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possible, to detain the enemy during the remainder of the campaign, in the struggle to possess York Island. The question was seriously agitated, whether, if compelled to abandon the city, it would not be proper to burn it, in order to deprive the enemy of all advantage in possessing it. On the 12th, a second council of war determined in favour of im mediate evacuation. This was hastened by the landing of a considerable force at Kipp's Bay, a day or two afterwards, and a defeat which the Americans sustained there.
General Howe landed a detachment, under cover of several men-of-war, on the east side of New York Island, on the 15th September, about three miles above the city, between South Bay and Kipp's Bay. Works had been erected to oppose them, and troops stationed there sufficient to oppose the landing, until reinforcements could arrive; but at the first approach of the British, the works were shamefully abandoned without the firing of a single gun in defence. Two brigades had been sent to support them; and Washington followed in person, to retrieve the disasters and animate the troops. His efforts were in vain-he met the whole party in precipitate and cowardly flight from an inconsiderable number of the enemy; and neither exhortations, entreaties, menaces, nor violence, could induce them to rally. He threatened and expostulated ; and, with an excitement unusual in his steady and well-tempered mind, attempted to cut down some of the most eager in flight; and finally, losing his self-possession, hazarded his own person in front of the pursuing enemy, and was scarcely restrained from rashly throwing away his own life in a desperate attempt to check the dastardly flight of his soldiers. He was led unwillingly off of the field by his aids and confidential friends, in great distress of mind. On this only occasion, in his whole public career, did he juffer his feelings to overcome the firmness of his temper.
In consequence of this failure, the evacuation of the city was made in haste. It was accomplished with little loss of men; but most of the heavy artillery and some stores were
unavoidably left behind, and the city was immeSept. 16.
diately occupied by General Howe. The forces which had retreated from Kipp's Bay, took up their position at Harlæm, where the rear guard, under General Putnam, joined them, from the city, having eluded the British by avoiding the main road, and directing their march along the banks of the North river. The new British position extended
across the island, at Bloomingdale, about five miles north of. the city. The encampment was flanked on each extreme by the North and East rivers, and covered by ships of war The Americans were posted in their greatest strength at Kingsbridge, which secured their communications with the country. M'Gowan's Pass and Morris Heights were also fortified; and a camp fortified and garrisoned at Harlæn. Heights, within a mile and a half of the enemy. The day after the retreat from New York, a skirmish took place between advanced parties of the armies, in which the Ame ricans behaved with great intrepidity, and gained a decided advantage over the enemy. The troops engaged were rangers under the command of Colonel Knowlton, of Connecticut, and three Virginia companies under Major Leitch. Both of these officers fell mortally wounded; but their soldiers gallantly continued the attack, and drove a superior force of the enemy from their position, with considerable loss. The benefit of this affair was great in inspiriting the army, and reviving their confidence in themselves.
The royal commissioners, Admiral and General Howe foiled in their attempt at negotiation with the authoritie: of the new States, commenced addressing themselves directly, to the people, promising in behalf of the king, a revisioi. of all the regulations in trade, and a general reconside ration of all acts by which the Americans might think themselves aggrieved. Under two successive proclamations of this kind, a number of timid citizens of New York, impelled perhaps by the gloomy state of the affairs of Independence, signed declarations of allegiance, and presented petitions praying to be received into his majesty's peace and protection. Congress, to counteract this tendency, established an American Oath of Allegiance, requiring of every officer to acknowledge the thirteen United States as "free, independent, and sovereign States, and to abjure all allegiance or obedience to the king of Great Britain., Other royal proclamations followed, charging and commanding all persons assembled in arms against his majesty's government to disperse, and return to their dwellings; and ordering all conventions and congresses to desist from their treasonable proceedings, and relinquish their “ usurped au thority:" Full pardons were promised to all who should subscribe the declaration of allegiance within thirty days). under advantage of which many Americans, in the imme
diate vicinity of the British troops, and among them Galloway and Allen, who were members of congress in 1774, abandoned their country and joined the British standard. Counter proclamations were issued by Washington, under the directions of Congress, granting liberty to those who preferred “the interest and protection of Great Britain to the freedom and happiness of their country,'' to withdraw within the enemy's lines, but demanding the surrender of all British protections within thirty days, at head quarters, under penalty of being considered “common enemies' of the American states."
The line was most rigidly drawn between the friends and evemies of Independence; and the determination of Congress and the Commander-in-chief grew more resolute as. the war grew more adverse.
The two armies continued without change of position for some weeks: from the 15th of September, when the city was occupied by the British, till the middle of October. The ardu. ous and embarrassing duties of the field were not the most trying of the difficulties which engaged the time and attention of Washington. . The deplorable situation of the army, which was constantly on the point of dissolution from defect of organization, and want of almost every necessary, was a distressing subject of representation to Congress in his daily letters and remonstrances. The time for which enlistments had been made, was rapidly passing, and the misfortunes of the campaign had discouraged many even of the most ardent. The imprudence with which Čongress had relied upon the enthusiasm of the people, to re-fill the ranks at short periods, combined with the expectation of a speedy end to the conflict,--an expectation which was now weakened if not totally destroyed, had left them the prospect of being deserted by the army precisely at the moment when affairs were most gloomy, and a united effort was most necessary. The mischiefs of this temporizing plan at last forced the conviction upon Congress, that the cause of American liberty must be despaired of unless a permanent force could be depended upon, till the end of the war. At last, on the 16th of September, they passed a resolution for the formation of a regular army, to be enlisted to serve during the war. This: was afterwards modified so as to admit of engagements for three years or during the war. The inadequacy of the pay and emoluments, which had formed an anxious subject of representation by Washington, was taken into consideration,
and a scale adopted more likely to give the service an honorable and efficient character. A bounty of twenty dollars to privates and non-commissioned officers was agreed upon; and grants of land to officers and soldiers who served out the whole enlistment, promised in the following proportions : Five hundred acres to a Colonel; four hundred and fifty to a Lieutenant Colonel ; four hundred to a Major; three hundred to a Captain; two hundred to a Lieutenant; one hundred and fifty to an Ensign; and one hundred to non-commissioned officers and privates. The appointment of all, except general officers, and the filling of vacancies was left to the state governments. Each state was to provide arms, and clothing, and every necessary for its quota, to be deducted from the pay of the soldiers. The army was to consist of eighty-eight battalions, furnished thus:--New Hampshire, three battalions; Massachusetts Bay, fifteen; Rhode Island, two; Connecticut, eight; New York, four; New Jersey, four; Pennsylvania, twelve; Delaware, one; Maryland, eight; Virginia, fifteen; North Carolina, nine; South Carolina, six : Georgia, one.
These vigorous measures were, in the end, of material advantage; but the effect could not be immediate. They were not adopted till late in the year, and in the interval the deepest distress prevailed in every department of public service. The winter was approaching, and the few necessaries and clothing of the soldiery were not only meager in quantity and kind, but totally unfitted for the rigors of the season.
The dignity and firmness of Congress, under these adverse circumstances, was equally sustained in a contemporary cor respondence with Lord Howe, on the subject of an accommo dation of the difficulties, opened by him immediately after the battle of Long Island. General Sullivan, who had been taken prisoner, was paroled by the British general, and entrusted with a verbal message to Congress to the effect, that he could not treat with them in that character then; that he was extremely anxious to come to some accommodation speedily, while, as yet, no decisive advantage had been gained by either party, and it could not be said that either had been conquered into acquiescence or submission; that he would hold a conference with any of their members as private gentlemen; that he was, with the admiral, fully authorized to settle all differences in an honorable manner; that, were they to treat, many things which the Americans had not yet asked,
might and ought to be granted; and if upon a conference there appeared any probable ground of accommodation, that the authority of Congress would be afterwards acknowledged to render the treaty complete. General Sullivan communicated this message to Congress, on the 2d of September, and was directed to reduce it to writing. At the same time, tidings of the disastrous result of the battle and the retreat of the arńy were officially communicated: but Congress stood fast
in their determination. Three days afterwards they Sept. 5. Howe their reply—that “Congress, being the representatives of the free and independent states of America, they cannot with propriety send any of their members to confer with his lordship in their private characters; but that, ever desirous of establishing a 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, in behalf of America, and what that authority is; and to hear such propositions as he shall think fit to make concerning the same.'
Doctor Franklin, John Adams, and Edward Rutledge, were appointed the commissioners, and they accordingly met Lord Howe by appointment, at Staten Island, a few
days after. The conference was conducted with Sept. 11.
perfect courtesy and dignity by both parties, and ended, as was expected, by the American envoys, without any approach to an accommodation. In their report to Congress they stated, that it did not appear that his lordship's commission contained any other authority than that contained in the act of parliament, which was merely a power to grant pardons and offer amnesty on submission. They concluded with expressing the opinion, that "any expectation from the effort of such a power would have been too uncertain and precarious to be relied upon by America, even bad she continued in her state of dependence.” Howe put an end to the conference by expressing a regard for the Americans, and the extreme pain he should suffer, in being compelled to inflict upon them the calamities of war. Doctor Frank. lin replied by thanking him for his civility, and promising him in return, " that the Americans would show their gratitude by endeavoring to lessen, as much as possible, all the pain he might feel on their account, by exerting their utmost abilities to take good care of themselves.” Congress approved