« ZurückWeiter »
country had governed him in his late conduct, and requesting him to protect Mrs. Arnold. She was conveyed to her husband at New York, and his clothes and baggage, for which he had written, were transmitted to him. During the exertions which were made to rescue Andre from the destruction, which threatened him, Arnold had the hardihood to interpose. He appealed to the humanity of the commander in chief, and then sought to intimidate him by stating the situation of many of the principal characters of South Carolina, who had forfeited their lives, but had hithertó beën spared through the clemency of the British geneeral. This clemency, he said, could no longer, m justice, be extended to them, should major Andre suffer. . ..
Arnold was made a brigadier general in the British service; which rank he preserved throughout the war. Yet he must have been held in contempt and detestation by the generous and honourable: It was impossible for men of this description, even when acting with him, to forget that he was a traitor, first the slave of his rage, then purchased with gold, and finally secured by the blood of one of the most accomplished officers in the British army. One would suppose that his mind could not have been much at ease; but he had proceeded so far in vice, that perhaps his reflections gave him but little trouble. 61 am mistaken,'' says Washington, in a private letter, “if, at this time, Arnold is undergoing the torments of a mental hell. He wants feeling. From some traits of his character, which have lately come to my knowledge, he seems to have been so hacknied in crime, so lost to all sense of honour and shame, that while his faculties still enable him to continue his sordid pursuits, there will be no time for remorse."
Arnold found it necessary to make some exertions to secure the attachment of his new friends. With the hope of alluring many of the discontented to his standard, he published an address to the inhabitants of America, in which he endeavoured to justify his conduct. He had encountered the dangers of the field, he said, from apprehension that the rights of his country were in danger. He had acquiesced in the declaration of independence, though he thought it precipitate. But the rejection of the overtures, made by Great Britain in 1778, and the French alliance, had opened his eyes to the ambitious views of those, who would sacrifice the happiness of their country to their own aggrandizement, and had made him a confirmed loyalist. He artfully mingled assertions, that the principal members of congress held the people in sovereign contempt.
This was followed in about a fortnight by a proclamation, addressed “to the officers and soldiers of the continental army, who have the real interest of their country at heart, and who are determined to be no longer the tools and dupes of congress or of France." To induce the American officers and soldiers to desert the cause, which they had embraced, he represented that the corps of cavalry and infantry, which he was authorized to raise, would be upon the same footing with the other troops in the British service; that he should with pleasure, advance those, whose valor he had witnessed; and that the private men, who joined him should receive a bounty of three guineas each, besides payment, at the full value, for horses, arms, and accoutrements. His object was the peace, liberty, and safety of America. **You are promised liberty,” he exclaims, “ but is there an individual in the enjoyment of it saving your oppressors? Who among you dare to speak or write what he thinks against the tyranny, which has robbed you of your property, imprisons your persons, drags you to the field of battle, and is daily delnging your country with your blood? “What;" he exclaims again, “is America now but a land of widows, orphans, and beggars? As to you, who have been soldiers in the continental army, can you at this day want evidence, that the funds of your country are exhausted, or that the managers have applied them to their private uses? In either case you surely can no longer continue in their service with honour or advantage. Yet you have hitherto been their supporters in that cruelty, which, with equal indifference to yours, as well as to the labour and blood of others, is devouring a country, that from the moment you quit their colours, will be redeemed from their tyranny.” 2 :
These proclamations did not produce the effect designed, and in all the hardships, sufferings, and irritations of the war, Arnold remains the solitary instance of an American officer, who abandoned the side first embraced in the contest, and turned his sword upon his former companions in arms.
He was soon despatched by sir Henry Clinton, to make a diversion in Virginia. With about seyenteen hundred men he arrived in the Chesapeake, in January, 1781, and being supported by such a naval force, as was suited to the nature of the service, he committed extensive ravages on the rivers and along the unprotected coasts. It is said, that while on this expedition, Arnold enquired of an American captain, whom he had taken prisoner, what the Americans would do with him if he should fall into their hands. The captain at first declined giving him an answer, but upon being repeatedly urged to it, he said, “Why, sir, if I must "answer your question, you must excuse my tel* ling you the plain truth: if my countrymen should * catch you, I believe they would first cut off that "lame leg, which was wounded in the cause of free“ doin and virtue, and bury it with the honours of *War, and afterwards hang the remainder of your
Ti vody in gibbets." The reader will recollect that the captain alluded to the wound Arnold received in one of his legs, at the attack upon Quebec, in 1776.
After his return from Virginia, he was appointed to conduct an expedition, the object of which was the town of New London, in his native county. The troops employed therein, were landed in two detachments, one on each side of the harbour. The one commanded by lieutenant colonel Eyre, and the other by Arnold. He took fort Trumbull without much opposition. Fort Griswold was furiously attacked by lieutenant colonel Eyre. The garrison defended themselves with great resolution, but after a severe conflict of forty minutes, the fort was carried by the enemy. The Americans had not more than six or seven men killed, when the British carried the lines, but a severe execution took place afterwards, though resistance had ceased. An officer of the conquering troops enquired, on his entering the fort, who commanded. Colonel Ledyard, presenting his sword, answered, “I did, but you do now;" and was immediately run through the body and killed. Between 30 and 40 were wounded, and about 40 were carried off prisoners. On the part of the British 48 were killed, and 145 wounded. About 15 vessels loaded with the effects of the inhabitants, retreated up the river, and four others remained in the harbour unhurt; but all excepting these were burned by the communication of fire from the burning stores. Sixty dwelling houses and eighty-four stores were reduced to ashes. The loss which the Americans sustained by the destruction of naval stores, of provisions, and merchandize, was immense. General Arnold having completed the object of the expedition, returned in eiglat days to New York.
From the conclusion of the war till his death,
general Arnold resided chiefly in England. He died in Gloucester place, London, June 14, 1801. His character presents little to be commended.me His daring courage may indeed excite admiration; but it was a courage without reflection, and without principle. He fought bravely for his country, and he bled in her cause; but his country owed him no returns of gratitude, for his subsequent conduct proved, that he had no honest regard to her interests, but was governed by selfish considerations. His progress from self-indulgence to treason was easy and rapid. He was vain and luxuriovs, and to gratify his giddy desires, he must resort to meanness, dishonesty, and extortion. These vices brought with them disgrace; and the contempt into which he fell, awakened a spirit of revenge, and left him to the unrestrained influence of his cupidity and passion. Thus, from the high fame to which his bravery had elevated him, he descended into infamy. Thus too, he furnished new evi. dence of the infatuation of the human mind, in attaching such value to the reputation of a soldier, which may be obtained while the heart is unsound, and every moral sentiment is entirely depraved.
BARTLETT, JOSIAH, governor of New Hampshire, was born at Amesbury, in the county of Essex, Massachusetts, 21st November, 1729. His ancestors came from the south of England, and fixed at Newbury. The rudiments of his education he received at Amesbury, at the town school; and having a thirst for knowledge, he applied himself to books in various languages, in which he was assisted by a neighbouring clergyman, the reverend Mr. Webster, of Salisbury, an excellent scholar as well as judicious divine. Mr. Bartlett had the benefit of his library and conversation, while he studied physic with a gentleman, who was a practitioner in his native town. At the age of Twenty-one, he began the practice of physic in