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is but too probable, that the excitement attendant upon all vast national changes, of itself throws the mind and understanding off their balance, so as to withdraw, in some degree, several of those checks which operate at other times in favour of external virtue. Then again, it must be remembered, that warfare demoralizes wherever it rages; not only letting loose the darker passions of revenge and fury, but also generally lowering the standard of right and wrong. Revolutionary governments, moreover, are of necessity driven to strange resources and singular instruments. Usurers hover round them, ever ready to reap gold from their necessities, and the example grows contagious. If competition be keen, the spirit of mammon will call both patriotism and its counterfeit into the field. Besides which, there was before the civil contests but very little coined money in America : the sudden influx of troops brought large quantities of specie with them, together with a tide of profligacy and luxury, sufficient to corrupt a class, if not a generation. Congress, at the same period, found themselves obliged to issue such an enormous amount of paper, that the circulating medium ran through the wheels of an ever changing lottery. A silver dollar, in 1779, came to be worth forty paper ones; an almost incredible statement, yet perfectly verified by the documents and accounts of that day. Hence the commonest affairs of life degenerated rapidly into more or less of gambling transactions. The several states of the Union also emitted their bills, as if to render the universal bankruptcy confusion worse confounded.' When matters were investigated, it was discovered, that in the September of the year last mentioned, the confederation was literally responsible for 159,948,882 dollars ! Lord North, we regret to add, was not ashamed to forge the notes of the new republic, that through the falsification of its credit, its pecuniary difficulties might be multiplied. Entire chests of these spurious bills were forwarded from England, of which so perfect was the execution, that scarcely could a practised eye detect the fraud. Through the quiet loyalists, scattered up and down the country, these were pushed upon the widest scale into general circulation, and sorely embarrassed every kind of public transaction. “Unquestionably it was neither the first time, nor the last, that this mode of making war was had recourse to. It will nevertheless be always held in abhorrence by good men, for public faith should always be respected even amongst enemies; and of all perfidies is there one more frightful, and especially more vile, than counterfeiting money?' We feel certain that Washington would have recoiled from such a step ; and it is said that Sir Henry Clinton only yielded most reluctantly to the overbearing dictation on this point, from the court of St. James's, no long
while after the very sovereign of that court had set public opinion, together with his whole clergy and aristocracy for once at defiance, in hanging Doctor Dodd for the crime he was himself countenancing. From such an alarming depreciation, it followed that not only all purses were closed, and that the markets, scantily and with extreme difficulty supplied, became the objects of continual murmurs,—but even that the faith of contracts was violated, and that individual probity every where relaxed. With little, debtors acquitted themselves of much towards their creditors. Very few at first resorted to this unworthy expedient, but as evil propagates itself more rapidly then good, a multude of citizens stained themselves with the same reproach. Herein the faithless and avaricious proved themselves no respecters of persons. Washington often experienced this odious action from some whom he had generously succoured in their necessities.' Party spirit and general distress may be appended to the list of causes, which undermined the social uprightness of America, more than sixty years ago, and through which, so great has grown her pecuniary degradation at the present moment, that the roguery of our own Cabal, in shutting up the exchequer under Charles II. bids fair to pass into oblivion.
The spotless commander-in-chief, however, had not only to suffer in his purse, but calumny even dared to strike at his character. It was indeed all in vain, since he came out of the ordeal unscathed, and from that hour remained enshrined in the affections of his people. He had quitted his natural fortress at Valley Forge for another at Morristown, which enabled him to countermine the best concerted projects of the British, and at the same time preserve his communications with Congress, of which he was the actual head, as well as its right hand. The year 1780 was remarkable for many events in Europe, such as the accession of Holland to the continental league, the armed neutrality, the siege of Gibraltar, and the important incidents, which however far removed from the scene of the war in America, materially contributed towards its ultimate issue. Our historian has well traced out the tangled story, whilst, as he justly observes, the grand campaign of the Carolinas demonstrated the uncertainty of arms: victory often produced the effects of defeat, and defeat those of victory; the victor frequently became the vanquished, the vanquished the victor. In little actions was exhibited great valour, and the prosperous or unfortunate efforts of a handful of combatants had sometimes more important consequences than in Europe attend those terrible battles, where valiant and powerful nations rush, as it were en masse to the shock of conflict.' Sir Henry Clinton had resolved to add the conquest of Charlestown, with its wealthy province to that of Georgia. After immense efforts he succeeded. Colonel Tarleton also defeated the republicans at Wacsaw: whilst Lord Cornwallis consolidated, as he vainly imagined, the restoration of royal authority from Florida to the frontiers of Virginia. Those, who love military details, may discover enough to satisfy them in the actions of Camden, the Cowpens, and Guildford, in the various pursuits and retreats of troops marching and countermarching, or in the notorious treason, in another quarter, of General Arnold, and the melancholy execution of Major André. The patriotic enthusiasm of the South Carolinian ladies is more to our taste, nor did the English anywhere commit a greater error, than when they condescended to banish them for their liberalism, and confiscate their property. In every affair of public interest, 'general opinion never manifests itself with more energy, than when women take part in it, with all the life of their imagination. Less powerful, as well as less stable, when calm, than that of men, it is far more vehement and pertinacious, when roused and inflamed. Sundry cruel edicts, on the part of Lord Cornwallis, relative to other matters, also tended to exasperate the entire Union. The reverses at Charleston touched American honour to the quick, and from that moment it was as though the first love of the revolution had revived again. Changes came over the spirit of their dreams. Washington fanned the flame. His own consort, worthy of her husband, placed herself at the head of her sex in Pensylvania, so that an organization was formed for stimulating every class to exertion. Immense sums were collected for lodgment in the national chest, whence they were to be taken out and distributed in bounties to such particular soldiers as should merit them, and in augmentation of pay to all. Imitation of such benevolence became universal. A bank was also established upon the most liberal principles, with a basis both extensive and attractive. Money now flowed in more steadily to support governmental operations, and France advanced rather a handsome loan. A kind of Guerilla opposition to the sovereignty of George III. broke out in numerous localities, of which, as specimens, we may take the followers of Colonel Sumpter, no obscure name in the mighty struggle. His people possessed neither pay, uniform, nor any certain means of subsistence. They were freebooters, living like Donald Bean Lean in Waverley, upon what accident or their own courage provided them. Without regular weapons, they learned to handle with strange and horrible success the implements of peaceful husbandry. Instead of leaden balls they cast pewter bullets out of the plates which patriots cheerfully gave them for that purpose. They were known several times to encounter the enemy with only three charges of ammunition, and the most precious point in their eyes of any advantages gained over the British, lay in the muskets and cartridges which they acquired at the expense of the vanquished. During a combat, such as had no arms would quietly lie down on the ground, or stand aside in thickets until the death or wounds of their comrades might enable them to take their places. In very deed and truth they were what the Roman lyrist calls a gens prodiga vite: and how deeply seated must have been the love of liberty, to summon from industrial pursuits such Spartan battalions. Even the prowess of Great Britain quailed before them.
The following year, 1781, at length terminated the bloody drama. The Dutch, French, and Spanish armaments encountered our flag upon the ocean with various fortunes. The first suffered fearfully in their commerce and lost St. Eustatius; the second retaliated upon the English with considerable success, captured Tobago and St. Christopher's, succoured the Cape of Good Ilope and acquired Minorca; the third seized upon West Florida and entirely failed upon Gibraltar. All shewed themselves in combined and most tremendous force in the British channel. In America the actions of Hobkirk and Eutaw Springs distinguished the southern campaigns; whilst Lord Cornwallis, watched and overmanaged by Washington, was successfully allured into the trap prepared for him at Yorktown in Virginia. Here the American commander-in-chief, supported by the French, won his conclusive victory. Our native flotilla of twenty-two sail, one hundred and sixty pieces of artillery, with seven thousand troops, exclusive of seamen, became the splendid prize of the conquerors. Royalism was now prostrated in the dust, from New England to the Gulf of Mexico; Philadelphia had long been given up; the cities of New York, Charleston, and Savannah, alone remained in our hands towards the close of October. On the fourth of the following March, in 1732, General Conway proposed and carried his resolution in the IIouse of Commons, that those who should advise His Majesty to continued hostilities were enemies to their country. This produced the retirement of Lord North, whose inglorious administration was succeeded by that of Lord Rockingham. All that could be hoped for, was, that some favourable event at sea might possibly repair the national misfortunes, so as to secure something like fair terms in the approaching treaty for peace. This brings Dr. Botta to his fifteenth and final book, in which he gives the best description we ever remember to have seen of Lord Rodney's memorable engagement on the 12th of April.
This triumph, together with our success at Gibraltar, , and the new empire we were rapidly acquiring in India, enabled us to make the peace of Versailles, on the 20th of January, 1783. We ceded to France some possessions in the West Indies, which we have since recovered; to Spain the Floridas and Minorca ; and to America-Independence! We extended our Newfoundland fisheries, secured our Asiatic conquests, and broke up the armed neutrality: but the war added one hundred millions to our national debt, and cost us from forty to fifty thousand lives. In the position which, under the influence of toryism, we had taken up contrary to the freedom of mankind, we were righteously and ignominiously defeated. We trust that similar policy will never fail to encounter similar results.
And now for the lessons of wisdom to be learned by the present, as well as every future government. Let just concession be always made, before coercion steps forward to deprive it of its gracefulness. The achievement of American independence has quickened the circulation of mind throughout the world. It has passed a sentence of deposition or banishment against regal tyranny, wherever it may again presume to rear its head, with the exception, perhaps, of Russia and Turkey, whose time has not yet come. Yet, generally speaking, there is scarcely a throne in Europe which has not directly or indirectly felt its influence. Our own islands, France, Spain, Portugal, Belgium, and some of the states of Germany have clearly done so: and who fails to see that upon the growth of sound liberalism in Great Britain and Ireland, the future fortunes, under Divine Providence, of all India will turn ;—to say nothing of China and the other eastern empires about to be embraced within the circle of our commercial energies? In mentioning Ireland, however, we are forcibly reminded of a larger amount of wrong to be redressed, within a day's sail of our own doors, than that which provoked transatlantic resistance against the sceptre of George III. From New England to Georgia, much less than three millions of our fellow-subjects confederated against the yoke of the mother country: in the sister kingdom, we have forfeited the affection of more than double that number. America after all, to a very great extent, governed herself, and was slightly interfered with as to the inalienable rights of man. Ireland has been treated for ages as a conquered province, without possessing even ordinary municipal privileges, until within the last few years. When forcibly united to this island, by an Act carried by perfidy and oppression, she owed only £10,000,000 : her resources now bear the burden, with slight differential exceptions, of more than twenty times that amount. With a population of eight millions and a half, she has one hundred and five representatives in the Lower House, against