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This scheme was too
visible to succeed: for had General Washington suffered you to command
the open country above him, I think it a very reasonable conjecture that
the conquest of Burgoyne would not have taken place, because you could,
in that case, have relieved him. It was therefore necessary, while that
important victory was in suspense, to trepan you into a situation in
which you could only be on the defensive, without the power of
affording him assistance. The manoeuvre had its effect, and Burgoyne was
conquered.

There has been something unmilitary and passive in you from the time of
your passing the Schuylkill and getting possession of Philadelphia,
to the close of the campaign. You mistook a trap for a conquest, the
probability of which had been made known to Europe, and the edge of your
triumph taken off by our own information long before.

Having got you into this situation, a scheme for a general attack upon
you at Germantown was carried into execution on the 4th of October, and
though the success was not equal to the excellence of the plan, yet the
attempting it proved the genius of America to be on the rise, and her
power approaching to superiority. The obscurity of the morning was your
best friend, for a fog is always favorable to a hunted enemy. Some weeks
after this you likewise planned an attack on General Washington while
at Whitemarsh. You marched out with infinite parade, but on finding him
preparing to attack you next morning, you prudently turned about, and
retreated to Philadelphia with all the precipitation of a man conquered
in imagination.

Immediately after the battle of Germantown, the probability of
Burgoyne's defeat gave a new policy to affairs in Pennsylvania, and it
was judged most consistent with the general safety of America, to wait
the issue of the northern campaign. Slow and sure is sound work. The
news of that victory arrived in our camp on the 18th of October, and
no sooner did that shout of joy, and the report of the thirteen cannon
reach your ears, than you resolved upon a retreat, and the next day,
that is, on the 19th, you withdrew your drooping army into Philadelphia.
This movement was evidently dictated by fear; and carried with it a
positive confession that you dreaded a second attack. It was hiding
yourself among women and children, and sleeping away the choicest part
of the campaign in expensive inactivity. An army in a city can never
be a conquering army. The situation admits only of defence. It is mere
shelter: and every military power in Europe will conclude you to be
eventually defeated.

The time when you made this retreat was the very time you ought to have
fought a battle, in order to put yourself in condition of recovering in
Pennsylvania what you had lost in Saratoga. And the reason why you did
not, must be either prudence or cowardice; the former supposes your
inability, and the latter needs no explanation. I draw no conclusions,
sir, but such as are naturally deduced from known and visible facts,
and such as will always have a being while the facts which produced them
remain unaltered.

After this retreat a new difficulty arose which exhibited the power of
Britain in a very contemptible light; which was the attack and defence
of Mud Island. For several weeks did that little unfinished fortress
stand out against all the attempts of Admiral and General Howe. It was
the fable of Bender realized on the Delaware. Scheme after scheme, and
force upon force were tried and defeated. The garrison, with scarce
anything to cover them but their bravery, survived in the midst of mud,
shot and shells, and were at last obliged to give it up more to the
powers of time and gunpowder than to military superiority of the
besiegers.

It is my sincere opinion that matters are in much worse condition with
you than what is generally known. Your master's speech at the opening of
Parliament, is like a soliloquy on ill luck. It shows him to be coming
a little to his reason, for sense of pain is the first symptom of
recovery, in profound stupefaction. His condition is deplorable. He is
obliged to submit to all the insults of France and Spain, without daring
to know or resent them; and thankful for the most trivial evasions to
the most humble remonstrances. The time was when he could not deign an
answer to a petition from America, and the time now is when he dare not
give an answer to an affront from France. The capture of Burgoyne's army
will sink his consequence as much in Europe as in America. In his speech
he expresses his suspicions at the warlike preparations of France and
Spain, and as he has only the one army which you command to support his
character in the world with, it remains very uncertain when, or in what
quarter it will be most wanted, or can be best employed; and this will
partly account for the great care you take to keep it from action and
attacks, for should Burgoyne's fate be yours, which it probably will,
England may take her endless farewell not only of all America but of all
the West Indies.

Never did a nation invite destruction upon itself with the eagerness and
the ignorance with which Britain has done. Bent upon the ruin of a
young and unoffending country, she has drawn the sword that has wounded
herself to the heart, and in the agony of her resentment has applied a
poison for a cure. Her conduct towards America is a compound of rage and
lunacy; she aims at the government of it, yet preserves neither dignity
nor character in her methods to obtain it. Were government a mere
manufacture or article of commerce, immaterial by whom it should be made
or sold, we might as well employ her as another, but when we consider
it as the fountain from whence the general manners and morality of a
country take their rise, that the persons entrusted with the execution
thereof are by their serious example an authority to support these
principles, how abominably absurd is the idea of being hereafter
governed by a set of men who have been guilty of forgery, perjury,
treachery, theft and every species of villany which the lowest wretches
on earth could practise or invent. What greater public curse can befall
any country than to be under such authority, and what greater blessing
than to be delivered therefrom. The soul of any man of sentiment would
rise in brave rebellion against them, and spurn them from the earth.

The malignant and venomous tempered General Vaughan has amused his
savage fancy in burning the whole town of Kingston, in York government,
and the late governor of that state, Mr. Tryon, in his letter to General
Parsons, has endeavored to justify it and declared his wish to burn the
houses of every committeeman in the country. Such a confession from
one who was once intrusted with the powers of civil government, is a
reproach to the character. But it is the wish and the declaration of a
man whom anguish and disappointment have driven to despair, and who is
daily decaying into the grave with constitutional rottenness.

There is not in the compass of language a sufficiency of words to
express the baseness of your king, his ministry and his army. They
have refined upon villany till it wants a name. To the fiercer vices of
former ages they have added the dregs and scummings of the most finished
rascality, and are so completely sunk in serpentine deceit, that there
is not left among them one generous enemy.

From such men and such masters, may the gracious hand of Heaven preserve
America! And though the sufferings she now endures are heavy, and
severe, they are like straws in the wind compared to the weight of evils
she would feel under the government of your king, and his pensioned
Parliament.

There is something in meanness which excites a species of resentment
that never subsides, and something in cruelty which stirs up the heart
to the highest agony of human hatred; Britain has filled up both these
characters till no addition can be made, and has not reputation left
with us to obtain credit for the slightest promise. The will of God has
parted us, and the deed is registered for eternity. When she shall be
a spot scarcely visible among the nations, America shall flourish the
favorite of heaven, and the friend of mankind.

For the domestic happiness of Britain and the peace of the world, I
wish she had not a foot of land but what is circumscribed within her own
island. Extent of dominion has been her ruin, and instead of civilizing
others has brutalized herself. Her late reduction of India, under Clive
and his successors, was not so properly a conquest as an extermination
of mankind. She is the only power who could practise the prodigal
barbarity of tying men to mouths of loaded cannon and blowing them away.
It happens that General Burgoyne, who made the report of that horrid
transaction, in the House of Commons, is now a prisoner with us,
and though an enemy, I can appeal to him for the truth of it, being
confident that he neither can nor will deny it. Yet Clive received the
approbation of the last Parliament.

When we take a survey of mankind, we cannot help cursing the wretch,
who, to the unavoidable misfortunes of nature, shall wilfully add the
calamities of war. One would think there were evils enough in the world
without studying to increase them, and that life is sufficiently short
without shaking the sand that measures it. The histories of Alexander,
and Charles of Sweden, are the histories of human devils; a good man
cannot think of their actions without abhorrence, nor of their deaths
without rejoicing. To see the bounties of heaven destroyed, the
beautiful face of nature laid waste, and the choicest works of creation
and art tumbled into ruin, would fetch a curse from the soul of piety
itself. But in this country the aggravation is heightened by a new
combination of affecting circumstances. America was young, and, compared
with other countries, was virtuous. None but a Herod of uncommon malice
would have made war upon infancy and innocence: and none but a people
of the most finished fortitude, dared under those circumstances, have
resisted the tyranny.



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