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WASHINGTON IN ANSWER TO GAGE. 35
execrable parricides, whose counsels and aid have deluged their country with blood, have been protected from the fury of a justly enraged people. Far from compelling or permitting their assistance, I am embarrassed with the numbers who crowd to our camp, animated with the purest principles of virtue and love to their country.
"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 wished 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 towards the American prisoners in his hands; making no distinctions 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, experiencing every indulgence and civility consistent with their security.
Dangers in the Interior. - Machinations of the Johnson Family. Rivalry of Ethan Allen and Benedict Arnold. - Government Perplexities 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 honored by Congress. - Arnold displaced by a Committee of Inquiry. His Indignation.- News from Canada. -- The Revolution to be extended 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. Council Fire. Plan for an Expedition against Quebec. Departure of Troops from Ticonderoga. - Arrival at Isle Aux Noix.
E 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 commanderin-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." 1
The public bodies themselves seemed perplexed what to do with the prize, so bravely seized upon
1 Arnold to Mass. Comm. of Safety. Am. Arch. ii. 557.
by these bold men. Albany committee, for men and provisions, to enable him to maintain his conquest. The cominittee 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 a matter of such importance, and referred it to the Continental Congress.
Allen had written to the
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 gov. ernor 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.