History of the United States of America, from the Discovery of the Continent - Vol. 5

By George Bancroft | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XXYI.
THE WAR IN THE SOUTH. CORNWALLIS AND THE PEOPLE OF
THE SOUTH-WEST.
1780.

FROM the moment of his victory near Camden, Cornwallis became the principal figure in the British service in America —the pride and delight of Germain, the desired commanderin-chief, the one man on whom rested the hopes of the ministry for the successful termination of the war.

We are come to the series of events which closed the American contest and restored peace to the world. In Europe, the sovereigns of Austria and of Russia were offering their mediation; the Netherlands were struggling to preserve their neutrality; France was straining every nerve to cope with her rival in the four quarters of the globe; Spain was exhausting her resources for the conquest of Gibraltar; but the incidents which overthrew the ministry of North, and reconciled Great Britain to America, had their springs in South Carolina.

Cornwallis, elated with success and hope, prepared for the northward march, which was to conduct him from victory to victory, till he should restore all America south of Delaware to its allegiance. He appeared to believe that North Carolina would rise to welcome him; and was attended by Martin, its former governor, eager to re-enter on his office. He requested Clinton to detach three thousand men to establish a post on the Chesapeake bay; and Clinton knew too well the wishes of the British government to venture to refuse.

In carrying out his plan, the first measure of Cornwallis in 1780 was a reign of terror. Professing to regard South Carolina

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