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from the borders of South Carolina, until lord CHAP. XIX. Cornwallis reached the important stand in Virginia, which finifhed his career of military fame and fuccefs, and again humbled the proud glory of the British arms, beneath the standard of the Americans.
But before we follow the conqueror of Charleston, in his pursuit of new victories in the more central part of the union, we will just obferve, that no one of the thirteen United States felt more feverely the fatal confequences of revolutionary convulfions, than that of South Carolina. Many of the best of its citizens perished in the conflict; others, from independence and opulence were reduced to the. lowest grade of hopeless penury, while they be held with astonishment, the fudden accumulation of fortune by those whom they had viewed as a fubordinate clafs, now grown up to incalculable wealth, amidst confufion and depredation. The convenient fituations for commerce which they had formerly occupied, were foon after poffeffed by British agents, fent on at the clofe of the war to reap the gleanings of property, by the demands of a speedy liquidation of old British debts.
Those debts could not be discharged by men whofe plantations were ruined, their flaves enticed or stolen away, and every other species of property wafted in the general pillage. Their
capital had been held for a confiderable time as a conquered city, by the invaders of life, liberty, and property, fanctioned by the authority of the king of England. It is obvious, that his patronage and protection fhould forever have nurtured the peace, profperity, and growth of the American colonies. Both interest and policy dictated the wifdom of this line of conduct, which would have prevented the irretrievable blow, which rent in funder the empire of Britain.
But as a wounded limb, pruned or bent down. wards, yet not destroyed by the hand of the rude invader, fometimes revives and flourishes with new vigor, while the parent stock is weakened, and its decay accelerated, by the exuberance of its former luxury and strength, so may fome future period behold the United Colonies, notwithstanding their depreffion, and their energetic ftruggles for freedom, revivified, and raised to a degree of political confideration, that may convince the parent state of the importance of their lofs. They may perhaps be taught to dread any future rupture with a people grown ftrong by oppreffion, and become respectable among all nations, for their manly refiftance to the tyrannous hand ftretched out to enflave them.
Lord Cornwallis marches to Wilmington.-Marquis de la Fayette fent to Virginia.-Death of General Phillips. Lord Cornwallis moves from Petersburgh to Williamfburgh-Diffonant Opinions between him and Sir Henry Clinton-Croffes James River-Takes Poft at Portf mouth.--Indecifion of Sir Henry Clinton-Meditates an Attack on Philadelphia-The Project relinquished.
IN the first moments of victory, the mind is CHAP. XX. generally elate with the expectation of applaufe, and the profpect of additional fame. This was exemplified in the conduct of lord Cornwallis, when the retreating Americans had turned their faces from the field at Guilford, and left him to publifh proclamations, invitations, and pardon to the inhabitants of the fouth. The fceptre of mercy was held out to them, on condition that they were fufficiently humbled to become the obedient fubjects of those, who had destroyed their liberty, their property, and the lives of their friends, to obtain inglorious conqueft, and arbitrary dominion.
He was a man of understanding and fagacity, though not fo thoroughly acquainted with the
natural feelings of mankind, as to escape a dif appointment from the conduct of the Carolinians. They revolted at the idea of seeing one American state after another, fubdued and laid low at the feet of foreign conquerors. Many, whose minds had been held in a neutral state, previous to this period, now repaired with great precipitation to the congreffional officers, and enlifted under their banners, for the defence of their native country.
Lord Cornwallis, after the action at Guilford and the retreat of general Greene, loft no time in expediting his previous plans of military arrangements; and, confiftently with his own character, he soon moved to endeavour to profecute them with fuccefs. He had reason to calculate, that when he had finished a long and fatiguing march which lay before him, that he should meet general Phillips in Virginia, with a large body of troops, and by their junction impede all refiftance, and re-establish the authority of their mafter in that rebellious ftate.
of a completion of thefe expectations, he had when he arrived there, only to witness a fresh inftance of the uncertainty of human hope, followed by a train of new disappointments.
The British commander immediately haftened by the most convenient route to Wilmington, and from thence to Petersburgh. Innumerable difficulties had attended lord Corn
wallis and his army, in his march from Guilford CHAP. XX. to Wilmington; but in his judgment, the march was abfolutely neceffary. Such was the fituation and distress of the troops, and so great were the sufferings of the fick and wounded, that he had no option left after they had decamped from the field of battle, and moved to Crofs-Creek. The army was obliged to pafs a long way through a perfect defert, where there were neither provifions for their fubfiftence, nor water fufficient to carry the mills, even could they have procured a fupply of corn. At the fame time, he had reafon to expect, that the whole country east of the Santee and Pedee would be in arms against them, notwithstanding his previous proclamation and promise of pardon, on his leaving Guilford.
He wrote fir Henry Clinton after his arrival at Wilmington, that he had reason to fuppofe, many who had taken part in the rebellion had been convinced of their error, and were defirous to return to their duty and allegiance :That he had promised them pardon, with few exceptions, on the furrendering of themselves, their arms, and ammunition: and that they fhould be permitted to return home, on giving a military parole:-That their perfons and properties fhould be protected from violence: and as foon as poffible, that they should be reftored to all the privileges of legal and conftitutional government.