Front Page Titles (by Subject) C H A P T E R X V I I: 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Country, from various Causes • General Gates sent to the Southward—Surprised and defeated at Camden by Lord Cornwallis—Superseded • General Greene appointed to the Command in the Carolinas • - History of the Rise, Progress, and Termination of the American Revolution vol. 2
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C H A P T E R X V I I: 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Country, from various Causes • General Gates sent to the Southward—Surprised and defeated at Camden by Lord Cornwallis—Superseded • General Greene appointed to the Command in the Carolinas • - Mercy Otis Warren, History of the Rise, Progress, and Termination of the American Revolution vol. 2 
History of the Rise, Progress, and Termination of the American Revolution interspersed with Biographical, Political and Moral Observations, in Two Volumes, Foreword by Lester H. Cohen (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund 1994).
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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Country, from various Causes • General Gates sent to the Southward—Surprised and defeated at Camden by Lord Cornwallis—Superseded • General Greene appointed to the Command in the Carolinas • Major Ferguson’s Defeat • Sir Henry Clinton makes a Diversion in the Chesapeake, in favor of Lord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
chap. xvii The year one thousand seven hundred and eighty, was a year of incident, expectation, and event; a period pregnant with future consequences,1780 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, or 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 or 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 neighbourhood of a potent 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 attempting 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* 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 America 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 every thing depends?—I hope not.
* * *
Let vigorous measures be adopted to punish speculators—forestallers—and extortioners;—and above all—to sink the money by heavy taxes—to promote public and private economy—encourage manufactures, &c.
Measures 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 every thing that is good and virtuous.
A little time now, must unfold in some degree, the enemy’s designs. Whether the state 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 negociate 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 the twentieth, one thousand seven hundred and eighty, discovers the same anxiety for the fate of the contest, as the above. In this he said,
To me it will appear miraculous if our 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, to a private friend, at this critical area 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. Every thing is resolved into money: but the great 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 the one 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, that at this time, * one hundred and twenty dollars of the paper currency was not an equivalent to one 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 a 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 extravagancies 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 and 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 an imaginary value, brought an impeachment on congress, without voluntary deviations from probity, or willing breaches of faith. Perhaps nothing is more true, than an 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 foundation 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 the 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 manoeuvers 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 awaked, 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 any thing, 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 and 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 to 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 the chief command. An officer of his name and experience, at once emboldened the friends of their country, and intimidated the wavering and disaffected. The renowned soldier who had captured one proud British general and his army, was at this 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 head-quarters: he had with him a detachment of fourteen hundred men. He stayed only a few weeks in Virginia, and moved 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 the thirteenth of August.
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 and 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 was about thirteen 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 expectations. The two armies  met in the night of the fifteenth of August, one thousand seven hundred and eighty. Mutually surprised by the sudden necessity of action, a loose skirmish was kept up until the morning, when a 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 defence 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. *
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 endeavoured 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, an hundred miles from the field of battle. Yet neither 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* 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 upon 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, uncorruptible integrity, and military merits, had been so eminently useful to America in many critical emergencies, retired to Traveller’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 every one, 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 supersedure 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 till 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, endeavoured 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 or 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 of South Carolina and Georgia, and indeed the settlers on the more distant borders, were, in a few weeks after the battle of Camden, every where 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 every thing 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, attack 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 an hundred and fifty of his men, fell in the action, and seven hundred were made prisoners, from whom were selected a 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, amidst the slaughter of wild animals, which was necessary to their daily subsistence.
Perhaps the local situation of the huntsman or savage, may lessen their horror at the sight of blood, where streams are continually 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 ten of the prisoners* 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 an hundred men, and even in them he could not now place the smallest confidence.†
 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 to 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 his 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 prevent the re-union 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, whilst we were waiting at Charlotteburgh for our stores and convalescents, they did not even furnish us with the least information respecting the force 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 numbers 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.
Whilst 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 upon to join a party of troops, who were sent to protect the boats upon the river. The defeat of major Ferguson  had 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 (commanding at Ninety-Six) sent information to earl Cornwallis, that the whole district had determined to submit, as soon as the rebels should enter it.*
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 the 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.†
 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 three thousand 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 principle from the beginning; and before his defection was discovered, he had sunk a character raised 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 every thing 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.* 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 upon him, that he had a heart base enough treacherously to betray his military trust. Who made the first advances to negociation  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 usages 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 villany of the patricide. Thus his treacherous proposals were listened to, and sir Henry Clinton authorised major Andre, his adjutant general, a young gentleman of great integrity and worth, to hold a 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 their personal interview, which took place on the twenty-first of September, one thousand seven hundred and eighty. 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 defence, 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 all 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 was 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, the man who first seized his horse’s bridle, to let him pass on; told him that his name was 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 rejecting all pecuniary rewards, the disinterested privates who seized the unfortunate Andre, had the fidelity to convey their prisoner as speedily as possible, to the head-quarters of the American army.
Such instances of fidelity, and such contempt for private interest, when 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,* 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 that, too little accustomed to duplicity, he had not succeeded. He intimated, that the temper of his mind was equal; and that no apprehensions 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 ever 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 possession, 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 sloop of war, until seized at Tarry-town, 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 an 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 the twenty-first of September, 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.*
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 assumed 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.*
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 endeavour 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 any one, 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 every thing 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 every thing 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 use 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; 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 deportment, that the 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 his 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, amidst the armies of America, but without a personal enemy: every tongue acceded to the justice of his sentence, yet every eye dropped a 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, this 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 head-quarters, he was struck with astonishment and terror, and in the agitation and agonies of a mad 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 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; endeavoured 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 the seventh of October, 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, ten thousand pounds sterling, in cash,—and of his honor, in a new commission under the crown of Great Britain.
The generals Clinton and Robertson did every thing 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 hand 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, two hundred dollars 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 his 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 negociations 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 connexions, were altogether British; or at  least, 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 the 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 der Capellen, lord of Marsch.
This worthy Dutchman, as early as the seventh of December, one thousand seven hundred and seventy-eight, 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 their 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 any one 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 der Capellen was a zealous supporter of the Americans in their claim to independence, and pre-disposed 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 negociate 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.
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, &c.; 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 the Appendix.* The baron Capellen observes on the above letter of this gentleman, that “it was to be regretted that so handsome, so energetic a defence of the American cause, should be shut up in the port-folio 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 negociations, 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 the 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 an hostage till 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 he 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 knew 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, his captivity and detention might have an unfavorable effect on the foreign relations of America, and particularly on their connexion 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.
[*]This original letter was to James Warren, esquire, speaker of the assembly of Massachusetts, March the thirty-first, one thousand seven hundred and seventy-nine. [George Washington to James Warren, March 31, 1779, in John C. Fitzpatrick, ed., The Writings of George Washington (39 Vols.; Washington, 1931–1944), 14: 311–314. Also reprinted in WAL, II: 97–100.]
[*]The honorable James Warren, esquire, to [Source not identified].
[*]See scale of depreciation. [The rapid and nearly catastrophic depreciation of state and continental currencies was widely discussed between 1777 and 1781. In September 1779 Congress issued a Circular Letter to the states in which it rejected any suggestion that paper money should be officially discounted. By March 1780 it resolved upon exactly such a scheme. See JCC, XV: 1051–1064 (September 13, 1779); XVI: 205–207 (February 26, 1780), 216–217 (February 28, 1780), 262–267 (March 18, 1780). The best contemporary historical discussion of financial chaos is David Ramsay, The History of theRevolution of South-Carolina (2 vols.; Trenton, 1785), II: 68–100, 416–431.]
[*]When lord Cornwallis was informed of the rank and merits of the 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 deposite 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 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 his 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 . . . Mod. Univ. History.[Modern Universal History, XXIV: 249.]
[*]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 crime but that of royalism.
[†]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 four thousand men; and even threw South Carolina into a state of confusion and rebellion.” [Stevens, Campaign, I: 186–189.]
[*]Lord Rawdon’s letter to general Clinton, October the twenty-ninth, one thousand seven hundred and eighty. [Rawdon to Clinton in Stevens, Campaign, I: 277–280.]
[†]See printed correspondence of the generals Clinton, Cornwallis, Rawdon, &c., published in London, one thousand seven hundred and eighty-three. [Rawdon to Leslie, October 24, 1780 in Stevens, Campaign, I: 271–276.]
[*]See resolutions of the governor and council at Philadelphia, February the third, one thousand seven hundred and seventy-nine, relative to Arnold’s conduct in that city. [Pennsylvania’s charges against Arnold were published in a broadside which is reprinted in LDC, 12: 27. See Samuel Hazard, ed., Pennsylvania Archives, VII: 337-338 (Joseph Reed to George Washington, April 24, 1779); 347-350 (Joseph Reed to President of Congress, April 27, 1779); 351-355 (Washington to Reed, April 27, 1779); 377-383 (Reed to Washington, May 8, 1779). Reed’s attitude toward Arnold was surprisingly lenient. Reed was also deeply concerned that the military court martial, based in part on a complaint against Arnold made by a state (Pennsylvania), was both a usurpation of state jurisdiction and a denial of due process to the defendant Arnold.]
[*]These were the names of the three soldiers who detected and secured major Andre.
[*]The court consisted of fourteen very respectable officers, of whom general Greene was president. See trial of major Andre. [Proceedings of a Board of General Officers, Held by Order of His Excellency Gen. Washington . . . Respecting Major Andre, Adjutant General of theBritish Army. September 29, 1780 (Philadelphia, 1780).]
[*]See an account of captain Hale’s execution, in the British Remembrancer, and other historical records. [Hale’s execution was not reported in the Remembrancer, 1776 or 1777. For an exhaustive account of Hale, see George Dudley Seymour, Documentary Life of Nathan Hale (New Haven, 1941).]
[*]See Appendix, Note No. IX.