Affiliate Link

State of American Affairs

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

June 28.—The United States of America have at this moment a fair prospect of establishing their peace and independence, which may soon be realized, if the Americans be not wanting to themselves. The Britons, by turning their arms to the Southern States, have experienced what the wise and sagacious predicted from this measure; they have greatly exhausted and dissipated their army, and found it easier with a collected force, covered by a superior navy, to penetrate into a thin settled country, than to spread themselves over it, and maintain their conquests. The climate, and the brave persevering efforts of the patriots in that quarter, have almost ruined the army of Cornwallis, which having been drawn from New York, must have greatly weakened that important post. The Spaniards have greatly distressed the British settlements in the Floridas, and have taken Pensacola.1 A great part of Georgia is recovered from the British, and almost the whole of South Carolina is at this hour in the possession of the United States. Virginia, under particular disadvantages at its first invasion, is now collecting its whole force to co-operate with the assistance it has received, and to which it is entitled, and the prospect there is far from being discouraging. Britain has received an unexpected and terrible shock in the late account from the East Indies, where the loss of a large share of her settlements, and the tottering state of the rest, threatens the total ruin of her finances; at the same time she cannot but look with anguish on the good condition of the finances of France, where not a single new tax has been levied during the war; but the whole charge of it defrayed by the mere savings of economy. These, and many other circumstances that might be mentioned, must induce Britain to be very serious in her desires of peace. Accordingly she has consented, if not primarily, and secretly moved a convention of the belligerent powers at Vienna for that purpose, under the mediation of the Emperor of Germany and the Empress of Russia. To suppose that nothing is to be said in this, convention respecting America, or that even Britain has forbidden it, is too ridiculous to require a serious answer. It is to suppose all the powers convened in this business are fools; for how can they confer upon a pacification, and at the same time leave out America, the source and principal scat of the war? In the nature of things, America must be the chief subject of their deliberations, and Britain will doubtless keep her eye principally upon that continent during the negotiations, and will rise and fall in her demands, will accede to, or recede from the proposals made, according to the events of war in that quarter.

The present, then, is the critical day for America. Dissensions, languor in our councils or conduct, would revive the hopes of Britain, and might be an irreparable injury to the Americans and their latest posterity. Union and vigor through the present campaign, may lay a stable foundation of liberty and happiness to these States. Having expended already so much blood and treasure in their glorious cause, it should be a first principle in the mind of every free citizen, that the only way to reap the fruits of all, and to make a safe and honorable peace, is to conduct the remainder of the war with vigor. This, and this alone, will make it short. The most noble negotiator in Europe will find himself greatly embarrassed if the measures we take here do not give force to his demands on our behalf, and an edge to his arguments and persuasions. A good army in the field, and well provided, is absolutely necessary to give the finishing stroke to the establishment of America’s invaluable rights. One signal defeat of the British will have more effect on the negotiations at Vienna, than all the eloquence of the most accomplished plenipotentiaries.2


1 Don Galvez, the Spanish governor of Louisiana, took Pensacola on the 9th of May.
2 Pennsylvania Packet, July 14.