled in the principle design, you must expect to feel the rage of disappointed ainbition. Arise then ! to your tents ! and gird you for battle. It is time to turn the headlong current of vengeance upon the hcad of the destroy
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er. They have filled up the measure of thieir abominations, and like fruit, must soon drop from the tree. Although much is done, yet much remains to do. Expect not peace while any corner of America is in possession of your foes. You must drive thene away froin this land of promise, a land flowing indeed with milk and honey. Your brethren at the extremities of the continent, already implore your friendship and protection. It is your duty to grant their request. They hunger and thirst after libertv. Be it yours to dispense to them the heavenly gift. And what is there now to prevent it?” They afterward hold up to their view, the sweets of a free commerce with every part of the earth, soon to' reimburse them for all the losses they have sustained; the full tide of wealth to flow in upon their shores, free from the arbitrary impositions of those whose interest and whose declared policy it is to check their growth; and the nourishing and justering of their interests by government, whose power will be derived from their grant; and that will therefore be obliged, by the influence of cogent necessity, to exert it in their favor. They close with—“It is to obtain these things tirat we call for your strenuous, unremitted exertions. Yet do not believe that you have been, or can be saved merely by your own strength. No! It is by the assistance of Heaven; and this you must assiduously cultivate by acts, which Heaven approves. Thus shall the power and happiness of these sovercign, free and independent states, founded on the virtue of their citizens, increase, extend and endure; until the Almighty shall blot out all the empires of the earth.” That this animated, but in some instances, extravagant address, might have its full operation, and to the utmost extent, they recommended to ministers of the gospel of all denominations, the reading, or causing of it to be read inimediately after divine service, to the inhabitants of the United States, in their respective churches and chapels, and other places of religious worship. A week after, they resumed the subject of making an allowance to othcers after the war, and then resolved unanimously, “That all military officers conuinissioned by congress, who now are or hereafter may be in the service of the United States, and shall continue therein during the war, and not licid any office of profit under these states, or any of them, shall, after the conclusion of the war, be entitled to receive annually, for the term of seven years, if they live so long, one half of the present pay of such officers; provided that no general officer of the cavalry, artillery or infantry, shall be entitled to receive more than the one half part of the pay of a colonel of such corps; and provided that this resolution srail not extend to any