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wheresoever it passed, left its mark of ruin behind.
No wonder then that the prospect of being for ever relieved from this scourge of nations, and of winning the great prize for which all these sufferings had been patiently endured, awakened the pulse of the whole people, and caused their eyes to sparkle and their cheeks to glow. At the dead of the night, a watchman in the streets of Philadelphia was heard to cry out, “ Past twelve o'clock, and a pleasant morning-Cornwallis is taken.” All but the dead resting in their last sleep, awoke at this glorious annunciation. The city became alive at midnight; the candles were lighted, and figures might be seen flitting past the windows, or pushing them up, to hear the sound repeated, lest it should have been nothing but a dream. The citizens ran through the streets to inquire into the truth; they shook hands, they embraced each other, and they wept for joy. None slept again that night, and the dawn of the morning, which brought new confirmation of the happy tidings, shone on one of the most exulting cities that ever basked in the sunshine of-joy.
The news ran like fire on the prairies along every road, and through every by-place of the land. It seemed to fly on the wings of the wind, or to be borne by some invisible messenger. No one could tell from whence it came, but it came invested with a charm that rendered confirmation unnecessary. Everybody believed it, for all, even in the darkest days of the Revolution, had cherished a hope, which carried with it almost the force of inspiration, that Washington would, beyond all doubt, one day give liberty to his country. That hour was now come, and the souls of the people expanded with unutterable joy. For years they had stared misery in the face, and suffered in its iron grasp. They had reaped many harvests of bitterness, and they now expected to reap those of peace and plenty. They had passed through the dark valley of the shadow of death, and were now about to emerge into the regions of light. There was but one single united voice throughout the whole land, and that shouted the name of Washington, the De liverer of his Country.
Events following the Capture of Cornwallis—The Combined
Armies separate-Washington at Newburgh-Proceedings of the Army-His Address to the Officers, and its Effects-Re. flections on the conduct of Washington on that occasion.
The capture of Cornwallis and his army may be considered the concluding scene of that great drama which had agitated a considerable portion of the Christian world, and of which it yet feels, and long will feel, the consequences. The revolutionary struggle of the States had finally involved France, Spain, and Holland in hostilities with England, and its termination brought with it peace in the Old as well as the New World. The plan of operations against Yorktown was conceived with profound wisdom, and conducted with a skill and vigour which, combined with good fortune, produced the signal success it deserved.
The day which succeeded an event so great in itself and its consequences, was signalized
by the pardon and release of all officers and soldiers under arrest, and divine service was ordered by Washington to be performed in the different brigades and divisions. The whole army offered
its thanks with one yoice to the God of battles, who had enabled them a second time to capture its enemies. The scene was solemn and affecting in the highest degree; the soldier laid down those arms with which he had conquered man, at the foot of the throne of that good Being who created him, and bent his knee in humble gratitude.
This duty being performed, the combined armies separated to go into winter quarters, after exchanging a final farewell. A portion of the French forces departed, under Count de Grasse, for the West Indies, and the remainder, under Count Rochambeau, remained in Virginia until the spring, when it left the country, followed by the blessings of those whom it had assisted to become free. Whoever may question the motives of the French government for co-operating with the Americans in their revolutionary struggle, it cannot be denied that our country owes France a debt of gratitude. Whatever were the benefits ultimately derived from her good
offices, or whether they resulted from policy or friendship, the debt is substantially the same. Mankind have no right to vitiate the motives for a friendly act as an excuse for becoming ungrateful.
Washington, after separating from the French army, pursued his way to the North, and resumed his old position on the Hudson, for the purpose of being ready to act, if necessary, against Sir Henry Clinton on the opening of the campaign. Though hoping the war was now brought to a close, he did not in the least remit his exertions to be prepared for its renewal. He saw the necessity of being ready for another campaign. “I shall endeavour," he writes to General Greene, who so nobly distinguished himself in the war of the South“I shall endeavour to stimulate Congress to the best improvement of our success, by taking the most vigorous and effectual measures to be ready for an early and decisive campaign the next year. My greatest fear is, that, viewing this stroke in a point of light which may too much magnify its importance, they may think our work too nearly closed, and fall into a state of languor and relaxation. To prevent this