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He alwciability, and goodit, and
Honesty and goodness of heart,
And few, very few equals:
To his family, and near relations, His death was a stroke still more severe. CLINTON, JAMES, was the fourth son of coionel Charles Clinton, and was born on Thursday the 19th of August, 1736, at the house of his father, in Ulster county, in the colony of New York. In common with his brothers, he was favoured with an excellent education. The study of the exact sciences was his favourite pursuit; but the predominant inclination of his mind was to a military life.
In the critical and eventful affairs of nations, when their rights and their interests are invaded, and when the most daring attempts are made to reduce them to domestic tyranny or foreign subjugation, Providence, in the plenitude of its beneficence, has generally provided men qualified to lead the van of successful resistance, and has infused a redeeming spirit into the community which enabled it to rise superior to the calamities that menaced its liberty and its prosperity. The characters designed for these important ends, are statesmen and soldiers. The first devise plans in the cabinet, and the second execute them in the field. At the commencement of the American revolution, and during its progress to a glorious consummation, constellations of illustrious men appeared in the councils and the armies of the nation, illuminating by their wisdom and upholding by their energy: drawing forth the resources and vindicating the rights of America. In defiance of the most appalling considerations, liberty or death was inscribed on the heart of every patriot; and, drawing the sword, he consecrated it to the cause of Heaven and his country, and determined to die or to conquer.
Amidst the gallant soldiers, whose services were demanded by the emergencies of the American revolution, James Clinton, the subject of this memoir, was always conspicuous. To an iron constitution and invincible courage, he added the military experience which he acquired in the war of 1756, where he established his character as an intrepid and skilful officer; and the military knowledge which he obtained after the peace of 1763, by a close attention to the studies connected with his favourite profession.
On the 31st of January, 1756, he was appointed by governor sir Charles Hardy, an ensign in the second regiment of militia for the county of Ulster; on the 25th March, 1758, by lieutenant governor Delancey, a lieutenant of a company in the pay of the province of New York; on the 7th March, 1759, by the same lieutenant governor, a captain of a company of provincial troops; and in the three following years he was successively re-appointed to the same station. On the 15th November, 1763, he was appointed by lieutenant governor Colden, captain commandant of the four companies in the pay of the province of New York, raised for the defence of the western frontiers of the counties of Ulster and Orange, and captain of one of the said companies; and on the 18th March, 1774, lieutenant colonel of the second regiment of militia, in Ulster county. This detail is entered into not from a spirit of ostentation, but to show that he rose gradually and from step to step in his profession; not by intrigue, for he had none; nor by the infioence of his family, for they were generally in opposition to the administration; but by the force of merit, developing itself in the progress of time, and by the entire confidence justly reposed in his integrity, courage, and skill.
In the war of 1756, commonly denominated the French war, he encountered, with cheerfulness, the fatigues and dangers of a military life. He was a captain under colonel Bradstreet, at the capture of fort Frontenac, and he rendered essential service in that expedition in many respects, and particularly by the capture of a sloop of war on lake Ontario, which impeded the progress of the army. His company was placed in row-galleys, and, favoured by a calm, compelled the French vessel to strike after an obstinate resistance. His designation as captain commandant of the four companies, raised for the protection of the western frontiers of the counties of Orange and Ulster, was a post of great responsibility and hazard, and denonstrated the confidence of the government. The safety ef a line of settlements, extending at least
fifty miles, was intrusted to his vigilance and inVi trepidity. The ascendancy of the French, over in the ruthless savages, was always predominant, and
the inhabitant of the frontiers was compelled to This hold the plough with one hand, for his sustenance,
and to grasp his gun with the other for his defence; and he was constantly in danger of being awakened, in the hour of darkness, by the war-whoop of the savages, to witness the conflagration of his dwelling and the murder of his family.
After the termination of the French war, Mr. Clinton married Mary De Witt, a young lady of extraordinary merit, whose ancestors emigrated from Holland, and whose name proclaims their respec- ** tability; and he retired from the camp to enjoy the repose of domestic life.
When the American Revolution was on the eva
of its commencement, he was appointed on the sot June, 1775, by the continental congress, colonel of the 3d regiment of New-York forces. On the 25th of October following, he was appointed by the provincial congress of New York, colonel of the regiment of foot in Ulster county; on the 8th of March, 1776, by the continental Congress, colonel of the second battalion of New York troops ; and on the 9th of August, 1776, a Brigadier General in the army of the United States; in which station he continued during the greater part of the war, having the command of the New York line, or the troops of that state; and at its close he was constituted a Major General.
In 1775, his regiment composed part of the army under General Montgomery, which invaded Canada; and he participated in all the fatigues, dangers and privations, of that celebrated but unfortunate expedition.
In October, 1777, he commanded at fort Clinton, which, together with its neighbour fort Montgomery, constituted the defence of the Hudson river, against the ascent of an enemy. His brother, the governor, commanded in chief at both forts. Sir Henry Clinton, with a view to create a diversion in favour of general Burgoyne, moved up the Hudson with an army of 4000 men, and attacked those works, which were very imperfectly fortified, and only defended by 500 men, composed principally of militia. After a most gallant resistance, The forts were carried by storm. General Clinton was the last man who left the works, and not until he was severely wounded by the thrust of a bayonet; pursued and fired at by the enemy, and his attending servant killed. He bled profusely, and when he dismounted from his war horse, in order to effect his escape from the enemy, who were close on him, it occurred to him that he must either perish on the mountains or be captured, un
less he could supply himself with another horse; an animal which sometimes roamed at large in that wild region. In this emergency he took the bridle froin his horse and slid down a precipice of one hundred feet to the ravine of the creek which separated the forts, and feeling cautiously his way along its precipitous banks, he reached the mountain at a distance from the enemy, after having fallen into the stream, the cold water of which arl'ested a copious effusion of blood. The return of light furnished him with the sight of a horse, which conveyed him to his house, about sixteen miles from the fort, where he arrived about noon, covered with blood and labouring under a severe fever. In his helpless condition the British passed up the Hudson, within a few miles of his house, and destroyed the town of Kingston.
The cruel ravages and horrible irruptions of the Iroquois, or six nations of Indians, on our frontier settlements, rendered it necessary to inflict a terrible chastisement, which would prerent a repeti
tion of their atrocities. An expedition was acl cordingly planned, and the principal command
was committed to general Sullivan, who was to proceed up the Susquehanna, with the main body of the army, while general Clinton was to join him by the way of the Mohawk.
The Iroquois inhabited, or occasionally occupied, that immense and fertile region which composes the western parts of New York and Pennsylvania, and besides their own ravages, from the vicinity of their settlements to the inhabited parts of the United States, they facilitated the inroads of the more remote Indians. When general Sullivan was on his way to the Indian country, he was joined by general Clinton with upwards of sixteen hundred men. The latter had gone up the Mo-, hawk in batteaux, from Schenectady, and after ascending that river about fifty-four miles, he con