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afflicted both parties, in almost equal degrees; the campaign in Canada produced results, to say the least, doubtful for the present: so that, under Divine Providence, nothing could have saved the infant republic but the Fabian policy so ably carried out by Washington. The dictatorial powers, with which Congress of necessity had invested him, rather illustrated his own character, than really strengthened his hands. It was to foreign aid that all eyes were turned,—not to admit a master, but to emancipate a continent. The maritime prowess of England had long rendered her an object of jealousy to the continental powers. The Court of Versailles, relying upon its family compact for assistance from Spain, only waited until she could extort the best terms for herself from the new republicans. Her efforts had been incessant for some time, to effect retrenchment in her expenditure, and apply their savings to the reparation of her fleets and dockyards. Meanwhile Doctor Franklin appeared at Paris, an object of intense interest to the inhabitants of that gay metropolis. His simplicity of life, the fame of his talents and philosophy, and probably also his notorious coincidence with themselves in much of their irreligion, attracted all classes. His portraits caught the eye in almost every dwelling. His humorous and grave aphorisms made many compare him to Socrates. His whole aspect was a novelty most acceptable to the palled tastes of luxurious and voluptuous satiety. It was anticipated, moreover, that the cause of American independence, which he so ably represented, would gratify the ambition of the French in helping them to humble England : as, indeed, it did most effectually in the sequel. Great Britain stood in need of punishment for her oppression, presumption, and incapacity; nor was she long in obtaining a most abundant and profitable share of it.
The expedition of Burgoyne, in 1777, was to open a way to New York from the northern lakes to Albany and the banks of the Hudson. All intercourse would thus have been cut off between the eastern and western provinces, so that resistance on the part of the patriots could scarcely have had a gleam of hope afterwards. The British general, full of self-confidence, with an army of many thousand men, a complete train of artillery, and a numerous horde of savages, invested Ticonderoga on the first of July. This fortress is upon the western bank of that narrow inlet, which connects lake George with lake. Champlain.. The Americans now had to withdraw from before the British, after enormous losses; whilst their enemy haughtily advanced through a tract of country then rough and overgrown, besides being intersected with innumerable creeks and morasses. Trees had been felled and locked together,
trenches were dug from side to side of every valley, through which a passage might be sought, and parties of sharpshooters infested every thicket to impede the progress of Burgoyne. On that general at length emerging from the forests, on the real banks of the Hudson, he vainly imagined that a glorious triumph was at hand. General Schuyler, his opponent, had done all that an able commander could do under the circumstances; but notwithstanding the support of Washington his personal friend, he was superseded by Gates, an officer popular with Congress, and already celebrated for several partisan achievements. It was the 19th of September, when the first regular engagement terminated in no decisive results upon either side; except that to the English, every serious detention was equivalent to the loss of a battle, as provisions got scarce and the Indians refractory. They had been induced to rely upon assistance from General Clinton, who, it was hoped, would forward them succours from New York, to facilitate a junction between himself and Burgoyne at Albany. The latter had now exchanged his brightest hopes for the direst apprehensions. October had arrived. Several most severe and disastrous skirmishes had deprived him of many gallant supporters, and considerably disheartened his troops. The advances made, subsequently to the drawn battle of the 19th, had augmented his perplexities. In the neighbourhood of Saratoga, his position was that of a lion amidst the toils of his hunters, without the possibility of escape. Gates, by a long series of masterly manoeuvres, had drawn him on towards destruction. Within a few days, it exceeded the power of words to describe his pitiable condition.
“The soldiers, worn down by hard toil, incessant effort, and stubborn action; abandoned by the Indians and Canadians; the whole army reduced by repeated and heavy losses, from 10,000 combatants to less than 5,000 effective fighting men, of whom little more than 3,000 men were English. In these circumstances, and in this state of weakness, they were invested by an army four times their own number, extending through three parts out of four, in a circle all around them; but who refused to fight from a knowledge of their own condition; and who, from the nature of the ground, could not be attacked successfully on any quarter. In this helpless situation, obliged to lie constantly on their arms, while a continued cannonade pervaded all the camp, and even rifle and grape shot fell in every part of their lines, the troops of Burgoyne retained their ordinary constancy, and while sinking under hard necessity, showed themselves worthy of a better fate. Nor could they be reproached with any action or word which betrayed a want of temper or fortitude. At length, no succours appearing, and no rational ground of any hope remaining, an exact account of provisions was taken on the morning of the 13th October, when it was found that the whole stock would afford no more than three days' bare subsistence for the army. In such a state it was alike impossible to advance or remain as they were; and the longer they delayed to take a definitive resolution, the more desperate became their distress. Burgoyne, therefore, immediately called a council of war, at which not only the generals and field officers, but all the captains of companies were invited to assist. While they deliberated, the bullets of the Americans whistled around them, and frequently pierced even the tent where the council was convened. It was determined unanimously to open a treaty, and enter into a convention with the American general.”—p. 294.
Considerable moderation was manifested by the triumphant patriots. The articles were settled on the 15th of October, and were to be signed on the morning of the 17th instant, when, strange to say, late in the might of the intervening day, an express reached the camp, that Clinton would be shortly at hand. Ideas of rescue revived in the breasts of some, but it was almost universally felt that the British troops were from exhaustion, no longer able to handle their arms, and that the public faith had already been engaged. Through magnanimous tenderness towards the feelings of the vanquished, General Gates ordered his troops to retire within their lines, that they might not witness the shame of their adversaries when they piled their arms. Verily, he that overeometh his spirit is better than he that taketh a city He gained by the capitulation the surrender of a magnificent train of fine brass artillery, amounting to fortytwo pieces of different sorts and sizes, 4,600 muskets, an enormous quantity of ammunition—grievously needed by the republicans—besides all the prisoners. Such was the fate of this celebrated expedition, conceived in overweening confidence, and conducted to its disgraceful termination, through want of combined action between the generals commanding in Canada and those in the province of New York. When the British made their way along the lakes of Champlain and St. George, Sir William Howe, instead of ascending the Hudson, moved upon the Delaware. When Burgoyne captured Ticonderoga, Howe set out against Philadelphia! Who could be surprised at the result of hardihood without wisdom, of profuse preparation without unanimity of purpose?
It was a dark day for England when the news arrived. France quickened her preparations. De la Fayette and others had embarked with all their heart and soul in the cause of liberty; nor ever were individual disinterestedness and enthusiasm more beautifully attractive. Meanwhile, there were abundant catastrophes to act as so many sets-off against the brilliant achievement at Saratoga. Washington had plucked his country like a brand out of the fire at Trenton; but his
noblest reputation was won in the deepest adversity. Sir William Howe had fought and gained the great battle of the Brandywine, which gave the royalists Philadelphia: nor did the subsequent most severe action at Germanstown at all shake his position. As winter came on, the British and Americans withdrew into their respective quarters; the former, surrounded with every comfort in a handsome city, the latter merely hutted, as it was termed, in temporary hovels hastily erected at Valley Forge, a deep and rugged hollow on the west side of the Schuylkill, about twenty miles from Philadelphia. These wretched abodes were made of logs filled in with mortar. When the republican army commenced its march thither, the cold was already intense. Some soldiers were seen to drop down dead from its severity. Others, without shoes, had their feet wounded by the ice, so as to mark their tracks with blood. When once encamped, their position was, in a military sense, perhaps, impregnable; but on no occasion, in modern times, had deeper destitution to be endured. Upon one occasion, the state of the magazines proved to be such, that there was scarcely full provision even for a single day. Hunger alone would have generated the seeds of mutiny, had not overpowering attachment to their leader silenced all complaints. A few had one shirt; many only the moiety of one; and the greater part no rag of personal linen whatever. Blankets for night were as rare as decent habiliments for the day. The celebrated regiment of Falstaff found its antitype in the troops of Congress. The want of straw compelled them to sleep on the bare and humid ground; so that fever and dysentery as rapidly replenished the hospitals as death evacuated them. Three thousand were often on the sick lists at the same time. Out of seventeen thousand on the muster-rolls, not more than five could have manned their lines, had Sir William Howe offered to attack them. This, however, he never attempted; absorbed as his officers were in gaiety, luxury, and dissipation. The quiet yet wealthy capital of Pensylvania seemed a kind of Capua to the royalists, without their having such laurels, as Hannibal had, to rest under, and forfeit the meed of glory through a premature contemplation of their past labours. Sir Henry Clinton at length succeeded to the command on the resignation of General Howe. No access of vigour or judicious management followed upon the change. In parliament, Lord Chatham proposed his plan of conciliation, but was unable to procure its adoption. Ministers had to run the gauntlet of augmented unpopularity, yet they were resolved to continue the war. Fresh reinforcements were enlisted, and recourse was even had to voluntary benevolence, which, although unconstitutional as proposed by Lord North, produced wonderful results. Liverpool and Manchester each raised, at their own expense, a thousand men. Edinburgh and Glasgow imitated their example. The Highlanders of Scotland descended from their craggy fastnesses to rally round the royal standard. There was now no pretender to engage their unreflecting loyalty, so that their natural regard for the ‘right divine of kings to govern wrong,” developed itself in favour even of a Hanoverian sovereign. They also followed their lords and lairds, who had for a half a generation discovered that Toryism no where so happily flourishes as within the warm precincts of prerogative. London and Bristol leaned to the liberal side, peremptorily refusing to countenance any municipal levies, but each allowing private individuals to subscribe 20,000l. against French machinations. Louis the Sixteenth had acknowledged the independence of the United States, and concluded a treaty with them on the 6th of February, 1778. Hostilities ensued, with but brief delay, between France and England. From this point all reflecting politicians, except those bound in chains to the chariot wheels of a reckless cabinet, must have discerned the unavoidable issue of the contest. Not but that bitter disappointment at first awaited the expectants of an immediate triumph from the French alliance. The Court of Versailles mainly wished to mortify Great Britain at as small an amount of cost as possible; and, therefore, it for some time did little and professed much. Its greediest gaze settled upon the West Indies, where alone indemnification could be hoped for, through the seizure of some of our rich sugar colonies. Meanwhile, over sea and land spread the horrible conflagrations of warfare. As usual, when it was too late, the British administration resorted to conciliatory measures, amidst immense mockery and derision, the more galling, because felt to be deserved. Of course they were productive of no other results, since contempt was thus allied with hatred. Many such massacres as that of Wyoming had before this period occurred, of which the memory has now perished, perhaps for no other reason than quia vate carent / Campbell having immortalized the tragedy of the Susquehannah, our readers may not object to a glimpse, in plain prose, of what will seldom be read without tears. Some inhabitants from Connecticut had formed the settlement, and laid it out in eight townships, on the road to Oswego. The mildness of the climate answered to the fertility of the soil. “All lived in a happy mediocrity, frugal of their own, and coveting nothing from others. Incessantly occupied in rural toils, they avoided idleness and all the evils of which it is the source. In a word, this little country presented in reality an image of those fabulous times which the poets have described