Page images
PDF
EPUB

the lakes. This officer had the year before carried all things successfully with the greatest judgment, and humanity also; but all on a sudden the management was taken out of his hands, and an officer appointed, who neither knew the country nor the genius of the people ; who was indeed brave, but rath and adven, trous. Though Carleton contributed as much as he could, to the mealures of the campaign, yet he could not transfuse his own prudence and fagacity into another, nor direct the execution of such difficult adventures, when he was not present. The march was long and difficult, hazardous in every step, and a single step was tatal ; great caution was required, and it required the abilities of Sir Guy Carleton, to have directed the footsteps of such an army through such a wilderness, forests, and thickets. Of this officer General Wolfe gave the most flattering testimony, by setting him on high above all the British officers then known to him. The changing of this officer in a great measure frustrated thesuccess of the war upon the lakes.

Another thing which greatly tended to ruin the progress of General Burgoyne, was the proclamation which he published full of bombast threatenings of cruelty and daughter. It was this made all the coun. try arm at once in their own defence, when they heard their fate determined in such a peremptory manner. Had this general contrived a scheme for his own ruin, he could not have done it more effectually than by thus warning the people what he intended to do. It was this proclamation that rouzed the colonifts and made them all run to arms to defend their own lives and those of their families, from the hands of favage Indians and more savage Europeans. The murder of Mrs M-Rae, though it was not immediate

ly

[ocr errors]

ly krown, became like a millstone about the neck of the British affairs in that quarter ever since ; it both produced a damp upon the minds of the authors of the murther, and kindled the keenest fire of resentment in the breasts of all the colonists. They now law their fate, and endeavoured all that was in their power to prevent it; every man now became a soldier ready to revenge the blood of his friends upon their murderers. General Burgoyne had not merely an army to combat, but a country of armed men, and could not move a foot but where he was sure to meet an enemy, from the boy of fixteen to the grey hairs of fixty

The detachments which he sent were also badly arranged, and proper methods of communication were not observed, nor the way secured for a retreat, in case of a defeat ; he trusted to the valour and disci; pline of his troops, which ihough exceedingly good, could not perform impossibilities, as he found in expe; rience. He soon began to find that even the valour of his men was despised, and that they were assaulted and defeated, by men they had mocked, ridiculed, and laughed at. He was truly an object of pity on account of liis distress, but on account of his folly an object of laughter.

To conclude the history of this year, it may be ne, ceffary to give the Reader an extract of the letters which paísed between General Burgoyne and Genera! Gates, before the convention at Saratoga, as also the articles of convention themselves. Lord Howe wrote from on board the Eagle, June 20, 1776 in this manner. I cannot, my worthy friend, permit the letters and parcels which I have sent you, to be carried, without adding a word upon the subject of the injurious extre

mities,

[ocr errors]

mities, in which our unhappy disputes have engaged us. You will learn the nature of my mission from the official dispatches which I have recommended to be forwarded by the same conveyance. Retaining all the earnestness I ever expressed to see our differences accommodated, I shall conceive if I meet with the dirposition of the colonies, which I was once taught to expect, the moft Aattering hopes of proving serviceable in the objects of the king's paternal solicitude, by promoting the establishment of lasting 'peace and union with the colonies. But if the deep rooted prejudices of America, and the neceflity of preventing her trade from passing into foreign channels, must keep us still a divided people, I shall from every private as well as public motive most heartily lament, that it is not the moment wherein those great objects of my ambition are to be acrained ; and that I am to be longer de

prived of an opportunity to assure you personally of the regard with which I am your fincere and faithful feryant,

HOW E. · P. $. Į was disappointed of the opportunity Texpected for sending this letter at the time it was dated, and have ever since been prevented by calms and contrary winds, from getting here to inform Gen. Howe of the commision with which I have the fatisfaction to be charged, and of his being joined in it. Off Sandy Hook, July 12, To Benjamin Franklin, Esq; Philadelphia.

Upon the thirteenth of July an answer to this letter was sent by Dr. Franklin to Lord Viscount Howe in which there are several remarks which had they been attended to, might have prevented the shedding of much innocent blood. The tenor of the letter follows:

I received

[ocr errors]

I received fafe, the letters, your lordship so kindly forwarded to me, and beg you to accept my thanks. The official dispatches to which you refer me, contain nothing more, than what we had seen in the act of parliament, viz. offering pardon upon submiffion, which I was sorry to find, as it must give your lordship pain, to be sent so far upon so hopetefs a butinefs. Directing pardon to the colonists, who are the very parties injured, expreffes indeed, that opinion of our ignorance, baseness, and insensibility, which your un. informed and proud nation has long been pleased to entertain of us; but it can have no other effect than that of encreasing our resentment. It is impossible that we should think of submission to a government, that has with the most wanton barbarity and cruelty burnt our defenceless towns ip the midst of winter ; ex. cited the favages to mafsacré peaceful farmers, and our slaves to murder their masters; and is even now bringing foreign mereenaries todeluge our settlements with blood. These artrocious injuries have extinguished every spark of affection for that parent countrywe once held so dear; but were it possible for us to forget them it is not poffible for you, I mean the Brie tish nation, to forgive the people you have so heavily injured; you can never confide again in thefe as fellow subjects, and permit them to enjoy equal freedom to whom you know you have given such just causes of lasting enmity : and this must impel you, if we are again under your government, to endeavour the breaking of our fpirits by the severelt lyranny, and observing by every means in your power, our growing frength and prosperity. But your lordship mentions the king's paternal folicitude for promoting the establishment of lasting peace and union with the colo.

nies. If by peace is here meant, a peace to be entered into by difting states, now at war, and his majelty has given your lord/hip power to treat with us : of such peace, I may venture to say, though without authority, that I think a treaty for that purpose not quite impracticable, before we enter into foreign alliances; but I am persuaded you have no such powers. Your nation, though (by puzishing those American governors who have fomented the discord, rebuilding our burnt towns, and repairing as far as possible the mischiefs done us) she might recover a great share of our regard, and the greatest share of our growing commerce, with all the advantages of that additional strength to be derived from a friend, ship with us; yet I know too well her abounding pride, and deficient wisdom, to believe she will ever take such falutary measures. Her fondness for conquest as a warlike nation, her lust of dominion as an ambitious one, and her thirst for a gainful monopoly as a commercial one ( none of them legitimate causes of war) will all join to hide from her eyes every view of her true interest, and will continually goad her on in these ruinous distant expeditions, so destructive, both of lives and of treasure, that they must prove as destructive to her in the end, as the Croisades formerly were to most of the nations in Europe. I have not the vanity, my lord, to think of intimidating, by thus predicting the effects of this war; for I know it will in England, have the fate of all former predictions, not to be believed till the event shall verify it.

Long did I endeavour, with unfeigned and unwea. ried zeal, to preserve from breaking, that fine and noble china vase the British empire ; for I know, Z z

that

« PreviousContinue »