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their allegiance, and their acknowledgment of the cona stitutional authority of Great Britain over the colonies, and praying that in consequence of former declarations issued by the commissioners that the city and country might be restored to his Majesty's peace and protection. This petition to the commissioners was followed by another to the fame purpose, from the freeholders and inhabitants of Queen's county in Long Island. It was observed of these petitions, that the acknowledgment of the constitutional supremacy in one, and of the constitutional authority in the other, was very guardedly expressed, all mention of parliament and the great question of unconditional submission being Jest totally untouched. -- It is alfo remarkable that though the inhabitants of New York Island and Queen's county, besides raising a considerable body of troops for the King's service, and establishing a strong militia for the common defence, had given every other testimony of loyalty which could be expected or wished, yet their petitions were not taken notice of, nor were they restored to those rights which they expected in consequence of the declarations, as well as the late law for the appointment of commissioners.

The doubtful and critical situation of Philadelphia, which by a night or two's frost would have been exposed to the British forces,obliged the congress, about the end of the year to remove to Baltimore Town, in Maryland. In this state of public danger, the Ameri: cans were not a little alarmed by some diffentions in the congress. The declaration for independency, as was already mentioned, had met with much of pofition in Philadelphia, notonly from the tories, but from many who in all matters had been among the most forward

in opposing the claim of the crown and parliament. The carrying of the question through the province by a great majority was far from lefsening the bitterness of those who opposed it, among whom were most of the Quakers, who were a powerful body in that colony. The discontented in this' affair; as is often the case, forgetting their former professions and principles, mingled their passions and resentments with their present opposition, and joined with those they had formerly persecuted and dispised, against their friends, whereby a strong and formidable opposition was formed. This opposition appears to have been formed of men who joined in opposition to government at first, from principles of mere private interest, or had in the hurry of party been brought over to take a side, without considering well the consequences. These where somewhat like a party we have at home, who will exclaim loudly against the measures of the government, which appear to affect their otvn interest, but in the time of a general election, either for fear of some private loss, or for the sake of a bribe will act diame trically contrary to all their professions of public fpirit, and declared regard to the common weal.

In consequence of this dissention, and ill success of the provincial arms during a great part of the campaign, some who minded their own interest and safety more than the common cause of the colonies, deserted the congress, and fled to New York to the British commiflioners to claim the benefit of the general para don that had been offered, expecting as matters then stood to return speedily home in triumph. Among these was Mr Galloway, whom we shall have occafion to take notice of afterwards; the family of the Allens, and some other leading men in Pennsylvania Еe


and the Jersies. These were not so troublesome to the colonists as some others that kept their places, who were so numerous tbat upon the approach of the King's forces to the Delaware, they prevented the order for fortifying Philadelphia from being carried into execution. This inconsistent and alarming operation in the seat of life and action obliged General Washington to detach three regiments under the command of Lord Sterliog, effectually to quell the opposition of party, and to give energy to the measure of fortifying the city. This decisive conduct answered all his purposes, except that of fortifying the city, a design which seems to have been given up as not practicable, or probably not thought necessary at this time.

The season of the year began now to turn fevere, though the frost was not so set in as to make a palfage a-cross the Delaware; the King's troops found it necessary to go into cantonments about the middle of December. Their cantonments formed an extenfive chain froin Brunswick on the Rariton to the Delaware, occupying not only the towns, posts, and villages, which came within the description of the line, but those also on the banks of the Delaware for feveral miles, so that the latter composed a front at the end of the line, which looked over to Philadelphia. The royal forces seemed now to enjoy perfect tranquility, and there appeared no danger of their designs being interrupted, or of their security putting them in dan ger. The Americans were in such a fituation, as feem. ed not to promise any thing in their favour,nor threaten any moleitation to their enemies. In this state of affairs a bold and intrepid enterprize was. execúted, which in its first appearance thewed more of brilliancy


than real energy, but in its confequences changed in a great meafure the whole fortune of the war.

General Washington, who had, more through defign than neceffity, reduced his army to the seemingly low state in which it'then was, had used all methods in his power to make the enemy believe in the present appearances, and had sufficiently impressed them with an idea of his impotency. On this account the King's forces, imagining there was now no'danger, began to enjoy themselves in their winter quarters, and lived in a fecurity confistent with their ideas of safety. Colo: del Rall, a brave and experienced officer, was station. ed with three battalions of Hessiańs, a few British light horse, and fifty Chaffeurs, making in all about 1500, at Trenton on the Delaware, which was the highest post that the British troops occupied upon that river. Colonel Donop lay at Bordentown, a few miles lower down the river ; a third body was stationed at Burlington, within twenty miles of Philadelphia. The troops at Trenton, as well as the other corps in the neighbouring cantonments, partly from an apprehension of the weakness of the enemy, and partly from the contempt in which they held them, considered themselves in as perfe&t a state of security, as if they had been performing garrison duty in their own country, in a time of the profoundest peace, This fupposed security as is usual with military people, increased the licentiousness and laxness of discipline, which has been already taken notice of, and produced an inattention to the possibility of a surprize, which upon no principles of military prudence can be justi, fied, in the neighbourhood of an enemy however weak and contemptible.


Gen. Washington had partly foreseen what would happen, and made himself particularly acquainted, with all the circumstances of the troops in these cantonments, and as he perceived the danger that was in, tended for Philadelphia, thought it was now a proper occasion to prevent it, by giving his enemies a blow that they would sincerely feel. To perform this de. fign, he resolved to attack the British troops in their cantonments, by bringing his troops together in one point, and by making an attack upon them separately, make a bold push to defeat them in their sequestered and secure fituation. Should he happen to succeed only in part of his plan, he was persuaded he could make his enemies contract their cantonments, and make them forsake the vicinity of the river, when they found that it was not a sufficient guard to cover their quarters from insult and danger. By this means he would for the present secure Philadelphia, which was the principal object of his attention. For these purposes he took the necessary measures for assembling his troops, which consisted chiefly of drafts from the militia of Pennsylvania and Virginia,

These were to march in three divisions to an appointed station on the Delaware as soon as it was dark, and with as little noise as possible. This was performed upon the evening of Christmas. Two of these divisions were commanded by the Generals Erving and Cadwallader, the first of which was to pass the river at Trenton, Ferry, about a mile below the town, and the other still lower towards Bordentown. The principal corps was commanded by General Washington in person, assisted by the Generals Sullivan and Green, and confisted of about 2500 men, provided with a train of ten {mall brass field-pieces. With this corps he arrived

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