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a party of men, being on his march to join General Washington, who had affembled the Pensylvania miJitia to secure the banks of the Delaware, was from the distance of the Britisli cantonments betrayed into a fatal security, by which, in croifing the uppermost part of New Jersey, from the North River, he fixed his quarters, and lay, carelessly guarded, at some diítance from the main body. He was betrayed by an inhabitant for the fake of a reward, who informed Colonel Harcourt of the situation he was in, who having made an excurfion at the head of a small detachment of light horse, conducted his measures with so much address and secrecy, that the guard was evaded, the centries feized without noife, the quarters forced, and Lee carTied off, though all that part of the country was in his favour, and that several guard posts and armed patroles lay in the way. There seems to have been. much carelessness in the conduct of the General on this occasion, and but little judgment in those who formed the posts, and fet up the patrole. Had the posts and patroles been placed as they ought to have been in the time of war and invasion, it would have - been imponible for one horseman to have gone over such a tract of country, to say nothing of a detach. ment; without alarming the inhabitants, and assembling those that had arms. The smallest and the most fe-cret poflern way ought not to be neglected, from the margin of the sea-bank, to the centre of a country, and from the centre to the extremities of the whole. General Lee acted at this time with as little jndgment as he did with care ; for provided he had consulted che dictares of political wisdom and fagacity, he would
have kept the strictest guard, to have shewn the people an example, to put them in mind of the danger
they were in from a vigilant enemy, that watched every opportunity to take an advantage. By neglecting this practice, he, to his fad experience, shewed an example of the truth of this observation.
In many cases the making of a single officer prisoner would have been a thing of very little consideration or moment; but in the then state of America, when their forces were raw, a general deficiency of military skill prevailed, and the inexperience of the officers was even a greater grievance than the want of discipline among the foldiers. In such a case the loss of a commander, whose spirit of enterprize was directed by great skill in his profession, acquired by active, as well as actual fervice, was of the utmost importance, and the more distressing, as there was little ground to hope that it could be foon supplied.
As General Lee was considered by those at home as the very chief of all the American officers, it wa3 imagined that his being taken would have had a confiderable effect upon distressing the colonists, and putting an end to the war. The rejoicing among the tories and Jacobites on account of this event, was scarcely prudent, decent, or becoming. Some personal animosity between Mr Lee and some other officers in the army, as well as persons of power at court, was supposed to have contributed not a little to the triumph and exultation on that occasion. The taking of General Lee was also attended with a circumstance which has produced much inconvenience on both sides, and of much pain and calamity to many individuals. Not long before this accident, a cartel, or something of the like nature, had been established for the exchange of prisoners between the Generals Howe and Washington, which had been carried into execution, so far as
time and circumstances would admit. As General Lee was particularly obnoxious to government, it was faid, and supposed, that General Howe was confined by his instructions from parting with him upon any condition, provided the fortune of war should put him into his power. General Washington not having at this time any prisoner of rank equal to Lee, propo. fed to exchange fix field officers for him ; the number being intended to balance the disparity: or if this was refused, that he might be treated and considered according to his station, according to the practice of all civilized and polished nations, and the precedent whiclı the Americans had already shewn with regard to British officers in their hands, until an opportunity offered for a direct and equal exchange. The pride of our ministry, and the present spirit of the British officers were raised to a degree a little too high to listen to any request of this nature from a rebel commander in chief. It was expected that in a little time the colopists would be brought to the feet of the minister, and General Lee would be dealt with as a state prisoner, and treated as one of the chiefs in the rebellion. Pro. scriptions of a great extent were meditated, and there was nothing wanting but success to let the world see how ministerial vengeance would be executed. General Washington therefore received for answer, th as Mr Lee was a deserter from his Majesty's service, he was not to be considered as a prisoner of war; that he had not at all come within the conditions of a cartel, nor could he receive any of its benefits. General Lee had resigned his half pay at the beginning of the American contest, and was none of his Majesty's officers. He could only be considered as a subject of gowernnent, like the rest of those who were in arms in
America, and in no respect came under the descrip. tion of a deserter from his Majesty's service. In the proposals for a cartel no particular exceptions of perfons had been made, and General Washington treated this doctrine of the ministry with the utmost contempi.
In the mean time Lee was confined in the clotest manner, and watched and guarded with all the strict. ness and jealousy which a state criminal could have experienced in the most dangerous political conjuncture. This conduct not only suspended the cartel, but induced retaliation on the other fide ; fo that Colonel Campbell, who had hitherto enjoyed every degree of liberty confistent with his condition, and had been treated with great humanity by the people of Boston, was now thrown into a dungeon, and treated with a rigour equal to the indulgence he had formerly expe. rienced. --The officers who were prisoners in the fouthern colonies, though they were not treated fo feverely as Colonel Campbell, were however deprived of their parole liberty, and other conveniencies, which made their situation uncommonly easy. It was des clared that their future treatment should, in
degree, be regulated by that which General Lee experienced, and that their persons should be answerable in the utmost extent for any violence that was offered to him. According to the rules of justice, our ministry could expect no other fort of conduct from the colon nists towards our officers, and whatever might hapa pen to them, the blame must have refted upon them. felves.
According to the boasting of that time, General Lee was to have been brought over to England to be tried as a state prisoner ; and there is no question that if the ministry had not been embarrassed with regard to
their own officers, which were prisoners in America, General Lee would have felt their vengeance to the utmoft extent. But though he was particularly ill used for a time, the situation of many British officers preserved him from the vengeance that was intended for him.
It the midst of the several trying circumstances which happened about this time, the American con. gress shewed a wonderful steadiness and resolution, Far from desponding, or giving way to any thing like unconditional submission, they made no overtures towards any fort of an accomodation. Pride, shame, and the hope of subduing the colonists, prevented the government to make any proposals of accomodation to the congress. The colonists, as was necessary in their present situation, prepared to renew the war with all the vigour they were masters of, and to repair their shattered forces with the utmost diligence. It was imagined that by their lofses in the Jersies, and in other parts of the continent, that they would never be able again to make any resistance against the King's forces ; and that the lofs of General Lee would totally break their fpirits. But all these events, only roused them the more, and called forth into exercise every latent principal of exertion that remained in their souls.-They were now convinced that temporary armies were not competent for the great obje&t they had in view, and that though men engaged for a short and lia mited time might repel a sudden invasion, yet when opposed to the constant attacks of a powerful enemy, and the continual efforts of regular forces, they were far from being fuélicient. They found in experience, that they could not hope with an army of new men, changed every year, to make any effettual stand against