Slike strani




Arnold halted for a short time in the hospit- | often been driven back by the batteries thrown able valley of the Chaudiere, to give his troops up by the Americans at the mouth of the Sorel. repose, and distributed among the inhabitants It now lay anchored about fifteen miles above the printed manifesto with which he had been that river; and Montgomery prepared to at furnished by Washington. Here he was joined tack it with bateaux and light artillery, so as by about forty Norridgewock Indians. On the to force it down upon the batteries. 9th of November, the little army emerged from the woods at Point Levi, on the St. Lawrence, opposite to Quebec. A letter written by an inhabitant of that place, speaks of their sudden apparition.

[merged small][ocr errors]

Leaving Arnold in full sight of Quebec, which, after his long struggle through the wilderness, must have appeared like a land of promise; we turn to narrate the events of the upper expedition into Canada of which the letters of Schuyler kept Washington faithfully informed. Montgomery appeared before Montreal on the 12th of November. General Carleton had embarked with his little garrison, and several of the civil officers of the place, on board of a flotilla of ten or eleven small vessels, and made sail in the night, with a favorable breeze, carrying away with him the powder and other important stores. The town capitulated, of


and Montgomery took quiet possession. His urbanity and kindness soon won the good will of the inhabitants, both English and French, and made the Canadians sensible that he really came to secure their rights, not to molest them. Intercepted letters acquainted him with Arnold's arrival in the neighborhood of Quebec, and the great alarm of "the king's friends," who expected to be besieged: "which, with the blessing of God, they shall be," said Montgomery, "if the severe season holds off, and I can prevail on the troops to accompany me."

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

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. Johns, and Chamblee, and made final preparations for descending the St. Lawrence, and co-operating 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, became 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. Today 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




[ocr errors]

conduct had merited it, and insured to Schuyler that persevering hostility with which mean minds revenge the exposure of their meanness.

method could be fallen upon for engaging gen- | a manner, rankled in the breasts of those whose tlemen 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 re-engage 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 goodwill 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.


WE have endeavored to compress into a succinct account various events of the invasion of Canada, funished 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 every thing 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 him deep concern, wherein that general complained of the embarrassments and annoyances he had experienced from the insubordination of the army. "Habituated to order," said he, "I cannot without pain see that disregard of discipline, confusion, and inattention, which reign so generally in this quarter, and I am determined to retire. Of this resolution I have advised Congress."

In communicating

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 He had indeed done so. of men in bateaux, to " attempt a relief for the to the President of Congress the complaints of unhappy sufferers." To his surprise and dis- General Montgomery, and his intention to regust, they manifested the utmost unwillingness tire, "my sentiments," said he, "exactly cointo comply, and made a variety of excuses, which cide with his. I shall, with him, do every he spurned at as frivolous, and as evincing the | thing in my power to put a finishing stroke to greatest want of humanity. He expressed the campaign, and make the best arrangement 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's 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

in my power, in order to insure success to the next. This done, I must beg leave to retire.”

Congress, however, was too well aware of his value, readily to dispense with his services. His letter produced a prompt resolution expressive of their high sense of his attention and perseverance, "which merited the thanks of the United Colonies." He had alleged his impaired health-they regretted the injuries it



had sustained in the service, but begged he would not insist on a measure "which would deprive America of the benefits of his zeal and abilities, and rob him of the honor of completing the work he had so happily begun.”

What, however, produced a greater effect upon Schuyler than any encomium or entreaty on the part of Crongress, were the expostulations of Washington, inspired by strong friendship and kindred sympathies. "I am exceedingly sorry," writes the latter, "to find you so much embarrassed by the disregard of discipline, confusion, and want of order among the troops, as to have occasioned you to mention to Congress an inclination to retire. I know that your complaints are too well founded, but would willingly hope that nothing will induce you to quit the service. I have met with difficulties of the same sort, and such as I never expected; but they must be borne with. The cause we are engaged in is so just and righteous, that we must try to rise superior to every obstacle in its support; and, therefore, I beg that you will not think of resigning, unless you have carried your application to Congress too far to recede."

* * * *

And in another letter he makes a still stronger appeal to his patriotism. "I am sorry that you, and General Montgomery, incline to quit the service. Let me ask you, sir, when is the time for brave men to exert themselves in the cause of liberty and their country, if this is not? Should any difficulties that they may have to encounter at this important crisis deter them? God knows there is not a difficulty that you both very justly complain of, that I have not in an eminent degree experienced, that I am not every day experiencing; but we must bear up against them, and make the best of mankind, as they are, since we cannot have them as we wish. Let me, therefore, conjure you, and Mr. Montgomery, to lay aside such thoughts as thoughts injurious to yourselves, and extremely so to your country, which calls aloud for gentlemen of your ability."

This noble appeal went straight to the heart of Schuyler, and brought out a magnanimous reply. "I do not hesitate," writes he, "to answer my dear general's question in the affirmative, by declaring that now or never is the time for every virtuous American to exert himself in the cause of liberty and his country; and that it is become a duty cheerfully to sacrifice the sweets of domestic felicity to attain the honest and glorious end America has in view."


[ocr errors]

In the same letter he reveals in confidence the true cause of his wish to retire from an official station; it was the annoyance he had suffered throughout the campaign from sectional prejudice and jealousy. "I could point out particular persons of rank in the army,' writes he, "who have frequently declared that the general commanding in this quarter, ought to be of the colony from whence the majority of the troops came. But it is not from opinions or principles of individuals that I have drawn the following conclusion: that troops from the colony of Connecticut will not bear with a general from another colony; it is from the daily and common conversation of all ranks of people from that colony, both in and out of the army; and I assure you that I sincerely lament that people of so much public virtue should be actuated by such an unbecoming jealousy, founded on such a narrow principle." Having made this declaration, he adds, though I frankly own that I feel a resentment, yet I shall continue to sacrifice it to a nobler object, the weal of that country in which I have drawn the breath of life, resolved ever to seek, with unwearied assiduity, for opportunities to fulfil my duty to it."


It is with pride we have quoted so frequently the correspondence of these two champions of our Revolution, as it lays open their hearts, and shows the lofty patriotism by which they were animated.

A letter from John Adams to General Thomas, alleges as one cause of Schuyler's unpopularity with the eastern troops, the "politeness" shown by him to Canadian and British prisoners; which "enabled them and their ministerial friends to impose upon him."*

The "politeness" in fact, was that noble courtesy which a high-minded soldier extends towards a captive foe. If his courtesy was imposed upon, it only proved that, incapable of double-dealing himself, he suspected it not in others. All generous natures are liable to imposition; their warm impulses being too quick for selfish caution. It is the cold, the calculating, and the mean, whose distrustful wariness is never taken in.


THE forming even of the skeleton of an army under the new regulations, had been a work

*Letter-Book of Gon. Thomas. MS.

ET. 43.]



of infinite difficulty; to fill it up was still more | of our common cause, and safety of our rights difficult. The first burst of revolutionary zeal and privileges, for which they freely engaged." had passed away; enthusiasm had been chilled by the inaction and monotony of a long encampment; an encampment, moreover, destitute of those comforts which, in experienced warfare, are provided by a well-regulated commissariat. The troops had suffered privations of every kind, want of fuel, clothing, provisions. They looked forward with dismay to the rigors of winter, and longed for their rustic homes and their family firesides.

We will here add, that the homeward-bound warriors seem to have run the gauntlet along the road; for their conduct on quitting the army drew upon them such indignation, that they could hardly get any thing to eat on their journey, and when they arrived at home, they met with such a reception (to the credit of the Connecticut women be it recorded), that many were soon disposed to return again to camp.*

On the very day after the departure homeward of these troops, and while it was feared their example would be contagious, a long, lumbering train of waggons, laden with ordnance and military stores, and decorated with flags, came wheeling into the camp, escorted by con

part of the cargo of a large brigantine laden with munitions of war, captured and sent in to Cape Ann by the schooner Lee, Captain Manly, one of the craisers sent out by Washington. "Such universal joy ran through the whole camp," writes an officer, " as if each one grasped a victory in his own hands."

Apprehending that some of them would ineline to go home when the time of their enlist ment expired, Washington summoned the general officers at head-quarters, and invited a delegation of the General Court to be present, to adopt measures for the defence and support|tinental troops and country militia. They were of the lines. The result of their deliberations was an order that three thousand of the minute men and militia of Massachusetts, and two thousand from New Hampshire, should be at Cambridge by the 10th of December, to relieve the Connecticut regiments, and supply the deficiency that would be caused by their departure, and by the absence of others on furlough. With this arrangement the Connecticut troops were made acquainted, and as the time of most of them would not be out before the 10th, they were ordered to remain in camp until relieved. Their officers assured Washington that he need apprehend no defection on the part of their men; they would not leave the lines. The officers themselves were probably mistaken in their opinion of their men, for on the 1st of December, many of the latter, some of whom belonged to Putnam's regiment, resolved to go home immediately. Efforts were made to prevent them, but in vain; several carried off with them their arms and ammunition. Washington sent a list of their names to Governor Trumbull.

"I submit to your judgment," writes he, "whether an example should not be made of these men who have deserted the cause of their country at this critical juncture, when the enemy are receiving reinforcements ? "

Beside the ordnance captured, there were two thousand stand of arms, one hundred thousand flints, thirty thousand round shot, and thirty-two tons of musket balls.

"Surely nothing," writes Washington, "ever came more apropos."

It was indeed a cheering incident, and was eagerly turned to account. Among the ordnance was a huge brass mortar of a new construction, weighing near three thousand pounds. It was considered a glorious trophy, and there was a resolve to christen it. Mifflin, Washington's secretary, suggested the name. The mortar was fixed in a bed; old Putnam mounted it, dashed on it a bottle of rum, and gave it the name of Congress. The shouts which rent the air were heard in Boston. When the meaning of them was explained to the British, they observed, that "should their expected reinforcements arrive in time, the rebels would pay dear in the spring for all their petty triumphs."

With Washington, this transient gleam of nautical success was soon overshadowed by the conduct of the cruisers he had sent to the St. Lawrence. Failing to intercept the brigantines, the objects of their cruise, they landed on the island of St. Johns, plundered the house of the governor and several private dwellings, and

We anticipate the reply of Governor Trumbull, received several days subsequently. "The late extraordinary and reprehensible conduct of some of the troops of this colony," writes he, "impresses me, and the minds of many of our people, with great surprise and indignation, since the treatment they met with, and the order and request made to them, were so reasonable, and apparently necessary for the defence | Arch. 4th Series, vol. iv.

See Letter of Gen. Greene to Samuel Ward. Am.


"Permit me to add, sir, that we have all here the highest regard and reverence for your great personal qualities and attainments, and the Americans in general esteem it as not the least of their misfortunes, that the name of Howe, a name so dear to them, should appear at the head of the catalogue of the instruments employed by a wicked ministry for their destruction."

brought off three of the principal inhabitants | circumstances, we owe to our relations, friends, prisoners; one of whom, Mr. Callbeck, was and fellow-citizens. president of the council, and acted as governor. These gentlemen made a memorial to Washington of this scandalous maraud. He instantly ordered the restoration of the effects which had been pillaged;—of his conduct towards the gentlemen personally, we may judge by the following note addressed to him by Mr. Callbeck: "I should ill deserve the generous treatment which your Excellency has been pleased to show me, had I not the gratitude to acknowledge so General Howe felt acutely the sorrowful regreat a favor. I cannot ascribe any part of it|proach in the latter part of the letter. It was to my own merit, but must impute the whole a reiteration of what had already been expressto the philanthropy and humane dispositioned by Congress; in the present instance it prothat so truly characterize General Washington. duced irritation, if we may judge from the reply. Be so obliging, therefore, as to accept the only return in my power, that of my most grateful thanks."*

Shortly after the foregoing occurrence, information was received of the indignities which had been heaped upon Colonel Ethan Allen, when captured at Montreal by General Prescott, who, himself, was now a prisoner in the hands of the Americans. It touched Washington on a point on which he was most sensitive and tenacious, the treatment of American officers when captured; and produced the following letter from him to General Howe:

"SIR, We have just been informed of a circumstance which, were it not so well authenticated, I should scarcely think credible. It is that Colonel Allen, who, with his small party, was defeated and made prisoner near Montreal, has been treated without regard to decency, humanity, or the rules of war; that he has been thrown into irons, and suffers all the hardships inflicted upon common felons.

"I think it my duty, sir, to demand, and do expect from you, an eclaircissement on this subject. At the same time, I flatter myself, from the character which Mr. Howe bears as a man of honor, gentleman, and soldier, that my demand will meet with his approbation. I must take the liberty, also, of informing you that I shall consider your silence as a confirmation of the report, and further assuring you, that whatever treatment Colonel Allen receives, whatever fate he undergoes, such exactly shall be the treatment and fate of Brigadier Prescott, now in our hands. The law of retaliation is not only justifiable in the eyes of God and man, but absolutely a duty, which, in our present

*Sparks. Washington's Writings, vol. iii., p. 194.

[ocr errors]

SIR,-In answer to your letter, I am to acquaint you that my command does not extend to Canada. Not having any accounts wherein the name of Allen is mentioned, I cannot give you the smallest satisfaction upon the subject of your letter. But trusting Major-General Carleton's conduct will never incur censure upon any occasion, I am to conclude in the instance of your inquiry, that he has not forfeited his past pretensions to decency and humanity.

"It is with regret, considering the character you have always maintained among your friends, as a gentleman of the strictest honor and delicacy, that I find cause to resent a sentence in the conclusion of your letter, big with invective against my superiors, and insulting to myself, which should obstruct any further intercourse between us. I am, sir, &c."

In transmitting a copy of his letter to the President of Congress, Washington observed: "My reason for pointing out Brigadier-General Prescott as the object, who is to suffer for Mr. Allen's fate, is, that by letters from General Schuyler, and copies of letters from General Montgomery to Schuyler, I am given to understand that Prescott is the cause of Allen's sufferings. I thought it best to be decisive on the occasion, as did the generals whom I consulted thereon."

For the sake of continuity we will anticipate a few facts connected with the story of Ethan Allen. Within a few weeks after the preceding correspondence, Washington received a letter from Levi Allen, a brother to the colonel, and of like enterprising and enthusiastic character. It was dated from Salisbury in Connecticut; and enclosed affidavits of the harsh treatment his brother had experienced, and of his being con

« PrejšnjaNaprej »