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The Commissioner’s Valedictory

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

October 3.—The contemptible figure which the British king and ministry have cut in the present war cannot be better shown than in the valedictory manifesto and proclamation which has been published to-day at New York, by Carlisle, Clinton, and Eden. Those gentlemen seem to consider their master’s commission as a sort of a pass to go a begging with; for if any thing can justly be called begging, this last performance of theirs deserves that name. It is in the true style of “God bless your honors, bestow your charity for the Lord’s sake.” Poor devils! why don’t they get home and mind their hardware and broadcloth, and not pester us with scribbling letters and petitionary proclamations.

But these gentlemen have another business in hand besides begging, and that is lying. Last winter their newspapers were stuffed with every falsehood they could invent respecting the friendly and pacific disposition of France towards Britain; and we were told a thousand times over by the ministry and General Howe that France would give us no assistance. But as the lie of that day is over, and France has actually joined us, those same mean and pitiful mortals have changed their note, and are now as busy in abusing France as they before were in crying her up and abusing us. But the poor devils will abuse anybody now their hand is in, and it is hoped the good people of France and America will consider them as men out of their senses, and treat them accordingly.1


1 Pennsylvania Packet, October 15. The appeals of the commissioners proving ineffectual, they changed their conduct and denounced hostility and destruction, in their most terrific forms, to those who had rejected conciliation and friendship. In the proclamation of October 3d, they warned the people of the total and material change which was to take place in the future conduct of hostilities, should they still persevere in their obstinacy; and more especially as that was said to be founded upon the pretended alliance with France. The Americans were virtually threatened with all the extremes of war, and to have their country desolated.—Gordon, ii. 393.