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ment will be enabled to reinstate its firm friends in pof- 1781, feffion of their own houses within a short space of time." In confequence of this mandate, the exchanged fufferers could make no prefent advantage of their property in Charlestown, and were subjected to the pleasure of the British for any future compenfation.

When the general exchange took place in June, out of nineteen hundred prisoners taken at the furrender of Charlestown, on the 12th of May, 1780, and feveral hundreds more taken afterward at Camden and Fishing Creek, on the 16th and 18th of Auguft, only seven hundred and forty were restored to the fervice of their country. The unfortunate men were crowded on board the prifon fhips in fuch numbers, that feveral were obliged to stand up for want of room to lie down. Congrefs could not command hard money for their relief. Wine, and fuch like comforts, particularly necessary for the fick in fouthern climates, could not be obtained from the British hofpitals. Many died. But it was not by deaths alone that the Americans were deprived of their foldiers. Lord Charles-Greville Montague inlifted 530 of them for the British fervice in Jamaica.

The exchange brought relief to the continental officers taken at Charlestown. They were confined to Haddrell's Point and its vicinity. Far from friends and deftitute of hard money, they were reduced to the greatest ftraits. Many of them, though born in affluence and habituated to attendance, were compelled to do not only the most menial offices for themselves, but could scarcely procure the plainest neceffaries of life. During a captivity of thirteen months, they received no more from their country than nine days pay. They were de


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1781. barred the liberty of fishing for their fupport, though their great leisure and many wants made it an object not only as an amusement, but as a mean of fupplying their neceffities. After bearing these evils with fortitude, they were informed in March, by lieut. col. Balfour, that, by pofitive orders from lord Cornwallis, he was to fend them to fome one of the Weft India islands. Preparations were made for the execution of the mandate; but the general exchange of prifoners rendered them abortive.

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It appearing to congrefs from the representation of the American gov. Clinton and other information, that commiffions had been granted by the gov. of Connecticut, authorizing the perfons to whom they were given, among other things, to go on Long Island and other iflands adjacent, and feize the goods and merchandise they should there find, the property of British fubjects; and that the faid commiffions were attended with many abuses dangerous to the public, as well as diftreffing to the citizens and friends of these United States, inhabiting the faid iflands, fome of whom, under pretext of the powers contained in fuch commiffions, had been plundered of their property, and otherwise badly treated: and that the further continuance of the faid commiffions would impede the public fervice in that quarter,they Aug. "Therefore refolved, that the gov. of Connecticut be, and he is hereby, defired immediately to revoke fuch commiffions, fo far as they authorize the feizure of goods on Long Island or elsewhere, on land not within the state of Connecticut." It was high time to revoke them, for under their cover a fet of unprincipled plunderers com



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mitted greater ravages upon many of the faft friends of 1781. America, than the words of congrefs fully exprefs.

In confequence of inftructions of Auguft the 3d, gen. Washington wrote on the 21ft-" The almost daily 21. complaints of the feverities exercifed toward the American marine prifoners in New York, have induced the congrefs to direct me to remonftrate to the commanding officer of his British majefty's fhips upon the fubject. The principal complaint now is, the inadequacy of the room in the prifon fhips, to the number of prifoners confined on board them, which occafions the death of many, and is the occafion of moft intolerable inconveniencies and diftreffes to thofe who furvive." He had written early in the fpring to Sir H. Clinton-" The very healthy condition, in which all prifoners have been returned by us fince the commencement of the war, carries with it a conviction, that they have been uniformly and comfortably accommodated and fed on wholefome provifions. So confcious have I been, that the fituation in which we always kept prifoners of war would bear inspection, that I have never been averfe to having them vifited by an officer of your own, who might be a witnefs to the propriety of their treatment. A request of this nature was a very little time ago refused to us by the officer commanding the British navy in the harbour of New York.".

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On Auguft the 21ft, congrefs authorized gen. Washington to go into a full exchange of gen. Burgoyne, and all the remaining officers of the Saratoga convention; and refolved that the prifoners taken by the British at the Cedars, fhould be confidered as fubjects of exchange. That day week they ordered the board of war to make 28.

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1781. a fale of certain cannon and ftores in the state of Rhode Inland, for fpecie only. This may be considered as a declarative act on their part against the further circulation of a paper currency. It has indeed ceased by common confent. Without it the Americans could not have carried on the war to the prefent period. The public benefit it has been of in this inftance, will compenfate in the estimation of patriotic politicians, for the immense evils of which it has otherwife been the occafion. The tender laws on one hand, and depreciation on the other, rendered it the bane of fociety. All claffes were infected. It produced a rage for fpeculating. The mechanic, the farmer, the lawyer, the physician, the member of congrefs, and even a few of the clergy, in fome places, were contaminated, and commenced merchants and fpeculators. The morals of the people were corrupted beyond any thing that could have been believed prior to the event. All ties of honor, blood, gratitude, humanity and juftice were diffolved. Old debts were paid in several states when the paper money was more than 70 for one in hard cash; and in Virginia when at 300 for one. Brothers defrauded brothers, children pa`rents and parents children. Widows, orphans and others, who had lived happily on their annual intereft, were impoverished by being obliged to take depreciated paper for the fpecie principal that had been lent; creditors were frequently compelled to receive their debts in that currency, from men who confeffed before witneffes, that the cash they borrowed faved them and their families from ruin. A perfon who had been supplied with fpecie in the jail at Philadelphia, while the British had poffeffion of the city, repaid it in paper afterward at a tenth


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part of its value. No clafs of people fuffered more by 1781. the depreciation than falary-men, and efpecially the clergy, particularly in the New England ftates. They were reduced to the greatest difficulties, and were much injured, by having their annual incomes paid them in paper, without having the badnefs of its quality compenfated in the quantity allowed them. When in the beginning of the year, fome compenfation was voted to them in certain places, the increased depreciation, before the falary was paid, destroyed in a great measure the efficacy of the vote. It has been obferved by fome, that the quakers and methodists in Pennfylvania, were faithful to their old engagements, and were not corrupted by handling paper money. Though thefe denominations excelled, there were many individuals in all religious societies through the United States that preserved their integrity. As a ftriking inftance of the nature and effects of a depreciating paper currency, the following is related out of many.. A merchant of Bofton fold a hogfhead of rum, for twenty pounds, cafk included. The purchaser did not fettle for it, till after the feller applied to him for an empty hogfhead, for which he was charged thirty pounds. When they came to fettle, the merchant found upon examining, that he had to pay a balance of ten pounds on that very cafk, which, with the rum it contained, he had fold for twenty.

The extinction of the paper has occafioned no convulfion; and the fpecie which the French army and navy have already introduced, which the trade now opening with the Spanish and French Weft India islands will furnish, and which the loan from France will fupply--this joint quantity added to what will now be brought into VOL. IV. L ufe

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