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They also "Resolved, that the council of safety of Pennsylvania, be requested to take the most vigorous and speedy measures for punishing all such as refuse continental currency; and that the general be directed to give all necessary aid to the council of safety, for carrying their measures on this subject into effectual execution."
[Dec. 28.] "Resolved that two large floating batteries be built on Lake Champlain, to cover the boom and the bridge at Tyconderoga; that a fort be constructed on Mount Independence; that the navigation of the lake near that place, be obstructed by sunken cassoons, joined together by string-pieces, so as, at the same time, to serve for a bridge between the fortifications on the east and west side; and that fort Stanwix be strengthened, and other fortifications made at proper places near the Mohawk river."
[Dec. 30.] It was "Resolved, That commissioners be forthwith sent to the courts of Vienna, Spain, Prussia and the grand duke of Tuscany—that the several commissioners of the United Stales be instructed to assure the respective courts, that notwithstanding the artful and insidious endeavors of the court of GreatBritain, it is theirdetennination, at all events, to maintain their independence—that they be directed to use every mean in their power to procure the assistance of the emperor of Germany, and of their most Christian, Catholic and Prussian majesties, for preventing German, Russian, or other foreign troops, from being sent to America for hostile purposes against these United States, and for obtaing a recal of those already sent—and, that his jnost Christian majesty be induced, if possible, to assist the United States in the present war with Great-Britain, by attacking the electorate of Hanover, or any part of the dominions of GreatBritain, in Europe, the East or VV'est-Indies." His mos Christian majesty was to be assured, "That should his forces be employed, in conjunction with those of the United States, to exclude his Britannic majesty from any share in the cod-fishery of America, by reducing the islands of Newfoundland and CapeBreton, and ships of war be furnished, when required by the United States, to reduce Nova-Scotia; the fishery shall be enjoyed equally and in common, by the subjects of his most Christian majesty and of these states, to the exclusion of all other nations and people whatever; and half the island of Newfoundland shall be owned by, and be subject to the jurisdiction of his most Christian majesty, provided the province of NovaScotia, the island of Cape-Breton, and the remaining part of Newfoundland be annexed to the territory and government of the United States." If these proposals were not suffici1 ,
-sufficient to produce a declaration of war, and it could not be otherwise accomplished, his most Christian majesty was to be assured, " That such of the British West-India islands, as in the course of the war shall be reduced by the united forces of France and these states, shall be yielded in absolute property to his most Christian majesty : and thje United States engage, on timely.notice to furbish at their expence, and deliver in some convenient port or ports, in the said United States, provisions for carrying on expeditions against the said islands, to the amount of two millions of dollars, and six frigates mounting not less than twentyfour guns, each manned and fitted for the sea; and to render any other assistance whichmay be in their powerasbecomes good 'allies."; '. . . • , • *
The commissioners of the courts of France and Spain were to ■consult together, and prepare a treaty of commerce and alliance, to be proposed to the court of Spain, adding thereto, ■" that if his Catholic majesty will join the United States, in a war against .Great-Britain, they will assist in.reducing to the possession of *v>pain the town and harbour of Pensacola, provided the citizens 'aad inhabitants of the United States shall have the free and uninterrupted navigation of the Missisippi, and use of the harbour-iof Tensacola ; and will, provided it be true, that his Portuguese majesty has insultingly expelled the vessels of these states from his .ports, or has confiscated any such vessels., declare war against the said king, if that measure shall be agreeable to, and be supported by the courts of France and Spain."' '• [Jan. .3, 1777.] "Whereas congress hath received-information, that Richard Stockton, esq. of Nevy-Jersey, and a.member
- .of this congress, lrith been made a prisoner, and ignominiously tlrrown into a common jail, and their detained—Resolved, That rgen. Washington be directed to make immediate enquiry into the truth of .this report, and if he finds reason to believe it well founded, that he send to gen. Howe, remonstrating against, this departure from that humane procedure which has marked the conduct of these states to prisoners who have fallen into, their hands ; and to know of gen. Howe, whether he chooses this -shall
* .be the future rule for treating all such on both side,s, as tire foretime of war may place in the hands of either party." J The capture of gen. Lee has proved iiiconvenieiittoboth sides,
- and calamitous to individuals. Somewhat like a cartel was before established for the exchange of prisoners between generals Howe and Washington. Gen. Lee being particularly obnoxi
I pus to government, and Howe perhaps having received prior instructions how'to conduct himself .with respect to him individually, (for he-can have hud none asyet upon lire news of his cap"'vol. 11'."' X" turej
ture) his exchange was refused. Washington having no prisoner of equal rank, proposed six Hessian field officers to balance that disparity: and, if this was not accepted, required that he should be treated suitable to his sitation, and the precedent already set by the Americans in regard to the British officers they had captivated. It was answered, that as Lee was a deserter from his majesty’s service, he could not be considered as a prisoner of war, nor come within the conditions of the cartel, nor receive any of its benefits. A fruitless discussion ensued : and Lee was still confined, watched and guarded with the utmost strictness and jealousy; which produced the following congressional act—[Jan. 6.] “Congress being informed that major gen. Lee hath, since his captivity, been committed to the custody of the provost, instead of being enlarged on his parole, according to the humane practice that has taken place with officers of the enemy who have fallen into the hands of the American troops ; a treatment totally unworthy of that gentleman's eminent qualifications, and his rank in the service of the United States, and strongly indicative of further, injuries to his person:—Resolved, That gen. Washington be directed to send to general Howe, and inform him, that, should the profiered exchange of gen. Lee for six Hessian field officers not to be accepted, and the treatment of him as abovementioned be continued, the principles of retaliation shall occasion five of the Hessian field officers, together with lieut. col. Archibald Campbell, or any other officers that are or shall be in our possession equivalent in number or quality, to be detained in order that the said treatment which gen. Lee shall receive may be exactly inflicted upon their persons —Ordered, that a copy of the above resolution be transmitted to the council of the Massachusetts-bay, and that they be desired to detain lieut. col Campðell, and keep him in safe custody till the further order of congress; and that a copy be also sent to the committee of congress in Philadelphia; and that they be desired to have the prisoners, officers and privates, lately taken, properly secured in some safe place.” When the resolution was received by the Massachusetts council, instead of conforming solely to the words of the order to keep the colonel in safe custody, they sent him to Concord jail; where he was lodged in a dungeon of twelve or thirteen feet square whose sides were black with the grease and litter of successive criminals. Two doors with double locks and bolts, shut him from the yard, with an express prohibition from entering it, either for health, or the necessary calls of nature. A leathsome black hole, decorated with a pair of fixed chains, was granted him for his inner apartment; from whence a felon had been re
moved but the moment before, and in which his litter and expigments remained a fortnight after it was- appropriated to the use of the colonel. The attendance of a single servant on his person was- denied him, and every visit from a friend positively refused. When he had transmitted an account of these and other matters to Sir William Howe on the 14th of February, and tire same had been communicated to gen. Washington, a letter was*directly written on the 28th, in which thegeneral says, "You will observe that exactly the same treatment is to be shewn to col. Campbell and the Hessian officers, that gen. Howe shews ti> gen. Lee; and as he is only confined to a commodious house> ytith. genteel accommodations, we have no right or reason to be more severe upon col. Campbell, who I would wish should be immediately removed from his present situation, and put into a house where he may live comfortably,"
The enemy have in their power and subject to their call, near 300 officers belonging to the army of the United States; while the Americans have not more than 50 belonging to the enemy, .The resolve, therefore, of putting in close confinement col. Campbell and the Hessian officers, in order to retaliate Lee's punishment, seems injurious in every point of view, and to have been entered into without due attention to the consequences. Gen. Lee's, misfortune has sunk him greatly in the opinion of many Americans;, and serves to convey a lively idea of the inconstancy and ingratitude of mankind.. Some of those very people who, when he was marching to join gen. Washington, regarded him as the guardian angel that vyas to deliver Ame.rica, not only censure him bitterly, but even insinuate..that he was treacherous. The Americans however, have reaped one advantage by that event—the enemy are convinced that they have not gotten the palladium of America,, as they fondly boasted.. • Congress have been often,and foraconsiderable time,in acommittee of the whole, upon the state of the treasury, and the means of supporting the credit of the continental currency. At length they have "Resolved [Jan. 14.] That all bills of credit emitted by authority of congress, ought to pass current in all payments, trade and dealings in these states,, and be deemed in value equal to the same nominal sums in Spanish milied dollars; and that whosoever shall offer, ask or receive more in the said bills, for any gold or silver coins, bullion, or any other species of money whatsoever, than the nominal sum or amount thereof in Spanish milled dollars, or more in the said bills for any lands, houses, goods or any commoditieswhatsoever, than the same could be purchased at of the same person or persons, in gold, silver or any other species of money whatsoever; or shall offer to sell any goods •or commodities for gold or silver coins, or uny other species of
money ~ money whatsoever, and refuse to sell the same for the saidieontii nental bills; every such person ought to be deemed an enemy t<* the liberties of these United States, and to forfeit the value of themoney so exchanged, or house, land or commodity so sold or offered to sale. And it is recommended to the legislatures of the respective states, to enact laws inflicting such forfeitures and cither penalties on offenders as aforesaid, as will prevent such pernicious practices—that it be recommended to the legislaturesof the United States, to pass laws to make the bills of credit is-- • sued by the congress, a lawf ul tender in payments of public and private debts; and aTrefusal thereof an extinguishment of- such debts; that debts payable in sterling money, be discharged with continental dollars, at the rate of four and six-pence steiling" per dollar; and that in discharge of all other debts and contracts^, continental dollars pass at the rate fixed by the respective states for the value of Spanish milled dollars.'*
The several states will undoubtedly make the continental bill* a legal tender, agreeable to the recommendation; though there* in they establish the perpetration of iniquity by law. '1 here are too many debtors in every state, and general assembly, who will by the help of it clear themselves of incumbrances; and who will feel nothing, or but little, at the injustice they commit in paying their creditors with a depreciated currency, while they have the law of the land in their favor. But all these attempt* of congress to keep up the value of the bills, are delusive; and wi|l deceive those most who have the greatest conr.dence in the wisdom of the present measure. It is scarce possible that they can so far impose upon their own judgments, as to view it in any other light than a momentary relief from a present evil, by subjecting themselves to a greater in future, but which, when it shall arrive, they flatter themselves they shall get rid of by soma new expedient.
[Jan. 16.] Congress "Resolved, That a committee of sevenbe appointed to enquire into the conduct of the British and Hessian generals and officers toward the officers, soldiers and mariners in the service of the United States, and any other persons,, inhabitants of these states, in their possession, as prisoners of war or otherwise, and also into the conduct of the said generals andofficers, and the troops under their command, toward the subjects of these states and their property, more especially of the states of New-York and New-Jersey ." This committee will undoubtedly authenticate the cruelties of the royal army, which have been toofrequent and notorious. The very orders of gen. Howe have not been sufficiently guarded for the preventing of abuses. When the enemy fled from their cantonments in the Jerseys, his orders t»