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seems to have been the most complete which was ob- BOOK tained in the whole course of the war. The pursuit continued for more than twenty miles ; and colonel Tarleton coming up with a detached corps at the Catawba fords under general Sumpter, charged them with such vigor that they were instantly broken, and the greater part either cut to pieces or taken prisoners.
General Gates, who thus unfortunately at Camden saw those laurels fade which he had so gloriously acquired at Saratoga, now, with little apparent attention to the point of honor, left the shattered remains of his army to the care of a general Smallwood, and retired into North Carolina to consult with the government of that province upon the means of future resistance and defence.
Lord Cornwallis, eager to improve his victory to the utmost, advanced, as soon as the excessive heats incident to the climate and season would permit, to the vicinity of Salisbury, on the frontier of North Carolina, having first detached major Ferguson to the western side of the province to collect and arm the royalists in that quarter. No sooner was the communication of this officer with lord Cornwallis interrupted by the extension of the distance, than a plan was formed to surround and cut him entirely off. Divers corps of the provincial militia effected a rapid junction with the mountaineers of the western districts, under the command of colonels Williams
BOOK and Cleveland, to the amount of several thousand XIX.
men, and, marching in quest of Ferguson, soon discovered his encampment on an eminence known by the name of King's Mountain. The Americans, dividing their force into different columns, ascended the hill in various directions, and attacked the roy. alists with great fury. Major Ferguson was successful on whichever side he directed his efforts but no sooner was one division driven back, than
the former resumed its station : so that his exerDefeat of tions were entirely unavailing. But his unconquermajor Fer
able spirit disdained all ideas of surrender, and the King's Mountain. unequal conflict continued till this officer received a
mortal wound; and no chance of escape being left, nor prospect of successful resistance remaining, the second in command sued for quarter ; which was granted, and more than eight hundred men laid down their arms, about three hundred being killed or wounded in the action.
This disaster was in its consequences almost as fatal to lord Cornwallis as the affair of Trenton to general Howe. On the first intelligence of it his lordship retreated to Wynnesborough, where he was much harassed by the irregular but continual attacks of the provincials; and general Gates was enabled to write to the president of the congress, have so far the worst of the campaign, having lost considerably more men, officers, and arms, than your army; and even lost ground, as they had se
- The enemy
veral posts at the beginning of the campaign on the BOOK Pedee, all of which are now evacuated.” exultation of the court-faction in England, on the in-Extravatelligence of lord Cornwallis's victory at Camden, was gant exultaextreme. Untaught by former disappointments, all court-facthe flattering and favorite ideas of absolute conquest England. and unconditional submission seemed for a time to be revived. “I have not the least doubt," said the American secretary of state to lord Cornwallis in his dispatch of November 9th, “ from your lordship’s vigorous and alert movements, that the whole country south of the Delawar will be restored to the king's obedience in the course of the next campaign ;"—this credulous and confident statesman thinking, as is evident, that marching through the country was the same thing as subduing it. It is even probable that the animation inspired by this success contributed to the adoption of the violent counsels by which, at this period, matters were brought to the last extremity with the States General.
On the 3d of September, the Mercury, a congress packet, was taken by the Vestal frigate off the banks of Newfoundland. On board this packet was Mr. Laurens, late president of the congress, charged with a commission to Holland. On being brought to England, he was examined by the privy council, and committed close prisoner to the Tower, on an accusation of high treason. His papers, which had been thrown overboard, and by great dexterity and
BOOK diligence recovered and deciphered, were found to
contain the sketch of a treaty of amity and commerce between the Republic of Holland and the States of America. This treaty appeared to be in a train of negotiation, and to have received the sanction and
approbation of M. Van Berkel, counsellor and penRupture sionary of Amsterdam. Such was the high offence land.
taken by the court of London at this discovery, that immediatę orders were transmitted to sir Joseph Yorke, to represent to the States General, that the States of Amsterdam, as appeared from the papers of the Sieur Laurens, calling himself president of the pretended congress, had entered into a clandestine correspondence with the American rebels, and that instructions and powers had been given by them for the purpose of concluding a treaty of indissoluble friendship with the said rebels. His Britannic majesty, therefore, required not only a formal disavowal of so irregular a conduct, but also insisted on speedy satisfaction adequate to the offence, and the exemplary punishment of the pensionary Van Berkel and his accomplices, as disturbers of the public peace and violators of the rights of nations; otherwise the king would be obliged to take such steps as became his dignity and the interests of his subjects. The States General, though they passed without difficulty resolutions of disavowal and inquiry, delaying to give a formal and explicit anşwer to this declaration, a second memorial was pres
sented by sir Joseph Yorke on the 12th of Decem- BOOK ber, in which the ambassador requires an immediate and satisfactory answer from the States. king,” he says,
“ has never imagined that your High Mightinesses had approved of a treaty with his rebellious subjects. That had been raising the buckler on your part. But the offence has been committed by a city which makes a considerable part of the state, and it belongs to the sovereign power to punish and give satisfaction for it: and it will not be till the last extremity, in case of denial or silence, that the king will take them
himself.” The ambassador was now informed that the memorial would be taken ad referendum by the deputies of the respective provinces, according to the received custom and constitution of their government. This being regarded as a palpable evasion, the ambassador received orders immediately to leave the Hague, and a declaration of war was published against Holland on the 20th of December 1780. This was a measure totally unexpected on the part of the States General, who were ill-prepared for such a rupture. . Before the departure of count Welderen, he delivered, by order of the States, a letter to lord Stormont, which his lordship returned unopened.
However unjust and indefensible had been the policy of the British government, the hostile conduct of the Dutch, apparently proceeding less from a spirit of generous attachment to the cause of vio,