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noblest reputation was won in the deepest adversity. Sir William Howe had fought and gained the great battle of the Brandywine, which gave the royalists Philadelphia: nor did the subsequent most severe action at Germanstown at all shake his position. As winter came on, the British and Americans withdrew into their respective quarters; the former, surrounded with every comfort in a handsome city, the latter merely hutted, as it was termed, in temporary hovels hastily erected at Valley Forge, a deep and rugged hollow on the west side of the Schuylkill, about twenty miles from Philadelphia. These wretched abodes were made of logs filled in with mortar. When the republican army commenced its march thither, the cold was already intense. Some soldiers were seen to drop down dead from its severity. Others, without shoes, had their feet wounded by the ice, so as to mark their tracks with blood. When once encamped, their position was, in a military sense, perhaps, impregnable; but on no occasion, in modern times, had deeper destitution to be endured. Upon one occasion, the state of the magazines proved to be such, that there was scarcely full provision even for a single day. Hunger alone would have generated the seeds of mutiny, had not overpowering attachment to their leader silenced all complaints. A few had one shirt; many only the moiety of one; and the greater part no rag of personal linen whatever. Blankets for night were as rare as decent habiliments for the day. The celebrated regiment of Falstaff found its antitype in the troops of Congress. The want of straw compelled them to sleep on the bare and humid ground; so that fever and dysentery as rapidly replenished the hospitals as death evacuated them. Three thousand were often on the sick lists at the same time. Out of seventeen thousand on the muster-rolls, not more than five could have manned their lines, had Sir William Howe offered to attack them. This, however, he never attempted; absorbed as his officers were in gaiety, luxury, and dissipation. The quiet yet wealthy capital of Pensylvania seemed a kind of Capua to the royalists, without their having such laurels, as Hannibal had, to rest under, and forfeit the meed of glory through a premature contemplation of their past labours. Sir Henry Clinton at length succeeded to the command on the resignation of General Howe. No access of vigour or judicious management followed upon the change. In parliament, Lord Chatham proposed his plan of conciliation, but was unable to procure its adoption. Ministers had to run the gauntlet of augmented unpopularity, yet they were resolved to continue the war. Fresh reinforcements were enlisted, and recourse was even had to voluntary benevolence, which, although unconstitutional as proposed by Lord North, produced
wonderful results. Liverpool and Manchester each raised, at their own expense, a thousand men. Edinburgh and Glasgow imitated their example. The Highlanders of Scotland descended from their craggy fastnesses to rally round the royal standard. There was now no pretender to engage their unreflecting loyalty, so that their natural regard for the right divine of kings to govern wrong,' developed itself in favour even of a Hanoverian sovereign. They also followed their lords and lairds, who had for a half a generation discovered that Toryism no where so happily flourishes as within the warm precincts of prerogative. London and Bristol leaned to the liberal side, peremptorily refusing to countenance any municipal levies, but each allowing private individuals to subscribe 20,0001. against French machinations. Louis the Sixteenth had acknowledged the independence of the United States, and concluded a treaty with them on the 6th of February, 1778. Hostilities ensued, with but brief delay, between France and England.
From this point all reflecting politicians, except those bound in chains to the chariot wheels of a reckless cabinet, must have discerned the unavoidable issue of the contest. Not but that bitter disappointment at first awaited the expectants of an immediate triumph from the French alliance. The Court of Versailles mainly wished to mortify Great Britain at as small an amount of cost as possible; and, therefore, it for some time did little and professed much. Its greediest gaze settled upon the West Indies, where alone indemnification could be hoped for, through the seizure of some of our rich sugar colonies. Meanwhile, over sea and land spread the horrible conflagrations of warfare. As usual, when it was too late, the British administration resorted to conciliatory measures, amidst immense mockery and derision, the more galling, because felt to be deserved. Of course they were productive of no other results, since contempt was thus allied with hatred. Many such massacres as that of Wyoming had before this period occurred, of which the memory has now perished, perhaps for no other reason than quia vate carent! Campbell having immortalized the tragedy of the Susquehannah, our readers may not object to a glimpse, in plain prose, of what will seldom be read without tears. Some inhabitants from Connecticut had formed the settlement, and laid it out in eight townships, on the road to Oswego. The mildness of the climate answered to the fertility of the soil. “All lived in a happy mediocrity, frugal of their own, and coveting nothing from others. Incessantly occupied in rural toils, they avoided idleness and all the evils of which it is the source. In a word, this little country presented in reality an image of those fabulous times which the poets have described
under the name of the Golden Age. But their domestic felicity was no counterpoise to the zeal with which they were animated for the common cause. They took up arms and flew to succour their country. It is said they had furnished to the army no less than a thousand soldiers; a number truly prodigious for so small a population, and so happy in their homes. Yet, notwithstanding the drain of all their vigorous youth, the abundance of harvest sustained no diminution. Their crowded granaries, and pastures replenished with fat cattle, offered an exhaustless resource to the American forces. Party opinion seems to have been the first serpent that crept into this paradise. Toryism happened to have received some personal slights from the warmer republicans of Wyoming. It vowed revenge, and called in the Indians! Alecto could have done no more, nor Satan himself. About the commencement of July, 1778, the savages rushed upon their prey; ind
prey; indiscriminate slaughter ensued, until the tomahawk, satiated with butchery, paused through weariness. The living were, however, only reserved for tortures. Men, women, and children were promiscuously huddled into a barrack and there burnt alive, as our druidical forefathers used to propitiate their grim idols. Crops of every description were consigned to the flames. A few days before the land was as the garden of Eden; but when the barbarians had let loose both the fire and sword upon it, the smoke from blackened ruins went up towards heaven as the smoke of a furnace. The slight garrison found in the fort of Wilkesbarre were destroyed with torments that may not be described. Even the beasts of the field could find no mercy from these human savages, who deliberately cut out their tongues and left them amidst scenes of desolation, to die a lingering death! Captain Bedlock met a destiny more dreadful than that of Regulus, since he was literally impaled upon splinters of pine-wood stuck all over his body, until at length, something like caprice rather than humanity, consumed him with two of his companions, to ashes upon a funeral pile. "The Tories appeared to vie with, and even to surpass, the savages in barbarity. One of them, whose mother had married a second husband, butchered her with his own hand, and afterwards massacred his father-in-law, his own sisters, and their infants in the cradle! Another killed his own father, and exterminated all his family! A third imbrued his hands in the blood of his brothers, his sisters, his father-in-law, and his brother-in-law. These were a part only of the horrors perpetrated by the loyalists and Indians. Other atrocities, if possible, still more abominable, we leave in silence. Those who had survived the massacres were no less worthy of commiseration; they were women and children, who had
escaped to the woods, at the time their husbands and fathers expired under the blows of the barbarians. Dispersed and wandering in the forests, as chance and fear directed their steps, without clothes, without food, without guides, these defenceless fugitives suffered every degree of distress. Several of the women were delivered alone in the woods, at a great distance from every possibility of relief. The most robust and resolute alone escaped ; the others perished; their bodies, and those of their helpless infants, became the prey of wild beasts. Thus the most flourishing colony then existing in America was totally erased !' This infernal excision of Wyoming will never be forgotten.
Upon a larger scale, blood flowed like water in various quarters. The French captured Dominica and the English St. Lucia. On the American continent our ministers and generals had determined to direct their greatest efforts against the southern parts of the confederation. It was conceived that there were more secret loyalists there; and that Georgia and Carolina could better feed an invading force than the northern states, already devastated or exhausted. Enormous tracts of country were accordingly overrun by invaders, who could only retain them until the republican militia or volunteers had mustered in sufficient numbers to drive their assailants into the cities and strongholds. The islands of St. Vincent and Grenada meanwhile fell into the hands of Count d'Estaing, who, after a naval action with Admiral Byron, sailed for Savannah, the capital of Georgia, which he besieged in conjunction with General Lincoln, although without success. His intention was to return forth with to Europe, but a violent tempest dispersed his ships and sadly baffled any hope entertained of enriching himself with British prizes. Congress having been made, as was asserted, a mere cat's-paw by France to assist her in the acquisition of important sugar-colonies, warmly remonstrated against his withdrawal. Verily the flag of England had seldom been seen to less advantage, since the days of the Dutch wars, after the Restoration : and Spain had now cast her blunted sword into the scale against the Queen of the seas. But the infant republic, about whose cradle so many nations were contending, was at the present crisis, far enough from being itself in a healthy or vigorous state. Lethargy had seized upon all public spirit. What was plainly the grand concern of all, appeared to have lost its power of practically affecting each individual. Washington beheld the scene with undiminished confidence as to the ultimate results, but with ten thousand apprehensions for the immediate honour of his countrymen. They intensely abhorred their former masters: they resolved to stand to the last by liberty and independence; but the sacrifices already rendered, disinclined them
to further personal exertions. France and Spain were now too perfectly committed against Great Britain to forsake their cause until the struggle should have reached its issue, although both these powers enjoyed little current popularity, through their manifest selfishness and lukewarmness. The seeds of those evils also began to appear above ground, which have since blossomed into commercial dishonesty and Pensylvanian repudiation.
• Nor were the Americans chargeable only with indifference, for there prevailed amongst them the most shameless thirst after gain,an unbridled desire for riches, no matter by what means acquired. The most illicit, the most disgraceful ways, were no obstacle to this devouring passion. As it happens but too often in political revolutions, there had sprang up a race of men, who sought to take private advantage of the public distress. Dependence or independence, liberty or no liberty, were (was] all one to them, provided they could fatten on the substance of the state. While good citizens were wasting themselves in camps, or in the discharge of other arduous functions; while they were devoting to their country their time, their estates, their very existence, these insatiable robbers were plundering and sharing out, without a blush, the public plunder and private fortunes. All contracts became the object of their usurious interference and nefarious gains: all army supplies enriched them with peculations; and the state often paid dearly for what it never obtained. Nor let any imagine that the most sincere and virtuous friends of their country ever made so pompous a parade of their zeal! To hear these vile beings, theywere only animated with genuine and glowing patriotism. Every citizen of eminent rank, or invested with any public authority whatever, who refused to connive at their rapines, was immediately denounced as tory, lukewarm royalists sold to England. It would seem that the first duty of those who governed the republic, in times of such distress, was to fill the coffers of these flaming patriots. That their own praises should always have hung upon their lips is not to be wondered at, for there never has existed a robber who has not been first a cheat; but what seems really strange, and almost staggers belief, is that they could have found dupes and partisans. This public pest spread wider every day: it had already gangrened the very heart of the state! The good were silenced, the corrupt plumed themselves upon their effrontery; every thing presaged an approaching ruin. It was the hope of England. Shall we attempt to penetrate the causes of so great a change in a nation once so distinguished for the purity of its manners ?'pp. 411–412.
Without pretending to enumerate them all, one can hardly help seeing that large allowances must be made, in the very commencement, for the natural selfishness of mankind : trahit sua quemque voluptas. The profession of political liberalism was not conversion of the heart. On the other hand, it