Slike strani

ET. 43.]


correct these misdoings. Be temperate in political disquisition; give free operation to truth, and punish those who deceive and misrepresent; and not only the effects, but the cause, of this unhappy conflict will be removed. Should those, under whose usurped authority you act, control such a disposition, and dare to call severity retaliation; to God, who knows all hearts, be the appeal of the dreadful consequences," &c.

There were expressions in the foregoing letter well calculated to rouse indignant feelings in the most temperate bosom. Had Washington been as readily moved to transports of passion as some are pleased to represent him, the rebel and the cord might readily have stung him to fury; but with him, anger was checked in its impluses by higher energies, and reined in to give grander effect to the dictates of his judgment. The following was his noble and dignified reply to General Gage:

"I addressed you, sir, on the 11th instant, in terms which gave the fairest scope for that humanity and politeness which were supposed to form a part of your character. I remonstrated with you on the unworthy treatment shown to the officers and citizens of America, whom the fortune of war, chance, or a mistaken confidence, had thrown into your hands. Whether British or American mercy, fortitude, and patience, are most pre-eminent; whether our virtuous citizens, whom the hand of tyranny has forced into arms to defend their wives, their children, and their property, or the merciless instruments of lawless domination, avarice, and revenge, best deserve the appellation of rebels, and the punishment of that cord, which your affected clemency has forborne to inflict; whether the authority under which I act is usurped, or founded upon the genuine principles of liberty, were altogether foreign to the subject. I purposely avoided all political disquisition; nor shall I now avail myself of those advantages which the sacred cause of my country, of liberty, and of human nature give me over you; much less shall I stoop to retort and invective; but the intelligence you say you have received from our army requires a reply. I have taken time, sir, to make a strict inquiry, and find that it has not the least foundation in truth. Not only your officers and soldiers have been treated with the tenderness due to fellow-citizens and brethren, but even those execrable parricides, whose counsels and aid have deluged their


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"You affect, sir, to despise all rank not derived from the same source with your own. I cannot conceive one more honorable, than that which flows from the uncorrupted choice of a brave and free people, the purest source and original fountain of all power. Far from making it a plea for cruelty, a mind of true magnanimity and enlarged ideas would comprehend and respect it.

"What may have been the ministerial views which have precipitated the present crisis, Lexington, Concord, and Charlestown can best declare. May that God, to whom you, too, appeal, judge between America and you. Under his providence, those who influence the councils of America, and all the other inhabitants of the united colonies, at the hazard of their lives, are determined to hand down to posterity those just and invaluable privileges which they received from their ancestors.

"I shall now, sir, close my correspondence with you, perhaps forever. If your officers, our prisoners, receive a treatment from me different from that which I wish to show them, they and you will remember the occasion of it."

We have given these letters of Washington almost entire, for they contain his manifesto as commander-in-chief of the armies of the Revolution; setting forth the opinions and motives by which he was governed, and the principles on which hostilities on his part would be conducted. It was planting with the pen that standard which was to be maintained by the sword.

In conformity with the threat conveyed in the latter part of his letter, Washington issued orders that British officers at Watertown and Cape Ann, who were at large on parole, should be confined in Northampton jail; explaining to them that this conduct, which might appear to them harsh and cruel, was contrary to his disposition, but according to the rule of treatment observed by General Gage toward the American prisoners in his hands; making no distinction of rank. Circumstances, of which we have no explanation, induced subsequently a revocation of this order; the officers were permitted to remain as before, at large upon parole, ex




periencing every indulgence and civility con- | provisions, to enable him to maintain his con. sistent with their security.


WE must interrupt our narrative of the siege of Boston to give an account of events in other 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 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."*

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

Arnold to Mass. Comm. of Safety. Am. Arch., ii. 557.

quest. The committee feared this daring en terprise 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 a matter of such importance, and referred it to the Continental Congress.

The Massachusetts committee of safety, to whom Arnold had writter, 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. 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

ET. 43.]


would, at this critical juncture, exert herself ageeably to the indignity offered her by a tyrannical ministry. She might rise on eagles' 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.. Johns, 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 Govern- | ment, 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.

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Within a few days after the date of this letter, Colonel Hinman with the Connecticut troops arrived. The greater part of the Green Mountain Boys now returned home, their term of enlistment having expired. Ethan Allen and his brother in arms, Seth Warner, repaired to Congress to get pay for their men, and authority to raise a new regiment. They were received with distinguished honor by that body. The same pay was awarded to the men who had served under them as that allowed to the continental troops; and it was recommended to the New York Convention, that, should it meet the approbation of General Schuyler, a fresh corps of Green Mountain Boys about to be raised, should be employed in the army under such officers as they (the Green Mountain Boys) should choose.

To the New York Convention, Allen and Warner now repaired. There was a difficulty about admitting them to the hall of Assembly, for their attainder of outlawry had not been repealed. Patriotism, however, pleaded in their behalf. They obtained an audience. A regiment of Green Mountain Boys, five hundred strong, was decreed, and General Schuyler notified the people of the New Hampshire Grants of the resolve, and requested them to raise the regiment.

Thus prosperously went the affairs of Ethan Allen and Seth Warner. As to Arnold, difficulties instantly took place between him and Colonel Hinman. Arnold refused to give up to him the command of either post, claiming on the strength of his instructions from the committee of safety of Massachusetts, a right to the command of all the posts and fortresses at the south end of Lake Champlain and Lake George. This threw every thing into confusion. Colonel Hinman was himself perplexed in this conflict of various authorities; being, as it were, but a locum tenens for the province of New York.

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, &c., to carry it into execution without loss of time." In a postscript of his letter he specifies the forces requisite for his suggested invasion. "In order to give satisfaction to the different colonies, I propose that Colonel Hinman's regiment, now on their march from Connecticut to Ticonderoga, should form part of the army; say one thousand men; five hundred men to At this juncture arrived a committee of be sent from New York, five hundred of three members of the Congress of MassaGeneral Arnold's regiment, including the sea-chusetts, sent by that body to inquire into the men and marines on board the vessels (no manner in which he had executed his instrucGreen Mountain Boys)." tions; complaints having been made of his

Arnold was at Crown Point, acting as commander of the fort and admiral of the fleet; and having about a hundred and fifty resolute men under him, was expecting with confidence to be authorized to lead an expedition into Canada.


arrogant and undue assumption of command.

Arnold was thunderstruck at being subjected to inquiry, when he had expected an ovation. He requested a sight of the committee's instructions. The sight of them only increased his indignation. They were to acquaint themselves with the manner in which he had executed his commission; with his spirit, capacity, and conduct. Should they think proper, they might order him to return to Massachusetts, to render account of the moneys, ammunition, and stores he had received, and the debts he had contracted on behalf of the colony. While at Ticonderoga, he and his men were to be under command of the principal officer from Connecticut.

Arnold was furious. He swore he would be second in command to no one, disbanded his men, and threw up his commission. Quite a scene ensued. His men became turbulent; some refused to serve under any other leader; others clamored for their pay, which was in Part joined Arnold on board of the vessels which were drawn out into the lake; and among other ebullitions of passion, there was a threat of sailing for St. Johns.


At length the storm was allayed by the interference of several of the officers, and the assurances of the committee that every man should be paid. A part of them enlisted under Colonel Easton, and Arnold set off for Cambridge to settle his accounts with the committee of safety.

The project of an invasion of Canada, urged by Allen and Arnold, had at first met with no favor, the Continental Congress having formally resolved to make no hostile attempts upon that province. Intelligence subsequently received, induced it to change its plans. Carleton was said to be strengthening the fortifications and garrison at St. Johns, and prepared to launch vessels on the lake wherewith to regain command of it, and retake the captured posts. Powerful reinforcements were coming from England and elsewhere. Guy Johnson was holding councils with the fierce Cayugas and Senecas, and stirring up the Six Nations to hostility. On the other hand, Canada was full of religious and political dissensions. The late exploits of the Americans on Lake Champlain, had produced a favorable effect on the Canadians, who would flock to the patriot standard if unfurled among them by an imposing force. Now was the time to strike a blow

to paralyze all hostility from this quarter; now, while Carleton's regular force was weak, and before the arrival of additional troops. Influenced by these considerations, Congress now determined to extend the revolution into Canada, but it was an enterprise too important to be intrusted to any but discreet hands. General Schuyler, then in New York, was accordingly ordered, on the 27th June, to proceed to Ticonderoga, and "should he find it practicable, and not disagreeable to the Canadians, immediately to take possession of St. Johns and Montreal, and pursue such other measures in Canada as might have a tendency to promote the peace and security of these provinces."

It behooved General Schuyler to be on the alert, lest the enterprise should be snatched from his hands. Ethan Allen and Seth Warner were at Bennington, among the Green Mountains. Enlistments were going on but too slow for Allen's impatience, who had his old hankering for a partisan foray. In a letter to Governor Trumbull (July 12th), he writes "Were it not that the grand Continental Congress had totally incorporated the Green Mountain Boys into a battalion under certain regulations and command, I would forthwith advance them into Canada and invest Montreal, exclusive of any help from the colonies; though under present circumstances I would not, for my right arm, act without or contrary to order. If my fond zeal for reducing the King's fortresses and destroying or imprisoning his troops in Canada be the result of enthusiasm, I hope and expect the wisdom of the Continent will treat it as such; and on the other hand, if it proceed from sound policy, that the plan will be adopted."*

Schuyler arrived at Ticonderoga on the 18th of July. A letter to Washington, to whom, as commander-in chief, he made constant reports, gives a striking picture of a frontier post in those crude days of the Revolution.

"You will expect that I should say something about this place and the troops here. Not one earthly thing for offence or defence has been done; the commanding officer has no orders; he only came to reinforce the garrison, and he expected the general. About ten last night I arrived at the landing-place, at the north end of Lake George; a post accupied by a captain and one hundred men. A sentinel,

Force's Am. Archives, ii. 1649.

ET. 43.]



on being informed that I was in the boat, | camp at Cambridge, and the spirit with which quitted his post to go and awaken the guard, he coped with him. "From my own expericonsisting of three men, in which he had no ence," writes he (July 28), "I can easily judge success. I walked up and came to another, of your difficulties in introducing order and disa sergeant's guard. Here the sentinel challeng-cipline into troops, who have, from their infaned, but suffered me to come up to him; the whole guard, like the first, in the soundest sleep. With a penknife only I could have cut off both guards, and then have set fire to the block-house, destroyed the stores and starved the people here. At this post I had pointedly recommended vigilance and care, as all the stores from Lake George must necessarily be landed here. But I hope to get the better of this inattention. The officers and men are all good-looking people, and decent in their deportment, and I really believe will make good soldiers as soon as I can get the better of this nonchalance of theirs. Bravery, I believe, they are far from wanting.”

Colonel Hinman, it will be recollected, was in temporary command at Ticonderoga, if that could be called a command where none seemed to obey. The garrison was about twelve hundred strong: the greater part Connecticut men, brought by himself; some were New York troops, and some few Green Mountain Boys. Schuyler, on taking command, despatched a confidential agent into Canada, Major John Brown, an American, who resided on the Sorel River, and was popular among the Canadians. He was to collect information as to the British forces and fortifications, and to ascertain how an invasion and an attack on St. Johns would be considered by the people of the province in the mean time Schuyler set diligently to work to build boats, and prepare for the enterprise should it ultimately be ordered by Congress.

cy, imbibed ideas of the most contrary kind.
It would be far beyond the compass of a letter,
for me to describe the situation of things here
[at Cambridge], on my arrival. Perhaps you
will only be able to judge of it, from my assur-
ing you, that mine must be a portrait at full
length of what you have had in miniature.
Confusion and discord reigned in every depart-
ment, which, in a little time, must have ended
either in the separation of the army, or fatal con-
tests with one another. The better genius of
America has prevailed, and most happily, the
ministerial troops have not availed themselves
of these advantages, till, I trust, the opportunity
is, in a great measure, passed over.
We mend every day, and, I flatter myself, that
in a little time we shall work up these raw ma-
terials into a good manufacture. I must re-
commend to you, what I endeavor to practise
myself, patience and perseverance."

* * *

Schuyler took the friendly admonition in the spirit in which it was given. "I can easily conceive," writes he (Aug. 6th), "that my difficulties are only a faint semblance of yours. Yes, my general, I will strive to copy your bright example, and patiently and steadily persevere in that line which only can promise the wished-for reformation."

He had calculated on being joined, by this etime, by the regiment of Green Mountain Boys which Ethan Allen and Seth Warner had undertaken to raise in the New Hampshire Grants. Unfortunately, a quarrel had arisen between those brothers in arms, which filled the Green Mountains with discord and party feuds. The election of officers took place on the 27th of July. It was made by committees from the different townships. Ethan Allen was entirely passed by, and Seth Warner nominated as Lieutenant-Colonel of the regiment. Allen was thunderstruck at finding himself thus suddenly dismounted. His patriotism and love of adventure, however, were not quelled: and he forthwith repaired to the army at Ticonderoga to offer himself as a volunteer.

Schuyler was an authoritative man, and inherited from his Dutch ancestry a great love of order; he was excessively annoyed, therefore, by the confusion and negligence prevalent around him, and the difficulties and delays thereby occasioned. He chafed in spirit at the disregard of discipline among his yeoman soldiery, and their opposition to all system and regularity. This was especially the case with the troops from Connecticut, officered generally by their own neighbors and familiar companions, and unwilling to acknowledge the authority of a commander from a different province. He poured out his complaints in a friendly letter to Washington; the latter consoled him by stating his own troubles and grievances in the

Schuyler, at first, hesitated to accept his services. He was aware of his aspiring notions, and feared there would be a difficulty in keeping him within due bounds, but was at length persuaded by his officers to retain

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