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serve as a motive, or a pretext, for some of them to consent to an accommodation, and thus desert the common cause. The money requisite to desray the expenses of the war, was almost totally wanting; and there was no prospect of being able to remedy, for the future, the defect of this principal sinew. It was, on the contrary, more rationally to be expected, that the penury of the finances would progressively increase, in consequence of the interruption, or rather total cessation, of commerce, produced by the acts of the British parliament. The want of arms and munitions of war, was no less afflicting; not that there was absolutely no provision of military stores, but it was very far from being adequate to the exigency. And further, it may be considered as a thing very doubtful, whether even the American chiess sincerely expected to be able, of themselves, to resist the forces of England, and to attain the object of so arduous an enterprise. Nay, it is allowable to believe they placed great dependence upon foreign succours; and these were only to be looked for on the part of the princes of Europe; who, if they beheld with satisfaction the effects of the American disturbances, must at least have detested their causes, and the principles for which the colonies combated. It was no less evident, that these sovereigns would not declare themselves in favor of the Americans, and would not lend them assistance, until the latter should have signalised their arms by some brilliant achievement, of decisive importance for the eventual success of the war. The Americans themselves were perfectly aware, that it would be vain to attempt, at first, to draw the European states into their quarrel; that the first brunt of the war must be borne by themselves alone; and, that, if they proved unfortunate, all hope of foreign aid must be abandoned. The prosperity of the enterprise was therefore precisfly so much the less probable, as it was the more necessary; since the means did not exist for providing, in so short a time, the necessary preparations of war. So many obstacles demonstrated the little foundation there was for expecting the support of foreign nations. This consideration was calculated to damp the ardor of the American chiefs, and to introduce a certain vacillation into all their measures. Finally, there was an object of primary interest, which demanded the attention of Congress; that of ascertaining what line of conduct the Indian nations were likely to observe in the present contest. Their neutrality, or their adhesion to this party or to that, was of essential importance to the issue of the whole enterprise. The Americans had reason to fear the influence of the English over these nations; as they are only to be swayed by gifts, and the hope of plunder ; and the English, in the control of these means, had greatly the advantage of their adversaries. The Indians, with much greater assurance, could promise themselves pillage in combating for England; since her arms, at this epoch, appeared secure of victory, and since the American territory was to be the theatre of the war. Canada, also, presented to the English a way of communication with the Indian tribes, who mostly inhabit the banks of the lakes situated behind the colonies, and in front of this English province. It was, besides, of the last importance to those who conducted the affairs of America, to avoid exposing themselves to the least reproach on the part of the people of Great Britain, and even of such of their fellowcitizens as, being either adverse, wavering, or torpid, could not have witnessed the breaking out of hostilities, without a severe shock. Now, though it was little difficult to undertake the justification of the affairs of Lexington and of Breed's Hill, in which the colonists had counbated in their own defence against an enemy who assailed them, could the same motives have been alleged in favor of the expeditions upon the frontiers of Canada, directed against the fortresses of Ticonderoga, and of Crown Point, in which the Americans had been the aggressors? ... Not that these hostilities would stand in need of excuse, with men conversant in affairs of state; for, the war once kindled, it was natural that the Americans should endeavor to do the enemy all the harm in their power, and to preserve himself from his assaults. But the mass of people could not see things in the same light; and still it was essentially the interest of the patriot leaders, to demonstrate, even to evidence, the justice of the cause they defended. All their force consisted in opinion; and arms themselves depended on this; so dissimilar was their situation to that of governments confirmed by the lapse of ages, in which, by virtue of established laws, whether the war be just or not, the regular troops hurry to battle, the people pay the cost; arms, ammunition, provisions, all, in a word, are forthcoming, at the first signal But the greatest obstacle which the Congress had to surmount, was the jealousy of the provincial assemblies. As all the provinces had joined the league, and taken part in the war, it was requisite that each should concur in the general counsels, which directed the administration; and that all the movements of the body politic should tend towards the same object. Such had been the origin of the American Congress. But this body could not take the government of all parts of the confederacy, without assuming a portion of the authority which belonged to the provincial assemblies; as, for example, that of levying troops, of disciplining the army, of appointing the generals who were to command it in the name of America, and finally, that of imposing taxes, and of creating a paper currency. It was to be feared, if too much authority was preserved to the provincial assemblies, they might administer the affairs of the union with private views, which would have become a source of the most serious 'inconveniences. On the other hand, it was suspected that these assemblies were extremely unwilling to invest the Congress with the necessary authority, by divesting themselves of a part of their own; and, therefore, that either they would oppose its deliberations, or not exercise in their execution that exactness and promptitude so desirable to secure the success of military operations. From this outline of the circumstances under which the Congress assembled, it is seen how difficult was their situation. Others, perhaps, endowed with less force of character, though with equal prudence, would have been daunted by its aspect. But these minds, inspired by the novelty and ardor of their opinions, either did not perceive, or despised, their own dangers and the chances of the public fortune. It is certain, that few enterprises were ever commenced with greater intrepidity; for few have presented greater uncertainty and peril. But the die was cast; and the necessity itself in which they were, or believed themselves placed, did not permit them to recede. To prevent accidents, not willing to wait for the times to become their law, they resolved to have recourse, the first moment, to the most prompt and the most efficacious means. The first thoughts of Congress were necessarily turned towards the army that blockaded Boston, to see that there should be wanting neither arms, nor ammunition, nor reenforcements, nor able and valiant generals. As for those who were then employed, it was to be remarked, that having received their authority from the colonial assemblies, they could not pretend to command the army in the name of the whole Union. If they had all consented to serve under general Putnam, it was on account of his seniority; and the power he enjoyed, was rather a sort of temporary dictature, conferred by the free will of the army, than an office delegated by the general government. The new state of things required a new military system, and the confederate troops ought, necessarily, to have a chief appointed by the government, which represented the entire confederation. The election of a Generalissimo, was an act of supreme importance; on this alone might depend the good or ill success of the whole series of operations. Among the military men that were then found in America, and had shown themselves not only well disposed, but even ardent for the cause of liberty, those who enjoyed the greatest esteem, were Gates and Lee ; the first, for his experience; the second, because, to much expericnce, he joined a very active genius. But the one, and the other, were born in England ; and whatever were their opinions, and the warmth with which they had espoused the cause of America; whatever even was the confidence the Congress had placed in them, they would have deemed it a temerity to commit themselves to the good faith of two Englishmen, in a circumstance upon which depended the safety of all. In case of misfortune, it would have been impossible to persuade the multitude they had not been guilty of treason, or, at least, of negligence, in the accomplishment of their duties; suspicions which would have acted in the most fatal manner upon an army whose entire basis reposed, on opinion. Besides, Lee was a man of impetuous character, and, perhaps, rather hated tyranny than loved liberty. These searching and distrustful spirits were apprehensive that such a man, after having released them from the tyranny of England, might attempt, himself, to usurp their liberty. And further, the supreme direction of the war, once committed to the hands of an individual, English born, the latter would be restricted to the alternative, of abandcning the colonies, by a horrible treason, to the absolute power of England, or of conducting them to a state of perfect independence. And the American chiefs, though they detested the first of these conditions, were not willing to deprive themselves of the shelter afforded by a discretion, with regard to the second. It was the same consideration which determined the Congress against appointing one of the generals of the provinces of New England, such as Putnam or Ward, who then commanded the army of the siege, and who had recently demonstrated such signal valor and ability, in all the actions which had taken place in the vicinity of Boston. Both had declared themselves too openly in favor of independence; the Congress desired, indeed, to procure it, but withal, in a propitious time. Nor should it escape mention, that the colonists of Massachusetts were reproached with a too partial patriotism ; showing themselves rather the men of their province than Americans. The provinces of the middle and of the south betrayed suspicions; they would have seen with evil eye, the cause of America confided to the hands of an individual who might allow himself to be influenced by certain local prepossessions, at a time in which all desires and all interests ought to be common. There occurred also another reflection, no less just ; that the office of Generalissimo ought only to be conferred upon a personage, who, in the value of his estate, should offer a sufficient guaranty of his fidelity, as well in conforming himself to the instructions of Congress, as in abstaining from all violation of private property. . It was too well known that military chiefs, when they are not softened and restrained by the principles of a liberal education, make no scruple to glut their greedy passions, and lay their hands very freely, not only upon the effects of the enemy, but even upon those of their allies and of their own fellow-citizens; a disorder which has always been the scourge, and often the ruin of armies. Accordingly, after having maturely weighed these various considerations, the Congress proceeded, on the 15th of June, to the election of a Generalissimo, by the way of ballot; the votes, upon scrutiny, were found all in favor of George Washington, one of the representatives of Virginia. The delegates of Massachusetts would have wished to vote for one of theirs; but seeing their votes would be lost, they adhered to the others, and rendered the choice unanimous. Washington was present; he rose, and said ; that he returned his most cordial thanks to the Congress, for the honor they had conferred upon him ; but that he much doubted his abilities were not equal to so extensive and important a trust; that, however, he would not shrink from the task imposed for the service of the country, since, contrary to his expectation, and without regard for the inferiority of his merit, it had placed in him so great confidence; he prayed only, that in case any unlucky event should happen, unfavorable to his reputation, it might be remembered, that he had declared on that day, with the utmost sincerity, he did not think himself equal to the cominand he was honored with. He assured the Congress, that as no pecuniary consideration had induced him to abandon his domestic ease and happiness, to enter this arduous career, he did not wish any profit from it; that pay he would not accept, of any sort. Colonel Washington, for such was his rank before his election, had acquired the reputation of a brave and prudent commander, in the late wars against the Indians, and against the French ; but at the peace of 1763, he had retired to private life, and no longer exercised the military profession. It is not, therefore, extraordinary, that many should have thought him unable to sustain the burthen of so fierce a war. But, however, the greater part of the nation having full confidence in his talents and his courage, the Americans had no hesitation in raising him to this high dignity. He was not only born in America, but he there had also received his education, and there had made a continual residence. He was modest, reserved, and naturally an enemy to all ambition; a quality most of all esteemed by this distrustful and jealous people. He enjoyed a considerable fortune, and the general esteem due to his worth and virtue. He was especially considered for his prudence, and a character of singular energy and firmness. It was generally thought, that he did not aim at independence, but merely desired an honorable arrangement with England. This opinion of his, well corresponded with the intentions of the principal representatives, who had no objection to advancing towards independence, but were not yet prepared to discover themselves. They expected to be able so to manage affairs, that one day this great measure would become a necessity, and that Washington himself, when he should have got warm in the career, would easily allow himself to be induced, by the honor of rank, the force of things, or the voice of glory, to proceed with a firm step, even though instead of the revocation of the oppressive laws, the object of his efforts should become total independence. Thus in the person of this general, who was then in his forty-fourth year, and already far from the illusions of youth, were found united all the qualifications wished for by those who had the direction of affairs. Wherefore, it is not surprising that his election gave displeasure to none, and was even extremely agreeable to the greater number. Having given a chief to the Union, the Congress, to demonstrate how much they promised themselves from his fidelity and virtues, resolved unanimously, that they would adhere to, maintain, and assist

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