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the American prisoners fared somewhat better. Those who survived were ordered to be sent out for exchange, but some of them fell down dead in the streets, while attempting to walk to the vessels. Others were so emaciated that their appearance was horrible. A speedy death closed the scene with many.
The American board of war, after conferring with Mr. Boudinot, the commissary-general of prisoners, and examining evidences produced by him, reported among other things : “That there were 900 privates and 300 officers of the American army prisoners in the city of New York, and about 500 privates and 50 officers prisoners in Philadelphia ; that since the beginning of October all these prisoners, both officers and privates, had been confined in prison-ships or the Provost; that from the best evidence the subject could admit of, the general allowance of prisoners, at most did not exceed four ounces of meat per day, and often so damaged as not to be eatable; that it had been a common practice with the British, on a prisoner's being first captured, to keep him three, four or five days without a morsel of meat, and then to tempt him to enlist to save his life; that there were numerous instances of prisoners of war perishing in all the agonies of hunger.”
About this time there was a meeting of merchants in London, for the purpose of raising a sum of money to relieve the distresses of the American prisoners, then in England. The sum subscribed for that purpose amounted in two months to £4,647 15s. Thus while human nature was dishonored by the cruelties of some of the British in America, there was a laudable display of the benevolence of others of the same nation in Europe. The American sailors, when captured by the British, suffered more than even the soldiers which fell into their hands. The former were confined on board prison-ships. They were there crowded together in such numbers, and their accommodations were so wretched, that diseases broke out and swept them off in a manner that was sufficient to excite compassion in breasts of the least sensibility. It has been asserted, on as good evidence as the case will admit, that in the last six years of the war upward of eleven thousand persons died on board the Jersey, one of these prison-ships, which was stationed in East River, near New York. On many of these, the rites of sepulture were never, or but very imperfectly, conferred. For some time after the war was ended, their bones lay whitening in the sun, on the shores of Long Island.
The distresses of the American prisoners in the Southern States, prevailed particularly toward the close of the war. Colonel Campbell, who reduced Savannah, though he had personally suffered from the Americans, treated all who fell into his hands with humanity. Those who were taken at Savannah and at Ashe's defeat, suffered very much from his successors in South Carolina. The American prisoners, with a few ex
ceptions, had but little to complain of till after Gates's defeat. Soon after that event, sundry of them, though entitled to the benefits of the capitulation of Charleston, were separated from their families and sent into exile; others, in violation of the same solemn agreement, were crowded into prison-ships, and deprived of the use of their property. When a general exchange of prisoners was effected, the wives and children of those inhabitants who adhered to the Americans were exiled from their homes to Virginia and Philadelphia. Upward of one thousand persons were thrown upon the charity of their fellow-citizens in the more Northern States. This severe treatment was the occasion of retaliating on the families of those who had taken part with the British. In the first months of the year 1781 the British were in force in the remotest settlements of South Carolina, but as their limits were contracted in the course of the year, the male inhabitants who joined them thought proper to retire with the royal army toward the capital. In retaliation for the expulsion of the wives and children of the Whig Americans from the State, Governor Rutledge ordered the brigadiers of militia to send within the British lines the families of such of the inhabitants as adhered to their interest. In consequence of this order, and more especially in consequence of the one which occasioned it, several hundreds of help. less women and children were reduced to great distress.
SOME RESULTS OF THE REVOLUTION.
[From the Same.]
vices; but on the other hand, it called forth many virtues, and gave occasion for the display of abilities which, but for that event, would have been lost to the world. When the war began, the Americans were a mass of husbandmen, merchants, mechanics, and fishermen ; but the necessities of the country gave a spring to the active powers of the inhabitants, and set them on thinking, speaking, and acting in a line far beyond that to which they had been accustomed. The difference between nations is not so much owing to nature as to education and circumstances. While the Americans were guided by the leading-strings of the mother country they had no scope nor encouragement for exertion. All the departments of government were established and executed for them, but not by them. In the years 1775 and 1776, the country being suddenly thrown into a situation that needed the abilities of all its sons, these generally took their places, each according to the bent of his inclina
tion. As they severally pursued their objects with ardor, a vast expansion of the human mind speedily followed. This displayed itself in a variety of ways. It was found that the talents for great stations did not differ in kind, but only in degree, from those which were necessary for the proper discharge of the ordinary business of civil society. In the bustle that was occasioned by the war, few instances could be produced of any persons who made a figure, or who rendered essential services, but from among those who had given specimens of similar talents in their respective professions. Those who from indolence or dissipation had been of little service to the community in time of peace, were found equally unserviceable in war. A few young men were exceptions to this general rule. Some of these, who had indulged in youthful follies, broke off from their vicious courses, and on the pressing call of their country became useful servants of the public; but the great bulk of those who were the active instruments of carrying on the revolution were self-made, industrious men. These, who by their own exertions had established, or laid a foundation for establishing, personal independence, were most generally trusted, and most successfully employed in establishing that of their country. In these times of action, classical education was found of less service than good natural parts, guided by common-sense and sound judgment.
Several names could be mentioned of individuals who, without the knowledge of any other language than their mother-tongue, wrote not only accurately, but elegantly, on public business. It seemed as if the war not only required but created talents. Men whose minds were warmed with the love of liberty, and whose abilities were improved by daily exercise, and sharpened with a laudable ambition to serve their distressed country, spoke, wrote, and acted with an energy far surpassing all expectations which could be reasonably founded on their previous acquirements.
The Americans knew but little of one another previous to the revolution. Trade and business had brought the inhabitants of their seaports acquainted with each other, but the bulk of the people in the interior country were unacquainted with their fellow-citizens. A continental army, and Congress composed of men from all the States, by freely mixing together, were assimilated into one mass. Individuals of both, mingling with the citizens, disseminated principles of union among them. Local prejudices abated. By frequent collision asperities were worn off, and a foundation was laid for the establishment of a nation, out of discordant materials. Intermarriages between men and women of different States were much more common than before the war, and became an additional cement to the union. Unreasonable jealousies had existed between the inhabitants of the Eastern and of the Southern States; but
on becoming better acquainted with each other, these in a great measure subsided. A wiser policy prevailed. Men of liberal minds led the way in discouraging local distinctions, and the great body of the people, as soon as reason got the better of prejudice, found that their best interests would be most effectually promoted by such practices and sentiments as were favorable to union. Religious bigotry had broken in upon the peace of various sects, before the American war. This was kept up by partial establishments, and by a dread that the Church of England, through the power of the mother country, would be made to triumph over all other denominations. These apprehensions were done away by the revolution. The different sects, having nothing to fear from each other, dismissed all religious controversy. A proposal for introducing bishops into America, before the war, had kindled a flame among the dissenters; but the revolution was no sooner accomplished than a scheme for that purpose was perfected, with the consent and approbation of all those sects who had previously opposed it. Pulpits which had formerly been shut to worthy men, because their heads had not been consecrated by the imposition of the hands of a bishop or of a presbytery, have since the establishment of independence been reciprocally opened to each other, whensoever the public convenience required it. The world will soon see the result of an experiment in politics, and be able to determine whether the happiness of society is increased by religious establishments, or diminished by the want of them.
BORN in Watertown, Conn., 1750. DIED at Detroit, Mich., 1831.
THE DUNCE'S REFUGE.
[From “ The Progress of Dulness.” 1772–74.—The Poetical Works of John Trum
UR hero's wit and learning now may
Be proved by token of diploma,
Few months now past, he sees with pain
His father leaves him then to fate,
Thou reason'st well; it must be so;
Next see our youth at school appear,
way, Those dreaded antidotes to play. Then throned aloft in elbow chair, With solemn face and awful air, He tries, with ease and unconcern, To teach what ne'er himself could learn; Gives law and punishment alone, Judge, jury, bailiff, all in one; Holds all good learning must depend Upon his rod's extremest end, Whose great electric virtue's such, Each genius brightens at the touch; With threats and blows, incitements pressing, Drives on his lads to learn each lesson; Thinks flogging cures all moral ills, And breaks their heads to break their wills.
The year is done; he takes his leave; The children smile; the parents grieve; And seek again, their school to keep, One just as good and just as cheap.
Now to some priest, that's famed for teaching, He goes to learn the art of preaching; And settles down with earnest zeal Sermons to study, and to steal. Six months from all the world retires To kindle up his cover'd fires; Learns, with nice art, to make with ease The Scriptures speak whate'er he please; With judgment, unperceived to quote What Pool explain’d, or Henry wrote;