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quantity of military stores to Quebec, for that purpose. But the people though they did not join the Americans, yet were found immoveable in their purpose to remain neuter. Application was made to the bishop; but he declined to use his influence, as contrary to the rules of the popish clergy; so that the utmost efforts of government in this province were found abortive.
The British administration next tried to engage the Indians in their cause. But though agents were dispersed among them with large presents to the chiefs, they universally replied, that they did not understand the nature of the quarrel, nor could they distinguish whether those who dwelt in America, or those on the other side of the ocean, were in fault; but they were surprized to see Englishmen ask their assistance against one another, and advised them to be reconciled, and not to think of shedding the blood of their brethren.
To the representations of congress they paid more attention. These informed them that the English on the other side of the ocean, had taken up arms to enslave, not only their countrymen in America, but the Indians also; and if they overcame the colonists, themselves would soon be reduced to slavery also. The savages, upon maturely weighing the subject, concluded to remain neuter; and thus the colonists were freed from a most dangerous enemy.
On this occasion congress held a solemn conference with the different tribes of Indians. A speech was proposed, which exhibits a specimen of the manner in which Europeans always address the savage inhabitants of Ame
"Brothers, Sachems, and Warriors !
"We, the delegates from the twelve united provinces, "now sitting in general congress at Philadelphia, send our "talk to you our brothers.
"Brothers and Friends now attend!
"When our fathers crossed the great water, and "came over to this land, the king of England gave them ❝ a talk, promising them that they and their children should
"be his children; and if they would leave their native "country, and make settlements, and live here, and buy "and sell, and trade with their brethren beyond the great "water, they should still keep hold of the same covenant "chain, and enjoy peace; and it was covenanted, that "the fields, houses, goods, and possessions, which our "fathers should acquire, should remain to them as their "( own, and be their children's for ever, and at their sole "disposal.
"Brothers and Friends open an ear!
"We will now tell you of the quarrel betwixt the "counsellors of king George and the inhabitants of the colo "nies of America.
"Many of his counsellors have persuaded him to break "the covenant chain, and not to send us any more good "talks. They have prevailed upon him to enter into a "covenant against us, and have torn asunder, and cast "behind their backs, the good old covenant which their
ancestors and ours entered into, and took strong hold " of. They now tell us they will put their hands into "our pocket without asking, as though it were their own; "and at their will and pleasure, they will take from us our charter, or written civil constitution, which we love "as our lives; also our plantations, our houses, and our "goods, whenever they please, without asking our leave. "They tell us also, that our vessels may go to that or "this island in the sea, but to this or that particular island, "we shall not trade any more; and in case of our non"compliance with these new orders, they shut up our har"bours.
"Brothers, we live on the same ground with you; the "same island is our common birth-place. We desire to "set down under the same tree of with peace let you: "us water its roots, and cherish the growth, till the large "leaves and flourishing branches shall extend to the setting "sun, and reach the skies. If any thing disagreeable "should ever fall out between us, the twelve United Colo"nies, and you, the Six Nations, to wound our peace, let
us immediately seek measures for healing the breach. "From the present situation of our affairs, we judge it ex
"pedient to kindle up a small fire at Albany, where we " may hear cach other's voice, and disclose our minds fully "to one another."
The other remarkable transactions of this Congress, were the ultimate refusal of the conciliatory proposal made by lord North, of which such sanguine expectations had been formed by the English ministry; and the appointment of a generalissimo to command their armies which were now very numerous. The person chosen for this purpose was, George Washington, a man universally beloved; he was raised to the high station of Commander in Chief, by the unanimous voice of Congress, in 1775: and his subsequent conduct shewed him every way worthy of it. Horatio Gates, and Charles Lee, two English officers of considerable reputation, were also chosen, the former adjutant-general, the latter major-general. Artemas Ward, Philip Schuyler, and Israel Putnam, were likewise nominated major-generals. Seth Pomeroy, Richard Montgomery, David Wooster, William Heath, John Thomas, John Sullivan, and Nathaniel Green, were chosen brigadier-generals at the same time,
About this period Georgia sent deputies to congress expressing their desire to join the confederacy. The reasons they gave for their renouncing their allegiance to Britain was, that the conduct of parliament towards the other colonies had been oppressive; and though the obnoxious acts had not been extended to them, they could view this only as an omission because of the seeming little consequence of their colony; and therefore looked upon it rather as a slight than a favour. At the same time, they framed a petition to the king, similar to that sent by the other colo nies, and which met a similar reception.
The success which had hitherto attended the Americans now emboldened them to act offensively against Great Britain. The conquest of Canada appeared to be practicable, and which would be attended with many advantages; and as Crown Point and Ticonderoga were already in their hands, the invasion that way might be easily effected, and supposed that Quebec might be reduced during the winter, before the fleets and armies, which they were well assured would sail thither from Britain, should arrive.
Congress therefore ordered three thousand men under the command of generals Montgomery and Schuyler, to proceed to Lake Champlain, from whence they were to be conveyed in flat-bottomed boats to the mouth of the river Sorel, a branch of the river St. Lawrence, and on which is situated a fort of the same name with the river. On the other hand they were opposed by general Carleton, governor of Canada, a man of great activity and experience in war; who with a small number of troops, had been able to keep in awe the disaffected people in Canada, notwithstanding all the representations of the colonists. He had now augmented his army with a number of Indians, and promised, even in his present situation, to make a formidadable resistance.
When General Montgomery arrived at Crown point, he received information that several armed vessels were stationed at St. Johns, a strong fort on the Sorel, with a view to prevent his crossing the lake : on which he took possession of an island which commands the mouth of the Sorel, and by which he could prevent them from entering the lake. In conjunction with General Schuyler, he next proceeded to St. Johns; but finding that place too strong, it was agreed in a council of war, to retire to Isle aux Noix, where general Schuyler being taken ill, Montgomery was left to command alone. His first step was to gain over the Indians, whom General Carleton had employed, and this he in part accomplished; after which, on receiving the full number of troops appointed for the expedition, he determined to lay siege to St. Johns; in this he was the more encouraged by the reduction of Chamblee, a small fort in the neighbourhood, where he found a large supply of powder. An attempt was made by General Carleton to relieve the place; for which purpose, he collected about one thousand Canadians, while colonel Maclean proposed to raise a regiment of the Highlanders, who had emigrated from their own country to America.
But while General Carleton was on his march with these new levies, he was attacked by the provincials, and defeated; which being made known to Macdonald's party they abandoned him without striking a blow, and he was obliged to retreat to Quebec. The defeat of General
Carleton was considered as a sufficient recompense for that of colonel Ethan Allen, which had happened a short time previous to this.
The success of colonel Allen against Crown point and Ticonderoga had emboldened him to make a similar attempt on Montreal; but the militia of the place supported by a detachment of regulars, entirely defeated him, and he was taken prisoner.
The garrison of St. Johns being informed of the defeat of general Carleton, and seeing no hope of relief, surrendered themselves prisoners of war. They were in number five hundred regulars snd two hundred Canadians, among whom were many of the French nobility, who had been very active in promoting the cause of Britain, among their countrymen. General Montgomery next took mea. sures to prevent the British shipping from passing down the river from Montreal to Quebec. This he accomplished so effectually, that the whole were taken. The town surrendered at discretion; and it was with the utmost difficulty that general Carleton escaped in an open boat, favoured by a dark night. No obstacle now remained to impede their progress to the capital, except what arose from the nature of the country; and these indeed were very considerable.
But it seems that nothing could damp 'the ardour of the provincials. Although it was the middle of November, and the depth of winter at hand, colonel Arnold formed the design of penetrating through the woods, and morasses, from New England to Canada, by a nearer route, than that which Montgomery had chosen; and this he accomplished in spite of every difficulty, to the astonishment of all who saw or heard of the attempt. A third part of his men, under another colonel, had been obliged to leave him by the way, for want of provisions; the total want of artillery, rendered his presence insignificant before a place so strongly fortified; and the smallness of his army, rendered it doubtful whether he could take the town by surprize.
The Canadians were amazed at the exploit; but none of them as yet took up arms in behalf of America. The consternation into which the town of Quebec was thrown was detrimental to the Americans, as it doubled the vigi A A