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CHAP. XVI.

1780.

These reflections may juftify a fhort digref fion, that only means to hint at the happy confequences that might refult, if a nation which extends its power, and carries its arms to the extremities of the globe, would tranfmit with them, that mildness of manners, that justice, humanity, and rectitude of character, that would draw the inhabitants of the darker regions of the world, from their idolatry and fuperftition. Thus nations who had long been immersed in errors, might be led to embrace a religion, admirably adapted to the promotion of the happinefs of mankind on earth, and to prepare a rational agent for fome higher ftage of existence, when the drama on this tragic theatre is finifhed.

CHAPTER XVII.

Diftreffed Situation of the Army and the Country, from various Caufes.-General Gates fent to the Southward -Surprised and defeated at Camden by Lord Cornwallis Superfeded.—General Greene appointed to the Command in the Carolinas.--Major Ferguson's Defeat. -Sir Henry Clinton makes a Diverfion in the Chefapeake, in favor of Lord Cornwallis.-General Arnold fent there-His Defection and Character.-Detection, Trial, and Death of Major Andre.—Disposition of the Dutch Republic with regard to America.-Governor Trumbull's Character, and Correspondence with the Baron Van der Capellen. Mr. Laurens appointed to negociate with the Dutch Republic.

1780.

THE year one thousand seven hundred and CHAP. XVII. eighty, was a year of incident, expectation, and event; a period pregnant with future confequences, interefting in the highest degree to the political happiness of the nations, and perhaps ultimately to the civil inftitutions of a great part of mankind. We left England in the preceding chapter, in a very perturbed state, arising both from their own internal diffenfions, and the dread of foreign combinations, relative to their own island and its former dependencies.

At the fame time, neither the pen of the hiftorian, or the imagination of the poet, can fully

CHAP. XVII.

1780.

defcribe the embarraffments fuffered by congrefs, by the commander in chief, and by men of firmness and principle in the feveral legiflative bodies, through this and the beginning of the next year. The fcarcity of fpecie, the rapid depreciation of paper, which at once funk the property and corrupted the morals of the people; which deftroyed all confidence in public. bodies, reduced the old army to the extremes of mifery, and feemed to preclude all poffibility of raising a new one, fufficient for all the departments; were evils, which neither the wif dom or vigilance of congrefs could remedy.

At fuch a crisis, more penetration and firmnefs, more judgment, impartiality, and moderation, were requifite in the commander in chief of the American armies, than ufually fall within the compafs of the genius or ability of man. In the neighbourhood of a potent army, general Washington had to guard with a very inadequate force, not only against the arms of his cnemies, but the machinations of British emiffaries, continually attempting to corrupt the fidelity both of his officers and his troops.

Perhaps no one but himfelf can defcribe the complicated fources of anxiety, that at this period pervaded the breaft of the first military officer, whofe honor, whofe life, whose country, hung fufpended, not on a fingle point only, but

1780.

on many events that quivered in the winds of CHAP. XVII. fortune, chance, or the more uncertain determinations of men. Happy is it to reflect, that thefe are all under the deftination of an unerring hand, that works in fecret, ultimately to complete the beneficent defigns of Providence.

Some extracts from his own pen, very naturally exprefs the agitations of the mind of general Washington, in the preceding as well as the prefent year. In one of his letters to a friend* he obferved, "*

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Our conflict is not likely to "cease so foon as every good man would wish. "The measure of iniquity is not yet filled; and "unless we can return a little more to firft prin"ciples, and act a little more upon patriotic "ground, I do not know when it will-or"what may be the iffue of the conteft. Spec

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ulation-peculation-engroffing-foreftalling "-with all their concomitants, afford too "many melancholy proofs of the decay of pub"lic virtue; and too glaring inftances of its be"ing the intereft and defire of too many, who "would wish to be thought friends, to continue "the war.

*This original letter was to James Warren, efquire, fpeaker of the affembly of Maffachusetts, March the thirtyfirst, one thousand feven hundred and feventy-nine.

CHAP. XVII.

1780.

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"Nothing, I am convinced, but the deprecia❝tion of our currency, proceeding in a great “measure from the foregoing causes, aided by stock-jobbing and party diffenfions, has fed "the hopes of the enemy, and kept the arms of "Britain in America until now. They do not ' fcruple to declare this themselves; and add, "that we fhall be our own conquerors. Can"not our common country (America) poffefs "virtue enough to disappoint them? With "you, fir, I think, that the confideration of a "little dirty pelf to individuals, is not to be "placed in competition with the effential rights "and liberties of the prefent generation, and of "millions yet unborn.

"Shall a few defigning men, for their own "aggrandizement, and to gratify their own av"arice, overfet the goodly fabric we have been "rearing at the expense of fo much time, blood, "and treasure ?-and fhall we at luft become "the victims of our own abominable luft of gain?-Forbid it Heaven!-forbid it all, and every state in the union! by enacting and enforcing efficacious laws for checking the "growth of these monftrous evils, and reftoring "matters in fome degree, to the priftine ftate they were in at the commencement of the

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"war.

"Our caufe is noble,-it is the caufe of man"kind; and the danger to it fprings from our

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