George Washington, Volume I eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 306 pages of information about George Washington, Volume I.
or complete independence.  He wrote in February:  “With respect to myself, I have never entertained an idea of an accommodation, since I heard of the measures which were adopted in consequence of the Bunker’s Hill fight;” and at an earlier date he said:  “I hope my countrymen (of Virginia) will rise superior to any losses the whole navy of Great Britain can bring on them, and that the destruction of Norfolk and threatened devastation of other places will have no other effect than to unite the whole country in one indissoluble band against a nation which seems to be lost to every sense of virtue and those feelings which distinguish a civilized people from the most barbarous savages.”  With such thoughts he sought to make Congress appreciate the probable long duration of the struggle, and he bent every energy to giving permanency to his army, and decisiveness to each campaign.  The other idea which had grown in his mind during the weary siege was that the Tories were thoroughly dangerous and deserved scant mercy.  In his second letter to Gage he refers to them, with the frankness which characterized him when he felt strongly, as “execrable parricides,” and he made ready to treat them with the utmost severity at New York and elsewhere.  When Washington was aroused there was a stern and relentless side to his character, in keeping with the force and strength which were his chief qualities.  His attitude on this point seems harsh now when the old Tories no longer look very dreadful and we can appreciate the sincerity of conviction which no doubt controlled most of them.  But they were dangerous then, and Washington, with his honest hatred of all that seemed to him to partake of meanness or treason, proposed to put them down and render them harmless, being well convinced, after his clear-sighted fashion, that war was not peace, and that mildness to domestic foes was sadly misplaced.

His errand to New England was now done and well done.  His victory was won, everything was settled at Boston; and so, having sent his army forward, he started for New York, to meet the harder trials that still awaited him.

CHAPTER VI

SAVING THE REVOLUTION

After leaving Boston, Washington proceeded through Rhode Island and Connecticut, pushing troops forward as he advanced, and reached New York on April 13.  There he found himself plunged at once into the same sea of difficulties with which he had been struggling at Boston, the only difference being that these were fresh and entirely untouched.  The army was inadequate, and the town, which was the central point of the colonies, as well as the great river at its side, was wholly unprotected.  The troops were in large measure raw and undrilled, the committee of safety was hesitating, the Tories were virulent and active, corresponding constantly with Tryon, who was lurking in a British man-of-war, while from the north came tidings of retreat

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George Washington, Volume I from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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