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could be furnished. They will not be able, when our friends come, to co-operate with us, to go on a common routine of duty ; and if they should, they must from their appearance be held in low estimation."
The complicated arrangements for raising and supporting the American army, which was voted for the campaign, were so tardily executed that when the summer was far advanced, Washington was uninformed of the force on which he might rely ; and of course could not fix on any certain plan of operations for the combined armies. In a letter to Congress he expressed his embarrassment in the following words ; “ The season is come when we have every reason to expect the arrival of the feet ; and yet for want of this point of primary consequence, it is impossible for me to form a system of co-operation. I have no basis to act upon, and of course were this generous succour of our ally now to arrive, I should find myself in the most awkward, embarrassing, and pain. ful situation. The General and the Admiral, as soon as they approach our coast, will require of me a plan of the measures to be pursued, and there ought of right to be one prepared ; but circumstanced as I am, I cannot even give them conjectures. From these considerations I yesterday sug. gested to the committee the indispensable necessity of their writing again to the states, urging them to give immediate and precise information of the measures they have taken, and of the result. The interest of the states ; the honour and reputation of our councils ; the justice and gratitude due to our allies; all require that I should without delay be enabled to ascertain and inform them what we can or cannot undertake. There is a point which ought now to be determined, on the success of which all our future operations may depend ; on which, for want of knowing our prospects, I can make no decision. For fear of involving the fleet and army of our allies in circumstances which would expose them, if not seconded by us, to material inconvenience and hazard, I shall be compelled to suspend it, and the delay may be fatal to our hopes."
In this state of uncertainty, Washington meditated by night and day on the various contingen. ces which were probable. He revolved the pos. sible situations in which the contending armies might be placed, and endeavoured to prepare for every plan of combined operations which future contingent events might render advisable.
On the 10th. of July the expected French fleet and army appeared on the coast of Rhode Island. The former consisted of seven sail of the line, five frigates, and five smaller vessels. The latter of six thousand men. The Chevalier Terney and Count Rochambeau, who commanded the fleet and army, immediately transmitted to Gen. Washington an account of their arrival, of their strength, their expectations, and orders. At that time not more than one thousand men had joined the American army. A commander of no more than common firmness, would have resigned his commission in disgust, for not being supported by his country. Very different was the line of conduct adopted by Washington. Trusting that the pro nised support would be forwårded with all possible
despatch, he sent on to the French commanders by the Marquis de la Fayette, definite proposals for commencing the siege of New York. Of this he gave information to Congress in a letter, in the following words ; “ Pressed on all sides by a choice of difficulties, in a moment which required decision, I have adopted that line of conduct which comported with the dignity and faith of Congress, the reputation of these states, and the honour of
I have sent on definitive proposals of co-operation to the French General and Admiral. Neither the period of the season, nor a regard to decency, would permit delay. The die is cast; and it remains with the states either to fulfil their engagements, preserve their credit, and support their independence, or to involve us in disgrace and defeat. Notwithstanding the failures pointed . out by the committee, I shall proceed on the supposition that they will ultimately consult their own interest and honour, and not suffer us to fail for the want of means, which it is evidently in their power to afford. What has been done, and is doing by some of the states, confirms the opinion I have entertained, of sufficient resources in the country. Of the disposition of the people to submit to any arrangement for bringing them forth, I see no reasonable ground to doubt. If we fail for want of
proper exertions in any of the governments, I trust the responsibility will fall where it ought, and that I shall stånd justified to Congress, my country, and the world.”
The fifth of the next month, August, was nam. ed as the day when the French troops should embark, and the American army assemble in Mor
risania, for the purpose of commencing their com. bined operations. Very soon after the arrival of the French fleet, Adiniral Greaves reinforced the British naval force in the harbour of New York, with six ships of the line. Hitherto the French had a naval superiority. Without it, all prospect of success in the proposed attack on New York was visionary ; but this being suddenly and unex. pectedly reversed, the plan for combined operations became eventual. The British Admiral hav. ing now the superiority, proceeded to Rhode Island to attack the French in that quarter. He soon discovered that the French were perfectly secure from any attack by sea. Sir Henry Clinton, who had returned in the preceding month with his victorious troops from Charleston, embarked about eight thousand of his best men, and proceeded as far as Huntingdon Bay, on Long Island, with the apparent design of concurring with the British fleet in attacking the French force at Rhode Island. When this movement took place, Washington set his army in motion, and proceeded to Peekskill. Had Sir Henry Clinton prosecuted what appeared to be bis design, Washington intended to have attacked New York in his absence. Preparations were made for this purpose, but Sir Henry Clinton instantly turned about from Huntingdon Bay toward New York:
In the mean time, the French fleet and army being blocked up at Rhode Island, were incapacitated from co-operating with the Americans. Hopes were nevertheless indulged, that by the arrival of another fleet of his Most Christian Majesty, then in the West Indies, under the command of Count de Guichen, the superiority would be so much in favour of the allies, as to enable them to prosecute their original intention of attacking New York. When the expectations of the Americans were raised to the highest pitch, and when they were in great forwardness of preparation to act in concert with their allies, intelligence arrived that Count de Guichen had sailed for France. This disappointment was extremely mortifying.
Washington still adhered to his purpose of attacking New York at some future more favourable period. On this subject he corresponded with the French commanders, and had a personal interview with them on the twenty first of September, at Hartford. The arrival of Admiral Rodney on the American coast, a short time after, with eleven ships of the line, disconcerted for that season, all the plans of the allies. Washington felt with infinite regret, a succession of abortive projects throughout the campaign of 1780. and not before, he had indulged the hope of happily terminating the war. In a letter to a friend, he wrote as follows ; " We are now drawing to a close an inactive campaign, the beginning of which appeared pregnant with events of a very favourable complexion. I hoped, but I hoped in vain, that a prospect was opening which would enable me to fix a period to my military pursuits, and restore me to domestic life. The favourable disposition of Spain ; the promised succour from France; the combined force in the West Indies; the dec. laration of Russia, acceded to by other powers of Europe, humiliating the naval pride and power of Great Britain ; the superiority of France and Spain
In that year,