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He regretted that the troops had not been able to make a stand at Point Deschambault, but hoped they would maintain a post as far down the river as possible. The lower it was the more important would be the advantages resulting from it, as all the country above would be favorable, and furnish assistance and support, while all below would necessarily be in the power of the enemy.
The tidings of the reverses in Canada and the retreat of the American army had spread consternation throughout the New Hampshire Grants and the New England frontiers, which would now be laid open to invasion. Committees of towns and districts assembled in various places to consult on the alarming state of affairs. In a time of adversity it relieves the public mind to have some individual on whom to charge its disasters. General Schuyler, at present, was to be the victim. We have already noticed the prejudice and ill will, on the part of the New England people, which had harassed him throughout the campaign, and nearly driven him from the service. His enemies now stigmatized him as the cause of the late reverses. He had neglected, they said, to forward re-enforcements and supplies to the army in Canada. His magnanimity in suffering Sir John Johnson to go at large while in his power was again misconstrued into a crime: he had thus enabled that dangerous man to renew his hostilities. Finally, it was insinuated that he was untrue to his country, if not positively leagued with her enemies.
These imputations were not generally advanced; and, when advanced, were not generally countenanced; but a committee of King's County appears to have given them credence, addressing a letter to the commander-in-chief on the subject, accompanied by documents.
Washington, to whom Schuyler's heart had been laid
open throughout all his trials, and who knew its rectitude, received the letter and documents with indignation and disgust, and sent copies of them to the general. "From these," said he, "you will readily discover the diabolical and insidious arts and schemes carrying on by the tories and friends of government to raise distrust, dissensions, and divisions among us. Having the utmost confidence in your integrity, and the most incontestable proof of your great attachment to our common country and its interests, I could not but look upon the charge against you with an eye of disbelief, and sentiments of detestation and abhorrence; nor should I have troubled you with the matter, had I not been informed that copies were sent to different committees, and to Governor Trumbull, which I conceived would get abroad, and that you, should you find I had been furnished with them, would consider my suppressing them as an evidence of my belief, or at best of my doubts, of the charges." *
We will go forward and give the sequel of the matter. While the imputations in question had merely floated in public rumor, Schuyler had taken no notice of them; "but it is now," writes he in reply to Washington, "a duty which I owe myself and my country to detect the scoundrels, and the only means of doing this is by requesting that an immediate inquiry be made into the matter; when I trust it will appear that it was more a scheme calculated to ruin me than to disunite and create jealousies in the friends of America. Your Excellency will, therefore, please to order a court of inquiry the soonest possible; for I cannot sit easy under such an infamous imputation; since, on this extensive continent, numbers of the most respectable characters may not know
* Washington to Schuyler, May 21.
what your Excellency and Congress do of my principles and exertions in the common cause.
He further adds: "I am informed by persons of good credit that about one hundred persons, living on what are commonly called the New Hampshire Grants, have had a design to seize me as a tory, and perhaps still have. There never was a man so infamously scandalized and ill-treated as I am."
We need only add that the Berkshire committees, which in a time of agitation and alarm had hastily given countenance to these imputations, investigated them deliberately in their cooler moments, and acknowledged, in a letter to Washington, that they were satisfied their suspicions respecting General Schuyler were wholly groundless. "We sincerely hope," added they, "his name may be handed down, with immortal honor, to the latest posterity, as one of the great pillars of the American cause."
Gates sent to Philadelphia with the Canada Dispatches-Promoted to the rank of Major-General-Washington summoned to Philadelphia-Putnam left in Command-Conference with Congress -Army Arrangements-A Board of War instituted-The Clintons of New York-Mrs. Washington Inoculated-Reed made Adjutant-General
As the reverses in Canada would affect the fortunes of the Revolution elsewhere, Washington sent General Gates to lay the dispatches concerning them before Congress. "His military experience," said he, "and intimate acquaintance with the situation of our affairs, will enable him to give Congress the fullest satisfaction about the measures neces
sary to be adopted at this alarming crisis; and, with his zeal and attachment to the cause of America, he will have a claim to their notice and favors."
Scarce had Gates departed on his mission (May 19), when Washington himself received a summons to Philadelphia, to advise with Congress concerning the opening campaign. He was informed also that Gates, on the 16th of May, had been promoted to the rank of major-general, and Mifflin to that of brigadier-general, and a wish was intimated that they might take the command of Boston.
Washington prepared to proceed to Philadelphia. His general orders issued on the 19th of May, show the anxious situation of affairs at New York. In case of an alarm the respective regiments were to draw opposite to their encampments or quarters, until ordered to repair to the alarm posts. The alarm signals for regulars, militia, and the inhabitants of the city were, in the daytime-two cannon fired from the rampart at Fort George, and a flag hoisted on the top of Washington's headquarters. In the night-two cannon fired as above, and two lighted lanterns hoisted on the top of headquarters.*
* The following statement of the batteries at New York we find dated May 22:
The Grand Battery, on the south part of the town.
White Hall Battery, on the left of the Grand Battery. Oyster Battery, behind General Washington's headquarters.
Grenadier Battery, near the Brew House on the North River. Jersey Battery, on the left of the Grenadier Battery. Bayard's Hill Redoubt, on Bayard's Hill.
Spencer's Redoubt, on the hill where his brigade is encamped.
Waterbury's Battery (fascines), on a wharf below this hill.
In his parting instructions to Putnam, who, as the oldest major-general in the city, would have the command during his absence, Washington informed him of the intention of the Provincial Congress of New York to seize the principal tories and disaffected persons in the city and the surrounding country, especially on Long Island, and authorized him to afford military aid, if required, to carry the same into execution. He was also to send Lord Stirling, Colonel Putnam the engineer, and Colonel Knox, if he could be spared, up to the Highlands, to examine the state of the forts and garrisons, and report what was necessary to put them in a posture of defense. The garrisons were chiefly composed of parts of a regiment of New York troops, commanded by Colonel James Clinton, of Ulster County, and were said to be sufficient.
The general, accompanied by Mrs. Washington, departed from New York on the 21st of May, and they were invited by Mr. Hancock, the President of Congress, to be his guests during their sojourn at Philadelphia.
Lee, when he heard of Washington's visit there, augured good effects from it. "I am extremely glad, dear general,” writes he, "that you are in Philadelphia, for their councils sometimes lack a little of military electricity."
Washington, in his conferences with Congress, appears to have furnished this electricity. He roundly expressed his conviction that no accommodation could be effected with Great Britain on acceptable terms. Ministerialists had declared in Parliament that, the sword being drawn, the most coercive measures would be persevered in until there was complete submission. The recent subsidizing of foreign troops was a part of this policy, and indicated unsparing hostility. A protracted war, therefore, was inevitable; but