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them, draw from them what they conceive to be their principal grievances, and promise faithfully to represent to Congress and to the State the substance of them, and endeavor to obtain a redress. If they could be stopped at Bristol or Germantown, the better. I look upon it, that if you can bring them to a negotiation, matters may be afterwards accommodated; but that an attempt to reduce them by force will either drive them to the enemy, or dissipate them in such a manner that they will never be recovered."
How clearly one reads in this letter that temperate and magnanimous spirit which moved over the troubled waters of the Revolution, allayed the fury of the storms, and controlled every thing into peace.
Having visited the Highland posts of the Hudson, and satisfied himself of the fidelity of the garrisons, Washington ordered a detachment of eleven hundred men to be ready to march at a moment's warning. General Knox, also, was despatched by him to the Eastern States, to represent to their governments the alarming crisis produced by a long neglect of the subsistence of the army, and to urge them to send on immediately money, clothing, and other supplies for their respective lines.
In the mean time, as Washington had apprehended, Sir Henry Clinton received intelligence at New York of the mutiny, and hastened to profit by it. Emissaries were despatched to the camp of the mutineers, holding out offers of pardon, protection, and ample pay, if they would return to their allegiance to the crown. On the 4th of January, although the rain poured in torrents, troops and cannon were hurried on board of vessels of every description, and transported to Staten Island, Sir Henry accompanying them. There they were to be held in readiness,
REVOLT OF THE PENNSYLVANIA LINE.
either to land at Amboy in the Jerseys, should the revolters be drawn in that direction, or to make a dash at West Point, should the departure of Washington leave that post assailable.
General Wayne and his companions, Colonels Butler and Stewart, had overtaken the insurgent troops on the 3d of January, at Middlebrook. They were proceeding in military form, under the control of a self-constituted board of sergeants, whose orders were implicitly obeyed. A sergeant-major, who had formerly deserted from the British army, had the general command.
Conferences were held by Wayne with sergeants delegated from each regiment. They appeared to be satisfied with the mode and promises of redress held out to them; but the main body of the mutineers persisted in revolt, and proceeded on the next day to Princeton. Wayne hoped they might continue further on, and would gladly have seen them across the Delaware, beyond the influence of the enemy; but their leaders clung to Princeton, lest in further movements they might not be able to keep their followers together. Their proceedings continued to be orderly; military forms were still observed; they obeyed their leaders, behaved well to the people of the country, and committed no
General Wayne and Colonels Butler and Stewart remained with them in an equivocal position; popular, but without authority, and almost in durance. The insurgents professed themselves still ready to march under them against the enemy, but would permit none other of their former officers to come among them. The Marquis de Lafayette, General St. Clair and Colonel Laurens, the newly-appointed minister to France, arrived at the camp and were admitted; but afterwards were ordered away at a short notice.
The news of the revolt caused great consternation in Philadelphia. A committee of Congress set off to meet the insurgents, accompanied by Reed, the president of Pennsylvania, and one or two other officers, and escorted by a city troop of horse. The committee halted at Trenton, whence President Reed wrote to Wayne, requesting a personal interview at four o'clock in the afternoon, at four miles' distance from Princeton. Wayne was moreover told to inform the troops, that he (Reed) would be there to receive any propositions from them, and redress any injuries they might have sustained; but that, after the indignities they had offered to the marquis and General St. Clair, he could not venture to put himself in their power.
Wayne, knowing that the letter was intended for his troops more than for himself, read it publicly on the parade. It had a good effect upon the sergeants and many of the men. The idea that the president of their State should have to leave the seat of government and stoop to treat with them, touched their sectional pride and their home feelings. They gathered round the horseman who had brought the letter, and inquired anxiously whether President Reed was unkindly disposed towards them; intimating privately their dislike to the business in which they were engaged.
Still, it was not thought prudent for President Reed to trust himself within their camp. Wayne promised to meet him on the following day (7th), though it seemed uncertain whether he was master of himself, or whether he was not a kind of prisoner. Tidings had just been received of the movements of Sir Henry Clinton, and of tempting overtures he intended to make, and it was feared the men might listen to them. Three of the lighthorse were sent in the direction of Amboy to keep a look-out for any landing of the enemy.
REVOLT OF THE PENNSYLVANIA LINE.
At this critical juncture, two of Sir Henry's emissaries arrived in the camp, and delivered to the leaders of the malcontents, a paper containing his seductive proposals and promises. The mutineers, though openly arrayed in arms against their government, spurned at the idea of turning "Arnolds," as they termed it. The emissaries were seized and conducted to General Wayne, who placed them in confinement, promising that they should be liberated, should the pending negotiation fail.
This incident had a great effect in inspiring hope of the ultimate loyalty of the troops; and the favorable representations of the temper of the men, made by General Wayne in a personal interview, determined President Reed to venture among them. The consequences of their desertion to the enemy were too alarming to be risked. "I have but one life to lose," said he, "and my country has the first claim to it."*
As he approached Princeton with his suite, he found guards regularly posted, who turned out and saluted him in military style. The whole line was drawn out under arms near the college, and the artillery on the point of firing a salute. He prevented it, lest it should alarm the country. It was a hard task for him to ride along the line as if reviewing troops regularly organized; but the crisis required some sacrifice of the kind. The sergeants were all in the places of their respective officers, and saluted the president as he passed; never were mutineers more orderly and decorous.
The propositions now offered to the troops were:-To discharge all those who had enlisted indefinitely for three years or during the war; the fact to be inquired into by three commis
*Letter to the Executive Council.
sioners appointed by the executive-where the original enlistment could not be produced in evidence, the oath of the soldier to suffice.
To give immediate certificates for the deficit in their pay caused by the depreciation of the currency, and the arrearages to be settled as soon as circumstances would permit.
To furnish them immediately with certain specified articles of clothing which were most wanted.
These propositions proving satisfactory, the troops set out for Trenton, where the negotiation was concluded.
Most of the artillerists and many of the infantry obtained their discharges; some on their oaths, others on account of the vague terms under which they had been enlisted; forty days' furlough was given to the rest, and thus, for a time, the whole insurgent force was dissolved.
The two spies who had tampered with the fidelity of the troops, were tried by a court-martial, found guilty, and hanged at the cross-roads near Trenton. A reward of fifty guineas each, was offered to two sergeants who had arrested and delivered them up. They declined accepting it; saying, they had merely acted by order of the board of sergeants. The hundred guineas were then offered to the board. Their reply is worthy of record. “It was not," said they, "for the sake or through any expectation of reward, but for the love of our country, that we sent the spies immediately to General Wayne; we therefore do not consider ourselves entitled to any other reward but the love of our country, and do jointly agree, to accept of no other."
The accommodation entered into with the mutineers of the Pennsylvania line appeared to Washington of doubtful policy, and likely to have a pernicious effect on the whole army. His