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and Washington entered in triumph, taking possession of all the stores, cannon, &c. of the British army : for the affair was conducted with such celerity, that the enemy could take nothing away. .
In Carolina and Virginia the arms of the new republic were also triumphant.
The British government, having heard that there were many loyalists in the southern provinces, sent an expedition, under the command of sir Henry Clinton and sir Peter Parker, to North Carolina. They proceeded as far as cape Fear, and laid down a plan to attack Virginia; but finding that impracticable, resolved upon Charlestown; and on the 28th June, taking two vessels, each of fifty guns, advanced to attack the fort on Sullivan's island. But here also they made no impression of consequence. The cannonade of the fleet was returned with equal spirit and perseverance by the Americans, until the British commander thought it prudent to slip his cable in the night, and retire from the attack, leaving the Actæon, of twenty-eight guns, on shore.
Franklin thus describes the first campaign of the Americans, in a letter, dated October 3, 1775, to Dr Priestley. .66 DEAR SIR,_I am to set out to-morrow for the camp, and having but just heard of this opportunity, can only write a line to say that I am well and hearty. Tell our dear good friend Dr Price, who' sometimes has his doubts and despondencies about our firmness, that America is determined and unanimous; a very few Tories and placemen excepted, who will probably soon export themselves. Britain, at the expense of three millions, has killed one hundred and fifty Yankees this campaign, which is 20,0001. a head, and at Bunker's Hill she gained a mile of ground, half of which she lost again by our taking post on Ploughed Hill. During the same time sixty thousand children have been born in America. From these data his mathematical head will easily calculate the time and expense necessary to kill us all, and conquer all our territory. My respects to * * * * and to the club of honest Whigs at * * * * *_Adieu, I am ever “ Yours most affectionately,
" B. FRANKLIN." In the preceding session of the British parliament, lord 'North, although abandoned by two distinguished colleagues, the duke of Grafton and general Conway, brought in a bill to interdict all commerce with the Americans, and to devote all American property found either on the high seas, or even in their own harbours, as prize to his Majesty's ships of war. It also included the appointment of commissioners empowered to grant pardons, and to determine whether part or the whole of a colony were returned into such a state of obedience as to be received into the king's peace.
Mr Fox proposed an inquiry into the ill success of his Majesty's arms in North America. He observed that he would consider neither the right, the expediency, nor the practicability of coercing America; but for the sake of argument, admitting them all, he would simply inquire, whether the proceedings of ministers upon their own principle had produced the desired and predicted effect. Beginning with the Bostonport bill, he pursued an historical detail of the ministerial measures down to the present time; and from a comprehensive view of the whole, he insisted that his Majesty's ministers were justly chargeable with wickedness, ignorance, and neglect.
This motion was however rejected; and in pursuance of the ministerial measures, lord Howe, commander of the British fleet in North America, and his brother, general Howe, were appointed commissioners to treat with the Americans. His lordship sailed from Eng. land on the 12th of May; and on his arrival, published in all directions, that he had terms of a pacific tendency to offer on the part of Great Britain; but was met, to his astonishment, by the American declaration of independence.
From the circumstance of his previous acquaintance with lord Howe, that nobleman, before he made known his commission to Congress, addressed Dr Franklin in the most friendly manner, expressing a hope that he should be assisted by his conciliatory good offices. The reply of Franklin was, as usual, explicit and manly in the declaration of the only measures on the part of the mother country which could possibly reconcile the colonies. The following proceedings in Congress will shew the farther progress of this abortive but very interesting negotiation,
“ In Congress, September 2, 1776. “ Congress being informed that general Sullivan, who was taken prisoner in Long Island, was come to Philadelphia, with a message from lord Howe,
“ Ordered, that he be admitted and heard before Congress.
“ General Sullivan, being admitted, delivered the verbal message he had in charge from lord Howe, which he was desired to reduce to writing, and withdrew."
16 September 3. “General Sullivan, having reduced to writing the verbal message from lord Howe, the same was laid before Congress, and read as follows:
6. The following is the purport of the message sent from lord Howe to Congress, by general Sullivan.
“ That though he could not at present treat with Congress as such, yet he was very desirous of having a conference with some of the members, whom he would consider at present only as private gentlemen, and meet them himself as such, at such place as they should appoint.
" That he, in conjunction with general Howe, had full power to compromise the disputes between Great Britain and America, on terms advantageous to both, the obtaining of which delayed him near two months in England, and prevented his arrival at this place before the declaration of independence took place.
“ That he wished a compact might be settled at this time, when no decisive blow was struck, and neither party could say that they were compelled to enter into such an agreement. '
“That in case Congress were disposed to treat, many things which they had not yet asked might, and ought to be granted to them; and that if upon the conference they found any probable ground of an accommodation, the authority of Congress must be afterwards acknowledged, otherwise the compact could not be complete."
66 September 5. “ Resolved—That general Sullivan be requested to inform lord Howe, that this Congress, being the representatives of the free and independent states of America, cannot with propriety send any of its members to confer with his lordship in their private characters ; but ever desirous of establishing peace on reasonable terms, they will send a committee of their body to know whether he has any authority to treat with persons authorized by Congress for that purpose on behalf of America, and whát that authority is, and to hear such propositions as he shall think fit to make respecting the same. Ordered, that a copy of the foregoing resolution be delivered to general Sullivan, and that he be directed to repair to lord Howe.”
“ September 6. , “ Resolved— That the committee to be sent to know whether lord Howe has any authority to treat with persons authorized by Congress for that purpose on behalf of America, and what that authority is, and to hear such propositions as he shall think fit to make respecting the same, consist of three. · "The members chosen are Dr Franklin, Mr Adams,
and Mr Rutledge. .. “Dr Franklin, having announced the appointment of this deputation to lord Howe, received from his lordship the following communication.
" Eagle, off Bedlow's Island,
Sept. 10, 1776. • "• To Dr FRANKLIN.—Lord Howe presents his com
pliments to Dr Franklin, and according to the tenor of his favour of the 8th, will attend to have the pleasure of meeting him, and Messrs Adams and Rutledge, tomorrow morning at the house on Staten Island, opposite to Amboy, as early as the few conveniences for travelling by land on Staten Island will permit. Lord Howe, upon his arrival at the place appointed, will send a boat, if he can procure it in time, with a flag of truce, over to Amboy, and requests the Doctor and the other gentlemen will postpone their intended favour of passing over to meet him, until they are informed as above of his arrival to attend them there. In case the weather should prove unfavourable for lord Howe to pass in his boat to Staten Island to-morrow, as from the present appearance there is some reason to suspect, he will take the next earliest opportunity that offers for that purpose. In this intention he may be further retarded, having been an invalid lately, but will certainly give the most timely notice of that inability. He however flatters himself he shall not have occasion to make further excuses on that account.'
66 September 13. " The committee appointed to confer with lord Howe, having returned, made a verbal report.
“ Ordered—That they make a report in writing, as soon as they conveniently can.”
« September 17. “ The committee appointed to confer with lord Howe, agreeable to order, brought in a report in writing, which was read as follows:
" In obedience to the orders of Congress, we have had a meeting with lord Howe : it was on Wednesday last, upon Staten Island, opposite Amboy, where his lordship received and entertained us with the utmost politeness.