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plied. A general spirit of despondency through New Jersey was the consequence of this disastrous state of publick atfairs. No city or town indeed, in its corporate capacity submitted to the British government. A few characters of distinction maintained their political integrity; and nearly a thousand of the militia of the state bravely kept the field in defence of their country. But most of the families of fortune and induence, discovered an inclination to return to their allegiance to the king. Many of the yeomanry claimed the benefits of the Commissioners' proclamation; and the great body of them were too much taken up with the ancurity of their families and their property, to make any exertion in the publick cause.
In this worst of times Congress stood unmoved. Their measures exhibited no symptoms of confusion or dismay, the publick danger only roused them to more vigorous exertions, that they might give a firmer tone to the publick mind, and animate the citizens of United America to a manly defence of their Independence.
Beneath this cloud of adversity, General WASHINGTON shone, perhaps with a brighter lustre, than in the day of his highest prosperity. Not dismayed by all the difficulties which encompassed him, he accommodated his measures to his situation, and still made the good of his country the object of his unwearied pursuit. He ever wore the countenance of composure and confidence ; by his own example inspiring his little band with firmness to struggle with adverse for tune.
As the British advanced upon him, he retreated, and having previously broken down the bridges on the Jer
sey shore, he crossed the Delaware, and se Dec. 8. cured the boats upon the river for a distance
of seventy miles. The van of the enemy appeared upon the left bank of the Delaware, while the rear of the American army was upon its passage.
After an unsuccessful attempt to procure boats to pass the Delaware, General Howe cantoned his army in New-Jersey, intending to wait until the frust of winter should furnish him with an easy passage upon the ice to Philadelphia. He stationed four thousand men along the Delaware at Trenton, Bordentown, the White Horse, and Burlington. And the residue of his force, he posted between the Delaware and the Hack ensack.
General WASHINGTON ordered the American galley. to keep the river, narrowly to watch the enemy, and to give the earliest notice of their movements. He posted his troops upon the south side of the Delaware, in situations the most favourable to guard the fords and ferries; and he gave written instructions to the commanding officer of each detachment, directing what passes he should defend, if driven from his post, on his retreat to the heights of Germantown. While waiting for reinforcements he kept a steady eye on the enemy, and used every means in his power to gain correct information of their plans. This moment of inaction he also embraced, to lay before Congress his reiterated remonstrances against the fatal system of short enlistments. He hoped that experience, by its severe chastisement, would produce the conviction upon that body, which his arguments and persuasions had not fully effected.
He urged Congress to establish corps Dec 20. of cavalry, artillerists, and engineers, and
pressed upon them the necessity of establishing additional regiments of infantry. He knew that objections to these measures would arise, on ac. count of the expense, and from the consideration, that the old battalions were not yet filled; these he obviated hy observing, that “more men would in this way on the whole be raised, and that our funds were not tho only object now to be taken into consideration. We find,” he added, “that the enemy are daily gathorVol. 1