« AnteriorContinuar »
LET T E R VÍ.
Roxbury, Jan, 12, 1782.
ERTAIN resolutions of congress; as they refer 178t.
to col. Laurens and the supplies from France (whose arrival has been mentioned) necessarily demand our first attention. On a report of a committee; to whom was referred a letter of the ad of last September, together with sundry papers, containing an account of the negotiation with which he was intrusted, congress resolved on the 4th, “ That all the clothing, artillery, 4. arms and military stores, shipped in pursuance of the orders of the honorable John Laurens, for the use of the United States, be upon their arrival in any of the ports of these United States, delivered to the order of the board of war, who are hereby empowered and directed to take charge and direction of the same - That all the money shipped by the order of Mr. Laurens, for the use of the United States, be, upon its arrival, delivered to the order of the superintendant of finance, who is hereby empowered and directed to take charge of the same.” The next day they resolved." That the conduct of lieut. col. Laurens, in his mission to the court of Versailles, as special minister of the United States, is highly agreeable to congress, and entitles him to public approbation.” To supply any deficiency thar there might be in their resolution respecting monies arriving from Europe, they resolved on the 3d of Den
1781.cember—" That the superintendant of the finances be,
and hereby is authorized and directed to apply and dispose of all monies which have been or may be obtained in Europe by subsidy, loan or otherwise, according to the feveral resolutions and acts of congress now existing, or which may hereafter be made for the appropriation of monies belonging to the United States. However gratefully they thought of the French king's free gift, they could not with any propriety accede to the mode in which it was to be applied to the benefit of the United States. By passing into the hands of the commander in chief, it would subject the army to an appearance of being pensioned by France, and when generally known by the troops might loosen their relative dependence upon congress; they therefore wisely directed, that the military stores should be delivered to the order of the board of war, and that the disposal of the monies should reit with the superintendant, subject to their own appointments.
We must now pass to South Carolina.
When the continental officers under gen. Greene had heard of the manner in which col. Hayne was executed, and that notwithstanding the general cartel, several officers of militia were still detained in captivity, they made a representation thereof in writing to Greene on the 20th of August; and recommended, that a strict inquiry Thould be made into the several matters mentioned, and if ascertained, that he would be pleased to retaliate in the most effectual manner, by a similar treatment of British Tubjects which were or might be in his power. They voluntarily subjected themselves to all the confequences, to which they would be exposed in case of capture. A few days after, Gréene issued from his head *781. quarters at Camden a proclamation, wherein he expressly declared It is my intention to make reprisals for all such inhuman insults, as often as they shall take place.” -He added, “ I further declare, that it is my intention to take the officers of the regular forces, and not the seduced inhabitants who have joined their army, for the objects of my reprisal's.” Greene demanded also from the British commanders their reasons for the execution of Hayne. He received a written answer, signed N. Balfour, in which there was an acknowledgment, “ that it took place by the joint order of lord Rawden and himfelf, but in consequence of the most express directions from lord Cornwallis, to put to death those who should be found in arms, after being at their own requests received as subjects, since the capitulation of Charlestown, and the clear conquest of the province in the summer of 1780.” General Greene replied to lieut. col. Balfour on the 19th of September—" Sir, your favor of the 3d instant I have received, and am happy for the honor of col. Hayne, to find nothing better to warrant his cruel and unjust execution, than the order of lord Cornwallis, given in the hour of victory, when he considered the lives, liberties and property of the people prostrate at his feet: but I confefs I cannot express my astonishment, that you and lord Rawdon should give such an extraordinary example of severity, upon the authority of that order, under such a change of circumstances, so long after it had been remonstrated against, and after a cartel had been settled, to restrain improper feverities, and to prevent the necessity of retaliation. You will see by my letter to lord Cornwallis
1981. of the 17th of December last, a copy of which is en-,
closed, that I informed his lordship, his order was cruel
taken all the pains in my power to soften the resentments 1781 of the inhabitants toward each other, and to prevent as much as possible the dreadful calamity of private murders. It has been my object to reclaim, not to destroy, even such of the inhabitants as have been opposed to the interests of their country; and I cannot but consider your remarks respecting col. Grierson and major Dunlap, as both illiberal and ungenerous, if you are acquainted with facts. If not, I hope you will be more careful how you censure without authority for the future. A handsome reward was offered for the detection of the murderers of both these persons.--As you have referred the justification of your conduct in the affair of col. Hayne to lord Cornwallis, and as his determination upon that matter will govern the business of future exchanges, I can see no advantage in appointing a person to meet capt. Barry on the subject; beside which, that gentleman is now a prisoner of war, and no longer in a capacity to negotiate affairs of this nature. I am, Sir, your most obedient humble servant Nathaniel Greene.” But before the date of this letter, the following important military operations had taken place.
General Greene, on hearing that the British were returned to their former station on the south side of the Congaree, concerted measures for forcing them a second time from their posts in this quarter. Though the two armies were within fifteen miles of each other on a right line, yer as two rivers intervened, and boats could not be procured, the American army was obliged to take a circuit of 70 miles with a view of more conveniently crossing the Wateree and the Congaree. Soon after their crossing these rivers, they were joined by general