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Prospects of the Americans

From Diary of the American Revolution, Vol II. Compiled by Frank Moore and published in 1859.

March 9.—The Southern States are pursuing the most vigorous measures for strengthening the hands of General Washington the ensuing campaign. Virginia has drafted two thousand men to recruit her regiments, who are to serve for one year. They have also set on foot an association for raising five thousand volunteers, to serve six months; North Carolina is exerting herself with equal ardor. The Eastern States, who, in public concerns, always act with a wisdom and vigor that deserves imitation, have already begun to draft, being resolved to fill their regiments completely, and to have them early in the field. If the Middle States take the same resolute steps, (and no doubt they will,) the next campaign must be decisive. The strength of the enemy is so much reduced, that nothing but our indolence can prevent their destruction.

We have often thought it strange that America, who could bring three or four hundred thousand men into the field, should so long suffer a paltry banditti to run through her States, and to nestle in her cities. One would be tempted to imagine that we were fond of this destructive war; and yet folly, in her highest delirium, would not wish to protract it. There was a time when protraction and delay were prudent—even necessary; but at this time of day they will certainly be injurious, and may be fatal. Every day the war continues our public debts will increase—our necessities will multiply—and our currency depreciate. Britain knows this—she founds her last hopes upon it; she no longer expects to conquer us by the sword, but she flatters herself that our distresses will subdue our minds, break the spirit of opposition, and dissolve in time the glorious confederacy in support of freedom. Hence it will be the policy of her generals to possess themselves of our towns, to destroy our manufactures, to block up our harbors, and to protract the war. We should change our measures accordingly—bring our thousands into the field—push the enemy with vigor—drive them from our towns—storm them in their strongholds, and never pause till we force them from our shores. The successes of the last campaign teach us what we are able to do if we exert our strength; and instead of provoking our indolence, should spur our ambition. These rising States should catch the spirit of the gallant Caesar, and think “that they have done nothing, while any thing remains to do.”1


1 Extract of a letter from a gentleman at the camp at Valley Forge, in the New Jersey Gazette, March 18.