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1778- for Warren, and the other for the head of Kickemuet river, where they destroyed about seventy flat-bottomed boats, and set fire to one of the state gallies, which was extinguished without doing much injury. They burnt also a quantity of pitch, tar, plank, &c. They then fired, the meeting-house at Warren, and seven dwellinghouses; and retreated toward Bristol, where their ships and boats had fallen down to receive them. In Bristol they burnt two and twenty houses, and through mistake the church instead of the meeting house. The destruction of houses and places of worship was afterward attributed chiefly to the licentiousness of the soldiers, who treated both friends and foes with cruelty, plundering houses and robbing women of their shoe-buckles, gold rings, and handkerchiefs. They carried off with them a state galley. A few days after, a party of 150 men were sent from Newport to burn the saw-mills and contiguous houses at Tiverton. They fired an old mill and old house nigh the place of landing; and then proceeded for the town to execute the business they were sent upon: but the bridge leading to it being defended by five and twenty .• men, they could not cross though they attempted it repeatedly. The advancing season will close these small excursions by bringing forward more capital operations: and for the counter-acting of which, the Americans must depend much upon supplies from

May France. This reminds me, that on the 28th, a French 50 gun ship with 350 men, a brig and a schooner, bringing arms and dry goods, arrived in James river Virginia, from Rochfort. Congress the next day, to commemorate the agreeable event which has taken place between France and the United States," resolved that a

new

new continental frigate, built in the Massachusetts, and tff*. lately launched, should be called the Alliance. Within three weeks after, the command of her was bestowed upon capt. Peter Landais.

In the beginning of June, the Trident arrived in the \

Delaware with the earl of Carlisle, Mr. Eden and gov. johnstone, three of the commissioners for restoring peace between Great Britain and America. On the 9th Sir June Henry Clinton informed gen. Washington of their being 9* at Philadelphia, and requested a passport for doctor Fer.guson, their secretary, with a letter from them to congress. The general declined granting a passport, which was unanimously approved by congress. The refusal made it necessary to forward the letter, with the acts, a copy of their commission and other papers by the common intercourse. They were received by an express from Washington on the 13th, and the letter was read till some offensive language against his most christian majesty offered, on which the further reading of it was suspended till the 16th; when the reading of that and the other papers was finished. They were referred to a committee, who drew up a letter to be sent by the president in answer to the letter and papers from the conv missioners, which was unanimously agreed to by the delegates on the 17 th, and was as follows—" I have received the letter from your excellencies of the 9th instant, with the enclosures, and laid them before congress. Nothing but an earnest desire to spare the fur*, ther effusion of human blood could have induced them to read a paper containing expressions so disrespectful to his most Christian majesty, the good and great, ally of these states, or to consider propositions so derogatory to

Vol. III. K the

1ffk the honor of an independent nation.—The acts of the British parliament, the commission from your sovereign, and your letter, suppose the people of these states to be subjects of the crown of Great Britain, and are founded on the idea of dependence, which is utterly inadmissible. —I am further directed to inform your excellencies, that congress are inclined to peace, notwithstanding the unjust claims from which this war originated, and the savage manner in which it hath been conducted. They will therefore be ready to enter upon the consideration . of a treaty of peace and commerce, not inconsistent : with treaties already subsisting, when the king of Great Britain shall demonstrate a sincere disposition for that purpose. The only solid proof of this disposition will be an explicit acknowledgment of the independence of these i -states, oh' the withdrawing his fleets and armies.—I have the honor to be, your excellencies most obedient and humble servant." Before this letter could be received by the commissioners, a movement took place at Philadelphia, which must have completely frustrated all negotiation, had the same been even in a train answering to the wishes of the British agents; for it indicated an apprehension of great danger to the royal forces should' they continue in the city. "Mr. Eden brought with him secret orders for the ipeedy evacuation of Philadelphia: they were so secret as- not to be made known either to himself dr gov. Johnstone. Whether the earl of Carlisle met with the like treatment is not yet ascertained. It has been publicly ^asserted, that the orders were dated exactly three weeks before the commissioners sailed from England, which carries the date back to the last of March. On their delivery, Sir Henry Clinton immediately applied him-1778* self to the putting of them into execution. By the 18th June every thing being ready, the British army evacuated the city, at three o'clock in the morning. They proceeded to Gloucester Point, three miles down the river, and before ten the whole had palled in safety across the Delaware into New Jersey. At ten they began their marcfc to Haddonfield, which they reached the same day. Your curiosity may make you desirous of knowing in what condition the British left Philadelphia. An American ison of liberty, who visited it the beginning of July, wrote to his friend—" The whole north side of the city, before you enter, is a promiscuous scene of ruin. Upon getting into the city, I was surprised to find it had suffered so little. I question whether it would have sared better, had our own troops been in possession of it, that is, as to the buildings." The necessary preparations for its evacuation could not be concealed frpm gen. Washington; and when the appearance of their intending to march through Jersey became serious, he detached gen. Maxwell's brigade, in conjunction with the militia of that state, to.impede the progress of the royal troops, Ib as to give the American army time to come up with them, and take advantage of any favorable circumstances that might offer. Some time before, gen. Lee having been exchanged, bad joined the army at Valley Forge. The evening preceding the evacuation, the principles of the operations proper to be adopted were taken up and fully discussed by his excellency and the general officers, when it appeared to be the common sentiment, that it would be highly criminal to hazard a general action with the enemy at present, as by it they

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1778. might lose every advantage which a three years war, combined with many fortunate circumstances, had given to America. The next day his excellency after observing, "near 11,000 men would be able to march off the ground in a condition for service," proposed in writing a set of queries to the several general officers, in order to 4earn the particular opinion of each, as to "what is to be done?" which was to be returned on paper. The answers were in common the same with the prevailing sentiment of the council on the preceding day. Gen. Mifflin was not of the number consulted. He would have gloried in being present to have taken an active part upon this occasion; but by some secret manoeuvres was thrown at a distance. He desired and obtained leave -of congress, on the 14th of May, to join the army, and repaired to Valley Forge. Some of the general officers were disgusted at the thought of his returning to his command, now the campaign was opening, to share in the honors it might yield, when he had not shared with them in the peculiar distresses of their winter quarters. When their sentiments came to be known to certain members of congress, measures were taken to produce and perfect the following motion on June the nth, "That gen. Washington be directed to order an inquiry to be made into the conduct of major gen. Mifflin, late quartermaster general, and the other officers who acted under him in that department; and if it shall appear that the extraordinary deficiencies thereof, and the consequent distresses of the army, were chargeable to the misconduct of the quarter-master general, or any of the said officers, that a court martial be held on the delinquents." When this inquiry was ordered to be made, he was with the

army,

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