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ATTACK ON FORT CHARLESTON.
and abandon the province. This expedition cost much suffering and many valuable lives, and produced 20 advantage to the American cause.
CAMPAIGN OF 1776.
This spring of 1776 opened with very little prospect of reconciliation between Great Britain and her colonies. No answer was returned to the petition of congress to the king: but intelligence was received that the British had made treaties with the landgrave of Hesse Cassel, and other petty German sovereignties, and hired from them about 17,000 mercenary troops, for the service of the crown in America. These troops, known among the colonists by the general name of Hessians, were much dreaded, until after a few thousand of them had been killed or made prisoners. It was also understood, that, in addition to these men, 25,000 British soldiers would he sent over. A part of this force was said to be destined for Charleston, in South Carolina.
Active preparations were made by the Carolinians for their reception ; and when, early in June, the armament, consisting of between 40 and 50 vessels, under the command of Sir Peter Parker and Earl Cornwallis, made its appearance off Charleston, the place was in a tolerable state of defence.
The main dependance of the Americans was on a fort on Sullivan's island, which was defended by Colonel Moultrie with 344 regular troops and some militia. Some of the British troops
were landed on a neighbouring island, and on the 28th of June 10 of the ships of war commenced an attack on the fort, which lasted with unabated fury from 11 o'clock in the forenoon till 7 in the evening, and finally terminated in the complete repulse of the British. În a few days the whole fleet, with the tivops on board, sailed for New York.
What was the state of affairs in the spring of 1776 ?-What sort of troops were obtained by the English government for the service in America ?-For what place were a part of these troops destined ?-With what force did the British appear off Charleston ?- What was the point of attack !-What was the result ?
In this obstinate engagement the Americans fought with great gallantry, and the loss of the British was very
In the course of the engagement, the flay-staff of the fort was shot away; but Sergeant Jasper leaped down upon the beach, snatched up the flag, fastened it to a sponge-staff
, and while the ships were incessantly directing their broadsides upon the fort, he mounted the merlon and deliberately replaced the flag. Next day, President Rutledge presented him with a sword, as a teslimony of respect for his distinguished valour. Colonel Moultrie and the officers and troops on Sullivan's island, received the thanks of their country for their bravery; and in honour of the gallant commander the fort was named Fort Moultrie.
The failure of the attack on Charleston was of great importance to the American cause, and contributed much to the establishment of the popular government. The friends of congress triumphed; the diffident became bold; and many of the tories abandoned their party and attached themselves to the cause of American liberty. The brave defence of Fort Moultrie saved the southern states from the horrors of war for several years.
Intelligence of the rejection of their second petition, and of the cold indifference observed towards Mr. Penn, the provincial agent, by the British government, had reached congress in November, 1775, and awakened a
What is related of Sergeant Jasper ?-How was he rewarded ?-What name was given to the fort ?-What were the effects of this victory ?What news was received from England ?-What was the effeci of this intelligence :
DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE.
153 strong sensation throughout the provinces. It showed the colonists in what light their conduct was viewed by the British cabinet, and what they had to expect from the parent state. It was clear enough now, that there was no medium between unconditional submission and absolute independence. The colonists saw that they must either abandon every thing for which they had been hitherto contending, or assert their freedom by force of arms; and many of them were struck with the incongruity of professing allegiance to a power which their martial battalions were opposing in the field.
Independence, which, in the earlier stages of the contest, had been casually and obliquely hinted, was now made 1 topic of public discussion. At first it alarmed timid und moderate men, who had a glimpse of the calamitous scenes which such a course would open before them. But the partisans of independence were bold and indeCatigable; they laboured incessantly, in rendering the subject familiar to the popular ear and mind; the number of their adherents daily increased ; and many, who had been hosiile to a separation from Britain, became friendly to that measure, or ceased to oppose it. They justly thought circumstances so desperate, that matters could not be rendered worse by the attempt, and success might be beneficial.
At that time, Thomas Paine, an Englishman, who had recently arrived in America, published a pamphlet, nnder the title of Common Sense,' which had a prodigious influence in promoting the cause of independence; It was widely circulated and universally read. Although Paine was a man of no learning, and of very little know. ledge, yet he had a shrewd understanding, and a confident and popular manner of writing, to which cause the extra ordinary effect of his pamphlet on the public mind may be traced.
The subject of a declaration of independence having been discussed in a variety of ways in the different provinces; having, in several of them, met with more on less opposition; and many of the members of congress having received instructions on the point, from their con stituents, it was solemnly taken into consideration by that body, in the month of June, and discussed with closed
What were now the sentiments of a large part of the colonists ?How did the friends of independence operate on the puklic rind ?What writer was distinguished for his boldness and success ?-. When was the subject of independence taken up in congress ?
ARRIVAL OF THE BRITISH AT NEW YORK.
duors, in a very animated manner.
The debate was as animated and earnest as it was momentous. The friends of the measure, however, finally prevailed. The declaration of independence* passed; and, on the FOURTH OF JULY, 1776, the members having severally affixed their signatures to the document, it was publicly proclaimed to the people from the door of the state house, in Philadel phia, and received with shouts of gratulation, and the ringing of bells, and firing of cannon-tokens of rejoicing, which, according to the celebrated prediction of John Adams, have been annually repeated to the present day. The hall in which the continential congress was then assembled, was thenceforward called Independence Hall; and the public square, in which Americans first assembled to hear the charter of their freedom read, still retains the nanie of Independence Square.
After the declaration of independence, the Americans nad to contend with important difficulties in support. ing their pretensions. The great contest was but just begun.
It has already been stated that, at the close of the siege of Boston, General Howe proceeded to Halifax, and General Washington towards New York, where he soon arrived with his army. In that city the British interest had been more powerful than in any other place in the provinces, and the struggle between the friends of British domination, and of American freedom, had been more doubtful than in any other quarter. But by superior numbers, and more daring activity, the adherents of congress had gained the ascendancy. "On his arrival in the city, Washington endeavoured to put it in a state of defence; and as the British, by means of their fleet, had the command of the waters, he attempted to obstruct the navigation of the East and North Rivers, by sinking vessels in the channels. He also raised fortifications at New York, and on Long Island; and made every preparation in his power for giving the British army a vigorous reception,
General Howe remained some time at Halifax; but, after the recovery of his troops from the fatigue and sick
When was the declaration signed and proclaimed ?-What city had Washington to defend, after relieving Bosion ?-How did he prepare for the reception of the British ?
* See Appendix
ness occasioned by the siege of Boston, he embarked, sailed to the southward, and on the 2d of July landed, without opposition, on Staten Island, which lies on the coast of New Jersey, and is separated from Long Island by a channel called the Narrows. His army consisted of 3000 men, and his brother, Lord Howe, commander of the British fleet, who had touched at Halifax, expecting to find him there, arrived soon afterwards, with a reinforcement of about 20,000 men from Britain. Thus General Howe had the command of nearly 30,000 troops, for the purpose of subjugating the American colonies; a more formidable force than had ever before visited these shores. General Washington was ill prepared to meet such a powerful army. His force consisted of about 9000 men, many of whom were ill armed, and about 2000 without any arms at all; but new levies were daily coming in.
Soon after his appearance off the coast, Lord Howe sent a letter to the American commander in chief, ad dressed to • George Washington, Esq.;' but the general refused to open it, as the address was not in a style cor responding to the dignity of the situation which he held Another letter was sent to George Washington, &c. &c. &c. ;' but this also was refused. "It did not acknowledge, ae said, “the public character with which he was invested
When did General Howe land on Staten Island ?-What was nis orce ?-Who commanded the fleet ?-What was Washington's force %Relate the affair of the letter.