Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

"We have had much work here of late with the Tories. A dark plot has been discovered sf sending names down to General Gage, in :onsequence of which, and the critical situation af this town, we have been obliged to act with rigor,and have sent Mr. Jones and Evans to Northampton jail, where they now lie in close ■onfinement, and have sent a hue and cry after ilijor Stoddard and Mr. Little, who have fled o New York for shelter. We hope it will not >e long before they are taken into custody and committed to close confinement. Our Tories ire the worst in the province. All the effect the ate and present operations have had upon them s, they are mute and pensive, and secretly vish for more prosperous days to Toryism.

"As to your important operations, sir, you ave the fervent prayers of all good men, that iuccess may attend them. I hope God will inpire yon with wisdom from above in all your ^liberations, and your soldiers with courage ind fortitude, and that Boston will be speedily elivered into your hands, the general thereof, ind all the king's troops, that that den of hievcs, that nest of robbers, that asylum for narderers and traitors, may be broken up, and lever another red coat from England set foot in these shores. I have been concerned lest leneral Gage should spread the small-po.x in our army. May Heaven preserve you from lis wicked wiles. May you be shielded, sir, n the day of battle, and obtain a complete vicory over those enemies of God and mankind, have but one observation to make, which I «ve often made upon the histories I have read, ndthen I must put an end to this tedious episle. It is this: seldom or never do the greatest enerals duly improve a victory when it is obu'ned. I am, sir, with the greatest respect, your bedient, humble servant, Thomas Allen."

Twelve days after the date of this letter, a the 10th of May, Fort Ticonderoga ad surrendered at the demand of Ethan dlen, on an authority it did not like to uestion.

It is not generally known, that Arnold, leeting at Castleton the forces already liscd by Allen and Huston, showed his ommission from the Provincial Congress, nd demanded in a peremptory and inalting manner his right to the command. lott says, in his letter, written to the 'rovincial Congress immediately after the orrendcr of the fort, that "after we ad generously told him our whole plan, It. Arnold strenuously contended and iniated, that he had a right to command us nd all our forces; which bred such a mumy among our soldiers, as almost frusrated our whole design. Our men were

for clubbing their firelocks and marching home, but were prevented by Col. Allen and Col. Easton, who told them that he should not have the command of them, and if he did, that their pay should be the same as though they were under their command; but they would damn the pay, and say they would not be commanded by any others but those they engaged with." After the surrender of the fort, Arnold again assumed the command, and demanding that Allen should resign the charge of the garrison into his hands, insisted upon the direction of the whole business. Ethan Allen was not the man to be biow-beaten, especially when he was in the right; and. though at most times his temper was completely under his control, he was occasionally most fearful in his anger. He bore the insults of Arnold for several days with much patience, until at length, finding one of his orders countermanded, he sought him, and seizing him by the collar, said in his stentorian voice, " Go back to those who sent you here, and tell them if they want Ethan Allen to resign his command, to send a man to take it."

It was nt this time, that the misunderstanding commenced between Col. Brown and Arnold, which afterwards made so much noise in the colonies. As it was, until its close, a matter of private history only, and is not generally known, it is duo to the sagacity of Col. Brown—a sagacity which saw at that early day through the disguise of the traitor—that it should be made public.

Brown was a young and highly promising lawyer in Pittsfield. From his capacity and active interest in behalf of the colony, he had been selected by the Committee of Correspondence to go in the year 1774 to Canada, to induce the people there to unite with the Provinces against the mother country. He was a man of winning manners and fine person, possessing great influence over those who knew him. At great personal hazard, for his objects soon became known to the Canadian authorities, and with consummate ability, he discharged the duties of his mission to the entire satisfaction of his employers, though without any encouraging result. Canada needed the right kind of men—the descendants of those who learned the principles of civil liberty from Pym, and Elliot, and Hamden—to organize an efficient opposition against British tyranny; and his mission was, therefore, unsucessful. After the surrender of Fort Ticonderoga, he was employed in company with Allen to precede the expedition against Canada, mainly to assure the inhabitants that no designs against their liberties were intended by the invading army. In an attack upon Montreal, projected by himself, and undertaken with a very inadequate force, Allen was taken prisoner, and after the most cruel usage, was sent in chains to Great Britain. Col. Brown then joined the forces under Arnold, and was present on the 31 st of December, in the unfortunate attack upon Quebec. Charged with the Boston troops, of whom he had the command, to co-operate with Col. Livingstone in making a false attack upon one of the gates of the citj', he triumphed over all the obstacles in his way, and succeeded in accomplishing his purpose, Livingstone having been unable to reach the spot, owing to the great depth of the snow. The history of the attack is well known, and need not be recited here.

It was during this campaign, that the growing dislike of Col. Brown towards Arnold was increased to an avowed and implacable hostility. He had repeatedly remonstrated with him upon the impolicy of making treacherous promises to the Canadians, of exacting needless and heavy distraints upon their property, and wickedly devastating their villages. Finding entreaties and reason to be of no avail, and having proof of Arnold's constant peculation of the public funds intrusted to him, he broke entirely from all connection with him, and posted him as a coward and a villain. In fourteen articles of accusation which he published against Arnold, he branded his name with every epithet which it bears at this day, and challenged him to falsify the charges. Before a committee of Congress, he offered to prove all he had published, but finding the leading men desirous at that early day, and wisely so, to quiet all contention among the officers of the still new and undisciplined arm)', and unwilling to investigate the charges he brought, Brown declared publicly, that though they might now "trust in Arnold as a brave officer, he would yet prove a traitor to the American |

cause, from his avaricious love of gold "— a prophecy fulfilled at last to the tm letter.

Dissatisfied by the apathy of the Congress, and disgusted with a service whicl might bring him under the command d man whose principles and character L? detested, Col. Brown threw up his con mission and resumed the practice of la* He did not again enter the army until uV year 1780. Solicited at that time to ul command of a regiment which had b«i mustered for the relief of Fort Schnyk then greatly endangered by the invasn: of Sir John Johnson, he consented and ** immediately ordered up the Mohawk. On his birth-day, October 19, 1780, boK then thirty-six years old, he and forty-fi« Berkshire men with him, fell dead in tic murderous attack of the Indians at Sto» Arabic.

We have alluded to the cruel treauwt which Ethan Allen received from it" British authorities, after he was m»d< prisoner at Montreal. In the numerei sketches of his life, we do not reniemlw ever to have seen the following letkf written by his brother to Gen. Masaic: ton, which deserves to be preserved, if fa nothing else, as a curious document of* times:—

"Salisbury, Ct., Jan. 27,1776.

"may It Please Tour Excellency :—I tai rode some hundred miles in consequence of* brother, Ethan Allen, (commonly called Cd Allen,) being taken prisoner near Montrf*] 25th Sept. last; have waited on vour Eire! leney at head-quarters, in Cambridge, De«^ ber fast; since that,'waited on Gen. Sehojfe on the same business. He read me a pin graph of your Excellency's letter directicr I" to inquire what was become of Col. Allen. ** desired me, if possible, to get some evidence« the treatment he received after being t»er prisoner. Accordingly have spared ne'< trouble, nor pains, nor cost, to accompli- 'same. One affidavit have only been abie' obtain, which I inclose.

"There is a number of ministerial troop*i this and the neighboring towns prisoner-, w few of them have seen my brother sine* prisoner, only those taken on board the Gasp brig, and it is next to impossible to get iny < them to say that Allen or any other pri»-a was used ill, for fear of retaliation; br*A they have been charged by Ptcscou and all d officers, not to mention Allen's being pot irons, on pain of death.

"The soldier who made the affidavit ten' dosed, was very loth, and I should not have obtained it but he had previously dropped words to the same import as the affidavit. I then brought him before proper authority, and told him he most declare under oath whether Col. Allen was put into irons or not, and then he declared on oath what the affidavit says, at the same time begged that none present would mention his name. Have some thoughts of going to England incog, after my brother, but am not positive he is sent there, though believe he has. Beg your Excellency would favor me with a line, and acquaint me with any intelligence concerning him, and if your Excellency pleases your opinion of the expediency of going after him, and whether your Excellency would think proper to advance any money for this purpose, as my brother was a man blessed with more fortitude than fortune. Your Excellency may think at first sight I can do noUiing by going to England. I feel as if I could do a good deal, by raising a mob in London, by bribing the jailor, or by getting into some servile employment with the jailor, and by over faithfulness make myself master of the keys, or at least be able to lay my hand on it some night. I beg your Excellency will countenance my going; can raise more than £100 on my own property; shall regard spending that no more than a copper.

"Vour Excellency must know that Allen was not only a brother, but a friend that sticketh closer than a brother. Have two brothers in the Continental army, one a captain, the aher a lieutenant. The last with the army Wore Quebec. Whether these now, or with Sen. Montgomery, cannot tell. We look up to four Excellency as our political father, and lead of a great people. u Vour Excellency's most obedient, 14 Evef faithful and very humble servant, il Levi Allen. "N. B.—If your Excellency choose, I shall wit on you personally. I only want your :ommands; cannot live without going to Engand if my brother is there. Beg your Excelency will be very secret, lest the opposite party ihould discover my design."

History does not inform us what action Jen. Washington took upon this very renarkable and curious letter. It is certain, towever, that the wild project of Mr. Levi Ulen, if it was ever attempted, was withrat any favorable results, as Ethan Allen, iter his imprisonment in England, was ent back to this country, and after a time 'ichanged as prisoner of war.

But to return to the subject of our noice. Upon the accession of Gen. Washngton to the command at Cambridge, ^omeroy retired from the field. Although

his ardor in the cause of American freedom had suffered no abatement, he felt too certainly the disadvantages of old age for the duties of active military life, and voluntarily resigned his place to younger men. Congress had honored him with the appointment of Brigadier General, and his acceptance of the office was earnestly desired by the Commander-in-chief. His own inclinations also were strong in the same way, but the apprehensions of his family, the failure of his usual robust health, and the earnest desire of his personal friends, decided him at last to decline it.

But though withdrawn from the active duties of the field, Pomeroy had not deserted the service of his country. As soon as it was known that he had retired from the camp, the Provincial Congress, then holding its sessions at Watertown, immediately appointed him to the command of the militia in Hampshire county, with instructions to see that they were duly trained and disciplined, in preparation for actual service. For nearly two years he was engaged in this duty, diffusing a spirit of military ardor among the people, training them to the use of arms, urging early enlistments among the young men of the county, and supplying disciplined troops for the rank and file of the army. His services in this respect were repeatedly acknowledged, both by the Provincial and Continental Congress.

When, at the call of the country, the rough peasantry of New England were crowding into the camp at Saratoga, a large number marched from Northampton and the adjacent towns. As the regiment, mustered from them, wheeled one morning into the lines, Gen. Gates, who was surveying his army from a little eminence on the right, remarked that they must be old soldiers. "Those?" asked Wilkinson; "why, those are raw recruits from Northampton." "What? Pomeroy's men, eh! I ought to know them 1" and putting spurs to his horse, he rode over to that part of the field where they stood, and complimented the commanding Colonel upon the appearance of his men.

But though conscious of rendering service to the cause of the colonies by remaining at home, the ardent soul of the old man could not be satisfied with the mere preparation of soldiers for the field. With recovering health came the old ardor for active service in the camp. Solicited personally by Washington during the close of the year 1776 to take command of a regiment during the ensuing campaign, Pomeroy determined to enter again into the active duties of the war. In January, 1777, he left Northampton for the division of the northern army, then stationed at Peekskill under the command of Gen. M'Dougal. "I know not," were his favorite words to his family, "I know not whether it be God's will that I should return home again, but it is of little matter, provided I am doing His work."

It is no mean illustration of the zeal of the Americans in behalf of their cause, that an old man of seventy-one years, worn out in the fatigues of military service for more than a third of a century, should again buckle on his armor for the contest. The usual stimulants to military ardor in the human breast, do not often outlive the prime of life. It is not the nature of old age to look forward to the honors and emoluments of toil and danger, but to seek iis enjoyment and repose in the recollections of the past. A higher moti\rc must be sought, than any which the camp, or the field of battle, or the love of power, can produce, in a case like this. That motive is to be found only in the righteous cause for which our fathers contended. "That is no mean cause," said his minister on the Sabbath after he left, "that is no mean cause which can call the young man from his pleasures, and the man of middle age from his family, to the field of strife and carnage; but that cause which enlists in its behalf the toil "and labor of gray hairs, inducing it to sacrifice the love of quiet, the infirmities of years, and the need of repose, to its country's good, must Be the cause of God."

There are but few letters preserved, written by the old man after his re-enlistment to the army. Indeed he could have written but few, as he lived but four weeks

after he bade farewell to his family. With a single one of these, we will close oar already too protracted notice:—

"Peekskill, Feb. lift, lTJT

"Dear Son :—I have once more an opportunity (o write from this place, which will be the last, as I design to-morrow or the day aftpr to set out for Morristown in the Jerseys. I understand this day, that some of the prisoner* whom Lieut. Brown went up with, are sent to Northampton. If there should be a sro:tiamong them, I should be glad to have jou tn him at the smith's business,-or yon may i.r one who will suit for the husbandry business

"I should be glad to hear how the fillitf t of the continental army gets along Wjt county of Hampshire. It is repoftnfjM that they fill up fast towards Boston. Itef« it is true.

"I have nothing special more than yo»w2l see in the papers. I am sorry upon arte: count to leave this place, and that is the ship of Gen. M'Dougal towards me. may find those who have the com same wherever 1 go.

"I go cheerfully, for I am sure the are engaged in is just, and the call I is clear, and the call of God. With surance, who would not go on cheerfully, confront every danger 7

"My compliments to Deacon Hunt, tain namesake, who I suppose 1ms got home. M love to all the family. From your !•»» father, Seth Pw

[graphic]
[graphic]

General Pomeroy was buiied at ] kill. There was living a few yea venerable lady, sister to the late' Van Cortland, who remembered toi* watched, when a child, the funeral i sion which followed the old soldier"! grave, and to have seen through the place where they buried him. not possible at this day to ideatf spot. His bones lie somewhere • precincts of the old churchyard in , kill, mingling with other human duw matters not. He left the impress of 1 character upon the age in which he Ev and its features are not lost upon the geterations which have followed.

N. S. D.

[graphic][graphic]
« AnteriorContinuar »