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arms, till the independency of the States had been formally acknowledged.
6. The contracting parties mutually agreed to invite those powers who had received injuries from Great Britaio, to join the com
7. The United States guaranteed to France all the possessions in the West Indies, which she should conquer; and France guaranteed the absolute Independence of the United States, and their supreme authority over every country they possessed, or might acquire during the war.
The house of commons looked upon this treaty as a declaration of war; and the members were unanimous in an address to his majesty, promising to stand by him to the utmost, in the present emergency, but it was warmly contended by the members of the opposition, that the present ministry should be removed, on account of their numerous blunders and miscarriages in every instance. Many were of opinion, that the only way to extricate the nation from its trouble, was to acknowledge at once the independency of America, that so they might do with a good grace, what they would inevitably have to do at last. Instigated with zeal for the national honour, the ministerial party was determined to resent the arrogance of France, and prosecute the war in America, with increased vigour, should the terms about to be offered them be rejected.
The agents of the Americans, in the mean time, were assiduously employed at the court of Spain, Vienna, Prussia, and Tuscany, in order, if possible, to conclude alliances with them; or, at least to procure an acknowledgement of their independency. As it had been reported, that Great Britain had applied for assistance to Russia, the American commissioners were enjoined to use their utmost endeavours with the German princes, to prevent such auxiliaries from marching through their territories; and also, to prevail with them to recall the German troops already sent to America. To the Spanish court they proposed, that in case they should proper to espouse
their cause, the American States should assist in reducing Pensacola under the dominion of Spain; prorided the citizens of the United States were allowed the free navigation of the river Mississippi, and the use of the harbour of Pensacola : and they further offered, that if agreeable to Spain, they would declare war against Portugal, should that power ex. pel the American ships from their ports.
The troops under general Burgoyne in the mean time, were preparing to embark, agreeably to the convention of Saratoga, but Congress having received information that articles of ammunition and accoutrements, had not been surrendered as stipulated; and álledging, also, some other cause, as that they apprehended sinis
ter designs were harboured by Great Britain, to convey these troops to join the army at Philadelphia, or New York, positively refused to let them embark without an explicit ratification of the convention, properly notified by the British court.
The season for action approaching, Congress was indelatigable in making preparations for a new campaign; which, it was confi. dently affirmed, would be the last. General Washington, at the same time, to remove all necessary incumbrances from the army, lightened the baggage as much as possible, by substituting sacks and portmanteaus, in place of chests and boxes; and using packhorses instead of wagons. The British army, on the other hand, expecting to be reinforced by twenty thousand men, thought of nothing but concluding the war, according to their wishes, before the end of another campaign.
Lord North's conciliatory bill, therefore, was received by them, with the utmost concern and indignation : they considered it as a national disgrace; and some even tore the cockades from their hats and trampled them under their feet. By the colonists it was received with indifference. The British commissioners endeavoured to make it as public as possible; and Congress, as usual, ordered it to be printed in all the newspapers. Governor Tryon inclosed several copies of the bill in a letter to general Washington, intreating him, that he would allow them to be circulated; to which the general returned for answer, a newspaper, in which the bill was printed, with the resolutions of Congress upon it, which were,
that whosoever presumed to make a separate agree. ment with Great Britain, should be deemed a public enemy; that the United States could not, with any propriety, keep correspondence with the commissioners, until their independence was aeknowledged, and the British tleets and armies removed from America.
The colonies were also warned not to suffer themselves to be deceived into security by any offers that might be made; but to use their u nost enueavuurs to send their quotas into the field. Some individuals, who conversed with the commissioners on the subject of the conciliatory bill, intimated to them that the day of reconciliation was past: that the haughtiness of Britain had estinguished all filiai regard in the breast of the Americans.
Silas Deane, about this time, arrived from France with two copies of the treaty of commerce and
alliance, to be signed by Coogress. Advices of the most flattering nature were received from various parts, representing the friendly dispositions of the European powers; all of whom, it was said, wished to see the independence of America settled upon the most permanent basis.
Considering, therefore, the situation of the colonies at this time, it was no wonder that the commissioners did not succeed. Their proposals were utterly rejected, and themselves threatened to be treated as spies. But before ang answer could be obtained from Congress, sir Henry Clinton had taken the resolution of evacuating Philadelphia. Accordingly, on the eighteenth of June, after having made the necessary preparations, the army marched out of the city, and crossed the Delaware betore noon, with all its baggage, and other incumbrances. General Washington, apprised of this design, bad despatched expresses into the Jerseys, with orders to collect all the force that could be assembled, in order to obstruct the march of the enemy. After various movements on both sides, sir Henry Clinton, with the royal army, arrived at a place called Freehold, on the twenty-seventh of June, where, expecting the enemy would attack him, he chose a strong situation, General Washington, as was expected, meditated an attack as soon as the army began to march. The night was spent in making the necessary preparations, and general Lee was ordered with his division to be ready at day break. Sir Henry Clinton, justly. apprehending that the chief object of the enemy was the baggage, committed it to the care of general Knyphauzen, whom he ordered to set out early in the morning, while he followed with the rest of the army. The attack was made, but the British general hau taken sneh care to arrange his troops, and so effectually support. ed his forces when engaged with the Americans, thai they not only made no impression, but were with difficulty preserved from a total defeat, by general Washington, who advanced with the whole of the American army.
The British troops retreated in the night, with the loss of three hundred men, of whom many died through fatigue (the weather being extremely hot) not a wound being seen upon them. In this action, general Lee was charged by general Washington with disobedience and misconduct, in retreating before the British army. He was tried by a court-martial, and sentenced to a suspension from his command for one year. When the British army had arrived at Sandy Hook, a bridge of boats was, by lord Howe's directions, thrown from thence over the channel which separated the island from the main land, and the troops were conveyed on board the fleet; after which they sailed to New York. General Washington then moved towards the North river; where a great force had been collected to join him, and where it was now expected that operations of great magnitude would take place. France, in the mean time, was preparing to assist the Ameri
On the fourteenth of April, 1778, count D’Estaing had sailed from Toulon, with a strong squadron of ships of the line, and frigates; he arrived on the coast of Virginia, in the beginning of July, whilst the British fleet was employed in conveying the forces from Sandy Hook to New York. The French fleet consisted of one ship of 120 guns, one of 80, six of 74, and four of 64, besides several wrge frigates; and exclusive of its complement of sailors, it had six thousand marines and soldiers on board. To oppose this, the British had only six ships of 64 guns, three of 50, and two of 40, with some frigates and sloops. Notwithstanding this inferiority, the British admiral had posted himself so udvantageously, and displayed such superior skill, that D’Estaing did not think it adviseable to attack him: he was also informed by the pilots, that his large vessels could not go over the bar into the hook. In the mean time, general Washington pressed him to sail to Newport. He, therefore, remained at anchor four miles off Sandy Hook, till the twenty-second of July, without effectiog any thing more than the capture of some vessels; which, through ig. norance of his arrival, fell into his hands.
The next attempt of the French admiral, in conjunction with the Americans, was against Rhode Island. It was proposed that D'Estaing, with the six thousand troops he had with him, should ipake a descent on the southern part of the island, while the Americans took possession of the north; at the same time, the French squadron was to enter the harbour of Newport, and take and destroy all the British shipping there. On the eighth of August, the French admiral entered the harbour, as was proposed, but was unable to do any material damage. Lord Howe, how. ever, instantly set sail for Rhode Island, and D'Estaing confiding in his superiority, inmediately came out of the harbour to attack hiin. A violent storm parted the two fleers, and did so much da. mage, that they were rendered totally unfit for action. The French suffered the most, and several of their ships being afterwards attacked by the English, very narrowly escaped being taken. On the twentieth of August, the French admiral returned to Newport in a shattered condition; but not thinking himself safe there, sailed two days after for Boston.
In the inean time, general Sullivan had landed on the northern part of the island, with ten thousand men. On the seventeenth of August, ihey began their operations, by erecting batteries, and making their approaches to the British lines. General Pigot, however, had so secured himself on the land side, that the Americans could not attack him with any probability of success, without the assistance of a marine force. D'Estaing's conduct in abandoning them when he was master of the harbour, gave great disgust to the Americans, and Sullivan began to prepare for
a retreat. On perceiving his intentions, the garrison sallied out upon him with such vigour, that it was with great difficulty he effected it. He had not been long gone, when sir Henry Clinton arrived with a reinforcement of four thousand men. The Americans thus having left the island, the British undertook an espedition to Buzzard's bay, on the coast of New England, and in he neighbourhood of Rhode Island; where they destroyed a great umber of privateers and merchantmen, magazines, and store
houses, &c. They proceeded next to Martha's vineyard, from whence they carried off ten thousand sheep and three hundred black cattle.
Another expedition under the command of lord Cornwallis and general Knyphauzen, went up the North river; the principal object of which, was the destruction of a regiment of cavalry, called Washington's light-horse.
A third expedition was directed to Little Egg Harbour, in New Jersey, a place noted for privateers; it was conducted by captains Ferguson and Collins, who completely destroyed the enemy's vessels. At the same time, a body of American troops, called Pulaski's legion, were surprised, and a great number cut off.
The conqaest of West Florida, in the beginning of the year, was projected by some Americans under the command of captain Willing, who had made a successful excursion into the country. This roused the attention of the British to the southern colonies, and an expedition against them was resolved on. Georgia was the place of destination, and the more effectually to ensure success, colonel Campbell, with a suflicient force, under convoy of some ships of war, commanded by commodore Parker, embarked at New York, while general Prevost, who commanded in East Florida, was directed to set out with all the force he could spare.
The armament arrived off the coast of Georgia in the month of December, 1778, and though the Americans were very strongly posted, i very advantageous situation on the shore, the Britisia troops made good their landing, and advanced towards Savannah, the capital of the province." The same day they defeated the American forces which opposed them, and entered the town of Savannah with such celerity, that the enemy had not time to burn the town, as they had intended.' In ten days the whole province was subdued except Sunbury; and this was also obliged to submit to general Prevost in his march sonth ward.
To secure the tranquility of the province, was now the main object of the British. Rewards were offered for apprehending committee and assembly men, and such as had taken a decided part against the British government. On the arrival of general Prevost, the command of the troops devolved on him as the senior oflicer; and the conquest of Carolina was next projected. In this attempt they were encouraged by many of the loyat inhabitants who had joined them; and there was not in the province any considerable body of the enemy capable to oppose regular and well disciplined troops.
On the first news of general Prevost's approach, the loyalists, assembled in a body, imagining themselves able to maintain their station until their allies should arrive; but they were disappointed. 'The Americans attacked and defeated them with the loss of half