The War of American Independence

But the prosperity of America was now to receive a sudden check, and a contest to begin, more important to her and more momentous in its consequences, than any which the world had ever witnessed. England was oppressed by a heavy debt, which had been more than doubled by the heavy expenses of the late war, and the people were overburdened with taxes. In an evil hour, it occurred to the Chancellor of the Exchequer that this pressure might be lightened, if the American Colonies could be made to contribute to the general expenses of the empire.

Mr. Grenville introduced into parliament his bill for imposing a stamp tax on the American Colonies, and it became a law with little opposition February 6th, 1765. Stamped papers, upon which a considerable impost was to be paid, were required for all judicial proceedings, clearances at the custom-house, bills of lading, and even the diplomas granted by seminaries of learning. The law was not to take effect for about seven or eight months after its passage. The news that the bill had become a law arrived in Boston early in April; and the effect was as if a cannon had been fired so near the ears of the people that they were all stunned by the explosion. They seemed stupefied at first; there was no popular outbreak, no meeting for the passage of violent resolutions. But it was the lull which precedes, and not that which follows, the tempest. The legislative body assembled in May, and they immediately resolved that the other Colonies should be invited to unite with them in sending delegates to a Congress, to be held in New York in October, to consult together on the present state of affairs and the recent acts of parliament. This was a significant intimation that the Colonies were at last aware of the strength and firmness which they might acquire by concert and union.

Delegates from nine of the colonies assembled at the Congress in New York, and assurances were received from two other Colonies that they would acquiesce in the result. The proceedings of this Congress were singularly moderate, considering the excited temper of the people. They only published a declaration of the Rights and Grievances of the Colonies, and addressed a petition to the king, and memorials to the two houses of parliament; and the tone of these documents, though firm, was mild, argumentative, and respectful. They claimed all the privileges of British subjects, and especially that of not being taxed without their own consent. When these papers were signed, the Congress was dissolved, after a session of little more than a fortnight. The chief advantage derived from it was, that it made the patriot leaders from the different Colonies acquainted with each other, and enabled them to give assurances of mutual support. November came, but the stamps were nowhere used and the business even of the courts of justice, after a short suspension, was resumed. The act was practically nullified, with the assent, either free or enforced, of the judges and the governors.

The cause of the Colonies, which they pleaded with much earnestness and ability, soon found sympathy in the whole of Europe; and in England itself, it was embraced by a powerful party, which opposed the measures of government both in speech and writing. At the head of this opposition stood the great statesman and orator, the elder William Pitt, afterwards Earl of Chatham; and he was actively supported by Conway, Col. Barre, and Lord Camden, afterwards Lord Chancellor, and next to Lord Mansfield, the highest legal authority in the realm. This powerful opposition produced a change of ministry in July, 1765, and, after a vehement debate, after Dr. Franklin had undergone a memorable examination before the House of Commons, in which he declared that the Act could never be enforced, the Stamp Act was repealed. But a bill was passed at the same time, March, 1766, declaratory of the power and right of parliament to bind America in all cases whatsoever. In the Colonies, the news of the repeal was received with great rejoicing, the accompanying act being justly regarded as a mere contrivance to save the honor of government. Lord. Camden, indeed, in the House of Lords, had strenously opposed the declaratory bill as 'absolutely illegal.' 'Taxation and representation,' he declared, 'are inseparably united; God hath joined them, and no British parliament can put them asunder.' Indemnity was demanded from the Colonies for those officers of the crown who had suffered from the late riots; and both New York and Massachusetts granted them full compensation.

But the joy of the Americans was of short duration, for in little more than a year, another act was passed by parliament, imposing duties on all tea, paper, glass, paints, and lead, that should be imported into the Colonies. This was an avowed attempt to raise a revenue, though, in form, the bill was like other acts for regulating trade; and it was hoped that, on this account, it would escape censure. But the principle first advanced by James Otis was now generally adopted by the Colonists, that revenue bills under the form of regulations of trade violated their rights quite as much as direct taxation. Thus the flame of opposition was kindled anew, and raged as hotly as ever. Non-importation was an obvious and legal means of escaping these taxes; and extensive combinations were therefore formed to refrain from the use, not only of the taxed articles, but, as far as possible, of all other British commodities. Able leaders and defenders of the popular causes were not wanting. Besides James Otis, there were the two Adamses (Samuel and John) and John Hancock in Massachusetts, John Dickenson in Pennsylvania, (the author of the celebrated 'Farmer's Letters,' an able plea for Colonial rights,) Patrick Henry, and B. H. Lee in Virginia, and Gadsden and Rutledge in South Carolina, besides Dr. Franklin, whose reputation and abilities were of great weight in London, where he resided for many years as agent of several of the Colonies.

The war of pamphlets, newspapers, and speeches, the sharp controversies between colonial assemblies and royal governors, and occasional outbreaks of popular violence, continued for four or five years, till the Americans were well nigh weaned from their old affection for the land of their forefathers, and had ceased to glory in the British name. Boston was the head quarters of opposition to the policy of the English ministers, and several regiments of British troops were accordingly sent thither to dragoon the inhabitants into submission. But this measure served only to increase the irritation, and to make the breach irreparable. An affray took place March 5, 1770, between the mob and the soldiers, in which the latter fired, and killed three of their unarmed assailants, besides dangerously wounding five others. It was late in the evening; the alarm bells rang, the citizens rushed into the streets, and an open battle between the people and the troops was with difficulty prevented. The next day, the irritation of the people was so strongly manifested in a town meeting, that the governor and the military commander consented to remove the troops to an island in the harbor, and quiet was restored. The soldiers who had fired, with their officer, were brought to trial for murder; but Adams and Quincy, two of the most distinguished advocates of popular rights, nobly consented to act as their legal defenders, and made out so clear a case for them, that they had acted under strong provocation, that the jury acquitted them of murder, and only two were convicted of manslaughter, and slightly punished. Yet the story of 'the Boston Massacre,' as it was called, served long to inflame the passions of the multitude against their British oppressors.

As yet, no revenue had been received from the duty on tea, because the Americans would not import any of that commodity, the little which they consumed being obtained by smuggling. But the contest was brought to a crisis in 1773, by the East India Company, which, instigated by the English ministry, sent several cargoes of tea to the Colonies, supposing with good reason that it would be purchased if it could only be landed and offered for sale. But the patriots were on the alert, and immediately formed combinations to prevent the landing of the tea, and to force the consignees to send it back. In New York and Philadelphia, popular vengeance was denounced against any persons who should receive the article, and even against the pilots if they should guide the ships into the harbor; and the vessels were thus obliged to return to England, without even effecting an entry at the custom-house. At Charleston the tea was landed and stored in damp cellars, where it was quickly spoiled. At Boston, governor Hutchinson and admiral Montague succeeded in preventing the vessels from leaving the harbor, in spite of the menaces of the inhabitants; whereupon, about fifty persons disguised themselves as Mohawk Indians, boarded the ships at the wharf, and in the presence of a great crowd of people, drew up the chests of tea from the holds, and emptied their contents into the water. When the news of this act arrived in England, the indignant ministry resolved to punish the contumacious Bostonians, and for this purpose, introduced three bills into parliament, March, 1774, one of which shut up the port of Boston, and removed the custom-house to Salem; another virtually abrogated the charter of Massachusetts, by giving to the crown or to the governor the appointment of the Council and of all officers, and even the selection of juries, and by prohibiting town meetings from being held without the governor's consent; and a third provided that persons accused of murder might be sent to England for trial. These bills were strenuously opposed by Fox, Burke, Barré, and Dunning, but were carried by majorities of more than four to one. Another law provided for the quartering of troops in America. Four more regiments were sent to Boston, so that the town was now strongly garrisoned; and Gen. Gage being appointed governor, in place of Hutchinson, the people of the province were virtually placed under military law. The Quebec Act, passed at the same session, for the purpose of preventing Canada from taking part with the other Colonies, extended the boundaries of that province to the Ohio and the Mississippi, established the old French law in all judicial proceedings, and secured to the Catholic Church there the enjoyment of all its lands and revenues. A short time before, as if the feelings of the people of Massachusetts had not been sufficiently irritated, their agent in London, Dr. Franklin, was made the object of an indecent and scurrilous invective before the Privy Council by the Solicitor General, Wedderburn, the avowed intention being to insult him and his constituents. He was charged with having transmitted to Massachusetts certain letters, written by some officers of the crown in that province, on public subjects, to their friends in office in England, which letters had been given to Franklin by some person who had obtained them by stratagem or unfair means. But before making this charge, the ministers themselves had repeatedly intercepted the letters of Franklin and other Colonial agents, and read them.

The passage of the Boston Port Bill was the virtual commencement of the American Revolution, though a collision with arms did not take place till another year had elapsed. The agreements to import no more British goods, and to abstain from the consumption of them, were renewed with greater solemnity and strictness than before. Another general Congress was called by Massachusetts, to meet at Philadelphia in September; and committees of correspondence were instituted, to render the action of the different Colonies harmonious, and to keep them advised of each other's proceedings. Closing the harbor had deprived the people of Boston of their usual means of livelihood; but Salem and Marblehead generously tendered them the use of their wharves, and subscriptions for the more indigent were obtained all over the country. The Congress met at the appointed time and place, and twelve Colonies were represented in it, only Georgia sending no delegates. Among the members were the two Adamses from Massachusetts, and Washington and Patrick Henry from Virginia. Memorials and addresses were sent forth, as by the former assembly and the tone of these papers was naturally firmer and more decisive than on the former occasion, though it was still moderate. A dignified and eloquent Address to the people of Great Britain, written by Mr. Jay, was much admired. The Declaration of Colonial Rights was precise and comprehensive, and it included a protest against the employment of a standing army in the Colonies without their consent. Professions were made of perfect loyalty to the king, and of great solicitude for the restoration of former harmony with Great Britain and, from a majority of the delegates, these professions were undoubtedly sincere. After a session of eight weeks, the delegates separated, having first recommended that another Congress should meet in the ensuing May, if the difficulties with England were not previously adjusted.

In Massachusetts, hostilities seemed to be on the point of breaking out. Governor Gage prorogued the General Court before it had come together; but the members met at Salem, in spite of the prorogation, organized themselves into a provincial congress, chose John Hancock for their president, and proceeded to business. In an address to the governor, they protested against the presence of British troops, and the erection of the fortifications in Boston. They appointed a committee of safety, to make measures for the defense of the province, and another committee to obtain provisions and military stores. They forbade the payment of any more money to the late treasurer, and ordered all taxes to be collected by an officer whom they had appointed. Three generals were commissioned by them, to take the command of the militia, who were organized and disciplined with much diligence. Gage issued counter orders and proclamations, but no one out of the range of his soldiers' muskets listened to them. His power was limited to Boston, which he held by a considerable military force, and had carefully fortified but the people throughout Massachusetts rendered strict and cheerful obedience to the provincial congress. Later in the year, 12, 000 'minute men' were enrolled, being volunteers from the militia, who pledged themselves to be ready for service at a minute's notice. Minute men were also enrolled in the other New England colonies, where, also, measures were taken to procure artillery and military stores.

The Port Bill went into operation in June, 1774, and the battle of Lexington was not fought till the following April. During the intervening months, the attitude of the whole people was calm and watchful they did not collect together in large bodies, they made no menacing demonstrations, but waited patiently till their opponents should commit the first overt act of hostility.

It was the firing of the kin g 's troops on Lexington common April 19th, 1775, which rang the alarm bell of the revolution, and the hitherto seemingly quiescent Colony burst at once into a flame. This event took place at four o'clock in the morning; and before noon, the hills and roads were alive with 'minute men,' hurrying from all quarters to the scene of conflict. General Gage had sent out Colonel Smith, the night before, with 800 men, to destroy some military stores which the patriots had collected at Concord. On arriving at Lexington, Colonel Smith found a company of 'minute men' collected on the common, who were ordered to disperse, and almost at the same moment were fired upon by the British, who killed or wounded eighteen of them. A few shots were fired in return, and the king's troops then passed on to Concord, where they destroyed a few stores, were attacked by the provincials, and commenced their retreat to Boston about noon. But the minute men were now rapidly coming up from the neighboring towns, and each company, as it arrived, without waiting for orders, or stopping to concert action with those already on the field, took the best position it could find for annoying the enemy, and opened its fire. The woods and stone walls on each side of the road were lined with sharp shooters, who availed themselves of every advantage of the ground as skillfully as if they had been directed by an able general. When the British, on their retreat, had reached Lexington, they were met by a reinforcement of 1,200 men, without which they would probably have been cut off. But as soon as they resumed their march, they were again attacked, and the affair continued as it had begun, each company of the rustic soldiery finding its own station and fighting on its own hook. The action ended only when the harassed king's troops reached Charlestown, where they found safety under the guns of their shipping. They lost about 270 in killed, wounded, and missing, while the American loss was but 93.

The manner in which this battle was fought was a type of the whole contest in New England, from the time when the tea was destroyed till Boston was evacuated. It is the most striking, perhaps the only complete, instance which all history affords, of the whole population of a country, selfmoved, and self-governed, acting together with great unanimity and vigor, yet acting patiently, prudently, and with even a punctilious regard for the laws, while their excitement was intense, and while they were bravely defying a powerful empire, and setting at nought an authority, which, when exercised within the bounds of justice, they and their fathers had always implicitly, and even lovingly, recognized. The first action of the Massachusetts Provincial Congress, after the battle of Lexington, was characteristic of the men and the times. They appointed a committee to take the depositions of those who were present, in order to prove that the British fired first. If they had been conducting a lawsuit about the title to a farm, they could not have been more anxious to collect testimony, and show that the law' was on their side. Most of the resolutions which they passed at this period, were accompanied by formidable preambles, in which the justice and legality of the measure proposed were demonstrated at length, though often with more earnestness than logic. The time for action had now arrived, and it soon appeared that the spirit which the people had shown at Lexington was no transient feeling. Within a few days, an army of about 16,000 men had come together, and the siege of Boston was begun. This, again, was a spontaneous and unconcerted movement they assembled before preparations were made for them, before a commander in-chief had been appointed, or any plan of action formed. Rhode Island and Connecticut retained the control of their own troops, and the care of providing them with arms and sustenance, merely instructing them to cooperate with the Massachusetts army. But for the excellent spirit of the men, the army would have been merely an armed mob. But the ranks were filled with steady farmers and mechanics, who were brought thither by their attachment to the cause, and who needed little discipline to keep them in order.

Ammunition and artillery were yet wanting, though great exertions had been made to obtain military stores. But this want was partially supplied by an enterprise of the Green Mountain Boys,' as the inhabitants of the country which is now the State of Vermont were then called. It was known that the fortresses of Ticonderoga and Crown Point had but slender garrisons and were imperfectly guarded. Ethan Allen and Seth Warner, who commanded some armed volunteers in that region, undertook upon their own responsibility to take these forts by surprise, and they succeeded, May, 1775. Two hundred pieces of artillery and a considerable supply of powder were thus obtained for the camp near Boston. The British army at that place had been reinforced, and now amounted to 10,000 men, under Generals Howe, Clinton, and Burgoyne. To straiten their quarters, Col. Prescott was sent, with about a thousand men from the American army, to throw up an entrenchment on Bunker's Hill in Charlestown. A small redoubt was constructed there in the night time, on which, as soon as it was discovered in the morning, the English ships in the harbor opened their fire, June 17. This produced but little effect; and the rein forcements sent to Prescott during the forenoon enabled him to throw up an imperfect breast-work, and other slight fortifications outside of the redoubt. Generals Putnam, Pomeroy, and Warren joined him at this time, but did not take the command out of his hands. Three thousand men were sent over at noon from Boston, led by Howe and Pigot, to take the hill by assault. They advanced bravely, but the fire of the Americans was so close and well-sustained, that the British wavered, and fell back in great disorder. Gage then ordered the village of Charlestown, which was near the foot of the hill, to be set on fire, and while the flames were raging, the troops again moved forward. Again, as they approached the redoubt, the murderous fire of the Americans, many of whom were practiced marksmen, burst forth, and again the assailants were driven back to the landing place. They formed and advanced a third time, and as the ammunition of the Americans was now nearly spent, they succeeded in getting possession of the hill. But their opponents retired in a body, and were not pursued, though they suffered much from the fire of the shipping in their retreat. The victory of Howe might well be considered a defeat, for he lost over a thousand men in killed and wounded, while the American loss was not half as great. But Gen. Warren was among the slain. The battle was as characteristic as that of Lexington; a Colonel commanded, and three Generals either served under him, or acted independently in directing the troops. The result was very encouraging to the Americans, as it proved that their raw levies were capable of waging a desperate conflict with regular troops.

Congress had again assembled at Philadelphia at the appointed time, May 10, and it began to exercise all the functions of a government, though there was no formal union of the Colonies, and the cheerful acquiescence of the people was the only basis of its authority. But the delegates were not yet prepared for a total rupture with England; they voted to send another petition to the king, and an address to the people of Great Britain, in which they declared that they did not intend to throw off their allegiance, and professed an anxious desire for peace. At the same time, they resolved to put the country in a state of defense, and to complete the organization of an army, George Washington, a delegate from Virginia, was chosen commander-in-chief, the members from New England heartily concurring in his nomination, from their wish to secure the coöperation of the southern Colonies. Ward, Lee, Schuyler, and Putnam were commissioned as major-generals, and ten brigadiers were appointed, among whom were Gates, Green, Montgomery, and Sullivan. Most of these officers had seen service in the French and Indian wars. Bills of credit, or paper money, were issued to the amount of three millions of dollars; a post-office department was organized, and a committee was appointed to secure, if possible, the neutrality of the Indians. Massachusetts asked the advice of Congress, in reference to its form of government; and it was advised to establish a provisional government, that should conform as nearly as possible to the charter. The governors of most of the Colonies had now either abandoned their posts, or were coöperating with the enemies of the country; and the direction of affairs had generally fallen into the hands either of the most numerous representative body under the old organization, or of such an assembly created for the occasion. It may be observed here, by anticipation, that new constitutions of government were established by all the Colonies, except Connecticut and Rhode Island, during the progress of the war. New Hampshire formed such a constitution in 1775; New Jersey, South Carolina, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, and North Carolina, in 1776, - the first three before the Declaration of Independence; Georgia and New York, in 1777; Massachusetts, in 1780. The forms of government thus established were not arbitrary and novel. They supplied omissions, it is true; but they made no unnecessary innovations. They were the old forms of polity, adopted by the first settlers, or created for them by charter, with such modifications only as were rendered necessary by the transition from a state of partial, to one of total, independence. Connecticut and Rhode Island did not find it necessary to make any change; their charters were so liberal that the people, in fact, had always chosen all their own officers, and enacted all their own laws; and under these charters, the government continued to be administered for nearly half a century after the Revolution.

Washington assumed the command of the army before Boston about a fortnight after the battle of Bunker Hill, and immediately endeavored to improve its organization and discipline, and to obtain supplies of arms and military stores. The troops at first consisted entirely of volunteers, and so many of these left and went home after a short stay, that it was feared the camp would be deserted. An attempt was now made to enlist soldiers for definite periods, to form them into regiments, and accustom them to discipline and the use of their arms. The most pressing want was that of powder, of which there was not enough to furnish nine rounds to a man, and the whole supply in the country was so inadequate that active operations could not be undertaken for some months. Attempts were made to establish manufactories of saltpetre and to import powder and lead from the West Indies; and a small supply of military stores was obtained from captured vessels. The patience and firmness of the commander-in-chief were severely taxed by the many discouraging circumstances of his position, at the head of a motley collection of troops, with insufficient means of paying them and of providing many necessaries of war. Reserved and dignified in his demeanor, inflexible in purpose, circumspect and yet enterprising in his plans, industrious and methodical in business, he united the highest qualifications for the elevated post which he was called to fill. His equanimity was seldom ruffled, and no failures or disasters could dishearten him or paralyze his energies. A keen judge of character and qualifications, he was generally fortunate in selecting his agents and giving his confidence. Under his direction, and in spite of the most adverse circumstances, the raw levies were gradually converted into disciplined and effective troops, and the efforts of an enemy greatly superior in means and equipment were successfully foiled.

Congress had projected an expedition against Canada, in the hope of obtaining the sympathy and aid of the French inhabitants of that province, or perhaps of inducing them to unite with the other Colonies in resistance to the British ministry. In August, 1775, Schuyler and Montgomery, at the head of a small body of troops, advanced by way of Lake Champlain against Montreal, whilst Arnold, with about a thousand men, was detached from the camp before Boston, to ascend the Kennebeck river, and then make his way through the wilderness to the banks of the St. Lawrence opposite Quebec. Schuyler being prevented by illness from advancing far ther than St. John's on the Sorel, the command devolved on Montgomery, who, after a few weeks' siege, captured St. John's, and then advanced against Montreal, which was surrendered to him without resistance. Arnold's troops, after suffering great hardships from exposure and want of food while passing through a wild and uninhabited region, reached the southern bank of the St. Lawrence, December 1st, where they were joined by Montgomery, who came down the river to meet them. Their united forces hardly exceeded a thousand men, while Carleton, the British commander, by landing the sailors and organizing the citizens into military companies, had garrisoned Quebec with 1,200. The artillery of the Americans not being sufficient to make any impression on the works, they resolved to attempt to carry the place by assault. Under cover of a snow-storm, December 31, the men advanced to the attack with great gallantry, and forced their way into the lower town; but Montgomery was killed, Arnold's leg was broken by a musket ball, and after some desperate fighting, the party in the streets found themselves surrounded and were obliged to sur render. Arnold, with about 600 men, retreated a few miles up the river, and there kept up the blockade of Quebec through the winter. Reinforcements were sent to him; but after the spring opened, a large body of British troops arrived at Quebec and the Americans were forced to retire, first to Montreal, and afterwards to St. John's.

Howe's army in Boston, having learned caution from the battle of Bunker Hill, made no attempt at offensive operations during the autumn and winter and the want of cannon and powder in the American camp prevented Washington from attacking them. But through the great exertion of Colonel Knox, over fifty pieces of artillery were dragged on sleds, over the frozen lake and the snow, from Crown Point and Ticonderoga and active measures were then adopted to drive the British out of the place. On the evening of the 4th of March, the attention of the enemy being drawn by a brisk cannonade to the opposite quarter, a large body of troops secretly took possession of Dorchester heights, and erected a line of fortifications there which commanded the harbor and the town. The English general made immediate preparation to attack these works; but a furious storm of wind and rain, that prevailed for two days, prevented the troops from crossing in boats to Dorchester, and when this had ceased, the entrenchments seemed too strong to be forced. General Howe consequently resolved to evacuate the town; and on the 17th, the fleet sailed, carrying off the whole army, and about one thousand inhabitants of the place and its vicinity who adhered to the king's cause. The recovery of Boston caused great rejoicing throughout the country; the thanks of Congress were voted to the general and his army, and a gold medal was ordered to be struck in commemoration of the event. After a delay of a few days, Washington marched with the main body of the army to New York. The Loyalists, or Tories, as the favorers of the British cause were called, were numerous in that place and its neighborhood, and for this reason, among others, it was supposed that Howe would carry his army thither. In reality, the British troops sailed for Halifax, where they remained inactive till the end of June, and then, after receiving large reinforcements, proceeded to New York.

A year had now elapsed since the battle of Lexington; it had been passed in active hostilities, the exasperation of both parties had increased, and there seemed no longer any hope of a reconciliation with England. Lord North's ministry, supported by the obstinacy of the king and by a large majority in both houses of Parliament, evinced no disposition to change its policy; on the contrary, treaties had been formed with several of the minor powers of Germany, in virtue of which about 17,000 Hessians, Waldeckers, and Hanoverians were collected by crafty recruiting officers, and hired out to England for the purpose of putting down the rebellion in America. Of course, the news that these mercenaries were to be employed greatly increased the irritation of the Colonies. Thomas Paine, a very vigorous writer, published his famous pamphlet, called Common Sense,' to prove that a final separation from England was inevitable and ought not to be delayed. Written in an eminently popular style, it had an immense circulation, and was of great service in preparing the minds of the people for independence. A proposition to dissolve all connection with Great Britain was first introduced into Congress by Richard Henry Lee, of Virginia and was warmly supported by John Adams and other members from New England. But it was not carried without difficulty; New York, 'Pennsylvania, Maryland, and South Carolina hesitated. Indeed, the legislatures of the two former Colonies had expressly instructed their representatives in Congress to vote against it. But the tide of popular opinion now set strongly towards independence, and the waverers were carried along with it, in spite of their efforts. The recusant Colonies recalled their instructions, and on the 4th of July, 1776, the Declaration of Independence, written by Thomas Jefferson, and revised by a committee, of which John Adams and Dr. Franklin were members, was solemnly adopted in Congress by a vote of the whole Thirteen States.

The progress of the contest had been watched with great attention on the Continent of Europe, where the efforts of the Americans were naturally regarded with favor and sympathy, partly out of jealousy of England, but still more by the enthusiasm which a gallant contest for freedom always awakens in the hearts of the people. Among the French, particularly, this feeling was very strong, as the success of the patriots would humiliate and weaken the haughty rival that had recently triumphed over France, and deprived her of nearly all her colonial dominion. Congress had previously appointed a 'Committee of Secret Correspondence,' to keep up intercourse with the friends of the cause in various parts of Europe; and now that the United States had become an independent power, it seemed proper to extend this intercourse, and to establish diplomatic relations with other governments. Three commissioners, of whom Dr. Franklin was one, were sent to Paris, and Arthur Lee was deputed by them to visit Prussia and Spain. These agents were not formally received at court, for no European power was yet prepared for war with England. But the French ministers treated them with much courtesy, and agreed to furnish the Americans with secret supplies of money, arms, and military stores, to a considerable amount. Many shipments were consequently made, and the aid thus received was very seasonable. The appearance of Dr. Franklin, with his high reputation as a philosopher, his plain garb, and agreeable manners, as an envoy from the combatants for freedom in the New World, created a great sensation among the excitable people of Paris. Honors and attentions of all kinds were lavished upon him. 'Men imagined, ' says Lacretelle, 'that they saw in him a sage of antiquity, come back to give austere lessons and generous examples to the moderns. They personified in him the republic of which. he was the representative and legislator.' The young and wealthy Marquis of Lafayette, inspired with a noble enthusiasm, crossed the ocean to hazard life and property in the cause of American freedom. Some Germans, also among whom Kalb and Steuben, were best known, and the gallant Pole, Kosciusko, with a number of volunteers from other nations, came to the aid of the Americans.

The campaign of 1776 was very disastrous to the American arms and but for the surpassing fortitude and magnanimity of their great military leader, it would have been ruinous to the cause. Washington's army was very weak when it arrived in New York; several regiments had been left behind to garrison Boston, and others were detached to strengthen the northern army, then lying near Montreal. Unfortunately, also, the men had been enlisted for very short periods, owing to the uncertainty how long the war would continue; and now, when their services were most wanted, and they had been trained and disciplined, whole regiments had to be banded and sent home, and their places were taken by raw recruits. Frequent drafts were made from the militia, to meet pressing emergencies; but these raw troops could not be depended upon for efficient service.

The Continental troops under Washington at New York did not number more than 8,000, while the British army, which Howe led thither in June, including the German mercenaries, amounted to 24,000. Among them were the troops lately employed against Charleston, South Carolina, where they had attempted to land, but the fleet had been driven off by the heavy fire from the forts. The fortifications at New York did not prove so formidable, as the British vessels passed them without damage, and entered the Hudson river. Howe landed most of his troops on Long Island, where the tories were very numerous, and marched to attack the Americans, who were in an entrenched camp at the western end of the island, opposite New York. A battle followed, in which the British army succeeded in gaining the rear of the Americans by an unguarded road, and totally defeated them, taking over a thousand prisoners. The remainder of the army secretly retreated, on the second night after the battle, from Long Island to New York. Leaving a garrison in the town, Washington placed the body of the troops on Harlem heights, a strong position at the northward. But the garrison was soon obliged with loss to quit New York, as the place was not tenable except by a large force, and even the troops on the heights behaved so ill that a further retreat became necessary. Discouragement was now very general the militia deserted by companies, and the Continentals, as the regular troops were called, began to follow their example. Washington adopted the only system of warfare which was practicable under these gloomy circumstances he resolved to risk no general engagement, to encamp only in strong positions, to weary out the enemy by frequent marches, and not to meet them except in skirmishes. A partial action was fought at White Plains, October 28, without any decisive result, and most of the Americans were then withdrawn to the western shore of the Hudson, as an invasion of New Jersey was threatened. A large garrison was left in Fort Washington, on New York island, about ten miles above the city but the British attacked it before the fortifications were completed, and the commander was obliged to capitulate, giving up the place and stores, and over 2,000 prisoners. The enemy then crossed the Hudson in force, and Washington was obliged to abandon Fort Lee, on the Jersey shore, with a great quantity of baggage and artillery. He then retreated rapidly southward through New Jersey as far as Trenton, where, for safety, the army crossed the Delaware into Pennsylvania. At this gloomy period for the American cause, Sir William Howe issued a proclamation, offering pardon to all who would return to their allegiance within sixty days, and commanding all persons who had taken up arms, and all congresses and associations, to desist from their treasonable proceedings, and give up their usurped authority. Many individuals, among them were two former members of Congress, were weak enough to accept the proposal. As the British army approached Philadelphia, Congress adjourned to Baltimore, having first granted to the commander-in-chief almost dictatorial powers.

Washington perceived that some bold stroke was necessary to revive the spirits of his countrymen. Some reinforcements had joined him, and the English army had gone into winter-quarters, being stationed in detachments in several' places in New Jersey. On Christmas night, at the head of 2,500 men, he recrossed the Delaware with great difficulty, as the river was full of floating ice, surprised a body of Hessians in Trenton, took 900 prisoners and then returned to his former position with only a trifling loss. A week afterwards, he reöccupied Trenton with a larger force but lord Cornwallis came up to meet him with a large portion of the British army, and it appeared too hazardous either to stand an engagement or retreat when the enemy were so near. Washington devised a manoeuvre which was completely successful. Leaving the watch-fires burning in the deserted camp, the troops were led by a circuitous route into the rear of the British, and then conducted to Princeton, where they fell unexpectedly upon three regiments that were stationed there, drove them out of the town with great loss, and took 300 prisoners. Cornwallis heard the firing in his rear, and divining the cause, hurried off in pursuit but before he could overtake the Americans, they were encamped on unassailable ground at Morristown. These exploits taught Sir William Howe to respect an opponent whom he had begun to contemn; and he therefore withdrew his troops from the greater part of New . Jersey, and concentrated them round New York. Washington stationed his army at Morristown, Princeton, and in the Highlands on the Hudson; and the next six months were spent in organizing it anew, and reducing it to discipline. The British had taken possession of the southern part of Rhode Island, and had surprised and captured G-en. Lee. On the other hand, privateers and national cruisers had been fitted out in the ports of Massachusetts, and had captured many valuable British ships, which were carried to the West Indies and the harbors of continental Europe, and sold.

The next year, 1777, was the turning point, or critical period of the war. It was checkered by good and evil fortune. It was a period of much financial difficulty and great suffering both by the army and the people; but towards its close, the unexpected and great success of the American arms at the north really decided the fate of the contest, and showed that the attempt of Great Britain to reduce the Colonies by force to their former allegiance was a hopeless undertaking. About the end of May, the American army, now much strengthened by recruits, left its winter quarters, and took a strong position at Middlefield. Howe manoeuvred for some time, in the hope of inducing or compelling it to fight a battle on equal ground. But finding that Washington was too cautious to run this hazard, he suddenly embarked his army on board the fleet, and carried it round to the head of Chesapeake Bay, where he landed and began his march for Philadelphia. He was obliged to take this route, as the American fortifications on the Delaware made it too hazardous for the fleet to ascend that river. Anxious to save the city which was the seat of Congress and was regarded in some measure as the capital of the country, Washington marched hurriedly south to intercept him. After passing through Philadelphia, he first attempted to check the progress of the enemy at Brandywine, where a creek; everywhere fordable, guarded the front of the American position. The British passed this stream in two divisions, September 11, at considerable distance from each other; and Washington's army being thus attacked in front and on the flank, some regiments broke and fled, and the rest were forced to retreat in some disorder. The Americans again offered battle five days afterwards, but a violent storm interrupted the engagement almost as soon as it began. The hope of saving Philadelphia was then abandoned; Congress adjourned to Lancaster, the magazines and public stores were removed, and Howe entered the city on the 25th, leaving the bulk of his army ten miles off, at Germantown. It was a barren conquest; experience was now teaching the British that they could hold no more ground in America than what they actually occupied with their troops; and these were not to be too much scattered, or they were liable to be cut off in detail.

To raise the sinking spirits of his men, Washington planned a surprise of the British army in Germantown. The enterprise seemed successful at first; but the troops got separated from each other, in the darkness of the morning, by the inequalities of the ground, a panic seized upon some, and. the whole were then driven to make a disorderly retreat. Rightly deeming that Washington could not soon make another attack after this repulse, Howe resolved to attack the forts on the Delaware, in order to establish communication with his fleet, which had not yet been able to pass up the river. Count Donop, with 1,200 Hessians, assaulted the post at Red Bank, on the Jersey shore, but fell in the attempt, and his men were driven off with great slaughter; and of the ships which assailed Fort Mifflen, on an island in the Delaware, a sixty four was blown up, a frigate was burned, and the others were much injured and compelled to retire. The enemy then erected land-batteries, which kept up so heavy a fire that the fortifications were ruined, and the garrison was withdrawn. Red Bank was also evacuated, and the Delaware was thus opened to the British fleet.

But the most important military operations of this year took place at the North. Gen. Burgoyne received the command in Canada,. with a finely appointed army of 10,000 men, and was instructed to force his way down Lake Champlain, and then cross to Albany, and descend the Hudson, to join the British forces in New York. This plan, if executed, would have cut off New England from the other Colonies, and have rendered the subjugatian of the Americans extremely probable. And there was great danger for a time that it would be executed. Burgoyne summoned the Indians to his standard, and easily drove the feeble and disorganized army of St. Clair before him, captured Ticonderoga and Skenesborough, July 6, and prepared to force his way through the wilderness, from the head of the lake to the Hudson. St. Clair had brought a poor remnant of his army to join Schuyler at Fort Edward, on the Hudson; but their united forces did not number 5,000, most of them were militia, and both ammunition and provisions were wanting. The news of the loss of Ticoneroga and the rapid progress of Burgoyne created great consternation; the militia of New England came forward readily, and in considerable numbers, to strengthen the northern army, which also received some detachments from the posts in the Highlands. Schuyler was superseded by Gen. Gates, and under him were placed Arnold, Morgan, Lincoln, and others, who were among the best officers in the army. Burgoyne had succeeded in reaching the Hudson after immense labor and fatigue, but he found that difficulties were now beginning to thicken around him. He sent out a strong detachment of regular troops, Tories, and Indians, to his right, to turn the alarm to the western frontier of New York, and lay siege to Fort Schuyler at the head of the Mohawk. Arnold was sent against him, and the fear of his approach caused so many of the Indians to desert, that St. Leger was compelled to raise the siege and retire so precipitately that most of his stores and baggage fell into the hands of the Americans. Another and stronger detachment was sent out to the left, under Col. Baum, to try the temper of the people and to obtain horses and provisions; this was encountered, at Bennington, by some New Hampshire militia and Green Mountain Boys, under Col. Stark, and totally defeated, most of the German soldiers being taken prisoners. Col. Breyman, who had been sent with 500 men to aid Baum, came up two hours after the battle was fought, was himself attacked by the victorious party, and obliged to make the best retreat he could, with the loss of all his baggage and artillery.

Thus both of Burgoyne's wings were clipped, and he found himself at Sara toga, on the west side of the Hudson, in the heart of a difficult country, short of provisions, and with an enemy constantly increasing in numbers on all sides of him. He first tried an attack upon Gates' camp, upon Behmus's Heights, in his front Sept. 19; and the result was a drawn battle, in which he lost 500 men, and gained not a single advantage. A party of Lincoln's militia had got into his rear, surprised the posts around Lake, George, and besieged Ticonderoga, so that his communications were cut off. But he was encouraged to hold out, as a letter reached him from Clinton in New York, saying that the latter was about to make an expedition up the Hudson, which could operate as a diversion, and might reach Albany, so as to place Gates between two fires. The promise was kept, the passes of the Highlands were forced, and the British had proceeded as far north as Esopus, when they learned that they were too late, and found it prudent to return. Burgoyne offered battle again on the 7th of October, and his troops were defeated and driven back into his camp, his entrenchments in one quarter were forced, and a part of his artillery and ammunition were captured. His position was thus rendered -untenable, and he secretly drew back in the night to a rising ground in the rear. Thence he retreated, two days afterwards, to Saratoga, and found that the difficulties of the country and the position of the American parties were such that he could go no further. He held out a week longer; and then, his provisions being exhausted and his camp surrounded and hard pressed, he was obliged to capitulate. He had already lost about 4,000 men, and 5,642 others were now surrendered as prisoners of war, all his arms, baggage, and camp equipage also passing into the hands of the victors. The garrison of Ticonderoga, when they heard of this calamity, hastily retreated into Canada, and the Americans again took possession of this renowned fortress.

Two days after the news arrived at Paris of the capture of Burgoyne and the battle of Germantown, the French ministry intimated to Dr. Franklin that they were willing to consider the project of a treaty of alliance with the American States. Two treaties were accordingly framed, Feb. 6, 1778, in one of which France acknowledged the independence of the States, and formed relations of amity and commerce with them; in the other, which was to go into effect if Great Britain should make war upon France, the two contracting parties bound themselves to aid each other as good friends and allies, to maintain the sovereignty and independence of the American States, and not to make a truce or peace except by mutual consent. About the same time, the British ministry caused two laws to be enacted, declaring that no tax should hereafter be imposed by parliament on the Colonies, and appointing commissioners to treat with them on almost any terms short of absolute independence. The concession was ample, but it came too late; Congress refused even to hold a conference with the commissioners before the British armies were withdrawn and the independence of the country acknowledged. England therefore declared war against France, and prepared to keep up in America some years longer a useless, expensive, and murderous conflict, in which she had hardly a hope of ultimate success. The Colonists were indeed compelled to pay a heavy price for their freedom. The public finances were in a deplorable state; recruits could not be obtained except by enormous bounties, and the troops were but half fed and half clothed; and the people generally were suffering from the interruption of trade and agriculture, and the scarcity of breadstuffs. There was hardly a family in the land to which the war had not already brought privation and bereavement. And yet the spirit of the people continued high; they expected much from the French alliance, and, except among the Tories, hardly a wish was breathed for peace on any terms short of independence , For the army, which had passed the winter in miserable huts at Valley Forge, suffering from cold and disease, and to some extent also from hunger and nakedness, Washington set apart a day for rejoicing when the news of the treaty with France were received. Losses and hardships were then forgotten in the general exultation; every heart was filled with gratitude to the French king, and every mouth spoke his praise.'

The quarters of the British army were now found to be too much extended; and it was resolved to evacuate Philadelphia and to retreat to New York. The American army, which had been reinforced in the spring of 1778, and somewhat trained and disciplined through the great efforts of Baron Steuben, a brave and skillful Prussian officer, hung upon their rear and gave them much trouble. A battle was fought at Monmouth, June 28, with indecisive results, though the British loss considerably exceeded that of the Americans. Many of the German soldiers, also, took the opportunity to desert. Count d'Estaing soon arrived with a powerful fleet, having 4,000 French soldiers on board, and a scheme for a combined attack on New York having failed because the pilots would not conduct the heavier ships over the bar, an expedition against Newport was agreed upon, that place being held by Gen. Pigot, at the head of 6,000 men. The Fleet blockaded the harbor, and forced the English to sink some of their frigates; but the Continental troops and New England militia did not arrive soon enough to cooperate with the ships, which were compelled to put to sea by Lord Howe's fleet, and were also crippled by a storm. The undertaking was abandoned, and Gen. Sullivan had much difficulty in bringing off the American troops, as the British had received a large reinforcement. These were the only military operations on a large scale during the year; though as the war was now prosecuted both by the British and the Tories in a less hopeful and more revengeful spirit, several predatory expeditions were sent out that did much wanton injury, and in some skirmishes no quarter was given, and acts of sickening barbarity were committed. Wyoming, a flourishing settlement in Pennsylvania, was desolated by an incursion of Indians and Tories, the male inhabitants were massacred, the houses burned, and the cattle killed or driven off. Some towns on the coast of Massachusetts were burned, and a heavy contribution was levied on a defenseless island. In New York, Baylor's troop of dragoons were surprised, and the men bayonetted, under Gen. Gray's orders to give no quarter; and the same fate befell the infantry of Pulaski's legion. There was some excuse for the Tories in these proceedings; their property had been very generally confiscated, they often had rough personal treatment, and on slight pretexts, some of them had been hanged.

During the next two years, the war was chiefly carried on by the British in the southern States, where the population was more scattered and divided in opinion, and the country offered fewer means of defense. At the close of 1778, Savannah was taken by an expedition from New York, and another body of royal troops coming up from Florida, nearly completed the conquest of Georgia. Gen. Lincoln was sent to take the command in this department, and by great exertions he protected Charleston and South Carolina from the enemy till September 1779, when D'Estaing, with a French fleet and 6,000 men, arrived on the coast, and the two armies in concert laid siege to Savannah. But as the French could remain but a short time, the attack was made prematurely, and the besiegers were beaten off with great loss, the gallant Count Pulaski being among the slain. G-en. Mathews was sent from New York, with 2,500 men, on a plundering expedition to Virginia. He took possession of Portsmouth and Norfolk, burned some ships of war and many private vessels, and brought off a large quantity of tobacco, after destroying private property to the amount of two millions of dollars. At the north, Congress took measures to punish the Indians for the atrocities they had committed at Wyoming, and other places. Gen. Sullivan led an expedition of 4,000 men into the heart of their country, in the western part of the State of New York, destroyed their villages, cut down their fruit trees, and so devastated the region, that the miserable savages could attempt nothing more till the close of the war. Some British troops under Gen. Tryon paid a marauding visit to the Connecticut shore, plundered and burned several towns, and destroyed large amount of property. About the only legitimate military exploits of the year, at the north, were the capture by the British of Stony Point and Verplanck's Point on the Hudson, thus rendering the communication between New England and the Middle States more circuitous and difficult, and the recapture of Stony Point in a very gallant manner by the the Americans under Gen. Wayne.

Spain had now joined the alliance against England, June, 1779, though with no very definite purpose, except the hope that, while the attention of the British ministry was occupied by so many enemies, she might regain possession of Gibraltar. For a short time, the united French and Spanish fleet swept the British seas but it was soon compelled to go into harbor. The next year, 1780, added another European power to the list of England's enemies, and brought her assumed empire of the seas into great danger. To check the maritime superiority of the British, who, during the war, had greatly disturbed the neutral trade at sea, and molested the ships of every country by an oppressive search for contraband goods, Catherine II of Russia concluded an alliance with the several neutral powers, which should maintain the principle of 'free ships, free goods,' and thus secure the trade of the neutral states on the coasts and in the harbors of either of the belligerent powers. The confederacy also declared that no blockade of any port should be deemed effectual, so as to exclude neutral vessels from entering it, if there were not an adequate naval force present to maintain the blockade and render it dangerous for any ship to attempt to enter. This neutral alliance was constituted successively by Russia, Denmark, Sweden, Prussia, Austria, Naples, and Portugal. But Holland, whose adherence was very important from her situation and maritime strength, hesitated so long that England got information of the project., and declared war against the Dutch before they could give in their adhesion at St. Petersburg. Holland thus disappeared from the list of the neutral powers, and the alliance was deprived of her aid towards accomplishing their great purpose.

A powerful British armament, under Clinton and Arbuthnot, appeared before Charleston in February, 1780, and laid siege to it, with a view to the ultimate conquest of the whole State. Gen. Lincoln's means of defense were very inadequate, and though he made every effort, he was compelled, after a resistance of 42 days, to surrender the city and give up his whole army as prisoners of war. The enemy then easily overran South Carolina; and many of the inhabitants, to avoid the extremities of war, took protections' from them, and thereby avowed themselves to be British subjects. Lord Cornwallis was then left to command at the South, while Clinton returned to New York. Congress appointed Gen. Gates to oppose the former, and by great exertions an army of 4,000 men was collected for this purpose, mostly militia, who were ill fed and ill armed, and not at all disciplined. With the rash confidence inspired by his success against Burgoyne, Gates advanced hastily and with little precaution, was attacked under unfavorable circumstances by Cornwallis, near Camden, and his army so completely routed that not a fourth part of them could be again brought together. The southern States were thus rendered almost entirely defenseless, though the British for the present were not able to invade North Carolina from the want of supplies. Sumter and Marion, also, noted partisan officers, gave them great annoyance by collecting bands of irregular troops, and waging a kind of guerrilla warfare against their outposts and detachments. One motley collection of such troops, chiefly mounted backwoodsmen with their rifles, under Shelby and Sevier, intercepted Ferguson, an active Loyalist, at the head of about 1,000 Tories, at King's Mountain, and totally defeated him, taking most of his men prisoners, and hanging some of them as traitors. At the end of the year, Gen. Greene was sent to take Gates' place, and a small regular army was collected for him, which he led with consummate ability. At the north, a French fleet and army, the latter under Rochambeau, arrived at Newport, but were blockaded there by a superior British fleet, so that they accomplished nothing.

Another remarkable incident of the year was the treason of Gen. Arnold, a very brave officer, but dissolute, wayward, and extravagant, who sold himself to the British for L10,006 and a general's commission, covenanting to give into their power, also, West Point and the other American fortresses in the Highlands. The conspiracy was detected just before the time fixed for its execution. Arnold succeeded in making his escape; but Major André, a gallant English officer whom Clinton had sent to negotiate with him, was seized when in disguise within the American lines, and was tried and executed as a spy . The want of pay and the impossibility of complying with the just demands of the soldiers, caused some Pennsylvania regiments, who were encamped near Morristown, to break out into open revolt. They were invited to join the British, as Arnold had done; but they refused, and after the matter had been compromised by Congress some of their grievances being redressed, they gave up the emissaries of the enemy, who were hanged as spies. Some New Jersey troops quickly followed this example of insubordination; but their revolt was crushed with a strong hand, and a few of the ringleaders were executed.

The comparative ease with which Georgia and South Carolina had been subdued caused great efforts to be made, in 1781, for the conquest of North Carolina and Virginia. In January of this year the traitor Arnold was sent with 1,600 men, chiefly Tories, to plunder and devastate the country on the Chesapeake and the James river, in order to cripple the resources of the state; and after he had accomplished this service, he was joined by Gen. Phillips, with 2,000 troops from New York. But these marauding expeditions did not help the British cause much; they caused great misery, but they incensed the people so much that they lost all thoughts of acquiescence and submission, and made desperate efforts to repulse the destroyers. The plan was, that Cornwallis should march north, to join Phillips and Arnold, their united forces being deemed sufficient to crush all opposition at the South. But Cornwallis had now an able and determined opponent in Greene, who gave him enough to do in the Carolinas. Half of Greene's force, under Morgan, who had been sent to put down the Tories in the west, encountered the British light troops under Tarleton, at the Cowpens, and gave them a signal defeat, killing or taking prisoners over 600 of them. Cornwallis instantly started of in great haste, to overtake and punish Morgan before he could rejoin his commander. But the activity of the Americans baffled him. Still the British general pushed on; and Greene's whole force being much inferior, he was obliged to make a rapid retreat into Virginia. He soon returned, however, with some reinforcements, and offered battle at Guilford Court House, where Cornwallis indeed defeated him, but the victory was equivalent to a defeat. The British loss was greater than the American, and Cornwallis was obliged to retire to Wilmington, near the sea. Greene pursued him for a while, and then took the bold step of marching directly into South Carolina, which had been left in charge of Lord Rawdon with a small force. Finding it impossible to overtake him, Cornwallis imitated his bold policy by marching north, to join the king's troops in Virginia. Greene and Rawdon came in conflict with each other at Hobkirk's Hill, April 25, and the former was a g ain defeated, though his loss was no greater than the enemy's and the advantages of the encounter were all on his side. Lee and Marion, with other partisan officers, encouraged by his presence, roused the inhabitants to arms; nearly all the British posts in the upper country were captured or abandoned, and the larger part of South Carolina was restored to the Americans. Their irritated opponents shot as deserters all whom they captured in arms that had once accepted British protection; among these victims was Colonel Hayne, an eminent citizen of Charleston, whose fate caused much sorrow and indignation. The conflict on both sides had all the aggravated features of a civil war.

The arrival of a powerful fleet under Count De Grasse having given the French a temporary superiority at sea, the French forces at Newport were released, and an attack upon the British in New York was projected for the combined army of Washington and Rochambeau. But this came to be thought an enterprise beyond their strength, and it was resolved in preference to strike a blow at Cornwallis in Virginia. That enterprising general, after vainly endeavoring to overtake and crush the small American force commanded by Lafayette, had retired to Yorktown, a peninsula at the mouth of York river, where he had strongly intrenched himself at the head of 8,000 men. Here he was blockaded by Be Grasse's fleet, and, a fortnight afterwards, was invested by the combined French and American army, 16,000 strong. About the same time, also, the ever active Greene had fought another battle with the British in South Carolina, at Eutaw Springs, the immediate result of which was indecisive, the loss on each side being about 700; but the general consequence was, that the British were thenceforward cooped up in Charleston and the small district between the Cooper and Ashley rivers. Cornwallis was vigorously pressed his intrenchments being ruined and his guns dismounted by the fire of heavy breaching batteries. He tried a sally without improving his situation; and then, all hope of aid from New York having failed, he was obliged to capitulate and surrender his whole army, still about 7,000 strong, as prisoners of war. This grand stroke was virtually the end of the armed contest in America; having sacrificed two large armies, and protracted the struggle for six years, the British could no longer hope to retain a foothold in the United States, far less to bring them back to their former allegiance.

Such now came to be the general opinion even in England, where, indeed, for the last three years, the war had been very unpopular. It had added over one hundred millions sterling to the national debt; it had sullied the military reputation of the kingdom, which had never stood higher than in 1760, and never lower than after the capture of Cornwallis; it had brought France, Spain, and Holland into a league of hostilities against her, and had combined the other professedly neutral powers in an alliance hardly less injurious to her interests and her fame. Even the signal victory obtained by the English admiral, Lord Rodney, over De Grasse's fleet in the West Indies, April 12th 1782, and the equally signal defeat of the Spaniards in their last and desperate attempt to take Gibraltar, failed to restore English self-complacency, or to reconcile the nation of that ministry (Lord North's) which had brought them into so humiliating a position. These successes were but casual gleams of good fortune that came to lighten the close of a long period of disaster and shame. The phalanx of Lord North's parliamentary supporters was broken, his ministry was driven from office, the king's obstinacy was overcome, and the Whigs, under the guidance of Lord Rockingham, were established in power, with the express understanding that they were to make peace by submitting to the independence of the United States. Negotiations were immediately commenced with the American commissioners at Paris, Franklin, Adams, Laurens, and Jay; they were protracted by points of form, and by the breaking up of the Whig ministry through the death of Rockingham; but provisional articles of peace were signed on the 30th of November, 1782, and the cessation of hostilities was agreed upon in January following. Owing to the necessity of including the Continental powers of Europe in the pacification, the definitive treaty of peace was not concluded till the next September. In this, the independence of the United States was acknowledged, their bound aries adjusted, and a share in the fisheries secured to them; while the claims of the other belligerent powers were adjusted by the surrender or return of the conquered towns and islands.

The peace came not too soon for exhausted and bleeding America. The impossibility of satisfying the just demands of the army, the consequent sufferings both of officers and men, and the prospect of being disbanded at the peace and sent home in utter poverty, created a determination among many of them to insist upon the payment of their dues with arms in their hands. Nothing but the moderation, wisdom, and firmness of their great commander-in-chief saved the country from the horrors of military usurpation. Some of the officers so far misjudged Washington as to think that he might be tempted 'to play the part of Cromwell; but his prompt and stern rebuke put an immediate end to the project. He then exerted himself, and with success, to soothe the passions that had been excited, and to lead the army back to moderate and patriotic counsels. The officers and men were persuaded to accept certificates of debt, with interest, for the arrears that were due to them, and to rely upon the efforts of Congress and the gratitude of the people for their redemption. The troops were quietly disbanded in the course of the summer and autumn of 1783, and towards the close of the year, after the British had evacuated every place upon the seaboard, Washington was admitted to a public audience by Congress, when he resigned his commission, and took a final leave, as he Sup pose d, ' of all the employments of public life.' Universal gratitude and respect which amounted almost to veneration, attended him to his retirement at Mount Vernon.

At the close of the war, the United States were burdened with a heavy debt, of which they had not the means even of paying the interest, the public credit was annihilated, commerce and manufactures were in a torpid condition, and the country was almost without a government. During the greater part of the struggle, Congress had possessed no authority but what was tacitly granted to it from the necessity of the case. The individual States were unwilling to give up any portion of that independence which they were striving to vindicate against a foreign power. They claimed complete sovereignty, and were unwilling to appear only as the members of a confederacy, under the general control of a central government. Besides, it was hard to adjust the terms of such an alliance. Perfect equality was hardly to be expected among states that differed so widely from each other in regard to population, wealth, and extent of territory; yet on no terms short of equality would any one State consent to a union with the others. There were also many unadjusted controversies between them, in respect to boundary, and the ownership of that vast territory beyond the Alleghanies which had been wrested from the French. In 1777, a plan of union had been framed and adopted in Congress, after two years' discussion, not as the best 'which could be imagined, or as adapted to all exigencies, but as the only one 'suited to existing circumstances, or at all likely to be adopted.' It was not to go into effect until it was ratified by all the States; and only four of them could be induced at first to adopt it. Slowly and reluctantly the others gave in their adhesion, the consent of New Jersey and Delaware not being obtained till 1779, and that of Maryland not till 1781, when, at last, the final sanction of the articles of Confederation, as they were termed, was joyfully announced by Congress. But the union thus effected was very inadequate for the ends in view. It did not establish a central government; it was only a league of several independent sovereignties. Congress was the only organ of the confederacy; each State had but one vote in this body on the decision of any question; and in respect to many subjects, the consent of nine States was requisite before the measure could go into effect. And after all, Congress had no power but to recommend measures; it could not enforce them. It could ascertain the sums necessary to be raised for the service of the United States,' and determine the quota or proportion which each State ought to pay; but it depended upon the States whether the specified amount should be raised and paid, or the recommendation entirely neglected. The fact generally was, that they refused compliance, or paid no attention to the demand; of the many requisitions of Congress, not one fourth were coin plied with. Excuses or palliations of such conduct were not wanting; the States wee very poor, and had heavy debts of their own to provide for.

Again, Congress could not impose duties upon imports, and the circumstances of the case prevented even the individual States from exercising this power. If imported goods were taxed by one, they were admitted free by another, which thus obtained a larger share of domestic and foreign trade, while the ports of its rival were deserted. Treaties with foreign powers could not be negotiated, as there was no power in the country to enforce the provisions made in them, the authority of Congress and that of the separate members of the confederacy just serving to paralyze each other. There was no common tribunal to which the States could appeal for the adjustment of their controversies with each other; and the ill compacted league was therefore liable to be broken by the first serious dispute which might grow out of many conflicting interests. It was obvious that this state of things could not long continue without bringing upon the country all the evils of anarchy and civil war.

The condition and temper of the people increased this hazard. The vast exertions they had made during the armed struggle had exhausted their energies, and, to a certain extent, had demoralized them. On the one hand, there was a general feeling of lassitude, an indisposition to make any further sacrifices or efforts, and on the other, a fierce impatience of any act or movement which should even seem to limit their recently acquired, universal freedom. The load of public and private debt was enormous. Of what use was it, that the people had successfully resisted English bayonets, if they were now to be called upon to respect implicitly the orders of the sheriff and the staff of the constable? To what purpose had they braved the wrath of the crown and the parliament, if creditors were still to distress them, and county courts sentence them to fine and imprisonment? Or why tax themselves millions of hard dollars, when they had just gone through a seven years war because they would not pay an impost of three pence a pound on tea? It is no cause for wonder that such questions were frequently asked, or even that the majority of the people were inclined to answer them in a way most consonant with their present feelings. ft was a period of general anxiety and gloom - a true crisis in the history of free institutions, not only in this country, but throughout the world. It was now to be determined whether national independence was to prove a blessing or a curse whether the people, after throwing off all foreign restraint, would be wise and magnanimous enough to impose laws upon themselves, and to respect them when made, or whether they would follow that course of anarchy, license, and civil war which has subsequently rendered the history of the South American republics and of the ephemeral republican governments of the Old World a warning to mankind.

The matter was brought to a crisis in 1786, by the breaking out of a rebellion in Massachusetts, the object of the insurgents being to close by violence the courts of law, thus putting a stop to all legal measures for the collection of debts, and to compel the government to issue paper money, in order that all obligations might be discharged in a much depreciated currency. Job Shattuck and Daniel Shays, formerly a captain in the revolutionary army, were the leaders of the disaffected party, and it was at least doubtful whether they did not count a majority of the people among their followers. Job Shattuck, at the head of an armed force, took possession of the court-house at Worcester, and sent a written message to the judges, 'that it was the sense of the people that the courts should not sit.'

At last by great exertions on the part of the government and the well-affected citizens, an army of 4,000 men, under General Lincoln, was fitted out, and after a very severe campaign in the midst of winter, this dangerous insurrection was suppressed with but little loss of life. An indirect but happy consequence of this rebellion was, that it convinced the majority of the people throughout the United States that a strong central government was indispensable, not merely for their wellbeing, but for the preservation of society itself from anarchy and ruin. 'You talk, my good Sir,' wrote Washington from Mount Vernon, 'of employing influence to appease the present tumults in Massachusetts. I know not where that influence is to be found; and, if attainable, it would not be a proper remedy for these disorders. Influence is not government. Let us have a government, by which our lives, liberties, and properties will be secured, or let us know the worst at once.'

Accordingly, a Convention of delegates from eleven of the States was held in Philadelphia in May, 1787, to revise the Articles of the Confederation, or, in other words, to frame a Constitution of government for the whole country. The delegates from New Hampshire did not appear till the Convention had been two months in session, and Rhode Island was never represented at all. Among the members present were Dr. Franklin, then in his 81st year, and Washington, who was unanimously chosen president of the Convention. After they had been in session four months, with closed doors, strict secrecy being observed as to all their proceedings, they framed and published the present Constitution of the United States, approved by the signatures of all but three of the delegates who were then present, and which was to go into effect after it had been ratified in nine of the States, by Conventions that were to be called for the occasion. Not without great difficulty, and many compromises of conflicting opinions and interests, had this great step been taken.

The central government established by the Constitution was to consist of three departments, legislative, executive, and judicial. The legislature, called the Congress, was to consist of two branches, the Senate and the House of Representatives. In the former, the representation was equal, each State having two senators; in the latter, the number of representatives was to be proportioned to the population, which was to be ascertained every ten years by adding to the whole number of the freemen three-fifths of the slaves. Two classes of opposing claims were thus adjusted by con cessions on both sides. The executive power was vested in a president, chosen for four years, by electors equal in number, for each State, to all its senators and representatives in Congress. The president was allowed a qualified negative on all the enactments of the legislature, as a bill to which he refused his consent was to become a law only when approved by two-thirds of the votes in both branches. The judicial power was vested in a Supreme Court, and such inferior courts as Congress might establish; and it extended to all cases arising under the Constitution, the laws of Congress, and treaties made with foreign powers, to all cases of maritime jurisdiction, and all controversies between States, between citizens of different States, and between foreigners and citizens. Congress was not to prevent the importation of slaves till the year 1808, and slaves escaping from one State to another were to be delivered up. Congress received the power to declare war, to raise and support armies, to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts, and excises, to coin money, to establish post-offices and post-roads, to provide and maintain a navy, and to call forth the militia for the purpose of executing the laws, suppressing insurrections, and repelling invasions. The States were prohibited, generally, from exercising any of the functions that were conferred upon Congress. In general terms, the States retained the power of domestic legislation upon all subjects in regard to which their interests were not likely to conflict, or which could be effectually disposed of without the cooperation of the whole Union; while the Federal government assumed the functions which the States were deprived of, and received whatever other authority was needed to enable it to negotiate effectively with foreign powers as the representative of one nation. Numerous provisions were borrowed from Magna Charta and the more liberal portions of the English Common Law, and incorporated into the Constitution, to protect the liberty and the rights of individuals, and to guard against acts of oppression and injustice on the part of either the Federal or the State Governments. The instrument was very practical in its character, and far more simple and concise than could reasonably have been expected, considering the complicated subject with which it had to do, and the difficulty in adjusting the relations of the Federal government to the individual States, and of so distributing power between them that they could work together harmoniously and effectively. As a whole, if judged either by the most approved maxims of political science, or by the light reflected upon it from that experience of more than sixty years to which it has been subjected, it may claim a high place among the best models of government that have been devised in ancient and modern times. It has required but few and slight amendments, and it has accomplished the whole work which it was designed to perform.

Great difficulties were again experienced in obtaining its ratification by the conventions in the several States, to which it was soon submitted. The two parties which were then formed, of its advocates and opponents, divided the people very equally between them, and, with some modifications, these parties have subsisted to the present day. The consent of nine States was necessary; five ratified the instrument soon and with little difficulty. Then the question came up in Massachusetts, where the parties were nearly equal, though the democratic and independent spirit of the people seem ed to incline the balance against the Constitution. Everything was thought to depend upon the decision of this State and Virginia, on account of their great weight in the Union, and the influence which they would respectively exert at the north and the south. Governor Hancock and Samuel Adams, the former being the president of the Convention, and the latter one of its most influential members, wavered. The Convention at last decided to propose certain amendments for adoption in the form prescribed by the Constitution itself; these served as an anodyne for the scruples of the two leading patriots, and the ratification was finally carried, though by a very slender majority. The consent of Maryland, South Carolina, and New Hampshire was then obtained, and next came that of Virginia, though after as warm a struggle as in Massachusetts, the opposition being led with great effect by Patrick Henry. The question was now virtually decided, and New York therefore gave a tardy and reluctant assent, which would probably have been a refusal if the measure could thereby have been defeated. North Carolina would only ratify upon certain conditions, and Rhode Island would not even hold a Convention to consider the subject; but as eleven States had adopted the Constitution, their approval was not absolutely necessary, and it was finally given after the new form of government had been some time in operation. It must be granted, in favor of the opposition, that they showed no factious spirit, but calmly acquiesced in the decision of their countrymen. Congress appointed the first Wednesday in January, 1789, for the choice of electors, the first Wednesday in February for those electors to choose a president, and the first Wednesday in March for the new government to go into operation. As had been anticipated, George Washington was unanimously elected president; indeed, the certainty that he would be chosen to this office induced many to vote for the Constitution who would otherwise have opposed it. John Adams was elected Vice-President, and senators and representatives were also chosen to form the first Congress. Proceedings were commenced at New York on the 4th of March, 1789; but a quorum of both houses did not come together till April, and on the 30th of this month, President Washington was sworn into office, and the new government went into full operation.