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on, I much doubt, if we don't remove quickly; unless Heaven is pleased to restore health to this wretched army, now, perhaps, the most pitiful one that ever was formed."
The low, unhealthy situation of the Isle aux Noix, obliged him soon to remove his camp to the Isle La Motte, whence, on receiving orders to that effect from General Schuyler, he ultimately embarked with his forces, sick and well, for Crown Point.
Thus ended this famous invasion; an enterprise bold in its conceptions, daring and hardy in its execution; full of ingenious expedients, and hazardous exploits; and which, had not unforeseen circumstances counteracted its well-devised plans, might have added all Canada to the American Confederacy.
DESIGNS OF THE ENEMY AGAINST NEW YORK AND THE HUDSON.PLOT OF TRYON AND THE TORIES.-ARRIVAL OF A FLEET.-ALARM POSTS.-TREACHERY UP THE HUDSON. -FRESH ARRIVALS. GENERAL HOWE AT STATEN ISLAND.-WASHINGTON'S PREPARATIONS.
HE great aim of the British, at present, was to get possession of New York and the Hudson, and make them the basis of military operations. This they hoped to effect on the arrival of a powerful armament, hourly expected, and designed for operations on the seaboard.
At this critical juncture there was an alarm of a conspiracy among the tories in the city and on Long Island, suddenly to take up arms and coöperate with the British troops on their arrival. The wildest reports were in circulation concerning it. Some of the tories were to break down King's Bridge, others were to blow up the magazines, spike the guns, and massacre all the field-officers. Washington was to be killed or delivered up to the enemy. Some of his own body-guard were said to be in the plot. Several publicans of the city were pointed out, as having aided or abetted the plot. One was landlord of the
"Highlander," at the corner of Beaver Street and Broadway. Another dispensed liquor under the sign of "Robin Hood." Another, named Lowry, described as a "fat man in a blue coat," kept tavern in a low house opposite the Oswego market. Another, James Houlding, kept a beerhouse in Tryon Row, opposite the gates of the upper barracks. It would seem as if a network of corruption and treachery had been woven throughout the city by means of these liquor dealers. One of the most noted, however, was Corbie, whose tavern was said to be "to the southeast of General Washington's house, to the westward of Bayard's Woods, and north of Lispenard's Meadows," from which it would appear that, at that time, the general was quartered at what was formerly called Richmond Hill; a mansion surrounded by trees, at a short distance from the city, in rather an isolated situation.
A committee of the New York Congress, of which John Jay was chairman, traced the plot up to Governor Tryon, who, from his safe retreat on shipboard, acted through agents on shore. The most important of these was David Matthews, the tory mayor of the city. He was accused of disbursing money to enlist men, purchase arms, and corrupt the soldiery.
Washington was authorized and requested by the committee, to cause the mayor to be apprehended, and all his papers secured. Matthews was at that time residing at Flatbush on Long Island, at no great distance
THE TORY CONSPIRACY.
from General Greene's encampment. Washington transmitted the warrant of the committee to the general on the 21st, with directions that it should "be executed with precision, and exactly by one o'clock of the ensuing morning, by a careful officer."
Precisely at the hour of one, a detachment from Greene's brigade surrounded the house of the mayor, and secured his person; but no papers were found, though diligent search was made.
Numerous other arrests took place, and among the number, some of Washington's body-guard. A great dismay fell upon the tories. Some of those on Long Island who had proceeded to arm themselves, finding the plot discovered, sought refuge in woods and morasses. Washington directed that those arrested, who belonged to the army, should be tried by a court-martial, and the rest handed over to the secular power.
According to statements made before the committee, five guineas bounty was offered by Governor Tryon to each man who should enter the king's service; with a promise of two hundred acres of land for himself, one hundred for his wife, and fifty for each child. The men thus recruited were set to act on shore, in coöperation with the king's troops when they came.
Corbie's tavern, near Washington's quarters, was a kind of rendezvous of the conspirators. There one Gilbert Forbes, a gunsmith, "a short, thick man, with a white coat," enlisted men, gave them money, and "swore
them on the book to secrecy." From this house a correspondence was kept up with Governor Tryon on shipboard, through a "mulatto-colored negro, dressed in blue clothes." At this tavern it was supposed Washington's body-guards were tampered with. Thomas Hickey, one of the guards, a dark-complexioned man, five feet six inches high, and well set, was said not only to be enlisted, but to have aided in corrupting his comrades; among others, Green the drummer, and Johnson the fifer.
It was further testified before the committee, that one Sergeant Graham, an old soldier, formerly of the royal artillery, had been employed by Governor Tryon to prowl round and survey the grounds and works about the city, and on Long Island, and that, on information thus procured, a plan of operations had been concerted. On the arrival of the fleet, a man-of-war should cannonade the battery at Red Hook; while that was doing, a detachment of the army should land below with cannon, and by a circuitous march surprise and storm the works on Long Island. The shipping then, with the remainder of the army, were to divide, one part to run up the Hudson, the other up the East River; troops were to land above New York, secure the pass at King's Bridge, and cut off all communication between the city and country.*
Much of the evidence given was of a dubious kind. It was certain that persons had secretly been enlisted, and
*Am. Archives, 5th Series, vi. 1177.