The debt of England caused by the French and Indian War of 140,000,000 Pounds sterling is equivalent to about 19,000,000,000 Pounds in 2006.
[1492-1495] indicate the following text covers this period, until the next such appearance.
This is a list or unfamiliar (to me) words.
abatis Defensive obstacle made by laying felled trees on top of each other with branches, sometimes sharpened, facing the enemy.
appanage Land or other source of revenue for the maintenance of a member of the family of a ruling house. Whatever belongs rightfully to one's rank or station in life. Natural or necessary accompaniment; adjunct. From the Latin "panis"—bread or "apanar"—to nourish.
Aristides Athenian statesman and general who fought at Marathon and Salamis. A central figure in the confederation known as the Delian League.
encomia Formal expression of praise; eulogy; tribute.
entails To limit the inheritance of property to a specified succession of heirs.
exigency Requiring much effort or immediate action; urgent; pressing.
finical Exacting about details; finicky; fussy; very particular.
indite Compose or write.
lief Gladly; willingly.
mooted Hypothetical case argued by law students as an exercise. An ancient English meeting of the freemen of a shire. To discuss or debate.
recreant Cowardly, craven, unfaithful, disloyal, traitorous, apostate, renegade.
subaltern Lower in position or rank. British military rank below captain.
primogeniture System of inheritance by the eldest son.
whilom Former; erstwhile; at one time.
[End Transcriber's Notes]
After a painting by Gilbert Stuart. (The Gibbs Portrait.)
HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES FROM THE EARLIEST DISCOVERY OF AMERICA TO THE PRESENT TIME
E. BENJAMIN ANDREWS CHANCELLOR OF THE UNIVERSITY OF NEBRASKA FORMERLY PRESIDENT OF BROWN UNIVERSITY
With 650 Illustrations and Maps
NEW YORK CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS 1912
COPYRIGHT, 1894, BY CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS
REVOLUTION AND THE OLD CONFEDERATION 1763—1789
CHAPTER 1. RESULTS OF THE FRENCH AND INDIAN WAR
How Important. Vergennes's Prophecy. England in Debt. Tempted to Tax Colonies. Colonies Strengthened. Military Experience Gained. Leaders Trained. Fighting Power Revealed. Best of All, Union. How Developed. Nothing but War could have done This. Scattered Condition of Population then. Difficulties of Communication. Other Centrifugal Influences. France no longer a Menace to the Colonies. But a Natural Friend and Ally. Increase of Territory at the Colonies' Disposal.
CHAPTER II. GEORGE III. AND HIS AMERICAN COLONIES
Character of the Young King. Policy. Advisers. Indefinite Causes Separating Colonies from England. England Blind to These. Ignorant of the Colonies. Stricter Enforcement of Navigation Laws. Writs of Assistance. James Otis. Stamp Act. Opposition. Vigorous and Widespread Retaliation by Non-importation. England Recedes. Her Side of the Question. Lord Mansfield's Argument. Pitt's. Constitutional and Historical Considerations not Sufficient. George III.'s Case Better Legally than Practically. Natural Rights. Townshend's Duties. Massachusetts's Opposition. Samuel Adams. Committees of Correspondence. The Billeting Act. Boston Massacre. Statement of Grievances. The Tea. Coercion Resolved upon. First Continental Congress. Drifting into War.
CHAPTER III. INDEPENDENCE AND THE NEW STATES
Slow Growth of Desire for Independence. Why. Early Schemes of Union. New York Convention of 1690. Albany Convention of 1754. Franklin's Plan for a Confederation of Colonies. Even in 1774 no Hint of Independence. Hardly in 1775. Swift Change at Last. All the Colonies Turn to the New Idea. Causes. Dickinson and Harrison. The King's Barbarity. The Gaspe Affair. Capture of Fort William and Mary. Paine's "Common Sense." Declaration of Independence Mooted. Debated. Drafted. Passed and Signed. Jefferson. How far he Followed Earlier Utterances. Effect of the Declaration. Anarchy in the Colonies. New State Governments. New Constitutions. Their Provisions. Changes from the Old Order. General Character of the Documents.
CHAPTER IV. OUTBREAK OF WAR; WASHINGTON'S MOVEMENTS
General Gage in Boston. Lexington. Concord. The Retreat. Siege of Boston. Bunker Hill. Warren's Fall. Losses of the two Sides. Washington Commander-in-Chief. His Character. Difficulties. Bad Military System. Gage Evacuates Boston. Moultrie's Defence of Charleston Harbor. New York the Centre of Hostilities. Long Island Given up. New York City also. Forts Washington and Lee Captured. Retreat across New Jersey. Splendid Stroke at Trenton. Princeton. Brandywine and Germantown. The Winter at Valley Forge. Hardships. Steuben's Arrival and Drill. Battle of Monmouth.
CHAPTER V. THE NORTHERN CAMPAIGN
On to Canada. Ethan Allen takes "Old Ti." Montgomery's Advance. Benedict Arnold's. They attack Quebec. Montgomery Falls. Morgan in the Lower Town. The Siege Raised. Retreat. Burgoyne's Advance. The British Plan. Ticonderoga again in British Hands. On to Fort Edward. St. Leger's Expedition. Battle of Oriskany. St. Leger Driven Back. Baume's Expedition. Battle of Bennington. Stark. Burgoyne in a Cul-de-sac. Gates Succeeds Schuyler. First Battle of Bemis's Heights or Stillwater. Burgoyne's Position Critical. No Tidings from Clinton. Second Battle. Arnold the Hero. The Briton Retreats. Capitulates. Little Thanks to Gates, Importance of Burgoyne's Surrender.
CHAPTER VI. THE SOUTHERN CAMPAIGNS
Massacres of Wyoming and Cherry Valley. Battle of Rhode Island. Raids. Wayne takes Stony Point. Paul Jones and his Naval Victory. The War in the South. Lincoln Surrenders. All South Carolina Gone. Clinton's Severity. Bravely withstood by Southern Leaders and People. Washington Sends Aid. Gates and De Kalb. Battle of Camden. Exit Gates. De Kalb's Valor and Death. Arnold's Treason. The South Prostrate. Colonial Victory of King's Mountain. General Greene to the South. His History. His Plan. Morgan Beats Carleton at Cowpens. Cornwallis Sweeps Northward. Greene's Skilful Retreat. Battle of Guilford Court-House. Cornwallis to Virginia. The Carolinas and Georgia Recovered. Washington to Yorktown. French Aid. Cornwallis Surrenders. Effects.
CHAPTER VII. PEACE
Peace Sentiment in England. Reasons. Ill Conduct of the War. Expense. Vain Concession. France Aids America. Spain too. Lord North Wavers. Holland Joins the Colonies. Cornwallis's Surrender. Franklin in France. Influence and Skill. Joy. Negotiations for a Treaty of Peace. The Treaty Signed. Its Provisions. Peace a Benediction. Cessation of Hostilities. Redcoats Depart. New York Evacuated. Washington's Adieu to the Army. Resigns his Commission. Revisits Mount Vernon.
CHAPTER VIII. AMERICAN MANHOOD IN THE REVOLUTION
Character of Revolutionary Soldiers. Causes. Physical Basis and Previous Training. Bunker Hill. Moultrie. Marylanders at Long Island. At Monmouth. Nathan Hale. Andre. Paul Jones and his Exploit. Ethan Allen. Prescott. "Old Put." Richard Montgomery. General Greene. Stark. Dan Morgan. Other Generals. Colonel Washington. De Kalb. Robert Morris, Financier. Franklin, Diplomatist. Washington. Military Ability. Mental and Moral Characteristics. Honesty. Modesty. Encomia upon Him.
CHAPTER IX. THE OLD CONFEDERATION
The Revolutionary Congress. The Articles of Confederation. Synopsis. Congress. Its Powers. Advantages of the Confederation. Critical State of Affairs after the War. State Sovereignty. Antagonized by Existence of the Articles. Faults of the Confederation. No Power over Individuals. Treaties. Taxation. War Debt. Mutinous Spirit in Army. Washington's Steadfastness. Congress Menaced. Discord of Commercial Laws. England's Hostile Attitude. Needed Amendments to the Articles. Lack of a Central Power. Northwest Territory. Ordinance of 1787. Its Excellence. The Ohio Company. Settlement at Marietta.
CHAPTER X. RISE OF THE NEW CONSTITUTION
Anarchy after the Revolution. Shays' Rebellion. Washington's Influence. Continental Sects. Hamilton's Motion for a Stronger Government. Massachusetts's Motion. Forwardness of Virginia. Of Madison. Origin of Annapolis Convention, 1786. Its Action. Meeting of the Constitutional Convention, 1787. The Virginia Plan. New Jersey Plan. Growth of the Constitution. Personnel of the Convention. Its Distinguished Men. Subsequent Careers of Many. Rutledge. Rufus King. Completion of the Constitution. Ratification. Struggle in Massachusetts. In Virginia. In New York. In North Carolina. In Rhode Island. "More Perfect Union" at Last.
THE UNITED STATES UNDER THE CONSTITUTION
THE UNITED STATES AND THE FRENCH REVOLUTION
CHAPTER I. THE NEW GOVERNMENT
Launching the Constitution. Washington's First Inauguration. Distribution of our Population in 1790. In the States. Cities. New York City. Difference between the Old Government and the New. Status of the State. Benefits of the New Order. Popularity of the Constitution. Thoroughness of First Congress. Origin of Post-office Department. Treasury. Revenue and Monetary System. Judiciary. Secretary of War. Leaders in First Congress.
CHAPTER II. FEDERALISM AND ANTI—FEDERALISM
Origin and Development of the Two Terms. Policy of Federalism. Federalists Aristocratic. Two Stripes of Federalists. Policy of the Anti-federalists. Close and Liberal Constructionists. Argument of the Federalists on Article 1., Section 8. Reply of Anti-federalists. Historical Facts in Support of the Latter.
CHAPTER III. DOMESTIC QUESTIONS OF WASHINGTON'S ADMINISTRATIONS
I. TARIFF: Restrictive Policy after the Revolution. Object of its Advocates to Strengthen the Central Government. Retaliatory Spirit against England. Desire for Independence as to Military Supplies.
II. FUNDING THE DEBT: Debt at Close of Revolution. Congress Liquidates the Domestic Federal Debt. Assumes State Debts. Debate on This. Secured by a "Deal." Scheme for Payment.
III. THE EXCISE; Excise on Spirits. Opposition in Pennsylvania. Result.
IV. THE BANK: Chartered by Congress. Hostility. Jefferson's Argument. Hamilton's. Good Influence of the Bank.
CHAPTER IV. RELATIONS WITH ENGLAND
Revolution in France. Washington's Proclamation of Neutrality. Jefferson's Criticism. Rives's. Arguments for Aiding France. Results of Neutrality. Federalist Leaning toward Great Britain. Attitude of Great Britain. Impressment of our Seamen. War Imminent. Jay's Treaty. Fisher Ames Urges Ratification.
CHAPTER V. RELATIONS WITH THE FRENCH REPUBLIC
Federalists Condemn, Republicans Favor, the French Revolution. Causes of its Popularity. Justification of the Administration's Policy. France Violates the Treaty. Genet's High-handed Action. His Insolence and Final Removal. Effect of Jay's Treaty upon France. Further Overtures to France. Result. Anti-federalists Confounded. War Feeling in this Country. Adams's Patriotic Course. War Averted.
CHAPTER VI. DECLINE OF THE FEDERALIST PARTY
Federalist Excesses. Alien and Sedition Acts. Conviction of Matthew Lyon. Results of the Federalist Policy. Its Animus. Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions. These Criticised. Unpopularity of the Federalist Measures. This Dooms Federalism. Federalist Dissensions. Federalist Opposition to the Administration. Waning Power of Federalism. Its Good After-influence.
CHAPTER VII. THE WEST
Kentucky and Tennessee become States. Unorganized and Organized Territory. Settlements in the Northwest. Centres of Population. Early Land System. Indian Outbreaks. Harmar's Expedition. Treaty with the Creeks. Expedition of St. Clair. Forts Built. St. Clair's Defeat. His Deposition from Military Command. Wayne's Victory. Pioneer Life. Indiana Territory Formed. Ohio a State. System of Marketing Public Lands. Mississippi Territory Organized.
CHAPTER VIII. SOCIAL CULTURE AT THE TURN OF THE CENTURY
Population. Rural Life. Theatres. Sports. Lotteries. Steam Navigation. The Old-fashioned Muster. Intemperance. Introduction of Sunday-schools. Spanish Coins. Colonial Money still in Use. "Fip," "Levy," "Pistareen." Newspapers and Postal Arrangements. Party Strife. Innovations and Inventions. Beginnings of the American Factory System. Oliver Evans. Samuel Slater.
CHAPTER IX. DEMOCRACY AT THE HELM
Jefferson's Election. XIIth Amendment to the Constitution. Power of Democracy. Its Policy. Jefferson the Typical Democrat. His Character. His Civil Service Policy. Burr's Rise. Shoots Hamilton in a Duel. His Treason. His Arrest. Purchase of Louisiana. Immense Increase of Territory. Trouble with the Barbary Powers. Their Insolence. Dale's Expedition. Further Successes.
CHAPTER X. THE WAR OF 1812
Great Britain Ignores International Law. Impresses American Seamen. The Chesapeake Affair. Navigation Act and Berlin Decree. England Questions our Neutrality. Preparations for War. Ill Success of Land Operations. Harrison's Victory over Proctor. Jackson Conquers the Creeks. Battle of New Orleans. Naval Victories. Battle of Lake Erie. Opposition of the Federalists to the War. New England Remonstrances. Attitude of Sects. Treaty of Ghent. Its Provisions.
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
BLOODY POND, NEAR LAKE GEORGE, WHICH IS SAID TO STILL CONTAIN THE BONES OF MANY OF THOSE WHO FELL IN THE FIGHT AT
FORT WILLIAM HENRY
KING GEORGE III.
JAMES OTIS, JR.
BURNING THE STAMPS IN NEW YORK
THE BOSTON MASSACRE. (From an engraving by Paul Revere)
PINE TREE FLAG OF MASSACHUSETTS
RATTLESNAKE FLAG OF SOUTH CAROLINA
UNION FLAG. THE FIRST RECOGNIZED CONTINENTAL STANDARD, RAISED FOR THE FIRST TIME JANUARY 2, 1776
A PROFILE VIEW OF THE HEIGHTS OF CHARLESTOWN
BUNKER HILL BATTLE. (From a contemporary print)
GENERAL CHARLES LEE. (Although intended for a caricature, this is considered an excellent likeness)
BARON VON STEUBEN
THE DEATH OF MONTGOMERY AT QUEBEC
GENERAL HERKIMER AT THE BATTLE OF ORISKANY
GENERAL JOHN STARK
GENERAL HORATIO GATES
JOHN PAUL JONES'S MEDAL
JOHN PAUL JONES'S MEDAL. (Reverse)
GENERAL MARION IN CAMP
MARQUIS DE LAFAYETTE
GENERAL NATHANIEL GREENE
THE SURRENDER OF CORNWALLIS AT YORKTOWN
GENERAL DANIEL MORGAN
FACSIMILE OF SIGNATURES TO TREATY OF PEACE
JOHN PAUL JONES
FIGHT BETWEEN THE BON HOMME RICHARD AND THE SERAPIS
GENERAL ANTHONY WAYNE
THE ENCOUNTER BETWEEN TARLETON AND COLONEL WASHINGTON
DeKALB WOUNDED AT CAMDEN
THE FRANKLIN PENNY
DOLLAR OF 1794. (The first United States coin)
A SCENE AT SPRINGFIELD DURING SLAYS' REBELLION, WHEN THE MOB ATTEMPTED TO PREVENT THE HOLDING OF THE COURTS OF JUSTICE
JOHN WESLEY CELEBRATING THE ADOPTION OF THE CONSTITUTION IN NEW YORK
ALEXANDER HAMILTON (From a painting by John Trumbull in the Trumbull Gallery at Yale College)
ILLICIT DISTILLERS WARNED OF THE APPROACH OF REVENUE OFFICERS
JOHN JAY. (From a painting by S. F. B. Morse in the Yale College Collection)
JOHN ADAMS. (From a copy by Jane Stuart, about 1874, of a painting by her father, Gilbert Stuart, about 1800-in possession of Henry Adams)
GEORGE CLINTON. (From a painting by Ezra Ames)
GENERAL ARTHUR ST. CLAIR
JOSEPH BRANT OR THAYENDANEGEA
DUGOUT OF A SOUTHWESTERN PIONEER
FULTON'S FIRST EXPERIMENT WITH PADDLE-WHEELS
DEPARTURE OF THE CLERMONT ON HER FIRST VOYAGE
JOHN FITCH'S STEAMBOAT AT PHILADELPHIA
MASSACHUSETTS BILL OF THREE SHILLINGS IN 1741
NEW HAMPSHIRE BILL OF FORTY SHILLINGS IN 1742
MASSACHUSETTS TWOPENCE OF 1722
PINE TREE TWOPENCE
PINE TREE THREEPENCE
PINE TREE SIXPENCE
PINE TREE SHILLING
POSTAL PROGRESS, 1776-1876
THE COTTON GIN. (From the original model)
THOMAS JEFFERSON. (From the painting by Gilbert Stuart—property of T. Jefferson Coolidge)
AARON BURR. (From a painting by Vanderlyn at the New York Historical Society)
LIEUTENANT DECATUR ON THE TURKISH VESSEL DURING THE BOMBARDMENT OF TRIPOLI
JAMES MADISON (From a painting by Gilbert Stuart—property of T. Jefferson Coolidge)
OLIVER H. PERRY
PERRY TRANSFERRING HIS COLORS FROM THE LAWRENCE TO THE NIAGARA
LIST OF MAPS
THE UNITED COLONIES AT THE BEGINNING OF THE REVOLUTION
PLAN OF BUNKER HILL
MAP OF MANHATTAN ISLAND IN 1776, SHOWING THE AMERICAN DEFENCES, ETC.
MAP SHOWING THE PROGRESSIVE ACQUISITION OF TERRITORY BY THE UNITED STATES
REVOLUTION AND THE OLD CONFEDERATION
RESULTS OF THE FRENCH AND INDIAN WAR
The results of the French and Indian War were out of all proportion to the scale of its military operations. Contrasted with the campaigns which were then shaking all Europe, it sank into insignificance; and the world, its eyes strained to see the magnitude and the issue of those European wars, little surmised that they would dictate the course of history far less than yonder desultory campaigning in America. Yet here and there a political prophet foresaw some of these momentous indirect consequences of the war. "England will erelong repent," said Vergennes, then the French ambassador at Constantinople, "of having removed the only check that could keep her colonies in awe. They no longer stand in need of her protection. She will call on them to contribute toward supporting the burdens they have helped to bring upon her, and they will answer by striking off all dependence." This is, in outline, the history of the next twenty years.
The war in Europe and America had been a heavy drain upon the treasury of England. Her national debt had doubled, amounting at the conclusion of peace to 140,000,000 Pounds sterling. The Government naturally desired to lay upon its American subjects a portion of this burden, which had been incurred partly on their behalf. The result was that new system of taxation which the king and his ministers sought to impose upon the colonies, and which was the immediate cause of the Revolution. The hated taxes cannot, of course, be traced to the French and Indian War alone as their source. England had for years shown a growing purpose to get revenue out of her American dependencies; but the debt incurred by the war gave an animus and a momentum to this policy which carried it forward in the face of opposition that might otherwise have warned even George III. to pause ere it was too late.
While the war thus indirectly led England to encroach upon the rights of the colonies, it also did much to prepare the latter to resist such encroachment. It had this effect mainly in two ways: by promoting union among the colonies, and by giving to many of their citizens a good training in the duties of camp, march, and battle-field.
The value to the colonists of their military experience in this war can hardly be overestimated. If the outbreak of the Revolution had found the Americans a generation of civilians, if the colonial cause had lacked the privates who had seen hard service at Lake George and Louisburg, or the officers, such as Washington, Gates, Montgomery, Stark, and Putnam, who had learned to fight successfully against British regulars by fighting with them, it is a question whether the uprising would not have been stamped out, for a time at least, almost at its inception. Especially at the beginning of such a war, when the first necessity is to get a peaceful nation under arms as quickly as possible, a few soldier-citizens are invaluable. They form the nucleus of the rising army, and set the standard for military organization and discipline. In fact, the French and Indian War would have repaid the colonies all it cost even if its only result had been to give the youthful Washington that schooling in arms which helped fit him to command the Continental armies. Without the Washington of Fort Necessity and of Braddock's defeat, we could in all likelihood never have had the Washington of Trenton and Yorktown. Besides Washington, to say nothing of Gates, Gage, and Mercer, also there, Dan Morgan, of Virginia, began to learn war in the Braddock campaign.
Bloody Pond, near Lake George, which is said to still contain the bones of many of those who fell in the fight at Fort William Henry.
Again, the war prepared the colonists for the Revolution by revealing to them their own rare fighting quality, and by showing that the dreaded British regulars were not invincible. No foe would, at Saratoga or Monmouth, see the backs of the men who had covered the redcoats' retreat from the field of Braddock's death, scaled the abatis of Louisburg, or brained Dieskau's regulars on the parapet of Fort William Henry.
But there was one thing even more necessary to the Revolutionists than skill at arms, and that was union. Their only hope of successful resistance against the might of England lay in concerted action, and perhaps the most important result of the long war through which they had been passing was the sense of union and of a common cause with which it had inspired the thirteen colonies. This feeling was of course still none too intense. But during the long war the colonies had drawn nearer to one another than ever before. Soldiers from New Hampshire and North Carolina, from Virginia and Massachusetts, bivouacked together, and fought shoulder to shoulder. Colonial officers forgot local jealousies in a common resentment of the contempt and neglect shown them all alike by the haughty subalterns of the king. Mutual good-will was fostered by the money and troops which the southern and less exposed colonies sent to their sister commonwealths on the frontier. In these and numberless minor ways a community of sentiment was engendered which, imperfect as it was, yet prepared the way for that hearty co-operation which was to carry the infant States through the fiery trial just before them.
It is important to remember, as well, not only that the war built up this conviction of a common interest, but that nothing except the war could have done it. The great forces of nineteenth-century civilization—the locomotive, the telegraph, the modern daily newspaper—which now bind sixty millions of people, spread over half a continent, into one nation, were then unknown. The means of communication and transportation between the colonies were very primitive. Roads were rough, full of steeps and cuts, and in many places, especially near cities, almost impassable with mire. It took seven days to go by stage from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh, four days from Boston to New York. The mail service was correspondingly inadequate and slow. At times in winter a letter would be five weeks in going from Philadelphia to Virginia. The newspapers were few, contained little news, and the circulation of each was necessarily confined to a very limited area. It has been estimated that the reading-matter in all the forty-three papers which existed at the close of the Revolution would not fill ten pages of the New York Herald now. In connection with this state of things consider the fact that the idea of colonial solidarity had not then, as now, merely to be sustained. It had to be created outright. Local pride and jealousy were still strong. Each colony had thought of itself as a complete and isolated political body, in a way which it is difficult for us, after a hundred years of national unity, to conceive. Plainly a lifetime of peace would not have begotten the same degree of consolidation among the colonies which the war, with its common danger and common purpose, called into being in a half-dozen years.
The war did yet another important service by removing a dangerous neighbor of the colonies. So long as France, ambitious and warlike, kept foot-hold in the New World, the colonies had to look to the mother-country for protection. But this danger gone, England ceased to be necessary to the safety of the embryo political communities, and her sovereignty was therefore the more readily renounced. English statesmen foresaw this danger before the Peace of Paris, and but for the magnanimity of Pitt our western territory might after all have been left in the hands of France.
And the cession of Canada, besides removing an enemy, helped to transform that enemy into an active friend. Had France retained her possessions in America, she would still have had an interest in maintaining the colonial system, and it is doubtful if even her hatred of England would have induced her to aid the rebellious colonies. But, her dream of a great Western empire forever dispelled, she had much to gain and nothing to lose by drawing sword for the American cause. The British defeated the French at Quebec only to meet them again at Yorktown.
One more result remains to be noted, without which what has preceded would lose half its significance. By the Peace of Paris England succeeded to all of France's possessions in America east of the Mississippi; but the most valuable part of this great territory she won only to hold in trust a few years for her colonial children. The redcoats under Amherst and Wolfe, who thought they were fighting for King George, were in reality winning an empire for the Young Republic. It is not easy to feel the full significance of this. The colonies might, indeed, have won independence even if France had retained her grasp on the valley of the Mississippi; but so long as the new-born nation was shut up to a narrow strip along the Atlantic coast, it would have been a lion caged. The "conquest of Canada," says Green, "by ... flinging open to their energies in the days to come the boundless plains of the West, laid the foundation of the United States."
GEORGE III. AND HIS AMERICAN COLONIES
The year after the capture of Quebec a young king ascended the throne of England, whose action was to affect profoundly the fortunes of the American colonies. Of narrow mental range and plebeian tastes, but moral, sincere, and stout-hearted, George III. assumed the crown with one dominant purpose—to rule personally; and the first decade of his reign was a constant struggle to free himself from the dictation of cabinet ministers. In 1770, during the premiership of North, who was little more than his page, the king gained the day; and for the next dozen years he had his own way perfectly. All points of policy, foreign and domestic, even the management of debates in Parliament, he was crafty enough to get into his hands. To this meddling of his with state affairs, his impracticable and fickle plans, and the stupidity of the admirers whom his policy forced upon him, may be traced in very large measure the breach between England and the colonies.
The Revolution, however, cannot be wholly accounted for by any series of events which can be set down and labelled. The ultimate causes lie deeper. Three thousand miles of ocean rolled between England and the colonies. A considerable measure of colonial self-government was inevitable from the first, and this, by fostering the spirit of independence, created a demand for more and more freedom. The social ties which had bound the early Pilgrims to their native land grew steadily weaker with each new generation of people who knew no home but America. The colonists had begun to feel the stirrings of an independent national life. The boundless possibilities of the future on this new continent, with its immense territory and untold natural wealth, were beginning to dawn upon them. Their infancy was over. The leading-strings which bound them to the mother-country must be either lengthened or cast off altogether.
King George III.
But England did not see this. Most Englishmen at the beginning of George III.'s reign regarded the colonies as trading corporations rather than as political bodies. It was taken for granted that a colony was inferior to the mother-country, and was to be managed in the interests of the commercial classes at home. Conflict was therefore inevitable sooner or later. We have to trace briefly the chief events by which it was precipitated.
James Otis, Jr.
In 1760-61 England tried to enforce the navigation laws more strictly. Writs of assistance issued, empowering officers to enter any house at any time, to search for smuggled goods. This measure aroused a storm of indignation. The popular feeling was voiced, and at the same time intensified, by the action of James Otis, Jr., a young Boston lawyer, who threw up his position as advocate-general rather than defend the hated writs, which he denounced as "instruments of slavery." "Then and there," said John Adams, "the trumpet of the Revolution was sounded."
In May, 1764, a report reached Boston that a stamp act for the colonies had been proposed in Parliament, to raise revenue by forcing the use in America of stamped forms for all sorts of public papers, such as deeds, warrants, and the like. A feeling of mingled rage and alarm seized the colonists. It seemed that a deliberate blow was about to be struck at their liberties. From the day of their founding the colonies had never been taxed directly except by their own legislatures. Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and Virginia at once sent humble but earnest protests to Parliament against the proposed innovation.
The act was nevertheless passed in March of the next year, with almost no opposition. By its provisions, business documents were illegal and void unless written on the stamped paper. The cheapest stamp cost a shilling, the price ranging upward from that according to the importance of the document. The prepared paper had to be paid for in specie, a hardship indeed in a community where lawsuits were very common, and whose entire solid coin would not have sufficed to pay the revenue for a single year. Even bitterest Tories' declared this requirement indefensible. Another flagrant feature of the act was the provision that violators of it should be tried without a jury, before a judge whose only pay came from his own condemnations.
Burning the Stamps in New York.
The effect upon the colonies was like that of a bomb in a powder-magazine. The people rose up en masse. In every province the stamp-distributor was compelled to resign. In Portsmouth, N. H., the newspaper came out in mourning, and an effigy of the Goddess of Liberty was carried to the grave. The Connecticut legislature ordered a day of fasting and prayer kept, and an inventory of powder and ball taken. In New York a bonfire was made of the stamps in the public square. The bells in Charleston, S. C., were tolled, and the flags on the ships in the harbor hung at half-mast. The colonists entered into agreements to buy no goods from England until the act was repealed. Even mourning clothes, since they must be imported, were not to be worn, and lamb's flesh was abjured that more wool might be raised for home manufacture. England's colonial trade fell off so alarmingly in consequence that Manchester manufacturers petitioned Parliament to repeal the act, asserting that nine-tenths of their workmen were idle. Besides these popular demonstrations, delegates from nine colonies met in New York, in October, 1765, often called the Stamp Act Congress, and adopted a declaration of rights, asserting that England had no right to tax them without their consent. During the days of the Stamp Act excitement, the term "colonist" gave way to "American," and "English" to "British," a term of the deeper opprobrium because Bute, the king's chief adviser, was a Briton.
Startled by this unexpected resistance, Parliament, in January of the next year, began to debate repeal. We must in fairness to England look at both sides of the problem of colonial taxation. As general administrator of colonial affairs, the English Government naturally desired a fixed and certain revenue in America, both for frontier defence against Indians and French and for the payment of colonial governors. While each stood ready to defend its own territory, the colonies were no doubt meanly slow about contributing to any common fund. They were frequently at loggerheads, too, with their governors over the question of salaries. On the other hand, the colonists made the strong plea that self-taxation was their only safeguard against tyranny of king, Parliament, or governor.
In the great debate which now ensued in Parliament over England's right to tax America, Mansfield, the greatest constitutional lawyer of his day, maintained—first, that America was represented in Parliament as much as Manchester and several other large cities in England which elected no members to the House of Commons, and yet were taxed; and, second, that an internal tax, such as that on stamps, was identical in principle with customs duties, which the colonies had never resisted. In reply, Pitt, the great champion of the colonies, asserted—first, that the case of the colonies was not at all like that of Manchester; the latter happened not to be represented at that time because the election laws needed reforming, while the colonies, being three thousand miles away, could in the nature of the case never be adequately represented in an English Parliament; and, second, that as a matter of fact a sharp distinction had always, since the Great Charter, been made between internal taxation and customs duties.
Had the colonies rested their case upon constitutional argument alone it would have been relatively weak. While it was then a question, and will be forever, whether the American settlements were king's colonies, Parliament's colonies, or neither, but peculiar communities which had resulted from growth, the English lawyers had a good deal of logic on their side. Unconstitutional measures had indeed been resorted to—the writs of assistance, taking Americans beyond sea for trial, internal taxation; yet the real grievance lay far less in these things than in the fact that the English constitution itself was working in a manner contrary to colonial interests. Social considerations, too, accounted for more bitterness than has usually been thought. Our fathers hated the presence here of a privileged class.
George III.'s policy was therefore wiser legally than politically. This was, in fact, his ministry's capital mistake—like Lord Salisbury's in respect to Ireland in 1888—that it had too great regard for the mere legal aspect of the question, ignoring the practical. The colonists were too numerous, powerful, and far away, longer to be governed from home, at least by the old plan. To attempt perpetuation of the old regime might be lawful, but was certainly impracticable and stupid. Hence Americans like Jefferson showed themselves consummate politicians in going beyond Pitt's contention from the constitution and from precedent, and appealing to the "natural rights" of the colonists. "Our rights," said Otis, in substance, "do not rest on a charter, but are inherent in us as men." "The people" said John Adams in 1765, "have rights antecedent to all earthly government."
The Stamp Act was repealed in February. Its principle, however, was immediately re-asserted by the "Declaratory Act," in which Parliament claimed power over the colonies "in all cases whatsoever." The repeal caused great rejoicing in America; but neither king nor Parliament had changed policy respecting colonial affairs. There soon followed, in rapid succession, that series of blundering acts of oppression which completed the work begun by the Stamp Act, and drove the colonists into rebellion.
In 1767 duties were laid upon glass, paper, painters' colors, and tea. Massachusetts, again taking the lead, sent a circular-letter to all the colonies, proposing a united supplication to the throne. For refusal to rescind this letter the Massachusetts assembly was dissolved at the command of the angry king. This refusal was the first denial of the king's prerogative; only the authority of Parliament had been resisted before. The soul of the colonial cause in Massachusetts at this time was Samuel Adams, of Boston, "the last of the Puritans," a man of powerful and logical mind, intrepid heart, and incorruptible patriotism. America's debt to him for his work in these early years cannot be estimated. At this juncture he organized committees of safety and correspondence throughout Massachusetts, which led to the formation of such committees in the other colonies. They did an invaluable work in binding the scattered sections together, and providing for emergencies.
The Billeting Act, which required the colonists to lodge and feed the British troops quartered among them, added fuel to the flames. In 1768 the New York legislature refused to comply, and Parliament suspended its legislative functions.
In the fall of the same year, seizing as a pretext two ship-riots which had occurred in the summer, the king stationed four regiments in Boston. Public sentiment was shocked and indignant at this establishment of a military guard over a peaceable community. The presence of the soldiers was a constant source of irritation. Frequent altercations occurred between the soldiers and the lower class of citizens. The trouble culminated in the Boston Massacre of March 5, 1770. A squad of soldiers, set upon by a mob of men and boys, fired into the crowd, killing three persons and wounding eight others. That the soldiers had considerable justification is proved by the fact that a jury acquitted all but two, who were convicted of manslaughter, and branded. But exaggerated reports of the occurrence spread like wildfire throughout the colonies, and wrought powerfully for hatred against England.
During the next two or three years there was comparative quiet. Massachusetts, it is true, under the tutelage of Samuel Adams, grew more radical in its demands. In 1772 the committee of Boston issued a statement of grievances, adding, as new complaints, the sending of persons to England for trial, restraints upon colonial manufacturers, and a rumored plan to establish bishops over America. This statement was approved by all the colonies, and was sent to Franklin in London. The country as a whole, however, was weary of the strife, and would gladly have returned to the old cordial relations with the mother-land.
The Boston Massacre. From an Engraving by Paul Revere.
But George III. could not rest without asserting his supremacy over America. He made an arrangement with the East India Company by which tea could be bought in America, spite of the hated tax, cheaper than in England. Then, at the king's instigation, large shipments of tea were made to America. The colonists saw through the cunning attempt, and the tide of resistance rose higher than ever. At New York and Philadelphia the tea-ships were forced to put to sea again without unlading. At Charleston the tea was stored in damp cellars and soon spoiled. At Boston there was a deadlock; the people would not let the tea be landed; the governor would not let the ships sail without unlading. On the evening of December 16, 1773, the tax falling due on the next day, a party of fifty citizens, disguised as Indians, boarded the ships, and threw three hundred and forty-two chests of tea into the harbor.
The Boston tea-party aroused all the blind obstinacy of George III. "Blows must decide," he exclaimed; "the guilty rebels are to be forced to submission," The king's anger led to the Boston Port Bill, which was passed the next year, and closed Boston harbor to all commerce. Changes were also made in the government of Massachusetts, rendering it almost entirely independent of the people. Town meetings were forbidden except for elections. Poor Massachusetts, her liberties curtailed, her commerce ruined, appealed to her sister colonies for support, and they responded right heartily. In three weeks from the news of the Port Bill all the colonies had made the cause of Massachusetts their own. Expressions of sympathy and liberal gifts of money and provisions poured into Boston from all over the country. The first Continental Congress assembled at Philadelphia in September. All the colonies but Georgia were represented. An earnest statement of grievances was drawn up, with a prayer to the king for redress. The action of Massachusetts was approved, and an agreement entered into to suspend all commerce with England.
Things now hastened rapidly toward open war. British troops were stationed in Boston, and began fortification. Military preparations were making everywhere among the colonists. The train was laid. Only a spark was needed to bring the dreaded explosion.
INDEPENDENCE AND THE NEW STATES
The thought of independence in the minds of the colonists was of surprisingly slow growth. The feeling of dependence on the mother-country and of loyalty to the king was deep-rooted and died hard. Even union, which was a pre-requisite to a successful struggle for independence, came slowly. The old New England Confederation, in 1643- 84, between Massachusetts Bay, Plymouth, Connecticut, and New Haven, for defence against Indians, Dutch, and French, ended without ever having manifested the slightest vigor. In the latter half of the seventeenth century Virginia had alliances with some sister colonies for protection against Indians; but there was no call for a general congress until the French and Indian attack on Schenectady, in 1690, during King William's War. Representatives from New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Plymouth met that year at New York; letters came from Virginia, Maryland, and Rhode Island. But no permanent union was proposed here, nor at any of the similar meetings, seven at least, which occurred between 1690 and 1750.
The Albany Convention, which met in 1754 to prepare for the French and Indian War, adopted a plan for union presented by Franklin, providing for a president-general appointed and supported by the Crown, and for a grand council of delegates elected triennially by the colonies according to population, and empowered, within limits, to lay taxes and make laws for the common interest of English America. Franklin believed that the adoption of this scheme would have postponed the Revolution a century. But, as it gave so much power to the king, it was rejected by the people in every colony.
Even after English oppression and the diligent agency of committees of correspondence had brought union, and delegates from the colonies had met again and again in Congress, the thought of breaking away from the mother-land was strange to the minds of nearly all. The instructions to the delegates to the first Congress, in September, 1774, gave no suggestion of independence. On the contrary, colony after colony urged its representatives to seek the restoration of "harmony and union" with England. This Congress branded as "calumny" the charge that it wished "independency." Washington wrote, from the Congress, that independence was then not "desired by any thinking man in America."
Pine Tree Flag of Massachusetts.
Rattlesnake Flag of South Carolina.
The feeling was much the same in 1775. Pennsylvania "strictly" commanded her representatives to dissent from any "proposition that may lead to separation." Maryland gave similar instructions in January, 1776. Independence was neither the avowed nor the conscious object in defending Bunker Hill, June 17, 1775. Washington's commission as commander-in-chief, two days later, gave no hint of it. And the New Hampshire legislature so late as December 25, 1775, in the very act of framing a new state government, "totally disavowed" all such aim. In the fall of 1775 Congress declared that it had "not raised armies with the ambitious design of separation from Great Britain."
The swift change which, a little more than six months later, made the Declaration of Independence possible and even popular, has never yet been fully explained. In May, 1775, John Adams had been cautioned by the Philadelphia Sons of Liberty not to utter the word independence. "It is as unpopular," they said, in "Pennsylvania and all the Middle and Southern States as the Stamp Act itself." Early in 1776 this same great man wrote that there was hardly a newspaper in America but openly advocated independence. In the spring of 1776 the conservative Washington declared, "Reconciliation is impracticable. Nothing but independence will save us." Statesmen began to see that longer delay was dangerous, that permanent union turned upon independence, and that, without a government of their own, people would by and by demand back their old constitution, as the English did after Cromwell's death. "The country is not only ripe for independence," said Witherspoon, of New Jersey, debating in Congress, "but is in danger of becoming rotten for lack of it."
Colony after colony now came rapidly into line. Massachusetts gave instructions to her delegates in Congress, virtually favoring independence, in January, 1776. Georgia did the same in February, South Carolina in March. Express authority to "concur in independency" came first from North Carolina, April 12th, and the following May 31st Mecklenburg County in that State explicitly declared its independence of England. On May 1st Massachusetts began to disuse the king's name in public instruments. May 4th, Rhode Island renounced allegiance almost in terms. On May 15th brave old Virginia ordered her delegates in Congress to bite right into the sour apple and propose independence. Connecticut, New Hampshire, Delaware, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania took action in the same direction during the following month.
Union Flag. The first recognized Continental Standard, raised for the first time January 2,1776.
The king's brutal attitude had much to do with this sudden change. The colonists had nursed the belief that the king was misled by his ministers. A last petition, couched in respectful terms, was drawn up by Congress in the summer of 1775, and sent to England. Out of respect to the feelings of good John Dickinson, of Pennsylvania, who still clung to England, this address was tempered with a submissiveness which offended many members. On its being read, Dickinson remarked that but one word in it displeased him, the word "Congress;" to which Colonel Ben Harrison, of Virginia, retorted that but one word in it pleased him, and that "Congress" was precisely the word.
The appeal was idle. The king's only answer was a violent proclamation denouncing the Americans as rebels. It was learned at the same time that he was preparing to place Indians, negroes, and German mercenaries in arms against them. The truth was forced upon the most reluctant, that the root of England's obduracy was in the king personally, and that further supplications were useless. The surprising success of the colonial arms, the shedding of blood at Lexington, Concord, and Bunker Hill—all which, remember, antedated the Declaration—the increase and the ravages of the royal army and navy in America, were all efficient in urging the colonists to break utterly and forever from the mother-country.
The behavior of the Gaspe officers in Narragansett Bay, their illegal seizures, plundering expeditions on shore, and wanton manners in stopping and searching boats, illustrate the spirit of the king's hirelings in America at this time. At last the Rhode Islanders could endure it no longer. Early on the morning of June 9, 1772, Captain Abraham Whipple, with a few boatloads of trusty aides, dropped down the river from Providence to what is now called Gaspe Point, six or seven miles below the city, where the offending craft had run aground the previous evening in giving chase to the Newport-Providence packet-boat, and after a spirited fight mastered the Gaspe's company, put them on shore, and burned the ship. There would be much propriety in dating the Revolution from this daring act.
Nor was this the only case of Rhode Island's forwardness in the struggle. December 5, 1774, her General Assembly ordered Colonel Nightingale to remove to Providence all the cannon and ammunition of Fort George, except three guns, and this was done before the end of the next day. More than forty cannon, with much powder and shot, were thus husbanded for service to come. News of this was carried to New Hampshire, and resulted in the capture of Fort William and Mary at New Castle, December 14, 1774, which some have referred to as the opening act of the Revolution. This deed was accomplished by fourteen men from Durham, who entered the fort at night when the officers were at a ball in Portsmouth. The powder which they captured is said to have done duty at Bunker Hill.
Most potent of all as a cause of the resolution to separate was Thomas Paine's pamphlet, "Common Sense," published in January, 1776, and circulated widely throughout the colonies. Its lucid style, its homely way of putting things, and its appeals to Scripture must have given it at any rate a strong hold upon the masses of the people. It was doubly and trebly triumphant from the fact that it voiced, in clear, bold terms, a long-growing popular conviction of the propriety of independence, stronger than men had dared to admit even to themselves.
On June 7, 1776, Richard Henry Lee, of Virginia, rose in Congress, and, in obedience to the command of his State, moved a resolution "that the united colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States." John Adams seconded the motion. It led to great debate, which evinced that New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and South Carolina were not yet quite ready for so radical a step. Postponement was therefore had till July 1st, a committee meantime being appointed to draft a declaration.
On July 2d, after further long debate, participated in by John Adams, Dickinson, Wilson, and many other of the ablest men in Congress, not all, even now, favorable to the measure, the famous Declaration of Independence was adopted by vote of all the colonies but New York, whose representatives abstained from voting for lack of sufficiently definite instructions. We celebrate July 4th because on that day the document was authenticated by the signatures of the President and Secretary of Congress, and published, Not until August 2d had all the representatives affixed their names. Ellery stood at the secretary's side as the various delegates signed, and declares that he saw only dauntless resolution in every eye. "Now we must hang together," said Franklin, "or we shall hang separately."
The honor of writing the Declaration belongs to Thomas Jefferson, of Virginia, who was to play so prominent a part in the early political history of the United States. At this time he was thirty-three years old. He was by profession a lawyer, of elegant tastes, well read in literature, deeply versed in political history and philosophy. He was chosen to draft the instrument chiefly because of the great ability of other state papers from his pen. It is said that he consulted no books during the composition, but wrote from the overflowing fulness of his mind.
It is an interesting inquiry how far the language of the document was determined by utterances of a like kind already put forth by towns and counties. There had been many of these, and much discussion has occurred upon the question which of them was first. Perhaps the honor belongs to the town of Sheffield, Mass., which so early as January 12, 1773, proclaimed the grievances and the rights of the colonies, among these the right of self-government. Mendon, in the same State, in the same year passed resolutions containing three fundamental propositions of the great Declaration itself: that all men have an equal right to life and liberty, that this right is inalienable, and that government must originate in the free consent of the people. It is worthy of note that the only important change made by Congress in what Jefferson had prepared was the striking out, in deference to South Carolina and Georgia, of a clause reflecting on slavery.
Copies of the immortal paper were carried post-haste up and down the land, and Congress's bold deed was everywhere hailed with enthusiastic demonstrations of joy. The stand for independence wrought powerfully for good, both at home and abroad. At home it assisted vacillating minds to a decision, as well as bound all the colonies more firmly together by committing them irreconcilably to an aggressive policy. Abroad it tended to lift the colonies out of the position of rebels and to gain them recognition among the nations of the earth.
Let us now inquire into the political character of these bodies of people which this Declaration by their delegates had erected into "free and independent States."
Five colonies had adopted constitutions, revolutionary of course, before the decisive manifesto. There was urgent need for such action. The few remaining fragments of royal governments were powerless and decadent. Anarchy was threatening everywhere. Some of the royal governors had fled. In South Carolina the judges refused to act. In other places, as western Massachusetts, they had been forcibly prevented from acting. In most of the colonies only small parts of the old assemblies could be gotten together.
New Hampshire led off with a new constitution in January, 1776. South Carolina followed in March. By the close of the year nearly all the colonies had established governments of their own. New York and Georgia did not formally adopt new constitutions until the next year. In Massachusetts a popular assembly assumed legislative and executive powers from July, 1775, till 1780, when a new constitution went into force. Connecticut and Rhode Island, as we have seen already, continued to use their royal charters—the former till 1818, the latter till 1842.
Nowhere was the general framework of government greatly changed by independence. The governors were of course now elected by the people, and they suffered some diminution of power. Legislatures were composed of two houses, both elective, no hereditary legislators being recognized. All the States still had Sunday laws; most of them had religious tests. In South Carolina only members of a church could vote. In New Jersey an office-holder must profess belief in the faith of some Protestant sect. Pennsylvania required members of the legislature to avow faith in God, a future state, and the inspiration of the Scriptures. The new Massachusetts constitution provided that laws against plays, extravagance in dress, diet, etc., should be passed. Property qualifications continued to limit suffrage. Virginia and Georgia changed their land laws, abolishing entails and primogeniture.
The sole momentous novelty was that everyone of the new constitutions proceeded upon the theory of popular sovereignty. The new governments derived their authority solely and directly from the people. And this authority, too, was not surrendered to the government, but simply—and this only in part—intrusted to it as the temporary agent of the sovereign people, who remained throughout the exclusive source of political power.
The new instruments of government were necessarily faulty and imperfect. All have since been amended, and several entirely remodelled. But they rescued the colonies from impending anarchy and carried them safely through the throes of the Revolution.
OUTBREAK OF WAR: WASHINGTON'S MOVEMENTS
By the spring of 1775 Massachusetts was practically in rebellion. Every village green was a drill-ground, every church a town arsenal. General Gage occupied Boston with 3,000 British regulars. The flames were smouldering; at the slightest puff they would flash out into open war.
On the night of April 18th people along the road from Boston to Concord were roused from sleep by the cry of flying couriers—"To arms! The redcoats are coming!" When the British advance reached Lexington at early dawn, it found sixty or seventy minute-men drawn up on the green. "Disperse, ye rebels!" shouted the British officer. A volley was fired, and seven Americans fell dead. The king's troops, with a shout, pushed on to Concord. Most of the military stores, however, which they had come to destroy had been removed. A British detachment advanced to Concord Bridge, and in the skirmish here the Americans returned the British fire.
Map of the United Colonies at the Beginning of the Revolution.
"By the rude bridge that arched the flood, Their flag to April's breeze unfurled, Here once the embattled farmers stood, And fired the shot heard round the world."
[Footnote: From R. W. Emerson's Concord Hymn, sung at the completion of the Battle Monument near Concord North Bridge, April 19, 1836.]
A Profile View of the Heights of Charlestown.
The whole country was by this time swarming with minute-men. The crack of the rifle was heard from behind every wall and fence and tree along the line of march. The redcoats kept falling one by one at the hands of an invisible foe. The march became a retreat, the retreat almost a rout. At sunset the panting troops found shelter in Boston. Out of 1,800 nearly 300 were killed, wounded, or missing. The American loss was about ninety. The war of the rebellion had begun.
All that day and the next night the tramp of minute-men marching to Boston was heard throughout New England, and by April 20th Gage was cooped up in the city by an American army. May 25th, he received large re-enforcements from England.
On the night of June 16th a thousand men armed with pick and spade stole out of the American camp. At dawn the startled British found that a redoubt had sprung up in the night on Breed's Hill (henceforward Bunker Hill) in Charlestown. Boston was endangered, and the rebels must be dislodged. About half-past two 2,500 British regulars marched silently and in perfect order up the hill, expecting to drive out the "rustics" at the first charge. Colonel Prescott, the commanding American officer, waited till the regulars were within ten rods. "Fire!" A sheet of flame burst from the redoubt. The front ranks of the British melted away, and His Majesty's invincibles retreated in confusion to the foot of the hill. Again they advance. Again that terrible fire. Again they waver and fall back. Once more the plucky fellows form for the charge, this time with bayonets alone. When they are within twenty yards, the muskets behind the earthworks send forth one deadly discharge, and then are silent. The ammunition is exhausted. The British swarm into the redoubt. The Continentals reluctantly retire, Prescott among the last, his coat rent by bayonets. Joseph Warren, of Boston, the idol of Massachusetts, was shot while leaving the redoubt. The British killed and wounded amounted to 1,054—157 of them being officers; the American loss was nearly 500. The battle put an end to further offensive movements by Gage. It was a virtual victory for the untrained farmer troops, and all America took courage.
Plan of Bunker Hill.
A. Boston Battery. B. Charlestown. C. British troops attacking. D. Provincial lines. Bunker Hill Battle. From a Contemporary Print.
Two days before, Congress had chosen George Washington commander-in-chief, and on July 2d he arrived at Cambridge. Washington was forty-three years old. Over six feet in height, and well-proportioned, he combined great dignity with ease. His early life as surveyor in a wild country had developed in him marvellous powers of endurance. His experience in the French and Indian War had given him considerable military knowledge. But his best title to the high honor now thrust upon him lay in his wonderful self-control, sound judgment, lofty patriotism, and sublime courage, which were to carry him, calm and unflinching, through perplexities and discouragements that would have overwhelmed a smaller or a meaner man.
Washington fought England with his hands tied. The Continental government was the worst possible for carrying on war. There was no executive. The action of legislative committees was slow and vacillating, and at best Congress could not enforce obedience on the part of a colony. Congress, too, afraid of a standing army, would authorize only short enlistments, so that Washington had frequently to discharge one army and form another in the face of the enemy. His troops were ill-disciplined, and scantily supplied with clothing, tents, weapons, and ammunition. Skilled officers were few, and these rarely free from local and personal jealousies, impairing their efficiency.
Washington found that the army around Boston consisted of about 14,500 men fit for duty. He estimated the British forces at 11,000. All the fall and winter he was obliged to lie inactive for want of powder. Meantime he distressed the British as much as possible by a close siege. In the spring, having got more powder, he fortified Dorchester Heights. The city was now untenable, and on March 17, 1776, all the British troops, under command of Howe who had succeeded Gage, sailed out of Boston harbor, never again to set foot on Massachusetts soil.
June 28th, a British fleet of ten vessels opened fire on Fort Moultrie, in Charleston harbor, S. C. The fort, commanded by Colonel Moultrie, returned the fire with remarkable accuracy, and after an engagement of twelve hours the fleet withdrew, badly crippled. This victory gave security to South Carolina and Georgia for three years.
The discomfited fleet sailed for New York, where the British forces were concentrating. The plan was to seize the Middle States, and thus keep North and South from helping one another. August 1st, 2,500 English troops and 8,000 Hessians arrived. The effective British force was now about 25,000. Washington was holding New York City with about 10,000 men fit for duty.
Driven from Long Island by the battle of August 27th, and forced to abandon New York September 15th, Washington retreated up the Hudson, and took up a strong position at White Plains. Here the British, attacking, were defeated in a well-fought engagement; but as they were strongly re-enforced on October 30th, Washington fell back to Newcastle. Early in November, guessing that they intended to invade New Jersey and advance on Philadelphia, he threw his main force across the Hudson.
The fortunes of the American army were now at the lowest ebb, so that had Howe been an efficient general it must have been either captured or entirely destroyed. Through the treason of Adjutant Demont, who had deserted to Lord Percy with complete information of their weakness, Forts Washington and Lee were captured, November 16th and 20th, with the loss of 150 killed and wounded, and 2,634 prisoners, besides valuable stores, small arms, and forty-three pieces of artillery. Manhattan Island was lost. General Charles Lee, with a considerable portion of the army, persistently refused to cross the Hudson. Washington, with the troops remaining, was forced to retreat slowly across New Jersey, the British army, under Cornwallis, at his very heels, often within cannon-shot. The New Jersey people were lukewarm, and many accepted Cornwallis's offers of amnesty. Congress, fearing that Philadelphia would be taken, adjourned to Baltimore. December 8th, Washington crossed the Delaware with less than 3,000 men. The British encamped on the opposite bank of the river. The American army was safe for the present, having secured all the boats and burned all the bridges within seventy miles.
Map of Manhattan Island in 1776, showing the American Defences, etc.
General Charles Lee. Although intended for a caricature, this is considered an excellent likeness.
Washington was soon re-enforced, and now had between five and six thousand troops. He determined to strike a bold blow that would electrify the drooping spirits of the army and the country. At Trenton lay a body of 1,200 Hessians. Christmas night Washington crossed the Delaware with 2,400 picked men. The current was swift, and the river full of floating ice; but the boats were handled by Massachusetts fishermen, and the passage was safely made. Then began the nine-mile march to Trenton, in a blinding storm of sleet and hail. The soldiers, many of whom were almost barefoot, stumbled on over the slippery road, shielding their muskets from the storm as best they could. Trenton was reached at eight o'clock on the morning of the 26th. An attack was made by two columns simultaneously. The surprise was complete, and after a half hour's struggle the Hessians surrendered. Nearly 1,000 prisoners were taken, besides 1,200 small arms and six guns. Washington safely retreated across the Delaware.
Cornwallis, with 7,000 men, hurried from Princeton to attack the American army. But Washington, on the night of January 2, 1777, leaving his camp-fires burning, slipped around the British army, routed the regiments left at Princeton, and pushing on northward went into winter quarters at Morristown.
The next campaign opened late. It was the last of August when Howe, with 17,000 men, sailed from New York into Chesapeake Bay, and advanced toward Philadelphia. Washington flung himself in his path at Brandywine, September 11th, but was beaten back with heavy loss. September 26th the British army marched into Philadelphia, whence Congress had fled. October 4th, Washington attacked the British camp at Germantown. Victory was almost his when two of the attacking parties, mistaking each other, in the fog, for British, threw the movement into confusion, and Washington had to fall back, with a loss of 1,000 men.
In December the American commander led his ragged army into winter quarters at Valley Forge, twenty-one miles from Philadelphia. It was a period of deep gloom. The war had been waged now for more than two years, and less than nothing seemed to have been accomplished. Distrust of Washington's ability sprang up in some minds. "Heaven grant us one great soul!" exclaimed John Adams after Brandywine. Certain officers, envious of Washington, began to intrigue for his place.
Meanwhile the army was shivering in its log huts at Valley Forge. Nearly three thousand were barefoot. Many had to sit by the fires all night to keep from freezing. One day there was a dinner of officers to which none were admitted who had whole trousers. For days together there was no bread in camp. The death-rate increased thirty-three per cent from week to week.
Just now, however, amid this terrible Winter at Valley Forge, Baron Steuben, a trained German soldier, who had been a pupil of Frederick the Great, joined our army. Washington made him inspector-general, and his rigorous daily drill vastly improved the discipline and the spirits of the American troops. When they left camp in the spring, spite of the hardships past, they formed a military force on which Washington could reckon with certainty for efficient work.
Baron von Steuben.
The British, after a gay winter in Philadelphia, startled by the news that a French fleet was on its way to America, marched for New York, June 18,1778. The American army overtook them at Monmouth on the 28th; General Charles Lee—a traitor as we now know, and as Washington then suspected, forced into high place by influence in Congress—General Lee led the party intended to attack, but he delayed so long that the British attacked him instead.
The Americans were retreating through a narrow defile when Washington came upon the field, and his Herculean efforts, brilliantly seconded by Wayne, stayed the rout. A stout stand was made, and the British were held at bay till evening, when they retired and continued their march to New York. Washington followed and took up his station at White Plains.
THE NORTHERN CAMPAIGN
At the outbreak of hostilities the thoughts of the colonists naturally turned to the Canadian border, the old battleground of the French and Indian War. Then and now a hostility was felt for Canada which had not slumbered since the burning of Schenectady in 1690.
May 10, 1775, Ethan Allen, at the head of a party of "Green Mountain Boys," surprised Fort Ticonderoga. Crown Point was taken two days later. Two hundred and twenty cannon, besides other much-needed military stores, fell into the hands of the Americans. Some of these heavy guns, hauled over the Green Mountains on oxsleds the next winter, were planted by Washington on Dorchester Heights.
In November, 1775, St. Johns and Montreal were captured by a small force under General Montgomery. The Americans now seemed in a fair way to get control of all Canada, which contained only 700 regular troops. It was even hoped that Canada would make common cause with the colonies. Late in the fall Benedict Arnold led 1,000 men up the Kennebec River and through the wilderness—a terrible journey—to Quebec. Here he was joined by Montgomery. On the night of December 30th, which was dark and stormy, Montgomery and Arnold led their joint forces, numbering some 3,000, against the city. Arnold was to attack the lower town, while Montgomery sought to gain the citadel. Montgomery had hardly passed the first line of barricades when he was shot dead, and his troops retreated in confusion. Arnold, too, was early wounded. Morgan, with 500 of his famous riflemen, forced an entrance into the lower town. But they were not re-enforced, and after a desperate street fight were taken prisoners.
A dreary and useless blockade was maintained for several months; until in May the garrison sallied forth and routed the besiegers. The British were successful in several small engagements during the summer of 1776; and the Americans finally had to fall back to Crown Point and Ticonderoga.
In June of the next year a splendid expedition set sail from St. Johns and swept proudly up Lake Champlain. Eight thousand British and Hessian troops, under strict discipline and ably officered, forty cannon of the best make, a horde of merciless Indians—with these forces General Burgoyne, the commander of the expedition, expected to make an easy conquest of upper New York, form a junction with Clinton at Albany, and, by thus isolating New England from the Middle and Southern States, break the back of the rebellion.
Ticonderoga was the first point of attack. Sugar Loaf Mountain, which rose six hundred feet above the lake, had been neglected as too difficult of access. Burgoyne's skilful engineers easily fortified this on the night of July 4th, and Fort Ticonderoga became untenable. General St. Clair, with his garrison of 3,000, at once evacuated it, and fled south under cover of the night. He was pursued, and his rear guard of 1,200 men was shattered. The rest of his force reached Fort Edward.
The Death of Montgomery at Quebec.
The loss of Ticonderoga spread alarm throughout the North. General Schuyler, the head of the Northern department, appealed to Washington for re-enforcements, and fell back from Fort Edward to the junction of the Mohawk and Hudson.
Meanwhile Burgoyne was making a toilsome march toward Fort Edward. Schuyler had destroyed the bridges and obstructed the roads, so that the invading army was twenty-four days in going twenty-six miles. Up to this point Burgoyne's advance had been little less than a triumphal march; difficulties now began to surround him like a net.
Burgoyne had arranged for a branch expedition of 700 troops and 1,000 Indians under St. Leger, to sail up Lake Ontario, sweep across western New York, and join the main body at Albany. August 3d, this expedition reached Fort Schuyler, and besieged it. A party of 800 militia, led by General Herkimer, a veteran German soldier, while marching to relieve the fort, was surprised by an Indian ambush. The bloody battle of Oriskany followed. St. Leger's further advance was checked, and soon after, alarmed by exaggerated reports of a second relief expedition under Arnold, he hurried back to Canada.
At Bennington, twenty-five miles east of Burgoyne's line of march, the Americans had a depot of stores and horses. Burgoyne, who was running short of provisions, sent a body of 500 troops, under Baume, to capture these stores, and overawe the inhabitants by a raid through the Connecticut valley. About 2,000 militia hastened to the defence of Bennington. General Stark, who had fought gallantly at Bunker Hill and Trenton, took command. August 16th, Baume was attacked on three sides at once, Stark himself leading the charge against the enemy's front. Again and again his men dashed up the hill where the British lay behind breastworks. After a fight of two hours Baume surrendered, overpowered by superior numbers. Re-enforcements which came up a little later were driven back with considerable loss. The Americans took 700 prisoners and 1,000 stands of arms.
General Herkimer at the Battle of Oriskany.
Burgoyne's situation was becoming dangerous. The failure of St. Leger and the heavy loss at Bennington seriously disarranged his plans. The troops detached to defend the posts in his rear had reduced his force to about 6,000. He was greatly hampered by lack of provisions. Meanwhile the American army had increased to 9,000. Schuyler had been supplanted by Gates, who on September 12th advanced to a strong position on Bemis Heights in the town of Stillwater. The right wing of the army rested on the Hudson, the left on ridges and wood. In front was a ravine. On the 19th Burgoyne advanced to the attack in three columns. That led by General Fraser, which tried to turn the American left, was the first to engage. Arnold's wing, including Morgan's riflemen, met Fraser's skirmishers a mile from the American lines. They were soon forced to fall back; Burgoyne's central column came up, and the fight became general. The battleground was covered by thick woods, with occasional clearings, and the troops fought at close range. Four hours the battle raged hotly. The British artillery was taken and retaken again and again. Thirty-six of the forty-eight British gunners were either killed or wounded. At sunset the Americans withdrew to their fortified lines, leaving Burgoyne in possession of the field. It was a drawn battle, but virtually a victory for the Americans. The British lost about 600, the Americans half as many.
General John Stark.
Burgoyne's situation was now critical in the extreme. In the heart of the enemy's country, his forces melting away while his opponents were increasing, nearly out of provisions and his connections with his base of supplies threatened by a party assailing Ticonderoga, Burgoyne's only hope was that Clinton would force a passage up the Hudson. But the latter, after capturing Forts Clinton and Montgomery early in October, fell back to the lower Hudson and left Burgoyne to his fate.
October 7th, Burgoyne advanced a picked body of 1,500 men to reconnoitre the American lines. Morgan's riflemen were sent out to "begin the game." The fighting soon became even hotter than in the previous battle. In an hour the whole British line was retreating toward the camp. At this point Arnold, whom, because of his preference for Schuyler, Gates had deprived of his command, filled with the fury of battle, dashed upon the field and assumed his old command. The soldiers greeted him with cheers, and he led them on in one impetuous charge after another. The enemy everywhere gave way in confusion, and at dusk the Germans were even driven from their entrenched camp. The British loss was fully 600.
General Horatio Gates.
The next day Burgoyne retreated to Saratoga, followed by Gates. The fine army, which had set out with such high hopes only four months before, was now almost a wreck. Eight hundred were in the hospital. On the 12th the army had but five days' rations. Burgoyne could neither advance nor retreat, and on the 17th he surrendered. The army were allowed free passage to England on condition that they would not re-engage in the war. The Americans got 35 superb cannon and 4,000 muskets. The Sunday after the surrender, Timothy Dwight, afterward President of Yale College, preached to Gates's soldiers from Joel ii. 20, "I will remove far off from you the northern army."
Gates deserved little credit for the defeat of Burgoyne. Put forward by New England influence against Schuyler, the favorite of New York, he but reaped the results of the labors of Herkimer at Oriskany, of Stark at Bennington, and of Schuyler in obstructing Burgoyne's advance and in raising a sufficient army. Even in the two battles of Stillwater Gates did next to nothing, not even appearing on the field. Arnold and Morgan were the soul of the army on both days. Arnold's gallant conduct was at once rewarded by a major-generalship. Schuyler, underrated and even maligned in his day, had to wait for the approval of posterity, which he has now fully obtained.
The surrender of Burgoyne was the most important event of the war up to that time. It was of immense service at home, raising the country out of the despondency which followed upon Brandywine and Germantown. Abroad it disheartened England, and decided France to acknowledge the independence of America and to send military aid. From the end of this year, 1777, victory over England was a practical certainty.
THE SOUTHERN CAMPAIGNS
After the summer of 1778 little of military importance occurred at the North. July and November of that year were marked by bloody Indian massacres at Wyoming, Pa., and Cherry Valley, N. Y., the worst in all that border warfare which was incessant from the beginning to the end of the Revolution. In August an unsuccessful attempt to regain Newport was made by General Sullivan, co-operating with a French fleet under D'Estaing. In the spring and summer of 1779, Clinton, who lay at New York with a considerable army, closely watched by Washington, sent out to Connecticut and the coasts of Virginia a number of plundering expeditions which did much damage. "Mad Anthony Wayne" led a brilliant attack against Stony Point on the Hudson, captured the British garrison, and destroyed the fortifications. This year was also marked by a great naval victory. Paul Jones lashed his vessel, the Bonhomme Richard, to the British Serapis, off the northeast coast of England, and after a desperate fight of three hours forced the Serapis to surrender.
But the brunt of the war now fell on the South, where the British, unsuccessful in the Northern and Middle States, hoped for an easy conquest. The capture of Savannah in December, 1778, and of Augusta the next month, laid Georgia prostrate. The royal government was re-instated by Prevost, the British general. Our General Lincoln, who had been placed in command of the Southern army, assisted by D'Estaing with his fleet, besieged Savannah, but on October 9, 1779, was repulsed with heavy loss.
In the spring of 1780 Clinton arrived from New York with a fleet and troops. Charleston, S. C, was besieged by land and sea. Lincoln was compelled to surrender with his whole army. Beaufort, Ninety-Six, and Camden capitulated in rapid succession. Marauding expeditions overran the State. President Andrew Jackson carried to his grave scars of hurts, one on his head, another on his hand, given him by Tarleton's men when he was a boy at Waxhaw. The patriots lay helpless. The loyalists organized as militia and joined the British. Clinton, elated by success, hoped to force the entire population into allegiance to the king. The estates of patriots were sequestered. Any Carolinian found in arms against the king might be, and multitudes were, hung for treason. Clinton even issued a proclamation requiring all inhabitants to take active part on the royalist side. Sumter, Marion, and other leaders, gathering around them little companies of bold men, carried on a guerilla warfare which proved very annoying to the British. They would sally forth from their hiding-places in the swamps, surprise some British outpost or cut off some detachment, and retreat with their booty and prisoners before pursuit could be made.
John Paul Jones's Medal. "Joanni Pavlo Jones" "Classis Praefecto." "Comitia American"
John Paul Jones's Medal (Reverse). "HOSTIVM NAVIBVS" "CAPTIS AVTFVCATTS" "AD ORAM SCOTIAE XXIII SEPT." "MDCCLXXVIII." "Dupre E"
But the British army in South Carolina and Georgia was 7,000 strong. Help must come from without. And help was coming. Washington detached from his scanty army 2,000 Maryland troops and the Delaware regiment—all veterans—and sent them south under De Kalb, a brave officer of German blood, who had seen long service in France. Virginia, though herself exposed, nobly contributed arms and men. Gates, the laurels of Saratoga still fresh upon his brow, was, against Washington's judgment, appointed by Congress to succeed Lincoln.
Cornwallis, whom the return of Clinton to New York had left in command, lay at Camden, S. C. Gates, as if he had but to look the Briton in the eye to beat him, pompously assumed the offensive. On August 15th he made a night march to secure a more favorable position near Camden. Cornwallis happened to have chosen the same night for an attack upon Gates. The two armies unexpectedly met in the woods, nine miles from Camden, early in the morning of the 16th. Gates's force, increased by North Carolina militia, was between 3,000 and 4,000. Cornwallis had about 2,000. The American position was strong, a swamp protecting both flanks, but at the first bayonet charge of the British veterans the raw militia threw away their guns and "ran like a torrent." The Maryland and Delaware Continentals stood their ground bravely, but were finally obliged to retreat. De Kalb fell, with eleven wounds.
This heroic foreigner had been sent hither by Choiseul before the Revolution to report to the French minister on American affairs, and at the outbreak of war had at great cost cast in his lot with our fathers. Sent south to aid Lincoln, he arrived only in time to be utilized by Gates. De Kalb was the hero of Camden. Wounded and his horse shot from under him, on foot he led his stanch division in a charge which drove Rawdon's men and took fifty prisoners. Believing his side victorious he would not yield, though literally ridden down by Cornwallis' dragoons, till his wounds exhausted him. Two-fifths of his noble division fell with him.
The whole army was pursued for miles and completely scattered. Arms, knapsacks, broken wagons, dead horses strewed the line of retreat. The Americans lost 900 killed and as many more prisoners. The British loss was less than 500. Gates, who had been literally borne off the field by the panic-stricken militia, rode in all haste two hundred miles north to Hillsborough, N. C, where he tried to organize a new army.
The gloom created at the North by this defeat was deepened by the startling news that Benedict Arnold, the hero of Saratoga, had turned traitor. Smarting under a reprimand from Washington for misconduct, Arnold agreed with Clinton to surrender West Point. The plot was discovered by the capture of Clinton's agent, Major Andre, who was hung as a spy. Arnold escaped to the British lines.
There was now no organized American force in the Carolinas, and Cornwallis began a triumphant march northward. The brave mountaineers of North Carolina and Virginia rose in arms. October 7th, 1,000 riflemen fell upon a detachment of 1,100 British, strongly posted on King's Mountain, N. C, and after a sharp struggle killed and wounded about 400, and took the rest prisoners. In this battle fell one of the Tory ancestors of the since distinguished American De Peyster family.
The King's Mountain victory filled the patriots with new hope and zeal, and kept the loyalists from rising to support the British. Cornwallis marched south again.
General Marion in Camp.
Gates was now removed and General Nathaniel Greene placed in charge of the Southern department. Greene was one of the most splendid figures in the Revolution. Son of a Rhode Island Quaker, bred a blacksmith, ill-educated save-by private study, which in mathematics, history, and law he had carried far, he was in 1770 elected to the legislature of his colony. Zeal to fight England for colonial liberty lost him his place in the Friends' Society. Heading Rhode Island's contingent to join Washington before Boston at the first shock of Revolutionary arms, he was soon made brigadier, the initial step in his rapid promotion. Showing himself an accomplished fighter at Trenton, Princeton, Germantown, Monmouth, and the battle of Rhode Island, and a first-rate organizer as quartermaster-general of the army, he had long been Washington's right-hand man; and his superior now sent him south with high hopes and ringing words of recommendation to the army and people there.
Marquis de Lafayette.
Greene's plan of campaign was the reverse of Gates's. He meant to harass and hinder the enemy at every step, avoiding pitched battles. January 17, 1781, a portion of his army, about 1,000 strong, under the famous General Daniel Morgan, of Virginia, another hero of Saratoga, was attacked at Cowpens, S. C., by an equal number of British under the dashing Tarleton. The British, riddled by a terrible cross-fire from Morgan's unerring riflemen, followed up by a bayonet charge, fled, and were for twenty-four miles pursued by cavalry. The American loss was trifling. Tarleton lost 300 in killed and wounded, and 500 prisoners, besides 100 horses, 35 wagons, and 800 muskets.
Cornwallis began a second march northward. Greene's force was too weak to risk a battle. His soldiers were poorly clad, and most of them were without tents or shoes. He therefore skillfully retreated across North Carolina, chased by Cornwallis. Twice the rivers, rising suddenly after Greene had crossed, checked his pursuers. But on March 15th, re-enforced to about 4,000, the Quaker general offered battle to Cornwallis at Guilford Court-House, N. C. He drew up his forces on a wooded hill in three lines one behind the other. The first line, consisting of raw North Carolina militia, fled before the British bayonet charge, hardly firing a shot. The Virginia brigade constituting the second line made a brave resistance, but was soon driven back. On swept the British columns, flushed with victory, against the third line. Here Greek met Greek. The Continentals stood their ground like the veterans they were. After a long and bloody fight the British were driven back. The fugitives, however, presently rallied under cover of theartillery, when Greene, fearing to risk more, withdrew from the field. The British lost 500; the Americans, 400, besides a large part of the militia, who dispersed to their homes. Cornwallis, with his "victorious but ruined army," retreated to the southern part of the State. The last of April he forsook Carolina, and marched into Virginia with 1,400 men.
Greene, his force reduced to 1,800, carried the war into South Carolina. Defeated at Hobkirk's Hill, near Camden, and compelled by the approach of General Rawdon to raise the siege of Ninety-Six, he retreated north. Meantime Marion and Lee had brought about the evacuation of Camden and Augusta. Rawdon soon evacuated Ninety-Six, and moved toward the coast, followed by Greene.
A ceaseless guerilla warfare was kept up, attended with many barbarities. Slave-stealing was a favorite pursuit on both sides. It is noteworthy that the followers of Sumter, fighting in the cause of freedom, were paid largely in slaves. The whole campaign was marked by severities unknown at the North. The British shot as deserters all who, having once accepted royal protection, were taken in arms against the king. In a few cases Americans dealt similarly with Americans fighting for the British, but in general their procedure was infinitely the more humane.
General Nathaniel Greene.
The battle of Eutaw Springs practically ended the war in the South. The British were victorious, but all the advantages of the battle accrued to the Americans. The British loss was nearly 1,000; the American, 600. In ten months Greene had driven the British from all Georgia and the Carolinas except Wilmington, Charleston, and Savannah.
Destiny decreed that Washington should strike the last blow for his country's freedom on the soil of his own State. Cornwallis found himself in Virginia, the last of May, at the head of 7,000 troops. He ravaged the State, destroying $10,000,000 worth of property. Lafayette, pitted against him with 3,000 men, could do little. In August Cornwallis withdrew into Yorktown, and began fortifications. Lafayette's quick eye saw that the British general had caged himself. Posting his army so as to prevent Cornwallis's escape, he advised Washington to hasten with his army to Virginia. Meanwhile a French fleet blocked up the mouth of Chesapeake Bay and of James River and York River, cutting off Cornwallis's escape by water. The last of September Washington's army, accompanied by the French troops under Rochambeau, appeared before Yorktown. Clinton, deceived by Washington into the belief that New York was to be attacked, was still holding that city with 18,000 men. The American army, 16,000 strong—7,000 French—began a regular siege. Cornwallis was doomed.
Surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown.
General Daniel Morgan.
Two advanced redoubts of the British works were soon carried by a brilliant assault in which the French and the American troops won equal honors. On the 19th Cornwallis surrendered. The captive army, numbering 7,247, marched with cased colors between two long lines of American and French troops, and laid down their arms.
The news of Cornwallis's surrender flew like wild-fire over the country. Everywhere the victory was hailed as virtually ending the war. Bonfires and booming cannon told of the joy of the people. Congress assembled, and marching to church in a body, not as a mere form, we may well believe, gave thanks to the God of battles, so propitious at last.
The peace party and spirit in England increased month by month. Burgoyne's surrender had dissipated the hope of speedily suppressing the rebellion. And as the war dragged on and Englishmen by bitter experience came to realize the bravery, endurance, and national feeling of the Americans, the conviction spread that three millions of such people, separated from the mother-country by three thousand miles of boisterous ocean, could never be conquered by force. Discouragement arose, too, from the ill conduct of the war. There was no broad plan or consistency in management. Generals did not agree or co-operate, and were changed too often. Clinton and Cornwallis hated each other. Burgoyne superseded Carleton, a better man. But for Lord Germain's "criminal negligence" in waiting to go upon a visit before sending the proper orders, Clinton might have met and saved Burgoyne.
There were enormous and needless expenses. By 1779 England's national debt had increased 63,000,000 pounds; by 1782 it had doubled. Rents were declining. The price of land had fallen one-third. Hence the war became unpopular with the landed aristocracy. British manufacturers suffered by the narrowing of their foreign markets. American privateers, prowling in all seas, had captured hundreds of British merchant-men. English sentiment, too, revolted at certain features of the war. Ravaging and the use of mercenaries and Indians were felt to be barbarous. Time made clearer the initial error of the government in invoking war over the doubtful right of taxing America. An increasing number of lawyers took the American view. Practical men figured out that each year of hostilities cost more than the proposed tax would have yielded in a century.
In February, 1778, Parliament almost unanimously adopted proposals to restore the state of things which existed in America before the war, at the same time declaring its intention not to exercise its right of taxing the colonies. Washington spoke for America when he said, "Nothing but independence will now do." The proposals were rejected by Congress and by the States separately.
England's difficulties were greatly increased by the help extended to America from abroad. France, eager for revenge on England, early in the war lent secret aid by money and military supplies. Later, emboldened by the defeat of Burgoyne, the French Government recognized the United States as an independent nation. By a treaty, offensive and defensive, the two nations bound themselves to fight together for that independence, neither to conclude a separate peace.
The benefit from this treaty was moral and financial rather than martial. At Yorktown, to be sure, the French forces rendered invaluable aid. Without De Grasse's French fleet at the mouths of the York and James rivers, the British might have relieved Cornwallis by sea. But Congress needed money more than foreign soldiers, and without France's liberal loans it is difficult to see how the government could have struggled through.
Spain, too, joined the alliance of France and the United States and declared war against England, though from no love for the young republic. This action hastened the growth of public opinion in England against the continuance of the American war. In the House of Commons, Lord Cavendish made a motion for ordering home the troops. Lord North, prime minister, threw out hints that it was useless to continue the war. But George III., summoning his ministers, declared his unchanging resolution never to yield to the rebels, and continued prodding the wavering North to stumble on in his stupid course.
It was struggling against fate. The next year saw Holland at war with England, while Catherine, Empress of Russia, was actively organizing the Armed Neutrality, by which all the other states of Europe leagued together to resist England's practice of stopping vessels on the high seas and searching them for contraband goods.
England was now involved in four wars, without money to carry them on. North's majorities in Parliament grew steadily smaller. No doubt much of the opposition was simply factious and partisan, but it had, after all, solid basis in principle. England was fighting her own policy—economically, for she was destined to free trade, and politically, inasmuch as the freedom which our fathers sought was nothing but English freedom.