(navigation image)
Home American Libraries | Canadian Libraries | Universal Library | Community Texts | Project Gutenberg | Biodiversity Heritage Library | Children's Library | Additional Collections
Search: Advanced Search
Anonymous User (login or join us)
Upload
See other formats

Full text of "American biography"

THE LIBRARY 

OF 

THE UNIVERSITY 
OF CALIFORNIA 




BENEDICT ARNOLD 



AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY 

EDITED BY 

JARED ^SPARKS 



BENEDICT ARNOLD 

By 
JARED SPARKS 

VoL 3 




HARPER & BROTHERS 

PUBLISHERS 
NEW YORK AND LONDON J902 



Added Copy 
fij^FA 
GIFT 



27? 
I90 

v.3 



CONTENTS 

CHAPTER I 

PAGE 

Arnold s Birth and Early Life 3 

CHAPTER II 

He begins his Military Career. Capture of 
Ticonderoga and Crown Point 12 

CHAPTER III 
Expedition through the Wilderness to Quebec . . 26 

CHAPTER IV 

Operations in Canada. Affair of the Cedars. 
Retreat from Montreal 48 

CHAPTER V 

Arnold censured for the Seizure of Goods at 
Montreal Appointed to the Command of a 
Fleet on Lake Champlain. Naval Combat. 64 

CHAPTER VI 

Stationed in Rhode Island. Superseded in his 
Rank by Congress. Complains of Injustice 







CONTENTS 

PAGE 

and ill Treatment. His Bravery in the Af 
fair of Danbury. Commands at Philadel 
phia 83 

CHAPTER VII 

Joins the northern Army. The tragical Death 
of Jane McCrea near Fort Edward. Arnold 
commands an Expedition to Fort Schuyler. 
Rejoins the main Army on the Hudson. 
The Battles of Behmus s Heights . . . . 100 

CHAPTER VIII 

Takes Command in Philadelphia. Proposes 
joining the Navy. Charges against him by 
the Council of Pennsylvania. His Plan for 
a new Settlement in the western Part of New 
York. His Trial by a Court-martial . . . 121 

CHAPTER IX 

His expensive Style of Living and pecuniary 
Embarrassments. First Ideas of betraying 
his Country. Application to the French 
Ambassador. Marriage. Takes Command 
at West Point 144 

CHAPTER X 

Progress of the Conspiracy on the Part of the 
British Commander. Major John Andre. 162 

CHAPTER XI 

Various Schemes for effecting an Interview be- 
iv 



CONTENTS 

PAGE 

ti/ceen Arnold and Andre. Their Meeting 
within the American Lines 175 

CHAPTER XII 

Outlines of the Plan for surrendering West 
Point. Major Andre passes in Disguise 
through the American Posts. His Capture 
at Ta, rytown 206 

CHAPTER XIII 

Andre makes known his true Character. His 
Letter to Washington. Escape of Arnold 
to the Enemy. Washington arrives at West 
Point 227 

CHAPTER XIV 

Detection of Arnold s Treason. Andre re 
moved to West Point and thence to Tappan. 
His Examination by a Board of Officers. 246 

CHAPTER XV 

Ineffectual Attempts to procure the Release of 
Major Andre. His Execution. The Cap 
tors of Andre. Joshua H. Smith. Cap 
tain Nathan Hale 266 

CHAPTER XVI 

Narrative of Arnold s Plot communicated by 
Sir Henry Clinton to the Ministry. Arnold 
in New York. His Expedition against Vir 
ginia and New London 306 



CONTENTS 
CHAPTER XVII 

PAGE 

Arnold sails for England. Anecdotes. His 
Residence at St. John s, and in the West 
Indies. His Death 327 



THE 

LIFE AND TREASON 

OF 

BENEDICT ARNOLD 

BY 

JARED SPARKS 



BENEDICT ARNOLD. 

CHAPTER I. 

Arnold s Birth and Early Life. 

AMONG the first settlers and proprietors of 
Rhode Island was William Arnold, a name of 
some note in the local annals of his time. He 
had three sons, Benedict, Thomas, and Stephen. 
The eldest, that is, Benedict Arnold, succeeded 
Roger Williams as president of the colony under 
the first charter, and he was at different times 
governor under the second charter during a pe 
riod of fifteen years ; a proof of the respect in 
which he was held by his contemporaries. 

The family spread out into several branches 
One of these was established at Newport, from 
which place two brothers, Benedict Arnold and 
Oliver Arnold, emigrated to Norwich in Con 
necticut, the former about the year 1730, or 
perhaps a little earlier, the latter several years 
afterwards. They were coopers by trade, but 
Benedict discontinued that occupation soon after 



4 AMERICAN !*;iU GRAPH Y. 

bis removal to Norwich, and engaged in com 
merce. He made one or two voyages to Eng 
land, but was principally concerned in navigation 
to the West Indies, and was owner of the vessels 
he commanded. Having accumulated means suf 
ficient to enable him to change this pursuit for 
one which he liked better, he became a merchant, 
and for several years carried on an extensive busi 
ness at Norwich. He was a man of suspicious in 
tegrity, little respected, and less esteemed. Pros 
perity deserted him, and by degrees he sank into 
intemperance, poverty, and contempt. 

In the mean time he had married Mrs. Hannah 
King, a widow lady, whose name before her first 
marriage was Waterman. Her family connexions 
were highly respectable, and she is represented 
as having been eminent for her amiable temper, 
piety, and Christian virtues. The children of 
this second marriage were three sons and three 
daughters. Benedict, the eldest, died in infancy. 
The same name was given to the next son. Of 
the six children, only he and his sister Hannah 
survived the years of childhood. 

BENEDICT ARNOLD, the second son above 
named, and the subject of this notice, was born 
at Norwich, on the 3d of January, 1740. As 
his father s affairs were then in a successful train, 
it is probable he enjoyed the advantage of as 
good schools as the town or its vicinity afforded. 



BENEDICT ARNOLD. 5 

For a time he was under the tuition jf Dr. 
Jevvett, a teacher of some celebrity at Montville. 
There is no evidence, however, that his acquire 
ments reached beyond those usually attained in 
the common schools. While yet a lad he was 
apprenticed to two gentlemen by the name of 
Lathrop, who were partners as druggists in a 
large establishment at Norwich, and alike dis 
tinguished for their probity, worth, and the wide 
extent of their business. Being allied by a dis 
tant relationship to the mother of the young 
apprentice, they felt a personal interest in his 
welfare, especially as no benefit to him was now 
to be hoped from the example or guidance of 
his father. 

It was soon made obvious to these gentlemen, 
that they had neither an agreeable nor an easy 
task before them. To an innate love of mischief, 
young Arnold added an obduracy of conscience, 
a cruelty of disposition, an irritability of temper, 
and a reckless indifference to the good or ill 
opinion of others, that left but a slender founda 
tion upon which to erect a system of correct prin 
ciples or habits. Anecdotes have been preserved 
illustrative of these traits. One of his earliest 
amusements was the robbing of birds nests, and 
it was his custom to maim and mangle young 
birds in sight of the old ones, that he might be 
diverted by their cries. Near the druggist s shop 



6 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

was a schoolhouse, and he would scatter in the 
path broken pieces of glass taken from the crates, 
by which the children would cut their feet in 
coming from the school. The cracked and im 
perfect phials, which came in the crates, were 
perquisites of the apprentices. Hopkins, a fel 
low apprentice and an amiable youth, was in the 
habit of placing his share on the outside of the 
shop near the door, and permitting the small 
boys to take them away, who were pleased with 
this token of his good will. Arnold followed the 
same practice ; but, when he had decoyed the 
boys, and they were busy in picking up the 
broken phials, he would rush out of the shop 
with a horsewhip in his hand, call them thieves, 
and beat them without mercy. These and simi 
lar acts afforded him pleasure. He was likewise 
fond of rash feats of daring, always foremost in 
danger, and as fearless as he was wickedly mis 
chievous. Sometimes he took com to a grist 
mill in the neighborhood ; and, while waiting for 
the meal, he would amuse himself and astonish 
his playmates, by clinging to the arms of a large 
water-wheel and passing with it beneath and 
above the water. 

Weary of the monotonous duties of the shop, 
and smitten with the attractions of a military life, 
he enlisted as a soldier in the army without the 
knowledge of his friends when he was sixteen 



BENEDICT ARNOLD. 7 

rears old, and went off with other recruits to 
Hartford. This caused such deep distress to his 
mother, that the Reverend Dr. Lord, pastor of 
the church to which she belonged, and some 
other persons, took a lively interest in the mat 
ter, and succeeded in getting him released and 
brought back. Not long afterwards he ran away, 
enlisted a second time, and was stationed at 
Ticonderoga and different places on the frontiers ; 
but being employed in garrison duty, and sub 
jected to more restraint and discipline than were 
suited to his restless spirit and unyielding obsti 
nacy, and seeing no prospect of an opportunity 
for gratifying his ambition and love of bold ad 
venture, he deserted, returned to Norwich, and 
resumed his former employment. When a Brit 
ish officer passed through the town in pursuit of 
deserters, his friends, fearing a discovery, secreted 
him in a cellar till night, and then sent him 
several miles into the country, where he remained 
concealed till the officer was gone. 

During the whole of his apprenticeship he 
gave infinite trouble to Dr. Lathrop, in whose 
family he resided ; and his conduct was a source 
of perpetual anxiety and grief to his mother. 
He was her only surviving son, her husband was 
lost to himself and to the world, and it was 
natural that the maternal hopes and fears of a 
lady of her sensibility and excellence should be 



8 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

powerfully wrought upon, by such wayward ex 
hibitions of character in one, to whom she was 
bound by the strongest and tenderest ties, and 
on whom she relied as the support of her de 
clining years. Borne down with the weight of 
present affliction, her forebodings of the future 
must have been melancholy and fearful. Heaven 
relieved her from the anguish of witnessing her 
son s career of ambition without virtue, of glory 
tarnished with crime, and of depravity ending in 
infamy and ruin. She died before he reached 
the age of manhood. 

After he had served out his apprenticeship, 
Arnold left Norwich and commenced business as 
a druggist in New Haven. He was assisted by 
his former masters in setting up his new estab 
lishment, which at first was on a small scale ; but, 
by his enterprise and activity, his business was 
extended, and to the occupation of an apothe 
cary he added that of a general merchant. At 
length he took up the profession of a navigator, 
shipped horses, cattle, and provisions to the Wesf 
Indies, and commanded his own vessels. Tur 
bulent, impetuous, presuming, and unprincipled, 
it was to be expected that he would raise up 
a host of enemies against him, and be involved 
in many difficulties. He fought a duel with 
a Frenchman somewhere in the West Indies, 
and was engaged in frequent quarrels both at 



BENEDICT ARNOLD. 9 

home and abroad. His speculations ended in 
bankruptcy, and under circumstances, which, in 
the opinion of the world, left a stain upon his 
honesty and good faith. He resumed his busi 
ness, aiid applied himself to it with his accus 
tomed vigor and resource, and with the same 
obliquity of moral purpose, hazard, and disregard 
of public sentiment, that had always marked his 
conduct. 

On one occasion, just after he had returned 
from a West India voyage, a sailor who had been 
with him spread a report, that he had smuggled 
contraband goods and got them ashore without 
the knowledge of a custom-house officer. Arnold 
sought out the sailor, beat him severely, and 
compelled him to leave the town and take a 
solemn oath, that he would never enter it again. 
Within two or three days, however, the sailor 
was found in the streets ; and Arnold collected a 
small party, seized him, and took him to the 
whipping-post, where about forty lashes were in 
flicted upon him with a small cord, and he was 
conducted a second time out of town. The 
affair was noised abroad, and excited the indig 
nation of the populace. The sailor came back, 
and the case was submitted to Colonel Wooster 
and another gentleman, who, as Arnold said in 
his public vindication, " were of opinion, that the 
fellow was not whipped too much, and gave him 



10 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

fifty shillings damages only." He grounded this 
summary mode of punishment on what he con 
sidered the infamous nature of the offence, and 
its tendency to injure the community by casting 
suspicion upon honest dealers and obstructing the 
xirse of trade. 

An exploit is remembered, which was charac 
teristic of his rashness and courage. While driv 
ing cattle on board a vessel, which he was freight 
ing for a voyage, a refractory ox refused obe 
dience. He grew furious, ran oft , and set his 
pursuers at defiance. Arnold mounted a fleet 
horse, overtook the ox, seized the enraged animal 
by a tender part of the nostrils, and held him in 
that position till he was subdued and secured. 

Arnold s father died about the time he settled 
in New Haven, and his sister, Hannah Arnold, 
being the only remaining individual of the family, 
joined him at that place. He was early married 
at New Haven to a lady by the name of Mans 
field. They had three sons, Benedict, Richard, 
and Henry. The first died young in the West In- 
die:. He was a violent, headstrong youth, and it 
is supposed he came to an untimely end. He had 
a commission in the British service after the Revo 
lution. TIA re is a letter written by Hannah Ar 
nold, in which, after mentioning that this nephew 
had gone to the West Indies, she says, " He 
went entirely contrary to the wishes of his father; 



BENEDICT ARNOLD. 11 

what has been his fate, God only knows, but my 
prophetic heart forbodes the worst." All accounts 
agree in extolling the accomplishments of this 
lady, her rare endowments of mind, her refine 
ment, delicacy, and other qualities of female ex 
cellence. Several of her letters, which I have 
seen, fully justify this tribute to her good name, 
which dwelt on the lips of those that knew 
her, and which the voice of tradition has per 
petuated. Her ardent and unceasing attachment 
to her brother, at the same time that it proves the 
depth of her own feelings, may argue the exist 
ence of better traits in his domestic character, than 
would be inferred from his public conduct. His 
sister was his devoted friend, his adviser, and a 
watchful guardian over his family and his interests. 
She adhered to him through good and evil report, 
and never forsook him, till he proved himself un 
worthy even of a sister s love. She lived many 
years after the war, at one time in Troy on Hud 
son s River, and afterwards near York, in Upper 
Canada, where it is believed she closed her days. 
Her two nephews, Richard and Henry, resided 
with her in Troy, and were employed in mer 
cantile affairs. They likewise removed to Cana 
da, where they received lands from the British 
government. The wife of Arnold died at New 
Haven about the time that the war began. 



12 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHF. 



CHAPTER II. 

He begins his Military Career. Capture of 
Ticonderoga and Crown Point. 

THERE were in Connecticut two companies 
of militia called the Governor s Guards, and 
organized in conformity to an act of the legis 
lature. One of these companies belonged to 
New Haven, and in March, 1775, Arnold was 
chosen to be its commander. This company 
consisted of fifty-eight men. When the news 
of the battle of Lexington reached New Haven, 
the bells were rung, and great excitement pre 
vailed among the people. Moved by a common 
impulse, they assembled on the green in the cen 
tre of the town, where the Captain of the Guards 
took occasion to harangue the multitude, and, 
after addressing himself to their patriotic feelings, 
and rousing their martial spirit by suitable appeals 
ind representations, he proposed to head any 
number of volunteers that would join him, and 
march with them immediately to the scene of 
fiction. He ended his address by appointing a 
time and place for all such to meet, and form 
themselves into a company. 

When (he hour arrived, sixty volunteers ap- 



BENEDICT A R. N O L D . 13 

peared on the ground, belonging mostly to the 
Guards, with a few students from the College. 
No time was lost in preparing for their departure, 
and on the morning of the next day they were 
ready to march. The company was destitute of 
ammunition, which the rulers of the town refused 
to supply, not being satisfied as to the expediency 
of taking up arms, or of abetting such a move 
ment, without the previous direction or counte 
nance of a higher authority. This was a point, 
which Arnold was not in the humor to discuss. 
He drew out his volunteers in martial array, and 
despatched a message to the Selectmen, stating 
that, unless the keys of the magazine were deliv 
ered to him immediately, he would break it open 
Dy force. This threat was effectual, and perhaps 
it was not reluctantly heeded by the Selectmen 
themselves, as it afforded an apology for their 
acquiescence. A sense of responsibility often ex 
cites quicker fears, than the distant and uncertain 
consequences of a rash action. Being thus pro 
vided, and participating the ardor of their leader, 
the company hastened forward by a rapid march 
to Cambridge, the head-quarters of the troops, 
who were collecting from various parts to resist 
any further aggressions from the British army in 
Boston. 

At the same time a few individuals at Hartford, 
in Connecticut, where the legislature of the col- 



14 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHT. 

ony was then sitting, secretly formed a plan to 
surprise and capture Ticonderoga. It is proba 
ble, that Arnold had received a hint of this pro 
ject before he left New Haven ; for, as soon as 
he arrived in Cambridge, he waited on the Mas 
sachusetts Committee of Safety, and proposed the 
same scheme, explaining its practicability, por 
traying in vivid colors the advantages that would 
result from it, and offering to take the lead of 
the enterprise, if they would invest him with 
proper authority, and furnish the means. The 
committee eagerly embraced his proposal, and on 
the 3d of May commissioned Benedict Arnold as 
a colonel in the service of Massachusetts, and 
commander-in-chief of a body of troops not to 
exceed four hundred, with whom he was to pro 
ceed on an expedition to subdue and take Fort 
Ticonderoga. The men were to be enlisted for 
this purpose in the western parts of Massachu 
setts, and the other colonies bordering on those 
parts. The Colonel was moreover instructed, af 
ter taking possession of Ticonderoga, to leave a 
small garrison there sufficient for its defence, and 
to bring to Cambridge such of the cannon, mor 
tars, and stores, as he should judge would be ser 
viceable to the army. In the siege of Boston, 
now begun by the Provincial forces, the cannon 
and mortars were extremely wanted, and the hope 
of obtaining them was a principal motive with the 
Committee for favoring the expedition. 



BENEDICT ARNOLD. 15 

Bj a vote of the Committee of Safety, the 
Provincial Congress of Massachusetts was Hke- 
wise desired to supply Colonel Arnold with one 
hundred pounds in cash, two hundred pounds 
weight of gunpowder, the same quantity of lead 
en balls, one thousand flints^ and ten horses, foi 
the use of the colony. He was authorized to 
procure stores and provisions for his troops, and 
to draw on the Committee for the sums expended 
in the purchase of them. 

The temperament of Colonel Arnold admitted 
no delay after matters had been thus arranged, 
and he made all haste to the theatre of opera 
tions. He arrived at Stockbridge, on the frontier 
of Massachusetts, within three days of the time 
of receiving his commission. To his great disap 
pointment he there ascertained, that a party of 
men from Connecticut had already gone forward, 
with the design of raising the Green Mountain 
Boys, and making an assault upon the fortress. 
The laurels, which he had gathered in anticipa 
tion, seemed now to be escaping from his grasp, 
and he waited not a moment longer on the way 
than was requisite to engage a few officers to en 
list troops and follow him. 

A small party of men from Connecticut, and 
another from Berkshire County under Colonel 
Easton, had proceeded to Bennington, and joined 
themselves to Ethan Allen at the head of a still 



16 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

larger number of bis mountaineers. They had 
all marched towards Lake Champlain. Arnold 
overtook them at Castleton, about twenty-five 
miles from Ticonderoga. A council of war bad 
just been held, in which the command of the 
combined forces was assigned to Colonel Ethan 
Allen, and a plan of operations was fully agreed 
upon. All things were in readiness for pushing 
forward the next morning. At this juncture Ar 
nold made his appearance, introduced himself to 
the officers, drew his commission from his pocket, 
and in virtue of it claimed the command of the 
expedition. 

This bold assurance in a person, with whom 
the troops were not acquainted, who had taken 
no part in calling them together, and who pre 
tended to act under an authority, which none 
of them recognised, was received with equal as 
tonishment and indignation. Arnold had come 
accompanied by one attendant only. It is true, 
there was a small body of volunteers from Massa 
chusetts in the party ; but these had turned out 
under Colonel Easton, at the request of the 
committee from Connecticut, who superintended 
the expedition, and by whom all the troops were 
to be paid. The Green Mountain Boys consti 
tuted much the larger portion of the whole num 
ber, ar.d they were too warmly attached to their 
officers, and particularly to their chivalrous leader 



BENEDICT ARNOLD. 17 

and early champion, Ethan Allen, to be pre 
vailed upon to move a step further if Arnold s 
pretensions were allowed. Confusion and symp 
toms of mutiny among the men ensued, and seem 
ed to threaten a defeat of the enterprise. For 
once the discretion of Arnold got the better of 
his ambition, and he yielded to a necessity, which 
he could not control. He assented to a com 
promise, and agreed to join the party as a vol 
unteer, maintaining his rank but exercising no 
command. 

Harmony being restored, the party advanced 
to Ticonderoga, took the fort by surprise on the 
morning of the 10th of May, and made the whole 
garrison prisoners. Ethan Allen, as the com 
mander, entered the fort at the head of his men. 
Arnold, ever foremost in scenes of danger and 
feats of courage, assumed the privilege of passing 
through the gate at his left hand. Thus the love 
of glory, common to them both, was gratified ; 
ind the pride of Arnold was soothed, after the 
wound it had received by the disappointment of 
his ambitious hopes. 

It soon appeared, however, that the aims of 
so aspiring and restless a spirit were not to be 
easily frustrated, and that the conciliatory acqui 
escence at Castleton was no more than the evi 
dence of a truce, and not the pledge of a per 
manent peace. A few hours after the surrendei 

in. 2 



18 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

of the garrison, Arnold again insisted on taking 
the command of the post and all the troops, 
affirming that no other person present was vested 
with an authority equal to that conferred by his 
commission. To prevent these fresh seeds of 
dissension from taking root, the committee from 
Connecticut interfered, and by a formal written 
instrument appointed Colonel Allen command 
ant of Ticonderoga and its dependencies, till 
further orders should be received from the col 
ony of Connecticut or the Continental Congress. 
Unsustained by a single voice, and deeming it 
an idle show of power to issue orders, which 
no one would obey, Arnold again made a vir 
tue of necessity by submission, contenting him 
self with a protest, and with sending a catalogue 
of his grievances to the legislature of Massachu 
setts. 

But it was not in his nature to be idle. Four 
days after the capture of the fortress, about fifty 
men, who had been enlisted in compliance with 
the orders given by him on the road, joined him 
with two captains at Ticonderoga. These were 
properly under his command. They came oy 
the way of Skenesborough, and brought forward 
tli3 schooner taken at that place, which belonged 
to Major Skone. He manned this vessel, pro 
ceeded immediately down the Lake to St. John s, 
where he surprised the garrison, taking a sergeant 



BENEDICT ARNOLD. 19 

and twelve men prisoners, and captured a King s 
sloc-3 with seven men. After destroying five bat- 
teaux, seizing four others, and putting on board 
some of the valuable stores from the fort, he re- 
turnsd to Ticonderoga. Colonel Allen went up 
on the same expedition with one hundred and fifty 
men in batteaux from Crown Point, but, as the 
batteaux moved with less speed than the schooner, 
he met Arnold returning about fifteen miles from 
St. John s. 

Thus, within the space of eight days, the 
once formidable posts of Ticonderoga and Crown 
Point, renowned in former wars, with all their 
dependencies on Lake Champlain, fell into the 
hands of the Americans. A reinforcement of 
more than four hundred British and Canadians 
very shortly afterwards arrived at St. John s, and 
it was rumored that water-craft would be brought 
from Montreal and Chamblee, and an expedition 
would proceed up the Lake to attack the forts. 
This gave Arnold an opportunity of separating 
from Allen. Having some experience in seaman 
ship, he chose to consider himself the commander 
of the navy on the Lake, consisting of Major 
Skene s schooner, the King s sloop, and a small 
flotilla of batteaux. With these he left Ticori- 
deioga and took post at Crown Point, resolved 
there to make a stand and meet the enemy when 
ever they should approach. The number of his 



20 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

men was now increased to about one hundred and 
fifty. 

His first care was to arm his vessels, having 
previously commissioned a captain for each. In 
the sloop he fixed six carriage guns and twelve 
swivels, and in the schooner four carriage guns 
And eight swivels. In compliance with the orders 
of the Massachusetts Committee of Safety, which 
accompanied his commission, he likewise busied 
himself in sending off some of the cannon and 
mortars from Crown Point, with the intention 
that they should be transported by way of Lake 
George to the army at Cambridge. Abundant 
supplies of pork and flour were received from 
Albany, collected and sent forward by the com 
mittee of that town. 

While these things were in train, letters were 
written and messages despatched from Ticon- 
deroga to the legislatures of Massachusetts and 
Connecticut. Full details of all the proceedings 
were communicated, in which the conduct of 
Arnold was set forth in no favorable light. A 
man s enemies seldom have the acuteness to 
discover his merits, or the charity to overlook his 
faults, and are as little disposed to proclaim the 
former as to conceal the latter. Arnold s pie- 
sumption and arrogance were themes of cen 
sure ; his zeal and energy in contributing to effect 
the main objects of the expedition were 



BENEDICT ARNOLD. 21 

over unnoticed. These representations by de 
grees impaired the confidence of the Massa 
chusetts legislature in their colonel, and caused 
them to regard with indifference his complaints 
and demands. 

Another reason, also, operated to the same 
end. When it was known that Connecticut had 
gone foremost in the enterprise, and when the 
doubtful issue of so bold a step was more calm 
ly considered, the government of Massachusetts 
seemed not reluctant to relinquish both the honor 
and charge of maintaining the conquered posts. 
It was finally agreed between the parties, and ap 
proved by the Continental Congress, that Con 
necticut should send up troops, and an officer to 
take the general command, and that such forces 
as were on the spot from Massachusetts, or as 
might afterwards be enlisted for that service, 
should be under the same officer. 

Arnold sent a messenger to Montreal and 
Caghnawaga, for the purpose of ascertaining the 
designs of the Canadians and Indians, and the 
actual force of General Carleton. About the 
middle of June he wrote to the Continental Con 
gress, communicating all the facts he had ob 
tained, and expressing a conviction that the whole 
of Canada might be taken with two thousand 
men. He aven proposed a general plan of oper 
ations, and offered to head the expedition and be 



22 A M E R I C A X BIO G R A P H \ . 

responsible for consequences. It seems he was 
personally acquainted with the country, and had 
several friends in Montreal and Quebec, which 
places he had probably visited in prosecuting his 
mercantile affairs. Certain persons in Montreal, 
ha said, had agreed to open the gates, as soon as 
an American force should appear before the city ; 
and he added, that General Carleton had under 
his command only five hundred and fifty effective 
men, who were scattered at different posts. Such 
were his representations, and they were, doubt 
less, nearly accurate ; but Congress were not yet 
prepared to second his views or approve hh 
counsels. 

In the mean time the legislature of Massachu 
setts delegated three of their number as a com 
mittee to proceed to Lake Champlain, and in 
quire into the state of affairs in that quarter 
The members of this committee were instructed 
to ascertain in what manner Colonel Arnold had 
executed his commission, and, after acquainting 
themselves with his " spirit, capacity, and con 
duct," they were authorized, should they think 
proper, to order his immediate return to Massa 
chusetts, that he might render an account of the 
money, ammunition, and stores, which he had 
received, and of the debts he had contracted in 
behalf of the colony. If he remained, he was in 
any event to be subordinate to Colonel Hinman, 



BENEDICT ARNOLD. 23 

the commanding officer from Connecticut. The 
committee were likewise empowered to regulate 
other matters, relating to the supplies and ar 
rangements of the Massachusetts troops. 

They found Colonel Arnold at Crown Point, 
acting in the double capacity of commandant of 
the fortress and admiral of his little fleet, consist 
ing of the armed sloop, schooner, and batteaux, 
which he had contrived to keep together at that 
place. At his request, they laid before him a 
copy of their instructions. It may easily be im 
agined in what manner these would affect such a 
temperament as that of Arnold. He was ex 
ceedingly indignant, and complained of being 
treated with injustice and disrespect, in which he 
was perhaps not entirely in the wrong. He said 
that he had omitted no efforts to comply with 
the intentions of the Committee of Safety, signi 
fied in their commission to him ; that an order to 
inquire into his conduct, when no charge had 
been exhibited against him, was unprecedented ; 
that the assumption to judge of his capacity and 
spirit was an indignity ; that this point ought to 
have been decided before they honored him with 
their confidence ; that he had already paid out of 
his own pocket for the public service more than 
one hundred pounds, and contracted debts on his 
personal credit in procuring necessaries for the 
army, which he was bound to pay, ^ 



24 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

post with dishonor ; and finally, that he wouk 
not submit to the degradation of being supersed 
ed by a junior officer. After he had thus enu 
merated his grievances, and his warmth had a 
little subsided, he wrote to the committee a for 
mal letter of resignation. 

He next discharged the men, who were en 
gaged to serve under him, which was a signal ibi 
a new scene of difficulties. Some of them, who 
had become attached to their leader, espoused his 
cause, and gave tokens of dissatisfaction, which it 
may be presumed he would not strive either by 
persuasion or authority to pacify. The pay of all 
the troops was in arrears, and the rumor went 
abroad, that, since the colonel had resigned and 
the troops were disbanded, their claims would not 
be received by the government. They began to 
be turbulent and mutinous ; but the committee 
at last succeeded in quieting them, by assurances 
that every man should be paid, and by embody 
ing under Colonel Easton all such as chose to re- 
enlist.* 

Having nothing more to do on the frontiers, 
Arnold made haste back to Cambridge, where he 

* A more extended account of the capture of Ticen- 
deroga, and the subsequent operations on Lake Cham- 
plain may be found in Sparks s LIFE OF ETHAN ALLEN 
contained in the lAbrary of American Biography^Voi. IX. 
op. 44-62. 



BENEDICT ARNOLD. 25 

arrived eaily in July, uttering audible murmurs ol 
discontent, and complaints of ill treatment against 
the legislature of Massachusetts. His accounts 
were allowed and settled, although, if we may 
]udge from the journals, some of his drafts pre 
sented from time to time by the holders were met 
with a reluctance, which indicated doubt and 
suspicion. 



26 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY 

CHAPTER III. 
Expedition through the Wilderness to 



ARNOLD was now unemployed, but a project 
was soon set on foot suited to his genius and ca 
pacity. General Washington had taken com 
mand of the army at Cambridge. The Conti 
nental Congress had resolved that an incursion 
into Canada should be made by the troops under 
General Schuyler. To facilitate this object, a 
plan was devised about the middle of August, by 
ihe Commander-in-chief and several members of 
Congress then on a visit to the army during an 
adjournment of that body, to send an expedition 
to Quebec through the eastern wilderness, by 
way of the Kennebec River, which should event 
ually cooperate with the other party, or cause a 
diversion of the enemy, that would be favorable 
to its movements. Arnold was selected to be the 
conductor of this expedition, and he received 
from Washington a commission of colonel in the 
Continental service. The enterprise was bold 
and perilous, encompassed with untried difficul 
ties, and not less hazardous in its execution, than 
uncertain as to its results. These features, repel 
ling as they were in themselves, appeared attrac- 



BENEDICT ARNOLD. 27 

live in the eyes of a man, whose aliment was glo 
ry, and whose spirit was sanguine, restless, and 
daring. About eleven hundred effective men 
were detached and put under his command, be 
ing ten companies of musketmen from New Eng 
land, and three companies of riflemen from Vir 
ginia and Pennsylvania. The field officers, in 
addition to the chief, were Lieutenant-Colonel 
Christopher Greene, afterwards the hero of Red 
Bunk, Lieutenant-Colonel Roger Enos, and Ma 
jors Bigelow and Meigs. At the head of the ri 
flemen was Captain Daniel Morgan, renowned in 
the subsequent annals of the war. 

These troops marched from Cambridge to New- 
buryport, where they embarked on board eleven 
transports, September 18th, and sailed the next 
day for the Kennebec River. Three small boats 
were previously despatched down the coast, to 
ascertain if any of the enemy s ships of war or 
cruisers were in sight. At the end of two days 
after leaving Newburyport, all the transports had 
entered the Kennebec, and sailed up the river 
to the town of Gardiner, without any material 
accident. Two or three of them had grounded 
m shoal water, but they were got off uninjured. 
A company of carpenters had been sent from 
Cambridge, several days before the detachment 
left that place, with orders to construct two hun 
dred batteaux at Pittston, on the bank of the 



28 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

river opposite to Gardiner. These were now in 
readiness, and the men and provisions were trans 
ferred to them from the shipping. They all ren 
dezvoused a few miles higher up the river at 
Fort Western, opposite to the present town of 
Augusta. 

Here the hard struggles, sufferings, and dangers 
were to begin. Eleven hundred men, with arms, 
ammunition, and all the apparatus of war, bur 
dened with the provisions for their sustenance 
and clothing to protect them from the inclemen 
cies of the w r eather, were to pass through a re 
gion uninhabited, wild, and desolate, forcing their 
batteaux against a swift current, and carrying 
them and their contents on their own shoulders 
around rapids and cataracts, over craggy preci 
pices, and through morasses, till they should 
reach the French settlements on the Canada 
frontiers, a distance of more than two hundred 
miles. 

The commander was not ignorant of the obsta 
cles with which he had to contend. Colonel 
Montresor, an officer in the British army, had 
passed over the same route fifteen years before, 
and written a journal of hu tour, an imperfect 
copy of which had fallen into the hands of Ar 
nold. The remarks of Montresor afforded valu 
able hints. He came from Quebec, ascending 
the rivers Chaudiere and Des Loups, crossing 



BENEDICT ARNOLD. 29 

the highlands near the head-waters of the Penob- 
scot, pursuing his way through Moosehead Lake, 
and entering the Kennebec by its eastern branch 
He returned up the western branch, or Dead 
River, and through Lake Megan tic into the Chau- 
dieie. This latter- route was to be pursued by 
the expedition. Intelligence had likewise been 
derived from several St. Francis Indians, who had 
recently visited Washington s camp, and who 
were familiar with these interior regions. Two 
persons had been secretly despatched towards 
Quebec as an exploring party, from whom Ar 
nold received a communication at Fort Western. 
They had proceeded no farther than the head 
waters of the Dead River, being deterred by the 
extravagant tales of Natanis, called " the last of 
the Norridgewocks," who had a cabin in that 
quarter, and who was then probably in the inter 
est of the enemy, though he joined the Americans 
in their march. Colonel Arnold had moreover 
been furnished with a manuscript rr.ap and a jour 
nal by Mr. Samuel Goodwin of Pownalborough, 
who had been a resident and surveyor in the 
Kennebec country for twenty-five years. 

From these sources of information Colonel Ar 
nold \vas as well prepared, as the nature of the 
case would admit, for the arduous task before 
him. While the preparations were making at 
Fort Western for the departure of the army, a 



30 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

small reconnoitring party of six or seven men 
was sent forward in two birch canoe? under the 
command of Lieutenant Steel, with orders to go 
as far as Lake Megantic, or Chaudiere Pond as t 
was sometimes called, and procure such intelli 
gence as they could from the Indians, who were 
said to be in that neighborhood on a hunting ex 
cursion ; and also Lieutenant Church with anoth 
er party of seven men, a surveyor, and guide, to 
take the exact courses and distances of the Dead 
River. Next the army began to move in four 
divisions, each setting off a day before the other, 
and thus allowing sufficient space between them 
to prevent any interference in passing up the rap 
ids and around the falls. Morgan went ahead 
with the riflemen ; then came Greene and Bige- 
low with three companies of musketeers ; these 
were followed by Meigs with four others ; and 
last of all was Enos, who brought up the rear 
with the three remaining companies. 

Having seen all the troops embarked, Arnold 
followed them in a birch canoe, and pushing for 
ward he passed the whole line at different points, 
overtaking Morgan s advanced party the third 
day at Norridgewock Falls 

At a short distance below these falls, on the 
eastern bank of the river, was a wide and beauti 
ful plain, once the site of an Indian village, be 
longing to a tribe from whom the falls took their 



BENEDICT ARNOLD. 31 

name, and memorable in the annals of former 
days as the theatre of a tragical event, in which 
many of the tribe were slain in a sudden attack, 
and among them Father Ralle, the venerable and 
learned missionary, who had dwelt there twenty- 
six years. The foundations of a church and of 
an altar in ruins were still visible, the only re 
maining memorials of a people, whose name was 
once feared, and of a man who exiled himself 
from all the enjoyments of civilization to plant 
the cross in a savage wilderness, and who lost his 
life in its defence. Let history tell the story as 
it may, and let it assign such motives as it may 
for the conduct of the assailants, the heart of him 
is little to be envied, who can behold unmoved 
these melancholy vestiges of a race extinct, or 
pass by the grave of Ralle. without a tear of sym 
pathy or a sigh of regret. 

But we must not detain the reader ui>oii a 
theme so foreign from the purpose of our narra 
tive. Justice claimed the tribute of this brief 
record. At the Norridgewock Falls was * port 
age, where all the batteaux were to be taken 
out of the river and transported a mile and a 
quarter by land. The task was slow ?.nd fa 
tiguing. The banks on each side were uneven 
and rocky. It was found that much of the provis 
ions, particularly the bread, was damaged. The 
boats had been imperfectly made, and were leaky 



82 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY 

the men were unskilled in navigating them, and 
divers accidents had happened in ascending the 
rapids. The carpenters were set to work in 
repairing the most defective boats. This caused 
a detention, and seven days were expended in 
getting the whole line of the army around the 
falls. As soon as the last batteau was launched 
in the waters above, Arnold betook himself again 
to his birch canoe with his Indian guide, quickly 
shot ahead of the rear division, passed the portage 
at the Carratunc Falls, and in two days arrived 
at the Great Carrying-place, twelve miles below 
the junction of the Dead River with the eastern 
branch of the Kennebec. Here he found the two 
first divisions of the army. 

Thus far the expedition had proceeded as 
successfully as could have been anticipated. 
The fatigue was extreme, yet one man only 
had been lost by death. There seem to have 
been desertions and sickness, as the whole num 
ber now amounted to no more than nine hun 
dred and fifty effective men. They had pass 
ed four portages, assisted by oxen and sleds 
where the situation of the ground would permit. 
So rapid was the stream, that on an average the 
men waded more than half the way, forcing the 
batteaux against the current. Arnold wrote, in 
a letter to General Washington, " You would 
have taken the men for amphibious animals, as 



BENEDICT ARNOLD. 33 

they were great part of the time under water. * 
He had now twenty-five days provisions for the 
whole detachment, and expressed a sanguine hope 
of reaching the Chaudiere River in eight or ten 
days. 

In this hope he was destined to be disappoint 
ed. Obstacles increased in number and magnitude 
as he advanced, which it required all his resources 
and energy to overcome. The Great Carrying- 
place extended from the Kennebec to the Dead 
River, being a space of fifteen miles, with three 
small ponds intervening. From this place the 
batteaux, provisions, and baggage were to be car 
ried over the portages on the men s shoulders. 
With incredible toil they were taken from the 
waters of the Kennebec, and transported along 
an ascending, rugged, and precipitous path for 
more than three miles to the first pond. Here 
the batteaux were again put afloat ; and thus they 
continued by alternate water and land carriage, 
through lakes, creeks, morasses, and craggy ra 
vines, till they reached the Dead River. 

As some relief to their sufferings, the men 
were regaled by feasting on delicious salmon-trout, 
which the ponds afforded in prodigious quantities. 
Two oxen were also slaughtered and divided 
amons: them. A block house was built at the 
second portage, at which the sick were left ; and 
another near the bank of the Kennebec, as a 

in. 3 



34 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

depository for provisions ordered up from the com 
missary at Norridgewock, and intended as a sup 
ply in case a retreat should be necessary. 

While the army was crossing the Great 
Carrying-place, Arnold despatched two Indians 
with letters to gentlemen in Quebec and to Gen 
eral Schuyler. They were accompanied by a 
white man, named Jakins, who was to proceed 
down the Chaudiere to the French settlements, 
ascertain the sentiments of the inhabitants, pro 
cure intelligence, and then return. It appeared 
afterwards, that the Indians betrayed their trust. 
The letters never reached the persons to whom 
they were addressed, but were doubtless put into 
the hands of the Lieutenant-Governor of Canada. 
The Indian, who had them in charge, named 
Eneas, was afterwards known to be in Quebec. 

The Dead River presented for many miles a 
smooth surface and gentle current, interrupted 
here and there by falls of short descent, at which 
were carrying-places. As the batteaux were 
moving along this placid stream, a bold and lofty 
mountain appeared in the distance, whose summit 
was whitened with snow. When approache?!, 
the river was discovered to pursue a very mean 
dering course near its base ; and, although the 
fatigue of the men was less severe than it had 
been, yet their actual progress was slow. In the 
vicinity of this mountain Arnold encamped for 



BENEDICT ARNOLD. 35 

two or three days, and, as report says, raised the 
American flag over his tent. The event has 
been commemorated. A hamlet since planted 
on the spot, which ere long will swell to the 
dignity of a town, is at this day called the Flag- 
Staff. The mountain has been equally honored. 
Tradition has told the pioneers of the forest, and 
repeated the marvel till it is believed, that Major 
Bigelow had the courage as well as the leisure 
to ascend to its top, with the hope of discovering 
from this lofty eminence the hills of Canada 
and the spires of Quebec. From this supposed 
adventure it has received the name of Mount 
Bigelow. Its towering peaks, looking down 
upon the surrounding mountains, are a beacon 
to the trappers and hunters, who still follow their 
vocation in these solitudes, notwithstanding the 
once-coveted beaver has fled from their domain, 
and the field of their enterprise has been omin 
ously contracted by the encroaching tide of civili 
zation. 

From this encampment a party of ninety men 
was sent back to the rear for provisions, which 
were beginning to grow scarce. Morgan with 
his riflemen had gone forward, and Arnold fol 
lowed with the second division. For three days 
it rained incessantly, and every man and all the 
baggage were drenched with water. One night, 
after they had landed at a late hour and were 



36 AMERICAN BICGRAPHY. 

endeavoring to take a little repose, they were 
suddenly roused by the freshet, which came rush 
ing upon them in a torrent, and hardly allowed 
them time to escape, before the ground on which 
they had lain down was overflowed. In nine 
hours the river rose perpendicularly eight feet. 
Embarrassments thickened at every step. The 
current was everywhere rapid ; the stream had 
spread itself over the low grounds by the increase 
of its waters, thereby exposing the batteaux to 
be perpetually entangled in the drift-wood and 
bushes ; sometimes they were led away from the 
main stream into smaller branches and obliged to 
retrace their course, and at others delayed by 
portages, which became more frequent as they 
advanced. 

At length a disaster happened, which was near 
putting an end to the expedition. By the turbu 
lence of the waters seven batteaux were overset, 
and all their contents lost. This made such 
a breach upon the provisions, and threw such 
a gloom over the future, that the bravest among 
them was almost ready to despond. They were 
now thirty miles from the head of the Chaudiere 
River. It was ascertained, that the provisions 
remaining would serve for twelve or fifteen days. 
A council of war was called, at which it w r as 
decided that the sick and feeble should be sent 
bark, and the others press forward. 



BENEDICT ARNOLD. 37 

Arnold wrote to Colonel Greene and Colonel 
Enos, who were in the rear, ordering them to 
select such a number of their strongest men as 
they could supply with fifteen days provisions, 
and to come on with them, leaving the others to 
return to Norridgewock. Enos misconstrued the 
order, or chose not to understand it. He retreat 
ed with his whole division, consisting of three 
companies, and marched back to Cambridge.* 

* Colonel Enos was tried by a court-martial, after his 
arrival at head-quarters, and acquitted on the ground 
of a want of provisions. But the true state of the case 
was not understood , as no intelligence on the subject 
had been received from Arnold. The trial was hastened, 
because Enos s commission in the army, as first or 
ganized, would expire at the end of the year, and it 
was supposed he could not be tried under his new com 
mission. He certainly disobeyed the order of his com 
mander, nor was the plea of a deficiency of provisions 
admissible. The same quantity of provisions, that would 
be consumed by three companies in returning to the 
settlements on the Kennebec, would have served part of 
them for that purpose, and another part for fifteen days 
in marching to the Chaudiere. He was ordered to divide 
his men in such a manner as to accomplish both these 
objects. Although acquitted by the court-martial, he 
either imagined, or had the sagacity to perceive, that his 
conduct was not satisfactory to General Washington, 
and soon left the army. See Washington s Writings 
Vol. Ill p. 164 



AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

After despatching this order, Arnold hastened 
onward with about sixty men under Captain 
Hanchet, intending to proceed as soon as possi 
ble to the inhabitants on the Chaudiere, and send 
back provisions to meet the main forces. The 
rain changed into snow, which fell two inches 
deep, thus adding the sufferings of cold to those 
of hunger and fatigue. Ice formed on the surface 
of the water in which the men were obliged to 
wade and drag the boats. Finally the highlands 
were reached, which separated the eastern waters 
from those of the St. Lawrence. A string of 
small lakes, choked with logs and other obstruc 
tions, had been passed through near the sources 
of the Dead River, and seventeen falls had 
been encountered in ascending its whole distance, 
around which were portages. The carrying-place 
over the highlands was a little more than four 
miles. A small stream then presented itself, 
which conducted the boats by a very crooked 
course into Lake Megantic, the great fountain 
head of the Chaudiere River. 

Here were found Lieutenants Steel and Church, 
who had been sent forward a second time from 
the Great Carrying-place with a party of men 
to explore and clear paths at the portages. 
Here also was Jakins, returned from the settle 
ments, who made a favorable report in regard to 
the sentiments of the people, saying they were 



BENEDICT ARNOLD. 39 

friendly and rejoiced at the approach of the army. 
Lake Megantic is thirteen miles long and three 
or four broad, and surrounded by high mountains. 
The night after entering it, the party encamped 
on its eastern shore, where was a large Indian 
wigwam, that contributed to the comfort of their 
quarters. 

Early the next morning Arnold despatched a 
person to the rear of the army, with instructions 
to the advancing troops. He then ordered Cap 
tain Hanchet and fifty-five men to march by land 
along the margin of the lake, and himself em 
barked with Captain Oswald, and Lieutenants 
Steel and Church with thirteen men in five bat- 
teaux and a birch canoe, resolved to proceed as 
soon as possible to the French inhabitants, and 
send back provisions to meet the army. 

In three hours they reached the northern ex 
tremity of the lake, and entered the Chaudiere, 
which carried them along with prodigious rapidity 
on its tide of waters boiling and foaming over a 
rocky bottom. The baggage was lashed to the 
boats, and the danger was doubly threatening, 
as they had no guides. At length they fell 
among rapids ; three of the boats were overset, 
clashed to pieces against the rocks, and all their 
contents swallowed up by the waves. Happily 
no lives were lost, although six men struggled 
for some time in the water, and were saved 



40 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

with difficulty. This misfortune, calamitous as it 
was, Arnold ascribes in his Journal to a * kind 
interposition of Providence " ; for no sooner had 
the men dried their clothes and reembarked, 
than one of them who had gone forward cried 
out, " A fall ahead," which had not been dis 
covered, and over which the whole party must 
have been hurried to inevitable destruction. 

It is needless to say, that after this experience 
they were more cautious. Rapids and falls suc 
ceeded each other at short intervals. The birch 
canoe met the fate of the three batteaux, by 
running upon the rocks. Sometimes the boats 
were retarded in their velocity by ropes extended 
from the stern to the bank of the river. Two 
Penobscot Indians assisted them over a portage 
of more than half a mile in length. Through 
its whole extent the stream, raised by the late 
rains, was rough, rapid, and dangerous ; but the 
party was fortunate in losing no lives and in 
advancing quickly. On the third day after leav 
ing Lake Megantic, being the 30th of Octo 
ber, Arnold arrived at Sertigan, the first French 
settlement, four miles below the junction of the 
River Des Loups with the Chaudiere, and seven 
ty miles from the lake by the course of the stream 

His first care was to relieve his suffering troops, 
some of whom w?re already fainting with hun 
ger, exhausted with iatigue, and overcome with 



BENEDICT ARNOLD. 41 

toils and privations, to which they had never 
been accustomed.* He immediately sent back 
several Canadians and Indians with flour and 
cattle, who met the troops marching through the 
woods near the bank of the river, all their boats 
having been destroyed by the violence of the 
rapids. The whole army arrived within four or 
five days, emerging from the forests in small and 
detached parties, and greeting once more with 
joy unspeakable the habitations of civilized men. 
They were received in a friendly manner by the 
inhabitants, who supplied their wants with hos 
pitable abundance, and seemed favorably inclined 
to the objects of the expedition, not being yet 
heartily reconciled to the burden of a foreign 
yoke, however light in itself, which the adverse 
fortunes of war had doomed them to wear since 
the brilliant victory of Wolfe on the Heights of 
Abraham. 

Meantime Arnold proceeded down the river 
to conciliate the attachment of the people, and 
make further preparations for the march of his 

* So extreme was the famine for the last three or 
four days of the march, that dogs were killed and 
greedily devoured. This fact was stated by General 
Dearborn, who had been a captain in the expedition, in 
a letter to President Allcn,of Bowdoin College. Moose- 
skin moccasins were boiled to procure from them such 
nourishment as thev afforded. 



42 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

army. Before leaving Cambridge, he had re 
ceived ample instructions for the regulation of 
his conduct, drawn up with care and forethought 
by the Commander-in-chief, and containing ex 
press orders to treat the Canadians on all occa 
sions as friends, to avoid every thing that should 
give offence or excite suspicion, to respect their 
religious ceremonies and national habits, to pay 
them liberally and promptly for supplies and 
assistance, to punish with severity any improper 
acts of the soldiery ; in a word, to convince them 
that their interests were involved in the results 
of the expedition, and that its ultimate purpose 
was to protect their civil liberties and the rights 
of conscience. 

He was also furnished with printed copies of 
a manifesto, signed by General Washington, 
intended for distribution among the people, ex 
plaining the grounds of the contest between 
Great Britain and America, and encouraging 
them to join their neighbors in a common cause 
by rallying around the standard of liberty. 
These instructions were strictly observed by the 
American troops, and had their desired influence. 
The impression was lasting. To this day the 
old men recount to their children the story of 
the "descent of the Bostonians," as the only 
great public event that has ever occurred to vary 
the monotonous incidents of the sequestered and 
beautiful valley of the Chaudiere. 



BENEDICT ARNOLD. 43 

Ten days after reaching the upper settlements, 
Arnold arrived at Point Levy opposite to Que 
bec. His troops followed, and were all with him 
at that place on the 13th of November. About 
forty Indians had joined him at Sertigan and on 
the march below. He had ascertained that his 
approach was known in Quebec, and that all the 
boats had been withdrawn from the eastern side 
of the St. Lawrence to deprive him of the means 
of crossing. Eneas, the savage whom he had 
sent with a letter to General Schuyler, and anoth 
er to a friend in Quebec, had found his way to 
the enemy, and given up his despatches to some 
of the King s officers. He pretended to have 
been taken prisoner ; but treachery and falsehood 
are so nearly allied, that Eneas had the credit of 
both. 

Between thirty and forty birch canoes having 
been collected, Arnold resolved to make an im 
mediate attempt to cross the river. The first 
division left Point Levy at nine o clock in the 
evening, and landed safely on the other side, hav 
ing eluded a frigate and sloop stationed in the 
St. Lawrence on purpose to intercept them. The 
canoes returned, and by four in the morning five 
hundred men had passed over at three separate 
times, and rendezvoused at Wolfe s cove. Just 
as the last party landed, they were discovered oy 
one of the enemy s guard-boats, into which they 



44 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

fired and killed three men. It was not safe to 
return again, and about one hundred and fifty 
men were left at Point Levy. 

No time was now to be lost. Headed by 
their leader they clambered up the precipice at 
the same place, where Wolfe sixteen years before 
had conducted his army to the field of carnage 
and of victory. When the day dawned, this 
resolute band of Americans, few in number com 
pared with the hosts of the British hero, but not 
less determined in purpose or strong in spirit, 
stood on the Plains of Abraham, with the walls 
of Quebec full in their view. They were now 
on the spot, to which their eager wishes had tend 
ed from the moment they left the camp of Wash 
ington ; and, after encountering so many perils 
and enduring such extremities of toil, cold, and 
hunger with unparalleled fortitude, it was a mor 
tifying reflection, that scarcely a glimmering hope 
of success remained. Troops had recently come 
to Quebec from Sorel and Newfoundland, and 
such preparations for defence had been made, 
that it would have been madness to attempt a 
serious assault of the town with so small a force. 

The strength of the garrison, including regulars 
and militia within the walls, and the mariners and 
sailors on board the ships, was little short of 
eighteen hundred men. But two thirds of these 
were militia, many of whom were Canadians sup- 



BENEDICT ARNOLD 45 

posed to be friendly to the Americans, and ready 
to join with them whenever they should enter 
the town. This expectation, indeed, had been 
on c of the chief encouragements for undertaking 
the enterprise against Quebec. To make an ex 
periment upon the temper of the inhabitants, Ar 
nold drew up his men within eight hundred yards 
of the walls, and gave three cheers, hoping by 
this display to bring out the regulars to an open 
action on the plain. The gates would thus be 
unclosed, and, if the people in the town were as 
favorably disposed as had been represented, there 
might thus be an opportunity of forming a junc 
tion and acting in concert, as circumstances 
should dictate. This has been considered as a 
ridiculous and unmeaning parade on the part of 
the American commander, but he doubtless had 
some good grounds for the manoeuvre from the 
intelligence brought to him by persons, whose 
wishes corresponded with his own. At any rate, 
the garrison chose not to accept the challenge in 
any other manner, than by discharges of cannon 
through the embrasures on the walls. 

A specimen of military etiquette, which was 
next resorted to, may be looked upon in a more 
questionable light. By the rules of war it is cus 
tomary, when a town is about to be stormed, for 
the assailing party to send in a summons demand- 
ng a surrender and proffering conditions. That 



46 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

every thing might be done in due form, Arnold 
wrote a letter to Lieutenant-Governor Cramahe, 
the British commander in Quebec, calling on 
him in the name of the American Congress to 
give up the city, and threatening him with disas 
trous consequences, if the surrender should be 
delayed. This idle piece of formality might 
have been spared ; it could only excite the deris 
ion of the enemy, who knew the precise strength 
of the assailants. 

The Canadians, however, and particularly the 
people in the surrounding country, were much 
alarmed. The phenomenon of an army descend 
ing from a wilderness, which had hitherto been 
considered impassable, except by very small 
parties with light birch canoes, easily transport 
ed over the portages, filled them with wondei 
and apprehension. Report had magnified the 
number of the invaders, and the imagination gave 
ready credence to the tales that were told of 
the prowess and valor of men, who had per 
formed a feat so daring in its attempt, and extra 
ordinary in its success. It was even said, tha\ 
these men were cased in iron, and that then 
power of body was equal to their courage and 
fortitude.* 



* This idea gamed currency from the curious circum 
stance of mistaking the sound of a vcrd. Morgan s ri 



BENEDICT ARNOLD. 47 

These fears were of short duration. The 
reality was soon made manifest, and Arnold him 
self was the first to discover his weakness and 
danger. Three days after his formidable sum 
mons, he had leisure to examine into the state of 
the arms and ammunition of his troops, and to 
his surprise he found almost all the cartridges 
spoiled, there being not more than five rounds to a 
man, and nearly one hundred muskets unfit for 
use. Some of the men were invalids, and many 
deficient in clothing and other necessaries. At 
the same time he received advice from his friends 
in town, that a sortie was about to be made with 
a force considerably superior to his own. A re 
treat was the only expedient that remained. 
The men left at Point Levy had already crossed 
the river and joined him, and with his whole 
force he marched up the St. Lawrence to Point- 
aux-Trembles, eight leagues from Quebec, in 
tending to wait there the aporoach of General 
Montgomery from Montreal. 

flemen were clothed in linen frocks, the common uniform 
of that description of troops. When they first appeared 
emerging from the woods, the Canadians said they were 
vetus en toile ; but, as the intelligence spread, the word 
toUe, linen, was changed into tole, sheet-iron. 



48 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY 



CHAPTER IV. 

Operations in Canada. Affair of the Ceaart 
Retreat from Montreal. 

ON the same day that Arnold made this re 
treat, Governor Carleton arrived at Quebec. He 
had escaped in the night from the British fleet* 
which was stopped by the American batteries at 
Sorel, and thence passed in a small armed vessel 
down the river. By an official return at Point- 
aux-Trembles, the entire force of the detachment, 
officers and privates, consisted of six hundred and 
seventy-five men, being somewhat more than half 
the number that marched from Cambridge. Ar 
nold despatched a messenger to General Mont 
gomery, then at Montreal, describing his neces 
sitous condition for want of clothing, and a full 
supply was immediately forwarded to him. By 
the capture of the small fleet at Sorel under 
General Prescott, the Americans had gained 
command of the river above Quebec ; and as all 
the British posts in Canada had been taken, ex 
cept the capital, this was now the grand object to 
be attained. Montgomery made all haste to 
join Arnold for that purpose ; and, leaving a 
small garrison at Montreal, he embarked about 



BF.NEDICT ARNOLD. 49 

tluee hundred men, several mortars, and Cap 
tain Lamb ? ec mpany of artillery, on board some 
of the arme.i vessels taken at Sorel, and went 
down the nver to Point-aux-Trembles. The 
command row devolved on General Montgomery, 
and tho two detachments marched immediately 
to the Heights of Abraham, where they arrived 
on the 4th of December. Although the effective 
force of the Americans was less than a thousand 
men, and the number bearing arms in the city, 
including British, militia, and Canadians, amount 
ed to eighteen hundred, yet it was resolved to 
hazard an assault. 

Colonel Arnold had written to General Wash 
ington from Point-aux-Trembles, that it would 
requira twenty-five hundred men to reduce Que 
bec. Calmly viewed through the medium of 
historical evidence, with a full knowledge of col 
late: al facts and subsequent events, a resolution 
for an immediate assault may now seem rash and 
ill advised. But General Montgomery relied on 
the lukewarmness of the inhabitants, and their 
readiness to abandon the British standard when 
ever they should see a reasonable hope of pro 
tection from the assailants. He likewise be 
lieved, that the large extent of the works ren 
dered them incapable of being defended at all 
points, and that in this respect the seeming 
strength of the enemy was in reality an element 

III. 4 



50 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

of weakness. He moreover derived a renovat 
ed confidence from the disposition of his offi 
cers and troops, who seconded with promptness 
and zeal the views of their leader. Notwith 
standing the weight of these motives, and of 
others that might have had their influence, it 
must ever be lamented, that a spirit so elevatod 
and generous, fraught with the noblest principles 
of honor and chivalrous feeling, was doomed to 
be sacrificed in a conflict so utterly unequal and 
hopeless of success. Leonidas died not a braver 
death, nor with a self-devotion more worthy to 
place him among the first of heroes and of 
patriots. 

But we are not now concerned with the history 
of events, any farther than to sketch very briefly 
the part acted in them by the subject of the 
present narrative. General Montgomery found 
Arnold, as he said, " active, intelligent, and en 
terprising." A quarrel happened between Ar 
uold and one of his captains, which drew three 
companies into a mutinous combination ; but the 
danger was checked by the decision and firmness 
of the commander, who discovered the captain 
to be in the wrong, and maintained subordination. 
Several attempts were made to send a summons 
into the town ; but Governor Carleton forbade all 
communication, and no flag was suffered to ap- 
nroach the walls. Meantime preparations for an 



BENEDICT ARNOLD. 51 

attack were carried on. A battery was opened, 
from which five cannon and a howitzer were 
brought to bear upon the town, but with very 
little effect. There were slight skirmishes in the 
suburbs, houses were burnt, and a few men killed. 
Different plans of attack had been meditated, 
and it was at last resolved to make a general 
assault upon the lower town. Montgomery was 
to proceed with one division of the army along 
the margin of the St. Lawrence around the base 
of Cape Diamond, and Arnold with his de 
tachment by the way of St. Roque. Each com 
mander was to act according to circumstances, 
and both parties were to unite if possible at the 
eastern extremity of the town. At five o clock 
in the morning of the 31st of December they 
began their march. Arnold had already passed 
through the suburb of St. Roque, and approached 
unperceived a picketed two-gun battery or bar 
rier across the street. It was attacked by Cap 
tain Lamb s artillery, but was bravely defended 
for about an hour, when it was carried, and the 
Americans pushed forward in the midst of a 
violent snow-storm, till they arrived at a second 
barrier. Several lives had been lost, at the first 
barrier. Arnold was shot through the leg. The 
bone was fractured, and he was obliged to be 
taken to the general hospital ; where he learned 
that Montgomery had been killed in forcing a 



52 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

barrier at Cape Diamond, and that his troops 
had retreated. A very severe contest was kepi 
up by his own party at the second barrier for 
three hours, without being able to force theii 
way beyond it. While yet in the heat of action^ 
they were surrounded by a party, that issued 
from one of the gates of the city in their rear, 
by which their retreat was cut off, and between 
three and four hundred were taken prisoners. 
The killed and wounded were about sixty. 

This affair being thus unhappily terminated, 
the command fell again upon Colonel Arnold. 
By an exact return two days after the action, 
the whole number of troops under him was a little 
short of eight hundred, including Colonel Liv 
ingston s regiment of Canadians, which amounted 
to about two hundred. With this mere shadow 
of an army he resolved to maintain a blockade of 
the city, till reinforcements should arrive. The 
winter had now set in with its usual severity, and 
a scene of long and dismal suffering from cold 
and privations appeared in prospect. " Many 
of the troops are dejected," he said in a letter to 
General Wooster, " and anxious to get home, 
and some have actually set off; but I shall 
endeavor to continue the blockade, while there 
are any hopes of success." Fortunately the 
besieged were nowise inclined to make excur 
sions beyond the walls, being contented to wait 



BENEDICT ARNOLD. 53 

the opening of spring for a relief from England, 
which might then certainly be expected. Nor 
was the investiture at any time so complete, as 
not to admit occasional intercourse with the conn 
try, by which the most pressing want, that of 
wood, was supplied. Pickets and guards, it is 
true, were stationed in every direction ; but, with 
a force so feeble and scattered, little more could 
be done, than to keep up the formality of a block 
ade. Why the enemy did not sally, and attack 
the American camp, has never been explained. 
It "s probable the governor did not think it pru 
dent to put the loyalty of the inhabitants to a test, 
which the contingencies of events might turn to 
a disadvantage, especially as he felt secure in 
remaining quiet. 

As soon as the news of the storming of Que 
bec reached Congress, they promoted Arnold to 
the rank of brigadier-general, as a reward not 
less of his gallant conduct on that occasion, than 
of his extraordinary enterprise and military ad 
dress in conducting his army through the wilder 
ness. Additional troops were likewise immedi 
ately ordered to Canada. During the winter a 
few companies, and fragments of companies, from 
New Hampshire and Massachusetts, and part of 
Warner s regiment from Vermont, arrived at the 
encampment, having walked on snow-shoes, car 
ried their own provisions, and braved all the perils 



AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

of frost and exposure incident to such a march in 
so rigorous a climate. 

With these means the Americans kept their 
ground, undisturbed by the enemy, till spring. 
Breastworks and fortifications were constructed 
of snow, which, by being rolled into a mass 
and saturated with water, immediately congealed 
into solid ramparts of ice. The prisoners within 
the city were kindly treated by Governor Carle- 
ton. He sent out Major Meigs for their clothes 
and baggage, allowed them to be supplied with 
money and other conveniences by their friends, 
and, after they were released, they bore a unani 
mous testimony to the humanity and good usage 
extended to them by the British commander. 
The remains of General Montgomery were in 
terred with suitable marks of respect.* In a 
journal kept by an English officer during the 
siege, it is said that ninety-four of the prisoners 
were Europeans, who petitioned in a body to 
join a regiment of Royal Emigrants in the British 
service. After several of them had deserted, by 

* When General Montgomery was killed, he had in 
his pocket a watch, which Mrs. Montgomery was very 
desirous to obtain. This was made known to General 
Arnold, and he applied to Governor Carleton, offering 
any price for the watch, which he might choose to de 
mand. Carleton immediately sent it out, but would suf 
fer nothing to be received in return 



BENEDICT ARNOLD. 55 

leaping from the walls and sliding down the pre 
cipice on the surface of the snow, the remain 
der were put in confinement and retained as pris 
oners.* 

General Wooster had passed the winter at 
Montreal in a state of repose, which his coun 
trymen were not prepared to expect from a 
man, who had gained the reputation of a bold 
and active officer in the last war. On the 1st 
of April he appeared at Quebec, and, being 
superior in rank, succeeded to the command. 
At this time the number of troops had increased 
to two thousand eight hundred and fifty-five, of 
whom about eight hundred were sick, mostly of 
the smallpox. A cannonade was opened upon 
the city from a battery of six guns, two howitzers, 
and two small mortars, on the Heights of Abra 
ham, and another ot three guns and one howitzer, 
at Point Levy. Preparations were begun for 
pushing the siege with vigor, but at this time 
an accident happened to General Arnold by the 
falling of his horse upon his wounded leg, which 
bruised it so badly, that he was laid up for a 
fortnight. He likewise complained of the cold 
ness and reserve of General Wooster, who neither 
asked his advice nor took his counsel ; and his 



* This journal is curious, and may be found in the 
second volume of Smith s History of 



56 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

temper was not formed to brook neglect, noi 
indeed patiently to act a second part. It is 
moreover to be considered, that he and General 
Wooster were townsmen and neighbors, and with 
that class of his fellow citizens he had commonly 
found means to be at points. The condition of 
his wound was an apology for asking leave of ab 
sence, which was readily granted, and he retired 
to Montreal. 

Here again he was at the head of affairs. 
Montreal was in the hands of the Americans 
under a military government ; and, there being no 
officer present equal to himself in rank, he of 
course assumed the command. For the first six 
weeks he had little to do ; but the catastrophe 
at the Cedars, in which nearly four hundred men 
surrendered to the enemy by a disgraceful capitu 
lation, and a hundred more were killed or taken 
in a brave encounter, called him out to meet the 
approaching foe, and avenge the barbarous mur 
ders and other cruelties, which had been com 
mitted by the savages on the prisoners. He 
hastened to St. Anne s, at the western part of 
the Island of Montreal, with about eight hundred 
men, where he arrived in the afternoon of the 
26th of May. At this moment the enemy s 
batteaux were seen taking the American prison 
ers from an island about a league distant from 
St. Anne s, and proceeding with them to the main 



BENEDICT ARNOLD. 57 

land on the opposite side of the St Lawn nee. 
Arnold s batteaux were still three or four miles 
behind, making their way slowly up the rapids, 
having fallen in the rear of the troops, who 
marched along the shore. They did not reach 
St. Anne s till nearly sunset. Meantime a small 
party of Caghnawaga Indians returned, whom 
Arnold had sent over the river in the morning 
with a message to the hostile savages, demanding 
a surrender of the American prisoners, and 
threatening in case of a refusal, or if any mur 
ders were committed, that he would sacrifice 
every Indian that should fall into his hands, and 
follow them to their towns, which he would 
destroy by fire and sword. The Indians sent 
back an answer by the Caghnawagas, that they 
had five hundred prisoners in their power, and 
that if Arnold presumed to land and attempt a 
rescue, they would immediately put them all to 
death, and give no quarter to any that should be 
captured. 

This threat, however, did not deter Arnold 
from pursuing his object. He filled the boats 
with his men, ana ordered them to row to the 
island, where the prisoners had been confined. 
He there found five American soldiers, naked 
and almost famished, who informed him that all 
the other prisoners had been taken to Quinze 
Chiens except two, who, having been unwell, 



58 



AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 



were inhumanly butchered. From this island 
he advanced towards Quinze Chiens about four 
miles below ; but, when the boats came within 
three quarters of a mile of the shore, the enemy 
oegan to fire upon them with two brass field- 
pieces, and soon afterwards with small arms. 
The boats rowed near the shore, but without re 
turning a shot ; and, as it was now become dark, 
and Arnold was unacquainted with the ground, 
and his men were much fatigued, he thought it 
prudent to return to St. Anne s. 

He immediately called a council of war, and 
it was unanimously determined, that an attack 
should be made early the next morning. The 
enemy s forces, consisting of forty British troops, 
one hundred Canadians, and five hundred In 
dians, were commanded by Captain Forster ; and 
the principal officer among the American pris 
oners was Major Sherburne. A little after mid 
night Lieutenant Park arrived at St. Anne s 
with a flag, bringing articles for an exchange of 
prisoners, which had been entered into between 
Major Sherburne and Captain Forster. This 
commander had assured Major Sherburne and 
the other American officers, that he could not 
control the Indians, and that all the prisoners 
would inevitably be murdered as soon as an at 
tack should begin. The prisoners were crowded 
together in the church of Quinze Chiens, where 



BENEDICT ARNOLD. 59 

they were guarded, and would fall an easy prey 
to the fury of the savages. In this distressing 
dilemma, revolting as it was to every principle 
of honor and justice, the dictates of humanity 
pointed to but one course. Major Sherburne 
accepted such terms as were imposed upon him ; 
and the treaty was sent to be confirmed by 
General Arnold, with the positive declaration on 
the part of Captain Forster, that the fate of his 
companions in arms depended on his acquies 
cence. By the terms of the capitulation, it was 
agreed that the prisoners should be released on 
parole, in exchange for British prisoners of equal 
rank taken by the Americans. Six days were 
allowed for sending the prisoners to St John s 
within the American lines. Four American 
captains were to go to Quebec and remain as 
hostages, till the exchange should be effected. 
Reparation was to be made for all property, that 
had been destroyed by the Continental troops. 
Such was the tenor of the articles as modified and 
approved by General Arnold. The British com 
mander had at first insisted, that the American 
prisoners should not again take up arms, and 
that they should pledge themselves not to give 
any information by words, writing, or signs, which 
should be prejudicial to his Majesty s service. 
These terms were rejected without discussion. 
Fifteen Canadians, who were with the American 



60 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

troops at the Cedars, were not included in the 
treaty, as Captain Forster declared that he had 
positive orders to that effect.* 

Congress refused to ratify this convention, 
except on such conditions as the British govern 
ment would never assent to ; and a general indig 
nation was expressed at the subterfuge of bar 
barity by which it was extorted, so contrary tc 
the rules of civilized warfare, and so abhorrem 
to the common sympathies of human nature. 
Since the compact was executed in due form, 
however, and by officers invested with propel 
authority, General Washington considered it bind 
ing, and expressed that opinion in decided lan 
guage to Congress. In a military sense this may 
be presumed to have been a right view of the 
matter, and perhaps in the long run it was politic. 
The stain of ignominy, which must for ever 
adhere to the transaction, may be regarded as 
a punishment in full measure to the aggressing 
party, and as holding up an example, which all 
who value a good name, or have any respect for 

* A different account of this affair is given by General 
Wilkinson, (Memoirs, Vol. I. p. 46,) but the above nar 
rative is taken from a letter written by General Arnold 
a few hours after the capitulation was signed, and direct 
ed to the Commissioners from Congress then at Mon 
treal. These circumstances invest it with every claim 
to be considered strictly accurate. 



BENEDICT ARNOLD. 61 

the universal sentiments of mankind, will take 
care not to imitate. General Howe wrote a 
complaining and reproachful letter to Washington 
on the proceedings of Congress ; but the actual 
sense of the British authorities may be inferred 
from the fact, that the subject was allowed to 
drop into silence, and the hostages were sent 
home on parole. 

Arnold returned with \ ^ detachment to Mont 
real. Disasters began to thicken in every part 
of Canada. The smallpox had made frightful 
ravages among the troops and was still increasing, 
provisions and every kind of supplies were want 
ing, the inhabitants were disgusted and alienated, 
having suffered from the exactions, irregularities, 
and misconduct of the Americans, who seized 
their property for the public service, and paid 
them in certificates and bills, which were worth 
less ; reinforcements had come in so sparingly, 
that it was now impossible to withstand the force 
of the enemy, augmented by a large body of 
veteran troops recently arrived from Europe ; 
confusion reigned everywhere, and a heavy 
gloom hung over the future. At this crisis, 
Franklin, Chase, and Carroll, arrived at Montreal 
as a committee from Congress. The state of 
affairs was already too desperate to be relieved 
by the councils of wisdom, or the arm of strength. 
The American troops under General Thomas, 



62 AMERICAN BIOGRAPH7. 

driven from Quebec and pursued up the St. Law 
rence, took post at Sorel. General Sullivan sue 
cteded to the command ; a last attempt was 
made to hold the ground, but it was more resolute 
311 purpose than successful in the execution ; 
the whole army was compelled precipitately to 
evacuate Canada, and retire over the Lake to 
Crown Point. 

Montreal was held till the last moment. Ar 
nold then drew off his detachment, with no small 
risk of being intercepted by Sir Guy Carleton, 
and proceeded to St. John s, making, as Gen 
eral Sullivan wrote, " a very prudent and ju 
dicious retreat, with an enemy close at his heels." 
He had two days before been at St. John s, 
directed an encampment to be enclosed, and 
ordered the frame of a vessel then on the 
stocks to be taken to pieces, the timbers num 
bered, and the whole to be sent to Crown Point. 
General Sullivan soon arrived with the rear of 
his retreating army, and preparations were made 
for an immediate embarkation. To this work 
Arnold applied himself with his usual activity 
and vigilance, remaining behind till he had seen 
every boat leave the shore but his own. He 
then mounted his horse, attended by Wilkinson 
his aid-de-camp, and rode back two miles, when 
they discovered the enemy s advanced division 
in full march under General Burgoyne. They 



BENEDICT ARNOLD. 63 

gazed at it, or, in military phrase, reconnoitred 
it, for a short time, and then hastened back to 
St. John s. A boat being in readiness to receive 
them, the horses were stripped and shot, the 
men were ordered on board, and Arnold, refusing 
all assistance, pushed off the boat with his own 
hands ; thus, says Wilkinson, " indulging the 
vanity of being the last man, who embarked from 
the shores of the enemy." The sun was now 
down, and darkness followed, but the boat ove 
took the army in the night at Isle-aux-Noix. 



64 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 



CHAPTER V. 

Arnold censured for the Seizure of Goods at 
Montreal. Appointed to the Command of a 
Fleet on Lake Champlain. Naval Combat. 

IT being necessary that General Schuyler 
should be made acquainted, as soon as possible, 
with the present condition of the army, and the 
progress of the enemy, General Arnold consented 
to go forward for that purpose. His knowledge 
of all that had passed in Canada, during the last 
seven months, enabled him to communicate the 
requisite intelligence in a more satisfactory man- 
nei than it could be done in writing, and to add 
full explanations to the despatches of the com 
mander. He found General Schuyler in Albany, 
at which place General Gates arrived in a few 
Jays, proceeding by order of Congress to take 
command of the northern army. Meantime Gen 
eral Sullivan retreated to Crown Point. Schuy 
ler, Gates, and Arnold repaired together to that 
post. 

It was expected that Sir Guy Carleton, as 
soon as he could provide water-craft sufficient, 
w r ould make all haste up the Lake and commence 
an attack. A council of general officers wa 



BEN EDICT ARNOLD. C5 

convened, who after mature deliberation, resolv 
ed to abandon Crown Point, retire to Ticonde- 
roga, strengthen that post, and make it the prin 
cipal station of defence. This measure was 
thought extraordinary by General Washington 
and by Congress. It was looked upon as giving 
up a position, formidable in itself and by artificial 
works, which afforded advantages at least for 
checking the enemy, if not for repelling their 
further approach. The members of the council 
were unanimous; but many of the field-officers 
partook of the prevailing sentiment, although on 
the spot, and signed a remonstrance against the 
decision of their superiors. A proceeding so 
unmilitary, and so little in accordance with sound 
discipline, was of course disregarded, but dis 
satisfaction and ill feelings were excited on both 
sides. Schuyler and Gates defended the resolve 
of the council in letters to Washington and Con 
gress, and in the end no one doubted its wisdom. 
Crown Point had from circumstances acquired a 
name in former wars, which had magnified it in. 
public opinion much beyond its real importance 
as a military post. It was moreover impolitic to 
divide the troops, few in number compared with 
those of the enemy, by attempting to fortify and 
defend two positions within fifteen miles of each 
other. 

The army was accordingly withdrawn to Ticon- 
III. 5 



66 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

deroga, and every preparation was there begun 
for meeting the enemy, whenever they should 
make their appearance. 

While these things were going on, General 
Arnold brought up another matter, which scat 
tered new seeds of dissension in the camp. 
Colonel Hazen had been his second in command 
at Montreal, and, from the elements of Arnold s 
character, this fact might perhaps lead to a natu 
ral inference, that a quarrel would not be an 
unlikely event. The particulars are these. When 
it became evident that Canada would be evacu 
ated, Arnold seized goods belonging to mer 
chants in Montreal, which he said were intended 
for the public service. Certificates were given to 
the owners, who were to be paid according to their 
invoices by the United States. In many cases, 
however, they were taken away in such a hurry, 
that there was no time for making out a list of 
the articles, and the only form of delivery was the 
owner s name written on each parcel. Arnold 
sent the goods across the country to Chamblee, 
with the intention of having them forwarded to 
St. John s, and thence by water to Ticonderoga. 
He instructed Colonel Hazen, who then com 
manded at Chamblee, to take charge of them, 
and prevent their being damaged. Hazen, either 
not liking the manner in which the goods had 
been obtained, or from personal hostility to 



BENEDICT ARNOLD. 67 

Arnold, refused for some time to meddle with 
them, and left them exposed to the weather, 
piled in heaps on the bank of the river; and at 
last, when he took them in charge, they were 
guarded in so negligent a manner, that the pack 
ages were broken open and many of them plun 
dered. 

The owners, not contented to part with their 
goods upon terms so vague and uncertain, fol 
lowed the army to Crown Point. When they 
found what ravages had been committed on their 
property, they presented invoices and claimed 
pay for the full amount. The blame fell upon 
General Arnold, as the first mover in the busi 
ness, and he threw it back upon Hazen, who 
had refused to obey his order and take care of 
the goods. The result was a court-martial, by 
which Colonel Hazen was tried for disobedience 
of orders. While the trial was in progress, the 
court declined accepting the testimony of Major 
Scott, one of Arnold s principal witnesses, on the 
ground of his being a party concerned, since he 
was the agent, who received the goods at Mon 
treal and conducted them to Chamblee. This 
slight was too much for the hot blood of Arnold, 
and he wrote a disrespectful letter to the court in 
the form of a protest. To save their honor, the 
court demanded an apology, which was promptly 
refused in a tone of insult by their antagonist, 



68 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

with a broad intimation, that he should be ready 
at a proper time to give any or all of the gentle 
men of the court satisfaction on that score; or, 
in other words, the letter was a sort of challenge 
to the whole court, either in the corporate or 
individual capacity of the members. This was 
so gross a violation of military rule, that the 
court had now no other resort than an appeal to 
General Gates, the commander-in-chief . The case 
presented difficulties which seemed to embarrass 
him, as Arnold was much in his favor, and he 
had resolved to appoint him to the command 
of the fleet then preparing to meet the enemy 
on the Lake. In short, he dissolved the court- 
martial, and thus abetted the conduct of Arnold. 
In explaining this step to Congress, he said that 
he had been obliged to act " dictatorially " when 
the court demanded the arrest of General Ar 
nold, adding, " The United States must not be 
deprived of that excellent officers services at 
this important moment." Justice might well 
complain, when policy could content itself with 
such a reason for an arbitrary act. 

The court passed judgment before they sepa 
rated, although informally, and acquitted Colonel 
Hazen with honor. This was an implied cen 
sure upon Arnold; but, protected as he was by 
his superior, the affair received no further investi 
gation. His military popularity sustained him as 



BENEDICT ARNOLD. 69 

an officer, but his character suffered essentially in 
the public estimation. It was more than suspect 
ed, that his private interest was chiefly consulted 
in seizing the goods, and it seems to have been 
supposed, that the seizure was upon his own au 
thority. In these respects it is probable he was 
too harshly judged. He wrote a letter to Gener 
al Schuyler from Montreal, while in the act of 
taking the goods, acquainting him with the fact, 
and adding that he was thus directed by the com 
missioners from Congress. He also wrote to 
General Sullivan from Chamblee, informing him 
of the damaged condition in which he found the 
packages at that place, and complaining of the 
disobedience and neglect of Colonel Hazen. 
These letters are now extant, and evidently 
prove, that he was not practising any secret ma 
noeuvre in the removal of the goods, or for retain 
ing them in his own possession. 

It must nevertheless be conceded, that his 
mode of taking the property without leaving in 
the owner s hands invoices of the different arti 
cles, and certificates of having received them, 
could not be justified, nor could it have been in 
tended by the commissioners. They could mean 
nothing more, than such things as would serve to 
supply the army either with provisions or cloth 
ing, and these upon a fair security to the owners ; 
for, by the articles of capitulation entered into 



70 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

with General Montgomery, the citizens were to 
be maintained in a free possession of their goods 
and effects of every kind, whereas packages con 
taining silks, and other articles equally inapplica 
ble to the object in view, were carried off indis 
criminately. These circumstances, and his con 
duct to the court-martial, produced impressions, 
which the subsequent developments of his char 
acter contributed nothing to efface or diminish; 
and, viewed in the most favorable light, his hon 
esty can be screened only at the expense of his 
judgment and delicacy. 

I have dwelt the longer on this transaction, be 
cause it was the first important link in the chain 
of incidents, which led to his final ruin. Another, 
somewhat akin to it, occurred nearly at the same 
time. There had been a quarrel at Quebec 
between Arnold and Major Brown, who had 
marched to that place with General Montgomery. 
This enmity had its origin as early as the capture 
of Ticonderoga by Ethan Allen, when Brown was 
an officer under Colonel Easton, and of course 
opposed to the pretensions of Arnold on that oc 
casion. Erom Quebec letters were written by 
Arnold to some of the members of Congress, 
containing severe reflections on his conduct, and 
open charges against him of having plundered the 
baggage and property of prisoners taken in Can 
ada. When these particulars were made known 



BENEDICT ARNOLD. 71 

to Brown by his friends, he demanded from Gen 
eral Wooster, and afterwards from General Thom 
as, a court of inquiry; but through the machina 
tions of Arnold he was defeated in his purpose, 
till after the evacuation of Canada. He then ap 
plied in person to Congress for redress, and direc 
tions were sent to the commander in the northern 
department to grant a court of inquiry. Colonel 
Brown, for such was now his title, renewed his 
application to General Gates at Ticonderoga, but 
with no better success than before. As in the 
case of the court-martial, Gates chose to exercise 
a dictatorial authority, and protect his favorite. 

Nothing more was done till the end of the 
campaign, when Colonel Brown presented his ap 
plication in another form, demanding an arrest of 
General Arnold on a series of charges, in which 
he was accused of numerous misdemeanors and 
criminal acts during the course of his command. 
General Gates replied, that he would lay the 
petition before Congress. Being thus baffled in 
his attempts to obtain justice through the proper 
channel, Colonel Brown published a narrative of 
the whole affair, introducing his charges against 
Arnold, and commenting upon his conduct with 
much severity, and indeed with a warmth that 
indicated too great a degree of excited feeling. 
The result will be seen hereafter. It is a little 
remarkable, that, in the midst of all these cen- 



72 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

sures, Arnold never solicited a court of inquiry 
on his own part, by which, if they were unjust 
and without foundation, he might at once have si 
lenced his enemies, and which it would be natu 
ral to expect under such circumstances from a 
man, possessing a quick sense of honor, who was 
conscious of his innocence. 

As soon as the army had retreated to Crown 
Point and Ticonderoga, no time was lost and no 
efforts were spared in pressing forward prepara 
tions for defence, both by land and water. The 
British would of course pursue their way over 
the Lake, the moment they could construct or 
collect at St. John s suitable vessels for the pur 
pose. To baffle such a movement, or at least to 
embarrass it as much as possible, it was extreme 
ly important that the marine force should be put 
on the most respectable footing, and increased to 
the utmost limit, which the resources in hand 
would admit. Great inconveniences were to be 
encountered in effecting this object; few materi 
als for ship - building were in readiness ; ship 
wrights, carpenters, and many essential articles 
for fitting out the vessels were to be obtained 
from the seaports. Such was the promptness 
and energy, however, with which the work was 
prosecuted, that by the middle of August a little 
squadron was prepared to sail, consisting of one 
sloop, three schooners, and five gondolas. The 



BENEDICT ARNOLD. 73 

sloop carried twelve guns, one schooner the same 
number, the others eight, and the gondolas three 
each. These vessels rendezvoused at Crown 
Point under the command of Arnold, and be 
fore the end of the month he sailed with his 
whole armament down the Lake. 

By his instructions from General Gates, he was 
to take his station at the Isle-aux-Tetes, where 
there was a narrow pass in the Lake, and beyond 
that point he was ordered in positive terms not to 
advance. The order stated, that, as the present 
operations were designed to be wholly on the de 
fensive, the business of the fleet was to prevent 
or repel a hostile invasion, but not to run any 
wanton risks or seek an encounter within the ene 
my s territory. In all other respects the discre 
tion of the commander was to be his guide. On 
his arrival at Windmill Point, four miles from 
Isle-aux-Tetes, he discovered the island to be 
occupied by the enemy, numbers of whom were 
likewise encamped on the shores of the Lake. 
This induced him to stop at Windmill Point, and 
moor his vessels in a line across the Lake, so as 
to prevent any of the enemy s boats from pass- 



* General Wilkinson, by mistaking the position of 
Isle-aux-Tetes, has bestowed much unmerited censure 
upon Arnold. He supposes it to be at a place called 
Split Rock, which is but about twenty-five miles from 



74 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

The decks of his vessels were so low, that he 
thought it necessary to erect around them barri 
cades of fascines, which should protect them 
from being boarded by superior numbers in small 
craft. While his men were on shore cutting fas 
cines, they were attacked by a party of British 
and Indians, and before they could reach their 
boat three were killed and six wounded. This 
circumstance proved to him the inexpediency of 
remaining in a position, where he was exposed to 
perpetual annoyance from the enemy, without 
having an adequate force to act by land. In 
a few days he returned eight or ten miles to 
Isle-la-Motte, and took a station more advanta 
geous and secure, as the island was beyond the 
reach of an attack from the main land, and 
his guard-boats would discover any approach by 
water. 

Small scouting parties were sent down on each 
side of the Lake, from whom intelligence was 



Crown Point. Hence he charges Arnold with disobe 
dience of orders at the outset, in having gone beyond 
that place. But the actual site of Isle-aux-Tetes was 
at the lower end of the Lake, almost in contact with 
the Canada 1-ne, and in the vicinity of what is now 
called House s Point. It was intended that the fleet 
should be stationed as near the line as prudence would 
admit, and the orders were strictly obeyed. Wilkin 
son s Memoirs. Vol. I. p. 81. 



BENEDICT ARNOLD. 75 

from time to time obtained, but not with such ac 
curacy as to enable Arnold to judge of the extent 
of the enemy s naval preparations at St. John s. 
Being so well informed, nevertheless, as to deem 
it unadvisable to hazard an action in a part of the 
Lake, where he would be obliged to engage a su 
perior force in an open encounter, he withdrew 
his fleet still farther back, and anchored it in a 
line between Valcour Island and the western 
shore of the Lake. 

Since leaving Crown Point his armament had 
been reinforced, so that it now consisted of three 
schooners, two sloops, three galleys, and eight gon 
dolas. Early in the morning of the llth of Oc 
tober, the guard-boats gave notice, that the ene 
my s fleet was in sight, off Cumberland Head, 
moving up the Lake. It soon appeared advanc 
ing around the southern point of Valcour Island, 
and presented a formidable aspect, there being 
one ship with three masts, two schooners, a ra- 
deau, one gondola, twenty gun-boats, four long 
boats, and forty-four boats with provisions and 
troops. The armed vessels were manned by sev 
en hundred chosen seamen. Such an array was 
enough to convince the Americans, that they 
must rely mainly on their bravery and the advan 
tages of their position. The wind was likewise 
in their favor, as some of the larger vessels could 
not beat up sufficiently near to engage in the at- 



76 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

tack. While the enemy s fleet was coming 
round the island, Arnold had ordered his three 
galleys, and a schooner called the Royal Savage, 
to get under way and advance upon the enemy. 
On their return to the line the schooner grounded 
and was afterwards destroyed, but the men were 
saved. At half past twelve the action became 
general and very warm, the British having 
brought all their gun-boats and one schooner with 
in musket shot of the American line. They kept 
up a heavy fire of round and grape shot, till 
five o clock, when they withdrew from the con 
test and joined the ship and schooner, which a 
head wind had prevented from coming into ac 
tion. 

During the contest Arnold was on board the 
Congress galley, which suffered severely. It re 
ceived seven shot between wind and water, was 
hulled twelve times, the mainmast was wounded 
in two places, the rigging cut in pieces, and the 
proportion of killed and wounded was unusually 
great. So deficient was the fleet in gunners, that 
Arnold himself pointed almost every gun that 
was fired from his vessel. The Washington gal 
ley was equally shattered; the first lieutenant 
was killed, and the captain and master wounded. 
All the officers of one of the gondolas, except 
the captain, were lost; and another gondola sank 
soon after the engagement. The whole number 



BEX EDICT ARNOLD. 77 

of killed and wounded was about sixty. The 
enemy landed a large body of Indians, who kept 
up an incessant fire of musketry from the island 
and the opposite shore, but without effecting 
much injury. 

A consultation was held by the officers as soon 
as the engagement was over; and they agreed, 
that, considering the exhausted state of their am 
munition, and the great superiority of the enemy s 
force both in ships and men, prudence required 
them to return to Crown Point, and if possible 
without risking another attack. The British had 
anchored their vessels in a line within a few hun 
dred yards of the Americans, stretching from the 
island to the main, apparently to frustrate any 
such design. The night was dark, but a favoring 
breeze blew from the north, and before morning 
Arnold had passed with his whole fleet through 
the British line entirely undiscovered. This ma 
noeuvre was not less bold in its execution, than 
extraordinary in its success. Arnold himself 
brought up the rear in his crippled galley, and, 
before their departure was known to the enemy, 
they had ascended the Lake ten or twelve miles 
to Schuyler s Island. Here they were obliged 
to cast anchor for half a day, in order to stop the 
leaks and repair their sails. Two of the gondolas 
were abandoned and sunk. In the afternoon 
they set sail again, but the wind had died away 



78 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

in the morning, and it now sprung up from the 
south, equally retarding the pursuit of the enemy 
and their own progress. 

On the morning of the second day the scene 
was changed. The Congress and Washington 
galleys, with four gondolas, had fallen in the rear, 
all being too much disabled to sail freely. The 
advanced ships of the enemy s fleet, in one of 
which was General Carleton, were found to be 
gaining upon them, under a press of sail, and in 
a short time were along-side. After receiving a 
few broadsides the Washington struck, having 
been extremely weakened by the loss of men 
and injury received in the first engagement. The 
whole force of the attack now fell upon Ar 
nold in the Congress galley. A ship of eighteen 
guns, a schooner of fourteen, and another of 
twelve, poured forth an unceasing fire within 
musket shot. The contest was kept up with un 
paralleled resolution for four hours, when the gal 
ley was reduced almost to a wreck, and was 
surrounded by seven sail of the enemy. In this 
situation Arnold ran the galley and the four gon 
dolas into a small creek, on the east side of the 
Lake, about ten miles from Crown Point; and as 
soon as they were aground, and were set on fire, 
he ordered the marines to leap into the water 
armed with muskets, wade to the beach, and sta 
tion themselves in such a manner on the bank, as 



BENEDICT ARNOLD. 79 

to prevent the approach of the enemy s small 
boats. He was the last man, that remained on 
board, nor did he leave his galley, till the fire had 
made such progress, that it could not be extin 
guished. The flags were kept flying, and he 
maintained his attitude of defence on the shore, 
till he saw them consumed, and the whole of his 
flotilla enveloped in flames. There are few in 
stances on record of more deliberate courage and 
gallantry, than were displayed by him from the 
beginning to the end of this action. 

Being no longer in a condition to oppose the 
enemy, he proceeded immediately through the 
woods with his men to Crown Point, and fortu 
nately escaped an attack from the Indians, who 
waylaid the path two hours after he had passed. 
The same night he arrived at Ticonderoga. All 
his clothes, papers, and baggage had been burnt 
in the Eoyal Savage at Valcour Island. He found 
at Ticonderoga the remnant of his fleet, being 
two schooners, two galleys, one sloop, and one 
gondola. General Waterbury, who commanded 
the Washington galley, and one hundred and ten 
prisoners were returned on parole by General 
Carleton the day after the last action. The whole 
American loss in killed and wounded was between 
eighty and ninety. The enemy reported theirs 
to be about forty. 

Notwithstanding the signal failure of this en- 



80 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

terprise, the valor and good conduct of the com 
mander and his officers were themes of applause 
throughout the country. Arnold s popularity was 
prodigiously increased by it ; and, although he was 
disliked in the army, as well from the spirit of 
jealousy commonly excited by an aspiring rival, 
as from the innate and irredeemable defects of 
his character, yet with the people at large these 
motives, if they existed at all, were swallowed 
up in an admiration of those imposing qualities 
and daring achievements, which are so apt to 
captivate the multitude, and which indeed in 
every stage of society are found to produce so 
strong an influence upon the mind. Some writers 
have commented on the execution of this enter 
prise in a tone of captious criticism, which can 
by no means be sustained on an impartial view of 
the subject. It is perhaps difficult to speak of 
the deeds of such a man as Arnold, without re 
membering the deplorable issue to which he was 
finally brought by his folly and wickedness; yet 
the historian should never forget, that he commits 
a crime little less flagrant in its nature, if in 
ferior in its magnitude, when he allows himself 
to be so far moved by his feelings, as to depart 
from the strict line of truth and justice, or, by 
such an obliquity, to lead his readers to form a 
false and harsh judgment. 

Arnold was sent out to meet the enemy. 



BEN EDICT ARNOLD. 81 

Whether he should fight or not, it is true, was 
left to his discretion. He chose the former and 
was beaten, but not till he had maintained a com 
bat for half a day against a force nearly double 
his own, and caused the enemy to retire. This 
fact is enough to prove, that his position was judi 
ciously chosen, and that the action on his part was 
skilfully fought. With consummate address he 
then penetrated the enemy s line, and brought off 
his whole fleet, shattered and disabled as it was, 
and succeeded at last in saving six of his vessels. 
Let it be supposed, that he had retreated before 
the British fleet, and left it to proceed unmolest 
ed. What would have been the consequence? 
There was a chance, at least, that he would be 
overtaken somewhere, and perhaps under circum 
stances of greater disadvantage. Even if he had 
escaped and moored his vessels under the guns of 
th.e fort at Ticonderoga, would the public have 
been satisfied with such a measure? Would not 
murmurs of complaint have been heard, that 
such expensive preparations should be made 
without any effect, or an attempt to repel the in 
vaders? And would not a corresponding depres 
sion of public enthusiasm and spirit have follow 
ed? Wkreas the event, as it turned out, was so 
gallant a demonstration of the courage and reso 
lute ardor of the American troops, that it inspired 
universal confidence and hope at a very gloomy 
in. 6 



82 A M E R I C A N B I G R A P II Y . 

crisis of the "Revolution. It needs only be added, 
as a guide to a correct historical estimate of the 
transaction, that the conduct of Arnold was at 
the time approved by his military superiors, by 
Congress, and by the whole nation. 



BENEDICT ARNOLD. 83 



CHAPTER VI. 

Stationed in Rhode Island. Superseded in his 
Bank ~by Congress. Complains of Injustice 
and ill Treatment. His Bravery in the Af 
fair of Danbury. Commands at Philadel 
phia. 

GENERAL CARLETON took possession of Crown 
Point, and for a few days menaced Ticonderoga; 
but, being convinced of his inability so late in the 
season to accomplish his main purpose of penetrat 
ing to Albany, he retired with his fleet and army 
down the Lake to seek winter-quarters in Canada. 
It was no longer necessary to keep up a formidable 
force in the northern department, and a large 
part of the troops was ordered from Ticonderoga 
to reinforce General Washington in Jersey, then 
retreating before a victorious enemy. Arnold 
was in this division, and he joined Washington s 
camp on the west side of the Delaware, a week 
preceding the memorable battle of Trenton. A 
letter had already been despatched to him, which 
had missed him in his route, containing directions 
to proceed immediately to Rhode Island, and, in 
conjunction with General Spencer, who com 
manded on that station, to rally the New Eng- 



84 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

land militia, and be prepared to resist the enemy, 
then hovering on the coast with a large number 
of ships. 

He remained three days with the Commander- 
in-chief, and hastened to Providence, the head 
quarters of the eastern army. The British land 
ed and took possession of Newport. The winter 
was passed by Spencer and Arnold in forming 
plans, and making preparations, to attack the 
garrison on Rhode Island; but these were all de 
feated by the impossibility of procuring troops 
sufficient for such an enterprise. Arnold spent 
some time in Boston, for the purpose of consult 
ing with the principal persons of Massachusetts 
on this project, and of engaging the legislature 
of that State to call out an adequate force of 
the militia to secure its success. The attempt 
failed. All the States of New England were 
equally interested in driving the enemy from this 
new lodgment within their borders, all were 
equally disposed to do it; but the exhaustion of 
the last campaign could not be repaired in a mo 
ment, nor was the ardor of the people at so high 
a pitch as to induce them in the depth of winter 
to seek an enemy, contented to remain on an 
island, and from whom no immediate danger was 
apprehended. It is moreover to be kept in mind, 
that every effort was now making to fill up the 
Continental regiments, and reinforce the dwindled 



BENEDICT ARNOLD. 85 

army under Washington at Morristown, as well as 
to prepare for the expected invasion from the 
north in the spring. 

While Arnold was engaged in this service, an 
incident happened, which made him begin to talk 
of the ingratitude of his country, and which had 
an important bearing on his future destiny. In 
February, 1777, Congress appointed five new ma 
jor-generals, without including him in the list, 
all of whom were his juniors in rank, and one of 
them, General Lincoln, was promoted from the 
militia. It may well be imagined what effect this 
tacit censure and public slight would have on a 
person so sensitive to military glory, and whose 
reputation and prospects rested on that basis 
alone. He was totally unprepared for such a 
testimony of the sense of Congress, and his as 
tonishment was not less than his indignation ; but 
he had the self-command to conceal his emotions, 
and to demean himself with more moderation, 
than might have been expected. Washington 
was surprised and concerned, as he feared the 
ill effects, which such a practice might have upon 
the officers, knowing the extreme jealousy with 
which military men regard the subject of rank 
and promotion, and considering this feeling as 
essential to the vital interests of the army. He 
wrote to Arnold a soothing letter, begging him to 
take no hasty steps, and expressing his conviction 



86 AMERICAN B I G R A P II Y . 

that there was some mistake, which would in due 
time be rectified. He added assurances of his own 
endeavors to promote what he deemed in this 
case the claim of justice as well as of policy. 

Arnold replied in a subdued tone, but not with 
out symptoms of strong feeling. " Congress un 
doubtedly have a right," said he, " of promoting 
those, whom, from their abilities and their long 
and arduous services, they esteem most deserv 
ing. Their promoting junior officers to the rank 
of major-generals, I view as a very civil way of 
requesting my resignation, as unqualified for the 
office I hold. My commission was conferred un 
solicited, and received with pleasure only as a 
means of serving my country. With equal 
pleasure I resign it, when I can no longer serve 
my country with honor. The person, who, void 
of the nice feelings of honor, will tamely conde 
scend to give up his right, and retain a commis 
sion at the expense of his reputation, I hold as a 
disgrace to the army and unworthy of the glori 
ous cause in which we are engaged. When I 
entered the service of my country, my character 
was unimpeached. I have sacrificed my interest, 
ease, and happiness in her cause. It is rather a 
misfortune than a fault, that my exertions have 
not been crowned with success. I am conscious 
of the rectitude of my intentions. In justice, 
therefore, to my own character, and for the satis- 



BENEDICT ARNOLD. 87 

faction of my friends, I must request a court of 
inquiry into my conduct; and, though I sensibly 
feel the ingratitude of my countrymen, yet every 
personal injury shall be buried in my zeal for the 
safety and happiness of my country, in whose 
cause I have repeatedly fought and bled, and am 
ready at all times to risk my life." No man cer 
tainly could talk in a more patriotic strain, and 
perhaps it is not too great a tax upon our faith 
to believe, that he was at this time as sincere 
as most patriots, who are reduced to the ex 
tremity of enumerating their disinterested sacri 
fices and services, as a vindication of their char 
acter, and a proof that the public have done 
them wrong. 

General Washington was prompt to render the 
aid he had promised. He wrote to some of his 
friends in Congress on the subject, and requested 
General Greene, who was then at Philadelphia, 
to make particular inquiries. The avowed reason 
was, that the members from each State insisted 
upon having general officers proportioned to the 
number of troops furnished by it, and, as Con 
necticut had already two major-generals, there 
was no vacancy for another. " I confess," said 
General Washington, " this is a strange mode of 
reasoning, but it may show you that the promo 
tion, which was due to your seniority, was not 
overlooked for want of merit in you." To the 



88 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

request for a court of inquiry he replied, that, as 
no specific charge had been alleged, he did not 
see on what ground such a court could be insti 
tuted; and, as public bodies were not responsible 
for their acts, all the satisfaction which an indi 
vidual could obtain, if overlooked, was a con 
sciousness that he did not deserve such treatment 
for his honest exertions. 

This was kind and friendly, and might have af- 
forded^ consolation to a philosopher; but Arnold 
had never been imbued with those maxims of 
wisdom which teach humility, nor learned the use 
ful art of self-control to such an extent as to re 
sist the impulse of a craving ambition, or endure 
the corrodings of wounded pride. He was well 
aware, also, that the ostensible motives of the 
majority of Congress were not the real ones ; and 
this fact pressed upon him the unwelcome convic 
tion, that his enemies were more numerous and 
active than he had ever imagined. Looking for 
the support of his reputation to the splendor of 
his military fame, and the prevailing power of 
popular applause over the opinions of all ranks of 
society, he had never prepared himself for such 
an expression of public sentiment, and his cha 
grin was in proportion to his disappointment. 

At length he resolved to visit head-quarters, 
and obtain permission to proceed in person to 
Philadelphia, and demand of Congress an investi- 



BENEDICT ARNOLD. 89 

gation into his conduct. On his journey from 
Providence, he happened to be in Connecticut at 
the time when the British expedition, consisting 
of two thousand troops, under Governor Tryon, 
landed at Compo, near Fairfield, penetrated the 
country, and burnt the town of Danbury, with 
the public stores at that place. Generals Silli- 
man and Wooster had succeeded in collecting 
suddenly about six hundred men, of whom one 
hundred were Continental troops, and the others 
militia, and pushed forward in pursuit of the ene 
my. Arnold joined them at a short distance from 
Heading, and they all marched to Bethel, about 
four miles from Danbury, where they arrived in 
the middle of the night, and learned that the 
town was destroyed, and the British preparing to 
retire. They halted at Bethel to refresh the 
troops till morning, and then separated their party 
into two divisions. At daylight two hundred men 
under General Wooster marched to harass the 
enemy in their rear. Arnold and Silliman head 
ed the other division, amounting to four hundred, 
and took a different route, with the design of in 
tercepting their retreat. It was at first uncertain 
whether Governor Tryon would go to the North 
River, and embark in the vessels then lying near 
Tarrytown, or return to the ships, which he had 
left in the Sound. All doubts were soon removed, 
however, by intelligence of hio being in full march 
towards Compo. 



90 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

General Wooster overtook the enemy s rear 
guard, and commenced a spirited attack. It was 
repelled by discharges of artillery and musketry, 
which seemed at first to stagger his men, unaccus 
tomed to scenes of battle. He had placed him 
self in their front, to encourage them forward, 
and had just called out, " Come on, my boys ; 
never mind such random shot," when he received 
a wound in his side, which proved mortal. He 
fell from his horse, and was carried back to Dan- 
bury, where he died. 

By eleven o clock in the morning, Arnold s 
division had reached Ridgefield, having been aug 
mented on the way to about five hundred men. 
He took a position at the northern extremity of 
the village, and erected a barricade of carts, logs, 
and earth across the road by which the British 
were to pass. The post was well chosen, the 
road was narrow, his right flank was covered by 
a house and barn, and his left by a ledge of rocks. 
At three o clock the enemy appeared, marching 
in a solid column, and they commenced a heavy 
fire as they advanced towards the breastwork. It 
was briskly returned. For nearly a quarter of an 
hour the action was warm, and the Americans 
maintained their ground by the aid of their barri 
cade against four times their number, until the 
British column began to extend itself, and to 
stretch around their flanks. This was a signal for 



BENEDICT ARNOLD. 91 

a retreat. Arnold was the last man that re 
mained behind. While alone in this situation, a 
platoon of British troops, who had clambered up 
the rocks on the left flank, discharged their mus 
kets at him. His horse dropped lifeless, and 
when it was perceived that the rider did not fall, 
one of the soldiers rushed forward with a fixed 
bayonet intending to run him through. Arnold 
sat unmoved on his struggling horse, watched the 
soldier s approach till he was near enough to 
make sure his aim, then drew a pistol from the 
holsters and shot him dead. Seizing this critical 
opportunity, he sprang upon his feet and escaped 
imharmed. So remarkable an exhibition of cool 
and steady courage, in a moment of extreme dan 
ger, has rarely been witnessed. 

He rallied his men, and continued to annoy the 
enemy in their progress. Being reinforced the 
next day, he hung upon their flanks and rear 
throughout the whole march to their ships, at 
tacking them at every assailable point. In a 
skirmish near Compo, just before the British em 
barked, the horse which he rode was shot through 
the neck, and on all occasions he exposed him 
self with his accustomed intrepidity. 

The news of these exploits passed quickly to 
Congress, and without delay Arnold was promot 
ed to the rank of major-general. But, with an 
inconsistency not easily accounted for, his relative 



92 AMERICAN B I O G R A P II Y . 

rank was not restored, and he was still left by the 
date of his commission below the five major- 
generals, who had been raised over him. If his 
merit as an officer now required his advancement, 
notwithstanding the former objections, it would 
seem to have been a proper act of magnanimity 
to place him where the reproach upon his military 
honor would be removed, and his sense of justice 
satisfied. To degrade and promote at the same 
time was a singular mode of bestowing reward, or 
expressing approbation. Arnold regarded it in 
that light, and was by no means at ease with his 
new appointment thus grudgingly conferred, or 
rather extorted by the fresh laurels he had won 
on the field of battle. 

General Washington, sensible of the delicacy 
of his situation, and valuing highly his services, 
hastened to make the best amends in his power 
for the neglect of Congress, by appointing him 
to the command on the North River, which, at 
that juncture, was as honorable a post as any offi 
cer in the army could hold. He declined the 
offer, however, and obtained the consent of the 
Commander-in-chief to go to Philadelphia, and 
prosecute his first design of applying in person to 
Congress for an examination into his conduct. 
He soon discovered, what he before had sufficient 
reason to apprehend, that the unfavorable reports 
of his behavior at Montreal and Ticonderoga, 



BENEDICT ARNOLD. 93 

added to a conviction of the inherent defects of 
his private character, which everybody was ready 
to acknowledge, were the prevailing causes of 
the disrepute in which he was held by a majori 
ty of that body. These stern patriots, regarding 
virtue as essential to true honor, did not consid 
er great examples of valor, resource, and energy, 
even in arousing and sustaining the military ar 
dor of a country, as an adequate counterpoise to a 
dereliction of principle and a compromising integ 
rity. How far a judicious policy and pure patri 
otism were combined on this occasion, or to what 
extent party zeal contributed to warp the judg 
ment, we need not now inquire. It is enough to 
know, that impressions were fixed and their influ 
ence was felt. To remove the former and weaken 
the latter was the task, which Arnold set himself 
to perform. 

His complaints were loud, and expressed with 
a show of sensibility, which from any other man 
might seem to be sincere. " I am exceedingly 
unhappy," said he, in writing to Congress, " to 
find, that, after having made every sacrifice of 
fortune, ease, and domestic happiness to serve my 
country, I am publicly impeached (in particular 
by Lieutenant-Colonel Brown) of a catalogue of 
crimes, which, if true, ought to subject me to dis 
grace, infamy, and the just resentment of my 
countrymen. Conscious of the rectitude of my 



94 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

intentions, however I may have erred in judg 
ment, I must request the favor of Congress to 
point out some mode, by which my conduct and 
that of my accusers may be inquired into, and 
justice done to the innocent and injured." This 
letter was referred to the Board of War. As a 
proof, that the poison of party was then rankling 
in the national councils, and that it was not inop 
erative in this affair, we may cite a letter written 
by Richard Henry Lee, on the day that the above 
complaint, or petition, was presented. " One 
plan," he observes, "now in frequent use, is to 
assassinate the characters of the friends of Ameri 
ca, in every place and by every means; at this 
moment they are reading in Congress a bold and 
audacious attempt of this kind against the brave 
General Arnold." 

After examining all the papers in their posses 
sion, and holding a conference with General Ar 
nold, and with Mr. Carroll (one of the commis 
sioners from Congress at Montreal when the for 
mer commanded there), the Board of War report 
ed, that they were entirely satisfied as to the 
character and conduct of General Arnold, which, 
in the language of the Board, had been " so cru 
elly and groundlessly aspersed." The report was 
confirmed by Congress; yet, strange as it may 
appear, his rank was not restored, nor was any 
resolution adopted on that head ; and he was thus 



BENEDICT ARNOLD. 5 

left with all his griefs bearing as heavily upon 
him as before; and indeed more so, since their 
burden was increased by this unexpected but con 
vincing proof of the deep-rooted hostility of his 
opponents, and of their being influenced by mo 
tives, which he had not anticipated. His disap 
pointment was the greater at this moment, as 
Congress had two days before complimented him 
with the gift of a horse, properly caparisoned, be 
ing a token of their approbation of his recent 
gallant conduct against the enemy. It was no 
wonder, that this giving with one hand and taking 
away with the other, exciting hope and defeating 
expectation with the same breath, should worry 
and disgust a man, who had a right to look for 
consistency if not for favor. This duty Congress 
owed to themselves, for the sake of their own 
dignity; and they certainly owed it to every offi 
cer, whom they deemed worthy of a commission 
in the army. 

Another circumstance now occurred, which in 
volved the case in new difficulties. General Ar 
nold presented his accounts to Congress, and re 
quested an examination of them by a committee. 
For the want of proper regulations in the various 
military departments at the beginning of the war, 
the business of purchases, payments, and other 
money concerns, rested mainly with the com 
manders of detachments. This system prevailed 



96 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

in the Canada expedition as a matter of necessi 
ty. By the peculiarity of his situation, from the 
time he left Cambridge until the evacuation of 
Canada, Arnold was compelled on many occa 
sions to act in the triple capacity of commander, 
commissary, and paymaster. Hence his accounts 
were voluminous and extremely complicated, and 
in many parts without vouchers or proper certifi 
cates. This irregularity was to be expected from 
the nature of the case; but it was soon discov 
ered, that he had introduced a series of extrava 
gant charges in his own favor, some of them 
dubious in their character, and others manifestly 
unreasonable, even if the items could be proved, 
which in the aggregate swelled his personal 
claims upon the government to an enormous 
amount. 

As there was no pretence of his having carried 
his own money into the service in any consid 
erable quantity, and as his credit was not of a 
kind to command large resources upon his indi 
vidual responsibility, the inquiry very naturally 
arose, how he could in the space of a few months, 
while discharging an active and arduous military 
duty, accumulate property to such an amount, as 
appeared in the balance of his accounts. In short, 
every one perceived, that there was a fallacy, a 
deception, or an impudent attempt to overreach 
and defraud the public. His enemies in Congress 



BENEDICT ARNOLD. 97 

gained new strength to their cause by these de- 
velopements, and his friends were vexed at the 
hard task they had undertaken, of vindicating and 
sustaining a man, whose merits as an officer were 
of the highest order, and whose services they 
deemed invaluable to the country, but who, by 
the deplorable perversion of his moral qualities 
was using the ascendency he had acquired as a 
means of robbing that very public, which, under 
the guise of a hypocritical patriotism, he pretend 
ed to serve from disinterested motives, and at a 
great sacrifice. 

While the committee were engaged in exam 
ining the accounts, Arnold was appointed to the 
command of the army then convening in the 
neighborhood of Philadelphia, and awaiting the 
movements of General Howe, who, it was sup 
posed, would open the campaign by a renewal of 
his attempt to cross the Delaware, and march in 
to Pennsylvania. When this officer made a de 
monstration from Brunswic towards Washington s 
encampment, with a view of bringing that cau 
tious commander to a general action, it was 
thought his design was against Philadelphia, and 
Arnold was sent forward by Congress to take post 
on the Delaware above Trenton, to examine the 
passes, secure the boats, and cooperate with Gen 
eral Washington in opposing the enemy s ad 
vance. This duty he discharged with his usuaJ 

in. 7 



98 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

promptness and energy, and, when the British 
general retired to Brunswic, he returned to his 
head-quarters at Philadelphia. 

Meantime his accounts lingered in the hands of 
the committee, who had delayed making a repoi t, 
and seemed not inclined to hasten it ; nor had 
any notice been taken of his reiterated demands 
to have his rank adjusted. His impetuous tem 
per could not brook this neglect, and his patience 
was exhausted. He wrote a letter to Congress, 
tendering a resignation of his commission, declar 
ing at the same time, that he was driven to this 
step only by a sense of the injustice he had suf 
fered, and professing an ardent love of his coun 
try, and his readiness to risk his life in its cause ; 
but, he added, " honor is a sacrifice no man ought 
to make ; as I received, so I wish to transmit it 
inviolate to posterity." Just at this crisis came 
the intelligence of the disasters on the northern 
{renders, the unexpected evacuation of Ticonde- 
roga, and the approach of the formidable army 
under Burgoyne ; and it so happened, that, on the 
same day that the above letter of resignation was 
communicated to Congress, they received a let 
UT from General Washington, recommending that 
General Arnold should be immediately sent to 
juin the northern army. " He is active, judicious, 
and brave," said Washington, " and an officer in 
whom the militia will repose great confidence." 



BENEDICT ARNOLD. 9^ 

Flattered by this preference, and looking forward 
to a scent3 of action in which he always delighted, 
he did not hesitate to comply with the order, and 
suspend his demand of permission to resign, add 
ing only, that he should leave it with Congress, 
and made no doubt they would listen to it when 
the service now before him should be accom 
plished. He went still farther and volunteered 
an act of magnanimity, which certainly must 
extort praise, if it cannot win esteem. General 
St. Clair was in the northern army, and he was 
one of the five major-generals, who had been pro 
moted over Arnold. With his keen sensibilities on 
this subject, it might be presumed that he would 
insist on his rights, and refuse to be commanded 
by an officer thus situated ; but he generously 
waved all considerations of that kind, declaring 
that he would do his duty faithfully in the rank 
he then held, and trust to the justice of his claims 
for a future reparation. This pacific overture, it 
is true, was owing in no small degree to the solic 
itude of Washington, whom he knew to be his 
sincere friend, and whose judgment was compro 
mised in recommending him to this appointmen* 



100 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 



CHAPTER VII. 

Joins the northern Army. The tragical Death. 
of Jane M c Crea near Fort Edward. Ar 
nold commands an Expedition to Fort Schuy 
ler. Rejoins the main Army on the Hudson. 
The Battles of Behmus s Heights. 

ARNOLD arrived at Fort Edward and joined 
General Schuyler in the latter part of July. 
The army was then preparing to move five miles 
lower down the Hudson, and form an encamp 
ment on the high grounds near Moses Creek, 
which had been selected for the purpose by Kos- 
ciuszko. At the time of this movement the army 
was separated into two divisions, one of which was 
put under the command of Arnold, whose head 
quarters w T ere between Moses Creek and Fort 
Edward. Four days after he had taken this sta 
tion, a tragical event happened within the limits 
of his command, which, from its singular barbari 
ty and the circumstances attending it, has been 
commemorated by historians, and will be perpetu 
ated as a memento of the melancholy fate of suf 
fering innocence, and an affecting record of the 
horrors of savage warfare. 



BENEDICT ARNOLD. 101 

The murder of Jane M c Crea has been 9 
th3me, which eloquence and sensibility have alike 
contributed to dignify, and which has kindled ir. 
many a breast the emotions of a responsive sym 
pathy. General Gates s description, injiis lette 
to Burgoyne, although" fi.ore ornate fh-in forcible 
and abounding more in bad taste th?n .simplicity 
or pathos, was suits ! to f l:e fcefirigs" of tlie mo 
ment, and produced a lively impression in every 
part of America ; and the glowing language of 
Burke, in one of his most celebrated speeches in 
the British Parliament, made the story of Jane 
M c Crea familiar to the European world. 

This young lady was the daughter of a clergy 
man, who died in New Jersey before the Revolu 
tion. Upon her father s death she sought a home 
in the house of her brother, a respectable gentle 
man residing on the western bank of Hudson s 
River, about four miles below Fort Edward 
Here she formed an intimacy with a young man, 
named David Jones, to whom it was understood 
she was engaged to be married. When the war 
broke out, Jones took the side of the royalists, 
went to Canada, received a commission, and was 
a captain or lieutenant among the provincials in 
Burgoyne s army. 

Fort Edward was situate on the eastern mar 
gin of Hudson s River, within a few yards of the 
water, and surrounded by a plain of considerable 



102 AMERICAN B I O R A T 1 H V , 

extent, which was cleared of wood and cultivated 
On the road leading to the north, and near the 
foot of a hill about one third of a mile from the 
fort, stood a house occupied by Mrs. M c Niel, a 
widow lady and an acquaintance of Miss M c Crea, 
witn whom -she was Staying as a visiter at the time 
the American army was "m that neighborhood. 
TheOside ofuhfc bill was ^covered with a growth of 
bushes, and on its top, a quarter of a mile from 
the house, stood a large pine tree, near the root 
of which gushed out a perennial spring of water. 
A guard of one hundred men had been left at the 
fort, and a picket under Lieutenant Van Vechten 
was stationed in the woods on the hill a little be 
yond the pine tree. 

Early one morning this picket guard was at 
tacked by a party of Indians, rushing through the 
woods from different points at the same moment, 
and rending the air with hideous yells. Lieuten 
ant Van Vechten and five others were killed and 
scalped, and four were wounded. Samuel Stand- 
ish, one of the guard, whose post was near the 
pine tree, discharged his musket at the first Indian 
he saw, and ran down the hill towards the fort ; but 
he had no sooner reached the plain, than three In 
dians, whc had pursued him to cut off his retreat, 
darteo out of the bushes, fired, and wounded him 
in the foot. One of them sprang upon him, threw 
him to the ground, pinioned his arms, and then 



BENEDICT ARNOLD. 103 

pushed him violently forward up the hill. He 
naturally made as much haste as he could, and 
in a short time they came to the spring, where 
several Indians were assembled. 

Here Standish was left to himself, at a .ittle 
distance from the spring and the pine tree, expect 
ing every moment to share the fate of his com 
rades, whose scalps were conspicuously displayed. 
A few minutes only had elapsed, when he saw a 
small party of Indians ascending the hill, and with 
them Mrs. M c Niel and Miss M c Crea on foot. He 
knew them both, having often been at Mrs. 
M c Niers house. The party had hardly joined 
the other Indians, when he perceived much agita 
tion among them, high words and violent gestures, 
till at length they engaged in a furious quarrel, 
and heat one another with their muskets. In the 
midst of this fray, one of the chiefs, apparently 
in a paroxysm of rage, shot Miss M c Crea in the 
oreast. She instantly fell and expired. Her hair 
was long and flowing. The same chief grasped 
it in his hand, seized his knife, and took off the 
scalp in such a manner as to include nearly the 
whole of the hair ; then springing from the ground, 
he tossed it in the face of a young warrior, who 
stood near him watching the operation, brand 
ished it in the air, and uttered a yell of savage 
exultation. When this was done the quarrel ceas 
ed ; and, as the fort had already been alarmed. 



104 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

the Indians hurried away as quickly as possible to 
General Eraser s encampment on the road to Fort 
Anne, taking with them Mrs. M c Niel and Samuel 
Standish. 

The bodies of the slain were found by a party, 
that went in pursuit, and were carried across the 
river. They had been stripped of their clothing, 
and the body of Miss M c Crea was wounded in 
nine places, either by a scalping knife or a toma 
hawk. A messenger was despatched to convey 
the afflicting intelligence to her brother, who ar 
rived soon afterwards, took charge of his sister s 
remains, and had them interred on the east side 
of the river about three miles below the fort. 
The body of Lieutenant Van Vechten was buried 
at the same time and on the same spot. 

History has preserved no facts by which we 
can at this day ascertain the reason, why Miss 
M c Crea should remain as she did in so exposed 
and unprotected a situation. She had been re 
minded of her danger by the people at the fort. 
Tradition relates, however, and with seeming 
truth, that through some medium of communica 
tion she had promised her lover, probably by his 
advice, to remain in this place, until the approach 
of the British troops should afford her an oppor 
tunity to join him, in company with her hostess 
and friend. It is said, that, when they saw the 
Indians coming to the house, they were at first 



BENEDICT ARNOLD. 105 

frightened and attempted to escape ; but, as the 
Indians made signs of a pacific intention, and one 
of them held up a letter intimating that it was to 
be opened, their fears were calmed and the letter 
was read. It was from Jones, and contained a 
request that they would put themselves under the 
charge of the Indians, whom he had sent for the 
purpose, and who would guard them in safety to 
the British camp. Unfortunately two separate 
parties of Indians, or at least two chiefs acting in 
dependently of each other, had united in this en 
terprise, combining with it an attack of the 
picket guard. It is incredible that Jones should 
have known this part of the arrangement, or he 
would have foreseen the danger it threatened. 
When the prize was in their hands, the two chiefs 
quarrelled about the mode of dividing the reward 
they were to receive ; and, according to the In 
dian rule of settling disputes in the case of cap 
tives, one of them in a wild fit of passion killed 
the victim and secured the scalp. Nor is it the 
least shocking feature of the transaction, that the 
savage seemed not aware of the nature of his mis 
sion. Uninformed as to the motive of his em 
ployer for obtaining the person of the lady, or not 
comprehending it, he regarded her in the light of 
a prisoner, and supposed the scalp would be an 
acceptable trophy. Let it be imagined what 
were the feelings of the anxious lover, waiting 



106 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

with joyful anticipation the arrival of his inteiide ? 
bride, when this appalling proof of her death was 
presented to him. The innocent had suffered by 
the hand of cruelty and violence, which he had 
unconsciously armed ; his most fondly cherished 
hopes were blasted, arid a sting was planted in his 
soul, which time and forgetfulness could never 
eradicate. His spirit was scathed and his heart 
broken. He lived but a few years, a prey to his 
sad recollections, and sunk into the grave under 
the burden of his grief. 

The remembrance of this melancholy tale is 
still cherished with a lively sympathy by the peo 
ple, who dwell near the scene of its principal in 
cidents. The inhabitants of the village of Fort 
Edward have lately removed the remains of Miss 
M c Crea from their obscure resting-place, and de 
posited them in the public burial-ground. The 
ceremony was solemn and impressive. A pro 
cession of young men and maidens followed the 
relics, and wept in silence when the earth was 
again closed over them, thus exhibiting an honor 
able proof of sensibility and of respect for the 
dead. The little fountain still pours out its clear 
waters near the brow of the hill, and the venera 
ble pine is yet standing in its ancient majesty, 
broken at the top and shorn of its branches by 
the winds and storms of half a century, but re 
vered as marking the spot where youth and ID- 



BENEDICT ARNOLD 107 

nocence were sacrificed in the tragical death of 
Jane MOea.* 

The first report of the attack upon the picket 
guard, which was brought to Arnold, magnified 
the number of the assailants so much, that he de 
tached a thousand men, with orders to march iri 
two divisions, one to fall upon their rear, and the 
other to gain their front. The attempt was de 
feated by a heavy shower of rain, which wet the 
arms of the troops and damaged their powder. 
It is not likely, indeed, that in any event they 
would have overtaken the enemy, who moved off 
without delay, and were not inclined to wait an 
attack. 

The day after this affair an advanced party of 
the British troops took possession of Fort Ed 
ward, and General Schuyler soon retreated with 
his whole army to Stillwater. In the mean time 
the question of Arnold s rank was again brought 

* The circumstances attending the murder of Miss 
M^Crea have been variously represented. Samuel Stand- 
ish himself related to me the above particulars, as far as 
they came under his own observation. When he arrived 
at the British camp he was taken before General Fraser, 
who asked him many questions and treated him kindly. 
He was then sent a prisoner to Ticonderoga, whence he 
contrived to make his escape two months afterwards. 
Miles Standish, the famous military leader of the first 
Pilgrims at Plymouth, was his ancestor in a direct li> e 



108 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

up in Congress, and decided against him by a 
majority of nearly three to one. It was the first 
occasion on which the yeas and nays were enter 
ed in the journals. Arnold had previously re 
ceived a letter from one of his friends in Congress, 
who assured him, that, in the present temper of 
the members, he could have no hope of the res 
toration of his rank. Piqued and mortified at 
this obstinate determination to withhold from hirr 
what he deemed to be a right, and from the refu 
sal of which his reputation was suffering, he asked 
leave of General Schuyler to retire ; but by the 
persuasion of that officer, and a representation of 
the absolute necessity of his services at so critical 
a moment, he was fnduced again to suspend his 
purpose. 

While the army was at Stillwater, intelligence 
arrived of the defeat of General Herkimer at the 
bloody battle of Oriskany, the investiture of Fort 
Schuyler by St. Leger with a large body of Brit 
ish troops, Canadians, and Indians, and the immi 
nent danger to which the garrison was exposed 
Eight hundred men under General Learned were 
immediately detached to the relief of the garrison. 
Arnold volunteered to command the expedition, 
and set off with instructions to call out as many 
of the militia as he could, and to adopt the most 
effectual measures to repel the enemy, and pro 
tect the settlements on the Mohawk River 



BENEDICT ARNOLD. 109 

Washington had already advised his being sent 
into that quarter, but General Schuyler was reluc 
tant to spare him from the main army. 

When the detachment reached Fort Dayton at 
the German Flats, where there was a guard of 
Continental troops, it appeared by the adjutant s 
return, that the whole force then assembled was 
-nine hundred and forty-six regulars, and less than 
one hundred militia. It was ascertained at the 
same time, that the number of the enemy besieg 
ing Fort Schuyler amounted to at least seventeen 
hundred, including one thousand Indians. In the 
opinion of a council of war, with these facts 
before them, it was imprudent to hazard an 
attack until a reinforcement could be obtained. 
Arnold accordingly sent an express to General 
Gates, who had superseded General Schuyler and 
was then at Van Schaick s Island, at the mouth 
of the Mohawk, soliciting an additional detach 
ment of one thousand light troops. He likewise 
issued a tumid proclamation, after the example of 
Burgoyne and St. Leger, and, according to the 
fashion of those times, offering pardon to Indians, 
Germans, Americans, or Britons, if within ten 
days they would sue for protection and take the 
oath of allegiance to the United States., but 
threatening direful vengeance upon those, who 
should neglect this proffer of mercy, and be cap 
tured in prosecuting their hostile designs. 



110 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

Stratagems in war are sometimes more effectual 
than arms or military skill. A singular instance 
of this kind occurred on the present occasion. 
A man by the name of Cuyler was seized as a 
spy.* There was little doubt of his guilt, or at 
least of his coming under the heavy penalties of 
the proclamation. Cuyler was a refugee, an in 
habitant of that region, a man of some considera 
tion among the people, and known in the enemy s 
camp, whence he had lately come out with a flag 
to entice the settlers to rally under the standard of 
St. Leger. It is said to have been first suggested 
by Lieutenant-Colonel Brooks, of the Massachu 
setts line, to employ him as a messenger of de 
ceptive intelligence to the enemy. He was 
brought before Arnold, who questioned him, and 
promised a pardon of all past offences and the 
security of his property, if he would return to 
St. Leger s camp, and make so exaggerated a 
report of the number of Americans approaching, 
as to alarm the Indians and cause them to de 
spair of success. To this he assented, and his 
brother was retained in confinement as a hostage 
for the faithful fulfilment of his promise. 

A friendly Indian, wily by nature and skilled in 
artifice from habit, proposed that bullets should be 

* In some accounts he is called Hanyost Schuyler 
which I am inclined to think was the true name , but his. 
.orians have adopted the other. 



BENEDICT ARNOLD. Ill 

shot through Cuyler s coat, which would give the 
greater plausibility to his story. Thus prepared 
he entered the forest, and in a little time fell in 
with one of the enemy s scouts, to whom he re 
lated the disaster of his having been taken and 
condemned as a spy, adding that he was about to 
be executed when he found means to elude his 
guards, but was pursued so closely as to be shot 
several times through his clothes, and had escaped 
with the utmost peril of his life. The same ac 
count he repeated to St. Leger, as soon as he 
came to the camp, and said that Arnold was ad 
vancing by rapid marches at the head of two 
thousand men. A second messenger followed 
close upon his heels, who magnified the number 
to three thousand, with the additional embellish 
ment of their being very near at hand. The suc 
cess of the stratagem was complete. A panic 
spread among the Indians, and two or three hun 
dred decamped immediately. The chiefs insisted 
on a general retreat, and no arguments could pre 
vail on them to remain. In a short time the 
whole camp was in confusion, and St. Leger was 
obliged to move off so precipitately, that fifty-nine 
tents were left standing, and various articles of 
baggage and camp equipage were scattered in ev 
ery direction. The faithless savages, not content 
ed to desert their friends, seized the opportunity 
to steal and plunder whatever came in their way. 



112 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

Cuyler concealed himself and got safely into the 
fort. 

Thus was raised the siege of Fort Schuyler, 
and thus terminated St. Leger s expedition, from 
which great advantages had been expected by 
the British government in aid of General Bur- 
goyne. Almost immediately after sending to 
Gates for a reinforcement, Arnold resolved to 
march forward with such troops as he had ; and 
the news of St. Leger s retreat met him twenty- 
two miles from the fort. This movement, which 
was reported by the scouts, gave credit to the 
exaggerated statements of the messengers. He 
advanced to the fort, where he continued but a 
short time, and then ^turned to General Gates s 
army, having been absent twenty days. Colonel 
Gansevoort, who commanded at Fort Schuyler, 
sustained the siege with firmness and bravery. 
Lieutenant-Colonel Willett, the second in com 
mand, distinguished himself in a sortie from the 
garrison, and by other acts of military enterprise, 
which, the British Annual Register said, merited 
the praise even of an enemy. 

The left wing of Gates s army was now at 
London s Ferry, on the south bank of the Mo 
hawk River, five miles above its confluence with 
the Hudson. The command at that post was as 
signed to Arnold. Two brigades and Morgan s 
battalion of riflemen were stationed there, to pre- 



BENEDICT ARNOLD. 113 

vent General Burgoyne from crossing the Mo 
hawk, should his march be continued thus far 
towards Albany. This event, however, was not 
destined to happen. The fatal defeat at Ben- 
nington, and the entire failure of the western ex 
pedition, had weakened his strength, depressed 
his hopes, and taught him caution. He lingered 
at Saratoga, and the American army, elated by 
their good fortune and encouraged by the reviving 
spirit of the country, retraced their steps and en 
camped on Behmus s Heights. 

In this encampment Arnold still retained the 
left division of the army, consisting of the same 
regiments as at London s Ferry. On the morn 
ing of the 1 9th of September, seven days after the 
camp had been formed, intelligence was brought 
that parties of the enemy were advancing within 
two or three miles of the lines. Arnold express 
ed his opinion to General Gates, that troops 
should march out and attack them ; and he ac 
cordingly received orders to send Morgan s rifle 
men and Dearborn s light infantry, and to support 
them if necessary. An action was brought on, 
which lasted from half past twelve o clock till 
night, and was fought wholly by detachments 
from Arnold s division, except one regirrent only 
from another brigade. Wilkinson says, that no 
general officer was on the field of battle during 
the day ; but when, towards evening, Gates and 

in. 8 



114: AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

Arnold were together in the front of the camp, 
and Colonel Lewis came in from the scene of ac 
tion and stated that its progress was undecisive, 
Arnold exclaimed, " I will soon put an end to it," 
and set off in a full gallop from the camp. Un 
der the apprehension that he would do some rash 
thing, as Wilkinson goes on to say, Gates de 
spatched an officer after him and ordered him 
back. It thus appears, that he was neither or 
dered out, nor permitted to go out, to take any 
part in the action. To a man, whose element was 
fighting, and whose ambition for military glory 
was equalled only by his bravery in acquiring it, 
this check upon his aspirations must have been 
keenly felt, whatever motives for imposing it may 
have actuated his superior in command. 

A serious misunderstanding arose at this time 
between Gates and Arnold, which several circum 
stances conspired to foment. In the first place, a 
part of Arnold s division was withdrawn without 
his knowledge, and he was put in the ridiculous 
light, as he called it, of presuming to give orders, 
which were contravened by the general orders of 
ths commander-in-chief. This is supposed to 
have been owing to the officious interference oi 
Wilkinson, who was adjutant-general to the army, 
and who insisted on the returns of a part of Ar 
nold s division being made directly to him, and in 
fluenced Gates to sustain his demand, which was 



BENEDICT ARNOLD. 115 

done in general orders, without giving notice to 
Arnold. Again, it was ascertained, that in nis 
official communication to Congress, respecting the 
oattle, Gates had said nothing of Arnold or his 
division, but merely stated that the action was 
fought by detachments from the army. Arnold 
complained of this neglect as ungenerous, not 
more in regard to himself than to the troops under 
his immediate command. "Had my division be 
haved ill," said he, " the other division of the ar 
my would have thought it extremely hard to have 
been amenable for their conduct." High words 
and harsh language passed between the two gen 
erals, and Gates went so far as to tell Arnold, 
that he thought him of little consequence in the 
army, that when General Lincoln arrived he 
should take away his command of a division, 
and that he was ready to give him a pass to 
leave the camp whenever he pleased. 

A correspondence followed ; haughty and arro 
gant on the part of Gates, intemperate and indis 
creet on that of Arnold. The latter demanded 
a pass for himself and suite to join General 
Washington. It was granted ; but he changed his 
mind when he had taken time for reflection, 
rightly perceiving the hazard to which he would 
subject his reputation by voluntarily retiring from 
the army when another action might be hourly 
expected. Re remained, although deprived of 



116 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

his command, and without any employment m 
the camp. Gates took the division under his own 
immediate charge, General Lincoln in the mean 
time being put in command of the right wing. 

Which party in the dispute was the most 
blamable, it would be difficult now to decide. 
That Gates was overbearing is certain ; that Ar 
nold was impetuous and presuming may as little 
be doubted. He probably relied too much on 
the professions of friendship, and acts of indul 
gence, which the same commander had manifest 
ed in his favor the year before at Ticonderoga. 
There is room to believe, also, that a spice of 
jealousy mingled with Gates s feelings on this oc 
casion. Colonel Varick, writing from camp to 
General Schuyler, three days after the action, 
said, " He seems to be piqued, that Arnold s di 
vision had the honor of beating the enemy on 
the 19th. This I am certain of, that Arnold has 
qll the credit of the action. And this I further 
know, that Gates asked where the troops were 
going, when ScammelPs battalion marched out, 
and, upon being told, he declared no more troops 
snould go; he would not suffer the camp to be 
exposed. Had Gates complied with Arnold s re 
peated desires, he would have obtained a general 
and complete victory over the enemy. But it is 
evident to me, he never intended to fight Bur- 
goyne, till Arnold urged, begged, ind entreated 



BENEDICT ARNOLD. 117 

him to do it." After the convention of Sarato 
ga, Colonel Varick again wrote as follows in a 
letter from Albany. " During Burgoyne s stay 
here, he gave Arnold great credit for his bravery 
and military abilities, especially in the action of 
the 19th, whenever he spoke of him, and once in 
the presence of Gates." From this testimony it 
may be inferred, that the causes of the quarrel 
did not grow altogether out of the relations of 
rank in which the two parties stood to each other. 
Personal motives had their full share of influence 
at least, with one, and perhaps with both. 

When the second battle of Behmus s Heights 
commenced, on the 7th of October, Arnold, hav 
ing no command, was discovered to be in a state 
of high excitement and apparent irritation. He 
continued in camp for some time, but at length, 
without instructions or permission, rode off in a 
full gallop to the field of battle. This being told 
to Gates, he sent Major Armstrong after him with 
orders. As soon as Arnold saw Armstrong, an 
ticipating the purport of his message, and doubt 
less remembering the peremptory order to return 
while on his way out to the former action, he put 
spurs to his horse and quickened his speed. 
Armstrong pursued, tracing the erratic movements 
of Arnold, and keeping up the chase for half an 
hour, without being able to approach near enough 
to speak to him. And in fact, Arnold received 



118 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

no orders during the day, but rode about the field 
in every direction, seeking the hottest parts of 
the action, and issuing his commands wherever he 
went. 

Being the highest officer in rank, that appeared 
on the field, his orders were obeyed when practi 
cable ; but all accounts agree, that his conduct was 
rash in the extreme, indicating rather the frenzy 
of a madman, than the considerate wisdom of an 
experienced general. He threw himself heed 
lessly into the most exposed situations, bran 
dishing his sword in the air, animating his troops, 
and urging them forward. But the brilliant ma 
noeuvre with which the engagement was closed, 
the assault of the enemy s works and driving 
the Hessians from their encampment, was un 
doubtedly owing in the first case to Arnold. He 
gave the order, and by his personal bravery set 
an example to the troops, which inspired them 
with ardor and hurried them onward. He was 
shot through the leg whilst riding gallantly into 
the sally-port, and his horse fell dead under him. 
The success of the assault was complete, and 
crowned the day with victory. 

It is a curious fact, that an officer, who really 
had no command in the army, was the leader in 
one of the most spirited and important battles of 
the Revolution. His madness, or rashness, 01 
whatever it may be called, resulted most fortun 



BENEDICT ARNOLD. 119 

ately for himself. The wound he received, at 
the moment of rushing into the very arms of 
danger and of death, added fresh lustre to his 
military glory, and was a new claim to public fa 
vor and applause. In the heat of the action he 
struck an officer on the head with his sword, an 
indignity and offence, which might justly have 
been retaliated on the spot in the most fatal man 
ner. The officer forbore ; and the next day, when 
he demanded redress, Arnold declared his entire 
ignorance of the act, and expressed his regret. 
Some persons ascribed his wild temerity to intoxi 
cation, but Major Armstrong, who assisted in re 
moving him from the field, was satisfied that this 
was not true. Others said he took opium. This 
is conjecture, unsustained by proofs of any kind, 
and consequently improbable. His vagaries may 
perhaps be sufficiently explained by the extraor 
dinary circumstances of wounded pride, anger, 
and desperation, in which he was placed. Gates 
was not on the field, nor indeed did he leave his 
encampment during either of the battles of Beh- 
mus s Heights. 

Disabled by his wound, the bone of the leg 
being fractured, General Arnold was removed to 
Albany, where he stayed throughout the winter 
confined to his room. Congress relented, though 
with an ill grace at so late an hour, and author 
ized General Washington to send him a commis- 



120 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

sion giving him the full rank he had claimed. 
This was accompanied with a letter in which 
Washington said, " As soon as your situation will 
permit, I request you will repair to this army, it 
being my earnest wish to have your services the 
ensuing campaign. In hopes of thi?, I have set 
you down in an arrangement now under consider 
ation, and for a command, which, I trust, will he 
agreeable to yourself and of great advantage to 
the public." Early in the spring he went to 
Middletown in Connecticut, where he spent a 
month or two, and then proceeded to New Ha 
ven. His entrance into that town was marked 
with honorable demonstrations of respect for his 
military character. Several Continental and mili 
tia officers, a company under arms, and many of 
the citizens, went out to meet him on the road, 
and his arrival was announced by thirteen dis 
charges of cannon. 

While at New Haven he received from General 
Washington a set of epaulettes and a sword-knot, 
with a letter stating that they were presented " as 
a testimony of sincere regard and approbation of 
hi? conduct." A gentleman in France had sent to 
General Washington three sets of epaulettes and 
sword-knots, requesting him to retain one for him 
self, and bestow the others on any gentlemen 
he might choose. The third set was given to 
General Lincoln. 



BENEDICT ARNOLD. 121 



CHAPTER V1IL 

Takes Command in Philadelphia. Propose* 

joining the Navy. Charges against him by 

the Council of Pennsylvania. His Plan for 

a new Settlement in the western Part of New 

York. His Trial by a Court-martial. 

BEFORE the end of May, Arnold joined the 
army at Valley Forge. It was daily expected, 
that the enemy would evacuate Philadelphia ; 
and, as the condition of his wound did not permit 
him to perform an active part during the cam 
paign, Washington had determined to appoint him 
to the command of that city, as soon as the Brit 
ish troops should leave it. This event occurred 
in a few days, and when the main army crossed 
the Delaware in pursuit of the retreating enemy, 
Arnold established his head-quarters in Philadel 
phia. 

A small regiment only of Continental troops 
with a few militia was attached to his command, 
and although in a military point of view the post 
had little responsibility, yet in other respects its 
duties were delicate and difficult. The enemy 
had held possession of the city for more than 
eight months, and in that period it had oeen the 



122 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

resort of many persons disaffected to the Ameri 
can cause ; and indeed not a few of the most 
respectable inhabitants were known to be of very 
doubtful patriotism, if not wholly inclined to the 
interests of the King. Again, there was much 
merchandise in the city belonging to this descrip 
tion of persons, or at least possessing an equivocal 
character as to ownership, which would naturally 
open a door to disputes, if not to covert and 
fraudulent transactions. 

But a still greater source of perplexity, and of 
ultimate mischief, was the indefinable nature of 
the powers, with which the commandant of the 
city was invested. How far did the military 
authority extend ? What objects did it embrace, 
and in what particulars was it to take cognizance 
of the civil rights, condition, and acts of the peo 
ple ? Where was the line to be drawn between 
the control of the military commander, and that 
of the government of Pennsylvania, whose laws 
and orders the citizens were bound to obey ? 
These questions could not be answered by prece 
dent or rule ; and the practical difficulties could be 
avoided only by a degree of prudence, which was 
not to be expected from the habits and temper 
ament of Arnold. 

The instructions to him from the Commander- 
in-chief were expressed in general terms, and the 
mode of discharging the duties of his new ap- 



BENEDICT ARNOLD. 123 

pointment was left mainly to his own discretion. 
By * Dissolve of Congress, the removal, transfer, 
and sa e of all goods in the city were to be pre 
vented, i\\\ a joint committee of that body and of 
the Council of Pennsylvania should ascertain 
whether any of the property belonged to the King 
of Great Britain or to his subjects. With the 
design of carrying this resolve into effect, Arnold, 
as soon as he entered the city, issued a proclama 
tion prohibiting the sde of goods until the inquiry 
should be made according to the order of Con 
gress. Although tlrs measure was advised by 
the principal persons cl the city, and was indeed 
necessary for the strict discharge of his duty, yet 
it appeared so arbitrary in its principles, and bore 
upon so large a portion of the community, that it 
was unpopular, and brought some degree of odi 
um on its immediate author. It infused a preju 
dice and dislike into the minds of the people, 
which neither his disposition, the weight of his 
personal character, nor his manners, would be 
likely to remove. It was, to say the least an un- 
propitious beginning of his command, and led the 
way to the unfortunate train of events that fol 
bwed. 

Arnold had been a month at Philadelphia, 
when he conceived the project of quitting the ar- 
my, and entering into the naval service. 



124 AMERICA^ BIOGRAPHY. 

" My wounds," said he, in writing to General 
Washington, " are in a fair way, and less painful 
than usual, though there is little prospect of my 
being able to take the field for a considerable 
time ; which consideration, together with that of 
being obliged entirely to neglect my private affairs 
since I have been in the service, has induced me 
to wish to retire from public business, unless an 
offer, which my friends have mentioned, should 
be made to me of the command of the navy, to 
which my being wounded would not be so great, 
an objection as it would to remaining in the army. 
1 must beg leave to request your sentiments re 
specting a command in the navy. I am sensible 
of my inability, and of the great hazard and fa 
tigue attending the office, and that I should enjoy 
much greater happiness in a retired life ; but still 
my wishes to serve my country have a great 
er weight with me, than domestic happiness or 
ease." 

General Washington s reply was brief and cau 
tious. He declined expressing an opinion or giv 
ing advice, saying that his ignorance of naval con 
cerns rendered him an incompetent judge. 

Whether there was a serious intention in any 
quarter to appoint Arnold to the command of the 
navy, or whether the idea originated with himself, 
and he wished to obtain the countenance of Wash 
ington in aid of his object, it would not be easy 



BENEDICT ARNOLD. 125 

at this time to ascertain. The above extract 
from his own letter is probably the only record rel 
ative to the subject that can be found. His pecu 
niary embarrassments were now beginning to press 
upon him, at the moment when his extravagant 
habits of living made new demands, and his fond 
ness for display was pampered by the adventitious 
consequence to which he was raised as command 
ant of Philadelphia. He soon discovered, that 
his means bore no proportion to his wants, and 
that his situation afforded him no facilities to in 
crease the former, while it presented many temp 
tations to multiply the latter. It may be pre 
sumed, therefore, that motives of gain, rather than 
of patriotism or honorable ambition, induced him 
to ihink of deserting the theatre of action, in 
which he had acquired so remarkable a celebrity, 
and of commencing a new career in another de 
partment, where his experience was limited, and 
his professional prospects were doubtful. In the 
command of the navy his ruling passion would be 
flattered with the alluring hope of profitable cap 
tures. This conjecture is strengthened by the 
fact, that he afterwards formed a resolution to 
take the command of a privateer, although he 
abandoned the scheme before he attempted to car 
ry it into effect. 

Amidst so much that was mercenary, and so 
many derelictions of principle and faults of con- 



126 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

duct, it is refreshing to discover some alleviating 
incidents. The lively interest expressed by Ar 
nold in the orphan children of the lamented Gen 
eral Warren, who fell at Bunker s Hill, and the 
substantial tokens of kindness, which from time 
to time he rendered to them, would in any othei 
person be regarded as noble proofs of dis ; iiter- 
ested benevolence and goodness of heart. Let 
them be placed in the scale, and allowed the 
weight they deserve. In what relation these two 
persons had stood to each other before the war is 
not known, but it is evident they were such as to 
inspire grateful recollections in the breast of Ar 
nold. 

A name, made illustrious by patriotic ardor in 
the cause of his country and the sacrifice of his 
life on the altar of liberty, was the only inher 
itance left by Warren to four young children. 
Through the instrumentality of Samuel Adams, a 
resolve of Congress was passed, that the eldest 
son should be educated at the expense of die 
United States. It was presumed that the State 
of Massachusetts would provide for the other 
children. This latter expectation, however, was 
disappointed. The three younger children were 
put under the charge of Miss Mercy Scollay, of 
Boston, to whom Arnold wrote in the following 
terms, a few days after he took the command at 
Philadelphia. 



BENEDICT ARNOLD. 127 

" About three months ago I was informed," 
said he, " that my late worthy friend General 
Warren left his affairs unsettled, and that, after 
paying his debts, a very small matter, if any 
thing, would remain for the education of his chil 
dren, who, to my great surprise, I find have been 
entirely neglected by the State. Permit me to 
beg your continuing your care of the daughter, 
and that you will at present take charge of the 
education of the son. I make no doubt that his 
relations will consent that he shall be under your 
care. My intention is to use my interest with 
Congress to provide for the family. If they de 
cline it, I make no doubt of a handsome collec 
tion by private subscription. At all events, I will 
provide lor them in a manner suitable to their 
birth, and the grateful sentiments I shall ever feel 
for the memory of my friend. I have sent to 
you by Mr. Hancock five hundred dollars for the 
present. I wish you to have Richard clothed 
handsomely, and sent to the best school in Bos 
ton. Any expense you are at, please call on 
me for, and it shall be paid with thanks." 

These generous sentiments were steadily main 
tained, and occasional supplies of money were 
forwarded according to the promise in this letter. 
He obtained private subscriptions, but apparently 
to no great amount. He made an application to 
Congress, which was referred to a committee, 



128 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

who reported, that the three younger children oi 
General Warren should be maintained at the pub 
lic expense in a manner suitable to their rank in 
life, till they should come of age, and at that time 
one thousand pounds should be given to each as 
a portion. If this report was ever called up, it 
did not receive the sanction of Congress. Arnold 
persevered, however, in his solicitation, and at 
last the point was carried to allow for the support 
of these children the half-pay of a major-general 
from the date of their father s death, till the 
youngest should be of age. 

General Warren had been dead five years, and 
the annual amount of half-pay was somewhat 
more than thirteen hundred dollars, making the 
sum due nearly seven thousand dollars besides 
the future stipend. In the congratulatory letter, 
which Arnold wrote to Miss Scollay on this event, 
only six weeks before the consummation of his 
treachery, he reiterated his ardent concern for the 
welfare of the children, but complained that his 
application to Congress had been opposed from 
the beginning by all the Massachusetts delegates 
except one. They looked upon the case as ap 
pertaining only to the State of Massachusetts, 
and as not coming within the jurisdiction of Con 
gress. Others had the same opinion. Tl.e suc 
cess of the measure, which every benevolent 
mind must heartily approve, may be fairly as- 
cribed to the zeal and perseverance of Arnold. 



BENEDICT \RNOLD. 120 

On various occasions, from the first week of his 
arrival in Philadelphia, he had contrived to in 
volve himself in difficulties with the President 
and Council of Pennsylvania, which, at the end of 
seven months, had become so formidable and ag 
gravated as to draw from that body a severe pub 
lic censure upon his conduct. At a meeting of 
the board it was unanimously resolved, that the 
tenor and course of his military command in the 
city had been " in many respects oppressive, un 
worthy of his rank and station, highly discouraging 
to those who had manifested an attachment to the 
liberties and interests of America, and disrespect 
ful to the supreme executive authority of the 
State." At the same time the attorney-general 
was authorized to prosecute him for such ^ illegal 
and oppressive acts, as were cognizable in the 
courts of law." To show the grounds of these 
proceedings, and to present the subject in a tangi 
ble form, the Council issued eight articles, or 
charges, containing an enumeration of his offen 
sive acts. Some of these were set forth as of a 
criminal nature, and they all implied a wilful 
abuse of power, disregard of the rights of the 
people, or an unjustifiable interference with the 
government of Pennsylvania. 

General Arnold being a United States officer, 
it was deemed proper to make an appeal to Con 
gress ; and accordingly a list of the charges, ac 

in. 9 



13Q AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

companied by a letter from the President of 
Pennsylvania and divers other papers, was laid 
before that assembly. In the usual course of 
business these documents were referred to a com 
mittee of inquiry. The result was a vindication 
of General Arnold from any criminality in the 
matters charged against him. It appeared, how 
ever, that a misunderstanding existed between 
the committee and the Council, which prevented 
the latter from furnishing such testimony as was 
necessary to sustain their articles of censure 
For this reason, probably, the report of the com 
mittee was not acted upon by Congress ; but, in 
accordance with an agreement between the par 
ties, the subject was referred anew to a joint com 
mittee of Congress and of the Assembly and 
Council of Pennsylvania. 

After some progress had been made in the 
investigation, and the business was found to bb 
clogged with many embarrassments, it was pro 
posed by the Council, that the affair should be 
put into the hands of the Commander-in-chief, 
and submitted to a military tribunal. This ar 
rangement, having been agreed to by the joint 
committee, was approved by Congress ; but it was 
decided that four of the charges only were cog 
nizable by a court-martial. These were .rans- 
mitted to General Washington, who ordered a 
court to be convened, appointed the time of trial. 



BENEDICT ARNOLD. 131 

and gave notice of the same to the respective 
parties. 

With this course Arnold was highly displeased, 
and he expressed himself in no measured terms 
of dissatisfaction, both in his letters to Congress 
and to General Washington. He affected to re 
gard this disposition of the matter as a compro 
mise between Congress and the authorities of 
Pennsylvania, and insinuated that he was sacrificed 
by the former to prevent a serious breach or colli 
sion with the latter. He complained of the injus 
tice and partiality of Congress, in throwing aside 
the report of their own committee, by which he 
had been fully acquitted, and listening to the pro 
posals of men, who, he said, were moved by per 
sonal enmity, and had practised unworthy artifices 
to cause delay. He acquiesced, however, and 
desired that the trial might be brought on as soon 
as possible, declaring his conviction, that justice 
vould be rendered to him by a court-martial. 

The Council of Pennsylvania were not ready 
for the trial at the time first appointed by General 
Washington, and it was put off at their request to 
give them time to collect evidence. Arnold con 
sidered this a subterfuge and an additional griev 
ance. More than three months had elapsed since 
the charges were presented to Congress, a space 
of time amply sufficient in his opinion for making 
every necessary preparation. The demand of a 



132 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

longer period he represented as a pretence to 
delay the trial, and to keep him under the odium 
of a public accusation. 

The form of the trial, as notified by the Com 
mander-in-chief, was not acceptable to the Coun 
cil. They were called on as the accusing part) 
to defend their charges before the court-martial 
President Reed wrote a letter to General Wash 
ington, in the name of the Council, expressing 
surprise that such a turn should be given to the 
affair, and that they should be looked upon in the 
light of the prosecuting party. He said it had 
never been their intention to exhibit charges, but 
only to convey their sense of the conduct of 
General Arnold, and to state their reasons. It 
was no part of their purpose to become prosecu 
tors. Duty required them to make known their 
opinion to General Arnold s superiors and to the 
public, but farther than this they did not consider 
themselves bound to go. And, indeed, they con 
ceived it to be inconsistent with the dignity of the 
executive authority of a State to appear before a 
military tribunal and prosecute an individual, who 
was amenable to another power for his conduct, 
They thought it the business of Congress, or of 
the Comrnander-in-chief, to institute a form of 
trial, which should put the prosecution upon a 
different footing. That the course of justice 
might not be obstructed, however, by points of 



BENEDICT ARNOLD. 133 

etiquette or punctilious scruples, they piofessed 
i willingness to proceed with the trial, according 
o the mode appointed by the Commander-in 
;hief, requesting only such delay as would enable 
thorn to procure the proper testimony. 

As soon as the committee of Congress had 
reported on the charges submitted by the Coun 
cil of Pennsylvania, General Arnold resigned his 
command in Philadelphia. This occurred on the 
18th of March, 1779. He had obtained permis 
sion of the Commander-in chief to resign in Jan 
uary, but had deferred it, as he said in his letter 
to Congress, till the charges should be examined 
by that body, lest his enemies should misrepre 
sent his motives, and ascribe his resignation to the 
fear of a disgraceful suspension in consequence of 
those charges. He was the more disappointed 
and vexed, therefore, that Congress, instead of 
calling up and sanctioning the report, yielded to 
the solicitation of his enemies for a military trial. 

The day finally agreed upon for the assem 
bling of the court-martial was the 1st of June. 
Head-quarters were then at Middlebrook. Un 
fortunately just at that time the enemy in New 
York gave indications of a sudden movement, 
either into New Jersey, or up the North River ; 
and a council of war decided, that the exigency 
of the service required every officer to be at his 
post, and rendered it necessary to defer the court- 



134 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

martial, till, in the judgment of the Commander- 
in-chief, the state of affairs would permit the 
members to be assembled. This renewed dis 
appointment was severely felt by Arnold, as there 
was now but a slender hope, that the trial could 
take place during the campaign ; while he in the 
mean time would be destitute of employment, 
and his character must suffer from the suspicions 
excited in the public mind by the charges, which 
had been promulgated against him. Patience was 
his only resource ; and, while practising this vir 
tue so adverse to his habits, he had ample leisure 
to brood over his ills, cherish the bitter recollec 
tions of the past, and mature schemes for the fu 
ture, which opened the way and hurried him 
onward to his ruin. 

Whether weary of a military life, or impelled by 
his pecuniary necessities, or from whatever cause, 
it appears that Arnold had actually meditated 
leaving the army before the difficulties with the 
Pennsylvania government had assumed the shape 
of a public censure upon his character. He had 
formed a project of obtaining a grant of land in 
the western part of New York, and of establish 
ing a settlement for the officers and soldiers, who 
had served under him, and for such other per 
sons as might choose to unite in the enterprise. 
The New York delegation in Congress approved 
his plan, and w T rote a joint letter on the subject 



BENEDICT ARNOLD. 135 

to Governor Clinton, soliciting his aid and coun 
sel to obtain suitable patronage from the legisla 
ture. " To you, Sir, " say they in the letter, 
* or to our State, General Arnold can require no 
reccmmendation a series of distinguished servi 
ces entitle him to respect and favor." They 
likewise represented, on general grounds, the poli 
cy of strengthening and guarding the frontier, 
by such a settlement as was contemplated. 

Mr. Jay, then President of Congress, enforced 
the same application in a private Better to Gover 
nor Clinton. " How far his plan may coincide 
with the views of the legislature," he wrote, " I 
am at a loss to say. I wish, however, that in 
treating with him they may recollect the services 
he has rendered to his country, and the value of 
such a citizen to any State that may gain him. 
Several other general officers have thoughts of 
settling in our State, and the prevailing reason 
they assign for it is the preference of our constitu 
tion to that of other States. They consider it as 
having the principles of stability and vigor, as well 
as of liberty ; advantages which the loose and less 
guarded kinds of government cannot promise. It 
certainly is our interest to encourage these predi 
lections, by attention to those who hold them ; 
and I have no doubt but that generosity to Arnold 
will be justice to the State." These testimonies 
show, that there was a division of opinion in Con 



136 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY 

gress, and that Arnold numbered among his 
friends some of the ablest and best members 
The spirit of party never raged with more vio 
lence within the walls of the old Congress, than 
at this period. Arnold s case was doubtless 
made worse, and his feelings irritated, by this cir 
cumstance. 

He visited General Washington s camp in Feb 
ruary, and it is supposed he extended his journey 
to the State of New York, and consulted Governor 
Clinton ; but we hear no more of his project. It 
was absorbed at the time in the more engrossing 
concerns of his trial, and there was no subsequent 
opportunity for reviving it. 

After resigning his command at Philadelphia, 
he continued to reside in that city, holding his 
commission in the army, but filling no public of 
fice. Either by the unpopularity of his charac 
ter or by his disagreeable manners, he rendered 
himself odious to the inhabitants, and one day 
when abroad he was assaulted by the populace. 
He immediately complained to Congress. " A 
mob of lawless ruffians," said he, " have attacked 
me in the street ; and they threaten my life, now 
I am in my house, for defending myself when at 
tacked. As there is no protection to be expected 
from the authority of the State for an honest man, 
I am under the necessity of requesting Congress 
to order me a guard of Continental troops. This 



BENEDICT A P. N 3 L, D . 137 

request I presume will not be denied to a man, 
who has so often fought and bled in the defence oi 
the liberties of his country." He asked for a guard 
of twenty men. Congress declined interfering, 
and referred him to the executive authority of 
Pennsylvania, not without a hint of displeasure at 
the insinuation in his note against the government 
of that State. 

In reply he modified his meaning, and said he 
did not doubt the disposition of the executive of 
Pennsylvania to protect honest citizens, but he 
had no confidence in their ability to do it ; since 
several persons had already been killed and 
wounded in an affray, notwithstanding the at 
tempts of the civil authority to quell the disturb 
ance. He renewed his request for a guard, and 
declared his belief, that his life was in danger 
from a mad, ignorant, and deluded rabble, whose 
rage and infatuation would drive them to any ex 
treme of violence. As usual, he reminded Con 
gress of his rank and services, and claimed to be 
protected by the troops, whom it had formerly 
been his happiness to command. This second 
application was unavailing, and he was left to 
such protection as he could obtain from the civil 
power of Pennsylvania. 

The summer aud autumn passed away, and his 
trial was still in suspense. At length, when the 
campaign was closed, and the army had retired 



138 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

into winter-quarters, General Washington gave 
notice to the parties concerned, that a court-mar 
tial would be assembled on the 20th of December 
in the vicinity of Morristown. The trial was 
commenced at that place accordingly, and it con 
tinued, with some short intermissions, till the 26th 
of January, 1780, when the court pronounced 
their verdict. 

Several witnesses and much written testimony 
were patiently examined. Considering the grave 
purport of the charges, it must be allowed that 
the proofs, as they appear in the published pro 
ceedings, are not so clear and strong as might 
have been expected. Arnold s defence was 
studied, elaborate, and characteristic. He took 
up, one by one, the eight charges of the Council 
of Pennsylvania> although four of them only had 
been referred to the court, and attempted to re 
fute them in detail. On some points he was 
successful, but, unfortunately for his cause, he 
weakened the force of his arguments and dimin 
ished the value of his facts, by making a parade 
of his patriotism, services, sacrifices, and wounds, 
and by enumerating his wrongs imaginary and 
real. He introduced letters from General Wash 
ington and resolves of Congress to show, that his 
conduct in the war had not only been approved 
but applauded, and thus aimed to draw the at 
tention of the court aside from the true merits 



BENEDICT ARNOLD 139 

of the case by a series of particulars, which had 
no connexion with it. 

" When the present necessary war against 
Great Britain commenced," said he, " I was in 
easy circumstances, and enjoyed a fair prospect of 
improving them. I was happy in domestic con 
nexions, and blessed with a rising family, who 
claimed my care and attention. The liberties of 
my country were in danger. The voice of my 
country called on all her faithful sons to join in 
her defence. With cheerfulness I obeyed the 
call. I sacrificed domestic ease and happiness to 
the service of my country, and in her service 
have I sacrificed a great part of a handsome for 
tune. I was one of the first that appeared in the 
field, and from that time to the present hour I 
have not abandoned her service. 

" When one is charged with practices, which 
his soul abhors, and which conscious innocence 
tells him he has never committed, an honest in 
dignation will draw from him expressions in his 
own favor, which, on other occasions, might be 
ascribed to an ostentatious turn of mind. The 
part which I have acted in the American cause 
has been acknowledged by our friends and by our 
enemies to have been far from an indifferent one. 
My time, my fortune, and my person have been 
devoted to my country in this war ; and, if the 
sentiments of those, who are supreme in the 



140 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

United States in civil and military affairs, are al 
lowed to have any weight, ray time, my fortune, 
and my person have not been devoted in vain." 

Again, in another part of his address to the 
court, after censuring his opponents, he added ; 

" On this occasion I think I may be allowed to 
say without vanity, that my conduct from the ear 
liest period of the war to the present time has 
been steady and uniform. I have ever obeyed 
the calls of my country and stepped forth in her 
defence in every hour of danger, when many 
were deserting her cause, which appeared despe 
rate. I have often bled in it ; the marks that I 
bear are sufficient evidence of my conduct. The 
impartial public will judge of my services, and 
whether the returns I have met with are not tinc 
tured with the basest ingratitude. Conscious of 
my own innocence, and the unworthy methods 
taken to injure me, I can with boldness say to my 
persecutors in general, and to the chief of them 
in particular, that in the hour of danger, when the 
affairs of America wore a gloomy aspect, when 
our illustrious General was retreating through New 
Jersey with a handful of men, I did not propose 
to my associates basely to quit the General and 
sacrifice the cause of my country to my personal 
safety, by going over to the enemy and making 
my peace." 



BENEDICT ARNOLD. 141 

The boastfulness and malignity of these declar 
ations are obvious enough, but their consummate 
hypocrisy can be understood only by knowing the 
fact, that, at the moment they were uttered, he 
had been eight months in secret correspondence 
with the enemy, and was prepared, if not resolved, 
when the first opportunity should offer, to desert 
and betray his country. No suspicions of such a 
purpose being entertained, these effusions were 
regarded as the offspring of vanity and the natu 
ral acerbity of his temper. They now afford a 
remarkable evidence of the duplicity of his char 
acter, and of the art with which he concealed the 
blackest schemes of wickedness under the guise 
of pretended virtue, and boast of immaculate in 
nocence. 

After the trial was finished, the court took due 
time to consider the testimony, arid decided ap 
parently without passion or bias. Of two charges 
he was wholly acquitted. The two others were 
sustained in part, but not so far as to imply, in 
the opinion of the court, a criminal intention. 
When Arnold was at Valley Forge, a short time 
before the evacuation of Philadelphia, he gave a 
written protection for a vessel then at that city 
to proceed to sea and enter any port within the 
United States. The vessel belonged to persons 
who had taken the oath of allegiance to the State 
of Pennsylvania. Considering the circumstances 



142 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

of the case, and especially that the vessel was in 
a port held by the enemy, and that the protection 
was granted without the knowledge of the Com 
mander-in-chief, who was then in camp, the pro 
ceeding was deemed irregular and at variance with 
one of the articles of war. 

Again, while acting in his official station, Gen 
eral Arnold had employed the public wagons of 
Pennsylvania for the transportation of private 
property from Egg Harbor. This was looked 
upon as a serious offence by the Council, and as 
of a very dangerous tendency, since the demands 
for this kind of service in transporting supplies for 
the army were so constant and pressing, as to ex 
cite a good deal of repugnance to it in the minds 
of the people, by whom it must be performed ; 
and, should they receive the impression that their 
efforts, ostensibly solicited for public objects, were 
secretly diverted to private purposes, it would be 
extremely difficult to secure them in times of ne 
cessity. On the other hand it was proved to the 
court, that, although the wagons had been em 
ployed for transporting private property, they 
were nevertheless used at private expense, with 
out any design to defraud the public, or impede 
the military service. The court were of the 
opinion, however, that, considering the high sta 
tion in which General Arnold acted at the time, 
and the effect of his requests under the circum 



BENEDICT ARNOLD. 143 

stances in which he was placed, the transaction 
was imprudent and improper. 

On these grounds, and with reference to these 
two charges only, the court sentenced him to be 
reprimanded by the Commander-in-chief. 



1 44 AMERICAN B10GRAPHT. 



CHAPTER IX, 

His expensive Style of Living and pecuniary 

Embarrassments. First Ideas of betraying 
his Country. Application to the French 
Ambassador. Marriage. Takes Command 
at West Point. 

THE decision of the court-martial was received 
with an ill grace by General Arnold, and with 
concealed emotions of deep resentment. He had 
loudly expressed a conviction, and perhaps he 
had actually persuaded himself into a belief, that 
a military tribunal would acquit him honorably of 
all the char;es. In the same degree, that he had 
allowed himself to be flattered with this sanguine 
anticipation, was the rankling of the wound now 
inflicted on his self-complacency and pride. He 
submitted to the reprimand, however, in sullen 
reserve and with a pretended acquiescence. 

General Washington, in performing the duty 
imposed on him as the head of the army, exer 
cised all the delicacy, which he thought due to 
an officer so highly distinguished by his rank and 
bravery, and which was likewise conformable to 
his cvvn character and feelings. The language 
employed on the occasion, as preserved bv 



B fi N fi J C T ARNOLD. 145 

M. de Marbois, was as follows, "Our profession 
is the chastest of all. The shadow of a fault 
tarnishes our most brilliant actions. The least 
inadvertence may cause us to lose that public fa 
vor, which is so hard to be gained. I reprimand 
you for having forgotten, that, in proportion as 
you had rendered yourself formidable to our ene 
mies, you should have shown moderation towards 
our citizens. Exhibit again those splendid quali 
ties, which have placed you in the rank of our 
most distinguished generals. As far as it shall be 
in my power, I will myself furnish you with op 
portunities for regaining the esteem, which you 
have formerly enjoyed." Terms more soothing, 
or better suited to operate on a noble and gener 
ous mind, could hardly be chosen. But they 
had no effect on the irritated and relentless tern 
per of Arnold. He was equally deaf to the 
counsels of wisdom, the admonitions of friendship, 
and the appeals of honor. He had already made 
secret advances to the enemy under a feigned 
name, intending to square his future conduct ac 
cording to circumstances, and prepared, should the 
court decide against him, to seek revenge at any 
hazard. From the moment he harbored such a 
thought in his breast he was a lost man. Honor, 
virtue, sincerity, love of country, love of fame, all 
were gone. His companionship was with despair 
and guilt. 

in. 10 



146 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

Dissembling his real motives, after being restor 
ed to his former standing in the army, he asked 
peimission of absence during the summer, assign 
ing as a reason, that his private affairs were de 
ranged and required his attention, that there was 
little prospect of an active campaign, and that his 
wounds were not yet in a condition to enable him 
to endure the fatigues of the field. Washington 
readily granted his request, and he returned to 
Philadelphia. 

From the time he took the command in that 
city he had lived in a style of splendor and ex 
travagance, which was wholly unsuited to his for 
tune or any reasonable expectancy. He estab 
lished himself in a magnificent house, formerly 
occupied by the Penn family, furnished it expen 
sively, drove his coach and four, and indulged in 
every kind of ostentatious profusion, which could 
gratify his vanity and his passion for luxury ancl 
parade. When M. Gerard, the French ambassa 
dor, first arrived in Philadelphia, he was enter 
tained at a public dinner given by General Arnold ; 
and, for several days afterwards, the ambassador 
and his suite occupied apartments as guests in his 
house. 

This style of living could not be maintained 
without funds. Debts were contracted, and tem 
porary supplies were thus procured ; but a declin 
ing credit soon produced a conviction of 5rnprov- 



BENEDICT ARNOLD. 117 

dene*?, and excited forebodings, which even Ar 
nold could not contemplate with unconcern. Too 
proud to acknowledge his folly by abandoning it, 
and too desperate to be governed by the plain 
rules of integrity or prudence, he resorted to all 
the methods for acquiring money, which his inge 
nuity could devise or his high station put in his 
power. Among these were some by no means 
creditable to his principles, or consistent with his 
rank as an officer. He entered into petty specu 
lations and practised unworthy artifices for gain 
in small matters as well as great. He united with 
others in privateering enterprises and various 
commercial projects of hazard. The results were 
frequently unfortunate, and the losses outweighed 
the profits. On one occasion, when Count d Es- 
taing approached the American coast, and it was 
supposed the British would be driven from New 
York, he formed a copartnership with two other 
individuals for purchasing goods within the ene 
my s lines, to the amount of thirty thousand 
pounds sterling. Although there was nothing 
positively wrong in this transaction, yet it was 
one in which a major-general of the Amencan 
service, holding at that time an important coin 
mand, could not be reputably engaged. 

In the midst of his embarrassments, about a 
month after his trial, he renewed a petitios to 
Congress for a settlement of his accounts. These 



148 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

had already been referred to commissioners, who 
made a report; and the accounts were then sent 
to the Treasury Board for settlement. The ori 
ginal difficulties, however, were not removed. 
Arnold insisted on his old claims, quarrelled with 
the members of Congress who doubted them, and 
wearied the others with his importunities and 
complaints, till his enemies were provoked and 
disgusted at his effrontery, and the patience of 
his friends was worn out. Indeed, the affair had 
grown into such a state of perplexity, that the 
prospect of a satisfactory termination was more 
clouded, and seemed more distant, than ever. 

Already abandoned to the impulse of passion 
disappointed, chagrined, and pressed by his wants 
he resolved to unburden his griefs to the French 
envoy, M. de la Luzerne, and apply to him foi 
pecuniary aid. That minister, having an admira 
tion of his bravery and military talents, and be 
lieving generous usage the best means of reclaim 
ing such a man from his errors, was accustomed 
to treat him with marked civility, and had shown 
no change in his deportment after the censure of 
the court-martial and the disgrace of a reprimand. 
Encouraged by this amenity and kindness, Ar 
nold approached him with confidence, and ex 
pressed his sentiments and wishes without reserve. 

The interview has been described with graphic 
minuteness by M. de Marbois, who was then 



BENEDICT ARNOLD. 149 

secretary to the French legation, and who, if he 
was not present, must have learned the particu* 
lars from the minister himself. Arnold spoke of 
his disinterested services, his sacrifices, his wounds f 
ne complained of the ingratitude of his country, 
the injustice of Congress, and the persecuting 
malice of his enemies. The war, he said, in 
which he had borne so large a share, had ruined 
his private affairs ; and he added, that, unless he 
could borrow money to the amount of his debts, 
he should be obliged to go into retirement, and 
quit a profession, which rewarded him only with 
poverty. He intimated, in short, that it would 
be for the interest of the French King to secure 
the attachment and gratitude of an American 
general so high in rank, and that these might be 
purchased by the favor of such a loan as he de 
sired. 

The minister listened to this discourse with 
pain, but he answered with the frankness of a 
true friend, and the firmness of an honorable and 
honest mind. "You desire of me a service," 
said he, " which it would oe easy for me to ren 
der, but which would degrade us both. When 
the envoy of a foreign power gives, or, if you 
will, lends money, it is ordinarily to corrupt those 
who receive it, and to make them the creatures 
of the sovereign, whom he serves ; or rather he 
corrupts without persuading; lie buys and does 



150 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

not secure. But the firm league entered into 
between the King and the United States is the 
work of justice and of the wisest policy. It nas 
foi its basis a reciprocal interest and good-will 
In the mission, with which I am charged, my true 
glory consists in fulfilling it without intrigue or 
cabal, without resorting to any secret practices, 
and by the force alone of the conditions of the 
alliance." The effect of this plainness of speech 
upon the haughty and irritable temper of Arnold 
may be imagined. 

But M. de la Luzerne did not content himself 
with refusing to give the bribe, and condemning 
the principles from which such a request emanat 
ed. He hoped to do more, and to win back to 
the path of duty and rectitude a man, who, by 
the force of his own resources and talents, had 
built up a reputation that had gained the applause 
of the world, and who was still capable of ren 
dering important services to his country. With 
this view he addressed him in the language of ex 
postulation and advice, reminding him that mur 
murs and resentments at the acts of public bodies, 
and the persecutions of political opponents, were 
the evidences of a weak rather than of a great 
mind resting on its own dignity and power ; that 
a consciousness of innocence was his best support 
and that a generous disregard of the artifices of 
his enemies wien his country s interests were at 



BENEDICT ARNOLD. 151 

stake, was one of the strongest proofs he could 
give, that he deserved the respect and confidence 
of that portion of his fellow citizens, whose good 
opinion was most to be valued. He recurred to 
the renown of his former exploits, appealed to 
his sense of patriotism and honor, his love of 
glory, and represented in the most attractive 
colors the wide field of action yet before him, if 
he would suppress his anger, rise above mis 
fortune, bear his troubles with fortitude, and unite, 
heart and hand, with his compatriots to finish the 
great work, in which he had already labored with 
so much credit to himself and benefit to his 
country. 

These counsels had no weight with Arnold; 
he wanted money and not advice. He went 
away from the French minister indignant at the 
rebuff he had met with, mortified at his ill suc 
cess, and, if his sensibility was not callous, op 
pressed with shame at so unguarded and ineffec 
tual an exposure of his meanness. From that 
moment his purpose was fixed Hitherto his 
intercourse with the enemy, though of severa* 
months continuance, had been without a definite 
aim ; clothed in such a shape, that it might be 
consummated or dropped according to the com 
plexion of future events. The point was now 
reached, at which it was hopeless to deliberate, 
and pusillanimous to waver. Pride, vexation, 



152 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

revenge, hurried him to the fatal determination 
of betraying his country, as the last refuge of 
despair. It only remained for him to settle in his 
mind the manner in which this could so be done 
as to produce the greatest advantage to himself, 
and injury to the cause he was about to desert, 
It was obvious, that the favor he might expect 
from his new friends would be in proportion to 
the harm he should do to their enemies. 

In this train of reflection he thought of the 
command at West Point, as presenting the fairest 
opportunity for accomplishing his ends. It was 
a separate command, a very important post, and 
accessible to the enemy by water. His resolution 
being taken, all his views and efforts thencefor 
ward were directed to that single object. 

Another circumstance should be mentioned, 
which probably had a large share among the ori 
ginal causes of the defection of Arnold. When 
the British evacuated Philadelphia, many fami 
lies remained behind, who had kept up close in 
timacies with the British officers, and who were 
known to be disaffected to the American cause. 
Prominent in this class, both for respectability 
and attachment to the old order of things, was 
the family of Mr. Edward Shippen, afterwards 
Chief Justice of the State of Pennsylvania. Hi? 
youngest daughter, at that time under the age of 
eighteen, was beautiful, gay, attractive, and ambi- 



BENEDICT ARNOLD. 153 

tious. She bad been admired and flattered by 
the British officers, and was a conspicuous person- 
age at the gorgeous festival of the MischianzOj 
an entertainment given by them in honor of Sir 
William Howe, on the occasion of his resigning 
the command of the army and departing for Eu 
rope. Her acquaintance with Andre was on so 
familiar a footing, that she corresponded with him 
fcfter the British army had retired to New York. 

Arnold had not been many weeks in Philadel 
phia, before he was smitten with the charms of 
this lady, and sought her hand. Captivated with 
the splendor in which he lived, with his equipage 
and military display, her heart yielded to the im 
pulse of youthful vanity and an aspiring ambition. 
His addresses were favorably received, and he 
married her. In addition to the biases of his 
wife, this alliance brought him into perpetual con 
tact with persons, who had no sympathy with the 
friends of liberty, the advocates of independence, 
the defenders of their country s rights, but who, 
on the contrary, condemned their acts, and se 
cretly hoped, that the power of the British King 
would crush all opposition and again predominate. 

People of this stamp were ready enough to 
minister fuel to the flame, that burned in the 
breast of a passionate, soured, and discontented 
man, who had attained to so high a degree of 
consequence in the ranks of the opposite party. 



154 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

They would not fail to encourage his discontent 
by aggravating its causes, by persuading him that 
he was neglected and ill-treated, that his services 
were undervalued, and that he had good reasoc 
for his complaints of ingratitude, injustice, and 
persecut on. Such discourse, often repeated in 
his ears, and harmonizing with his impressions, 
would gradually give a current to his thoughts, 
and help to undermine the tottering fabric of his 
good resolutions. 

Having formed his plan, he applied himself as 
siduously to the means of putting it in execution. 
As he had requested permission of absence from 
the army during the campaign, at the time of his 
trial, it was necessary to give some plausible rea 
son for changing his mind. Hitherto he had not 
ceased to talk about his wounds, and to represent 
that these disabled him from taking an active part 
but now he said his wounds were fast recovering, 
and, although he could not endure the fatigues of 
the field on horseback, yet a command requiring 
little bodily action, like that at West Point, he 
thought he could very well sustain ; and his eager 
ness to rejoin his companions in arms, and render 
his country all the service in his power, prompted 
him to make every sacrifice of ease and com 
fort, which was not absolutely forbidden by the 
.state of his health. Such was the language with 
wbtcb he approached his friends in Congress, who 



BENEDICT ARNOLD. 155 

had adhered to him through all his troubles, and 
whom he knew to have influence with the Com 
mander-in-chief, particularly General Schuyler and 
the other New York delegates. 

When it was known, by the arrival of the 
Marquis de Lafayette in Philadelphia, about the 
middle of May, that a French army of coopera 
tion was coming to the United States, the quick 
foresight of Arnold pointed out to him the facili 
ties, which this circumstance might afford for the 
execution of his project. He became the more 
anxious to have the affair in a proper train. Gen 
eral Schuyler was then shortly to proceed to 
camp, as one of a committee from Congress to 
consult and act in matters relating to the army ; 
and Arnold intimated to him, that the command 
at West Point would be the best suited to his 
present condition. General Schuyler likewise re 
ceived a letter from him a few days after his ar 
rival in camp, stating a determination to join the 
army, and hinting at West Point, but not in such 
a manner as to betray solicitude ; on the contra 
ry, he said that he supposed General Heath 
would command there, unless some other ar 
rangement should be made agreeable to him. 

In the farther progress of this design, and upon 
the same principles of caution, he prevailed on 
Mr. Robert R. Livingston, then a member of 
Congress from New York, to write to Washington, 



156 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

and suggest the expediency of appointing Via 
to West Point. Mr. Livingston stated, that he 
stood high in the estimation of the people of 
New York, was very popular with the militia, 
whose services would probably be wanted in 
the course of the campaign, and was moreovei 
an officer of tried courage and ability. His ap 
plication had no appearance of being made at the 
instance of General Arnold, but seemed to flow 
from Mr. Livingston s own views of the impor 
tance of the post and the wisdom of such an 
appointment. 

Thus far every thing had gone on as smoothly 
as could be desired. The way was fairly open ; 
no undue concern had been shown, and no sus 
picions excited. Mr. Livingston s letter was fol 
lowed immediately by Arnold in person, who, 
under pretence of having private business in Con 
necticut, passed through the camp on his route, 
and called at the quarters of the Commander- 
in-chief. By his manner and conversation he 
seemed to have no special object, but that of 
paying his respects, and incidentally expressed 
his desire of joining the army. Washington re 
plied, that the campaign would probably be 
active, and that, if the condition of his wounds 
would permit, he should be extremely glad of 
his services. Arnold then said, that he did not 
think the state of his wounds such as to allow him 



BENEDICT ARNOLD. 15 

to perform a very active part, yet he repeated 
his wish to be united again with the army. From 
the beginning to the end of the interview no 
allusion was made to West Point. 

He pursued his journey to Connecticut, and 
when returning he again called on General Wash 
ington. The same subject was introduced, and 
to the same effect ; till Arnold at last intimat 
ed, that, as he was disabled to do active duty, 
the command at West Point would probably be 
better adapted to him than any other. Washing 
ton was a little surprised, that a man so remarka 
ble for energy and action should seek a post, in 
which there was comparatively so little to be 
done, and told him frankly, that he could hardly 
believe the place would suit him, for it would be 
covered by the main army towards New York 
and thus would need only a small garrison. No 
thing more was said on the subject. Arnold left 
the camp, and, after visiting West Point, and ex 
amining every part of the works in company with 
General Howe, who then commanded there, he 
went back to Philadelphia. 

He had no sooner arrived, than he wrote o 
Congress reminding them that four years pay 
was due to him, and requesting the amount of 
four months pay to be furnished, with which he 
might purchase horses and camp-equipage, and 
thereby be enabled to take the field. Whether 



158 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

Congress ever paid any part of this claim, 01 
took any notice of the request, I know not, as 
the journals are silent concerning the matter. 
There is a private letter, however, written by 
him after he had joined the army, in which ho 
complained, that the public were indebted to him 
for four years pay and a considerable sum of 
money advanced by him in Canada. This was 
only a repetition of the old grievance ; and what 
ever may have been the extent or justice of his 
accounts, as represented by himself, it does not 
appear that they were ever settled. 

When it was known to Sir Henry Clinton, 
that the French troops had arrived at Newport, 
he formed a plan for attacking them before they 
could land and fortify themselves. Intelligence 
of the preparatory movements for this enterprise 
was instantly communicated to General Washing 
ton by his spies in New York. His army was 
then encamped on the west side of Hudson s 
River, and he immediately put it in motion to 
cross the river, with the intention to march down 
the east side, menace New York in the absence 
of Sir Henry Clinton, and even attack it, should 
his force prove sufficient. Arnold reached the 
camp on the last day of July, while the army 
was crossing the river at King s Ferry. He 
first met General Washington riding to see the 
last division over, and asked if any place had 



BENEDICT ARNOLD. 159 

oeen assigned to him. The General replied, that 
he was to command the left wing, which was a 
post of honor and to which he was entitled by his 
nnk. At these words his countenance fell, and 
he showed a manifest disappointment, but said 
nothing. The General desired him to go to his 
quarters, where he would soon meet him, and 
have further conversation. 

On arriving there he ascertained from Colonel 
Tilghman, one of his aids, that Arnold had been 
talking with him on the subject, and seemed dis 
satisfied and uneasy, alleging his inability to per- 
form proper service in the field, or to remain 
long on horseback, in consequence of his wound 
ed leg, and speaking of West Point as the only 
post at which he could do justice to himself or be 
useful to the army. This behavior, so inconsist 
ent with all that was known of the character of 
the man, struck Washington as strange and unac 
countable. He had appointed him to the left 
wing of the army, because it was a responsible 
station, requiring an able and efficient officer, and 
he believed no one could fill it better, especially 
as there was a prospect of fighting, in which 
branch of the service Arnold stood preeminent 
for courage, skill, and good conduct. He could 
not conceive, therefore, how such a man, in the 
heat of a stirring campaign, could wish to be con 
fined to a garrison, where there was little scope 



160 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY 

for his military talents, no room for enterprise, no 
chance for action ; and it would seem all along as 
if he did not regard the hints about the com 
mand at West Point as uttered in sober earnest. 

He was now convinced, however, that Arnold 
really wished for that command; and, as the news 
of Sir Henry Clinton s having abandoned his plan 
and debarked his troops quickly arrived, and the 
further march of the army was thereby rendered 
unnecessary, and the time of active operations un 
certain, he resolved to comply with his request, 
and to appoint another officer to the place de 
signed for him in the main army. The instruc 
tions were dated at Peekskill, on the 3d of Au 
gust ; and Arnold repaired without delay to the 
Highlands and established his head-quarters at 
Robinson s House, two or three miles below West 
Point on the opposite or eastern bank of the river. 

Meantime the army retraced its steps, and, 
crossing the Hudson again at King s Ferry, moved 
down towards Hackensac, and encamped with 
the centre at Orangetown, or Tappan, the left 
wing resting on the river near Dobbs s Ferry, and 
Uie right extending into the country. In this po 
sition the army remained for several weeks. The 
right was commanded by General Greene, the 
left by Lord Stirling ; and the Light Infantry, a 
body of selected troops consisting of six battalions, 
was stationed in advance of the main army under 
the command of the Marquis de Lafayette. 



BENEDICT ARNOLD. 161 

A characteristic incident occurred, when Arnold 
was about leaving the army to proceed to the 
Highlands. He went to Lafayette and suggested 
that, as he had spies in New York employed at 
his own expense, their intelligence might often 
reach him more expeditiously by the way of West 
Point ; and requested that the names and address 
of those spies might be intrusted to him, by 
which means he should be enabled to facilitate 
the intercourse. Lafayette objected to the pro 
posal upon the principle, that he was bound in 
honor and conscience not to reveal the names of 
his spies to any person ; but it was not till after 
the developement of Arnold s treachery, that he 
perceived his drift in making the request. 



in. 11 



162 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY 



CHAPTER X. 

Progress of the Conspiracy on the Part of the 
British Commander. Major John Jlndre. 

ALTHOUGH the correspondence with the en 
emy had been kept up nearly eighteen months, 
it had always been under fictitious names by both 
parties. The epistolary intercourse between Ma 
jor Andre and Mrs. Arnold, begun before her 
marriage and continued after that event, afforded 
a convenient medium of communication, which 
Arnold could turn to his purpose without exciting 
the suspicions even of his wife. His advances 
were made directly to Sir Henry Clinton, through 
the hands of Major Andre ; and in this channel 
the correspondence was conducted to the end. 
Andre had the entire confidence of his com 
mander, and was for a *ime his aid-de-camp, 
till raised to a higher station. He affixed to his 
letters the signature of John Jlnderson, and Ar 
nold assumed the name of Gustavus. They 
also wrote in a disguised hand, and used other 
devices to prevent detection. 

Without giving any certain clew to his name 
-ank, or character, Arnold expressed in his first 



BENEDICT ARNOLD. 163 

letters a dissatisfaction with the French alliance, 
and touched upon other topics in such a man 
ner as he thought would please the British com 
mander and attract his attention. He likewise 
sent intelligence, which proved to be correct and 
inportant. The same was repeated at different 
times, till at length General Clinton s curiosity 
was awakened, and he employed every method 
in his power to ascertain the identity of the 
person, who was opening himself thus freely, and 
furnishing information of the greatest value. It 
was obvious, from the nature of his communi 
cations, that he was a person of consequence, 
who had a knowledge of the secret springs of 
American affairs, and was on terms of intimacy 
with the leaders. To prevent the possibility of 
detection, however, should his letters fall into 
other hands than those for which they were in 
tended, the language was extremely guarded in 
every thing that related to the situation or per 
son of the writer. 

At length, after putting together and weighing 
a variety of circumstances, Sir Henry Clinton 
was satisfied, that his hidden correspondent was 
General Arnold. He had no positive proof, 
but the evidence was so conclusive in his own 
mind, that the correspondence was continued 
upon that supposition. This discovery was not 
made, or rather this conviction was not settled 



164 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY 

till subsequently lo Arnold s trial by a court- 
martial ; and being then under a sort of disgrace, 
and not likely again to be employed, the British 
commander did not look upon him to be of so 
much importance, whatever might have been 
his military merits, that it was an object worthy 
of his attention to bring him over merely as an 
officer of rank. On the contrary, believing him 
to be more useful as a correspondent where he 
was, than he would be when joined to the British 
army, no tempting encouragements were held 
out to hasten his desertion. 

Things remained in this posture for some time, 
when the person wrote, that he should certainly 
be soon employed again in the American service, 
and made a direct offer to surrender himself, and 
in such a manner as to contribute every possible 
advantage to his Majesty s arms. In a few days 
Arnold took the command at West Point, and 
the affair then assumed a magnitude and an in 
terest, which it had not hitherto possessed. 

General Clinton now saw a prospect before 
him, and an opening for a successful operation, 
which claimed his immediate and assiduous care 
To get possession of West Point and its depen 
dent posts, with their garrisons, military stores, 
cannon, vessels, boats, and provisions, appeared 
to him an object of such vast importance, that 
tti attaining it no reasonable hazard or expense 



BENEDICT ARNOLD. 165 

ought to be spared. In the first place, it would 
bring under his control the navigable waters of 
Hudson s River, and in some degree facilitate his 
intercourse with the army in Canada, as well as 
essentially derange the communication of the 
Americans between the eastern and middle States. 
Bui other results, of much greater consequence, 
might be anticipated by taking into view the 
condition of affairs at the present stage of the 
campaign. 

A French fleet and army, under the command 
of the Chevalier de Ternay and Count de Ro- 
chambeau, had recently arrived in Rhode Island, 
and were ready to cooperate with the Americans 
in an attack upon the British, whenever a favora 
ble opportunity should offer. Washington s army 
had been augmented, and was gaining strength 
daily by new enlistments and the temporary 
service of the militia. Many reasons induced 
Sir Henry Clinton to believe, that an attempt was 
intended against New York, as soon as a union 
could be concerted between the commanders of 
the two allied forces. The information derived 
from his spies and the Tories confirmed this be 
lief. It was rumored, that Washington would 
move upon Kingsbridge and Morrisania, while 
a detachment would menace or perhaps attack 
Staten Island, and the French invade Long Is 
land and approach the city in that direction 



166 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

To execute such a scheme, it would be neces 
sary for the Americans to collect and deposit in 
some place large magazines of provisions and 
military stores. Both from its position and its 
strength, West Point would undoubtedly be chos 
en for the depot of these supplies. On this 
ground alone, therefore, it was an object of the 
greatest importance with the British commander 
<o pursue any plan, which held out a promise to 
;ut him in possession of that post. Such an 
event would not only defeat the project of a com- 
ouied arxark, but distress both the opposing ar- 
<tii<; to such a degree, by depriving them of sup 
plies, chi * would cause disaffection and deser 
tion m tin? American ranks, and excite a spirit 
of discontent if not disgust among the French. 
When these bearings of the subject are taken in 
to view, it is no wonder that Sir Henry Clinton 
should be extremely desirous to effect a purpose, 
which would crown the campaign with triumphant 
success, and be of such immense advantage to 
the King s service. 

His original idea for executing the plan was, 
that every thing should be in readiness to act 
when the two allied armies should begin their 
movements towards New York, and after the 
magazines had all been gathered into the depots 
on Hudson s River. If the posts and garrisons 
had been surrendered at this moment, it would 



BENEDICT ARNOLD. 167 

have deranged and frustrated the operations of 
the allies. Washington must have instantly re 
treated from Kingsbridge. The French troops 
on Long Island would have been left unsupport 
ed, and must either have retired precipitately ta 
their ships, or more probably have fallen into the 
hands of the British. 

Although Sir Henry Clinton kept the affair u 
profound secret to himself and two or three offi 
cers, yet all the requisite preparations were made. 
The troops were so posted that they could be put 
in motion at the shortest notice, and vessels of suit 
able dimensions and properly manned were ready 
While things were in this train, the important 
news of the defeat of General Gates in South 
Carolina reached New York. It was questiona 
ble at first what course Washington would pursue, 
in consequence of this intelligence. It was sup 
posed, that he would detach a part of his army 
to the south, and thus change the aspect of the 
campaign at the north. He was carefully watch 
ed by the spies ; and it was ascertained, that he 
did not send a man to the southward, nor make 
any apparent alteration in his previous plans. 
It was inferred, that New York was still his ob 
ject, and this inference was rendered certain 
by communications from General Arnold. The 
events, which immediately followed, will be best 
described in the words of Sir Henry Clinton, 



168 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

as contained in one of his letters to Lord George 
Germain. 

" At this period," said he, " Sir George Rod 
ney arrived with a fleet at New York, which 
made it highly probable, that Washington would 
lay aside all thoughts against this place. It be 
came therefore proper for me no longer to defer 
the execution of a project, which would lead to 
such considerable advantages, nor to lose so fair 
an opportunity as was presented, and under so 
good a mask as an expedition to the Chesapeake, 
which everybody imagined would oi course take 
place. Under this feint I prepared for a move 
ment up the North River. I laid my plan before 
Sir George Rodney and General Knyphausen, 
when Sir George, with that zeal for his Majesty s 
service, which marks his character, most hand 
somely promised to give me every naval assist 
ance in his power. 

" It became necessary at this instant, that the 
secret correspondence under feigned names, which 
had been so long carried on, should be rendered 
into certainty, both as to the person being Gener 
al Arnold commanding at West Point, and that in 
the manner in which he was to surrender himself, 
the forts, and troops to me, it should be so con 
ducted under a concerted plan between us, as 
that the King s troops sent upon this expedition 
should be under no risk of surprise or counterplot 



BENEDICT ARNOLD. 1G9 

and I was determined not to make the attempt 
but under such particular security. 

" I knew the ground on which the forts were 
placed, and the contiguous country, tolerably well, 
having been there in 1777 ; and I had received 
many hints respecting both from General Arnold 
But it was certainly necessary that a meeting 
should be held with that officer for settling the 
whole plan. My reasons, as I have described 
them, will, I trust, prove the propriety of such a 
measure on my part. General Arnold had also 
his reasons, which must be so very obvious, as to 
make it unnecessary for me to explain them 

" Many projects for a meeting were formed, 
and consequently several attempts made, in all of 
which General Arnold seemed extremely desirous, 
that some person, who had my particular confi 
dence, might be sent to him ; some man, as he 
described it in writing, of his own mensuration. 

11 1 had thought of a person under this impor 
tant description, who would gladly have under 
taken it, but that his peculiar situation at the time, 
from which I could not release him, prevented 
him from engaging in it. General Arnold finally 
insisted, that the person sent to confer with him 
should be Adjutant-General Major Andre, who 
indeed had been the person on my part, who 
managed and carried on the secret correspond 



170 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

From these facts it appears, that Andre did not 
himself propose to undertake this mission, nor en 
gage in it voluntarily, but yielded to the wishes of 
Sir Henry Clinton in conformity with the express 
solicitation of Arnold. Although this circum 
stance does not affect the nature of subsequent 
transactions, yet in its bearing on the character 
and motives of Andre it is worthy of remem 
brance. 

The parents of Andre were originally of Ge 
neva. From that place they removed to London, 
where this son was born. He was sent early in 
life to Geneva for his education, but he returned 
to London before he was eighteen years old. 
Being designed for the mercantile profession, he 
entered the counting-house of a respectable es 
tablishment in London, where he continued at 
least three or four years. During this period he 
formed an ardent attachment for a young lady, 
which was reciprocated ; but the marriage was de 
feated by the opposition of the lady s father. 
The strength of his passion for her is described in 
glowing colors, and with much enthusiasm of 
feeling, in his interesting letters written at the 
time to Miss Seward. She is there called Hono- 
ra. Four years after the engagement had been 
dissolved by parental authority, she was married 
to another person. Till that time Andre had 
eherished the delusive fancv, that some propitious 



BENEDICT ARNOLD 171 

event would change the current of his fortunes, 
and crown his wishes with success. Despair had 
now shut the door of hope. The following lines, 
from Miss Seward s poetical tribute to his memo 
ry, allude to this incident. 

" While the fair-one s sighs 
Disperse, like April storms in sunny skies, 
The firmer lover, with unswerving truth, 
To his first passion consecrates his youth ; 
Though four long years a night of absence prove, 
Yet Hope s soft star shone trembling on his love ; 
Till hovering Rumor chased the pleasing dream, 
And veiled with raven-wing the silver beam." 

From that moment Andre became disgusted 
with his pursuits, and resolved to seek relief from 
his bitter associations, and dissipate the memory 
of his sorrows, in the turmoil and dangers of war. 
He joined the British army in Canada, with a 
lieutenant s commission, and was taken prisoner at 
the capture of St. John s by General Montgom 
ery, in the autumn of 1775. He was sent with 
other prisoners to Lancaster, in Pennsylvania, 
where he remained a few months till he was ex 
changed. Not long afterwards he said, in a let 
ter to a fiiend, " I have been taken prisoner by 
the Americans, and stripped of every thing except 
the picture of Honora, which I concealed in my 
mouth. Preserving that, I yet think myself for 
tunate/ The picture had been delineated from 



172 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

the living features of the object of his affection 
by his own hand. 

To a graceful and handsome person, Andre 
added many accomplishments of mind and man 
ners. He was passionately fond of the fine arts, 
and had attained very considerable skill in draw 
ng and painting. A journal of his travels and 
campaigns in America, which he kept from the 
time of his first arrival in Canada, contained live 
ly and picturesque sketches of the people, their 
dresses, houses, and other objects, illustrating the 
habits of life, customs, and amusements of the 
Canadians, Americans, and Indians ; and also 
drawings of animals, birds, insects, trees, and 
plants, each in its appropriate colors. Land 
scapes, vie\vs, and plans of places were interspers 
ed, and connected by a narrative and written 
descriptions. This journal was seen and pe 
rused in Philadelphia, while the British had pos 
session of that city. To a taste for poetry he 
united a love of elegant letters, and his attain 
ments in the various branches of literature were 
extensive. 

His epistolary writings, so far as specimens 
of them have been preserved, show a delicacy 
of sentiment, a playfulness of imagination, and an 
e&se of style, which could proceed only from na 
tive refinement and a high degree of culture. 

These attractions, connected with an affable 



BENEDICT ARNOLD. 173 

deportment, and the address of it perfect gentle 
man, gained him ready access to all circles, and 
won the hearts of numerous friends. A favorite 
in the army, and everywhere admired in the 
walks of social life, his merits were soon dis 
covered by those, who had power to reward them. 
Unaided by any other recommendation, than 
that of his own character, he was received intc 
the military family of Major-General Grey as 
aid-de-camp, soon after his release from captivity. 
In this station he remained till General Grey 
returned to Europe, when he was transferred 
to the same post in the family of Sir Henry 
Clinton. 

Such was the confidence, and the respect for his 
talents, which he inspired in Sir Henry Clinton, 
that, when a vacancy occurred in the office of 
adjutant-general by the resignation of Lord Raw- 
don, he appointed Andre to fill the place at the 
head of the department. Andre was now only 
a captain in the service, and, the rank of major 
being requisite for an adjutant-general, Sir Hen 
ry Clinton wrote to the minister on the subject, 
and requested that he might accordingly be pro 
moted. The minister declined complying with 
the solicitation, on the ground that Andre was 
too young an officer for such an elevation. In 
reply, General Clinton intimated surprise and a 
little displeasure, that his request should be thus 



174 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

turned aside ; and said he could not fix his choice 
on any other person so suitable for the office, 
and therefore he should continue to employ An 
dre to discharge its duties, and should forbear 
for the present to make any other appointment. 

This representation was successful. The rank 
of major was conferred on Andre, and Sir Henry 
Clinton then applied in form to have him com 
missioned by the King, as adjutant-general of 
the army in America. The letter containing his 
application was dated only three weeks preced 
ing the capture of Andre. Hence he did not 
receive the commission before his death, although 
he had for nearly a year filled the office of 
adjutant-general. 



BENEDICT ARNOLD 175 



CHAPTER XI. 

Various Schemes for effecting an Intervieiv be~ 
tween Arnold and Andre. Their Meeting 
within the American Lines. 

AFTER it had been decided, that Andre should 
go out and meet Arnold, various plans were de 
vised for bringing about the interview in a man 
ner, which should not excite suspicion. A? Arnold 
had no associate, but kept his designs closely 
concealed within his own breast, the management 
of the affair on his part was extremely delicate 
and difficult, and required consummate address. 
It was absolutely necessary that there should be 
intermediate agents, ignorant not only of his pur 
poses, but of the tendency of their own acts. 
Every thing must seem to be done openly and 
for the public good, and the actors must at least 
suppose themselves to be engaged in an honor 
able service. 

In writing to Andre under the fictitious name 
of Gustavus, on the 30th of August, Arnold told 
him that he expected soon to procure an inter- 
view, when, said he, " you will be able to settle 
your commercial plan I hope agreeably to both 
parties " Alluding to himself in the third person. 



176 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

he went on to say, " He is still of opinion, that 
his first proposal is by no means unreasonable, 
and makes no doubt, when he has a conference 
with you, that you will close with it. He ex 
pects when you meet, that you will be fully au 
thorized from your house ; that the risks and 
profits of the copartnership may be fully and 
clearly understood. A speculation might at this 
time be easily made to some advantage with 
ready money." In this disguise of a pretended 
mercantile transaction he escaped the chance of 
detection, and made known by hints, that could 
not be mistaken, what he expected as the re 
ward of his perfidy. As Sir Henry Clinton de 
termined to risk nothing, till he should have all 
the security which the nature of the case admit 
ted, so Arnold resolved to keep the matter in his 
own hands, till a definite sum of money should 
be agreed upon and promised, and all the pre 
liminaries on that head settled. This could be 
done only by a personal arrangement between 
Arnold himself, and some individual deputed for 
the purpose by the British commander. 

Arnold s first plan was to receive Andre with 
in the lines, and even at his own head-quarters, 
as a person devoted to the American interests, 
who had the means of procuring important in 
telligence from the enemy, and was disposed from 
patriotic motives to take some hazards in pro- 



BENEDICT ARNOLD 

nioting so valuable an end. And here it may 
be observed, that this was a ground on which 
Arnold might proceed with safety, inasmuch 
as it was well known in the army, that the 
commanders resorted to every practicable mode 
of procuring intelligence, and employed secret 
agents in that service. Under this guise, there 
fore, all the preliminaries of a meeting with An 
dre were conducted as far as it was necessary 
to use the intermediate assistance of persons with 
in the American lines. 

At this time a detachment of cavalry, com 
manded by Colonel Sheldon, was stationed ~i 
the outposts on the west side of Hudson s Riv 
er. Colonel Sheldon s quarters, with a part of 
the detachment, were at Salem. Lieutenant- 
Colonel Jameson and Major Tallmadge, with the 
remainder, were at North Castle. Notice had 
been given to Sheldon by Arnold, that he ex 
pected a person from New York, whom he de 
signed to meet at Sheldon s quarters, with the 
prospect of opening through the agency of that 
person an important channel for procuring intel 
ligence. Should such a person arrive, he request 
ed Sheldon to show him proper civilities, and 
send information of the same to head-quarters 
at Robinson s House. 

A letter was then mmediately despatched to 
Andre, acquainting him with this arrangement, 

III. 12 



178 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY 

and telling him that if he could contrive to make 
his way to the American outposts above White 
Plains, he would meet with no obstacles after 
wards, and would be secure under the protection 
of Colonel Sheldon, who was prepared to re 
ceive him. Whether Andre was deterred by the 
hazard of the undertaking, or any other cause, is 
not known, but he did not choose to pursue this 
course. He wrote a letter to Colonel Sheldon, 
however, dated at New York on the 7th of Sep 
tember, in which he said ; 

" I am told my name is made known to you, 
and that I may hope your indulgence in permit 
ting me to meet a friend near your outposts. I 
will endeavor to obtain permission to go out with 
a flag, which will be sent to Dobbs s Ferry on 
Monday next, the llth instant, at twelve o clock, 

where I shall be happy to meet Mr. G . 

Should I not be allowed to go, the officer who 
is to command the escort, between whom and 
myself no distinction need be made, can speak 
on the affair. Let me entreat you, Sir, to favor 
a matter so interesting to the parties concerned, 
and which is of so private a nature, that the pub 
lic on neither side can be injured by it." 

This letter was signed John Anderson, and 
was in some sort an enigma to Sheldon, who had 
not heard the name of the person expected 
from New York. Supposing it probable, how- 



BENEDICT ARNOLD. 179 

ever, that the letter came from the same person 
he enclosed it to Arnold, telling him that his own 
health was such as not to allow him to ride 10 
Dobbs s Ferry by the time appointed, and ex 
pressing a hope that Arnold would either go him 
self or employ some other trusty messenger. 

Arnold replied to Sheldon in a very plausible 
way, but seemed a little embarrassed in clearing 
up the mystical parts of the letter, especially the 
passage about an escort, which appeared not to 
tally with the idea of a person coming out on 
such a mission as that, which was pretended to 
be the object of Anderson s visit. He said to 
Sheldon, that he had been obliged to write with 
great caution, arid had signed his letter Gustavus, 
to prevent any discovery in case it should fall in 
to the enemy s hands ; that since there were 
several things in Anderson s letter, which ap 
peared mysterious, and as Sheldon was unwell, 
and he had himself business at Verplanck s Point, 
he would proceed to Dobbs s Ferry and meet the 
flag. He added, that, if any occurrence should 
prevent the expected meeting at Dobbs s Ferry, 
and Anderson should still come within the out 
posts, he wished Sheldon to send him word by 
an express, and also to permit Anderson to fol 
low with an escort of two or three horsemen, 
giving as a reason that it was difficult for hirr 
to ride so far as Sheldon s quarters. As a far 



180 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

ther cover, he requested Colonel Sheldon him 
self to accompany Anderson, if his health would 
permit ; and even desired that his letters might 
be shown to General Parsons, who was expect 
ed daily to come from Connecticut, and take 
command of a body of troops in the neighbor 
hood of Sheldon s station. All these particu 
lars were artfully contrived to blind the eyes of 
such persons, as might become acquainted with 
the business, and to give it the air of a transac 
tion for public objects. 

Andre s letter to Sheldon, when divested of 
its disguise, will be seen to have had no other 
object, than to communicate the intelligence, that 
he should be at Dobbs s Ferry at a certain time. 
He presumed the letter would be sent to Arnold, 
who would understand its meaning, and conduct 
his plans accordingly. So it turned out. Arnold 
left home in the afternoon of the 10th, went 
down the river in his barge to King s Ferry, and 
passed the night at the house of Joshua H. 
Smith, who resided about two miles and a half 
from the Ferry near the road leading to Haver- 
straw. Early the next morning he proceeded to 
Dobbs s Ferry, at which place Andre had ar 
rived according to his appointment, accompanied 
by Colonel Beverly Robinson, to whom the se 
cret had already been intrusted by Sir Henry 
Clinton, probably at the suggestion or at least 



BENEDICT A Jl N O L D . 181 

with the knowledge of Arnold. An accident oc 
curred, which prevented the interview, and wai, 
near putting an end to the plot itself. When 
Arnold was approaching the point of destination 
by water, he was fired upon by the British gun 
boats stationed in that part of the river, and so 
closely pursued that his life was in danger and 
he was on the point of being taken prisoner. 
By some oversight the boats had not been with 
drawn, or it may have been expected that Ar 
nold would come with a flag, which appears not 
to have been the case. 

Having landed on the west side of the river, 
he went down to the Ferry, where he remained 
till night. Whether Andre and Robinson were 
at the landing-place on the opposite side, or 
whether they came up from New York in a ves 
sel and remained on board, has not been ascer 
tained ; but at any rate no meeting took place. 

Not forgetting his accustomed caution, Arnold 
wrote a letter to General Washington while at 
Dobbs s Ferry. His passage down the river had 
bean in so public a manner, that it could not fail 
to be known ; and he feared suspicions might be 
raised concerning his motives and objects. Fill 
ing up the principal part of his letter with mat 
ters of some importance appertaining to his com 
mand, he said, as if incidentally, that he had come 
down to that place in order to establish signals, 



182 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

which were to be observed in case the enemy as 
cended the river, and also to give additional direc 
tions respecting the guard-boats, and to have a 
beacon fixed on a hill about five miles beJow 
King s Ferry, which would be necessary to 
alarm the country. These reasons were plausible, 
and afforded apparent proofs of his vigilance, rath 
er than grounds for suspecting any sinister de 
signs. 

Being foiled in this attempt to mature his 
scheme of treachery, he left Dobbs s Ferry a 
little after sunset, went up the river in the night, 
and reached his quarters at Robinson s House 
before morning. Andre and Colonel Robinson 
returned to New York. Another appointment for 
an interview was now to be made, and the time 
and place to be fixed upon by the two parties 
and in this a double circumspection was neces 
sary, since it was known to Arnold that within a 
few days General Washington would cross the 
river at King s Ferry on his way to meet Count 
de Rochambeau at Hartford. It was essential, 
therefore, so to manage the business, that no sus 
picious intercourse should be carried on at thai 
time between the lines, which should attract his 
notice or come to his knowledge. 

Guarding himself on this point, Arnold found 
an opportunity of writing to Andre two days 
after he returned from Dobbs s Ferry, clothing 



BENEDICT ARNOLD. 183 

his meaning in his usual ambiguous style of a 
mercantile correspondence. The first object of 
this communication was to caution Andre not to 
reveal any thing to Colonel Sheldon or any other 
person, intimating that Andre s former letter to 
that officer had been a little too free. " I have no 
confidant/ said he ; " I have made one too many 
already, who has prevented some profitable spec 
ulations." He then said, that a person, in whom 
confidence might be placed, would be at the 
landing on the east side of Dobbs s Ferry, on 
Wednesday evening the 20th instant; and, if An 
dre would be there, this person would conduct 
him to a place of safety, where Arnold promised 
to meet him. He added, "It will be necessary 
for you to be in disguise. I cannot be more ex 
plicit at present. Meet me if possible. You 
may rest assured, that, if there is no danger in 
passing your lines, you will be perfectly safe 
where I propose a meeting." As it was possible 
that Andre might pursue the original plan of 
coming into the lines, Arnold provided for this 
contingency by writing to Major Tallmadge, who 
was at one of the extreme outposts at North 
Castle, and instructing him, if a person by the 
name of John Anderson arrived at his station, to 
send him without delay to head-quarters escorted 
by two dragoons. 



184 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

Being anxious to press the matter forward with 
all possible despatch, Sir Henry Clinton had sent 
Colonel Robinson up the river on board the Vul 
ture sloop-of-war, before the above letter to 
Andre reached New York, with orders to proceed 
as high as Teller s Point, and thus afford the 
means of a more easy intercourse. 

When arrived there, the first thing requisite 
was to acquaint Arnold with the fact of his being 
on board. This was done in the following man 
ner. He wrote a letter to General Putnam, pre 
tending a belief that he was then in the High 
lands, and expressing a wish to have a conference 
with him on an affair of private business. This 
letter he enclosed in another to General Arnold, 
requesting him to hand it to General Putnam, or, 
if Putnam had gone away, to return it to him ; 
and subjoining, that in such case he was persuaded 
General Arnold, " from the humane and generous 
character he bore," would grant him the same 
favor that he asked of General Putnam. These 
letters were sent by a flag to the officer com 
manding at Verplanck s Point, the Vulture being 
then in sight of that post and only six or seven 
miles below. So much care and art were used 
in wording the letters, that, had they by any acci 
dent fallen into other hands, no one could have 
imagined them to contain a hidden meaning, or 
to be intended to promote an improper purpose 



BENEDICT ARNOLD. 185 

A large amount of Colonel Beverly Robinson s 
property, in consequence of his adhering to the 
royal cause, had been confiscated by the State of 
New York. The house in which Arnold resided 
and had his head-quarters, and also an extensive 
tract of land in the neighborhood, belonged to 
Robinson. It was natural, therefore, that he 
should take measures to retain or recover this 
property, and a correspondence on the subject 
could not in itself be looked upon as extraordi 
nary or suspicious. This was probably the reason 
why Arnold selected him to be a partner in the 
management of his plot, especially since it was 
necessary that some third person should act in 
an immediate capacity. 

An occurrence, unforeseen by Colonel Robin 
son at the time of his writing, interposed new 
embarrassments. It happened that General Wash 
ington commenced his journey to Hartford on that 
very day, and crossed the Hudson at King s 
Ferry but a few hours after the flag-boat from tine 
Vulture had brought the letters to Verplanck s 
Point. Arnold came down the river in his barge 
the same afternoon to meet General Washington 
at that place, as a mark of respect to the Com 
mander-in-chief, and doubtless as a precautionary 
step on his own part. He had received Robin 
son s letter just before he left home. Several 
persons were then with him, and he mentioned to 



186 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

Colonel Lamb the nature of its contents, and the 
name of the person from whom it came. Lamb 
seemed a little surprised that Beverly Robinson 
should open a correspondence of that sort, and 
told Arnold that the civil authority was alone 
competent to act on such a subject. 

Washington and the officers of his suite crossed 
the river in Arnold s barge. The Vulture was in 
full view, and while Washington was looking at it 
through his glass, and speaking in a low tone of 
voice to the persons near him, it was recollected 
afterwards that Arnold manifested uneasiness and 
emotion. Another incident made a still stronger 
impression. There was a daily expectation of 
the appearance of a French squadron on the 
coast under Count de Guichen, whose arrival was 
anxiously desired. The conversation turned upon 
that topic, and Lafayette said in a tone of pleas 
antry, " General Arnold, since you have a corre 
spondence with the enemy, you must ascertain as 
soon as possible what has become of Guichen." 
This was in allusion to the freedom of intercourse 
between New York and West, Point, by means of 
the water communication, and the frequent ex 
change of newspapers, which was kept up through 
that channel during the war. Arnold seemed 
confused, and hastily demanded what he meant, 
but immediately controlled himself, and the boat 
came o the shore. At a future day these things 



BENEDICT ARNOLD. 187 

were brought to the minds of the officers ; and it 
was evident to them, that for the moment Arnold 
thought his plot was detected, and that this occa 
sion had been chosen for seizing and securing his 
person. 

This happened on Monday, the 18th of Sep 
teinber. Arnold accompanied Washington to 
Peekskill, where the whole party passed the 
night. Early the next morning Washington and 
his retinue pursued their route to Hartford, and 
Arnold returned to West Point. In the mean 
time, however, he had shown to General Wash 
ington the letter received the day before from 
Colonel Robinson, and asked his advice as to its 
contents. This step he was prompted to take 
in consequence of General Washington s having 
been informed, that a flag had come up from the 
Vulture with a letter addressed to him. It would, 
moreover, give an air of frankness to his conduct, 
and tend to remove any lurking distrust to which 
circumstances might have administered encour 
agement. 

To all appearance the letter related only to 
Robinson s private affair, and merely contained 
a request for an interview respecting that matter. 
Washington did not approve the proposal, and 
told Arnold that such a conference would afford 
grounds for suspicion in the minds of some peo 
ple, and advised him to avoid it ; saying further, 



188 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

that the subject in which Colonel Robinson was 
interested did not come within the powers of a 
military officer, and that the civil government of 
the State was the only authority to which he could 
properly apply. 

After this decision it would have been too 
hazardous to prosecute Robinson s project for a 
meeting; and being now able to make use of 
Washington s name, Arnold wrote an answer to 
Robinson s letter, which he despatched openly by 
an officer in a flag-boat to the Vulture. This 
answer consisted of two letters separately sealed, 
one enclosed within the other, and both directed 
to Colonel Robinson. The outer envelope stated 
In general terms, that he had consulted the 
Commander-in-chief, who disapproved the propo 
sition, and said it was a business wholly belonging 
to the civil authority. The enclosed letter was 
more explicit, giving notice that he should in the 
night of the 20th instant send a person to Dobbs s 
Ferry, or on board the Vulture, who would be 
furnished with a boat and a flag of truce, and 
whose secrecy and honor might be depended 
upon. He likewise advised, that the Vulture 
should remain where she then was, till the time 
appointed. In a postscript he added ; " I ex 
pect General Washington to lodge here on Satur 
day night next, and I will lay before him any 
matter you may wish to communicate." This 



BENEDICT ARNOLD. 189 

hint had the double aim of giving the letter an 
appearance of being written on public business, 
and of making known the time when General 
Washington would return from Hartford. 

Within this second letter was enclosed a copy 
of the one heretofore mentioned as having been 
sent to Andre, appointing a place and time of 
meeting at Dobbs s Ferry. The three letters 
were immediately forwarded to Sir Henry Clinton, 
who received them the same night. With his 
consent Andre accordingly set off the next morn 
ing, that is, on ihe 20th of September, and went 
to Dobbs s Ferry, li was his first intention to 
write to Captain Sutherland, the commander of 
the Vulture, and request him to drop down the 
river with the vessel to that place, but, it being 
late when he arrived at the Ferry, he resolved to 
push forward to the Vulture ; and to this he was 
the more inclined, as Arnold in his letter to Rob 
inson had said, that he should either send a per 
son to Dobbs s Ferry, or on board the Vulture. 
Andre reached the vessel at seven o clock the 
s line evening. 

When he left New York, he was positively in 
structed by Sir Henry Clinton not to change his 
dress, as proposed by General Arnold, nor to go 
within the American posts, nor on any account to 
lake papers. It was his expectation, indeed, that 
Arnold would himsslf come off to the Vulture, 



190 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

notwithstanding his intimation about sending a 
third person, and that the business between them 
would be there transacted. 

It appears, however, that Arnold had contrived 
a different scheme, which could not be explained 
in his disguised correspondence without running 
too great a risk, and which perhaps he did not 
care to explain. His particular reasons can only 
be conjectured. Probably he had no other end 
in view than his ow r n safety. However this may 
be, it was his design to induce Andre to cross the 
river, and hold the interview on the western side 
near the American lines, if not within them. 

Preparations for executing this scheme had 
already been ingeniously contrived. General 
Howe, the immediate predecessor of Arnold as 
commandant at West Point, had been in the habit 
of employing Joshua H. Smith to procure intelli 
gence from New York. Mr. Smith s respectable 
standing in society, the zeal he had shown in the 
American cause, his extensive acquaintance with 
people in different ranks of life, and the place of 
his residence on the confines of the American 
posts, all conspired to render his services impor 
tant. He could select agents, and embrace op 
portunities, not within the power of any othei 
person. General Howe had recommended him 
as a gentleman in whom confidence might be 
placed, and whose aid would be valuable. 



BENEDICT ARNOLD. 191 

These hints were enough for Arnold, and his 
quick perception of character enabled him to 
discover in Smith an instrument well suited to his 
purpose. He began by flattering him with par 
ticular civilities, asking him to head-quarters> 
visiting him often at his own house, and consulting 
him on subjects of some moment. He continued, 
as General Howe had done, to solicit his agency 
in keeping up a chain of intelligence and watch 
ing the movements of the enemy on the river, 
and furnished him with a written permission to 
pass the guards at all times. Arnold at length told 
Smith, that he expected a man from New York, 
who would be the bearer of very important intelli 
gence, and with whom it was essential for him to 
have a personal conference, but for obvious reason,-, 
the affair must be kept a profound secret ; intimat 
ing at the same time, that he might want Smith s 
assistance in conducting the man within the lines. 

Things were in this train, when Mrs. Arnold 
with her infant child came from Philadelphia to 
join her husband at West Point. On account of 
the heat of the weather, and the fatigue of the 
journey, she travelled by short stages each day, 
in her own carriage, and it was previously agreed 
that she should pass the last night at the house of 
Mr. Smith. Here Arnold met her, and she went 
up the river with him in his barge to head-quarters 
only two days before General Washington com 
menced his tour to Hartford. 



192 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

Arnold having resolved, that Andre should be 
brought on shore from the Vulture, it became 
necessary to provide a place for concealing him, 
in case the length of time required to finish the 
business in hand, or any accident, should prevent 
his prompt and safe return. While on this visit 
he persuaded Smith to permit the rendezvous to 
be held at his house. To prepare the way, all 
the persons residing in the house except the do 
mestics, were to be removed. Under pretence of 
paying a visit to his connexions in Fishkill, more 
than thirty miles distant, Smith went with his wife 
and family the next day to that town. Leaving 
his family at Fishkill he immediately returned, 
and, as Robinson s house was near the road, he 
called on General Arnold according to his previous 
request. 

Here it was arranged, that Smith should go on 
board the Vulture, or down to Dobbs s Ferry, in 
the night of the next day, and bring on shore 
the person, who was expected to be there. Or 
ders had been given to Major Kierse, the quarter 
master at Stony Point, to supply Smith with a 
boat whenever he should want one, and Arnold 
took care to give him the customary pass for a 
flag of truce, and such letters as would be under 
stood on board the Vulture. With these papers 
Smith went back to his own house the same 



BENEDICT ARNOLD. 193 

For some reason, which cannot now be ex 
plained, he did not go on board the next night, 
as was at first intended. Tt is probable, that he 
was disappointed in his attempt to procure a boat, 
and also to find boatmen who were willing to ac 
company him. Samuel Colquhoun, one of his 
tenants to whom he applied for the purpose in the 
course of the day, refused to go with him, alleg 
ing a fear of being taken up by the guard-boats. 
Thus defeated in his object, he hastened to in 
form General Arnold as soon as possible, and 
sent Colquhoun as an express, who rode all night 
and got to Robinson s House just before sunrise. 
The General was not up, but the messenger sent 
in the letter he had brought from Smith, and was 
told that no answer was required, and he might 
go back as quick as he could. In the early part 
of the day Arnold himself went down the river 
to Verplanck s Point, and thence to Smith s 
House. 

Let us now return to the Vulture. Andr6 
had remained on board all night, anxiously ex 
pecting to meet General Arnold there, according 
to the tenor of his letter. He was greatly disap 
pointed that no person appeared, and he wrote 
the next morning to Sir Henry Clinton in some 
what of a desponding tone, saying that this was 
the second excursion he had made without any 
ostensible reason, and a third would infallibly fix 

in. 13 



194 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

suspicions. He thought it best, therefore, to stay 
where he was for a short time at least, undei 
pretence of sickness, and try further expedients, 
It was also in his opinion possible, that Arnold, 
uninformed of his having come up to the vessel, 
might have sought to meet him at Dobbs s Ferry 
as first proposed. 

An opportunity presented itself by which he 
was enabled to communicate the knowledge of 
his being on board. During the day of his ar 
rival a flag of truce had been exhibited at Tel 
ler s Point, inviting, as it was supposed, a pacific 
intercourse for some object with the ship. The 
captain sent off a boat with another flag, but as 
soon as it approached the shore it was fired upon 
by several armed men hitherto concealed. This 
treacherous violation of the laws of war was 
deemed a proper subject for a remonstrance, and 
a sufficient reason for an open transmission of 
a flag with a letter to the American commanding 
officer. Such a despatch was indited and signed 
by Captain Sutherland, but it was in the hand 
writing of Andre, and countersigned John Ander 
son as secretary. The letter was dated on the 
morning of the 21st of September. 

In consequence of Smith s express the night 
before, Arnold arrived at Verplanck s Point just 
as the flag-boat had returned to the Vulture, and 
he received the letter from Colonel Livingston, 



BENEDICT ARNOLD. 195 

the officer commanding at that post. Knowing 
the handwriting, he understood its design, and 
hastened to prepare for sending Smith on board 
the ensuing night. Crossing over to Stony Point 
and finding no boat in readiness, he despatched 
an officer in his own barge to the Continental 
Village, which stood near a creek that emptied 
itself into the Hudson above Stony Point, with 
orders to bring down a row-boat from that place. 
Then directing Major Kierse, the quartermaster 
at Stony Point, to send the boat to a certain 
place in Haverstraw Creek the moment it should 
arrive, he proceeded to Smith s House. 

The affair was now reduced within a definite 
compass. Andre was to be brought on shore 
from the Vulture. All the preparations had 
been made, Smith was ready, and nothing was 
wanting but two boatmen, who would voluntarily 
engage in the enterprise. To remove all obsta 
cles on this score, Smith had previously agreed 
upon a countersign with the commanders of the 
guard-boats, who had been ordered by Colonel 
Livingston not to stop him, should he pass them 
in the night, as he was employed by the General 
to obtain intelligence of an important nature with 
in the enemy s lines. These guard-boats were 
stationed in the river, whenever a British vessel 
of war came up, for the double purpose of pre 
venting an intercourse with the shore, and oh- 



196 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY 

structing the conveyance of supplies by the To 
ries and disaffected persons. The countersign, 
or watchword, adopted on the present occasion, 
was Congress. 

Towards evening, Smith called Samuel Col- 
quhoun, and told him that General Arnold wish 
ed to speak with him. Colquhoun went into the 
house, where he found Arnold, who requested him 
to accompany Mr. Smith in a boat to the Vulture. 
He at once declined, and gave as a reason, that 
having been deprived of his rest all the preced 
ing night by riding express, he was fatigued, and 
could not endure the labor and want of sleep 
He hinted likewise his fears of being out in the 
night on such a mission, and the danger to which 
he would be exposed if taken up by the guard- 
boats ; and said he should always be willing to 
render any service to the General when he could 
do it with propriety, intimating that he should 
not object to go in the morning with a flag by 
daylight. Arnold replied, that the morning would 
be too late ; that there was a gentleman on board 
the vessel whom he must see in the night, and 
who must be brought on shore ; that it was a 
business of the utmost importance to the coun 
try, and that if he was a friend to his country 
he would not hesitate a moment in complying 
with the request Smith joined in the same strain, 
and asked the man if he would not do what the 



BENEDICT ARNOLD. 197 

General desired for the public good, and if he did 
not think it his duty, especially as he was himself 
to go with him and run an equal risk. 

Colquhoun wavered a little at these representa 
tions, but still he was reluctant, and started new 
objections, and could not understand why it was 
necessary to go in the dark on such an errand, 
which he knew to be irregular and hazardous. 
Arnold assured him, that the matter was not a se 
cret, but well known to the officers ; that Major 
Kierse had provided a boat ; that the command 
ers of the guard-boats were acquainted with the 
business, knew the countersign, and would let 
the boat pass without molestation ; and that it 
was necessary to go in the night and bring the 
man on shore secretly, in order to prevent the 
transaction from becoming generally divulged to 
the inhabitants, thus making a noise and spread 
ing rumors, which would obstruct if not defeat 
the great object he had in view for the public 
benefit. 

At last Colquhoun said, apparently to get rid of 
further importunity, that he could not manage 
the boat alone. Smith told him to call his broth 
er. Joseph Colquhoun, which he did ; but while 
absent he and his brother agreed, that they would 
not go. When they returned, Joseph Colquhoun 
was first met by Smith, who used the same ar 
guments that had been applied to his brother, but 



198 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

with little apparent success. Arnold tried anew 
the force of persuasion and of appeals to their 
patriotism. It was all in vain. The brothers 
seemed resolute and immovable. Arnold then 
resorted to another mode of carrying his point, 
which proved more effectual. He declared to 
them, that if they persisted in then obstinacy, 
and refused to give their assistance when requir 
ed for the good of the country, he should look 
upon them as disaffected to the common cause, 
and put them under arrest. It was no won 
der, that a menace of this sort, from a person 
so high in rank, should quiet the scruples or at 
least secure the acquiescence of these simple la 
borers. They consented to comply with his re 
quest, or rather to obey his orders. As an en 
couragendent, and a reward for their services, he 
promised to give each of them fifty pounds of 
flour ; but the promise was never fulfilled. 

It was past eleven o clock in the night when 
Smith and the two boatmen arrived at the land 
ing, near the mouth of Haverstraw Creek, to 
which place Major Kierse had sent the boat. 
They muffled the oars by General Arnold s di 
rections. The night was tranquil and serene, 
the stars shone brightly, the water was unruffled 
except by the gentle current, which was hardly 
perceptible in that wide part of the river, and 
the boat glided along silently, without being 



BENEDICT ARNOLD. 199 

discovered or meeting with any hindrance, till 
they were hailed by a hoarse seaman s voice 
from the Vulture, inquiring who they were and 
whither bound. Smith answered, that they were 
from King s Ferry and on their way to Dobbs s 
Ferry. The boat was immediately ordered along 
side, and a torrent of uncourtly epithets, pecu 
liar to the sailor s vocabulary, was poured out 
upon them for presuming to approach one of his 
Majesty s ships under the cover of darkness. 
While the officer of the watch was uttering this 
nautical salutation, Smith clambered up the ship s 
side. It is to be understood, of course, that no 
person in the vessel had any knowledge of the 
matter in hand except Captain Sutherland, Rob 
inson, and Andre. The noise was heard below, 
and a boy came on deck with orders from the 
captain, that the man should be shown into the 
cabin. 

When Smith entered the captain s apartment, 
he there found Beverly Robinson, whom he 
Uaew, having previously been acquainted with 
aim. A letter from Arnold was then presented 
to Robinson, in which Arnold said ; (i This will 
be delivered to you by Mr. Smith, who will con 
duct you to a place of safety. Neither Mr. 
Smith nor any other person shall be made ac 
quainted with your proposals. If they (which 
\ doubt not) are of such a nature, that I can of- 



200 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY 

ficially take notice of them, I shall do it with 
pleasure. I take it for granted Colonel Robin 
son will not propose any thing, that is not for the 
interest of the United States as well as of him 
self." It was the object of this letter to guard 
against accidents, in case any occurrence should 
prevent Smith s getting on board, and his papers 
should be examined. It might also be intend 
ed as a blind to Smith himself, who supposed 
Beverly Robinson to be the person he was to 
bring on shore, as he informs us in his narra 
tive ; although it is manifest from one of Smith s 
passports, that he at least supposed Beverly Rob 
inson might possibly depute a person by the name 
of John Anderson to take his place. 

Smith had two papers signed by Arnold ; one 
authorizing him " to go to Dobbs s Ferry, with 
three men and a boy in a boat with a flag, to 
carry some letters of a private nature for a gen 
tleman in New York, and to return immediately, 
he having permission to go at such hours and 
times as the tide and his business suit ; " the 
other, granting " permission to Joshua Smith, Mr. 
John Anderson, and two servants, to pass and 
repass the guards near King s Ferry at all times." 

These papers were shown to Robinson, by 
whom they were understood ; or rather they had 
no other meaning, than to communicate the idea, 
that the writer expected Andre to come on shore 



BENEDICT ARNOLD 201 

(and not Robinson as he had held out to Smith), 
and to secure the boat against being detained by 
the water-guards, should it happen that by any 
mistake they had not been furnished with the 
private countersign. 

After Smith had sat a few minutes in the cab 
hi, Robinson left him in conversation with Cap 
tain Sutherland, and in about a quarter of an 
hour returned with another person, whom he in 
troduced as Mr. Anderson. Assigning ill health 
as a reason why he could not himself go on shore, 
he said this gentleman would go in his stead, 
who, being perfectly acquainted with the business 
upon which the consultation was to be held, 
would be able to give all the information and 
make all the arrangements desired. 

As Arnold was expected on board in person, it 
was doubtless a subject of deliberation whether 
any one should leave the ship and run the hazard 
of going on shore, with no other pledge of pro 
tection, than the word of a man, who was seek 
ing to betray his country. It has been said, that 
Robinson was decidedly opposed to such a step, 
but was overruled by Andre, whose eagerness 
to accomplish the enterprise he had undertaken 
made him regardless of danger. Although clothed 
in his uniform, he was so completely enveloped 
with a blue great-coat, that no part of his dress 
could be seen ; and Smith always affirmed, that 



202 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

he had no surmise of his real name or character 
but looked upon him as a private individual act 
ing an intermediate part between Robinson and 
Arnold. 

The boat in which Smith came down the riv 
er was large, and, being rowed by two men only, 
the Captain of the Vulture proposed that one of 
his boats should go out armed and tow the other , 
but this was strongly objected to by Smith and 
Andre. It was easy to discover, that the less 
noise the more safety. The reason assigned by 
Sir Henry Clinton in his despatch, for their de 
clining this aid was, that it would be inconsistent 
with a flag of truce. As there was no pretence 
of a flag of truce, except in the formality of Ar 
nold s passport, this reason was supposititious. 

Andre and Smith descended into the boat to 
gether. The watermen had not left it. Few 
words were spoken as they moved slowly to 
wards the shore. They landed at the foot of a 
mountain, called the Long Clove, on the western 
margin of the river, about six miles below Stony 
Point. 

To this place Arnold had ridden on horseback 
from Smith * House, attended by one of Smith s 
servants ou another horse. The exact spot for 
the rendezvous had been agreed upon, and, as 
soon as the boat landed, Smith went up the 
bank, groping his way in dirkness, and found 



BENEDICT ARNOLD. 203 

Arnold not only shrouded in the shades of night, 
but concealed among thick bushes and trees. 
He then returned and conducted Andre to the 
same place. At Arnold s request he left them 
together, and joined the men again at the boat. 

Overcome with fatigue, and unconscious of 
any heavier burden upon their spirits, the water 
men found relief from their toils in sleep. Smith 
was wakeful and little at ease. Mortified and 
displeased, as he says, at not being permitted to 
be present at the interview, after all the pains he 
had taken and sacrifices he had made to bring 
it about, he was not in a humor to draw solace 
from tranquillity and meditation ; and the damps 
of an autumnal night, piercing a frame that had 
been for some time shivering under the disci 
pline of a tertian ague, were not likely to com 
municate soothing influences. No wonder that 
the hours seemed to move on leaden wings, and 
his stock of patience was soon exhausted. He 
went into the bushes and reminded the plotters 
of treason, that the night was far spent, and the 
ooat must depart from its present station before 
daylight should appear. 

Roused by this intimation, and not yet hav 
ing entirely effected the object of their meeting, 
the conspirators consented, that he and the boat 
men should return up the river. Meantime An 
dre mounted the servant s horse, and accompan- 



204 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

led Arnold to Smith s Hoase, being a distance of 
three or four miles along the road leading through 
the village of Haverstraw. It was dark, and 
the voice of the sentinel demanding the coun 
tersign was the first indication to Andre, that he 
was within the American lines. This circum 
stance was unexpected, and he now felt the real 
danger of his situation. It was too late to change 

o o 

his purpose, and he could only nerve himself 
with fortitude to meet whatever- peril might await 
him. Just as the day dawned, they came to 
Smith s House ; and in a little time Smith ar 
rived, having brought the boat to Crom Island 
in Haverstraw Creek, where it was left. The 
boatmen retired to their homes. 

Should the question be asked, why Andre did 
not return on board from the Long Clove, in the 
same way he came on shore, the true answer 
undoubtedly is, that his business with Arnold 
was not finished, and could not be brought to a 
close soon enough to allow the boat to go and 
come again during the night. Since Arnold 
himself went down to meet Andre at the Clove, 
it may be inferred, that he thought every thing 
might possibly be completed there ; otherwise ho 
would have been more likely to wait for him at 
Smith s House, and have him conducted thither 
through the safest and most expeditious channel, 
which would have been by water up Haverstraw 



BENEDICT ARNOLD. 205 

Creek to the place where the boat was ultimate 
ly left, which was but a short distance from the 
house. It is equally certain, however, that he 
had anticipated a want of time for doing at the 
landing-place all that was requisite ; as he had 
provided for such a contingency, first, by having 
Smith s family removed, secondly, by taking a 
spare horse w T ith him to the Clove. Smith had 
said, while on board the Vulture, that a horse 
would be ready on the bank of the river for the 
purpose of conducting the person to his house, 
who should go with him in the boat. 

In his narrative Smith states, that Arnold press 
ed him and the boatmen very hard to return to 
the Vulture that night, but they all refused on 
account of the lateness of the hour. This state 
ment does not agree with the testimony of the 
watermen at Smith s trial ; from which it ap 
pears, that they did not see Arnold at the land 
ing-place ; they only heard a man in the bushes. 
One of them testified, that Smith said nothing to 
him about returning, and the other, that he ask 
ed him, soon after they landed, if he would as 
sist to row the boat back to the ship, but he de 
clined, and Smith did not urge it. In short, the 
proof is sufficiently clear, that more time was 
necessary for maturing the plans in agitation, 
and that this was the reason why no attempt was 
made to send Andre bark to the Vulture before 
morning 



206 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 



CHAPTER XII. 

Outlines of the Plan for surrendering West 
Point. Major Andre passes in Disguise 
through the American Posts. His Capture 
at Tarrytown. 

No sooner had the parties arrived at Smith s 
House, than a cannonade was heard down the 
river. It was discovered to be against the Vul 
ture, which, although distant several miles, was 
in full view, and for a time seemed to be on fire. 
It had been reported to Colonel Livingston by 
messengers from Teller s Point, that the vessel 
was so near the shore as to be within reach of 
cannon-shot, and that the inhabitants were like 
wise apprehensive boats would land and commit 
depredations. Colonel Livingston accordingly sent 
from Verplanck s Point a party with cannon, who 
fired upon the Vulture and compelled her to 
remove from the position she had held during the 
night, and drop farther down the river, till she 
was beyond the reach of the shot. 

Andre beheld the scene from the windows of 
Smith s House with anxious emotion. At length 
the firing ceased, and he resumed his wonted spir- 



BENEDICT ARNOLD. 207 

its and composure. He was in Jin upper apart 
ment of the house, where he remained through 
the day. After breakfast Smith left Andre and 
Arnold together, and here the plot of treachery 
was finished, the conditions settled, and the 
modes of future action explained and determined. 

As all this was done in secret, the details 
have never been fully brought to light. It is 
well ascertained, however, that, in case of suc 
cess, Arnold was to be paid a very large amount 
of money. In his letter to the ministry on the 
subject, Sir Henry Clinton said he thought the 
plan of such vast importance, that it ought 
to be pursued " at every risk and at any ex 
pense" Arnold well knew the nature of the 
posts, which he was about to surrender, and, 
money being with him the stimulating motive in 
the transaction, it may be presumed his demands 
were in proportion to the advantages expected 
from his guilt. Nor is it probable, that he con-, 
sented without a price to barter the brilliant 
reputation he then possessed for a name of ever- 
enduring infamy. 

The arrangements being agreed upon for the 
execution of the plot, it is understood that the 
day was also fixed. Andre was to return to 
New York, and the British troops, already em 
barked under the pretext of an expedition to 
the Chesapeake, were to be ready to ascend the 



208 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

river at a moment s warning. The post at West 
Point was to be weakened by such a disposition 
of the troops, as would leave but a small force 
for its defence. As soon as it should be known, 
that the British were coming up the river, parties 
were to be sent out from the garrison to the gor 
ges in the hills, and other distant points, under 
pretence of meeting the enemy as they ap 
proached ; and here they were to remain, while 
the British troops landed and marched to the 
garrison through different routes in which they 
would meet no opposition. 

With an accurate plan of West Point and its 
environs, these details were easily settled. The 
general principle, which served as a basis of the 
whole manoeuvre, was, that the troops should 
be so scattered, arid divided into such small de 
tachments, that they could not act in force, and 
would be obliged to surrender without any effec 
tual resistance. By previous movements Arnold 
had in fact prepared the way for this scheme. 
Sir Henry Clinton, and many other British offi 
cers, were acquainted with the localities at West 
Point and in its neighborhood, they having been 
there for several days after the storming of Fort 
Montgomery. Hence it was not difficult to con 
cert a plan of operations, which should be equal 
ly intelligible to both parties, and hold out the 
fairest prospect of a successful result 



BENEDICT ARNOLD. 209 

These preliminaries being finished, and An 
dre supplied with certain papers explanatory of 
the military condition of West Point, the next 
topic for deliberation was how he should get 
back to New York. Andre insisted that he 
should be put on board the Vulture, to which 
Arnold assented, but at the same time mention 
ed obstacles, and suggested a return by land as 
more safe and expeditious. The precise nature 
of these obstacles is not known, but they prob 
ably arose from Smith s disinclination to go out 
again with the boat, and the impossibility at that 
time of finding any other person as his substi 
tute. When Arnold went away, however, which 
was before ten o clock, Andre supposed he was 
to be sent on board the Vulture, as will appear 
by the following extract from a paper which he 
wrote after his capture. 

" Arnold quitted me," said he, " having himself 
made me put the papers I bore between my stock 
ings and feet. Whilst he did it he expressed a 
wish, in case of any accident befalling me, that 
they should be destroyed ; which I said of course 
would be the case, as when I went into the boat 
I should have them tied about with a string and 
a stone. Before we parted, some mention had 
been made of rny crossing the river and going 
another route ; but I objected much against it, 

ill. 14 



210 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

and thought it was settled, that in the way I 
carne I was to return." 

Arnold left him and went up the river in his 
own barge to head-quarters. Before he departed 
from Smith s House, he urged Smith to go back 
with Andre to the Vulture as soon as it should be 
dark ; yet the matter seems to have been undecid 
ed, for he wrote and gave to Smith two passports 
(dating them " Head-Quarters "), one authorizing 
him to go by water, and the other by land. The 
former was in these words. " Joshua Smith has 
permission to pass with a boat and three hands 
and a flag to Dobbs s Ferry, on public business, 
and to return immediately." The latter said, 
" Joshua Smith has permission to pass the 
guards to the White Plains and to return, he 
being on public business by my direction." To 
this was added a third, as follows. " Permit Mr. 
John Anderson to pass the guards to the White 
Plains, or below if he chooses, he being on pub 
lic business by my direction." This last was the 
paper presented by Andre to his captors when 
he was taken. All these passports were in the 
handwriting of Arnold and signed by him. 

Andre passed the day in solitude, and as it 
drew near to a close, he was impatient to be 
ready for his departure. On consulting Smith, he 
found him obstinately determined not to return 
to the Vulture, and that he had neither spoken 







- 



\. r 




t 



v 



BENEDICT ARNOLD. 211 

to the watermen nor made any other prepara 
tion. 

The reason he gave afterwards for this refusal 
was, that his ague had attacked him severely, 
and the state of his health would not admit of 
an exposure in the boat. But the fact of his 
agreeing to accompany Andre on horseback, and 
to travel with him several hours in the night, was 
a proof that this was not the true ground of his 
objection. It was absurd to talk of being too ill 
to sit in a boat, and the next moment to mount a 
horse and ride a dozen miles. Smith s motives 
cannot now be ascertained, he never having ex 
plained them himself, either in the course of his 
trial, or in his narrative ; but he was probably 
alarmed at the firing upon the Vulture in the 
morning, and, as the vessel had resumed her 
original station, he was fearful it might be repeat 
ed, and thus endanger his personal safety, should 
he attempt to go on board. This is the only 
plausible way in which we can account for his 
resisting the strong solicitations of both Arnold 
and Andre, when he was sure of having the same 
protection as the night before. There is, after 
all, something mysterious in the affair ; for, if this 
was the true and only cause of his reluctance, it 
was one, which might very properly have been 
urged, and would at least have relieved him from 
the subterfuge of the ague, which was too shallow 
to gain credit. 



212 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

Any inquiry on this head would be fruitless 
Indeed it is of little importance. It is enough to 
know, that, having no means of getting to the 
vessel, Andr^ was compelled to seek his way 
back by land. The safest route was supposed to 
be across the river and in the direction of White 
Plains. Smith agreed to attend him on the way, 
till he should be out of danger from the American 
posts. Thus far Arnold s passports would pro 
tect them. 

All his entreaties being without avail, and hav 
ing no other resort, Andre submitted to the ne 
cessity of his situation, and resolved to pursue the 
route by land. Arnold had prevailed upon him, 
m case he took this course, to exchange his mili 
tary coat for a citizen s dress. It was feared, that, 
if he was discovered in the uniform of a British 
officer, he might be stopped, and perhaps meet 
with trouble. And here again Smith was made 
the dupe of Arnold s artifices. When he ex 
pressed surprise, that a man in a civil capacity, 
and on an errand of business, should come from 
New York in such a dress, Arnold told him that 
it was owing to the pride and vanity of Ander 
son, who wished to make a figure as a man of 
consequence, and had borrowed a coat from a 
military acquaintance. Upon this representation 
Smith gave one of his coats in exchange, which 
Andre put on, leaving his own behind. Thus 



BENEDICT ARNOLD 213 

clad, and covered as before with his dark great 
coat, which had a wid<? cape buttoned close in the 
neck, and the appearance of having been much 
worn, Andri was equipped for the journey. 

A little before sunset he and Smith set off, 
accompanied by a negro servant belonging to the 
latter. They proceeded to King s Ferry, and 
crossed the river from Stony Point to Verplanck s 
Point. On their way to the Ferry, they met 
several persons who were known to Smith, and 
with whom he conversed, accosting them in a gay 
and jocular humor, and assuming an air of ease 
and unconcern. He even stopped at a sutler s 
tent near the Ferry, and contributed to the merri 
ment of a party of loungers, by assisting them in 
drinking a bowl of punch. Andre said nothing, 
but walked his horse slowly along, and was wait 
ing at the Ferry when his companion overtook 
him. Smith had tried, while on the road, to 
draw him into conversation about the taking of 
Stony Point the year before, and such other top 
ics as he thought would interest him ; but he was 
reserved and thoughtful, uttering brief replies, and 
showing no inclination to be interrogated, or to 
talk upon any subject. 

It was in the dusk of the evening when they 
ascended from the Ferry, and passed through the 
works at Verplanck s Point. Smith rode up to 
Colonel Livingston s tent, at a short distance from 



214: AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

the road, but Andre and the servant went along 
without stopping. Smith told Colonel Livingston, 
that he was going up the country, and took charge 
of two letters, one to General Arnold and the 
other to Governor Clinton, which he promised to 
deliver. He declined staying to supper, alleging 
as a reason that a gentleman had just rode along, 
who was waiting for him, and whose business was 
urgent. He then joined Andre on the way. 

They met with no further interruption till be 
tween eight and nine o clock at night, when they 
were hailed by the sentinel of a patrolling party. 
This was near Crompond, and about eight miles 
from Verplanck s Point. The sentinel ordered 
them to stop, and Smith dismounted, gave the 
bridle of his horse to his servant, walked forward, 
and inquired who commanded the party. He 
was answered " Captain Boyd," who, overhearing 
the conversation, immediately appeared. The 
captain was unusually inquisitive, and demanded 
of him who he was, where he belonged, and what 
was his business. Smith answered these ques 
tions promptly, adding that he had a pass from 
General Arnold, and desired not to be detained. 
The captain was not yet satisfied, but inquired 
how far he meant to go that night ; to which he 
replied, as far as Major Strang s or Colonel 
Drake s ; but this only increased the embarrass 
ment, for the captain informed him, that Major 



BENEDICT ARNOLD. 215 

Strang was not at home, and Colonel Drake had 
removed to another part of the country. 

Captain Boyd then said, that he must see the 
passport, and, it being dark, they went to a house 
at a small distance to procure a light. Andre 
began to be a little alarmed, and advanced with 
reluctance towards the house, till he was encour 
aged by Smith, who assured him that Arnold s 
pass would certainly protect them. And so it 
proved ; for the pass was expressed in positive 
terms, and there was no room to doubt its genu 
ineness or its authority. 

The captain was afterwards more bland in his 
manners, but the ardor of his curiosity was not di 
minished. He took Smith aside, and begged to 
be informed of the important business, which car 
ried him down so near the enemy s lines, and in 
duced him and his companion to travel so danger 
ous a road in the night. As an apology for this 
inquiry he manifested a good deal of concern for 
their safety, telling him that the Cow-boys had re 
cently been out, and were believed then to be far 
up the country, and he advised him by all means 
not to proceed till morning. Smith prevaricated 
as well as he could, saying to Captain Boyd, that 
he and his fellow-traveller, whom he called Mr 
Anderson, were employed by General Arnold to 
procure intelligence, that they expected to meet 
a person near White Plains for that purpose* and 



216 AMERICA* BIOGRAPHY. 

that it was necessary for them to go forward as 
eipeditiously as possible. 

Upon this statement Captain Boyd seemed 
more anxious than ever, magnified the perils to 
which they would be exposed by travelling in the 
night, and recommended anew that they should 
turn oack to one Andreas Miller s, who lived but 
a little way off, and at whose house they might 
lodge. Smith s courage was somewhat damped 
by these representations, and he went and told 
the tale to Andre, and counselled with him, as to 
the steps they ought to take. It is probable, also, 
that he had fears of exciting suspicion, if he per 
severed in resisting the captain s zeal expressed so 
earnestly in their behalf. Andre, as it may well 
be imagined, not being very easy in his present 
situation, was for going on at all events. When 
Smith found his fears unheeded and his eloquence 
unavailing, he called in the aid of Captain Boyd, 
and inquired of him which was the safest road to 
White Plains. Boyd considered both roads peril 
ous, but believed the one through North Castle 
the least so, for the Lower Party, or Cow-boys, 
infested the Tarrytown road, and had lately done 
mischief in that quarter. He used various argu 
ments to dissuade them from going farther that 
night, to which Smith listened with open ears, 
and he resolved, against the will of Andre, tc 
trespass on the hospitality of Andreas Mil/er 



BENEDICT ARNOLD. 217 

They met with a welcome reception, but, com 
ing at a late hour to an humble dwelling, their 
accommodations were narrow, and the two travel 
lers were obliged to sleep in the same bed. Ac 
cording to Smith s account, it was a weary and 
restless night to his companion. The burden on 
his thoughts was not of a kind to lull them to re 
pose ; and the place of his retreat, so near the 
watchful Captain Boyd and his guards, was hardly 
such as would impress upon him a conviction of 
perfect security. At the first dawn of light he 
roused himself from his troubled slumbers, waked 
the servant, and ordered the horses to be prepared 
for an early departure. 

Having solicited their host in vain to receive a 
compensation for the civilities he had rendered, 
they mounted and took the road leading to Pine s 
Bridge. The countenance of Andre brightened 
when he was fairly beyond the reach of the 
patrolling party, and, as he thought, he left be 
hind him the principal difficulties in his route. 
His cheerfulness revived, and he conversed in the 
most animated and agreeable strain upon a great 
variety of topics. Smith professes to have been 
astonished at the sudden and extraordinary change 
which appeared in him, from a gloomy taciturnity 
to an exuberant flow of spirits, pleasantry, and gay 
discourse. He talked upon poetry, the arts, and 
literature, lamented the war, and hoped for a 



218 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

speedy peace. In this manner they passed along 
without being accosted by any person, till they 
came within two miles and a half of Pine s 
Bridge. 

At this place Smith had determined to end his 
journey in the direction towards White Plains. The 
Cow-boys, whom he seemed anxious to avoid, had 
recently been above the Bridge ; and the territory 
below was considered their appropriate domain. 
The travellers partook of a frugal breakfast to 
gether at the house of a good Dutch woman, who 
had been plundered by the marauders, but who 
was yet enabled to set before them a repast of 
hasty-pudding and milk. This being despatched, 
Smith divided his small stock of paper money 
with Andre, took a final leave, and with his ser 
vant hastened back to Peekskill, and the same 
evening to Fishkill, where he had left his family 
four days before at the house of his brother-in- 
law. On his way he took the road leading by 
Robinson s House, where he called on General 
Arnold and dined. He gave an account of 
Andre s progress, and mentioned the place where 
he left him, with which Arnold appeared well 
pleased. It is to be understood, however, that 
Smith had not at this time, as he always affirmed, 
any knowledge of Andre s true character, and 
that he supposed his name to be John Anderson 



BENEDICT ARNOLD. 219 

The Cow-boys were a set of people, mostly if 
not wholly refugees, belonging to the British side, 
and engaged in plundering cattle near the lines 

O O .T O 

and driving them to New York. The name indi 
cates their vocation. There was another de 
scription of banditti, called Skinners, who lived 
for the most part within the American lines, and 
professed attachment to the American cause ; but 
in reality they were more unprincipled, perfidious, 
and inhuman, than the Cow-boys themselves ; for 
these latter exhibited some symptoms of fellow- 
feeling for their friends, whereas the Skinners 
committed their depredations equally upon friends 
and foes. 

By a law of the State of New York, every 
yerson refusing to take an oath of fidelity to the 
State was considered as forfeiting his property. 
The large territory between the American and 
British lines, extending nearly thirty miles from 
north to south, and embracing Westchester coun 
ty, was populous and highly cultivated. A person 
living within that space, who took the oath of 
fidelity, was sure to be plundered by the Cow 
boys ; and if he did not take it, the Skinners 
would come down upon him, call him a Tory., 
and seize his property as confiscated by the State. 
Thus the execution of the laws was assumed by 
robbers, and the innocent and guilty were involv 
ed in a common ruin. 



220 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY 

It is true, the civil authority endeavored to 
guard against these outrages, as far as it could, 
by legislative enactments and executive proclama 
tions ; but, from the nature of the case, this for 
midable conspiracy against the rights and claims of 
humanity could be crushed only by a military arm. 
The detachments of Continental troops and mili 
tia, stationed near the lines, did something to les 
sen the evil ; yet they were not adequate to its 
suppression, and frequently this force was so feeble 
as not to afford any barrier to the inroads of the 
banditti. The Skinners and Cow-boys often 
leagued together. The former would sell their 
plunder to the latter, taking in exchange contra 
band articles brought from New York. It was 
not uncommon for the farce of a skirmish to be 
acted near the American lines, in which the Skin 
ners never failed to come off victorious ; and then 
they would go boldly to the interior with their 
booty, pretending it had been captured from the 
enemy, while attempting to smuggle it across the 
lines. 

Such was the social condition of that part of 
the country, through which Andre was now to 
pass alone, for nearly thirty miles, before he could 
be perfectly secure from danger ; for, although 
every step diminished the chances of untoward 
accidents, yet there was no absolute safety till he 
was beyond the limits of this ill-famed neutral 
ground. 



BENEDICT ARNOLD. 221 

When he and Smith separated, it seems to have 
oeen understood, that Andre would pursue the 
route through White Plains, and thence tc New 
York ; but, after crossing Pine s Bridge, he chang 
ed his mind, turned off towards Hudson s River, 
and took what was called the Tarrytown road. 
He was probably induced to this step by the re 
marks he had heard the evening before from Cap 
tain Boyd, who said the Lower Party had been far 
up the Tarrytown road, and it was dangerous to 
proceed that way. As the Lower Party belonged 
to the British, and Andre would of course be safe 
in their hands, it was natural for him to infer, that 
he should be among friends sooner in that direc 
tion than in the other. 

A law of the State of New York authorized 
any person to seize and convert to his own use 
all cattle or beef, that should be driven or removed 
from the country in the direction of the city be 
yond a certain line in Westchester county. By 
military custom, also, the personal effects of 
prisoners, taken by small parties, were assigned 
to the captors as a prize. 

It happened that, the same morning on which 
Andre crossed Pine s Bridge, seven persons, who 
resided near Hudson s River, on the neutral 
ground, agreed voluntarily to go out in company 
armed, watch the road, and intercept any suspi 
cious stragglers, or droves of cattle, that might 



222 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

be seen passing towards New York. Four of this 
party were stationed on a hill, where they had a 
view of the road for a considerable distance. 
The three others, named John Paulding, David 
Williams, and Isaac Van Wart, were concealed 
in the bushes at another place and very near 
the road. 

About half a mile north of the village of 
Tarrytown, and a few hundred yards from the 
bank of Hudson s River, the road crosses a small 
brook, from each side of which the ground rises 
into a hill, and it was at that time covered over 
with trees and underbrush. Eight or ten rods 
south of this brook, and on the west side of the 
road, these men were hidden ; and at that point 
Andre was stopped, after having travelled from 
Pine s Bridge without interruption. 

The particulars of this event I shall here intro 
duce, as they are narrated in the testimony given 
by Paulding and Williams at Smith s trial, written 
down at the time by the judge-advocate, and pre 
served in manuscript among the other papers. 
This testimony having been taken only eleven 
days after the capture of Andre, when every 
circumstance must have been fresh in the recollec 
tion of his captors, it may be regarded as exhibit 
ing a greater exactness in its details, than any ac 
count hitherto published. In answer to the ques 
tion of the court, Paulding said ; 



BENEDICT ARNOLD 223 

" Myself, Isaac Van Wart, and David Williams 
were lying by the side of the road about half a 
mile above Tarry town, and about fifteen miles 
above Kingsbridge, on Saturday morning, between 
nine and ten o clock, the 23d of September. We 
had lain there about an hour and a half, as neai 
as I can recollect, and saw several persons we 
were acquainted w T ith, whom we let pass. Pres 
ently one of the young men, who w r ere with me, 
said, * There comes a gentlemanlike-looking man, 
who appears to be well dressed, and has boots 
on, and whom you had better step out and stop, 
if you don t know him. On that I got up, and 
presented my firelock at the breast of the person, 
and told him to stand ; and then I asked him 
which way he was going. * Gentlemen, said he, 
* I hope you belong to our party. I asked him 
what party. He said, The Lower Party. Upon 
that I told him I did. Then he said, I am a 
British officer out of the country on particulai 
business, and I hope you will not detain me a 
minute ; and to show that he was a British offi 
cer he pulled out his watch. Upon which I told 
him to dismount. He then said, My God, I 
must do any thing to get along, and seemed to 
make a kind of laugh of it, and pulled out Gene 
ral Arnold s pass, which was to John Anderson, 
to pass all guards to White Plains and below. 
Upon that he dismounted. Said he, Gentlemen, 



224 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

you had best let me go, or you will bring youi 
selves into trouble, for your stopping me will de 
tain the General s business ; and said he was go 
ing to Dobbs s Ferry to meet a person there and 
get intelligence for General Arnold. Upon that 
I told him I hoped he would not be offended, 
that we did not mean to take any thing from him : 
and I told him there were many bad people, who 
were going along the road, and I did not know 
but perhaps he might be one." 

When further questioned, Paulding replied, that 
he asked the person his name, who told him it 
was John Anderson ; and that, when Anderson 
produced General Arnold s pass, he should have 
let him go, if he had not before called himself a 
British officer. Paulding also said, that when the 
person pulled out his watch, he understood it 
as a signal that he was a British officer, and 
not that he meant to offer it to him as a present. 

All these particulars were substantially confirm 
ed by David Williams, whose testimony in regard 
to the searching of Andre, being more minute 
than Paulding s, is here inserted. 

" We took him into the bushes," said Williams, 
" and ordered him to pull off his clothes, which 
he did ; but on searching him narrowly we could 
not find any sort of writings. We told him to pull 
off his boots, which he seemed to be indifferent 
about ; but we got one boot off, and searched in 



BENEDICT ARNOLD. 225 

that hoot, and could find nothing. But we found 
there were some papers in the bottom of his 
stocking next to his foot ; on which we made 
him pull his stocking off, and found three papers 
wrapped up. Mr. Paulding looked at the con 
tents, and said he was a spy. We then made 
him pull off his other boot, and there we found 
three more papers at the bottom of his foot within 
his stocking. 

" Upon this we made him dress himself, and I 
a sked him what he would give us to let him go. 
He said he would give us any sum of money. I 
asked him whether he would give us his horse, 
saddle, bridle, watch, and one hundred guineas. 
He said f Yes, and told us he would direct them 
to any place, even if it was that very spot, so that 
we could get them. I asked him whether he 
would not give us more. He said he would give 
us any quantity of dry goods, or any sum of mon 
ey, and bring it to any place that we might pitch 
upon, so that we might get it. Mr. Paulding 
answered, No, if you would give us ten thousand 
guineas, you should not stir one step. I then 
asked the person, who had called himself John 
Anderson, if he would not get away if it lay in 
his power. He answered, ( Yes, I would. I told 
him I did not intend he should. While taking 
him along we asked him a few questions, and we 
stopped under a shade. He begged us not to ask 

in. 15 



226 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

him questions, and said when he came to any 
commander he would reveal all. 

" He was dressed in a blue over-coat, and a 
tight body-coat, that was of a kind of claret color, 
though a rather deeper red than claret. The 
button-holes were laced with gold tinsel, and the 
buttons drawn over with the same kind of lace 
He had on a round hat, and nankeen waistcoat 
and breeches, with a flannel waistcoat and draw 
ers, boots, and thread stockings." 

The nearest military post was at North Castle, 
where Lieutenant-Colonel Jameson was stationed 
with a part of Sheldon s regiment of dragoons. 
To that place it was resolved to take the prisoner ; 
and within a few hours he was delivered up to 
Jameson, with all the papers that had been taken 
from his boots. 



BENEDICT ARNOLD 



99 



CHAPTER XIII. 

&idre makes known his true Character. His 
Letter to Washington. Escape of Arnold 
to the Enemy. Washington arrives at West 
Point. 

THE course pursued by Jameson was extraor 
dinary and inexplicable. On examining the pa 
pers, he found them to be in the undisguised 
handwriting of General Arnold, with which he 
was perfectly acquainted. Their contents and 
the manner of their being found were such, as, 
one would think, could not fail to excite suspicion 
in the most obtuse mind, whatever might be the 
rank or character of the party concerned. 

There were six separate papers, as follows. 
First, artillery orders, which had recently been 
published at West Point, giving directions how 
each corps should dispose of itself in case of an 
alarm. This paper was of the utmost importance, 
as it would enable the enemy, when they should 
make an attack, to know the precise condition of 
every part of the garrison. Secondly, an esti 
mate of the force at West Point and its depen 
dencies. Thirdly, an estimate of the number 01 



228 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

men requisite to man the works. Fourthly, a re 
turn of the ordnance in the different forts, re 
doubts, and batteries. Fifthly, remarks on the 
works at West Point, describing the construction 
of each, and its strength or weakness. Sixthly, 
a report of a council of war lately held at head 
quarters, which contained hints respecting the 
probable operations of the campaign, and which 
General Washington had sent to Arnold a few 
days before, requesting his opinion on the subjects 
to which it referred. 

Considering the extreme caution, which Arnold 
had practised on every other occasion, particularly 
in disguising his letters, it is not the least remarka 
ble incident in his conspiracy, that papers of this 
character, by far the most important and hazardous 
that he had communicated, should, in his own 
handwriting, be intrusted to a channel so much 
exposed to accident.* 

* All these original papers, as they came from Andre s 
boots, have been carefully preserved, and are now before 
me. They are copied throughout in Arnold s usual 
handwriting, and their contents are indorsed on the back 
of each in the same hand. 

To those, who are fond of tracing coincidences, it 
may be a curious fact, that the last canto of Andre s 
numorous satire, called the " Cow CHACE," was first 
printed on the very day of his capture. It will bo found 



BENEDICT ARNOLD. 229 

With these papers in his hands, bearing incon 
testable marks of their origin, and procured in a 
way that indicated most unequivocally the de 
signs of the person with whom they were found, 
Jameson resolved to send the prisoner immediate 
ly to Arnold ! How far he was influenced by the 
persuasion or advice of Andre is uncertain ; but it 
cannot be doubted, that all the address of the 
latter was used to advance a purpose, which 
opened the only possible door for their escape. 
Could he proceed to Arnold at West Point be 
fore the report of his capture should go abroad, it 
might be practicable for them both to get within 
the British lines, or to take such other steps for 
saving themselves as the extremity of their affairs 
should make necessary. It has been represented, 
that Andre s magnanimity was the principal mo 
tive by which he was actuated in concealing the 
agency of Arnold. His subsequent conduct gives 
him every claim to the praise of honor and noble 
ness of mind ; yet on the present occasion it is 
obvious, that his own personal safety was as much 
consulted, to say the least, as his sentiments of 
generosity towards his associate. 

to Rivington s Royal Gazette for September 23d, 1780 
It ends with the following prophetic stanza. 

" And now I ve closed my epic strain, 

I tremble as I show it, 
Lest this same warrior-drover, Wayne, 
Should ever catch the poet" 



230 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

Jameson penned a hasty line to Arnold, saying 
merely that he sent forward, under the charge of 
Lieutenant Allen and a guard, a certain John An 
derson, who had been taken while going towards 
New York. " He had a passport," said Jameion, 
" signed in your name ; and a parcel of papers 
taken from under his stockings, which I think of 
a very dangerous tendency. He then described 
these papers, and added that he had sent them to 
General Washington.* 

There appears to have been some misgiving in 
the mind of Jameson, although he was not pre 
pared to suspect the patriotism and political fideli 
ty of his commanding general. Washington said 
afterwards, that, either on account of his " egre 
gious folly, or bewildered conception, he seemed 
lost in astonishment, and not to know what he 
was doing." This is as lenient a judgment, per- 
oaps, as can be passed on his conduct. No one 
iver doubted the purity of his intention. Per 
ceiving the mischievous tendency of the papers, 
and knowing them to have been copied by Arnold 

* Andre s watch, horse, saddle, and bridle, were claim 
ed by his captors, and given up to them. The watch was 
afterwards bought by Colonel William S. Smith for thir 
ty guineas, which, with the money received for the horse, 
saddle, and bridle, were divided equally among the three 
captors and their four companions, who were watching 
in another place when Andre was taken. 



BENEDICT ARNOLD. 231 

it the same moment that he sent Andre under 
guard to West Point, he despatched an express 
with the papers to meet General Washington, 
then supposed to be on the road returning from his 
interview with the French commanders at Hart 
ford. Two reasons were subsequently assigned 
by Jameson for a course, which seemed so extra 
ordinary to everybody else ; first, that he thought 
the affair was an imposition by the British, in 
tended to destroy the confidence of the Ameri 
cans in Arnold ; secondly, that, not knowing the 
Vulture was up the river, he supposed Arnold 
could not get to the enemy without passing through 
the American outposts on the lines, where he 
would be taken. 

Major Tallmadge, next in command under 
Jameson, was absent on duty below W T hite Plains 
when Andre was brought in, and did not return 
till evening. He was filled with astonishment 
when Jameson related what had happened, and 
could not refrain from expressing his surprise at 
the course that had been pursued. To his mind 
the case was so clear, or at all events was attend 
ed by such peculiar circumstances, as not only to 
justify but require prompt, bold, and energetic 
measures on the part of Jameson. In short, he 
declared his suspicions of Arnold, and offered to 
take on himself the entire responsibility of pro- 
needing upon that ground. To this idea Jameson 



232 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

would not listen. He was agitated and irresolute 
at first, but finally refused to sanction any meas 
ures, which should imply a distrust of Arnold. 

Failing in this object, Tallmadge earnestly re 
quested that the prisoner might be brought back, 
to which Jameson with some reluctance consent 
ed. As the parties from below had been high 
er up the country than the post at North Castle, 
there was room to apprehend that he might be re 
captured, and this was probably the prevailing 
reason with Jameson for countermanding his order 
Strange as it may seem, however, (if any thing can 
seem strange in such a string of blunders,) he 
would insist on sending forward the letter he had 
written to Arnold, as will appear by his order of 
countermand to Lieutenant Allen. 

" From some circumstances, which I have just 
discovered," said he to that officer, " I have rea 
son to fear that a party of the enemy is above ; 
and as I would not have Anderson retaken, or get 
away, I desire that you will proceed to Lower 
Salem with him, and deliver him to Captain 
Hoogland. You will leave the guard with Cap 
tain Hoogland, also, except one man, whom you 
may take along. You may proceed to West 
Point, and deliver the letter to General Arnold. 
You may also show him this, that he may know 
the reason why the prisoner is not sent on. You 
will please to return as soon as you can." 



BENEDICT ARNOLD. 233 

The messenger with his letter overtook Lieu 
tenant Allen, and he came back with his charge to 
North Castle late at night, or early the next morn- 
ino 1 , although from the tenor of the letter it might 

D* w ^ 

be inferred, that Colonel Jameson supposed he 
would proceed by some other route to Lower 
Salem. As soon as Major Tallmadge saw the 
prisoner, and especially when he observed his 
manner of walking to and fro on the floor, and 
turning on his heel to retrace his steps, he was 
struck with his military deportment, and con 
vinced that he had been bred to arms. Jameson 
gradually came into the same way of thinking, 
though there is no proof of his confidence in Ar 
nold having been shaken ; but he agreed with 
Tallmadge, that it was best to keep Anderson 
in close custody, till something more should be 
known about him, or till orders should be re 
ceived from Arnold or General Washington. As 
Lower Salem was farther within the American 
lines than North Castle, and as Colonel Shel 
don s quarters were there, it was thought ad 
visable for him to be removed to that place. 
Major Tallmadge commanded the escort, and con 
tinue J with the prisoner from that time till he ar 
rived at Tappan. 

It will be remembered, that, eight or nine 
days previous to the taking of Andre, a letter had 
been received by Major Tallmadge from Arnold, 



234 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY 

in which he requested Tallmadge, if a man by 
the name of Anderson should come within the 
lines, to send him to head-quarters with two 
horsemen, and to bear him company in person 
if his business would permit. This incident, 
connected with the circumstances of the capture 
of the prisoner, who called himself Anderson, 
and with the obvious disguise he now assumed, 
confirmed Talhnadge s suspicions, though the na 
ture and extent of the plans in agitation he could 
only conjecture, as Anderson revealed nothing and 
mentioned no names. 

On the arrival of Andre at Lower Salem, 
about eight o clock in the morning, he was in 
troduced to Mr. Bronson, who was attached to 
Sheldon s regiment, and who occupied a smaL 
apartment, which he consented to share with 
the prisoner. The room could be easily guarded, 
as it had but one door and one window. Andre 
appeared much fatigued, and at first was little 
inclined to talk. His clothes were soiled, and he 
accepted a change from Mr. Bronson, while his 
linen and nankeen under-dress were sent to the 
washerwoman. Becoming refreshed and more at 
ease, he relaxed into familiar conversation, which, 
with his agreeable and courteous manners, excited 
the interest and secured the good-will of his roony 
mate. 



BENEDICT ARNOLD. 235 

He resorted to his favorite resource for amuse 
ment, and sketched with a pencil a group of lu 
dicrous figures, representing himself and his es 
cort under march. He presented the sketch to 
Bronson, saying, " This will give you an idea of 
the style in which I have had the honor to be 
conducted to my present abode." In diversions 
of thic kind the morning passed away. 

As it was known to Andre, that the papers 
found on his person had been transmitted to Gen 
eral Washington, who must soon receive them, 
and it being now evident that he would not him 
self be sent to Arnold, he perceived that any 
further attempts at concealment would be unavail 
ing, and resolved to stand forth in his true charac 
ter, seeking no other mitigation of his case, than 
such as could be granted on the strict principles 
of honor and military usage. With this view he 
wrote, in Bronson s room, his first letter to Gen 
eral Washington, which may properly be recorded 
in this place. 

" Salem, 24 September, 1780. 
" SIR, 

" What I have as yet said concerning myself 
Was in the justifiable attempt to be extricated : 
I am too little accustomed to duplicity to have 
succeeded. 

" I beg your Excellency will be persuaded, 
that no alteration in the temper of my mind, or 



236 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

apprehension for my safety, induces me to take 
the step of addressing you ; but that it is to rescue 
myself from an imputation of having assumed a 
mean character for treacherous purposes or self- 
interest ; a conduct incompatible with the princi 
ples that actuate me, as well as with my condition 
in life. 

" It is to vindicate my fame that I speak, and 
not to solicit security. 

" The person in your possession is Major John 
Andre, Adjutant-General to the British army. 

" The influence of one commander in the army 
of his adversary is an advantage taken in war. 
A correspondence for this purpose I held ; as con 
fidential (in the present instance) with his Excel 
lency Sir Henry Clinton. 

" To favor it, I agreed to meet upon ground 
lot within the posts of either army a person, who 
vas to give me intelligence ; I came up in the 
Vulture man-of-war for this effect, and was fetched 
by a boat from the ship to the beach. Being 
there, I was told that the approach of day would 
prevent my return, and that I must be concealed 
mtil the next night. I was in my regimentals, 
ind had fairly risked my person. 

"Against my stipulation, my intention, and 
without my knowledge beforehand, I was con 
ducted within one of your posts. Your Excellen 
cy may conceive my sensation on this occasion. 



BENEDICT ARNOLD. 237 

and will imagine how much more r.aust 1 have 
been affected by a refusal to reconduct me back 
the next night as I had been brought. Thus be 
come a prisoner, I had to concert my escape. I 
quitted my uniform, and was passed another way 
in the night, without the American posts, to neu 
tral ground, and informed I was beyond all armed 
parties and left to press for New 7 York. I was 
taken at Tarrytown by some volunteers. 

" Thus, as I have had the honor to relate, was 
I betrayed (being Adjutant-General of the British 
army) into the vile condition of an enemy io dis 
guise within your posts. 

" Having avowed myself a British officer, I havo 
nothing to reveal but what relates to myself, which 
is true on the honor of an officer and a gentle 
man. 

" The request I have to make to your Excel 
lency, and I am conscious I address myself well, 
is, that in any rigor policy may dictate, a decency 
of conduct towards me may mark, that, though 
unfortunate, I am branded with nothing dishonora 
ble, as no motive could be mine but the service of 
my King, and as I was involuntarily an impostor 

" Another request is, that I may be permitted 
to write an open letter to Sir Henry Clinton, and 
another to a friend for clothes and linen. 

" I take the liberty to mention the condition of 
a ome gentlemen at Charleston, who, being either 



238 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY 

on parole or under protection, were engaged in a 
conspiracy against us. Though their situation is 
not similar, they are objects who may be set io 
exchange for me, or are persons whom the treat 
ment I receive might affect. 

" It is no less, Sir, in a confidence of the gene 
rosity of your mind, than on account of your su 
perior station, that I have chosen to importune 
you with this letter. I have the honor to be, with 
great respect, Sir, your Excellency s most obedi 
ent and most humble servant, 

"JOHN ANDR^, Adjutant- General." 

When he had finished this letter, he handed it 
( pen to Major Tallmadge, who perused it with 
tjtonishment and strong emotion ; for, although he 
believed the writer to be a military man, yet he 
had not supposed him a person of such rank, nor 
dreamed of the dangerous plot in which he had 
been acting a part. The letter was sealed and 
sent to General Washington. From that moment 
Andre s mind seemed relieved. He became 
cheerful, and his good humor, affable address, 
and attractive powers of conversation, gained 
upon the hearts of the officers, and won from 
them reciprocal kindness and civilities. 

In this situation let us leave the prisoner for a 
lime, and pursue the tviain of events in another 
quarter. 



BENEDICT ARNOLD 239 

The route travelled by General Wasnington 
and his suite to Hartford was called the lower 
road, passing from Peekskill through Danbury. 
It was supposed he would come back the same 
way ; but, without making his intention publicly 
known beforehand, he returned by the upper road, 
which brought him to West Point through the 
northern parts of the Highlands. He arrived at 
Fishkill, eighteen miles from Arnold s head 
quarters as the road then ran, in the afternoon of 
the 24th of September. After stopping a short 
time for rest and refreshment, he proceeded on 
ward, and within two or three miles of the town 
met the French minister, M. de la Luzerne, on a 
journey to visit Count de Rochambeau at New 
port. As this was an unexpected meeting, and 
the minister expressed an earnest desire to con 
verse with General Washington on matters of im 
portance, and urged his return to Fishkill for that 
purpose, he could not with propriety or politeness 
decline the proposal. It had been his design to 
reach West Point the same evening ; but this de 
tention left him too little time to attain that object, 
and he remained during the night at Fishkill with 
the Chevalier de la Luzerne. 

Very early in the morning he sent off his bag 
gage, with orders 10 the men who had it in charge 
to go on with it as quick as they could to Gen 
eral Arnold s head-quarters, and give notice that 



240 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

ifie whole party might be expected there to 
breakfast. 

General Washington and the officers, all being 
on horseback, followed immediately, and went on 
without delay till they came opposite to West 
Point, when Washington s horse was discovered 
to be turning into a narrow road, that led towards 
the river. Lafayette said to him ; " General, you 
are going in a wrong direction ; you know Mrs. 
Arnold is waiting breakfast for us, and that road 
will take us out of our way." Washington an 
swered good-naturedly ; " Ah, I know you young 
men are all in love with Mrs. Arnold, and wish 
to get where she is as soon as possible. You 
may go and take your breakfast with her, and tell 
her not to wait for me. I must ride down and 
examine the redoubts on this side of the river, 
and will be there in a short time." The officers 
did not choose, however, to take advantage of 
this permission, but continued with the Com 
mander, except two of the aids-de-camp, who 
rode on at the General s request to make known 
the cause of his being detained. 

When the aids arrived at Arnold s house, they 
found breakfast waiting, as had been supposed. 
It being now ascertained, that Washington and 
the other gentlemen would not be there, General 
Arnold, his family, and the aids-de-camp, sat 
down to breakfast. Before they arose from the 



BENEDICT ARNOLD. 2-11 

table, a messenger came in with a letter for Ar 
nold, which he broke open and read in presence 
of the company. It was the letter which Colonel 
Jameson had written two days before, and de 
spatched by Lieutenant Allen, and it contained 
the first intelligence received by Arnold of the 
capture of Andre. His emotion can be more 
easily imagined than described. So great was his 
control over himself, however, that he concealed 
it from the persons present ; and, although he 
seemed a little agitated for the moment, yet not 
to such a degree as to excite a suspicion, that 
any thing extraordinary had happened. He told 
the aids-de-carnp, that his immediate attendance 
was required at West Point, and desired them to 
say to General Washington when he arrived, that 
he was unexpectedly called over the river and 
should very soon return. He ordered a horse to 
be ready, and then, leaving the table hastily, he 
went up to Mrs. Arnold s chamber and sent for 
her With a brevity demanded by the occasion, 
he told her that they must instantly part, per 
haps to meet no more, and that his life depended 
on his reaching the enemy s lines without detec 
tion. Struck with horror at this intelligence, so 
abruptly divulged, she swooned and fell senseless. 
In that state he left her, hurried down stairs, 
mounted a horse belonging to one of his aids that 
stood saddled at the door, and rode alone with 

in. 16 



242 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY, 

all speed to the bank of the river. He there 
entered a boat, and directed the oarsmen to push 
out to the middle of the stream. 

The boat was rowed by six men, who, having 
no knowledge of Arnold s intentions, promptly 
obeyed his orders. He quickened their activity 
by saying, that he was going down the river and 
on board the Vulture with a flag, and that he was 
in great haste, as he expected General Wash 
ington at his house, and wished to return as ex- 
peditiously as possible to meet him there. He 
also added another stimulating motive, by prom 
ising them two gallons of rum, if they would ex 
ert themselves with all their strength. As they 
approached King s Ferry, Arnold exposed to view 
a white handkerchief, and ordered the men to row 
directly to the Vulture, which was now in sight, 
a little below the place it had occupied when An 
dre left it. The signal held out by Arnold, while 
the boat was passing Verplanck s Point, caused 
Colonel Livingston to regard it as a flag-boat, and 
prevented him from ordering it to be stopped and 
examined. 

The boat reached the Vulture unobstructed in 
its passage ; and after Arnold had gone on board 
and introduced himself to Captain Sutherland, he 
called the leader of the boatmen into the cabin, 
and informed him that he and his companions 
were prisoners. The boatman, who had capacity 



BENEDICT ARNOLD. 243 

and spirit, said they were not prisoners, that they 
came on board with a flag of truce, and under the 
same sanction they would return. He then ap 
pealed to the captain, demanding justice and a 
proper respect for the rules of honor. Arnold 
replied, that all this was nothing to the purpose, 
that they were prisoners and must remain on 
board. Captain Sutherland, disdaining so pitiful 
an action, though he did not interfere with the 
positive command of Arnold, told the man that 
he would take his parol, and he might go on shore 
and procure clothes and whatever else was wanted 
for himself and his companions. This was ac 
cordingly done the same day. When these men 
arrived in New York, Sir Henry Clinton, holding 
in just contempt such a wanton act of meanness, 
set them all at liberty. 

Having finished his inspection at the redoubts, 
Washington arrived with his suite at Arnold s 
house soon after his precipitate flight to the river. 
When Washington was told, that Arnold had been 
called over to the garrison upon some urgent busi 
ness, he took a hasty breakfast, and concluded 
not to wait, but to cross immediately to West 
Point and meet him at that place. The officers 
attended him, except Hamilton, who remained 
behuid at the house. It was their arrangement to 
return to dinner. 



24:4 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

As the whole party were seated in the barge 
moving smoothly over the water, with the ma 
jestic scenery of the Highlands around them, 
Washington said ; " Well, Gentlemen, I am glad, 
on the whole, that General Arnold has gone 
before us, for we shall now have a salute, and 
the roaring of the cannon will have a fine effect 
among these mountains." The boat drew nearer 
to the beach. No cannon was heard, no appear 
ance of any preparation to receive them was vis 
ible. "What?" said Washington, "do they not 
intend to salute us ? " At this moment an officer 
was seen winding his way among the rocks down 
the side of ihe hill, who met the barge as it 
touched the shore, and seemed confused and 
astonished at the presence of the Commander-in- 
chief and the other officers, who were about to 
honor him with a visit. He apologized, and said, 
if he had expected such visitors, he should have 
been prepared to receive them in a proper man 
ner ; but, being taken by surprise, he hoped he 
should be excused for an apparent neglect, and 
for not having put the garrison into a suitable con 
dition for a military inspection and review. 

General Washington was scarcely less surprised, 
than the commandant himself. "How is this, 
Sir," he inquired ; " is not General Arnold here ?" 
14 No, Sir," replied the officer ; " he has not been 
here these two days, nor have I heard from him 



BENEDICT ARNOLD 215 

within that time." " This is extraordinary/ said 
Washington; " we were told he had crossed 
the river, and that we should find him here. 
However, our visit must not be in vain. Since 
we have come, although unexpectedly, we must 
look round a little, and see in what state things 
are with you." Thus saying he went up the hill, 
and was followed by the other officers. They 
walked to the different forts and redoubts and 
inspected the garrison in all its parts. After com 
pleting this task, which took an hour or two, they 
descended to the barge, and were reconducted to 
the landing-place near Robinson s House, irora 
which they had departed. 



246 A.JILMCAN BIOGRAPHT. 



CHAPTER XIV. 

Detectwi of Arnold s Treason. Andre re 
moved to West Point and thence to Tappan* 
His Examination by a Board of Officers. 

WHILE the party were on their way from the 
river to the house, Hamilton was seen walking 
towards them with a quick step and anxious 
countenance. He came directly to Washington, 
and spoke to him in a low voice, and they retired 
together into the house. 

During the absence of Washington at West 
Point, the express had arrived with the letter 
and papers from Jameson, and also with Andre s 
letter written the day before at Salem. This ex 
press had followed the route towards Hartford, till 
he ascertained that General Washington was re 
turning by the upper road. He then turned 
back, and took the shortest way to West Point, 
which passed through Lower Salem ; and he thus 
became the bearer of Andre s letter. When the 
despatches came to Robinson s House, as they 
were represented to be of the utmost importance, 
Hamilton opened them and discovered their con 
tents. These papers he now laid before Wa h- 
ington, without hinting the facts they contained f> 
any other person. 



BENEDICT ARNOLD. 247 

The mystery was here solved, and the whole 
extent of the plot was made manifest. No un 
certainty now existed as to the course Ar 
nold had taken. It was clear that he had gone 
to the enemy. Hamilton was immediately or 
dered to mount a horse and ride to Verplanck s 
Point, that preparation might be made for stop 
ping him, should he not already have passed that 
post. Washington called Lafayette and Knox, 
to whom he told what had happened, and showed 
the papers. He was perfectly calm, and only 
said to Lafayette, " Whom can we trust now ? " 
For a considerable time no other persons w : ere 
acquainted with the secret, nor did Washington 
betray in his actions or countenance any symp- 
tons of anxiety or excitement. When dinner 
was announced, he said to those around him, 
c< Come, Gentlemen ; since Mrs. Arnold is unwell, 
and the General is absent, let us sit down with 
out ceremony." The same self-possession and 
apparent, unconcern continued through the din 
ner. 

In the mean time his feelings had been severe 
ly tried by the afflicting situation of Mrs. Arnold 
She was frantic with distress, and seemed on the 
verge of distraction. The scene was vividly de 
scribed by Hamilton, in a letter written the next 
day. " She, for a considerable time, entirely lost 
herself. The General went up to see her, and 



248 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

she upbraided him with being in a plot to murde? 
ner child. One moment she raved, another she 
melted into tears. Sometimes she pressed her 
infant to her bosom and lamented its fate, occa 
sioned by the imprudence of its father, in a man 
ner that would have piercedl insensibility itself. 
All the sweetness of beauty, all the loveliness of 
innocence, all the tenderness of a wife, and all the 
fondness of a mother, showed themselves in her 
appearance and conduct. We have every reason 
to believe, that she was entirely unacquainted 
with the plan, and that the first knowledge of it 
was when Arnold went to tell her he must banish 
himself from his country and from her for ever. 
She instantly fell into convulsions and he left her 
in that situation." It may here be added, that 
Mrs. Arnold had been only the last ten days at 
West Point, during her husband s command at 
the post, and that nothing was afterwards brought 
to light, from which it could be inferred that she 
had any knowledge of his traitorous designs. 

Colonel Hamilton s mission to Verplanck s 
Point proved much too late. It could hardly 
have been otherwise, for Arncld had got the start 
by six hours. He left his house about ten o clock 
in the morning, and his treachery was not known 
to Washington till nearly four o clock in the after 
noon. When Hamilton arrived at Verplanck s 
Point, a flag of truce was coming or had come 



BENEDICT ARNOLD. 249 

from the Vulture to that post with a letter from 
Arnold to Washington. This was immediately 
forwarded, with a note from Hamilton, stating that 
his pursuit had not been successful, and that he 
should write to General Greene advising him to 
be in readiness to march, and make some other 
arrangements as precautionary measures, although 
he did not believe the project would go on. Nor 
in truth did it ; for the capture of Andre had kept 
the enemy in ignorance and suspense, till Arnold 
himself carried the news on board the Vulture. 
Sir Hemy Clinton probably knew nothing of the 
matter before the next morning, when the Vul 
ture arrived in New York. Hence the plan of an 
attack was totally frustrated, although every thing 
was prepared for carrying it instantly into effect. 

The principal object of Arnold s letter to 
Washington, written on board the Vulture, was 
to solicit protection for his wife, who he said was 
" as good and as innocent as an angel, and inca 
pable of doing wrong." He desired that she 
might be permitted to go to her friends in Phila 
delphia, or to join him, as she should choose. 
For himself he asked no favor, having " too often 
experienced the ingratitude of his country to at 
tempt it ; " and moreover he averred, that " the 
heart conscious of its own rectitude " could not 
descend to palliate an act, which the world might 
think wrong. He talked of h ; s love to his coun 



250 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

fry, and of being actuated by that principle in his 
present conduct. In short, the malignant spirit, 
impudence, and blunted moral feeling, shown in 
this letter, were consistent with his character 
Attachment to his wife was the only redeeming 
quality, which seemed not to be extinguished.* 

Enclosed in the same letter was one for Mrs. 
Arnold, who appeared relieved and more tranquil 
after knowing her husband was safe. 

There came, also, a letter from Beverly Robin 
son to Washington, dated on board the Vulture 
This related to Andre. It was, in fact, a sort of 
demand for his release. According to Colonel 
Robinson s conception of the affair, Andre went 
on shore with a flag of truce, at the request of 
General Arnold, on public business, and had his 
permit to return to New York. " Under these 
circumstances," said he, " Major Andre cannot 
be detained by you without the greatest violation 
of flags, and contrary to the custom and usages of 

* In a postscript to this letter, he said he " thought 
himself bound in honor to declare," that his two aids-de 
camp, Major Varick, and Major Franks, were ignorant cf 
any transactions of his, which they had reason to believe 
were injurious to the public. He included Joshua H. 
Smith in the same exculpatory declaration. Varick and 
Franks requested a court of inquiry to sit for the inves 
tigation of their conduct. This was granted by the Com 
mander-in-chief, and the result was in every respect 
most honorable to them both. 



BENEDICT ARNOLD. 251 

all nations." Upon the strength of this argument 
he requested that Andre might be forthwith set. 
at liberty, and allowed to return. He fortified his 
request by reminding Washington of their " for 
mer acquaintance " ; and, he might have added 
an early friendship, for in their younger days s 
close intimacy subsisted between them, whicf 
indeed, was severed only by the harsh and u. 
com promising decrees of war. But howev-.t 
faithful in his friendships, Washington never sui 
fered them for a moment to influence his sten 
sense of public duty, to stifle the vnice of truth, 
or avert the awards of justice. 

Being wholly ignorant of the extent of Arnold s 
plans, and not knowing the degree of maturity to 
which they had been brought, or what persons 
might be involved with him, Washington s first 
steps were to provide for the security of the gar 
rison and its dependencies. He wrote immedi 
ately to the principal officer at West Point, and 
to others commanding detachments in the neigh 
borhood, giving them explicit orders, and mak 
ing the best arrangements for resistance in case 
of an ittack. He sent an express to General 
Greene, w r ho commanded the army near Tappan 
in the absence of the Commander-in-chief, and 
directed him to put the left wing in motion as 
soon as possible, and march towards King s Fer 
ry, where, or on the way, he would be met 



252 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHT. 

with further orders. The express reached Gen 
eral Greene s quarters at midnight. The left di 
vision was instantly called to arms, and the march 
commenced. 

It was necessary for Washington to exercise 
much delicacy on this occasion, as well as great 
decision and energy. He knew not who were 
friends or foes. Having no clew as yet, which 
could lead him to a discovery of the secret de 
signs and acts of the traitor, prudence required 
him to be on his guard and sparing of his confi 
dence to persons, whose situation and recent in 
timacy with Arnold would give countenance to 
the supposition, that they might be in this plot. 
But, on the contrary, to show distrust of those, 
who did not deserve it, would be cruel in itself, 
and might have injurious consequences. He pur 
sued a course, which. was the most agreeable to 
his own feelings, and fortunately it was the best 
that could have been adopted. Apparently he 
put an unreserved confidence in all the officers, 
and in no instance manifested the least symptom 
of doubt as to their fidelity or patriotism. 

The case of Colonel Livingston is worthy of 
notice. He commanded at Verplanck s Point, 
and from the proximity of his post to the enemy, 
and several concurring circumstances, might be 
very fair ] y presumed to have been either direct 
! y or indiiectly concerned in Arnold s manueu 



BENEDICT ARNOLD. 253 

vres. By a very laconic letter, Washington or 
dered that officer to come to him immediately. 
Livingston expected, at least, a severe scrutiny 
into his conduct, being fully aware, though con 
scious of his innocence, that circumstances were 
unfavorable. But Washington made no inquiries 
into the past, nor uttered a syllable that implied 
distrust. He told Colonel Livingston, that he 
had sent for him to give him very special orders, 
to impress upon him the danger of his post and 
the necessity of vigilance, and to communicate 
other particulars, which could only be done in 
a personal interview. In conclusion he said it 
was a source of gratification to him, that the post 
was in the hands of an officer, whose courage 
and devotedness to the cause of his country af 
forded a pledge of a faithful and honorable dis 
charge of duty. Let the reader imagine the 
grateful emotions of Colonel Livingston, his in 
creased esteem for his Commander, and the alac 
rity with which, under such an impulse, he went 
back to his station of high trust and danger. 
. At the same time that these preparations were 
making for the security of West Point, an order 
was despatched to Colonel Jameson, directing him 
to send Andre under a strong guard to Robin 
son s House. The express arrived about mid 
night at Lower Salem, and at that hour an offi 
cer came with the message to Andre. He start 



254: AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

ed up quickly from his bed, and obeyed the sum 
mons. The rain fell in torrents, and the night 
was dark and dismal. Mr. Bronson says, that, on 
taking leave, he expressed a deep sense of the ob 
ligations he was under, for the delicate and cour 
teous treatment he had received from the officers 
of the regiment with whom he had become ac 
quainted, and declared that, whatever might be 
his future destiny, he could never meet them as 
enemies. 

The guard marched all night, and in the morn 
ing of the next day, September 26th, Andre ar 
rived at Robinson s House, in the custody of Ma 
jor Tallmadge. Many inquiries were made by 
Washington ; but he declined having the prisoner 
brought into his presence, and Major Tallmadge 
believes, that Washington never saw him while 
he was in the hands of the Americans. Andrt 
was taken over to West Point the same evening, 
where he remained till the morning of the 28th, 
when he was removed down the river in a barge 
to Stony Point, and thence under an escort of 
cavalry to Tappan.* 

* Joshua H. Smith was arrested at Fishkill, in the 
night of the 25th of September, by Colonel Gouvion, a 
French officer, whom Washington sent for that pur 
pose. Smith was conducted under guard to West 
Point, and from that place to Tappan, where he was 
kept m confinement till he was tried by a court-martial. 



BENEDICT ARNOLD. 255 

The events of this day s march have been nar 
rated in a manner so impressive and so interesting 
by Major Tallmadge, that they ought not to be 
presented in any other language than his own. 

" From the moment," says Major Tallmadge, 
" that Andre made the disclosure of his name and 
true character, in his letter to the Commander 
in-chief, which he handed to me as soon as he 
had written it down to the moment of his ex 
ecution, I was almost constantly with him. I 
walked with him to the place of execution, and 
parted with him under the gallows, overwhelmed 
with grief, that so gallant an officer and so ac 
complished a gentleman should come to such an 
ignominious end. The ease and affability of his 
manners, polished by the refinement of good so 
ciety and a finished education, made him a most 
delightful companion. It often drew tears from 
my eyes to find him so agreeable in conversation 
on different subjects, when I reflected on his fu 
ture fate, and that too, as I believed, so near at 
hand. 

" Since you ask for private anecdotes, I would 
remark, that, soon after our first acquaintance, 
being mutually disposed to indulge in the most 
unreserved and free conversation, and both being 
soldiers of equal rank in the two armies, we 
agreed on a cartel, by the terms of which each 
one was permitted to put any question to the 



256 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

other, not involving a third person. This open 
ed a wide field for two inquisitive young officers, 
and we amused ourselves not a little on the march 
to head-quarters. Many anecdotes doubtless were 
related, which the lapse of more than fifty-three 
years has consigned to oblivion, and which I have 
no desire again to recollect. My principal object 
was to learn the course of the late plot. On 
every point that I inquired about, where any 
other person was concerned, he maintained most 
rigidly the rule ; so that when that most infamous 
traitor, Arnold, was concerned and he out of our 
control, so nice was Andre s sense of honor, that 
he would disclose nothing. 

" When we left West Point for Tappan, early 
in the morning, as we passed down the Hudson 
River to King s Ferry, I placed Andre by my side, 
on the after seat of the barge. I soon begar. 
to make inquiries about the expected capture of 
our fortress then in full view, and begged him to 
inform me whether he was to have taken a pait in 
the military attack, if Arnold s plan had succeed 
ed. He instantly replied in the affirmative, and 
pointed me to a table of land on the west shore ; 
which he said was the spot where he should have 
landed, at the head of a select corps. He then 
traversed in idea the course up the mountain in 
to the rear of Fort Putnam, which overlooks the 
whole parade of West Point. And this he did 



BENEDICT ARNOLD. 257 

fritii much greater exactness, than I could have 
done ; and, as Arnold had so disposed of the gar 
rison, that little or no opposition could be made 
by our troops, Major Andre supposed he should 
have reached that commanding eminence without 
difficulty. In such case that important key of our 
country would have been theirs (the enemy s), 
and the glory of so splendid an achievement would 
have been his. The animation with which he 
gave the account, I recollect, perfectly delighted 
me, for he seemed as if he was entering the fort 
sword in hand. To complete the climax, I next 
inquired what was to have been his reward, if he 
had succeeded. He replied that military glory 
was all he sought; and that the thanks of his 
general, and the approbation of his King, were a 
rich reward for such an undertaking. I think he 
further remarked, that, if he had succeeded, (anj, 
with the aid of the opposing general, who could 
doubt of success ?) he was to have been promoted 
to the rank of a brigadier-general. 

" After we disembarked at King s Ferry, near 
Haverstraw, we took up our line of march, with 
a fine body of horse for Tappan. Before we 
reached the Clove, Major Andre became very 
inquisitive to know my opinion as to the result 
of his capture. In other words, he wished me 
to give him candidly my opinion, as to the light 
in which he would be viewed by General Wash- 
in. 17 



258 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

ington, and a military tribunal, if one should be 
ordered. This was the most unpleasant question 
that had been propounded to me, and I endeav 
ored to evade it, unwilling to give him a true 
answer. When I could no longer evade his im 
portunity, or put off a full reply, I remarked to 
him as follows. I had a much loved class-mate 
.in Yale College, by the name of Nathan Hale 
who entered the army in the year 1775. Im 
mediately after the battle of Long Island, Gen 
eral Washington wanted information respecting 
the strength, position, and probable movements of 
the enemy. Captain Hale tendered his services, 
went over to Brooklyn, and was taken just as he 
was passing the outposts of the enemy on his re 
turn. Said I with emphasis, Do you remember 
the sequel of this story ? ( Yes, said Andre, he 
was hanged as a spy. But you surely do not 
consider his case and mine alike ? I replied, 
*\es, precisely similar, and similar will be your 
fate. He endeavored to answer my remarks, but 
it was manifest he was more troubled in spirit 
than I had ever seen him before. 

" We stooped at the Clove to dine, and to let 
the horse-guard refresh. White there, Andre 
kept reviewing his shabby dress, and finally re 
marked to me, that he was positively ashamed to 
go to the head-quarters of the American army in 
such a plight. I called my servant, and directed 



BENEDICT ARNOLD. 259 

nim to bring my dragoon cloak, which I presented 
to Major Andre. This he refused to take for 
some time ; but I insisted on it, and he finally put 
it on, and rode in it to Tappan." 

In Washington s letter to General Greene, in 
forming him that the prisoners would be sent to 
camp, and giving instructions as to the manner in 
which they were to be guarded, he said, " I wish 
the room for Major Andre to be a decent one, 
and that he may be treated with civility." And 
even Smith, who writes with much asperity against 
Washington and nearly all the American officers, 
confesses, that " Major Andre was comfortably 
lodged, and every attention was paid to him suit 
able to his rank and character." Indeed, such 
was the sympathy already excited everywhere 
for this accomplished young man, heightened by 
a detestation of Arnold, that even his enemies, 
whom he had sought to ruin by leaguing with a 
traitor, regarded him rather in the light of a mar 
tyr, than as a victim of his own imprudence, am 
bition, and love of glory. 

All necessary arrangements having been mada 
for the security of West Point, Washington has 
tened to the army. The next day after his arri 
val, September 29th, he summoned a board of 
general officers, directing them to examine into 
the case of Major Andre, report a precise state of 
the same, and give their op mion, as to the light in 



260 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

which he ought to be regarded, and the punish 
ment that should be inflicted. This board con 
sisted of six major-generals, and eight brigadiers. 
General Greene was the President. Let it be 
observed, that the board was not a court-martial, 
but merely a court of inquiry, instructed to exam 
ine and report facts, and to express an opinion. 

Sundry papers were laid before the board, par 
ticularly those already mentioned as relating to 
tliis subject. There were also two other letters. 
One was written to Washington by Sir Henry 
Clinton, as soon as he heard of Andre s capture, 
on the return of the Vulture to New York. It 
contained a brief request, that the King s Adju 
tant-General might have permission to return im 
mediately to his orders. This request was sus 
tained by a letter from Arnold to him, a copy o*" 
which was forwarded, and in which Arnold said, 
that Andrj had acted in all respects conformably 
to his directions, and was under his protection 
during the whole time he was within the Ameri 
can lines ; that he had sent a flag of truce to bring 
him on shore, had given him papers in his own 
handwriting, directed him to assume a feigned 
name, and furnished him with passports to go by 
the way of White Plains to New York. As all 
these acts were done while he had command, 
Arnold inferred, that he had a right to do them, 
and that, if any thing was wrong, the responsibility 
rented with him, and not with Major Andrj. 



BENEDICT ARNOLD. 261 

The board assembled, and the prisoner was 
brought before them. The names of the officers 
constituting the board were read to him. Before 
fhe examination commenced, General Greene told 
him that various questions would be aoked, but 
the board desired him to feel at perfect liberty to 
answer them or not, as he might choose, and to 
take his own time for recollection and for weigh 
ing what he said. Andre then proceeded to give 
a brief narrative of what occurred between the 
time of his coming on shore and that of his cap 
ture, which agreed in every point with his let 
ter to General Washington. He also confessed 
that certain papers, which were shown to him, 
were the same that had been concealed in his 
boots, and that a pass for John Anderson, in the 
handwriting of Arnold, was the one he had ex 
hibited to his captors. 

Being interrogated as to his conception of the 
manner in which he came on shore, and whether 
he considered himself under a flag, he answered, 
that " it was impossible for him to suppose he 
came on shore under the sanction of a flag, and 
added that, if he came on shore under that sanc 
tion, he might certainly have returned under it." 
Throughout his examination Major Andre main 
tained a manly, dignified, and respectful deport 
ment, replied to every question promptly, dis 
covered no embarrassment, sought no disguise, 



262 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

stated with frankness and truth every thing that 
related to himself, and used no words to explain, 
palliate, or defend any part of his conduct. So 
delicate was he in regard to other persons, that 
he scrupulously avoided mentioning names, or 
alluding to any particulars except such as con 
cerned himself. General Greene spoke of Smith s 
House, in reference to the place of meeting be 
tween Andre and Arnold. " I said a house, Sir," 
replied Andre, " but I did not say whose house." 
" True," answered Greene, " nor have we any 
right to demand this of you, after the conditions 
we have allowed." 

The examination being closed, Major Andre 
was asked whether he had any remarks to make 
on the statements that, had been presented. He 
replied in the negative, and said he should leave 
them to operate with the board. He was then 
remanded to the place of his confinement. 

After a full consideration of the subject, taking 
into view the papers that had been laid before 
them, and the voluntary confessions of Major An 
dre the board reported the following facts ; 

" First, that he came on shore from the Vul 
ture sloop-of-war, in the night, on an interview 
with General Arnold, in a private and secret 
manner. 

" Secondly, that he changed his drees within 
our lines, and, under a feigned name e^d in a 



BENEDICT ARNOLD. 263 

disguised habit, passed our works at Stony and 
Verplanck s Points ; was taken at Tarrytown in 
a disguised habit, being then on his way to New 
York ; and, when taken, he had in his possession 
several papers, which contained intelligence for 
the enemy." 

Believing these facts to be established, the 
ooard further reported it as their opinion, that 
Major Andre ought to be considered as a spy, 
and, according to the law and usage of nations, to 
suffer death. 

This decision was communicated to the prison 
er, who, at his request, was permitted to write a 
letter to Sir Henry Clinton, which follows. 

Tappan, 29 September, 1780. 
" SIR, 

" Your Excellency is doubtless already appriz 
ed of the manner in which I was taken, and pos 
sibly of the serious light in which my conduct is 
considered, and the rigorous determination that is 
impending. 

" Under these circumstances, I have obtained 
General Washington s permission to send you this 
letter ; the object of which is, to remove from 
your breast any suspicion, that I could imagine I 
was bound by your Excellency s orders to expose 
myself to what has happened. The events of 
coming within an enemy s posts, and of chang 



264: AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

ing my dress, which led me to my present situa 
tion, were contrary to my own intentions, as they 
were to your orders ; and the circuitous route, 
which I took to return, was imposed (perhaps 
unavoidably) without alternative upon me. 

" I am perfectly tranquil in mind, and prepar 
ed for any fate, to which an honest zeal for my 
King s service may have devoted me. 

" In addressing myself to your Excellency on 
this occasion, the force of all my obligations to 
you, and of the attachment and gratitude I bear 
you, recurs to me. With all the warmth of my 
heart, I give you thanks for your Excellency s 
profuse kindness to me ; and I send you the most 
earnest wishes for your welfare, which a faithful, 
affectionate, and respectful attendant can frame. 

" I have a mother and two sisters, to whom 
the value of my commission would be an object, 
as the loss of Grenada has much affected their 
income. It is needless to be more explicit on 
this subject ; I am persuaded of your Excellen 
cy s goodness. 

" I receive the greatest attention from his Ex 
oellency General Washington, and from every per 
son under whose charge I happen to be placed 
I have the honor to be, with the most respectful 
attachment, your Excellency s most obedient and 
most humble servant, 

"JOHN ANDRt Adjutant- General" 



BENEDICT ARNOLD. 265 

This letter was accompanied by one from 
General Washington to Sir Henry Clinton, and 
by a copy of the proceedings of the board of 
officers. Washington s letter was short, stating, 
in reply to the British commander s request re 
specting his Adjutant-General, that, although he 
was taken under circumstances, which warranted 
the most summary mode of treatment, yet great 
moderation had been exercised towards him, and 
his case had been referred to a board of general 
officers, whose report was then transmitted for Sir 
Henry s inspection ; from which it would be seen, 
that Major Andre was engaged in executing meas 
ures very different from the objects of a flag of 
truce, and such as a flag could not by any possible 
construction ever have been intended to authorize 
or countenance. 



266 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY 



CHAPTER XV. 

ineffectual Attempts to procure the Release of 
Major Andre. His Execution. TJie Cap* 
tors of Andre. Joshua H. Smith. Cap 
tain Nathan Hale. 

NOTWITHSTANDING the equity of the sentence 
against Andre, and the irresistible testimony upon 
which it was founded, his rank and character ex 
cited so lively an interest in every breast, and 
there were so many extenuating circumstances 
connected with the manner in which he had been 
seduced into the snare, that the voice of humanity 
pleaded loudly in his behalf, and the sternest ad 
vocate for justice could not regard his impending 
fate without regret, or a wish that it might be 
averted. No one was more deeply impressed 
with these feelings than Washington ; and his 
anxiety was the greater, as the final determination 
of punishment or acquittal must rest with him. 
Washington never shrunk from a public duty, yet 
his heart ws; humane, and his mind revolted at 
the thought of being the agent in an act, which 
wounded his sensibility, although impelled by the 
laws of war, a sense of right, and an approving 
conscience. The treachery of Arnold had been 



BENEDICT ARNOLD. 267 

so atrocious, so unexpected and artfully contrived, 
and the example was- so dangerous, that the most 
signal punishment was necessary, not more as a 
retribution due to the crime, and a terror to 
others, who might harbor similar designs, than as 
a proof to the people, that their cause was not to 
be left to the mercy of traitors, nor sacrificed with 
impunity. 

In this view of the subject, the only one in 
which it could be regarded by wisdom, prudence, 
or patriotism, there was but one possible mode of 
saving Andre ; and that was to exchange him for 
Arnold, who should himself be held responsible 
for the criminal transactions, which had originated 
with him, and in which he had been the chief 
actor. That the enemy would give him up 
was hardly to be expected, nor could a formal 
proposition of that kind be advanced ; yet there 
was no reason why the opportunity should not be 
offered, or at least why it should not be intimated 
to them, that in such an event Andre would be 
released. To effect this object the following plan 
was adopted. 

Washington sent for Captain Aaron Ogden, 
whom he informed that he had selected him to 
carry despatches to the British post at Paulus 
Hook, which were to be conveyed thence across 
the river to New York. After putting the packet 
of papers into his hands, and giving him some 



268 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

general directions as to the mode of arranging 
the escort, so that it should consist of men whose 
fidelity could be relied upon, and who should 
make a good appearance, he told Ogden to call 
on the Marquis de Lafayette for additional in 
structions. 

This was on the 30th of September, the day 
after the examination of Andre, and the packet 
intrusted to Ogden contained his letter to Sir 
Henry Clinton, and that mentioned above from 
Washington to the same commander. Lafayette 
was at the head of the Light Infantry, who were 
stationed in advance of the army towards the 
enemy s lines. He instructed Ogden so to con 
trive his march, that he should arrive at Paulus 
Hook so late in the day, that he would be asked 
to stay all night. He was then to seek a favora 
ble moment to communicate to the commandant 
of the post, or some of the principal officers, as 
if incidentally, the idea about exchanging Andre 
for Arnold. 

Thus prepared, Ogden set off with a suitable 
escort, and at a convenient hour arrived at the 
outposts near Paulus Hook. He was there stop 
ped, and the officer proposed to detain him, till 
the despatches were sent in and an answer re 
turned. Captain Ogden assured him, that he had 
express orders to deliver the packet into the hands 
of the principal officer of the post, and upon this 



BENEDICT ARNOLD. 269 

representation ne was allowed to pass. The com 
mandant was courteous, received the packet, and 
immediately sent it by an express across the river 
to New York. 

Captain Ogden was politely asked to take sup 
per with the officers ; and when the evening was 
far advanced and the boat did not come back, he 
was invited to remain through the night. The 
conversation turned upon Andre, and the com 
mandant inquired whether he thought Washington 
would consent to his execution. Ogden replied, 
that he undoubtedly would, that the army expect 
ed it, and the nature of the offence rendered it 
necessary ; and, whatever might be his private 
feelings, and however painful the task, he would 
not hesitate to do his duty promptly, when re 
quired by justice and the laws of war, and when 
the vital interests of his country were at stake. 
The commandant asked, if there was no way of 
preventing such a catastrophe. " Yes," replied 
Ogden, " it is in the power of Sir Henry Clinton 
to do it. If he will deliver up Arnold into the 
hands of the Americans, and take Andrd in ex 
change, the prisoner may have a speedy rescue." 
Ogden was then asked whether he had authority 
for such a declaration. " I have no such assur 
ance from General Washington," said he, " but I 
am prepared to say, that if such a proposal were 
to be made, [ believe it would be accepted, and 



270 AMERICAN BIOGRAPET. 

Major Andre set at liberty." Upon this hint the 
officer left the company, crossed the river, had an 
interview with Sir Henry Clinton, and returned 
before morning. He told Captain Ogden, that 
such a thing could not be done ; that to give up a 
man, who had deserted from the enemy, and 
openly espoused the King s cause, was such a 
violation of honor and every military principle, 
that Sir Henry Clinton would not listen to the 
idea for a moment. 

The despatch-boat came back, and Ogden pre 
pared at the dawn of day for his departure. On 
mustering his men, it was discovered, that the 
sergeant of the escort was missing, and it was 
supposed he had deserted to the enemy during 
the night. Having no time for search, Ogden 
hastened to General Washington s camp, and de- 
ivered the packet he had brought.* 

* This desertion of the sergeant was a stratagem 
of Washington unknown to Captain Ogden at the time. 
A paper had been intercepted, in which was found the 
name of one of the American major-generals, connected 
in such a manner with other particulars, as to excite a 
suspicion, that he was concerned in Arnold s treason. It 
was extremely important, that this point should be ascer 
tained ; and the sergeant was prevailed upon to desert, 
and act as a spy in New York to gain intelligence of a cer 
tain kind, and from certain sources. The stratagem was 
successful, and the intelligence sent out by the sergeant, 
in a very short time, proved incontestably that the suspi- 



BENEDICT ARNOLD. 271 

The letters from Andre and General Washing 
ton, and the proceedings of the board of exami 
nation, were perused with much concern by Sir 
Henry Clinton. He immediately assembled a 
council of general officers, and laid these papers 
before them. After maturely considering their 
contents, it was resolved that a deputation of three 
persons should proceed to the nearest American 
outpost, furnished with evidence to prove Major 
Andre s innocence, and to impart information, 
which Sir Henry Clinton thought would place the 
question in a different light from that in which it 
had been viewed by the American board. 

The persons delegated on this mission were 
General Robertson, Andrew Elliot, and William 
Smith. They were accompanied by Beverly 
Robinson as a witness in the case, and were forti 
fied in their estimation, but weakened in reality, 
by a long explanatory and threatening letter from 
Arnold to General Washington. The commis 
sioners went up the river in the Greyhound 
Schooner, with a flag of truce, on the first of Octo 
ber. Notice of the intended visit and its objects 
had been already communicated by Sir Henry 
Clinton to Washington ; and when the vessel 

cion was entirely groundless. The intercepted paper 
was probably designed by the enemy to fall into Gen 
eral Washington s hands, and to create jealousy and dis 
cord among the American officers. 



272 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHT. 

anchored at Dobbs s Ferry, General Greene was 
there, having been deputed by Washington to 
hold the interview in his behalf. The person 
sent on shore by the British commissioners brought 
word back, that General Robertson only would 
be permitted to land, and that General Greene 
was then in readiness to receive him. 

The conference was opened by Robertson, who 
paid some compliments to the American general, 
and expressed the satisfaction he had in treating 
with him on an occasion so interesting to the 
two armies and to humanity. Greene replied, 
that it was necessary for them to know at the out 
set on what ground they stood ; that he was not 
there in the character of an officer ; that he was 
allowed by General Washington to meet him as a 
private gentleman, but that the case of an acknowl 
edged spy admitted of no discussion. Robertson 
said his design was to state facts, which he hoped 
would have their due weight, in whatever charac 
ter he might be supposed to speak. 

He then entered largely into the subject, en 
deavoring to show, first, that Andre landed under 
the sanction of a flag; secondly, that he acted 
wholly by the directions of Arnold ; from both of 
which positions it was inferred, that he could not 
in any just sense of the word be regarded as a 
spy. The facts having all been examined by 
the board of officers, and bein^ well understood 



BENEDICT ARNOLD. 273 

this new statement of them made no change in 
Greene s opinion or impressions ; and when Ar 
nold s testimony was introduced, he said the 
Americans would believe Andre in preference to 
Arnold. General Roberts Dn said, that no milita 
ry tribunal in Europe would decide the case of 
Andre to be that of a spy, and he proposed to 
refer the question to Count de Rochambeau and 
General Knyphausen. Other considerations were 
urged by him, not so much in the way of argu 
ment, as on the score of reciprocal benefits and 
humanity. He added, that he should confide in 
General Greene s candor to represent in the fair 
est light to General Washington the arguments he 
had used ; that he should stay on board all night, 
and hoped in the morning to take back with him 
Major Andre, or an assurance of his safety. 

In Robertson s despatch to Sir Henry Clinton, 
containing the particulars of the conference, he 
said it was intimated to him by Greene, that, if 
Andre were set free, it would be expected that 
Arnold should be given up. Robertson professed 
to have replied to this intimation only by a look 
of indignant rebuke. 

The letter from Arnold to General Washington 
written to aid the negotiation of the commission 
ers, was extraordinary, considering the purpose it 
was intended to answer. After expressing his 
grateful acknowledgments and thanks" for the 

in. 18 



274 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

kindness shown to Mrs. Arnold, and attempting 
to skreen Andre from blame by taking the re 
sponsibility of his deeds upon himself, and de 
claring that he " had an undoubted right to trans 
act all those matters," he concludes in a style of 
hardened impudence and malignity, that, even 
when coming from such a source, must be re 
garded with astonishment. 

" If, after this just and candid representation of 
Major Andre s case," said he, " the board of 
general officers adhere to their former opinion, I 
shall suppose it dictated by passion and resent 
ment ; and if that gentleman should suffer the se 
verity of their sentence, 1 shall think myself 
bound by every tie of duty and honor to retaliate 
on such unhappy persons of your army as may 
fall within my power, that the respect due to 
flags, and to the law of nations, may be better 
understood and observed. 

" If this warning should be disregarded, and he 
suffer, I call Heaven and earth to witness, that 
your Excellency will be justly answerable for the 
torrent of blood, that may be spilt in conse 
quence." 

It is hardly possible that this letter could have 
been seen by Sir Henry Clinton, although written 
at his request, with the view of operating on the 
judgment and clemency of Washington. Could 
any language, uttered by any individual, have a 



BENEDICT ARNOLD. 275 

more opposite tendency ? Disgust and cor. tempt 
were the only emotions it could excite ; and it 
was at least an evidence, that neither the under 
standing nor the heart of the writer had been im - 
proved by his political change. Hitherto he had 
discovered acuteness and mental resource, but 
in this act his folly was commensurate with his 
wickedness. At the same time he performed the 
farce of resigning his commission, as an officer in 
the American service, and wrote to GeneraV 
Washington, " I beg leave to assure your Excel 
lency, that my attachment to the true interests of 
my country is invariable, and that I am actuated 
by the same principle, which has ever been the 
governing rule of my conduct in this unhappy 
contest." Setting aside the hypocrisy of this 
declaration, it is perhaps fair to interpret it in its 
literal sense, and to believe, that he had always 
confounded patriotism with selfishness, and the 
interests of his country with the aims of a merce 
nary ambition. 

The British commissioners waited till morn 
ing, 2.s General Robertson had proposed, and at 
an early hour they received a note from Gener 
al Greene, stating that he had communicated to 
Washington the substance of the conference, but 
.hat it had produced no change in his opinion and 
determination. This intelligence was astounding 
to Robertson ; for he had written to Sir Henry 



276 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

Clinton the evening before, that he was persuaded 
Andre would not be harmed. How he got this 
impression is not easily discovered, since he rep 
resented General Greene as obstinately bent on 
considering Andre as a spy, and resisting all his 
arguments to the contrary. 

Nothing more could be done by the commis 
sioners. That no measure might be left untried, 
however, General Robertson wrote a letter to 
Washington, containing a summary of the topics 
he had discussed at the conference, and assigned 
as a reason for sending it, that he feared General 
Greene s memory might have failed him in some 
particulars, and he wished the merits of so im 
portant a case to be presented with all the clear 
ness and force it deserved. This letter could 
have produced no effect, even if it had not arrived 
too late ; for it touched upon no points, which had 
not already been examined and decided. The 
commissioners returned to New York. 

While in confinement at Tappan, both before 
and after his sentence, Andre had shown the great 
est composure, and the same serenity of temper 
and winning gentleness of manners, that had been 
conspicuous in his conversation and deportment 
from the time he was taken. His regimentals had 
been brought from New York by his servant, after 
his arrival at Tappan, and he appeared in the full 
dress of a British officer. Colonel Hamilton, in 



BENEDICT ARNOLD. 277 

his beautiful and pathetic letter to Colonel Lau- 
rens, respecting the capture and death of Andre, 
has described an incident in his conduct on this 
occasion, which would add lustre to his name, 
even if it were not adorned by genius, magna 
nimity, and honor. 

" In one of the visits I made to him," said Ham 
ilton, " (and I saw him several times during his 
confinement,) he begged me to be the bearer of a 
request to the General, for permission to send an 
open letter to Sir Henry Clinton. I foresee my 
fate, said he, and though I pretend not to play 
the hero, or to be indifferent about life, yet I 
am reconciled to whatever may happen, conscious 
that misfortune, not guilt, has brought it upon me. 
There is only one thing that disturbs my tran 
quillity. Sir Henry Clinton has been too good to 
me ; he has been lavish of his kindness ; I am 
bound to him by too many obligations, and love 
him too well, to bear the thought that he should 
reproach nimself, or others should reproach him, 
on the supposition of my having conceived myself 
obliged, by his instructions, to run the risk I did. 
I would not, for the world, leave a sting in his 
mind that should embitter his future days. He 
could scarce finish the sentence, bursting into 
tears, in spite of his efforts to suppress them, and 
with difficulty collected himself enough afterwards 
to add, I wish to be permitted to assure him, 1 



278 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

did not act under this impression, but submitted 
to a necessity imposed upon me, as contrary to 
my own inclination, as to his orders. His re 
quest was readily complied with, and he wrote 
the letter annexed, with which I dare say you will 
be as much pleased as I am, both for the senti 
ment and diction." 

This letter was the same that has been inserted 
above, and its contents accord in every respect 
with the delicacy of feeling and warmth of grati 
tude here expressed towards his benefactor. 

When the sentence of the board was announced 
to Andre, he manifested no surprise or concern, 
having evidently been prepared by his own re 
flections for this result. He remarked only, that, 
since he was to die, " there was still a choice in 
the mode, which would make a material difference 
in his feelings." It was his wish to die the death 
of a soldier, and he requested that he might be 
shot. The application was renewed in a letter 
addressed to General Washington. 

"Tappan, 1 October, 1780. 
" SIR, 

" Buoyed above the terror of death, by the con 
sciousness of a life devoted to honorable pursuits, 
and stained with no action that can give me re 
morse, I trust that the request I make to your 
Excellency, at this serious period, and which is to 
soften my last moments, will not be rejected. 



BENEDICT ARNOLD. 279 

" Sympathy towards a soldier will surely induce 
your Excellency, and a military tribunal, to adapt 
the mode of my death to the feelings of a man of 
honor. 

" Let me hope, Sir, that if aught in my char 
acter impresses you with esteem towards me, if 
aught in my misfortunes marks me as the victim 
of policy and not of resentment, I shall experi 
ence the operation of these feelings in your 
breast, by being informed that I am not to die on 
a gibbet. 

" I have the honor to be your Excellency 
most obedient and most humble servant, 

"JOHN ANDR&." 

The indulgence here solicited, in terms as man 
ly as they are persuasive and touching, could not 
be granted consistently with the customs of war 
Such, at least, was the opinion of Washington ana 
of the officers he consulted. No answer was 
returned either to the first application or to the 
letter, it being deemed more humane to evade a 
reply, than to cause the painful sensations, which 
a positive refusal would inflict.* 

* There is still in existence a curious memorial both 
of the person of Major Andre, and of his tranquillity and 
self-possession, during this period of trial and solemn 
anticipation. In the midst of the sombre thoughts, 
which must have thronged upon his mind, he resorted 



280 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

The time for the execution was at first fixed 
at five o clock in the afternoon of the day, on 
which Greene had the interview with Robertson, 
and it was thus published in the general orders. 

to the art, which had given him so much delight, when 
all the opening prospects of life were gilded with hope 
and gladness. The following is an extract from a letter, 
written by Mr. Ebenezer Baldwin to the President of 
Yale College, and dated at New Haven, August 8th, 
1832. 

" It affords me pleasure, as the agent of Mr. Jabez L. 
Tomlinson of Stratford, and of Mr. Nathan Beers of this 
city, to request your acceptance of the accompanying 
miniature of Major John Andre. It is his likeness seated 
at a table in his guard-room, and drawn by himself with 
a pen, on the morning of the day fixed for his execution. 
Mr. Tomlinson informs me, that a respite was granted 
until the next day, and that this miniature was in the 
mean time presented to him (then acting as officer of the 
guard) by Major Andr6 himself. Mr. Tomlinson was 
present when the sketch was made, and says it was 
drawn without the aid of a glass. The sketch subse 
quently passed into the hands of Mr. Beers, a fellow-offi 
cer of Mr. Tomlinson on the station, and from thence 
was transferred to me. It has been in my possession 
several years." 

The original drawing is now in the TRUMBULL GAL 
LERY at Yale College. It bears a strong resemblance to 
an engraved head of Andre printed in England, and the 
likeness may be presumed to approach as near to accu 
racy, as is usual in miniatures of the same size ; more 
especially as Andre was accustomed to draw similar 
sketches of himself for his friends. 



BENEDICT ARNOLD. 281 

But the length of that negotiation caused the exe 
cution to be deferred till the next day, October 
2d. at twelve o clock. 

The particulars of this event will be here re 
lated in the language of Dr. Thacher, who was 
an eyewitness and evidently a close observer, 
and who has described what he saw with a pre 
cision and force, which bear the stamp of accura 
cy and present a vivid picture of the scene. 

" The principal guard-officer, who was con 
stantly in the room with the prisoner, relates, that 
when the hour of his execution was announced 
to him in the morning, he received it without 
emotion, and, while all present were affected witL 
silent gloom, he retained a firm countenance, with 
calmness and composure of mind. Observing his 
servant enter the room in tears, he exclaimed, 
Leave me till you can show yourself more man 
ly. His breakfast being sent to him from the 
table of General Washington, which had been 
done every day of his confinement, he partook of 
it as usual, and having shaved and dressed him 
self, he placed his hat on the table, and cheer- 
ully said to the guard-officers, I am ready at 
any moment, Gentlemen, to wait on you/ The 
fatal hour having arrived, a large detachment of 
troops was paraded, and an immense concourse of 
people assembled ; almost all our general and 
6eld officers, excepting his Excellency and his 



282 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

staff, were present on horseback ; melancholy and 
gloom pervaded all ranks ; the scene was affecting 
and awful. 

" I was so near during the solemn march to the 
fatal spot, as to observe every movement and par 
ticipate in every emotion, which the melancholy 
scene was calculated to produce. Major Andre 
walked from the stone house, in which he had 
been confined, between two of our subaltern offi 
cers, arm in arm ; the eyes of the immense mul 
titude were fixed on him, who, rising superior to 
the fear of death, appeared as if conscious of the 
dignified deportment which he displayed. He 
betrayed no want of fortitude, but retained a com 
placent smile on his countenance, and politely 
bowed to several gentlemen whom he knew, which 
was respectfully returned. It was his earnest de 
sire to be shot, as being the mode of death most 
conformable to the feelings of a military man, and 
he had indulged the hope that his request would be 
granted. At the moment, therefore, when sudden 
ly he came in view of the gallows, he involuntarily 
started backward, and made a pause. Why this 
emotion, Sir ? said an officer by his side In 
stantly recovering his composure, he said, I arn 
reconciled to my death, but I detest the mode. 

" While waiting and standing near the gallows, 
I observed some degree of trepidation ; placing 
his foot on a stone, and rolling it over, and chok- 



BENEDICT ARNOLD. 283 

tng m his throat, as if attempting to swallow. So 
soon, however, as he perceived that things were 
in readiness, he stepped quickly into the wagon, 
and at this moment he appeared to shrink, but in 
stantly elevating his head with firmness, he said, c It 
will be but a momentary pang ; and taking from 
his pocket two white handkerchiefs, the provost 
marshal with one loosely pinioned his arms, and 
with the other, the victim, after taking off his hat 
and stock, bandaged his own eyes with perfect 
firmness, which melted the hearts, and moistened 
the cheeks, not only of his servant, but of the 
throng of spectators. The rope being appended 
to the gallows, he slipped the noose over his head, 
and adjusted it to his neck, without the assistance 
of the executioner. Colonel Scammell now in 
formed him, that he had an opportunity to speak, 
if he desired it. He raised the handkerchief from 
his eyes, and said, I pray you to bear me wit 
ness, that I meet my fate like a brave man. The 
wagon being now removed from under him, he 
was suspended and instantly expired." * 

* THACHER S Military Journal, p. 222. In a more re 
cent publication, entitled Observations relating to the 
Execution of Major Andre, first printed in the NEW ENG 
LAND MAGAZINE, Dr. Thacher has added several facts 
illustrative of that event. Appended to the same is an 
interesting letter by Major Benjamin Russell, who was 
one of the nner guard, that attended Andr6 to the place 



284: AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

Throughout the whole of this scene, from the 
time he left the house in which he was guarded, 
till the last fatal moment, his demeanor was such 
as to excite the respect, sympathy, and sorrow of 
every beholder. His step was steady, his car 
riage easy and graceful, his countenance placid, 
but thoughtful and firm, indicating a solemn sense 
of his impending fate, and a resolution to meet it 
in a manner consistent with his character and the 
previous tenor of his conduct. He was dressed 
n the uniform of a British officer. When life 
had departed, the body was taken down and in 
terred within a few yards of the place of execu 
tion. The coat and other regimentals were given 
to his servant, who faithfully attended him to the 
last, and saw the grave close over his mortal re 
mains. 

Such was the death of a man, whose rare ac 
complishments had procured for him the friendship 
and confidence of all to whom he was known, and 
opened the happiest presages of a future career 
of renown and glory. In ten short days his 
blooming hopes had been blighted, and his glow 
ing visions dispersed. But it was his singular for 
tune to die, not more beloved by his friends, than 

of execution, and walked so near him as to hear dis- 
anctly what he said. The outer guard consisted of 
about five hundred men ; the inner guard was only % 
captain s command. 



BENEDICT ARNOLD. 285 

lamented by his enemies, whose cause he had 
sought to ruin, and by whose hands his life was 
justly taken. Time has consecrated the feeling 
There are few Americans, and few will there ever 
be, who can look back upon the fate of Andre 
without deep regret. His name is embalmed in 
every generous heart ; and they, who shall con 
demn his great error and applaud the sentence 
of his judges, will cherish a melancholy remem 
brance of the unfortunate victim, and grieve that 
a life of so much promise, adorned with so many 
elevated and estimable qualities, was destined to 
an untimely and ignominious end. 

Soon after this event, when the facts had not 
yet become fully known or duly weighed, a few 
British writers allowed themselves to remark with 
much freedom and asperity respecting the part 
taken by Washington. They said the sentence 
was harsh, if not unjustifiable ; and that, admitting 
it was right, humanity ought to have interposed 
and saved Andre. 

The foregoing details render it unnecessary to 
discuss these points, either for the purpose of es 
tablishing truths, or of vindicating the character of 
Washington. Let every reader reflect upon the 
prominent transactions, and judge for himself. 
Nothing more is requisite. Was Andre a spy ? 
This character he voluntarily acknowledged, both 
in his first letter to General Washington, and in 



286 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

his examination before the board of officers ; that 
is. he confessed himself to have acted a part, 
which no one could possibly act, who was not a 
spy. He landed secretly in the night, he was 
concealed within the American lines, he changed 
his dress and appeared in disguise, he assumed a 
false name, he was taken while going to the ene 
my with papers containing intelligence. 

These facts were so well attested, that the 
British general, in his extreme solicitude to rescue 
Andre, did not attempt to evade or disprove them. 
It was the drift of his argument to show, that, 
notwithstanding their existence, Andre could not 
properly be considered a spy, first, because he 
went ashore under a flag of truce, and secondly 
because while on shore he was subject to the di 
rections of an American general. 

The first point was not accurate in any sense, 
either literally or theoretically. It is true, Arnold 
had written a paper as a passport for Smith, in 
which he mentioned a flag ; but there was no flag, 
and it was in the night, when flags are not sent 
except on extraordinary occasions. Moreover 
the business was not such as could ever be sanc 
tioned by a flag, the whole design of which is to 
soften the rigors of war by creating a mutual con 
fidence between hostile armies, and thereby open 
ing a channel for reciprocal acts of humanity. 
The moment this signal of peace is employed to 



BENEDICT ARNOLD. 287 

abuse the confidence of an opposing party, by 
seeking to inflict an injury under the mask of 
friendship, the act becomes infamous. Hence the 
prostitution of a flag is regarded by all civilized 
people as one of the basest crimes. It is surpris 
ing, therefore, that the idea of a flag should have 
been put forward in any shape as a favorable cir 
cumstance. No such hint came from Andre. 
On the contrary, when questioned upon the sub 
ject, he declared, in very positive terms, that he 
was not under the sanction of a flag. 

As to the second branch of the argument, there 
can be no doubt, that after Andre landed he was 
within the sphere of Arnold s command, and acted 
in all respects either with his knowledge or by his 
direction. But this did not alter the nature of 
his conduct. He was still in disguise, with a false 
name, and carrying papers of a dangerous import 
to the enemy. To say that he was an agent in 
maturing treason is not certainly to make him the 
less a spy. So far from it, that, if possible, the 
offence is aggravated by this coincidence of char 
acter and objects. It was argued, that Arnold had 
a right, while in command, to give such directions 
as he did to Andre, and consequently that no law 
was violated in obeying them. Upon the same 
principle it may be said, that Arnold had a right 
to be a traitor, if he could bring his ends to pass 
by secret means and without detection. The 
sophistry is too shallow to need a refutation 



288 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

Although Sir Henry Clinton used these argu 
ments in his endeavors to procure a release of 
Andre, yet he did not recur to them in the narra 
tive which he sent to the British government, nor 
complain that they had been disregarded. He 
stated all the facts minutely, in connexion with a 
copy of the correspondence, but without uttering 
any censure against Washington or the board of 
officers, and without intimating an opinion, that 
the sentence was unjust, or that Andre could be 
regarded in any other light than as a spy. Had 
his sentiments been different, he would unques 
tionably have expressed them strongly on this 
occasion, and thrown upon his enemies the full 
measure of blame, which he conceived them to 
deserve. 

In publishing this event likewise to the army 
in general orders, Sir Henry Clinton maintained 
the same reserve, concerning the mode of Andre s 
death. "The unfortunate fate of this officer," 
said he, " calls upon the Commander-in-chief to 
declare, that he ever considered Major Andre a 
gentleman of the highest integrity and honor, and 
incapable of any base action or unworthy con 
duct " Nothing was added as to the manner of 
his death, nor was it even insinuated, that it had 
been caused by the vengeance, injustice, or any 
improper act of the enemy, in whose hands he 
suffered. 



BENEDICT ARNOLD. 2S9 

These are proofs, and more might be adducedj 
that the opinions of Sir Henry Clinton on this 
subject, namely, the light in which Andre was to 
be held, according to the invariable laws of war 
and of nations, were essentially the same as those 
of General Washington. It is said by M. de 
Marbois, that Washington secretly consulted Con 
gress respecting Andre before he was examined. 
No formal deliberation was held upon the subject, 
but Congress returned as an answer, that they 
perceived no reason for arresting the course of 
justice. 

The question, which is merely one of feeling 
and not of principle, whether Andre might not 
have been indulged in his last request to die a 
military death, should be answered in reference to 
the state of things at that crisis, and to the mo 
tives operating on Washington s mind. Regard 
ing the matter only in the abstract, there seems 
no very obvious reason why such an indulgence 
should have been refused. Yet, as no trait 
in Washington s character was more remarkable 
through life than his humanity, this noble quality 
cannot be supposed to have forsaken him on an 
occasion, which most deeply interested his feel 
ings, and enlisted his sympathies on the side of 
the sufferer. It must be recollected, that, when 
Andre was executed, Washington was entirely 
ignorant as to the extent of the conspiracy and 

in. 19 



290 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

the persons engaged in it. His fears and his sus 
picions were alive ; and, both as an evidence that 
he deemed Andre s punishment just, and as a 
terror to others who might be concerned in the 
plot, he believed it a duty to his office and his 
country to let the law take its usual course. As 
the event turned out, no ill consequences could 
have resulted from a compliance with the request 
of Andre. Could this have been foreseen by 
Washington, the tenderness of his disposition, so 
often manifested, warrants us to believe, that no 
effort on his part would have been spared to 
soothe the dying moments of a brave and un 
fortunate man.* 

The captors of Andre were recommended by 
Washington to Congress, as worthy not only of 
thanks but of a more substantial recompense from 

* A monument was erected by order of the King, in 
Westminster Abbey, to the memory of Major Andr. 
His remains were taken up, in the year 1821, by Mr. Bu 
chanan, British Consul in New York, and removed to 
England. They were deposited in Westminster Abbey 
near the monument. Andre died at the age of twenty 
nine. As no metallic buttons were found in the grave, 
when the disinterment took place, it was considered a 
proof, that he was not buried in his regimentals. It was 
inferred, that he had been stripped before burial ; in what 
manner was uncertain. Dr. Thacher has shown, in his 
Observations, that Andre s regimentals were given to 
bis servant. 



BENEDICT ARNOLD. 291 

the public. After expressing by a formal vote 
" a high sense of their virtuous and patriotic cor- 
duct," Congress granted to each of them an annual 
pension of two hundred dollars for life, and ordered 
a silver medal to be struck and presented to each, 
bearing on one side the inscription Fidelity, and 
on the other, Vincit Amor Patriot. These med 
als were given to the individuals by General 
Washington, at head-quarters, with some ceremo 
ny, and they were invited to dine with him on- 
that occasion. In writing to the President of 
Congress, he said, " The recompense is ample ; it 
is an evidence of the generosity of Congress, a 
flattering tribute to the virtue of those citizens, 
and must prove a powerful incitement to others to 
imitate their example." The country partici 
pated in this opinion, and the conduct of the cap 
tors was universally applauded. 

In connexion with this statement, however, it 
is proper to add, that doubts have been enter 
tained as to the original motives and designs of 
Paulding, Van Wart, and Williams. The repre 
sentation made by Andre to Major Tallmadge and 
Mr. Bronson was, that he first discovered these 
men playing at cards in the bushes near the road : 
that, after they had stopped him, they ripped up 
the housings of his saddle and the cape of his 
coat in search of money ; but, finding none, one 
of the party said, " He may have it in his boots ; T 



292 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

that they then pulled off his boots, and found the 
papers, which induced them to think he was a 
spy. Major Andre was of the opinion, that, if 
he could have given them a small sum of money 
at first, they would have allowed him to pass 
without further molestation ; but he had no other 
money about his person, than the paper bills given 
to him by Smith, and merely sufficient to pay his 
expenses to the city. 

So strong an impression did this account make 
upon the mind of Major Tallmadge, and so fully 
was he convinced of its accuracy, and of the du 
bious virtue of the captors, that, thirty-seven 
years afterwards, when Paulding petitioned Con 
gress for an increase of pension, he resisted the 
petition, (being then a member of Congress,) on 
the ground that the conduct of the petitioner did 
not deserve such a testimony of public approba 
tion and gratitude.* 

May there not be a middle line between these 
two extremes ? Was it not possible for the men 
to search for money, and still be true to their 
country, which is the only point at issue ? When 
they stopped the traveller, the idea of a spy seems 
not to have occurred to them. They took him 

* The subject was drawn into a discussion, and several 
replies were made to Major Tallmadge. See a small 
volume entitled Vindication of the Captors of Major 
An;lrt t published in New York, 1817. 



BENEDICT ARNOLD. 293 

for a merchant, or a person engaged in mercantile 
business, not legally and openly, but in the man 
ner practised by too many of the borderers 
of the neutral ground. They would naturally 
expect him to have money, and would search 
for it ; especially after the confused manner in 
which he had spoken of himself, and since, if 
he was an enemy and had money, it would be 
theirs by the same prize-law, that afterwards as 
signed to them the horse, saddle, bridle, and watch. 
Their virtue cannot be impeached, therefore, 
merely on the score of their searching for mon 
ey, although this incident, it must be confessed, 
contributes no special lustre to their motives or 
acts. 

According to their testimony before the court 
at Smith s trial, they did not suspect Andre of 
being a spy, till his boots had been pulled off and 
the papers discovered ; nor is there any direct 
proof, that he offered them money to release him 
till after that discovery. Williams then asked 
him what he would give them to let him go, evi 
dently having no other aim, than to obtain further 
knowledge of his character. Andre offered to 
give any sum of money, or quantity of dry goods, 
that they would name. Here was the trial of 
their virtue. Ten thousand guineas, they said, 
should not tempt them to let him escape. 



294 AMERICAN BIOGRAPH?. 

Major Andre believed, that, when he made 
the offer, they would have accepted it, if he could 
have given any security for the fulfilment of his 
promise. As he could only pledge his word, and 
as either he or some other person in his name 
must go into the city and bring out the money 
and goods, they distrusted his ability to execute 
his engagement, and feared that some cross acci 
dent would in the mean time lead them into diffi 
culty, and prevent their getting any thing. As 
the surest course, or the one from which they 
were the most likely to obtain a reward, they re 
solved to take him within the American lines, and 
deliver him up to an officer. 

Such was Andre s belief, and it was perhaps 
favored by appearances. But all the prominent 
circumstances of the case are decidedly against it. 
Whatever the captors thought of their prisoner, 
they could not have imagined his real importance, 
nor foreseen the consequences that followed. They 
looked upon him as a common spy, and supposed 
that they would be suitably but not extravagant 
ly rewarded for giving him up. If they were in 
fluenced only by motives of gain, it is hardly 
possible that they should not have been tempt 
ed by the golden offers of Andre, notwithstand 
ing the uncertainty attending them, which could 
not be very great, since he proposed to stay where 
he was, till one of them should go into the city 



BENEDICT ARNOLD 295 

and bring out the money and other articles Had 
they known Andre s character, the affair would 
assume a different aspect; but, as they did not, 
we must look for a higher determining principle, 
than a mere pecuniary calculation 

The exact degree in which we are to expect 
patriotism and genuine public virtue in men, who 
stand in the same class of society and follow the 
same pursuits as the captors of Andre, may be 
a question for casuistry to settle. But it will re 
quire more than the casuist s art to prove, that 
these men did not believe they were doing a val 
uable service to their country, distinct from any 
ulterior consideration, in committing to custody a 
person, whom they knew to be a spy, and who 
had offered them a large bribe for his release. We 
need not scrutinize motives too closely. The act 
was noble in itself, immensely important to the 
nation in its effects, and worthy of all praise as an 
example. This meed of justice let it receive 
from history, and from every citizen, who would 
by his approbation encourage instances of gener 
ous self-sacrifice for the public good. 

The reader may be curious to know what be 
came of Joshua H. Smith. We left him at Tap- 
pan Finder guard. He was tried by a court- 
martial, which was assembled the day after the 
examination of Andre, and continued by adjourn 
ments for about four weeks. Many witnesses 



296 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

were brought before the court, among whom were 
Lafayette, Knox, Hamilton, Harrison, Colonel 
Livingston, Colonel Hay, Captain Boyd, Paul 
ding and Williams, and the two boatmen, who 
went on board the Vulture. The testimony was 
voluminous, as written out by the judge-advocate, 
and formed a mass of facts developing many of 
the secret incidents of the conspiracy. 

The charge presented against Smith ran in 
these words ; " For aiding and assisting Benedict 
Arnold, late major-general in our service, in a 
combination with the enemy to take, kill, and 
seize such of the loyal citizens or soldiers of these 
United States, as were in garrison at West Point 
and its dependencies." Smith drew up in writing 
a long defence, which he read to the court, and in 
which he first objected to its jurisdiction, saying 
that, being a citizen and not a soldier, he could 
not properly be subject to a military tribunal ; he 
then summed up the evidence with considerable 
ability, and argued his cause. He was acquitted 
by the court. 

That he had aided and assisted Arnold there 
was no doubt ; this he confessed before the trial ; 
but it was not proved by the evidence, that he 
had any knowledge of Arnold s traitorous designs. 
Considering the part he performed, this was ex 
traordinary ; but the court were fully justified in 
their decision. Some points in Smith s conduct, 



BENEDICT ARNOLD. 297 

however, were never cleared up, especially his 
refusing to go hack with Andre to the Vulture. 
The reason he assigned was improbable, and his 
attempts at an explanation only threw a deeper 
shade over his candor. Although no one would 
be willing to condemn Smith, upon the testimony 
adduced to the court, yet whoever reads it will 
be satisfied, that he could not have fallen into 
such extreme stupidity, as not to suspect some 
thing wrong in the business he was engaged in 
carrying on. Nor is it easy to imagine how a 
man of his intelligence and character could have 
been made a passive tool, even in the hands of so 
artful a hypocrite as Arnold, for effecting purpos 
es obviously of great moment, concerning which 
he was not allowed to have any knowledge. 

These impressions are strengthened by Smith s 
book, which he published many years afterwards 
in England, evidently with a copy before him of 
all the written testimony produced to the court 
at his trial ; and in which he utters innumerable 
assertions widely different from the testimony it 
self and from his original defence, mingled with 
severe and bitter reflections upon several of the 
witnesses.* 

* The book is entitled An Authentic Narrative of the 
Causes which led to the Death of JVLajcr Jlndr6. London. 
1808. Whether from a defect of memory in the au 
thor, or from whatever reason, needs not be inquired; 



298 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

But, after all, it would be unjust to charge 
Smith with positive guilt without farther proof; as 
it is impossible to believe him entirely innocent, 
without a more satisfactory explanation of his 
conduct than has yet appeared. 

The papers of the court-martial were read by 
Washington, and then transmitted to Governor 
Clinton, that Smith might be tried by a civil pro 
cess under the laws of the State of New York, 
should such a course be deemed advisable. He 
was sent to West Point and released from military 
arrest, but he was immediately taken into custody 
by the civil authority of the State, and confined in 
the jail at Goshen. After remaining there sever 
al months without any trial, he found means to 
escape, and passed through the country, some 
times disguised in a woman s dress, to Paulus 
Hook and New York. At the close of the war 
he went to England. 

Mrs. Arnold resolved to share the lot of her 
husband. She visited her friends at Philadel- 
ohia, and joined him in New York about the 
middle of November. In her travels through 
the country, she was everywhere treated with a 
respect and forbearance hardly to have been ex 
pected in the exasperated state of public feeling, 

out as a work of history this volume is not worthy of the 
.east credit, except where the statements are confirmed 
by other authority. 



BENEDICT ARNOLD. 299 

which then prevailed ; a proof, that, although un 
fortunate in her alliance with a traitor, she was not 
considered guilty of participating in his crimes. 
It is related by M. de Marbois, as a remarkable 
instance of moderation in the people, that, when 
on her journey she had stopped at a village to 
pass the night, where the inhabitants were pre 
paring to burn her husband in effigy, they sus 
pended the execution of their design till the next 
night, out of delicacy to her sex and situation* 
It is also said, that, when she entered her car 
riage in open day to go and join Arnold in the 
midst of the enemies of his country, no symp 
toms were exhibited of the detestation in which 
his name was held even by the lowest populace. 
This was the more worthy of notice, as his effi 
gy had recently been paraded through the streets 
of Philadelphia with every mark of infamy, and 
every demonstration of resentment and contempt. 
The case of Captain Nathan Hale has been 
regarded as parallel to that of Major Andre. 
This young officer was a graduate of Yale Col 
lege, and had but recently closed his academic 
course when the war of the Revolution com 
menced. Possessing genius, taste, and ardor, he 
became distinguished as a scholar ; and, endowed 
in an eminent degree with those graces and gifts 
of nature which add a charm to youthful excel- 
ence, he gained universal esteem and confidence. 



300 AMERICAN BIOGRAPH7. 

To high moral worth and irreproachable liabite 
were joined gentleness of manners, an ingenu 
ous disposition, and vigor of understanding. Nc 
young man of his years put forth a fairer promise 
of future usefulness and celebrity ; the fortunes 
of none were fostered more sincerely by the gen 
erous good wishes of his associates, or the hopes 
and encouraging presages of his superiors. 

Being a patriot upon principle, and an enthu 
siast in a cause, which appealed equally to his 
sense of justice and love of liberty, he was among 
the first to take up arms in his country s defence. 
The news of the battle of Lexington roused his 
martial spirit, and called him immediately to the 
field. He obtained a commission in the army 
and marched with his company to Cambridge. 
His promptness, activity, and assiduous attention 
to discipline, were early observed. He prevailed 
upon his men to adopt a simple uniform, which 
improved their appearance, attracted notice, and 
procured applause. The example was followed 
by others, and its influence was beneficial. Nor 
were his hours wholly absorbed by his military 
duties. A rigid economy of time enabled him 
to gratify his zeal for study and mental cul 
ture. 

At length the theatre of action was changed, 
and the army was removed to the southward. 
The battle of Long Island was fought, and the 



BENEDICT ARNOLD. 301 

American forces were drawn together in the city 
of New York. At this moment it was extreme 
ly important for Washington to know the situa 
tion of the British army on the heights of Brook 
lyn, its numbers, and the indications as to its fu 
ture movements. Having confidence in the dis 
cretion and judgment of the gallant Colonel 
Knowlton, who commanded a Connecticut regi 
ment of infantry, he explained his wishes to that 
officer, and requested him to ascertain if any 
suitable person could be found in his regiment, 
who would undertake so hazardous and respon 
sible a service. It was essential, that he should 
be a man of capacity, address, and military 
knowledge. 

Colonel Knowlton assembled several of his 
officers, stated to them the views and desires of 
the Genera], and left the subject to their reflec 
tions, without proposing the enterprise to any 
individual. The officers then separated. Cap 
tain Hale considered deliberately what had been 
said, and finding himself by a sense of duty in 
clined to the undertaking, he called at the quar 
ters of his intimate friend, Captain Hull (after- 
vvards General Hull), and asked his opinion. 
Hull endeavored to dissuade him from the ser 
vice, as not befitting his rank in the army, and as 
being of a kind for which his openness of char 
acter disqualified him ; adding that no glory could 



302 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

accrue from success, and a detection would in 
evitably be followed by an ignominious death. 

Captain Hale replied, that all these consider 
ations had been duly weighed, that " every kind 
of service necessary to the public good was hon 
orable by being necessary," that he did not ac 
cept a commission for the sake of fame alone or 
personal advancement, that he had been for some 
time in the army without being able to render 
any signal aid to the cause of his country, and 
that he felt impelled by high motives of duty 
not to shrink from the opportunity now present 
ed. 

The arguments of his friend were unavailing, 
and Captain Hale passed over to Long Island in 
disguise. He had gained the desired information, 
and was just on the point of stepping into a boat 
to return to the city of New York, when he was 
arrested and taken before the British commander. 
Like Andre, he had assumed a character, which 
he could not sustain ; he was " too little accustomed 
to duplicity to succeed." The proof against him 
was so conclusive, that he made no effort at self 
defence, but frankly confessed his objects ; and, 
again like Andre, without further remarks i( left 
the facts to operate with his judges." He was 
sentenced to be executed as a spy, and was ac 
cordingly hanged the next morning. 



BENEDICT ARNOLD. 303 

The sentence was conformable to the laws of 
war, and the prisoner was prepared to meet it 
with a fortitude becoming his character. But the 
circumstances of his death aggravated his suffer 
ings ; and placed him in a situation widely different 
from that of Andre. The facts were narrated to 
General Hull by an officer of the British commis 
sary department, who was present at the execu 
tion, and deeply moved by the conduct and fate 
of the unfortunate victim, and the treatment he 
received. The provost-martial, to whose charge 
he was consigned, was a refugee, and behaved 
towards him in the most unfeeling manner ; re 
fusing the attendance of a clergyman and the use 
of a bible, and destroying the letters he had writ 
ten to his mother and friends. 

In the midst of these barbarities, Hale waa 
calm, collected, firm ; pitying the malice that 
could insult a fallen foe and dying man, but dis 
playing to the last his native elevation of soul, 
dignity of deportment, and an undaunted courage. 
Alone, unfriended, without consolation or sym 
pathy, he closed his mortal career w 7 ith the dec 
laration, " that he only lamented he had but one 
life to lose for his country." When Andre stood 
upon the scaffold, he called on all around him to 
bear witness, that he died like a brave man. The 
dying words of Hale embodied a nobler and more 
sublime sentiment ; breathing a spirit o r satisfac- 



304 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

tion, that, although brought to an untimely end, 
it was his lot to die a martyr in his country s 
cause. The whole tenor of his conduct, and this 
declaration itself, were such proofs of his bravery, 
that it required not to be more audibly proclaim 
ed. The following tribute is from the muse ol 
Dr. Dwight. 

" Thus, while fond virtue wished in vain to save, 
Hale, bright and generous, found a hapless grave ; 
With genius living flame his bosom glowed, 
And science charmed him to her sweet abode ; 
In worth s fair path, his feet adventured far, 
The pride of peace, the rising grace of war." 

There was a striking similarity between the 
character and acts of Hale and Andre, but in one 
essential point of difference the former appears to 
much the greater advantage. Hale was promised 
no reward, nor did he expect any. It was neces 
sary, that the service should be undertaken from 
purely virtuous motives, without a hope of gain 
or of honor ; because it was of a nature not to be 
executed by the common class of spies, who are 
influenced by pecuniary considerations ; and pro 
motion could not be offered as an inducement, 
since that would be a temptation for an officer to 
hazard his life as a spy, which a commander could 
not with propriety hold out. Viewed in any 
light, the act must be allowed to bear unequivo 
cal marks of patriotic disinterestedness and self- 



BENEDICT ARNOLD. 305 

devotion. But Andre had a glorious prize before 
him ; the chance of distinguishing himself in a 
military enterprise, honors, renown, and every al 
lurement, that could flatter hope and stimulate 
ambition. To say the least, his personal advan 
tages were to be commensurate with the benefit to 
his country. 

But whatever may have been the parallel be 
tween these two individuals while living, it ceased 
with their death. A monument was raised and 
consecrated to the memory of Andre by the boun 
ty of a grateful sovereign. His ashes have been 
removed from their obscure resting-place, trans 
ported across the ocean, and deposited with the 
remains of the illustrious dead in Westminster 
Abbey. Where is the memento of the virtues, 
the patriotic sacrifice, the early fate of Hale ? It 
is not inscribed in marble ; it is hardly recorded 
in books. Let it be the more deeply cherished 
in the hearts of his countrymen 



m.-20 



306 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 



CHAPTER XVL 

Na^ctive of ArnoWs Plot communicated by Sir 
Henry Clinton to the Ministry. Arnold in 
New York. His Expedition against Vir 
ginia and New London. 

AFTER the return of General Robertson and 
the other commissioners to New York, Sir Henry 
Clinton made still another effort to rescue Major 
Andre. He wrote a long letter to Washington, 
recapitulating the facts and reasonings already ad 
vanced, and claiming the release of his Adjutant- 
General. He proposed to exchange for him Lieu 
tenant-Governor Gadsden. of South Carolina, who 
had been taken prisoner, and, with other persons 
under similar circumstances, sent to St. Augus 
tine, in consequence of their having been detected 
in a correspondence with General Gates. A state 
ment of particulars was also obtained from Cap 
tain Sutherland, respecting the manner in which 
Andre came on board the Vulture, and left it in 
the boat with Smith. 

As neither the letter nor the statement con 
tained a.ny thing new, the object in writing them 
probably was to cause delay by protracting the 
negotiation. Before they were sent off, however 



BENEDICT ARNOLD. 307 

Major Andre s servant arrived in New York with 
the news of his execution ; and thus all inter 
course on the subject between the two command 
ers was closed. 

Hitherto no hints of this affair had been trans 
mitted to the ministry ; but, immediately after the 
catastrophe, a narrative of all the events was 
drawn up, signed by Sir Henry Clinton, and de 
spatched to Lord George Germain. It com 
menced with the first advances made by Arnold, 
and pursued the train of incidents to the end. 
All the correspondence, respecting the capture of 
Andre and the means used for his release, was 
interspersed according to the dates of the respec 
tive letters. 

Conformably to the request of Andre, his com 
mission was sold by Sir Henry Clinton for the 
benefit of his mother and sisters. In acquainting 
the minister with this transaction, he added ; 
" But I trust your Lordship will think that Major 
Andre s misfortune still calls for some further sup 
port to his family ; and I beg leave to make it rny 
humble request, that you will have the goodness 
to recommend them in the strongest manner to 
the King for some beneficial and distinguishing 
mark of his Majesty s favor. 

The papers were laid before the King by Lord 
George Germain, who replied to Sir Henry Clin* 
ton as follows. 



308 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

" His Majesty has read with much concern the 
very affecting narrative of Major Andre s capture, 
and the fatal consequences of that misfortune re 
lated in your letter; and his Majesty was gra 
ciously pleased to express his entire approbation 
of your having complied with his request of dis 
posing of his commission for the advantage of his 
family. And I have the satisfaction to add, that 
his Majesty has further extended his royal boun 
ty to Major Andre s mother, by the grant of a 
pension, and has offered to confer the honor of 
knighthood on his brother, in order to wipe away 
all stain from the family, that the ignominy of the 
death he was so unjustly put to might be thought 
to have occasioned. The beneficence of our gra 
cious sovereign will thereby console the family for 
their private misfortune ; but the public can never 
be compensated for the disappointment of the 
vast advantages, which must have followed from 
the success of your plan, which Major Andre s 
capture prevented. Nothing could have been 
more judiciously concerted ; and, from the proof 
Mr. Arnold has since given of his sincerity, there 
is no reason to doubt it could have failed in its 
execution, especially as you proposed conducting 
it in person." 

The generous sentiments and noble conduct 
of the King, both in regard to the memory of 
Andre and the tokens of substantial kindness to 



BENEDICT ARNOLD. 300 

nis family, claim and must ever receive the highest 
applause. But the countenance shown to Arnold, 
the approbation of his infamy, and the distinctions 
and favors conferred upon him, will be; viewed in 
a much more questionable light. If policy and 
military custom extend protection to a deseHer, 
they can never demand nor even justify cares^e* 
to a traitor. 

It was doubtless proper for Sir Henry Clinton 
to fulfil the promises he had made, and submit to 
the sacrifice with as good a grace as he could, 
notwithstanding the utter disappointment of all his 
expectations. He wrote to the minister ; " I have 
paid to that officer six thousand three hundred 
and fifteen pounds sterling, as a compensation for 
the losses, which he informs rne he has sustained 
by coming over to us. I make no doubt, that the 
expense will be cheerfully submitted to." It was 
gratuitous to charge this reward of treachery to 
the score of losses. Arnold s creditors were the 
chief losers by his defection, unless he set a large 
price upon the diminution of his rank, being ap 
pointed colonel of a regiment in the British ser 
vice, with the brevet of brigadier-general. 

Arnold had been but a few days with his new 
friends, when he published an Address to the In 
habitants of America, attempting to explain and 
vindicate the course he had pursued. Consider 
ing the cause he undertook to defend, it is no 



310 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

wonder that he should say little to the purpose. 
Abuse of Congress and of the French alliance was 
the principal theme of his discourse. " To the 
thousands," said he, " who suffer under the tyr 
anny of the usurpers in the revolted provinces, 
as well as to the great multitude who have long 
wished for its subversion, this instance of my con 
duct can want no vindication ; and as to that class 
of men, who are criminally protracting the war 
from sinister views, at the expense of the public 
interest, I prefer their enmity to their applause. 
I am therefore only concerned to explain myself 
to such of my countrymen, as want abilities or 
opportunities to detect the artifices by which they 
are duped." Having thus defined the description 
of persons for whom his address is intended, he 
proceeds to his defence. 

Conceiving the rights of his country in danger, 
at the beginning of the contest, he thought it his 
duty to take up arms for their protection, but he 
aimed only at a redress of grievances. The dec 
laration of independence was a measure, which 
at the time he believed precipitate, although he 
acquiesced in it ; but all the reasons for this meas 
ure, however plausible when it was adopted, were 
completely removed by the subsequent proffers of 
the British government. The refusal to accede 
to these terms he ascribed to the tyrannical use of 
powei in Congress, who studiously avoided sub- 



BENEDICT ARNOLD. 3H 

mining them to the people, and resisted every 
advance towards a negotiation. 

The suspicions excited in his patriotic breast, 
oy these and other indications of the temper and 
views of Congress, were more than confirmed 

O 

when the treaty with France was ratified. He 
was shocked to find his country, by the folly and 
duplicity of its pretended leaders, thus tied to its 
" proud, ancient, and crafty foe, the enemy of the 
Protestant faith, who fraudulently avows an affec 
tion for the liberties of mankind, while she holds 
her native sons in vassalage and chains." His 
virtuous spirit could not brook such an enormity. 
From that hour he resolved to abandon a cause, 
sustained by iniquity and controlled by usurpers, 
in which he could no longer act with that pure 
and disinterested aim for the public good, which 
had always been the ruling motive of his conduct. 
He retained his arms and command only for a 
suitable opportunity to surrender them to his King 
in such a manner, that he might accomplish an 
event of decisive importance with the least effu 
sion of blood. 

" With respect to that herd of censurers," said 
he in conclusion, " whose enmity to me originates 
in their hatred to the principles by which I am 
now led to devote my life to the reunion of the 
British empire, as the best and only means to dry 
jp the streams of misery, that have deluged this 



312 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

country, they may be assured, that, conscious of 
the rectitude of my intentions, I shall treat theii 
malice and calumnies with contempt and neglect. * 
Such was the tenor of Arnold s Address to his 
former fellow citizens of the United States. His 
next performance was a Proclamation to the offi 
cers and soldiers of the continental army, par 
ticularly those who had " the real interest of their 
country at heart, and who were determined to be 
rio longer the tools and dupes of Congress and of 
France." All such he invited to come over to 
the King s standard, holding out as a temptation, 
that they should be clothed, subsisted, and paid 
like the other troops in the British service, and 
receive the value of any horses, arms, or ac 
coutrements, which they might bring with them. 
A bounty of three guineas was offered to every 
non-commissioned officer and private. Officers 
were to obtain rank in proportion to that which 
they had formerly held, and to the number of 
men who should accompany them. It was ex 
pected, that a colonel would bring with him or 
recruit in a reasonable time seventy-five men, a 
major fifty, a captain thirty, and a lieutenant fif 
teen. They were moreover to have the inestima 
ble privilege of fighting for " true American liber 
ty," which had so long been denied to them by 
their oppressors. 



BENEDICT ARNOLD. 313 

In its other topics the proclamation was little 
else than a repetition of the address. Abusive 
epithets were profusely applied to Congress and 
the French. The soldiers were told, that they 
had been robbed of their property, imprisoned, 
and dragged against their will to the field of 
battle ; that they were the prey of avarice, the 
scorn of their enemies, and the pity of their 
friends ; that America had become a land of 
widows, orphans, and beggars ; and that no secu 
rity any longer remained even for the consolations 
of that religion, for which their fathers had braved 
the ocean, the heathen, and the wilderness. 
Rising in the climax of absurdity, he goes on to 
say; 

" Can you at this day want evidence, that the 
funds of your country are exhausted, or that the 
managers have applied them to their own private 
use? In either case you surely can no longer 
continue in their service with honor or advantage. 
Yet you have hitherto been their supporters in 
that cruelty, which, with an equal indifference to 
yours, as well as the labor and blood of others, is 
devouring a country, that, from the moment you 
quit their colors, will be redeemed from their 
tyranny." 

By appeals like these were the American sol 
diers called upon to desert their country, and rally 
under the banner of a traitp* ifr> J **d sought 



314 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

the ruin of themselves, their friends, and the 
cause for which they had long borne arms and 
often exposed their lives. Such appeals would 
appear incredible, even from so desperate and de 
graded a man, had not the infirmity of his under 
standing already been proved to be on a level 
with the depravity of his heart. The only won 
der is, that a measure of such imbecile malevo 
lence and hopeless folly should be sanctioned by 
the British commander, and published from day 
to day in the gazettes issued under his authority. 
How was it possible for him not to perceive, that 
the effect would be contrary to his interests and 
wishes ? Who would join a traitor ? Who would 
deliberately seek disgrace and infamy ? And, 
above all, who would be cajoled by falsehood and 
malignity, as undisguised as they were audacious 
and wicked? 

Well informed as to the actual condition, princi 
ples, and feelings of che American soldiers, and 
aware that his proclamation would only excite 
indignation and disgust, Arnold adopted another 
expedient to keep his new friends in good humor, 
and convince them that in him they had gained 
an important acquisition. He represented to Sir 
Henry Clinton, that the bounty was much too 
small, and recommended an increase to ten guin 
eas. He said the American soldiers were chiefly 
prevented from deserting, by the loss they would 



BENEDICT ARNOLD. 315 

sustain in forfeiting their arrears of pay, which 
had now become large, on account of the poverty 
of the country and the wretched state of the 
American finances. Ten guineas he thought 
would dissolve this tie, and bring over as many 
deserters as could be desired. 

As the bounty was prescribed by the govern 
ment, and Sir Henry had no authority to allow 
more than three guineas, Arnold immediately 
wrote to the ministry, and laid his proposition 
before them, supporting it by such arguments as 
he could draw from his invention. In replying to 
Sir Henry Clinton on the subject, Lord George 
Germain said he did not think the amount of the 
proposed sum an objection to it, considering the 
vast importance of increasing the British army by 
a corresponding diminution of that under Wash 
ington ; but he foresaw a very serious evil in the 
operation of the scheme, since it would tempt de 
serters to corne over for the sake of the bounty, 
who, having pocketed the ten guineas, would find 
their way back again as soon as possible to the 
American camp. To avert this consequence, the 
minister suggested, that no more than the usual 
sum of three guineas should be paid at first, and 
the remaining seven when the regiment, to which 
the deserter was attached, should be reduced, or 
4t the end of the war. Officers he thought should 



310 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

be liberally rewarded, especially if they brought 
with them the men they had before commanded. 

Many were supposed to be deterred from de 
sertion by the fear of recapture. To obviate this 
difficulty, a project was set on foot for organizing 
them into regiments to be employed in the West 
Indies, or on the Spanish Main. This was fa 
vorable to Arnold s views, and it was approved by 
the King. No harm could result from it ; and 
nearly the same benefits would accrue, as if they 
were engaged immediately under Sir Henry Clin 
ton, since it would enable him to draw from the 
West Indies a corresponding force. But why it 
should be thought, that an American soldier would 
be allured from his home by the bounty of ten 
guineas and the almost certain prospect of finding 
a grave in a tropical climate, is not apparent. 
The experiment seems never to have been tried. 

In short, there is no evidence that Arnold met 
with any success in his attempts to recruit from 
the American army. A few deserters and refu 
gees, already within the British lines and not uni 
ted with any corps, and particularly officers desir 
ous of place and employment, nominally constituted 
his regiment, which was never so far completed as 
to be known either for its numbers or exploits. 

The sentiments of the British cabinet, in regard 
to the defection of Arnold, may be gathered from 
the minister s first letter to him after that event. 



BENEDICT ARNOLD. 317 

" I have the pleasure to acquaint you " says 
Lord George Germain, " that his Majesty was 
graciously pleased to express his satisfaction in 
the demonstration you have given of the sinceri 
ty of your return to your allegiance, and of your 
earnest desire to atone for past errors by a zealous 
attachment to his royal person and government 
in future. And his Majesty has been graciously 
pleased to command me to signify to Sir Henry 
Clinton his royal approbation of the rank he has 
given you in the army under his command, and 
of his having appointed you to raise a corps. 

" The intelligence transmitted in both of your 
letters shows the resources of Congress to be 
nearly exhausted, and their cause universally sink 
ing, notwithstanding the boasted succors of their 
ally ; and I am fully persuaded, that, were any 
disgrace at this time to happen to Mr. Washing 
ton s army, the inhabitants of many of the prov 
inces would declare their wishes for peace with 
Great Britain, by returning to their allegiance ; 
and it is the most distant from the intention of the 
King and of Parliament to abridge those liberties 
essential to their interests and happiness. 7 

The nature of the intelligence, which afforded 
so much encouragement to the minister, is no fur- 
trier indicated. It is enough to know, however, 
that it was false and deceptive, and produced a 
mischievous influence. Misled by an erroneous 



318 AMERICAN BIOGRAPH?. 

impression, thus communicated, of the strength of 
the American army, and the condition and temper 
of the people, and willing to foster the smallest 
germ of hope, the ministry relaxed from exertion, 
at a moment when the full exercise of all their 
energies was most necessary. The man, now their 
friend and a faithful subject of the King, but who 
had been in a high station with the enemy from 
the beginning of the war, and a principal actor, 
they took it for granted must be well informed : 
and, strange to tell, they relied on his veracity. 
The consequences were severely felt by the Brit 
ish commander, who, in the bitterness of his dis 
appointment, afterwards complained of this facility 
of faith and easy confidence on the part of his su 
periors. 

Arnold made such slow progress in recruiting 
his regiment, that he was impatient for more ac 
tive service. Two months after he joined the 
British, he was appointed to the command of an 
expedition against Virginia, consisting of sixteen 
hundred effective troops. General Leslie had re 
cently sailed from the Chesapeake, with the de 
tachment under his command, to unite with Lord 
Cornwallis in the Carolinas. It was thought m- 
portant to send another detachment to take his 
place in the waters of Virginia, and thus create a 
diversion in that quarter in favor of Cornwallis, 
and prevent the Virginia troops from marching to 
the aid of General Greene. 



BENEDICT ARNOLD. 319 

At the head of this division Arnold sailed from 
New York about the middle of December. Tn 
addition to his general directions to invade the 
country wherever an opportunity presented itself, 
he was particularly instructed to establish a post 
at Portsmouth on Elizabeth River, and to prepare 
materials for constructing a number of boats to be 
used in Albemarle Sound, and afterwards in the 
waters of the Chesapeake, when the season should 
be too far advanced for acting farther southward. 
He was also directed to assemble and arm the 
loyalists, but not to encourage any to join him, 
till there should be the fairest prospect of pro 
tecting them. 

Sir Henry Clinton proceeded with more cau 
tion than the ministry. He was not prepared to 
put implicit trust in a man, who had shown him 
self such an adept in the arts of dissimulation, so 
destitute of principle, and so regardless of honor. 
Colonel Dundas and Colonel Simcoe, two officers 
of tried ability and experience, and possessing the 
entire confidence of their commander, were sent 
in the expedition ; and Arnold was expressly 
ordered not to adopt any measure, nor to under 
take any important operation, without first con 
sulting them and obtaining their approbation. 

A violent gale separated the fleet in which the 
detachment was embarked, but the scattered ves 
sels united at the capes of the Chesapeake and 



320 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY 

entered Hampton Road on the 30th of Decem 
ber ; except one armed ship and three transports, 
with upwards of four hundred men on board, 
which did not arrive till five days later. One 
half of the cavalry horses were lost, and several 
of the large guns were thrown into the sea to 
prevent the vessels from foundering. 

Without waiting for the arrival of the transports 
that were missing, Arnold pushed up James River 
with his fleet aided by wind and tide, and imme 
diately found himself in the heart of the country. 
His effective force consisted of about twelve hun 
dred men. The burnings and plunderings, the 
destruction of public and private property, the 
ravages and distresses, which marked all his move 
ments, were consistent with his character, and 
such as were to be expected. The inhabitants 
were not prepared for so sudden an invasion ; the 
militia could not be rallied in time to resist it. A 
small force was assembled under Baron Steuben, 
on the south side of James River, but too distant 
to act efficiently till it was too late. After strik 
ing at every assailable point, Arnold called his 
troops back to the ships, descended the river, and 
took his station at Portsmouth. 

The attempts to defeat and capture him in that 
post ; the spirited and well conducted enterprise 
under Lafayette ; the French naval armament 
sent from Newport and commanded by M. de 



tfRNGDICT A R N O L li . 321 

Tilly : the more formidable one under M . l)es- 
touches ; his rencounter with the fleet of Admiral 
Graves ; the movements of General Phillips s de 
tachment of British troops ; and the subsequent 
operations in Virginia ; all these are matters of 
listory and not suited to the present narrative. 

Strong hopes were entertained by Washington, 
that Lafayette in concert with M. de Tilly would 
succeed in seizing Arnold, before any reinforce 
ment could arrive from New York ; but these 
hopes were disappointed by incidents, that could 
r ot have been foreseen or prevented. After en 
tering Hampton Road, M. de Tilly found the 
depth of water in Elizabeth River not sufficient 
to receive his ships. Arnold was therefore be 
yond his reach at Portsmouth ; and the detach 
ment of Lafayette could not act without a naval 
superiority in the Chesapeake. 

Had Arnold been captured, it was the intention 
of Washington, that he should be immediately 
executed ; and in his instructions to Lafayette, 
he enjoined it upon him to admit no terms of ca 
pitulation, which should skreen a traitor from the 
punishment justly due to his crimes. Several 
weeks afterwards, when, upon the death of Gen 
eral Phillips, the command of the British troops 
m Virginia devolved temporarily upon Arnold, he 
attempted to correspond with Lafayette, and sent 
an officer to him with a flag of truce. When 

in. 21 



322 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

Lafayette opened tlie letter, and saw Arnokt s 
name at the bottom, he refused to read it, saying 
to the officer that he would hold no correspon 
dence whatever with him. Lord Cornwallis told 
Lafayette afterwards, that, as soon as he joined 
the army in Virginia, he took the first occasion to 
send Arnold down to Portsmouth, and expressed 
disgust at the idea of associating with a person 
of his character. 

It was during this expedition, that Arnold asked 
a captain, who had been taken prisoner, what he 
thought the Americans would do with him, if he 
should fall into their hands. " They will cut off 
the leg," replied the officer, " which was wounded 
when you were fighting for the cause of liberty, 
and bury it with the honors of war, and hang the 
rest of your body on a gibbet." 

While these things were going on, Sir Henry 
Clinton received a letter from Lord George Ger 
main, little suited to increase his respect for the 
judgment, good sense, or honesty of his new 
American brigadier. Among other inventions to 
please the ministry, Arnold had represented the 
facility with which West Point might be taken, if 
not by a coup de main, yet by a few days regular 
attack, and had proposed a sort : f plan for that 
object. Lord George Germain expressed some 
degree of surprise, that the British commander 
had not undertaken the business, or at least men 



BENEDICT ARNOLD. 323 

tioned his intention of doing it. " Such is the 
present state of Great Britain," said he, " thai 
every possible means must be employed for the 
reduction of the rebellion," and he urged a serious 
consideration of the subject. 

These suggestions, to say the least, were a tacit 
censure upon Sir Henry Clinton, for his want 
either of discernment or enterprise. He felt their 
force, and could not entirely conceal his displeas 
ure. In his reply, however, he proved the folly 
of the scheme, and the impossibility of its execu 
tion, according to his view of the state of affairs, 
with the reduced force then at his command. 
" As to Major-General Arnold s opinion," he ob 
served, " I can only say, that, whatever he may 
have represented to your Lordship, nothing he 
has as yet communicated to me on the subject 
has convinced me that the rebel posts in the 
Highlands can be reduced by * a few days regu 
lar attack. But if he convinces me now, in the 
present reduction of the rebel army, that such a 
thing is practicable, (for to fail would be death to 
our cause in the present state of the war,) I shall 
most likely be induced to make the attempt. I 
have therefore required that general officer to 
send his plan of operation to me without delay, 
and to follow or accompany it himself." This 
was written on the 5th of April, 1781, and Ar 
nold returned, a few weeks afterwards, to New 



324 A M ERIC AN BIOGRAPHY. 

York, thus escaping the fate that might otherwise 
have awaited him at Yorktown. 

How he explained himself to Sir Henry Clin 
ton is not known. We hear no more of the pro 
ject against West Point, and Arnold seems to 
have remained in idleness during the summer. 

Early in September, however, an enterprise 
was set on foot, which, from his knowledge of the 
place of action and other circumstances, he doubt 
less originated. At New London were deposited 
public stores ; and private property to a considera 
ble amount was known to be on board the vessels 
in the harbor, feebly defended by Fort Trumbull 
on one side of the river, and Fort Griswold on the 
other. Here was an opportunity, too tempting to 
be resisted, for gaining plunder, gratifying a vin 
dictive spirit, and rendering a service to the cause, 
which he had espoused, and in aid of which he 
had hithorto done so little either to sustain his 
military reputation, or mark the value of his dear 
ly bought allegiance. 

Departing from the opposite shore of Long 
Island, with a force adequate to the undertaking, 
he crossed the Sound, and landed his troops in 
two divisions at the mouth of the river. One 
division marched towards New London, took Fort 
Trumbull, and entered the town. The other, 
wassing up the east side of the river, ascended 
the high grounds to Fort Griswold, which, after a 



BENEDICT ARNOLD. 325 

bui sanguinary conflict, was carried at the 
point of the bayonet. 

The details of these tragical scenes have often 
been described, and need not here be recapitu 
lated. New London was reduced to ashes, 
Several vessels in the harbor shared the same 
fate. Others escaped up the river towards Nor 
vvich. The brave Colonel Ledyard, who com 
manded in Fort Griswold, was slain by his own 
sword, when he gave it into the hands of the offi 
cer, who headed the assailing party ; and many of 
his companions in arms, inhabitants of the little 
village of Groton, who had assembled at a mo 
ment s warning to defend their homes and their 
firesides, were butchered in cold blood after the 
fort was surrendered. 

It has been said, that Arnold, while New Lon 
don was in flames, stood in the belfry of a steeple, 
and witnessed the conflagration ; thus, like Nero 
delighted with the ruin he had caused, the dis 
tresses he had inflicted, the blood of his slaugh 
tered countrymen, the anguish of the expiring 
patriot, the widow s tears and the orphan s cries. 
And what adds to the enormity is, that he stood 
almost in sight of the spot where he drew his first 
breath ; that every object around was associated 
with the years of his childhood and youth, and 
revived those images of the past, which kindle 
emotions of tenderness in all but hearts of stone ; 



326 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

that many of the dying, whose groans assailed hi* 
ear?, and of the living, whose houses and effects 
he saw devoured by the flames, were his early 
friends, the friends of his father, his mother, 1m 
family ; ana, in short, that these wanton acts of 
barbarity were without provocation on the part of 
the sufferers, and not less iniquitous in the mo 
lives whence they sprang, than shocking to hu 
inanity in themselves. 

This was the last exploit of Arnold in his na 
tive country. It was indeed the closing scene of 
his military and public career. And he had done 
enough. Nothing more was necessary to unfold 
his character in all the variety of its resources and 
depth of its depravity, or to convince the world, 
that, when a man once abandons himself to his 
passions, contemns the counsels of wisdom and 
virtue, sears his conscience, confounds duty with 
selfishness and honor with revenge, the descent is 
easy and rapid to that state in which he is the ob 
ject, not more of the reproach and scorn of man- 
Buid, than of their pity and contempt. 



BENEDICT ARNOLD. 327 



CHAPTER XVII. 

Arnold sails for England. Antedates. Hu 
Residence at St. John s, and in the West In 
dies. His Death. 

THE capitulation at Yorktown having virtually 
put an end to the war, and Arnold finding himself 
neither respected by the British officers, nor likely 
to be further employed in the service, obtained 
permission from Sir Henry Clinton to go to Eng 
land. He sailed from New York with his family 
in December, 1781. Sir Henry gave him a let 
ter of introduction to Lord George Germain, 
mentioning his " spirited and meritorious conduct 
since he had joined the British army," and com 
mending him to his " Lordship s countenance and 
protection " ; but, forbearing to recount the in 
stances of his worthy deeds, he referred the minis 
ter on that head to the tenor of his previous cor 
respondence. 

Although Arnold lived twenty years after this 
rlate, yet so entirely did he sink out of notice, 
that hardly an incident respecting him has been 
related or remembered. Happily no one will 
regret the blank. All that can be ascertained, in 
regard to his subsequent history, may be gathered 



328 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

from half a dozen anecdotes. Some of ibese are 
characteristic ; others show in what utter disgrace 
he was held by the whole world. 

At the time he was about to sail from New 
York, two Scotch officers, wishing to return to 
England, requested a passage in the same vessel. 
The captain told them, that General Arnold had 
taken the whole cabin for himself and family, and 
that there was no more room for passengers ; but, 
if they could make an arrangement with him, 
there would be no other obstacle. They accord 
ingly consulted Arnold, who agreed to receive 
them into the cabin. Nothing further was said 
on the subject, till the vessel arrived in London. 
The Scotch gentlemen then went to the captain, 
and offered to pay for their passage, but he de 
clined taking the money, and referred them to 
Arnold. He did not see them again, till they 
departed for Scotland. When Arnold came to 
pay his bill, he insisted that the proportion for 
their passage should be deducted. To this the 
captain would not consent, alleging that he had 
no claim upon the officers, and requiring a ful 
filment of his contract. As this could not be 
evaded, Arnold was obliged to pay the demand, 
but he persuaded the captain to draw on the two 
officeis, in favor of Arnold, and in his own name 
as captain of the ship, for their passage money. 
The draft came back protested. Arnold prosecut- 



BKNEDKJT ARNOLD. 329 

ed the captain, and recovered the amount. It 
had also been paid to him by the officers before 
they left London. 

It has been seen in the preceding narrative, 
that the horse on which Arnold rode in the sec 
ond battle of Behmus s Heights was shot under 
him, just as he was entering the Hessian redoubt. 
The animal was a beautiful Spanish horse, which 
had formerly belonged to Governor Skene, but 
was now the property of Colonel Lewis, and bor 
rowed by Arnold for the occasion. A short time 
after the action, Colonel Lewis called on him, and 
requested a certificate of the horse having been 
killed, that he might obtain the value of him, 
according to usage, from the public treasury. 
Arnold declined giving the certificate, saying it 
would have an ill appearance for a major-general 
to sign a certificate fora horse, that had been shot 
under him in battle. Lewis said no more, till 
Arnold was about to leave the camp, when he 
again went to him, and insisted on being allowed 
a proper compensation for the loss of his horse. 
Arnold still assigned motives of delicacy for re 
fusing a certificate, but told Lewis that he had a 
fine Narraganset mare in the public stables which 
he would give him in the place of his horse, and 
immediately wrote an order to the keeper of the 
stables, directing him to deliver the mare into the 
hands of Colonel Lewis. Meantime Arnold went 



330 AMERICAN B10URAPE7. 

off, and two or three days afterwards the order 
was presented. The keeper said there was no 
mare belonging to General Arnold in the stables ; 
that there had been one of that description some 
time before, but she was sold to another officer, 
who had taken her away. It was subsequently 
ascertained, that Arnold sent in a certificate, and 
received pay from the government for the horse 
that had been shot. 

Nor was this the end of the affair. When he 
was on the point of sailing for England, he bor 
rowed two hundred dollars from a Captain Camp 
bell in the British service, for which he gave an 
order on Colonel Lewis, telling Campbell that 
Lewis owed him for a mare purchased three years 
before, and that, as he was about to leave the 
country, and should not have an opportunity to 
collect the debt, it would be a convenience to 
him if Campbell would undertake that small ser 
vice. Captain Campbell, having been acquainted 
with Colonel Lewis before the war and expecting 
to see him again, took the order as an equivalent 
for his two hundred dollars. When the news of 
peace arrived in New York, a passport was ob 
tained from General Washington by the British 
commander, for a person to proceed through the 
country with the intelligence to the Governor of 
Canada. Captain Campbell was the bearer of 
the message, and on the way he visited his friend 



BENEDICT ARNOLD. 331 

Lewis in Albany, and presented Arnold s order. 
Their mutual surprise may be imagined, both hav 
ing been equal sufferers by this refinement of 
knavery. 

Although the King, and a few persons in au 
thority, were obliged from policy to take some 
notice of Arnold, after he went to England, yet 
he was shunned and despised by everybody else. 
1 1 is said, that when the petition for a bill author 
izing a negotiation of peace was presented to 
the King in the usual form by Parliament, Arnold 
was standing near the throne, apparently in high 
favor with the sovereign. Lord Lauderdale is re 
ported to have declared, on returning to the 
House, " that, however gracious might be the 
language he had heard from the throne, his indig 
nation could not but be highly excited at behold 
ing his Majesty supported by a traitor." At 
another time, when Lord Surry had risen to 
speak, seeing Arnold in the gallery, he sat down 
quickly, pointing to him and exclaiming, " I will 
net speak while that man is in the House." 

He occasionally by accident met his country 
men, who uniformly treated him in the most 
slighting and contemptuous manner. An officer 
of rank in the American army, who had known 
him in early life, was in London. Arnold called 
at the doc: of his lodgings, and sent in his name. 
" Tell the gentleman I am not at home," said the 



332 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

officer to the servant, " and never shall be foi 
General Arnold." 

Not long after the war, he took up his resi 
dence at St. John s, in New Brunswick, and re 
sumed his old profession of a merchant, engaging 
principally in the West India trade. It is believ 
ed that the government granted him facilities, 
in the way of contracts for supplying the troops 
in Jamaica with provisions. At any rate he 
carried on a thriving and extensive business at 
St. John s, building ships on his own account 
and sending them to the West Indies. 

His style of living was ostentatious and pro 
fuse, exhibiting more splendor than was usual in 
provincial towns, and thus enabling him to as 
sociate on terms of intimacy with the higher 
classes ; but he contrived to make himself odi 
ous to the people, not less by his haughty de 
portment, than by his habits of dishonesty in 
business. The inhabitants of St. John s were 
principally refugees from the United States 
who had settled there at the close of the war. 

An incident happened, which had a tendency 
to increase the strong feeling of distrust and aver 
sion, with which he had from the first been re 
garded. He had in use two warehouses. Upon 
one of these, which was supposed to be filled 
with goods, he procured an insurance for a large 
amount. It took fire in the night, and was burn? 



BENEDICT ARNOLD 333 

to the ground with all its contents. Arnold was 
himself absent on a voyage to England. Two of 
his sons slept in the warehouse, and were therw 
when the flames broke out, but could give no 
account of the manner in which the fire was com 
municated. The circumstances of the case in 
duced a suspicion, that the goods had been insured 
much above their value, and that the building was 
intentionally set on fire. 

So many particulars favored this construction, 
that the insurers refused to pay their bonds. Ar 
nold prosecuted them on his return from England. 
and a trial ensued, in which many witnesses were 
examined ; but no proof was produced to establish 
the charge of design in setting the fire, and he 
recovered the full value for which the goods had 
been insured. 

The judicial decision did not accord, however, 
with public sentiment, and the populace resolved 
to express their sense of the transaction in a 
manner, that could not be misunderstood. They 
made an effigy, which they called The Traitor, 
and hung it in a conspicuous place, so that it could 
be seen from Arnold s windows. A concourse of 
people was gathered around it, when a magistrate 
appeared among them and read the riot act. 
This dispersed or quieted them for the moment, 
but they soon reassembled, and exposed the effigy 
anew. The military at last interfered, and put an 



334 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

end tc the proceedings, but not till the people had 
effected their object, and committed to the flames 
the symbol of their indignation ; and indeed it 
may be supposed, that neither the magistrates nor 
the military were over-earnest to suppress the pop 
ular feeling on this occasion. 

How long Arnold continued at St. John s is 
uncertain. He went back to England, where he 
resided the rest of his life, though he was some 
times absent on business in the West Indies. 
When the war with France commenced, he pe 
titioned for employment in the army ; but, as no 
officers would serve or associate with him, the 
petition could not be granted. A single adven 
ture will include all that remains to be told of 
him. 

He was at Point Petre, in Guadaloupe, engaged 
in commercial pursuits, when that Island, which 
had fallen under the power of the English, was 
retaken by the French. Having acted as an 
agent to furnish provisions for the British troops 
n the West Indies, chiefly obtained through a 
circuitous channel from the United States, he had 
accumulated a good deal of money, which was 
then in his possession. Fearful that it might be 
taken from him, or at least doubtful what treat 
ment he would meet with if discovered, he as 
sumed the name of Anderson. With other per 
sons he was put on board a French prison-ship ic 



BENEDICT ARNOLD. 335 

the harbor. A sentinel told him, that he was 
known and exposed to great hazard. 

Alarmed at this intelligence, he immediately 
formed a plan to escape. His ingenuity and re 
source had seldom failed him in cases requiring 
promptness of decision, and they proved equally- 
true to him at the present critical juncture. He 
enclosed his treasure in an empty cask, which he 
let down into the sea as soon as it was dark, and 
the waves carried it ashore near the place where 
the English were encamped. He likewise took 
the precaution to put a letter into the cask, stating 
that the property belonged to him, and was to be 
given up when demanded. In the middle of the 
night he silently descended the side of the ship, 
and placed himself upon a raft of planks prepared 
for the purpose, with which he had the good for 
tune to reach a small boat moored at some dis 
tance. He then rowed towards the English fleet, 
guided by the lights on board. Although hailed 
by a French guard-boat, he escaped under the 
cover of darkness, and at four o clock in the 
morning was safe on the deck of a British vessel. 

Shortly after this adventure, Arnold returned 
again to England. He died in London, June 14th 
1801 , aged sixty -one years. 

THE EXD. 



14 DAY USE 

RETURN TO DESK FROM WHICH BORROWED 



This book is due on the last date stamped below, or 

on the date to which renewed. 
Renewed books are subject to immediate recall. 



_ , 



JUL 1 1 2003 




LD 21-50m-8, 57 
(,C8481slO)476 



General Library 

University of California 

Berkeley