Page images

mined them with great attention, he found them inac.ceflible, and so gave up his design as entirely fruitless. The army suffered greatly from the severity of the weather, both officers and men being totally destitute of tents and field accoutrements. Sir William Howe accordingly began his march to Philadelphia upon the 8th in full view of the enemy, who suffered him to return as he came without gaining any one point except much toil and fatigue to the men and the officers. This, General Wafhington forefaw would be the consequence, and it was all that he intended by his movement ; for he immediately removed his camp from White March to Valley Forge upon the Schuylkill, about 15 miles from Philadelphia, in a very strong and secure fituation.

General Howe, as the season was now too far advanced to admit of any other attention except what related to the accommodation of the troops, fent a grand detachment out to procure forage for the winter, which performed its purpose with success. The Americans continued during the wiuter in huts in their camp, without returning to their homes, or going into winter quarters.

This shewed their great zeal for the cause they were engaged in, and the unbounded influence which General Waihington had over the minds of the Americans. Thus ended the campaign upon the Delaware ; a campaign, concerning which there have been several opinions, and which affords room for very serious reflections. The British troops had been in general successful, without gaining any advantage ; for with all their victories, and the {trong tide of success which was faid to attend them, at the close of the campaign the amount of all their labours and battles was simply a good winter lodging in the city of Philadelphia ; whilst the troops possessed


[ocr errors]

no more of the adjacent country, than they immediately commanded with their arms. Another discou, ragement attended the conclusion of this campaign, was, that though the colonists might fight them when they had a mind, and with advantage to themselves, it was impossible for the royal army to bring them to an engagement against their will. This occafioned much uneasiness in England, among the promoters of this unrighteous war ; who had been so much elated with the news of the first successes, and had boasted in the most extravagant manner. Gloomy reflections began now to crowd upon them, and guilt and disappointment greatly chagrined their minds. They began to find that victory and defeat were nearly attended with the same consequences. The tubdance of the nation was wasted, its best blood was spilt, yet still there was nothing done. The American war was nearly in the tame state that it was at the beginning, merely with this difference, that the colonists were inured to war and could make a better defence. In the beginning of this year the ministerial boasting run very high, concerning the marvellous things that General Howe would do in the spring; and when they received the account of the defeat in the Jerseys, they had fixed their hopes upon the archievements which were ta be performed by the northern army under General Burgoyne. We must now leave Sir William Howe in bis winter quarters in Philadelphia, and look back to the affairs of Canada and the Lakes.

In viewing the history of the southern campaign, we have beheld a train of victories without any equi. Talent advantages, and heard of wonderful archieve. ments without so much as seeing one province fubdu. ed; a large fleet and a numerous army of the best


troops ever sent over the Atlantic, confined in their operations to the defence of a single city, without being able to secure two leagues of country for the fpace of a few days. The northern campaign was ftill more unsuccessful; for there we meet with nothing except disgrace, defeat, and disappointment. The war upon the side of Canada and the Lakes was committed to Lieutenant General Burgoyne, an officer whose abilities were unquestioned, and whose fpirit of enterprize, and thirst for military glory, though it might be rivalled, could not possibly be exceeded. It is somewhat doubtful, notwithstanding the praises that were lavished upon that officer, whether his ca. pacity was adequate to the arduous undertaking he was now engaged in. The fertility of his imagination, and the brilliancy of his fancy, seem to have prevailed more in his character than foundness of judgment, true caution, or penetration.

The appointment of General Burgoyne to this com. mand was far from being pleasing to General Carleton and his friends; it gave great offence to the general, who by his good conduct preferved Quebec, defended Canada, and recovered Lake Champlain. He fele severely the affront, that when he had brought matters so far forward, that the command should be taken from him and given to another, as if instead of having merited honour for his services he had deserved dif grace, and mortification. It was said that his powers had been diminished in proportion to the greatness of his services. His military command before extended to every part of America, whither he might find it necessary to conduct the army under his command. It was now suddenly restrained to the narrow limits of his own province. His friends observed that he


[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

had in the preceding campaign, not only driven the enemy out of Canada, but had formed a great naval armament, and destroyed the enemy's force upon Lake Champlain, recovered Crown Point, and put all things in that quarter in a fair way of lucceeding the next campaign. That nothing prevented him from taking Ticonderago except the lateness of the season, when he would have immediately prosecuted the war to the fouthward. He had, during the winter, applied his usual industry in forwarding every pre, paration which might promote the success of the de. fign in the ensuing campaign. When the season opened the communication with England, instead of the reinforcements he required, and expected for ful. filling of his purpose, he received an arrangment to tally new, which was neither planned according to, nor was the execution in any degree left to his discre. tion. The minister for the American department had formed the whole scheme, and had proceeded so far as to determine every detachment to be made from the larger bodies to be employed in two seperate expeditions. General Carleton was not even consulted concerning the number and nature of the troops, which were to remain under his command for the de. fence and security of Canada. In a word, the army which he lately commanded was taken out of his hands, and placed under the command of officers who had lately acted under his authority, and placed in independent commands, and ordered to receive their instructions from Sir William Howe; which was no. - less than an open insult to Sir Guy Carleton, who had

been already informed by General Howe, that the distance of their operations would prevent all commu. nication between them. The minister on this occa

fion thewed á real want of ability for dire&ting such great and distant operations ; he took for granted that he perceived the force of the enemy, and all the resourses which rhey might have to fruitrate his plan, when he did not fo much as confider the difficulties that even arofe from the very narnre of the country. With regard to the force of the colonists in thar quarter, neither the minister, nor any of the commanders appear to have had the smallest information. Genetals and troops on a sudden started up, that were pever heard of, nor believed to exist till the very moment of action; and a thousand impediments were found to stand in the way of this expedition, that the minister never dreamed of, and which his genius never fuggested to him.

Sir Guy Carlton, notwithstanding the disgrace which the minister had done him, behaved with a greatness of foul which did him much honour. He thewed, that though he was sensible of the affront which he had received, yet he knew how to pass over an injury, and did not suffer any personal disgrace to hinder him from ferving his country, and what he conceived to be the public cause thereof. He applied himself with the fame diligence and activity to forward by every possible means, and to support in all its parts, the expedition, as if it had been his contrivance and folely his own plan. This conduct though it was what góvernment did not deserve from this cfficer, yet was absolutely necessary for carrying on the defion of this expedition ; and though in the end it misgave, it was more owing to the management of General Carleton, that it proceeded fo far as it did, than to any good conduct of the minister who forined the plan thereof. The arrangment was so complicated, and the parts of


« PreviousContinue »