« 上一頁繼續 »
I will not defalcate a groat,
II, EXTRACT FROM GATES'S AND BURGOYNE'S CORRESPONDENCE,
GENERAL Burgoyne had complained of the harsh treatment experienced by the provincial prisoners taken at Bennington, and requested that a surgeon from his army should be permitted to visit the wounded; and that he might be allowed to furnish them with necessaries and attendants. “Duty and principle,” he added, “make me a public enemy to the Americans, who have taken up arms; but I seek to be a generous one ; nor have I the shadow of resentment against any individual, who does not induce it by acts derogatory to those maxims, upon which all men of honor think alike.” In answer to this letter, General Gates, who had just taken command of the American army, said, “that the savages of America should, in their warfare, mangle and Scalp the unhappy prisoners who fall into their hands, is neither new nor extraordinary, but that the famous Lieutenant-general Burgoyne, in whom the fine gentleman is united with the soldier and the Scholar, should hire the Savages of America to Scalp Europeans, and the descendants of Europeans; nay, more, that he should pay a price for each scalp so barbarously taken, is more than will be believed in Europe, until authenticated facts shall, in every gazette, confirm the truth of the horrid tale.
“Miss M'Crea, a young lady, lovely to the sight, of virtuous character, and amiable disposition, engaged to an officer of your army, was, with other women and children, taken out of a house near Fort Edward, carried into the woods, and there Scalped and mangled in a most shocking manner. Two parents, with their six children, were all treated with the same inhumanity, while quietly resting in their once happy and peaceful dwelling. The miserable fate of Miss M'Crea was particularly aggravated, by being dressed to receive her promised husband; but met her murderer employed by, you. Upwards of one hundred men, women and children, have perished by the hands of the ruffians, to whom, it is asserted, you have paid the price of blood.”
To this part of his letter, General Burgoyne replied, “I have hesitated, sir, upon answering the other paragraphs of your letter. I disdain to justify myself against the rhapsodies of fiction and calumny, which, from the first of this contest “In regard to Miss M'Crea, her fall wanted not the tragic display you have labored to give it, to make it as sincerely abhorred and lamented by me, as it can be by the tenderest of her friends. The fact was no premeditated barbarity. On the contrary, two chiefs, who had brought her off for the purpose of security, not of violence to her person, disputed which should be her guard, and in a fit of Savage passion in one, from whose hands she was snatched, the unhappy woman became the victim. Upon the first intelligence of this event, I obliged the Indians to deliver the murderer into my hands, and though to have punished him by our laws, or principles of justice, would have been perhaps unprecedented, he certainly should have suffered an ignominious death, had I not been convinced from my circumstances and observation, beyond the possibility of a doubt, that a pardon under the terms which I presented, and they accepted, would be more efficacious than an execution, to prevent similar mischiefs.
it has been an unvaried American policy to prop
agate, but which no longer impose on the world. I am induced to deviate from this general rule, in the present instance, lest my silence should be construed an acknowledgment of the truth of your allegations, and a pretence be thence taken for exercising future barbarities by the American troops.
“By this motive, and upon this only, I condescend to inform you, that I would not be conScious of the acts you presume to impute to me, for the whole continent of America, though the wealth of worlds was in its bowels, and a paradise upon its surface. ... - -
“It has happened, that all my transactions with the Indian nations, last year and this, have been clearly heard, distinctly understood, accurately minuted, by very numerous, and in many parts, very unprejudiced persons. So immediately opposite to the truth is your assertion, that I have paid a price for scalps, that one of the first regulations established by me at the great council in May, and repeated and enforced, and invariably adhered to since, was, that the Indians should receive compensation for prisoners, because it would prevent cruelty; and that not only such compensation should be withheld, but a strict account demanded for scalps. These pledges of conquest, for such you well know they will ever esteem them, were solemnly and peremptorily prohibited to be taken from the wounded, and even the dying, and the persons of aged men, women, children, and prisoners, were pronounced sacred, even in an assault.
“The above instance excepted, your intelligence respecting the cruelty of the Indians is false. - “You seem to threaten me with European publications, which affect me as little as any other threats you could make ; but in regard to American publications, whether your charge against me, which I acquit you of believing, was penned from a gazette, or for a gazette, I desire and demand of you, as a man of honor, that should it appear in print at all, this answer may follow it.”
Effect of the victory of Saratoga — Meeting of Parliament — Need of confederation and union — Measures adopted — Circular letter of Congress—Winter-quarters at Valley Forge —Intense suffering of the army — Sad details —Causes of the want of supplies for the army—Distresses among the officers—Washington strongly advocates the half-pay system — Washington's trials—Invidious comparisons — Attempt to ruin his reputation—Conway's Cabal –Persons connected with it — Anonymous letters, etc.—Washington's letter to Laurens-Party in Congress–Board of War—Gates's and Mifflin's asseverations— Conway's confession — Magnanimity of Washington's conduct—Course of the French ministry — Diplomatic experiences —Effect of the victory of Saratoga upon the views of the French court—Lord North's conciliatory bills-France determines to act with decision — Treaty with France—Notice of it to the English court-Beaumarchais's connection with American affairs—Conciliatory plans sent to America–Terms offered — Rejoicings at the treaty with France – Address by Congress to the Inhabitants of the United States—Royal Commissioners–Attempts at negotiation-Reply of Congress–Botta's remarks on the course pursued by the Americans—British foraging expeditions — Lafayette
at Barren Hill. APPENDIX To CHAPTER IV. —I. Articles of Confederation. II. The Battle of the Kegs.
THE victory of Saratoga made it certain, that the Americans had entered upon the contest with England, with a determination to achieve their independence. Reverses, many and severe, had not discouraged them; there was no appearance, whatever, of a disposition to yield; there was every evidence, that the people were resolved at all hazards, to maintain their rights and liberties. And now, when, by a fortunate concurrence of favoring circumstances, they had obtained a great victory, they were better than ever prepared to persist in the attitude they had assumed, and also to enter upon alliances with foreign powers, suitable to the dignity and importance of a brave and a free people.
Parliament met as usual in November of this year.
The customary addresses in answer to the royal speech
were moved, but they were not carried without opposition. In the House of Lords, the celebrated Earl of Chatham, then sinking under the infirmities of age and disease, proposed an amendment, by introducing a clause recommending to his majesty an immediate cessation of hostilities, and the commencement of a treaty of conciliation, “to restore peace and liberty to America, strength and happiness to England, security and permanent prosperity to both countries.” In his speech, he animadverted with much severity on the employment of the savages as auxiliaries in the war, although it is true that their aid had not been disdained under his own administration. This amendment, like every other proposal of concession and conciliation, was lost; and the ministerial measures received large majorities in their favor, so confident were the administration, that the expedition under Burgoyne, would be crowned with success.
On the 3d of December, the news of the victory of Saratoga reached England. Astonishment and dismay were the consequence; Lord North and the ministry were immediately attacked by the opposition. Profoundly mortified and vexed, the ministry endeavored to shift the blame from themselves to the commanders of the army in America. They asserted that they had done every thing which could be done, to warrant success, and deprecated condemnation without full inquiry. A temporary respite was obtained by the ministry, by the adjournment of Parliament to the 20th of January, 1778.
In a previous chapter we have spoken of the measures taken to effect a more solid and effective union of the various colonies, so as to enable Congress to act with vigor and efficiency. It was plain that something must be done, for Congress had no powers or rights, except in so far as the states chose to recognize them, by carrying out its resolves. As a government, it was certain that Congress could not efficiently discharge the duties expected from its position : inherent defects attached to the revolutionary government, and it was fast breaking down, as well from the want of executive authority over the people of the whole country, as from the futility of any federative union among sovereign states, which leaves the execution of the measures adopted in general council, to the separate members of the confederacy.
Early in October, the approach of the British having compelled Congress to retire to Yorktown, the Articles of Confederation were taken up and discussed from day to day, until the middle of November. At that date, they were adopted for recommendation to the states,” and the following circular letter was addressed to the several legislatures, urging their adoption. “Congress having agreed upon a plan of confederacy for securing the freedom, sovereignty, and independence of the United States, authentic copies are now transmitted for the consideration of the respective legislatures. The business, equally intricate and important, has in its progress been attended with uncommon embarrassments and delay, which the most anxious solicitude and persevering diligence could not prevent.
“To form a permanent union, accommodated to the opinion and wishes of the delegates of so many states, dif. fering in habits, produce, commerce, and internal police, was found to be a work which nothing but time and reflection, conspiring with a disposition to conciliate, could mature and accomplish. Hardly is it to be expected that any plan, in the variety of provisions essential to our union, should exactly correspond with the maxims and political views of every particular state. Let it be remarked, that, after the most careful inquiry and the fullest information, this is proposed as the best which could be adapted to the circumstances
* See Appendix I., at the end of the present chapter.
of all, and as that alone which affords any tolerable prospect of general ratification. Permit us, then, earnestly to recommend these articles to the immediate and dispassionate attention of the legislatures of the respective states. Let them be candidly reviewed under a sense of the difficulty of combining in one general system the various sentiments and interests of a continent divided into so many sovereign and independent communities, under a conviction of the absolute necessity of uniting all our councils and all our strength, to maintain and defend our common liberties. Let them be examined with a liberality becoming brethren and fellow-citizens, surrounded by the same imminent dangers, contending for the same illustrious prize, and deeply interested in being forever bound and connected together by ties the most intimate and indissoluble. “And finally, let them be adjusted with the temper and magnanimity of wise and patriotic legislators, who, while they are concerned for the prosperity of their more immediate circle, are capable of rising superior to local attachments, when they may be incompatible with the safety, happiness, and glory of the general confederacy. “We have reason to regret the time which has elapsed in preparing this plan for consideration. With additional solicitude, we look forward to that which must be necessarily spent before it can be ratified. Every motive loudly calls upon us to hasten its conclusion. “More than any other consideration, it will confound our foreign enemies, defeat the flagitious practices of the dis
means which are placed in our power.
To conclude, if the legislature of any state shall not be assembled, Congress recommend to the executive authority to convene it without delay; and to each respective legislature, it is recommended to invest its delegates with competent powers ultimately, in the name and behalf of the state, to subscribe articles of confederation and perpetual union of the United States, and to attend Congress for that purpose on or before the 10th day of March, 1788.”
Washington, whose intimate sympathy with the people was never lost for a moment, was very loth to exercise the large powers with which he had been entrusted by Congress, and it was a severe trial to him, to be compelled to use forcible means to obtain supplies for the army. In every step which he took, he manifested a deep sense of his responsibility, while he never failed to display firmness and decision,