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Reign of George III. (Continued.) page 11


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The opposition maintained the struggle, with a resolution fully justified by the immense importance of the cause, on every possible opportunity. On the report of the address, and again on the 1st of November, the duke of Manchester moved a resolution against the employment of foreign troops, as contrary to the Bill of Rights. The same motion was introduced into the commons two days after its defeat in the lords, and was defeated there also. These vain endeavours to stop the fatal rage for crushing the colonists, who were only taking the same stand on the same principles as our reformers had done in 1688, was immediately followed by lord Dartmouth quitting the office of secretary of state for the colonies, and taking the privy seal, resigned by Grafton, whilst, to the astonishment of the whole nation, the colonial office was filled by lord George Germaine, the disgrace Of Minden, and notorious for his proud, imperious, and rash temper, as active in mischief in official life as he had been inactive at the necessary moment in the crisis of battle. Besides this most disastrous change as it regarded America, lord Rochford also resigned, and was succeeded as secretary of state for the southern department by lord Weymouth, and "the wicked" lord Lyttleton, so notorious for his debauched life, was called to serve the moral George in the privy council, and as chief justice in Eyre, notwithstanding his fierce attacks up to this time on all the measures of ministers against America.

On the 30th of October lord North brought in a bill, in pursuance of a passage in the king's speech, to call out the militia in cases of actual rebellion. This was violently opposed, as tending to bring the people under martial law, and for inducing the militia to volunteer for foreign service. In his speech in reply, lord North commented sharply on the conduct of the Constitutional Society, at the head of which was Home Tooke, who was now under prosecution for the circulation of letters from this society, denouncing the affair at Lexington as a bloody murder of subjects on our part. Besides this, the society had agreed that the sum of one hundred pounds should be raised for the relief of the widows, and orphans, and aged parents, of those who fell there on the American side. Notwithstanding the sturdy resistance of the opposition, this bill was carried, and in December another bill was carried, extending the militia act to Scotland for the first time.

Ministers having thus passed these measures on the country, called for twenty-five thousand sailors and fifty-five thousand soldiers as the force for the year. Of these twenty- eight thousand soldiers were to be employed in America, and seventy-eight sail of the line on her coast. Besides this, lord Barrington, secretary at war, asked two million pounds for the pay and contingent expenses of five battalions of Hessians. Barrington excused the employment of the foreign troops by the impossibility almost of recruiting at home - a pretty clear indication of the view which the common people took of this struggle. He said no means had been left untried to recruit; the bounty money had been raised, the standard of height had been lowered, attempts had been made to enlist Irish catholics and foreigners individually, but in vain. We shall soon find it declared in parliament that, though we had spent fifty millions of money, we had yet no army.

One of the most extraordinary spectacles was that of lord Barrington, in his place as minister of war, declaring that an army in America was as absolutely necessary as a fleet on its coast, whilst he had long been contending to lord North quite the contrary. Like Barre, he was perfectly persuaded of the fatality of following the Americans, admirable marksmen as they were, into the interior, amid their woods, bogs, and numerous rivers. He pointed out the difficulties of conveying artillery, stores, &c., into such an interior, and the danger of losing communication with the fleet. He went further than Barre - he would have no army at all on land, but would blockade the forts, and have strong fleets out everywhere along the coasts to cut off at once all trade with the colonies, and all access to interfering foreign powers. He would withdraw the garrisons from the backwood frontiers, and leave the colonists open to the inroads of the Indians, who had cost us so much to keep back. He considered that our fighting on land only tended to kindle the enthusiasm of the colonists, and that if left to Btarve, without conflict, in their blockaded country, their distresses, not relieved by any little successes, would soon sink their spirits, and then, when they were ready to concede, we ought to be ready to concede too. Just before the meeting of parliament, lord Barrington wrote to lord North, urging these views again, and declaring that the Americans might be reduced by the fleet, but never by the army. Had lord Barrington, when he saw that his plan of the campaign was not adopted, resigned his post, and openly proclaimed his views, he would have done great service, but he was weak enough to allow the king to persuade him to retain office, whilst George went on pursuing his own plans in spite not only of Barrington, but of lord North himself.

On the 7th of November the duke of Richmond proposed that Mr. Penn should be heard at the bar of the house of lords, in relation to the petition which he had brought from America. This was overruled; but the duke again moved that he should be heard the next day, and, after much opposition, carried his object. Penn, who was the grandson of the founder of Pennsylvania, and had been governor of it himself, was then examined. He denied that the colonists wished for independence, but, on the contrary, they desired peace, and therefore had called the petition intrusted to him " The Olive Branch." He stated that Pennsylvania alone had sixty thousand men capable of bearing arms, and that twenty thousand had already enrolled themselves; that four thousand five hundred minute-men also were maintained by that province. The opposition dwelt on the strong nature of the country, its swamps, its vast rivers, its almost interminable forests; the ministerial party on the discrepancy betwixt the smooth language of the petition and the pacific statements of Penn, and the language of the addresses to the people of England and Ireland, to say nothing of the Americans being already in arms. The duke of Richmond's motion was lost. Then the duke of Grafton moved a string of resolutions - namely, that ministers should lay before parliament a statement of the number of soldiers employed in America before the disturbances, and their respective stations; their number now, and their stations; the plans for their winter quarters; and also an estimate of the number of soldiers that they deemed requisite to send against America.

Ministers very properly replied that this was precisely the information that would be most serviceable to the American insurgents, and lord Gower added what was equally true, that all the measures determined upon in England were much sooner known in the rebel camp than in our own. A long and vehement debate ensued, in which all the leading members took part, and in which lord Mansfield severely criticised the conduct of Grafton, Camden, and others, who, when in the ministry, had supported the arbitrary enactments against the colonies.

On the 16th of November, Burke, on presenting a petition against the prosecution of the war, moved for leave to bring in a bill on the principle of Edward I.'s statute de tallagio non concedendo, and on that of his former motion for the repeal of all the obnoxious acts, the renunciation of the claim to tax without representation, and with the addition of a recognition of the congress, and a full amnesty for all past offences. Fox, Conway, Sir George Saville, strongly supported Burke, and governor Pownall declared that even Burke's proposals did not now go far enough. Admiral lord Howe, who was ordered to head the fleet against the colonies, expressed his painful sense of the duty imposed on him of making war on his fellow-subjects, and declared that, if he consulted his private feelings, he should decline. In the lords the same style of debate followed; but now the news of the expedition against Canada had arrived, and lord Mansfield exclaimed: u We are now in such a situation that we must either fight or be pursued. If we do not get the better of America, America will get the better of us! They have begun to raise a navy; trade, if left free to them, will beget opulence, and enable them to hire ships from foreign powers. It is said the present war is only defensive on the part of America. Is the attack on Canada a defensive war? Is their prohibiting all trade and commerce with every part of the British dominions, and starving our sugar islands, acting on the defensive? No; though those people never offended us, we will distress them, say they, because that will be distressing Great Britain. Are we, in the midst of all outrages of hostility, of seizing our ships, entering our provinces at the head of numerous armies, and seizing our forts, to stand idle, because we are told that this is an unjust war, and wait till the Americans have brought their arms to our very doors? The justice of the cause must give ivay to our present situation; and the consequences which must ensue, should we now recede, would, nay, must, be infinitely worse than any we have to dread by pursuing the present plan, or agreeing at once to a final separation."

This was a melancholy situation to be reduced to by a blind and arbitrary policy - to be compelled to fight with our fellow-countrymen, though we felt that we were fighting unjustly. But so it was, and under this impression all proposals of accommodation on the part of the opposition were rejected, and the war went on.

The expedition against Canada, the news of which came with such conclusive effect on these debates, was projected by colonel Arnold and Ethan Allen at the taking of the forts of Ticonderoga and Crown Point. The recommendations of Allen were taken up, and on the 27th of June, although they had on the first of that month declared their determination not to invade or molest Canada, the congress passed other resolutions, instructing Philip Schuyler, one of their newly- made generals, to proceed to Ticonderoga, and from thence, if he saw it practicable, to go on and secure St. John's and Montreal, and to take any other measures against Canada which might have a tendency to promote the security of the colonies.

It was autumn, however, before the American force destined for this expedition, amounting to two thousand men, assembled on Lake Champlain; and Schuyler being taken ill, the command then devolved on general Montgomery. General Carleton, the governor of Canada, to whom the Americans, when it suited their purpose, were always attributing designs of invasion of the colonies, had not, in fact, forces sufficient to defend himself properly. Governor Johnson had offered the aid of seven hundred of the Indians of the Six Nations, and he had been impolitic enough to refuse them. The Indians had noted the careless way in which the Americans held the forts of Ticonderoga and Crown Point after they had taken them from the English, and offered to take them back for England, and he refused that too; whereupon, in their resentment, they offered themselves to the Americans. They came most opportunely to Montgomery, who had just been foiled by another party of Indians, and he immediately advanced to the siege of St. John's, and thence to Montreal. Arnold, meantime, had gone to communicate a plan of his own to Washington, hoping to join the troops of Montgomery at Quebec by a different route, or to surprise it by himself.

Ethan Allen, who served under general Montgomery, proceeded with a detachment of one hundred and fifty men, to attempt the surprise of Montreal. He crossed the St. Lawrence about four miles below that town, and at the moment when he made himself pretty sure of his prize, he was himself surprised by major Campbell, at the head of only about thirty-six men of the 26th Regiment, but well supported by the people of Montreal and other French Canadians. Allen was directly put in irons as a felon and a traitor, and sent to England.

Meantime, general Montgomery had reached the St. Lawrence, and detached six hundred men to invest Fort Chamble, situated on the river Sorel, about five miles above Fort St. John. Carleton made a clumsy and ineffectual effort to prevent the attack on the Fort, and Chamble was surprised on the 3rd of November. Major Stopford, who had one hundred and sixty men there, made a shameful defence, not even destroying the ammunition, but letting it fall into the hands of the enemy, when the Americans were reduced to almost their last cartridge. Major Preston, who commanded at St. John's, finding that colonel Maclean, who was on the march to his assistance, had been compelled to return to Quebec, to anticipate the arrival of Arnold, also surrendered that fort with five hundred regulars and one hundred Canadian volunteers, who had behaved with much bravery.

The menaced condition of Quebec compelled general Carleton to abandon Montreal to its fate, and to hasten to the capital, and Montgomery immediately took possession of it. So far all succeeded with the American expedition. Carleton, to reach Quebec, had to pass through the American forces on the St. Lawrence. He went in disguise, and dropped down the river by night, with muffled oars, threading the American craft on the river, and so reached Quebec alone, but in safety. Montgomery was determined to fall down the St. Lawrence too, to support Arnold; but his position was anything but enviable. He had been obliged to garrison Forts Chamble and St. John's, and he was now compelled to leave another garrison at Montreal. This done, he had only four hundred and fifty men left, and they were in the most discontented and insubordinate condition. Though he had married an American lady, and had embraced the cause of the colonists with enthusiasm, he was now greatly disgusted with the service, and declared that he would resign at the end of the campaign. He found his men far more disposed to follow their own wills than his orders. Instead of obeying, they questioned and disputed his commands. Their term of service expired in a few weeks, and they were impatient even of that time. They complained of the severity of the service and the season. As he proceeded, therefore, he found them fast melting away by desertion; and, had he not soon fallen in with Arnold and his band at Point aux Trembles, he would have found himself alone.

Arnold had meantime arranged everything with Washington, at Cambridge, for his expedition. Amongst his instructions was one enjoining him, if he found lord Pitt, Chatham's son, still serving in Canada, and he should happen to fall into his power, to treat him with the highest respect, for that he could not err in doing too much honour to the son of so illustrious a character - so true a friend of America. Arnold marched away from Cambridge with twelve hundred men, and on reaching the Kennebec River, one hundred and thirty miles north of Boston, embarked upon it, carrying with him one thousand pounds in money, and a whole cargo of manifestoes for distribution among the Canadians. The Kennebec is a wild and rapid stream, rising in Lake St. Pierre, or Moosehead, in a mountain range separating Maine from Canada. Great part of this stream had never been surveyed; it was full of rapids and falls, and so strong that, on an average, the men had to wade above half the way. Arnold, in his dispatches, said - " You would have thought them amphibious." Thence he had to traverse a terrible wilderness of woods, swamps, streams, and rugged heights, where the men had to carry their boats and their provisions on their shoulders, and where, for two-and-thirty days, they saw no house, wigwam, or sign of human life. So extreme were his distresses, that for the last several days they had to live on their own dogs. It was the 3rd of November before they reached the first Canadian settlement on the river Chaudiere, which flows into the St. Lawrence opposite to Quebec.

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Pictures for Reign of George III. (Continued.) page 11

Boston Boys
Boston Boys >>>>
John Adams
John Adams >>>>
North American forest scene
North American forest scene >>>>
The colonists under Liberty Tree
The colonists under Liberty Tree >>>>
The residence of George Washington
The residence of George Washington >>>>
The skirmish at Lexington
The skirmish at Lexington >>>>
View of Charlestown
View of Charlestown >>>>
George Washington and his mother
George Washington and his mother >>>>
Flag of the Colonists
Flag of the Colonists >>>>
Plan of the battle of Bunkers Hill
Plan of the battle of Bunkers Hill >>>>
A Canadian Indian
A Canadian Indian >>>>
View on the river St. Lawrence
View on the river St. Lawrence >>>>
Near Quebec
Near Quebec >>>>
A Canadian forest scene
A Canadian forest scene >>>>
The cauldron rapids, near Ottawa
The cauldron rapids, near Ottawa >>>>
Waterfall of Montmorency
Waterfall of Montmorency >>>>
First house erected at Quebec
First house erected at Quebec >>>>

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