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Letter from major general Robertson to his erceilency Trenton gaol. Ai the same time I acquainted gegovernor Livingston.
neral Washington, that if he chose to treat the New York, January 4, 1777. three first, who were British officers, as prisoners of SIR-I am interrupted in my daily attempts to war, 1 doubted not the council of safety would be soften the calamities of persons and reconcile their satisfied. General Washington has since informed case with our security, by a general cry of resent. me that be intends to consider them as such; and ment, arising from an inforniation
they are therefore at his service, whenever the com. That officers in the king's service, taken on the
missary of prisoners shall direct concerning them.
Browne, I am told, committed several robberies 27th of November, and Mr. John Brown, a deputy
in this stale before be took sanctuary on Statencommissary, are to be tried in Jersey for high trea.
Island, and I should scarcely imagine that he has son; and that Mr. Iliff and another prisoner have
expiated the guilt of his former crimes by combeen hanged.
mitting the greater one of joining the enemies of Though I am neither authorised to threaten or his country. However, if general Washington to sooth, my wish to prevent an increase of horrors, chooses to consider him also as a prisoner of war, will justify my using the liberty of an old acquaint. I shall not interpose in the matter. ance, to desire your interposicion to put an end to,
Iliff was executed after a trial by a jury, for enor prevent measures which, if pursued on one side,
listing our subjects, himself being one, as recruits would tend to prevent every act of bumanity on
in the British army, and he was apprehended on the other, and render every person who exercises
his way with them to Staten Island. Vad he never this to the king's enemies, odious to his friends.
been subject to this state, he would have forfeited I need not point out to you all the cruel conse. bis life as spy. Mee was one of his company, and had quences of such a procedure. I am hopeful you'll also procured our subjects to enlist in the service prevent them, and excusetuis trouble from,
of the enemy. Sir, your obedient humble servant,
If these transactions, sir, should induce you ta JAMES ROBERTSON.
counienance greater severities towards our people, N. B. At the moment that the cry of murder
whom the fortune of war has thrown into your pow. reached my ears, I was signing orders that Fell's
er, than they have already suílered, you will pardon request to have the liberty of the city, and colonel
me for thinking that you go farther out of your Reynold now be set free on his parole, should be complied with. I have not recalled the order, be. way to find palliatives for inbumanity thian neces.
sity seems to require; and if this be the cry of mur. cause, though the evidence be strong, I cannot be
der to which you allude as having reached your lieve it possible, a measure so cruel and unpolitic,
ears, I sincerely pity your ears for being so fre. could be adopted where you bear sway.
quently assaulted with cries of murder much more To Willian Livingston, esq. &c. &c.
audible, because much less distant.--I mean the GOVERNOR LIVINGSrox's ANSWER.
cries of your prisoners who are constanily perishJunuary 7, 1777.
ing in the gaols of New York (the coolest and most Sır-Having received a letter under your sig. deserate kind of murder) from the rigorous mannature, dated the 4th instant, which I have some
ner of their treatment. reason to think you intended for me, I sit down to
I am, with all due respect, your most humble answer your enquiries concerning certain officers
servant, in the service of your king taken on Staten Island,
WILLIAM LIVINGSTON, and one Browne, who calls himself a deputy com. James Robertson, esq. &c. &c. &c. Tvissary; and also respecting one Iliff and another
P. S. You have distinguished me by a title which prisoner, (I suppose you must mean John Mee, he I have neither authority nor ambition to assume. I having shared the fate you mention) who have been know of no man, sir, whò bears sway in this state. hanged.
It is our peculiar felicity, and our superiority over Buskirk, Earl and Hammel, who are, I presume,
the tyrannical system we have discarded, that we the officers intended, with the said Browne, were
are not swayed by men-In New Jersey, sir, the
laws alone bear sway, sert to me by general Dickenson as prisoners t:ken on Staten Island. Finding them all to be sub.
November, 1781. jects of this state, and to have committed treason Address delivered by M. l'abbe Bandole, to congress, against it, the council of safety committed them to the supreme executive council, and the assembly vojny
Pennsylvania, &c &c. who were invited by his (all perfect mind; that courage, that skill, that
For how many favors have we not to thank him for the capture of lord Cornwallis.
during the course of the present year? Your union, GENTLEMEX-A numerous people assembled to which was at first supported by justice alone, has render thanks to the Almighty for his mercies, is been consolidated by your courage: and the knot, one of the most affecting objects, and worthy the which ties you together, is become indissoluble, by attention of the Supreme Being. While camps the accession of all the states, and the unanimous resound with triumphal acclamations-while na- voice of all the confederates. You present to the tions rejoice in victory and glory, the most honora-universe' the noble sight of a society, which, found. ble office a minister of the altar can fill, is to be ed in equality and justice, secures to the individuals the organ by which public gratitude is conveyed who co:npose it, the utmost happiness which can to the Omnipotent.
be derived from buman institutions. This advan
tage, which so many other nations have been unable Those miracles, which be once wrought for his to procure, even after ages of efforts and misery, chosen people, are renewed in our favor; and it is granted by Divine Providence to the United would be equally ungrateful and impious not to States; and its adorable decrees have marked the acknowledge, that the event which lately confound. present moment for the completion of that memoraed our enemies, and frustrated their designs, was ble and happy revolution which has taken place in the wonderful work of that God who guards your this extensive continent. While your counsels were liberties.
thus acquiring new energy, rapid and multiplied And who but he could so combine the circum. successes have crowned your arms in the southern
states, stances wbich led to success? We have seen our enemies push forward, amid perils almost innumer. We have seen the unfortunate citizens of these able, amid obstacles almost insurmountable, to the states forced from their peaceful abodes; after a spot which was designed to witness their dis- long and cruel captivity, old men, women and grace: yet they eagerly sought it, as their theatre children, thrown, without mercy, into a foreign of triumph!
country. Master of their lands and their slaves, Blind as they were, they bore hunger, thirst, amid his temporary affluence, a superb victor and inclement skies, poured their blood in battle rejoiced in their distresses. But Philadelphia has
witnessed their patience and fortitude; they have against brave republicans, and crossed immense
found here another home, and, though driven from regions to confine themselves in another Jericho,
their native soil, they have blegsed God, that he whose walls were fated to fall before another
has delivered them from their enemies, and cun. Joshua. It is He, whose voice commands the winds, the seas and the seasons, who formed a junction
ducted them to a country where every just and on the same day, in the same hour, between a
feeling man has stretched out the helping hand of
benevolence. Heaven rewards their virtues. Three formidable fleet from the south, and an army rush. ing from the north, like an impetuous torrent.
large states are at once wrested from the foe. The Who but he, in whose hands are the bearts of men,
rapacious soldier has been compelled to take refuge
behind his ramparts; and oppression bas vanished could inspire the allied troops with the friendships,
like those pliantoms wbich are dissipaled by the the confidence, the tenderness of brothers? How is it that two nations once divided, jealous, inimical,
morning ray. and nursed in reciprocal prejudices, are now be. On this solemn occasion, we might renew our come so closely united, as to form but one!- thanks to the God of battles, for the success be Worldlings would say, it is the wisdom, the virtue, has granted to the arms of your allies, and your and moderation of their chiefs; it is a great national friends, by land and by sea, through the other parts interest which has performed this prodigy. They of the globe. But let us not recal those events will say, that to the skill of the generals, to the which too clearly prove how much the hearts of courage of the troops, to the activity of the whole our enemies have been obdurated. Let us proarmy, we must attribute this splendid success. Ah! strate ourselves at the altar, and implore the God they are ignorant, that the combining of so many of mercy to suspend his vengeance, to spare them fortunate circumstances, is an emanation from thel in bis wrath, to inspire thein with sentiments of
justice and moderation, to terminate their obstinacy, the chaff from the grain. It has discriminated the and error, and to ordain that your victories be temporising politician, who, at the first appearance followed by peace and tranquility. Let us beseech of danger, was determined to secure his idol, prohim to continue to shed on the councils of the perty, at the hazard of the general weal, from the king your ally, that spirit of wisdom, of justice, persevering patriot-who, having embarked his all and of courage, which has rendered his reign so in the common cause, chooses rather to risqueglorious. Let us intreat him to maintain in each rather to lose that all, for the preservation of the of the states that intelligence by which the United more estimable treasure, liberty, than to possess States are inspired. Let us return him thanks that it-renjoy it he certainly could not) upon the a faction, whose rebellion he has corrected, now ignominious terms of tamely resigning his coundeprived of support, is annihilated. Let us offer try and posterity to perpetual servitude. It has, him pure hearts, unsoiled by private hatred or pub. in a word, opened the eyes of those who were made lic dissention; and let us, with one will and one to believe, that their impious merit, in abetting our voice, pour forth to the Lord that lymn oi praise, persecutors, would exempt them from being involt. by which Christians celebrate their gratitude anded in the general calamity. But as the rapacity of his glory.
the enemy was boundless-their havoc was indis
criminate, and their barbarity unparalleled. They Speech of his excellency Wil'iam Livingston, esq. have plundered friends and foes. Effects capable
governor of the state of New Jersey, to the legislu- of division, they have divided. Such as were not, ture of that state, in the year 1777.
they have destroyed. They have warred upon GENTLEMEN—Having already leid before the as. decrepit age-warred upon defenceless youth. They sembly, by messages, the several matters that bave have committed hostilities against the professors occurred to me, as more particularly demanding of literature, and the ministers of religion-against their attention during the present session, it may public records, and private monuments, and books seem less necessary to address you in the more of improvement, and papers of curiosity, and against ceremonious form of a speech. But conceiving it the arts and sciences. They have buichered the my duty to the state, to deliver my sentiments on wounded, asking for quarter; mangled the dying, the present situation of affairs, and the eventful weltering in their blool; refused to the dead the contest between Great Britain and America, which rites of sepulture; suffered prisoners to perish for could not, with any propriety, be conveyed in want of sustenance; violated the chastity of women; occasional messages, you will excuse my giving you disfigured private dwellings, of taste and elegance; the trouble of attending for that purpose.
and, in the rage of impiety and barbarism, profaned
and prostrated edifices dedicated to Almighty After deplo ing with you, the desolation spread
God. through this state by an unrelenting enemy, who
And yet there are amongst us, who,' either from have indeed marked their progress with a devasta
ambitious or lucrative motives—or intimidated by tion unknown to civilized nations, and evincive of the terror of their arms—or from a partial fondness the most implacable vengeance-I beartily congra for the British constitution-or deluded by insidious tulate you upon that subsequent series of success
propositions are secretly abetting, or openly aid. wherewith it hath pleased the Almighty to crown
ing their machinations, to deprive us of that liber. the American arms; and particularly on the im.
ty, without which man is a beast, and government a portant enterprize against the enemy at Trenton, -and the signal victory obtained over them at Princeton, by the gallant troops under the com
Besides the inexpressible baseness of wishing mand of bis excellency general Washington,
to rise on the ruins of our country—or to acquire
riches at the expense of the liberties and fortunes Considering the contemptible figure they make of millions of our fellow-citizens--how soon would at present, and the disgust they have given to many these delusive dreams, upon the conquest of Ameof their own confederates amongst us, by their rica, end in disappointment? For where is the more than Gothic ravages-(for thus doth the Great fund to recompense those retainers to the British Disposer of events often ded:ice good out of evil)- arms? Was every estate in America to be con. their irruption into our dominion will probably fiscated, and converted into caslı, the product redound to the public benefit. It bas certainly would not satiate the avidity of their national enabled us the more effectually to distinguish dependents; nor furnish an adequate repast for the our friends from our enemies. It has winnowedlkeen appetites of tbeir own ministerial beneficiaries.
Instead of gratuities and promotion, these unbappy! With all this, we ought to contrast the numeraccomplices in their tyranny, would meet with ous and hardy sons of America, inured to toilsupercilious looks and cold disdain; and, after seasoned alike to beat and cold-hale-robusttedious attendance, be finally told by their baughty patient of fatigue-and, from their ardent love of masters, that they indeed approved the treason, liberty, ready to face danger and death--the but despised the traitor. Insulted, in fine, by immense extent of continent, which our infaluated their pretended protectors, but real betrayers--and enemies have undertaken to subjugate the regoaded with the stings of their own consciences- markable unanimity of its inhabitants, notwiththey would remain the frightful inonuments of hu- standing the exception of a few apostates and man contempt and divine indignation, and linger deserters--their unshaken resolution to maintain out the rest of their days in self-condemnation and their freedom, or perish in the attempt-the remorse-and in weeping over the ruios of their fertility of our soil in all kinds of provisions neces. country, which themselves had been instrumental sary for the support of war-our inexhaustible inin reducing to desolation and bondage.
ternal resources for military stores and naval armaOthers there are, who, terrified by the power
ments-our comparative economy in public exof Britain, have persuaded themselves that she is penses—and the millions we save by having renot only formidable, but irresistible. That her probated the further exchange of our valuable power is great, is beyond question; that it is not to staples for the worthless baubles and finery of be despised, is the dictate of common prudence. English manufacture. Add to this, that in a cause But then we ought also to consider her, as weak so just and righteous on our part, we have the in council, and ingulphed in debt-reduced in her highest reason to expect the blessing of Heaven trade-reduced in hier revenue-immersed in plea. upon our glorious conflict. For whe can doubt sure-enervated with luxury-and, in dissipation the interposition of the supremely just, in favor of and venality, surpassing all Europe. We ought
a people forced to recur to arms in defence of to consider her as bated by a potent rival, her every thing dear and precious, against a nation natural enemy, and particularly exasperated by
deaf to our complaints-rejoicing in our miseryher imperious conduct in the last war, as well as
wantonly aggravating our oppressions-determined her insolent manner of commencing it; and thence to divide our substance--and by fire and sword ta infamed with resentment, and only watching a
compel us into submission? favorable juncture for open hostilities. We ought
Respecting the constitution of Great Britain, to consider the amazing expense and difficulty of bating certain royal prerogatives, of dangerous ten. transporting troops and provisions above three dency, it has been applauded by the best judges; thousand miles, with the impossibility of recruit and displays, in its original structure, illustrious ing their army at a less distance, save only with proots of wisdom and the knowledge of humaan such recreants, whose conscious guilt must at the nature. But what avails the best constitution, first approach of danger, appal the stoutest heart. with the worst administration? For what is their Those insuperable obstacles are known and ac- present government-and what has it been for knowledged by every virtuous and impartial man years past, but a pensioned confederacy against in the nation. Even the author of this horrid war reason, and virtue, and honor, and patriotism, and is incapable of concealing his own confusion and the rights of man? What were their leaders, but distress. Too great to be wholly suppressed, ir a set of political craftsmen, fagitiously spiring frequently discovers itself in the course of his to erect the babel, despotism, upon the ruins of speech-a speech terrible in word, and fraught the ancient and beautiful fabric of law--a shame. with contradiction-breathing threatrings, and be less cabal, notoriously employed in deceiving the traying terror-a motley misture of magnanimity prince, corrupting the parliament, debasing the and consternation-of grandeur and abasement.-people, depressing the most virtuous, and exalting With troops invincible, he dreads a defeat, and the most profligate-in short, an insatiable junto wants reinforcemenis. Victorious in America, and of public spoilers, lavishing the national wealth, triumphant on the ocean, he is an humble de. und, by peculation and plunder, accumulating a pendent on a petty prince; and apprehends an debt already enormous? And what was the ma. attack upon his own metropolis; and, with full jority of their parliament, formerly the most august confidence in the friendship and alliance of France, assembly in the world, but venal pensioners to the be trembles upon his throne, at her secret designs crown-a prefect mockery of all popular repreand open preparations.
sentation--and at the absolute devotion of every
minister? What were the characteristics of their and divine; and we can neither question the justice administration of the provinces? The substitution of our opposition, nor the assistance of Heaven to of regal instructions in the room of law; the multi- crown it with victory. plication of oficers to strengthen the court in.
Let us not, however, presumptuously rely on the terest; perpetually extending the prerogatives of the king, and retrenching the rights of the sub- efforts which it is our duty to exert, and which our
interposition of Providence, without exerting those ject, advancing to the most eminent stations, men bountiful Creator has enabled us to exert. Let without education, and of the most dissolute man.
us do our part to open the next campaign with ners; employing, with the people's money, a band
redoubled vigour; and until the United States have of emissaries to misrepresent and traduce the peo-humbled the pride of Britain, and obtained an ple; and, to crown the system of mis-rule, sport. honorable peace, cheerfully furnish our proportion ing with our persons and estates, by filling the
for continuing the war—a war, founded on our side highest seats of justice, with bankrupts, bullies,
on the immutable obligation of self defence and ia and block-heads.
support of freedom, of virtue, and every thing From such a nation (though all this we bore, and tending to ennoble our nature, and render a peoshould perhaps have borne for another century, ple happy-on their part, prompted by boundless had they not avowedly claimed the unconditional avarice, and a thirst for absolute sway, and built disposal of life and property) it is evidently our
on a claim repugnant to every principle of reason duty to be detached. To remain happy or safe in and equity--a claim subversive of all liberty, naour connexion with her, became thenceforth utterly tural
, civil, moral, and religious; incompatible with impossible. She is moreover precipitating her own
human happiness, and usurping the attributes of fall, or the age of miracles is returned--and Bri: deity, degrading man, and blaspheming God. tain a phenomenon in the political world, without Let us all, therefore, of every rank and degree, a parallel.
remember our plighted faith and honor, to main.
tain the cause with our lives and fortunes. Let The proclamations to ensnare the timid and credulous, are beyond expression disingenuous
us inflexibly persevere in prosecuting to a happy and tantalizing. In a gilded pill they conceal real period, what has been so gloriously begun, and
hitherto so prosperously conducted. And let those poison: they add insult to injury. After repeated
in more distinguished stations use all their influ. intimations of commissioners to treat with Ame. rica, we are presented, instead of the peaceful olive.ence ar.d authority, to rouse the supine; to animate
the irresolute; to confirm the wavering, and to draw branch, with the devouring sword: instead of be.
from his lurking hole, the skulking neutral, who, ing visited by plenipotentiaries to bring matters to an accommodation, we are invaded by an army,
leaving to others the heat and burden of the day,
means in the final result to reap the fruits of that in their opinion, able to subdue us and
discovering their error, the terms propounded amount victory, for which he will not contend. Let us be
peculiarly assiduous in bringing to condign punishto this, "If you will submit without resistance, we
ment, those detestable parricides who have been are content to take your property, and spare our lives; and then (the consummation of arrogance!)
openly active against their native country. And we will graciously pardon you, for having hitherto may we, in all our deliberations and proceedings,
be influenced and directed by the Great Arbiter of defended both."
the fate of nations, by whom empires rise and fall, Considering then their bewildered councils, their and who will not always suffer the sceptre of the blundering ministry, their want of men and money, wicked to rest on the lot of the righteous, but in their impaired credit, and declining commerce, their due time swenge an injured people on their uslost revenues, and starving islands, the corruption feeling oppressor, and his bloody instruments. of their parliament, with the effeminacy of their na Haddonfield, Feb. 25, 1777. tion-and the success of their enterprise is against all probability. Considering farther, the borrid (It has been controverted whether the capture of enormity of their waging war against their own yen. Cornwallis was the result of a plan preconcert. brethren, espostulating for an audience, complain ed between gen. Washington and count de Grasse; ing of injuries, and supplicating for redress, and or rather whether the arrival of the count in the waging it with a ferocity and vengeance unknown Chesapenke, was pre-determined and expected by to modern ages, and contrary to all laws, human gen. Washington, and consequently all the prepara.