« ZurückWeiter »
Here let us close our account of the operations under lord Cornwallis and general Greene, and enter upon those that relate to Virginia.or .id
General Arnold, with near 50 sail of vessels, arrived in the Chesapeak by the end of December, He landed, with about 1500. men and a few light-horse, 15 miles below Richmond, and marched into that town about. 12 o'clock on the 5th of Jan nuary. The public stores and buildings were destroyed, together with the rope-walk, and the rum and salt in the merchants hands. The troops went on cight miles to destroy the foundery and na. gazine at West-Hain : but the arms and ammunition had been removed to Manchester, in Powhatan county, wliere the governor was, with baron Steuben, who had arrived from the northward by the beginning of December. The next day at noon they retreated the same way they came; with the design of committing those destructions in other places, that might disable the state as far as possible from inaking effectual opposition to the plans of the British ministry. They afterward landed, on the 15th and marched to Smithfield; and from thence they proceeded to Puștsniouiba by land. Here Arnold took post, and began to fortify by the 20th, as the militia were collecting apace under baron Steuben, generals Nelson, Weedon and Muhlenburgh: but it was the unhappiness of the state to be destitute of arms, and (by bad management) of almost every thing else necessary for defence. Gen. Washington laid a plan for catching Arnold and his detachment, which was serviceable, though unsuccessful in the main point. The general was the more eager in it, having been confirmed by letters found on board captured vessels, in the intelligence he had before received of a Britisha project, to make a lasting establishment in Virginia. . Four ships of the British neet, which had heen lying for some time in Gardener's-bay, sailed on the 22d as far eastward as Narraganset-bay. A gale of wind and a very thick snow coming on at night, the Cuiloden was totally lost, and the Bedford dismasted, each carrying 74 guns. No sooner did the general receive a certain account of the same, than he put in motion, under the command of the marquis de la Fayette, 1200 light-infantry, as large a part of his small force as he could with prudence detach to Virginia. He at the same timpe intimated to count de Rochambeau the possibility and importance of improving the opportunity in an attempt upon Arnold; and requested of him and the chevalier d’Estouches (to whom the command of the French fleet had devolved upon the death of adm. TerDay) to send the whole fleet, and a detachment of their land force. to the Chiesapeak. Instead of the whole, a part only of the fleet Vart III.
was sent; the Eveillie, a 64 gun ship, and two frigates, under the command of Mons. Tilly. They sailed from Newport on the 9th of February, with orders to go to the Chesapeak, and attempt the destruction of the British ships there, and the frig gates that protected them. They returned on the 25th without accomplishing the object of their mission, through the precaution taken by the enemy. They however took or destroyed ten vessels, and brought to Newport the Romulus, of 44 guns, which theg captured at the entrance of the bay. Washington, desirous of stopping the progress of the enemy in Virginia, proceeded to Newport, that he might discourse with the French commanders on the measures proper to be pursued. He went first on board d'Estouches? ship in the forenoon of March the Gth, where Rom chambeau met him. It was agreed that d'Estouches should sail immediately; and that Rochambeau should send on board the men of war a detachment of the army under the baron de Vicmeuil. After spending an hour or two on board, Washington and Rochambeau landed at Newport about one o'clock. The necessary measures were taken to expedite the fleet: but instead. of sailing the next day, when the wind was as favorable for the French, and as adverse to the British, as it could blow, they were delayed 24 hours for want of supplies. They sailed on Thursday evening the 8th of March. They were followed on the Satur day by the British from Gardener's-bay under adm. Arbuthnote who made such expedition as to intercept them off Cape Henry on the 16th. The two fleets were well poised in point of strengtir, the superiority of a few guns on the side of the British, being counterbalanced by the greater number of men on the other The line was composed of eight ships on each side, including the Romulus of 44 guns in the French, and Adamant of 50 in the British. A partial engagement took place. Each side claimed the advantage ; but the French abandoned their design of such couring Virginia, and returned to Newport on the 26th. Had they gained the Chesapeak before being overtaken by the Bri tish, Washington is of opinion, that the plan against Arnold could not have failed of success. The return of the French disconcerted the marquis de la Fayette. On his arrival at Anna polis in Maryland, he left his troops there, and hastened down the Chesapeak to get a body of militia in readiness for co-opera tion ; but upon hearing what had taken place, he marched back with his detachment to the Head of Elk. . . . is
Sir Henry Clinton, to support the southern operations, and increase their success, forwarded a convoy to the Chesapeak, with about 2000 choice troops on board under general Phillips,
whom he appointed to the chief command in Virginia. They artived on the 25th of March. Among the greatest misfortunes, to the American cause occasioned by the invasion of this state; must be reckoned the obstructions it has thrown on every preparation for the support of the southern army. It has kept back the raising of recruits and every supply,
Certain acts and concerns of congress remain to be related. • The capture of Mr. Laurens by the British, made it necessary ; for congress to appoint another gentleman to supply his place. : They therefore commissioned Mr. John Adams, on the first of
January, to be their minister plenipotentiary to the States-Gene. i fal of the Dutch United Provinces. He was also empowered to
negociate a loan of money among the Hollanders ;; and in confidence of his success they directed, on the 3d of January, bills of exchange to be drawn upon him at six months sight. On the 3d of February they agreed That it be recommended to the several states, as indispensably necessary, that they vest a power in @ongress, to levy for the use of the United States, a duty of five per cent, ad valorem, at the time and place of importation, upon all goods and merchandises of foreign growth and manufactures, which may be imported into any of the said states from any fo.. reign port, island or plantation after the first day of May 1781, except arms, ammunition, clothing, and other articles imported on account of the United States, or any of them, and except wool cards and cotton cards, and wire for making them; and also except salt, during the war ;-Also a like duty of five per cento on all prizes and prize goods condemned in the court of admir yalty of any of these states as lawful prize :--That the money arising from the said duties, be appropriated to the discharge of the principal and interest of the debts already contracted, or which may be contracted, on the faith of the United States, for
supporting the present war :-That the said duties be continued : until the said debts shall be fully and finally discharged.” : Some 1. gentlemen object to the recommendation, or at least a compli! ance with it, and say—" Drawing money insensibly from the i people by imposts may be a favorite scheme in monarchies and
aristocracies; but in republican governments, such as are esta1 blished in America, is inexpedient, if not dangerous. When i money is drawn from the people insensibly, they are less attenį tive to abuses in the expenditure ; but when they are called up. i on for taxes and feel the burden of them, they are more watch:
ful to see that they are properly applied, and to prevent the 1 rulers from bribing the people with their own money, and subi verting the public liberty by the means put into their hands
for securing and defending it.” It will be long before the ser veral states can be prevailed upon to vest congress with the der sired power. .
Pial; - Congress on the 6th of February, ordered that the drawing of the fourth and last class of the United Stateś lottery should begin on the ad of April. Through the amazing depreciation of the paper currency, the whole will turn out a simple piece of business, and disappoint the original hopes both of the fortunate adventurers and of congress. · February 20th, they proceeded by ballot to the election of a superintendant of finace, to examine into the state of the pubwa lic debts, expenditures, and revenue : to digest and report plats for in proving and regulating the finances, and for establishing order and economy in the expenditure of the puplic money; and to the exercise of many other powers necessary to complete the financier. Robert Morris, esq. of Philadelphia was unanimously elected.. : The 27th they passed a commendatory resolution respecting capt. Jolin Paul Jones ; and further resolved, that Dr. Franklin should acquaint his most Christian inajesty, that his majesty's of fer of adorning capt. Jones with the cross of military mierit, was highly acceptable to congress. The small squadron which the captain conimanded in 1779, was fitted out at the expence of his most Christian majesty, who honored him with a French commission. Mons. de Sartine, the minister of the marine, requested Dr. Franklin to strengthen the squadron, by ordering the Alliance to join it, which was immediately done... :
On the 12th of February the Maryland delegates laid before congress an act of their state, empowering them to subseribe and ratify the articles of confederation. The 1st of March was afterward fixed upon for their doing it. Maryland having no vacant western territory, contended, with great justice, that the unappropriated western country should be the common property of the union, and pledged as a fund för sinking the continental debt; and declined acceding to the confederation, till some satisfaction should be given upon that subject. But congress har. ing recommended it to the states claiming such country, to remove the only obstacle to a final ratification, and then earnestly requested the legislature of Maryland to empower their delegates, they accordingly did so on the 30th of last January. They concurred in the measure, as well from a desire to perpetuate and strengthen the union, as from a 'confidence in the justice and generosity of the larger states, and that superior to local interests, they would consent to such arrangements of the
anappropriated lands included in their respective charters, as good policy required; and the great exertions of their own state in the common cause, had so highly deserved. When the 1st of March was arrived, the New-York delegates, by virtue of the powers with which their legislature had entrusted them, proceeded by an official act in congress, to limit and restrict the boundaries of that state, and to relinquish all right, jurisdiction, and claim, to all lands to the northward and westward of the same, to be disposed of as the congress of the confederated. states should direct. The Maryland delegates then proceeded to sign and ratify the articles of confederation. This important event has been communicated to the executives of the several states; and the American ministers in Europe have been ordered to notify it to the respective courts at which they reside. . 5. Though a longer delay on the part of Maryland might have been productive of bad consequences, yet there are several members of congress who are sensible of its having been highly beDeficial upon niany occasions. As sever states were a majority, whenever that number met, it was considered as the representative body of the thirteen; and if four out of the seven* agreed, it passed for the voice of the United States, even in those cases which by the confederation required the.concurrence of nine states. The want of such concurrence, had the confederation been perfected at a very early date, would have prevented the €xecution of much business of the highest importance. . - March 16th, congress resolved " That it be, and hereby is recommended to the several states, to amend their laws making the bills of credit emitted under the authority of congress, a legal tender, so that such bills shall not be a tender in any other - manner than'at their current value, compared with gold or sil
yer." The same day they resolved. That the states be immediately called upon to furnish for the public expences, and for carrying on the war, their proportion of one million five hunI dred thousand dollars quarterly, the first quarterly payment to be made on the 1st day of June next." Neither of these re. -solves will be sufficiently productive. .
.. .on 9. This shall close with an extract from a letter of gen. Wash. ington, written the beginning of April." I give it decisively - as my opinion, that without a foreign loan, our present force, - which is but the remnant of an army, Cannot be kept together - this campaign, much less will it be increascd and in readiness for another. If France delays a tinicly and powerful aid in the cri.
5*** When congress confirmed the sentence of le court-martial on gen. Lees it was by a vote of four out of eleven present,