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George Bancroft, History of the United States from the Discovery of the American Continent, Vol. 8 76 0 Browse Search
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the man who, in the probable event of Ward's early resignation, was placed next in command to Washington. New York had been asked to propose the third major general; she had more than one citizen e no trouble. On the twenty-sixth, the provincial congress of New York, in their address to Washington, from whose abilities and virtue they were taught to expect security and peace, declared an acn we Chap. XLI.} 1775. June. assumed the soldier, we did not lay aside the citizen, answered Washington for himself and his colleagues; but having once drawn the sword, he postponed the thought of pce had been deferred; no more than four barrels of powder could be found in the city. While Washington was borne toward Cambridge on the affectionate confidence of the people, congress, which had aing themselves towards the payment of the national debt. From the complacency engendered by delusive confidence, congress was recalled to the necessities of the moment by a letter from Washington.
on of his skill and experience in the art of war, and of his sincerity in professing a zealous attachment to the cause of mankind, won for him the confidence of Washington, and expressions of admiring gratitude from the congress in Massachusetts. Gates, who arrived within a week, gained friends by his affability, and his usefulneead in the day of battle, and danger; and convince our enemies that all their attempts to deprive these colonies of their rights and liberties are vain. To Trumbull Washington made answer: The cause of our common country calls us both to an active and dangerous duty; divine providence, which wisely orders the affairs of men, will re armed with bows and arrows, as well as guns, and were accompanied by their squaws and littie ones. The American rolls promised seventeen thousand men; but Washington never had more than fourteen thousand five hundred fit for duty. The community in arms presented a motley spectacle. In dress there was no uniformity. The co
ed indefinitely. Paper money, which was never to be sunk but by the concurring action of twelve or thirteen colonies at distant periods, was virtually irredeemable, and would surely depreciate with rapidity; yet the united colonies had no other available resource, when they rose against a king who easily commanded annually twenty millions of pounds sterling in solid money. There was no mode of obtaining munitions of war but by throwing open the ports and inviting commerce, especially with the French and Dutch colonies; yet the last act of congress, before its adjournment, was the renewal of the agreement, neither directly nor indirectly to export any merchandise or Chap. XLIII.} 1775. Aug. commodity whatever to Great Britain, Ireland, or to the British, or even to the foreign, West Indies. On the first day of August the congress adjourned for five weeks, leaving the insurgent country without a visible government, and no representative of its unity but Washington and the army.
sons who were to sign the bills were dilatory; and in a scene of confusion and discord, without money, without powder, without artillery, without proper arms, he was yet expected to organize victory and drive the British from Boston. By the fourth of August the army was already formed into three grand divisions, at Roxbury, Cambridge, and Winter Hill, under the respective command of Ward, Lee, and Putnam. Each division consisted of two brigades, each brigade of about six regiments; but Washington was still unable to return the fire of the enemy, or do more than exchange a few shot by scouting parties; for when, with considerable difficulty, he obtained an accurate return of the amount of powder on hand, he found much less than half a ton; not more than enough to furnish his men with nine rounds of cartridge. The extremity of danger could not be divulged, even while he was forced to apply in every direction for relief. To Cooke, the governor of Rhode Island, he wrote on the fourth
ongly supported by many of the southern delegates; but the opposition was so powerful and so determined that he lost his point. At length, came a letter from Washington, implying his sense that the neglect of congress had brought Chap. XLVII.} 1775. Sept. matters in his army to a crisis. Not powder and artillery only were wa his native town, was welcomed with affectionate veneration. During the whole evening, wrote Greene, I viewed that very great man with silent admiration. With Washington for the military chief, with Franklin for the leading adviser from congress, the conference with the New England commissioners, notwithstanding all difficultieshus to establish a perfect understanding between him and the civil power. On this occasion Franklin confirmed that affection, confidence, and veneration, which Washington bore him to the last moment of his life. The committee were uncertain how to deal with Church, formerly an active member of the Boston committee, lately the di
Chapter 53: The March to Quebec. September—November, 1775. The detachment which Washington, as he thought- Chap. LIII.} 1775. Sept. fully brooded over the future without hope of a speedy termination of the war, sent against Quebec, consisted of ten companies of New England infantry, one of riflemen from Virginia, and two from Pennsylvania, in all two battalions of about eleven hundred men. The command was given to Arnold, who, as a trader in years past, had visited Quebec, where heg attended as chaplain. The humane instructions given to Arnold enjoined respect for the rights of property and the freedom of opinion, and aimed at conciliating the affectionate cooperation of the Canadians. If Lord Chatham's son, so wrote Washington, should be in Canada, and in any way should fall into your power, you cannot pay too much honor to the son of so illustrious a character, and so true a friend to America. Chatham, on his part, from his fixed opinion of the war, withdrew his so
ence at their quitting the army, and would scarcely furnish them with provisions; and the rebuke they met with in their towns, drove many of them back to the camp. Others in Connecticut volunteered to take the places of those who withdrew; but Washington had, through the colonial governments, already called out three thousand men from the militia of Massachusetts, and two thousand from New Hampshire, who repaired to the camp with celerity, and cheerfully braved the want of wood, barracks, and bit had invited New Hampshire and South Carolina, to institute a government of her own; and this was of the greater moment, because she was first in wealth, and numbers, and extent of territory. If that man is not crushed before spring, wrote Washington of Dunmore, he will become the most formidable enemy of America. Motives of resentment actuate his conduct to a degree equal to the Chap. LV.} 1775. Nov. total destruction of Virginia. His strength will increase as a snowball by rolling, an
certainly made every effort to arrest them; and troops without tents would hardly in midwinter have burned down the houses that were their only shelter. When Washington learned the fate of the rich emporium of his own country, for so he called Virginia, his breast heaved with waves of anger and grief; I hope, said he, this, andmpel their discharge; in October, the conference at the camp, with Franklin, Harrison, and Lynch, thought it proper to exclude them from the new enlistment; but Washington, at the crisis of his distress, finding that they were very much dissatisfied at being discarded, took the responsibility of reversing the decision; and referree. Yet the votes of congress showed a fixed determination to continue the struggle; twenty seven battalions were ordered to be raised in addition to those with Washington; it was intended to send ten thousand men into Canada; Arnold, on the motion of Gadsden, was unanimously appointed a brigadier general; powder and saltpetre beg
ada, he continued as before to render auxiliary services. The general congress acquiesced in his decision, and invited Washington to propose in his stead an officer to conduct the perilous warfare on the St. Lawrence. The position of New York gavhe king beheaded or dethroned. His zeal and his seeming success concentred upon him public confidence. Canada, said Washington, will be a fine field for the exertion of your admirable talents, but your presence will be as neces- Chap. LVIII.} 1 hundred it would be more convenient to me; and they allowed him the gratuity. When I leave this place, so he wrote to Washington on the last day of February, the provincial congress and inhabitants will relapse into their hysterics; the men-of-war LVIII.} 1776. Mar. mand of the continental forces south of the Potomac. As a Virginian, I rejoice at the change; wrote Washington, who had, however, already discovered that the officer so much courted, was both violent and fickle. On the seventh he
fell in torrents on the morning of the sixth; so that the movement against the American lines was still further delayed, till it became undeniably evident, that the attempt must end in the utter ruin of the British army. If we had powder, said Washington, I would give them a dose they would not well like. Their hostile appearances subsided; Howe called a second council of war, and its members were obliged to advise the instant evacuation of Boston. When the orders for that evacuation were inifest confession of their inability to protect their friends, who had risked every thing in their cause. Who could now put trust in their promises? On the eighth, Howe, through the selectmen of Boston, wished to come to an understanding with Washington that the town should be spared, provided he might be suffered to leave it without molestation. The unauthenticated proposal could meet with no reply from the American commander in chief, who continued to strengthen his lines, drew nearer and n
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