« PreviousContinue »
After the British troops had retired from Boston they took possession of New York City, which they determined to retain as an army-depot and place for reserves. Washington's army followed them from Dorchester, and on Long Island, Aug. 27th, 1776, felt strong enough to face the troops of Clinton, Grant and de Heister in open fight. After a short engagement, the Colonists were defeated and fled in the greatest confusiony, leaving 1,000 dead on the field and a large number as prisoners. Among these were Lord Sterling and Gen. Sullivan.
Lord Howe paroled Gen. Sullivan and sent him with a message to Congress, that he would confer with some of its members as private citizens, in regard to a settlement of the difficulty between them and parliament. He and his brother, Gen. Howe, had been empowered by the home-government to compromise this dispute, if possible.
Congress authorized Dr. Franklin, John Adams and Edward Rutledge to act officially. In the conference which followed, Lord Howe declared that he could go no further than to grant pardons on their submission to British rule.” But the Colonists were not fighting for pardons and they refused to abandon their position. They knew that France, Spain and Holland were about to take part in the struggle and they felt that these powers would gain for them their independence and that they would have the plunder of the loyalists besides.
At this, the British in full possession of New York, matured a plan to push forward advance-posts into the interior, capture Philadelphia and drive Washington's army and Congress into the Southern provinces. Then keeping this line a trocha from New York to Philadelphia, to extend another line up the Hudson River and meet Gen. Burgoigne's army that had begun its march from Canada down the Lake Champlain district. To resist this the Colonists had strong entrenchments on the Hudson and a good army under Gen. Gates to confront Burgoigne.
Gen. Sir William Howe with the British troops entered Philadelphia in triumph Sept. 26th, 1777, and another British expedition captured Forts Montgomery and Clinton on the Hudson (Oct. 6th.) But Oct. 7th, Gen. Burgoigne was unable to force his way through Gates' army in the Battles of Stillwater, where he was overthrown by the incomparable valor of the Scottish Colonial regiments of New Hampshire and Kentucky, under Starke and Morgan. In spite of this triumph, the Colonists would have been broken speedily had not aid arrived from the outside. Washington's army was fugitive, starving and deserting at Valley Forge, when France and Spain began to send troops, arms and ships of war for the expulsion of the British from the continent.
In 1779 Washington wrote: “France by her supplies has saved us from the yoke thus far. .. The recruits of 1780 could not have been armed without the 50 tons of ammunition supplied by the French."
On receipt of the news of Burgoigne's defeat and of the declaration of war by France and Spain, which nations had recognized the legitimate position of the united provinces, consternation prevailed in England. Immediately bills were passed in the British Parliament (1778) granting all that the colonists had demanded. But Congress rejected all overtures,-France having acknowledged the independence of the United States.
In September, the same year, a Scot, Capt. John Paul Jones, in command of a French frigate, but with a commission from the colonies, met the British man-ofwar “Sarapis," and captured her after a most desperate fight, his ship, the “Bonhomme Richard,” going down in the conflict.
Lord Cornwallis, the British commander in the South, after he had gained successes over Gen. Greene and had routed completely Gen. Gates, of whom it was said that he had “exchanged Northern laurel for Southern cypress,” had taken up quarters in Yorktown. There, in that port, whose excellent harbor offered easy access
to the sea, he awaited reënforcements from the British reserves at New York, Rochambeau, commanding the French army in America, was informed of this, and he suggested to Washington the plan for the capture of the British general. In combination with the French fleet of the Count de Grasse, which blocked the entrance to the harbor, the land forces shut in Cornwallis by a sudden move and he was obliged to surrender after an ineffectual attempt to cut his way out.
This surrender, of Oct. 19th, 1781, showed the British the folly of continuing the combat, for in April of the next year, Holland joined her arms against Britainand Russia united with Denmark in an armed neutrality. News arrived at the same time that Hyder Allee had invaded British India at the head of 200,000 men. Then Britain decided to abandon the war in America to confront dangers which were menacing her own shores. During this war the most loyal province was Georgia. She was the last to send delegates to the Continental Congress. The Georgia royalists organized a separate government in 1778 and in 1779 made a separate treaty with the Crown. As a military order, they held the colony free from republican domination until 1782. Even then they promised to expell all revolutionists and republicans and to preserve the province under the protection of the British Empire if but one British regiment might be added to their own Georgia Rangers.
In South Carolina and Virginia the attachment to the Crown had not been quenched even after the imposition of the new republican model in 1787. In South Carolina during this war there were manifested the greatest animosities between the two parties. Here were perpetrated the greatest atrocities in a warfare of mutual extermination. Yet after the triumph of the revolutionary faction in 1783, no colonial legislature dealt so leniently with the unfortunate royalist families who remained. And this was because, in the Southern colonies, the entire population had been more favorable to a royal form of government.
In the North, on the other hand, the meanest persecution that only the basest Yankee mind could conceive
was heaped on those royalists who remained—but there were very few who were so stupid as to offer themselves a sacrifice for the gratification of the cruelty of the democrats. In this war for American independence, from first to last, on the independence side, there had been in the field 396,286 troops. This enumeration includes the continentals, the regulars and the state militia. Outside of these, there were small partizan corps whose numbers cannot be ascertained. Sabine, in his “American Loyalists,' estimates the number of loyalists in the British army at one time as high as 20,000. This war had been terminated by the preliminaries of a negotiation for peace which were signed by the representatives of Great Britain and the United States, secretly, at Paris, November, 1782. Although the Yankees had pledged to the French King an alliance in exchange for his aid, not to be broken without his consent, yet when the British ambassador approached the Yankee commissioners at Paris and offered great inducements for them to betray their trust, they! concluded this arrangement unknown to the French court. It was the beginning of the illustration of those peculiarities of Yankee diplomacy in history which have the ceased to be the wonder of nations.
April 11th, 1783, peace was proclaimed by Congress. The 19th it was announced by Washington to the army, Sept. 3rd, France, Spain, and Holland had concluded their treaty of pacification. Nov. 23rd, the British fleet sailed from New York, which had been held ever since the Battle of Long Island in 1776.
The American colonies which were named by Brit tain as “free, sovereign and independent states” were acknowledged each as a nation. The royal charter of each was its constitution of government. But the revolutionists very soon turned on the royalists who remained in the colonies and destroyed every vestige of these charters in a government of universal sufferage, rapine and plunder, which was not fully extended until after the civil war of 1861-5 had reduced the Southern provinces to the same illegal and majority-ridden régime. As for. these Yankee democrats, on account of their greed, theft and lack of honor, their French allies "held them in the greatest contempt for their venality and baseness.”
Bastard Washington wrote, Dec. 30th, 1978: "Speculation, peculation and an insatiable thirst for riches seem to have got the better of every consideration and almost of every order of men.” July 10th, 1782: “That spirit of freedom, which at the commencement of the contest would have gladly sacrificed everything to the attainment of the object, has long since subsided and every selfish passion has taken its place.” La Fayette wrote to Washington, June 12th, 1779: "For God's sake prevent Congress from disputing so loudly together. Nothing so much hurts the interests and reputation of America."
Most of their motives were contemptible, although hidden beneath plausible pretexts. In Sabine's “American Loyalists," Vol. I., p. 56, it is written: "Otis was revengeful because the Crown did not make his father a: judge in Massachusetts. John Adams became a rebel because he was refused a commission as Justice of the Peace; Sam. Adams, because he had been dismissed as a defaulting collector of taxes; Hancock, to escape paying smuggling fines and on account of wounded vanity. Joseph Warren was a broken man and sought speculating in civil strife to better his condition. Washington was soured because he had not been retained in the British army for his services during the French and Indian wars. The Lees were all unsound men, and Richard Henry Lee was disappointed in not receiving the office of stamp distributor which he had solicited, and Franklin at the opposition to his land scheme and plan for settlement on the Ohio.”
These people, after coming into supreme control, turned against the aristocracy remaining in the colonies -even those members who had been dupes of their promises and had proffered aid. They repudiated all the indebtedness of the government to its own citizens, so that Robert Morris, who had pledged his fortune to the cause, died in a debtor's prison; Governor Langdon of New Hampshire with scores of others were reduced to poverty ; Gen. George Rogers Clarke, who had conquered the West, was in such miserable poverty that he entered the military services of a foreign prince; John Paul, alias Jones, the ablest sea-captain and the founder of their