Yet the whole demand for sailors was carried, and the demand of inquiry as absolutely rejected. Parliament went on and voted three million two hundred and five thousand five hundred and five pounds for the expenses of the navy; four thousand pounds for Greenwich Hospital; five hundred thousand pounds for the discharge of the debts of the navy. For the army, including some new contracts with the German princes for men to serve in America, three million 长沙桑拿微信号 pounds. What was still more disgraceful was that, amid all these charges on the public purse, the king came again with a fresh demand for six hundred thousand pounds for debts on the Civil List. It was pretended that extraordinary calls had been made on the royal purse by the suffering Royalists in America; but it was notorious that the Royal household continued in the same condition of reckless waste and extravagance as it was when the former half million was voted for the same purpose. Yet the Commons granted this sum; and, by way of preventing the king from falling into fresh difficulties, added one hundred thousand pounds a year to the Civil List. The matter, however, did not pass without a plain reminder to his Majesty. The rough-spoken Sir Fletcher Norton, the Speaker of the Commons, when presenting this Bill for the increase of the Civil List to the king, said:—”Sir,—In 长沙桑拿论坛网 a time of public distress, full of difficulty and danger, under burdens almost too heavy to be borne, your faithful Commons postponed all other business, and granted your Majesty not only a large present supply, but a very great additional revenue—great beyond example—great beyond your Majesty’s highest wants!” Having passed these votes, Parliament was prorogued on the 13th of December till the 21st of the following January.
But whilst England had been thus preparing for the augmentation of the navy, America had been aiming a blow at the efficiency of that navy, which must for years, if successful, have prostrated our whole maritime forces, and exposed our shores to the easiest invasion. This intended blow was nothing less than the destruction of our great naval dockyards and arsenals, and military storehouses, at Portsmouth and Plymouth. The chief agent in this infamous design, if the evidence of a miscreant can be believed, was Silas Deane. On the 7th of December the rope-house of the Royal Dockyard at Portsmouth was found to be on fire. By active exertions it was got under, after it had destroyed that building, and was imagined to be an accident. But on the 15th of January, 1777, one of the officers of the dockyard found a machine and combustibles concealed in the hemp in the hemp-house of the same dockyard. Suspicion now fell on a moody, silent artisan, who, on the day of the fire, had been looking about the dockyard, and who, by some chance, had got locked up in the rope-house the night before. His name was not known, but the fact only that he was a painter, and had been called John the Painter. Government immediately offered a reward of fifty pounds for his apprehension; the same sum, with a strange simplicity, being offered to him if he would surrender himself for examination. Nothing, however, could be learned of him in Portsmouth or the country round; but fresh fires were now breaking out at Plymouth Dockyard and on the quays of Bristol. At Plymouth the fire was instantly checked, and the perpetrator was nearly seized. At Bristol the fire was laid near a narrow, deep creek, crowded with shipping, which was nearly dry at low water, so that it was impossible to get the shipping out. Six or seven warehouses were destroyed, but the shipping escaped. In another house at Bristol combustibles were discovered, and the alarm became general that the American incendiaries, having failed to burn New York, were come to England to burn our dockyards and maritime houses. Fortunately, in the beginning of February, a man was apprehended for the perpetration of a burglary at Odiham, in Hampshire; and, by the activity of Sir John Fielding, the London magistrate, he was identified as John the Painter. When brought before Sir John and other magistrates in town, the man conducted himself with tact and address. Though closely examined and cross-questioned by some of the members of the Privy Council, by Lords of the Admiralty, and other officers of the board, he maintained the scrutiny without betraying any embarrassment, or letting anything escape him that could in any degree incriminate him. A confession was, however, wormed out of him by another painter, named Baldwin. Silas Deane, John the Painter declared, according to Baldwin’s evidence, had encouraged him to set fire to the dockyards of Plymouth and Portsmouth, Woolwich and Chatham, as the most effectual means of disabling Great Britain; that he gave him bills to the amount of three hundred pounds on a merchant in London, and promised to reward him according to the amount of service he should do to the American cause. Before his execution he freely admitted the truth of the charges against him. He confessed to having twice attempted to fire the dockyard at Plymouth, and to burning the warehouses at Bristol, having in vain endeavoured to deposit his combustibles on board the ships. He, moreover, stated that he had a recommendation from Silas Deane to Dr. Bancroft, in London, to whom he had declared that he would do all the harm he could to England; that the doctor did not approve of his conduct, but had, at his request, promised not to betray him.
On the 8th of May, 1777, Ministers moved for more money for the insatiable Landgrave of Hesse, whose troops were at this very time exhibiting the most scandalous state of defiance of discipline, of consequent inefficiency, and of plunder of the inhabitants of America. This grant, though violently opposed, was carried, but only by a majority of eight. All parties now began to denounce the shameless rapacity of these German princes. Nor did Chatham, ill as he was, allow the Session to pass without making one more energetic protest against the continuance of the war with America. On the 30th of May he moved an address to his Majesty for the immediate cessation of hostilities. Notwithstanding all that had been said on our successes over the Americans, Chatham contended as positively as ever that we could never conquer them. “You have,” he said, “ransacked every corner of Lower Saxony, but forty thousand German boors never can conquer ten times the number of British freemen. You may ravage, you cannot conquer—it is impossible—you cannot conquer America. You talk of your numerous funds to annihilate the Congress, and your powerful forces to disperse their army; I might as well talk of driving them before me with my crutch! But what would you conquer? The map of America? I am ready to meet any general officer on the subject” (looking at Lord Amherst)—”What will you do out of the protection of your fleet? In the winter, if together, they are starved; and if dispersed, they are taken off in detail. I am experienced in spring hopes and vernal promises. I know what Ministers throw out; but at last will come your equinoctial disappointment. You have got nothing in America but stations. You have been three years teaching them the art of war. They are apt scholars; and I will venture to tell your lordships that the American gentry will make officers enough fit to command the troops of all the European Powers.” Chatham’s motion was rejected by ninety-nine votes against twenty-eight. Parliament was prorogued by the king on the 6th of June, in a speech in which he indulged the fallacious hope that the American insurrection would be terminated in the present campaign. But Chatham’s prophecies were at the very time realising themselves. Had the Howes had the necessary qualities of commanders in such an important cause—had they pursued and dispersed the American army, as they ought to have done on defeating it, and as they might readily have done; and had the British Government instantly, whilst in this favourable position, repealed all the obnoxious statutes, they would have thrown Congress and Washington so completely into the wrong, that it would have been impossible for them to have made head again. But neither the Generals nor the Government of that day had the capacity for such strategic and statesmanlike policy. The Generals went comfortably into winter quarters, leaving the embers of war to rekindle and spread; and Government, deaf to the warnings of Chatham, still stolidly refused justice whilst rigorously enforcing their injustice. And, indeed, when Chatham gave his last Cassandra-like remonstrance, it was already too late. We had indeed taught the Americans the art of war. Washington was no longer contented to stand on the defensive, happy if he could preserve his soldiers from running off without fighting at all. His circumstances were desperate, and the energy which springs from despair now urged him to measures of daring and wakefulness just as the English Generals, like northern bears, were entering on their winter’s sleep. Benedict Arnold had paid him a visit in his wretched camp beyond the Delaware, and probably from their united counsels sprang a new style of movement, which confounded his unsuspecting enemies.
The army of Lord Cornwallis, which had so triumphantly pursued Washington through the Jerseys, supposing the Americans now put beyond all possibility of action, if not wholly dispersed, lay carelessly in their cantonments on the left bank of the Delaware. The two main outposts, Trenton and Bordentown, were entrusted to bodies of Hessians. At Trenton lay Colonel Rahl, and at Bordentown Count Donop. As the Christmas of 1776 was approaching, they had abandoned all discipline. The British officers, too, had mostly quitted their regiments, and had gone to enjoy the Christmas at New York, where General Howe was keeping up great hospitality, imagining the war to be fast drawing to a close. But if the English paid no attention to Washington, he was paying every attention to them. His plans arranged, he set out on the evening of Christmas day, 1776, and crossed the river at Mackonkey’s Ferry, nine miles above Trenton, to attack that fort. The river was so encumbered with ice that he found it a most arduous undertaking, but he accomplished it with the division immediately under his command—two thousand four hundred in number. He continued his march through the night on Trenton, and reached it at about eight o’clock in the morning. A trusted spy had informed him over night, that he had seen the soldiers, both British and Hessians, asleep, steeped in drink. When he arrived, the soldiers still lay sunk in their Christmas debauch; and it was only by the first crash of the cannon that they were roused. When they ran to arms Washington had already invested the town. The brave Colonel Rahl, in his endeavour to form his drunken troops, and lead them on, was mortally wounded by an American rifle, almost at the first discharge. The light horse and a portion of the infantry, who fled on the first alarm, escaped to Bordentown. The main body attempted to retreat by the Princeton Road, but found it already occupied by Colonel Hand and his regiment of Pennsylvanian riflemen. Thus cut off, ignorant of the force opposed to them, and without enthusiasm for the cause, they threw down their arms and surrendered. About a thousand prisoners and six cannon were taken. The Americans had two killed, two frozen to death, and a few wounded. As soon as Washington had refreshed his men, he re-crossed the Delaware, carrying with him his prisoners, the stores he had taken, and the six field-pieces that he brought with him.
This spirited and brilliant action had a wonderful effect on the American mind. It revived the courage of the troops, which had sunk very low after so many defeats. It inspired them and the public at large with confidence in the talents and daring of their Commander-in-Chief, who was now eulogised as another Fabius. Such was the confidence inspired, even in himself, by this success, that, being immediately joined by three thousand six hundred Pennsylvanian militia, he determined to cross the Delaware, as it was now strongly frozen over. But General Grant had already joined General Leslie at Princeton, with a strong body of British and Hessian troops; and General Howe, on hearing of the fresh spirit of the American army, had detained Lord Cornwallis, who was about to leave for England. He hastened to Princeton, and took the command of the whole force, concentrating all the troops on the Delaware shore. On the 2nd of January, 1777, he marched from Princeton for Trenton, drove in the enemy’s outposts, and reached Trenton by five o’clock the same afternoon. Washington retired as he approached. The British, on arriving at the fort and bridge of the Assumpinck, found both guarded by artillery, and Washington posted on some high ground beyond. Cornwallis cannonaded the bridge and forts, and his fire was briskly returned. He then encamped for the night there, intending to force the creek the next morning; but Washington did not wait for him. With his raw militia only a few days in camp, he had no chance of resisting Cornwallis’s army, and yet—a thaw having taken place—it was impossible to cross the Delaware. He called a council of war, and it was concluded that, from the great force of Cornwallis in front, the rear could not be very strong. It was therefore determined to make an attempt to gain the rear, beat up the enemy’s quarters at Princeton, now, as they supposed, nearly deserted, and, if they could succeed, fall on the British stores and baggage at New Brunswick. Their own baggage was, accordingly, sent quickly down the river to Burlington, the camp-fires were replenished,
and small parties being left to deceive the enemy by throwing up entrenchments, Washington, about midnight, silently decamped by a circuitous route towards Princeton. At dawn they encountered two out of three English regiments, which had been at Princeton, on the march. These were the 17th and 55th, hastening to join Cornwallis at Trenton. They imagined the Americans, owing to a thick fog, to be a body of Hessians; but, on discovering the mistake, a sharp fight took place, and for some time the two British regiments withstood Washington’s whole force. Colonel Mawhood, the English commander, posted his force advantageously on a rising ground between the Americans and Princeton, sent back his baggage waggons, and dispatched messengers to bring up the 40th regiment, still in Princeton, with all speed. The 40th not arriving,
Washington managed to force his way between the two British regiments. The 17th continued its march for Trenton; the 55th fell back upon Princeton, where the 40th, which had defended itself in the college, after losing a considerable number of prisoners, joined the 55th, and retreated upon New Brunswick.
Washington found no rest at Princeton. Cornwallis no sooner heard the cannonading near Princeton than he immediately comprehended Washington’s ruse, and, alarmed for his magazines at New Brunswick, he hastened in that direction. Washington, aware of his approach, found it necessary to give up the attempt on New Brunswick. He therefore hastened across Millstone river, broke down the bridge behind him to stop pursuit, and posted himself on the high ground at Morristown, where there were very strong positions. Here he received additional troops, and entrenched himself. Cornwallis, not aware of the real weakness of Washington’s army despite all its additions, again sat down quietly for the winter at New Brunswick. For six months the British army now lay still. Washington, however, lost no time in scouring all quarters of the Jerseys. He made himself master of the coast opposite Staten Island, and seized on Newark, Elizabeth Town, and Woodbridge. The inhabitants had been plundered by the Hessians and English, and now they were plundered again by their own countrymen for having received the English well. Washington exerted himself to suppress this rancorous conduct of the New England and Virginian troops, and issued a proclamation absolving the people of their oaths to the English, and promising them protection on their taking a new oath to Congress. The people of the Jerseys gladly accepted this offer.
Meanwhile, the American emissaries were both busy and successful at the Court of France. Though the Government still professed most amicable relations towards Great Britain, it winked at the constant sale of the prizes taken by American privateers, or those who passed for such, in their ports. The Government had, as we have seen, supplied the insurgents with money and arms. It was now arranged between Silas Deane and the French Minister, Vergennes, that the supplies of arms and ammunition should be sent by way of the West Indies, and that Congress should remit payment in tobacco and other produce. The French Government supplied the American agents with money for their purchases of arms and necessary articles for the troops, also to be repaid in tobacco. Two of the ships sent off with such supplies were captured by the British men-of-war; but a third, loaded with arms, arrived safely. To procure the money which they could not draw from Europe, Congress made fresh issues of paper money, though what was already out was fearfully depreciated. They voted a loan also of five millions of dollars, at four per cent. interest. They authorised a lottery to raise a like sum, the prizes to be payable in loan-office certificates. These measures only precipitated the depreciation of the Government paper; people refused to take it; and Washington, to prevent the absolute starvation of the army, was endowed with the extraordinary power of compelling the acceptance of it, and of arresting and imprisoning all maligners of the credit of Congress. Congress went further, and passed a resolution that their bills ought to pass current in all payments, trade, and dealings, and be deemed equal in value to the same sum in Spanish dollars; and that all persons refusing to take them should be considered enemies to the United States; and the local authorities were called upon to inflict forfeitures and other penalties on all such persons. Still further: the New York convention having laid before Congress their scheme for regulating the price of labour, produce, manufactured articles, and imported goods, it was adopted. But these arbitrary and unscientific measures the traders set at defiance, and the attempts to enforce them only aggravated the public distress. Loans came in slowly, the treasury ran low, the loan offices were overdrawn, and the issue of bills of credit was reluctantly recommenced; ten additional millions were speedily authorised, and as the issue increased, the depreciation naturally kept pace with it. The Commissioners in France were instructed to borrow money there, but the instructions were more easily given than executed.
WASHINGTON AND HIS MEN AT VALLEY FORGE. (See p. 239.)
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Such were the difficulties under which Congress and Washington had been struggling through this winter to raise and keep together any considerable force; whilst General, now Sir William Howe, had been completely dozing at New York. The first movements of Howe were to execute several detached evolutions, and a vast quantity of stores were destroyed. As a retaliation, the Americans sent Colonel Meigs over to Long Island, to a place called Sag Harbour, where the English had a great quantity of provision stores, which they learned were very remissly guarded. Meigs, who had been trained under Arnold, conducted the enterprise very adroitly. He passed the Sound in whale-boats in the night, landed without much difficulty before the break of day, and began to fire the magazines. He met with a brave resistance from the crews of the merchants’ vessels; but, having two hundred men, and there being no soldiers to oppose him, he destroyed twelve of the trading vessels, took ninety prisoners, and returned triumphantly without the loss of a single man. In the meantime, Washington had quitted his encampment at Morristown, and taken up a strong position at Middlebrook, about twelve miles from Princeton. On the 13th of June Howe at last marched out of New Brunswick to attack him. On this, Washington called to his assistance a great part of the troops in the highlands, the whole force of the Jersey militia, whilst Arnold, who had the command at Philadelphia, was actively engaged with Mifflin in preparing defences for the Delaware. The object of Howe was to draw Washington from his entrenchments, certain that, on fair ground, it would require little exertion to totally dissipate his army; therefore, after marching up almost to the American lines, he commenced a retreat, evacuated even New Brunswick, and fell back to Amboy. Washington fell into the snare; he sent a strong force in pursuit of Howe, who, keeping up the ruse, threw a bridge over the narrow strait which divides Staten Island from the mainland, and sent over part of his baggage and a number of troops. Satisfied then that Howe was bent on resuming his old quarters at New York, Washington quitted his camp, which had cost him so much labour to create, and descended with his main body to Quibbletown. On seeing this, Howe advanced again, and dispatched several bodies of soldiers by different routes, to get, if possible, between Washington and his old post on the hills, so as to bring him to an engagement on the plain. Washington instantly became aware of his design, and retreated with all speed. Lord Cornwallis, who led the British van, notwithstanding, managed to come up with him, and fell upon a division of three thousand strong, advantageously posted, and defended with cannon. Cornwallis’s charge, however, threw him into confusion, the rout became general, and the British pursued them as far as Westfield, when, coming to a woody country, and the heat of the day being intense, they halted for the night. This halt was the salvation of Washington: it enabled him to regain his old fortified post in the hills, leaving behind him part of his cannon, and about two hundred men killed.
Instead of waiting to watch Washington, or leaving any force for that purpose, Howe now suddenly altered his plans, marched back in reality to Staten Island, and left the enemy in full command of the Jerseys. Embarking his army on the 5th of July, he left General Clinton at New York with seventeen battalions, a body of loyal American militia, and a regiment of light horse. He set sail on the 23rd of July, and stood out to sea. Washington, now supposing that he meant to make an attempt on Boston, moved slowly towards the Hudson; but he had soon information that caused him to retreat again towards the Delaware; and, news coming that Howe had been seen off Cape May, he advanced to Germantown. Instead of entering the Delaware, however, the British fleet was presently seen steering eastward, and all calculations were baffled. Washington, now believing that he was intending to return to New York, proceeded to Philadelphia, and had an interview with Congress.
Howe’s real intention had been to enter the Delaware, and proceed up it direct to Philadelphia; but, understanding that the Americans had placed enormous impediments in the river, he stood away for the mouth of the Elk, in Chesapeake Bay. He was tediously detained by the contrary winds that always prevail on that course in that season, and it was the 28th of August before he entered the Elk, and reached the Elk head, where he landed his troops. On the 2nd of September (1777) he began his march for Philadelphia. He soon came upon a body of Washington’s army at Iron Hill, which he charged and drove from the hill. On the 11th he came in sight of Washington’s main army, strongly posted and fortified on the forks of the Brandywine river. Here Howe’s dispositions were excellent. He sent forward, under General Knyphausen, the second division, which advanced to a ford called Chad’s Ford, and drove a detachment of Americans across it. Howe then advanced, and, planting his cannon along the bank of the river, he engaged the Americans in a brisk cannonade across the stream. Meanwhile, Lord Cornwallis was silently marching in the rear of Howe’s troops, round to another ford at the forks of the Brandywine, which he crossed, and took Washington’s army in the rear. On firing his signal gun, the Americans were thrown into consternation, and at the same moment Knyphausen dashed across Chad’s Ford, and drove the surprised Americans from their batteries and entrenchments at the point of the bayonet. The batteries were instantly turned against them, and Cornwallis, who had been checked by a division under Sullivan, coming up, there was a general rout. The Americans fled in utter confusion, having lost three hundred killed, six hundred wounded, and four hundred taken prisoners. The English had one hundred killed and four hundred wounded.
But, scarcely had Howe posted himself at Wilmington, when Washington re-crossed the Schuylkill and marched on the British left, hoping to imitate the movement of Cornwallis at the Brandywine which had been so effectual. Howe, aware of the strategy, however, reversed his front, and the Americans were taken by surprise. In this case, Howe himself ought to have fallen on the Americans, but a storm is said to have prevented it, and Washington immediately fell back to Warwick Furnace, on the south bank of French creek. From that point he dispatched General Wayne to cross a rough country and occupy a wood on the British left. Here, having fifteen hundred men himself, he was to form a junction with two thousand Maryland militia, and with this force harass the British rear. But information of this movement was given to Howe, who, on the 20th of September, sent Major-General Greig to expel Wayne from his concealment. Greig gave orders that not a gun should be fired, but that the bayonet alone should be used, and then, stealing unperceived on Wayne, his men made a terrible rush with fixed bayonets, threw the whole body into consternation, and made a dreadful slaughter. Three hundred Americans were killed and wounded, about a hundred were taken prisoners, and the rest fled, leaving their baggage behind them. The British only lost seven men.
Whilst Washington man?uvred to prevent Howe from crossing the Schuylkill above him, the English General crossed below on the 22nd of September, and thus placed himself between Philadelphia and the American army. It was now necessary for Washington to fight, or give up that city; but the condition of his troops, deficient in clothes and shoes, owing to the poverty of the commissariat department, with wretched arms, and fatigued by their recent exertions, forbade all hope of maintaining even the defensive. He therefore fell back, and Cornwallis, on the 27th, advancing from Germantown, entered Philadelphia 长沙桑拿休闲中心 amid the welcome of the loyal inhabitants. Cornwallis occupied the city with four regiments, but the body of the British army encamped at Germantown, ten miles distant. But, though the Americans had evacuated the city, they still held the command of the Delaware below it, and thus cut off the supplies of the British army by sea, and all communication between the army and the fleet, except by the circuitous course of Chester, liable to capture by the enemy.
Within a few days of taking Philadelphia, Lord Howe raised three batteries on the side of the river. On the 3rd of October Washington issued from his camp on the Schuylkill, about fourteen miles from Germantown, having heard that two British detachments had been withdrawn thence to attack the forts on the Delaware. He had been reinforced by militia from Maryland and New 长沙桑拿按摩预约 Jersey, and determined to surprise the British camp at Germantown. Two columns of Continental troops, led by Greene and Sullivan, were to gain the front of the British, and attack it; whilst two other columns of militia were to attack the rear. This force marched all night, and entered Germantown about sunrise, and all seemed likely to favour their enterprise. A fog prevented the discovery of their approach. But, at the first surprise, Colonel Musgrove threw himself into a storehouse, and kept up such a fire from the windows as checked the assault of the Americans, and gave time for the rest of the British force to get under arms. The village of Germantown consisted of one long street. Across this street the British army had encamped, and stoutly resisted the advance of the Americans. Musgrove was summoned to surrender; but 长沙桑拿会所推荐 he continued his fire from the house without taking any notice, and, before artillery could be brought up to batter the house, General Greig and Brigadier Agnew came up to his assistance. The Continental troops in front, led on by Washington himself, made a brisk attack, but were repulsed at all points, and were badly co-operated with by the militia in the rear. Washington was compelled to fall back to his camp at Skippack Creek, leaving behind him about eight hundred killed and wounded, and four hundred prisoners. So far, however, was Sir William Howe from availing himself of this opportunity to follow up the attack on Washington, and disperse his army, that he, as usual, thought only of getting into snug winter quarters.
Thus was another glorious chance for the utter dispersion of the American army thrown away by this most 长沙桑拿场子推荐 incompetent commander; and, as Washington saw that he had nothing to fear during the winter, except from the elements, he determined to encamp himself, so as to keep the British in constant anxiety about him. He selected a strong piece of ground at a place called Valley Forge, covered with wood. He set his soldiers to fell trees and make log-huts, the interstices of which they stopped with moss, and daubed up with clay. As they had plenty of fuel, they could thus pass the winter in some degree of comfort. A great number of his men were on the verge of the expiration of their term, and were impatient to return home; but he persuaded many to remain, and he employed them in throwing up entrenchments on the right of his camp, which was open towards the plain. His left was defended by the Schuylkill, and his rear by a steep 长沙桑拿酒店 precipice descending to the Valley Creek. He began two redoubts, but he soon saw that there was no fear of Howe moving so long as the winter lasted, and he left them unfinished. And thus the winter went over, Howe lying snugly at Philadelphia, enjoying his wine and his cards, and apparently forgetful that there was any such place as Valley Forge within five-and-twenty miles of him.