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part of his ships. Hence it followed of necessity that even after the arrival of admiral Hood at New York our force was still inferior to that of the French. It indeed now appears that no timely notice had been received by admiral Graves either of the count de Grasse’s motions, or of Hood's destination to the coasts of America. But if the expresses which sir George Rodney had despatched for that purpose were taken by the enemy, or otherwise detained, it is no fault on his side; it is a misfortune to be regretted; but which could neither have been absolutely foreseen, nor prevented if it could. Finally, the commander-in-chief cannot be reproached for having detached sir Samuel Hood to America, instead of repairing thither himself; for what naval officer is more worthy of all our confidence than Hood P’ Without undertaking to decide between these opposite opinions, we shall content ourselves with remarking, that though, in military facts, it is not allowable to judge by the event, it is nevertheless just to consider the causes which have produced it; and nothing is more certain than that the conduct of admiral Rodney, in the present conjuncture, had an influence upon the chances of the continental struggle, upon the fortune of America herself, and even upon the issue of all this war. Having sketched the events which signalised the present year, as well in Europe as in the West Indies, we are now to record those which occupied the scene upon the continent of America. It was the theatre of the principal efforts of the two parties that contended, arms in hand, for its possession. Every where else the contest had in view the success of the campaign, and to obtain a better peace ; there, its object was existence itself. But before undertaking the portraiture of military operations, it is necessary to apply the attention to objects which, though less brilliant and glorious, are however the first source, and the firmest foundation of warlike exploits. Such, doubtless, is the internal administration of the state. The situation of the United States at the commencement of the year 1781, presented, in general, only objects of affliction and disquietude. The efforts which the Americans had made the preceding year, and the events which had passed in the Carolinas, had revived public spirit and produced happy effects. But these effects being founded only upon the fugitive ardor of particular men, and not upon a settled and permanent order of things, it followed that discouragement and distress reappeared with more alarming symptoms than ever. The public treasury was empty, or only filled with bills of credit, no longer of any worth. The army supplies totally failed, or were only procured by compulsion, accompanied with certificates of receipt, which had lost all sort of credit. The inhabitants became disgusted, and concealed their commodities. If by dint of effort some scanty recruit of provision was at length collected, it could not be transported to the place of its destination, for want of money to pay the wagoners. In some districts, where it was attempted to impress them, there arose violent murmurs; which even degenerated into more strenuous collisions. No where had it been possible to form magazines; scarcely did there exist here and there some repositories, which often contained neither food nor clothing of any denomination; even the arsenals were without arms. The soldiers, covered with tatters, or half naked, destitute of all comforts, implored in vain the compassion of the country they defended. The veterans deserted ; the recruits refused to join the army. The Congress had decreed that by the first of January, there should be thirty-seven thousand men under arms; it would have been difficult to have mustered the eighth part of that number in the month of May. In a word, it seemed as if America, at the very crisis of her fate, was about to prove wanting to herself, and that after having gained the better part of her career, she was more than half inclined to retrace her steps. Far from the Americans being thought capable of waging an offensive war, it was scarcely believed that they could defend their firesides. Already, it began to be feared that instead of assisting the French to drive out the soldiers of king George, they would prove unable to prevent the latter from expelling the troops of Lewis XVI. So disastrous was the change of fortune occasioned by the exhaustion of the fianances, and, still more, by the want of a system of administration proper to reestablish them. This state of things was not overlooked by the American government, and it exerted every utmost effort to apply a remedy. But its power was far from corresponding to its intentions. The only means that Congress had for administering to the wants of the state, consisted in a new emission of bills of credit, or an increase of taxes. But the paper money had lost all sort of value. The Congress itself had been constrained to request the different states to repeal the laws by which they had made the bills of credit a tender in all payments. It had even ordained that in all future contracts for the supplies of the army, the prices should be stipulated in specie. This was the same as declaring formally that the state itself would no longer acknowledge its own bills for current money, and that this paper not only no longer had, but no longer could have, the least value. As to taxes, the Congress had not the right to impose them; it belonged exclusively to the provincial assemblies. But these exercised it with more backwardness than could comport with the public interests. This coldness proceeded from several causes. The rulers of the particular states were, for the most part, men who owed their places to popular favor. They apprehended losing it, if they subjected to contributions of any importance, the inhabitants of a country where from the happy, shall I call it, or balesul facility of issuing paper money, to answer the public exigencies, they were accustomed to pay no taxes, or next to none. Moreover, although the bills of Congress were entirely discredited, the particular states still had theirs, which though much depreciated were still current at a certain rate; and the provincial legislatures apprehended, and not without reason, that taxes payable in specie, would cause them to fall still lower. Nor should it be passed over in silence, that no general regulation having established the quota of contribution to be paid by each province according to its particular faculties, all through mutual jealousy were reluctant to vote taxes for fear of loading themselves more than their neighbors. Such was the spirit of distrust and selfishness which made its appearance every where, whenever it was necessary to require of the citizens the smallest pecuniary sacrifice. While they were looking at one another with a jealous eye, and none would give the example, the finances of the state were entirely exhausted, and the republic itself was menaced with a total dissolution. It could not be hoped, on the other hand, that the particular states would consent to invest the Congress with authority to impose taxes, as well because men with authority in hand are little disposed to part with it, as because the opinions then entertained by the Americans on the subject of liberty, led them to view with disquietude any increase of the power of Congress. Finally, it should be observed, that at this epoch, the Americans cherished an extreme confidence in the pecuniary succours of friendly powers, and especially of France. They were persuaded that no more was necessary than that a minister of Congress should present his requisition to any European court, in order to obtain immediately whatever sums of money it might please him to specify. As if foreigners were bound to have more at heart than the Americans themselves, the interests and prosperity of America. In a word, the resource of paper money was no more, and that of taxes was yet to be created. Nor could it be dissembled, that even upon the hypothesis of a system of taxation in full operation, and as productive as possible, the produce would still fall infinitely short of supplying the gulf of war, and, by consequence, that the revenue would continue enormously below the expense. Indeed, so ruinous were the charges of this war, that they amounted to no less than twenty millions of dollars a year; and not more than eight could have been counted upon, from the heaviest taxes which, under these circumstances, the United States would have been able to bear. A better administration of the public treasure might doubtless have diminished the exorbitant expenses of the military department; but it is nevertheless clear that they would always have greatly exceeded the revenue. Actuated by these different reflections, the Congress had hastened to instruct doctor Franklin to use the most pressing instances with the count de Vergennes, who at that time had the principal direction of affairs relating to America, in order to obtain from France a loan of some millions of livres, towards defraying the expense of the war. Franklin was also directed to solicit permission of the court of Versailles to open another loan for account of the United States, with the French capitalists that were inclined to savor the cause of America. The same instructions were sent, with a view of effecting similar loans, to John Adams, and John Jay ; the first, minister plenipotentiary of the United States, near the republic of Holland; the second, at the court of Madrid. The latter was to insinuate to Spain, so great was the discouragement which prevailed at that time in America, that the United States would renounce the navigation of the Mississippi, and even the possession of a port upon that river; the other was to persuade the Dutch that important commercial advantages would be granted them. Franklin, especially, was to represent to France, that without money the affairs of America were desperate. It was recommended to these different envoys to set forth all the resources which America offered as guarantee of her fidelity in fulfilling her engagements. The Congress attached so much importance to the success of these negotiations, that not content with having sent these new instructions to their ministers, they also despatched colonel Laurens to France, with orders to support by the most urgent solicitations the instances of Franklin at the court of Versailles. The court of Madrid was inflexible, because Jay would not agree to the renunciation above mentioned. Holland showed herself no better disposed, because she doubted the responsibility of the new state. France alone, who judiciously considered that aiding the victory of the United States, and preserving their existence, was of more worth to her than the money they demanded, granted six millions of livres, not as a loan, but as a gift. She seized this occasion to express her dissatisfaction at the coldness with which the Americans themselves contemplated the distress of their country. She exhorted them to reflect, that when it is desired to accomplish honorable enterprises, it is requisite not to be avaricious in the means of success. The court of Versailles did not omit to make the most of its munificence, by setting forth all the weight of its own burdens. But the sum it gave being too far short of the wants, it consented to become security in Holland, for a loan of ten millions of livres, to be negotiated there by the United States. Notwithstanding this guarantee, the loan progressing but slowly, the king of France consented to make an advance of the sum total, which he drew from his own treasury. He would not, however, authorise the loan proposed to be opened with his subjects. The Americans had thus succeeded in procuring from the court of France a subsidy of sixteen millions of livres. A part of this sum, however, was already absorbed by the payment of preceding draughts of the Congress upon Franklin, for particular exigencies of the state. The remainder was embarked for America in specie, or employed by colonel Laurens in purchases of clothing, arms, and munitions of war. The intention of the giver of the six millions was, that this sum, being specially destined for the use of the American army, should be kept in reserve, at the disposal of general Washington, or placed in his hands, to the end that it might not fall into those of other authorities, who might perhaps apply it to other branches of the public service. This condition was far from being agreeable to the Congress; on the contrary, it displeased that body particularly, under the impression that its soldiers would thus become, as it were, stipendiaries of France; and it feared lest they might abate much of their dependence on itself. It therefore decreed, that the articles bought with the money given by France, should be consigned, on their arrival in America, to the department of war; but that all the ready money should be placed in the hands of the treasurer, to remain under his charge, and to be expended agreeably to the orders of Congress, and for the service of the state. This succour on the part of France, was of great utility to the United States; it increased exceedingly their obligations towards Lewis XVI. But before the negotiations which led to it were terminated, and the money or supplies were arrived in America, a long time had elapsed ; and the evil was grown to such a head, that the remedy had well nigh coine too late. The subsidy in itself was by no means adequate to the necessity. But even had it been sufficient to answer the present exigencies, it could not be considered as having accomplished its object, so long as the same disorder continued to reign in the public expenses. The treasury suffered still less from the poverty of revenues than from the prodigalities it had to supply. It had not escaped the Congress that this primordial defect in the administration of the finances was the source of those perpetual embarrassments which had beset them since the origin of the revolution. Firmly resolved to introduce into that department a rigorous system of order and economy, they appointed for treasurer Robert Morris, one of the deputies of the state of Pennsylvania; a man of high reputation, and possessed of extensive knowledge and experience in commercial and financial affairs. His mind was active, his manners pure, his fortune ample, and his zeal for independence extremely ardent. He was authorised to oversee and direct the receipt and disbursement of the public money, to investigate the state of the public debt, and to digest and report a new plan of administration. If the charge imposed on Morris was ponderous, the talent and firmness with which he sustained it, were not less astonishing. He was not slow in substituting regularity for disorder, and good faith in the room of fraud. The first, the most essential of the qualities of an administrator, being exactness in the fulfilment of his obligations, the new treasurer adhered with rigor to an invariable punctuality. He soon gathered the fruits of it; instead of a general distrust, there sprung up, by little and little, an universal confidence. One of the first operations of the treasurer was to lay before Congress an outline of a national bank, WOL. II. 47

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