Obrázky stránek

lose mine. You must depart from those fair, virtuous, honourable, benevolent and public-spirited principles, or you must lose that sagacity and judgment which I ever found in you, before my confidence will be lost or diminished.”

“What your conduct has been in congress since I parted with you I know not, but some of your votes that I have seen were more consistent with truth, justice and sound policy than others that I see on the same page. Pray let me know a little of these things, and believe me with unabated affection to be your friend.”


Letter from John Adams........New measures of Hostility threatened

by the Enemy.......Commission for Peace.......Mr. Gerry's resolutions on the Fishery........ His Speech.

Avoiding as far as he might the interruptions, which jealousies and rivalship occasioned, Mr. Gerry devoted himself to the business of his station.

s I have not had time,” he said in a letter dated September 1778 to general Warren, “to acknowledge your several favours. The pleasure of corresponding with my most esteemed friends I have been lately obliged to sacrifice with other enjoyments, but I hope to possess their friendship, while silence is the effect not of choice but necessity.”


Passy, Nov. 27, 1778. MY DEAR SIR, I have not received a line nor heard a syllable from you since my arrival ; but I know your incessant application to things of the first moment, and therefore presume you have good reasons. Our enemies are still in a delirium, and are

pleasing themselves with hopes that Clinton will be more bloody than How. Nothing is so charming to their imaginations as blood and fire. What a heart must this people have!

The two Howes are in a sort of disgrace, and now Clinton is to do wonders. The Howes have returned, without laurels, with malicious tempers, bloody hands, and the pleasing reflection that their names are hereafter to be recollected by all virtuous and humane men with those of Alva and Grizler.

I think there should be a club formed in London of all the sages and heroes that have returned from America. Bernard, Hutchinson and Train, Gage, How, Howe, &c. &c. &c. and to be sure Burgoyne! What a respectable society it would be. How entertaining to hear them in turn recounting their memorable deeds of fraud and violence in America, and their glorious triumphant


You will see by the papers, which I shall send by this opportunity, that there is great animosity in Holland against England. Sir J-, it is said, flatters the prince with hopes of marrying his daughter to the prince of Wales, and the prospect of having a daughter queen of England is too tempting for a prince to resist. Yet he cannot do great things; and there is a spirit rising in the Low Countries, which will give England trouble. The situation of that republic is so defenceless, and they consider England in such a state of desperation, ready to do any mad thing, that I don't expect they will very soon take


part in our favour; but the determination not to take any part against us is decisive. They wish America independent; it is their interest. They wish to see England humbled. She is too overbearing ; yet they are afraid to provoke England by any open engagement against her. They have discovered a manifest solicitude least America should in a treaty with Great Britain agree to exclude the Dutch from some part of their trade; and they have reason for this suspicion.

It is a delicate thing to negotiate with this people, but we have constant intelligence from them, and shall watch every favourable opportunity. Their purses, their sailors and ships have been employed against us from the beginning, and England could not possibly do without them. I cannot, therefore, but wish that something may turn up to awaken the old Batavian spirit. I am as ever your friend,

JOHN ADAMS, Mr. Gerry.

Some of the expectations of the letter-writer were nearly realized. His Britannic majesty's commissioners on the third of the preceding month had issued a manifesto, in which they announced that


the policy as well as benevolence of Great Britain had thus far checked those excesses which tended to desolate the country, but that there was a design now to change the nature and conduct of the

On the pretence, idle as it was, that the United States, lost to England, might become an accession to France, it was now declared to be the intention of the enemy to pour out the phials of his wrath, and by new means of vengeance to render the connexion useless to his European rival.

“If it be a change for the worse,” said an eloquent state paper of the day, “it must be horrible indeed. Wherever their armies had marched, there was ruin. The towns of Charlestown, Falmouth, Norfolk, Kingston, Egg Harbour and the German Flats, besides many single buildings and clusters of houses had been given to the flames. Boston and Philadelphia had been spared indeed, partly in deference to the opinion of Europe, and more because the destruction would be severely felt by their friends. They have not hitherto murdered on the spot every woman and child that fell in their way, nor have they in all cases refused quarter to soldiers, though they have in many; but they have seduced Indians and negroes to commit inhuman butcheries upon the inhabitants, sparing neither age, sex nor character. They have thrust their prisoners into such dungeons, loaded them with such irons, and exposed them to such lingering torments of cold, hunger and disease, as

« PředchozíPokračovat »