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tinction ; yet they saw before them the smoking ruins of Charlestown, and witnessed one of the finest towns of New-England laid in ashes by the wanton revenge of a merciless foe; such a scene, so unprovoked, and so unexpected from magnanimous Britain, kindled in the breasts of these noble sons of freedom, a spirit of indignation, which nothing but the distresses of the innocent sufferers, and the horrors of the scene, could possibly have inspired : an indignation, which spread like lightning through the colonies, and called for the most prompt and speedy revenge. Had it been the act of the savage, it might have been borne.

Both parties proceeded to strengthen and fortify their frontiers, watch each others motions, and wait for the issue of events,

CHAPTER VIII.

AMERICAN REVOLUTION CONTINUED.-SECOND GENERAL CON

GRESS.-APPOINTMENT OF GEN. GEORGE WASHINGTON AS COMMANDER IN CHIEF, &c.

The second General Congress, being regularly chosen, assembled at Philadelphia, and commenced their sittings on the 10th of May, 1775, and chose the Honourable Peyton Randolph, President, and Charles Thomson, Secretary, On this memorable morn, Colonel Allen summoned the fortress of Ticonderoga, " in the name of the Great Je. hovah, and the Continental Congress," and the commanding officer obeyed his summons about 6 hours before Congress began to exist as a body. Congress having taken into their serious and deliberate consideration the state of the colonies, proceeded to address the Canadians in a stile well calculated to open their eyes, to a sense of that oppressive government, under which they groaned, and proffered an alliance, well calculated to promote mutual harmony, union, and interest. On the 2d of June, they interdicted all intercourse, or traffic with the enemy, by the following resolve. .

“ Resolved, That no provision of any kind be furnished, or supplied, to, or for the use of the British army, or navy, in the Massachusetts-bay, or of any transport.”

On the 7th of June, Congress assumed the stile of the Twelve United Colonies, in the following resolve. . •

Resolved, “ That Thursday the 20th of July be observed throughout the twelve united colonies, as a day of public humiliation, fasting and prayer.” Which became the appellation of the American confederacy.

On the Sth of June, Major Skeen, of Skeensborough, arrived at Philadelphia from England, with a commission

of governor and commander in chief of Ticonderoga, and Crown Point, and with orders to raise a regiment in America for the defence, and protection of those posts ; but he was taken into custody by order of Congress and detained as prisoner of war.

On the 9th Congress proceeded to take into consideration the civil affairs of Massachusetts, and resolved, “ that no obedience being due to the act of Parliament for altering the charter of Massachusetts-bay, nor to a governor or lieutenant-governor, who will not observe the direc. tions of, but endeavour to subvert that charter. The

governor and lieutenant-governor of that province are to . be considered as absent, and their offices vacant; and as

there is no council there, and the inconveniences arising from the suspension of the powers of government, are intolerable ; that in order to conform as near as may be to the spirit, and substance of the charter, it be recommended to the provincial convention, to write letters to the inhab. itants of the several places, entitled to representation in assembly, requesting them to choose such representatives, and that the assembly when chosen and met, do elect counsellors; and that such assembly and council exercise the powers of government, until a governor of his majesty's appointment will consent to govern the colony accord. ing to charter."

On the 10th, Congress recommended to the colonies to ' collect materials, and manufacture their own gun-powder.

On the'14th Congress resolved, “That six companies of expert rifemen, be immediately raised in Pennsylvania; of two in Maryland, and two in Virginia ; and that each

company, consisting of sixty-eight privates, besides officers, march as soon as completed, and join the army at Boston, to be there employed as light-infantry.” : On the 15th Congress proceeded to choose by ballot,

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17

a commander in chief for the American forces, and George Washington, Esq. then a member, was unanimously chosen. On the 16th the president notified Colonel Washinton of his appointment, when he rose in his place, and made the following reply:

“Mr. President, · "Though I am truly sensible of the high honour done me in this appointment, yet I feel great distress from a consciousnes, that my abilities and military experience may not be equal to the extensive, and important trust. How'ever, as the Congress desire it, I will enter upon the momentous duty, and exert every faculty I possess in their service, and for the support of the glorious cause. · I beg they will accept'my most cordial thanks for this distinguished testiinony of their approbation. But lest some unlucky event should happen, unfavourable to my reputation, I beg it may be remembered by every gentleman in this room, that I this day declare, I do not think myself equal to the command I am honoured with. - “ As to pay, sir, I beg leave to inform the Congress, that as no pecuniary consideration could have tempted me to accept this arduous employment, at the expence of my domestic ease and happiness, I do not wish to make any profit from it. I will keep an exact account of my expences. Those I doubt not they will discharge, and that is all I desire."

Such modesty and disinterested patriotism are not recorded, even of Cincinnatus. Courtly and dignified, yet easy and affabie in his deportment ; firm, temperate, humane, and modest in his disposition; this hero of America accepted a trust which led him to enter the lists with the Howes, the Clintons, and Burgoynes of Britain, those champions of the age, who considered British soldiers and

British valour as paramount to every enterprise, and viewed the resistance of the colonies as the madness of folly,

and sure precursor of defeat, disgrace, slavery, and ruin. · But the God of our fathers, who seeth not as man seeth,

had raised up a deliverer for his people, in that.young hero, who had conducted the retreat in the old war, at the famous defeat of the British General Braddock, and led off in safety the shattered remains of his army. He who had so largely shared in the fatigues, and dangers of that war, and witnessed the almighty displays of Divine Power, in granting deliverance to his people, in the defeat and disgrace of their enemies, and the total overthrow of the power of France in America, was now destined, by the same almighty power of God to become the deliverer of his people, by a total overthrow of the despotic power of Britain, in America. • The wisdom of Congress in selecting for this important trust, such a man as Col. Washington, possessing such an exalted character, was truly conspicuous ; but the local residence of the commander in chief of the American armies, was also of the highest importance to the colonies, to promote harmony and union. This was also accomplished in the appointment of Col. Washington, who was a native of Virginia, in the centre of the colonies, who thereby concentrated the discordant interests of the North and South, in that disinterested patriotism, that was so uniformly displayed in his character; balanced that overbearing strength which New-England had ever felt, and expressed, from her earliest settlement, and converted it to the best interest of

the whole. God directed the choice, and blest the ap. s pointment.

When the commission was made out, and delivered to Gen. Washin gton, Congress pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honours, to support him in his arduous duties, of defending, and preserving American liberty.

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