Slike strani



disarming the disaffected, and apprehending their chiefs. He forthwith hastened from Albany, at the head of a body of soldiers; was joined by Colonel Herkimer, with the militia of Tryon County marshaled forth on the frozen bosom of the Mohawk River, and appeared before Sir John's stronghold, near Johnstown, on the 19th of January.

Thus beleaguered, Sir John, after much negotiation, capitulated. He was to surrender all weapons of war and military stores in his possession, and to give his parole not to take arms against America. On these conditions he was to be at liberty to go as far westward in Tryon County as the German Flats and Kingsland districts, and to every part of the colony to the southward and eastward of these districts; provided he did not go into any seaport town.

Sir John intimated a trust that he, and the gentlemen with him, would be permitted to retain such arms as were their own property. The reply was characteristic : "General Schuyler's feelings as a gentleman induce him to consent that Sir John Johnson may retain the few favorite family arms, he making a list of them. General Schuyler never refused a gentleman his side-arms."

The capitulation being adjusted, Schuyler ordered his troops to be drawn up in line at noon (Jan. 20th), between his quarters and the court-house, to receive the surrender of the Highlanders, enjoining profound silence on his officers and men, when the surrender should be

made. Everything was conducted with great regard to the feelings of Sir John's Scottish adherents; they marched to the front, grounded their arms, and were dismissed with exhortations to good behavior.

The conduct of Schuyler, throughout this affair, drew forth a resolution of Congress, applauding him for his fidelity, prudence, and expedition, and the proper temper he had maintained toward the "deluded people" in question. Washington, too, congratulated him on his success. "I hope," writes he, "General Lee will execute a work of the same kind on Long Island. It is high time to begin with our internal foes, when we are threatened with such severity of chastisement from our kind parent without."

The recent reverses in Canada had, in fact, heightened the solicitude of Washington about the province of New York. That province was the central and all-important link in the confederacy; but he feared it might prove a brittle one. We have already mentioned the adverse influences in operation there. A large number of friends to the crown, among the official and commercial classes; rank tories (as they were called), in the city and about the neighboring country; particularly on Long and Staten Islands; king's ships at anchor in the bay and harbor, keeping up a suspicious intercourse with the citizens; while Governor Tryon, castled, as it were, on board one of these ships, carried on intrigues with those disaffected to the popular cause, in all parts of the neigh



borhood. County committees had been empowered by the New York Congress and Convention, to apprehend all persons notoriously disaffected, to examine into their conduct, and ascertain whether they were guilty of any hostile act or machination. Imprisonment or banishment was the penalty. The committees could call upon the militia to aid in the discharge of their functions. Still, disaffection to the cause was said to be rife in the province, and Washington looked to General Lee for effective measures to suppress it.

Lee arrived at New York on the 4th of February, his caustic humors sharpened by a severe attack of the gout, which had rendered it necessary, while on the march, to carry him for a considerable part of the way in a litter. His correspondence is a complete mental barometer. "I consider it as a piece of the greatest good fortune," writes he to Washington (Feb. 5th), "that the Congress have detached a committee to this place, otherwise I should have made a most ridiculous figure, besides bringing upon myself the enmity of the whole province. My hands were effectually tied up from taking any step necessary for the public service by the late resolve of Congress, putting every detachment of the continental forces under the command of the Provincial Congress where such detachment is."

By a singular coincidence, on the very day of his arrival, Sir Henry Clinton, with the squadron which had sailed so mysteriously from Boston, looked into the har

bor. "Though it was Sabbath," says a letter-writer of the day, "it threw the whole city into such a convulsion as it never knew before. Many of the inhabitants hastened to move their effects into the country, expecting an immediate conflict. All that day and all night, were there carts going and boats loading, and women and children crying, and distressed voices heard in the roads in the dead of the night."*

Clinton sent for the mayor, and expressed much surprise and concern at the distress caused by his arrival; which was merely, he said, on a short visit to his friend Tryon, and to see how matters stood. He professed a juvenile love for the place, and desired that the inhabitants might be informed of the purport of his visit, and that he would go away as soon as possible.

"He brought no troops with him," writes Lee, "and pledges his honor that none are coming. He says it is merely a visit to his friend Tryon. If it is really so, it is the most whimsical piece of civility I ever heard of."

A gentleman in New York, writing to a friend in Philadelphia, reports one of the general's characteristic menaces, which kept the town in a fever:

"Lee says he will send word on board of the men-ofwar, that, if they set a house on fire, he will chain a hundred of their friends by the neck, and make the house their funeral pile." +

* Remembrancer, vol. iti.

Am. Archives, 5th Series, iv. 941.



For this time, the inhabitants of New York were let off for their fears. Clinton, after a brief visit, continued his mysterious cruise, openly avowing h.s destination to be North Carolina-which nobody believed, simply because he avowed it.

The Duke of Manchester, speaking in the House of Lords of the conduct of Clinton, contrasts it with that of Lord Dunmore, who wrapped Norfolk in flames. "I will pass no censure on that noble lord," said he, "but I could wish that he had acted with that generous spirit that forbade Clinton uselessly to destroy the town of New York. My lords, Clinton visited New York; the inhabitants expected its destruction. Lee appeared before it with an army too powerful to be attacked, and Clinton passed by without doing any wanton damage."

The necessity of conferring with committees at every step, was a hard restraint upon a man of Lee's ardent and impatient temper, who had a soldierlike contempt for the men of peace around him; yet at the outset he bore it better than might have been expected.

"The Congress committees, a certain number of the committees of safety, and your humble servant," writes he to Washington, "have had two conferences. The result is such as will agreeably surprise you. It is in the first place agreed, and justly, that to fortify the town against shipping is impracticable; but we are to fortify lodgments on some commanding part of the city for two thousand men. We are to erect inclosed batteries on

« PrejšnjaNaprej »