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mand of lieutenant-general the count de Rochambeau, with a large train of artillery. The American forces were in number one thousand three hundred; eight hundred of whom were continental troops; the whole under the command of general Washington.
On the twenty-ninth of September, 1781, York Town, in Vir. ginia was eompletely invested, and the British army quite blocked up. The day following, Sir Henry Clinton wrote a letter to lord Cornwallis, containing assurances that he would do every thing that was in his power to relieve him, and some further information respecting the manner in which he intended to accomplish that relief. A duplicate of this letter was sent to lord Cornwallis by major Cochran : that gentleman went in a vessel to the Capes, and made his way through the whole French fleet in an open boat. He got to York Town on the tenth of October, and the next day had his head taken off by a cannon ball, as he was walking by the side of lord Corowallis. The fate of this gallant officer drew tears from the eyes of his lordship.
After the return of admiral Greaves to New York, a council of war was held, in which it was resolved, that a large body of troops should be embarked, and that exertions of both fleet and army shouid be made, in order to form a junction with lord Cornwallis.
Sir Iłenry Clinton, himself, with seven thousand troops, went on board the fleet, on the eighteenth. They came abreast of Cape Charles, at the entrance of the Chesapeake, on the twenty, fourth, where they received intelligence that lord Cornwallis had been obliged to capitulate five days before. It was on the nineteenth that his lordship surrendered himself and his whole army, by capitulation, prisoners to the combined armies of America and France. He made a defence worthy of his former fame for mili. tary arhievements, but was compelled to submit by imperious ne. cessity, and superior numbers. "The British prisoners amounted to upwards of six thousand, but many of them, at the time of surrender, were incapable of duty. The prisoners, cannon, and inilitary stores, tell to the Americans, except the seamen, who, with the shipping, found they were, by the articles of capitulation, to be delivered up to the French.
After this event the subjugation of the colonies was virtually given up. Some inconsiderable skirmishes took place betweeu the Refugees and the Americans, afterwards; but were not of that im portance as to merit a place in bistory.
On the fifth of May, 1782, Sir Guy Carleton arrived at New York, being appointed to the command of the British troops in North America: soon after his arrival he wrote a letter to general Washington, imforming him that admiral Digby, with himself, were appointed commissioners to treat for peace with the people of America. Another letter was sent, dated the second of August, and signed by Sir Guy Carleton and admiral Digby, in which they informed general Washington, that negociations for a gene. ral peace had commenced at Paris. Notwithstanding these fa. vourable appearances, the Americans were jealous that it was the design of the British court to disunite them, or induce them to treat of a peace separately from their ally the king of France.
Congress, therefore, passed a resolution: that any man or body of men, who should presume to make any separate treaty, partial convention, or agreement, with the king of Great Britain, or with any commissioner or commissioners, under the crown of Great Britain, ought to be treated as open and avowed enemies of the United States of America, and that those States could not with propriety hold any conference or treaty with any commissioners on the part of Great Britain, unless they should, as a preliminary thereto, either withdraw their fleets and armies, or in express terms acknowledge the Independence of the said States. On the thirtieth of November, 1782, the provincial articles of peace and reconciliation between great Britain and the American States were signed at Paris; by which Great Britain acknowledged the Independence and sovereignty of the United States of America. These articles were ratified by a definitive treaty, September the third, 1783. John Adams, John Jay, and Benjamin Franklin, Esq'rs. were the gentlemen appointed by Congress to negociate this peace on the part of America : and two gentlemen, Oswald and Hartly on the part of the British. It ought to be remarked here, and known to every American citizen, that France repeat. edly declared that her only view in assisting the Americans, was to diminish the power of Great Britain, and thereby promote her own interest, that she officiously interfered in the proposed treaty between Spain and America by her endeavours to circumscribe the laiter within very narrow limits, proposing to deprive the Americans of the right of navigation on the Mississippi, &c.
Thus ended a long and unnatural contest, in which Great Britain expended many millions of pounds sterling, lost thousands of her bravest subjects, and won nothing. America obtained her Independence, at the expense of many thousands of lives and much treasure ; and has suffered exceedingly in the religious and moral character of her citizens.
The great influx of foreigners which poured into America from all quarters, disseminated their pernicious principles amongst the people. Infidelity spread like the plague, through the different states, and threatens the subversion of those sober manners, and that love of order, which the christian religion inculcates.
The eighteenth of October, 1783, Congress issued a proclamation, in which the armies of the United States were applauded " for having displayed through the progress of an arduous, and difficult war, every military and patriotic virtue, and for which the thanks of their country were given them.” They also declared
that such part of their arinies as stood engaged to serve dure ing the war, should fro'n and after the third day of November be discharged from the said service. The day preceding their dismission general Washingtonissi-ihis farewell orders. The evac, uation of New York took place about three weeks after the Amèr. ican army was discharge:l. For a twelve month preceding, there. had been an wrestrained coin nunication between that city, though a British garrison, and the adjacent country; the bitterness of war had passed away, and civilities were freely exchang. ed between those who lately were engaged in deadly contests, and sought for all opportunities in destroy each o her.
As soon as the royal army was withdrawal, general Washing. ton and governor Clinton, with their suits, made a public entry into New York: a general joy was tuanifested by the citizens na their return to their habitations, and in the evening there was a display of fire-works; they exceeded every thing of the kind which had been seen in Arnerica. General Washington so:in after took leave of his oflicers, they having been previously assembled for that purpose. Calling for a glass of wine he thus addressed them, with a heart full of love and gratitude, I now take leave you,
( most devontly wish that your latter days may be a prosperous and happy, as your former ones have teen glorious and honourable."
le afterwards took an affectionate leave of each of them; sybea this affecting scene was over. Washin ton left the room, and passed through the corps of light infantry, to th: place of embarkation; as he entered the barre, to cross tie North river, he turned to his campanions iò glory. and waved his hat, nod took a silent adieu. The officers who had followed him in mute procession, answered his last signal with tears, and hung upon the barge which conveyed hin from their sight, ill they could no longer distinguish their belgved commander in chief. The general proceeded to Annapolis, the seat of congress to resign his commission. On his way thither, he delivered to the comptroller in Philadelphia, an account of the ex senditure of all the public money he had ever receiveit. This was in his o - n tand-writing, and every entry made in a very exaci manner. The whole sum which passed through his hamsuring the war, amounted only to fourteen thousand four hundred and seventy-nine pounds eighteen shillings and nine peale, sierling; no sum charged or retained for personal services.
The day, on which he resigned his commission, a great number of distinguished personages attended the interesting scene, on the twenty-third of December, 1783: he addressed the president, Thomas Miffin, as follows: - Mr. President,
The great events on which my resignation depended, having at length taken place, I have now the honor of oikering iny sincere
congratulations to congress, and of presenting myself before them to surrender into their hands, the trust committed to me, and to claim the indulgence of retiring from the service of my country. Happy in the
confirmation of our independence and sorereignty, and pleased with the opportunity afforded the United States of becoming a respectable nation, I resign with satisfaction the appointment I accepted with difidence; a diffidence in my abilities to accomplish so arduous a task, which, however, was superseded by a confidence in the rectitude of our cause, the support of the supreme power of the Union, and the patronage of Heaven.'
The successful termination of the war has verified the most sanguine expectations, and my gratitude for the interposition of providence, and the assistance I have received from my countrymen, increases with every review of the momentous contest.
While I repeat my obligations to the army in general, I should do injustice to my own feelings not to acknowledge, in this place, the peculiar services and distinguished merits, of the persons who have been attached to my person during the war: it was impossible the choice of confidential ofiicers to compose my family should have been more fortunate : permit me, sir, to recommend in particular tbose who have continued in the service to the present moment, as worthy of the favourable sotice and patronage congress.
I consider it as an indispensable duty to close this last solemn act of my official life, by commending the interest of our dearest country to the protection of Almighty God, and those who have the superintendence of them, to his holy keeping.
Having now finished the work assigned me. I retire from the great theatre of action : and bidding an aff ctionate farewell to this august body, under whose orders I have long acted, I here offer
my commission, and take my leave of all the employments of public life."
To which the president made a suitable reply. The mingled emotions that agitated the minds of the spectators during this interesting ard solemn scene, were beyond description.
Immediately on resigning his commission, general Washington si hastened with ineffible delights,” (to use his own words) to his seat at Mount Vernon, on the baoks of the Potomac, in Virginia.
The country now free froin foreign force and domestic violente, and in the enjoyment of general iranquillity, a proposition was made by Virginia to all the other states, to meet in convention, for the purpose of digesting a form of government; which finally issues in the establishment of a new constitution. Congress, which formerly consisted of one body, was made to consist of two: one of which was to be chosen by the people, in proportion to their numbers, the other by the state legislatures.' Warm and animating debates took place on the propriety of establishing or rejecting it. The ratification of it was celebrated in most of the states with elegant processions,
The first congress under the new constitution met at New York, in April, 1789. Though there were a great diversity of opinions about the new constitution, all were of one mind who should be their chief executive officer. The people unanimously turned their eyes on the late commander in chief, as the most proper person to be their first president. Unambitious of any increase of hon: ours, he had retired to bis farm in Virginia, and hoped to be er: cused from all further public service. But his country called him by an unanimous vote to fill the highest station in its gift.
That pure and upright zeal for his country's welfare, which had uniformly influenced him to devote his time and talents to its service, again influenced him to relmquish the more pleasing scenes of retirement, and induced him once more to engage in the important concerns of public life. The intelligence of his election was communicated to him while he was on his farm in Virginia; he soon after set out for New York: on his way thither, every expression of respect, that a grateful people could bestow, was shewn him. Gentlemen of the first character and station, attend. ed him from state to state. A day was fixed soon after his arrival at New York, for his taking the oath of office. In the morning of the day appointed for this purpose, the clergy, of different de nominations, assembled their cong egations in their respective places of worship, and offered up prayers for the president and people of the United States. About noon, a procession, followed by a multitude of citizens, móved from the president's house to Federal Hall. When they came within a short distance of the hall, the troops fornied a line on both sides of the way, through which the president and vice-president John Adams, passed into the senate chamber. Imediately after, accompanied by both houses, he went into the gallery fronting Eroad street, and be fore them and an immense crowd of spectators, took the oath prescribed by the constitution : which was administered by R. R. Livingston, the chancellor of the state of New York.
During the performance of this ceremony, an awful silence prevailed. The chancellor then proclaimed him, President of the United States of America. This was announced by the discharge of thirteen guns, and by the joyful acclamations of near ten thousand citizens. He then retired to the senate chamber, where he delivered a speech to both houses: near the conclusion of which he renounced all pecuniary compensation.
This memorable day completed the organization of the new constitution. The experience of former ages, as well as of ater times, has given many melancholy and fatal proofs, that poplar governments have seldom answered in practice. The inhabitas of the United States are now making the experiment. That the may succeed in asserting the dignity of human nature, and capacity for self government, is devontly to be syished,