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a short speech, in which he declared, “ that he felt great distress, from a consciousness that his abilities and military experience were not equal to the important trust; and, lest some unlucky event should happen, he begged every gentleman in the room to remember, that he declared, with the utmost sincerity, that he did not think himself equal to the command." “ As to pay,” he assured congress, " that as no pecuniary considerations would have tempted him to accept the arduous employment, he did not wish to make any profit from it. That he would keep an exact account of his expences, the discharge of which was all that he desired.” A special commission was made out for him, anil, at the same time, an unanimous resolution was adopted by congress, " that they would maintain and assist him, and adhere to him with their lives and fortunes, for the maintenance and preservation of American liberty.”

He immediately entered on the duties of his high station. After passing a few days in New York, and making some arrangements with general Schuyler, who commanded there, he proceeded to Cambridge, which was the head-quarters of the American army. On his way thither, lie, received from private persons, and public bodies, the most flattering



attention, and the strongest expressions of determination to support him. He received an address from the provincial congress of New York, in which, after expressing their approbation of his elevation to command, they say,

we have the fullest assurances that whenever this important contest shall be decided, by that fondest wish of each American soul, an accommodation with our mother country, you will cheerfully resign the important deposit committed into your hands, and reassume the character of our worthiest citizen.” The general, after declaring his gratitude for the regard shewn him, added, “ Be assured that every exertion of my worthy colleagues and myself will be extended to the re-establishment of peace and harmony between the mother country and these colonies. As to the fatal, but necessary operations of war, when we assumed the soldier we did not lay aside the citizen ; and we shall most sincerely rejoice with you in that happy hour, when the re-establishment of American liberty, on the most firm and solid foundations, shall enable us to return to our private stations, in the bosom of a free, peaceful, and happy country.”

A committee from the Massachusetts congress received him at Springfield, about 100

In ex

miles from Boston, and conducted him to the army. He was soon after addressed by the congress of that colony, in the most affectionate manner. In his answer, he said, " Gentlemen, your kind congratulations on my appointment and arrival, demand my warmest acknowledgements, and will ever be retained in grateful remenibrance. changing the enjoyments of domestic life, for the duties of my present honorable, but arduous station ; I only emulate the virtue and public spirit of the whole province of Massachusetts, which, with a firmness and patriotism without example, has sacrificed all the comforts of social and political life, in support of the rights of mankind, and the welfare of our common country. My highest ambition is to be the happy instrument of vindicating these rights, and to see this devoted province again restored to peace, liberty, and safety."

When general Washington arrived at Cambridge, he was received with the joyful acclamations of the American

At the head of his troops he published a declaration, previously drawn up by congress, in the nature of a manifesto, setting forth the reasons for taking up arms. In this, after enumerating various grievances of the colonies, and vindicating them from a premeditated design of establishingʻindependent states, it was added, “ In our own native land, in defence of the freedom which is our birthright, and which we ever enjoyed till the late violation of it; for the protection of our property, acquired solely by the industry of our forefathers and ourselves, against violence actually offered, we have taken up arms ; we shall lay them down when hostilities shall cease on the part of the aggressors, and all danger of their being renewed shall be removed, and not before.”


When general Washington joined the American army, he found the British intrenched on Bunker's Hill, having also three floating batteries in Mystic river, and a twenty gun ship below the ferry, between Boston and Charlestown. They had also a battery on Copse's Hill, and were strongly fortified on the neck. The Americans were intrenched at Winter Hill, Prospect Hill, and Roxbury, communicating with one another by small posts over a distance of ten miles; nor could they be contracted, without exposing the country to the incursions of the

enemy: The army put under the command of Washington, amounted to 14,500 men. Se veral circumstances concurred to render this force very inadequate to active operations.


a man.

Military stores were deficient in camp, and the whole in the country was inconsiderable. On the 4th of August all the stock of powder 1775in the American camp, and in the public. magazines of the four New England provinces, would have made little more than nine rounds In this destitute condition the

army remained for a fortnight. To the want of powder was added a very general want of bayonets, of clothes, of working tools, and a total want of engineers. Under all these embarrassments Washington observed, that “ he had the materials of a good army; that the men were ablebodied, active, zealous in the cause, and of unquestionable courage.” He immediately instituted such arrangements as were calculated to increase their capacity for service. The army was distributed into brigades and divisions, and on his recommendation general staff officers were appointed. Economy, union, and system were introduced into every department. As the troops came into service under the authority of distinct colonial govern-ments, no uniformity existed among the regiments. In Massachusetts the men had chosen their officers, and, rank excepted, were, in other respects frequently their equals. To form one uniform mass of these discordant materials; and to subject freemen, animated

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