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[300] to remove his troops: now he had a larger force and
Chap. LIX.} 1776. Mar.
fewer transports. He pretended that he went from Boston for refreshment; but in point of quarters it could be no great refreshment, to go from one of the largest towns in America to one of the least, where the troops were in part kept on shipboard, stived up one upon another, in part encamped on ground deeply covered with snow; where the officers and refugees, many of whom were almost penniless, suffered every extortion, and paid sixfold price for the meanest shelter over their heads; and where he found less forage and provisions for the king's troops than he left behind him, at Boston, for Washington's army.

He gave out that his object was the strengthening of Halifax; but on the third of the preceding December, 1775, he had written home, that ‘that place was in perfect security.’ He offered the excuse that he wanted an opportunity for the exercise of his troops in line; and was it for that end that troops, whose destination was New York, were carried six hundred miles out of their way, as though there had been no place for parade but in Nova Scotia? A chosen British army, with chosen officers, equipped with every thing essential to war, sent to correct revolted subjects, to chastise a resisting town, to assert the authority of the British parliament, after being imprisoned for many tedious months in the place they were to have punished, found no refuge but on board the fleet.

In these very hours the confidence of the ministry was at its point of culmination; they had heard of the safety of Quebec; they had succeeded in engaging more than twenty thousand German mercenaries and

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