« ZurückWeiter »
and from thence proceeded by land toward South-Carolina. Vir: 'ginia made great and effectual exertions to expedite their move ments ; but in North-Carolina little or no preparations were made for supporting the troops or transporting their baggage. The baron was under the necessity of halting on Decp river the 6th of July. He received frequent assurances of support ; but found no resources except in making frequent-detachments for collecting proyisions, which were inadequate to the necessities of the troops, who subsisted principally upon lean cattle collected in the woods. The commissaries and quarter-masters complained, that the want of cash and of credit were insuperable obstacles to the discharge of their duty.
Upon gen. Lincoln's being made prisoner at Charleston, the forces of the southern district devolved on Baron de Kalb. His experience and abilities were allowed to be great; but as he was a foreigner, unacquainted with the country, and unaccustomed to the temper of undisciplined troops, who were to constitute the major part of the army, these and other reasons wrought in favor of gen. Gates, who was considered in common as the best quali fied for the coinmand; and it was unanimously resolved in cona gress on the 13th of June, “that major gen. Gates do immedia ately repair to, and take the command of the southern department :” the next day he was empowered to take such measures for the defence of the southern states as he might think most proper. He received the resolves of congress at Traveller's Rest in Virginia, a few miles from Shepherd's-town, on the 20th; and set out on Monday the 26th. He soon felt for himself, finding that he succeeded to the command, of an army without strength, of a military chest without money, of a departmentap parently deficient in public spirit, and in a climate that increased despondency, instead of animating the soldiers arm. : He had before him the most unpromising prospect his eyes ever beheld. He arrived at the camp on the 25th of July; and at a review of the troops the next day, was in every respect received by the baron with marks of the greatest distinction. In return he treata ed his predecessor with due consideration, confirmed his standing orders, and requested that he would keep the command of his division, as formerly in the grand army." The baron's division consisted of all the Maryland and Delaware troops: these, with a small legionary corps under col. Armand, consisting of about 60 horse and as many foot soldiers, who arrived a few days before, and three companies of artillery, constituted the whole of the army. The baron, with great satisfaction, complied with Gates's request. A considerable body of North-Carolina militia
eview's upon the militia Thecip river at
had taken the field under gen. Caswell. His appointment and instructions to join and co-operate with the regular forçes liad been announced to the baron, who daily expected his arrival, and with him a considerable supply of provisions.. Caswell, however, upon the piea of preventing some disaffected inhabitants from taking arms in favor of the enemy, excused his not complying with the instructions; and as to the supply, though promised, no part of it ever arrived. On the morning of July the 27th, gen. Gates marched at the head of the army, to effect a junction of the regular and irregular forces, to assume an appearance of hostile views upon the enemy's advanced posts, and in expectation of sharing with the miliţia the supplies they received from the state. The'troops pissed Deep river at the Buffalo ford, and encainped in the afternoon at Spink's farın, on the road to Cáma' den. .. - Here we shall leavé tlien till time and fåture operations yield us the materials for proceeding in the history of the southern department. However we must not quit North-Carolina without inentioning, that Mr. Justice Pendleton stated to lord Cornwala lis, in a letter dated Newbérn, July 20, the reasons that urged lun to leave Charleston without the permission of the commandant, lest the sane should be represented as a breach of his parole, and of course infamous and dishonorable. The letter relates, that the morning of the day the justice left thie town he was infornied that the preceding night a party had assembled togetlier to take hint out of his house, and put him to death; and that it would certainly have been effected, had not a British ofñcer, capta Constable, prevailed on them to consider further of the matter.. To show his utmost reliance on his lordship's honor, he says in it
"I will immediately return to my parole in Charleston, it I. obtain your promise that no farther injury or insult shall be of fered me. I require no other security.” He then adds--" There are many English officers, my lord, that' have intelligent and gena ečous spirits, that know it is impossible to fix any immutable, standard of opinion in politics, any more than religion; and there-, före not impossible that a very upright and virtuous man inay be, a member of congress, governor, judge, &c. notwithstanding the common epithet of rebel so freely bestowed on them. Such men (it is no matter wliichi side their principles lead them to embrace) behold human misery in every shape, or from whatever cause. derived, with pity and concern, and by compassion and politeness. endeavour to soften and mitigate it, but the nialignity and virua, lence of Scotch (with some few exceptians) and American refugee officers (with none at all) whether in a civil or Inilitary line, is Vol. III
singularly conspicuous throughout this war, and cannot be desoria bed but in terms offensive to the pen of a gentleman.”
The proceedings of congress must now again engage our ata tention,
The grand council of the American states called upon each in February for specific supplies of provision and forage. But before these could be brought in, such advantage was taken of the public wants, that the nominal debt of the continent was increased beyond calculation.. Depreciation was rapid. The enemy took courage, and set every engine to work, by counterfeiting and multiplying their base emissions, to decry the credit of the paper currency. Congress to baffle their designs and curb intestine a varice, 'resolved on the 18th of March, to call in by taxes in the course of one year, and to burn all the paper bills heretofore emitted to the amount of 200 millions of dollars, and in lieu thereof, to issue ten millions of new money, which was to be issued as fast and no faster than the old was brought in. For every 20 dollars of the old, one dollar of the new emission was to be perfected, and lodged in the continental loan offices in the respective states, These new bills were to be redeemable in specie, within six years after the present, and to bear an interest at the rate of 5 per cent. to be paid also in specie at the redemption of the bills, or at the election of the owner annually, in sterling bills of exchange on the American cominissioners in Europe, at four shillings and sixpence per dollar. The new bills were to issue on funds of individual statęs'established for the purpose. As the said bills were completed, the states respectively on whose funds they issued were to receive six-tenths of them, and the remainder was to be subject to the orders of the United States, and credited to the states on whose funds they issued. These bills were to be receivable in the payment of the monthly quotas or taxes of each state, at the same rate with specie, or of one Spanish milled dollar, in lieu of forty dollars of the old bills still in circulation. By this political contrivance of congress, various effects were produced. The value' of the new bills was to be really double to that of the old. The last were estimated at forty for a specie dollar, the first at par' with specie : thus ten millions of new ware equivalent to 400 millions of the old. The several states had a bait held out to thein to in.: duce their adoption of the plan ; in that each was to receive sixtenths of the new for its own use, while the remaining four were subject to the orders of congress. Those who had amassed large quantities of the old, were disappointed in their hopes of converting it into specie, dollar for dollar ; notwithstanding all the fine: and expressive language in the circular letter of congress the last:
September, strongly tending to encourage such hopes. The reat injustice of subjecting all the inhabitants to the redemption of the old paper in specie at par, when the generality of the holders received it at a considerable depreciation, and when a large quantity of it was not circulated in the first instance but in a depreci. ated condition, was so apparent ; that the avoidance of it by the resolution of congress produced no convulsion, though there was a violation of public faith. Many suffering individuals complain. ed loudly, but the measure was peaceably adopted. Congress have also fixed the value of certificates given for“ moriey loaned from September 1977 to March 1780, so rating the value of the continental paper between those two periods, as that the Jender might receive the value of what was lent, and the public not be loaded with a debt for which it had not an equivalent. On the 20th of March, they resolved upon reominending it to the states to revise their laws, making the continental bills a tender for the discharge of debts and contracts, and to amend the same, so as shall be judged inost conductive to justice in the présent state of the paper currency...
A few pariculars that chieily respect the Massachusetts and New Hampshire states remain to be related.
When the Hampshire house of assembly (about sixty represent catives being present) debated at Exeter in what way to raise their
quota of men, a certain mode was proposed. · About a dozen voe , ted for it; however no persons voting against it when called upon, the act of the former was declared to be a vote, and the measure established. But in case of its proving disgustful to their constituents, almost every member of the house could say, that she did not vote for it, which would pass with the inattentive for a sufficient apology..
The towns and districts of the Massachưsetts, by the direction" of the general court, made choice of delegates for the sole purpose of settling aconstitution for the commonwealth, who metin conven
tion at Cambridge on the t'st of September 1779, and continued : by adjournments to the 2d of last March ; when, having agreed : upon a form of government, they submitted it to the revision of
their constituents, in order to the completing of the same ata ses,sion to be held at Boston for that purpose, on the first Wednes-day of the following June. Copies were ordered to be sent to the select men of each town, and the committees of each plantation, to be laid before their respective inhabitants. If the major part of them, when legally assembled on the business, disapproved of any particular clause, they were to state their objections distinctly, with the reasons. The same were to be transmitted to the secit
tary of the convention, together with the number of voters in the i said town and plantation meetings, on each side of every queses tion ; that so the convention, at the adjournment, might collect the general sense of their constituents on the several parts of the proposed constitution. If there did not appear to be two-thirds of their constituents in favor of it, the convention were to alter it so as that it might be agreeable to the sentiinents of two-thirds : of the voters through the state. It was also recommended to the inhabitants to empower their delegates at the next session, to ax. ğree upon a time when the form of government should take place, without returning the same again to the people ; provided, that two-thirds of the male inhabitants of the age of twenty-one years, and upward, yoting in the several meetings, agreed to the same or the convention conformed it to the sentiments of two-thirds . of their constituents. When the convention met on the 7th of June as proposed, they agreed upon the last Wednesday of Oc.. tober, the 25th, for the commencement of the new, form of gove vernment; as it appeared upon examination, that more than two-thirds of the voters approved of its Directions have been ; given for the election of governor, lieut, governor, &c. accordez ing to the mode prescribed by it against that memorable day. . The constitution consists of two parts-a declaration of sights ; and the frame of government. Upon reading it you will probably pronounce it equal, if not superior to any upon the continent.* .
Notwithstanding all the anxieties and avocations attending the war wherein they were engaged, the Massachusetts general court passed an act [May 4.] to incorporate and establish a society for.. the cultivation and promotion of the arts and sciences, by the name of THE AMERICAN ACADEMY OF ARTS ANDET: SCIENCES.' The number of the said academy, who are inhaes bitants of the state, are not to be at any time more than two hundred, nor less than forty. A bill to the like purpose was. brought into the house in a former session ; but the names of the gentlemen inserted being unintentionally arranged by the pera : sonş draughting it so as seemingly to give pre-eminence to an other before Mr, Hancock, the last declared in the house against having any concern in it, and it fell to the ground; but an alm. phabetical arrangement in the new one removing the unibrage, , the same passed into an act.
[June 7.] The court agreed upon raising 3934 men for the con tinental army for six months; and on the 22d, 4726 more for three months, and the men were to be paid in gold or silver, or. bills equivalent thereto. The select men of the several towns were ordered to collect shirts, shocs, stockings, &c. and subjected to