Page images
PDF
EPUB

by anticipation on that system of credit which Mr. Morris had created. On the 14th of May he thus expressed himself in g letter to governor Hancock—" On the 1st of January i732rwitli a bea^y arrearage for 1731, unpaid on the face of the requisitions of congress, I had to provide for a three months expenditure, when no man would trust the public for a single dollar; your legislature knew the state of public credit as well as 1 did. Instead of providing money for the 1st of April, they have made no effort for that purpose which can take effect before the ist of June. Jiow then let us suppose every state in the union to be as Negligent, and many of them are much more so, what can gentlemen promise themselves. I apprehend the most terrible consequences. I beg you to press an immediate payment of money, necessity of which it is not easv to conceive nor prudent to declare." The French king.alotted in December last, six millions of livrcs to the assistance of the United States, and the financier was allowed to draw for 50u,000 touniois monthly. This jvas'Out .half he asked for; and he hopes that the other six millions may be granted, as that arrangement had been made before, the arrival of the marquis de la Fayette. The most peremptory declarations, however, attended that grant, that it was all the United States were to have. Previous to the receipt of the news of the-grant, the financier had been obliged to hazard drafts for SOO,000 livrcs, and to order Dr. Franklin to re-sell the goods bought in Holland, if he had no other means of paying the biils. He requested the minister of France and the secretaiy of foreign affairs, and the secretary at war; to keep the grant li om congress and ail other persons as much asvossible, through fear that if it come to the knowledge of the several legislatures, they who had not passed their tax-bills, would no longer think it necessary to pass them, and instead of exerting themselves, would, hang their hopes on foreign aid.

, The affairs of .South-Carolina and Georgia shall now be related.

,.Gen. Greene's army took its position on col. Sanders's plantation at Round O, on .the 7th of last December. On the 14th, the general wrote to the American board of wai'—"We cannot advance upon the enemy for want of ammunition, though we have ■been in rfcadiness more than ten days. 1 have not a quire of pajter in the world, nor.are there two in the army. We broil most •of our meat for want of camp kettles." On the 4th of January he congratulated the army on the arrival of major-general St. .Clair and the reinforcement under his command. Within a week ..after, the army moved down to Jacksonborough (about 53 miles irons Charleston) sa to.Siono, and then cm the lgthtj col. Sjccn :. 9%~ III-' N n ving'a,

.. .. :« , ■ *, „■

ving's, on the east side of the Edisto, about 5 miles from Jacksonhoiough. Greene left it when the movement commenced, and crossing the Edisto, proceeded to join the light troops under cols, Lee and Laurens. He informed the secretary at war, from his head-quarters near Charleston on the 23d—" I would order the returns you require, but we really have not paper, to make then) on, not having had for months past even paper to make provision returns, or to record the necessary, returns of the army." The next day [24th] he wrote—" Since wc have been in the lower country, through the difficulty of transportation, we were four weeks without ammunition, while there was a plenty of this article at Charlotte. We lay within a few miles of the enemy, with not six rounds, a.man. Had. they got.knowledge and availed themselves of our situation, they might have ruined us. The States here are become so tardy as to regard representations little more than idle dreams, or an eastern talc. We may write till we are blind; and the local policy of the states, in perfect security, will counteract our wishes." The following extracts froni ha letters, will be the most acceptable medium of conveying his sentiments—"Jan. 28th._ I- was well informed you had let in some prejudices to mv disadvantage, such as my being.more influenced by men than measures, and that.in the field 1 had neither activity nor enterprise. However mortifying these things were, my pride would not permit me to undeceive you.; and such was.rny situation.at that time, that it would have been difficult, if not impracticable, had I attcmpted.it. My military conduct must speak for itself. I have only to observe, that I have not been at liberty to follow my own genius till lately •„ and here I have had more embarrassments than is proper to disclose to the world. Let. it suffice to say, that this part of the United States has had a narrow escape. I was seven months in the field,.withouttaking my cloflies off one night." [He only took them off to change hist linen..} "Eeb. 6th. You can have little idea of the confusion and disorder which prevail among the southern states. The scenes.change so fast, and the operation of law is so feeble, that it is almost impossible to give any regular tone to any kind of business. Stores are subject to such waste, and such abuses prevail upon the lines of communication as well as posts, that it is next to impossible to keep the public from being imposed upon. Our difficulties are so numerous and our wants so pressing, that I have not a moment's relief from the most painful anxieties." "Feb. Sth. The little money Mr. Morris has received from Europe, it is well known was granted by the king of France, for the special purpose of paying the army." "Eeb. lSth^ Lieut, col. Lee

. . . TGUtc5

retires for a time for the recovery of his health. I am move i indebted to this officer than any other, for the advantages gained flyer the enemy in the operations of last campaign, and should be wanting in gratitude, not to acknowledge the importance of his services, a detail of which is b-is best panegyric."—" March 1 lth. A great part of our troops-are in a deplorable situation for want •of clothing. We have 300 men without arms ; and more than 1000 are sonaked,that they can only be put on duty in cases of a despetate nature. We have been all the winter in want of arms and clothing ; and yet both upon the road,, though neither could reach us, from-the want of means for transporting our stores by Jand through an extensive and exhausted country."—April 13th. The want of clothing, pay, and better subsistence, and being altogether without spirits, has given a murmuring and discontented tone to the army, and the spirit of mutiny discovers itself. I feel 'jmueh for this department. No part of Saxony, during the last war, I believe, ever felt the ravaging hand of war with greater severity, than it has been felt here. Our number is greatly inferior at present to the enemy : soon and most of the North-Carolina brigade leaves us." [It has been computed that fourteen hua'-tired widows were made by the ravaging hand of war, in the single district of Ninety-Six.]—" April 12. Discontent is daily increasing, and the spirit of mutiny very prevalent. It seems to Jiave originated in the Pennsylvania line ; and the parties have endeavored to spread the contagion through the army with appearances of success. I have been able to prove the fact but on one person whom I ordered to be shot this day. He was a Serjeant and had much influence in the line. I wish this example may deter them from theexecution of a scheme, which we have been dreading every night." [The scheme alluded to was that of betraying the army into the power of the.enemy.].

The South-Carolina representatives having beenelectedagree• ably to the writs issued by governor Rutlcdge, the general assembly met in January, at Jaeksonborough,. a small village on the Edisto. The governor, at the opening of the session on the I8lh of the month, delivered a speech to both houses; for which he received the thanks of each in their addresses. The constitution of the state established a rotation which made it necessary to choose a new governor. The suffrages of a majority were in favor of the forme rlieutcnant-goveinor Chrisopher Gadsden, esq. who declined the laborious office, but continued to serve both in "the assembly and council. He, with many other gentlemen, who - .had been delivered as exchanged in Virginia and Philadelphia, -soon found their way back to South-Carolina' and were chosen

mc tubers

members of the legislature. The general assembly afterward elected the honorable John Matthews governor; filled up vacancies in the different departments; and re-established civil government ia all its branches. Laws were then passed for confiscating the estates, and banishing the persons of the active decided friends of British government, and for amercing the estates of" others, as a substitution for their personal services, of which their country had been deprived. Mr. Gadsden, notwithstanding the' long confinement he had suffered in the castle of St. Augustine, and the immense loss of his property, opposed the first law, and with equal zeal and judgment contended that sound policy required to forget and forgive. Two hundred and thirty-seven pe#-' sons or estates were comprehended under that law, and fortyeight under the other. Those whose submission to the British appeared to be necessary and unavoidable, and who did not voluntarily aid or abet their government, were generally overlooked. The execution of these laws induced gen. Leslie, whocoinmanded the royal forces in Carolina, to send a part of them to seize the negroes and other effects belonging to the whig-citizens, with the avowed intention of applying the same to the relief of the sufr ferers by the said laws. After a successful excursion, he wrote to gen. Greene on the 4th of April: and beside urging the motives of humanity, policy, and example, for the suspension of such procedures, proposed a meeting of commissioners on each side whereby to lessen the devastations of war and secure inviolate the property of individuals. Greene immediately returned for answer, "that he had the honor to command the forces of the United States in the southern department; but had nothing to do ■with the internal police of any state." On this Leslie addressed himself to gov. Matthews, and inclosed the letter he had addressed to Greene. The governor answered on the 12th, after de, laying awhile, that he might have an opportunity of investigating: the truth as to certain matters advanced in Leslie's letter; and told him—" You entirely mistake my character, when you suppose me to be intimidated by threats, and thereby deterred from executing the duties of the office with which the state has honour ed me. For be assured, Sir, the laws of this state trusted to me rmust and shall be carried into execution msugre the consequences." He closed with saying—" Your proposition for suspending the operation of the confiscation act, without offering an equivalent, is inadmissible. If you have anything serious and solid to propose on this head, I am ready to appoint commissioners on my part to meet those of yours to confer on the business;" JThus ended that affair. It might have served the friends to the

British

British government far more effectually, had gen. Leslie adopted vigorous measures for their support answerable to his proclamation, and for the dispersion of the legislative body.

When the reduction of lord Cornwallis was completed, the Pennsylvania line marched to South-Carolina. This increase of force enabled gen. Greene to detach a part of his army to Georgia, Gen. Wayne, who commanded, having previously ordered the Americans at Augusta to join him at Ebenezer, crossed the Savannah in January at Two Sisters ferry, with about 100 dragoons under col. Anthony Walton White. He was soon after reinforced by 300 continental infantry under lieut. col. Posey.

The British commander in Savannah, on hearing of this irruption of the Americans, sent orders to the different posts to burn, as far as they could, all the provisions in the country, and then to retire within their works. The margin of the river Savannah, and the islands in the vicinity of it, were soon covered with smoke, and presented to the astonishing eye a grand but awful spectacle. What remained of the last year's crop was so generally destroyed that the American forces have been since obliged to depend chiefly on South-Carolina for their support.

[merged small][ocr errors]

THE date of my last letter scarce admitted of its being mentioned, that admiral Keppel was created a viscount, and Mr. Ihmriing baron Ashburton, and afterward made chancellor of the duchy of Lancaster.

On the 9th of April, Mr. Fox brought a message from his majesty to inform the house, " That being concerned to find discontents and jealousies prevailing among hisloyal subjects in Ireland, on matters of great importance, he earnestly recommended to the house the taking of the same into their most serious consideration, in-orderto such a final adjustment as might give mutual satisfaction to both kingdoms." A like message was delivered to the house of lords.

Administration proceeding in this weighty business in concert with the parliament of Ireland, a message conceived in the same terms was sent by the Duke of Portland, the lord lieutenant, to

the

« PreviousContinue »