Abbildungen der Seite

of extortion, and the greater one of refusing to deliver blithe goods upon the credit of the Thirteen United States. "This irrefragable evidence of the depravity of morals in so many of the citizens of these states, is a most alarming circumstance," fay they; "and if the several governments do not speedily exert their authority effectually to suppress such unheard of extortion, it will unquestionably ifliie, and at no very distant period, in the destruction os the liberties of this continent. Shall we then tamely fee ourselves compelled, by the wicked conduct of some of the citizens of these states, to the cruel necessity of submitting to the mercy of an enraged tyrant?" The president was desired to lay the resolutions before the general assembly, who were requested to keep them and their proceedings thereon secret, till carried into execution. The general court, instead of interfering, has prudently left the business to take its own course. Those traders, who want to go to market again and make fresh purchases, cannot fell upon the credit of even the Thirteen United States. The increasing depreciation of the currency is another reason against it. The paper emission is now more than three hundred per cent. for hard money, and by the end of April will probably be four for one: so that when this, the risks of the sea, the scarcity of the commodity, the few returns that can be made, the advance of expences through the rife of provision, labor, &c. and other circumstances are taken into consideration, the rate of from ten to eighteen hundred per cent, has far more the appearance than the reality of extortion.

The convention and convention-troops demand our pext attention,

1777. While upon their march to the neighbourhood of Boston, the British behaved with such insolence as confirmed the country in their determination never to submit; for the people said, " If they are thus insolent «ow they are prisoners, what would they be were they our masters?" The Germans stole and robbed the houses, as they came along, of clothing and every thing on which they could lay their hands, to a large amount. When at Worcester indeed they themselves were robbed, though in another way. One Dawes, the issuing commissary, upon the first company's coming to draw their rations, balanced the scales by putting into that which contained the weight, a large stone; when that company was gone (unobserved by the Germans, but not by all present) the stone was taken away before the next came, and all the other companies except the first had short allowance. The troops having finished their march, were quartered in the barracks near Cambridge. It was with difficulty gen. Glover could procure quarters for the gens. Burgoyne, Reidefel and Phillips, in the town itself. The inhabitants were totally averse to accommodating them. They could not forget the burning of Charlestown. A remonstrance was soon presented to Burgoyne by the officers, complaining, that instead of being conveniently lodged, according to their different ranks, agreeable to the convention, they were put into barracks, made of single boards, five, six, and seven in a room, without any distinction of rank. Unfortunately for them, there was upon the committee appointed by the general court to the business of quartering them, one John Taylor, who, though of the council, was of a base spirit, and had raised himself by it to the possession

of considerable property and influence. He disgraced 1777* religion by making a great profession. The last however gave him much weight with well-meaning men, who had only a superficial acquaintance with him. This person could put up with any lodging; and thought, that what would do for him, might do for British prisoners though officers. Thus it happened that they were no better accommodated. They had reason to complain; but the treatment which gen. Burgoyne personally met with was pleasing. He went to Boston and dined at gen. Heath's, who commands in this department. He observed with great satisfaction the good behaviour of the towns-people. There was no rabble collected to insult him, either going or returning. He remarked, when recrossing the ferry to where Charlestown stood, (when his eyes surveyed with admiration its awfully majestic conflagration) that he should have met with very different treatment even in London.

Suspicions began to be entertained lest the general had some sinister design os conveying the troops to New York or elsewhere, when they should be embarked, instead of sailing with them to Great Britain; and the public wished to have some pretence for detaining them. It was hinted to congress, that should Sir W. Howe continue obstinately to refuse settling an equitable cartel for the exchange of prisoners, they would be justified in ordering the fulfilling of the convention of Saratoga to be delayed, until the United States received justice in that particular. Congress soon ordered a committee to consider a return of ordnance and stores taken from the enemy, which was enclosed in a letter of the ioth of November, accompanying that hint. Upon the report

1777. port of the committee, on the 1 ad, the president was directed immediately to fend an express to gen. Gates, desiring answers to several questions. On December

®ec* the 3d, the general wrote from Albany to the president —" I had the honor to receive your excellency's letter of the 23d ult. by Mr. Pierce, and immediately proceeded to dispatch to the congress the required answers. Respecting the standards, gen. Burgoyne declared upon his honor, that the colours of the regiments were left in Canada. As to the military chest, its contents might so easily be disposed of, that to have sought for it would have been ineffectual. The British army, all last war, left the paymaster general and the military chest in some secure town, and warrants were granted upon the paymaster general there. From the best accounts, the enemy's army had been lately cleared off; so that it is not probable there was any military chest. The medicines were left with the general hospital, which gen. Burgoyne left behind him at Freeman's farm. Many of the cartouch boxes were left, and some were carried away. The mentioning of the accoutrements was forgotten in the convention. Those that have been carried off have been fold upon the road to Boston for drams. The quantity of field ammunition and musket cartridges taken, are by no means inconsiderable. The rest was used and destroyed before the treaty commenced. The muskets will ever be less in number than the prisoners, as the drummers and staff officers do not carry firelocks. Many arms were lost in the two hundred batteaus, that were taken from the enemy in their retreat from Free-' man's farm, and many others were plundered by the militia on the east side of the river, - The bayonets were

5 , also

also pilfered by our own people. The very' guards .' themselves supplied their wants from the piles. Many of the scabbards for the bayonets were disposed of in the like manner. I believe there was no destruction of military stores after the convention, by or wirh the privity of gen. Burgoyne or his officers. It is so extraordinary for a British army to surrender their arms, that we ought not to wonder at the violent and disappointed for committing some irregularities; but I do not conceive, that any thing of sufficient consequence was done, to justify our charge of their having violated the convention. On the day gen. Burgoyne surrendered, I received repeated expresses to inform me, that the enemy's fleet had advanced up to within a few hours sailing of Albany. The removal of the army was therefore; immediately necessary to cover that city and secure our magazines. My principal attention was of course directed towards that object. Gens. Glover and Whipple gave me their assistance and entire approbation in the settlement of the convention. , When things of such importance must be done in a hurry, some articles of seeming importance never sail to be omitted. The arms were piled up agreeable to the letter of the convention, and their condition as good as can be expected upon such occasions. Their being wholly unfit for service, is partly owing to the land and water carriages, but chiefly to the want of proper packages to secure them. Our own men have changed them; but here I think we should not imprudently expose the insant state of our military discipline."

General Burgoyne was desirous of altering the place for the embarkation of the convention troops from the


« ZurückWeiter »