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THE AMERICAN ARMY.
oroughly appointed army with a “rebei
to forage. The American troops for the t were mere yeomanry, taken from their mes ; ill sheltered, ill clad, ill fed, and ill th nothing to reconcile them to their hardt love for the soil they were defending,
inspiring thought that it was their counashington, with paternal care, endeavored et them from the depraving influences of p. “Let vice and immorality of every discouraged as much as possible in your
writes he in a circular to his brigadier; "and, as a chaplain is allowed to each it, see that the men regularly attend divine
Gaming of every kind is expressly foras being the foundation of evil, and the
many a brave and gallant officer's ruin."
Negotiations for Exchange of Prisoners. Case of Colonel
Ethan Allen. – Of General Lee. - Correspondence of Washington with Sir William Howe about Exchanges of Prisori
Referees appointed. — Letters of Lee from New York Case of Colonel Campbell. — Washington's Advice to Congress on the Subject of Retaliation. - His Correspondence with Lord Howe about the Treatment of Prisoners. The Horrors of the Jersey Prison-ship and the Sugar-house.
CARTEL for the exchange of prisoners had been a subject of negotiation pre
vious to the affair of Trenton, without being adjusted. The British commanders were slow to recognize the claims to equality of those they considered rebels ; Washington was tenacious in holding them up as patriots ennobled by their
Among the cases which came up for attention was that of Ethan Allen, the brave but eccentric captor of Ticonderoga. His daring attempts in the “path of renown” had cost him a world of hardships. Thrown into irons as a felon, threat'ened with a halter, carried to England to be tried for treason, confined in Pendennis Castle, retrangported to Halifax, and now a prisoner in New York. “ I have suffered everything short of death,” writes he to the Assembly of his native State, Connecticut. He had, however, recovered health
CASE OF ETHAN LLEN.
and suppleness of limb, and with them all his swelling spirit and swelling rhetoric. “I am fired," writes he,“ with adequate indignation to revenge both my own and my country's wrongs. I am experimentally certain I have fortitude sufficient to face the invaders of America in the place of danger, spread with all the horrors of war.” And he concludes with one of his magniloquent, but really sincere expressions of patriotism: “ Provided you can hit upon some measure to procure my liberty, I will appropriate my remaining days, and freely hazard my life in the service of the colony, and maintaining the American Empire. I thought to have enrolled iny name in the list of illustrious American heroes, but was nipped in the bud!”
Honest Ethan Allen ! his name will ever stand enrolled on that list ; not illustrious, perhaps, but eminently popular.
His appeal to his native State had produced an appeal to Congress, and Washington had been instructed, considering his long imprisonment, to urge his exchange. This had scarce been urged, when tidings of the capture of General Lee presented a case of still greater importance to be provided for. I feel much for his misfortune,” writes Washington, “and am sensible that in his captivity our country has lost a warm friend and an able officer.” By direction of Congress, he had sent in a flag to inquire about Lee's treatment, and to convey him a sum of money. This was just pre. vious to the second crossing of the Delaware.
Lee was now reported to be in rigorous confine.
ment in New York, and treated with harshness and indignity. The British professed to consider him a deserter, he having been a lieutenant-colonel in their service, although he alleged that he had resigned his commission before joining the Amer
Two letters which he addressed to General Howe, were returned to him unopened, inclosed in a cover directed to Lieutenant-colonel Lee.
On the 13th of January, Washington addressed the following letter to Sir William Howe. “I am directed by Congress to propose an exchange of five of the Hessian field-officers taken at Trenton for Major-general Lee; or if this proposal should not be accepted, to demand his liberty upon parole, within certain bounds, as has ever been granted to your officers in our custody. I am in. formed, upon good authority, that your reason for keeping him hitherto in stricter confinement than usual is, that you do not look upon him in the light of a common prisoner of war, but as a deserter from the British service, as his resignation has never been accepted, and that you intend to try him as such by a court-martial. I will not undertake to determine how far this doctrine may be justifiable among yourselves, but I must give you warning that Major-general Lee is looked upon as an officer belonging to, and under the protection of the United Independent States of America, and that any violence you may commit upon his life and liberty, will be severely retaliated nipon the lives or liberties of the British officers, or those of their foreign allies in our hands.”