But, whilst Congress was sitting, the spirit of revolution was every day growing more rife in Massachusetts. Governor Gage had issued writs for a new Assembly, which was to meet at Salem on the 5th of October; but so many of the newly appointed members refused to act, that he issued a proclamation to countermand the writs. The patriots, however, set the proclamation at defiance; and confident, from the resignation of the timid loyalists, that they were in a majority, met at Salem, and formed themselves into a provincial congress, to be joined by such other persons as should be chosen for the consideration of public affairs. They then adjourned to Concord, a town about twenty miles from Boston, and elected John Hancock, the owner of the Liberty sloop, as president. They then adjourned to Cambridge, and constituted Concord the dep?t of arms and ammunition for twelve thousand militia. They enrolled the militia under the name of “Minute Men,” or men who were to turn out, at a minute’s notice, with musket or rifle. They appointed committees and sub-committees for different purposes, and, in fact, put the province into a perfect attitude of war.
News arrived that the king, by proclamation, had prohibited the export of arms and military stores to America. This news was received with a burst of rage. The people of Rhode Island, who had burnt the king’s schooner, The Gaspee, seized forty pieces of cannon on the batteries defending the harbour, and carried them into the country. The people of New Hampshire surprised a small fort called William and Mary, garrisoned only by one officer and five men, and carried off the ordnance, arms, ammunition and military stores. Everywhere orders were issued for the purchase of arms and ammunition; for training the militia; for erecting powder mills, and manufactories of arms and shot, as well as for making saltpetre. So far as it depended on the people of Massachusetts, it was already rebellion. Still, however, the other colonies, except, perhaps, Virginia, were far from this bellicose temper. The colonies, in general, thought the measures of the late Congress too strong; and the State of New York, in spite of the impetuosity of such men as Jay, carried a vote rejecting the resolutions of the Congress.
The Parliament of England had now nearly run its septennial course, and was accordingly dissolved on the 30th of September. Such was the feeling of resentment in Great Britain against the proceedings of the Americans, that the Parliament that was now elected gave the Ministers an increased majority.
It met on the 29th of November. The king, in his speech, alluded to the determined resistance to the imperial authority of the American colonists, and pre-eminently of those of Massachusetts Bay. He called upon Parliament to support him in his endeavours to restore order. There was strong opposition to the addresses in both Houses, demands being made for a full production of all papers and correspondence on this great subject, but the battle did not begin until January, 1775, when Chatham moved the repeal of the legislation of the previous year, and the withdrawal of the troops from Boston.
Chatham, on rising, severely blamed Ministers for the course which they had pursued, and which had driven the colonies to the verge of rebellion. “Resistance to your Acts,” he said, “was necessary as it was just; and your vain declarations of the omnipotence of Parliament, and your imperious doctrines of the necessity of submission, will be found equally incompetent to convince or to enslave your fellow-subjects in America, who feel that tyranny, whether attempted by an individual part of the Legislature, or the bodies who compose it, is equally intolerable to British subjects.” He eulogised the conduct of the Congress, and remarked that it was obvious that all attempts to impose servitude on such men, to establish despotism over such a mighty continental nation, must be vain, must be fatal. “We shall be forced,” he said, “ultimately, to retract; let us retract while we can—not when we must. I say we must necessarily undo these violently oppressive Acts; they must be repealed. You will repeal them; I pledge myself for it that you will, in the end, repeal them. I stake my reputation on it. I will consent to be taken for an idiot if they are not finally repealed. Avoid, then, this humiliating, this disgraceful necessity.” He declared that the cause of America and England was one; that it was the glorious spirit of Whiggism which animated the colonists. “It is liberty to liberty engaged. In this great cause they are immovably allied; it is the alliance of God and nature—immutable, eternal—fixed as the firmament of heaven. You cannot force them, united as they are, to your unworthy terms of submission. It is impossible.” Lords Shelburne, Camden, and Rockingham, and the Duke of Richmond, zealously supported the views of Chatham, but the Ministerial party opposed the motion as obstinately as ever; and it was rejected by sixty-eight votes against eighteen.
Chatham, undeterred by the fate of his motion, determined to make one more effort, and bring in a Bill for the pacification of the colonies, and he called upon Franklin to assist in framing it. On the following Tuesday, Franklin hurried down to Hayes with the draft of the Bill left with him, and with his full approbation of it, having, he says, only added one word, that of “constitutions” after “charters.” The next day (Wednesday), the 1st of February, Chatham appeared in the House of Lords with his Bill. He declared that it was a Bill not merely of concession, but of assertion, and he called on the Lords to entertain it cordially, to correct its crudenesses, and pass it for the peace of the whole empire. The Bill first explicitly asserted our supreme power over the colonies; it declared that all that related to the disposing of the army belonged to the prerogative of the Crown, but that no armed force could be lawfully employed against the rights and liberties of the inhabitants; that no tax, or tollage, or other charge for the revenue, should be levied without the consent of the provincial Assemblies. The Acts of Parliament relating to America passed since 1764 were wholly repealed; the judges were made permanent during their good behaviour, and the Charters and constitutions of the several provinces were not to be infringed or set aside, unless upon some valid ground of forfeiture. All these concessions were, of course, made conditional on the recognition by the colonies of the supreme authority of Parliament.
Had this Bill been frankly accepted by Ministers, it would have gone far to heal the rupture between the mother country and her colonies. The Earl of Dartmouth, the Secretary of State for the Colonies, proposed that the Bill should lie on the table for deliberation. The Duke of Grafton complained of the manner in which the Bill had been hurried into the House, and, as Chatham in his reply observed, showed every disposition to hurry it as quickly out again. The friends of the Duke of Bedford, who had joined the administration, exhibited the most rancorous disposition towards America. The chief of these, Lord Sandwich, declared that he never could believe this Bill was the work of any British peer, but rather of an American, and he looked full at Dr. Franklin, who was leaning on the bar. He declared the Americans to be in actual rebellion; that they were not troubling themselves about mere words and nice distinctions; that they were aiming at independence, and nothing else. The Bedford party carried the day, and the Bill was rejected by sixty-one votes against thirty-two.
Lord North, however, was still sufficiently impressed by the solemn warnings of Chatham and others to attempt a conciliatory measure of his own. Accordingly, on the 20th of February, only ten days after his Bill restrictive of the American trade, and whilst it was progressing, he moved in a committee of the whole House, “That if the Legislature of any of the American provinces should propose to make some provision for the common defence, and also for the civil government of that province, and if such proposal shall be approved of by the king and Parliament, it would be proper to forbear, whilst such provision lasted, from levying or proposing any tax, duty, or assessment within the said province.”
This proposal, which, at an earlier stage of the dispute, might have been listened to, was one at this stage which was sure to be rejected, and was only one of those miserable half measures which commonplace minds so frequently put forth only to demonstrate their inability to grasp the amplitude of the occasion. It was supposed that the measure had been intended to be larger, but that the Bedford party had fallen on it in Council, and reduced it to these pitiable dimensions. Yet when it was introduced into the Commons by Lord North, the Bedford party looked at each other in consternation, and soon the tempest broke loose on the Treasury benches.
The storm was appeased only by Lord North’s condescending to explain his measure in such a manner as deprived it of every particle of generous feeling, and reduced it to the lowest Machiavellian level. He said the real object of the resolution was to divide the Americans, to satisfy the moderate part of them, and oppose them to the immoderate, to separate the wheat from the chaff; that he never expected his proposal to be generally acceptable. On this, Colonel Barré and Burke assaulted him fiercely. Barré branded the whole scheme as founded on that low, shameful, abominable maxim, “Divide et impera.” Burke declared that the proposition was at variance with every former principle of Parliament, directly so with the restrictive measures now in progress; that it was mean without being conciliatory. But the resolution passed by two hundred and seventy-four votes against eighteen.
Again, on the 22nd of March, Burke made another earnest effort to induce the infatuated Ministers and their adherents in Parliament to listen to reason. In one of the finest speeches that he ever made, he introduced a series of thirteen resolutions, which went to abolish the obnoxious Acts of Parliament, and admit the principle of the colonial Assemblies exercising the power of taxation. In the course of his speech he drew a striking picture of the rapid growth and the inevitable future importance of these colonies. He reminded the House that the people of New England and other colonies had quitted Great Britain because they would not submit to arbitrary measures; that in America they had cultivated this extreme independence of character, both in their religion and their daily life; that almost every man there studied law, and that nearly as many copies of Blackstone’s “Commentaries” had been sold there as in England; that they were the Protestants of Protestants, the Dissenters of Dissenters; that the Church of England there was a mere sect; that the foreigners who had settled there, disgusted with tyranny at home, had adopted the extremest principles of liberty flourishing there; that all men there were accustomed to discuss the principles of law and government, and that almost every man sent to the Congress was a lawyer; that the very existence of slavery in the southern States made white inhabitants hate slavery the more in their own persons. “You cannot,” he said, “content such men at such a distance—Nature fights against you. Who are you that you should fret, rage, and bite the chains of Nature? Nothing worse happens to you than does to all nations who have extensive empires. In all such extended empires authority grows feeble at the extremities. The Turk and the Spaniard find it so, and are compelled to comply with this condition of Nature, and derive vigour in the centre from the relaxation of authority on the borders.” His resolutions were negatived by large majorities.
In the meantime, petitions, memorials, and remonstrances were presented from New York and other places, and from the British inhabitants of Canada, but all were rejected. On the 26th of May George III. prorogued Parliament, and expressed his perfect satisfaction in its proceedings; so utterly unconscious was this king that he was alienating a great empire, and which, indeed, was already virtually gone from him; for during the very time that Parliament had been protesting against even the contemptible crumbs of concession offered by Ministers, war had broken out, blood had flowed, and the Americans had triumphed!
CHAPTER X. REIGN OF GEORGE III. (continued).
Gage attempts to seize American Arms—Skirmish at Lexington—Blockade of Boston—The Second Congress at Philadelphia—Washington chosen Commander-in-Chief—Fall of Ticonderoga and Crown Point—Washington at Boston—Battle of Bunker’s Hill—The Olive Branch Petition—Condition of the American Army—Expedition against Canada—Capture of Montreal—Arnold’s Expedition—His Junction with Montgomery—Failure of the Attack on Quebec—The Employment of German Mercenaries—Washington seizes Dorchester Heights—Evacuation of Boston—Howe retires to Halifax—The War in Canada—Thomas’s Retreat—Sullivan evacuates Canada—The War in the South—Attack on Charleston—Paine’s Pamphlet, “Common Sense”—New York and Virginia decide for Independence—Debate in Congress—Report of the Committee—Arbitrary Proceedings—The Declaration—Overtures to France—Arrival of Lord Howe—Position of Washington—Howe’s Overtures—Battle of Brooklyn—Washington’s Retreat—His Desperate Position—Howe receives a Deputation from Congress—Washington retires Step by Step—Cornwallis’s Pursuit—Close of the Campaign—The Articles of Confederation published by Congress—Fresh Overtures to France—Parliament votes large Sums of Money—John the Painter—Chatham demands a Cessation of Hostilities—Washington’s Change of Tactics—Surprise of Trenton—Washington outman?uvres Cornwallis—He recovers New Jersey—Difficulties of Congress—Howe advances against Washington—Alteration of Howe’s Plans—Battle of the Brandywine—Howe crosses the Schuylkill—Cornwallis enters Philadelphia—Battle of Germantown—Washington at Valley Forge—Burgoyne’s Plan of Campaign—His Advance—St. Clair’s Defeat—Burgoyne on the Hudson—The Beginning of his Misfortunes—Battle of Bemus’s Heights—Burgoyne’s Message to Clinton—He is Surrounded—He attempts to cut his Way through—The Surrender of Saratoga—Clinton’s Failure to relieve Burgoyne—Close of the Campaign.
During the winter the Americans had been preparing for war, fabricating and repairing arms, drilling militia, and calling on one another, by proclamations, to be ready. On the 26th of February, 1775, Gage sent a detachment to take possession of some brass cannon and field-pieces collected at Salem. A hundred and fifty regulars landed at Salem for this purpose, but, finding no cannon there, they proceeded to the adjoining town of Danvers. They were stopped at a bridge by a party of militia, under Colonel Pickering, who claimed the bridge as private property, and refused a passage. There was likely to be bloodshed on the bridge, but it was Sunday, and some ministers of Salem pleaded the sacredness of the day, and prevailed on Colonel Pickering to let the soldiers pass. They found nothing, and soon returned.
Again, on the night between the 18th and 19th of April, General Gage sent a detachment of about eight hundred grenadiers and light infantry to destroy a dep?t of stores and arms at Concord. They were commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Smith and Major Pitcairn, of the Marines. The alarm was given, fires were kindled, bells rung, guns discharged, and the country was up. The British troops reached Lexington at five o’clock in the morning, and pushed on their light infantry to secure the bridges. They encountered a body of militia under cover of a gun near the road, whom they ordered to retire, and they withdrew in haste.
Here the Americans assert that when the minute-men did not retire on the first order, the English fired on them and killed eight of them. The English, on the other hand, declare that the Americans, in retiring, no sooner reached the shelter of a wall than they fired on the British; that the firing came also from some adjoining houses, and shot one man, and wounded Major Pitcairn’s horse in two places; that then the English were ordered to fire, that they killed several, wounded others, and put the body, about a hundred in number, to flight. By this time the alarm had spread, the minute-men came running from all places, and as the English, having executed their commission, began to retire, the Americans shouted, “The lobsters run!” The minute-men now rushed over the bridge after them, and firing from behind trees and walls, killed a considerable number of them. The Americans—excellent shots with their rifles—could only be seen by the smoke of these rifles, and the English, tired with their long night march, instead of halting to hunt them out, kept on their way towards Lexington. The whole march was of this description: the English, unable to get a good shot at their enemies, the minute-men pressing on their rear, still sheltered by trees and walls. The result would have been more disastrous had not General Gage sent on to Lexington another detachment of foot and marines, consisting of about sixteen companies, under command of Lord Percy. In this first bloodshed between the colonists and the mother country, the British found they had lost sixty killed, forty-nine missing, and one hundred and thirty-six wounded. The Americans admitted that they had a loss of sixty, of whom two-thirds were killed.
The news spread on every side; the retreat of the English from Concord, which always was intended, as soon as the object was accomplished, was represented as an ignominious flight before the conquering Americans, and the effect was marvellous. Men flocked from all quarters. There were some twenty thousand men assembled round Boston, forming a line nearly twenty miles in extent, with their left leaning on the river Mystic, and their right on the town of Boston. Putnam and Ward became the souls of the American army. Gage, who was awaiting fresh reinforcements, lay quiet, contented to hold his post, when he might, according to military authorities, have attacked the American lines, at first loose, and without any proper order and consistency, with great advantage. The inhabitants of Boston, not relishing the idea of a blockade, applied to Gage for permission to retire. He replied that they were at liberty to do so with their families and effects, on surrendering their arms. The Bostonians at once interpreted this to mean the whole of their merchandise, and Gage, in consequence, countermanded his permission.
On the 10th of May the second Congress met at Philadelphia. The delegates had everywhere been easily elected, and Franklin, having arrived on the 5th of May in Philadelphia,
was in time to be added to the number already chosen there. The battle of Lexington had heated the blood of the delegates, and they assembled in no very pacific mood. They assumed the name of the Congress of the United Colonies, and rejected with contempt the poor conciliatory Bill of Lord North, as it had already been deservedly treated by the provincial Assemblies. They immediately issued a proclamation prohibiting the export of provisions to any British colony or fishery still continuing in obedience to Great Britain; or any supply to the British army in Massachusetts Bay, or the negotiation of any bill drawn by a British officer. Congress ordered the military force of the colonies to be placed on an efficient footing. They called into existence a body of men, besides the provincial militia, to be maintained by the United Colonies, and to be called continental troops, which distinction must be kept in mind during the whole war. They then made a most admirable choice of a commander-in-chief in the person of Colonel George Washington.
The spirits of the Americans had been raised by the success of attempts against the forts of Ticonderoga and Crown Point, on Lake Champlain. Early in the spring, some of the leading men of Connecticut, and chief amongst them Wooster and Silas Deane, projected this expedition, as securing the passes into Canada. The volunteers who offered for this enterprise were to march across the frontiers of New York, and come suddenly on these forts. The wretched condition of carelessness existing in these important outposts, notwithstanding the alarming state of the colonies, may be known by the result. Phelps, disguised as a countryman, entered the fort on pretence of seeking a barber; and, whilst roaming about in feigned search of him, noted well the ruinous condition of the fort, and the utter negligence of the guard. The next day, Ethan Allen went alone to the fortress, ostensibly on a visit to his friend the commander, leaving his troops concealed in the wood. He represented that he wanted to conduct some goods across the lake, and borrowed twenty of his soldiers to help him. These men he made dead-drunk; and then, rushing suddenly to the fort, where there were only twenty-two soldiers more, he compelled them 佛山桑拿0757n in their surprise to lay down their arms, set a guard over them, and entered his friend’s bed-room and pronounced him a prisoner. He then advanced against the fort of Crown Point, where he found only a garrison of twelve men, and immediately afterwards secured Skenesborough, the fortified house of Major Skene, and took his son and his negroes.
When Washington arrived at Boston, on the 15th of June, he found the English army augmented to ten thousand by fresh forces, under Generals Burgoyne, William Howe, the brother of Lord Howe, and Henry Clinton. The American troops consisted of twenty thousand militia and volunteers, still in a most confused condition, extended over a line of twenty miles in length, that only required an attack of five thousand men, led by a general of courage and ability, to be thoroughly beaten. They were, moreover, greatly deficient in powder and other 佛山桑拿论坛网 necessaries. But the English generals lay as if there were no urgent need of action. Had a sudden movement on the Neck been made from Boston, five hundred men could have broken and dispersed the Americans nearest to that position before the other ill-trained troops, some of them at great distances, could have come up; and they might have been easily defeated in detail by the simultaneous efforts of four spirited generals and ten thousand efficient soldiers. But lethargy seemed to have seized on Gage, and to have also infected his coadjutors.
To the north of Boston peninsula, separated from it only by an arm of the sea, called the Charles River, about as broad as the Thames at London Bridge, stands Charlestown, built also on a peninsula, surrounded everywhere by navigable water, except a neck somewhat wider than Boston Neck. On the peninsula of Charlestown were two eminences: 佛山桑拿网论坛 the lower one, nearest to Boston, being called Breed’s Hill, the higher and more remote, Bunker’s Hill. These hills, which commanded Boston, would have immediately attracted the eye of any general of the least talent. But Gage had utterly neglected this most vital point; and, on awaking on the morning of the 17th of June, he suddenly saw the height of Breed’s Hill covered with soldiers and military works, as by magic, and the Americans shouting and beginning to fire upon the town and shipping in the harbour.
The Americans had marched on the evening of the 16th with orders to make themselves masters of Bunker’s Hill. By some mistake, they had planted themselves on Breed’s Hill, and instantly began to throw up a formidable redoubt and entrenchments, and to place their guns in battery. Gage then ordered a detachment of troops, under the command of General Howe and Brigadier Pigott, to drive the Americans, at all costs, from 佛山夜生活论坛 that position. It was noon before Howe crossed the river and landed on the Charlestown peninsula; but then Howe perceived the strength of the Americans to be greater than had been supposed, and, halting, he sent for reinforcements. They advanced up the hill, formed in two lines, the right headed by General Howe, the left by Brigadier Pigott. The left was immediately severely galled by the riflemen posted in the houses and on the roofs of Charlestown, and Howe instantly halted and ordered the left wing to advance and set fire to the town. This was soon executed, and the wooden buildings of Charlestown were speedily in a blaze, and the whole place burnt to the ground. The Americans reserved their fire till the English were nearly at the entrenchments, when they opened with such a deadly discharge of cannon and musketry as astonished and perplexed the British. Most of the men and the staff standing around General Howe were killed, and he stood for a moment almost alone. Some of the newer troops never stopped till they reached the 佛山桑拿按摩一条龙那里好 bottom of the hill. The officers, however, speedily rallied the broken lines, and led them a second time against the murderous batteries. A second time they gave way. But General Clinton, seeing the unequal strife, without waiting for orders, and attended by a number of resolute officers, hastened across the water in boats, and, rallying the fugitives, led them a third time up the hill. By this time the fire of the 佛山桑拿网2019论坛 Americans began to slacken, for their powder was failing, and the English, wearied as they were, rushed up the hill, and carried the entrenchments at the point of the bayonet. Had Gage had a proper reserve ready to rush upon the flying rout on the Neck, few of them would have remained to join their fellows. The battle was called the Battle of Bunker’s Hill, though really fought on the lower, or Breed’s Hill.
Notwithstanding the real outbreak of the war, Congress yet professed to entertain hopes of ultimate reconciliation. When the reinforcements had arrived from England, and it was supposed that part of them were destined for New York, it issued orders that, so long as the forces remained quiet in their barracks, they should not be molested; but if they attempted to raise fortifications, or to cut off the town from the country,佛山夜生活在哪个地方 they should be stoutly opposed. When the news of the surprise of the forts on the Lake Champlain arrived, Congress endeavoured to excuse so direct a breach of the peace by feigning a belief in a design of an invasion of the colonies from Canada, of which there was notoriously no intention, and they gave orders that an exact inventory of the cannon and military stores there captured should be made, in order to their restoration, “when the former harmony between Great Britain and her colonies, so ardently wished for by the latter, should render it consistent with the overruling law of self-preservation.” After the battle of Bunker’s Hill, Congress still maintained this tone. On the 8th of July they signed a petition to the king, drawn up by John Dickinson, in the mildest terms, who, when to his own surprise the petition was 佛山桑拿那里的技师好 adopted by the Congress, rose, and said that there was not a word in the whole petition that he did not approve of, except the word “Congress.” This, however, was far from the feeling of many members; and Benjamin Harrison immediately rose and declared that there was but one word in the whole petition that he did approve of, and that was the word “Congress.” The petition to the king expressed an earnest desire for a speedy and permanent reconciliation, declaring that, notwithstanding their sufferings, they retained in their hearts “too tender a regard for the kingdom from which they derived their origin to request such a reconciliation as might be inconsistent with her dignity or welfare.” At the same time, they resolved that this appeal, which they called “The Olive Branch,” should, if unsuccessful, be their last. They 佛山洗浴按摩论坛 could hardly have expected it to be successful.
When Washington arrived at the camp at Cambridge, instead of twenty thousand men, which he expected on his side, he found only sixteen thousand, and of these only fourteen thousand fit for duty. He describes them as “a mixed multitude of people under very little order or government.” They had no uniforms; and Washington recommended Congress to send them out ten thousand hunting-shirts, as giving them something of a uniform appearance. There was not a single dollar in the military chest; the supply of provisions was extremely deficient and uncertain. There was a great want of engineering tools; and he soon discovered that the battle of Bunker’s Hill, which, at a distance, was boasted of as a victory, had been a decided defeat. He immediately set about to reduce this discouraging chaos into new order. Assisted by General Lee, he commenced by having prayers read at the head of the respective regiments every morning. He broke up the freedom which confounded officers and men; he compelled subordination by the free use of the lash, where commands would not serve. He kept them daily at active drill. He laboured incessantly to complete the lines, so that very soon it would be impossible for the enemy to get between the ranks. But the great and—if the English generals had been only properly awake—the fatal want was that of powder. Washington found that they had but nine rounds of powder to a musket, and next to none for the artillery. “The world,” said Franklin, “wondered that we so seldom fired a cannon; why, we could not afford it!” And all this was disclosed to General Gage by a deserter, and he still lay in a profound slumber! The Ministry at home, scarcely more awake to the real danger, were yet astonished at his lethargy; and they recalled him under the plea of consulting him on the affairs of the colony. He sailed from Boston in October, leaving the chief command to General Howe.
Meanwhile an expedition against Canada had been projected by Colonel Arnold and Ethan Allen at the taking of the forts of Ticonderoga and Crown Point. The recommendations of Allen were taken up, and on the 27th of June, although they had on the first of that month declared their determination not to invade or molest Canada, the Congress passed other resolutions, instructing Philip Schuyler, one of their newly-made generals, to proceed to Ticonderoga, and thence, if he saw it practicable, to go on and secure St. John’s and Montreal, and adopt any other measures against Canada which might have a tendency to promote the security of the colonies. It was autumn, however, before the American force destined for this expedition, amounting to two thousand men, assembled on Lake Champlain; and Schuyler being taken ill, the command then devolved on General Montgomery. General Carleton, the Governor of Canada, to whom the Americans, when it suited their purpose, were always attributing designs of invasion of the colonies, had not, in fact, forces sufficient to defend himself properly.
General Montgomery reached the St. Lawrence, and detached six hundred men to invest Fort Chambly, situated on the river Sorel, about five miles above Fort St. John. The menaced condition of Quebec compelled General Carleton to abandon Montreal to its fate, and to hasten to the capital, and Montgomery immediately took possession of it. So far all succeeded with the American expedition. Carleton, to reach Quebec, had to pass through the American forces on the St. Lawrence. He went in disguise, and dropped down the river by night, with muffled oars, threading the American craft on the river, and so reached Quebec alone, but in safety. Montgomery was determined to fall down the St. Lawrence too, to support Arnold; but his position was anything but enviable. He had been obliged to garrison Forts Chambly and St. John’s, and he was now compelled to leave another garrison at Montreal. This done, he had only four hundred and fifty men left, and they were in the most discontented and insubordinate condition. As he proceeded, therefore, he found them fast melting away by desertion; and, had he not soon fallen in with Arnold and his band at Point aux Trembles, he would have found himself alone.
Arnold had meanwhile arranged everything with Washington, at Cambridge, for his expedition. He marched away from Cambridge with twelve hundred men, and on reaching the Kennebec River, one hundred and thirty miles north of Boston, embarked upon it, carrying with him one thousand pounds in money, and a whole cargo of manifestoes for distribution among the Canadians. Thence he had to traverse a terrible wilderness of woods, swamps, streams, and rugged heights, where the men had to carry their boats and provisions on their shoulders, and where, for two-and-thirty days, they saw no house, wigwam, or sign of human life. So extreme were their distresses, that for the last several days they had to live on their own dogs. It was the 3rd of November before they reached the first Canadian settlement on the river Chaudière, which flows into the St. Lawrence opposite to Quebec. They emerged on the river St. Lawrence, at Point Levi, immediately over against Quebec. Could Arnold have crossed immediately, such was the suddenness of the surprise, he probably would have taken the city. But a rough gale was blowing at the time, and for five days he was detained on the right bank of the river by that circumstance and the want of boats. Arnold, nevertheless, managed to cross the river in the night, about a mile and a half above the place where Wolfe had crossed. Finding the cliffs there too high to scale, he followed the shore down to Wolfe’s Cove, and ascended the heights just where Wolfe had done so. Like Wolfe, Arnold formed his band on the Heights of Abraham, and, trusting to the belief that the Canadians were in favour of the Americans, proposed to make a dash up to the gates of the city before day broke; but his followers protested against this design. When day dawned, Arnold saw so many men on the walls and batteries that he knew the assault was hopeless, and retired to Point aux Trembles, where he was joined by Montgomery, who took the chief command.
MONTGOMERY’S ASSAULT ON THE LOWER TOWN, QUEBEC. (See p. 222.)
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Arnold had not been able to bring any artillery with him; Montgomery had a little. They had about twelve hundred men altogether; and with this force they now marched upon Quebec. On the 20th of December they commenced firing on the town from a six-gun battery; but their cannon were too light to make much impression—they had no guns heavier than twelve-pounders, and these were soon dismounted by Colonel Maclean and his sailors. The Americans withdrew their guns to a safer distance; and their troops were desirous to abandon the enterprise as impracticable, but the commanders engaged them to continue by holding out a prospect of their plundering the lower town, where all the wealth lay. On the last day of the year, soon after four in the morning, the attack was commenced. Two divisions, under Majors Livingstone and Brown, were left to make feigned attacks on the upper town, whilst the rest, in two lines, under Montgomery and Arnold, set out amid a blinding snow-storm to make two real attacks on the lower town. Montgomery, descending to the bed of the St. Lawrence, wound along the beach to Cape Diamond, where he was stopped by a blockhouse and picket. Haying passed these, he again, at a place called Pot Ash, encountered a battery, which was soon abandoned. Montgomery then led his troops across huge piles of ice driven on shore; and no sooner had they surmounted these than they were received by a severe fire from a battery manned by sailors and Highlanders. Montgomery fell dead along with several other officers and many men; and the rest, seeing the fate of their commander, turned and fled back up the cliffs. Arnold, at the same time, was pushing his way through the suburbs of the lower town, followed by Captain Lamb with his artillerymen, and one field piece mounted on a sledge. After these went Morgan with his riflemen; and as they advanced in the dark, and muffled in the falling snow, they came upon a two-gun battery. As Arnold was cheering on his men to attack this outpost, the bone of his leg was shattered by a musket-ball. He was carried from the field; but Morgan rushed on and made himself master of the battery and the guard. Just as day dawned, he found himself in front of a second battery, and, whilst attacking that, was assailed in the rear and compelled to surrender, with a loss of four hundred men, three hundred of whom were taken prisoners. Arnold retreated to a distance of three or four miles from Quebec, and covered his camp behind the Heights of Abraham with ramparts of frozen snow, and remained there for the winter, cutting off the supplies of the garrison, and doing his best to alienate the Canadians from the English.
The English Opposition now began to comment with great vigour on the conduct of affairs. The spirit of that body rose higher, as the imminence of war became greater. Charles James Fox made a motion for a committee to inquire into the causes of the inefficiency of his Majesty’s arms in North America, and of the defection of the people in the province of Quebec. He took a searching review of the whole proceedings since 1774, and contended that there was a great lack of ability and management somewhere, either in the Government which planned, or the generals who had to execute the Ministerial orders. His motion, however, was useless, for it was rejected by two hundred and forty to one hundred and four votes.
But on the 29th of February, 1776, the treaties lately entered into by the British Government with a number of German princes to furnish troops to fight in America, were laid on the table of the Commons; and intense indignation was raised against this most odious and impolitic measure. There had been negotiations with Russia for the purpose of procuring her savages to put down our kinsmen in America; but this barbarous attempt had failed. It was more successful with the petty princes of Germany. The Duke of Brunswick, the Landgrave of Hesse-Cassel, and other little despots, now greedily seized on the necessity of England, to drive the most extravagant terms with her. Under the name of levy-money, they were to receive seven pounds ten shillings for every man; and besides maintaining them, we were to pay to the Duke of Brunswick, who supplied four thousand and eighty-four men, a subsidy of fifteen thousand five hundred and nineteen pounds; the Landgrave of Hesse-Cassel, who furnished twelve thousand men, did not get such good terms as Brunswick—he had ten thousand pounds; the hereditary Prince of Hesse received six thousand pounds a-year, for only six hundred and eighty-eight men. Besides this, the men were to begin to receive pay before they began to march. Brunswick was also to get double his sum, or thirty-one thousand and thirty-eight pounds a-year, for two years after they had ceased to serve; and the Landgrave of Hesse was to receive twelve months’ notice of the discontinuance of the payment after his troops had returned to his dominions. The payment for 1776 was to be four hundred and fifty thousand crowns, or nearly one hundred thousand pounds. The Prince of Waldeck soon after engaged to furnish six hundred and seventy men on equally good terms. Beyond all these conditions, England was bound to defend the dominions of those princes in the absence of their troops. The independent members of both Houses nobly discharged their duty in condemnation of this engagement of German mercenaries, but without effect, and the king prorogued Parliament, under the pleasing delusion that his foreign troops would soon bring his rebellious subjects to reason; and the Ministers apparently as firmly shared in this fallacious idea.
In America, during this time, various encounters had taken place between the English and American forces. Washington, in spite of the severity of the winter weather, was pressing the blockade of Boston. But the difficulties with which he had to contend were so enormous, that, had General Howe had any real notion of them, as he ought to have had, he might have beaten off the American troops over and over again. His troops, it is true, only amounted to about seven thousand, and Washington’s to about fifteen thousand; but besides the deficiency of powder in Washington’s camp, the terms on which his troops served were such as kept him in constant uncertainty. This was the condition of things when, early in March, Washington commenced acting on the offensive. He threw up entrenchments on Dorchester Heights, overlooking and commanding both Boston town and harbour. Taking advantage of a dark night, on the 4th of March he sent a strong detachment to the Heights, who, before mining, threw up a redoubt, which made it necessary for General Howe to dislodge them, or evacuate the place. It seems amazing, after the affair of Bunker’s Hill, that Howe had not seen the necessity of occupying the post himself. He now, however, prepared to attack the redoubt, and the soldiers were eager for the enterprise. The vanguard fell down to Castle William, at which place the ascent was to be made; and on the morrow, the 5th of March, the anniversary of what was termed the Massacre of Boston, the fight was to take place. A violent storm, however, arose, rendering the crossing of the water impracticable. By the time that it ceased, the Americans had so strengthened their works, that it was deemed a useless waste of life to attempt to carry them. The only alternative was the evacuation of Boston. Howe had long been persuaded that it would be much better to make the British headquarters at New York, where there were few American troops, and where the king’s friends were numerous; and this certainly was true, unless he had mustered resolution and sought to disperse his enemies when they were in a state of disorder and deficiency of ammunition that insured his certain success. As it was, he was now most ignominiously cooped up, and in hourly jeopardy of being shelled out of the place. He had obtained the permission of his Government for this movement, and he now set about it in earnest. When, however, he came to embark, another example was given of that shameful neglect which pervaded the whole of the British civil department of the military service. When the transports were examined, they were found totally destitute of provisions and forage. No direct compact was made between Howe and Washington regarding the evacuation; but an indirect communication and understanding on the subject was entered into—through the “select Men” of Boston—that no injury should be done to the town during it, provided the troops were unmolested in embarking. Before departing, however, the English totally dismantled and partly demolished Castle William. On the 17th, the last of the British troops were on board; and that afternoon Boston was entered in triumph by General Putnam, at the head of the vanguard.
Howe, who, with seven thousand soldiers and more than one thousand sailors, did not feel himself safe at New York till the new reinforcements should arrive, sailed away to Halifax—a circumstance which gave the appearance of a retreat to his change of locality, and had thus a bad effect in more ways than one. Washington, who was informed of his final destination, immediately marched with the greater part of his army to New York, and thence went himself to Philadelphia to concert future measures with the Congress. This body, in commemoration of the surrender of Boston, ordered a medal to be struck in honour of it, and that it should bear the effigy of Washington, with the title of the Asserter of the Liberties of his Country. The medal was cast in France.
In Canada the management of the war was more successful. To maintain the war in that quarter, Congress had ordered nine regiments to be raised. One of these was to be raised in Canada itself, and for this purpose a commission was given to Moses Hazen, who had formerly been a captain of rangers, under Wolfe. He was not, however, very successful. The Canadians were not to any extent disaffected to the British Government, and by no means well affected to the New Englanders, who were bitterly bigoted against Catholics, which the Canadians chiefly were. When Hazen and Arnold saw that the Canadians would neither enlist nor bring provisions to their camps, without cash payment, they commenced plundering for all that they wanted, and thus confirmed that people in their hatred of the Americans. They, moreover, insulted the Canadians by ridiculing their rites of worship.
Miserably as Arnold had passed the winter in his camp, as spring approached he again planted his batteries above Quebec, but produced so little effect that Carleton lay still in expectation of his reinforcements on the breaking up of the river. On the 1st of April General Wooster arrived, and took the command, much to the disgust of Arnold, who was sent to command a detachment at Montreal. On the 1st of May, General Thomas, who was to be supreme in command, arrived, and found the forces amounting to about two thousand men. The river was now opening; and on the 6th of May three English ships had made their way up to Quebec, full of troops. Two companies of the 29th Regiment and one hundred marines were immediately landed amid the rejoicings of the inhabitants; and General Carleton gave instant orders to issue forth and attack the American lines. But General Thomas, conscious that, so far from being able to take Quebec, he should be himself taken, unless he decamped with all haste, was already on the move. General Carleton pursued him vigorously, and the retreat of the Americans became a regular rout. They threw themselves into boats at the Three Rivers, leaving behind them all their artillery and stores, as well as the sick, who were numerous, the smallpox having broken out amongst them. Thomas managed to reach Fort Chambly and St. John’s on the Sorel; but there he died, having taken the smallpox.
Carleton being, by the beginning of June, reinforced by still more troops from England, determined to follow the Americans. They had reached the Three Rivers, about midway between Quebec and Montreal, and about thirty miles from the American headquarters on the Sorel, when General Sullivan, who had succeeded Thomas, sent two thousand men under General Thompson. They got across the river and hoped to surprise the English; but it was daylight before they drew near the Three Rivers. Landing with confusion, they sought a place where they could form and defend themselves; but they found themselves entangled in a labyrinth of streams and morasses. Then they were attacked, front and rear, by Generals Fraser and Nesbit. In the suddenness of the surprise, no precaution had been taken to secure or destroy their boats; the remainder of the Americans, therefore, getting into them, pulled away and crossed. Sullivan, who had hastened to support them, now, accompanied by St. Clair, made the best of his way back to Fort Chambly. Carleton pursued, but coming to the Sorel, instead of sailing up it, by which he might have reached Chambly nearly a day earlier than Sullivan, with a strange neglect he continued lying at the mouth of the river for a couple of days. Had he not done this, Arnold would have been intercepted at Montreal, and Ticonderoga, now defenceless, would have fallen into his hands. By this false step much damage to the king’s cause ensued. Carleton, however, determined to seek out Arnold himself, and sent on General Burgoyne in pursuit of Sullivan. Burgoyne made quick pursuit; but the Americans were too nimble for both himself and Carleton. Arnold hastily evacuated Montreal, and, crossing the river, joined Sullivan at St. John’s, on the Sorel. There Sullivan proposed to make a stand, but his troops would not support him, for the whole army was in a state of insubordination. Burgoyne marched rapidly after them; but, on reaching the head of the Sorel, he found they had escaped him by embarking on the lake. Sullivan and Arnold had encamped on the Isle aux Noix, a swampy place, where their men perished, many of them, of fever, and Burgoyne was obliged to satisfy himself with the thought that they were driven out of Canada.
In the south, affairs had been as ill conducted by the English commanders as in the north they had been carried on well. Governor Martin had made an effort to recover North Carolina. He had collected a number of Highlanders, recently emigrated to America, and a number of back-woodsmen, called Regulators, and sent them, under the command of Colonels Macdonald and Macleod, to compel the inhabitants to submission. They were to be supported by regular troops to be landed at Wilmington, and General Clinton was daily expected with the reinforcements from England. But Clinton did not appear, and the impatient Highlanders and Regulators, in marching from Cross Creek to Wilmington, were decoyed into a swamp, and there attacked and beaten. Macleod and most of the Highlanders were taken prisoners, and the Regulators, such as escaped, made again for the woods.
On the 3rd of May Lord Cornwallis arrived on the coast with a squadron of transports, convoyed by Sir Peter Parker, with several ships of war. General Clinton arrived soon after, and took the command of the troops; and, in concert with Parker, he determined to attack Charleston, the capital of South Carolina. On the 4th of June they appeared off Charleston, and landed on Long Island. They found the mouth of the harbour strongly defended by fortifications on Sullivan’s Island, and by others on Hadrell’s Point on its north. On the point lay encamped the American General Lee. Clinton threw up two batteries on Long Island to command those on Sullivan island, whilst Parker, from the ships, was to assist in covering the landing of the troops on that Island. Clinton was informed that he could easily cross from one island to the other by a ford; and consequently, on the morning of the 28th of June, Sir Peter Parker drew up his men-of-war—three vessels of fifty guns each, and six frigates of twenty-eight guns each, besides another of twenty-four guns and the Thunder bomb. But he had been deceived; what was called a ford, he found impassable. He was compelled to reimbark his troops, and meanwhile Parker’s vessels, also unacquainted with their ground, ran upon a shoal, where one of them struck. In these unfortunate circumstances, the Americans, from the island and from Hadrell’s Point, poured a tremendous fire into the ships, doing dreadful execution. Clinton sailed away, after this ignominious attempt to join General Howe, but some of the vessels were compelled to remain some time at Long Island to refit.