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under the name of the Golden Age. But their domestic felicity was no counterpoise to the zeal with which they were animated for the common cause. They took up arms and flew to succour their country. It is said they had furnished to the army no less than a thousand soldiers; a number truly prodigious for so small a population, and so happy in their homes. Yet, notwithstanding the drain of all their vigorous youth, the abundance of harvest sustained no diminution. Their crowded granaries, and pastures replenished with fat cattle, offered an exhaustless resource to the American forces.’ Party opinion seems to have been the first serpent that crept into this paradise. Toryism happened to have received some personal slights from the warmer republicans of Wyoming. It vowed revenge, and called in the Indians ! Alecto could have done no more, nor Satan himself. About the commencement of July, 1778, the savages rushed upon their prey; indiscriminate slaughter ensued, until the tomahawk, satiated with butchery, paused through weariness. The living were, however, only reserved for tortures. Men, women, and children were promiscuously huddled into a barrack and there burnt alive, as our druidical forefathers used to propitiate their grim idols. Crops of every description were consigned to the flames. A few days before the land was as the garden of Eden; but when the barbarians had let loose both the fire and sword upon it, the smoke from blackened ruins went up towards heaven as the smoke of a furnace. The slight garrison found in the fort of Wilkesbarre were destroyed with torments that may not be described. Even the beasts of the field could find no mercy from these human savages, who deliberately cut out their tongues and left them amidst scenes of desolation, to die a lingering death ! .Captain Bedlock met
a destiny more dreadful than that of Regulus, since he was
literally impaled upon splinters of pine-wood stuck all over his body, until at length, something like caprice rather, than humanity, consumed him with two of his companions, to ashes upon a funeral pile. ‘The Tories appeared to vie with, and even to surpass, the savages in barbarity. One of them, whose mother had married a second husband, butchered her with his own hand, and afterwards massacred his father-in-law, his own sisters, and their infants in the cradle / Another killed his own father, and exterminated all his family A third imbrued his hands in the blood of his brothers, his sisters, his father-in-law, and his brother-in-law. These were a part only of the horrors perpetrated by the loyalists and Indians. Other atrocities, if possible, still more abominable, we leave in silence. Those who had survived the massacres were no less worthy of commiseration; they were women and children, who had
escaped to the woods, at the time their husbands and fathers expired under the blows of the barbarians. Dispersed and wandering in the forests, as chance and fear directed their steps, without clothes, without food, without guides, these defenceless fugitives suffered every degree of distress. Several of the women were delivered alone in the woods, at a great distance from every possibility of relief. The most robust and resolute alone escaped; the others perished; their bodies, and those of their helpless infants, became the prey of wild beasts. Thus the most flourishing colony then existing in America was totally erased '' This infernal excision of Wyoming will never be forgotten. Upon a larger scale, blood flowed like water in various quarters. The French captured Dominica and the English St. Lucia. On the American continent our ministers and generals had determined to direct their greatest efforts against the southern parts of the confederation. It was conceived that there were more secret loyalists there; and that Georgia and Carolina could better feed an invading force than the northern states, already devastated or exhausted. Enormous tracts of country were accordingly overrun by invaders, who could only retain them until the republican militia or volunteers had mustered in sufficient numbers to drive their assailants into the cities and strongholds. The islands of St. Vincent and Grenada meanwhile fell into the hands of Count d’Estaing, who, after a naval action with Admiral Byron, sailed for Savannah, the capital of Georgia, which he besieged in conjunction with General Lincoln, although without success. His intention was to return forthwith to Europe, but a violent tempest dispersed his ships and sadly baffled any hope entertained of enriching himself with British prizes. Congress having been made, as was asserted, a mere cat's-paw by France to assist her in the acquisition of important sugar-colonies, warmly remonstrated against his withdrawal. Verily the flag of England had seldom been seen to less advantage, since the days of the Dutch wars, after the Restoration: and Spain had now cast her blunted sword into the scale against the Queen of the seas. But the infant republic, about whose cradle so many nations were contending, was at the present crisis, far enough from being itself in a healthy or vigorous state. Lethargy had seized upon all public spirit. What was plainly the grand concern of all, appeared to have lost its power of practically affecting each individual. Washington beheld the scene with undiminished confidence as to the ultimate results, but with ten thousand apprehensions for the immediate honour of his countrymen. They intensely abhorred their former masters: they resolved to stand to the last by liberty and independence; but the sacrifices already rendered, disinclined them to further personal exertions. France and Spain were now too perfectly committed against Great Britain to forsake their cause until the struggle should have reached its issue, although both these powers enjoyed little current popularity, through their manifest selfishness and lukewarmness. The seeds of those evils also began to appear above ground, which have since blossomed into commercial dishonesty and Pensylvanian repudiation. Botta observes, “Nor were the Americans chargeable only with indifference, for there prevailed amongst them the most shameless thirst after gain,an unbridled desire for riches, no matter by what means acquired. The most illicit, the most disgraceful ways, were no obstacle to this devouring passion. As it happens but too often in political revolutions, there had sprang up a race of men, who sought to take private advantage of the public distress. Dependence or independence, liberty or no liberty, were [was] all one to them, provided they could fatten on the substance of the state. While good citizens were wasting themselves in camps, or in the discharge of other arduous functions; while they were devoting to their country their time, their estates, their very existence, these insatiable robbers were plundering and sharing out, without a blush, the public plunder and private fortunes. All contracts became the object of their usurious interference and nefarious gains: all army supplies enriched them with peculations; and the state often paid dearly for what it never obtained. Nor let any imagine that the most sincere and virtuous friends of their country ever made so pompous a parade of their zeal! To hear these vile beings, they were only animated with genuine and glowing patriotism. Every citizen of eminent rank, or invested with any public authority whatever, who refused to connive at their rapines, was immediately denounced as tory, lukewarm royalists sold to England. It would seem that the first duty of those who governed the republic, in times of such distress, was to fill the coffers of these flaming patriots. That their own praises should always have hun upon their lips is not to be wondered at, for there never has exist a robber who has not been first a cheat; but what seems really strange, and almost staggers belief, is that they could have found dupes and partisans. This public pest spread wider every day: it had already gangrened the very heart of the state. The good were silenced, the corrupt plumed themselves upon their effrontery; every thing presaged an approaching ruin. It was the hope of England. Shall we attempt to penetrate the causes of so great a change in a nation once so distinguished for the purity of its manners ?'— pp. 411–412. Without pretending to enumerate them all, one can hardly help seeing that large allowances must be made, in the very commencement, for the natural selfishness of mankind: trahit sua quemque voluptas. The profession of political liberalism was not conversion of the heart. On the other hand, it
is but too probable, that the excitement attendant upon all vast national changes, of itself throws the mind and understanding off their balance, so as to withdraw, in some degree, several of those checks which operate at other times in favour of external virtue. Then again, it must be remembered, that warfare demoralizes wherever it rages; not only letting loose the darker passions of revenge and fury, but also generally lowering the standard of right and wrong. Revolutionary governments, moreover, are of necessity driven to strange resources and singular instruments. Usurers hover round them, ever ready to reap gold from their necessities, and the example grows contagious. If competition be keen, the spirit of mammon will call both patriotism and its counterfeit into the field. Besides which, there was before the civil contests but very little coined money in America : the sudden influx of troops brought large quantities of specie with them, together with a tide of profligacy and luxury, sufficient to corrupt a class, if not a generation. Congress, at the same period, found themselves obliged to issue such an enormous amount of paper, that the circulating medium ran through the wheels of an ever changing lottery. A silver dollar, in 1779, came to be worth forty paper ones; an almost incredible statement, yet perfectly verified by the documents and accounts of that day. Hence the commonest affairs of life degenerated rapidly into more or less of gambling transactions. The several states of the Union also emitted their bills, as if to render the universal bankruptcy 'confusion worse confounded. When matters were investigated, it was discovered, that in the September of the year last mentioned, the confederation was literally responsible for 159,948,882 dollars! Lord North, we regret to add, was not ashamed to forge the notes of the new republic, that through the falsification of its credit, its pecuniary difficulties might be multiplied. Entire chests of these spurious bills were forwarded from England, of which so perfect was the execution, that scarcely could a practised eye detect the fraud. Through the quiet loyalists, scattered up and down the country, these were pushed upon the widest scale into general circulation, and sorely embarrassed every kind of public transaction. “Unquestionably it was neither the first time, nor the last, that this mode of making war was had recourse to. It will nevertheless be always held in abhorrence by good men, for public faith should always be respected even amongst enemies; and of all perfidies is there one more frightful, and especially more vile, than counterfeiting money?' We feel certain that Washington would have recoiled from such a step; and it is said that Sir Henry Clinton only yielded most reluctantly to the overbearing dictation on this point, from the court of St. James's, no long VOL. XVII.
while after the very sovereign of that court had set public opinion, together with his whole clergy and aristocracy for once at defiance, in hanging Doctor Dodd for the crime he was himself countenancing. From such an alarming depreciation, it followed that not only all purses were closed, and that the markets, scantily and with extreme difficulty supplied, became the objects of continual murmurs,—but even that the faith of contracts was violated, and that individual probity every where relaxed. With little, debtors acquitted themselves of much towards their creditors. Very few at first resorted to this unworthy expedient, but as evil propagates itself more rapidly then good, a multude of citizens stained themselves with the same reproach. Herein the faithless and avaricious proved themselves no respecters of persons. Washington often experienced this odious action from some whom he had generously succoured in their necessities.' Party spirit and general distress may be appended to the list of causes, which undermined the social uprightness of America, more than sixty years ago, and through which, so great has grown her pecuniary degradation at the present moment, that the roguery of our own Cabal, in shutting up the exchequer under Charles II. bids fair to pass into oblivion.
The spotless commander-in-chief, however, had not only to suffer in his purse, but calumny even dared to strike at his character. It was indeed all in vain, since he came out of the ordeal unscathed, and from that hour remained enshrined in the affections of his people. He had quitted his natural fortress at Valley Forge for another at Morristown, which enabled him to countermine the best concerted projects of the British, and at the same time preserve his communications with Congress, of which he was the actual head, as well as its right hand. The year 1780 was remarkable for many events in Europe, such as the accession of Holland to the continental league, the armed neutrality, the siege of Gibraltar, and the important incidents, which however far removed from the scene of the war in America, materially contributed towards its ultimate issue. Our historian has well traced out the tangled story, whilst, as he justly observes, the grand campaign of the Carolinas demonstrated the uncertainty of arms: 'victory often produced the effects of defeat, and defeat those of victory; the victor frequently became the vanquished, the vanquished the victor. In little actions was exhibited great valour, and the prosperous or unfortunate efforts of a handful of combatants had sometimes more important consequences than in Europe attend those terrible battles, where valiant and powerful nations rush, as it were en masse to the shock of conflict. Sir Henry Clinton had resolved to add the conquest of Charlestown, with its wealthy province to that of