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wednesday, the 30th of December, was observed by order of congress as a thanksgiving-day. At this very period, the affairs of the United States were in a most distressed, ruinous and deplorable condition. Idleness, dissipation and extravagance, seemed to have laid fast hold of the generality; and peculation, speculation and an insatiable thirst for riches, to have gotten the better of every other consideration, and almost of every order of men. Party disputes and personal quarrels, were the great business of the day, while the momentous concerns of the empire, a great and accumulated debt, ruined finances, depreciated money, and a want of credit (which in the consequences is the want of every thing) were but secondary considerations, and postponed by congress from time to time, as if their affairs wore the most promising aspect. The paper was sinking in Philadelphia daily 50 per cent. and yet an assembly, a concert, a dinner or supper (which cost two or three hundred pounds} did not only take men off from acting, but even from thinking of this business. Some of the most disinterested and patriotic Americans, felt more real distress on account of this appearance of things, than they had done at any one time since the com— mencement of the dispute. -
[Jan. 2..]. Congress resolved, that as many counterfeits had appeared in circulation, of various denominations of the emission of May 20, 1771, and April 11, 1778, the whole emissions of those two dates, should be taken out of circulation. They were to be received, within a limited term, for continental debts and taxes, and into the continental loan offices, either to loan ot be exchanged, at the election of the owners. The counterfeiting of the bills, according to my information, originated with either James or John Rankin, formerly of York county, in Pennsylvania. Having quitted, their farms and joined the royalists, that government confiscated their estates; one of them, to compensate for his losses, and avenge himself upon the United States, entered upon the business of counterfeiting their paper currency, which was afterward practised by others.
The convention troops were sent off in the second week of November, to Virginia; the Germans marched from Cambridge, the British from Rutland, in which town they had been quartered for some time back. But as the people could not banish from their minds the notions they had imbibed of the cruelties the American prisoners had received, and as some were afraid of being plundered and others of being killed, the troops, while upon their march, met with great incivility from all ranks and degrees. of men. The militia guard which escorted general Reidesel's baggage from Hartford to the York line, broke open some of
tfef. boxes and plundered them of several dozen of wine, a great aumber of spermaceti candles, and five dozen packs of cards.—* Xiie general was so much displeased with their conduct, that ha wrote a letter to gen, M'Dougalh who returned a very polite answer, and furnished a guard of continental troops to escort the ,-haggage to Sussex court- house in Jerseys. - ■ ■
[Feb, 3.] Mr. Gerard presented memorials to congress, the subject of which they determined to take into immediate consideration,'.at. the same time informing him, that if he wished to xommunieateany thing further, they would, receive the same from him in a private audience. He having a wish to make further communication, attended on the l<5th, when congres9 was .resolved into a committee of the whole.- The committee reported on the 23d. * That upon the consideration of all the matters referred, they are of opieion, that his Catholic majesty is.- disposed to enter into an alliance with the United States of America ; that ha hath manifested this disposition in a decisive, declaration lately made to the court of Great-Britain ; that ia 'Consequence of such declaration, the independence of these Uhi» led States must be finally acknowledged by Great-Britain and immediately thereon a negotiation for peace wiii be set on foot between the powers of France, Great-Britain, -and these United States, under the mediation of his Catholic majesty; or that -Spain wilt take part in the war, and his Catholic majdsty will wnitc his force with the most Christian king and the United States :—That in order to be in readiness for a negociatton, the •ministers of the United States ought to be instructed by congress ■on the several following particulars, viz. l„ What to insist upon, as the ultimatum of these states; 2. What to yield or require on -terms ofmutual exchange and compensation." - The committee .feported their opinion upon these points, which were afterward the subjects of consideration in congress. - Mr. Gerard manifested a desire that the war might not be prolonged by too high and unreasonable demands ; and that the United States would bring their ultimatum as low a9 possible.-— '.lie strongly recommended moderation. The fate of war was .uncertain ; and he hinted that a decicive naval engagement in farorof the British might give a great turn to their affairs. Mr. &. Adams was for insisting npon the cession of Canada and No-va .Scotia ; and some were for adding Florida. Congress agreed '4March 19.1 ■ 1st, What should be the bounds of the Thirteen United States in the Ultimatum: 2d, That every port and place -Within the United States, and every island, harbor and road to :-Uvem or any of them belonging, should be absolutely evacuated •Ay the land .and. sea fovcti of his Britannic majesty,-and yielded to the powers of the state to which they respectively belongThe fishery is a point which the New-Englanders are much set upon having secured, and which will occasion repeated debates, and be long before it is fully and finally determined. The Parisian minister, Monsieur Vergennes, does not confine his policy to the establisment of American independence; he aims at securing to the French the Newfoundland fishery to the exclusion of the United States, and to the Spaniards the sole navigation of the Missisippi, and the lands on the eastern side of it, at the back of the present settlements of the United States, and therefore called the Western lands. You must use this information as a clew to guide you through the labyrinth of Mr. Gerard's negociation. Nine days after he had his audience of congress, they received the account of the king of Naples having opened his ports to the flag of the United States of America. The stroke aimed at gen. Mifflin by the congress resolve of June 11, 1778, having answered his intention, all further proceedings ceased; on which the general, on the 17th of August, sent a letter to congress enclosing his commission, which fog. reasons therein set forth he begged leave to resign. That and . two more letters of an earlier date were referred to a committee of three who reported on the 23d of January, 1779, that it did not appear to them any proceedings had taken place since the resolve of June the 11th, and that if the said resolution was: to be carried into execution, it should be done in the usual mannër, and that general Washington should have directions accordingly. Still the matter rested, so that Mifflin on the 25th of Februry, informed congress that he had not heard what was their pleasure as to his resignation, and requested of them afresh to accept it, which they then resolved to do. Thus he has been impelled to lay aside his military character, which for the liber-. ties of his country he had assumed, though of the quaker denomination: but he retains his patriotism, and will continue a volunteer in the service of the public. He resumed the quartermaster-general's department in October, 1776, (then vacant, through a resignation) by the desire and order of congress, apd not for any private view of emoluments of his own, so that he did not consider himself as responsible for the calamitous effects. 9f any delay, which depended not on himself or his associates, but on congress. ". . ... - - Let us resume our account of military operations. . . The South-Carolina delegates, rather with a view to conquest, than from any special apprehension of danger to their owner neighbouring state, from the troops under Sir Henry Clinton. requested the congress to appoint gen. Lincoln (on whese char, •racter they justly reposed great confidence) to the command of all their forces to the southward; accordingly they made the appointment on the 25th September, and ordered him to repair immediately to Charleston.. When he took his leave of them in October, they had in contemplation the reduction of Eastflorida, and put into, his hands a scheme for effecting it, with the observations of two gentlemen on the strength of St. Augustine. .The firsthint of a destination of British troops for Georgia appears to have been given to the commander in-chief by-a letter ofthe ninth of October, from a confidential correspondent at New-York. It was the 4th of December before the general arrived at Charleston. The North-Carolina state on the first intelligence of an intended imbarkation from New-York for the ■southward, generously raised about 2000 miiitia to serve for five months ; put them under thecommand of generals Ashe and Rutherford, and sent theaiforward without delay. They came on. with such dispatch, that had they not been detained ten days near Charleston to be .furnished with arms, they would have been in time to have joined gen. Howe before the reduction of Savannah. South-Carolina had not a sufficient stock of public" arms for the militia of both states, and suspended the distributiorr •f ..them till it became certain whether South-Carolina or" Georgia was the object of the British armament, which could not be determined while it was in offing. On the morning of the 26th, two regiments of 150 men each from Charleston, with the levies and militia from North-Carolina amounting tcr about 950, marched for Georgia; they made their first junction with the American army after their retreat over the Savannah.
. January the 3d, gen. Lincoln established his head-quarters at Rurvsburgh, about thirty miles from the mouth of the Savannah.' He met with a sore disappointment. He had been encouraged" te expect a force consisting of 1000 men, beside the militia of South-Carolina and Georgia, whereas he had only 1400 in the whole. He was also lead to believe, that he should meet with great plenty of supples and military stores, instead of which there were no field-pieces, arms, tents,, camp utensils or lead, and but very little powder; in short hardly any article in the arsenel ov quarter-master's store, all occasioned by the want of a military chest. A large proportion of the South-Carolina militia was draughted, and marched under gen. Richardson for head-quarters. But they behaved very badly, refused to submit to the articles of war for the government, ofthe continentals, and lefttii? »camp and ever, their posts at pleasure with impunity : as general Lincoln bad no hold of them, their own state law only imposing a line, instead of putting--them- upon, the same footing congress
had ordered for all the militia when in pay of the continent, and acting with the regular troops. When ordered on eommand, and implicit obedience was expected, they would at times ask—t “Whether are we going? And how long are we to stay " By the 24th of January most of them had left the camp. There del fection, however was in some measure repaired by the arrival at length of generel Ashe, near head-quarters, on the 31st, with about 1100 men, which addition made the number of rank and file under Lincoln 2428, beside 367 on command. . . . . . ." While the greatest part of the American force consisted of such ungovernable militia, gen. Prevost joined cok. Campbell with about 700 regular troops from St. Augustine. With this increase of numbers he wished to establish a post in South-Carolina, aná detached 200 men to take possession of Port-Royal island. Sooji after they landed, gen. Moultrie, at the head of an equal number in which there were only nine regular soldiers, attacked aná &rove them off. [Feb. 3.}This advantage was principally gain: ed by two field-pieces, well served by a party of the Charlestod militia artillery. The British lost almost all their officers; and several prisoners were taken. The Americans had a lieutenant and seven privates killed, and 22 wounded. This success cheeki ed the British and for the present prevented an enterprisë against South-Carolina; but they extended themselves over a great part of Georgia and established two posts, one at Ebenel zer, and the other at Augusta. The last place being high up in the country, was a good position for awing the western inhabi: tants, and a convenient rendezvous for the royalists. Here thé British endeavored to strengthen themselves by the addition of South-Carolina tories. They employed emissaries to encourage them to a general insurrection, and assured them, that if they would cross the Savannah, and add their force to that of the king's army at Augusta, they would have such a decided superiority, as would effectually crush their enemies, and make a speedy return to their homes practicable on their own terms. The army consisted of about 2000 regulars and royalists undercol. Campbell. Several hundreds of the Carolina tories collected, embodied under the denomination of loyalists, and marched along the wester, frontiers of South-Carolina. They had such numbers of the most infamous characters among them, that their general coinplexiosi was that of a plundering banditti, more solicitous for booty than the honor and interest of their royal master. As they marched, they appropriated to their own use every kind of preperty they could carry off. Col. Pickens, upon intelligence of their progress and rapine, collected the whig militia of the district of Ninety-six. He left a guard at the Cherokee ford to impedo