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of an act of parliament to grant general and part erlar pardons to all those, who in the midst of the tumult and disorder of the times, might have deviated from their just allegiance, and who were willing, by a Speedy return to their duty, to reap the benefits of the royal favour, and of declaring any province, county, town, port, district, or place to be at the peace of his Majesty ; in which the penal provisions of that law would cease in their favour. It also promifed that a due confideration Mould be had to the fervices of all persons who contributed to restoring the public tranquility.
These papers were immediately forwarded by General Washington to the congress, and as fpeedily pub. lished by them in all the newspapers, with a preface and, comment in form of a resolution, fetting forth their opinion of the nature and tendency of that de claration. They said that they had published its that the people of the United States might be informep of what nature are the commissioners, and what the terms, with the expectation with which the Court of Brirain had endeavoured to amuse and difarm them; and that the few who still remained suspended by a hople found ed either in the justice or moderation of that court, inight now at length be convinced, that the valour alone of their country, is fufficient to fare their liberties. The comment, added to the declaration, took away all the influence and force that was in it, to pro: duce the effe&t that was intended by it. It answered none of these purposes which the government and the admiral had in view. "The Americans turned it into ridicule, and branded it with the epithets of infidious and foolish. At this time feveral flags were sent on thore by Lord Howe, accompanied with letters to George
Washington, Eng; which that oficer refused to rer ceive, as not being addressed with the title, and in the form due to the rank which he lyeld ander the United Saates. The Gongress highly applauded the dignity of this conduet in a public refolution Dafled for the purpose; by which they directed, that for the future none of their commanders fhould receive any letter or message from the enemy, but such as lould be directed to them in the character which they respect tively sustained. d At length Adjutayi-general Pubėra fun was sent to New York by General Howe, sviibletter to George Il'abington, Esq; &ci&e Wafhjuga Lon received; him with great politeness, and thenfual ceremony of blindfolding him in pafling throughurlio fortifications tvas dispensed with inlis favoris Pater. fon regretted;; in the name of his principal, the difiiculties Milich had arifen with respect to addresling the letters a declared their high eftçem for his person and character, and that they did not mean to derogato from the respect dųe to his rankis and it was hoped the; etceteras implied every thing, and would remove the impediments of their correspondence. The Gen neral replied, thatza letter directed to any one il a public characterst ficuld-have some description otrindication of it, otherwise it would appear a mere private letter ; that it was true tlie atceteras implied every thing, but they alfo implied any thing ; and that lis,fould abselutely decline any letter that was directed to him as a privaie perfon, when it related to his public station. A doag conference ensued ontke Subject of prisoners, and the contplaints that WC, made on both fidesz particularly by the congress, rco Bative to the treatment they receivedo , The Adjurant Waving observed that the cominiffionors ware urmed
with great powers ; that they should derive the greaca est pleasure from effe&ting an accomodation ; and that he himself wished to have that visit confidered as mak: He received for answer, among other things, that by what had appeared, their powers were only to grant pardons; that those who had committed no offence, nor done any fault, wanted no párdon; and that they were only defending what they deemed their indisputa able right. Paterson was received by Washington in great military state, and the utmost politeness was obl served on both lides
It was about this time, and previous to the arrival of the fleet and army at New York, that plors in fa: vour of the royal cause were discovered in New York and Albany, which occafioned mứchi trouble. Some fetv were executed, great numbers were confined, and many abandoned their houses through the influence of their fears. These were pursued as outlaws and enemies to their country. The estates of these unfor tunate people, against whom there were proofs, were seized. In the mean time fome new forms of government were established in all those colonies which judged the former insufficient for their fituation, and the others made the necessary alterations to adopt old forms to their new system. The declaration of independency was also published in all the colonies, and cvery where received and accompanied with the greateit testimonies of joy. This confidence and boldness in the midst of fo-untried and dangerous a struggle, and at the approach of so formidable an invasion, made's many conclude that the colonies were either very préfamptuous, knew of some internal ftrength, or had cer: tainty of foreign allistance. This might have been an
larming to Great Britain, had not her governors been infatuated with the ideas of dominion and arbitrary power, that they could neither perceive what was for their own honour, nor the interest of their sovereigo.
It was a long time before all the troops destined for this service arrived; the first division of the Hessians, with a number of British which attended them, failed direally to Halifax, as Lord Howe had done, being still ignorant of the General's departure from that place. By this means the month of Augult was conliderably advanced before they arrived at New York, and it was of course longer befoae any expedition of importance could be undertaken by the commission
They were joined in the mean time by Sir Peter Parker and General Clinton, who had returned with the squadron and forces from South Carolina, as well as by some regiments from Florida and the West Indies. When all the forces, except the Hessians, which were expected were arrived, an attempt upon Long Island was resolved, as being most practicable, and therefore better fitted for the first essay than New York, because it afforded a greater scope for displaying of military skill and experience with advantage : it also abounded with those supplies which so great a body of men as were now assembled by sea and land, demanded. Upon the 22d of August, the fleet hav. ing taken necessary measures for covering the descent the army was landed without opposition near Utrecht and Gravesend, on the south west end of the island, and not far from the Narrows, where it approaches nearest to Staten Island. At that time General Put nam was encamped with a strong force at Brookland and Brooklyn, at a few miles distance on the North coast, where his works covered the breadth of a small
peninsula, having the East River, which reparated him from New York, on his left ; a marsh which extended to Gowan's cave on his right, with the Bay and Governor's Island to his back. The armies were feparated by a range of hills covered with wood, which interfect the country from east to weft, and are in that part called the Heights of Guana." The direct road to the enemy lay through a village called Flat Bufh, where the hills commenced, and heat which was one of the most important passes. As the army advanced, the north coast was to the left, the soutli to the right, and Flat Buih was nearly in the centre be. tween both. The island, in that part, is formed narrow by Jamaica Bay in the right, but foon turus wide. General Putnam had detached a good part of his army to occupy the woody hills, and possess the pas. ses; and provided the commanders had been skilful and vigilant, they could not have easily passed. It appears, however, that it was not the plan of the colo. nifts to attempt any desperate experiment, till once they had exercised their troops in skirmishes, and naught them the possibility of conquest in their turn, They knew that the British troops were brave, and Jonged for nothing more than an opportunity to fig. 'nalize themselves, and put an end to the war by a bold puth.--Their interest and safety both depended much upon speedy action. The colonists were as yet raw troops, and wanted experience in war; a sudden attack, and a signal overthrow, would have dispirited them, and frustrated all their hopes of defending their country, and gaining their liberty:What was by our troops called cowardice, was in them the greatest prudence, and truest wisdom.They industriously avoided corning to any general ac.