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ment he writes: "I met with Governor Tryon | destined to take an active and distinguished on board of a ship at the Hook, and many gen- part in public affairs; and to leave the impress tlemen, fast friends of government, attending of his genius on the institutions of the counhim, from whom I have the fullest information try.

* * *




of the state of the rebels. passed the Narrows with three ships-of-war, and the first division of transports, landed the grenadiers and light infantry, as the ships came up, on this island, to the great joy of a most loyal people, long suffering on that account under the oppression of the rebels stationed among them; who precipitately fled on the approach of the shipping. ** There is great reason to expect a numerous body of the inhabitants to join the army from the province of York, the Jerseys, and Connecticut, who, in this time of universal oppression, only wait for opportunities to give proofs of their loyalty and zeal." *

* ** *

Washington beheld the gathering storm with an anxious eye, aware that General Howe only awaited the arrival of his brother, the admiral, to commence hostile operations. He wrote to the President of Congress, urging a call on the Massachusetts government for its quota of continental troops; and the formation of a flying camp of ten thousand men, to be stationed in the Jerseys, as a central force, ready to act in any direction as circumstances might require.

On the 2d of July, he issued a general order, calling upon the troops to prepare for a momentous conflict which was to decide their liberties and fortunes. Those who should signalize themselves by acts of bravery, would be noticed and rewarded; those who proved craven would be exposed and punished. No favor would be shown to such as refused or neglected to do their duty at so important a crisis.


ABOUT this time, we have the first appearance in the military ranks of the Revolution, of one

* Governor Tryon, in a letter dated about this time from on board of the Duchess of Gordon, off Staten Island,

writes: "The testimony given by the inhabitants of the island, of loyalty to his majesty, and attachment to his government, I flatter myself will be general throughout the province, as soon as the army gets the main body of

the rebels between them and the sea; which will leave all the back country open to the command of the king's friends, and yield a plentiful resource of provisions for the army, and place them in a better situation to cut off

the rebels' retreat when forced from their stronghold."

Am. Archives, 5th Series, i. 122.

As General Greene one day, on his way to Washington's head-quarters, was passing through a field, then on the outskirts of the city, now in the heart of its busiest quarter, and known as "the Park,"-he paused to notice a provincial company of artillery, and was struck with its able performances, and with the tact and talent of its commander. He was a mere youth, apparently about twenty years of age; small in person and stature, but remarkable for his alert and manly bearing. It was Alexander Hamilton.

Greene was an able tactician, and quick to appreciate any display of military science; a little conversation sufficed to convince him that the youth before him had a mind of no ordinary grasp and quickness. He invited him to his quarters, and from that time, cultivated his friendship.

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Hamilton was a native of the island of Nevis, in the West Indies, and at a very early age had been put in a counting-house at Santa Cruz. His nature, however, was aspiring. "I contemn the grovelling condition of a clerk to which my fortune condemns me," writes he to a youthful friend, and would willingly risk my life, though not my character, to exalt my station. I mean to prepare the way for futurity. I am no philosopher, and may be justly said to build castles in the air; yet we have seen such schenies succeed, when the projector is constant. I shall conclude by saying, I wish there was a war.'

* * * * *

Still he applied himself with zeal and fidelity to the duties of his station, and such were the precocity of his judgment and his aptness at accounts, that before he was fourteen years of age, he was left for a brief interval during the absence of the prinicipal, at the head of the establishment. While his situation in the house gave him a practical knowledge of business, and experience in finance, his leisure hours were devoted to self-cultivation. He made himself acquainted with mathematics and chemistry, and indulged a strong propensity to literature. Some early achievements of his pen attracted attention, and showed such proof of talent, that it was determined to give him the advantage of a regular education. He was accordingly sent to Elizabethtown, in the Jerseys, in the autumn of 1772, to prepare, by a course of

ET. 44.]



studies, for admission into King's (now Colum- | levies, specified by Congress, should arrive. bia) College, at New York. He entered the Washington had the nomination of some conticollege as a private student in the latter part nental officer to the command. He gave it to of 1773, and endeavored, by diligent application, Mercer, of whose muerits he felt sure, and sent to fit himself for the medical profession. him over to Paulus Hook, in the Jerseys, to make arrangements for the Pennsylvania militia as they should come in; recommending him to Brigadier-General William Livingston, as an officer on whose experience and judgment great confidence might be reposed.

The contentions of the colonies with the mother country gave a different direction and impulse to his ardent and aspiring mind. He soon signalized himself by the exercise of his pen, sometimes in a grave, sometimes in a satirical manner. On the 6th of July, 1774, there was a general meeting of the citizens in the "Fields," to express their abhorrence of the Boston Port Bill. Hamilton was present, and, prompted by his excited feelings and the instigation of youthful companions, ventured to address the multitude. The vigor and maturity of his intellect contrasted with his youthful appearance, won the admiration of his auditors; even his diminutive size gave additional effect to his eloquence.

The war, for which in his boyish days he had sighed, was approaching. He now devoted himself to military studies, especially pyrotechnics and gunnery, and formed an amateur corps out of a number of his fellow students, and the young gentlemen of the city. In the month of March, 1776, he became captain of artillery, in a provincial corps, newly raised, and soon, by able drilling, rendered it conspicuous for discipline.

It was while exercising his artillery company that he attracted, as we have mentioned, the attention of General Greene. Further acquaintance heightened the general's opinion of his extraordinary merits, and he took an early occasion to introduce him to the commander-inchief, by whom we shall soon find him properly appreciated.

A valuable accession to the army, at this anxious time, was Washington's neighbor, and former companion in arms, Hugh Mercer, the veteran of Culloden and Fort Duquesne. His military spirit was alert as ever; the talent he had shown in organizing the Virginia militia, and his zeal and efficiency as a member of the committee of safety, had been properly appreciated by Congress, and on the 5th of June he had received the commission of brigadier-general. He was greeted by Washington with the right-hand of fellowship. The flying camp was about forming. The committee of safety of Pennsylvania were forwarding some of the militia of that province to the Jerseys, to perform the service of the camp until the militia

Livingston was a man inexperienced in arms, but of education, talent, sagacity, and ready wit. He was of the New York family of the same name, but had resided for some time in the Jerseys, having a spacious mansion in Elizabethtown, which he had named Liberty Hall. Mercer and he were to consult together, and concert plans to repel invasions; the New Jersey militia, however, were distinct from the flying camp, and only called out for local defence. New Jersey's greatest danger of invasion was from Staten Island, where the British were throwing up works, and whence they might attempt to cross to Amboy. The flying camp was therefore to be stationed in the neighborhood of that place.

"The known disaffection of the people of Amboy," writes Washington, "and the treachery of those on Staten Island, who, after the fairest professions, have shown themselves our most inveterate enemies, have induced me to give directions that all persons of known enmity and doubtful character, should be removed from those places."

According to General Livingston's humorous account, his own village of Elizabethtown was not much more reliable, being peopled in those agitated times by "unknown, unrecommended strangers, guilty-looking tories, and very knavish whigs.'

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While danger was gathering round New York, and its inhabitants were in mute suspense and fearful anticipations, the General Congress at Philadelphia was discussing, with closed doors, what John Adams pronounced"The greatest question ever debated in America, and as great as ever was or will be debated among men." The result was, a resolution passed unanimously, on the 2d of July, “that these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States."

"The 2d of July," adds the same patriotic statesman, "will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding genera




tions, as the great anniversary festival. ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to Almighty God. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forth for everinore."


state of things which had long existed, but it put an end to all those temporizing hopes of reconciliation which had clogged the military action of the country.

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On the 9th of July, he caused it to be read at six o'clock in the evening, at the head of each brigade of the army. "The general hopes," said he in his orders, "that this important event The glorious event has, indeed, given rise to will serve as a fresh incentive to every officer an annual jubilee, but not on the day designated and soldier, to act with fidelity and courage, as by Adams. The fourth of July is the day of knowing that now the peace and safety of his national rejoicing, for on that day, the "Decla- country depend, under God, solely on the sucration of Independence," that solemn and sub-cess of our arms; and that he is now in the lime document, was adopted. Tradition gives service of a state, possessed of sufficient power a dramatic effect to its announcement. It was to reward his merit, and advance him to the known to be under discussion, but the closed highest honors of a free country." doors of Congress excluded the populace. They awaited, in throngs, an appointed signal. In the steeple of the state-house was a bell, imported twenty-three years previously from London, by the Provincial Assembly of Pennsylvania. It bore the portentous text from Scripture: "Proclaim liberty throughout all the land, unto all the inhabitants thereof." A joyous peal from that bell gave notice that the bill had been passed. It was the knell of British domination.

No one felt the importance of the event more deeply than John Adams, for no one had been more active in producing it. We quote his words written at the moment. "When I look back to the year 1761, and recollect the argument concerning writs of assistance in the superior court, which I have hitherto considered as the commencement of the controversy between Great Britain and America, and run through the whole period from that time to this, and recollect the series of political events, the chain of causes and effects; I am surprised at the suddenness, as well as the greatness of this Revolution; Great Britain has been filled with folly, America with wisdom."

His only regret was, that the declaration of independence had not been made sooner. "Had it been made seven months ago," said he, "we should have mastered Quebec, and been in possession of Canada, and might before this hour have formed alliances with foreign states. Many gentlemen in high stations, and of great influence, have been duped by the ministerial bubble of commissioners to treat, and have been slow and languid in promoting measures for the reduction of that province."

Washington hailed the declaration with joy. It is true, it was but a formal recognition of a

The excitable populace of New York were not content with the ringing of bells to proclaim their joy. There was a leaden statue of George III. in the Bowling Green, in front of the fort. Since kingly rule is at an end, why retain its effigy? On the same evening, therefore, the statue was pulled down amid the shouts of the multitude, and broken up to be run into bullets "to be used in the cause of independence."

Some of the soldiery having been implicated in this popular effervescence, Washington censured it in general orders, as having much the appearance of a riot, and a want of discipline, and the army was forbidden to indulge in any irregularities of the kind. It was his constant effort to inspire his countrymen in arms with his own elevated idea of the cause in which they were engaged, and to make them feel that it was no ordinary warfare, admitting of vulgar passions and perturbations. "The general hopes and trusts," said he, "that every officer and man will endeavor so to live and act as becomes a Christian soldier, defending the dearest rights and liberties of his country."*


THE exultation of the patriots of New York, caused by the Declaration of Independence, was soon overclouded. On the 12th of July, several ships stood in from sea, and joined the naval force below. Every nautical movement was now a matter of speculation and alarm, and all the spy-glasses in the city were incessantly reconnoitring the bay.

* Orderly book, July 9, Sparks, iii. 456.

ET. 44.]




"The enemy are now in the harbor," writes | Fort Washington and King's Bridge. The same an American officer, although they have not express carried a letter from him to the New yet ventured theinselves within gunshot of the York Convention, at that time holding its sescity, but we hourly expect to be called into ac- sions at White Plains in Westchester County, tion. The whole army is out between two and apprising it of the impending danger. His imthree every morning, at their respective alarm mediate solicitude was for the safety of Forts posts, and remain there until sunrise. I am Constitution and Montgomery. morally certain that it will not be long before we have an engagement."

Scarce had this letter been penned, when two ships-of-war were observed getting under way, and standing toward the city. One was the Phoenix, of forty guns; the other the Rose, of twenty guns, commanded by Captain Wallace, of unenviable renown, who had marauded the New England coast, and domineered over Rhode Island. The troops were immediately at their alarm posts. It was about half-past three o'clock in the afternoon, as the ships and three tenders came sweeping up the bay with the advantage of wind and tide, and shaped their course up the Hudson. The batteries of the city and of Paulus Hook, on the opposite Jersey shore, opened a fire upon them. They answered it with broadsides. There was a panic throughout the city. Women and children ran hither and thither about the streets, mingling their shrieks and cries with the thundering of the cannon. "The attack has begun! The city is to be destroyed! What will become of us?"

The Phoenix and the Rose continued their course up the Hudson. They had merely fired upon the batteries as they passed; and on their own part had sustained but little damage, their decks having ramparts of sand-bags. The ships below remained in sullen quiet at their anchors, and showed no intention of following them. The firing ceased. The fear of a general attack upon the city died away, and the agitated citizens breathed more freely.

Fortunately, George Clinton, the patriotic legislator, had recently been appointed brigadier-general of the militia of Ulster and Orange Counties. Called to his native State by his military duties in this time of danger, he had only remained in Congress to vote for the declaration of independence, and then hastened home. He was now at New Windsor, in Ulster County, just above the Highlands. Washington wrote to him on the afternoon of the 12th, urging him to collect as great a force as possible of the New York militia, for the protection of the Highlands against this hostile irruption, and to solicit aid, if requisite, from the western parts of Connecticut. "I have the strongest reason to believe," added he, “it will be absolutely necessary, if it were only to prevent an insurrection of your own tories."

Long before the receipt of Washington's letter, Clinton had been put on the alert. About nine o'clock in the morning of the 13th, an alarm gun from his brother at Fort Constitution, thundered through the echoing defiles of the mountains. Shortly afterwards, two river sloops came to anchor above the Highlands, before the general's residence. Their captains informed him that New York had been attacked on the preceding afternoon. They had seen the cannonade from a distance, and judged from the subsequent firing, that the enemy's ships were up the river as far as King's Bridge.

Clinton was as prompt a soldier as he had been an intrepid legislator. The neighboring militia were forthwith put in motion. Three regiments were ordered out; one was to repair to Fort Montgomery; another to Fort Constitution; the third to rendezvous at Newburgh, just above the Highlands, ready to hasten to the assistance of Fort Constitution, should another signal be given. All the other regiments under his command were to be prepared for

Washington, however, apprehended this movement of the ships might be with a different object. They might be sent to land troops, and seize upon the passes of the Highlands. Forts Montgomery and Constitution were far from complete, and were scantily manned. A small force might be sufficient to surprise them. The ships might intend, also, to distribute arms among the tories in the river counties, and pre-service at a moment's notice. In ordering these pare them to co-operate in the apprehended attack upon New York.

Thus thinking, the moment Washington saw these ships standing up the river, he sent off an express to put General Mifflin on the alert, who was stationed with his Philadelphia troops at

hasty levies, however, he was as considerate as he was energetic. The colonels were directed to leave the frontier companies at home, to protect the country against the Indians, and some men out of each company to guard against internal enemies.




Another of his sagacious measures was to send expresses to all the owners of sloops and boats twenty miles up the west side of the river, to haul them off, so as to prevent their grounding. Part of them were to be ready to carry over the militia to the forts; the rest were ordered down to Fort Constitution, where a chain of them might be drawn across the narrowest part of the river, to be set on fire, should the enemy's ships attempt to pass.

Having made these prompt arrangements, he proceeded early in the afternoon of the same day, with about forty of his neighbors, to Fort Constitution; whence, leaving some with his brother, he pushed down on the same evening to Fort Montgomery, where he fixed his headquarters, as being nearer the enemy, and better situated to discover their motions.

Here, on the following day (July 14th), he received Washington's letter, written two days previously; but by this time he had anticipated its orders, and stirred up the whole country. On that same evening, two or three hundred of the hardy Ulster yeomanry, roughly equipped, part of one of the regiments he had ordered out, marched into Fort Montgomery, headed by their colonel (Woodhull). Early the next morning five hundred of another regiment arrived, and he was told that parts of two other regiments were on the way.

"The men," writes he to Washington, "turn out of their harvest fields to defend their country with surprising alacrity. The absence of so many of them, however, at this time, when their harvests are perishing for want of the sickle, will greatly distress the country. I could wish, therefore, that a less number might answer the purpose."

On no one could this prompt and brave gathering of the yeomanry produce a more gratifying effect, than upon the commander-in-chief; and no one could be more feelingly alive, in the midst of stern military duties, to the appeal in behalf of the peaceful interests of the husbandman.

While the vigilant Clinton was preparing to defend the passes of the Highlands, danger was growing more imminent at the mouth of the Hudson.

New York has always been a city prone to agitations. That into which it was thrown on the afternoon of the 12th of July, by the broadsides of the Phoenix and the Rose, was almost immediately followed by another. On the same evening there was a great booming of cannon,


with clouds of smoke, from the shipping at anchor at Staten Island. Every spy-glass was again in requisition. The British fleet were saluting a ship of the line, just arrived from sea. She advanced grandly, every man-of-war thundering a salute as she passed. At her foretop masthead she bore St. George's flag. "It is the admiral's ship!" cried the nautical men on the look-out at the Battery. "It is the admiral's ship! was echoed from mouth to mouth, and the word soon flew throughout the city, "Lord Howe is come!"


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LORD HOWE was indeed come, and affairs now appeared to be approaching a crisis. In consequence of the recent conspiracy, the Convention of New York, seated at White Plains in Westchester County, had a secret committee stationed in New York, for the purpose of taking cognizance of traitorous machinations. To this committee Washington addressed a letter, the day after his lordship's arrival, suggesting the policy of removing from the city and its environs, "all persons of known disaffection and enmity to the cause of America; especially those confined in jail for treasonable offences; who might become extremely dangerous in case of an attack and aların. He took this step with great reluctance; but felt compelled to it by circumstances. The late conspiracy had shown him that treason might be lurking in his camp. And he was well aware that the city and the neighboring country, especially Westchester County, and Queen's and Suffolk Counties, on Long Island, abounded with "tories," ready to rally under the royal standard whenever backed. by a commanding force.

In consequence of his suggestion, thirteen persons, in confinement for traitorous offences, were removed to the jail of Litchfield in Connecticut. Among the number was the late mayor; but as his offence was not of so deep a dye as those whereof the rest stood charged, it was recommended by the president of the Convention that he should be treated with indulgence.

The proceedings of Lord Howe soon showed the policy of these precautions. His lordship had prepared a declaration, addressed to the people at large, informing them of the powers vested in his brother and himself as commis

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