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[217] such just views, that his report to the French minis-
Chap. LV.} 1775. Dec.
ter, though confusedly written, is in substance exact. He explained that ‘the Americans hesitated about a declaration of independence, and an appeal to France; that the British king had not as yet done them evil enough; that they still waited to have more of their towns destroyed and more of their houses burned, before they would completely abhor the emblems of British power; that a brig was despatched to Nantes for munitions of war, and an arrangement made for purchasing the same articles of France by way of St. Domingo; that skilful engineers were much wanted; that everybody in the colonies appeared to have turned soldier; that they had given up the English flag, and had taken for their devices, a rattlesnake with thirteen rattles, and a mailed arm holding thirteen arrows.’

The communications of the French agent to the secret committee were not without influence on the proceedings of congress; in France his letters were to form the subject of the most momentous deliberation which had engaged the attention of a French king for two centuries.

Some foreign commerce was required for the continuance of the war; the Americans had no magazine to replenish their little store of powder, no arsenal to furnish arms; their best dependence was on prizes, made under the pine-tree flag by the brave Manly and others who cruised in armed ships with commissions from Washington; even flints were obtained only from captured storeships; and it was necessary to fetch cannon from Ticonderoga. The men who enlisted for the coming year, were desired to bring

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