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DANGERS IN THE INTERIOR.—MACHINATIONS OF THE JOHNSON FAMILY.-RI
VALRY OF ETHAN ALLEN AND BENEDICT ARNOLD.-GOVERNMENT PERPLEXI
ABOUT THE TICONDEROGA CAPTURE.
MEASURES TO SECURE THE
PRIZE.- ALLEN AND ARNOLD AMBITIOUS OF FUTURE LAURELS.-PROJECTS
FOR THE INVASION OF CANADA. —ETHAN ALLEN AND SETH WARNER HON
ORED BY CONGRESS. -ARNOLD DISPLACED BY A COMMITTEE OF INQUIRY.
HIS INDIGNATION. -- NEWS FROM CANADA, --- THE REVOLUTION TO BE EX
TENDED INTO THAT PROVINCE.-ENLISTMENT OF GREEN MOUNTAIN BOYS.
SCHUYLER AT TICONDEROGA. -STATE OF AFFAIRS THERE. - ELECTION FOR
OFFICERS OF THE GREEN MOUNTAIN BOYS.-ETHAN ALLEN DISMOUNTED,
JOINS THE ARMY AS A VOLUNTEER. -PREPARATIONS FOR THE INVASION OF
CANADA.-GENERAL MONTGOMERY.-INDIAN CHIEFS AT CAMBRIDGE. -COUN
CIL FIRE. — PLAN FOR AN EXPEDITION AGAINST QUEBEC.
TROOPS FROM TICONDEROGA.
ARRIVAL AT ISLE AUX NOIX.
E must interrupt our narrative of the siege of
quarters, requiring the superintending care of Washington as commander-in-chief. Letters from General Schuyler, received in the course of July, had awakened apprehensions of danger from the interior. The Johnsons were said to be stirring up the Indians in the western parts of New York to hostility, and preparing to join the British forces in Canada; so that, while the patriots were battling for their rights along the seaboard, they
RIVALRY OF ALLEN AND ARNOLD.
were menaced by a powerful combination in rear. To place this matter in a proper light, we will give a brief statement of occurrences in the upper part of New York, and on the frontiers of Canada, since the exploits of Ethan Allen and Benedict Arnold, at Ticonderoga and on Lake Champlain.
Great rivalry, as has already been noted, had arisen between these doughty leaders. Both had sent off expresses to the provincial authorities, giving an account of their recent triumphs. Allen claimed command at Ticonderoga, on the authority of the committee from the Connecticut Assembly, which had originated the enterprise. Arnold claimed it on the strength of his instructions from the Massachusetts committee of safety. He bore a commission, too, given him by that committee; whereas Allen had no other commission than that given him before the war by the committees in the Hampshire Grants, to command their Green Mountain Boys against the encroachments of New York.
“Colonel Allen,” said Arnold, “is a proper man to head his own wild people, but entirely unacquainted with military service, and as I am the only person who has been legally authorized to take possession of this place, I am determined to insist on my right;
and shall keep it [the fort] at every hazard, until I have further orders." *
* Arnold to Mass. Comm. of Safety. Am. Arch. ii. 557.
The public bodies themselves seemed perplexed what to do with the prize, so bravely seized upon by these bold men.
Allen had written to the Albany committee, for men and provisions, to enable him to maintain his conquest. The committee feared this daring enterprise might involve the northern part of the province in the horrors of war and desolation, and asked advice of the New York committee. The New York committee did not think themselves authorized to give an opinion upon & matter of such importance, and referred it to the Continental Congress.
The Massachusetts committee of safety, to whom Arnold had written, referred the affair to the Massachusetts Provincial Congress. That body, as the enterprise had begun in Connecticut, wrote to its General Assembly to take the whole matter under their care and direction, until the advice of the Continental Congress could be had.
The Continental Congress at length legitimated the exploit, and, as it were, accepted the captured fortress. As it was situated within New York, the custody of it was committed to that province, aided if necessary by the New England colonies, on whom it was authorized to call for military assistance.
The Provincial Congress of New York forthwith invited the “Governor and Company of the English colony of Connecticut” to place part of their forces in these captured posts, until relieved by New York troops; and Trumbull, the governor of Connecticut, soon gave notice
that one thousand men, under Colonel Hinman, were on the point of marching for the reinforcement of Ticonderoga and Crown Point.
It had been the idea of the Continental Congress to have those posts dismantled, and the cannon and stores removed to the south end of Lake George, where a strong post was to be established. But both Allen and Arnold exclaimed against such a measure; vaunting, and with reason, the importance of those forts.
Both Allen and Arnold were ambitious of further laurels. Both were anxious to lead an expedition into Canada; and Ticonderoga and Crown Point would open the way to it. “The key is ours," writes Allen to the New York Congress. “If the colonies would suddenly push an army of two or three thousand men into Canada, they might make an easy conquest of all that would oppose them, in the extensive province of Quebec, except a reinforcement from England should prevent it. Such a diversion would weaken Gage, and insure us Canada. I wish to God America would, at this critical juncture, exert herself agreeably to the indignity offered her by a tyrannical ministry. She might rise on eagle's wings, and mount up to glory, freedom, and immortal honor, if she did but know and exert her strength. Fame is now hovering over her head. A vast continent must now sink to slavery, poverty, horror, and bondage, or rise to unconquerable freedom, immense wealth, inexpressible felicity, and immortal fame.
“I will lay my life on it, that with fifteen hundred men, and a proper train of artillery, I will take Montreal. Provided I could be thus furnished, and if an army could command the field, it would be no insuperable difficulty to take Quebec.”
A letter to the same purport, and with the same rhetorical flourish, on which he appeared to value himself, was written by Allen to Trumbull, the governor of Connecticut. Arnold urged the same project, but in less magniloquent language, upon the attention of the Continental Congress. His letter was dated from Crown Point, where he had a little squadron, composed of the sloop captured at St. John's, a schooner, and a flotilla of bateaux. All these he had equipped, armed, manned and officered; and his crews were devoted to him. In his letter to the Continental Congress, he gave information concerning Canada, collected through spies and agents. Carleton, he said, had not six hundred effective men under him. The Canadians and Indians were disaffected to the British Government, and Montreal was ready to throw open its gates to a patriot force. Two thousand men, he was certain, would be sufficient to get possession of the province.
“I beg leave to add,” says he, “that if no person appears who will undertake to carry the plan into execution, I will undertake, and, with the smiles of Heaven, answer for the success, provided I am supplied with men, etc., to carry it into execution without loss of time.”