Memoirs of the life of the late Charles Lee, Esq. lieutenant-colonel of the forty-fourth regiment; colonel in the Portuguese service; major-general and aid de camp to the King of Poland, and second in command in the service of the United States of America during the Revolution. To which are added, his political and military essays; also, letters to and from many distinguished characters, both in Europe and America.
Lee, Charles, 1731-1782., Langworthy, Edward, 1738?-1802, ed.
Page  118

Philadelphia, July 6th, 1779. SOME QUERIES, POLITICAL AND MILITARY, HUMBLY OFFERED TO THE CONSIDERATION OF THE PUBLIC.

1st. WHETHER George the First did not, on his ac••ssion to the throne of Great Bri|tain, by making himself king of a party, instead of the whole nation, sow the seeds not only of the subversion of the liberties of the people, but of the ruin of the whole empire?

2d. Whether, by proscribing the class of men, to which his ministry were pleased to give the appellation of Tories, he did not, in the end, make them not only real tories, but even Jacobites?

3d. Whether the consequence of this distinction, now become real, was not two rebellions; and whether the fruit of those rebellions, although defeated, were not septennial parliaments, a large standing army, an enor|mous additional weight and pecuniary influence thrown into the scale of the crown, which in a few years have borne down, not only the substance, but almost the form of liberty, all sense of patriotism, the morals of the peo|ple and, in the end, overturned the mighty fabric of the British empire?

4th. Whether the present men in power, in this state, do not tread exactly in the steps of this pernicious mi|nistry, by proscribing and disfranchising so large a pro|portion of citizens as those men whom they find it their interest to brand with the denomination of Tories?

5th Whether liberty, to be durable, should not be construed on as broad a basis as possible; and whether the same causes, in all ages, and in all countries, do not produce the same effects?

6th. Whether it is not natural, and even justifiable, for that class of people (let the pretext be ever so plausi|ble) who have been stripped of their rights as men, by the hard hand of power, to wish for, and endeavour to bring about, by any means whatever, a revolution in that state, which they cannot but consider as an usurpa|tion and tyranny?

Page  1197th. Whether a subject of Morocco is not, when we consider human nature, a happier mortal, than a disfran|chised citizen of Pennsylvania, as the former has the comfort of seeing all about him in the same predicament with himself; the latter, the misery of being a slave in the spacious bosom of liberty? The former drinks the cup, but te latter alone can taste the bitterness of it.

8th. Whether an enlightened member of a French parliament is not a thousand times more wretched than a Russian cirf or peasant? As to the former, the chains, from his sensibility, must be extremely galling; and on the latter, they sit as easy as the skin of his back

9th. Whether it is salutary or dangerous, consistent with, or abhorrent from, the principles and spirit of liberty and republicanism, to inculcate and encourage in the people, an idea, that their welfare, safety, and glory, de|pend on one man? Whether they really do depend on one man?

10th. Whether, among the late warm, or rather loyal addressers, in this city, to his Excellency General Washington, there was a single mortal, one gentleman excepted, who could possibly be acquainted with his merits?

11th. Whether this gentleman excepted, does really think his Excellency a great man; or whether evidences could not be produced of his sentiments being quite the reverse?

12th. Whether the armies under Gates and Arnold, and the detachment under Starke, to the Northward, or that immediately under his Excellency, in Pennsylvania, gave the decisive turn to the fortune of war?

13th. Whether, therefore, when Monsieur Gerard and Don Juan de Miralles, sent over to their respective courts the pictures of his Excellency General Washing|ton at full length, by Mr. Peal, there would have been any impropriety in sending over, at the same time, at least a couple of little heads of Gates and Arnold, by M. de Simitiere.

Page  12014th. On what principle was it that Congress, in the year 1776, sent for General Lee quite from Georgia, with injunctions to join the army under General Wash|ington, then in York-Island, without loss of time.

15th. Whether Congress had reason to be satisfied or dissatisfied with this their recall of General Lee, from what subsequently happened on York-Island, and at the White-Plains?

16th. Whether Fort Washington was or was not te|nable? Whether there were barracks, case-mates, fuel, or water, within the body of the place? Whether in the out-works, the defences were in any decent order? And whether there were even platforms for the guns?

17th. Whether, if it had been tenable, it could have answered any one single purpose? Did it cover, did it protect a valuable country? Did it prevent the enemy's ships from passing or repassing with impunity?

18th. Whether, when General Howe manifestly gave over all thoughts of attacking General Washington, in the last strong position in the rear of White-Plains, and fell back towards York-Island, orders should not have been immediately dispatched for the evacuation of Fort Washington, and for the removal of all the stores of value from Fort Lee to some secure spot, more re|moved from the river? Whether this was not propo|sed and the proposal slighted?

19th. Whether the loss of the garrison of Fort Wash|ington, and its consequent loss of Fort Lee, with the tents, stores, &c. had not such an effect on the spirits of the people, as to make the difference of twenty thou|sand men to America?

20th. Whether, in the defeat of Brandewine, Gene|ral Sullivan was really the person who ought to have been censured?

21st. Whether, if Duke Ferdinand* had commanded at German Town, after having gained, by the valour of Page  121 his troops, and the negligence of his enemy, a par|tial victory, he would have contrived, by a single stroke of the Bathos, to have corrupted this partial victory into a defeat?

22d. Whether our position at Valley Forge was not such, that if General Howe, or afterwards General Clin|ton, had been well informed of its circumstances, de|fects, and vices, they might not at the head of ten, or even of eight thousand men, have reduced the Ameri|can army to the same fatal necessity as the Americans did General Burgoyne?

23d. Whether the trials of General St. Clair, of which Court-Martial General Lincoln was president, and that on General Lee, were conducted in the same forms, and on the same principles? Whether in the former, all hearsay evidences were not absolutely reject|ed; and in the latter hearsay evidence did not constitute a very considerable part?

24th. Whether if the Generals Schuyler and St. Clair, had been tried by the same Court-Martial as General Lee was, and instead of Congress, General Washington had been the prosecutor, those gentlemen (unexception|able as their conduct was) would not have stood a very ugly chance of being condemned? And whether, if instead of General Washington, Congress had been the prosecutor, General Lee would not probably have been acquitted with the highest honour?

25th. Whether it must not appear to every man who has read General Washington's letter to Congress, on the affair at Monmouth, and the proceedings of the Court-Martial, by which General Lee was tried, that if the contents of the former are facts, not only General Lee's defence must be a tissue of the most abominable audacious lies, but that the whole string of evidences, Page  122 both on the part of the prosecution and prosecuted, must be guilty of rank perjury, as the testimonies of those gentlemen, near forty in number, delivered on oath, scarcely in one article coincide with the detail given in his Excellency's letter?