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From the attack they experienced in their retreat, it plainly appears that General Washington had his troops in readiness, and was designed to have attacked them in the city of Philadelphia, or to have given them battle provided they had come to the field. I'rom the apprehension of the uncertain consequences 'of such an attack, as now all hope of fupply from England was lost, they thought it must convenient to retreat to New York, where the fleet could more conveniently aflift, or relieve them in case of any difafter. It was exceedingly unfavourable to the Commillioners, that the army was obliged to make such a precipitate flight, at the very time they were offering their conciliatory proposals; and it was not probable that even the wavering part of the people would give much attention to the addresses of Commissioners with a fying army at their heels. From the very begin ning of the war our commanders seem to have had their chicf dependance upon the fleet: for without the aid and assistance thereof they never performed any a tion worthy of any particular con Gderation.
The evacuation of Philadelphia was as unexpected as it was alarming to the friends of government, and their advocates were greatly at a loss to account for a measure, the reasons of which appeared totally mysterious to them. They were almost alhamed to con. fess the fact itself, and for some time remained in sufo pense concerning the authenticity of the accounts which informed them of the event. The distress of the American army during the winter, had been de. fcribed in such strong terms, and their inability to make any longer an opposition to the King's forces, that the retreat from Philadelphia appeared fo ænigmatical, that they could not tell how to account forit. It was given out that Sir Henry Clinton intended
some home stroke, by which he would put an end to the war, and bring the colonists to absolute fubmif. fion; for as the particulars of the retreat, andthe fabsequent losses, were for a time concealed, it was always hoped that General Clinton had some great object in view, when he evacuated a city of so much importance for its situation to the British forces.--What he was about to do, and the marvelous effects of his proceedings, were published with as much confidence as if they had already been accomplished; and those who were no friends to General Howe; were at this time more extravagant in their predictions concerning the success of Sir Henry Clinton. Whether they really believed what they affirmed is much to be doubted; it rather appeared that their expression of their hopes concerning the success of General Clinton were intended as accusations against General Sir William Howe, for not having fulfilled their expectations in reducing the Americans. It was not long iill the character of this officer was feverely attacked from all quarters in ministerial news-papers, and pamphlets, and his fervices depreciated with much rancour and abufe. This was principally intended as a defence of the ministry, especially of that state officer who held the American department; the advo. cates for the court, could now devise no other me. thod of defending their measures, than by reproaching General Howe for partiality and inactivity in difcharging the office of general. This reproach came with an ill grace from those who had but a little time before extolled Sir William Howe, both for caution, courage, and the management of the var. The truth of the matter was, that all the officers that were fent to Amerisa during this war had found in experience,
that it was different from what the ministry had re. presented it, and that all the parts of the plan for carrying it on were founded in error and mistake; that it was a plan totally disjointed and uncemented in all its principles and parts, and could be executed by no officer with any certainty of success. It was this made all the general officers desire to be recalled one after another as soon as polible, and to quit a scene of action where there was nothing to be expected except disgrace and disappointment. Sir William Howe be. came now the chief object of court resentment, and all the ministerial fcribblers were set loose upon hin, who did not spare to give him a liberal share of abuse. While the disputants at home were vigorously supporting treir different opinions concerning the success and issue of the war, the actors on the principal flage were more warmly engaged, in the hottest and warmest season of the year, in acting their parts with various fuccefs.
Upon the 18th day of June the British army evacu. ated Philadelphia to the surprize of all Europe. It had been given out with the greatest confidence that this city, as being most centrical, was to be held as a place of arms and resource, for carrying on the war in both the northern and southern colonies; and it was generally supposed that the Americans were not able to drive the British forces out of it, nor were they able to face our troops in the open field. The news of this sudden retreat and evacuation, greatly puzzled all the ininilterial connoisseurs in politics, and they were greatly embarrailed to allign proper reafons for such a hasty and precipitate meafure. Philadelplia liad been considered as a great object only twelve months before, and it was then confidently, affirmed that the reduction of that city would deter