To the officers and soldiers of the continental army
HAVING reason to believe that the principles I have avowed, in my address to the public of the 7th instant, animated the greatest part of this continent, I rejoice in the opportunity I have of inviting you to join his Majesty's Arms.
His Excellency Sir Henry CLINTON has authoriz'd me to raise a corps of cavalry and infantry, who are to be clothed, subsisted, and paid as the other troops are in the British service; and those who bring in horses, arms, or accoutrements, are to be paid their value, or have liberty to sell them:
To every non-commissioned officer and private a BOUNTY of THREE GUINEAS will be given, and as the Commander in Chief is pleased to allow me to nominate the officers, I shall with infinite satisfaction embrace the opportunity of advancing men whose valour I have witnessed, and whose principles are favourable to an union with Britain, the TRUE American Liberty.
The rank they obtain in the King's service will bear a proportion to their former rank, and the number of men they bring with them.
It is expected that a Lieutenant-Colonel of cavalry will bring with him, or recruit in a reasonable time, 75 men,
N.B. Each Field-Officer will have a company.
Great as these encouragements must appear to such as have suffered every distress of want of pay, hunger, and nakedness, from the neglect, contempt, and corruption of Congress, they are nothing to the motives which I expect will influence the brave and generous minds I hope to have the honour to command.
I wish to lead a chosen band of Americans to the attainment of peace, liberty, and safety, (the first objects in taking the field) and with them to share in the glory of rescuing our native country from the grasping hand of France, as well as from the ambitious and interested views of a desperate party among ourselves, who, in listening to French overtures, and rejecting those from Great-Britain, have brought the colonies to the very brink of destruction.
Friends, fellow soldiers, and citizens, arouse, and judge for yourselves,-- reflect on what you have lost,-- consider to what you are reduced, and by your courage repel the ruin that still threatens you.
Your country once was happy, and had the proffered peace been embraced, your last two years of misery had been spent in peace and plenty; and repairing the desolations of a quarrel that would have set the interest of Great-Britain and America in its true light, and cemented their friendship; whereas, you are now the prey of avarice, the scorn of your enemies, and the pity of your friends.
You were promised LIBERTY by the leaders of your affairs; but is there an individual in the enjoyment of it, saving your oppressors? Who among you dare speak, or write what he thinks, against the tyranny which has robbed you of your property, imprisons your persons, drags you to the field of battle, and is daily deluging your country with your blood?
You are flattered with independency as preferable to a redress of grievances, and for that shadow, instead of real felicity, are sunk into all the wretchedness of poverty by the rapacity of your own rulers. Already you are disqualified to support the pride of character they taught you to aim at, and must inevitably shortly belong to one or other of the great powers their folly and wickedness have drawn into conflict. Happy for you that you may still become the fellow subjects of Great Britain, if you nobly disdain to be the vassals of France.
What is America now but a land of widows, orphans, and beggars?-- and should the parent nation cease her exertions to deliver you, what security remains to you even for the enjoyment of the consolations of that religion for which your fathers braved the ocean, the heathen, and the wilderness? Do you know that the eye which guides this pen lately saw your mean and profligate Congress at Mass for the soul of a Roman Catholic in Purgatory, and participating in the rites of a Church, against whose anti-christian corruptions your pious ancestors would have witnessed with their blood.
As to you who have been soldiers in the continental army, can you at this day want evidence that the funds of your country are exhausted, or that the managers have applied them to their own private uses? In either case you surely can no longer continue in their service with honour or advantage; yet you have hitherto been their supporters in that cruelty, which, with an equal indifference to your's, as well as to the labour and blood of others, is devouring a country, that, from the moment you quit their colours, will be redeemed from their tyranny.
But what need of arguments to such as feel infinitely more misery than tongue can express. I therefore only add my promise of the most affectionate welcome and attention to all who are disposed to join me in the measures necessary to close the scene of our afflictions, which, intolerable as they are, must continue to increase until we have the wisdom (shewn of late by Ireland) in being contented with the liberality of the Parent Country, who still offers her protection, with the immediate restoration of our ancient privileges, civil and sacred, and a perpetual exemption from all taxes, but such as we shall think fit to impose on ourselves.
New-York, October 20, 1780.
The Royal Gazette, (New York), October 25th, 1780.
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