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ANDRE'S CONDUCT AS A PRISONER-HIS CONVERSATIONS WITH COLONEL TALLMADGE-STORY OF NATHAN HALE-ANDRÉ'S PRISON AT TAPPAN-CORRE
SPONDENCE ON HIS
BEHALF HIS TRIAL-EXECUTION-REWARD OF THE CAPTORS-REWARD OF ARNOLD-HIS PROCLAMATION-AFTER FORTUNES OF MRS. ARNOLD.
On the 26th of September, the day after the treason of Arnold had been revealed to Washington, André arrived at the Robinson House, having been brought on in the night, under escort and in charge of Major Tallmadge. Washington made many inquiries of the major, but declined to have the prisoner brought into his presence, apparently entertaining a strong idea of his moral obliquity, from the nature of the scheme in which he had; been engaged, and the circumstances under which he had been arrested.
The same evening he transmitted him to West Point, and shortly afterwards, Joshua H. Smith, who had likewise been arrested. Still, not considering them secure even there, he determined on the following day to send them on to the camp. letter to Greene he writes: "They will be under an escort of horse, and I wish you to have separate houses in camp ready for their reception, in which they may be kept perfectly secure; and also strong, trusty guards, trebly officered, that a part may be
CONVERSATION OF ANDRE.
constantly in the room with them. They have not been permitted to be together, and must be kept apart. I would wish the room for Mr. André to be a decent one, and that he may be treated with civility; but that he may be so guarded as to preclude a possibility of his escaping, which he will certainly attempt to effect, if it shall seem practicable in the most distant degree."
Major Tallmadge continued to have the charge of André. Not regarding him from the same anxious point with the commander-in-chief, and having had opportunities of acquiring a personal knowledge of him, he had become fascinated by his engaging qualities. "The ease and affability of his manners,' writes he, "polished by the refinement of good society and a finished education, made him a most delightful companion. It often drew tears from my eyes, to find him so agreeable in conversation on different subjects, when I reflected on his future fate, and that too, as I feared, so near at hand.”
Early on the morning of the 28th, the prisoners were embarked in a barge, to be conveyed from West Point to King's Ferry. Tallmadge placed André by his side on the after seat of the barge. Being both young, of equal rank, and prepossessing manners, a frank and cordial intercourse had grown up between them. By a cartel, mutually agreed upon, each might put to the other any question not involving a third person. They were passing below the rocky heights of West Point, and in full view of the fortress, when Tallmadge asked André whether he would have taken an active part in the attack on it, should Arnold's plan have succeeded. André promptly answered in the affirmative; pointed out a table of land on the west shore, where he would have landed at the head of a select corps, described the VOL. IV.―6*
route he would have taken up the mountain to a height in the rear of Fort Putnam, overlooking the whole parade of West Point" and this he did," writes Tallmadge, "with much greater exactness than I could have done. This eminence he would have reached without difficulty, as Arnold would have disposed of the garrison in such manner as to be capable of little or no opposition-and then the key of the country would have been in his hands, and he would have had the glory of the splendid achievement."
Tallmadge fairly kindled into admiration as André, with hereditary French vivacity, acted the scene he was describing. "It seemed to him," he said, "as if André were entering the fort sword in hand."
He ventured to ask what was to have been his reward had he succeeded. "Military glory was all he sought. The thanks of his general and the approbation of his king would have been a rich reward for such an undertaking."
Tallmadge was perfectly charmed, but adds quietly, "I think he further remarked, that, if he had succeeded, he was to have been promoted to the rank of a brigadier-general."
While thus the prisoner, confident of the merit of what he had attempted, kindled with the idea of an imaginary triumph, and the youthful officer who had him in charge, caught fire from his enthusiasm, the barge glided through that solemn defile of mountains, through which, but a few days previously, Arnold, the panic-stricken traitor of the drama, had fled like a felon.
After disembarking at King's Ferry near Stony Point, they set off for Tappan under the escort of a body of horse. As they approached the Clove, a deep defile in the rear of the Highlands, André, who rode beside Tallmadge, became solicitous to know
the opinion of the latter as to what would be the result of his capture, and in what light he would be regarded by General Washington and by a military tribunal, should one be ordered. Tallmadge evaded the question as long as possible, but being urged to a full and explicit reply, gave it, he says, in the following words: "I had a much-loved classmate in Yale College, by the name of Nathan Hale, who entered the army in 1775. Immediately after the battle of Long Island, General Washington wanted information respecting the strength, position, and probable movements of the enemy. Captain Hale tendered his services, went over to Brooklyn, and was taken, just as he was passing the outposts of the enemy on his return; said I with emphasis Do you remember the sequel of the story?' 'Yes,' said André. He was hanged as a spy! But you surely do not consider his case and mine alike?' "Yes, precisely similar; and similar will be your fate.'"*
STORY OF CAPTAIN HALE.
*The fate of the heroic youth here alluded to, deserves a more ample notice. Born in Coventry, Connecticut, June 6th, 1755, he entered Yale College in 1770, and graduated with some distinction in September, 1773, having previously contracted an engagement of marriage; not unlike André in this respect, who wooed his "Honora" at eighteen. On quitting college he engaged as a teacher, as is common with young men in New England, while studying for a profession. His half-formed purpose was to devote himself to the ministry. As a teacher of youth, he was eminently skilful, and equally appreciated by parents and pupils. He became universally popular. "Every body loved him," said a lady of his acquaintance, "he was so sprightly, intelligent and kind, and so handsome."
He was teaching at New London, when an express arrived, bringing tidings of the outbreak at Lexington. A town meeting was called, and Hale was among the most ardent of the speakers, proposing an instant march to the scene of hostilities, and offering to volunteer. "A sense of duty," writes he to his father, "urges me to sacrifice every thing for my country."
He served in the army before Boston as a Lieutenant; prevailed on his company to extend their term of service by offering them his own pay, and for his
"He endeavored," adds Tallmadge, "to answer my remarks, but it was manifest he was more troubled in spirit than I had ever seen him before."
"We stopped at the Clove to dine and let the horse-guard refresh," continues Tallmadge. "While there, André kept reviewing his shabby dress, and finally remarked to me, that he was positively ashamed to go to the head-quarters of the American army in such a plight. I called my servant and directed him to bring my dragoon cloak, which I presented to Major André.
good conduct received from Congress the commission of captain. He commanded a company in Colonel Knowlton's regiment in the following year. After the disastrous battle of Long Island, Washington applied to that officer for a competent person to penetrate the enemy's camp, and procure intelligence of their designs; a service deemed vital in that dispiriting crisis. Hale, in the ardor of patriotism, volunteered for the, unenviable enterprise, though fully aware of its peril, and the consequences of capture.
Assuming his old character as schoolmaster, he crossed the Sound at night from Norwalk to Huntington on Long Island, visited the British encampments unsuspected, made drawings of the enemy's works, and noted down memoranda in Latin of the information he gathered, and then retraced his steps to Huntington, where a boat was to meet him and convey him back to the Connecticut shore. Unfortunately a British guard ship was at that time anchored out of view in the Sound, and had sent a boat on shore for water. Hale mistook it for the expected boat, and did not discover his mistake until he found himself in the hands of enemies. He was stripped and searched, the plans and memoranda were found concealed in the soles of his shoes, and proved him to be a spy.
He was conveyed to the guard ship, and thence to New York, where he was landed on the 21st of September, the day of the great fire. He was taken to General Howe's head-quarters, and, after brief parley with his judge, ordered for execution the next morning at daybreak—a sentence carried out by the provost marshal, the brutal and infamous Cunningham, who refused his request for a Bible, and destroyed a letter he had addressed to his mother, for the reason afterwards given by himself, "that the rebels should never know they had a man who could die with such firmness." His patriot spirit shone forth in his dying words,-"I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country."