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1778. victed of high treason against the commonwealth of Penn- , sylvania. The unaccountable operations of the war have been the occasion of a woful mistake in the general politics of that denomination. Encouraged by the reasonable prospect, that coercive measures properly*planned and conducted would prove successful, the body of the American quakers have sided with the ministry, in hope of establishing their civil power in the state. They have disowned several worthy members for being active in the cause of their country -, but not others for opposing it. Instead of maintaining a strict neutrality in the present contest, their partiality has been such, that the British officers have extolled their alacrity as spies, guides and informers. They have suppressed letters of Dr. Fothergill upon the impropriety of their conduct, and because they were written decidedly in savor of liberty. Let it be remembered however, that there are many deserving individuals among them, beside gens. Greene and Mifflin, who by a uniform steady perseverance in measures friendly to the American cause, have justly conciliated the esteem of their countrymen.
Nor* General Washington gave orders that no small parties 27* should by any mean be permitted to go upon Long Island. Under pretence of procuring intelligence, they became mere plundering parties, and carried off clothes, linens, ribbons, cafes of knives and forks, wine glasses, and whatever they could lay their hands upon, which they brought back and fold publicly, making at the same time a distinction in the sale between hard money and paper. They pretended that the articles were the property of tories, new-levy officers, &c. which, if true, their conduct was unpardonable, as it was not the business
of their incursions. Their rapacity made no discrimi- 1778, nation between the inhabitants, many of whom, although obliged to remain on the island, were well affected to the American cause.
The plan for reducing Canada was transmitted by congress to gen. Washington, with a request, that he would make observations upon it. He communicated the fame to them in a letter of November 11 th; which being referred to a committee, they reported on the 5th pf December, that the reasons assigned by the general against the expedition to Canada appeared to be well sounded, and to merit the approbation of congress. After that, a committee was appointed to confer with the 'commander in chief on the operations of the next cam- jjee. paign : he therefore repaired to Philadelphia on the 22d. 22, After the conference the committee reported, " That the plan proposed by congress for the emancipation of Canada, in co-operation with an armament from France, was the principal subject os the conference :—That impressed with the strong sense of the injury and disgrace which must attend an infraction of the proposed stipulation on the part of these states, your committee have taken a general review of our finances, of the circumstances of the army, of the magazines, &c. &c—That upon the most mature deliberation, your committee cannot find room for a well-grounded presumption, that these states will be able to perform their part of the proposed stipulation:—That nothing less than the highest probability of success could justify congress in making the proposition—Your committee are therefore of opinion, that the negotiation in question should be deferred till circumstances shall render the co-operation of these
Vol. III. P states
>773-states more certain, practicable and effectual:—That tac . minister of these states at the court of Versailles, the' minister of France in Philadelphia, and the marquis de la. Fayette, be respectively informed, that the operations os the next campaign must depend upon such a variety of contingencies, that time alone can mature and point out the plan, which ought to be'pursued:—That congress therefore cannot decide on the practicability of their cooperating the next campaign in an enterprise for the emancipation of Canada."" The report was accepted, and the Canada expedition laid aside after a full consideration of all circumstances. But it is to be supposed, : that there were circumstances beside what appear in the j report, which wrought strongly in the minds of some shrewd members of congress. Such might dread the introduction of a large body of French troops into Ca-, nada, and the putting of them into the possession of the capital of that province, attached to them by the'ties of blood, habits, manners,language, religion,and former connection of government. They might argue—ft France under the idea of 5000 troops,, may introduce twice the number, and having entered Quebec, may declare an intention of holding Canada as a pledge and surety for the debts due from the United States. Canada would be a solid acquisition to-France on all accounts; and no nation is to be trusted further than it is bound by its- 1 interest;. Canada would be too great a temptation to be resisted by any power actuated by the common maxims of national policy. France with that in her possession, may have it in her power to give laws to the United States: these will have less to fear from its remaining, in the hands of the British." The committee subjoined i» . 1 to
to their report a draught of a letter to the marquis de la 1778* Fayette, which was also accepted. Gen. Washington Dec. forwarded it to Boston, where the marquis lay waiting 2^* for the determination of congress. It was accompanied with one from the general, expressing a concern for his having been so delayed. Upon the receipt of them, the marquis embarked on board the Alliance frigate, Jan. 7,
The campaign in the northern states having yielded , no advantage to the British, and the winter being the proper season for southern expeditions, Sir Henry Clinton concluded upon turning his arms against Georgia. He might propose to himself the reduction of all the southern states, and be strongly inclined to it, by reason that! these states produced the most valuable commodities in the European market, and carried on a considerable export trade, which seemed little otherwise affected by the war, than as it suffered by the British cruisers: beside, their rice was devoted to the service of his enemies, while it was wanted'for the support of his sovereign's fleet and army in America. A plan of operation was concerted with gen. Prevost, who commanded in East Florida; and it was intended, that Georgia should be invaded both on the north and south side at the fame time.
While the preparations for this conjunct expedition were carrying on, two armed bodies, consisting of regulars and refugees, made a sudden and rapid incursion into Georgia from East-Florida. One of them came in boats through the inland navigation, and the qther marched over land by the way of the river Alatamaha. The first demanded the surrender of Sunbury; but on receiving from lieut. col. Mackintosh the laconic refusal
'77^—come and take it-— they left the place. The latter pursued their march toward Savannah. Qen. Screveny with about a hundred militia, repeatedly skirmished with the party in their advance through the country. In one of these engagements he received a wound from a musket ball, and fell from his horse, when several of the British came up and discharged their pieces at him. He died of his wounds much regretted for his private virtues, and public exertions in behalf of his country. The invaders pursued their march till within three miles of Ogeechee ferry, where Mr. Savage with his own slaves, had erected a breast work to prevent their passing. Col. Elbert, with about aoo continentals, took post in the works, and prepared to dispute the passage of the river. These obstacles, together with information that the other party had sailed in their design upon Sunbury, determined them to retreat without attempting to cross. On their return, they laid waste the country for miles, burnt St. John's church, a number of houses, and all the rice and other grain within their reach, and also carried off all the negroes, horses, cattle and plate, they could remove either by land or water. When this desolating mode of carrying on war was complained of by the American officer to the British, the latter positively disclaimed any order or even approbation of such proceedings, but mentioned that the people under the immediate command of the former had given a precedent. The party rage which wrought on each side, led both into those cruelties, at which.humanity, shudders. . The expedition against Georgia was committed to -col. Campbell, who had been taken in Boston bay after gen. Howe had evacuated the town. The force ap.t . pointed