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DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE.

209

7. By this instrument the thirteen American colonies declared themselves Free and Independent, under the name of the Thirteen United States of America. It was signed on the 2d of August by all the members of the Congress then present, and by some who had not been present on the 4th of July. Their number was fifty-six.

CELEBRATION OF THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE.

8. To sign such an instrument as this, under such circumstances, required no little firmness. It would surely be regarded by Great Britain as treason. and might bring the parties to the most violent orignominious death. Yet the handwriting of the signers, as may be seen by the copies

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of the Declaration which are preserved, is firm, except in the case of Stephen Hopkins, an aged man, who had the palsy.

9. None of these signers of the Declaration of Independence are now living, though most of them reached a good old age. Four lived beyond the age of ninety; fourteen exceeded eighty; and twentythree exceeded seventy. Their average age was about sixty-five. The average age of the delegates from New England was seventy-five. 10. This fact of their great age has been sometimes adduced as a proof of the Divine approbation and blessing on the cause they espoused. To a truly philosophic mind, it proves that life is prolonged and health promoted by living for such purposes as develop all our powers, instead of remaining in the depths of ignorance, or pursuing a career of listlessness, or selfishness.

11. It, however, intimated one thing more. Since the mental activity and energy which are awakened in a great political conflict are favorable to health and longevity, is it not highly probable that the

7. What was declared by the instrument drawn up by the committee? By whom was it signed? 8. What was required in the signing of this instrument? What is said of the handwriting of the signers? 9. What can you say of these men? 10. What may be deduced from the fact of the long lives of the signers of the Declaration? 11. What reflection can you make on this subject?

great moral revolutions, in the midst of which we live, by rousing the whole being-the moral and religious, no less than the intellectual powers-will be still more so?

12. The Declaration of Independence was received everywhere throughout the Union with tokens of approbation. Processions were formed, bells rang, cannon fired, and patriotic addresses made, accompanied by all the usual demonstrations of public joy. Such was the spirit at least of the majority; though it must be admitted there were those who viewed the whole matter in a very different light. The day on which this instrument was adopted by Congress, the 4th of July, 1776, has since been annually commemorated, and its anniversary has become the great holiday of our country.

CHAPTER XCVIII.

PERIOD OF THE REVOLUTIONARY WAR, CONTINUED.-The British commence their plan of Attack on New York.Battle of Long Island.

1. THE British forces began to assemble about this time on Staten Island, near New York, in order to make preparation to attack the city. General Clinton, after the battle at Sullivan's Island, had gone there with his troops, and General Howe had arrived from Halifax early in July. Some of the refugee colonists of New York had also joined them-two hundred in a single instance.

2. As it had early occurred to General Washington that the British would aim at New York, he had left Boston, where his presence was no longer absolutely necessary, and repaired to that city, accompanied by General Lee; to which place the troops soon followed him. When collected together, in the city and its

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GENERAL CLINTON.

12. How was the Declaration received throughout the Union? How has the anniver sary of the passing of the Declaration of Independence been since observed?

CHAP XCVIII.-1. What did the British now begin to do? Who joined them? 2. What Washington done? What troops had he at New York?

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vicinity, they were found to amount to seventeen thousand two hundred and twenty-four men, most of them, however, raw recruits.

3. About fifteen thousand of the American troops, under Generals Sullivan and Putnam, were stationed at Brooklyn, on Long Island. On the 22d of August, a part of the British aray, the whole amounting to near thirty thousand men, crossed over from Staten Island to Long Island, to make a descent upon the Americans.

8. What troops were sent to Brooklyn? What did the British now do?

4. On the 27th of August they began an attack, and a battle ensued, which lasted the whole day, and ceased only with the darkness of the night. The British had the advantage; though it was obtained at the expense of from three to five hundred lives.

5. But the American loss was still greater. More than a thousand of their number were taken prisoners; and among the rest, General Sullivan and Lord Sterling. From one to two hundred were slain. About five thousand of the American troops were actively engaged, these being obliged to sustain the shock of fifteen thousand of the enemy.

6. One cause of the misfortunes of the Americans this day was, no doubt, the inexperience of the troops. Another was the want of suitable officers. One of the generals was sick, and General Putnam, though as brave a man as there was in the army, had but recently arrived, and was unacquainted with the ground.

7. The British army encamped within half a mile of the American lines, and on the following day began to make preparations to renew the attack, confidently expecting that they should speedily be able to cut off the whole army. In this, however, they were disappointed ; for, when they were ready for the attack, not an American was to be found on the island.

8. Under the personal care and inspection of Washington, who had crossed from New York and joined the army the day after the battle, the American troops recrossed to the city on the morning of the 30th, just in time to save themselves. They had moved chiefly in the night and under cover of a fog. Indeed, the British were so near the last troops who embarked, that they distinctly heard their move

ments.

9. Upon the retreat of the American army from Long Island, Wash. ington gave vent to his feelings in terms of strong exasperation and impatience, almost the only instance in which he was deserted by that calmness and equanimity which formed a prominent element of his character. He had been on horseback continually two or three days and nights, and had not closed his eyes in sleep for the whole time, and was, therefore, ill prepared to endure the mortification of so severe a defeat.

10. As it was expected that the British would forthwith attack New York, a council of war was called, in which it was at length determined to evacuate the city. After removing the military stores and baggage

4. Describe the battle on Long Island. 5. What was the loss of the Americans? 6. What was the cause of the misfortunes of the Americans? 7. What was done by the British army? 8. How had the Americans left New York? 9. What can you say of Washington! 10. What did the council of war determine upon?

BATTLE OF WHITE PLAINS.

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to Kingsbridge, fifteen miles north of the city, about nine thousand of the troops followed, and the remainder soon afterward. The British took possession of New York September 15.

CHAPTER XCIX.

PERIOD OF THE REVOLUTIONARY WAR, CONTINUED.-Battle of White Plains.-Retreat of Washington.

1. AFTER leaving three thousand troops to garrison Fort Lee, Washington had retreated from Kingsbridge, and entrenched himself at White Plains, twenty-seven miles from New York. The British, after gaining some advantages in a skirmish at Harlem Heights, near the city, slowly pursued the retreating army, and overtook them at their encampment at White Plains.

2. Here, October 28, a considerable action took place, and several hundreds fell on both sides. It would not be easy, however, to say which party was victorious. Washington did not leave his position, and the British did not immediately advance. Finding, however, that the enemy had received a reinforcement soon after the battle, Washington retreated five miles to North Castle.

3. Here he left seven thousand five hundred men under General Lee, and then crossed the Hudson with the rest of his troops, and stationed himself in the neighborhood of Fort Lee, on the New Jersey shore.

4. On the 15th of November, the British went against Fort Washington. A summons was sent to Colonel Magaw, the commander, to surrender, on pain of being put to the sword. As he refused to comply, an attack was made the next morning with such fury that when a second summons was sent, the colonel felt constrained to capitulate. All his men, amounting now to about two thousand six hundred, were made prisoners.

5. The British army sustained a heavy loss in the conflict-from eight hundred to one thousand men. But, being determined to follow up the victory, they soon proceeded, under Lord Corn-wal'-lis, to at

CHAP. XCIX.-1. Where did Washington encamp? What was done by the British? 2. What of the engagement at White Plains? To what place did Washington retreat? 8. Where did he then station himself? Describe the capture of Fort Washington by the British. 5. What was next done by the British? Who commanded Fort Lee?

* Fort Lee was situated on the west side of the Hudson, in the town of Hackensack, New Jersey, ten miles north of New York; Fort Washington was situated on Manhattan Island, on the east side of the Hudson, eleven miles from New York. These two works commanded the river

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