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ble orator, 'I rejoice that the grave has not closed upon me, and that I am still alive to lift up my voice against the dismemberment of this ancient and most noble monarchy.' He then proceeded, in the most energetic terms, to urge his auditors to the most vigorous efforts against their new enemy, the House of Bourbon; and concluded by calling upon them, if they must fall, to fall like men. The Duke of Richmond having replied to this speech, Lord Chatham attempted to rise for the purpose of rebutting his grace's arguments, and of proposing his own plan for putting an end to the contest with America, which is understood to have been the establishment with the colonies, upon the most liberal terms, of a kind of federal union under one common monarch. But the powers of nature within him were exhausted; he fainted under the effort which he made to give utterance to his sentiments, and being conveyed to his favorite seat of Haynes, in Kent, he expired on the 11th of May. This firmness on the part of congress augured ill for the success of the British commissioners, Lord Carlisle, Mr. Eden, and Governor Johnstone, who arrived at New York on the 9th of June, and without loss of time attempted to open a negotiation with the congress. Their overtures were officially answered by President Laurens in a letter, by which he apprised them that the American government were determined to maintain their independence; but were willing to treat for peace with his Britannic Majesty on condition of his withdrawing his fleets and armies from their country. Thus foiled in their attempt at public negotiation, the commissioners had re
What did he then urge?
course to private intrigue. Governor Johnstone, from his long residence in America, was personally acquainted with many of the leading members of congress, to some of whom he addressed letters; vaguely intimating the great rewards and honors which awaited those who would lend their aid in putting an end to the present troubles; and in one instance, he privately offered to an individual, for his services on this behalf, the sum of £10,000 sterling, and any place in the colonies in his Majesty's gift. These clandestine overtures of the governor were uniformly rejected with contempt, and the congress having been apprised of them, declared them direct attempts at corruption; and resolved that it was incompatible with their honor to hold any correspondence or intercourse with him. This resolution, which was adhered to, notwithstanding the explanations and denials of Johnstone, and the disavowal of his proceedings by his brother commissioners, drew forth from these pacificators an angry manifesto, in which they virtually threatened the Union with a war of devastation, declaring that “if the British colonies were to become an accession to France, the laws of self-preservation would direct Great Britain to render the accession of as little avail as possible to the enemy. Whilst congress gave notice that the bearers of the copies of this manifesto were not entitled to the protection of a flag, they showed how little they dreaded the impression which it might make, by giving it an extensive circulation in their newspapers.
What did Gov. Johnstone attempt?
ARRIVAL OF THE FRENCH FLEET.
General Howe spent the spring of the year 1778 nearly in a state of inaction, confining his operations to the sending out of foraging and predatory parties, which did some mischief to the country, but little service to the royal cause. From this lethargy he was roused by the receipt of orders from the British ministry, to evacuate Philadelphia without delay. These orders were sent under the apprehension, that if a French fleet should block up his squadron in the Delaware, whilst Washington inclosed him on the land side, he would share the fate of Burgoyne. On the 18th of June, therefore, he quitted the Pennsylvanian capital, and crossed into New Jersey, whither he was speedily followed by Washington, who, keeping a strict watch on his movements, had taken measures to harass him on his march, which was encumbered with baggage. The American commander, on his arrival at Princeton, hearing that General Clinton, with a large division of the British forces, had quitted the direct road to Staten Island, the place of rendezvous appointed for General Howe's army, and was marching for Sandy Hook, sent a detachment in pursuit of him, and followed with his whole army to support it; and as Clinton made preparations to meet the meditated attack, he sent forward reinforcements to keep the British in check. These reinforcements were commanded by General Lee, whom Washington, on his advancing in person, met in full retreat. After a short and
How did Gen. Howe spend the spring of 1778?
angry parley, Lee again advanced, and was driven back; but Clinton's forces next encountering the main body of the American army, were repulsed in their turn, and taking advantage of the night, the approach of which in all probability, saved them from utter discomfiture, they withdrew to Sandy Hook, leaving behind them such of their wounded as could not with safety be removed. For his conduct on this occasion, Lee was brought to a court-martial, and sentenced to be suspended from any command in the armies of the United States for the term of one year. After this engagement Washington marched to White Plains, which are situated a few miles to the north-eastward of New York Island. Here he continued unmolested by the neighboring enemy, from the beginning of July, till the latter end of autumn, when he retired to take up his winter-quarters in huts which he had caused to be constructed at Middlebrook, in Jersey.
According to the prognostic of the British ministry, the Count d'Estaing, with a fleet of twelve ships of the line and three frigates, arrived off the mouth of the Delaware in the month of July; but found to his mortification, that eleven days before that period Lord Howe had withdrawn from that river to the harbor of New York. D’Estaing immediately sailed for Sandy Hook; but after continuing at anchor there eleven days, during which time he captured about twenty English merchantmen, finding that he could not work his line-of-battle ships over the bar, by the advice of General Washington he sailed for Newport, with a view
For what was Gen. Lee suspended?
of co-operating with the Americans in driving the British from Rhode Island, of which province they had been in possession for upwards of a year and a half. This project, however, completely failed. Lord Howe appearing with his fleet off Newport, the French admiral came out of the harbor to give him battle; but, before the hostile armaments could encounter, a violent storm arose, which damaged both fleets so much, that the British were compelled to return to New York, whilst D'Estaing withdrew to refit in Boston harbor. His retirement subjected the American army, which had entered Rhode Island, under General Sullivan, to great peril; but by the skill of its commander, it was withdrawn from the province with little loss. Towards the latter end of this year the British arms were signally successful in Georgia, the capital of which province was taken by Lieutenant-Colonel Campbell, who conducted himself with such prudence, and manifested so conciliatory a spirit, that he made no small advances in reconciling the Georgians to their ancient government.
The arrival of the French fleet had filled the Americans with sanguine expectations that they should now be able to put an end to the war by some decisive stroke; and in proportion to the elevation of their hopes was the bitterness of their mortification, that the only result of the co-operation of their ally was the recovery of Philadelphia. On the other hand, the British ministry were grievously disappointed on learning that the issue of this campaign, as far as regarded their main army, was the exchange by General Howe of his narrow quarters in the Pennsylvanian capital for the not much more extended ones of New York Island. Hitherto they seem to have carried on the war under the
What prevented a naval engagement?