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Correspondence of Washington and Schuyler on the Disasters in Canada. Reinforcements required from New England. - Dangers in the Interior of New York. - Johnson Hall Beleaguered. Sir John Capitulates. - Generous Conduct of Schuyler.- Governor Tryon and the Tories. - Tory Machinations. Lee at New York. - Sir Henry Clinton in the Harbor. Menaces of Lee. - The City and River Fortified. Lee's Treatment of the Tories. - His Plans of Fortification. Ordered to the Command in Canada. Speculations on Titles of Dignity.
CHUYLER'S letter to Washington, announcing the recent events, was written
with manly feeling. "I wish," said he, "I had no occasion to send my dear general this melancholy account. My amiable friend, the gallant Montgomery, is no more; the brave Arnold is wounded; and we have met with a severe check in an unsuccessful attempt on Quebec. May Heaven be graciously pleased that the mis fortune may terminate here! I tremble for our people in Canada."
Alluding to his recent request to retire from the army, he writes: "Our affairs are much worse than when I made the request. This is motive sufficient for me to continue to serve my country in any way I can be thought most ser
viceable; but my utmost can be but little, weak and indisposed as I am."
Washington was deeply moved by the disastrous intelligence. "I most sincerely condole with you," writes he, in reply to Schuyler, "upon the fall of the brave and worthy Montgomery. In the death of this gentleman, America has sustained a heavy loss. I am much concerned for the intrepid and enterprising Arnold, and greatly fear that consequences of the most alarming nature will result from this well-intended but unfortunate attempt."
General Schuyler, who was now in Albany, urged the necessity of an immediate reinforcement of three thousand men for the army in Canada. Washington had not a man to spare from the army before Boston. He applied, therefore, on his own responsibility, to Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Connecticut, for three regiments, which were granted. His prompt measure received the approbation of Congress, and further reinforcements were ordered from the same quar
Solicitude was awakened about the interior of the province of New York. Arms and ammunition were said to be concealed in Tryon County, and numbers of the tories in that neighborhood preparing for hostilities. Sir John Johnson had fortified Johnson Hall, gathered about him his Scotch Highland tenants and Indian allies, and it was rumored he intended to carry fire and sword along the valley of the Mohawk.
Schuyler, in consequence, received orders from
SIR JOHN JOHNSON CAPITULATES. 177
Congress to take measures for securing the mili tary stores, disarming the disaffected, and appre hending their chiefs. He forthwith hastened from Albany, at the head of a body of soldiers; was joined by Colonel Herkimer, with the militia of Tryon County marshaled forth on the frozen bosom of the Mohawk River, and appeared before Sir John's stronghold, near Johnstown, on the 19th of January.
Thus beleaguered, Sir John, after much negotiation, capitulated. He was to surrender all weapons of war and military stores in his possession, and to give his parole not to take arms against America. On these conditions he was to be at liberty to go as far westward in Tryon County as the German Flats and Kingsland districts, and to every part of the colony to the southward and eastward of these districts; provided he did not go into any seaport town.
Sir John intimated a trust, that he, and the gentlemen with him, would be permitted to retain such arms as were their own property. The reply was characteristic: "General Schuyler's feelings as a gentleman, induce him to consent that Sir John Johnson may retain the few favorite family arms, he making a list of them. General Schuyler never refused a gentleman his sidearms."
The capitulation being adjusted, Schuyler ordered his troops to be drawn up in line at noon (Jan. 20th), between his quarters and the courthouse, to receive the surrender of the Highlanders, enjoining profound silence on his officers and
men, when the surrender should be made. Everything was conducted with great regard to the feelings of Sir John's Scottish adherents; they marched to the front, grounded their arms, and were dismissed with exhortations to good behavior.
The conduct of Schuyler, throughout this affair, drew forth a resolution of Congress, applauding him for his fidelity, prudence, and expedition, and the proper temper he had maintained toward the "deluded people" in question. Washington, too, congratulated him on his success. "I hope," writes he, "General Lee will execute a work of the same kind on Long Island. It is high time to begin with our internal foes, when we are threatened with such severity of chastisement from our kind parent without."
The recent reverses in Canada had, in fact, heightened the solicitude of Washington about the province of New York. That province was the central and all-important link in the confederacy; but he feared it might prove a brittle one. We have already mentioned the adverse influences in operation there. A large number of friends to the crown, among the official and commercial classes; rank tories (as they were called), in the city and about the neighboring country; particularly on Long and Staten Islands; king's ships at anchor in the bay and harbor, keeping up a suspicious intercourse with the citizens; while Governor Tryon, castled, as it were, on board one of these ships, carried on intrigues with those disaffected to the popular cause, in all parts of the
LEE AT NEW YORK.
neighborhood. County committees had been empowered by the New York Congress and Convention, to apprehend all persons notoriously disaffected, to examine into their conduct, and ascertain whether they were guilty of any hostile act or machination. Imprisonment or banishment was the penalty. The committees could call upon the militia to aid in the discharge of their functions. Still, disaffection to the cause was said to be rife in the province, and Washington looked to General Lee for effective measures to suppress it.
Lee arrived at New York on the 4th of February, his caustic humors sharpened by a severe attack of the gout, which had rendered it necessary, while on the march, to carry him for a considerable part of the way in a litter. respondence is a complete mental barometer. consider it as a piece of the greatest good fortune," writes he to Washington (Feb. 5th), "that the Congress have detached a committee to this place, otherwise I should have made a most ridiculous figure, besides bringing upon myself the enmity of the whole province. My hands were effectually tied up from taking any step necessary for the public service by the late resolve of Congress, putting every detachment of the continental forces under the command of the Provincial Congress where such detachment is."
By a singular coincidence, on the very day of his arrival, Sir Henry Clinton, with the squadron which had sailed so mysteriously from Boston, looked into the harbor. "Though it was Sab bath," says a letter-writer of the day, "it threw