From Diary of the American Revolution, Vol II. Compiled by Frank Moore and published in 1859.
February 4.—Among the many circumstances that will emblazon the history of the present rebellion in America, we think the following, with some others no less true, will serve to show the generous and liberal principles upon which the present leaders are capable of acting: On the 17th of last month, Mr. Shaw, of Bucks county, in Pennsylvania, fell in with W. Brittain, of Elizabethtown, New Jersey, a captain of Lord Stirling’s division, and a Lieutenant Van Pelt, of New Britain, at the house of a certain Robert Ewer, when said Shaw, expressing his satisfaction at the success of the British arms, enraged them to such a degree that they resolved to hang him; and cutting the strap from a saddle, fixed it round his neck, and hung him up till he was almost dead: then let him down again until he had revived. When he had recovered the use of his speech, they asked if he would now fight for King George, and he replying that he was too old, but that his son should, they immediately tied him up again, and would have left him strangle, had not the women of the house interfered, and rescued him from them. He was so far gone that his tongue hung out of his mouth, after which they kicked him and beat him, so that he lay ill for some time.
The account that we have had that the grand American Congress could make no more dollars for want of rags, proves altogether a mistake, for independent of the large supply expected from Washington’s army as soon as they can be spared, we have reason to believe the country in general never abounded more in that article.
Yesterday, no less than thirteen sergeants and a corporal, belonging to Colonel Proctor’s regiment of artillery, in the rebel service, and a number of privates from other regiments, came in to Philadelphia. The accounts they give of Mr. Washington’s army are distressing beyond description.
The Congress, notwithstanding all the articles their different printers and printers’ correspondents are forging, of the preparations of France and Spain for war, are by this time, we imagine, pretty well satisfied that they have nothing to expect from those courts. The letter from Dr. Franklin, with not a syllable in it, sealed and superscribed with his own hand, and delivered to the committee of Congress by the captain himself who brought it, must make them look as blank as the letter itself was—indeed it so much chagrined them, that, we hear, they have confined the captain who brought it in jail, and pretend it is an imposition.1
The public may be assured it is an undoubted fact that the court of France is positively, and has in earnest determined, that they will show no countenance whatever to the rebellion in America—have given the most satisfactory assurances that they will not assist the Americans in any manner, or suffer their vessels to trade at their ports.
Yesterday a number of the virtuous inhabitants of New Jersey, tired of the oppression of their new government, gave a proof of their loyalty and attachment to his Majesty, by seizing the person of one Wilson, collector of the substitute fines in that province, and bringing him in to the British head quarters. This example, it is hoped, will be followed by the injured and distressed people of Pennsylvania and New Jersey, as they cannot doubt but their loyalty will meet with every reasonable encouragement.2
1 See Gordon’s American Revolution, vol. 2, p. 323.
2 New York Gazette, February 23