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conceal from them that there was a total laxity of discipline among his troops, and that the greater part of them were not to be relied on in the event of another action.
It is highly to the honour of Washington, labouring under so many disadvantages, to have yet achieved so much. The active scenes which followed his arrival are well described in a private letter from one of the Chaplains in his army. —" There is great over-turning in the camp "as to order and regularity. New Lords, new laws. "The Generals Washington and Lee are upon the lines "every day. New orders from His Excellency are read "to the respective regiments every morning after prayers. "The strictest government is taking place, and great dis"tinction is made between officers and soldiers. Every "one is made to know his place and keep in it, or be tied "up and receive thirty or forty lashes according to his "crime. Thousands are at work every day from four till "eleven o'clock in the morning. It is surprising how "much work has been done. The lines are extended "almost from Cambridge to Mystic River, so that very "soon it will be morally impossible for the enemy to get
"between the works My quarters are at the foot of
"the famous Prospect Hills, and it is very diverting to walk "among the tents. They are as different in their form "as their owners are in their dress, and every tent is a "portraiture of the temper and taste of the persons who "encamp in it. Some are of boards, and some of sail"cloth. Some partly of the one, and partly of the other. "Others again are made of stone and turf, brick or brush. "Some are thrown up in a hurry, others curiously wrought "with doors and windows, done with wreaths and withes, "in the manner of a basket. Some are your proper tents "and marquees, looking like the regular camp of the "enemy." *
There was one deficiency, however, which no skill in Washington could retrieve or atone for, and which he could only endeavour to conceal. That deficiency was
* Letter of the Rev. "William Emerson, printed in the Appendix to Mr. Sparks's Washington, vol. iii. p. 491. Washington himself speaks of "incessant labour, Sundays not excepted," (Ibid, p. 39.)
VOL. VI. F
of powder. The first statement made to him on this point by the Massachusetts officers had been quite satisfactory but quite erroneous. "They," says Washington, "not being sufficiently acquainted with the nature of a "return, sent in an account of all the ammunition which "had been collected by the province, so that the report "included not only what was on hand but what was "spent! "* On calling for more exact returns, the General found to his amazement the stock so small as nearly to preclude him from the use of his artillery, and to leave but nine rounds of powder to each musket; and even this small stock was further reduced by the little affairs of outposts which sometimes occurred. Dr. Franklin declares that in the month of October when he visited the army, it had not five rounds of powder a man. "The world," he adds, "wondered that we so seldom fired a cannon; "why we could not afford it."+ Washington did not fail to make most urgent representations on this subject both to the Congress and to the neighbouring Colonies, but many weeks, nay months elapsed, before he was effectually supplied. To a brave officer scarce any position would be more painful than thus to stand in front of a numerous and disciplined enemy; daily awaiting an attack which he knew that he could not repel, and unprovided even with means to fire his own artillery in his own defence.
This deficiency of powder, in some degree at least though not to its full extent, was known to the British General. It had been disclosed by a deserter; it was moreover clearly implied in a vote of the Massachusetts Assembly: "Resolved: That it be and it hereby is recommended to "the inhabitants of this Colony not to fire a gun at beast, "bird, or mark without real necessity therefor." f Nevertheless, General Gage remained quiet in his lines. He may yet have hoped for a favourable issue from the last
* To the President of Congress, August 4. 1775. This curious passage appears in the American Archives (vol. iii. p. 28.), but is omitted in Mr. Sparks's edition.
t Letter to Dr. Priestley, January 27. 1777. Works, vol. viii. p. 198.
J Resolution, August 12. 1775. American Archives, vol. iii. p. Petition of Congress to the King. He may have doubted whether, with the prevailing temper of men's minds, even the most triumphant victory in Massachusetts might not tend to exasperate far more than to subdue. But above all he must have borne in mind that the first inland movement which he had ordered — the march to Concord producing the hostilities at Lexington— had been by no means approved by the Ministers in England. Still less were they satisfied with him when there came the news of Bunker's Hill. Immediately after those tidings Lord Dartmouth wrote to recall him from his post, under the honourable plea however of desiring to consult him on the plans for the next campaign. Accordingly in the month of October General Gage took his departure from Boston, and sailed homewards, leaving by the King's direction the chief command to General Howe. *
* The despatches of Lord Dartmouth on the events at Lexington and Bunker's Hill (July 1. and August 2. 1775) as derived from the State Paper Office are published in both the collections of Mr. Peter Force and Mr. Jared Sparks.
In England the tide of public feeling continued to set strongly against the conduct and the claims of the Americans. Their recent resistance was deemed no better than rebellion. Their professions of loyalty were disbelieved, and their prospects of ultimate success derided. Nothing is more certain than that at this time, and during the whole first period of the war, by far the greater part of the British people most earnestly and zealously upheld the King in his determination, according with their own, to maintain, as he and they conceived, both the rights of the Crown and the authority of Parliament. On this point — on the reality and extent of this public feeling at that juncture — the testimony from the most opposite quarters is nearly the same.—When Lord North sent over his Conciliatory Resolution, it was accompanied by a Note which he had dictated to Mr. Grey Cooper, Secretary to the Treasury, and which in its semi-official form was laid before the Congress. Among other arguments that Note states: "The temper and spirit of the nation are so '' much against concessions, that if it were the intention "of the administration they could not carry the ques"tion."* We may acknowledge some exaggeration in this statement, since probably the aim of the people was to give their full support, if required, to the King and Government, and not to go beyond them; yet still this is surely no unimportant testimony to the spirit of the time. But did the members of the Opposition deny that statement? Quite the contrary, when they spoke together in confidence. In October of this year Lord Rockingham writes to Burke that his own observations have been confirmed by Lord John Cavendish, by Sir George Savile, and by several more; all owning the real fact to be "that
* Minutes of the Continental Congress, May 30. 1775.
"the violent measures towards America are fairly adopted "and countenanced by a majority of individuals of all "ranks, professions, or occupations in this country."*
To this state of public feeling the London Magistrates were however a signal exception. When in August the King issued a Proclamation for suppressing rebellion and sedition in America and preventing traitorous correspondence with that country, and when that Proclamation was read forth at the Royal Exchange, Wilkes, as Lord Mayor, would not allow the Mace to be carried, nor the usual forms of respect to be observed; and at the close of the ceremony his partisans raised a hiss.f At nearly the same time the City chiefs endeavoured to draw His Majesty into an unseemly contest, by declining to present an Address, unless the King would receive it seated on his throne. "I am ever ready," rejoined the King, " to receive Addresses and Petitions, but I am the "judge where." There is reason to believe that even in the City the larger number disapproved this low and petty game of faction in their chiefs. Certain it is at least that loyal Addresses — declaring in strong terms attachment to the Throne and Constitution and disapprobation of the insurgent Colonies—came in at this time spontaneous and unsolicited from every part of the kingdom, — from the trading towns, as Manchester and Liverpool, no less than from the rural districts.
It was under circumstances thus unfavourable to the issue of his mission that Richard Penn brought over the "Olive-branch "— the Petition, namely, from Congress to the King. On the 1st of September Penn himself, accompanied by Arthur Lee, delivered it for presentation to Lord Dartmouth. His Lordship received it from their hands in silence. Three days afterwards he informed them by letter that to this Petition no answer would be given. It was deemed that since the Congress had met not only without the King's permission but against his injunctions; since it was in fact a self-constituted body; and since it had sanctioned and directed the taking up arms against His Majesty; its authority had no claim to
* Burke's Correspondence, vol. ii. p. 68.