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[421] opportunity to rise against the Americans. The
Chap. LXVII.} 1776. Apr.
country was outraged by the arbitrariness of the military occupation; the peasantry had been forced to furnish wood and other articles at less than the market price, or for promissory certificates; the clergy, neglected or ill used, were unanimously hostile; of the more cultivated classes, both French and English, seven eighths favored the British, and were willing to assist in driving back the invaders. The savages kept aloof from the Americans, and it was feared would, early in the spring, fall on their frontier.

Alarmed by constant unfavorable reports, congress, on the twentieth, by its president, urged Washington to hasten the departure of four battalions destined for Quebec, as ‘a week, a day, even an hour might prove decisive;’ but on the twentieth and twenty first, before receiving the letters, he had dispatched them, under Thompson of Pennsylvania as brigadier. Two or three days later, the unsuccessful attempt of the Canadians, near the end of March, under Beaujeu, to raise the blockade of Quebec, became known; and though Washington at that moment was in want of men, arms, and money, congress, giving way to its unchecked impulses, declared itself ‘determined on the reduction of Quebec,’ and without even consulting the commander in chief, suddenly and peremptorily ordered him to detach six additional battalions from his army for service in Canada, and further inquired of him if he could spare more.

Late at night on the twenty fifth, Washington received the order by express; his effective force on that day consisted of but eight thousand three hundred and one; and of this small force, poorly armed

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