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fended against even a superior force, and would have prevented them from being furrounded. ---- - They ought to have had scouts and watches placed in all parts of the island, and to have secured every post that was in the smallest degree tenable. They ought to have had parties concealed behind every hedge, wall, or ditch, to have fired by surprise upon every ada vanced party of their foes, which might have retreated to the main body when fore pressed, and given the alarm in due time. They might, as they knew the country, had flanking parties of swift troops, who might have thinned their enemies by occasional attacks, and fled to redoubts and thickets, and marched another way and made a fresh attack on another quarter. They ought to have neglected no possible methods of defence that could have been devised in such a trying and critical situation. The apologies of the American Generals are childish and trifling. They represented that they had no idea of so many troops being landed on the iland; but they ought to have been acquainted with every circumstance, and watched every motion of the enemy. General Howe (hewed a great measure of skill and conduct in his military arrangement, and the whole attack was conducted with much prudence and fagacity; the men also shewed much valour and intrepidity, and as soldiers behaved well. Their ardor was so great, that the Generals could with dif. ficulty prevent them from attacking the American lines, in their keenness in pursuing the fugitives. And it was imagined by some fanguine people, that they would have carried all before them; but in such cases ịt is not eafy for partizans to keep moderation in their conjectures. It is highly probable, that there was an emulation between the British and Hessian
troops, to distinguish themselves in this engagement which made both parties more eager to do fomething that might be taken notice of. Three of the enemy's commanders were taken prisoners, viz. MajorGeneral Sullivan, and the Brigadier-Generals Lord Stirling and Udell, and ten other field-officers. The loss on the side of the British and Hessian troops was faid to be very inconliderable, being under
killed and wounded, of which the former did not make a
The provincial accounts rate our loss much higher, and it is reasonable to suppose that our gazettes industriously concealed part of our loss at home, as many who were present in the action affirm, ed that the loss of the British forces was much more considerable. Our army encamped on the front of the enemy's lines, and on the 28th of August broke ground in form, at 600 yards distance from a redoubt, which covered the enemy's left.
It was a loss to the Americans that General Wath. ington at this time did not command them, nor does ir appear that the plan of operation was of his devis: ing. He, during the time of engagement, paffed over from New York to Long Island, and is said to have burst out in a bitter exclamation of grief, when he perceived the ineveitable ruin of fome of his best troops. Nothing was now left but to use the best means to preserve the remainder of the army upon Long Island. He knew that the superior power of the royal artillery would soon filence their batteries, and that if the lines were forced in their present situatijn, confidering the superiority of the king's troops in number, and the present deje&tment of the provineial troops, there was little hope of preserving them from being either killed or taken. If he thould rein.
force them, he would hazard the loss of New York, which was already threatened on all sides, and kept in continual alarm by the fleet.-Another danger that threatened, which was equally to be avoided, the war fhips only waited for a fair wind, to enter and take possesion of the East River, which would have totally cut off all communication between the islands. In this situation there was no hope left but in a retreat, which was even exceedingly difficult under the watchful
with a powerful army flushed with success, almost close to their works.-This difficult task was however undertaken and executed, with great address and abilities, by General Washington. On the 29th, in the night, their troops were withdrawn from the camp, and their different works, and with their baggage, stores, and almost all their artillery, were conveyed to the water-fide, embarked, and passed over the ferry to New York, with wonderful silence and order, that our army, tho? within 600 yards, did not perceive the least motion, and were farprised in the morning of finding the lines abandoned, and seeing their rear-guard in their boats, and out of danger. Those that are acquainted with the usual noise and confusion attending decamping so many thoufands of men, even in open day, will be obliged to acknowledge, that this retreat required an extraordinary address' to conduct it, and must be al. lowed a master-piece in its kind in the art of war. 18 fhewed plainly, that General Washington knew how to profit by the miscarriage of others, and had the capacity to turn his misfortune to his own honour. Afa ter the retreat from Long Ifand, General Sullivan was fent upon parole, with a message from Lord Howe to the Congress. In this he statéd, that tho'he could
not treat with them in the character of a congress, he was very glad of having a conference with fome of their members, whom he would consider only as private gentlemen, and would himself meet them at such place as they should appoint. He said that he had, together with the General, full powers to comproniise disputes between Great Britain and America, upon terms advantageous to both, for obtaining which he had been detained near months, and his arrival on that account had been prevented, before the declaration of independency took place. He wished that a compact might be settled at this time before any decisive blow was struck, and neither party could say that they were compelled to enter into the agreement.
That if the Congress had a mind to treat, many things which they had not yet asked, might and ought to be granted to them; and if upon the conference any probable ground of accomodation appeared, the authority of congress muft afterwards be acknowledged, or the compact could not be complete.
The answer of the congress was, that being the representatives of the free and independent States of America, they could not, with propriety, send any of their members in their private characters; but that ever desirous of establishing peace upon reasonable terms, they would appoint a committee to know whether he had any authority to treat with persons authorized by Congress for that purpose, in behalf of America, and what that authority was, and to hear such propositions as he should think fit to make refpeéting the fame. Dr Franklin, Mr Adams, and Mr Rutledge were appointed as a committee upon this occafion, and accordingly waited upon Lord Howe, in Staten Illand.
The Committee summed up the accounts of this conference, which they laid before the congress, in the following terms. “ Upon the whole it did not appear to your committee, that his Lordship's commiffion contained any other authority than what is contained in the act of parliament ; viz. that of granting pardons, with such exceptions, as the commissioners fall think proper to make, and of declaring America, or any part of it, to be in the King's peace upon fubmiffion. For as to the power of enquiring into the ftate of America, which his Lordship mentioned to us, and of conferring and consulting with any persons the commissioners might think proper, and represent the result of such conversations to the ministry, who (provided the colonies should subje&t themselves)might after all, or might not, at their pleasure, make any alterations in the former instructions to governors, or propose in parliament any amendment of the acts complained of, we apprehend any expectation from the effect of such a power would have been too uncertain and precarious to be relied on by America, had she still continued in her state of dependence."
In this manner the hopes of negociation ended be. tween the commisioners and the congress. The mi- ' nisterial demagogues at home called loudly out a gainst the colonies for not accepting of Lord Howe's and the General's proposals; they now devoted all the Thirteen United Colonies to destruction, and considered it as a most righteous, as well as most necessary proceeding, to waste them by fire and sword, The right of Great Britain to do with America as the pleased, and to affess the people by acts of parliament, without her consent, was always taken for granted as a first principle ; while both the truth of Y