Page images
PDF
EPUB
[merged small][ocr errors][graphic][subsumed]

on Forts Clinton and Montgomery. That messenger he immediately sent back, with a letter informing Clinton of his intention to maintain the ground he then occupied till the 12th of October, and requesting assistance; but he had heard nothing further from New York.

Clinton had waited for reinforcements from England which did not arrive till the end of September. He then embarked with 3000 men, and sailed up the Hudson to Fort Montgomery, which was stormed and taken. The British then proceeded up the river, but instead of advancing to the relief of Burgoyne, they employed themselves in laying waste the country, and burning the town of Esopus. This proceeding, intended to divert General Gates from his main object, only increased the hatred of the inhabitants against their cruel enemies.

General Burgoyne, having been defeated in his intention of retreating to Fort Edward, disappointed in his ex. pectation of relief from Sir Henry Clinton, and being now surrounded and cut off from all hope of forcing his way back to Canada, summoned a council of war, and by the unanimous advice of the members, opened a correspondence with General Gates, on the 13th of October. On the 16th, terms of capitulation were agreed on, by which it was stipulated that the troops under General Burgoyne should next day march out of their camp, with the honours of war, and the artillery of the entrenchments, and

What was his reply ?-Give an account of Clinton's operations.-What is said of Burgoyne ?- What took place on the 13th of October ?When was the convention of Saratoga signed ?-What were lis terms ?

182

SURRENDER OK BURGOYNE.

pile their arms on the verge of the river ; that a free pas. sage should be granted them to Great Britain, on colldition of not serving in North America during the war, unless exchanged; and that they should embark at Boston. On the 17th the British army piled their arms agreeably to the capitulation, and the formal surrender took place.

When the British army left Ticonderoga it consisted of 10,000 men besides Indians. At the time of the sur render, it had been reduced to 6000. General Gates's army. was superior in numbers, but it consisted partly of militia.

The news of the surrender of Burgoyne spread the greatest joy and exultation throughout the country. It increased the nnmbers of the patriots, and proportionably thinned the ranks of the tories. Had the British ministry been wise, it would have terminated the contest. But they still persisted in their mad attempts to conquer a people whose spirit and resolution had shown them to be unconquerable.

At the encampment of Valley Forge, whither General Washington retired for winter quarters at the close of this campaign, the sufferings of his army were very great. He had chosen this position on account of its bery suffisently v3 Philcuelphii io check the tuiaging parties of the enemy, and for its security from any sudden and desultory attack. The army was lodged in huts formed of logs with the interstices filled with mud. The winter was severe, and many of the men were without shoes and nearly destitute of clothing; and their line of march from White Marsh to Valley Forge might have been traced by the blood from the bare and mangled feet of the soldiers. The miseries of famine were added to their other sufferings, and in these circumstances, though a few deserted to the enemy, yet the rest bore their lot with cheerfulness, and devoted themselves nobly to the sacred cause of ind pendence.

While the army lay at Valley Forge, a plot was formed to remove General Washington from the chief command; in which several members of congress and a few military

When did the formal surrender take place ?-What number of mer: had the British lost ?--What was the effect of Burgoyne's surrender or the Americans ?--What is said of the British ministry ?-- What was the situation of the army at Valley Forge?-What ploi is mentioned !-Who were concerned in it?

ALLIANCE WITH FRANCE.

183

officers were concerned. Gates was to succeed him. He, however, disclaimed all connection with the faction ; which, fortunately for America, did not succeed.

CHAPTER XXVIII.

CAMPAIGN OF 1778.

The terms of capitulation at Saratoga, called the “ Convention of Saratoga,” had provided for the embarkation of the British troops at Boston. The unscrupulous manner in which the British had violated the law of nations with respect to prisoners and surrenders, gave congress good reason to believe that this convention would not be faithfully observed on the part of their enemies; but that, if the troops were delivered up instead of being sent to England, they would be ordered to the middle states, and united with the forces of General Howe. Pretexts for non-compliance with the convention were sought and found by congress, and after a good deal of discussion and correspondence, the troops were detained as prisoners.

Hitherto the American commissioners at Paris had been unable to obtain from France any recognition of American independence. But the capture of Burgoyne's army decided the hesitating councils of that country, and, on the 6th of Febuary, 1778, his most Christian Majesty acknowledged and guaranteed the independence of the United States, and entered into a treaty of commerce and alliance with the new republic. The notification of this act to the British ministers was considered by them equivalent to a declaration of war against Great Britain.

This new danger, together with the intelligence of the defeat and surrender of Burgoyne, appears to have brought the British cabinet, in some measure, to their senses. They now brought into parliament, propositions offering the Azericans all that they had demanded before the beginning of the contest; and hastily resolved to send over commissioners to bring back the colonies to their allegiance, at any expense of concession and humiliation.

What is said of the convention of Saratoga ?– Why was it not strictly ut served ?-When did France recognise the independence of the United States ?-How was this regarded by the British ministers ?-What did They resolve to do ?—What was done by parliament ?

184

THE BRITISH ATTEMPT CONCILIATION.

Conciliatory bills were passed, and when sent to Lord Howe in New York, and by him submitted to congress, they had not received intelligence of the signature of their treaty of alliance with France. That body, however, did not hesitate a moment as to the line of conduct they were to pursue. They were no more easily to be managed by the fawning, than they had been by the blustering

of the British Government. They peremptorily rejected Lord North's proposals as insidious and unsatisfactory.

Meantime a proposition had been brought forward by tne Duke of Richmond in the British House of Lords for acknowledging the independence of the United States, and it was in an attempt to defeat this measure that Lord Chatham made his last speech in parliament, which was soon after followed by his death.

The firmness with which congress rejected Lord North's propositions augured ill for the success of the British commissioners, Lord Carlisle, Mr. Eden, and Governor Johnstone, who arrived at New York on the 9th of June, 1778, and immediately attempted to open a negotiation with congress. Their overtures were officially answered by the president, Mr. Laurens, in a letter in which he apprised them that the American government were determined to maintain their independence, but wem willing to treat for peace with his Britannic majesty, on condition of his withdrawing his fleets and armies from the country;

Thus foiled in their attempt at open negotiation, the commissioners had recourse to secret intrigues. Governor Johnstone, from his long residence in America, was personally acquainted with many of the leading members of congress, to whom he addressed letters, vaguely intinating the great rewards and honours which would await Those who should assist in putting an end to the present troubles. He is said to have offered Joseph Reed, a general in the army and a member of congress, ten thou. and pounds sterling and any office within the colonies in his majesty's gift, if he would endeavour to re-unite the colonies to the mother country. I am not worth purchasing,' replied this incorruptible patriot; “but such as

How did congress :reat the conciliatory propositions ?-What is said of the Duke of Richmond's proposition ?--0f Lord Chatham ?-Whe were the British commissioners - What answer was made to their proposition ?- To what did they then have recourse ?-What is said of Governor Johnstone I-What answer did he receive from General

Reed ?

RETREAT OF BARREN HILL.

185

buy me.'

cause.

I am, the king of Great Britain is not rich enough 10

All the clandestine overtures of the governor were rejected with contempt; and congress being apprised of them, declared them direct attempts at corruption, and refused all intercourse with him. "The pacificators then published a manifesto threatening the union with a war of devastation. Congress then notified the gentlemen, that the bearers of copies of this manifesto were not entitled to the protection of a flag; and at the same time displayed their contempt of its threats by giving it a very extensive circulation through the country in the newspapers. The commissioners remained a short time at New York, and then sailed for Britain.

General Howe spent the spring of 1778, nearly in i state of inaction, confining his operations to the sending out of foraging and predatory parties, which did some mischief to the country, and but little service to the royal

In May, the Marquis de la Fayette, with upwards of 2000 chosen men and six pieces of artillery, was ordered in the east of the Schuylkill, and took post on Barren Hill, seven or eight miles in front of the army at Valley Forge. General Howe got notice of his position and sert out General Grant, with 5000 of his best troops to surprise him.

Owing to the desertion of their post by some militia on the look-out, he was near accomplishing his object, but La Fayette eluded the snare, and by able manæuvring returned to the camp without loss. The retreat of Barren Hill had always been regarded as a most splendid achievement, and received the highest commendations of Washington.

Soon afterwards General Howe received orders from the British ministry to evacuate Philadelphia without delay. These orders were sent under the apprehension, that if a French fleet should block up his squadron in the Delaware, whilst Washington inclosed him on the land side, he would share the fate of Burgoyne. On the 18th of June, therefore, the British troops quitted Philadelphia, and crossed over into New Jersey, whither they were speedily followed by Washington, who, keeping a strict

What was then done by congress ?-By the pacificators ?-By con gress in answer ?-Whither did the commissioners soon after go?-What was done by General Howe in the spring of 1778 ?-By General La Fayette in May ?-How did he escape a surprise ?-Why was How ordered to quit Philadelphia ?-When was this order obeyed ?

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »