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by two motives: they wished at once to secure the junction of the inhabitants of that province to their union, and to protect their own northern frontier from invasion. But the Canadians were little prepared for the assertion of the principle of freedom; and the rapacity of the unprincipled Arnold, and the misconduct of his troops, had alienated their affections from the common cause. Congress, however, by extraordinary exertions, sent to the camp before Quebec reinforcements, which, by the 1st of May, increased Arnold's army to the number of 3000 men. But his forces were unfortunately weakened by the ravages of the smallpox; and reinforcements from England having begun to arrive at Quebec, he determined upon a retreat. In this retrograde movement the American army had to encounter difficulties which to ordinary minds would have seemed insurmountable. On their march through almost impracticable roads, they were closely followed, and frequently brought to action, by an enemy superior in number. In an ill-advised attack on Trois Rivieres they sustained considerable loss, and their forces were for a time separated, and almost dispersed. But, notwithstanding these disasters, General Sullivan, who conducted the retreat, contrived to save his baggage, stores, and sick, and led back a respectable remnant of his army to Crown Point, where he resolved to make a stand. Being well aware of the necessity of guarding this quarter of their frontier against the incursions of the British, the Congress sent thither an army of 12,000 men, under the command of General Gates, who cast up strong works at Ticonderoga, and endeavored to retain the command of Lake Champlain by means of a flo
What object had congress in sending an army into Canada?
tilla, which was built and equipped with a rapidity hitherto unheard of. General Carleton, however, was not behindhand with him in activity. He speedily fitted out a superior armament, by means of which he took or destroyed almost the whole of the American vessels. Having thus made himself master of the lake, he advanced to the vicinity of Ticonderoga; but finding that port too strongly fortified, and too well garrisoned to be taken by assault, he returned to Quebec. Valor and military skill were not the highest characteristics of Sir Guy Carleton. The kindness which he manifested to his prisoners, and especially to the sick and wounded of the Americans who fell into his hands, entitle him to the superior praise of humanity.
DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE, 4TH OF JULY, 1776.
When the British ministry took the resolution to coerce the discontented colonies by force of arms, they were little aware of the difficulty of their undertaking; and, consequently, the means which they adopted for the execution of their designs were by no means commensurate with the object which they had in view. But when they met the parliament in October, 1775, they were obliged to confess that the spirit of resistance to royal authority was widely diffused throughout the North America provinces, that rebellion had assumed a bold front, and had been alarmingly successful. To supply them with the means of suppressing it, parliament readily voted the raising and equipment of 28,000 seamen, and 55,000 land forces. The bill which
What did Gen. Carleton do?
provided for this powerful armament also authorized his majesty to appoint commissioners, who were to be empowered to grant pardons to individuals, to inquire into and redress grievances, and to receive any colonies, upon their return to obedience, into the king's peace.
When the colonists were apprised of the bill having been passed into a law, they treated the offer of pardon with contempt, and contemplated with anger, but not with dismay, the formidable preparations announced by its provisions. - Their irritation was excited to the highest pitch when they were informed that Lord North had engaged 16,000 German mercenaries to assist in their subjugation. Nor did this measure escape severe animadversion in the British Parliament. It was warmly censured by many members of the opposition, especially by Mr. Adair and Mr. Dunning, who maintained that, in engaging the services of foreign mercenaries without the previous consent of parliament, ministers had violated the provision of the Bill of Rights, and that by this infringement of the Constitution they had set a precedent which might be made available by some future arbitrary monarch to the destruction of the liberties of the country.
The command of the British forces was given to General Howe, who, in arranging the plan of the campaign, determined, first, after driving the enemy from Canada, to invade their country by the north-western frontier. 2dly, to subdue the southern colonies; and, 3dly, to strike at the center of the Union by conquering the province of New York, from which, by means of the Hudson river, he should be able to co-operate with the royal army in Can
How did the colonists treat the offer?
ada. The latter province having been already rescued from the invaders by Sir Guy Carleton, General Howe committed the execution of the second part of his plan to General Clinton and Sır Peter Parker, who having effected a junction at Cape Fear, resolved to make an attack upon Charleston. They accordingly sailed up Ashley river, on which that place is situated; but they encountered so determined an opposition from a fort hastily erected on Sullivan's Island, and commanded by Colonel Moultrie, that, after sustaining considerable loss of men, and much damage to their shipping, they gave up their enterprise and sailed to New York. The result of this attempt was highly favorable to the Americans, as it consoled them for their losses in the north, inspired them with new confidence, and, for the ensuing two years and a half, preserved the southern colonies from the presence of a hostile force.
The command of the principal British fleet, destined to co-operate with General Howe, had been bestowed upon his brother Sir William, who, when his equipment was finished, sailed directly for Halifax. On his arrival at that place, he found that the general, impatient of his delay, had proceeded on his voyage towards New York, whither he immediately followed him, and joined him at Staten Island. On this junction of the two brothers, their forces were found to amount to 30,000 men; and never, perhaps, was an army better equipped, or more amply provided with artillery, stores, and every requisite for the carrying on of vigorous and active hostilities. Far different was the
Who had charge of the second part of the arrangement?
condition of the American commander-in-chief. His troops, enlisted for short periods, had acquired little discipline. They were scantily clothed and imperfectly armed. They were frequently in want of ammunition; and they were ill-supplied with provisions. Disaffection to the cause of their country was also manifested by some of the inhabitants of New York, who, at the instigation of Governor Tryon, had entered into a conspiracy to aid the king's troops on their expected arrival. In this plot, even some of the army had been engaged; and a soldier of the commander-in-chief's own guard had, by the unanimous sentence of a court martial, been sentenced to die for enrolling himself among the conspirators, and enlisting others in the same traitorous cause. In these circumstances Washington could not but regard the approaching contest with serious uneasiness; but he, as usual, concealed his uneasiness within his own bosom, and determined to fight to the last in the cause of his country. His firmness was participated by the congress, who, whilst the storm seemed to be gathering thick over their heads, be held it with eyes undismayed, and now proceeded with a daring hand to strike the decisive stroke which forever separated thirteen flourishing colonies from their dependence on the British crown. It is possible, nay, it is probable, that from the beginning of the disputes with the mother country, there may have been some few speculators among the American politicians, who entertained some vague notions and some uncertain hopes of independence. In every age, and in every country, there are individuals whose mental view extends to a wider circle than that of the community at large, and unhappy is
Describe the American army.