AMERICAN WAR OF INDEPENDENCE.) 58. The news of the outbreak of hostilities aroused strong feeling throughout the colonies. The Second Continental Congress met under its influence. Its members, however, had been chosen and instructed before the clash of arms, and for that reason the course which had been worked out for them differed only slightly, if at all, from that which had been followed by their predecessors. To a certain extent the new body adhered to the former course of action. But a state of war now existed in New England and on the Canadian border. Troops were expected soon to arrive at New York. Reports of these events were thrust upon the attention of Congress at once, and the provinces involved asked for advice as to what course they should pursue. The northern frontier especially demanded attention. As a result of these events in the colonies generally the Association was being changed from a system of co-operation against British trade into a union for purposes of defence. This new situation the Congress was forced to meet. This it did largely by resolutions of advice to the colonies, but also by positive orders. Of the former class were the resolutions about the procuring of military supplies, the assumption of powers of government by the various colonies, and concerning defence at New York City, on the northern frontier and, later, in the Highlands of the Hudson. Of a more decisive character was the appointment of officers for the army, George Washington being made commander-in-chief, the prescribing of their pay, the issue of continental bills of credit, the issue of articles of war, the regulation of trade and of Indian affairs, and the establishment of postal communication. As the colonies were passing through a strong reaction against executive authority, second the Congress did its business with the help of continental temporary committees and did not seek to establish congress• a permanent executive. The same was true for a time of the congresses and conventions in the different colonies. As the movement progressed through 1775 and the early months of 1776, executive authority in the royal and proprietary provinces collapsed. The assemblies were either dissolved or ceased to meet. The governors, their authority gone, retired on board British vessels of war, returned to England or, perchance, found themselves prisoners in the hands of the revolutionists. This gradual fall of the old governments, imperial and colonial, was the revolution on its negative side. The rise of the system of congresses, conventions and committees, deriving their authority from the people, was the revolution on its positive side, and foreshadowed the new federal system which was rising on the ruins of the half-federated empire. The process in the different colonies was as varied as were their social and political conditions. 59. In Connecticut and Rhode Island the corporate system of government, which they had inherited from the 17th century, necessitated no change. The general assemblies always had been the centres of power, and the leading officials were elective for short terms and were subject to the control of the electorate. So far as the internal organization of the colonies was concerned that was all which the revolution demanded. In the twoproprietary provinces—Pennsylvania and Maryland—the executives were not so directly interested and pledged to support the imperial government as were those of the royal provinces. But Governor Robert Eden of Maryland was so tactful that, though the last Assembly met in 1774, he was able, with the courts, to keep up some form of government there in the name of the Crown and proprietor until the early summer of 1776. In Pennsylvania the proprietors, though in sympathy with the British government, never sought actively to influence events in their province. So strong was the conservative spirit there that the proprietary Assembly even met—though without a quorum—as late as September 1776, at the time when the convention was completing the first constitution of the state. In the royal provinces the prorogation of the legislatures for indefinite or prolonged periods caused them early to disappear—that of Massachusetts in October 1774. The burgesses of Virginia last met for business in May 1774. They were prorogued to several later dates, but the governor was Collapse of never again able to meet them. The long and im- the Royal portant session of January-March 1775 was the last Govern- ever held by the New York Assembly. In April 1775 menu. Governor John Martin of North Carolina met the Assembly for the last time, and even then the Provincial Convention was in session at the same time and place and the membership of the two bodies was the same. In May 17 7 5 disappeared the Assembly of Georgia; in June those of New Hampshire and South Carolina met for the last time. Governor William Franklin was able to meet the Assembly of New jersey as late as November, but months before that date the Provincial Convention had practically assumed the control of affairs. The royal courts and executives continued some form of activity a few months longer and then totally vanished. 6o. After Bunker Hill the command at Boston had been transferred from Gage to Sir William Howe. In July Washington took command of the colonists and gradually established some degree of order and discipline among them. Though the American levies were raw and ever fluctuating in numbers, the British never seriously attempted to break through their lines. Indeed, it was not the plan of the British to make New England the chief seat of war. As early as the 2nd of August 1775 Lord Dartmouth wrote to General Gage on " the obvious advantages that would attend the taking Possession of New York and the hazard of the Army's continuing at Boston." On the 5th of September he wrote to Howe that every day's intelligence exhibited this fact in a clearer light. Rhode Island was considered as a convenient naval station, and steps were soon taken to secure possession of it and its surrounding waters. This indicates what was necessarily the fact, that the British would so plan the war as to secure the maximum of advantage from their fleet. This would give them an easy command of the entire coast, and enable them to secure a foothold at strategic centres. Hence it was that, though the arrival of a fresh supply of cannon enabled Washington to fortify Dorchester Heights, this simply enabled him to hasten a process for which Howe had long been preparing. The evacuation occurred Evacuation on the 17th of March 1776, and the British force of Boston; withdrew temporarily to Halifax. Meantime the American bold expeditions of Arnold and Montgomery against against Canada—suggesting the joint efforts of the French Canada. wars—had met with only a partial success. Montreal had been occupied, but the assault upon Quebec had failed. A small American force awaited the return of spring in Canada, in order that they might renew the struggle for that colony. - 61. The view, as it was now repeatedly expressed by king and parliament, was that the colonists were in open rebellion. North's offer of conciliation was peremptorily rejected by Congress. The acts of parliament were being openly resisted, and Congress in its manifestoes had ignored the two houses. There-fore the British government stood committed to coercion. That was the meaning of the legislation of the winter of 1776—the prohibition of trade with the rebellious colonies, the increase of the estimates for the army and navy, the employment of German auxiliaries for service in America. Preparations were made to send a large military and naval force against the colonies the following season, and that it should operate in part against the insurgents in New York and the southern colonies and in part through Canada. New England was no longer to be the direct object of attack. The Howes, as commanders of the royal army and navy, were appointed commissioners to grant assurance of peace and pardon and the repeal of the obnoxious acts, provided submission was made and some way could be found by parliament in which an imperial revenue for purposes of defence could be secured from the colonies. Military operations, meanwhile, should be directed against points of least resistance, and in that way, if possible, the union of the colonies should be broken. The trend of British policy indicated that an invasion from Canada might be attempted and the effort be made to hold Charleston, Philadelphia, and especially New York as strategic points on the coast. 62. The course of events in the colonies by which this situation was met was the erection of a system of feeble defences about New York and the removal thither of the army of about 9000 men in the spring of 1776; the fitting out of privateers to prey on British commerce and of a few small armed vessels by the colonies and the general government to watch the coast and procure supplies; the disarming of loyalists; the opening of American ports to the trade of all peoples who were.not subject to the British Crown; and the tentative opening of relations with France. As the result of a combination of ill luck, bad management and American energy the British suffered a repulse at Charleston, South Carolina, in June, which was analogous to the affair of the year before at Bunker Hill, and which necessitated a postponement of their plans in the South. The Congress and the various revolutionary bodies in the colonies were forced to carry on war upon a constantly increasing scale. They had to assume powers of government and gradually to perfect their organization for the purpose. Committees in Congress became more permanent. Conditions approximating to those which existed the year befole in New England extended through the colonies generally. On the 15th of May 1776, as the result of various earlier applications on the subject, and especially of one from certain Whigs in New York, the Congress recommended to the assemblies and conventions of the colonies where no government sufficient to the exigencies of their affairs had been established, " to adopt such government as shall, in the opinion of the representatives of the people, best conduce to the happiness of their constituents in particular and of America in general." The preamble to this resolution set forth as facts the statements that the colonies had been excluded from the protection of the Crown, that no answer had been given to their petitions for redress, and that the whole force of the kingdom was to be used for their destruction, and therefore that it was no longer reason-able or honest for the colonists to take the oaths or affirmations necessary for the support of government under the Crown. organlza- Though the preamble was warmly debated, it was tion of State adopted. And this act marked a turning-point, for Govern- the progress of events from that time to the declara- ments; Declaration tion of independence was rapid and decisive. The of lade- colonies—now becoming states—one after another, pendence. in response to letters from Philadelphia, empowered their delegates to concur in declaring independence. On the 7th of June R. H. Lee of Virginia introduced in Congress a resolution " that these United Colonies are and of right ought to be free and independent states," that it was expedient forth-with to take effectual measures for securing foreign allies, and that a plan of confederation should be formed. John Dickinson and others, speaking for the Middle Colonies, argued that the order of procedure should be reversed. But John Adams and the more aggressive party insisted that the proposed declaration would simply state the facts and would open the way for foreign alliances; that it was useless to wait for unanimity. The debate showed that the delegates from the Middle Colonies and South Carolina could not act, and so the decision was postponed for three weeks. In the interval steps were taken to draft a plan of treaties and articles of confederation. A board of war and ordnance, the earliest germ of an executive department, was also created by Congress. At the end of the three weeks the delegates from all the colonies except Georgia, South Carolina and New York had received instructions favourable to independence. The two former left their delegates free, and under the influence of the British attack on Charleston they voted for independence. News had just come that Howe had landed with a large force at Sandy Hook—as events proved, it was an admirably equipped army of 30,000 men, supported by a fleet. Under the impression of these stirring events Dickinson and his leading supporters ceased their opposition, and the Declaration, substantially in the form given to it by Thomas Jefferson, was agreed to (July 4, 1976), only three adverse votes being cast. The delegates from New York took no part, but a few days later the act was approved by the convention of that state. The signing of the document by the members took place at a later time. Thus triumphed the tendencies toward self-government which had been predominant in the continental colonies from the first, and which the system of imperial control had only superficially modified and restrained. But the most significant part of the document for the future was the preamble, in which the democratic aspirations of the new nation were set forth, the spirit to which Thomas Paine had just made so powerful an appeal in his Common Sense. Governments, it was said, derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, and when any system becomes destructive of these ends it is the right of the people to abolish it and to institute a new government, establishing it upon such principles and under such forms as seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. (See INDEPENDENCE, DECLARATION OF.) E.—The Struggle to Maintain Independence, ,1976-1783. 63. Viewed from one standpoint, the declaration of independence was apparently an act of the utmost recklessness. The people were by no means a unit in its support, and in several of the states widespread indifference to it, or active sympathy with, the British, prevailed. In New York, South Carolina and Georgia a condition of civil war came sooner or later to exist. The United States, as yet, had no international status, and it would seem that that must be secured, if at all, by a series of victories which would ensure independence. But how could these be won against the greatest naval power on the globe, supported by veteran armies of continental and British troops? The colonies had no money; the few vessels which, as a collective body, they did send out, were more like privateers than anything else. Their army was an undisciplined throng of militiamen, serving on short enlistments, without organized commissariat, and for the most part under inexperienced officers. Its numbers, too, were far inferior to those of the British. Taxation by the Continental Congress for the support of the war Finance; was not among the possibilities of the case. The weaknesses colonies were struggling against taxation by one imperial body, and it was not likely that they would submit to similar impositions at the hands of another. The Congress, moreover, as has truly been said, was little more than a general committee or interstate council of safety, and had to proceed largely by way of advice. A strong tendency also toward the provision for immediate needs by the issue of bills of credit had been inherited from the period of the French wars, and resort was again had to that device. The battle of Bunker Hill had been immediately followed by an order of Congress for, the issue of $2,000,000 in that form of currency. Issues followed in rapidly increasing amounts, until by the close of 1779 $241,000,000 had been authorized. The states put out nearly as much ($209,000,000), Virginia and the two Carolinas issuing the largest amounts. All that Congress could do to secure the redemption of its issues was to recommend to the states to provide the means therefor; but this they failed to do, or even to provide for the redemption of their own issues. The continental paper money depreciated until it became and Defects of the American General Government. worthless, as to a large extent did that of the states also. The states decreed it to be legal tender, and dire threats were uttered against those who refused to receive the bills; but all to no purpose. The Congress also tried to induce the states to tax themselves for the general cause and was forced to rely on requisitions for the purpose. The colonies had insisted that the system of requisitions was good enough for the mother country, but when applied by Congress it proved as complete a failure as when resorted to by the Crown. The revolution was therefore never financed. It early became necessary to resort to loans and that chiefly from foreign sources. It was therefore an absolute necessity that the colonies should secure international recognition and status. Then loans were obtained from the governments of France and Spain and from private bankers in Holland to the amount of about $7,830,000. 64. The collapse of royal government left the colonies in a chaotic state. The old institutions had disappeared and new ones could not be immediately developed to take their place. But the institutions of local government, the town and county systems, were left intact, and upon these as a basis the new fabrics were erected. It was therefore easier to construct the governments of the states than to define and develop the general government. At first little else was intended than that the Congress should be the mouthpiece of the patriot party. It proceeded mainly by way of recommendation, and looked to the states, rather than to itself, as the ultimate sources of authority. Upon them it depended for the execution of its measures. The common will, as well as enactment, was lacking which would have given the force of positive law to the measures of Congress. As the war proceeded the states grew jealous of the central body and tried to prevent appeals to it from the state courts in prize cases. Under the pressure of war, moreover, the enthusiasm, which had been strong at the outset, declined, and it became increasingly difficult to secure co-operation or sacrifice toward any general enterprise. At the same time, war devolved upon Congress an enormous burden of work. It was forced to devise general policies and provide for their execution, and also to attend to an infinite number of administrative details. This was due not only to the exigencies of the time, but to the fact that no general executive was developed. As was characteristic not only of this revolution, but of all others, the committee system underwent an enormous development. " The whole congress," wrote John Adams, " is taken up, almost, in different committees, from seven to ten in the morning. From ten to four or sometimes five we are in congress, and from six to ten in committees again." " Out of a number of members," writes another, " that varied from ten dozen to five score, there were appointed committees for a hundred varying purposes." Upon its president and secretary the Congress was forced to depend not a little for the diligence and ability which was requisite to keep the machine going. But as the war progressed most of the able members were drawn off into the army, into diplomatic service or into official service in the states. Sectional and state jealousies also developed and became intense. By many the New Englanders were regarded with aversion, and members from that section looked with dislike upon the aristocrats from the South. As the Congress voted by states the smaller commonwealths were often moved by jealousy of their larger rivals to thwart important measures. But, above all, the con-duct of the war and foreign relations occasioned infinite jealousies and cabals, while many of the most important measures seemed to meet with downright indifference. Washington's correspondence abounds in evidence of these facts, while it is well known that he was the object against whom one of the cabals of the time was directed. Benjamin Franklin was the object of somewhat similar jealousies. But, as time passed, rudimentary executive departments, beginning with the board of war and the postmaster-general, were developed, and some advance was made toward a working and permanent system. In 1781 the offices of foreign secretary, superintendent of finance, secretary of war and secretary of marine were created. 65. For a time, and indeed during most of the struggle, the course of the land war seemed to justify these criticisms and gloomy fears. Until its very close the campaign of 1776, from the American standpoint, was a dismal failure. The battle of Long Island was lost by the Americans and, as at Bunker Hill, it would have been quite possible for the British to have captured the entire force which opposed them on Long Island. Howe compelled Washington to evacuate New York City. On the 16th of November the practical abandonment of the state of New York by the main army was necessitated W triagtoa by the capture of Fort Washington. Earlier in the year the Americans had been compelled to retire from Canada, while the Tories in northern New York were contributing valuable aid to the British. 66. But there was another side to the picture, and already certain faint outlines of it might be discerned. The British commander was proceeding slowly, even according to established European methods. At almost every step he was failing to seize the advantages that were within his reach, while Washington was learning to play a losing game with consummate patience and tact. Although he was constantly trying to rouse Congress and the states to more vigorous action, he showed no disposition to break with the civil power. Already, too, the physical obstacles arising from the wooded and broken character of the country, and from the extremely poor means of communication, were becoming apparent to the British; while the Americans always had the alternative, if too hard pressed, of withdrawing beyond the mountains. After Washington had crossed the Delaware, Howe, instead of seizing Philadelphia and driving Congress and the American army to some remote places of refuge, as he might have done, prepared for winter quarters. Washington seized the opportunity to return across the Delaware and surprise the British outposts at Trenton (Dec. 26, 1776) and Princeton (Jan. 3, 177.7), and thus secured a safe post of observation for the winter at Morristown. Confidence was to an extent restored, the larger part of New Jersey was regained, and many loyalists were compelled to take the oath of allegiance. Howe's plan for the next campaign involved the strengthening of his army by large reinforcements from home and by all the men who could be spared from Canada. With this force he proposed to capture Philadelphia and thereby to bring the War of Independence to an end in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York. New England and the states farther south could then be dealt with in detail. But Howe was over-ruled by Lord George Germain, the colonial secretary, whose plan included an invasion from Canada, in which Tories and Indians should share, while Howe should advance up the Hudson and meet the northern forces at Albany. If this ambitious scheme should succeed, the British would occupy the valley of the Hudson and New England would be cut off from the rest of the colonies. General Burgoyne was appointed to command the northern expedition. But the failure of the plan was almost ensured from the outset by neglect on the part of British officials to instruct General Howe as to his part in its execution, while Burgoyne was forced to surrender near Sara-toga on the 17th of October. Meanwhile, Howe, who had long waited for instructions respecting the northern expedition, was finally informed that he might undertake the Pennsylvania campaign, but with the hope that at its close he would still be able to march up the Hudson. Thereupon, embarking his army, Howe sailed for Chesapeake Bay, at the head of which he landed and advanced towards Philadelphia. Washington's army opposed his march at the Brandywine (Chad's Ford), but was defeated (Sept. 11, 1777) and forced to retire beyond Philadelphia. The British then entered the city (Sept. 26) and the Congress withdrew to Lancaster, and later to York, in the interior of Pennsylvania. The British fleet had in the meantime arrived in Delaware Bay, and, after a prolonged and brave defence, had captured Forts Mercer and Mifflin. When the winter began the Delaware, as well as lower New York and Rhode Island, was in the possession of the British. With the fragments of an army Washington retired to Valley Forge (q.v.). 67. But the influence of Burgoyne's surrender in Europe was to prove a turning-point in the war. Since 1763 a strong sentiment at the French court had been favourable to a resumption of war with Great Britain. An opportunity was now presented by the colonial revolt. In November 1775 the Congress created a committee of secret correspondence, which, in April 1777, was developed into a committee of foreign affairs, and this continued until 1781, when the office of foreign secretary was established. To Congress, and to the members who were serving on its secret committee, the possible attitude of France was known from an early date. The necessity of securing supplies and loans from Europe was also imperative, though the United States had nothing to pledge in repayment except the future products of her soil. In February 1776 Silas Deane (q.v.) was sent to Paris, ostensibly as a business agent, and with the connivance of the French government supplies were sent to America and American vessels were received into French ports. Soon American privateers were bringing their prizes into French harbours, and British commerce began to suffer from these attacks. On the French side Beaumarchais and others actively co-operated in this. In the autumn of 1776 Congress appointed three commissioners to France, and resolved that Spain, Prussia, Austria and other European states should be approached with a view to securing recognition and aid. In December 1776 Franklin, who, with Deane and Arthur Lee, had been appointed commissioner to France, arrived at Paris, bringing with him proposals for treaties of commerce and alliance.