« ZurückWeiter »
to arise, as if by magic, vast bodies of citizens, serving 1W79. at their own charges, choosing their own officers, trained j to great expertness, and obeying with remarkable regu- \ larity. No gentleman, no nobleman could show his sace in the country, who did not sall in with the prevailing disposition. Men of considerable fortunes served in the ranks. All this business was accomplished without any fort of confusion or disorder; while the peace of the country* and obedience to the laws, were never more prevalent. The number of trained volunteers is supposed to be about 50,000: they are admirably appointed. Government saw these proceedings with astonishment. They wished to regulate this new and unexpected force, and to bring it to act under the authority of the crown; but after a few feeble attempts, it was thought best to concur in a measure that could not be prevented. The Irish patriots having thus provided for the defence of the kingdom against foreign enemies, began to look toward their own rights; and in general disclaimed the authority of the British parliament over them, and condemned its interference in their affairs. On the 12th of October, the Irish parliament met. Upon a motion for the address, in answer to the speech of the lord lieutenant, an amendment was moved and carried in the house of commons, which occasioned the insertion of the following words in their address to the throne—" We beg leave humbly to represent to your majesty, that it is not by temporary expedients, but by a free trade alone, that this nation is now to be saved from impending ruin." The address from the lords contained similar expressions. Thus it appears, that a free and unlimited commerce with the whole world is xkiesine qua non, with the patriots
i779- of Ireland, from which they mean not to depart. The prevailing unanimity in political sentiments among the Irish, has been greatly forwarded by their parliament's -having before followed the humane example of the British legislature in relaxing the penal restrictions of the laws against the English Roman catholics. The addresses were carried up to the lord lieutenant, with great parade, amid the acclamations of the people. The duke of Leinster, who commanded the Dublin volunteers, escorted the speaker in person upon the occasion, while the streets were lined on both sides from the parliament house to the castle, by that corps drawn up in their arms and uniforms. That nobleman had before moved for the thanks of the lords to the volunteer companies through the kingdom, which was carried with only one dissenting voice.
The present letter closes with mentioning, that the Spaniards have, for some months back, invested Gibraljar both by land and sea; but the garrison seems to be under no apprehensions.
Roxbury, Jan. 27, 1780.
"DEFORE we enter upon a relation of the expedi-*-* tions against Penobscot and the Mohawks, let me mention, that in the beginning of August, gen. Washington, irgtdrt, to secure himself the more effectually from an ^779* attack by the enemy, while weakened through the absence of the detachment under gen. Sullivan, gave to a double spy, in order to be communicated, the following exaggerated account of his strength—" Fit for duty 17,010, exclusive of the troops under Sullivan, gen* Gates to the eastward, and col. Hazens—^the total number much greater—beside these; the new levies, 2000 from Massachusetts—those from Connecticut and other states coming in daily—a plan fixed, by which the whole strength can be drawn together in a sew hours upon any great emergency."
Colonel Francis M'Lean was sent from Halisax to establish a post at Penobscot, in the easternmost part of the Massachusetts state. His arrival gave an alarm to Jund the government at Boston, and vigorous measures were l^* agreed upon for preventing its establishment. The state was to have the whole honor of the expected success; and therefore Gates, who was at Providence, was neither consulted nor applied to for continental troops. Gen. Lovel was to command the militia, with a small number of state regulars, destined for the service; while capt. Saltonstall, who commanded the Warren continental frigate, acted as commodore to the whole fleet, consisting of near 20 sail, including armed state vessels and privateers, beside 24 transports. An embargo for 40 days was laid by the general court on all shipping, that a full supply of seamen might be the more easily procured. When the armament was ready for sailing, it lay wind bound in Nantasiket rOad for some days. By T J the 25th of July, it appeared off Penobscot. Colonel 25*. M'Lean had gained information of its sailing from Boston Vol. III. X four
'779* four days before. His intended fort was incapable os' affording any good defence. Two of the bastions were untouched; the remaining two with the curtains, were' in no part above 4 or $ feet high and 12 thick; the ditch in most parts not more than 3 feet dee£>: there"1 was no platform laid, nor any artillery mounted. When
jjg^ the troops had landed, instead of being put upon vigorous service, the general contented himself with summoning the colonel to surrender, which being refused, they were employed two days in erecting a battery atabout 750 yards distant from the fort. The colonel improved this opportunity, and what followed during ani ineffectual cannonading, for finishing and strengthening his works, till he was out of all apprehension from being stormed; which he was informed by a deserter, on the
Aug. 12th of August, was to be in a day or two. Colonel
I+' McLean, with his garrison, to their astonishment, discovered that the Americans had totally abandoned their camp and works in the night, and had reimbarked. The cause of this mysterious event was soon evident by the appearance of Sir George Collier ia the Raifonable, attended with five frigates. While Sir George lay at Sandy Hook, he gained information, on or before the a8th of July, from a Boston paper, as it is confidently asserted, of the expedition against Penobfcot. He sailed for the relief of the place on the 3d of August. It was not the intention of the Massachusetts government, that gen. Lovel should spend much time against it; on the contrary, the speedy reduction of the place was expected. The business being lengthened out, application was made to gen. Gates for a continental regiment; but before it could reach half way to Penobfcot, Sir G.
Collier entered arid proceeded up the bay. By eleven 17^94o'clock in the morning, the American fleet presented themselves to his view, drawn tip seemingly with the design of disputing the passage; their resolution however* soon failed, and an ignominious flight took place. Sir1 George destroyed and took, including two which were captured on his passage,- 19 armed vessels • beside the transports, and some provision vessels.- The expedition against the fort was so wretchedly conducted, as to do no credit either to the general or commodore. The army and sailors had to explore a great part of their way back by land, through thick woods and desert wastes; 1
The Oneidas; and a few others of the six confederatedIndian nations, frequently called the Mohawks, were friendly to the Americans: the rest, through the power of presents, with the influence of Sir John Johnson and some others, who had interest among them, departed from the neutrality they had engaged to observe,- and distinguished themselves in that' cruel and destructive war? which was carried on against the back settlements. Their conduct gave rise to that plan of an expedition into their country, which has been already mentioned—* p* 235; "When it was to be carried into execution, there were to be only two divisions, the main one under gen* Sullivan, and the other under gen. James Clinton, which was to go by the Mohawk river. When Sullivan was preparing to proceed, he presented to congress a most expensive arid extravagant list of enumerated articles,, in which was a large number of eggs, He made his detachment equal to 7000 rations per day, Congress were so disgusted with the great demand, and some of
X a the