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Chap. m. the remembrance of former friendships, pride 1775. in the glorious achievements of common ancestors, and affection for the heirs of their virtues, had heretofore maintained." In all their addresses, they disclaimed the idea of independence, and profess themselves to consider a union with England, on constitutional principles, as the greatest blessing which could be bestowed on them.
But Britain had determined to maintain, by force, the legislative supremacy of parliament; and America had determined, by force, to repel the claim. . .
Colonel Washington appointed commander in chief of the American forces....Arrives at Cambridge....Strength and disposition of the two armies....Deficiency of the Americans in arms andammunition....Falmouth burnt.... Success of the American cruisers....Distress of the British from the want of fresh provisions....Difficulty of re-enlisting the army....Plans for attacking Boston.... Possession taken of the heights of Dorchester....Boston evacuated. •
From the period of his marriage, the atten- 1775. tions of colonel Washington, who had retired to Mount Vernon, were for several years principally directed to the management of his estate, which had now become considerable, and which he greatly improved. He continued, however, a most respected member of the legislature of his country, in which he took an early and a decided part in the opposition made to the principle of taxation, asserted by the British parliament. He was chosen by the independent companies formed through the northern parts of Virginia, to command them, and was elected a member of the first congress which met at Philadelphia, in which body, he was very soon distinguished as the soldier of America. He was placed on all those committees whose duty jt was to make arrangements for defence, and when it became necessary to appoint a commander in chief, his military character, the
.chap.iv. solidity of his judgment, the steady firmness u75. of his temper, the dignity of his person and deportment, the confidence inspired by his patriotism and integrity, and the independence of his circumstances, combined with that policy which actuated New England, and induced a wish to engage the southern colonies cordially in the war, to designate him in the opinion of all, as the person to whom the destinies of his country should be confided. Colonel He was unanimously chosen "general, and appointed commander in chief of the armv of the united
ihe'Srican colonies, and all the forces now raised, or to be
fOTCCT- raised by them."* sTM' When, the next day, the president communicated this appointment to him, he modestly answered, that though truly sensible of the high honour done him, yet he felt great distress from a consciousness that his abilities and military experience, might not be equal to the extensive and important trust. However, as the congress desired it, he would enter upon the momentous duty, and exert every power he possessed in their service, and for support of the glorious cause. He begged them to accept his cordial thanks for this distinguished testimony of their approbation, and then added,
"But lest some unlucky event should
happen unfavourable to my reputation, I beg it
• See Mtc, M. XV. at the end of the volume.
may be remembered by every gentleman in the Chap. iv room, that I this day declare with the utmost 1775 sincerity, I do not think myself equal to the command I am honoured with."
He declined all compensation for his services and avowed an intention to keep an exact account of his expenses, which he should rely on congress to discharge.
A special commission was made out for him,* and a solemn resolution was unanimously entered into, declaring that congress would maintain, assist, and adhere to him as the general and commander in chief of the forces raised, or to be raised, for the maintenance and preservation of American liberty, with their lives and fortunes.
He prepared, without delay, to enter upon the arduous duties of his station, and, having passed a few days in New York, where general Schuyler commanded, and where several very important arrangements were to be made, he proceeded with the utmost dispatch to Cam
* Artemus Ward, of Massachussetts, who had commanded the troops before Boston; colonel Lee, a British officer, who had distinguished himself in Portugal, but had resigned his commission in the service of the king; Philip Schuyler, of New York; and Israel Putnam, of Connecticut, now also before Boston; were appointed to the rank of major generals: and mr. Horatio Gates, who had held the rank of a major in the British service, was appointed adjutant general.
Chap. iv. bridge, which was the head quarters of the 1775. American army.
As all orders of men concurred in approving his appointment, all concurred in expressing the satisfaction that event had given them, and their determination to afford him the most entire support. Yet the address from the provincial congress of New York, seemed to disclose some jealousy, even at that time, entertained of the danger* to which liberty was exposed from a military force, and the very expression of their confidence that he would return, when peace should be restored, to the walks of private life, betrayed their fears, that so much pdwer once acquired might not readily > be parted with.
Massachussetts manifested more than usual solicitude to demonstrate the respect entertained for their general. A committee of the congress of that province waited to receive him at Springfield, on the confines of the colony, about one hundred miles from Boston, and to escort him to the army. Immediately after
* After expressing their joy at his appointment, the address