History of the Rise, Progress, and Termination of the American Revolution/Chapter XVII

Distressed Situation of the Army and the Country, from various Causes • General Gates sent to the Southward—Surprised and defeated at Camden by Lord Cornwallis—Superseded • General Greene appointed to the Command in the Carolinas • Major Ferguson’s Defeat • Sir Henry Clinton makes a Diversion in the Chesapeake, in favor of Lord Cornwallis • General Arnold sent there • His Defection and Character • Detection, Trial, and Death of Major Andre • Disposition of the Dutch Republic with regard to America • Governor Trumbull’s Character, and Correspondence with the Baron Van der Capellen • Mr. Laurens appointed to negociate with the Dutch Republic

The year 1780 was a year of incident, expectation, and event; a period pregnant with future consequences, interesting in the highest degree to the political happiness of the nations and perhaps ultimately to the civil institutions of a great part of mankind. We left England in the preceding chapter, in a very perturbed state, arising both from their own internal dissensions and the dread of foreign combinations, relative to their own island and its former dependencies.

At the same time, neither the pen of the historian, nor the imagination of the poet can fully describe the embarrassments suffered by Congress, by the commander in chief, and by men of firmness and principle in the several legislative bodies through this and the beginning of the next year. The scarcity of specie, the rapid depreciation of paper, which at once sunk the property and corrupted the morals of the people; which destroyed all confidence in public bodies, reduced the old army to the extremes of misery, and seemed to preclude all possibility of raising a new one, sufficient for all the departments; were evils which neither the wisdom nor the vigilance of Congress could remedy.

At such a crisis, more penetration and firmness, more judgment, impartiality, and moderation were requisite in the commander in chief of the American armies than usually fall within the compass of the genius or ability of man. In the neighborhood of a patent army, General Washington had to guard, with a very inadequate force, not only against the arms of his enemies, but the machinations of British emissaries, continually attempted to corrupt the fidelity both of his officers and his troops.

Perhaps no one but himself can describe the complicated sources of anxiety that at this period pervaded the breast of the first military officer, whose honor, whose life, whose country hung suspended not on a single point only, but on many events that quivered in the winds of fortune, chance, or the more uncertain determinations of men. Happy is it to reflect that these are all under the destination of an unerring hand that works in secret, ultimately to complete the beneficent designs of Providence.

Some extracts from his own pen very naturally express the agitations of the mind of General Washington in the preceding as well as the present year. In one of his letters to a friend [This original letter was to James Warren, Esquire, speaker of the Assembly of Massachusetts, March 31, 1779.] he observed "...Our conflict is not likely to cease so soon as every good man would wish. The measure of iniquity is not yet filled; and unless we can return a little more to first principles and act a little more upon patriotic ground, I do not know when it will, or what may be the issue of the contest. Speculation, peculation, engrossing, forestalling, with all their concomitants, afford too many melancholy proofs of the decay of public virtue; and too glaring instances of its being the interest and desire of too many, who would wish to be thought friends, to continue the war.

"Nothing, I am convinced, but the depreciation of our currency proceeding in a great measure from the foregoing causes, aided by stock-jobbing and party dissensions, has fed the hopes of the enemy, and kept the arms of Britain in American until now. They do not scruple to declare this themselves; and add that we shall be our own conquerors. Cannot our common country (America) possess virtue enough to disappoint them? With you, sir, I think that the consideration of a little dirty pelf to individuals is not to be placed in competition with the essential rights and liberties of the present generation and of millions yet unborn.

"Shall a few designing men, for their own aggrandizement, and to gratify their own avarice, overset the goodly fabric we have been rearing at the expense of so much time, blood and treasure? And shall we at last become the victims of our own abominable lust of gain? Forbid it Heaven! Forbid it all, and every state in the union! by enacting and enforcing efficacious laws for checking the growth of these monstrous evils, and restoring matters in some degree to the pristine state they were in at the commencement of the war.

"Our cause is noble. It is the cause of mankind. And the danger to it springs from ourselves. Shall we slumber and sleep then when we should be punishing those miscreants who have brought these troubles upon us, and who are aiming to continue us in them? while we should be striving to fill our battalions and devising ways and means to appreciate the currency, on the credit of which everything depends? I hope not.... Let vigorous measures be adopted to punish speculations, forestallers, and extortioners; and, above all, to sink the money in heavy taxes to promote public and private economy, encourage manufactures, etc.

"Measure of this sort gone heartily into by the several states will strike at once at the root of all our misfortunes and give the coup de grace to British hope of subjugating this great continent, either by their arms or their arts. The first, as I have before observed, they acknowledge unequal to the task; the latter, I am sure, will be so, if we are not lost to everything that is good and virtuous.

"A little time now must unfold in some degree the enemy's designs. Whether the sate of affairs in Europe will permit them to augment their army with more than recruits for the regiments now in America, and therewith attempt an active and vigorous campaign, or whether with their Canadian and Florida force they will aid and abet the Indians in ravaging our western frontier, while their shipping with detachments harass, (and if they mean to prosecute the predatory war threatened by administration through their commissioners) burn, and destroy our sea coast, or whether, contrary to expectation, they are more disposed to negotiate than to either, is more than I can determine. The latter will depend very much on their apprehensions of Spain and their own foreign alliances. At present, we seem to be in a chaos, but this cannot last long, as I presume the ultimate determinations of the British Court will be developed at the meeting of Parliament after the holidays."

An extract of another letter from General Washington to the Governor of Pennsylvania, dated August 20, 1780, discovered the same anxiety for the fate of the contest as the above. In this he said, "To me it will appear miraculous if your affairs can maintain themselves much longer in their present train. If either the temper or the resources of the country will not admit of an alteration, we may soon expect to be reduced to the humiliating condition of seeing the cause of America held up in America by Foreign arms. The discontents of the troops have been gradually nurtured to a dangerous extremity. Something satisfactory must be done, or the army must cease to exist at the end of the campaign; or it will exhibit an example of more virtue, fortitude, self-denial, and perseverance than has perhaps ever been paralleled in the history of human enthusiasm."

While thus impressed with these apprehensions of the depreciation of public virtue, General Washington had to balance the parties and to meliorate the distresses of the inhabitants, alternately ravaged by all descriptions of soldiers in the vicinity of both armies. It was impossible for him to strike any capital blow, without money even for daily expenses, without a naval force sufficient to cover any exertions; his battalions incomplete, his army clamorous and discontented, and on the point of mutiny, from the deficiencies in their pay and the immediate want of every necessary of life.

At the same time, the legislatures of the several states were in the utmost anxiety to devise ways and means to supply the requisitions of Congress, who had recently laid a tax of many millions on the states in order to sink the enormous quantity of old paper money. The calls of an army, naked, hungry, and turbulent, even to the discovery of symptoms of revolt, were indeed alarming. The pressing necessities of the army, and the critical exigencies of the times crowded upon them in every department and required the utmost wisdom, vigilance, and fortitude.

Nothing depictures the characters, the sentiments, and the feelings of men more strongly than their private letters at the time. Perhaps this may be evinced by giving the reader a paragraph of a letter from the speaker of the House of Representatives of Massachusetts [The honorable James Warren, Esquire] to a private friend at this critical era of embarrassment and perplexity.

"Our public affairs wear a most disagreeable aspect. Embarrassments increase from every quarter. My contemplations are engrossed by day and by night for the salvation of my country. If we succeed, I shall have pleasure which a fortune cannot give. If we fail, I shall feel consolations that those who are intent only on making fortunes must envy. In a country abounding with men and provisions, it would torture a Sully to raise and support an army in the field. Everything is resolved into money; but the real question is, how to get it? Taxes, though so great and often repeated, do not bring it in fast enough. We cannot borrow, because no one will lend, while the army is in danger of starving or disbanding. If we lay more taxes, the very people who have been used to tender half of their property or even their all for the service of their country will now revolt at the idea of paying a two-hundredth part. And it might perhaps create uneasiness that might break the union. On the other hand, if we do not lay more taxes, for aught I see, there must be an end of the contest. All these difficulties are increased by the successes of the enemy, which clog our measures by dispiriting the army and the people. But I do not despair; One vigorous and grand campaign may yet put a glorious period to the war. All depends on proper exertions. We have to choose glory, honor, and happiness, or infamy, disgrace, and misery."

The complicated difficulties already depictured clearly prove that such a spirit of avarice and peculation had crept into the public departments and taken deep hold of the majority of the people as Americans a few years before were thought incapable of. The careful observer of human conduct will readily perceive that a variety of concurring causes led to this sudden change of character. The opulent, who had been used to ease, independence, and generosity, were reduced, dispirited, and deprived of the ability of rendering pecuniary service to their country by the unavoidable failure of public faith. Great part of the fortunes of the widow, the orphan, and the aged were sunk in the public funds; so that the nominal income of a year would scarcely supply the necessities of a day.

The depreciation of paper had been so rapid at this time [See scale of depreciation.], $120 of paper currency was not an equivalent to $1 in silver or gold. While at the same time, a sudden accumulation of property by privateering, by speculation, by accident, or fraud, placed many in the lap of affluence, who were without principle, education, or family. These, from a thoughtless ignorance, and the novelty of splendor to which they had been total strangers, suddenly plunged into every kind of dissipation, and grafted the extravagances and follies of foreigners on their own passion for squandering what by them had been so easily acquired.

Thus, avarice without frugality, and profusion without taste were indulged and soon banished the simplicity an elegance that had formerly reigned; instead of which there was spread in America among the rising generation, a thirst for the accumulation of wealth, unknown to their ancestors. A class who had not had the advantages of the best education and who had paid little attention to the principles of the revolution took the lead in manners. Sanctioned by the breach of public faith, the private obligations of justice seemed to be little regarded, and the sacred idea of equity in private contracts was annihilated for a time by the example of public deficiency.

The infantile state of government, the inexperience of its leaders, and the necessity of substituting a medium with only imaginary value, brought an impeachment on Congress, without voluntary deviations from probity or willing breaches of faith. Perhaps nothing is more true than a observation of a member of that body that "the necessity of affairs had often obliged them to depart from the purity of their first principles." The complaint that the fountain was corrupt was artfully diffused. However that might be, the streams were undoubtedly tainted, and contamination, with few exceptions, seemed to run through the whole body of the people; and a declension of morals was equally rapid with the depreciation of their currency.

But a superintending Providence, that overrules the designs and defeats the projects of men, remarkably upheld the spirit of Americans; and caused events that had for a time a very unfavorable aspect to operate in favor of independence and peace and to make a new nation of the recent emigrants from the old and proud Empire of Britain.

But they had yet many difficulties to struggle with, which will be sufficiently evinced as we follow the route of the British army, and detail the transactions in the Carolinas. The embarrassments and distresses, the battles, skirmishes, and disappointments, the alternate successes and defeats, flight and pursuit that took place between the contending parties there must be more copiously related previous to the maneuvers through the state of Virginia that led to the last capital stroke which finished with glory and renown the grand contest between Great Britain and her colonies and sealed the independence of America.

Indeed, a considerable time had elapsed before the distresses of the country; the situation of the army, naked, hungry, and clamorous; the pressing importunity of General Washington; the addresses and declarations of Congress; and the remonstrances of the several legislative bodies could arouse from the pursuit of private interest those who thought themselves secure from immediate danger.

Though from many untoward circumstances, a cloud for a time had seemed to hover over the minds of many, the people again awakened, both from the dream of secure enjoyment in some and the dread apprehensions in others of falling under the British yoke. The patriotic exertions and unshaken firmness of the few in every state again had their influence on the many, and all seemed ready to suffer anything but a subjugation to the Crown of Britain.

Not the loss of Charleston, a captured army, the destruction of their marine, the sinking state of their medium, the internal ravages of their country, and their sea coast blazing under the fire of their enemies had the smallest tendency to bend the Americans to a dereliction of their claim to independence. A confidence in their own good fortune, or rather in that Providence whose fiat points out the rise an marks the boundaries of empire, supported the more thoughtful; while a constitutional hardiness, warmed by enthusiasm, and whetted by innumerable and recent injuries, still buoyed up the hopes of the soldier, the statesman, the legislator, and the people at large, even in the darkest moments.

Immediately after the news reached Congress that General Lincoln had surrendered Charleston and that himself and his army were prisoners of the British commander, the Baron de Kalb, a brave and experienced Prussian officer, who had been some time in the American service, was ordered to Virginia, with sanguine hopes of checking the further progress of the British arms. Though the Baron de Kalb was an officer of great military merit, his command at the southward was only temporary.

General Gates, the successful conqueror in the northern, was vested with the chief command in the southern department. It was an appointment of great responsibility. This might be a reason, in addition to the great respect which this foreign nobleman had for General Gates, that led him to express in all his letters to his friends the peculiar satisfaction he felt on his arrival to take chief command. An officer of this name and experience, at once emboldened the friends of their country, and intimidated the wavering and disaffected. The renowned solider, who had captured one proud British general and his army, was at that time viewed with particular awe and respect by another.

Nor was it long before most of the British commanders were convinced of the delusory nature of those assurances they had received from the loyalists that a general disgust to the authority of Congress prevailed; that the defection, more particularly in North Carolina, was such that the people were ready to renounce all American usurpations, as soon as the royal standard should be erected among them. But experiment soon convinced them of the futility of such expectations.

The Baron de Kalb had been sent on earlier from headquarters. He had with him a detachment of 1400 men. He stayed only a few weeks in Virginia and move from thence to Carolina, where he soon after met General Gates. After the junction of General Gates and the Baron de Kalb, they, with unexampled patience and fatigue, marched an army of several thousand men through a barren country that afforded no subsistence except green fruits and other unwholesome aliments. They reached the borders of South Carolina and encamped at Clermont on August 13.

On his arrival in the vicinity of the British headquarters, General Gates published a proclamation, inviting the patriotic inhabitants of South Carolina "to join heartily in rescuing themselves an their country from the oppression of a government imposed on them by the ruffian hand of power." In this proclamation, he promised forgiveness and perfect security to such of the unfortunate citizens of the state as had been induced by the terror of sanguinary punishments and the arbitrary measures of military domination apparently to acquiesce under the British government.

He observed "that they had been obliged to make a forced declaration of allegiance and support to a tyranny which the indignant souls of citizens resolved on freedom inwardly revolted at with horror and detestation; that they might rest satisfied that the genuine motive which has given energy to the present exertions is the hope of rescuing them from the iron rod of oppression and restoring to them those blessings of freedom and independence which it is the duty and interest of the citizens of these United States jointly and reciprocally to support and confirm.

The situation of General Gates at Clermont was not very advantageous, but his design was not to continue long there, but by a sudden move to fall unexpectedly on Lord Rawdon, who had fixed his headquarters at Camden. This place as bout 13 miles distant from Clermont, on the borders of the River Santee, from whence the communication was easy to the internal parts of the country.

Lord Cornwallis had gained early intelligence of the movements of the American army, and had arrived at Camden himself, with a similar design, by an unexpected blow, to surprise General Gates and defeat his arrangements. His Lordship effected his purpose with a facility beyond his own expectation. The tow armies met in the night of August 15, 1780. Mutually surprised by the sudden necessity of action, a loose skirmish was kept up until the morning, when an general engagement commenced.

The British troops were not equal in numbers to those of the Americans, including the militia; while the renowned character of General Gates heightened the ideas of their strength. But the onset on both sides began with equal spirit and bravery, and was continued with valor equally honorary to both parties, until the militia, intimidated, particularly those from Virginia and North Carolina, gave ground, threw down their arms, and fled with great precipitation. The order of the army was immediately broken, and fortune no longer favorable, forsook the American veteran at the moment his reputation courted and depended on her smiles. His troops were totally routed, and the general himself fled, rather than retreated, in a manner that was thought for a time in some measure to sully the laurels of Saratoga.

The Baron de Kalb, an officer of great military talents and reputation, was mortally wounded in this action. He died rejoicing in the services he had rendered America in her noble struggles for liberty, and gloried with his last breath in the honor of dying in defense of the rights of man. Before his death, he dictated a letter to a friend, expressive of the warmest affection for the Americans, containing the highest encomiums on the valor of the continental troops, of which he had been so recent a witness, and declaring the satisfaction which he then felt in having been a partaker of their fortune, and having fallen in their cause. (When Lord Cornwallis was informed of the rank and merits of Baron de Kalb, he directed that his remains should be respectfully interred. He was buried near the village of Camden; but no memorial of the deposit of this distinguished hero has been preserved, though Congress some time afterwards directed a monument should be erected to his memory. Nothing was, however, done, except planting an ornamental tree at the head of his grave.)

The proportion of slain among the Americans was much greater than that of the British. Brigadier General Gregory was killed, with several other brave officers. Rutherford and others were wounded and captured. The total rout of the Americans was completed by the pursuit and destruction of a corps at some distance from the scene of the late action, commanded by Colonel Sumpter. He was advancing with a strong body to the aid of General Gates, but meeting the news of his defeat, he endeavored to retreat, and being unfortunately overtaken by Colonel Tarleton, his whole party was dispersed or cut off.

Censure for a time fell very heavily on General Gates for the precipitation and distance of his retreat. He scarcely halted until he reached Hillsborough, 100 miles from the field of battle. Yet either the courage nor the fidelity of the bold and long-tried veteran could be called in question. The strongest human fortitude has frequently suffered a momentary eclipse from that panic-struck influence, under which the mind of man sometimes unaccountably falls, when there is no real or obvious cause of despair. This has been exemplified in the greatest military characters; the Duke of Parma (The masterly retreat of the Duke of Parma before the King of France was indeed a hasty flight; but he soon recovered himself and asked the king by a trumpet, "what he thought of this retreat?" The king was so much out of humor that he could not help saying "he had no skill in retreating; and that in his opinion, the best retreat in the world was little better than a flight." The Duke, however, gained, rather than lost reputation thereby. He resumed his high rank, as a commander of the first abilities and lived and died crowned with military fame and applause. Siege of Rouen. Med. Univ. History.) and others; and even the celebrated royal hero of Prussia has retreated before them as in a fright, but recovered himself, defied, and conquered his enemies.

General Gates, though he had lost the day in the unfortunate action at Camden, lost no part of his courage, vigilance, or firmness. After he reached Hillsborough, he made several efforts to collect a force sufficient again to meet Lord Cornwallis in the field; but the public opinion bore hard on his reputation. He was immediately superseded, and a court martial appointed to inquire into his conduct. He was indeed fully justified by the result of this military investigation, and treated with the utmost respect by the army, and by the inhabitants on his return to Virginia. Yet the tide of fame ebbed fast before him; but the impression made by his valor and military glory could never be erased.

The most exalted minds may, however, be clouded by misfortunes. Chagrined by his defeat, and the consequences attending it, the climax of his affliction was completed by the death of an amiable wife, and the loss of his only son, a very hopeful youth, who died about the same time. This honest republican, whose determined spirit, incorruptible integrity, and military merits had been so eminently useful to America in many critical emergencies, retired to Traveler's Rest, his seat in Virginia, where he continued until the temporary prejudice against him had subsided, when he again resumed his rank in the army.

After a little time had dissipated the sudden impression made by his ill success and retreat, it was allowed by almost everyone that General Gates was not treated by Congress with all the delicacy or indeed gratitude that was due to an officer of his acknowledged merit. He, however, received the orders for supercedure and suspension, and resigned the command to General Greene with becoming dignity.

With a generosity and candor characteristic of himself, General Greene, who succeeded in the southern command, on all occasions vindicated the reputation of General Gates, who was fully restored to the good opinion of his countrymen; and continued to act an honorable part until the conclusion of the war. General Greene invariably asserted that if there was any mistake in the conduct of Gates, it was in hazarding an action at all against such superior forces, not in his retreating after the battle was irretrievably lost. There was a large class who from various motives, after the misfortunes of General Gates, endeavored to vilify his name and detract from his character.

It may be observed in this, as in innumerable instances in the life of man, that virtue and talents do not always hold their rank in the public esteem. Malice, intrigue, envy, and other adventitious circumstances, frequently cast a shade over the most meritorious characters; and fortune, more than real worth, not seldom establishes the reputation of her favorites, in the opinion of the undiscerning multitude, and hands them down to posterity with laurels on their brow, which perhaps they never earned, while characters of more intrinsic excellence are vilified and forgotten. General Gates, however, had the consolation at all times to reflect on the just and universal plaudits he received for the glorious termination of his northern campaign and the many advantages which accrued to America from the complete conquest of such a formidable body of her foes.

Lord Cornwallis did not reap all the advantages he had expected from his victory at Camden. His severity did not aid his designs, though he sanctioned by proclamations the most summary executions of the unhappy sufferers who had by compulsion borne arms in the British service and were afterwards found enlisted under the banners of their country, in opposition to royal authority. Many of this description suffered immediate death in consequence of the order of the commander in chief, while their houses were burned and their families obliged to fly naked to the wilderness to seek some miserable shelter. Indeed, little less severity could have been expected from circumstances not favorable to the character of a British nobleman.

Whether stimulated by resentment, aroused by fear, or prompted by a wish to depopulate a country they despaired of conquering, is uncertain. It is true, however, that some of the British commanders when coming to action observed in general orders that they wanted no prisoners; and it was said that even Lord Cornwallis had sometimes given the same cruel intimation to troops too much disposed to barbarity, without the countenance of their superiors. The outrages of Tarleton and other British partisans, who cruelly and successfully ravaged the Carolinas, exemplified in too many instances that the account of this disposition is not exaggerated. Their licentiousness was for several weeks indulged, without any check to their wanton barbarities. But the people daily more and more alienated from the royal cause, by a series of unthought of miseries, inflicted and suffered in consequence of its success; the inhabitants of the state of North Carolina, as well as South Carolina and Georgia, and indeed the settler on the more distant borders, were, in a few weeks after the battle of Camden, everywhere in motion to stop the progress of British depredation and power. For a time, these fierce people were without connected system, regular discipline or subordination, and had scarcely any knowledge of each other's designs. Small parties collected under any officer who had the courage to lead them on, and many such they found, ready to sacrifice everything to the liberty they had enjoyed and that independence they wished to maintain.

From the desultory movements of the British after the Battle of Camden, and the continual resistance and unceasing activity of the Americans, attach and defeat, surprise and escape, plunder, burning, and devastation pervaded the whole country, when the aged, the helpless, the women and the children alternately fell the prey of opposite partisans. But the defeat of Major Ferguson, a brave and favorite officer, early in autumn, was a blow that discovered at once the spirit of the people and opened to Lord Cornwallis the general disaffection of that part of the country where he had been led to place the most confidence.

Major Ferguson had for several weeks taken post in Tryon County, not far distant from the western mountains. He had there collected a body of royalists who, united with his regular detachments, spread terror and dismay through all the adjacent country. This aroused to action all who were capable of bearing arms in opposition to his designs. A body of militia collected in and about the highlands of North Carolina. A party of Hunter's riflemen, a number of the steady yeomanry of the country, in short, a numerous and resolute band, in defiance of danger and fatigue, determined to drive him from his strong position on a spot called King's Mountain. Under various commanders who had little knowledge of each other, they seemed all to unite in the design of hunting down this useful prop of British authority, in that part of the country.

These hardy partisans effected their purpose; and though the British commander exhibited the valor of a brave and magnanimous officer, and his troops acquitted themselves with vigor and spirit, the Americans, who in great numbers surrounded them, won the day. Major Ferguson, with 150 of his men, fell in the action, and 700 were made prisoners, from whom where selected few, who, from motives of public zeal or private revenge were immediately executed. This summary infliction was imposed by order of some of those fierce and uncivilized chieftains who had spent most of their lives in the mountains and forests amid the slaughter of wild animals, which was necessary to their daily subsistence.

Perhaps the local situation of the hunts man or savage may lessen their horror at the sight of blood, where streams are continual pouring down before them, from the gasping victim slain by their own hands; and this may lead them, with fewer marks of compassion, to immolate their own species when either interest or resentment stimulates. In addition to this, all compassionate sensations might be totally deadened by the example of the British, who seemed to estimate the life of a man on the same grade with that of the animal of the forest.

The order for executing 10 of the prisoners (This step was justly complained of in a letter to General Smallwood from Lord Cornwallis. He particularly regretted the death of a Colonel Mills, a gentleman of a fair and uniform character; also a Captain Oates, and others who were charged with no crimes but that of royalism.) immediately on their capture was directed, as previously threatened by a Colonel Cleveland, who with Williams, Sevier, Shelby, and Campbell were the principal officers who formed and conducted the enterprise against Ferguson.

After this victory, most of the adherents to the royal cause in the interior parts of the Carolinas either changed sides or sunk into obscurity. Lord Cornwallis himself, in a letter to Sir Henry Clinton about this time, complained that "it was in the militia of the northern frontier alone that he could place the smallest dependence; and that they were so totally dispirited by Ferguson's defeat that in the whole district he could not assemble a hundred men, and even in them he could not now place the smallest confidence." (Sir Henry Clinton observed on this occasion that "the fatal catastrophe of Ferguson's defeat had lost Lord Cornwallis the whole militia of Ninety-Six, amounting to 4000 men; and even threw South Carolina into a state of confusion and rebellion.")

There had been repeated assurances given by the loyalists in North Carolina that their numbers and their zeal would facilitate the restoration of His Majesty's government in that province; but it appears by many circumstances that these promises were considered as very futile in the opinion of several of the principal officers of the British army, as well as the chief commander.

Soon after the affair with Ferguson, Lord Cornwallis's health was so far impaired that he directed Lord Rawdon to make communications to Sir Henry Clinton, and to give him a full statement of the perplexed and perilous situation of His Majesty's forces in the Carolinas. After stating many circumstances of the deception of the loyalists the difficulty of obtaining subsistence in such a barren country, and other particulars of their situation, Lord Rawdon observed in this letter to General Clinton that they were greatly surprised that no information had been given them of the advance of General Gates's army; and "no less grieved that no information whatever of its movements was conveyed to us by persons so deeply interested in the event as the North Carolina loyalists."

After the defeat of General Gates and the dispersion of his army, the loyalists were informed that the moment had arrived when they ought immediately to stand forth and "exert themselves to present the reunion of the scattered enemy. Instant support was in that case promised them. Not a single man, however, attempted to improve the favorable opportunity or obeyed that summons for which they had before been so impatient. It was hoped that our approach might get the better of their timidity; yet, during a long period, while we were waiting at Charlotteburgh for our stores and convalescents, they did not even furnish us with the least information respecting the fore collecting against us. In short, sir, we may have a powerful body of friends in North Carolina, and indeed we have cause to be convinced that many of the inhabitants wish well to His Majesty's arms; but they have not given evidence enough either of their number or their activity to justify the stake of this province for the uncertain advantages that might attend immediate junction with them. There is reason to believe that such must have been the risk.

"While this army lay at Charlotteburgh, Georgetown was taken from the militia by the rebels; and the whole country to the east of the Santee gave such proofs of general defection that even the militia of the High Hills could not be prevailed on to join a party of troops who were sent to protect the boats on the river. The defeat of Major Ferguson has so far dispirited this part of the country, and indeed the loyal subjects were so wearied by the long continuance of the campaign that Lieutenant Colonel Cruger (command at Ninety-Six) sent information to Earl Cornwallis that the whole district had determined to submit as soon as the rebels should enter it." (Lord Rawdon's letter to General Clinton, October 29, 1780.)

While Lord Cornwallis lay ill of a fever, Lord Rawdon wrote to Major General Leslie in terms of disappointment and despondence. He observed "that events had unfortunately taken place very different from expectation; that the first rumor of an advancing army under General Gates had unveiled a spirit of disaffection of which they could have formed no idea; and even the dispersion of that force did not extinguish the ferment which the hope of its support had raised. This hour, the majority of the inhabitants of that tract between Pedee and the Santee are in arms against us; and when we last heard from Charleston, they were in possession of Georgetown, from which they had dislodged our militia. [See printed correspondence of Generals Clinton, Cornwallis, Rawdon, etc., published in London, 1783.]

While Lord Cornwallis was thus embarrassed and disappointed by various unsuccessful attempts and the defeat of many of his military operations in the Carolinas this year, Sir Henry Clinton made a diversion in the Chesapeake, in favor of His Lordship's designs. A body of about 3000 men was sent on under the command of General Leslie. He was under the orders of Lord Cornwallis; but not hearing from His Lordship for some time after his arrival, he was totally at a loss in what manner to proceed. But some time in the month of October, he received letters from Lord Cornwallis directing him to repair with all possible expedition to Charleston, to assist with all his forces in the complete subjugation of the Carolinas.

Sir Henry Clinton, from an idea that Cornwallis's prime object was the reduction of the Carolinas and sensible of the necessity at the same time of solid operations in Virginia, paid all proper attention to the expedition into the Chesapeake. After General Leslie, in obedience to the orders of Lord Cornwallis, had marched to the southward, the command of the armament in Virginia was given to General Arnold, who now acted under the orders of Sir Henry Clinton. In consequence of his defection, he had been advanced to the rank of a Brigadier General in the British army.

General Arnold had recently deserted the American cause, sold himself to the enemies of his country, and engaged in their service. He was a man without principles from the beginning; and before his defection was discovered, he had sunk a character raise by impetuous valor, and some occasional strokes of bravery, attended with success without being the possessor of any intrinsic merit.

He had accumulated a fortune by great crimes, and squandered it without reputation, long before he formed the plan to betray his country and sacrifice a cause disgraced by the appointment of a man like himself to such important trusts. Proud of the trappings of office, and ambitious of an ostentatious display of wealth and greatness (the certain mark of a narrow mind) he had wasted the plunder acquired at Montreal, where his conduct had been remarkably reprehensible; and had dissipated the rich harvest of peculation he had reaped at Philadelphia,where his rapacity had no bounds.

Montreal he had plundered in haste; but in Philadelphia, he sat himself down deliberately to seize everything he could lay hands on in the city, to which he could affix an idea that it had been the property of the disaffected party and converted it to his own use. {See resolutions of the Governor and Council at Philadelphia, February 3, 1779, relative to Arnold's conduct in that city.) Not satisfied with the unjust accumulation of wealth, he had entered into contracts for speculating and privateering, and at the same time made exorbitant demands on Congress, in compensation of public services. In the one, he was disappointed by the common failure of such adventures; in the other he was rebuffed and mortified by the commissioners appointed to examine his accounts, who curtailed a great part of his demands as unjust, unfounded, and for which he deserved severe reprehension, instead of a liquidation of the accounts he had exhibited.

Involved by extravagance, and reproached by his creditors, his resentment wrought him up to a determination of revenge for public ignominy, at the expense of his country, and the sacrifice of the small remains of reputation left after the perpetration of so many crimes.

The command of the very important post at West Point was vested in General Arnold. No one suspected, notwithstanding the censures which had fallen on him, that the had a heart base enough treacherously to betray his military trust. Who made the first advances to negotiation is uncertain; but it appeared on a scrutiny that Arnold had made overtures to General Clinton, characteristic of his own turpitude and not very honorary to the British commander, if viewed abstractedly from the usage of war, which too frequently sanctions the blackest crimes and enters into stipulations to justify the treason, while generosity despises the traitor and revolts at the villainy of the patricide. Thus his treacherous proposals were listened to and Sir Henry Clinton authorized Major Andre, his adjutant general, a young gentleman of great integrity and worth, to hold personal and secret conference with the guilty Arnold.

A British sloop of war had been stationed for some time at a convenient place to facilitate the design. It was also said that Andre and Arnold had kept up a friendly correspondence on some trivial matters previous to the personal interview, which took place on September 21, 1780. Major Andre was landed in the night on a beach without the military boundaries of either army. He there met Arnold, who communicated to him the state of the army and garrison at West Point, the number of men considered as necessary for its defense, a return of the ordnance, and the disposition of the artillery corps in case of an attack or alarm. The accounts he gave in writing, with drafts of al the works. These papers were afterwards found in the boot of the unfortunate Andre.

The conference continued so long that it did not finish timely for the safe retreat of Major Andre. He was conducted, though without his knowledge or consent, within the American posts, where he was obliged to conceal himself in company with Arnold until the ensuing morning. It was then found impracticable for Clinton's agent to make his escape by the way he had advanced. The Vulture sloop of war, from whence he had been landed, had shifted her station while he was on shore and lay so much exposed to the fire of the Americans that the boatmen whom Arnold had bribed to bring his new friend to the conference, refused to venture a second time on board. This circumstance rendered it impossible for Major Andre to return to New York by water. He was therefore impelled, by the advice of Arnold, to a circuitous route as the only alternative to escape the danger into which he was indiscreetly betrayed.

Thus as this young officer, whose former character undoubtedly rendered him worthy of a better fate, reduced to the necessity of hurrying as a disguised criminal through the posts of his enemies in fallacious hopes of again recovering the camp of his friends. In this painful state of mind, he had nearly reached the British, when he was suddenly arrested within the American lines, by three private soldiers. His reflections may be more easily imagined than described -- taken in the night, detected in a disguised habit, under a fictitious name, with a plan of the works at West Point, the situation, the numbers, and the strength of the American army, with a pass under the hand of General Arnold in his pocket book.

He urged for a few moments that man who first seized his horse's bridle, to let him pass on; told him that his name as John Anderson; that his business was important; and that he could not be detained. But two other soldiers coming up and in a peremptory manner saluting him as their prisoner, after challenging him as a spy, he attempted no farther equivocation, but presented a purse of gold, an elegant watch, and offered other very tempting rewards if he might be permitted to pass unmolested to New York. Generously rejected all pecuniary rewards, the disinterested privates who seized the unfortunate Andre had the fidelity to convey their prisoner as speedily as possible to the headquarters of the American army.

Such instances of fidelity and such contempt for private interest which united with duty and obligation to the public are so rare among the common classes of mankind that the names of John Paulding, David Williams, and Isaac Vanvert (These were the names of the three soldiers who detected and secured Major Andre.) ought never to be forgotten. General Washington immediately informed Congress of the whole business and appointed a court martial, consisting of the principal officers of the army, to inquire into the circumstances and criminality of this interesting affair.

The day after Major Andre was taken, he wrote to General Washington with a frankness becoming a gentleman and a man of honor and principle. He observed that what he had as yet said of himself was in the justifiable attempt to extricate him from threatened danger; but to, too little accustomed to duplicity, he had not succeeded. He intimated that the tempter of his mind was equal; and that no apprehension of personal safety had induced him to address the commander in chief. But that it was to secure himself from the imputation of having assumed a mean character, for treacherous purposes or self-interest, a conduct which he declared incompatible with the principles which had eve actuated him as well as with his condition in former life.

In this letter he added "It is to vindicate my fame that I speak: not to solicit security. The person in your possess is Major John Andre, adjutant general to the British army." He then detailed the whole transaction, from his going up the Hudson in the Vulture sloops of war, until seized by Tarrytown, without his uniform, and, as himself expressed, "betrayed into the vile condition of an enemy within your posts." He requested His Excellency that he might be treated as a man of honor; and urged that "in any rigor policy might dictate, I pray that a decency of conduct towards me may mark that though unfortunate, I am branded with nothing dishonorable, as no motive could be mine, but the service of my king; and that I was involuntarily an impostor."

After a thorough investigation, the result of the trial of Major Andre was a unanimous opinion of the court martial that his accusation was just. They reported "that Major Andre, adjutant general to the British army, ought to be considered as a spy from the enemy; that he came on shore from the Vulture sloop of war in the night of September 21, on an interview with General Arnold, in a private and secret manner; that he changed his dress within our lines, and under a feigned name, and in a disguised habit, passed our works at Stoney and Verplank's Points; that he was taken in a disguised habit on his way to New York; that he had in his possession several papers which contained intelligence for the enemy; and that agreeable to the laws and usages of nations, it is their opinion he ought to suffer death." [The court consisted of 14 very respectable officers, of whom General Greene was president. See trial of Major Andre.]

Great interest was made in favor of this young gentleman, whose life had been unimpeached, and whose character promised a distinguished rank in society, both as a man of letters and a soldier. He was elegant in person, amiable in manners, polite, sensible, and brave; but from a misguided zeal for the service of his king, he descended to an assume and disgraceful character; and by accident and mistake in himself, and the indiscretion and baseness of his untried friend, he found himself ranked with a class held infamous among all civilized nations.

The character of a spy has ever been held mean and disgraceful by all classes of men; yet the most celebrated commanders of all nations have frequently employed some of their bravest and most confidential officers to wear a guise, in which, if detected, they are at once subjected to infamy and to the halter. Doubtless, the Generals Clinton and Washington were equally culpable in selecting an Andre and a Hale to hazard all the hopes of youth and talents on the precarious die of executing with success a business to which so much deception and baseness is attached.

But the fate of Andre was lamented by the enemies of his nation. His sufferings were soothed by the politeness and generosity of the commander in chief, and the officers of the American army. The gloom of imprisonment was cheered in part and the terrors of death mitigated by the friendly intercourse and converse of benevolent minds; and the tear of compassion was drawn from every pitying eye that beheld this accomplished youth a victim to the usages of war. While the unfortunate Hale, detected in the effort of gaining intelligence of the designs of the enemies of his country, in the same clandestine manner, had been hanged in the city of New York, without a day lent to pause on the awful transition from time to eternity. [See an account of Captain Hale's execution in the British Remembrancer, and other historical records.]

This event took place soon after the action on Long Island. The dilemma to which he was reduced and the situation of his army rendered it expedient for General Washington to endeavor to gain some intelligence of the designs and subsequent operations of Sir William Howe and the army under his command. This being intimated by Colonel Smallwood to Captain Hale, a young gentleman of unimpeachable character and rising hopes, he generously offered to risk his life for the service of his country in the perilous experiment. He ventured into the city, was detected, and with the same frankness and liberality of mind that marked the character of Andre, acknowledged that he was employed in a business that could not be forgiven by his enemies; and without the smallest trait of compassion from anyone, he was cruelly insulted and executed with disgraceful rigor. Nor was he permitted to bid a melancholy adieu to his friends by conveying letters to inform them of the fatal catastrophe that prematurely robbed them of a beloved son.

The lives of two such valuable young officers thus cut off in the morning of expectation were similar in everything but the treatment they received from the hands of their enemies. The reader will draw the parallel or the contrast between the conduct of the British and the Americans on an occasion that demanded equal humanity and tenderness from every beholder and make his own comment.

A personal interview at the request of Sir Henry Clinton took place between the Generals Robertson and Greene; and everything in the power of ingenuity, humanity, or affection was proposed by General Robertson to prevent the fate of the unhappy Andre. It was urged that he went from the Vulture under the sanction of a flag; and that General Arnold had, as he had a right to do, admitted him within the American lines. But Major Andre had too much sincerity to make sue of any subterfuge not founded in truth. In the course of his examination, he, with the utmost candor, acknowledged that "it was impossible for him to suppose he came on shore under the sanction of a flag."

The propriety and dignity with which he had written to General Washington on his first becoming a prisoner; the acknowledgment of his rank and condition in life, the manner of his detection, the accident of his being betrayed within the American posts; and indeed such was his whole department that he feelings of humanity forbade a wish for the operation of the rigorous maxims of war.

It was thought necessary that he should be adjudged the victim of policy; but resentment towards him was never harbored in any bosom. He gratefully acknowledged the kindness and civilities he received from the American officers; but he wished some amelioration of some part of his sentence; his sensibility was wounded by the manner in which he was doomed to die.

He wrote General Washington the day before his execution that "Buoyed above the terror of death by the consciousness of a life devoted to honorable pursuits, stained with no action that can give me remorse, I trust that the request I make to Your Excellency at this severe period, and which is to soften my last moments, will not be rejected.

"Sympathy towards a soldier will surely induce you to adapt the mode of my death to the feelings of a man of honor.

"Let me hope, sir, that if aught in my character impresses you with esteem towards me; if aught in my misfortunes marks me the victim of policy, not of resentment; I shall experience the operation of those feelings in your breast by being informed I am not to die on a gibbet."

This is last and pathetic request, to die as a soldier and a man of honor, not as a criminal, the severity of military rules pronounced inadmissible; and this gallant and amiable young officer fell as a traitor, amid the armies of America, but without a personal enemy. Every tongue acceded to the justice of his sentence, yet every eye dropped tear at the necessity of its execution. Many persons, from the impulse of humanity, thought that General Washington might, consistently with his character as a soldier and a patriot, have meliorated the sentence of death so far as to have saved, at his own earnest request, the amiable young man from the ignominy of a gallows, by permitting him to die in a mode more consonant to the ideas of the brave, the honorable, and the virtuous.

When General Arnold was first apprised of the detection of Major Andre and that he was conducted to headquarters, he was struck with astonishment and terror, and in the agitation and agonies of a man, he called for a horse, mounted instantly, and rode down a craggy steep, never before explored on horseback. He took a barge, and, under a flag, he passed Verplank's Point and soon found himself safe beneath the guns of the Vulture sloop of war. Before he took leave of the bargemen, he made them a very generous offers if they would act as dishonorably as he had done; he promised them higher and better wages, if they would desert their country and enlist in the service of Britain; but they spurned at the offer and were permitted to return. Perhaps, had these American watermen been apprised of the full extent of Arnold's criminality, they would have acted with as much resolution as the trio who seized Major Andre, and have secured Arnold, when he might have suffered the punishment he deserved.

After Arnold had got safe to New York, he wrote to General Washington in behalf of his wife; endeavored to justify his own conduct, and his appointment and conference with Andre; claimed his right to send a flag to the enemy for any purposes he might think proper while he held a respectable command in the American army; and urged the release of Major Andre with art, insolence, and address. He did not stop here, but on October 7, five days after the execution of Andre, he sent out an address to the people of America, fabricated under the auspices of his new masters, and couched in very insolent and overbearing language. He cast many indecent reflections on Congress, on his countrymen, on the French nation, and on the alliance between America and France.

Soon after his arrival in New York, he received the price of his fidelity: 10,000 pounds sterling, in cash, and his honor, in a new commission under the Crown of Great Britain.

The Generals Clinton and Robertson did everything to save the life of their favorite Andre, except delivering up the traitor Arnold. To this exchange, General Washington would readily have acceded; but a proposal of this nature could not be admitted; for, however beloved or esteemed the individual may be, personal regards must yield to political exigencies. Thus while the accomplished Andre was permitted to die by the and of the common executioner, the infamous Arnold was caressed, rewarded, and promoted to high rank in the British army.

The American government was not remiss in all proper encouragement to signal instances of faithful attachment to the interest and service of their country. Congress ordered that the three private soldiers who had rejected the offers of Andre on his detection should each of them be presented with a silver medal, $200 annually during life, and the thanks of Congress, acknowledging the high sense they retained of the virtuous conduct of Paulding, Williams, and Vanvert.

Sir Henry Clinton had so high an opinion of General Arnold's military abilities and placed such entire confidence in this infamous traitor to this country that he vested him with commands of high trust and importance; and for a time placed his sole dependence on him for the ravage of the borders of Virginia. He had now the sole command in the Chesapeake; and by his rapacity, he was qualified to surprise and plunder. His talents for prosecuting hostilities by unexpected attack and massacre were well known in both armies. But affairs in Virginia beginning to wear a more serious aspect, General Clinton thought it not proper to leave General Arnold to his own discretion for any length of time, without the support and assistance of officers of more respectable character, who we shall see were appointed and sent forward the beginning of the next year.

We leave the operations of the British commanders in their several departments for the present and again advert to some interesting circumstances and new disappointments that took place towards the close of the present year and filled the mind of every true American with the utmost concern. There had yet been no treaty or public stipulations between the United States and any foreign nation except France; but circumstances had been ripening to bring forward immediate negotiations with the Dutch Republic.

Holland was at this period in a more delicate situation than almost any other European power. Great Britain claimed her as an ally and held up the obligations of patronage and protection in strong language. But the nature of the dispute between Great Britain and her transatlantic domains, as well as the commercial views of the Belgian provinces interested the merchants, the burgomasters, and the pensioners of Holland in favor of America. While the partiality of the Stadtholder, his family, and the court connections were altogether British; or, atleast, the motives of interest, affection, or fear held them up in that light.

In the intermediate time, the clandestine assistance given by the Dutch merchants was very advantageous to America; and the private encouragement of some of other magistrates of the United Netherlands that a treaty of alliance and the strictest amity might in time be accomplished between the two republics, heightened the expectations of the American Congress. None of the principal characters among the Batavians were more zealously interested in the success of the American struggle for independence than Robert Jasper Van de Capellen, Lord of Marsch.

This worthy Dutchman, as early as December 7, 1778 had solicited a correspondence with several of the most prominent characters in America. A more correct and judicious correspondent he could not have selected than Governor Trumbull of Connecticut, whose merits as a man, a patriot, and a Christian cannot be too highly appreciated. This gentleman was distinguished in each line of this triple character: as a man, his abilities were conspicuous, his comprehension clear, and his judgment correct. The sedateness of his mind qualified him for the patriot, and the friend of a young and growing country, whose manufactures had been checked, her commerce cramped, and her liberties (for the enjoyment of which they had fled to a distant world) curtailed; and in no instance did he ever deviate from the principles of the revolution. His uniform conduct as a Christian was not less signal; his integrity and uprightness, his benevolence and piety, and the purity and simplicity of his manners, through a long life, approached as near the example of the primitive patterns of a sublime religion as that of anyone raised to eminence of office, who, by the flatteries of their fellow men, are too often led to forget themselves, their country, and their God.

The Baron Van de Capellen was a zealous supporter of the Americans in their claim to independence and predisposed many of his countrymen to unite cordially with them and enter into treaties of amity and commerce, previous to the arrival of a minister at the Hague to negotiate on that subject.

In one of his letters to Governor Trumbull, he had observed "that among other causes of distrust, in relation to the credit of America, was the false intelligence which the English incessantly circulate, the effects of which the friends of the Americans cannot destroy, for the want of information; that it was of the last importance to enable them by authentic relations which should contain nothing but what was precisely true and in which even the disadvantages inseparable from the chances of war should not be concealed; in order to enable them from time to time to give an idea of the actual state of things and of what is really passing on the other side of the ocean."

He added, "If you choose, sir, to honor me with such a correspondence, be assured that I shall make a proper use of it. Communications apparently in confidence have a much stronger influence than those which appear in public." He observed that "a description of the present state and advantages of United America; of the forms of government in its different republics; of the facility with which strangers there may establish themselves and find a subsistence; of the price of lands, both cultivated and unimproved, of cattle, provisions, etc.; with a succinct history of the present war, and the cruelties committed by the English, would excite astonishment in a country where America is known but through the medium of the gazettes."

Governor Trumbull had not hesitated to comply with this request. He had detailed a succinct narrative of past and present circumstances and the future prospects of America; for a part of which the reader is referred to Note 9, at the end of this chapter. The Baron Capellen observes on the above letter of this gentleman that "it was to be regretted that so handsome, so energetic a defense of the American cause should be shut up in the portfolio of an individual; that he had communicated it with discretion in Amsterdam; and that it had made a very strong impression on all who had read it."

These favorable dispositions among many persons of high consideration in the United Netherlands, whose ancestors had suffered so much to secure their own liberties, led Congress to expect their aid and support in a contest so interesting to republican opinion and the general freedom of mankind. It forbade any farther delay in the councils of America. Congress were convinced no time was to be lost; but that a minister with proper credentials should immediately appear in a public character at the Hague; or if that should be found inadmissible that he should have instructions to regulate any private negotiations according to the dictates of judgment, discretion, or necessity.

Accordingly, early in the present year, the honorable Henry Laurens of South Carolina, late president of the Continental Congress, was vested with this important commission. Perhaps a more judicious choice of a public minister could not have been made throughout the states. From his prudence, probity, politeness, and knowledge of the world, Mr. Laurens was competent to the trust, and well qualified for the execution thereof. But he was, unfortunately, captured on his way by Admiral Edwards, carried to Newfoundland, and from thence sent to England, where he experienced all the rigors of severity usually inflicted on state criminals.

Before Mr. Laurens left the foggy atmosphere of Newfoundland, an apparent instance of the deep-rooted jealousy harbored in the breasts of British officers against all Americans who fell into their hands was discovered by the refusal of Admiral Edwards to permit at Mr. Laurens's request Mr. Winslow Warren to accompany him to Europe in the frigate in which he sailed.

This youth was the son of a gentleman who had been vested with some of the first and most respectable offices of trust and importance in America. He was captured on his way to Europe a few weeks before Mr. Laurens, to whom he had introductory letters from some of the first characters in America, to be delivered on his arrival at the Hague. Their unfortunate meeting as prisoners on this dreary spot gave him an early opportunity to present them. No cartel had yet been settled for the exchange of prisoners; and sensibly touched with compassion for their sufferings, Mr. Warren voluntarily engaged to remain as a hostage until that arrangement might take place. The Admiral consented to send a great number of Americans to Boston, on Mr. Warren's word of honor that an equal number of British prisoners would be returned.

Mr. Laurens wished to anticipate his release from the generous feelings of his own mind as well as from the delicacy of sentiment and the accomplished manners of Mr. Warren; and though they were both treated with the utmost politeness by Admiral Edwards, he refused to gratify these gentlemen in their mutual wishes to be fellow passengers, as they were fellow prisoners. But the Admiral permitted Mr. Warren, within three or four days after Mr. Laurens's departure, to take passage in another frigate bound directly to England.

Mr. Laurens took an affectionate leave of Mr. Warren, and requested him to write his friends or to tell them if he reached America before him that "though he was an old man who had recently lost all his estates in Charleston by the capture of that city and had now lost his liberty, that the was still the same; firm, cheerful, and unruffled by the shocks of fortune."

When Mr. Laurens arrived in England, he was committed to the Tower, confined to very narrow apartments, and denied all intercourse with his friends. There Mr. Warren saw him when he arrived in England, near enough to exchange a salute, but they were not permitted to speak to each other.

It is observable that the defection of General Arnold, and the capture of Mr. Laurens took place within a few days of each other. These two circumstances operated on the passions of men in a contrasted point of view. The treachery of Arnold was beheld with irritation and disdain by his former military associates and with the utmost disgust and abhorrence through all America. The fate of Mr. Laurens awakened the better feelings of the human heart. As an individual of the highest respectability, all who know him were pained with apprehensions, lest he should be subjected to personal danger or sufferings. As a diplomatic officer, the first public character that had been sent to the Batavian provinces, it was feared captivity and detention might have an unfavorable effect on the foreign relations of America, and particularly on their connection with Holland. Indeed, a variety of circumstances that took place through the summer and autumn of this did not augur the most propitious promises relative to the operations of the next year.


Note 9

Governor Trumbull observed thus: "The only obstacle which I foresee to the settlement of foreigners in the country will be the taxes, which must inevitably for a time run high, for he payment of the debts contracted during the present war. These, indeed, will be much lightened by the care which has been taken to confine these debts as much as possible among ourselves, and by emitting a paper currency in place of borrowing from abroad. But this method, though it secures the country from being drained hereafter of immense sums of solid coin which can never return, has exposed us to a new and very disagreeable embarrassment by its monstrous depreciation. An evil which had its rise in and owes all its rapid increase to the single cause of our not having provided at a sufficiently early period for its reduction and payment by taxes. This measure was indeed rendered impractical at the proper time by the radical derangement of the system of government and, consequently, of revenue in many of the United States; and its necessary delay till the removal of these impediments gave time for avarice and suspicion to unite in sapping the foundations of our internal credit."

He adds, "I am no advocate for internal or foreign loans. In my opinion, they are like cold water in a fever, which allays the disease for a moment, but soon cases it to rage with a redoubled violence; temporary alleviations, but ultimately real additions to the burden. The debts which we have already contacted or may hereafter to necessitated to contract abroad, I have not a doubt but will be paid with the utmost punctuality and honor; and there can be no surer foundation of credit than we possess in the rapidly increasing value and importance of our country.

"In short, it is not so much my wish that the United States should gain credit among foreign nations for the loan of money, as that all nations, and especially your countrymen in Holland, should be made acquainted with the real state of the American war. The importance and greatness of this rising empire, the future extensive value of our commerce, the advantages of colonization, are objects which need only to be known to command your attention, protection, and support.

"Give me leave most sincerely to express my grief that the efforts you have made for the removal of oppression in your own country and for extending the blessings of liberty and plenty to the poor should have met with so ungrateful a return of persecution and insult. Unhappy state of man! where opulence and power conspire to load the poor, the defenseless, and the innocent with accumulated misery; where an unworthy few join to embitter the life of half their fellow men, that they may wallow in the excess of luxurious debauch or shine in the splendid trappings of folly.