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His great immediate object was the capture of Carleton, which would form a triumphal close to the enterprise, and might decide the fate of Canada. The flotilla in which the general was embarked, had made repeated attempts to escape down the St. Lawrence; but had as often been driven back by the batteries thrown up by the Americans at the mouth of the Sorel. It now lay anchored about fifteen miles above that river, and Montgomery prepared to attack it with bateaux and light artillery, so as to force it down upon the batteries.
Carleton saw his imminent peril. Disguising himself as a Canadian voyager, he set off on a dark night accompanied by six peasants, in a boat with muffled oars, which he assisted to pull, slipped quietly and silently past all the batteries and guard-boats, and effected his escape to Three Rivers, where he embarked in a vessel for Quebec. After his departure the flotilla surrendered, and all those who had taken refuge on board were made prisoners of war. Among them was General Prescott, late commander of Montreal.
Montgomery now placed garrisons in Montreal, St. John's, and Chamblee, and made final preparations for descending the St. Lawrence, and coöperating with Arnold against Quebec. To his disappointment and deep chagrin, he found but a handful of his troops disposed to accompany him. Some pleaded ill-health; the term of enlistment of many had expired, and they were bent on returning home; and others, who had no such excuses to make, be
came exceedingly turbulent, and indeed mutinous. Nothing but a sense of public duty, and gratitude to Congress for an unsought commission, had induced Montgomery to engage in the service; wearied by the continual vexations which beset it, he avowed, in a letter to Schuyler, his determination to retire as soon as the intended expedition against Quebec was finished. "Will not your health permit you to reside at Montreal this winter?" writes he to Schuyler; "I must go home, if I walk by the side of the lake. I am weary of power, and totally want that patience and temper so requisite for such a command." Much of the insubordination of the troops he attributed to the want of tact and cultivation in their officers, who had been suddenly advanced from inferior stations and coarse employments. "An affair happened yesterday," writes he to Schuyler on the 24th of November, "which had very near sent me home. A number of officers presumed to remonstrate against the indulgence I had given some of the king's troops. Such an insult I could not bear, and immediately resigned. To-day they qualified it by such an apology, as put it in my power to resume the command." In the same spirit he writes: "I wish some method could be fallen upon for engaging gentlemen to serve. A point of honor and more knowledge of the world, to be found in that class of men, would greatly reform discipline, and render the troops much more. tractable."
The troops which had given Montgomery so much
annoyance and refused to continue with him in Canada, soon began to arrive at Ticonderoga. Schuyler, in a letter to Congress, gives a half querulous, half humorous account of their conduct. "About three hundred of the troops raised in Connecticut, passed here within a few days. An unhappy home-sickness prevails. These all came down as invalids, not one willing to reëngage for the winter's service; and, unable to get any work done by them, I discharged them en groupe. Of all the specifics ever invented for any, there is none so efficacious as a discharge for this prevailing disorder. No sooner was it administered but it perfected the cure of nine out of ten; who, refusing to wait for boats to go by the way of Lake George, slung their heavy packs, crossed the lake at this place, and undertook a march of two hundred miles with the greatest good-will and alacrity."
This home-sickness in rustic soldiers, after a rough campaign, was natural enough, and seems only to have provoked the testy and subacid humor of Schuyler; but other instances of conduct roused his indignation.
A schooner and tow galley arrived at Crown Point, with upwards of a hundred persons. They were destitute of provisions; none were to be had at the Point, and the ice prevented them from penetrating to Ticonderoga. In starving condition they sent an express to General Schuyler, imploring relief. He immediately ordered three captains of General Wooster's regiment, with a considerable body of men in bateaux, to "attempt a re
A WELL-MERITED REBUKE.
lief for the unhappy sufferers." To his surprise and disgust, they manifested the utmost unwillingness to comply, and made a variety of excuses, which he spurned at as frivolous, and as evincing the greatest want of humanity. He expressed himself to that effect the next day, in a general order, adding the following stinging words: “The general, therefore, not daring to trust a matter of so much importance to men of so little feeling, has ordered Lieutenant Riker, of Col. Holmes' regiment, to make the attempt. He received the order with the alacrity becoming a gentleman, an officer, and a Christian."
This high-minded rebuke, given in so public a manner, rankled in the breasts of those whose conduct had merited it, and insured to Schuyler that persevering hostility with which mean minds revenge the exposure of their meanness.
WASHINGTON'S ANTICIPATIONS OF SUCCESS AT QUEBEC.-HIS EULOGIUM OF ARNOLD.-SCHUYLER AND MONTGOMERY TALK OF RESIGNING.-EXPOSTULATIONS OF WASHINGTON.-THEIR EFFECT.-SCHUYLER'S CONDUCT TO A CAPTIVE FOE.
E have endeavored to compress into a succinct account various events of the invasion of Can
ada, furnished to Washington by letters from Schuyler and Arnold. The tidings of the capture of Montreal had given him the liveliest satisfaction. He now looked forward to equal success in the expedition against Quebec. In a letter to Schuyler, he passed a high eulogium on Arnold. "The merit of this gentleman is certainly great," writes he, "and I heartily wish that fortune may distinguish him as one of her favorites. I am convinced that he will do everything that prudence and valor shall suggest to add to the success of our arms, and for reducing Quebec to our possession. Should he not be able to accomplish so desirable a work with the forces he has, I flatter myself that it will be effected when General Montgomery joins him, and our conquest of Canada will be complete."
Certain passages of Schuyler's letters, however, gave