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«78l« On the 26th of May, Mr. Morris, twelve days after 26. he had signified his acceptance of the office of superintendant of finance, had the satisfaction of learning, that the congress had that day approved of the plan for establishing a national bank in the United States, which he had submitted to their consideration on the 17 th. They resolved to promote and support it and that the subscribers should be incorporated under the name of—The president, directors and company of the bank of North America. They also recommended to the several states the making of proper laws for the prevention of other banks or bankers being established or allowed within the said states respectively during the war. It is thought, that this bank will be of eminent service to the United States, and tend greatly to lessen their embarrassments; and that it will be no less beneficial to the public than to the individual subscribers. June Congress agreed "That the minister plenipotentiary H- at Versailles, be authorized to offer lieut. gen. Burgoyne juIy in exchange for the honorable Henry Laurens. On *3- July the 23d, they resolved—" That five suitable persons be appointed and authorized to open a subscription for a loan of 30,000 dollars, for the support of such of the citizens of South Carolina and Georgia, as have been driven from their country and possessions by the enemy, the said states respectively, by their delegates in congress, pledging their faith for the repayment of the sums so lent with interest, in proportion to the sums which shall be received by their respective citizens, as soon as the legislatures of the said states shall severally be in condition to make provision for so doing, and congress hereby guaranteeing this obligation:—That the
said five persons do also receive voluntary and free dona- 178l. tions to be applied to the further relief of the said sufferers :—Ordered, That the president send a copy os the above resolution to the executives of the several states not in the power of the enemy, requesting them to promote the success of the said loan and donation in such way as they shall think best."
To your comprehending this resolution, you must be informed of the following particulars. In June, a general exchange of prisoners was agreed to 1 for the southern states, in which the militia on both fides were respectively exchanged for each other. Notwithstanding every difficulty, a considerable number of the inhabitants had perseveringly refused to become British subjects. These being exchanged, were delivered, as well as the continental officers, at the American posts in Virginia and Pennsylvania. The suffering friends of independence exulted at the prospect of their being released from confinement, and restored to activity in their country's cause: but their prospects were obscured by the distresses brought on their families by this otherwise desirable event.' On the 25th of June the British commandant at Charlestown, lieut. col. Balfour, issued the following order—" As many persons lately exchanged as prisoners of war, and others who have long chose to reside in the colonies now in rebellion, have, notwithstanding such their absence, wives and families still remaining here, the weight of which, on all accounts, it is equally impolitic as inconsistent should longer be suffered to rest on the government established here and the resources of it—The commandant is therefore pleased to direct, that all such women, children and others as above described,
»,7^-should quit this town and province on or before the first: day of August next ensuing; of which regulation all such persons are hereby ordered to take notice, and to remove themselves accordingly."
Here let me introduce an account of the manner in which most of the whig ladies conducted while they remained in Charlestown. They mowed an amazing fortitude, and the strongest attachment to the cause of their country, and gloried in the appellation of rebel ladies. Neither soothing persuasions, nor menacing hints, nor their own natural turn for gaiety and amusement, could prevail on them to grace the ball or assembly with their presence, to oblige the British officers with their hand in a dance, or even to accompany them, notwithstanding the engaging qualities that many of them possessed. But no sooner was an American officer introduced as a prisoner, than his company was sought for and his person treated with every possible mark of attention and respect. They even visited the prison ships and other places- of confinement to solace their suffering countrymen. At other seasons they retired in a great measure from the public eye, wept over the distresses of their country, and gave every proof of the warmest attachment to its suffering cause. In the height of the British conquests, when poverty and ruin seemed the unavoidable portion of every adherent to the independence of America, they discovered more firmness than the men. Many of them, like guardian angels, preserved their hust>ands from falling in the hour of temptation, when interest and convenience had almost gotten the better of honor and patriotism. Many examples could be produced of their
cheerfully parting with their sons, husbands and brothers *78*« (among those who were banished, and whose property was seized by the conquerors) exhorting them to sortie ttide, and repeatedly entreating them never to suffer family attachments to interfere. with the duty they owed to their country. Such exemplary patriotism excited in several British officers a mean resentment, which put them upon employing the negroes in rude insults on those distinguished heroines. When the successes of gen.- Greene afforded the latter an opportunity, they adopted a genteel retaliation by dressing in green and ornamenting their persons with green feathers and ribbons, and thus parading the streets in triumph.
The gentlemen, who had been removed from Charlestown to St. Augustine, as has been already related, obtained their release by the general exchange, and were delivered at Philadelphia. They had suffered greatly since they were sent off. Lieut. gov. Gadsden, to express his indignation at the ungenerous treatment he had met with, refused to accept an offered parole in St. Augustine; and with the greatest fortitude, bore a close confinement in the castle for forty-two weeks, rather than give a second parole to a power which he considered as having plainly violated the engagement con-, tained in the first. The other gentlemen renewed their paroles and had the liberty of the town, but were treated with much indignity. As if no dependence could be placed on their honor, they were ordered every day to appear on the public parade, and to answer to their names at roll calling. For upward of ten months they were debarred from corresponding with their wives and families^ unless they woujd subject every letter to exami- nation.
■78l. nation. Destitute os gold and silver, they could scarcely support themselves; and were less able to provide for their connections, who were left in want and in the power of the conquerors. The earliest alleviation of their sorrows, after the cartel had been settled, was denied to them. Though their wives and children, who had been left in Charlestown, were ordered to Philadelphia at the fame time with themselves, Balfour gave express direction that they should not be suffered to touch at Charlestown. More than a thousand persons were, by the measures of the commandant, exiled from their homes, and thrown on the charity of strangers for their support. Husbands and wives, parents and children, some of whom had been for several months separated from each other, were doomed to have their first interview in a distant land. To alleviate the distresses of these and similar sufferers, congress passed the preceding resolution. The propriety of it was still more apparent some time after, when what had been transacted at Charlestown was known. Several of the exchanged persons were owners of landed property in that town l and by the capitulation had an undoubted right to dispose of it for their own advantage. They were however debarred that liberty by the following order, issued on the nth of July—" The commandant is pleased to direct, that no person, living under the rebel government, shall have liberty, or grant power to others for so doing, to let or lease any house within this town without a special license for so doing, as it is intended to take all such houses as may be wanted for the public service, paying to the owners of those secured by the capitulation a reasonable rent for the same, as by this means government