"Nothing Has Ever Hurt Me So Much"
We are commanded to forgive our enemies, but we are nowhere commanded to forgive our friends.
--Franklin to Alexander Small, November 5, 1789
ARTICLE X OF THE CAPITULATION signed at Yorktown in October 1781 decreed that all loyalists would be dealt with according to the laws of their respective states. Since the British command in New York had made no provision to evacuate the loyalists to safety, there was widespread panic as soon as the magnitude of the defeat became known. William, if taken in New Jersey, could expect to be hanged for treason.
Almost alone except for George III, he refused to believe that the war was lost. And for a moment, in the spring of 1782, Admiral Rodney's smashing victory over de Grasse's French fleet in the West Indies seemed to justify William's pugnaciousness against the fainthearted. "There never was a more glorious opportunity for striking a decisive stroke against Washington,"1 he exulted. If only the House of Commons would not tie the hands of Cornwallis's successor, victory could still be won and the "honor of Great Britain" would no longer be prostrated "at the feet of Banditti." Possessed by a kind of suicidal energy, William and his die-hard band continued to harry the rebel-held coasts. In a particularly vindictive raid into New Jersey, a Captain Lippincott hanged a captured soldier as retaliation for executed loyalists, pinning a note to his body with a threat "to hang man for man while there is a Refugee existing."2 This infuriated the British commander in chief every bit as much as it did Washington, and Lippincott was brought to trial on criminal charges. The loyalist bitterness welled over. "By a strange Fatality," declared a petition in defense of Lippincott, "the Loyalists are the only People that have been treated as Rebels during this unhappy War."3 Since he was only carrying out the orders of his