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Death is not the monarch
of the dead, but of the dying. The moment he obtains a conquest he loses
a subject, and, like the foolish king you serve, will, in the end, war
himself out of all his dominions.

As a proper preliminary towards the arrangement of your funeral honors,
we readily admit of your new rank of knighthood. The title is perfectly
in character, and is your own, more by merit than creation. There are
knights of various orders, from the knight of the windmill to the knight
of the post. The former is your patron for exploits, and the latter will
assist you in settling your accounts. No honorary title could be more
happily applied! The ingenuity is sublime! And your royal master has
discovered more genius in fitting you therewith, than in generating the
most finished figure for a button, or descanting on the properties of a
button mould.

But how, sir, shall we dispose of you? The invention of a statuary is
exhausted, and Sir William is yet unprovided with a monument. America is
anxious to bestow her funeral favors upon you, and wishes to do it in
a manner that shall distinguish you from all the deceased heroes of the
last war. The Egyptian method of embalming is not known to the
present age, and hieroglyphical pageantry hath outlived the science
of deciphering it. Some other method, therefore, must be thought of to
immortalize the new knight of the windmill and post. Sir William, thanks
to his stars, is not oppressed with very delicate ideas. He has no
ambition of being wrapped up and handed about in myrrh, aloes and
cassia. Less expensive odors will suffice; and it fortunately happens
that the simple genius of America has discovered the art of preserving
bodies, and embellishing them too, with much greater frugality than
the ancients. In balmage, sir, of humble tar, you will be as secure
as Pharaoh, and in a hieroglyphic of feathers, rival in finery all the
mummies of Egypt.

As you have already made your exit from the moral world, and by
numberless acts both of passionate and deliberate injustice engraved an
"here lieth" on your deceased honor, it must be mere affectation in you
to pretend concern at the humors or opinions of mankind respecting you.
What remains of you may expire at any time. The sooner the better. For
he who survives his reputation, lives out of despite of himself, like a
man listening to his own reproach.

Thus entombed and ornamented, I leave you to the inspection of the
curious, and return to the history of your yet surviving actions. The
character of Sir William has undergone some extraordinary revolutions.
since his arrival in America. It is now fixed and known; and we
have nothing to hope from your candor or to fear from your capacity.
Indolence and inability have too large a share in your composition, ever
to suffer you to be anything more than the hero of little villainies and
unfinished adventures. That, which to some persons appeared moderation
in you at first, was not produced by any real virtue of your own, but
by a contrast of passions, dividing and holding you in perpetual
irresolution. One vice will frequently expel another, without the least
merit in the man; as powers in contrary directions reduce each other to
rest.

It became you to have supported a dignified solemnity of character;
to have shown a superior liberality of soul; to have won respect by an
obstinate perseverance in maintaining order, and to have exhibited on
all occasions such an unchangeable graciousness of conduct, that while
we beheld in you the resolution of an enemy, we might admire in you the
sincerity of a man. You came to America under the high sounding titles
of commander and commissioner; not only to suppress what you call
rebellion, by arms, but to shame it out of countenance by the excellence
of your example. Instead of which, you have been the patron of low and
vulgar frauds, the encourager of Indian cruelties; and have imported a
cargo of vices blacker than those which you pretend to suppress.

Mankind are not universally agreed in their determination of right and
wrong; but there are certain actions which the consent of all nations
and individuals has branded with the unchangeable name of meanness. In
the list of human vices we find some of such a refined constitution,
they cannot be carried into practice without seducing some virtue to
their assistance; but meanness has neither alliance nor apology. It is
generated in the dust and sweepings of other vices, and is of such a
hateful figure that all the rest conspire to disown it. Sir William, the
commissioner of George the Third, has at last vouchsafed to give it
rank and pedigree. He has placed the fugitive at the council board, and
dubbed it companion of the order of knighthood.

The particular act of meanness which I allude to in this description, is
forgery. You, sir, have abetted and patronized the forging and uttering
counterfeit continental bills. In the same New York newspapers in which
your own proclamation under your master's authority was published,
offering, or pretending to offer, pardon and protection to these states,
there were repeated advertisements of counterfeit money for sale, and
persons who have come officially from you, and under the sanction of
your flag, have been taken up in attempting to put them off.

A conduct so basely mean in a public character is without precedent or
pretence. Every nation on earth, whether friends or enemies, will unite
in despising you. 'Tis an incendiary war upon society, which nothing can
excuse or palliate,--an improvement upon beggarly villany--and shows an
inbred wretchedness of heart made up between the venomous malignity of a
serpent and the spiteful imbecility of an inferior reptile.

The laws of any civilized country would condemn you to the gibbet
without regard to your rank or titles, because it is an action foreign
to the usage and custom of war; and should you fall into our hands,
which pray God you may, it will be a doubtful matter whether we are to
consider you as a military prisoner or a prisoner for felony.

Besides, it is exceedingly unwise and impolitic in you, or any other
persons in the English service, to promote or even encourage, or wink
at the crime of forgery, in any case whatever. Because, as the riches of
England, as a nation, are chiefly in paper, and the far greater part of
trade among individuals is carried on by the same medium, that is, by
notes and drafts on one another, they, therefore, of all people in the
world, ought to endeavor to keep forgery out of sight, and, if possible,
not to revive the idea of it. It is dangerous to make men familiar with
a crime which they may afterwards practise to much greater advantage
against those who first taught them. Several officers in the English
army have made their exit at the gallows for forgery on their agents;
for we all know, who know any thing of England, that there is not a more
necessitous body of men, taking them generally, than what the English
officers are. They contrive to make a show at the expense of the
tailors, and appear clean at the charge of the washer-women.

England, has at this time, nearly two hundred million pounds sterling
of public money in paper, for which she has no real property: besides a
large circulation of bank notes, bank post bills, and promissory notes
and drafts of private bankers, merchants and tradesmen. She has the
greatest quantity of paper currency and the least quantity of gold and
silver of any nation in Europe; the real specie, which is about sixteen
millions sterling, serves only as change in large sums, which are always
made in paper, or for payment in small ones. Thus circumstanced, the
nation is put to its wit's end, and obliged to be severe almost to
criminality, to prevent the practice and growth of forgery. Scarcely
a session passes at the Old Bailey, or an execution at Tyburn, but
witnesses this truth, yet you, sir, regardless of the policy which her
necessity obliges her to adopt, have made your whole army intimate with
the crime. And as all armies at the conclusion of a war, are too apt to
carry into practice the vices of the campaign, it will probably happen,
that England will hereafter abound in forgeries, to which art the
practitioners were first initiated under your authority in America. You,
sir, have the honor of adding a new vice to the military catalogue; and
the reason, perhaps, why the invention was reserved for you, is, because
no general before was mean enough even to think of it.

That a man whose soul is absorbed in the low traffic of vulgar vice, is
incapable of moving in any superior region, is clearly shown in you by
the event of every campaign. Your military exploits have been without
plan, object or decision. Can it be possible that you or your employers
suppose that the possession of Philadelphia will be any ways equal
to the expense or expectation of the nation which supports you? What
advantages does England derive from any achievements of yours? To her it
is perfectly indifferent what place you are in, so long as the business
of conquest is unperformed and the charge of maintaining you remains the
same.

If the principal events of the three campaigns be attended to, the
balance will appear against you at the close of each; but the last, in
point of importance to us, has exceeded the former two. It is pleasant
to look back on dangers past, and equally as pleasant to meditate on
present ones when the way out begins to appear. That period is now
arrived, and the long doubtful winter of war is changing to the sweeter
prospects of victory and joy. At the close of the campaign, in 1775, you
were obliged to retreat from Boston. In the summer of 1776, you appeared
with a numerous fleet and army in the harbor of New York. By what
miracle the continent was preserved in that season of danger is a
subject of admiration! If instead of wasting your time against Long
Island you had run up the North River, and landed any where above
New York, the consequence must have been, that either you would have
compelled General Washington to fight you with very unequal numbers, or
he must have suddenly evacuated the city with the loss of nearly all
the stores of his army, or have surrendered for want of provisions; the
situation of the place naturally producing one or the other of these
events.

The preparations made to defend New York were, nevertheless, wise and
military; because your forces were then at sea, their numbers uncertain;
storms, sickness, or a variety of accidents might have disabled their
coming, or so diminished them on their passage, that those which
survived would have been incapable of opening the campaign with
any prospect of success; in which case the defence would have been
sufficient and the place preserved; for cities that have been raised
from nothing with an infinitude of labor and expense, are not to be
thrown away on the bare probability of their being taken.



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