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298 EFFECTS OF CORNWALLIS'S SURRENDER. gratitude to Almighty God for this signal success. render of Lord Cornwallis was the virtual termination of the war.
From this time forward, to the signature of the treaty of peace, the British were cooped up in New York, Charleston, and Savannah. From these posts they now and then, indeed, made excursions for the purpose of foraging and plunder; but being utterly unable to appear in force in the interior of the country, they found themselves incompetent to carry on any operations calculated to promote the main object of the war—the subjugation of the United States. Perseverance, however, still seemed a virtue to the British cabinet. Immediately after the arrival of intelligence of the capture by the Americans of a second British army, George III declared, in a speech to parliament, that he should not answer the trust committed to the sovereign of a free people, if he consented to sacrifice, either to his own desire of peace, or to their temporary
ease and relief, those essential rights and permanent interests, upon the maintenance and preservation of which the future strength and security of the country must for ever depend.'
When called upon in the house of commons for an explanation of this vague and assuming language, Lord North avowed that it was the intention of ministers to carry on in North America. a war of posts ;' and such was, at that moment, the state of the house, that, in despite of the eloquence of Mr. Fox, who laboured to demonstrate the absurdity of this new plan, a majority of to 129 concurred in an address, which was an echo of the king's speech.
But the loud murmurs of the people, groaning beneath the weight of taxation, and indignant under a sense of national misrule, at length penetrated the walls of the senate-house. Early in the year 1782, motion after motion was made in the house of commons, expressive of the general wish for the termination of hostilities with the United States. The minister held out with obstinacy, though, on each renewal of the debate, he saw his majority diminish ; till at length, on the 27th of February, on a motion of General Conway, expressly directed against the further prosecution of offensive war on the continent of North America, he was left in a minority of nineteen.
Of the surrender of Cornwallis ? What was declared by George III ? How were the British situated after what was done in parliament?
the surrender of Cornwallis ? Which party at length prevailed ?
RETIREMENT OF LORD NORTH.
This victory was followed up by an address from the house to his majesty, in favour of peace. To this address so equivocal an answer was returned by the crown, that the friends of pacification deemed it necessary to speak in still plainer terms; and, on the 4th of March, the house of commons declared, that whosoever should advise his majesty to any further prosecution of offensive war against the colonies of North America, should be considered as a public enemy.
This was the death blow of Lord North's administration. His lordship retired from office early in the month of March, and was succeeded by the Marquis of Rockingham, the efforts of whose ministry were as much and as cordially directed to peace as those of Lord Shelburne's. On the death of the marquis, which took place soon after he had assumed the reins of government, the Earl of Shelburne was called on to preside over his majesty's councils, which, under his auspices, were directed to the great object of pacification.
To this all the parties interested were well inclined. The English nation was weary of a civil war in which it had experienced so many discomfitures. The king of France, who had reluctantly consented to aid the infant republic of North America, was mortified by the destruction of the fleet of De Grasse, in the West Indies, whither he had sailed after the fall of Yorktown, and been defeated by Rodney. The Spaniards were disheartened by the failure of their efforts to repossess themselves of Gibraltar; and the Dutch were impatient under the suspension of their commerce.
Such being the feelings of the belligerents, the negotiations for a treaty of peace between Great Britain and the United States were opened at Paris, by Mr. Fitzherbert and Mr. Oswald, on the part of the former power, and by John Adams, Doctor Franklin, John Jay, and Henry Laurens, on behalf of the latter.
After a tedious and intricate negotiation, in which the firmness, judgment, and penetration of the American commission. ers were fully exercised, preliminary articles of peace wero signed on the 30th of November, 1782; and news of the
What kind of address followed the What was the disposition of the Eng-
lish? What did the house of commons de- The king of France ? clare?
The Spaniards ? When did Lord North retire?
Who were appointed commissioners What was the object of the Marquis to make a treaty ? of Rockingham ?
When were the preliminary articles Of the Earl of Shelburne ?
conclusion of a general peace reached the United States early next April.
By this provisional treaty the independence of the thirteen United States was unreservedly acknowledged by his Britannic majesty, who, moreover, conceded to them an unlimited right of fishing on the banks of Newfoundland, and the river St. Lawrence, and all other places where they had been accustomed to fish. All that the British plenipotentaries could obtain for the American loyalists was, a provision that congress should earnestly recommend to the legislatures of their respective states the most lenient consideration of their case, and a restitution of their confiscated property.
The independence of the United States was acknowledged, and peace with Great Britain had been concluded; but the dangers of America were not at an end. She had succeeded in repelling foreign aggression, but was threatened with ruin by internal dissension.
In the interval between the cessation of hostilities and the disbanding of the troops, congress found itself in a trying and perilous situation. The army was in a state of high dissatisfaction and irritation. In October, 1780, a season of danger and alarm, congress promised half pay to the officers on the conclusion of peace. The resolution to this effect not having been ratified by the requisite number of states, was in danger of remaining a dead letter. In the month of December, 1782, soon after going into winter quarters, the officers had presented a memorial and petition to congress, and deputed a committee of their number to call its attention to the subject. Their request was, that all arrears due to them might be paid, and that, instead of granting them half pay for life, congress would allow them five years of full pay
should be disbanded.
The unwarrantable delay of congress in granting this very reasonable request of those who had shed their blood, and spent their fortunes and the best portion of their lives in defending the country, excited a serious commotion in that part of the army which was stationed at Newburg. In March, 1783, an ably written address, appealing strongly to their indignant feelings, and recommending an appeal to the fears of congress, was privately distributed among the officers; and at
What were the terms of the treaty ?
What was done in December, 1782 ?
gress delaying to grant it? What was done in March, 1783 ?
DISCONTENT OF THE ARMY.
the same time a meeting of the officers was proposed, for the purpose of considering the means of obtaining redress. The sensation caused by the injustice of congress was increased to an alarming degree by this eloquent address, and it is difficult to say what might have been the result of the proposed meeting, had not the commander in chief fortunately been on
Washington clearly saw the danger, and prohibited the meeting ; but deeming it safer to direct and weaken the current, than immediately to oppose it, he appointed a similar meeting on a subsequent day. General Gates, as the senior officer of rank, presided. General Washington, who had been diligent in preparing the minds of the officers for the occasion, addressed the assembly, strongly combated the address, and, by his sound reasoning and high influential character, succeeded in dissipating the storm.
These proceedings of the officers induced congress to pay some regard to its promises, and to grant their request for a commutation of half pay for a sum equal to five years' full pay. The disbanding of the army, which was still in a state of irritation, from having large arrears of pay, and many of them not money enough to supply their most pressing wants, was a dangerous experiment. Other armies disbanded under such circumstances had often formed themselves into companies of free-booters, and ravaged the country they had previously defended. But congress understood the true character of their patriot army, and boldly ran the risk of dismissing it unpaid. No convulsion followed. The soldiers quietly returned to their homes, and resumed the arts of peace, content with the humblest lot in the land, which they had just freed from foreign enemies, and placed among the most highly favoured nations of the earth. Previous to this event, however, on the 19th of April, 1783, the day which completed the eighth year of the war, the cessation of hostilities with Great Britain was, by order of General Washington, proclaimed in the American camp.
The American forces still remained at their posts, awaiting the entire removal of the enemy's troops from the country On the 25th of November, the British troops evacuated New
What is said of Washington ? When was the cessation of hostilities What was the tenor of his address to proclaimed? the officers ?
When was New York evacuated by What was done by congress ?
the British ? Was the army disbanded without disturbance ?
RETIREMENT OF WASHINGTON.
York, and an American detachment, under General Knox, took possession of the town. General Washington and governor Clinton, accompanied by a number of civil and military officers and respectable citizens, soon afterwards entered the city; and the Americans, after a struggle which had lasted eight years, thus gained full and undisputed possession of the entire terri tory of the United States.
General Washington's military career was now about to close; and on the 4th of December, 1783, he met the principal officers of the army at Francis' tavern, in New York. The officers assembled at noon, and their revered and belovea commander soon entered the room. His emotions were too strong to be concealed ; filling a glass, and addressing the officers, he said, “With a heart full of love and gratitude, I now take leave of you, and devoutly wish that your latter days may be as prosperous and happy as your former ones have been honourable.' Having drank, he added, “I cannot come to take each of you by the hand, but shall be obliged to you if each of you will come and take me by the hand. In the midst of profound silence, and with the liveliest sensibility and tenderness, each of the officers took him by the hand; and at the close of the affecting ceremony, they all accompanied him to Whitehall, where a barge was in readiness to carry him across the river. Having embarked, General Washington turned round to his late companions in arms, took off his hat, respectfully bowed to them, and bade them a silent farewell. They returned the compliment, and went back in mute procession to the place where they had assembled.
Congress was then sitting at Annapolis, in Maryland, and thither General Washington proceeded, for the purpose of resigning that power which he had so successfully exercised. He remained a few days in Philadelphia, in order to settle his accounts with the treasury; and on the 19th of December, arrived at Annapolis.
At noon on the 23d, in presence of a numerous company of spectators, he resigned his commission into the hands of congress, and afterwards retired to his mansion at Mount Vernon.
• In the course of the revolution,' says a foreign writer, 'a number of men of no mean abilities arose, both in the military
Describe the scene of the 4th of De- | Whither did he retire after his resigcember, 1783.
nation? For what purpose did Washington
proceed *Annapolis ?