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desirable that the plan proposed should be executed in some one of
the central provinces. For this purpose Virginia was the best
adapted, as well on account of its extent and power, as by reason of
the political shocks it had recently experienced, since lord Dunmore,
by the proclamation of martial law, had caused the entire cessation,
in that province, of all civil authority on the part of England. The
general Congress, therefore, made, with respect to Virginia, the same
resolutions as in the case of New Hampshire.
Among the members to whom this business was referred, Samuel
Adams merits to be remarked, who labored in it with distinguished
ardor, and appeared to esteem its success a personal triumph.
At this epoch, it was learned by the news from England, that the
government had disdained to make answer to the petitions of Con-
gress, addressed to the king, and transmitted by Penn, the late
governor of Pennsylvania. It was understood further, that none of
the ministers had condescended to ask him any questions relative to
the affairs of America. This was an unequivocal proof of their
obstinacy, and irrevocable resolutions. The animosity of the colo-
mists became, in consequence, more violent, and the enterprise of
the authors of independence infinitely more easy. They declared,
in all places, that nothing could be hoped for any longer from the
English government; and that the only way of safety which remain-
ed, was to display formidable forces, to shake off an odious yoke,
and learn to walk without leadingstrings.
This discourse had no success with the general assembly of Phila-
delphia, who, though inferior to none in their zeal for resisting the
extraordinary laws of parliament, would hear no mention of inde-
pendence. They manifested their discontent, by enjoining it upon
their deputies to the general Congress, to oppose every proposition
that should tend towards a separation from the parent state, or any
change in the form of government. In the midst of such conflicting
efforts, America moved onward to independence.
But it is time to return to the war that was carried on under the
walls of Boston. The Americans had to contend with two capital
difficulties; the one was the want of powder, which still continued,
notwithstanding all the efforts used to procure a sufficient supply;
the other was the approaching expiration of the term for which the
soldiers were enlisted. Either persuaded that the war would be of
short duration, or jealous of standing armies, the colonists had
engaged their troops but for one year. They were therefore in
danger of seeing the whole army disbanded, at the conclusion of the
present year, and the siege thus raised in a day. To remedy, in
the first place, the scarcity of powder, as their country could not
furnish it in sufficient quantity, they determined to exert all their
efforts to procure it from foreigners. Several fast-sailing vessels

were sent to the coast of Guinea, whence they brought home

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immense quantities, having purchased it of the European ships employed in that trade. The Philadelphians, knowing the favorable dispositions of the inhabitants of the Bermudas, and their great want of provisions, despatched thither a large brig, and the Carolinians a corvette, which brought away about one hundred and ten casks of powder. The assembly of Massachusetts prohibited the consumption of it in firing at game, or in rejoicings. Then only began to be less felt the defect of this first instrument of war. It remained to obviate the inconveniences of the expiration of the soldiers’ term of service ; the Congress sent a deputation to the camp, in order to concert with general Washington the most efficacious means to prevent the dissolution of the army. The deputies were all men of distinguished sagacity ; and, among the most conspicuous for authority and reputation, was doctor Benjamin Franklin. They managed this negotiation with such address, that almost all the troops consented, but not without extreme difficulty, to continue in the pay of the Union. The Congress ordained, besides, that the besieging army should amount to the number of more than twenty thousand men ; and that each colony should levy battalions, at the expense of the continent. About this time Dr. Church, first physician of the army, was declared traitor. He kept up a secret correspondence within Boston. Being detected, he was brought before the house of representatives, whereof he was a member. He did not deny, but said he had only acted for the good of the country. Unable to prove it, he was expelled the assembly. Some persons pretended that this whole affair was but an artifice. The Congress decreed that the accused should be confined in the prisons of Connecticut. General Gage returned to England, having been recalled by the king. His conduct had not answered the expectation of the government; he had employed the ways of mildness, when he should have displayed force; and violence, when persuasion would have sufficed. He arrived in America, accompanied with general affection; he left it abhorred ; perhaps less through his own fault than that of the ministers, who, in place of rigorous decrees, should have sent powerful armies; or, instead of armies, conciliatory conditions, consonant with the opinions of the Americans. But men commonly know neither how to exert all their force, nor to surmount the shame of descending to an accommodation; hence delays, hesitations and half measures so often prove the ruin of enterprises. William Howe, a commander much esteemed for his talents, and distinguished for his birth, succeeded general Gage. Washington found himself, at that time, surrounded with many and serious difficulties; they proceeded from the organisation of his army; and increased, every day, in proportion as the first ardor of his troops abated. Every hour it became more evident, that the success of wars resides not in popular impulses, but in good arms, discipline, and obedience ; things the American camp was far from offering; and especially the two last. One principal vice was this; the greater part of these troops not having been raised by authority of Congress, but by that of the provincial assemblies, their organisation, instead of being uniform, presented an excessive variety in the formation, equipment, rank, pay, discipline, and, generally, in all that relates to military service. It is easy to conceive how much it must have suffered from such a disparity. Washington had placed great dependence upon the troops of Massachusetts, not only as they were the most numerous, but also as he believed them animated with that zeal which distinguished their province, and therefore qualified to undertake and support whatever might contribute to the success of the war. The general was much deceived in his expectation. The soldiers of Massachusetts, guided by the enthusiasm of liberty, had themselves elected their own officers, a thing incompatible with discipline ; these officers not being respected, they exacted obedience in vain. It must be admitted, moreover, that some of them degraded themselves by a rapacity which fell indiscriminately upon private as well as public property. They clamored liberty, in order to be able, without restraint, to satiate their incredible avarice. The state of affliction in which their country was plunged, far from touching them with compassion or concern, seemed rather to increase in them their infamous propensity for pillage. This disastrous scourge has at all times been one of the first results of political revolutions. The most depraved, the most profligate men, while they profess the most ardent love for the public good, are even those who, under this veil, abandon themselves without shame to the thirst of rapine that consumes them. In this disorder, the voice of good citizens is not heard because the wicked are the loudest in their protestations of the same zeal; and the wicked cannot be repressed, because their services are wanted. Another vice of the American army was that each colony, and not the general Congress, paid, clothed, and victualled its own troops; which resulted in a confusion extremely prejudicial to good order and discipline. As yet it had not been thought of, or, perhaps, in the midst of so many different interests, it had not been . possible to create a commissary or intendant-general, having charge of all these details of administration. The disorder was greater still. Some American generals, dissatisfied with the promotions made by Congress, had retired disdainfully to their homes. Maladies, also, had found their way into the camp, and especially the dysentery, a pest so fatal to armies. The close of autumn already had rendered the cold very sensible; the soldiers suffered severely, from want of barracks. The Congress, however, had not neglected this point; but the contractors, after having received the necessary funds, furnished nothing; and, according to their custom, exclaimed every

where that they were not paid. Thus all the wrongs appeared to rebound upon the government; so industrious is this race of men in creating confusion, in order to veil their juggling operations ! Nevertheless, Washington, by his prudence and by his authority, provided for all wants. If he acquired an imperishable glory, in having conducted the present war to a happy conclusion, praises not inferior are assuredly due him for having kept together an army composed of so many different elements, and beset by so many afflicting wants. The latter success is not less honorable, and perhaps of more difficult. attainment, than victory itself. - . The Americans, to whom the spectacle of an army was entirely new, came from all the environs, and even from remote parts, to behold it. Men and women arrived in throngs at the camp of Boston, and demonstrated a lively satisfaction at the martial air of their fellowcitizens. The soldiers felt their courage revive, and the inhabitants their hopes. The Indians themselves were attracted. Distrustful and incredulous by nature, they wished to ascertain with their own eyes the truth of what they had heard related. They were received with particular civility. In order to amuse the Americans, or to create a high opinion of their strength and address, they gave frequent representations of feasts and combats, after their mode. The mutual expressions of benevolence, the familiarity that ensued, and the presence of the numerous battalions of the Americans, which held the British troops locked up within the walls of a city, made such an impression upon the Indians, that, notwithstanding all the seductions and all the importunities of the English, they generally testified a great repugnance to follow their banners. The colonists observed these sentiments with no little satisfaction. Although no action of moment was engaged about Boston, yet warm skirmishes happened frequently, in which the Americans acquired new intrepidity and love of glory.” Washington ardently desired that his troops should often encounter the enemy, in these miniature battles, that their energy might not languish from inaction, and that they might become familiar with the din of arms, and the face of the enemy. Meanwhile, the distress in which the garrison of Boston found itself, increased from day to day. The supplies procured by the 12nglish vessels, in their excursions upon the neighboring coasts, were altogether inadequate to the exigencies of a necessity so extreme. The inhabitants had removed their grain and cattle to inland places; and what remained they resolutely defended with arms. Nor could the English have much hope of drawing provisions from the adjacent islands, or from other parts of the American continent, still subject to the king, since they were themselves in want. This scarcity was produced by a decree of Congress, which prohibited all exportation of provisions or merchandise from the colonies towards Canada, VOL. I. 32

Nova Scotia, the island of St. John, Newfoundland, and the two Floridas, as well as to the places where the English carried on their fisheries. It often happened, that the parties landed by the latter, to forage upon the coasts of Massachusetts, were attacked and repulsed by the provincials. The English marine had orders to treat as enemies the places that should resist the authority of the king. Not content with resisting, the inhabitants of Falmouth, a flourishing ma... ritime town of Massachusetts, had molested a ship laden with the effects of some loyalists. The English bombarded it, and also landed a detachment, which reduced it to ashes. The destruction of Falmouth provoked a very energetic resolution on the part of the assembly of Massachusetts. A short time before, they had ordained the armament of several ships, for the protection of the coasts. Then, exercising sovereign power, they decreed that letters of mark and reprisal should be granted ; and that courts of admiralty should be created, to judge of the validity of prizes. They declared, moreover, that their intention was merely to defend their coasts; and that no vessels were to be seized, but such only as should be laden with provisions for the soldiers who made war against the Americans. Not long aster, the general Congress itself, perceiving the necessity of intercepting the English navigation, and of protecting the coasts of the continent, and also observing the success of the cruisers of Massachusetts, decreed that a fleet of five ships of thirty-two guns, five others of twenty-eight, and three of twenty-four, should be constructed and armed ; one in New Hampshire, two in Massachusetts, one in Connecticut, two in Rhode Island, two in New York, four in Pennsylvania, and one in Maryland. The command of this squadron was given to commodore Hopkins. The Congress appeared to hesitate as to granting letters of mark and reprisal. They decided, however, for a measure, which, though in name less hostile, yet in reality produced the same effects. They authorised their ships to capture all those which should attempt to lend assistance to the enemy, in any mode whatsoever. They also created courts of admiralty. Thus, little by little, they drew into their hands the entire sovereign authority. The Americans made incredible despatch in equipping their ships; they soon swarmed in the neighboring seas, and took from the English an immense number of prizes, who, little suspecting so bold a sally, saw themselves, with confusion, surprised upon an element, of which, until then, they had with reason considered themselves the absolute masters. The activity of this new marine was no less beneficial to the Americans, than fatal to their enemies. The British government, informed of the distress to which the garrison of Boston was reduced, had embarked, at a prodigious expense, an immense quantity of oxen, and all sorts of live

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