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lutions were adopted to send agents to other courts of Europe, and to strengthen their application to France and Spain. William Lee was appointed to Vienna and Berlin ; Ralph Izard to the Duke of Tuscany, and Dr. Franklin specially to Spain. Arthur Lee was afterwards substituted for Dr. Franklin to Spain. The additional instructions to their agents in France, reiterated the determination of the States, never to return to subjection to Great Britain, an apprehension of which naturally deterred the other powers of Europe from entering into negotiations with them, and made liberal offers of territorial and commercial favors, in return for open or covert aid.
Before the arrival of these new propositions, the great talents, high reputation, and extraordinary personal popularity of Dr. Franklin had been successful in increasing the general enthusiasm which began to be felt in behalf of the Americans. The court and the people, the halls of science and the saloons of fashion, became equally charmed with the character, wit, and simplicity of manners of the American envoy; and in addition to inducements arising out of reasons of state, and national rivalry, his mission and his country grew personally in favor. The government was not ready to acknowledge the States openly or form treaties with them as an independent nation ; but in all other respects, it was willing to give them efficient aid. A paper signed by the king was read to the commissioners early in January 1777, by Monsieur Gerard, secretary to Count Vergennes, in which he explained his disposition to serve them, expressed his doubts of the fitness of the time, or the condition of his own affairs to give them countenance, or form a close alliance with them, and gave them as an earnest of his good wishes, two millions of livres, payable quarterly, to be augmented, as the state of his finances would permit. The new propositions received in the beginning of the year, though they strengthened the confidence of the French in the stability of the American purposes, were not sufficient to induce them to depart from this line of policy. They were uncertain of the course which events would take, of the final resolution of Congress against all reconciliation with, Britain in any form, and were in particular very sceptical as to the harmony of the States among themselves, and their capacity, if successful, to form a permanent union, and responsible government. Though lending succors in vari
ous ways, by loans, gifts, supplies of arms, provisions, cloth. ing and ammunition, to the American commissioners and agents, and receiving them individually with every demonstration of favor and sympathy, France avoided all formal recognition of American Independence, or official intercourse with the United States, and preserved a nominal neutrality between the belligerents during the whole of the
The popular sympathy of the French nation, happily outstripped the calculating policy of their rulers. Volunteers offered themselves to bear arms in the cause of liberty, and among them, were numerous persons of merit and distinc tion, who could only have been actuated by a generous gallantry and noble zeal for free principles. The most eminent was the young Marquis de La Fayette, a nobleman, who enjoyed, by his high rank, large wealth, numerous connexions among the noblest and wealthiest, and the rare felicity of his domestic relations, every inducement to give himself up to a career of enjoyment in his own country, but who, fired with a virtuous indignation against tyranny, and zeal for human happiness, abandoned all the delights and endearments of home, and embarked his fortune and his life in the cause of American liberty, when its prospects were darkest. His proffers of service were made at an early period, but were not warmly encouraged by the agents of America, in consequence of the uncertain condition of the affairs of the new Colonies, and their want of means to offer suitable inducements. When news of the disastrous battle of Long Island, following so immediately after the Declaration of Independence, reached France, and the apparent desperation of American affairs was communicated to him, it only elicited the noble comment, " If your country is indeed reduced to such extremity, this is the moment at which my departure to join her armies will render her the most efficient service.” He accordingly fitted out a vessel at his own expense, and in the spring of 1777, arrived in America, where he was received with the liveliest joy, and adopted into the family of Washington, who became tenderly attached to him. Congress soon after appointed him a Major General in their armies.
Contemporary with these movements in France, by which efficient succor was given to the Americans, the British parliament was in session, and the subject of American affairs
was brought before them, both by the king in his speech at the opening of the session in October, and by members of the opposition afterwards. The ministerial majority for perseverance in the war, was overwhelming. Addresses moved as echoes to the speech, and calling for the subjugation of the rebels, were carried, and conciliatory amendments rejected in the House of Commons, by a vote of 242 to 87, and in the House of Peers by a vote of 91 to 26. The opposition in the lower House was led by Lord John Cavendish, and in the Upper by the Marquis of Rockingham. Fourteen peers joined in a protest on the journal, which contained the fol
“A wise and provident use of the late advantages, might be productive of happy effects, as the means of establishing a permanent connexion between Great Britain and her Colonies, on principles of liberty and terms of mutual benefit," but is we should look with shame and horror on any events that would bow them to any abject or unconditional submission to any power whatsoever; annihilate their liberties, and subdue them to servile principles and passive habits by the mere force of foreign mercenary arms.
The proclamation issued by the Howes in America as commissioners under the act of the previous session, was brought before the House; and though censured as illegal, a motion was made to proceed, on the faith of the promises of the ministry expressed in it, to go into a revisal of the acts of parliament complained of in America. This being rejected, the minority avowing their despair of checking the ruinous policy of the administration, seceded from the House, and left the ministers entirely unopposed. A few of them rallied in February, to oppose another tyrannical measüre, introduced by Lord North, to suspend the Habeas Corpus act, “to enable his majesty to secure and detain persons charged with or suspected of the crime of high treason committed in America, or on the high seas, or the crime of piracy They succeeded in modifying some of the clauses, but tħeir opposition to the principle was vain. The session was protracted till the month of June, but no further effort made on American affairs. They were left to the fortune of war, and the tender miercies of the German mercenaries, hired by the king of Great Britain, to subdue the revolted colonists into renewed affection for Great Britain.'
Washington, in the early part of the year, after closing his campaign by the recovery of New Jersey from the enemy and retiring into winter quarters at Morristown, passed some months of extreme embarrassment and severe labors in preparing for the period of action. The army having suffered severely by the small-pox, he directed them to be inoculated, and both regular soldiers, and recruits as they arrived, went through the operation successfully. During the season when they were laboring under the effects of this precautionary measure, the whole camp was almost, if not quite defenceless : not more than a comparative handful of men were fit for any duty. Indeed, the extreme weakness of the forces under Washington's command, during the winter, at Morristown, was such, that a strong effort by the British army could not have failed to drive them completely out of Jersey. The recruiting service went on but slowly, even after the favorable change produced by the victories at Trenton and Princeton. The battalions voted by Congress in December, were none of them filled up; and as the times of enlistment expired, the soldiers rarely consented to re-enter the service. The utmost force that could be mustered during the month of February, was fifteen hundred men; and there were times when, from the causes just mentioned, there were not four hundred of all descriptions, fit for duty. In March, the general reported to Congress, that his whole force in Jersey, including the militia, was only three thousand, one third only of whom were regular troops, and that the time of service of the militia would expire within the month. Towards the latter part of the month the numbers had increased nominally to near five thousand. At the same time the British army, under General Howe, exceeded twenty-seven thousand. Congress, which re-assembled at Philadelphia on the 27th February, were invoked earnestly and repeatedly by the Commander-in-chief to do something effectual for improving the state of the army. They passed some resolves with this object, among which was one to raise three artillery regiments, to be put under the command of General Knox, another to raise three thousand cavalry, and a third to establish a corps of engineers. At the head of the engineer corps, was placed General Du Portail, a distinguished French officer. These regulations gradually produced beneficial consequençes upon the organization of the army, though not of much instant importance. Much difficulty was produced by the
anomalous nature of the authority by which the various military bodies were brought together under the direction of Congress. A union in fact existed among the States, but only by consent, no articles of agreement having been adopted, and every State having an absolute independence of the others. The States alone had power to compel obedience, and their regulations, both as to bounty and to pay, were various and discordant. When their several quotas were raised and brought together under the control of a body so utterly powerless in fact, as the continental Congress, jealousies, discords, and confusion, inevitably ensued. Particular States, looking to their own position, and apprehensions of the enemy, called for a diversion of the general force, to their own defence, or raised state battalions, to be at their own separate disposal. These mischiefs were earnestly combatted by the efforts and representations of Congress and the Commander-in-chief, and before the opening of the campaign they were in part removed. The army arrangements were made more uniform, and the discipline brought into greater method. An evil still greater and beyond the power of Congress to remedy, was the alarming depreciation of the continental bills of credit, issued on the public faith by Congress, to a very large amount. Not being based upon any specie fund; with no provision for redemption at any time, except the remote and now almost hopeless contingency of the establishment of Independence, the formation of a solid government, and the restoration and increase of the national commerce, nothing could give them currency among the people. Unwise and arbitrary enactments, to force them into circulation at par, or even to limit their depreciation, failed, as ought to have been expected. The disorder in the finances could not be repaired by any expedients within the means of Congress, and continued to increase. This fruitful source of distress to the army, and the government during the war, had already exhibited part of its mischievous effects upon the American cause, in the winter of 1776, and 1777.
Another source of trouble and vexation, was the disputes between the English and American generals on the treatment of prisoners. These had commenced with the earliest hostilities in Massachusetts." General Gage considered the Americans, as révolted subjects, in arms against their sovereign, and as such not entitled to the treatment of prisoners