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ing of 100 volunteers under major Stewart, each with unloaded muskets and fixed bayonets, preceded by a brave and determined officer, with twenty picked men, to remove the abatis and other obstructions. The last, and the overflowing of the morass in front by the tide, prevented the assault's commencing till about 20 minutes after twelve. (July 16.] Previous to it, Wayne placed himself at the head of the right column, and gave the troops the most pointed orders not to fire on any account, but place their whole dependence on the bayonet, which order was faithfully obeyed. Such was the ardor of the troops, that in the face of a most tremendous and incessant fe of musketry, and from cannon loaded with grape-shot, they forced their way, at the point of the bayonet, through every obstacle, and both columns met in the centre of the enemy's works nearly at the same instant. Fleury struck their standard with his own hand. Notwithstanding the provocations given by the plunderings and burnings at New Haven, East-Haven, Fairfield and Green-farms, of which they had heard, such was the humanity of the continental soldiers, that they scorned to take the lives of the foe calling for inercy, so that there were but few of the enemy killed upon the occasion. Great is the triumph of the Americans upon the success of this enterprise ; and justiy, for it would have done honor to the most veteran troops. Wayne had but 15 killed and $3 wounded, not above 30 of whom will be finally lost to the service. The general hiniself received a slight wound in the head with a nusket-ball; but it did not prevent his going on with the troops; and he is not included in the wounded. The enemy had only 63 killed. Lieutenant-colonel Johnston, who commanded the fort, with other officers and privates, amounting to 543, were made prisoners. . . ,
The attack upon Verplank, entrusted with gen. Howe, miscarried partly through delays occasioned by irigh winds, which prevented the timely transportation of artillery; but chietly through the troops neglecting to take axes with them. The ene. my, upon their approach, broke down all the bridges, and there by cut off the communication by land. Before Howe could receive the means for constructing temporary bridges, Sir H. Clinton marched up troops enough to save the place. Gen. Wasi. ington not being in sufficient force to hold possession of Stonypoint, resolved upon the removal of the cannon and stores, and upon the destruction of the works, which were accomplished with all dispatch. About a weck before, a certain officer, whose station gave him the opportunity of catching deserters from the American camp, was so enraged at their being very nudicrous, that he, informed the general he would cut off the bead of the next that fell into his hands; the general wrote immediately, and prohibited such execution ; but it had taken place before the letter was received, and the head was forwarded to general Washington. He was shocked at receiving it, and also greatly alarmed fron, an apprehension of its exciting a general disgust and uneasiness among the people at large, should it be known Express orders were given to the officer to conduct himseif properly for the future. His rashness was afterward atoned for in measure, by his contributing much to the success of the enterprise against Stony.point. : [July 26.] Congress unanimously resolved upon thanks to gen. Washington, for the vigilance, wisdom and magnanimity with which he had conducted the military operations of the states, and manifested particularly in his orders for the above enterprise: They also thanked gen. Wayne for his brave, prudent and soldierly conduct, in his spirited and well conducted attack. They highly commended the coolness, discipline and firm intrepidity of the officers and soldiers. They took proper notice of lieut. col. Fleury and major Stewart; and warmly applauded lieut. Gibbons and lieut. Knox, who led on the forlorn hope and preceded the vans of the two columns, and gave to each a brevet of captain. They further resolved, that a medal, emblematical of the action be struck, and that one of gold be presented to gen. Wayne, and a silver one to both Fleury and Stewart; and that the value of the military stores taken, be ascertained and dia vided among the troops by whom Stony-point was reduced.
Being brought to mention congress, let me detail some of their further proceedings. • The first conimissary-general, col. Joseph Trumbull, is no more; his decease has been thought to have been brought on by the proceedings of congress relative to him--they however resolved [March 30.] that with great care, industry, labor and attention, he instituted a plan by which the army, during his continuance in oilice, was amply supplied, with noch economy and to general satisfaction; and that certain allowances should be made for the benefit of his legal representatives. They resolved [April 20.] “That suspicions and animosities have arisen among the late and present commissioners, namely, Dr. Franklin, Mr. Silas Dcane, Mr. Arthur Lee, Mr. Ralph Izard, and Mr. William Lee, highly prejudicial to the honor and interest of the United States. It was resolved (April 27.] that the president inform the commander in chief, that if he wants specie for secret services, he may draw to the amount of 2000 guinea's upon the treasurer, who will pay the same. Bills prepared by the committee of the treasury on doctor Franklin, in favor of
the committee of commerce, for the sum of 360,000 livers tournois, for the purpose of importing military stores, were ordered to be signed by the president ; and it was resolved, ( June 10:} * That the faith of the United States be pledged to make good any contract or engagement which shall be entered into by their pinister plenipotentiary at the court of France, for procuring money or credit to enable him to honor the said bills, and provide for their punctual discharge." The next day it was agreed to borrow twenty millions of continental dollars, at an interest of six per cent, per annum. Three days after, it was resolved upon the report of a committee; “That congress are satisfied with the conduct of doctor John Morgan, while acting as director general and physician in chief, in the generat hospitals of the United States, and that this resolution be published.” (June 14.] Congress in a letter of congratulation to his most Christian majesty on the birth of a princess, say ainong other things365 Permit us to request the favor of your majesty to oblige us with portraits of yourself and royal consort, that by being placed in our council chamber the representatives of these states may daily have before their eyes the first royal friends and patrons of their cause.” They in another letter request his majesty to furnish them with the necessary supplies of arms, ammunition and clothing, the estimate of which their minister was to lay before him, and they pledged the faith of the states for the repayment with interest, of whatever sums may be advanced for the purpose, as soon as the restoration of peace shall enable thein.
[July 12.) The minister of France had a conference with congress in a committee of the whole. He introduced the conference by saying, that he had received some dispatches from his court, which he was ordered to communicate to congress, but that he expected no answer ;—that though it was not the usual practice to offer communications of this nature in writing, yet as it had been intimated to him by the president, that this mode would be most agreeable to congress, he had committed the heads of them to paper, not as a memorial, but merely for the assistance of the menory, in a form to which the term of ad statum legendi is appropriated by the usage of the courts of Europe ;----that in reading the said paper, he would take the liberty of making some explanations and reflections.
id statum legendi delivered by the minister plenipotentiary. • 1. The king has approved all the overtures that were made by his minister plenipotentiary to the honorable congress, respecting the affairs of Mr. de Beaumarchais ; therefore a line ought to be drawn between the stores which this gentleman has been permitted to take out of the royal magazines, for which he Vol. II,
has constituted himself debtor to the department of war, and between those articles which the same gentleman has brought in the way of common trade for the use of the United States.
2. A hint having been given to the minister plenipotentiary, that congress desire to recruit their ships in France, from the English prisoners there, the court in consequence of this repre. sentation, is willing to facilitate this mode of recruiting seamen.
3. The king and ministry were extremely pleased with the resolution congress has taken to maintain only one minister plenipotentiary at their court, as well as with the exclusive appointment of so steady and honest a man, and so firm and solid a patriot as doctor Franklin.
4. The congress has given a very great satisfaction to the court of France, by the convenient and spirited step which was taken to disavow a certain ill grounded and pernicious doctrine relating to the mutual obligation of the allies to conclude no truce or peace without the knowledge and consent of each other. The court of France is of opinion, that this doctrine could only be maintained by those men whose aim would be to seek by any means, to weaken the ties of the alliance, and to create disgust and diffidence between the allies. .
5. This court has received with some surprise, the intelligence that congress has published the treaties concluded with her, without the previous knowledge and consent of the interested party. It is not to be denied, that such proceedings is but little consistent with reason, and with the general practice of courts and nations; nevertheless, this observation involves not any kind of reproach, but the king thinks that so noble and so generous a system of politics could not but produce desirable effects by its publication.
6. The intelligence that in the first months of last winter, there were no adequate preparations made in America toward a vigorous and successful campaign, was received at Versailles with all the concern which the dangers of the United States and the prolongation of the present contest can create in the most friendly mind. The court of France is fully of opinion, that the exertions of the United States are necessary to bring the common enemy to a proper sense of all the disappointments which he shall meet with.. :.7. This court being very desirous to acquaint congress exactly with the state of affairs relating to the common cause, would not delay to inform this honorable body, that the court of London, showing on one side dispositions to a reconciliation with France, rejects on the other side, the very idea of a forinal and çxplicit acknowledgment of the independence of the United
States, which his most Christian majesty perseveres to hold up as a preliminary and essential condition. The behaviour of the common enemy in this respect, rendered a great deal more probable the conjecture which was communicated to congress some time ago, that the point of honor and pride of the king of England, will be the greatest obstacle to the conclusion of the peace upon those explicit terms: and perhaps the manner of overcoming this difficulty, will of course become the most decisive object of the deliberation of congress, when this honorable body shall determine to make peace. It is presupposed whatever mezo termine may be hit upon, that England shall treat with the United State as with a free people, and evacuate immediately all the territories belonging to them.
The substance of what the minister said at the conference, in explanation of the foregoing articles.
1. From the bills and accounts with which congress have been furnished by Mr. de Beaumarchais, congress would be enabled to distinguish those articles which were drawn from the royal magazines, and those which le supplied in a way of trade ; for those last congress would without doubt make remittances to Mr. de Beaumarchais in their own way, to enable him to perform the contracts.he had entered into as a merchant. That for the forma er articles, the king his master taking upon himself to be credi. tor to the United States, would wait until the congress should find it convenient to make compensation. .
2. Though his court had not resolved to retaliate upon the prisoners in their hands for injurice done to prisoners by the conimon enemy ; yet for the reasons assigned, the king his master had assented to the proposal ; but in carrying this matter into execution, it would be proper to take such precautions, and to give such orders to the captains, or other persons employed in the business, that it might be managed with prudence.
3. There is every reason to believe that congress will receive vcry soon proofs of the confidence which his court was always willing to show to the servants of these states. The personat character of Dr. Franklin will enable the court to act with a frankness becoming the alliance ; they will have no occasion to withhold any more the secrets which may interest the United States and the alliance.
4. The king his master, after this explicit step, relies with the highest confidence upon the candor and faithfulness of congress in understanding as well as in executing the treaty, and in re. jecting every arbitrary and unnatural interpretation or construction, which fales, subtle or designing men can contrive. Congressa