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[46] said the chaplain Emerson; ‘yet, upon the whole,
Chap. XLII.} 1775. July.
God is in the midst of us.’

Meantime Lee had not been many days in the camp before the British generals in Boston, who knew him well, showed a disposition to tamper with him for their own purposes. From Philadelphia he had, in June, addressed to Burgoyne, his old comrade in Portugal, a public letter condemning American taxation by parliament, and tracing the malady of the state to the corrupt influence of the crown. In an able reply, Burgoyne insisted, for himself and for Howe, that their political principles were unchanged, and invited Lee to ‘an interview’ within the British lines, for the purpose of ‘inducing such explanations as might tend in their consequences to peace, for,’ said he, as if with the highest authority, ‘I know Great Britain is ready to open her arms upon the first overture of accommodation.’ Clutching at the office of a negotiator, Lee avoided asking advice of a council of war, and of himself requested the Massachusetts congress to depute one of their body to be a witness of what should pass. That body wisely dissuaded from the meeting, and referred him to a council of war for further advice. Thwarted in his purpose, Lee publicly declined to meet Burgoyne, but he also sent him a secret communication, in which among other things he declared ‘upon his honor that the Americans had the certainty of being sustained by France and Spain.’ This clandestine correspondence proved that Lee had then no fidelity in his heart; though his treasons may as yet have been but caprices, implying momentary treachery rather than a well considered system. His secret was kept in America, but the statement found

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