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[235] battle at every disadvantage. The world gave him
Chap. LVI.} 1776. Jan.
credit for an army of twenty thousand well armed men; and yet at the moment when Howe was receiving reenforcements, he had been left with less than half that number, including the sick, those on furlough, those on command, and those who were neither properly armed nor clothed. ‘For more than two months past,’ said he, ‘I have scarcely emerged from one difficulty before I have been plunged into another: how it will end, God in his great goodness will direct; I am thankful for his protection to this time.’

In June of the preceding year, when Lord North communicated his proposition as the ultimatum of British justice, he would have had it received as such and would have acted accordingly; on the echo from England of the battle of Bunker Hill, he saw that every hope of accommodation was delusive: the new year brought the king's speech to parliament in November, and Washington no longer held back his opinion that independence should be declared. Those around him shared his resolution; Greene wrote to his friend Ward, a delegate from Rhode Island to the general congress: ‘The interests of mankind hang upon that body of which you are a member: you stand the representative not of America only, but of the friends of liberty and the supporters of the rights of human nature in the whole world; permit me from the sincerity of my heart, ready at all times to bleed in my country's cause, to recommend a declaration of independence, and call upon the world and the great God who governs it, to witness the necessity, propriety, and rectitude thereof. The king,’ he

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