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they had reason to expect from their rank, and the terms of capitulation ? The authors already mention. ed are obliged to acknowledge, that the British commanders had made a requisition of some deviation from the terms of convention, which they say was rather unlucky in point of time. They had requested the embarkation of the convention troops, either at the found, near New York, or at Rhode Ifland, instead of Boston, which was the place appointed for their departure. And in consequence of the hope entertained that this proposal would have been complied with, the transports for the conveyance were afsembled at Rhode Illand. The congress refused to comply with this requisition, alledging that it afforded grounds of suspicion, ahat the measure was propofed merely to afford an opportunity to the convention troops, to join their fellows with an intention of mak, jng some pretence for evading or 'breaking the terms of capitulation, and continuing to act in Ainerica to the great detriment of the common cause. What confirmed this faspicion, they faid, was, that the 26 transports which were provided at Rhode Ifland were insufficient for the conveyance of 5 or 6000 men in a winter voyage to Europe: and that in the present state of things, with respect to provisions both in the Bri: till fleet and army, it was scarcely possible that they could have been victualled for so long a voyage and so great a number of men in so fhort a time. When all these things are considered it will not appear so plain that the Americans transgressed the articles of convention, but that if there was any infringement of them, that it was on the part of Great Britain and her officers. But what confirms the matter, that the colonists did not break the convention, is, what Gene. tal Burgoyne declared in the House of Commons,
namely, that the convention was not broken, but fuf.: pended, which was owing to our own government not ratifying the agreement. It appears now perfectly clear from what that General hath himself acknow, ledged, that the Americans have had good reasons for what they have done ; and all that the hirelings ofthecourt have faid is no more than that common lander which they threw forth against all whom they do not consider in their interest.
The colonists on their part accuse our armies of the greatest barbarities and cruelty, which they executed upon inoffensive women, old men, and children, unprovoked, and for no reason, unless to fatisfy an innate principle of wanton favagenels, equal to that of their brethren of the Indian tribes. Ir were to be wished. that the British troops had behaved with more humanity, both for the sake of their own character and that of the nation they belonged to; but when the caufes and first principles of the war are considered, the execution and effects of it could not be well expected to be otherwise than they have happened. The Americans were first painted in all the ugly and detestible colours of difaffection and rebellion, and represented as a people of the most abominable and factious princi ples ; unworthy of favour, fair play, or even existence. Men in a military profeslion are not in gene. ral over nice in examining the truth of government defcriptions ; they are its fervants, and reckon them., felves obliged to obey the mandates thereof implicitly. The several acts of severity which they commit, they generally impute to their orders, and confider the a&tions and the guilt which attends them, the proper ty of their employers. Slaughter to them appears in the same light with their other military exercises, a ne
cessary effect of superior command, for which the first authority is only accountable. The burniig of Æfo. pus, and killing so many unarmed people, though it may appear to those who view objects in a moral light as shockingly cruel, in the first instance, yet to soldiers it appears no more than an accident of war, with which no man's conscience was concerned.
It is somewhat surprising, that the humanity with which General Gates treated General Burgoyne and his army, should not have had some effect upon the fu. ture conduct of our army, and made them more mer ciful to people who had shewn so much clemency to their brethren. Yet all this favour and politeness thewn by the colonists was repaid by fresh and repeated acts of military barbarity. Such is the caprice of erroneous principles when once they are assumed, that they dispose men to reason preposterously and to draw conclusions that cannot be justly ipferred from any data given in reason or human nature.
It was ar gued in defence of British cruelty that the objects thereof were rebels, and that no cruelty to such was pnjuft; that it came not under the rotion of cruelty, but justice, which was absolutely necessary to support the honours of the laws and the goveroment. That the mercy fhewn by the Americans proceeded from a consciousness of their error and guilt, or from an hy. pocritical policy to throw a reproach upon our army, by, unprincipled acts of clemency.---This method of reasoning proceeded upon taking for granted a point which is yet exceedingly doubtful; namely that the grounds of the war on the part of Britain were sufficiently clear and juft; and that the principles of rebel, lion on the side of the colonists were abundantly plain from our laws and constitution.-------- There are points
which ought to have been self-evident before the war had been begun ; and beyond al suspicion before it had been carried on with so much severity and blooddhed.
Whatever might be the opinions of the ministry, the nation in general were of a different opinion ; the people were shocked at the reports of such unprovoked acts of barbarity, and spoke with great freedom concerning the authors of the war. --The common people in general, by following nature more closely than those in high life, judge with more impartiality concerning right and wrong ; their minds are not warped by the prejudices of party, nor entangled in the toils of court fophiftry and intrigue.Vox populi vox Dei, is a more universal rule than a great many people will allow it be ; the people, unless when very powerful means are used to corrupt them, seldom judge wrong concerning public affairs ; and though by courtiers and ministerial demagogues, they are accounted the scum of the earth, yet they are rather the salt thereof, from whence the favour of truth flows, and is difcerned among them when it is to be perceived no where else.
As the congress were inexorable with regard to all the solicitations and remonstrances of General Burgoyne and the British officers, and their meafures appeared now to be settled points with them. It was alledged, that their resolution, which suspended the ratification of the convention of Saratoga, proceeded from the expe&tation of the ratification of a treaty between them and France ; and that they only made the Don-ratification of the convention by Great Britain a pretence for their not fulfilling their part of the agreement. All this is exceedingly problematical. Tho
these circumstances might each of them have their pas. ticular influence, yet they had warrantable groups to fuspend the convention. It was necessary that the quarters of the convention troops should be discharged by the government of Great Britain, which as yet had taken no fteps for that purpose, nor given any security for defraying the expences which the troops had incurred during their stay at Bofton. There is no doubt but as they had reasonable caufes for suspending the convention, that they had also other political reasons for making use of these causes. They were closely pressed by a part of the King's forces, at that time in actual possession of the most considerable of their cities, for greatness, wealth, and commanding ftuation, they considered that suffering those convena tion troops to be sent to Europe from whence they might be cafily replaced, would turn the scales of war against them, and therefore as they had sufficiene proofs of the troops having in some instances tranfgref: ted the convention, though they might have in other cases overlooked such a transgression : yet as their own safety depended much upon the opportunity they now had of taking the advantage thereof, they reckoned themfelves sufficiently jullified in what they did. It is not in any degree doubtful that our ministry, notwithstanding all their complaints of infidelity on the part of the colonists, would have taken the same ad vantage of circumstances of the same nature.
It does not however appear that the Americans were influenced by any certainty of the treaty with France, when they passed their resolution fufpending the ratification of the convention, for the resolution was passed on the 8th of January, and the ratification of the treaty did not arrive in America till the 2d of