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stance of Burgoyne, brought to trial for his outrageous conduct, having, on two separate occasions, stabbed English soldiers with his own hand, and made himself, said Burgoyne, in his own person, party, judge, and executioner! In summing up the case, the Judge Advocate, Mr. Tudor, declared, "lam an American, warmly attached to my country, and "known to be a friend to the prisoner. Yet," he adds, "it "must be acknowledged that Colonel Henley acted in this "affair with a degree of warmth which his best friends cannot "defend." Nevertheless Colonel Henley was acquitted by the Court-Martial of his countrymen, and was even for a few days reinstated in his command. The English officers Complained to their General, that six or seven of them were crowded together in one small room, without regard to their respective ranks, whereas the Seventh Article of the Convention said expressly, "The officers are to be quartered "according to their rank." Burgoyne, finding that he could obtain no redress upon the spot, forwarded this complaint to Gates, with a remonstrance, in which he observed, that by such treatment the public faith was broken. This expression was eagerly seized upon by Congress. They declared that much more was meant by it than met the ear. "Here," they said, "is a deep and crafty scheme — a previous notice "put in by the British General to justify his future conduct; "for, beyond all doubt, he will think himself absolved from "his obligation whenever released from his captivity, and go "with all his troops to reinforce the army of Howe." Burgoyne, when informed of the strange construction ptit, or pretended to be put, upon his words, hastened to explain their true intent and meaning, and pledged himself that his officers would join with him in signing any instrument that might be thought necessary for confirming the Convention. Nevertheless, the Congress would not recede from their first objection. Another cavil was founded on the hesitation of Burgoyne to send them, as they required, though the terms of the Convention did not, a descriptive list of the non-commissioned officers and privates belonging to his army. Per1777. SUBTERFUGES OP THE CONGRESS. 205
haps, however, a still superior ingenuity was shown in their assertion that the Convention had been already violated by the captive troops. The Convention stipulated that the arms should be given up: now it appeared that certain cartouchboxes and other accoutrements had been retained. The Resolutions which the Congress passed on this occasion assume, in the first place, that cartouch-boxes must, of course, be held included in the technical word Arms; and, secondly, that their retention by the British troops was a breach of faith so flagrant as to justify the American Government in not fulfilling its share in the treaty. The result of all these devices was a positive refusal to allow the embarkation of the British troops from Boston, when within a few weeks, and according to the terms of the Convention, General Howe sent transports for that purpose. Hereupon Burgoyne addressed a letter to the Congress, vindicating his own conduct, and insisting on a due execution of the terms allowed him. The Congress, on consideration of this letter, merely passed another Resolution, adhering to their first. They declared, however, that they had not refused, but only delayed the shipment; and a distinction was drawn, such as Escobar himself might have seen cause to envy, between the suspension of a treaty and its abrogation.* Nevertheless when, shortly afterwards, Burgoyne himself, and several other of the Convention officers, asked leave to go home, either on account of their ill-health or their private affairs, that permission, involving no sacrifice to the Americans, was readily accorded them.
The precise terms in which the Congress expressed their last determination were as follows: "Resolved, therefore, "that the embarkation of Lieutenant-General Burgoyne, "and the troops under his command, be suspended, until a "distinct and proper ratification of the Convention shall be
* See Dr. Ramsay's History, vol. ii. p. 57. It is plain from this that Beaumarchais did not exaggerate his satire, when he makes his Figaro exclaim to Barlhulo: "Doutez vous de ma pro.bite\ Monsieur? Vos cent "ecus! j'aimerais mieux vous les devoir toute ma vie que de les nier un H seul instant!" (Le Barbier de Seville, acte iii. scene 5.)
"properly notified by the Court of Great Britain to Con"gress." It was greatly hoped that no such ratification could or would be given, as involving an acknowledgment of the independent authority of the insurgents. Nevertheless, in the course of the ensuing year, the British Commissioners in America did offer that ratification in the most ample terms. Even then the ingenuity of Congress was by no means yet exhausted. They passed other Resolves, declining to accept the Ratification from powers which they said could only reach the case of Saratoga, "by construction and implication!" But it is not worth while to attempt any further to unravel thread by thread all this tangled web of chicanery. It might in one sentence suffice to say, that, whilst the Convention expressly stipulated that the British troops at Saratoga should be free to embark for England, and to serve again in any part of the world but North America, those troops were, in fact, kept back during several years as prisoners of war.
Connected with these proceedings of the Congress, there is one thing not a little remarkable. General Washington, in his letters to them, or to his friends, may be observed to discuss other matters both fully and freely. To this, on the contrary, he refers as seldom as possible; then touching , upon it with the utmost brevity and dryness, and, as it seems to me, distaste. When addressed upon the subject by General Howe, "I have only," says he in reply, "to inform "you that this is a matter in which I have never had the least "direction; it lies wholly with Congress; and the proposals "you make on this head must be submitted to them."* We may easily conceive, indeed, how a man so upright and highminded may have felt on this transaction. It has been usual to consider the events of Saratoga as fraught only with humiliation to England, and with glory to America. Yet,
* See Washington's Writings, vol. v. pp. 212. 221. 234. Mr. Adolphus says that "Washington remonstrated with force and firmness against this "national act of dishonour." (Hist. vol. iii. p. 99. ed. 1S02.) But no such Remonstrance is to be found in the collection of his Works as hitherto published.
1777. THE BRITISH PARLIAMENT MEETS. 207
should these pages chance to be perused by anyman, neither a subject of the former nor yet a citizen of the latter State, I would request that man here to pause, and to ask himself the question, to which of these two great countries he would sooner, were the choice before him, on that occasion hare belonged, — whether to the country whose soldiers were repulsed and overpowered, and compelled to lay down their arms, or whether to that other country, then victorious, whose statesmen deliberately and wilfully, and with their eyes open to the consequences, broke the plighted faith on which, and on which alone, that surrender was made.
Reverting to the Court of St. James's, King George opened Parliament in person, on Thursday the 20th of November. By that time the difficulties of Burgoyne were known; but not as yet his disaster and capitulation. There was an eager expectation of the appearance of Lord Chatham, whose health was understood to be perfectly restored. On that subject, his confidential friend, Lord Camden, had written as follows, to the Duke of Grafton: "His intention "is to oppose the Address, and declare his opinion very "directly against the war, and to advise the recalling of the "troops, and then propose terms of accommodation, "wherein he would be very liberal and indulgent, with only "one reserve and exception; namely, that of subjection to "the mother-country; for he never could bring himself to "subscribe to the independence of America. This in general "will be his line, and this he will pursue, even if he is "alone."* The Earl did accordingly appear in his place, and move an amendment, entreating and advising His Majesty to lose no time in proposing the immediate cessation of hostilities in North America, in order to open a treaty for the redress of grievances, and the restoration of peace. In his speech, he drew a most alarming picture of our military prospects. He adverted, among other points, to
* Letter, October 29. 1777. Grafton MSS., and Lord Campbell's Livea of the Chancellors, vol. v. p. 301.
what he termed "the sufferings and, perhaps, total loss of "the northern force;" an expression which, some time afterwards , when the news of Saratoga came, was much extolled, as a proof of his great foresight and sagacity.* "My Lords," continued Chatham, "you cannot conquer America. You "may swell every expense and every effort still more extravagantly; pile and accumulate every assistance you can "buy or borrow; traffic and barter with every little pitiful "German prince that sells and sends his subjects to the "shambles of a foreign power; but your efforts are for ever "vain and impotent; — doubly so, from this mercenary aid "on which you rely; for it irritates, to an incurable resent"ment, the minds of your enemies. To overrun them with "the mercenary sons of rapine and plunder; devoting them "and their possessions to the rapacity of hireling cruelty! "If I were an American, as I am an Englishman, while a "foreign troop was landed in my country, I never would lay "down my arms — never — never — never!
"But, my Lords, who is the man that in addition to these "disgraces and mischiefs of our army, has dared to authorise "and associate to our arms the tomahawk and scalping knife "of the savage? To call into civilised alliance the wild and "inhuman savage of the woods; to delegate to the merciless "Indian the defence of disputed rights; and to wage the hor"rors of his barbarous war against our brethren? My Lords, "these enormities cry aloud for redress and punishment — "unless thoroughly done away, it will be a stain on the "national character.
"The independent views of America have been stated "and asserted, as the foundation of this Address. My Lords, "no man wishes for the due dependence of America on this "country more than I do. To preserve it, and not confirm "that state of independence into which your measures
* Pari. Hist., vol. xix. p. 363. It is remarkable that the same foresight was shown by Washington. On the 29th of September, we rind him observe: "I think we may count upon the total ruin of Burgoyne." (Writings, vol. V. p. 75-)