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most happily, the Ministerial troops have not availed themselves of these advantages, till, I trust, the opportunity is in a great measure passed over.
We mend every day; and I flatter myself that in a little time we shall work up these raw materials into a good manufacture. I must recommend to you what I endeavour to practise myselfpatience and perseverance.” Schuyler answered him, “I can easily conceive that my difficulties are only a faint semblance of yours. Yes, my general, I will strive to copy your bright example, and steadily persevere in that line which only can promise the wished-for reformation.”
The army at Boston was placed by Washington in three divisions—the right wing occupied the heights of Roxbury, commanded by Generals Ward, Spencer, and Thomas; the left wing, commanded by General Lee, attended by Generals Sullivan and Greene, was stationed on Prospect Hill; the third division, which occupied the centre, under Generals Putnam and Heath, was stationed at Cambridge.
Washington was to be seen daily on the lines, urging, directing, controlling all; each day was commenced with prayers, and after prayers the commander's orders were read aloud. Nothing but the strength and genius of this great mind could have controlled this motley and undisciplined mass of men; from the jealousies of the superior officers down to the disorderliness of the lowest troops, there seems to have been nothing which Washington's tact and influence was not brought to bear upon.
He was most anxious at once to force the British troops to come out of Boston and engage in a general action. He had succeeded in cutting off all their supplies from the mainland, and the time seemed favoúr
CORRESPONDENCE WITH GENERAL GAGE.
able; but, to his great dismay, when he was urging his scheme, he discovered that the amount of ammunition in the American camp made it impossible. They were almost entirely destitute of it; nor could even a small supply be sent to them before a fortnight had elapsed. If the English had known the fact, it is probable that an action at this time would have been almost fatal to the American cause; but it was not discovered, and Washington was engaging the attention of General Gage by a correspondence on the subject of prisoners of war. "I understand," he said, “that the officers engaged in the cause of liberty and their country who, by the fortune of war, have fallen into your hands have been thrown indiscriminately into a common gaol, appropriated to felons.
Let your opinion, sir, of the principles which actuate them be what it may, they suppose that they act from the noblest of all principles, love of freedom and their country. But political principles, I conceive, are foreign to this point. The obligations arising from the rights of humanity and claims of rank are universally binding and extensive.
." General Gage replied by an angry letter, telling him that the “rebels” were destined to the “cord;" but that meantime they were treated with kindness, though they were treated indiscriminately, as General Gage acknowledged no rank that was not derived from the king. He had been informed that such was not the case with respect to those who had remained loyal to the king, and had fallen into the hands of their rebel countrymen ; and he ended with warning Washington very solemnly of the consequences which must inevitably follow if he held to the cause which he had undertaken. Washington's reply shows how completely that cause had become his own; how entirely he had given up all hope of reconciliation with England; and how firmly his heart was set on the freedom of his country. He denied the charge of bad treatment of those who had fallen into their hands; and he adds, “You affect, sir, to despise all rank not derived from the same source as your own. I cannot conceive one more honourable than that which flows from the uncorrupted choice of a free and brave 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
have been the Ministerial views which have precipitated the present crisis, Lexington, Concord, and Charleston 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."
Shortly after these events, Washington had to receive a deputation of Indian chiefs in the camp. They came in their native dress, and created a sensation. They were desirous of urging the Americans to undertake the conquest of Canada, and offered their help. Washington knew that Congress only desired neutrality from the Indians, and hardly knew what to say to them; but the early training of his life had taught him to receive them with the ceremonial which they loved, and they were invited to dine with him at headquarters, after which there was a talk round a council-fire, and the Indians expressed their wishes. One of the chiefs said, grandly, “ As our ancestors gave this
EXPEDITION TO ATTACK QUEBEC.
6. Should any
country to you, we would not have you destroyed by England, but are ready to afford you our assistance.” Washington received their assurances with caution, and gave them no definite answer; but his mind was much occupied with a scheme for an attack by one division of the army on Quebec, and he corresponded with General Schuyler, who was in command of the army in the north, on the subject. Schuyler was in favour of it, and the American possession of Ticonderoga made the plan seem a possible
As the autumn went on, the expedition was undertaken by General Montgomery and Ethan Allen. Benedict Arnold was to join them at St. Lawrence. Some of Washington's cautions to Arnold when he was starting are so characteristic that they may be quoted. American soldier be so base and infamous as to injure any Canadian or Indian in his person or property, I do most earnestly enjoin you to bring him to such severe and exemplary punishment as the enormity may require. Should it extend to death itself, it will not be disproportioned to its guilt at such a time and in such a cause.
I also give in charge to you to avoid all disrespect to the religion of the country and its ceremonies. are contending for our own liberty, we should be very cautious not to viclate the rights of conscience in others, ever considering that God alone is the judge of the hearts of men, and to Him only in this case are they answerable.”
Another instruction was, “If Lord Chatham's son should, be in Canada, and in any way fall into your power, you are enjoined to treat him with all possible deference and respect. You cannot err in paying too much honour to the son of so illustrious a character and so true a friend to America."
Arnold was most zealous and active in his enterprise, but he was not successful. He was defeated at Quebec by the vigilance of a British officer, named Captain Maclean. Allen, meanwhile, had made an attempt on Montreal ; had been defeated, taken prisoner, and was sent to England. Washington, in speaking of this, says, “ His misfortune will, I hope, teach a lesson of prudence and subordination to others, who, regardless of order and duty, rush into enterprises which have unfavourable results on the public, and are destructive to themselves.” Meanwhile there was treason in the camp
before Boston. News was brought to Washington that a letter from some one at Cambridge was being conveyed to Captain Wallace, commanding the English ship Rose. Washington gave orders that the messenger who had been taking charge of the letter should be apprehended. He was looking out of his window early one morning, when he saw old General Putnam coming on horseback up to his quarters, with a stout woman riding pillion-fashion, behind him. It was this woman who had been carrying the letter. Washington first burst out laughing at the picture which the sturdy old Israel Putnam and his charge presented; and then going to the head of the stairs, he called out to the woman that if she did not at once confess who had sent her on this message, before the next morning she would be hanged. Very unwillingly, the woman confessed that it was a minister, Dr. Church. He was instantly arrested. He protested that there was no harm in the letter ; but Washington had the cipher discovered, and then found that it was a description of the American army. So Dr. Church was sentenced to be put into gaol, without any pen, ink, or paper with which he could work further mischief; and