Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

chest in some secure town, and warrants were granted upon the paymaster-general there. From the best accounts the enemy's army had been lately cleared off; so that it is not probable there was any military chest. The medicines were left with the gener ral hospital, which gen. Burgoyne left behind him at Freeman's form. Many of the cartouch-boxes were left, and some were carried away. The mentioning of the accoutrements was fora gotten in the convention. Those that have been carried off have been sold upon the road to Boston for drams. · The quantity of field ammunition and musket cartridges taken, are by no means inconsiderable. The rest was used and destroyed before the freaty commenced. The muskets will ever be less in numa ber than the prisoners, as the drummers and staff officers do not carry firelocks. Many arms were lost in the two hundred bata! teaux that were taken from the enemy in their retreat from Frecat man's farm, and many others were plundered by the militia on the east side of the river, The bayonets were also pilferedz by our own people. The very guards themselves supplied theica wants from the piles. Many of the scabbards for the bayonets were disposed of in the like manner. I believe there was no destruction of military stores after the convention, by or with the privity of general Burgoyne or his officers. It is so extraccial dinary for a British army to surrender their arms, that we ought not to wonder at the violent and disappointed for commiting some irregularities; but I do not conceive that any thing of suta ficient consequence was done, to justify our charge of their hax=; ing violated the convention. On the day general Burgoyne surrendered, I received repeated expresses to inform me, that the ; enemy's fleet had advanced up to within a few hours sailing of, Albany. The removal of the arniy was therefore immediately necessary,to cover thatcity and secure our magazines. My principal attention was of course directed towards that object. Generals Glover and Whipple gave me their assistance and entire approbation in the settlement of the convention. When things of such importance must be done in a hurry, some articles of seems ing importance never fail to be omitted. The arms were piled up agreeable to the letter of the convention, and their condition as good as can be expected upon such occasions. Their being. wholly unfit for service, is partly owing to the land and water, carriages, but chiefly to the want of proper packages to secure, them. Our own men have changed them; but here I think we should not imprudently expose the infant state of our nailitary discipline.

General Burgoyne was desirous of altering the place for the embarkation of the convention troops from the port of Boston

to

u to that of Rhode-Island or the Sound, contiguous to New-York, En which as well as Rhode Island was possessed by the British. He

wrote to gen. Washington upon the subject on the 25th of None vember. The American commander forwarded the letter to E congress. They, on the day it was received, the 17th of De

cember, resolved, “ That gen. Washington be directed to in

ferm gen. Burgoyne, that congress will not receive, nor consio der any proposition for indulgence or altering the terms of the 1convention of Saratoga, unless inmediately directed to their

own body.” The next day they received gen. Gates's letter of 5 December the 3d, enclosing a letter to him from gen. Burgoyne, Sit of November the 14th, wherein he declared, that the public

faith, plighted in the convention of Saratoga, was broken on to the part of the United States, inasmuch as the officers included E in the convention, had not, since their arrival in Massachusetts

Bay, been accommodated with quarters agreeable to their respective ranks. Congress had now obtained what they wanted, a plea for detaining the convention troops. Some of the members, not attending sufficiently to dates and circumstances, imagined that Burgoyne expected to have sailed before his letter of the 14th could have reached congress time enough for them to have detained him; but it was scarce possible that such an expectation could have existed, when he did not write to general Washington on the subject of changing the place of embarkation before the 25th, and could not, till permission was received, possibly embark at Rhode Island, to which port the transports were sent, and of whose arrival he was informed by letter of December the fifth. The coming from New York through the Sound, to Rhode Island, was so much more convenient and less hazardous than going round by Long Island and Cape-Cod to Boston, especially at such a season, that the application for changing the place of embarkation was natural.

[Jan. 2, 1778.] Congress resolved, “That the charge made by gen. Burgoyne, of a breach of public faith on the part of these states, is not warranted by the just construction of any article of the convention of Saratoga ; that it is a strong indicati. on of his intention, and affords just grounds of fear that he will avail himself of such pretended breach of the convention, in order to disengage himself and the army under him, of the obligations they are under to these United States; and that the security which these states have had in his personal honor, is hereby destroyed." The next day they resolved therefore " That the embarkation of gen. Burgoyne and the troops under his command; be suspended till a distinct and explicit ratification of the convention of Saratoga shall be properly notified by the court of

Great

Great-Britain.” It was then ordered, “That the resolutions, and the report on which the same are grounded, be recom, mitted.”

[Jan. 8.] They took into consideration afresh, the report of the committee, which says, that the cartouch-boxes, &c. agree. able to the spirit of the convention and the technical interpretation of the word arms, ought to have been delivered up. It con: siders Burgoyne's refusal to give the descriptive lists, which con. gress had directed to be taken, in an alarining point of view, more especially as nine days previous to the refusal, he had in his letter to Gates declared, that the public faith was broken, It insists upon this charge as a breach of faith, being a deliberate act of judgment, and so of a most serious nature, pregnant with alarming consequences. It attempts to invalidate the charge, and asserts, that by an examination of the articles it will appear, that the stipulation for quartering the officers was not to be construed in that rigorous sense in which Burgoyne affects to consider it, but on the contrary was “ agreed to as far as circuns stances would admit." This assertiva reduces the stipulation to a mere non-entity, if it is left with the stipulating party wholly to judge of these circumstances. The cominittee who made the report mentioned, but forbore “to lay any'stress' on the seem ingly inadequate nuinber of vessels (being only twenty-six trans, ports) for an army consisting of 5642 men, in a winter's voyage to Europe; or on the improbability of the enemy's being able, on so short a notice, to victual such a fleet and army for a voys age of such length." It is happy that they did not lay any stress upon it, as it would have manifested how much they were biassed by an eagerness to vindicate the measures they were desirous of adopting. The committee was a commitiee of the whole. Twenty-six transports, of 250 ton each,, would carry 6500 men, allowing a ton for every man. In winter time they could safely stow more close than in warmer weather. The voyage, though long, in going from America to Europe, is pers forined generally much sooner in that than any other season, by reason of the prevalency of the north-west winds'; so that less provision is required for the passage.

The former resolves were passed the second time, but not till congress had resolved, “that as many of the cartouch-boxes and several other articles of military accoutrements, annexed to the persons of the non-commissioned officers and soldiers, included in the convention of Saratoga, have not been delivered up, the convention, on the part of the British army, has not been strictly complied with--that the refusal of general Burgoyne to give descriptive lists of the non-commissioned officers and privates be

longing

"longing to his army, subsequent to his declaration that the pube

fic faith was broke, is considered by congress in an alarming point"

of view ; since a compliance could only have been prejudicial to " that army in case of an infraction of the convention on their

part.” It was in vain that the general explained the intention and construction of the passage objected to in his letter : or that his officers, in order to remove the difficulty occasioned by it, respectively signed their parole. He even pledged himself, that his officers would still join with him in signing any instrument that might be thought necessary for confirming or renewing the validity of the convention : but it was to no purpose. Congress have been unalterable; and the detention of the troops is now settled.

On the ninth of January, the Massachusetts general court permitted Dr. Benjamin Church, whose treachery had subjected him to a long confinement, to take passage on board a brigantine bound to Martinico.* * The American privateers and continental shipping have taken å large number of vessels belonging to Great-Britain, and sent them into their own harbors. They have undoubtedly taken many others upon the European coasts, that we have not heard of. We have had accounts of several; and that the coasts of Great-Britain and Ireland have been insulted by them, in a manner never before ventured upon by your hardiest encmies; so as to produce the appointment of a convoy (for the first time ever known) to protect the linen ships from Dublin and Newry. We learn also that the General Mifflin privateer, after making

repeated captures arrived at Brest, and saluted the French ad* miral, who returned the salute in form, as to the vessel of a so

vereign independent state. We are likewise told, that though Iord Stormont, on his threatening to return immediately to Great-Britain, unless satisfaction was given, obtained an order

requiring not only all American privateers, but their prizes, to en leave the French ports, the same is evaded. However, his

majesty's vessels on the American station have not been idle ; for they have captured very considerable on these coasts ånd the West-Indies. Their captures indeed, are generally not of much value singly, yet they have furnished at times some rich prizes, and in the aggregate have been of great amount. But the balance of property will most certainly be in favor of the Americans. The continental frigate Hancock, of thirty-two guns, mostly twelve-pounders, commanded by capt. Manly, was taken

She never reached her port, and has never been heard of since sailing.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors]

on the 8th of July, by Sir George Collier, of his majesty's ship the Rainbow

Sir George, in company with the Victor brig, discovered three sail in the morning of the sixth. He chased with all the sail be couid crowd: but observing the next day that they steered differe ent courses, about two in the afternoon he tacked after the Hancock, which appeared the largest ship. She seemed at first rather to outsail the Rainbow; but Vianly endeavouring to make his ship sail better, started all his water forward, and so put her out of trim. At half past eight the next morning Sir George hailed her, and let the men know, that if they expected quarters, they must strike inuinediately. Manly endeavoured to avail himself of a fesh breeze just springing up Sir George therefore fired into him, on which he struck after a chase of thirty-nine hours. He had lately taken the Fox of twenty-eight guns on the banks of Newfoundland ; which was one of the three sail, and being discovered by the Flora on the seventh was chased till retaken. The third was the Boston continental frigate of thirty guns, commanded by capt. M'Neal, which escaped. The publie are not satisfied with the conduct of the latter, imagining that if he had not left his consort, and that if both had behaved well, neither would have been captured. The Hancock's compliment was 290 men, near as many as the Rainbow's.

On the first of December, the ship Flamand, capt. Landais, arrived at Portsmouth, from Marseilles. Mr. John Baptiste Lazarus Thevaneau de Francey is come supercargo and agent for the house of Roderique Hortales and company, alias Mr. Pierre Augustin Coron de Beaumarchais. The ship has brought 45 pieces of brass cannon, four-pounders, with carriages complete-19 nineinch mortars-250 bombs, nine inches--2,000 four-pound balls—a quantity of intrenching tools-3000 fuseesmuo of another quality for dragoons--about 18,000 pounds of gun-powder-and 61,051 of brimstone.

The continent is looking out for important news from France.

LETTER

« ZurückWeiter »