Front Page Titles (by Subject) C H A P T E R XVI: Sir Henry Clinton and Admiral Arbuthnot sail for South Carolina • Charleston invested • Capitulates • General Lincoln and his Army Prisoners of War • General Clinton returns to New York • Lord Cornwallis's Command and Civil Administrati - History of the Rise, Progress, and Termination of the American Revolution vol. 1
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C H A P T E R XVI: Sir Henry Clinton and Admiral Arbuthnot sail for South Carolina • Charleston invested • Capitulates • General Lincoln and his Army Prisoners of War • General Clinton returns to New York • Lord Cornwallis’s Command and Civil Administrati - Mercy Otis Warren, History of the Rise, Progress, and Termination of the American Revolution vol. 1 
History of the Rise, Progress, and Termination of the American Revolution interspersed with Biographical, Political and Moral Observations, in Two Volumes, Foreword by Lester H. Cohen (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund 1994). Vol. 1.
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C H A P T E R XVI
Sir Henry Clinton and Admiral Arbuthnot sail for South Carolina • Charleston invested • Capitulates • General Lincoln and his Army Prisoners of War • General Clinton returns to New York • Lord Cornwallis’s Command and Civil Administration in Charleston • Mr. Gadsden and other Gentlemen suspected, and sent to St. Augustine • Much Opposition to British Authority in both the Carolinas • The Count de Rochambeau and the Admiral de Tiernay arrive at Newport • British Depredations in the Jersies • Catastrophe of Mr. Caldwell and his Family • Armed Neutrality • Some observations on the State of Ireland • Riots in England • Cursory Observations
chap. xvi From the unavoidable inactivity of the Americans in some parts of the continent, and the misfortunes that had attended their arms in others, in1780 the summer of one thousand seven hundred and seventy-nine, sir Henry Clinton was left without any impediment, to prosecute a well concerted expedition to the southern colonies. The opulence of the planters there, the want of discipline in their militia, the distance and difficulty of reinforcing them, and the sickly state of the inhabitants, promised an easy conquest and a rich harvest to the invaders.
 The summer and autumn passed off; and it was late in the month of December, before general Clinton embarked. He had a strong body of troops, and a forcible squadron commanded by admiral Arbuthnot, who accompanied him; but they proceeded heavily on their way; and it was not until the ensuing spring was far advanced, that the admiral passed the bar, and made himself master of the harbor of Charleston.
The Americans flattered themselves for some time, that they should be able to make an effectual resistance to the passage of the British fleet up the Cooper river: (this passes on one side, and the Ashley runs on the other of the town of Charleston:) but they soon abandoned every ground to the potent English, except the town of Charleston, which they determined to defend to the last extremity.
Governor Rutledge was vested by the legislature with very extraordinary powers, which he was obliged to exercise in their full latitude. This gentleman had acted on all occasions with spirit and judgment becoming his character, both as a soldier and a magistrate. He immediately called out the militia; and published a proclamation directing all the inhabitants who claimed any property in the town, to repair immediately to the American standard, on pain of confiscation. Though couched in strong and  severe terms, this proclamation had little effect. The manifest reluctance of some to oppose the power of Britain, the dread that others felt of so potent an adversary, the ill success of the American arms in Georgia, the surprise of the cavalry and other parties that were coming to their relief, the arrival of British reinforcements, and the rapid advance they made to conquest, appalled the inhabitants, and obliged the citizens soon to abandon all hopes of even saving their town.
The first summons of surrender, on the sixteenth of April, was rejected by the American commander, though it announced the dreadful consequences of a cannonade and storm, which would soon be the unhappy fate of Charleston, “should the place, in fallacious security, or the commander, in wanton indifference to the fate of the inhabitants, delay a surrender.” General Lincoln replied, that he had received the joint summons of general Clinton and admiral Arbuthnot; that
sixty days had passed since it had been known, that their intentions against the town of Charleston were hostile; in which, time had been afforded to abandon it; but that duty and inclination pointed to him the propriety of defending it to the last extremity.
After this decided answer, the most vigorous operations ensued on both sides, but with great  advantage in favor of the British, till the eighth of May, when sir Henry Clinton again called on the American commander, to prevent the farther effusion of blood, by an immediate surrender. He warned him, that
if he refused this last summons, he should throw on him the charge, of whatever vindictive severity an exasperated soldiery might inflict on the unhappy people: that he should wait his answer till eight o’clock, an hour beyond which, resistance would be temerity.
General Lincoln summoned a council on this occasion, who were unanimously of opinion, that articles of capitulation should be proposed.* The terms offered were several of them rejected, others were mutilated; and all relaxation or qualification being refused by the British commander, it was as unanimously agreed, that hostilities should again re-commence on the ensuing day. Accordingly, an incessant fire was kept up from the ninth to the eleventh, when an address from the principal inhabitants of the town, and a number of the country militia, expressed their satisfaction in the terms already offered by general Clinton: at the same time,  the lieutenant governor and council requested, that negociations might be renewed, and that they might not be subjected to the horrors of a city taken by storm.
The militia of the town had thrown away their arms; the troops on the lines were worn down with fatigue, and their provisions exhausted: thus closely invested on every side, a disaffected, factious party within, no hopes of succor from without, and all possibility of retreat cut off, general Lincoln again offered terms of surrender, little variant from Clinton’s proposals. They were acceded to, and signed the twelfth of May.
Though the conditions were not the most favorable to the inhabitants, or honorary to the soldier, yet perhaps they were as lenient as could be expected from an enemy confident of success, and as honorable as could be hoped, in the desperate situation to which the Americans were reduced. The continental troops were to retain their baggage, but to remain prisoners of war until exchanged. Seven general officers were among the prisoners. The inhabitants of all conditions were to be considered as prisoners on parole; but they soon experienced the severities usually felt by a conquered city. All who were capable of bearing arms, were enrolled in the British service: and the whole state laid under heavy contributions.
 The loss of Charleston, the great number of the captured, and the shipping that fell in its defence, was a severe blow to America. Much censure was cast on general Lincoln for neglecting a timely retreat, and for attempting the defence of the town against such superior force, both by sea and land: but it must be acknowledged, he did all that could be expected from an officer of courage, to save the capital and the state; or from a man of humanity, to make the best possible terms for the inhabitants. He afterwards justified the measure by a full detail of the invasion, and the motives for his conduct, to the satisfaction of the commander in chief, and of his country.
General Lincoln certainly had great merit, in many respects: yet it may be observed, few officers have been equally fortunate in keeping up the eclat of character, who have so frequently failed in enterprize: for, however unjust it may be, yet military fame more generally depends on successful events, than on bold design, or judicious system. Victory had seldom followed in the rear of any of his exploits: yet from his known bravery and patriotism, from his acknowledged integrity and honor, he escaped the censure frequently attached to unfortunate heroes, and which might have fallen heavily on a general of more doubtful character.
 Before sir Henry Clinton left Charleston, some new and severe regulations took place, that could not well be justified, either by the letter or the spirit of the capitulation. All persons in the city were forbidden the exercise of their commercial pursuits, excepting such as were the decided friends of the British government. Confiscation and death were threatened by proclamation, to any who should be found in arms, unless in support of royal authority. All capable of bearing arms were enrolled for British service: such as had families were permitted to continue near them, and defend the state against their American brethren; those who had none were required to serve six months out of twelve, in any part of the southern states.
Many inhabitants of the principal towns, and indeed a great part of the state of South Carolina, despairing of any effectual resistance, and unwilling to abandon their connexions and their property, laid down their arms and submitted either as prisoners of war, or subjects to the king of Great Britain: and even congratulatory addresses were fabricated, and signed by great numbers of respectable characters in Charleston, and offered to the British commanders on the success of their arms. Thus from motives of interest or fear, many who had appeared  to be actuated by higher principles, stooped to the servile homage of the sycophant, and flattered the victors on the conquest of their country; an acquisition that reduced their countrymen to beggary, and themselves to slavery.
Soon after these arrangements, sir Henry Clinton, vainly flattering himself that he had entirely subdued one wealthy colony, at the extremity of the continent, and that every thing was in a hopeful train for other brilliant strokes of military prowess, left the command of the southern department to lord Cornwallis, and repaired himself to New York. His lordship immediately detached a strong body under the command of lord Rawdon, to march, to subjugate, and guard the frontiers, while he turned his own attention to the commercial regulations, and the civil government of the newly conquered province. But he soon found the aid of auxiliaries, impelled by fear, or stimulated by the hope of present advantage, is not to be depended on, and that voluntary compacts are the only social ties considered among mankind as binding on the conscience.
On the first opportunity, many persons exchanged their paroles for certificates of their being good subjects, and immediately returned to the country, or to the neighbouring state, and stimulated their friends to resistance. A  remarkable instance of this nature was exhibited in the conduct of colonel Lisle, a brave American officer; who, after an exchange of the parole, decamped from the British standard, and carried off with him a whole battalion to the aid of colonel Sumpter, and other spirited officers, who were in motion on the borders of both the Carolinas.
The new regulations, and the hard conditions enjoined on them by the conqueror, were highly resented by many of the principal inhabitants of Charleston. Their dissatisfaction was so apparent, that they soon fell under the suspicion and displeasure of the commander. Some allegations were brought against them, though far from being sufficiently founded. They were charged with treasonable practices and designs against government; arrested in their beds, sent on board prison ships, confined and treated with great rigor, and in a short time sent off to St. Augustine. Among this number was lieutenant governor Gadsden, a gentleman early distinguished for his patriotism, his firmness, his republican principles, and his uniform exertions to emancipate his country from the shackles of British government.
Nothing appeared to justify the severities exercised towards these gentlemen; nor was there any reason to believe they had forfeited their honor. The rigorous policy of a conquering  foe, was all that was offered in vindication of this step. But it is certain the Carolinians in general evinced the difficulty of holding men by political fetters, while the mind revolts at the authority that has no claim but what arises from the laws of conquest.
Lord Rawdon was extremely active on the frontiers. No exertion was wanting on the part of this valiant officer, to bring the whole country to a united submission to royal authority; and a diversion was made in the Chesapeake, under the command of general Leslie, in favor of the operations in the Carolinas. Yet within two months after the surrender of Charleston, opposition to British government again resumed a stable appearance.
Marches, counter-marches, surprise, pillage, and massacre, had for some months pervaded the frontiers; and whichever party gained the advantage, the inhabitants were equally wretched. But a particular detail of the miseries of the southern states through this period, would be more painful than entertaining to the reader, and is a task from which every writer of humanity would wish to be excused. Imagination may easily paint the distresses, when surveying on the one side, a proud and potent army flushed with recent success, and irritated by opposition from an enemy they despised, both as Americans and as rebels; their spirit of revenge  continually whetted by a body of refugees who followed them, embittered beyond description against their countrymen, and who were joined by a banditti who had no country, but the spot that yielded a temporary harvest to their rapacious hands: rapine and devastation had no check.
On the other side, little less severity could be expected from a brave and high-spirited people, not softened by the highest refinements of civilization, warmed by the impulse of retaliation, driven almost to despair, and under every painful apprehension for their lives, their property, their liberty, and their country: these were joined by the soldiers of fortune, and the fierce borderers, who had not yet been taught to yield quietly, either to military or civil subordination: the most striking outrages were every where committed. But no partisan distinguished himself more on either side, than a colonel Tarleton, who made himself a character in the ravage of the Carolinas, equally conspicuous for bravery and barbarity; and had the effrontery afterwards in England, to boast in the presence of a lady of respectability, that he had killed more men, and ravished more women, than any man in America.*
 But not the loss of their capital, the ravage of their country, the proscription of some of the principal inhabitants, and the total ruin of some of the wealthiest families, could subdue the spirit of independence, and the aversion to British government, that had taken deep root in the bosoms of most of the inhabitants of the southern states.
Sumpter, Morgan, Marion, Lee, Caswell, Rutherford, and other brave officers, continually counteracted the intrigues of the loyalists; and attacked, harassed, and frequently defeated the British parties, that were detached to the various parts of the country to enforce submission. Nor did the repulse in Georgia, the loss of Charleston, nor the armament sent to the Chesapeake by sir Henry Clinton, in favor of lord Cornwallis’s movements, in the smallest degree check the vigorous efforts of these spirited leaders, by whose assistance a new face to the affairs of their country was soon restored.
France had this year given a new proof of her zeal in favor of American independence. The count de Rochambeau arrived on the eleventh of July at Newport, with six thousand forces, under cover of a respectable squadron commanded by the admiral de Tiernay. They brought the promise and the expectation of farther and immediate support, both by land and sea. Some ineffectual movements were  made on both sides, in consequence of these expectations: and on the arrival of admiral Graves at New York, with six sail of the line and some transports, a feint was made by sir Henry Clinton, with the assistance of those fresh reinforcements, immediately to attack the French at Rhode Island. This plan was diverted by general Washington’s preparation to embrace the favorable opportunity, to strike a decided blow by the reduction of New York.
All the states east of the Delaware discovered their readiness, by all possible exertions to cooperate in the design: but amidst all the preparation and sanguine hope of the Americans, an account was received, equally mortifying to the United States, and to their allies already in America, that admiral de Guichen had sailed from the West Indies directly for France, instead of repairing with all his forces, as was expected, to aid the united operations of Washington and Rochambeau. The admiral de Tiernay died soon after at Newport. It was thought by many, that this brave officer fell a sacrifice to chagrin and disappointment.
After the failure of these brilliant hopes, little more was done through the summer in the middle or eastern department, except by skirmishing parties, which served only to keep up the hope of conquest on the side of Britain, while it preserved alive some military ardor in  the American army. But so uncertain are the events of war, that the anticipation of success, the pride of victory, or the anguish of disappointment, alternately play on the passions of men, until the convulsion gives place to tranquillity and peace, or to the still solemnity of melancholy, robbed of all its joys.
General Washington found himself at this time unable to do much more, than to guard against the uncertain inroads of a powerful fleet and a hostile army. It could not be congenial to the feelings of the military character, endowed with a spirit of enterprise, to be placed in a situation merely defensive, while too many circumstances forbade any concentrated plan, that promised any decision of the important object for which the United States were struggling.
While thus situated, the British troops were frequently detached from New York and Staten Island, to make inroads, and by surprise to distress and destroy the settlements in the Jersies. The most important of their movements was about the twenty-fifth of June, when general Knyphausen with about five thousand regular troops, aided by some new levies, advanced upon the right wing of the American army, commanded by major general Greene. Their progress was slow until they arrived at Springfield, where they were checked by a party of the Americans.
 They had yet done little mischief on their march, but at Springfield they burnt most of the houses in the town, and retired from thence to Elizabethtown. After some time, they advanced from Elizabethtown with the whole of their infantry, a large body of cavalry, and fifteen or twenty pieces of artillery. Their march was then rapid and compact: they moved in two columns, one on the main road leading to Springfield, the other on the Vauxhall road. Major Lee with the horse and picquets, opposed the right column, and colonel Dayton with his regiment, the left; and both gave as much opposition as could have been expected from so small a force.
General Greene observed in a letter to congress, that the American troops were so extended, to guard the different roads leading to the several passes over the mountains, that he had scarcely time to collect them at Springfield, and make the necessary dispositions, previous to the appearance of the enemy before the town; when a cannonade commenced between their advance and the American artillery, posted for the defence of the bridge.
Every prudent measure was taken by general Greene, to confront and repel the invaders, protect the inhabitants, and secure the retreat  of his own parties, when danger appeared from superior numbers. The generals Maxwell and Dickenson, the colonels Shrieve, Ogden, and others, at the head of their regiments, exhibited the highest specimens of American bravery: but the enemy continued to press on in great force. Their left column began an attack on colonel Angell, who was posted to secure a bridge in front of the town. “The action was severe, and lasted about forty minutes; when superior numbers overcame obstinate bravery,” and forced the American troops to retire over the second bridge.
After various military manoeuvres, skirmishes, and retreats, general Greene took post on a ridge of hills, from whence he detached parties to prevent the burnings of the enemy; who spread conflagration wherever it was in their power, and retreated towards Elizabethtown. This detachment from the British army finished their marauding excursion, and re-crossed to Staten Island, July the twenty-third.
The outrage of innocence in instances too numerous to be recorded, of the wanton barbarity of the soldiers of the king of England, as they patroled the defenceless villages of America, was evinced no where more remarkably, than in the burnings and massacres that marked the  footsteps of the British troops, as they from time to time ravaged the state of New Jersey.
In their late excursion, they had trod their deleterious path through a part of the country called the Connecticut Farms. It is needless to particularize many instances of their wanton rage, and unprovoked devastation, in and near Elizabethtown. The places dedicated to public worship did not escape their fury: these were destroyed more from licentious folly, than any religious frenzy or bigotry, to which their nation had at times been liable. Yet through the barbarous transactions of this summer, nothing excited more general resentment and compassion, than the murder of the amiable and virtuous wife of a Presbyterian clergyman, attended with too many circumstances of grief on the one side, and barbarism on the other, to pass over in silence.
This lady was sitting in her own house, with her little domestic circle around her, and her infant in her arms; unapprehensive of danger, shrouded by the consciousness of her own innocence and virtue; when a British barbarian pointed his musquet into the window of her room, and instantly shot her through the lungs. A hole was dug, the body thrown in, and the house of this excellent lady set on fire, and consumed with all the property it contained.
 Mr. Caldwell, her affectionate husband, was absent: nothing had ever been alleged against his character, even by his enemies, but his zeal for the rights, and his attachment to his native country. For this he had been persecuted, and for this he was robbed of all that he held dear in life, by the bloody hands of men, in whose benevolence and politeness he had had much confidence, until the fated day, when this mistaken opinion led him to leave his beloved family, fearless of danger, and certain of their security, from their innocence, virtue, and unoffending amiability.
Mr. Caldwell afterwards published the proofs of this cruel affair, attested on oath before magistrates, by sundry persons who were in the house with Mrs. Caldwell, and saw her fall back and expire, immediately after the report of the gun. “This was,” as observed by Mr. Caldwell, “a violation of every tender feeling; without provocation, deliberately committed in open day; nor was it ever frowned on by the commander.” The catastrophe of this unhappy family was completed within two years, by the murder of Mr. Caldwell himself, by some ruffian hands.
His conscious integrity of heart had never suffered him to apprehend any personal danger: and the melancholy that pervaded all, on the tragical death of his lady, who was distinguished  for the excellence and respectability of her character, wrought up the resentment of that part of the country to so high a pitch, that the most timid were aroused to deeds of desperate heroism. They were ready to swear, like Hannibal against the Romans, and to bind their sons to the oath of everlasting enmity to the name of Britain.
But we shall see too many circumstances of similar barbarity and ferocious cruelty, to leave curiosity ungratified, or to suffer the tear of pity to dry on the sympathetic cheek, as we follow the route of the British army. Agitation and anxiety pervaded the eastern states, while rapine and slaughter were spread over the middle colonies. Hope was suspended in every mind; and expectation seemed to hang on the consequences of the strong effort made to subdue the southern provinces.
The present year was replete with the most active and important scenes, both in Europe and America. We leave the latter to wait the operation of events, and turn our eyes towards Great Britain, whose situation was not less perplexed and embarrassed, than that of the United States. The sources of concern which pervaded the patriotic part of the nation, were innumerable. A remarkable combination of powers against the British nation was unusually alarming. Spain had now declared war, and acted  with decision: and many new and great events among other nations, threatened both the maritime and internal state of Great Britain, with checks to their pride and power which they had not before experienced.
The despot of Russia, with haughty superiority, appeared at this time, umpire of the Armed Neutrality, set on foot by herself.* The novelty of this measure excited much observation, attention, and expectation, both in Europe and America. Some writers have robbed the empress of the honor of originating this humane project, which was thought to be levelled at the imperious sway, and the insolent aggressions of the British flag, which had long been vexatious to all the nations.
This measure has been attributed to a stroke of policy concerted by count Panin, in order to defeat the design of sir James Harris, minister from Great Britain, who had been making every  effort in favor of his court, to engage the empress to fit out a naval armament against Spain. Prince Potemkin, the empress’s favorite, was fond of the measure of assisting the court of Spain: but the determined opposition of the count Panin, against the interference of the court of Russia in the war between Great Britain and the house of Bourbon, in conjunction with the American colonies, was such, that the design was not only defeated, but the court of Petersburgh took the lead in a declaration to the belligerent powers, for setting the principles of navigation and trade; and the armament in preparation for other purposes, was sent out to support the armed neutrality.†
 But such was the commanding genius of Catharine, and her predominant passion for the extension of her fame, that those who have studied her character will not deny her the capacity, nor the honor of originating this humane and novel system. She was a woman in whom were united, the most splendid talents, a magnificent taste, an unconquerable mind, the most beneficent virtues, and the most detestable crimes. But whoever was the prime mover of a system so benevolent, the idea was the greatest that ever entered into the head of a prince, since the days of Henry the fourth of France.* The design was glorious, as it might in time be so far improved, as to put a period to a great part of the distress brought on the trade of nations, by the ambition, interest, and proud usurpation of some maritime powers.
The empress forwarded an explicit declaration of the design and the nature of the combination, to the several European courts. By  this extraordinary treaty, all neutral ships were to be freely navigated from port to port on the coasts of nations at war, and the effects belonging to the subjects of any sovereign, were to be safe in all neutral vessels, except contraband merchandize. Thus the seas were to be left in the situation designed by God and nature, that all mankind might reap the benefits of a free and open intercourse with each other.
Several other articles, humane, just, and favorable to trade, were stipulated. Their security was guaranteed by a powerful fleet, directed by a despotic female; while the neighbouring sovereigns, awed by her prowess, strength, and stern authority, aided her measures.
Though this was a very unpleasant proposition to the court of Great Britain, it was acceded to with alacrity by the northern powers, and by most of the other courts in Europe. Thus Sweden, Denmark, and Portugal, united with the potent court of Petersburgh, to guard and protect the trade of nations, while war raged among so many of them.
This capital measure was equally pleasing to France, Spain, and America; but to Great Britain it was a grievance of magnitude: and what greatly enhanced their mortification, it  had originated with a sovereign whom they considered as a friend and an ally; one to whom they had looked forward as a powerful assistant, if the exigencies of war should oblige them to seek the further aid of foreigners. But, as a writer observed, “the solitary court of London was obliged to suppress her indignation.” Neither her resentment, chagrin, or address, could prevent a measure which Great Britain considered as particularly injurious to herself.
The British minister expostulated warmly with the court of Petersburgh, on the constant attention and regard hitherto shewn on every occasion, to the flag and commerce of Russia, by Great Britain. He declared there was a continuance of the same disposition and conduct in his court, and reminded the empress of the reciprocal ties of friendship, and the commercial interests, by which the two nations were mutually bound.
The confederacy too formidable for opposition in their present situation, an equivocal, rather than an explicit reply to the declaration of the empress, was sent by the court of Great Britain to the British envoy resident at Petersburgh, dated April the twenty-third, one thousand seven hundred and eighty.
While this indecisive mode of conduct was observed by the court of Great Britain, the  other European powers had not only readily agreed to the proposition for an armed neutrality, but appeared generally pre-disposed to a friendly intercourse with America, if not unequivocally to support her claim to independence.
A general state of danger from foreign combinations seemed to threaten the empire of Great Britain, with a convulsion in almost all its parts; at the same time, discontent and dissatisfaction, particularly in Ireland, seemed to be on the point of rising to an alarming height, and fast approaching to a crisis.
It was observed by one of their own writers, that
it was not to be expected that a country dependent on Great Britain, and much limited in the use of its natural advantages, should not be affected by the causes and consequences of the American war. The sagacious in that kingdom could not avoid perceiving in the present combination of circumstances, an advantage which was to be now improved, or given up forever.
There now appeared a remarkable revolution in the temper of the people of Ireland, that discovered strong symptoms of their weariness of their subordinate and depressed situation. These were doubtless quickened and brought into action, by the struggle of the Americans for independence. Early in the opposition of the united colonies to parliamentary measures, congress had forwarded a friendly address to the inhabitants of Ireland. In this they had observed, that “the ministry had for ten years, endeavoured by fraud and violence, to deprive them of rights which they had for many years enjoyed:” that
at the conclusion of the last war, the genius of England and the spirit of wisdom, as if offended at the ungrateful treatment of their sons, withdrew from the British councils, and left that nation a prey to a race of ministers, with whom ancient English honesty and benevolence disdained to dwell. From that period, jealousy, discontent, oppression, and discord, have raged among all his majesty’s subjects, and filled every part of his dominions with distress and complaint.
In this address to the inhabitants of Ireland, the American delegates had recapitulated their several grievances, which had driven them to opposition, and a suspension of all commerce with Great Britain, Ireland, and the English West India islands. After observing that they hoped from this peaceable mode of opposition to obtain relief, they made a friendly apology to the Irish, for including them in this restriction, assuring them,
that it was with the utmost reluctance we could prevail upon ourselves,  to cease our commercial connexions with your island. Your parliament had done us no wrong. You had ever been friendly to the rights of mankind: and we acknowledge with pleasure and with gratitude, that your nation has produced patriots, who have nobly distinguished themselves in the cause of humanity and America.
On the other hand, we were not ignorant, that the labors and manufactures of Ireland, like those of the silk-worm, were of little moment to herself, but served only to give luxury to those who neither toil nor spin. We perceived that if we continued our commerce with you, our agreement not to import from Britain would be fruitless; and were therefore compelled to adopt a measure, to which nothing but absolute necessity could have reconciled us. It gave us, however, some consolation to reflect, that should it occasion much distress, the fertile regions of America would afford you a safe asylum from poverty, and in time from oppression also; an asylum in which many thousands of your countrymen have found hospitality, peace, and affluence, and become united to us by all the ties of consanguinity, mutual interest, and affection.*
 We offer our most grateful acknowledgments for the friendly disposition you have always shewn towards us. We know that you are not without your grievances. We sympathize with you in your distress; and are pleased to find, that the design of subjugating us, has persuaded administration to dispense to Ireland, some vagrant rays of ministerial sunshine. Even the tender mercies of government, have long been cruel towards you. In the rich pastures of Ireland many hungry parricides have fed, and grown strong to labor in its destruction. We hope the patient abiding of the meek may not always be forgotten: and God grant that the iniquitous schemes of extirpating liberty from the British empire, may be soon defeated!
But we should be wanting to ourselves; we should be perfidious to posterity; we should be unworthy that ancestry from which we derive our descent,—should we submit with folded arms, to military butchery and depredation, to gratify the lordly ambition, or sate the avarice of a British ministry. In defence of our persons and properties, under actual violation, we have taken up arms: when that violation shall be removed, and hostilities cease on the part of the aggressors, they shall cease on our part also. For the achievement of this happy event, we confide in the good offices of our fellow-subjects beyond the Atlantic: of their  friendly disposition we do not yet despond, aware, as they must be, that they have nothing more to expect from the same common enemy, than the humble favor of being last devoured.
This energetic address to the Irish may be seen in almost every public record of the transactions of congress, in one thousand seven hundred and seventy-five. This, with other addresses of the same determined body of men, to the inhabitants of England, of Canada, of the United States, comprise an epitome of the grievances complained of by Americans, of the existing opinions, and the cause of the colonies taking arms against the parent state.
The similarity of sufferings which the Irish had long felt, oppressions which had often driven them to the point of despair, a prospect of successful resistance by the colonies to the overbearing measures of the British crown and parliament, awakened in them a dawn of hope, that relief might result from union and concert among themselves, sufficient to check the present, and to prevent still greater burdens, from the usurpations of power often exercised against them, without equity or humanity.
The rising ferment in the Irish nation was justly alarming to the court of Britain. This, with the weight of foreign combinations which  pressed upon them, awakened apprehensions in the highest degree, in the minds of the sober and judicious, who had the welfare of the nation at heart. In addition to their concern from these causes, their differences of opinion with regard to their own internal affairs, on almost every subject, increased. This disunion of sentiment appeared in the vast number of petitions laid on the table of the house of commons, from the most respectable counties; not less than forty at once. These brought on much debate and altercation, that promised much reform and produced little.
The enormous influence of the crown, the abuse of contracts, the corruption in all departments, were discussed, and the American war again reprobated. The waste of human life, and the treasures of the nation, were pathetically lamented in the course of parliamentary debate; and this absurd and fruitless war criminated in strong language.
The strength of party was tried to its utmost, on a variety of subjects. The increasing and dangerous influence of the crown, was particularly dwelt upon: on this a member of the house* observed, that nothing more strongly evinced its existence, than the minister’s keeping his place, “after so many years of loss, misfortune,  and calamity, as had already marked the fatal course of his administration.” He asked,
whether that noble lord had not lost America? whether he had not squandered many millions of the public money, and wasted rivers of blood of the subjects of Great Britain? And yet, though the whole country, with one voice, cried out against him, and execrated his American war, the noble lord still held his place. Could this possibly be ascribed to any other cause than to the overgrown influence of the crown, along with that daring exertion of it, which sets the voice and the interests of the people at nought?
He observed that the present minister by his measures,
had sunk and degraded the honor of Great Britain. The name of an Englishman was now no longer a matter to be proud of: the time had been when it was the envy of all the world; it had been the introduction to universal respect; but the noble lord had contrived to sink it almost beneath contempt. He had rendered his countrymen, and their country, despicable in the eyes of every other person.
This session of parliament continued desultory, angry, agitated, and inconclusive, till towards  the close; when all eyes were opened to immediate danger, by the distracted and incoherent conduct of lord George Gordon, at the head of the London Associators, who had combined expressly to defend the Protestant religion. They had taken the alarm from a motion made by sir George Saville, deemed too favorable to the Roman Catholic religion, though received with universal applause in the house of commons.
It is observable, that the pretext of religion had often rent in sunder the bands of union, and interrupted the peace of the English nation, from the conquest to the present day. Nor had persecution ever been pushed with a more severe hand in any part of the world, than among these islanders, all of whom professed themselves Christians, though divided by a variety of denominations. The popish religion had been particularly inhibited from the days of the Stuarts; but as many of the nobility still adhered to the Catholic faith, a degree of liberality and toleration was indulged, and religious distinctions, if not annihilated, had generally lain dormant among a people highly improved in politeness and erudition. Yet the same spirit of bigotry was concealed in the bosoms of many, which wanted only the contact of a torch to emblazon into the flames of persecuting fury.
 This the present moment presented; and no animosities of this nature had for many years arisen to such a height of riot, confusion, tumult, and danger, as raged in the city of London in consequence of an act recently passed, entitled “an act for relieving his majesty’s subjects professing the popish religion, from certain penalties and disabilities, imposed on them by an act made in the eleventh and twelfth years of the reign of king William the third.” The zealous opposition in Scotland to any relaxation of the penal laws against the Papists, seems to have originated the Protestant association in England.
Though not immediately connected with American affairs, it may not be improper before we conclude this chapter, to notice, that no heat of opposition among the insurgents of the colonies, as they were termed, ever arose to such an atrocious height, as the mobs in London, in the face of the parliament of England, and under the eye of their sovereign.
The restless and turbulent spirit and conduct of lord George Gordon, gave rise to the notorious outrages committed in and about London in the month of June, one thousand seven hundred and eighty. Enthusiastically bitter against the indulgence of the Roman Catholic religion, he carried his designs and temper so far, as to spread the same intolerant spirit through a large  body of his adherents. Fifty or sixty thousand persons assembled in St. George’s Fields, under the appellation of the Protestant Associators, distinguished by blue cockades in their hats, a badge which they endeavoured to affix to many well-meaning persons, whom they compelled to move in their train. The passions of the mad multitude inflamed by various artifices, they paraded the city for several days, and set fire to many elegant buildings, among which lord Mansfield’s house, furniture, library, and many valuable manuscripts, were destroyed.
Lord George Saville’s house in Leicester Fields, fell under the resentment and fury of the rioters, professedly for his preparing and bringing a bill into parliament in favor of the Catholics. The bishop of Lincoln, and several other dignified clergymen, felt the effects of their ruffian and licentious hands: they were insulted, abused, and treated with the utmost rudeness and indignity. In short, plunder, rapine, anarchy, murder, and conflagration, spread in every quarter of the city. The prisoners were released, and the jails set on fire: Newgate, King’s Bench, the Fleet Prison, and other public buildings destroyed. Neither the civil authority, the remonstrances of the moderate, nor the terror of the military, were able to quell the rioters, or disperse the rabble, under four or five days, that the city blazed in so  many different and conspicuous parts, as to threaten the conflagration of that noble capital.
As soon as a degree of quiet was restored by a dispersion of the inflamed multitude, lord George Gordon was taken into custody, and committed to the tower. After six or seven months confinement, he was tried; but as there appeared a derangement of his intellectual faculties, bordering on insanity, he was acquitted and set at liberty.
It is no singular circumstance that a zeal for religion, or rather for a particular mode of worship, should disgrace the Christian system, by the wild fanaticism of its real or pretended votaries. It has been observed, that this was the pretext for the licentious conduct of the London Associators: their cry was religion; forgetful among the most ferocious deeds of cruelty, that the religion they ostensibly pretended to defend, was interwoven with the most rational morality, and the most fervent piety.
The same illiberal spirit of superstition and bigotry, has been the pretext for establishing inquisitions, for Smithfield fires, for massacres, wars, and rivers of human blood poured out on the earth, which groans beneath the complicated crimes of man. Thus, mistaken ideas of religion have often led the multitude to deeds  of cruelty and madness, enkindled the fury of the assassin to murder the monarch amidst his guards, or the hapless maid in her devotional closet. The ignorant, the artful, or the illiberal children of men, have often brought forward the sacred name of religion, to sanction the grossest absurdities, to justify the most cruel persecutions, and to violate every principle of reason and virtue in the human mind.
It is a melancholy truth, that the Christian world too generally forgets that the mild spirit of the gospel dictates candor and forgiveness towards those who are dissentient in opinion. The example of the good Samaritan was recorded, to impress the cultivation of the benevolent affections towards all mankind, without restriction to neighbour or to country: and the sword of Peter was ordered into its scabbard, by the founder of that code of rational and just sentiment, productive of order and peace in the present stage of weakness and error.
The mild virtues of charity and brotherly kindness, are the distinguishing characteristics of this benign religion: yet it is not less humiliating than wonderful, when we calmly reflect, that mankind have seemed to delight in the destruction of their fellow-beings, from the earliest records of time to the present struggles of America, to maintain their rights at the point  of the sword, against a nation long inured to the carnage of their own species.
This has been evinced, not only in the oppression of Great Britain over her own colonies, and the civil convulsions on their own island, but from the havoc made by their enormous naval armaments, which have crimsoned the ocean with human blood, carried death to their antipodes, and desolation round the globe.
To the universal regret of the most benevolent part of mankind, they have witnessed, that the nabobs of India have been reduced to slavery, and the innocent inhabitants of the eastern world involved in famine, poverty, and every species of misery, notwithstanding the immense resources of the most luxuriant and fertile country on earth, by the innovating, ambitious, and insolent spirit of a nation, assuming the jurisdiction of the seas, and aiming at universal domination.
The black catalogue of cruelties permitted by the English government, and executed by their myrmidons in the east, against the innocent natives of India, will leave a stain on the character of the British nation, until the memory of their deeds shall be blotted from every historic page. Nor was the system of conquest there  relaxed in the smallest degree: while the Ganges and the Indus were reddened with the blood, and covered with the slaughtered bodies of men, their armies in the west were endeavouring to reduce their former colonies, to the same state of slavery and misery with the inhabitants of that distant region.
The attempted extermination of many of the primitive inhabitants, and the waste of human life through all Indostan and other parts of the eastern world, by the destroying sword of Britain, are recollections too shocking for the humane and benevolent mind to dwell on. Too melancholy a picture is exhibited, when the eye of compassion is turned towards that ill-fated country. It must in tears behold the zemidars and the nabobs in chains, their princes and princesses of every age immersed in poverty, stripped of their connexions, captured by the English, and dying in despair, without the cold solace of pity from their foes. All the ancient, well-informed, and ingenious inhabitants of that rich, populous, and favored spot of creation, involved in one common ruin, exhibit the most striking and affecting view of the cruelties of man, and of the vicissitudes of human affairs, that modern history presents.
These last observations indeed, may not appear to be connected with the design of the present work: nor have the cruelties which have  been exhibited in the East Indies by the arms of Great Britain, arisen from a spirit of religious intolerance. It may however be observed, when the mind has for a moment left the more sublunary pursuits of man, and adverted to the sacred theme of religion, that nothing can be a more insurmountable bar to the propagation of truth, either in the east, the west, or in the dark regions of African or Asiatic slavery, than the cruelties perpetrated by men, who profess a system of ethics more sublime than that of Zoroaster, morals more refined than taught by Socrates, and a religion pure and simple, inculcating the most benign dispositions, forbidding all injuries to the weakest of its fellow beings.
Observations on the moral conduct of man, on religious opinion or persecutions, and the motives by which mankind are actuated in their various pursuits, will not be censured when occasionally introduced. They are more congenial to the taste, inclination, and sex of the writer, than a detail of the rough and terrific scenes of war. Nor will a serious or philosophic mind be displeased with such an interlude, which may serve as a temporary resting-post to the weary traveller, who has trodden over the field of carnage, until the soul is sickened by a view of the absurdity and cruelty of his own species.
 These reflections may justify a short digression, that only means to hint at the happy consequences that might result, if a nation which extends its power, and carries its arms to the extremities of the globe, would transmit with them, that mildness of manners, that justice, humanity, and rectitude of character, that would draw the inhabitants of the darker regions of the world, from their idolatry and superstition. Thus nations who had long been immersed in errors, might be led to embrace a religion, admirably adapted to the promotion of the happiness of mankind on earth, and to prepare a rational agent for some higher stage of existence, when the drama on this tragic theatre is finished.
[*]This general view of the siege and surrender of Charleston, is principally collected from general Lincoln’s defence and apology in a letter to general Washington, which the author was favored with the perusal of in manuscript, by general Lincoln. [Benjamin Lincoln to George Washington, July 17, 1780, Benjamin Lincoln Papers (MHS microfilm, reel 13).]
[*]This was so highly resented by the lady, who had before been his friend, that by her influence, she defeated his hopes as a candidate for a member of parliament. [Lt. Colonel Banastre Tarleton had been perceived in America as a vicious, ruthless warrior since David Ramsay’s History of the Revolution of South-Carolina (2 vols.; Trenton, 1785). After returning to England, he lived for some years with Mary Robinson, an actress and writer who had had a relationship with the Prince of Wales. He ran for Parliament unsuccessfully in 1784, but was returned from Liverpool, with only a short break, from 1790 to 1812. He published an account of his service in America, A History of the Campaigns of 1780 and 1781 in the Southern Provinces of North America (2 vols.; London, 1787), which earned him enmity as an egotist and an ingrate. See Dictionary of National Biography; Robert D. Bass, The Green Dragoon: The Lives of Banastre Tarleton and Mary Robinson (New York, 1957).]
[*]Before this period, the wealth and inhabitants of the Turkish empire had been diminished, and the power of the Sublime Porte so far crippled, by the ambitious projects of Catharine, that they were unable to lend much assistance to any of their distressed neighbours. For some time after the remarkable partition of Poland, the hero of Prussia, the Germanic body, and the northern powers, breathed in a kind of truce, as if paralysed by the recollection of recent slaughter and devastation, rather than in the benign prospect of a permanent peace.
[†]See History of the Armed Neutrality by a German nobleman. A more recent work has attributed the origin of this benevolent system, to the policy of the count de Vergennes, and has asserted that it was a plan of his own to counteract the operations of the British court against France, by this check to the power of their navy. But from the character of the count de Vergennes, as drawn by an American minister, his abilities were not equal to the comprehensive system. He observed, that notwithstanding the gazettes of Europe had been filled with pompous panegyrics of this minister, and sublime ideas of his power and credit, as well as his abilities, it was but mere puff and bubble: and that notwithstanding his long experience in courts, he was by no means a great minister: that he had neither the extensive knowledge, nor the foresight, nor the wisdom, nor the virtue, nor the temper of a great man. [Johann Eustach von Goertz, The Secret History of the Armed Neutrality. Together with Memoirs, Official Letters and State Papers, Illustrative of the Celebrated Confederacy … Written Originally in French by a German Nobleman (London, 1792).]
[*]Every one acquainted with the history of France, will recollect the benevolent design formed by Henry the fourth and his sagacious minister, the duke of Sully, to put an end to the waste of human life by war, by a combination, great, extensive, and more humane than generally falls under the contemplation of princes. His design to settle the contests of nations by amicable treaty, was defeated by the hand of the assassin, which deprived him of life.
[*]See Appendix, Note No. VIII.
[*]Sir Thomas Pitt.