Page images
PDF
EPUB

tewn he is chosen to represent, one year at least next preceding his election. When the propriety of his. election was enquired into by the house, a majority determined in favqr of it, upon the flimsy plea that he transacted business in Boston though he slept at Cambridge, and remoyed with an intention of becoming an inhabitant in time to have completed that inhabitancy which, the constitution requires;, and that his stopping.at Cambridge to secure the health of one of his family, whose, life must have been endangered by her spending^tbe summer in Boston, was occasioned by an act of God, The same cause which secured Jiis election secured his seat, viz, an avowed and violent opposition to every moderate measure in favor of the parties who, by the provisional articles were to be the objects .of tiie congressional recommendauon.

, By.a paragraph ina bill which was before the house (duringthis their first session) and afterward passed into a law, cases were submitted to the sole judgment oftwo, justices of peace, that ought to have been left to the determination of a jury. But certain merri•bers protested against it, assigning the following reasons tor.lheir ■so doing—" 1. Because we apprehend other provision might have .been made, consistent with the constitution, and at the same lime jnore effectual for the purpose of preventing the return of pei sons who have left this state and joined the enemies of the United States, than that provided in the paragraph.aforesaid. Such constitutional and more effectual provision was nibved and urged by the dissentients and others; as a substitute in place of the said paragraph, and is as- follows, viz.. " Provided nevertheless, that if any person committed as aforesaid, shall before the warrant is made out by the governor to send him out of the state, petition <he governor, he shall, with advice of council, appoint three justices of the county, quorum unus, where such person stands committed, to issue their precept for a jury to be drawn out of the superior court box, and summoned to appear at a certain time and plice,-and to enquire on oath, whether the person so committed is within the act aforesaid; and if the jury shall return their verdict that such person is not within said act, then he shall be discharged ■and not be transported; but such person shall not be liberated from his confinement until a verdict is so given in his favor. And »n every such case the justices shall appoint some meet person to act as council on behalf of government, at the expence of the commonwealth. And the person petitioning for such trial, shall psy all the cost thereof, in the same manner as other persons are obliged to do in bringing forward a suit at law. 2. Because by ^csaid paragraph, that essential right.of freemen, a trial by juTy, is taken away, and every subject of this commonwealth exposed to be deprived of his liberty, property and rights of citii •zenship, and to the infamous punishment of banishment, by the sole judgment of two justices of the peace. 3. Because it is* flagrant and direct violation of the principles and spirit of the constitution and the letter of the declaration of rights, art. xiis ■which provides, that "No subject shall be arrested, imprisoned, despoiled or deprived of his property, immunities or privileges, put out of the protection of the law, exiled or deprived of his life, liberty or estate, hut by the judgment of his peers, or the law of the land. And the legislature shall not make any Jaw that shall subject any person to a capital or infamous punishiiient, excepting for the government of ihe. army and navy, with.-* out trial by jury. 4. Because it furnishes a.precedent of at'ep^ tlency most dangerous and fatal to the security of the lives, It., bertics and property of the subjects of this commonwealth.H The protest was subscribed by William Philips, Nathaniel Ap~ pleton, Caleb Davis, Thomas Dawes, all of 'the Boston boards by Thomas Clarke, James Swan, Solomon Lflvell, EbenezeV; Warren, John Choate, Nathan Dane, Bailey Bartlett, James; Bancroft, John Burke, Samuel Loring, James Perry, John Br Bartlet, Peter Penniman, Jacob Ludwig, Theodore Sedgwick, . "William King., Thompson J. Skinner, John Bacon, William Bodman, Timothy Childs and Nathaniel Wyman.

When the recommendation from congress, of January thev 14th, 1784, was received, various methods were practised to prevent the good effects of it. It was roundly asserted by some of the popular leaders, that Mr. John Adams did not wish that the same should be regarded. To counteract such reports, Mr,' Adams's letter of September the 10th, was communicated ta. -certain gentlemen of the senate and house, who copied the same themselves, the more fully to defeat such assertions. But evea Mr. J. Adams's express declaration in favor of the tories, could not influence the general court to ihe exercise of a becoming moderation.

As to Mr. Marbois's letter, he has privately pronounced it to be official; which he asserts, exempts him from all obligation to acknowledge it; this accounts for his having disowned it to a certain gentlemen who has made a conspicuous figure in congress,.

The peace has afforded me the opportunity of gaining further information to certain particulars relating to the war, which it may be proper to mention. , .

When lieutenant-colonel Tarlcton approached Charlattcville, lie dispatched a troop of horse, under captain M'JLeod,^ three iniles further to Mr. Jefferson's* house with the double object off taking him and the two speakers of the senate and delegates, prisoners; and of remaining there in videttc, as the house had 3. commanding view of half a score counties round about. Tarleton gave strict orders to the captain to suffer nothing to be injured. The troop failed in their design of making prisoners : notwithstanding which M'Leod preserved every thing with sacred cares during his tarriance there of about eighteen hours. Colonet Tarleton was just as long at Charlotteville -r when he was hurried from thence by. the news of the rising of the militia, and by a sudden fall of rain which threatened to swell the river, and intercept his return. In general he did little injury to the inhabitants on that short and hasty excursion, which was about 60 miies from the main army, then in Spotsylvania. LordCornwallis afterward proceeded to the Point of Fork, and encamped his army; from thence and all along the main James-river to a scat of Mr. Jefferson's, called Elkhill ; and made it his head quarters for the ten days of his remaining in that position. Mi-. Jefferson happily had time to remove most of his effects out of the house. His, Stocks of cattle,, sheep and hogs, together with what, corn was wanted, were used for the sustenance of the army; and ail his horses, capable of service, were carried off. This was no other than Mr. Jefferson expected. But the throats of the horses too joung for service were cut; his growing crops of corn and tobacco were burned, together with his barns, containing the same articles of the preceding year, and all the fences on the plantation, so as to Jeave it an absolute vvaste. These things were perpetrated under lord Cornwallis's eye; the situation of the house, m which he; was, commanding a view of every part ot the planta. tion. The rest of the neighbourhood was treated in somewhat the Same stile; but not with that spirit of total extermination* ^hich seemed to rage over Jefferson's possessions. Wherever the army under his lordship went, the dwelling-houses were plundered of every thing which could be carried off. Hundreds off e_ye witnesses can prove,, that his lordship's table was served with plate thus pillaged from private houses.; though his lordship's character in Great-Britain will forbid the belief of his sharing in. the plunder. By an estimate made at the time,.on the best information that could be collected, the state of Virginia lost,, during Cornwallis's attempts to reduce it, 30,000 slaves ;, about 27,000 ot. whom died of the small-pox and camp-fever : the rest are thought to have been partly sent to the West-Indies, and partly to New

* Now tie Americanplenipotentiary at the court of Vsrfjilles.

1 01 j-I

York, and from thence, before the evacuation, to Nova-Scotia and elsewhere. The whole devastations occasioned by the British army during the six months previous to their surrender at York-Town, are supposed to amount to about three millions sterling.

"The loss of men sustained by the town of New-Haven, out of the continental line, from among the militia, seamen and other inhabitants, is estimated at 210'. New-Haven is about a twenty* fourth part of Connecticut; reckoning therefore the same proportion of loss to the whole state, the number lost will amount to 5,040. Connecticut is esteemed abouta twelfth part of the American states ; reckoning the same proportion of loss therefore to the whole, the total amount will be 60,480; but New-York, New-Jersey, and the southern states, have, doubtless, suffered* greater loss in proportion to their numbers than Connecticut. It is therefore probable that the whole loss of lives is not less than 70,000."* Vast numbers died on board the prison ships atNe*rYork: not less, it is asserted, than 11,000 in one, only, the Jersey.f Many perished in consequence of their being so crowded together, others through cruel usage, and several for want of those exertions which would have prevented fatal sickness and have promoted health.

The British forces are charged with having utterly destroyed more than fifteen places of public worship within the United State* during the course of the war. Most of these they burnt, and o» thers they levelled with the ground, leaving in some places nota Vestige of their former situation. A number of others they nearly destroyed, by converting them into barracks, jails, hospitals, and riding schools. In New-York, there were nineteen place* of worship when the war began ; and when the city was evacuated, there were but nine fit for use. Trinity church and the old Luthearn were indeed destroyed by the fire. But whatever the Americans may object against the British, on account of the loss ot lives and property which they have sustained, they have abundantcause {gv thankfulness to the God of armies for having conducted them through the contest into a state of independence, with sufferings so short and light comparatively considered. - It was not quite eight years that they were engaged in it, computing from the first commencement of hostilities to the ratifying of the provisional treaty. This is a less time than that in which

* The Rev. Benjamin Trumbull's Thanksgiving fcrmon it North Haven, December n, 1783.

f Dr. Erra Stiles's Election fermon before the governor and general afleaib'y ot" Connecticut, May 8,1783, p. 45,

the

the states of Holland (in their glorious struggle with Spain) dared so much as to claim independence. There is scarce, if an instance in history, of so great a revolution being effected in.so short atime, and with so little loss of lives and property,

'From what has been already related, you will collect for yourself the characters of the two late generals of the northern and southern armies, under whose commands the American war terminated. You may wish however to receive some additional information concerning them, A few strictures must suffice

His Excellency George Washington is descended from a family t£at emigrated to Virginia, when the royalists in England were ■exposed to various distresses previous to the restoration- Virginia, does not afford those advantages for a universal education which, are enjoyed in Europe—a quarter of the world his excellency never visited. Strong powers and close application compensated in several respects for the deficiencies of his native country. His epistolary and other compositions, which appeared while he sustained a public character will be a lasting credit to him. He was happy in ha ving a succession of able secretaries, whom he undoubtedly employed in drawing up many of his official papers, after having dictated the matter of them: but his private correspondences, and others which from time and circumstances must necessarily have employed his own pen, show that he was equal to any of those publications, which had his name affixed to them by his authority. It would be absurd to expect, that he should equal in military skill the first European generals, when he has esjoyed neitheir their opportunities nor experience for perfecting himself, hut it may be justly asserted concerning him, thathe was the best general the Americans could have had to command them. ¥3ie world has been mistaken in one opinion respecting his Excellency whose natural temper possesses more of the Marcellus and less of the Fubius than has been generally imagined. The event justified his discernment in fixing upon the honorable Nathaniel Greene to cammand the southern army, when the resolve of Congress produced a vacancy , but several of the first officers in his own, thought at the time, that a wrong choice had been made.

• The parents of the honorable Nathaniel Greene were quakers,
and descended from some of the first settlers in the Rhode-Island
government; under which the general was born in or about' 1741 ."
The father was an anchor-smith, had considerable iron works,
carried on a large stroke of business, and wasconcerned in ship-
'Vol. HI. B 3 ping

»»-' L .i ■• .-..■... - . , 'it

r

« PreviousContinue »