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'Facta speak louder than words." 

Judge Jones. 



New York : 
1880. , 

E263.N6 J7™l" """"^ "'^'^ 

°»S«Miil?i™?iiii9in,J."*te* Jones' loyalist hi 


3 1924 032 585 444 







* Facts speak louder than words.'^ 

Judge Jones, 



New York: 






The recently published History of the American Revolution, by the 
contemporary loyalist Judge Thomas Jones, of New York,' contains state- 
ments which seem to call for criticism and refutation. 

The propriety of noticing them may possibly be recognized in the fact 
that the work not only assumes to be an authority and has already been 
quoted as such, but some of the errors themselves have been repeated and 
are likely to be perpetuated by American historical writers. 

The following pages are devoted mainly to a comparison of these state- 
ments with the correct record and such inferences as the comparison appears 
to authorize. Incidentally the question is considered whether the number 
and nature of the errors are not sufficient to affect the trustworthiness of 
the Judge's work, as an original source of information. In any view it is 
due to our Revolutionary history to examine unfriendly accounts with 
some care, especially where, as in the present case, they reverse accepted 
versions of events and transactions or make discreditable disclosures. 

New York City, June i, 1880. 

' History of New York during the Revolutionary War, and of the Leading 
Events in the Other Colonies at that Period. By Thomas Jones, Justice of the 
Supreme Court of the Province. Edited by Edward Floyd de Lancey. With 
Notes, Contemporary Documents, Maps, and Portraits. 2 vols. Printed for the 
New York Historical Society, New York, 1879. 



I. — Judge Jones' Standing as a Witness 7 

II.^The Judge's Review of his own " Case'' 11 

III. — The Case of Colonel Meigs 23 

IV. — The Case of Colonel Lamb 28 

V. — General Washington — His Parole — Treatment of Tories 30 

VI. — Franklin's Treatment of His Son, the Loyalist Governor 33 

VII. — Connecticut in December, 1776 35 

VIII. — The Pennsylvania Proprietary Estate 41 

IX. — Scenes at the Evacuation of Charleston and Savanliah, 1782 47 

X. — The New York Act of Attainder 55 

XL — Governor Tryon and the Connecticut Raid, 1779 57 

XII. — Sir Henry Clinton after the Storming of Stony Point 60 

XIII. — Knyphausen's Move upon Washington, 1780 63 

XIV. — Clinton, Arbuthnot, and Rochambeau,. 1780 65 

XV. — Admiral Parker, Clinton and Fort Moultrie, 1776 .67 

XVI. — Fortifications of New York, 1776-1783 70 

XVII.— The Case of General WoodhuU 73 

XVIIL— The Case of Captain Asgill 77 

XIX. — Concluding Points and Observations 81 





There are certain features of this History — noticeable and 
more or less important features — which ought properly to be 
had in mind in the course of examining the particular state- 
ments proposed. 

The Judge's work, it will be observed, even upon the most 
superficial reading, proves to be a sweeping arraignment of the 
Revolution. The title of " History" applied to it might be re- 
garded, indeed, as a misnomer, if in its use we are to understand 
that the Judge presents a candid and temperate account of the 
events of that period. Upon the minds of some of its readers, 
certainly, a contrary impression is produced. The work conveys 
and confirms the impression that purely historical illustration 
or reflection is not so much the author's object, as to treat of 
the movement for the purpose of condemning it — that it is much 
less a literary effort than an ex-parte case, a complaint, or a 
grand indictment of the train of events which resulted in Ameri- 
can independence. 

Perhaps a history of a different character could not have 
been expected from the Judge or from any one circumstanced 
as he was. In view of his political connections, his sympathies 
and temperament, it is not surprising that he should have 
vigorously resisted the claims of the Colonists. 

Judge Jones, as we gather from his own representations, was 
one of the more prominent loyalists or tories of the tinae. 


Living affluently at Great Neck, Long Island, possessed also of 
a large estate in New York, and related by marriage and social 
ties to few who were not as firm loyalists as himself, he may be 
regarded as the type of the American subject whose influence 
King George imagined would be strong enough to keep at least 
the province of New York from drifting into revolt. From 
1769 to 1773 he had been Recorder of the city, when he was 
appointed to succeed his father as one of the justices of the 
Supreme Court of the Colony, a position in the gift of the royal 
governor. His associations, his office, his conservative mold, 
combined to determine his relations to the Revolution. There 
was nothing in its spirit or aim that he could approve. He 
looked upon it as at best a groundless, radical,, and desperate 
movement to be treated with contempt, denounced or avoided. 
In his work he is unreserved in the avowal of his sentiments, 
and repeatedly declares his fidelity to the Crown and the Church 
of England, while he also shows himself a thoroughly good 
hater of agitation and republicanism. How far he publicly gave 
vent to his feelings and views does not appear, but at heart he 
was clearly neither neutral nor moderate, but uncompromising, 
and, judging from some of his own expressions, even virulent ; 
and when subsequently he prepared a so-called history of the 
struggle, it was inevitably tinctured with the convictions, prej- 
udices, and antipathies formed during its progress. The Judge 
necessarily wrote from a strictly partisan stand-point. 

Judge Jones, furthermore, wrote under the pressure of bitter 
personal recollections. His own experiences during the war 
harmonizing little with his previous mode of life tended to ex- 
asperate his apparently sensitive, if not irritable, nature. Being 
charged, in the summer of 1776, when hostilities opened on 
Long Island, with disaffection to the American cause, he was 
arrested and removed to Connecticut, where he remained until 
released on parole in December following. Seized' again as a 
prisoner in 1779, he was held several months longer, and finally 
exchanged in the spring of 1780. Nor were matters on his own 
side satisfactory. British commissaries and generals failed to 
treat him with due respect. He was pleased with few of the 
many civil and military appointments made either by the min- 
istry at home or commanding officers in New York. Move- 


ments in the field should have been the reverse of or different 
from what they were, the Judge's criticisms, however,, being 
made after their failure ; and the leaders, both civil and military, 
who were entrusted with the responsibility of crushing the re- 
bellion deserved only a merciless handling for their non-success. 
The close of the war found his judicial position snatched from 
him, his property confiscated, and himself a refugee in England 
— conditions not favorable for a perfectly impartial treatment 
of events which affected him so disastrously. 

A third noticeable feature of the work is the absence, with a 
few exceptions, of any authority, on the part of the Judge, for 
his many unlooked-for and remarkable statements. The reader 
is informed in the preface to the History that it gives " the ac- 
count, observations, and comments of an eye-witness of acute 
intelligence, who was in a position, official and social, to know 
perfectly the events he was describing, and the parties and per- 
sons who took part therein on all sides." This responsible 
authorship should entitle it, prima facie, to every consideration. 
But it is pertinent to inquire how far it was possible for the 
Judge to be an eye-witness of what he describes. So far as 
current military events were concerned, he could have known 
personally very little about them. It can be shown that im- 
portant movements occurred in and around New York, the 
•details and objects of which he assumed to be acquainted with, 
but with which it appears he was not. There is no line drawn 
between facts coming and those not coming within his own ob- 
servation. In addition, the Judge remained under the obliga- 
tions of a strict military parole during nearly the entire, if not 
the entire, time from 1776 until he sailed for England in 1781. 
He had given his promise to Governor Trumbull, of Connecti- 
cut, to hold no " inimical correspondence with the enemy'' after 
his return to his home, but " to conduct peaceably and quietly 
with respect to the present contest and troubles." As the 
Judge claims to have faithfully observed his parole, living at 
his residence, he was obviously debarred from witnessing any- 
thing important in the shape of " events." Clearly, too, he had 
yery little if any intercourse with the British headquarters at 
New York where it might have been possible for him to obtain 
a certain amount of authentic intelligence. His severe and re- 


peated strictures upon Generals Howe, Clinton, Robertson, and 
other officers are not indicative of any familiarity in that di- 
rection. It can hardly be questioned, on the contrary, especially 
as the Judge does not make the claim himself of being an " eye- 
witness," that his knowledge of passing military transactions 
was derived almost exclusively from third parties, from hearsay 
or common rumor, from such meagre accounts as appeared in 
the newspapers of the time, from official letters which were oc- 
casionally published, and possibly from the few narratives of the 
war that had been printed before his death in 1793. These 
sources of information do not entitle him to any special or su- 
perior consideration as an authority. What he obtained from 
printed matter is not new, and what he learned from others is 
only valuable as second-hand material which may or may not 
have been true. 

As to matters not military, on the other hand, but more of a 
political or personal nature, the Judge ought presumably to 
have had a considerable knowledge. But even here the value 
of his statements, and more especially of his opinions and infer- 
ences, is to be tested by those common rules which the Judge 
was doubtless in the habit of applying himself in determining 
the credibility of a witness. Was he interested or prejudiced, 
and if so, to what extent ? and what his relations to the men and 
events he criticises or condemns? Undoubtedly the Judge was 
in a position to see and hear much, before the outbreak of the 
war at least ; but in what light, through what medium, in what 
disposition of mind, did he see and hear and write? The Judge 
seems to answer for himself — he was on the other side, a dis- 
appointed tory, a monarchist, a hater of revolutions, the Ameri- 
can revolution in particular and of all who contributed to its 
success. In this light he evidently cannot be regarded as an 
unbiased witness. How far he Was a valuable one may possibly 
be shown. 

In referring to these features of Judge Jones' work no re- 
flection is cast upon his own political status. We must allow 
him the right to choose the side he preferred. He was a tory, 
a loyalist, and a loyalist by nature and inclination, as many 
others were^ both in the city and province of New York. In 
his history, which he wrote in England soon after the war, he 
not only attacks the American cause, , but the unsuccessful 


British leaders as well ; certain tories also are held up to the 
general scorn. What he presents is much of it novel and unex- 
pected — the narrative being at intervals a combination of as- 
sumed fact and argument — and his work will hereafter doubtless 
be consulted with a curious interest. But to consult it as a 
guide is another matter. In view of the characteristics just 
noticed no candid reader could be willing to accept the Judge 
unreservedly as an "authority," especially where he treats of 
his enemies, the revolutionary or whig party. The conviction 
remains that what he says of a damaging nature respecting 
them needs confirmation. Can a writer, it may be asked, com- 
mand implicit confidence who is known to have been a thor- 
ough partisan, who appears to have undertaken his work for the 
purpose of putting certain men and transactions in an odious 
light before posterity, who indulges in extraordinary statements 
without hinting at the proof on which they stand, and whose 
personal experiences embittered him against those of whom he 
writes? The Judge is put forward as a contemporary and eye- 
witness, but the effect of this claim is seriously impaired when 
he is also found approaching his subject, as he does, in an in- 
tensely hostile attitude. 

If, from this, it sufiSciently appears that upon general princi- 
ples Judge Jones' standing as a witness and an authority is 
impeachable, there is good ground at the outset for going fur- 
ther and looking into some of the details of his testimony. 


One of the first and most striking points inviting notice is 
the free and deliberate manner in which the Judge deals with 
persons and personal characters. Whatever may be said in 
general of his criticisms and alleged exposures, in certain in- 
stances they are so obviously libellous that it is much to be 
doubted whether he would have ventured to put them into 
print in his own time without being assured that the parties 
attacked could not reach him at law. We have an illustration 
of this in his references to Washington, Franklin, Schuyler, 
Colonels Meigs and Lamb, and others whose reputations he 


seeks to bring under a cloud. Before taking up these names, 
however, we may stop to inquire whether Judge Jones places 
himself before history with quite the accuracy and candor ex- 
pected of a writer with a judicial training. If he does not, we 
are all the more prepared to discover that he fails in the same 
respect in his treatment of others. 

The Judge makes much of his own personal grievances. 
The " Case of Thomas Jones, Esq." and its consideration both 
from a public and private point of view, take up several pages 
of the work. The author, as already stated, was seized or ar- 
rested at three different times during the course of the war — once 
by the civil and twice by the military authorities. Respecting 
the first arrest he appears to make no complaint, while the 
other two he characterizes as dishonorable acts, reflecting in the 
one case on Washington and in the other on Governor Trum- 
bull, of Connecticut. But a brief review, even of his own facts, 
may possibly compel a modification of this judgment. 

In the eyes of the Revolutionary leaders in New York, the 
Judge was an unqualified tory living on Long Island, and hence 
a person not to be left at large to encourage toryism around 
him. On the 19th of June, 1776, a Committee of the Provincial 
Congress sent him notice to appear in New York on the 25th 
of the same month and satisfy them whether he should be con- 
sidered as " a friend to the American cause and of the number 
of those who are ready to risque their lives and fortunes in de- 
fence of the rights and liberties of America." The Judge 
doubtless having little inclination to recognize rebel authority 
or avow before it his political sympathies, failed to put in an 
appearance, and accordingly, two days later, on the 27th, was 
arrested at his home and taken to New York upon the charge 
of refusing to obey the Committee's summons. He was not 
examined at this time, but on the 30th received a discharge 
from Gouverneur Morris, the only member then in town, upon 
giving the following parole : 

" I certify that Thomas Jones, Esq., this day appeared before me a prisoner, 
taken up by order of Congress, and having promised upon his word and honor 
to appear at such time and place as a Committee of the Congress of this Colony 
shall, upon reasonable notice to him given or left at his usual place of abode, 
direct. The said Thomas Jones is therefore permitted to go unto, and reside at, his 
usual place of abode, until the further order of the said Congress or Committee. 
New Yoi-k, June 30th, 1776. Gouv. Morris." 


Under this parole Judge Jones remained at his residence un- 
disturbed until the nth of August following. On that date he 
was arrested by order of General Washington and conducted 
to New York as one of the tories who could not safely be per- 
mitted to remain in the vicinity of the enemy. On the 12th he 
was brought before a Board of ofificers consisting of Lord Stirling, 
■General Scott, General MacDougall, and Colonel Reed, and in- 
formed that he was " a prisoner to the American army" to be 
removed with others to the State of Connecticut, and " there to 
be disposed of in such' manner as Governor Trumbull should 
think proper." 

It is this second or military arrest that the Judge refers to as 
one of his particular grievances. He represents that when 
brought before the Board of officers they did not pretend that 
he was guilty of breaking the parole given to Gouverneur 
Morris, but justified his arrest on the ground of "prudence, 
■necessity, and the custom of nations ;" and out of this the Judge 
manufactures his charge. Speaking of himself in the third 
person he says (Vol. II. p. 276): " Mr. Jones lived upon Long 
Island, was a man of property, had great influence, and General 
Howe was expected to land upon the island every day, under 
which pretence this flagranti breach of a solemn and sacred parole 
£iven by the civil pnwer was justified by the rebel chief T In other 
words, the Judge evidently desires to be understood that Wash- 
ington authorized his arrest irrespective of the Judge's obligations 
to the Provincial Congress — that the military deliberately nulli- 
fied an engagement made between him and the civil authorities. 

Viewed in any light this can hardly be regarded as other 
than a weak, if not a frivolous, charge for the Judge to prefer. 
It would possibly be a sufficient answer to say that war is war 
and the military supreme, that in extreme exigencies extreme 
measures are justified, and that if Washington deemed the 
Judge's arrest necessary from a military point of view his arrest 
should have been made regardless of his relations to any civil 
power. But what was this " solemn and sacred parole" which 
lie gave to the Provincial Congress? Nothing more than a 
promise to answer its call whenever he should be summoned 
before it. It will be observed that it guarantees him no protec- 
tion, nor does it prescribe his political conduct or restrain the 


exertion of his influence against the American cause as a condi- 
tion of protection, nor does or could it promise him immunity 
from arrest by the military power. The parole was practically 
a notice to be ready " to appear ;" it did not in the slightest 
degree limit or affect the future course or conduct of the Ameri- 
can authorities, civil or military. They were each left free to 
treat the Judge and all other tories as the exigencies of the 
Campaign might require. The Judge was liable to be summoned 
by the Committee at any moment; he was equally liable to- 
arrest by the military. Under these circumstances if the Con- 
gress finally turned the case over to the military authorities, 
can there be any question as to its right to do so? If both the 
civil and military powers were in perfect harmony in regard to 
the manner and propriety of the seizure, what could the Judge 
have to say in the matter ? Could not the Congress waiVe all. 
claim upon him if it so desired? Would it not have been 
obliged to waive its claim if the military saw fit to take up the 
case ? and did not the Judge know, or ought he not to have 
known, that the civil power in that crisis was secondary, and 
that all considerations would have to yield to military " pru- 
dence" and " necessity" ? 

But referring to the facts again we find that the Judge and 
his fellow-tories were in reality treated with unusual considera- 
tion. They were arrested by Washington's order — the General 
being under no obligations whatever not to arrest them. When 
Washington was informed, however, that they did claim to be 
under a parole to answer the summons of the Congress (and he 
now seems to have heard of it for the first time), he proposed 
at once to relieve them of any fear they might have that the 
Congress would call for them when it would be out of ,their' 
power to appear; and he immediately communicated the facts- 
and his wishes to that body in a letter, dated August 12, as fol- 
lows : " Some of these gentlemen have expressed doubts and 
raised difficulties, from engagements they lay under to your 
Honourable Body, or some Committees. They do not appear to 
me to deserve much attention, as they cannot with any pro- 
priety, be charged with a breach of any part under their present 
circumstances ; but I beg leave to submit to your consideration 
the propriety of removing the pretence." The Congress in 


making their reply, thanked the Commander-in-Chief for ordering 
the arrests, and to settle all doubts in the matter of their paroles, 
passed the following resolution : 

" Whereas certain members of the Convention, by authority 
from the same, did take the parol of sundry persons, inhabitants 
of this State: And whereas His Excellency Genl. Washington 
hath since found it necessary to cause some of the said persons 
to be made prisoners : Therefore, 

" Resolved unanimously, That the said several parols be, and 
they hereby are, declared totally void, as to any obligations 
thereby laid upon those who have been, since the giving of the 
said parol, made prisoners as aforesaid." ' 

That Judge Jones and his fellow-prisoners well knew of this 
action appears from the Judge's own " Case," in which he states 
that he was informed that the parole was dissolved and that 
" an entry of its dissolution was made in the Journals of the 
Provincial Convention." When, therefore, the prisoners started 
for Connecticut and before their actual detention commenced 
they were bound by no paroles whatever, either civil or military. 

Were anything further needed not only to justify but also to 
commend the course of the Commander-in-Chief in this matter 
it may be found in the general military situation already inciden- 
tally referred to. With the British at Staten Island threatening 
to move upon him at any hour, Washington properly assumed 
the exercise of every power required to thwart his antagonist 
and secure his own success. Among the measures regarded as 
imperative was the arrest of the principal tories and their re- 
moval from the scene of operations. It was a case of " military 
necessity," and on that ground fully justified. Washington's 
best vindication, in short, is his own letter on the subject 
addressed to the President of the Provincial Congress, the 
material part of which is as follows : 

"Head Quarters, Aug. 12, 1776. 

As the time is certainly near at hand and may be hourly expected, which is 

to decide the fate of this City, and the issue of this campaign, I thought it highly 

improper that persons of suspected character should remain in places where their 

opportunities of doing mischief were much greater than in the enemy's camp. I, 

' Journals Prov. Congress, Vol. I. p. 570. 


therefore, have caused a number of them to be apprehended and removed to some 

distance, there to remain until this crisis is passed I postponed 

this most disagreeable duty, till the last moment; but the claims of the army upoa 
me, an application of a number of well-affected inhabitants, concurring with my 
own opinion, obliged me to enter upon it while time and circumstances would 
admit. I have ordered a very strict attention to be paid to the necessities of the 
gentlemen apprehended, and to their comfortable accommodation in every 
respect, both here and at the place of their destination. " ' 

The proper representation of the case appears, then, to be 
this — that Washington was convinced, hostihties being immi- 
nent, that Judge Jones, as a dangerous tory, ought not to- 
remain in the vicinity of New York ; that he was justified in 
removing the Judge on the ground of miHtary prudence and 
necessity ; that any relations existing between the Judge and 
the civil authorities could not affect his duty as commander-in- 
chief of the army, even if he knew of the existence of such 
relations, which was evidently not the case ; that upon his arrest 
he gave the Judge a hearing before a Board of ofificers ; that 
when the Judge entered the plea that he was under obligations 
to the civil authorities, he was, by the civil authorities them- 
selves, immediately released from those obligations ; and that 
when he was finally sent off to Connecticut for confinement it 
was as a purely military prisoner resting under no parole what- 

Under this state of facts how is it possible to entertain a 
charge of dishonorable conduct on the part of Washington? 
At what point in the case, it may be asked, does such conduct 
appear? All the facts, /^r contra, seem to unite to dissipate 
the charge, and it may be characterized as a lamentable failure — 
Washington's course throughout having been wise and politic, 
and his treatment of the Judge as honorable as it was con- 

The next point concerns Governor Trumbull's experiences 
with the Judge. Arriving in Connecticut, " Mr. Jones" and 
his fellow-prisoners were there detained until the 9th of De- 

' Spark's Washington, Vol. IV. p. 44. 


cember following, when they were permitted to revisit their 
homes on signing a parole to give the enemy no assistance and 
return when called for. It was not until six months later that 
the Governor demanded their return. Not making their ap- 
pearance, the demand was renewed, but again without effect. 
On each occasion the Governor transmitted his letters to the 
British headquarters by flags of truce, through the regular 
channels. Nothing further was done in the case until November, 
1779, when it was proposed to attempt the capture of the Judge 
for the purpose of offering him in exchange for General G. 
Selleck Silliman, of the Connecticut State troops, who had 
lately been made prisoner by a party of tories from Long Island. 
The attempt succeeded, and Judge Jones once more found him- 
self in the hands of the Connecticut authorities. 

This final arrest or seizure — the third in his experience — is 
another of the Judge's personal grievances. He complains that 
he was surprised at his residence, forcibly taken therefrom, 
while still on his parole, and unjustly charged with violating his 
word of honor in not returning to Connecticut when called for. 
He declares emphatically (Vol. II. p. 292) that he was so 
charged by the Legislature of New York and the breach of his 
parole made a ground for attainting his person and property, 
and likewise so charged by Gbvernor Trumbull, to whom he 
was immediately amenable, although, as the Judge continues 
to charge, both Legislature and Governor knew that he never 
received the notice of recall. 

Deferring the action taken by New York for consideration 
in connection with the Act of Attainder, the Judge may be 
answered that, as for Governor Trumbull, his course, on the 
contrary, appears to have been entirely legitimate. He had the 
most substantial grounds for ordering the capture of the Judge 
on this last occasion, and there is no sufficient warrant for the 
insinuation that he charged the Judge with a personal breach of 
honor. Two or three original letters from the manuscript 
papers of the Connecticut Governor and of Governor Clinton, 
of New York, may here be introduced as throwing some light 
on the points in question. Thus after Judge Jones had been 
captured and brought to Fairfield, Connecticut, Governor 
Trumbull wrote to him as follows : 


" (Copy.) " Lebanon 12th November 1779 

Sir: It is now near two years since I wrote to you and the other gentlemen 
from New York who were confined to this State, requesting their and your 
return on your paroles — I have never yet received any satisfactory reason for a 
non-compliance with that request. You will now be able to inform me your 
reasons. I have given Mr. Deodate Silliman a Flag with letter to Sir Henry 
Clinton, proposing your exchange for Gold Selleck Silliman, Esqr. A compliance 
on the part of Sir Harry will obtain your permit on the present occasion to return 
to New York. Notwithstanding this exchange, however, should it take place, I 
shall still hold you answerable to your former parole given me when suffered 
hertofore to go within the British Lines — 

I am Sir 
Your most obedient 
I hble servant, 

Thomas Jones Esqr, Prisoner at Fairfield." ' J — T — 1. 

In answer to this letter Judge Jones drew up an affidavit to 
the effect apparently that he had never received any notification 
from Governor Trumbull requiring his return, either through 
the British Headquarters or any other channel, and that at 
the time of his last arrest he was faithfully observing his origi- 
nal parole, given in December, 1776. This being satisfactory 
to the Governor, the Judge was in time exchanged for General 
Silliman. It appears also that with this exchange Governor 
Trumbull wished to have nothing more to do with the Judge 
and his fellow-tories, and transferred the care of them to Gov- 
ernor George Clinton of that State. In doing so he wrote 
the following letter to Clinton explaining his action up to that 
date : 

" Lebanon loth March 1780 

" You will also find enclosed five papers relative to Thos. Jones Esqr, who 
was some time since taken from Long Island. Mr. Jones is one of those Gentle- 
men who were taken up in the State of N. York in the summer of 1776 and 
sent on to this State for confinement as dangerous enemies to the American 
cause. — And as it may be thought by those who are not acquainted with every 
circumstance that Mr. Jones, (as having with the other Gentlemen referred to, 
broken the conditions of the parole on which he and they were by me permitted 
to return to the City of New York,) ought rather to be closely and rigorously 
confined, than to be again liberated on parole or in Exchange — I have taken 
particular care to enclose you an affidavit sworn to by Mr. Jones, as a previous 
step to the Negotiation of Exchange of himself for Genl Silliman of the militia 

' Trumbull Papers, vol. 20, p. 208. Mass. Hist. Society, Boston. 


of this State. — And as this affidavit leads directly either to a suspicion of my 
attention in ihis affair, or of the Honour of the British Commander in N. York, I 
think it necessary to add that in the summer of 1777, 6 mo after these 
gentn had been permitted to revisit their friends, a letter was written by me 
to all of them collectively demanding their return agreeable to parole — which was 
left with the officer commandg at the advanced post, beyond which the Flag was 
•not admitted. — That afterwards letters were written to each one separately of 
similar import and delivered in the same nianner — No answer has been received 
to either of them. — In consequence of which my letter (a copy of which is en- 
clos'd) to Sr Henry Clinton was forwarded — No ansyrer has been received to 
this, and it remains for you to determine on whom the imputation of Dishonor 
shall rest — I beg leave to add that from this time I resign to you the further care 
of these gentry to be dispos'd of as you shall see fit, — their paroles if you wish 
them shall be sent on. 

With all esteem and respect 
I am Dr Sir 

Your Most Obedient 

& most Hble Servant, 

Signed J. Trumbull. 
GovR Clinton N: York." ' 

To this letter Clinton replied briefly as follows : 

" PouGHKEEPSiE May I*' 1780 

Sir: I have been honored with your Excellency's Dispatch of the lo"* 
March last and its Enclosures some time since. 

I am fully persuaded. Sir, that your Conduct towards Mr. Jones has been 
strictly consistent and proper. If the repeated notifications which you sent into 
the british lines did not reach him it is his misfortune. Mr. Jones must be sen- 
sible that we cannot controul the enemy's officers within their lines — if they have 
kept from him information regularly conveyed and in which he was so much in- 
terested it is to them he must apply for Redress. Your Excellency will be 
pleased to accept my thanks for the trouble you have taken in this Business and 
I shall be obliged in having the Paroles of all the Gentry forwarded to me when 
a convenient opportunity presents. 

I have the honor to be, 

with great Respect and Esteem, 
Your Excellency's 

Most Obedient Servant 

Geo. Clinton."' 

' Clinton Papers, State Library, Albany. First draft of it also in Mass. 
Hist. Society's collections. Letters and Papers 1777-17S0, p. 153. The Judge's 
affidavit referred to does not appear among the MS. 

' Clinton and Trumbull Papers, Albany and Boston. The omitted portion of 
the letter refers to financial matters mentioned by Trumbull. 


That these letters are of value in this connection will prob- 
ably not be questioned. They indicate, first, that Governor 
Trumbull treated Judge Jones, after his capture,- with all the 
fairness and consideration to which he was entitled. Certainly 
the Governor hints at no dishonorable conduct on the part 
of the Judge, as the latter alleges.. His first step — an obviously 
proper and necessary requirement — was to request an explana- 
tion from the Judge for failing to appear when called for. That 
explanation proving valid and sufficient, the Judge was not 
held personally responsible for his non-appearance. 

The letters, furthermore, furnish ample justification of the 
Governor's course in authorizing the seizure of the Judge on 
the occasion in question. The fact appears that Trumbull had 
three times demanded of the British authorities the returij of 
the tory prisoners to Connecticut, and the demand had been 
ignored. They were not forthcoming. Either the prisoners 
themselves were guilty of a breach of faith, or_ the authorities 
were defying the Governor's power to enforce the observance 
of the paroles on which the prisoners had been permitted to 
return to their homes. Under these circumstances can there 
be any doubt as to the line of action which Trumbull would 
have been justified in pursuing thereafter? Can there be any 
doubt, for example, respecting his right to secure the return of 
the prisoners by force, if their re-arrest within the enemy's lines 
could be effected ? Unquestionably he would have been justi- 
fied in doing this, both to maintain his own authority and .com- 
pel respect for the sanctity of paroles ; and the seizure would 
have been justified entirely irrespective of the question whether 
Trumbull knew that the prisoners had or had not received the 
notification for their return to Connecticut. It was sufficient 
that they had been called, for and had not come. It only re- 
mained, then, to seize them if possible. One of their number, 
Judge Jones, was seized and brought back to Connecticut. 
Can we question either the propriety, legality, or morality of 
the act? No doubt the Judge felt greatly abused, but as Gov- 
ernor Clinton suggests, it was from his own, the British authori- 
ties, that he should have sought satisfaction, and not from the 
American, who rightfully held him as their prisoner. It must 
thus appear, also, that when Judge Jones was seized, no neces- 


sary implication attached to that act that he had been person- 
ally gmXty o{ a breach of faith. There is nothing in. his own 
statement of the case or in the foregoing letters upon which it 
can be assumed that Trumbull believed he had broken his parole. 
On the contrary, if it be true, as the Judge represents, that the 
Governor knezv that he had never received the notification to re- 
turn, it is only proper to infer that the Governor could not have 
regarded him as personally chargeable with a breach of faith. 
That Trumbull would have declared the Judge responsible when 
he knew that he was not, is scarcely to be admitted. 

The Judge's two charges against the Connecticut Governor 
are insufficiently supported. All the facts and circumstances 
tend to show that he was justified in seizing the Judge, and it 
nowhere appears that he charged him with a breach of his parole 
as a ground of his seizure. 

If Judge Jones found himself by his last arrest in a trying and 
aggravating position, it was his own misfortune. If he volun- 
tarily adhered to a side that esteemed him so lightly as not to 
notify him of his recall or protect him against recapture, he could 
make no complaint of any act of "his enemies justified by the 
laws of war. It is difiScult, in fact impossible, to discover wherein 
he was treated by those enemies, the Americans, in the matter of 
his arrests and paroles in any other than a fair and reasonable 
manner. His charge of dishonorable conduct on the part of 
Washington does not survive examination, and in regard to 
Trumbull's course, we have to concur with Governor Clinton 
that it was "strictly consistent and proper." The Judge's 
attempt to make himself a martyr at the expense of these two 
honored names is hardly creditable. 


Judge Jones' Exchange for General SiLLiMAN.-^Sir Henry Clinton and 
Governor Truttibull agreed to the exchange of the parties, soon after the 
Judge's capture; but before the exchange was completed, Clinton sailed on his 


South Carolina expedition, leaving General Knyphausen in command at New 
York. Trumbull then wrote to Knyphausen in the matter and received reply 
Feb. 24, 1780, from Commissary Loring, that he was directed by General Knyp- 
hausen to state that General Clinton had left him no "instructions" for the ex- 
change. (Trumbull Papers, Vol. XI. p. 71.) Trumbull accordingly wrote again, 
March 13, and enclosed to Knyphausen a copy of " the proposals made for the 
exchange of B. Genl. Silliman, &c., for T. Jones, Esq., &c., by Mr. Franklin and 
Maj' Andre's consent. The Governor added: " I hope this measure will put an 
end to any further delay or objection to the execution of the proposed exchange, 
and have only to add that Mr. Jones shall be ordered in as soon as B. Genl 
Silliman shall be sent out to us." Trumbull also wrote to Governor William 
Franklin, President of the Board of Associated Loyalists, requesting him 
to furnish Knyphausen with the original proposals or Andre' s consent. The 
Governor, furthermore, wrote on the same date to Judge Jones at Middle- 
town, that he revoked the permission which had been given him to go into New 
York in exchange for General Silliman, until further orders, because, as he 
says, " those proposals being fully known in N. York give me some reason to 
suspect a Disposition at least to Delay if not to fully evade them." {Trumbull 
Papers, Vol. XX. pp. 236-238.) To Trumbull's letter of the r3th, Knyphausen 
replied on the 19th that he would "inquire particularly into the affair" and an- 
swer "in a short time." This answer does not appear on file among the Gover- 
nor's papers, but it was doubtless favorable, and on the 27th of April following 
the exchange was finally effected. 

The incidents of the exchange as given by Mrs. General Silliman {Jones' History, 
Vol. II., p. 565), may be supplemented by extracts from letters from the General 
liimself, and his brother Deodate Silliman. The latter had charge of the Judge 
and sailed with him from Fairfield in the schooner Mifflin, of New London, at 9 
A.M.April 27. "About three in the afternoon," he reports to the Governor, 
" I had the Pleasure of meeting the General off hart Island on his way to Fair- 
field to be exchang*. We then Proceeded with Flaggs together to the Grand Duke 
guard ship off New City Island, where the master of the Flagg and myself ware 
taken on board, and the exchange was then compleated By my giving a Receipt' 
that I had Rec'' the General, and taking Receipt that I had Delivered Mr. Jones in 
Exchange for him — which I beg leave to Transmitt to your Excellency." 

General Silliman's letter, written to the Governor {Papers, Vol. XI. p. 1O70), 
is as follows : 

" Fairfield, May 2d 1780 
Sir: Last Fryday evening, I had the satisfaction again to return from captivity to 
my Family and Friends, and once more to breathe the Air of Liberty and Free- 

I left New York on Wensday last on Parole, in order to come Home to pro- 
cure your Excellency's Permission for Mr. Jones to be sent in in Exchange for 
me. On Thursday about Three of the Clock in the afternoon, I happily met Mr. 
Jones in the Sound near Hart Island, going in under your Excellency's Flag in 
order that I might come out exchanged. We immediately put back, and came 
under the Stern of the Guard Ship the Grand Duke, commanded by Capt. Holman, 


which lay between New City Island and Hart Island. The Exchange was there 
made, and we having exchanged' vessels, Mr. Jones proceeded immediately for 
New York, having the wind and tide for him, but I was detained by the same 
means that carried him oh till the next morning, and then made gail and got 
Home at evening. 

And now Hon''. Sir give me Leave to return your Excellency my most sin- 
cere Thanks for the many Favours that I have in Time past experienced from 
your Excellency, and Especially for your late particular attention to every meas- 
ure that tended to return me to the Blessings of Liberty and Freedom. 

The Deputy Commissary of Prisoners when I parted with him threatened that 
they would soon have me again. 

I am Your Excellency's 
Most Obedient 

Humble Servant 

G. Selleck Silliman. 
His Excellency Gov. Trumbull." 


Passing from Judge Jones' " Case," that of Colonel Meigs 
may next be taken up as an illustration of the author's method 
.in his treatment of others. So far as his estimates of character 
appear to be mere impressions formed by the Judge in a dis- 
turbed and prejudiced state of mind, they will be accepted for 
what they are worth ; but where he enters into facts as the basis 
of his opinion, a proper regard for the reputation of men who in. 
their day rendered good service, requires a verification of the 
facts themselves. In the case of Meigs we have a remarkable 
piece of judicial or historical portraiture, whichever it may be. 

Colonel Return Jonathan Meigs, of the Connecticut line, 
stands among the famous officers of his rank in the Revolution- 
ary army. His name is identified with Arnold's expedition 
against Quebec, a brilliant exploit at Sag Harbor, Long Island, 
the storming of Stony Point, and the various movements along 
-the Hudson until 1781. He closed an honorable life in 1823 as 


the government's agent among the Cherokee Indians, by whom 
he was affectionately called the " White Path" in appreciation 
of his integrity and friendship. Against this ofificer, whose char- 
acter has ever been above reproach, Judge Jones now brings 
three charges, namely, (i.) that he was a pardoned felon, (2.) 
that he deliberately broke his parole, and (3.) that he headed the 
"conspiracy" of the American prisoners at Quebec in 1776. A 
fourth charge connected with the case is to the effect that the 
Continental Congress knew that Meigs was a violator of the pub- 
lic faith and yet approved his conduct and rewarded his services. 
What the Judge says of the Colonel, after giving an account of 
his Sag Harbor expedition in the spring of 1777, is as follows 
(vol. I, p. 181), the italics being, in this and other quotations, 
the present writer's : 

" This Meigs was a native of Connecticut, of a reputable family, and large 
connections. A few years before the war, he had been detected in New York in 
passing counterfeit paper money in imitation of the lawful paper money of that 
colony, knowing the same to be counterfeit. This crime, by the laws of New 
York, was felony without the benefit of clergy. For this he was apprehended, 
imprisoned, indicted, tried, convicted, sentenced to be hanged, and a day fixed for 
.he execution. But upon a joint application of the Governor, the Council and 
General Assembly of Connecticut, to the Governor of New York in behalf of the 
prisoner, he was by the latter, with the advice of his Majesty's Council, pardoned 
and discharged. When the disturbances began in' America he obtained a commis- 
sion in the Connecticut troops and was with the army before Boston in 1775. 
When Arnold undertook to march from thence by the way of the Kennebeck 
across the country, and assist Montgomery in the siege of Quebec, Meigs turned 
out as a volunteer, and upon this occasion obtained a majority. When Mont- 
gomery attempted to storm the garrison, Meigs was of the party. Upon the fall 
of Montgomery and the defeat of his party, Meigs was among a number of other 
rebels taken prisoners. The prisoners were detained in Quebec during the winter 
and civilly treated. They had rations equally with (he King's troops. Such of the 
privates as were in want of clothes were by the humanity of General Carleton sup- 
plied with every necessity. The officers had the liberty of the town upon parole. 
The common men were confined in comfortable commodious places. The officers 
had the liberty of visiting the men whenever they pleased. While thus enjoying 
all the comforts that prisoners could wish or desire, they entered into a conspiracy, 
(of which Meigs was at the head) to seize the garrison. The night and hour was 
fixed upon, and the rebels forming the blockade had notice of it. They were to 
attack the town without, and while the garrison should, upon the alarm, repair to 
their several places of duty, Meigs and the other prisoners were to make an at- 
tack within. Of this conspiracy the Government got timely notice. The oflicers 
were of course taken up, and with the men, closely confined during the winter. In 
July, 1776, General Carleton sent the whole of them by water to the several prov- 


inces to which they respectively belonged, first taking their paroles not to take up 
arms against Great Britain until exchanged. Under this parole was Meigs when 
he performed his Sag Harbor expedition. This Congress knew, yet, so far from 
disapproving of such a breach of honour, of faith, and veracity, they not only voted 
him the thanks of their body, which were transmitted in a letter signed by their 
President, but presented him with a silver-hilted sword of considerable value. 
Whether General Howe ever complained to Congress of this flagrant violation of 
public faith I know not. But thi« I know, if he did, he got no satisfaction. Con- 
gress approved the act and rewarded the man." 

These are serious accusations, and if true, let in a ray of un- 
pleasant light upon some of the methods adopted by our ances- 
tors to secure the success of the Revolution. But they all fail 
when compared with records more authoritative than Judge 
Jones,' manuscript. Were no other records existing, the inhe- 
rent improbability of the charges ought to be their own refuta- 
tion. Can it be assumed, for example, that a despicable charac- 
ter, such as Meigs is pictured, should have been permitted to 
hold an officers' commission in the King's Colonial militia service 
prior to the Revolution, that thereafter Trumbull and Washing- 
ton should have appointed him a Colonel in the Continental 
army, and that subsequently the Government should have re- 
tained him for many years to the close of his life in a public po- 
sition of honor and trust ? The imputations are unworthy of 
credit, and the documents in the case dispose of them finally. 
Thus two of the charges, making Colonel Meigs a parole breaker 
and declaring Congress to have been cognizant of the fact, are 
disproved by the following note from Washington's Headquar- 
ters, written by Colonel Webb, of the Commander-in-Chief's staff, 
and published in the Connecticut Gazette of New London, Janu- 
ary 31, 1777: 

" Head Quarters in Morristown, Jan. 10, 1776 [1777]. 
I have it in command from his Excellency General Washington, to request 
you will publish the following list of gentlemen, officers and volunteers, who are 
released from their paroles, which they gave General Carleton, by an exchange of 
others of the same rank and number belonging to the British army. 

I am &c., 

Samuel B. Webb, A.D.C. 

Majors Meiggs, Bigelow ; Captains, Lamb, Tobham, Thayer, Morgan, 
Goodrich, Hanchett ; Lieutenants McDougall, Compton, Clark, Webb, Feger 
[Febiger], Heth, Savage, Brown, NichoUs, Bruin, Steel ; Ensign, Tisdal ; Vol- 
unteers, Oswald, Duncan, Lockwood, McGuire, Potterfield, Henry." 


As the Sag Harbor expedition was not undertaken until 
May 23d following, we find from Colonel Webb's letter that 
Meigs was regularly exchanged four months and more before the 
time when Judge Jones claims that he was still under his 
parole.' The Colonel's honor is thus clearly vindicated ; so also 
is that of Congress, whose members are charged with being 
fully informed of an act which was never committed. The 
Judge's tirade against that body, quoted above, is founded on 
nothing and comes to nothing. 

The second and more odious charge representing Colonel 
Meigs as a criminal before the war must be characterized as a 
gross libel upon the memory of a worthy man and brave soldier^ 
the individual described by the Judge as a pardoned counter- 
feiter being quite another character, one Felix Meigs and not 
Return Jonathan, nor belonging to the sartie family. Abundant 
proof of this existing in manuscript could be spread out were it 
necessary, or did the documents furnish anything of historical 
interest. It is enough to know that the Judge blundered un- 
pardonably when he identified the Colonel as the culprit — un- 
pardonably because he failed to assure himself that he had not 
blundered. Nor does the Judge state the case precisely, al- 
though his opportunities for accuracy were good, he being a 
judicial officer at the time in New York and his father one of 
the judges of the court which tried Felix. This person, who 
was engaged in the boating trade around the city, was brought 
up before the July term of the Court in the year 1772. Before 
sentence was carried out, however, a few of his friends in Con- 
necticut petitioned Governor Trumbull to request Governor 
Tryon, of New York, to pardon him upon the ground of his 
previous good character and certain extenuating circumstances 
in the case ; and upon this ground Trumbull laid the matter be- 
fore Tryon. The Legislature of Connecticut had nothing to do 

' The date of Colonel Meigs' exchange is of some consequence. If he was not 
exchanged until March, 1777, as stated in the Note on this subject in Vol. I. p. 
668, he was then violating his parole, for he had been promoted to be Lieut.- 
Colonel from a Majority, and was on active duty. The authority given for March 
is Judge Henry ; but the Judge makes no mention of the exchange. The true 
date is January 1st. See Biographical Sketch of Col. Meigs in Mag. of American 
History for April, 1880. 


with it. Governor Tryon, who at that time maintained the 
friendhest relations with his Connecticut neighbor, referred the 
case to his council on the 8th of September following, and was 
advised by them to postpone action until his " Mjtjesty's Pleas- 
ure" could be ascertained. This was communicated in due 
time by Lord Dartmouth, in a letter dated " Whitehall Dec"" 
9"", 1772" leaving the final determination in Tryon's hands, 
who thereupon signed a full pardon for Felix under date of 
April 19, 1773.' 

This brief statement will doubtless be accepted as sufficient 
to identify the person whom Judge Jones had in mind when he 
penned the libel on the distinguished Continental Colonel. As- 
he appears to have remembered so many particulars of the case,, 
the query suggests itself hoW he happened to fail in the impor- 
tant particular of names and brand the wrong man with in- 

The remaining charge or assertion that Colonel Meigs headed 
the Quebec Conspiracy has no force, since that conspiracy was- 
nothing more than a justifiable attempt on the part of the pri- 
soners to make their escape; but as the Judge evidently regards- 
it as a serious offence, it may be asked whether the enemy 
would have so far favored this " ringleader" as to permit him to 
return home on parole before any of his companions, and that, 
too, but a few weeks after the detection of his plot ? Nor was- 
the consideration he received on leaving Quebec quite such as- 
would be accorded a desperate conspirator — Captain Dearborn,, 
who alone returned with Meigs, giving us in his manuscript 
journal a brief account of their departure as follows : 

"May 16. [1776] . . . At 5 : of the clock the Town Major came for Major 
Meigs & myself, to go to the Lieut. Governor to give our Parole — the verbal 
agreement we made was that if ever there was an exchange of Prisoners, we were 
to have the benefit of it and until then we were not to take up arms against the 
King. — After giving our Parole from under our hands, we were carried before 
the Genl-, who appear'd to be a very humane tender-hearted man- After wishing 
us a good voyage, & saying he hoped to give the remainder of our officers the. 
same Liberty, he desir'd the Town Major to conduct us on Board — we desired 
leave to visit our men in prison but could not obtain it — after getting our baggage- 
& taking leave of our fellow prisoners we went on board a schooner, which w& 

' JVew York Colonial Manuscripts, vol. gg, p. iii, and vol. lOO, p. 48. Secre- 
tary of State's office, Albany, N. Y. 


are to go to Halifax in, but as she did not sail to-day, we were invited on Board 
the Admiral's ship, where we were very genteely used, and Tarried all night." ' 

There is but one comment to be made on this case : E;yeiy 
material damaging statement regarding Colonel Meigs — four in 
number, if the last can be included — is found to be false 


The next case is that of Colonel John Lamb, of New York 
City, commanding the Fourth Continental Artillery Regiment, 
whom Judge Jones couples with Meigs as another flagrant 
parole-breaker among Washington's officers. The passage 
containing the charge is as follows, the author referring to 
Lamb with seemingly derisive familiarity as " John" (Vol. IL 
P- 342) : 

"When the Stamp Act was passed by the British Parliament, John took an 
active part in opposition to it, was a mighty leader, and haranguer, among the 
' Mobility.' The Act being repealed and peace restored, John's popularity ceased. 
There was nothing left to keep it up. When the late troubles commenced John 
again rose into consequence ; he headed mobs, excited sedition, talked treason, 
■abused the Loyalists, harangued the populace, and damned the Tories. Upon 
General Lee's dismantling Fort George, and the Batteries in New York, of their 
cannon and stores, in the spring of 1775, and removing them into the Fields, John 
was made Master-General of the ordnance. And dressed in blue and buff, he af- 
terwards joined Montgomery in Canada, was wounded, and taken prisoner, at 
Quebec. A number of others were also taken at the same place. General Carle- 
ton sent all the prisoners to their respective Colonies, taking their paroles not to 
bear arms against Great Britain, until regularly exchanged. John was a restless 
spirit, could not bear to be idle, and had little honour. In April, 1777, he was in 
the attack upon Danbury, and was, notwithstanding his parole, defending Fort 
■Constitution when taken by General Clinton in October, 1777. He luckily made 
Tiis escape." 

Here again is an accusation which cannot stand. Colonel 
Lamb having faithfully observed his parole until properly ex- 
changed in January, 1777, three months before his participation 
in any military enterprise. Colonel Webb's letter naming 
Lamb with Meigs in the list of exchanged prisoners is sufficient 
proof in the case, but to it may be added the official papers 

' Dearborn's MS. Journal \n possession of the Boston Public Library. 


printed in Leake's Life of Lamb. One of these is a memorial 
to Congress, dated November 25, 1776, in which we have this 
officer's own sense of the obhgation he was under. An extract 
from it is as follows : 

" To the Honorable Congress of the United States of America. 

Gentlemen : Altho' the Enemy have, contrary to my expectations, 
liberated me from the dreary Horrours of a Prison, and suffered me to return to my 
family and friends, I am still subject to their power and controul ; liable to be 
called upon by them to surrender myself a prisoner whenever they please ; and 
restrained by the sacred ties of honour from drawing my sword again in defence 
•of my country till exchanged for some officer of theirs. Extremely anxious to be 
relieved from this truly painful and disagreeable situation, I waited on General 
Washington immediately after my arrival from Quebec, earnestly soliciting his 
interest with your Honours for that purpose. But as I have not yet heard that 
such an event had taken place — owing, I imagine, to the critical situation of the 
two armies ; I take the liberty to address your Honours on that subject, humbly 
Tequesting that I may be included in the next exchange of Prisoners." 

Four days later Congress received this petition, and imme- 
diately resolved: "That the General be directed to include 
Major Lamb in the nejft exchange of Prisoners ;" and that an 
exchange was speedily effected, and the Major released appears 
from the following notification from Colonel Knox at Washing- 
ton's headquarters : 

" Trenton, Jan'y 2, 1776 [1777] 
Sir : I have the pleasure to acquaint you, that Gen. Howe has consented to 
your exchange, and sent out the parole which you gave Gen. Carleton. His, Excel- 
lency, Gen. Washington wishes to provide for you in proportion to your great 
merits, and wishes to see you as soon as possible. 

I am Sir with 

esteem, your most 
ob & hble Servt, 

H. Knox 
Commanding the' Artillery 
Major Lamb of the United States." 

While these documents definitely settle the parole question 
in favor of Colonel Lamb and against Judge Jones, it may be 
observed as in the case of Colonel Meigs, that even were this 
evidence wanting it cannot be supposed that Lamb would have 
been permitted to hold an active military command, especially 
at so important a post as Fort Montgomery, when at any mo- 
ment he could be demanded by and returned to the enemy as 


one of their prisoners. John Lamb, we suspect, was too stirring 
a Son of Liberty and too unctious a hater of tories to escape 
"uncom^Hmentary. and vindictive mention by the Judge ; but 
what the Judge writes about him with apparently the best 
rehsh turns out again to be a Hbel.' 


The third mihtary personage whom the "learned " Judge at- 
tempts to drag into disgrace is none other than the American 
Commander-in-Chief; for we are given to understand that he not 
only broke his parole in his younger days, but that during the 
Revolution, his conduct more than once was marred with coarse- 
ness, severity, and actual cruelty. The charge of parole-breaking 
might have been anticipated. A writer who could readily believe 
that Washington suffered Colonels Meigs and Lamb to assume 
their regular duties in the army before being exchanged would 
have little hesitation in questioning the honor of the Chief him- 
self in the matter of observing his own parole. But, inevitably, 
the Judge again comes to grief with his charge, as appears from 
the editor's own notes on this point. The charge (Vol. IL p. 346) 
is to the effect that when taken prisoner at Little Meadows in 
1754, in the French and Indian War, Washington " pledged his 
honour not to bear arms against France for twelve months," 
but that nevertheless he was found fighting " under the banners 
of Braddock, upon the Monongahela" before the year was up. 
This accusation, however, meets two obstinate facts. First. All 
that the French demanded of Washington and his party was a 
promise not to work upon any buildings or forts west of the moun- 
tains during the year beginning with the date of the capitulation. 
Otherwise they were left free to serve as English soldiers. 

' The documents from the Life of Lamb, quoted above, appear not to be 
en^irely satisfactory to the editor of Jones' work, who states that the Judge was 
probably mistaken about Lamb's parole, and that he simply recorded what was 
generally believed at the time. General Knox's letter ought to be conclusive. It 
would be interesting also to know what evidence exists showing that there was a 
belief current that Lamb had broken his parole; and did it become j Judge to 
publish a libel on mere rumor ? 


Washington's presence with Braddock, therefore, was not a vio- 
lation of his parole. Second. An interval of more than twelve 
months elapsed between the Little Meadows surrender and Brad- 
dock's disaster ; so that in any case there would have been no 
breaking of the pledge given to the French. The Judge took 
up report or supposition and attempted to make history out of it. 



Not content with preferring this charge against Washington — 
a charge which, if proven, would alone be suiificient to lower him 
in the estimation of posterity — the Judge proceeds to hold him 
up in another light. He lays stress in particular upon the con- 
duct of the Chief in the case of the British Captain Asgill, which 
attracted much attention towards the close of the war, and also 
upon the satisfaction with which he is alleged to have looked 
upon the persecution of New York tories on a certain occasion 
in 1776. As to the latter case, it appears that on the 12th of 
June a number of the Sons of Liberty and others ferreted out 
several specially obnoxious tories, and rode them on rails through 
the city. According to the Judge they were carried from point 
to point and their offences duly proclaimed. Occasionally the 
mob would stop, indulge in some jeering demonstration, and 
then move on (Vol. L p. 102). 

" The like proclamations," continues the Judge, "were made before the City 
Hall, where the provincial Convention was then sitting forming laws for the 
civil government of the province; before exchange where the committee were 
sitting making rules and regulations for preserving the good order, the peace and 
quiet of the city ; and before the door of General Washington, who pretended the 
army under his command was raised for the defence of American Liberty, for the 
preservation of the rights of mankind, and for the protection of America against 
the unjust usurpations of the British ministry. Notwithstanding which, so far did 
this humane General, and the two public bodies aforesaid, approve of this unjus- 
tifiable mob, that it received the sanction of them all. They appeared at the win- 
dows, raised their hats, returned the huzzas and joined in the acclamations of the 
multitude. Nay so far did General Washington give his sanction of, and appro- 
bation to, this inhuman barbarous proceeding that he gave a very severe repri- 
mand to General Putnam, who accidentally meeting one of the processions in the 
street, and shocked with its barbarity, attempted to put a stop to it, Washington 
declaring that to discourage such proceedings was to injure the cause of liberty in 
which they were then engaged, and that nobody would attempt it but an enemy to 
his country.'' 


The reader will doubtless agree with the Judge that rail-riding- 
is an " unmerciful " and unnecessary proceeding in any case ; 
but it cannot be assumed that many will agree with him that the 
story he tells here respecting Washington's approval of the mob 
is grounded in truth. Washington is to be found uniformly on 
the side of order and humanity. His treatment of tories, even 
when they showed themselves " the most inveterate enemies," 
was neither severe nor unprecedented. We have his views on 
this point expressed but a short time after the occurrence noted 
above, when Governor Livingston sought his advice on the pro- 
priety of permitting certain disaffected persons to return to their 
homes. Washington replied that such permission could be given 
to those whom the Governor knew and could trust, but adds : 
" I would suggest to ' you, that my tenderness has been often 
abused, and I have had reason to repent the indulgence shown 
them ; / would show than all possible humanity and kindness, con- 
sistent with our own safety; but matters are now too far ad- 
vanced to sacrifice anything to punctilios." This is not the lan- 
guage of a General who delighted in rail-riding processions. 

But as a matter of fact the military did disperse the mob, 
and the evidence is strong that it was done by express command 
of Washington himself. Ensign Caleb Clap, an eye-witness,, 
refers to the affair as follows :' 

"June ii"> [12""] — the Citizens of the City of New York Gethered together a 
number of them and went round among them which they supposed to be tories, 
striped a number of them and was at the Trouble of carrying them about the 
Streets on a Rail, and then confined them in Geol — others they Visited and they 
appeared to be so Humble they Let them alone after making Promise to comply 
with their Directions (I happened to have the Command of the Picquet that Day) 
the General Sent for all the Picquets in the three Brigades in order to Surpress. 
them but seeing so many under Arms they Dispersed Quick.'' 

It seems to be entirely legitimate to infer that the " General " 
mentioned here as sending for the pickets was the Commander- 
in-Chief. The Ensign elsewhere refers to him in the same way, 
and does not use the word to indicate any other General. In 
addition, the " three Brigades" mentioned included the entire 

' Diary of Ensign Caleb Clap, Col. Baldwin's Mass. Regt., in Hist. Mag., 
Third Series, March, 1874, p. 135. 


' army at New York at that date, and received orders direct from 
Washington. And as to the statement that Gen. Putnam was 
severely reprimanded by his Chief, for interfering with the march 
of the mob, it sinks under its own inconsistency. Putnam was 
not the only general officer who appeared on the scene. The 
Moravian pastor Shewkirk states that " Some of the generals, 
and especially Putnam and their forces, had enough to do to 
quell the riot, and make the mob disperse ;" ' and it is on official 
record that after order was restored, Putnam accompanied by 
General Mifflin, who at that time had Washington's confidence 
as much as any officer in the army, proceeded to the New York 
Convention and complained of the day's doings on the part of 
the citizens.^ That body immediately passed resolutions dis- 
approving the mob. If Washington dealt out reprimands im- 
partially on the occasion, he must have had some for Miffiin and 
other officers, and a certain amount for the Convention. Judge 
Jones' version of the incident sounds like a piece of sensational 
reporting. There is no indication that he was present and saw 
what he describes — the very account itself, indeed, being evi- 
dence of his absence. He has clearly given us hearsay or imagi- 
nation again ; certainly, it is not history. 


The Judge's reference to Benjamin Franklin (Vol. I. p. 135) 
is another pretended revelation of discreditable secret history. 
The statement is to the effect that when Connecticut, according to 
the Judge, became alarmed at the military outlook in December, 
1776 (still another absurdity to be exposed), her authorities 
released all the prisoners in their power with a single exception. 
This exception was the royal Governor William Franklin, of 
New Jersey, who, we are informed, was not only " detained and 
most inhumanly treated," but that ''at the request of his 
father, the arch rebel. Dr. Franklin." But if the records are to 
be trusted this assertion is as unfounded in fact as it is heartless. 

Governor Franklin was detained in Connecticut solely in 

1 L. I. Hist. Soc. Series, Vol. III. Pt. II. p. 108. 
* Journals of Prov. Congress, Vol. I. p. 491. 


consequence of his own insidious hostility to the Revolution, 
and if his confinement at a later date was close and rigid, his 
own conduct gave the occasion. Upon his arrest in June, 1776, 
as the obstructive governor of New Jersey, he was transferred 
to Connecticut for safe keeping, where he was quartered first at 
Wallingford and then at Middletown upon a liberal parole. On 
the 23d of November following. Congress proposed that Franklin 
be exchanged for General William Thompson, of Pennsylvania, 
■who was a prisoner in Canada. But ten days later, December 
3d, that body reversed its action by resolving to suspend the 
exchange" until further orders, upon the ground, as stated by 
Hancock, that the liberation of Franklin at that critical period 
might prove " prejudicial and attended with some bad conse- 
quences" to the American cause.' Now when these resolves 
were passed by Congress, Benjamin Franklin, the father, was on 
the Atlantic, making his voyage to France as one of the Ameri- 
can Commissioners to the Court of Versailles, and was as igno- 
rant of the above proceedings regarding his son, the Governor, 
as Judge Jones, "the acute eye-witness," appears to have been. 
The simple fact is that Congress would have exchanged Frank- 
lin had not our reverses in New Jersey, where Franklin's influ- 
ence would have been considerable, rendered the exchange 
unadvisable. It was the turn in the military situation and 
not his father's " request" that led to the Governor's detention 
in Connecticut. 

The further libellous insinuation that it was Dr. Franklin's 
■desire that his son should be " inhumanly treated " stands pro- 
bably on the same intangible authority with the previous charge. 
In April, 1777, when "undoubted information" reached Con- 
gress that Governor Franklin, while on parole at Middletown, had 
sedulously employed himself in scattering Howe's proclamations 
of pardon about him, thus aiding the enemies of the United 
States, that body directed Governor Trumbull to have him 
closely confined without the use of pen, ink, or paper, or the 
access of any persons without the ■ Governor's permission. 
Franklin was then removed to Litchfield, Connecticut, and care- 
fully guarded. In July, 1777, he applied for a release on parole 

' Force, 5th Series, Vol, III. p. 1069. 


to visit his sick wife in New Jersey, but Cong/ess charged that 
he had again abused his parole, accusing him of the violation of 
" so sacred a tie as that of honor," and declined, despite his 
urgent plea, to allow him any freedom within the American 
lines. This treatment he characterized as cruel in the extreme, 
while Congress justified its course on the ground of the public 
safety and loss of confidence in his word. 

The Governor was finally exchanged in the fall of 1778, as a 
prisoner of war, and sent into New York. All this time his 
father was in France, practically beyond the reach of Congress, 
which obviously in this matter decided for itself upon every new 
phase of the Governor's case. Father and son reconciled their 
personal and political alienation at the close of the war, but we 
hear nrothing of this " inhuman treatment" among the recollec- 
tions to be forgotten. 


Leaving the .reputations of Washington, Franklin, Meigs, 
and Lamb unblemished, so far as Judge Jones's attempt to 
defame them is concerned, we may look into certain other state- 
ments of this contemporary historian. There are several suffi- 
ciently suspicious, upon their face, to court investigation, one of 
which seriously affects what Colonel Harry Lee calls in his 
" Memoirs" " the faithful State of Connecticut." If the Judge 
is correct, Lee complimented that State far beyond her deserts, 
as must appear from the following, in Vol. L pp. 134-5 : 

" So far did Connecticut look upon the contest with Great Britain as over 
that in December, 1776, the Great and General Court not only released every 
prisoner in their power (except Governor Franklin, who was detained and most 
inhumanly treated, and that at the request of his father, the arch rebel. Dr. 
Franklin), but actually appointed and enipowered a committee of their body to 
proceed to New York, to make submission to the King's Commissioners, to ask a 
restoration to the King's peace; and, if possible, to preserve their charter from 
forfeiture, their estates from confiscation, and their persons from attainder. But 
the unfortunate action at Trentop, which happened shortly after, and the conse- 
quent transactions in New Jersey, put an end to this favorable disposition in the 
inhabitants of Connecticut." 

This surprising statement, if true, places Connecticut, his- 
torically, in a craven position compared with that of her sister- 


States at that time. No other showed the least disposition, 
through its Legislature, to commit such base tergiversation, 
which must be regarded as all the baser in the case of Connect- 
icut, when we recall the enthusiasm with which her train-bands 
marched to Boston upon the Lexington alarm, and the large 
number of troops she furnished the army in 1776. All her 
previous political professions, moreover, had been upon the 
side of resistance. 

The accuracy of the foregoing quotation is assumed in the 
" Notes" (Vol. L p. 641) upon the ground that the Judge was a 
prisoner in Connecticut at that date, with opportunities for 
information, and hence " not likely to be mistaken." But 
judging from the experience and fate of other statements on his 
part, the Judge's opportunities for observation fail to make him 
any more of an authority, and it will not be an exceptional 
incident if we find the records in the present case once more 
offering a complete contradiction to his assertions. 

Connecticut not only did not look upon the contest as over 
in December, 1776, but on the contrary increased her exertions 
at home, encouraged her soldiers in camp, and prepared in the most 
energetic manner for the continuation of the struggle. T© enter 
into any extended proof of this must appear superfluous. The 
record is clear and certain. It was on the very darkest of the 
dark days of 1776 — December 28 — that Governor Trumbull 
wrote to Washington : " The disposition and spirit of the inhab- 
itants of this State is unaltered, but we are weakened by the 
constant demand of men and every kind of clothing." On 
-December 7, the same day that the Governor's council permitted 
Judge Jones and his fellow-prisoners to return to their homes 
on parole, he wrote : 

"The General Assembly of this 'sx.zx.e,- sensible of the vast importance of 
supporting the great causein which you are so nobly struggling^ have, at their session 
of the 19th of November last, made provision for raising by enlistment four bat- 
talions to serve under your command until the 5th of March next, before which 
time I have strong hopes our quota of the Continental army will be completed; 
and I do earnestly recommend it to the brave officers and soldiers of this State 
now in your army freely and cheerfully to undertake in defence of so great, so 
just, and so good a cause. The misery and wretchedness to which they and their 
families, their friends, and their country must be reduced if our enemies 
succeed are dreadful in idea; how much more dreadful and how intolerable to be 


Many other similar expressions could be quoted, and it is to 
be observed that they are expressions of fidelity to the cause 
made by a Governor oiificially representing a like fidelity on the 
part of its Legislature. 

Furthermore, the November and December sessions of the 
Connecticut Assembly, which, according to the Judge, debased 
itself so far as to offer submission to the enemy, were special 
sessions held for war purposes. The last resolution adopted at 
the November sitting declared expressly that "the situation of 
the army, the great necessity of providing and forwarding, the 
raising of~ the new army, and of putting the militia upon the 
best footing, and the probability of soon receiving further intel- 
ligence from Congress and the army, very interesting to this and 
the other States, would speedily require a further session." 
Upon this the Assembly met again on the third Wednesday in 
December at Middletown. These two sessions were held during 
the most critical period of the campaign, but all their acts and 
resolutions, of which an official summary is preserved in the 
Connecticut archives, were of a highly public-spirited and deter- 
mined character. AH private bills were postponed and the 
needs of the hour alone attended to. It was voted to thoroughly 
reorganize the militia, to recruit new regiments for State and 
Continental service, to offer liberal bounties, to establish a loan- 
ofifice to raise money to purchase arms, manufacture cannon, 
and prepare generally for a vigorous defence. Those troops 
whose term of service was to expire in December were urged by 
the Assembly to remain longer with Washington, should he 
need them, ''for the sake of their country and all its inestimable 
rights, themselves, and all posterity." To check the exorbitant 
charges for provisions made by monopolizers, or that " class of 
men who preferred their own private gain to the interest, comfort, 
and safety of the country," an act was passed governing the price 
of labor and the necessaries of life. Commissaries in the differ- 
ent parts of the State were directed to give information against 
all persons " purchasing up and engrossing" articles of clothing 
needed for the soldiers. Word coming that the troops in the 
Continental service were suffering from the want of blankets, the 
selectmen of all the towns were charged with procuring blankets 
at once, and " if a sufficient number could not be obtained in 


this manner, that a warrant should issue to supply the deficiency 
by impressment." Cannon were sent to Norwalk and Green- 
wich for their defence, and the Governor and Council authorized 
to supply the towns with "such quantity of powder" as they 
might require ; and much more to the like effect. But perhaps 
the most significant action on the part of the Assembly was 
that taken in December, when news came that the enemy were 
making their way through New Jersey towards Philadelphia, 
and that the inhabitants of Pennsylvania were hurrying to 
Washington's assistance. It was then resolved to encourage the 
patriotism " so boldly manifested," and to call upon " any and 
all able-bodied men in Connecticut, residing west of Connecticut 
River, cheerfully to go forward and offer themselves for the ser- 
vice of their country on so great an occasion." A Committee 
also was appointed to repair to that part of the State " to arouse 
and animate the people to rise and exert themselves, with the 
greatest expedition, to cherish and propagate the spirit, zeal, and 
ardor for the country, to set on foot with all expedition an enlist- 
ment i7i the various parts of the State; and all friends of the country 
zvere earnestly exhorted to lend all tlieir aid to said Committee, to 
promote so great and good a design." So, too, when Sir Henry 
Clinton landed in Rhode Island and threatened an invasion of 
the New England States, and it was proposed that a Committee 
' from those States should meet at Providence on the 23d of 
December to provide " for their mutual and immediate defence 
and safety," the Connecticut Assembly appointed Messrs. Titus 
Hosmer, Eliphalet Dyer, Richard Law, and Nathaniel Wales, 
Jr., leading men in the State, "a Committee to meet the Com- 
mittees of New England, at Providence, or at any other place at 
the time aforesaid, or as soon as might be, to consult of the expedi- 
ency of raising and appointing a7i army for the more immediate 
defence of New England, agaiyist the threatened invasions, as ivell 
as for a inore general defence in the common cause'' 

Little confirmation does this record — and there is much more 
of the same sort — contribute in support of Judge Jones's assertion 
that Connecticut, in December, 1776, or at any other time 
looked upon the contest as over, and fell upon her knees to 
beg for peacp. It follows, necessarily, that the two proofs he 
advances to sustain his general charge, namely, that a Committee 


was appointed to make submission to the King's Commissioners 
and that all the prisoners in the State were released, have 
nothing to stand upon. The resolutions and utterances of the 
Assembly, above referred to, are a flat denial of the first. Could 
that body have had the simplicity to imagine that the King's 
Commissioners would receive their Committee with open arms, 
and engage " to preserve their charter from forfeiture, their 
estates from confiscation, and their persons from attainder," 
when their public proceedings at the very time were nothing 
less than successive acts of rebellion and resistance ? Or could 
that Committee have guaranteed, on condition of pardon, to 
restore the State to its former allegiance, when its best people 
were already in arms or arming either for the militia or Con- 
tinental service ? Or could such a Committee have been ap- 
pointed without opposition, and that opposition not showing 
itself outside of the Assembly and exciting public discussion? 
If Judge Jones knew of the appointment of <such a Com- 
mittee, how is it that no one else. heard of it — General Howe, 
for instance, or Governor Tryon, who were quick to report to 
the home government any sign of a favorable disposition on 
the part of the colonists? The Judge's assertion is obviously 
absurd if not malicious. The Connecticut Assembly could have 
appointed no Committee for the purpose represented. 

In the Judge's second point^ — the alleged release of prisoners 
through fear — we have simply a second perversion of fact. The 
tory prisoners — " disaffected " persons — of whom Judge Jones 
was one, had been sent from New York into Connecticut at dif- 
ferent dates during the year, some of them having been sepa- 
rated from their famiilies several months. It appears that in 
December, a number of these were released, but not as the 
Judge implies, in the sense of being set free because the State 
was ready to give up the contest. They were sxxa-^Xy permitted, 
and that upon their own application, to return to their homes and 
neglected private affairs upon parole "to say and do nothing 
prejudicial to the American cause and to report back to Con- 
necticut when demanded. The Judge, in fact, contradicts him- 
self on this point ; for while in the extract quoted above, he 
alleges that the prisoners (himself included) were released in 
consequence of Connecticut's fright, he elsewhere twice asserts, 


once under oath (Vol. II. pp. 276, 299), that Governor Trumbull 
gave him permission to return home and the Governor in the 
manuscript letter to Governor Clinton uses the same word in 
the same connection clearly in the sense that the act was an 
official /ai'or. Such it was well understood to be by the other 
prisoners. Thus Benjamin Whitehead, Richard Betts, and 
George Hewlett, prominent tories of New York, sign paroles on 
December 21, 1776, which contain the following clause: . . . 
" Whereas, upon our application, his Honor Jonathan Trumbull, 
Esq., Governor of said State of Connecticut, hath permitted us 
to return to our families in New York" etc. Thus Colonel Fred- 
erick Phillips, Hugh Wallace, James Jauncey, James Jauncey, Jr., 
Gerard Walton, William Jauncey, John Miller, and others of the 
same place all apply for paroles. Thus Samuel Burling and 
Robert A. Waddell, who were denied permission in consequence 
of improper conduct at their quarters a short time before, put 
in a plea of 'intoxication and say : " We hope your Honour, 
and the Honorable Council, will reconsider our Case, and grant 
us the same Indulgence which your Honour has been pleased 
to allow the other Gentlemen in our situation, and which is so 
absolutely necessary to our Private affairs." Thus Stephen De 
Lancey, of Albany, charged with being notoriously inimical to 
American liberty, with drinking " damnation to the Congress," 
with associating with the enemies of the country, " paying no 
regard to circumstances or character," and with reporting to 
Sir John Johnson the movements of the army and the debates 
of the Albany Committee of Safety, applies for permission to 
return home. 

By this comparison with the official records in the case what 
is left of the Judge's libel upon the State of Connecticut? The 
records seem to have their own very positive reply, that not a 
single statement in it is to be accepted as true.' 

' The references to the resolutions of the Connecticut Legislature are from 
Hinman, who produced them verbatim, from the original records in the Connecti- 
cut State Library. The paroles are to be found in Force's Archives. Trumbull's 
Papers contain the original duplicates. 



Not much better fortune favors the " learned " Judge when he 
proceeds to divulge and denounce the methods by which the 
great proprietary province of Pennsylvania was transformed into 
a republican State. It was no minor matter. " An extraordi- 
nary and surprising exertion of the power of Congress," he 
writes, " shall be now related ;" and we then have ai statement 
of the royal grant to William Penn of the vast tract of land 
known as Pennsylvania, its revenues and patronage, the abso- 
lute rights of the proprietors and their heirs, and finally the ruth- 
less change in the ownership and system brought about by the 
Revolution. The points he desires to emphasize are as follows 
(Vol. I. p. 327) : 

" I" 1777, Congress, by a resolution of their own divested the Penn family of 
all the powers of Government, and the liberties, privileges, and emoluments 
granted them by the royal charter, without any compensation whatever, and con- 
verted the government from a kind of monarchy into an absolute republic, and 
every office which was in the appointment of the proprietors, they made elective 
and dependent upon the suffrages of the people at large. This, it seems, was not 
sufficient, and Congress therefore in 1779, passed another resolution, by which 
they divested the proprietors of all their quit-rents, with the whole of their unap- 
propriated, unlocated, and unsettled lands in the province, of the value of at least 
;^50o,ooo sterling, and vested the same in the State of Pennsylvania, to be dis- 
posed of in such manner, and form, as the Legislature of that State should think 
proper, for the benefit of the good people thereof. In doing this, however, they 
looked upon themselves as bound in justice to make the family a compensation. 
They accordingly resolved that the State should pay to the proprietors, in lieu of 
their property (thus unjustly taken from them), the amazing sum of ;,fl30,ooo 
sterling, to be paid in instalments without interest, and the first payment not to 
commence till ten years after the end of the war. Was there ever a greater piece 
of injustice, of villainy, or dishonesty than this ? Deprive a family of the powers 
of government, of a patronage worth ;^70,ooo per annum, without the least com- 
pensation, and of private property to the value of ;^500,ooo, in consideration of 
^^130,000, payable in instalments, without interest, and to commence ten years 
after the war ! Thus did Congress, by an arbitrary, despotic, and assumed power, 
reduce to indigence, and almost beggary, a family possessed under the Crown of 
powers, privileges, emoluments, immunities, and a revenue, superior to half the 
princes in Germany. Was this justice ? Did the proprietors deserve this treat- 
ment from their hands ? Were any of the family consulted in this business ? 
They were not, Congress made their own bargain, Congress took away the estate, 
and Congress stipulated the consideration money. If the proprietors ever get 
^10,000 of the stipulated sum, they may think themselves well off. Congress 


might, with as much propriety, have taken away all the unimproved and unculti- 
vated land throughout the thirteen colonies, though granted by the Crown, and 
vested such lands in the several States in which they lay. Had this been done, 
much would not have been thought of the other. But to fall upori one family, 
and that a family of friends, too, disposses them of their property, and leave all 
others in possession of theirs, is a species of such bare-faced partiality, villainy, 
and dishonesty, that no body of people, crowned head, or government (the Ameri- 
can Congress excepted) were ever guilty of. " 

The three material statements in this extract are open to 
material corrections. First — it was not Congress that divested 
the Penn proprietaries of their estates. Second — the Legislature 
of Pennsylvania alone was responsible for the proceedings in 
the case, and presented solid reasons in justification of its course. 
Third — the Penn family retained a considerable property in 
Pennsylvania and in addition received the il 1 30,000 considera- 
tion in full with interest, within six years after the war and three 
years before Judge Jones' death. The history of the case is 
briefly as follows : 

Prior to the Revolution the Penn family qlaim'ed, under 
charter, to be sole owners of the province of Pennsylvania. Its 
government consisted of the hereditary Governor, his council 
and a General Assembly. In 1775 the latter body moved cau- 
tiously in dealing with the troubles with Great Britain, while 
the Governor opposed the colonial pretensions. The patriotic 
element in the Assembly and the population at large, recogniz- 
ing the necessity of a more outspoken policy on the part of the 
State, organized a " Provincial Conference of Committees," 
which proceeded to open the way for a new government in 
accordance with a recommendation of the Continental Congress 
of May 1 8th, 1776. This recommendation was a general- one, 
extended to all the States alike, and was prompted by an anxiety 
to suppress the exercise in America, of " all authority under the 
crown of Great Britain." The majority of the States were 
already represented by conventions or assemblies of the right 
cast, and on June i8th the Pennsylvania Conference, adopting 
the suggestion of Congress, brought themselves into line with 
their neighbors by resolving that the then existing government 
was "not competent" for the times, and that a provincial con- 
vention be called to form another government resting " on the 
authority of the people only." Such a convention was soon organ- 


ized, a new Constitution adopted September 28th, 1776, and 
the first General Assembly under it met on November 28th fol- 
lowing. This was the extent of the local revolution in Penn- 
sylvania in 1776, and it is difficult to question the propriety or 
necessity of the movement, as long as the right of revolution is 
recognized at all. The ownership of the soil was not then in- 
volved. At that date the Proprietary Governor, now without 
office, was John Penn, grandson of William Penn. " He re- 
rhained," says Mr. W. B. Reed, "in Pennsylvania and appears 
to have been a temperate and inoffensive man, who relinquished 
his political authority without a struggle and was content tO' 
watch with unobtrusive vigilance the more substantial interests- 
of his family." 

More than two years elapsed before the special subject of 
the ownership- of the soil came up in the Assembly. Congress 
made no recommendation in regard to it in 1776, and it made 
none now. All the proceedings in the case were the voluntary- 
action of the Pennsylvania Legislature. The first we hear of the 
matter is in the message sent by the Executive Council through 
its President, Joseph Reed, to the Legislature on February 5th,, 
1779. "We shall now offer," says this, document, " the last, 
though not the least object of your public enquiry and delibera- 
tion ; we mean the nature and extent of the claims or estates 
of the late proprietaries, and their consistency with the.interests 
and happiness of the people under the late revolution. To 
reconcile the rights and demands of society with those of private 
justice and equity in this case, will be worthy your most serious 
attention." The Assembly took up the subject twelve days later,. 
February 17th, and notified the late Governor, John Penn, of its 
intention to discuss it on the 26th of the same month. Mr. 
Penn thereupon requested the House not to take decisive action 
" until a reasonable time was allowed him to consider," and on 
March loth and nth it was voted that Penn as well as the State 
be heard by counsel, the House declaring itself " desirous of 
doing the strictest justice between the people of the State and 
the said late proprietaries." On the i8th and 22d the arguments 
were heard on both sides, but of these, as far as known, not 
even an outline is preserved. Before taking final action, the 
Assembly submitted several questions to Chief Justice McKean, 


of the State Supreme Court, requesting his opinioil on the 
vahdity of the proprietors' claims from a liegal point of view. 
The answers, one point excepted, were in favor of Penn ; but the 
Judge was particular to say that they were purely legal answers 
and that \.\\e. political s\X.\ya.\\on had not been taken into account. 
These questions and answers together with the report of a Com- 
mittee of the Assembly, taking an opposite view, were ordered 
to be printed both in English and German, so that the people 
of the State were well" informed of the action of their represen- 
tatives in so important a matter. Finally on the 24th of Novem- 
ber, 1779, an act was passed by the Assembly, known as the 
■" Divesting Act," by which the title to the soil of Pennsylvania 
was virtually transferred from the Penn family into the hands of 
the State. The vote in its favor stood forty to seven. John 
P.enn naturally protested against the act as "injurious and repug- 
nant to every rule of justice and equity," and his protest was 
allowed to be entered in the minutes of the Assembly. 

This synopsis of the case, which is substantially the same as 
that given by Mr. Reed, with a few additional data taken from 
the Assembly's Journals," at least settles the point that Congress 
■was not concerned in it, and that Judge Jones' denunciations of 
that body are entirely misapplied. To reverse his finding in his 
own words, Congress exercised no power, whether arbitrary, 
despotic, or assumed, over the Penn family; did not reduce it 
almost to beggary ; did not make its own bargain ; took away no 
estates and stipulated no consideration money, and hence was 
guilty neither of " partiality, villainy or dishonesty." 

Whether the Pennsylvania Assembly must come in for the 
-condemnation intended for Congress is another question, and 
perhaps not a question of fact. Judge Jones declares that a 
glaring piece of robbery was committed somewhere by authori- 
ty, and that the great majority of the people of Pennsylvania 
are enjoying life to-day on stolen soil. The historical students 
of that State would no doubt repel the insinuation, and could 
probably find ample vindication of the action of the Assembly 
of 1779. What the Judge asserts is in reality no more than his 

^ Reeas Reed. Vol. II., p. l66. Journals of Pennsylvania Assembly, 1779. 


conviction that the transfer of title was an act of robbery, while 
the Assembly thought quite otherwise. The question is open 
to argument, and as the Judge presents one view, the preamble 
of the Act itself may be inserted here, as embodying the opposite 
or Pennsylvania view : 

"An Act for Vesting the Estates of the late Proprietaries of Pennsylvania in this 

Whereas the charter from Charles the second, heretofore King of England, to 
William Penn, under which the late province, now state of Pennsylvania was first 
begun to be settled, was granted and held for the great ends of enlarging the 
bounds of human society, and the cultivation and promotion of religion and 
learning; and the rights of property and powers of government, thereby vested in 
the said William Penn, and his heirs, were stipulated to be used and enjoyed, as 
well for the benefit of the settlers as for his own particular emolument agreeable 
to the terms of the said charter, and of certain conditions and concessions entered 
into between them. 

II. And whereas the claims heretofore made by the late Proprietaries to the 
whole of the soil contained within the bounds of the said charter, and in conse- 
quence thereof the reservation of quit rents and purchase money upon all the 
grants of lands within the said limits, cannot longer consist with the safety, liberty 
and happiness of the good people of this commonwealth, who at the expense of 
much blood and treasure, have bravely rescued themselves and their possessions 
from the tyranny of Great Britain, and are now defending themselves from the 
inroads of the savages. 

III. And whereas the safety and happiness o* the people is the fundamental law 
of society, and it has been the practice and usage of states most celebrated for 
freedom and wisdom to controul and abolish all claims of power and interest 
inconsistent with their safety and welfare; and it being the right and duty of the 
representatives of the people to assume the direction and management of such 
interest and property as belongs to the community, or was designed for their 

IV. "Be it therefore enacted, etc." ' 

, This preamble appears to be the only channel through which 
the views of the Pennsylvania legislators of 1779 can now be 
ascertained, but it contains enough to show that they put the 
broadest construction upon the Penn charter, and felt that it was 
intended to serve a public as well as a private purpose. They 
seem to have held that the Penns were trustees of the province, 

' Laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. By Alex. James Dallas. 
Phila. ; 1797. 


holding for the benefit of the settlers as much as for themselves, 
and that what the Revolution justified and the new form of 
government required was the transfer of the trusteeship from 
the family to the State. In this view they went beyond the 
technical opinion of Judge McKean, but perhaps came nearer 
to the intent of the original grantor. 

Finally the property reserved to the Penns, whom the Judge 
leaves in absolute poverty, was large, though at that time probably 
unproductive. While the Divesting Act took from them what 
could properly be regarded as public lands, Section VIII. pro- 
vided that all their private estates to which they were then 
entitled in their several right and capacity, and likewise " all the 
lands known by the name of the Proprietary Tenths or Manors" 
together with " the quit or other rents and arrearages of rents," 
reserved out of those manors which had been sold, should be 
confirmed to the family forever. It was, without doubt, to this 
property that Benjamin Fra'nklin referred when he wrote in 1789, 
"The Penn estate is still immensely great."' To complete the 
settlement, the Act also provided that the sum of one hundred 
and thirty thousand pounds, sterling money of Great Britain, 
should be paid to the legatees of the Proprietaries, both as a 
mark of the State's liberality and its remembrance of the enter- 
prising spirit which distinguished the founder of Pennsylvania, 
and also in order to provide for such pending marriage settlements 
and wills which otherwise would, be defeated, to the loss and 
disappointment of the parties concerned. This money was duly 
paid in instalments, with interest, the last payment being made 
upon the order of the Supreme Executive Council on March 20th, 

' Letter in Bigelow's Life of Franklin, Vol. III., p. 448. 

' Minutes of the Supreme Executive Council of Pennsylvania. Colonial Records, 
Vol. XVI., p. 33. See in this connection John Penn's Journal of a visit to some 
of his Pennsylvania estates in 1788, Penn. Mag. of History. Vol. III., No. 3, p. 2841 




Another remarkable piece of history, treasured up by the 
Judge and now first brought to Hght, reflects terribly upon the 
conduct of the Americans upon the occasion of the final evacua- 
tion of the cities of Charleston and Savannah by the British in 
1782. "Savagely cruel treatment of the loyalists at the evacua- 
tion of Charleston," is the reference to the case in the index. 
What the Judge reveals is as follows (Vol. II. p. 236) : 

' ' No sooner had the evacuation taken place at Charleston than the rebels, like 
so many furies, or rather devils, entered the town, and a scene ensued, the very 
repetition of which is shocking to the ears of humanity. The Loyalists were 
seized, hove into dungeons, prisons and other prevosts. Some were tied up and 
whipped, others were tarred and feathered; some were dragged to horse-ponds 
and drenched till near dead ; others were carried about 'the town in carts, with 
labels upon their breasts and backs, with the word ' Tory ' in capitals, written 
thereon. All the Loyalists were turned out of their houses, and obliged to sleep 
in the streets and fields, their covering the canopy of heaven. A universal plun- 
der of the friends to government took place, and, to complete the scene, a gallows 
was erected upon the quay facing the harbor, and twenty-four reputable Loyalists 
hanged in sight of the British fleet, with the army and refugees on board. This 
account of the evacuation of Charleston I had from a British ofBcer who was upon 
the spot, ashore at the time, and an eyewitness to the whole. No doubt the Loy- 
alists upon the evacuation of Savannah shared the same fate with their brethren 
in South Carolina." 

This is strong and positive, but it may be worth observing 
that, notwithstanding Judge Jones and his eye-witness, all the 
best evidence in the case published on either side leads to but 
one conclusion — t/iat the occupation of Charleston and Savannah 
by the Americans in 1782 was effected with the utmost ^^ order and 
regularity^' and that no such scenes of violence^ outrage, and 
plunder occurred. It is to be questioned, indeed, whether there 
were any loyalists left in the two cities whose toryism was suffi- 
ciently pronounced and offensive to excite the alleged acts of 
retaliation. Many hundreds, it was known, had embarked with 
the enemy, and these presumably included all who had special 
reasons for dreading to remain. Advices from Charleston pub- 
lished in New York represented the whqle number of persons 
who left Georgia in consequence of the evacuation of Savannah 
at nearly seven thousand, of whom five thousand were negroes, 



or more than three-fourths of all the slaves in the State. The 
two thousand whites included " almost all the wealthy inhabi- 
tants of the province, and many of the lower classes of the 
people." These figures mayor may not be exaggerated, but 
that the' exodus \vas large enough to warrant the suspicion that 
few of any consequence remained appears from the following 
schedule, preserved among the manuscripts of the Massachusetts 
Historical Society : 

Return of People embarked from South Carolina and Georgia. Charlestown, 13th 

December, 1782. 

From whence 

To what 








Charlestown - 


East Florida . . 



N. York 

St. Lucia 


E. Florida 

























Georgia' • 









But even admitting that prominent tories remained in both 
places, it is not to be admitted that they suffered the abuse 
described. Take Savannah, the town evacuated first, at noon, 
July II. General Wayne commanded the American force then 
operating in Georgia. A few weeks before the enemy departed 
a deputation of tory refugees waited upon him to inquire 
whether, in case they remained, their " persons and properties" 
would be protected. The General replied briefly in writing : 

"Should the Garrison eventually effect an Evacuation, the Persons and 
Properties of such Inhabitants, or others who chuse to remain in Savanna, will 
be protected by the Military, and resigned inviolate into the Hands of the Civil 
Authority of this State, which must ultimately decide. 

Given at Head Quarters 

June 17, 1782."" 

' The figures opposite Georgia include only those persons from that State who 
happened to sail from Charleston, Dec. 13, and does not represent the total 
number who left the State from Savannah. 

' N. Y. Gazette, Aug. 12, 1782, and other papers. 


Taking possession of the place upon the enemy's departure^ 
Wayne issued the following order to guard against the very 
excesses which Judge Jones believes to have occurred there. 
That the General's commands were literally obeyed no one 
familiar with his military record can doubt. 

" Headquarters Savannah, ii"' July, 1782. 

The light infantry company under Captain Parker to take post in the centre 
work in front of the town, placing sentries at the respective gateways and sally- 
ports, to prevent any person or persons going or entering the lines without 
written permits, until further orders. 

No insults or depredations to be committed upon the persons or property of the 
inhabitants on any pretext whatever; the civil authority only will take cognizance 
of the criminals or defaulters belonging to the State, if any there be. . . . 

N.B. Orders will be left with Captain Parker for the immediate admission of 
the Honorable Executive Council and the Honorable Members of the Legislature,, 
with their officers and attendants." ' 

On the next day Wayne reported to General Greene in 
South Carolina as follows : 

"Head Quarters Savannah, July 12, 1782. 
Dear General: 

The British garrison evacuated this place yesterday at 12 o'clock leaving the 

works and town perfect, for which the inhabitants are much obliged to that 

humane officer Brig. Gen. Clarke .... I have further agreed that the 

merchants and traders not subjects of America, or owing allegiance to this State, 

should have six months allowed them to dispose of their goods and adjust their 

concerns, at the expiration of which term they should be furnished with a 

passport to transport themselves and property, received in exchange of payment 

of their goods, to one of the nearest British posts. I also agreed to receive all 

such citizens as had heretofore joined the enemy, on condition that they inlisted 

in the Georgia battalion of Continental troops to serve as soldiers for two years or 

during the war, in consequence of which, Major Habersham has already near two 

hundred men, and will shortly complete the corps without one farthing expense 

to the public .... The Governor and Legislature meet here this evening 

or to-morrow into whose hands I shall resign the civil police."" 

From these ofificial letters and orders it appears that, upon 
the evacuation of Savannah, General Wayne immediately occu- 
pied the place in person with a detachment of Continental 
troops, that he issued stringent orders against every kind of 
insult or disorder, that he prevented the entrance or exit of 
irresponsible parties, that he granted very liberal terms to such 

' Stevens' History of Georgia, and the newspapers of the day. 
« N. V. Gazette, Aug. 26, 1782. 



British merchants as could not leave with their goods, and that 
the only condition he imposed on tories who had openly joined 
the enemy was their enlistment in the Continental army.' 

Still more conclusive is the evidence in the case of Charles- 
ton, which was not evacuated until five months later, December 
14, 1782. Lieutenant-General Leslie was in command of the 
•enemy within the city. Major-General Greene, commanding 
the department of the South, and whom Wayne had now joined, 
lay encamped a few miles distant, awaiting Leslie's departure. 
Hostilities having practically ceased, it was agreed by the two 
commanders that the evacuation and occupation should be 
effected peaceably, for the security of the town and the safety 
of the inhabitants. The British accordingly embarked at leisure, 
the first detachment of the army going on board the transports 
at one o'clock P.M. on the 13th, the second at 3 P.M., the third 
at 7 A.M. the following day, and the last two hours later at 
9 A.M. This order of embarkation in detail is preserved also 
among the papers of the Massachusetts Historical Society, the 
final paragraph being as follows : 

" Second embarkation at nine o'clock the 

forenoon [Saturday, December 14th] consisting of the Rear Guard. 

Detachment of Artillery 


Detachment 6oth, 3d, and 4th Batt'n. . 
63d Regiment 


Total to embark this day 

Total embarkation 

















Gadson's Wharf. 

Jno. Stapleton, 

A: D: A. G'l." 

' Major Alex. Roxburgh, of the Maryland line, writing to General Smallwood, 
from Camp Ashly Hill, S. C, July 14, 1782, says: "The enemy have evacuated 

Savannah The torys have all joined General Wayne, and have 

become American soldiers for the war, by way of atonement for their joining 
the enemy." — Papers relating to the Maryland Line during the Revolution. By 
Thos. Balch. 


As this rear-guard withdrew from Charleston, the American 
light infantry marched in, with General Wayne at their head. 
Judge Jones compels his readers to imagine that ofificer permitting 
his men to enter the city like " so many furies, or rather devils," 
and conducting themselves in a shockingly inhuman manner ! 
But Generals Greene, .Moultrie, Horry and other officers, all 
present on the occasion and .all the. best of witnesses, give us 
accounts of the occupation, which, taken together and with pub- 
lished English accounts, render the Judge's version wholly inad- 
missible. In the first place we have Greene's report of the 
evacuation to the President of Congress as follows : 

" Head Quarters, Dec. 19, 1782. 

" I have the honour to communicate to your Excellency the agreeable infor- 
mation of the evacuation of Charlestown, and beg leave to congratulate you upon 
the event. 

The enemy compleated their embarkation on the 14*, and the same day fell 
down into Rebellion road, and on the seventeenth crossed the bar and went to 
sea. It is said the Hessian troops are bound for New York and the British for 
the West India islands. 

General Wayne, with the legion and light infantry (as general Gist was absent, 
and too unwell to continue his command) had been before the enemy's works for 
several days previous to the evacuation. General Leslie, by his adjutant general, 
hinted to General Wayne, through Mr. Morrice Simmons, one of the citizens of 
Charleston, his apprehensions that an attack from us might lay the town in ashes, 
and that if they were permitted to embark without interruption, every care should 
be taken for its preservation. 

Knowing the impossibility of doing the. enemy any material injury on theii; 
embarkation in a fortified town, and under cover of their shipping, and being well 
informed that some attempts had been made by some of the refugee followers of 
the British army before the place, I directed the general to make the safety of the 
town the first object, and that if a treaty was necessary for this purpose, to enter 
into one, rather than expose the place, for the little advantage which might be 
obtained over the rear-guard. The general, accordingly, from the intimation of 
the adjutant-general, very judiciously agreed to let them embark without molesta- 
tion, they agreeing not to fire upon the town after getting on board. 

" The conditions being understood by both parties, the town was evacuated 
and possessed without the least confusion, our advance following close upon their 
rear. The governor was conducted into his capital the same day, the civil police 
established the day following, and the day after the town opened for business . . . 

Published by order of Congress, 

Charles Thompson, Secretary."' 

General Moultrie, in his well-known " Memoirs," enters more 

' Pennsylvania Packet, Jan. 16, 1783. 


fully into the details of the occupation. Thus, respecting 
Wayne's entrance into Charleston, he says : 

" General Leslie who commanded in town sent a message to General Wayne, 
informing him, that he would next day leave town, and for the peace and security 
of the inhabitants and of the town, would propose to leave their advanced works 
next day at the firing of the morning gun; at which time General Wayne should 
move on slowly, and take possession; and from thence to follow the British troops 
into town, keeping at a respectful distance (say about two hundred yards;) and 
when the British troops after passing through the town gates, should file off to 
Gadsden's wharf. General Wayne was to proceed into town, which was done with 
great order and regularity, except now and then the British called to General Wayne 
that he was too fast upon them, which occasioned him to halt a little. About ii 
o'clock, A. M., the American troops marched into town, and took post at the 
State-house." ' 

Moultrie then states that at three o'clock the same afternoon, 
General Greene, Governor Matthews, himself and others, with a 
few citizens and a guard of dragoons, rode into Charleston, and 
halted in Broad Street. " There we alighted," he continues, 
" and the cavalry discharged to quarters ; afterwards every one 
went where they pleased ; some in viewing the town, others in 
visiting their friends." " I cannot forget," adds the General, 
" that happy day when we marched into Charlestown with the 
American troops ; it was a proud day to me, and I felt myself 
much elated at seeing the balconies, the doors and windows 
crowded with the patriotic fair, the aged citizens and others 
congratulating us on our return home, saying, ' God bless you, 
gentlemen ! you are welcome home, gentlemen ! ' Both citizens 
and soldiers shed mutual tears of joy." 

So also. Colonel Peter Horry, of Marion's brigade, who 
accompanied the advance corps into the city, describes somewhat 
fervently the scenes of the occasion, and the sensations he felt. 

" On the memorable 14"' of December, 1782," he writes, "we entered and took 
possession of our capital, after it had been two years seven months and two days 
in the hands of the enemy. The style of our entry was quite novel and romantic. 
On condition of not being molested while embarking, the British had offered to 
leave the town unhurt. Accordingly, at the firing of a signal gun in the morning, 
as agreed on, they quitted their advance works, near the town gate, while the 
Americans, moving on close in the rear, followed them all along through the city 
down to the water's edge, where they embarked on board their three hundred 

' Moultrie's Memoirs, Vol. II. p. 359. 


ships, which, moored out in the bay in the shape of an immense half moon, pre- 
sented a most magnificent appearance. 

The morning was as lovely as pure wintry air and cloudless sunbeams could 
render it, but rendered far lovelier still by our procession, if I may so call it, which 
was well calculated to awaken the most pleasurable feelings. In front were the 
humble remains of that proud army, which, one and thirty months ago, captured 
our city, and thence, in the drunkenness of victory, had hurled menaces and cruelties 
disgraceful to the British name. And close in the rear, was our band of patriots, 
bending forward with martial music and flying colors, to play the last joyful act in the 
drama of their country's deliverance, to proclaim liberty to the captive, to recall the 
smile on the cheek of sorrow, and to make the heart of the widow leap for joy. 
.... Oh! it was a day of jubilee indeed ! a day of rejoicing never to be forgotten. 
Smiles and tears were on every face." ' 

Lieut.-Colonel Lewis Morris, of General Greene's staff, writing 
to his father, says briefly in regard to the evacuation : " This joy- 
ful event took place on the 14* Instant, and a great regularity 
was observed by bothparties." " Major Alexander Garden, of the 
Legion, also leaves the impression in his "Anecdotes" that the 
city was occupied in a quiet and orderly manner. Still another 
eye-witness was Lieutenant Denny, of the Pennsylvania line, 
afterwards Adjutant-General of Harmar's Western army. Going 
into Charleston with the Governor, he had an excellent oppor- 
tunity for making observations, and his testimony is important. 
He writes as follows in his journal under date of December 14, 

"Saw the last of the enemy embark in their boats, and put off to their shipping. 
An immense fleet lay in sight all day; found the city very quiet — houses all shut up, 
A detachment from the army had marched before to take possession as soon as 
the English would be off. Guards stationed at proper places, and small parties con- 
ducted iy an officer patrolled the streets. Charleston, a handsome town, situate on 
neck of land between the confluence of Ashley and Cooper rivers; Cooper river, 
however, appears to be the only harbor. Town here fronts the east; business 
all done on this sicje. Second and third day people began to open their houses and 
show themselves, and some shops opened. Stayed a week, and returned to our old 

Here we have the responsible eye-witnesses. Generals Greene 
and Moultrie, Colonels Horry and Lewis Morris, Major Garden 
and Lieutenant Denny, all separately reporting the perfect order 

' Horry's and Weems' Life of General Francis Marion, p. 231. 

' N. y. Historical Society Collections, 1875, p. 509. 

' Major Denny's Journal in Memoirs of the Penn. Hist. Society, Vol. III. p. 253, 


attendant upon the occupation of Charleston when the British 
left it. Their joint negative testimony is significant. Not a 
single act of violence or disorder is referred to by them, and 
undoubtedly for the quite sufifiicient reason that none occurred. 
Add to all this the accounts given by the enemy themselves, 
and the conclusion is irresistible that Judge Jones' report is 
untrue from beginning to end. Thus in Rivington's New 
York Gazette for January 4, 1783, we have the following : 

" The Honorable Lieutenant General Leslie, Commander-in-Chief of Charles- 
town, with his Suite, arrived here on Thursday in perfect health 

Immediately on the embarkation of the King's troops, at Charles-Town, the 
lebel General Wayne with about 5000 Continental Soldiers, took possession of the 
town, leaving a body of cavalry to guard the passes, with strict orders not to 
molest any person going to the shipping. The rebels were so extremely polite, 
after the embarkation of the garrison, as not to hoist the rebel standard for three 
.days, while the English fleet lay in the Bay. . . . We learn further, that when 
General Wayne took possession of Charles-Town, he ordered the houses that were 
•shut up to be opened, treated the inhabitants with civility, and permitted them to 
■carry on business as usual. That flags from the enemy had been received on 
board after the evacuation, that the treaty between the Governor and merchants 
liad hitherto been inviolably held." 

Again, in the Gazette of January 8, " some further particulars 
respecting the dereliction at Charlestown" are reported as 
follows : 

" On Saturday the 14* ult. the business of evacuating Charlestown, the metro- 
polis of South Carolina, was completed. The troops and stores having been pre- 
viously embarked, his Majesty's ship Carolina, the Honourable Alexander Coch- 
rane, Esq., Commander, which had been appointed to cover the embarkation, 
remained several hours very near the wharfs, after the British fleet had fallen down 
towards the Bar, and the rebel army taken possession of the town. Several 
parties of rebel cavalry and infantry paraded opposite to his Majesty's ship, but 
they neither offered nor received any insult. . . . We hear, that before Charleston 
was evacuated it was insisted upon by the Hon. General Leslie and complied with 
by Mr. Green, that no corps 'of the country militia should be permitted to enter the 
town until the expiration of ten days after the British troops left it, by which time 
it was presumed that those merchants whose embarrassments compelled them to 
remain in the town, might get their property secured." 

These several extracts speak for themselves, but hardly for 
Judge Jones. If the latter is correct, we must believe that 
Greene, Moultrie, Wayne, the Governor and others in authority, 
countenanced the grossest excesses, occurring under their eyes. 


Of course they did not occur. The whole story, indeed, receives 
its quietus from Rivington's Gazette, which says nothing about 
those " twenty-four reputable loyalists" who were hanged in 
sight of the British fleet. Sir Alex. Cochrane, whose ship lay 
nearest the town, does not seem to have reported that interest- 
ing fact in New York ; nor did any one else on board the fleet 
mention the episode. This alone is sufficient to offset our 
contemporary Judge and his unnamed witness. 


As to this Act which the Judge brings forward as an illus- 
tration of the "injustice" and "dishonesty" of the Revolution- 
ary legislature of the State of New York, it is to be said that 
no complete or impartial history of it can be written so long as 
there does not exist on record a single line expressive of the views 
and motives of the men who fram.ed and supported the Act. We 
are absolutely in the dark as to the reasons and explanations 
given by the members of the Legislature to justify their votes 
in the case. Without this record any consideration of the Act 
must be unsatisfactory. Preeminently is Judge Jones' review 
of it unsatisfactory, as it is the review of one against whom the 
Act was to operate and whose facts and conclusions in other 
important matters have been found to be entirely worthless. 
One or two of his points, however, may be noticed. 

In the first place, the Judge assumes to know precisely why 
he was included in the Bill as one of the enemies of the State 
whose person ought to be attainted and property confiscated, 
but without making it clear to the reader. On page 282-3, 
Vol. II., we are informed that it was because he ordered the 
discharge of four tories from jail in Westchester County, while 
holding Court there in the fall of 1775. "This official action 
was the reason given afterwards by a leading member of the 
House, to a friend of the Judge, why he-was included in the 
Act of Attainder, &c." Again on page 304, at the close of his 
" Case" and elsewhere, he claims that his adherence to the 
enemy, charged in the Act, was nothing more than living upon 
his own estate on Long Island as a prisoner under parole. And 


finally he holds on pages 290-3 that he was attainted and pro- 
scribed on the charge of having broken his parole in not re- 
turning to Connecticut when called for by Governor Trumbull 
in the summer of 1777. The Judge insists that the New York 
Legislature did bring this charge against him, and then he en- 
deavors to show that it was " a frivolous pretence only." But 
this is a charge not proven. There is no evidence whatever 
that New York took any notice of his presumed breach of 
parole to the Connecticut governor. In fact the letter of Gov- 
ernor Trumbull of March, 1780, to Governor Clinton, quoted 
ante, and Clinton's reply, go to show, rather, that the facts in 
the case were not generally known, and that the New York 
Legislators had no official data to guide them. The presump- 
tion is all the other way. If it has been shown that Governor 
Trumbull did not charge the Judge with a breach of his parole, 
it is wholly improbable that the Legislature of New York did. 
What the Judge states on the pages referred to, 290-3, thus 
seems to have no force or point. 

The Act of Attainder says no more than that " divers per- 
sons," of whom the Judge was one, had been voluntarily adherent 
to the King with intent to subvert the liberties and government 
of the State, and that hence as a measure of public safety and 
justice their properties ought to be confiscated and themselves 
banished. As Judge Jones had defied or ignored the authority 
of the Provincial Convention in the summer of 1776; as he had 
been deemed dangerous enough to be arrested by Washington's 
order ; as he voluntarily remained a prisoner under parole and 
by that very status proved himself an " adherent" to the en- 
emy ; and as he held property within the State of New York, 
whose government he wished to see overthrown, it is not diffi- 
cult to understand how he came to be included in the Act of 

The further charge from the Judge that the Act was 
prompted by " malice, revenge and political resentment" is one 
which would naturally be made by him ; but his proof is incon- 
clusive. According to the Act only " the most notorious of- 
fenders" were included in the list. - Selection was necessary. 
The State of Pennsylvania had already proceeded in the same 
manner, naming " divers traitors'' for attainder. Delaware, 


Georgia and South Carolina had their Confiscation Acts and lists 
of proscribed domestic enemies. The Act of Attainder passed 
by Parliament after the Scotch Rebellion of 1746, to which the 
Judge refers, included about eighty prominent individuals. In 
every case some choice had to be made. In the case of New- 
York the matter was clearly a most delicate one, since the 
members of the Legislature had to deal largely with former 
pohtical opponents. Some they dropped ; others they in- 
cluded ; and the Judge sees in this nothing but partiahty, vin- 
dictiveness and villany. But all he has ' to offer in the way of 
proof is inference and speculation. He knew nothing about the 
matter. We need better informed witnesses before a verdict 
can be entered on this point of motives. The entire subject, 
to repeat, requires much more documentary light thrown upon 
it before it can be fairly and intelligently discussed. The Judge 
has treated it only from the standpoint of an avowed enemy.' 


Passing within the enemy's lines, we find Judge Jones' 
hostility to Sir Henry Clinton, the British Commander-in-Chief, 
as deep-seated and bitter as it is towards the " rebels" and their 
revolution. The general's failure to suppress the latter is the 
explanation of the matter. Allowing for the moment that the 
Judge's delineation of Clinton has been drawn with an honest 
belief of its life-likeness and truth, and from purely disinterested 
motives, we must picture this British generalissimo as being a 
man without honor, without morals, without stability, morose in 
disposition, weak in his" intellects," a peculator while in high 

' It would appear from the editor's preface that the Judge remained under the 
act of banishment as long as he lived, or otherwise he might have returned to 
this country. It appears, however, that in 1790 the Legislature passed a bill. 
Ayes 32, Nays 18, permitting him to return and remain here. The late Mr. 
O'Callaghan in a note in the Historical Magazine, 1858, Vol. II., p. 148-9, says: 
" Though this Act is omitted by Greenleaf, it is on file in the office of the Secre- 
tary of State, Albany, and included the names of James Jauncy, Abraham C. 
Cuyler, William Smith, Wm. Axtell, Thomas Jones, Richard Floyd and Henry 
Floyd, the elder." 


command, governed by a rebel spy, spurning good and true 
loyalists, and as a military officer a mere incapable, utterly unfit 
to be at the head of his Majesty's forces in Arherica. The Judge, 
in short, attacks Sir Harry at about every assailable point which 
the human character presents. In particular, he ridicules his 
military qualifications, and unsparingly criticises his entire mili- 
tary career. 

It is not for the purpose of defending the British Commander- 
in-Chief that attention is called to this rough handling he 
receives from the author. It is simply the question over again. 
Does Judge Jones sustain himself here, with any better success, 
as a uniformly accurate narrator ? The examination of a few 
points may determine. 

Take for example the events of 1779 — Tryon's Connecticut 
raid and the storming of Stony Point. The former movement 
appears to have grated on the Judge's feelings so harshly that 
relief could only come, as we may infer, by charging all the 
burning, plundering and desecration committed by the British 
at the towns of New Haven, Fairfield, and Norwalk directly 
upon Clinton and his orders. The responsibility is fixed upon 
him in person, and the officers in charge of the expedition 
so far relieved of all blame. There is no uncertainty as to the 
author's meaning and intent on this point. 

"From the well-known humanity, charity and generosity of General Tryon," 
he writes (Vol. I. p. 315), " no man in his perfect senses can ever imagine that 
the troops under his command were, with his consent, suffered to plunder peace- 
able inhabitants, towns to be burnt, holy buildings destroyed, and thousands of 
innocent inhabitants of both sexes, and all ages, and the greater part loyalists, to 
be divested of all the comforts of life and turned into the open fields, no habita- 
tions to protect them, exposed to the inclemency of the weather, and covered by 
the canopy of heaven only. General Tryon's humanity was such that nothing but 
express orders could have induced him to act a part so inconsistent with his well- 
known and established principles. Clinton was at this time Commander-in-Chief." 

It happens, however, that the unfavorable impression of Clin- 
ton which the Judge seeks to perpetuate in this extract, is entirely 
dispelled by Tryon's own pen. Thus to Lord Germaine he wrote 
July 28, 1779: " The honor of your Lord^'s duplicate dispatch 
of the 5"* May No. 21 afforded me the greatest satisfaction in the 
King's approbation of my conduct on the Alert to Horse Neck. 


It Will be an additional comfort to me if my late expedition on the 
Coast of Connecticut meets the same royal testimony^ ' As if to 
emphasize his own approval of the affair, he adds : " My opirt- 
ions remain unchangeable respecting the utility of depradatory 
excursions. I think Rebellion must soon totter if those exer- 
tions are reiterated and made to extremity." 

Tryon in due time had the happiness to receive a favorable 
reply from the home government, and in returning his acknowl- 
edgments to Germaine, wrote Feb. 26, 178b: "I am honored 
with your Lordships Dispatches of the 4"' Nov' and circular 
letter of the 4*" Dec"- and d&nve great comfort from His Majesty's 
gracious approbation of my conduct, and the officers under my 
command on the Connecticut Expedition last summer." 

These few expressions on the part of the leader of the raid 
sufficiently answer Judge Jones as to the former's conduct and 
responsibility. , The last official reference which Tryon seems to 
have made to the subject appears in the following note he sent 
to Governor Trumbull just before his departure for England: 

"New York, 19th April, 1780. 

Sir, I take the opportunity by a Prisoner on Parole to send you a few of the 
Publications of this City, particularly the benevolent Proclamation of the Com- 
mander-in-Chief and my successor Governor Robertson, which when laid before 
your Council and Published in your Papers, may pave the way for a happy Recon- 

As General Robertson has succeeded me both in my civil and military command,, 
/ shall probably not visit your coast any more, but return to England the first favor- 
able occasion to repair a Constitution much impaired in the service of my King- 

With my hearty wishes that the hour may be near at hand when the Prodigal 
children shall return to the Indulgent Parent, 

I am 

Your Most Obe'" Servant, 

Wm. Tryon. "2 

' N. Y. Colonial Docs., Vol. 8, p. 768. 

' Trumbull Papers, Mass. Hist. Society, Vol. XI. , p. 144. Clinton's orders tO' 
Tryon before he left New York were produced for the first time in Capt. Chas. H. 
Townshend's pamphlet on the British invasion of New Haven, issued last year on: 
the occasion of the centennial of that affair. These orders say nothing about 
burning of houses, plundering, etc., but simply authorize the destruction of ship- 
ping and stores, carrying off of cattle, and the employment of the expedition in 
distracting the "rebels." 




The Judge makes a new and extraordinary statement in 
regard to Clinton's movements immediately upon his hearing of 
Wayne's Capture of Stony Point, July i6, 1779. The greater 
part of the British army at that date was encamped in the 
vicinity of Mamaroneck, close to the Connecticut border. It 
was Clinton's intention to make or support further demonstra- 
tions in that State in the hope of drawing Washington away 
from the Highlands to its protection. In that case an oppor- 
tunity might offer of meeting him in the open field. But the 
re-capture of Stony Point by the Americans deranged these 
plans aijd compelled Clinton to move up the Hudson again to 
re-establish his posts there. Clinton's particular movements on 
and after the i6th of July are described as follows by the 
Judge : 

While encamped in Westchester County near the Connecticut line, as stated, 
■General Clinton, says the Judge (Vol. I. p. 312), " received an express acquainting 
him that the garrison at Stoney Point had been surprised, and made prisoners of, 
and conducted to the rebel army, and that the garrison at Verplanck's Point ex- 
pected an attack every hour. Whether the General apprehended the city of New 
York in danger, or the garrison at Verplanck's Point of little consequence, no re- 
inforcements were sent to the latter. The General marched with his whole army 
for New York, all the hay makers with their covering parties, were called in. The 
whole 7n arched to Kingsbridge, fassed the Harlem, and entered the island of New 
York. Most of them were quartered in the city. The remainder in its environs. 
The lines at Kingsbridge in the meantime, were left to be defended by a refugee 
•corps, some German Chasseurs, a few Anspachers, some British, and a few pro- 
vincials, a motley crew consisting of not more than. 1,000 men. Clinton estab- 
lished himself in the city of New York with about 20,000 men, a large body of 
militia, and a numerous train of artillery, and the island besides was surrounded 
"by at least forty men-of-war. All this because Stoney Point had been surprised. " 

The Judge here puts it upon record as a matter of history, 
that General Clinton, who had moved forward expressly to 
operate upon Washington's flank and if possible draw him into 
an open engagement, became so thoroughly frightened at the 
news from Stony Point as to retreat precipitately, with all his 
men, to New York, where according to the author's own state- 
ment, made elsewhere, no defensive works existed, and there 
seek safety under the guns of his ships. But did this, or any- 


thing of the sort, occur? The corrept records again authorize 
a denial of the entire statement. 

In the first place, we have Clinton's own report in which he 
states that he marched to Stony Point as soon as he had the 
news of its loss. " Upon the first intelligence, of this, matter" he 
writes, " I ordered the army to advance to Dobbs' Ferry, pushing 
forward the Cavalry and some light troops to the banks of the 
Croton river, to awe the enemy in any attempt by land against Ver- 
plank's. Brigadier-General Stirling was, in the meantime em- 
barked with the 42d, 63d and 64th regiment's, for the relief of 
Verplank's, or the recovery of Stony Point. The northerly 
winds, rather uncommon at this season, opposed Brigadier- 
General Stirling's progress till the 19th ; when, upon his arriving 
within sight of Stony Point, the enemy abandoned it with pre- 
cipitation, and some circumstances of disgrace."' 

In the next place General Pattison, Commandant in New 
York City, reported substantially the same thing as follows : 
"Lieut.-Col. Webster maintained his ground [at Verplank's 
Point] with great spirit 'till the corps arrived under Brigadier- 
General Stirling, which upon the first notice of the misfortune at 
Stony Point; was detached from Catnp to support him. Sir Henry 
Clinton at the same time moved the remainder of the army for- 
wards from Phillipsbourg to Dobbs' Ferry."" 

Conclusive against Judge Jones as these two reports prove 
to be, ample confirmatory evidence is to be found in the manu- 
script dispatches of those American officers who commanded at 
the front, closely watching Clinton's movements. General 
Heath with the Connecticut Line had been detached to cover 
the roads leading frgm Mamaroneck. General Parsons was at 
Stamford, and General Wolcott, with Connecticut militia, at 
Horseneck. Parsons sent brief messages on the i6th and 17th 
to Heath with information that the enemy had not all retired 
from Mamaroneck. Wolcott reported on the i8th that his ac- 
counts satisfied him that at that date they had all gone " to- 
wards Hudson's River." ' On the 19th, Heath at Mandeville 
sent word back to Wolcott : " The enemy have moved towards 

' London Gazette, October 5th, 1779. 

'' Pattison' s Letters, N. Y. Hist. Soc. Collections, 1875. 

' Heath Papers, Mass. Hist. Soc. 


King's ferry in Force." To Washington on the same date, he 
wrote : " By inteUigence received since I had the honor to 
write in the morning, I learn that the enemy's advance sentinels 
and videts were posted the last night on the New Bridge [Croton 
River] ;" ' and this is confirmed by Simcoe in his " Journals." 
Finally on the 19th also, Wolcott writes a detailed account of 
the enemy's movements, giving the names of the Corps and 
where some of them quartered. The last troops, he reports, left 
Mamaroneck "at 6 o'clock Saturday A. M. [the 17th] — The 
17th Lt. Dragoons, the Legion, Simco, Rawdon's Volunteers 
moved on the North Road to Phillipsburgh [the present 
Yonkers], the others on the road to East Chester fileing off to 
the Right and passing the Mile Square to the Same Place — 
Genl. Tryon's troops landed at Frogs Neck and marched for 
Phillipsburgh to join the Commander-in-chief. A young gentle- 
man who returned from Phillipsburgh mentions the embarka- 
tion of Troops in the North River — the numbers he could not 
tell. . . . General Parsons will easily apprehend thro what 
channel this Intelligence is reed." This channel, it appears, 
was one of General Parsons' friends, a Mr. Mornt, of Mamaro- 
neck, who gave the information to N. Frink whom General 
Wolcott had sent into the village for news." The important 
point in the report is the confirmation which "the young gentle- 
man," Grififin, gives to Clinton's and Pattison's statement that 
troops were embarked from Camp at Yonkers for Stony Point, 
the moment its capture was reported. 

Taking these several reports and messages, both British and 
American, written in the field and at the time, and they justify 
only one conclusion — that the entire British force in West- 
chester County moved forward and not backward to New York, 
on and after July i6th, 1779. Did Judge Jones see the British 
army crowded around the City at that date, that he so positively 
assures posterity that Clinton acted the coward on the occasion? 
No such sight could have greeted his eyes. He nevertheless 
gives us the record of it which is as curious, absurd and false as 
hearsay or imagination could make it. 

' Heath Papers, Mass. Hist. Soc. 

^ Wolcott Papers, Vol. I. Conn. Hist. Society, Hartford. 



Another effort to damage Clinton's record and make him 
out as worthless and incompetent as possible is made by the 
Judge in noticing movements in the vicinity of New York in 
the summer of 1780. In Vol. I. p. 355, he says : 

"In the beginning of June, 1780, General Knyphausen, who was then Com- 
mander-in-Chief in New York, entered New Jersey at the head of an army con- 
sisting of several thousand men, determined to bring Washington to a general 
battle, or drive him out of the province. He proceeded as far as Springfield, 
about thirty miles from Elizabethtown, the place where the British army landed. 
Knyphausen was several times during his march attacked by the rebel militia, in 
conjunction with detachments from the Continental army. The rebels were always 
repulsed, and lost many men. The British lost some. Washington must have 
come to a battle, or given up the Colony. A fair battle was all the old German 
wanted. He now thought himself sure of it. But fortune favored Washington 
during the whole war. It now appeared in his favor again in a most conspicuous 
manner, for towards the latter end of the month, while the British and rebel 
armies in New Jersey were in the situation before described. General Clinton 
arrived from Carolina with 10,000 troops, and landed upon Staten Island. 
Whether Clinton thought Knyphausen would gain too much honor should he force 
Washington to battle, defeat him, and break up the rebel army, or by what other 
motives induced, is known only to himself and his privy council. He instantly 
upon his arrival, recalled the army from New Jersey, and ordered it to repair to 
Staten Island." 

The, impression the Judge desires to fix in the reader's mind 
here is that but for Clinton s untimely appearance and counter- 
manding orders Knyphausen would in all probability have 
measured his strength with Washington, and driven him from 
the Jerseys. " A.fair battle was all the old German wanted. He 
now thought himself sure of it." But the reader need not go 
far to ascertain that Knyphausen had already marched out, had 
his fighting, exhausted his movement, failed, retired and fortified 
himself at his starting point at Amboy, /;/// one week before 
Clinton arrived upon the scene. The simple fact is that Knyp- 
hausen attempted, in CHnton's absence, to surprise Washington 
in his Camp at Morristown, but he met with so much resistance 
on the road from the Jersey militia that after getting as far as 
Springfield and finding a surprise out of the question, he wisely 
decided to turn back. The affair was reported to the home 
government by General Robertson in Knyphausen's name, in a 


letter dated New York, July i, 1780. "Under these circum 
stances, [viz : the failure of the surprise and the number of 
British wounded] " says Robertson, " General Knyphausen gave 
up the intention of forcing Washington to an action in such an 
advantageous post and resolved to wait in Jersey Sir Henry 
Clinton's arrival, that he might be ready to act jointly or sepa- 
rately with him.'" Judge Jones' main point is thus disposed of 
by the "old German" himself. It was not Clintons fault that he 
was deprived of the honor of routing Washington. That the 
British commander was disappointed at the situation upon his 
arrival from the South appears in one of his manuscript notes to 
Stedman's History. " This premature move in Jersey," he ob- 
serves, " at a time when S. H. C. least expected it prevented a 
combined movement against W. that might have been decisive." 
In his published " Observations" on the same historian, he 
makes further criticisms as follows : 

"Mr. Stedman seems, in this account, to have followed American writers: 
had he inquired, he would have found Sir H. Clinton did not arrive at New York 
till after this expedition had taken place; that Sir H. Clinton knew nothing of this 
anticipated movement (which, as he had not the least reason to expect it, he had 
not forbid). If it had not taken place or could have been stopt in time by either 
of the olficers he had sent to prepare for one, in which he intended to have taken 
a part with the corps he had purposely~brought from Charlestown, success of 
some importance might have been the consequence; as it was, every movement 
that did take place after Sir H. Clinton's return to New York, was merely to 
retire the corps, (which had moved into Jersey) without affront." '^ 

After Knyphausen 's^«i'C(7, Washington, hearing of Clinton's 
arrival from the South, moved toward the Hudson. Clinton 
then sent Knyphausen again into Jersey to ascertain the 
American situation, and the unimportant battle of Springfield 
was fought with Greene and our rear guard on June 23. The 
failure of this Jersey move must be laid upon the " Old Ger- 
man," Robertson and Tryon, not on Clinton, whose intended 
plans they had disarranged. Judge Jones, evidently, again did 
not have facts before him when he wrote the above extract. 

^ New York Colonial Docs. Vol. VIII. p. 793. 

^ Observations on Mr. Stedman's History of the American War. By Lieut. - 
Gen. Clinton, K.B. London, 1794. Fifty copies reprinted in New York, 1864. 



On page 358, Vol. I., we have still another instance of Clin- 
ton's criminal indifference and incapacity as discovered by Judge 
Jones : 

" In the summer of 1780," he writes, "a French fleet under the command of 
Monsieur De Ternay, with about 4000 men commanded by Monsieur Rocham- 
beau, arrived at, and with the consent of Congress, took possession of, Rhode 
Island, having accidentally and luckily escaped the English squadron, then^at sea 
under the command of Admiral Arbuthnot and in every point superior to the 
French. Arbuthnot, finding that De Ternay had eluded all the precautions he had 
taken to intercept him, and got safe to Rhode Island, returned to Sandy Hook." 
. . . . In a day or two the Admiral sailed for Rhode Island, blocked up the 
French fleet and then " sent an express to General Clinton, proponng- an attack 
as soon as possible upon the French fieet and army, in Conjunction with the British 
army, who were to land and attack Monsieur Rochambeau, while the British fleet 
attacked that of the French. The French army were at this time but just arrived, 
were sickly, had erected no fortifications nor cast up any works, worth mention- 
ing. Clinton could have carried with him 12,000 men, without risking the safety 
of New York in the least. The success of the enterprise was undoubted. A 
noble achievement it would have been. Ten French men-of-war, with an Ad- 
miral's flag, either taken or destroyed, and a French army of 4,000 men, with an 
experienced General at their head, made prisoners of war. What answer was 
made to the proposal is uncertain. Express after Express arrived from the Admi- 
ral, pressing the matter in the most urgent terms, and entreating the General to use 
the utmost despatch. 

" In about a month after the first express, Clinton ordered the trans- 
ports up the Sound as far as Frog's Neck, about ten miles distant from his en- 
campment on the North River. As soon as the transports arrived, he decamped, 
sent a part of his troops to New York, and with the remainder marched to 
Throg's Point, embarked, and sailed up the Sound. Great things were now ex- 
pected; nothing less than the destruction of the French fleet, and the capture of 
Rochambeau and his army. But to the disappointment of every one, with a 
wind as fair for Rhode Island as it could blow, the whole fleet came to an anchor 
in Huntington Bay, about 30 miles to the eastward of Throg's Point, upon the 
Long Island shore. In this bay he continued as long as the wind remained fair 
(about a fortnight) for Rhode Island, where the enemy lay. As soon as the wind 
dropt about, and blew fair for New York, the signal was made, the anchors 
weighed, the sails unfurled, and to the mortification of every loyalist within the 
British lines the fleet moved to the westward." 

In Other words, we are to understand the Judge that it was 
Arbuthnot, and not Chnton, who projected this Expedition 
against the French, and that he alone was prompt and efficient, 
while the General played the laggard and caused the failure of 


the scheme. But what says CHnton as to this in his " Observa- 
tions" on Stedman ? 

"Sir H. Clinton, on receiving private information of the expected arrival of a 
French armament at Rhode IslaxiA, proposed to Admiral Arbuthnot {when he should 
be joined by Admiral Greaves), that the French troops should be met at their land- 
ing ; for which purpose Sir H. Clinton was to have entered and landed in the 
Seconet Passage with 6000 men, covered by some frigates ; and all that was re- 
quested of the Admiral was to block with his large ships the principal harbor, 
until any success the troops might meet with should induce the fleet to co-operate; 
but if the expedition should not take place before the French troops have been 
landed, and have repaired the works of Newport, and they should also have 
been reinforced, in that case Sir H. Clinton had given it as his humble opinion 
that the troops could not venture to act, unless the fleet would take an active part 
as well as the troops." 

Not only did Clinton propose the attempt on the French, 
but he was the first to hear of their arrival. Writing to Ger- 
maine Aug. 14, he says: "On the i8th [July] by a courier 
from the East end of Long Island, the first intelligence was re- 
ceived of the arrival of the French off Rhode Island, on the 
lOth, which / transmitted immediately to Admiral Arbuthnot." 
It was actually ten days after the French arrived before Arbuth- 
not appeared off Newport. Five days later only— the delay 
being caused by the non-arrival of transports which Clinton had 
ordered some weeks before — Clinton embarked from Throg's 
Neck under convoy of two war vessels from Arbuthnot's fleet, 
which joined him the day of his start, and proceeded to Hunt- 
ington Bay. There, he reports, " / was honored with such ac- 
counts from the Admiral, of the attention the enemy had given to 
fortify themselves, thdX I no longer entertained an idea of making 
any attempt solely with the troops." ' 

In his own report to the Admiralty office, dated August 9, 
1780, Arbuthnot makes no mention of any proposal on his part 
for a combined attack on the French, as Judge Jones asserts, 
nor that he repeatedly urged Clinton to join him with land 
forces. He did no more, after sailing around to Newport, than 
to report the situation to Clinton and leave the matter of his 
moving on with troops to the General's judgment. The Ad- 
miral's own words are conclusive : " In the meantime," he 

' See both Clinton's and Arbuthnot's letters in Almon's Remembrancer, Vol. X. 
pp. 260, 264. 


writes, " the Blonde and Galatea were left with orders to bring 
the transports under their convoy from New York should the 
General judge an attempt on Rhode Island to be warrantable." 
What, then, becomes of the Judge's assertions that Arbuthnot 
■was the man of the occasion, that Clinton delayed a month, 
that " express after express" was sent to him, and other mis- 
representations to the same effect? What the Judge says 
further in regard to the General and Admiral is equally suscep- 
tible of disproof. 


Still another thrust at Clinton is made by the Judge in his 
account of the British attack on Fort Moultrie, Charleston har- 
bor, in June, 1776. The lack of co-operation between the 
enemy's land and naval forces on that occasion has never been 
explained to entire satisfaction either by English or American 
historians probably because Clinton's own explanation in his 
"Observations" on Stedman had not been brought to their 
notice. As Judge Jones had not seen these "Observations," his 
own errors can be accounted for ; but his treatment of the sub- 
ject, nevertheless, is to be referred to as illustrating again with 
what alacrity he seized and recorded mere hearsay, rumor or 
plausible theory, if it furnished him an opportunity of turning it 
into a shaft at his enemies. His reference to the affair is as 
follows : " 

(Vol. I. p. gg): "During this long and heavy cannonade [by Admiral Parker's 
•ships] the army, according to its projected plan, never made its appearance, nor did 
the Commander ever send word to the Admiral of his reasons for not co-operating 
with the fleet, the difficulties in its way, and its utter impracticability. This was inex- 
cusable at least. The reason it seems was this: When the army marched, in order 
to carry their part of the plan into execution, they found the creek which divided 
the island instead of being knee deep to be not less than seven feet, and as they 
had neither boats nor bridge, the passage was impossible. This is the only rea- 
son that has been hitherto given and a supprising one it is. That a General should 
be nineteen days upon an island, was to carry on- an attack upon another island 
adjacent, knew there was a creek to pass, and yet in all that time had never dis- 
covered, or endeavoured to discover its depth of water 1 This occasioned the failure 
of the attack, and of course all prospect of success in the Southern Colonies at 
that time. Was there ever a more stupid piece of business, except indeed when 



the Ministry, after tliis, intrusted this man with the supreme command in North 
America, and the numberless stupid acts he did in that command ?" 

In his unpublished manuscript " Notes" on Stedman,' Clinton 
disposes of the Judge's version by stating that the depth of the 
water had been ascertained and report duly sent to Parker five 
days after the landing of the troops, or some twelve days before 
the attack was made. 

" General Vaughan," continues Clinton, "who went to make this report to the 
Commodore, informed him at the same time, the troops could not act on that 
side, but offered him two Battalions to embark on board the fleet. Had this offer 
been accepted, the Commodore would have had sufficient force to take and keep 
possession of the fort, if it had ever been evacuated. The short fact is, the Com- 
modore expected to succeed without the army; and perhaps, if he had placed his 
ships as near as he might have done, he would have succeeded; but at 800 yards 
distance, it was merely a Cannonade. The army could do nothing. Gen. Clinton 
received the King's approbation of his conduct. Had his letter been published, as 
well as that of the Commodore, no blame could have been imputed to the army. 
Certain queries of Gen. Clinton to Sir P. Parker, on reading his letter, and Sir P. 
Parker's answers, explain this whole business clearly. Perhaps the public may 
one day see them." 

The " public" did see these queries and answers soon after, 
as Clinton published them in his " Observations." In his pre- 
liminary explanation the General says : 

" It had been ^Kffl/ifc settled by Commodore Sir P. Parker and General Clinton, 
that part of the troops (there were boats for) were to have landed not on Sullivan's 
Island, as Mr. Stedman says, but on the main land, proceeding to it by creeks 
communicating with it; three of the frigates were to have co-operated with the 
troops in an intended attack upon Hedrall's Point, where the enemy had a work 
covering their bridge of communication with Sullivan's Island; the three frigates 
intended for co-operation with the troops, almost immediately run aground: in the 
hope thay would soon float and proceed, the troops embarked on the 28th, and 
finding the frigates did not proceed, the troops of course disembarked, the same 
on the 2gth, and as the frigates did not proceed, the troops could not." 

The queries and answers are given as follows : 


" Did I not, very early after I had landed on Long Island, inform you, it was 
discovered that there was no ford at low water between Long Island and Suli- 
van's Island ; and that I feared the troops could not co-operate in the manner we 
at first intended they should ?" 

' In the Carter Brown library, Providence, R. I. The extract here quoted is 
from Sparks' transcript of the " Notes" in the Library of Harvard College. 



"You certainly made known your difficulties, and in your letter of the i8th 
June, you say, ' there is no ford, and that the Generals concurred with you in 
opinion, that the troops could not take the share in the intended attack they at 
first expected to do.' " 


" Did I not offer two battalions to embark on board the fleet, and General 
Vaughan to command them, should you see any service in which they might be 
useful on your side ?" 


"Some conversation passed between General Vaughan and myself about 
troops, but I did not think it material; and I was so extremely ill on my bed dur- 
ing the time, that I could not attend to it, and am therefore, obliged to refer you 
to General Vaughan for the particulars." 


" Did I not request, that the three frigates might co-operate with the troops on 
their intended attack on the post of Hedrall's Point ?" 


"The three frigates, besides performing the services mentioned jn my public 
letter were intended to co-operate with you.'' 


"If the forts were silenced and evacuated for an hour and a half, was it the 
troops that were first to take possession (as Sir P. Parker's letter may seem to 
imply) or the sailors and marines, which Sir P. Parker informed Sir H. Clinton 
in his letter of the 25th June, he had practised for that purpose, that were first to 
land and take possession ?" 

" I certainly did intend, as appears by my letter of 25th June, to have at- 
tempted taking possession of the fort with the sailors and marines first, but I 
could not have planned the doing of it with about 300 men, without the prospect 
of speedy support from you; and I saw, soon after the attack begun, from a va- 
riety of circumstances, you could take no effectual steps for that purpose." 

Sir H. Clinton is persuaded there needs no comment on the above ; if he 
should make any, it would be the two following short ones: 

First, Had the frigates been able to proceed to their stations, an attempt (pos- 
sibly a successful one) might have been made on the post of Hedrall's Point. 

Secondly, If Commodore Sir P. Parker had accepted the General's offer of 
two battalions to embark on board the fleet, he would have had a sufficient force 


to take and keep possession of the fort on Sulivan's Island, had thai fort ever 
been silenced or evacuated} 

In justice to Sir Henry Clinton, these explanations, giving 
his side of the story, should be made a more familiar matter of 
history. They appear to have proved an effectual answer to 
Stedman in 1794, and as satisfactorily answer Judge Jones 


Among the various points of local interest upon which the 
Judge touches is the number of times New York City was forti- 
fied during the progress of the war. The editor of the work 
states in the preface, upon the authority of the Judge, that 
" the fortifications of New York were removed two or three 
times." The first defences were those constructed by the 
Americans in the spring and summer of 1776. What became 
of them after the city fell into the possession of the enemy is 
thus described by the Judge in Vol. I. p. 347 : 

" The General [Howe] by the advice of the principal engineer, his confidential 
friend [Captain Montressor], ordered all these forts, batteries, and redoubts, with 
two or three exceptions, with the barricadoes erected by the rebels, to be demol- 
ished, and the lines and entrenchments filled up and levelled. The performance 
of this business was committed to the care and direction of the aforesaid engineer, 
and to pull down what the rebels had erected at no expense, cost John Bull more 
than ^^150,000 sterling, ;^ioo,ooo of which, the confidential friend put into his 
own pocket, returned to England, purchased one of the genteelest houses in 
Portland Place, a noble country-seat in Surrey, set up his carriages, had a house 
full of servants in rich livery, and lived in all the splendor of an Eastern prince. 
. . In 1780 it was thought necessary (nobody, the Generals excepted, 
knew for what) to rebuild all the demolished forts that had been built by the rebels 
upon New York Island, and to add a number of new ones. This was done, the 
work was performed, that is the labouring part, by the inhabitants of New York. 
The General also thought it necessary (for his own safety no doubt, as no one 
else apprehended any danger) to have beacons erected all round the island, a cir- 
cumference of at least 30 miles, and upon every hill, rrtount, or eminence, upon 
the island. Not less than, 300 of the beacons were erected, with a tar barrel upon, 

' Italics, Clinton's. Commodore Parker reported that during the progress of 
the bombardment the Americans evacuated the fort and left it unmanned for an 
hour and a half, which was not the case, however. 


and a guard to, each, to give timely notice of the approach of an enemy. In this 
business another ^^150,000 was expended, and another engineer returned to Eng- 
land in possession of his plum. " . . . . 

Add to these figures ;£'ioo,ooo alleged to have been expended 
upon works erected in Brooklyn in 1779, and ^3oo,ocx) in 1781- 
82, and we have the suna of over ;£'7oo,ooo drawn from the 
treasury of Great Britain to pay for putting up and pulling 
down defences around New York during the war. The Judge 
may be correct. He makes his statements with the positiveness 
of a writer who has the treasury accounts before him. Certain 
points, however, require explanation — not respecting the figures 
but the defences. Is it a fact, for instance, that the New York 
works of 1776 were destroyed by the British, as the Judge as- 
serts ? The force of his statements depends on this, for if there 
was no tearing down there could have been little rebuilding 
and few "plums" for engineers. Eye-witnesses leave a brief 
record in the case. The English traveller Smythe, afterwards 
an officer in the service, reached New York on March 18, 1777. 
" I immediately," he writes, " visited all the posts in the vicin- 
ity of New York occupied by the British troops, and viewed 
the multitude of works all over the island thrown up by the rebels, 
which will remain lasting monuments of American folly and 
fearfulness." " To describe," he says elsewhere, " the works 
thrown up by the Americans upon this island would take up 
more room than this volume can afford, or the subject deserves, 
as they actually cover the whole island. Two only I shall take 
notice of, viz., a strong work on an eminence, just at the en- 
trance into the town from the land which is named Bunker Hill, 
and the other is Fort Washington, &c." It seems from this 
that six months after, the British occupation, the American 
works were still standing. How was it nearly a year after? 
Another English subject, Mr. Thomas Eddis,'- lately a civil ofifi- 
cer of the Crown in Maryland, wrote from New York on August 
16, 1777: "The numerous fortifications thrown up by the 
American troops in the vicinity of the Capital, appear to be 
constructed with judgment and attention.. Why they were so 
precipitately abandoned is difificult to ascertain : indeed the whole 

^ Letters from America, Thos. Eddis, p. 429. 


island forms a continued chain of batteries and intrenchments 
which seemed to indicate the most resolute opposition." Smythe 
and Eddis not only examined the works in person but were 
impressed with their great extent ; and when Eddis wrote, Sir 
William Howe and his engineer Montressor were in Pennsylvania^ 
where they remained until superseded. How rnuch credit, then, 
is to be given to Judge Jones when he tells us that all these 
works were levelled, and that too under the " care" and " direc- 
tion" of Montressor; and what becomes of the ;£'ioo,ooo he 
pocketed for levelling what clearly never was levelled . during 
his stay in Nfew York ? ' 

References to the defences in the later years of the war, 
though meagre, sustain the Judge but little better. In 1779, 
when Sir Henry Clinton was preparing for his expedition against 
Charleston, South Carolina, he proposed to leave New York safe 
against the attack of the expected French fleet and forces. To 
Lord Germain he wrote August 21 : "I am therefore employing 
the army to perfect the defences of this post, which at all events 
must be left out of reach of any insult." But according to the 
Judge there were, at that date, no defences to " perfect." Lieut. 
Auburey wrote from New York, October 30, 1781, that the 
American works " are hot only on grounds and situations that 
are extremely advantageous and commanding, but works of great 
strength;" and in the " Political Magazine" for November, 1781, 
there is a description of the city given in which the writer says, 
that "Just without New York the Rebel redoubts and lines that 
stretched from the East to the North River still remain, but 
they are greatly decayed." The final and corroborative, or more 
properly, the best evidence in the case, however, is that furnished 
by the only known original map of New York City which shows 
the defences erected by both sides during the Revolution, 
namely, the map of the Engineer Hills, surveyed in 1782 and 
drawn in 1785, deposited in the map roonl in the City Hall. In 
the right hand corner. Hills entered three important explanatory 

' It is true that the Brooklyn works were demolished by Howe's orders, but they 
were but a small part of the whole, and the proof is yet to be produced that Mon- 
tressor advised their demolition or pocketed any " plums." It would be interest- 
ing also to have something further about the 300 beacons around New York Island, 
and the nightly detail of guards, involving at least 900 men, to light them ! 


memoranda as follows : " All the works colored Yellow were 
erected by the Forces of the United States in 1776.— Those works 
colored Orange were erected by Do and repaired by the British 
Forces. — Those works colored Green were erected by the British 
Forces during the war." According to this, if Judge Jones be 
correct, there should be at least one if not two distinct green- 
colored lines of works, protecting New York, on Hill's map. 
They may be searched for in vain. The American hne is there 
with only such alterations and additions as the more skilful 
British engineers may have suggested or the varying exigencies 
of the situation during the long war required. Neither this map 
nor the contemporary writers quoted, give the least countenance 
to the sweeping assertions made by the Judge. Curiously 
enough the original American circular redoubt on the hill on the 
Judge's own grounds east of the Bowery remains on Hills' map 
still the same American yellow-colored circular redoubt (possibly 
repaired), and not a twice-rebuilt British battery, standing as a 
disgrace to peculating engineers ! ' 


The facts that General Nathaniel Woodhull, of Mastick, L. I., 
was President of the New York Convention when hostilities 
opened — that he was in command of the Long Island militia at 
the time of the Battle of Long Island on August 27th, 1776 — 
that he was made prisoner on the following evening — that he 

' The editor of Jones' work states in the preface that the last works erected by 
Clinton ' ' are those shown on the only map of the fortifications of New York in 
existence, that made by Hill in 1782, which are unfortunately often but erroneously 
supposed to be the American works of 1776, and have even been reproduced as such 
very recently. " This criticism could hardly have been made after an inspection of 
the original Hills in the City Hall. Under which description will Clinton's " last" 
works come, — yellow, orange or green? Nor is it stated what the erroneous map 
is that has been " recently" issued. The present writer perhaps may be permitted 
to say that, as to this, the most recently published map representiiig the defences 
of New York, so far as he is aware, is that accompanying Vol. III. of the Long 
Island Historical Society Series, which was compiled with care from the original 
Hills and followed the "yellow" line in locating the American works. This 
explanation appears in Part I. of that work, p, 84, u. 


received dangerous wounds at the time of his capture from the 
effects of which he died on September 20th — and that some un- 
certainty and tnystery attaches to the circumstances under 
which the wounds were inflicted, have excited the special 
interest of a number of historical writers, and provoked a dis- 
cussion among them. 

The point of controversy in the case, until Judge Jones' 
version appeared, related to the responsibility of one of the 
officers of the detachment which captured the General — the 
ofificer in question being Captain Oliver de Lancey, who was 
related to the Judge by marriage. It has been charged on one 
side that he struck Woodhull immediately after his surrender 
without sufificient provocation, and that his men thereafter con- 
tinued to cruelly hack him about the head and arm. On the 
other side it is made to appear that, if Captain de Lancey took 
any part in the occurrence, it was to interfere and protect the 
General from further mutilation by the soldiers. The discussion 
was carried on by published correspondence in 1848 principally 
by J. Fennimore Cooper, Henry C. Van Schaack, Lorenzo 
Sabine, and Henry Onderdonk, Jr. 

Judge Jones' narrative, however, puts the case on a new foot- 
ing by alleging that General Woodhull received his wounds 
while endeavoring to make his escape subsequent to his surrender, 
in which case the wounds were justifiably inflicted by the soldier 
on guard. This view of the case was substantially endorsed by 
Fennimore Cooper, who quoted from the Judge's manuscript 
during the discussion referred to, and who, being, like the Judge, 
also related to the de Lancey family, naturally defended Captain 
de Lancey from the charge of cruelty in the Woodhull affair. 
Judge Jones is furthermore endorsed by the editor of his work, 
who claims that his account " has an authenticity that no other 
of the various versions of this occurrence can possibly possess." 
The whole matter thus turns upon the value of the Judge's 
testimony, and in this light only is it referred to here. Does 
Judge Jones settle the disputed point as the authority in the 

It is claimed for the Judge that he was connected with the 
families of Captain de Lancey and General Woodhull, that he 
was personally acquainted . with both, that he lived on Long 


Island not many miles from the scene of Woodhull's capture, 
that he had ample opportunity to learn the particulars of the 
capture, and could not be mistaken in his account. ' " It will be 
seen," says Mr. Cooper in one of his letters in the controversy, 
" that from connection, residence, and social position, the histo- 
rian [Jones] was every way fitted for his task. It was next to 
impossible that he should not have heard the story and its con- 
tradiction, and that undertaking to leave behind him a written 
account of the occurrences, he should have not used the means 
he possessed to learn the truth." 

If this method of deduction, that because Judge Jones was 
in the way of knowing, he, therefore, must have known the truth 
in the case, is to be accepted, the door is opened for the intro- 
duction of an indefinite number of doubts and queries. The 
Judge was a prisoner in Connecticut at the time of Woodhull's. 
capture, and did not return to his home until more than three 
months after the event. There is no evidence that any story 
was current at that time within the enemy's lines that Captain 
de Lancey was concerned in the General's death, and there was. 
no necessity for its contradiction. If he was concerned in it, we 
cannot suppose that he would allow any such report to circulate,, 
or that his friends would believe it. If the Judge, then, wrote 
his account without ever having heard of the charge against the 
Captain, he could have recorded only what he heard from others, 
the friends of the Captain, which in any view would have been 
favorable to the Captain. On the other hand, had the Judge 
heard of the charge, as Mr. Cooper believed " it was next to im- 
possible" that he should not have heard of it, and at the same 
time knew that it was false, can there be any doubt but that he 
would have seized the opportunity to denounce the story as a 
scandalous " rebel " falsehood, and brought forward all the 
proofs in substantiation of his own version? But he does- 
nothing of the sort, and we are left to infer that he recorded, as 
he does in so many other cases, simply what he had heard from 
others, which may have been the most acceptable of one of 
several current accounts. 

But in addition, the elements of improbability are to be 
found in the Judge's version itself. His words are (Vol. II. p. 
332) : 


' ' It may, from this state of the case, be naturally asked, how the General came 
to be so desperately wounded as to die of those wounds a few days afterwards ? 
The fact is shortly this. The General, after his surrender, favored by the dark- 
ness of the night, attempted to make his escape, but being discovered by the 
■sentries while attempting to get over a board fence, he received several strokes 
irom their broad swords, particularly one upon the arm. He was carried on 
board a Man-of-War and treated with hospitality. The Surgeons advised amputa- 
tion. To this he would not consent. The wound mortified and he died in a few 

It is to be noticed that in this account we hear for the first' 
time that Woodhull did not receive his -wounds in connection 
with his capture. The Judge includes two distinct acts in the 
occurrence ; Jirst — the General was taken prisoner and guarded 
by sentries ; second — subsequently he attempted to escape but 
failed and was wounded in the attempt. Now this version con- 
flicts with what the editor of the work describes as " the only two 
sworn accounts of the incidents of the Capture that exist." The 
first account comes through one William Warne who testifies 
that he was on Long Island after the Battle and that, among 
other pieces of information he had, " one of the light horsemen 
told he had taken Gen. 'Woodhull in the dark in a barn ; that 
before he would answer when he spoke to the General, he had 
cut him on the head and both arms." The second comes from 
Lieut. Robert Troup who made affidavit for the information of 
the New York Cpmmittee of Safety, that he saw General Wood- 
hull after his capture and was told by him that he was struck by 
his captors immediately after delivering up his sword. These 
two sworn Statements agree at least on the point that the Gen- 
eral was wounded at the time he was taken — that he was not com- 
pletely in the hands of the enemy until after he had been hacked 
and bruised ; and this is the account given by the Long Island 
writers, Messrs. Wood, Onderdonk and Thompson (the latter a 
blood-relative of Woodhull), who took pains to examine the 
subject.' There is not anywhere, until Judge Jones' publication 
appeared, the slightest hint given that Woodhull endeavored to 
escape. Such an attempt would assuredly have been noised 
about by the enemy in self-justification. 

To accept the Judge's account, we are thus compelled to 

' It should be stated that Mr. Onderdonk also makes this point that 'Woodhull 
was clearly captured and wounded at the same time. 


throw out all the prior and only " sworn accounts" in existence. 
They make the capture and wounding of General Woodhull co- 
incident acts, the one accompanying the other. Judge Jones 
makes them separate acts, and by this means would have Wood- 
hull become responsible himself for the injuries he received. All 
the accounts at best are second-hand accounts, but of the earlier 
ones it is to be noted that Warne received his version from a 
participator in the capture and Troup from General Woodhull 
himself. Upon all principles of evidence the afifidavits of Warne 
and Troup are entitled to more credit than the unsupported 
statement of Judge Jones who does not inform us upon what 
authority he wrote, and who wrote as one in the de Lancey in- 
terest. In this view of the case, then, does the Judge clear up 
the Woodhull mystery? Is his account final and authorita- 
tive ? Is there not good ground for the answer that the case 
remains where it was, with the weight of probability in favor 
of the original accounts, which represent that the General was 
wounded at the time of his capture, and that he made no at- 
tempt to escape ? ' 


The last of the Judge's statements which it is proposed to 
notice in these pages is the only remaining charge which he 
brings against the American Commander-in-Chief — the other 
three having been reviewed in Cases II. and V. In the present 
instance we have an account of the treatment which the British 
Captain Asgill is alleged to have received from Washington in 

' Mr. Cooper endeavored to explain away or break down Troup's affidavit 
when he found it contradicting his own and the Judge's theories of the affair. The 
editor of the work appears to commit himself no further than to state that Troup 
was " certainly wrong" in saying that Woodhull perished, as he was informed, 
through want of " care and necessaries," Judge Hobart's letter of Oct. 7, 1776, 
being given as proof that WoodhuU's wife was present taking care of him at the 
time of his death. But Hobart's words scarcely admit of such a free interpretation, 
for he says, significantly, that the General " was attended in his dying moments by . 
his lady," clearly implying that she arrived too late to be of service, and was with 
him only at his death-bed. Hobart's and Troup's statements are easily recon- 
cilable with each other. 


1782, and which the Judge denounces in unmeasured terms. 
The Chief, indeed, is held up in the hght of an unciviHzed 

As a full review of the case would require many pages, atten- 
tion is confined here to the most damaging part of the charge 
which reflects on Washington's humanity. To state the point 
briefly, Captain Charles Asgill, of the British Guards, then one 
of the prisoners in our hands, was designated by lot, as a victim 
for retaliation, to atone for the murder, by the enemy, of an 
American Captain, named Joshua Huddy, of Monmouth,. New 
Jersey. In the eyes of Washington and all his principal officers, 
the peculiarly aggravating circumstances attending the death of 
Huddy justified this extreme method of obtaining satisfaction, 
especially as the British refused to punish the guilty parties 
within their own lines. Washington characterized Huddy's fate 
as " a crime of the blackest dye, not to be justified by the 
practices of war and unknown at this day amongst civilized 
nations ;" and Sir Henry Clinton, when he heard of the particu- 
lars, also described it as an act of atrocity " scarcely to be 
paralleled in history." After the choice fell upon Asgill he was 
removed to the camp of the New Jersey troops at Morristown 
where Colonel Dayton commanded. It was while the Captain 
was awaiting the order of execution here that Judge Jones 
charges he received most outrageous treatment at the hands of 
the Americans. 

"Captain Asgill," says the Judge (Vol. II. p. 232), "was not permitted to come 
into the presence of Washington [^ATashington was at a distance with the main 
camp near the Highlands, J.], but instantly put into a prison, deprived the liberty 
of pen, ink and paper, his servant refused admittance to him, and the diet allowed 
him bread and water, with once a week a scanty allowance of animal food. This 
iespeaks the humanity, the politeness, the virtue of Washington. Captain Asgill 
had but one window in his apartment, out of which he could peep at the sun, or 
draw in fresh air. To punish the unhappy youth as much as possible, the rebel 
chief ordered a gallows erected, 30 feet high, directly in front of, and at a small 
distance from the window, with this inscription in capitals, ' Erected for the 
Execution of Captain Asgill.' This gallows and this inscription presented them- 
selves to the Captain's eyes whenever he approached the window, which for the 
benefit of fresh air must have been often. This was murdering a man by inches. 
It was a piece of barbarity that none but a rebel could be guilty of. Instant 
execution would soon have put the youth out of his pain, it would have been 
lenity, mercy, kindness, nay, it would have been generosity. Instead of suffering 
one death by an immediate execution, the unhappy young soldier must, in 


contemplation, have experienced one every day. Every morning that he arose, 
he naturally supposed was the last of his existence. He never looked out of his 
window but he saw the tremendous instrument of death, with the more tre- 
mendous inscription, ' For the Execution of Captain Asgill.' 

"At conduct like this all Christians must shudder and execrate the unfeeling 
severity which could be guilty of so deliberate and wanton an act of cruelty." 

The records fail to bear out this extraordinary story, but 
point directly to the opposite conclusion, that Captain Asgill 
received no such treatment as liere represented. It was reported, 
for instance, after the war, that Asgill, who had been released, 
circulated some such story as the above himself in London, and 
the report was brought to Washington's ears. In reply to a 
friend who sought for information in the case, the Chief wrote as 
follows from Mount Vernon on June 5th, 1786: 

"That a calumny of this kind had been reported I know. I had laid my 
account for the calumnies of anonymous scribblers, but I never had conceived 
before that such a one as is related, could have originated with, or met the 
countenance of Captain Asgill, whose situation often filled me with the keenest 
anguish. I felt for him on many accounts, and not the least, when reviewing him 
as a man of honor and sentiment. . . . My favourable opinion of him, how- 
ever, is forfeited, if being acquainted with these reports, he did not immediately 
contradict them. That I could not have' given countenance to the instilts, 
which he says were offered to his person, especially the groveling one of erecting 
a gibbet before his prison window, will, I expect, readily be believed, when I 
explicitly declare that I never heard of a single attempt to offer an insult, and that I 
had every reason to be convinced that he was treated by the officers around him with 
all the tenderness, and every civility in their power.*' 

Colonel Humphreys, formerly one of Washington's aids, pub- 
lished all the documents relating to the affair, so far as they 
could be found in the Head Quarters correspondence, and in his 
preface has the following paragraph : ' 

" When I was in England, last winter, I heard suggestions that the treatment 
Capt. Asgill experienced during his confinement was unnecessarily rigorous, and 
as such reflected discredit on the Americans. Having myself belonged to the 
family of the Commander-in-Chief, at that period, and having been acquainted 
with the minutest circumstance relative to that unpleasant affair, / had no hesita- 
tion in utterly denying that there was a particle of veracity in those illiberal sugges- 

' Humphreys to the Editors of the New Haven Gazette, Nov. 6th, 1786. The 
correspondence was reprinted in pamphlet form for the "Holland Club," New 
York, in iSsq. 


Surgeon Thacher, who was also with the army at that time, 
gives many particulars of the case, and in a note on page 384, of 
his " Military Journal," after noticing exaggerated French ac- 
counts, writes : 

' ' I can with the fullest confidence affirm, that a gibbet never was erected for Cap- 
tain Asgill at any period of his confinement, and that no preparations whatever 
were made for his execution, except a secure confinement for a short period, 
during which the utmost tenderness and polite civilities were bestowed on him> 
and for these he expressed his grateful acknowledgments in his letter to General 
Washington. It would be preposterous to suppose, that the Commander-in-Chief 
could act a farcical part by exhibiting the machines of death, when- it was altogether 
problematical whether an execution would be the final result, and surely nothing^ 
could be less characteristic of Washington, than wantonly to torture the, feelings 
of a prisoner with the horrors of death." 

Another important piece of evidence relating to the affair is 
that furnished by Major Alexander Garden, of Lee's Legion, in 
his well known " Anecdotes." He, also, speaks of these later 
reports and " abuse" lavishly disseminated by " the British 
Gazettes," and expresses himself as having been greatly surprised 
at and loath to believe them. 

" I had been a school-fellow," he states, " of Sir Charles Asgill, an inmate of 
the same boarding-house for several years, and a disposition more mild, gentle, 
and affectionate, I never met with. I considered him as possessed of that high 
sense of honor, which characterizes the youths of Westminster in a pre-eminent 
degree. Conversing sometime afterwards with Mr. Henry Middleton, of Suffolk, 
Great Britain, and inquiring, if it was possible that Sir Charles Asgill, could so 
far forget his obligations to a generous enemy, as to return his kindness with 
abuse. Mr. Middleton, who had been our cotemporary at school, and who had 
kept up a degree of intimacy with Sir Charles, denied the justice of the accusation, 
and declared, that the person charged with an act so base, not only spoke with 
gratitude of the conduct of General Washington, but was lavish in his commendations 
of Colonel Drayton, and of all the oflicers of the Continental army, whose duty had 
occasionally introduced them to his acquaintance.^' 

Under this evidence it is difficult to find any confirmation of 
the Judge's version. He appears to have taken the newspaper 
stories of the time and converted them into historical fact. 
Captain Asgill was undoubtedly treated, as Washington directed 
Colonel Dayton, with the utmost indulgence. It was necessary 
to have him under strict guard but at the same time, wrote 
Washington to Dayton, " I must beg that you will be pleased 
to treat Captain Asgill with every tender attention and politeness 


(consistent with his present situation) which his rank, fortune, and 
connections, together with his unfortunate state, demands." To 
believe Judge Jones, we must assume that a noted Continental 
officer Uke Colonel Dayton deliberately disregarded Washington's 
instructions and allowed his prisoner to be insulted in the man- 
ner alleged — an assumption which is not to be entertained. The 
whole gibbet and cruelty story must be relegated, with all the 
errors and libels already noticed, to the stock of myths from 
which the loyalist historian drew so freely. 


The foregoing cases, to which attention has been invited, 
are adduced as instances of erroneous statements to be found in 
Judge Jones' work, and not as the total of such errors by which 
the value of the history is to be determined. An exhaustive 
examination of all that the Judge assumes to contribute as new 
material upon the subject — an examination which would require 
a search among unpublished records both in this country and 
Great Britain — would without question uncover further blunders- 
of a similar character. There are statements made by the 
Judge, indeed, which ought to be rejected without call for 
disproof — rejected upon their obvious improbability. 

Nor are the errors noticed to be regarded as secondary 
matters, incidental, to be accounted for, and such as all historical 
writers are liable to fall into without impairing the value of 
their work as a whole. No such modifying criticism can be 
properly admitted. They are all important, leading stateinents 
with which the Judge clearely intended to make an impression. 
Eliminate them from his narrative, , and it loses some of its 
strongest points ; the indictment is deprived of a score or more 
of its main props. The Case of General Washington is in 
point ; in regard to whom the Judge makes the four damaging 
statements that he once broke his own parole, that he counte- 
nanced the violation of the Judge's parole, that he favored the 
cruel abuse of tories, and developed the traits of a brute in his 
treatment of Captain Asgill. These matters are dwelt upon 


and emphasized by the Judge in order to stigmatize the memory 
of the Commander-in-Chief of the American " rebellion." But 
these charges have been found to be gross and untrue in all 
particulars. All the other references are equally surprising as 
developments of secret history, but they severally disappear by 
comparison with better records. The reader of the work cannot 
but be impressed with the fact that the Judge depended much 
upon the statements noticed to make out his case against the 
Revolution and his enemies generally. They enter as test 
illustrations in his line of argument, which becomes seriously 
weakened by their proven falsity and inapplication. 

If, in addition, errors of lesser importance can be cited as 
affecting the credibility of a writer, the Judge's production is 
open to a more extended criticism. His work contains numer- 
ous minor mis-statements, showing either that he wrote care- 
lessly or, what is much more probable, was without authentic 
sources of information. For example, his inaccuracies in giving 
figures, strength of forces, etc., are frequent ; such as lo,000 
American prisoners in New York at the close of 1776, when 
there were not 5000. He decries the raid upon the Connecticut 
coast in 1779, because New Haven, Fairfield and Norwalk 
were tory towns, " at least two-thirds of the inhabitants" of 
which were Episcopalians, and the greater part of whom 
" favored the royal cause during the rebellion." But as to New 
Haven, it may be said that she was regarded in Connecticut as 
a true Revolutionary town, and statistics show that the propor- 
tion of Episcopalians was less than one-twelfth of the whole.' 
It is also stated that during this raid Yale College "was 

' New Haven in 1774 had about 6000 inhabitants. In Dr. Beardsley's 
History of the Episcopal Church in Connecticut, a letter from the Episcopal 
clergyman of New Haven, dated April, 1772, says: "The souls, white and black, 
belonging to the Church in New Haven are 503; and in my church at West 
Haven there are 220." During the war the population diminished, and on Jan. i, 
1782, it stood, according to President Stiles' diary, as follows: 
"Jan. I, 1782. N. Haven had 3322 inhabitants. 

Rev. Mr. Whittlesey goo ) 

Rev. Mr. Eden 800 \ Congregational. 

Rev. Mather 950 ) 

Rev. Hubbard 250 Episcopal. 

Besides Yale College 220 



plundered of a library consisting of many thousand books which 
had been collecting for very near 100 years, with many curious 
and valuable manuscripts, a remarkably fine orrery, a celestial 
and a terrestrial globe, and rnany other things of consequence ; 
besides a selection of well-chosen books, a present to that 
seminary from the late Dean Berkley, afterwards Bishop of 
Cloyne in Ireland, and known by the name of "The Dean's' 
Library." This, however, is all a gratuitous bit of history, for 
Yale College was plundered of nothing by the British either on 
that or any other occasion, losing neither books, manuscripts, 
orrery or globe — a fact easily substantiated by reference to that 
institution. The Judge, again, is shocked at the conduct of the 
Americans in firing upon the funeral procession attending the 
burial of General Fraser at Saratoga in 1777. " Had an act like 
this," he says, " been committed by Britons, it would have been 
trumpeted to the world as an act of the most savage barbarity, and 
contrary to the laws and customs of all civilized nations, but being 
performed by Americans, who boasted of fighting the battles of the 
Lord, and contending for the rights of mankind, it was a righteous 
act, and thought nothing of." The Judge had Gordon before 
him and quotes him as giving the same account of the firing ; but 
he has not the candor to state, what Gordon does, that had the 
Americans known that the party fired at was a funeral gathering 
the cannonade would have been stopped. Upon this point 
Madame Reidesel, wife of the German General in Burgoyne's 
army, writes in her " Memoirs": " The American general, Gates, 
afterward said, that if he had known it was a! burial he would' 
not have allowed any firing in that direction." ' The Judge is 
the first writer to report that one hundred and fifty loyalist 
prisoners were left to burn in the vessels deserted by the Ameri- 
cans at the time the British took forts Clinton and Montgomery 
on the Hudson in 1777 — an item which, had it been true, could 
not have failed to be noticed at the time. The British reports 
mention no such distressing episode of that expedition. In his 
account of the Stony Point operations, the Judge charges the 
loss of that post, when stormed by Wayne in 1779, upon the 
neglect and convivialty' of the commanding officer. Colonel 

' Stone's Memoirs of Madame Reidesel, p. I2I. 


Johnson, who is stated to have been carousing at the time with 
a party of friends from the garrison at Verplank's Point. But 
Johnson's own brief report, the narrative of Admiral Collier, and 
statements of American ofiScers show that the British were on the 
alert, and the Colonel at his post at least at the critical moment. 
Furthermore, the returns of prisoners taken give no ofificers 
other than those belonging to the Stony Point garrison, thus 
excluding the theory of a party from Verplank's. Again, when 
Lord Rawdon, the British officer who commanded in South 
Carolina after Cornwallis marched north, was made prisoner by 
the French fleet under de Grasse, and taken into the Chesapeake, 
_ Congress, according to the Judge, demanded his Surrender to 
the American authorities. " Surprising to relate," he exclaims, 
" yet an absolute, undeniable fact ! They had the impudence, 
or assurance, or rather both, to send a Committee on board the 
fleet, and demand of the Compte the delivery of his Lordship 
into their hands, that they might, as they declared, execute him 
by way of retaliation for the execution of Hayne [in Charles- 
ton]." De Grasse, however, we are informed, spurned the pro- 
posal, refused to surrender Rawdon and snubbed the Committee 
in a manner entirely gratifying to the Judge. We are to accept 
this as an " absolute, undeniable truth" on Judge Jones' dictum 
solely, for he gives no authority for the statement. The records, 
on the other hand, contain nothing tending to corroborate it, but 
rather authorize its denial. That Congress should send a Com- 
mittee so long a distance on such an errand is wholly improbable 
upon its face. In the numerous documents, relating to the 
Yorktown campaign, no mention is made of the presence at any 
time of such a Committee. Neither Washington, Rochambeau, . 
La Fayette, Knox, Wayne and other officers, who leave journals 
and correspondence covering the siege operations, refer to the 
matter. The demand for Rawdon would have been a purely 
military act to be left to tfie Commander-in-Chief and not to 
Congress ; and the demand, furthermofe, would without doubt 
have passed through Rochambeau as the Commander of the 
French forces, but Rochambeau has not a word in his " Memoirs" 
about Rawdon, the demand or the refusal. The Judge's undeni- 
able truth, not "surprising to relate," looks much like a fiction. 
One more topic in this connection, and that concerns some of 


the Judge's speculations in regard to the movements of Corn- 
wallis in North CaroHna in 1781. If the Judge was famiharwith 
the published controversy between that General and Sir Henry 
Clinton respecting the former's campaign in the South and his 
final surrender, he fails to show it in the present instance; He 
claims that Cornwallis, upon becoming sensible of his inability 
to hold his own in North Carolina after the battle of Guilford 
Court House, should have retreated back to South Carolina and 
prepared for another campaign rather than march to Wilming- 
ton and afterwards to Virginia. But, says the Judge, " His 
Lordship, no doubt, was following the orders of the Commander- 
in-Chief, from which he had no right to deviate upon any con- 
tingency whatever." Now, had Judge Jones read Clinton's 
letters on the subject, published immediately after the war, he 
would have ascertained that Clinton's judgment in the case was 
identical with his own, and that the former was opposed to the 
march of CornwalHs northward after his operations in North 
Carolina. In his " Observations" on Stedman, the General says : 
" Perhaps Mr. Stedman does not know that Lord Cornwallis had 
been ordered, and had promised, in case of failure in North 
Carolina, to fall back on South Carolina, and secure it." It is 
evident that Judge Jones, also, did not know it, and that his 
personal hostility to Clinton prompted him to adopt any theory 
or supposition that would help to damage the General's repu- 
tation. To these minor misstatements (if they are of a minor 
order) still more might readily be added, were further illustration 

As a natural conclusion to the foregoing criticisms and ob- 
servations, the question occurs whether the important errors and 
the numerous lesser blunders to be found in Judge Jones' work 
do not form the basis of an unfavorable estimate of its value as 
an authority. It has been seen that the Judge makes most 
positive assertions which have no foundation in fact — that, 
though being a Judge, he gives currency to outrageous libels, 
the truth of which he could not have been assured of, for the 
single reason that they were false — that in many cases he draws 
unwarrantable inferences — that he shows the bitterness of his 


pen by the readiness with which he seems to accept and per- 
petuate current slanders or falsehoods in regard to those whom 
he wishes to expose — and that he writes' much from hearsay or 
irresponsible sources of information. At least these conclusions 
appear to be authorized so far as they follow from and apply to 
the cases examined. And if these are admissible as necessary 
and correct conclusions — if, in a word, Judge Jones has, in the 
cases noticed, proved himself a blundering and unreliable wit- 
ness and writer, wkat guarantee have we that he has given us 
truth and accuracy in the many other statements which he pretends 
to publish as secret history, but which, in the probable absence 
of records, cannot be either substantiated or denied to-day ? 
Suspicion at once attaches to his entire work. The Judge's 
continued and pitiless' references to William Smith, to Sir Henry 
Clinton, to General Robertson, to Sir William Jay, to Ludlow 
and Elliott — his pen-pictures of and insinuations in regard 
to General Schuyler, Lord Sterling, Francis Lev/is, McDougal, 
John Morin Scott, William Livingston and other characters on 
both sides — his opinions and impressions generally of men 
and events, his exposition of motives, and his wholesale 
denunciation of whomsoever and whatsoever affected a good and 
true loyalist unfavorably — how far is the Judge to be followed 
jn these and similar effusions that characterize his narrative? 
How much in it and precisely what is to be accepted, in view of 
■what, upon evidence, it is certain cannot be accepted ? Where is 
the line to be drawn between the Judge as an accurate historian 
and the Jwdge as a libeller and credulous chronicler of report and 
Tumor? The question is raised legitimately. That Judge Jones' 
work is to be rejected as entirely worthless is not a claim 
advanced in this connection, but we submit whether the histori- 
cal student, anxious to probe records to the bottom and welcom- 
ing everything which has the " contemporary" mark upon it, can 
include the Judge among his trustworthy informants. There . 
must remain a conviction that however true the Judge's state- 
ments may prove to be in any given case, they still require