Front Page Titles (by Subject) 17: TO THE INHABITANTS OF CANADA - George Washington: A Collection
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17: TO THE INHABITANTS OF CANADA - George Washington, George Washington: A Collection 
George Washington: A Collection, compiled and edited by W.B. Allen (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1988).
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TO THE INHABITANTS OF CANADA
Friends and Brethren:
The unnatural Contest between the English Colonies, and Great Britian has now risen to such a height, that Arms alone must decide it.
The Colonies, confiding in the Justice of their Cause and the purity of their intentions, have reluctantly appealed to that Being, in whose hands are all Human Events: He has hitherto smiled upon their virtuous Efforts: The Hand of Tyranny has been arrested in its Ravages, and the British Arms, which have shone with so much Splendor in every part of the Globe, are now tarnished with disgrace and disappointment. Generals of approved experience, who boasted of subduing this great Continent, find themselves circumscribed within the limits of a single City and its Suburbs, suffering all the shame and distress of a Siege. While the Freeborn Sons of America, animated by the genuine principles of Liberty and Love of their Country, with increasing Union, Firmness and discipline, repel every attack and despise every Danger.
British view of CanadaAbove all we rejoice that our Enemies have been deceived with Regard to you: They have persuaded themselves, they have even dared to say, that the Canadians were not capable of distinguishing between the Blessings of Liberty and the Wretchedness of Slavery; that gratifying the Vanity of a little Circle of Nobility would blind the Eyes of the people of Canada. By such Artifices they hoped to bend you to their Views; but they have been deceived: Instead of finding in you that poverty of Soul, and baseness of Spirit, they see with a Chagrin equal to our Joy, that you are enlightened, generous, and Virtuous; that you will not renounce your own Rights, or serve as Instruments to deprive your Fellow subjects of theirs. Come then, my Brethern, Unite with us in an indissoluble Union. Let us run together to the same Goal. We have taken up Arms in Defence of our Liberty, our Property; our Wives and our Children: We are determined to preserve them or die. We look forward with pleasure to that day not far remote (we hope) when the Inhabitants of America shall have one Sentiment and the full Enjoyment of the blessings of a Free Government.
American invasion of CanadaIncited by these Motives and encouraged by the advice of many Friends of Liberty among you, the Great American Congress have sent an Army into your Province, under the command of General Schuyler; not to plunder but to protect you; to animate and bring forth into Action those sentiments of Freedom you have declared, and which the Tools of dispositism would extinguish through the whole Creation. To co-operate with this design and to frustrate those cruel and perfidious Schemes, which would deluge our Frontier with the Blood of Women and Children, I have detached Colonel Arnold into your Country, with a part of the Army under my Command. I have enjoined upon him, and I am certain that he will consider himself, and act as in the Country of his Patrons and best Friends. Necessaries and Accommodations of every kind which you may furnish, he will thankfully receive, and render the full Value. I invite you therefore as Friends and Brethren, to provide him with such supplies as your Country affords; and I pledge myself not only for your safety and security, but for ample Compensation. Let no Man desert his habitation. Let no Man flee as before an Enemy.
The cause of America and of liberty is the cause of every virtuous American Citizen Whatever may be his Religion or his descent, the United Colonies know no distinction, but such as Slavery, Corruption and Arbitrary Domination may create. Come then ye generous Citizens, range yourselves under the Standard of general Liberty, against which all the force and Artifice of Tyranny will never be able to prevail. I am, etc.
Tyranny: The Scourge of Liberty
GEORGE WASHINGTON assumed his command in the immediate aftermath of the Battle of Bunker’s Hill. The first task to confront him, therefore, was to dislodge the British forces from Boston. That event set in motion a train of events which would find the main army with Washington running from battle to battle. However, the sequence of battles is only the silver frame in which is portrayed the ups and downs of efforts to recruit effective forces, to ready raw troops to confront the soldiers and mercenaries of the most powerful nation on earth, and to produce coherent political and military policies from the disarray incident to a political vacuum.
The inspiration for so much effort was liberty—or more precisely, the determination to resist a “most tyrannical and cruel system for the destruction of our rights and liberties.” But it took every bit of Washington’s shrewdness to keep the resistance alive. Accordingly, this chapter shows the great breadth of the efforts required of Washington. To fix the context of these efforts firmly in mind one might read it with a regard for the sequence of battles of at least the main army during roughly the same period, remembering too that this was the season in which the Declaration of Independence was proclaimed to the world.
Siege of Boston. After the Battle of Bunker’s Hill, Washington positioned his troops so as to surround Boston. Colonel Henry Knox brought more than fifty pieces of artillery from Fort George in late February 1776. American and British troops exchanged fire for four days. Afterwards, two American redoubts crowned Dorchester Heights, a position that could control Boston and its harbor filled with British ships. The British sought to dislodge the Americans from the Heights, but their boats were dispersed by a storm. General Howe evacuated Boston on March 17, and Washington entered on the 20th. The British fleet then headed for New York.
Battle of Long Island. General Howe aimed to launch 20,000 troops against the 9,000 Americans at Brooklyn Heights and secure a land footing for operations against the city of New York. The British made their first landing on August 22, 1776, and by the 26th were ready to engage the American troops. On the 27th Howe attacked and took Brooklyn Heights. Washington retreated; his strategy was to postpone all issues which had a determining character and were beyond his army’s mastery, thus wearing out the offensive by avoiding its strokes and gaining the advantage of turning upon a worn-out or over-confident and off-guard British army.
Battle of Trenton. Of the three bodies of American troops that attempted to cross the Delaware River on the night of December 25, 1776, only those commanded by Washington succeeded. The Hessians, bivouacked under Colonel Rahl in Trenton, New Jersey, were completely surprised at daybreak and forced to surrender after a brief engagement.
Battle of Princeton. On January 1, 1777, Washington received word that Lord Cornwallis was en route from Brunswick to attack him at Trenton. Washington conceived of a plan of retreat that would allow him to attack Cornwallis’s communications. Creating the deception of maintaining an encamped army, Washington moved his troops around Cornwallis and toward Brunswick. As the American troops were passing Princeton, General Hugh Mercer encountered some British patrols. Their skirmishes were decided by Washington himself, after Mercer had been mortally wounded. Then Washington’s army moved on to Morristown, where they erected log huts and established winter quarters.
Battle of Brandywine. General Howe withdrew his fleet from the Delaware in August 1777. On the 22nd, Washington received word that Howe had anchored in the Chesapeake Bay. Washington promptly marched to Philadelphia. By September 7, the entire army had advanced to Newport, Pennsylvania, and on the same day Howe placed his vanguard eight miles from the Americans. With light skirmishes occurring daily, the armies finally joined battle at Brandywine on September 11. The 11,000 Americans suffered 780 casualties, while the 18,000 British took 600 casualties.
Battle of Germantown. Howe chose Germantown, six miles from Philadelphia, for his headquarters. Washington’s army was near Pennebecker’s Mill, about twenty miles away. Washington designed a surprise attack upon Howe, October 4, 1777. The advance was prompt, and the surprise promised success, but a dense fog arose and so confused the operations that the armies were forced to retire, Howe to Philadelphia and Washington to Valley Forge.