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Final Adjustment of Difficulties. Emissaries of Sir Henry Clinton. Patriotism of the Mutineers. Fate of the Emissaries.
their hearts, if adequate provision could be made for their comfort, and declared their intention to march directly to Philadelphia, and demand from Congress a redress of their grievances. Finding threats and persuasion useless, Wayne resolved upon a line of policy that proved effective. He supplied them with provisions, and, with Colonels Stewart and Butler, officers whom they greatly respected, marched with them to prevent their depredating upon the inhabitants, and to draw from their leaders a statement of their claims and wishes. They reached Princeton on the 3d, and there a committee of sergeants submitted to Wayne, in writing, the following demands: First, a discharge for all those, without exception, who had served three years under their original engagements, and not received the increased bounty and re-enlisted for the war. Second, an immediate payment of all arrears of pay and clothing, both to those who should be discharged and those who should be retained. Third, the residue of their bounty, to put them on an equal footing with the recently enlisted, and future substantial pay to those who should remain in the service. General Wayne was not authorized to promise a full acquiescence in their demands, and further negotiations were referred to the civil authority of the state of Pennsylvania. Intelligence of this revolt reached Washington and Sir Henry Clinton on the Januarya same day. The head-quarters of the former were at New Windsor, on the Hud- . 1781. son, just above the Highlands; of the latter, in the city of New York. Washington called a council of war, and, as the extent of the disaffection was unknown, it was determined to have one thousand men, drafts from the several regiments in the Highlands, held in readiness to march at a moment's notice, to quell the rebellion, if called upon. The council heartily approved of the course pursued by General Wayne; and Washington, whose patience had often been severely tried by the tardy movements of Congress, was willing to have that body aroused to activity by circumstances which should demand immediate and undivided attention. Sir Henry Clinton, mistaking the spirit of the mutineers, thought to gain great advantage by the event. He dispatched two emissaries, a British sergeant, and a New Jersey Tory named Ogden, to the insurgents, with the written offer that, on laying down their arms and marching to New York, they should receive their arrearages, and the amount of the depreciation of the Continental currency, in hard cash; that they should be well clothed, have a free pardon for all past offenses, and be taken under the protection of the British government; and that no military service should be required of them, unless voluntarily offered. Sir Henry requested them to appoint agents to treat with his and adjust the terms of a treaty; and, not doubting the success of his plans, he went to Staten Island himself, with a large body of troops, to act as circumstances might require. Like his masters at home, he entirely misapprehended the spirit and the incentives to action of the American soldiers. They were not mercenary—not soldiers by profession, fighting merely for hire. The protection of their homes, their wives and little ones, and the defense of holy principles, which their general intelligence understood and appreciated, formed the motive power and the bond of union of the American army, and the soldier's money stipend was the least attractive of all the inducements which urged him to take up arms. Yet, as it was necessary to his comfort, and even his existence, the want of it afforded a just pretext for the assumption of powers delegated to a few. The mutiny was a democratic movement; and, while the patriot felt justified in using his weapons to redress grievances, he still looked with horror upon the armed oppressors of his country, and regarded the act and stain of treason, under any circumstances, as worse than the infliction of death. Clinton's proposals were, therefore, rejected with disdain. “See, comrades,” said one of the leaders, “he takes us for traitors. Let us show him that the American army can furnish but one Arnold, and that America has no truer friends than we.” They immediately seized the emissaries, who, being delivered, with Clinton's papers, into the hands of Wayne, were tried and executed as spies, and the reward which had been offered for their apprehension was
* When they were delivered up, the insurgents stipulated that they should not be executed until their own affairs were compromised, and, in case of failure, that the prisoners should be delivered when demanded.
Mutiny of the New Jersey Line. Prompt Action of Washington. Success of Howe. Illustrations of Washington's Character.
tendered to the mutineers who seized them. They sealed the pledge of their patriotism by nobly refusing it, saying, “Necessity wrung from us the act of demanding justice from Congress, but we desire no reward for doing our duty to our bleeding country !” Congress appointed a commissioner to confer with the insurgent troops at Princeton. The result was, a compliance with their just demands, and the disbanding of a large part of the Pennsylvania line for the winter, which was filled by new recruits in the spring. Thus “terminated,” as Thacher remarks, “a most unfortunate transaction, which might have been prevented had the just complaints of the army received proper attention in due season.” The wisdom of Washington's precaution in having a thousand men ready for sudden marching orders was soon demonstrated. About the middle of January a portion of the New Jersey line, cantoned at Pompton,' followed the example of the Pennsylvania mutineers, and revolted. The chief resolved not to temporize with them, and ordered a detachment of five hundred men, under Major-general Robert Howe, to reduce them to subordination. Howe reached their encampment, after a fatiguing march of four days through deep snow, on the 27th of January. His troops were well armed, and, parading them in line, he ordered the insurgents to appear in front of their huts, unarmed, within five minutes. They hesitated, but a second order, as promptly given, made them obedient. Three of the ringleaders were tried and condemned to be executed on the spot. Two of them were shot, and their executioners were twelve of the most prominent of their guilty associates. The other one, less guilty, was pardoned. Their punishment was quick and terrible, and never were men more humble and submissive than were the remainder of the insurgents. General Howe then addressed them effectively, by platoons, and ordered their officers, whom the mutineers had discarded, to resume their respective commands. The hopes of Sir Henry Clinton had been again excited, but the emissary whom he sent to the revolted troops, hearing of the fate of the others, played false to his master, by going directly to Howe and delivering the papers into his hands. Revolt, that followed so closely upon Arnold's treason a few months before, was thus effectually nipped in the bud. I have said that I spent an evening at Morristown with Judge Ford, the proprietor of the head-quarters of Washington. I look back upon the conversation of that evening with much pleasure, for the venerable octogenarian entertained me until a late hour with many pleasing anecdotes illustrative of the social condition of the army, and of the private character of the commander-in-chief. As an example of Washington's careful attention to small matters, and his sense of justice, he mentioned the fact that, when he took up his residence with his (Ford's) mother, he made an inventory of all articles which were appropriated to his use during the winter. When he withdrew in the spring, he inquired of Mrs. Ford whether every thing had been returned to her. “All but one silver table-spoon,” she answered. He took note of it, and not long afterward she received from him a spoon bearing his initials, G. W. That spoon is preserved as a precious relic in the family. His tender care for the comfort of Mrs. Ford was often evinced. On the occasions when the alarms, which we have noticed, were given, he always went to her room, drew the curtains close, and soothed her by assurances of safety. And when her son, a lad of seventeen, was brought home from the Springfield battle, seriously wounded, his first care in the morning was to inquire after the sufferer.” Washington's moral and religious feelings were never blunted by
* Pompton is a small town upon a fertile plain on the Pompton River, in Pequannock county.
* The wounded lad recovered, and afterward became a distinguished lawyer in a southern city. A remarkable instance of Washington's remembrance of persons was related to me, as having occurred in connection with the wounded boy. Many years afterward, when success had crowned his professional industry with wealth, and two daughters had nearly reached womanhood, he was returning south with them in his carriage, after a visit to his friends at Morristown, and stopped at Mount Vernon to see the retired chief. Reasonably concluding that Washington had forgotten the boy of 1780, he had procured a letter of introduction. When he drove up to Mount Vernon, Washington was walking upon the piazza. He went to the carriage, and as the servant of Mr. Ford threw open the door, and he stepped out, the general extended his hand, and said, with all the confidence of a recent acquaintance, “How do you do, Mr. Ford 2'' Eighteen years had elapsed since Washington had seen his face, and the boy had grown to mature manhood.
Prohibition of Gambling. Washington's religious Toleration. Anecdote of Colonel Hamilton. Room occupied by Washington.
the influences of the camp. While at Morristown, he observed that gambling was frequent among the officers and soldiers. This growing vice he arrested by prohibition and threats of punishment, put forth in general orders. It is related that he called upon the Rev. Dr. Jones, the pastor of the Presbyterian Church of Morristown, on learning that the communion service was to be observed in his church on the following Sabbath, and inquired whether communicants of another denomination were permitted to join with them. The doctor replied, “Most certainly; ours is not the Presbyterian's table, general, but the Lord's; and hence we give the Lord's invitation to all his followers, of whatever name.” “I am glad of it,” said the general; “that is as it ought to be; but, as I was not quite sure of the fact, I thought I would ascertain it from yourself, as I propose to join with you on that occasion. Though a member of the Church of England, I have no exclusive partialities.” Washington was at the communion table on the following Sabbath. General Schuyler was with Washington during the winter of 1780. His head-quarters were at a house (still standing) a few rods eastward of -- the rail-way station. A portion of his family was with him, among whom was his daughter Elizabeth, a charming girl, about twenty-two years of age. Colonel Alexander Hamilton, who was Washington's aid and military secretary, was smitten with her charms and accomplishments, and his evenings were usually spent with her at her father's quarters. Mr. Ford, then a lad, was a favorite with Hamilton, and, by permission of the chief, the colonel would give him the countersign, so as to allow him to play at the village after the sentinels were posted for the night. On one occasion he was returning home, about nine o'clock in the evening, and had passed the sentinel, when he recognized the voice of Hamilton in a reply to the soldier's demand of “Who comes there?” He stepped aside, and waited for the colonel to accompany him to the house. Hamilton came up to the point of the presented bayonet of the sentinel to give the countersign, but he had quite forgotten it. “He had spent the evening,” said Judge Ford, who related the anecdote to me, “with Miss Schuyler, and thoughts of her undoubtedly expelled the countersign from his head.” The soldier lover was embarrassed, and the sentinel, who knew him well, was stern in the performance of his duty. Hamilton pressed his hand upon his forehead, and tried hard to summon the cabalistic words from their hiding-place, but, like the faithful sentinel, they were immovable. Just then he recognized young Ford in the gloom. “Ay, Master Ford, is that you?” he said, in an undertone; and, stepping aside, he called the lad to him, drew his ear to his mouth, and whispered, “Give me the countersign.” He did so, and Hamilton, stepping in front of the soldier, delivered it. The sentinel, seeing the movement, and believing that his superior was testing his fidelity, kept his bayonet unmoved. “I have given you the countersign; why do you not shoulder your musket?” asked Hamilton. “Will that do, colonel ?” asked the soldier, in reply. “It will for this time,” said Hamilton; “let me pass.” The soldier reluctantly obeyed the illegal command, and Hamilton and his young companion reached headquarters without further difficulty. Colonel Hamilton afterward married Miss Schuyler. She still survives him (1849), and at the age of ninety-two years is the attractive center of a circle of devoted friends at Washington city, her present place of residence. I passed the night under the hospitable roof of Judge Ford, and in the room which Washington and his lady had occupied. The carpet upon the floor, dark and of a rich pattern, is the same that was pressed by the feet of the venerated chief nearly seventy years ago; and in an apartment below were a looking-glass, secretary, and book-case that formed a portion of the furniture of the house at that time." The room fronts south, and, the sky being
* I intend to devote a chapter to the consideration of the social condition of the Americans at the time
View of an Eclipse of the Moon. Reflections. Finances of the Revolutionary Government. Emission of Bills of Credit
september 12 perfectly clear, I had a fine view, from the window, of an almost total eclipse 1848. of the moon, which occurred at about midnight. As from that interesting observatory I watched the progress of the obscuration, and then the gradual enlightenment of the satellite, it appeared to me a most significant emblem of the political condition of America, and the cause of the patriots, at the time when, from the same window, Washington, with anxious eye, had doubtless gazed upon the same moon in its silent path-way among the stars. It was the gloomiest period of the war. For many months the bright prospects of the patriots were passing deeper and deeper within the penumbra of British power and oppression, and, at the beginning of 1780, only a faint curve of light was seen upon the disk of hope; the eclipse was almost total. Financial embarrassment was the chief bane of the patriots, and the expected antidote of rebellion for the Loyalists and the king. Let us here take a brief view of the financial affairs of the Revolutionary government. -When the Continental army was organized, in June, 1775, and other methods of defense were adopted by the General Congress, the necessity for providing pecuniary means for defraying the expenses, demanded and received the most serious attention of the delegates. The colonies, deprived, in a great measure, of all commercial intercourse with other parts of the world, by the unwise and oppressive policy of the mother country, a paper medium seemed to be their only resource. It was a blessing at the beginning, but proved a curse in the end. To place it upon a footing that should command the public confidence, and to secure it from depreciation, was important and difficult. The New York Convention, foreseeing the necessity of such a measure, had already considered the subject, and a committee of that body had reported suggestions a few weeks previously. They proposed three distinct modes of issuing paper money. First, that each colony should issue, for itself, the sum which might be appropriated to it by Congress. Second, that the united colonies should issue the whole sum necessary, and each colony become bound to sink its proportionable part; and, third, that Congress should issue the whole sum, every colony be bound to discharge its proportion, and the united colonies be obliged to pay that part which any colony should fail to discharge. The convention preferred the last mode, as affording higher security to those who should receive the paper, and, of consequence, as likely to obtain more ready, general, and confidential circulation. It was also believed that it would be an additional bond of union to the associated colonies." The Continental Congress adopted, substantially, the last proposition, and, in the course of the session of 1775, three millions of dollars were issued in bills of credit, and the faith of the confederated colonies was pledged for their redemption.” This sum was appropriated
of the Revolution, and shall then introduce sketches of the dress, furniture, &c., of the people. Drawings of the articles here mentioned will appear among them. Judge Ford expressed his surprise that the mirror was not demolished, for the room in which it hung was occupied, at one time, by some of the subalterns of the Pennsylvania line, who were sons of some of the leading men of that state—gentlemen by birth, but rowdies in practice. They injured the room very much by their nightly carousals, but the mirror escaped their rough treatment. Since my visit, Judge Ford has deceased, at the age of eighty-five years. Pitkin, i., 347. Records of the New York Convention. * The resolution providing for the first emission of bills was adopted on the 22d of June, 1775, and was as follows: “Resolved, That a sum not exceeding two millions of Spanish milled dollars be emitted by the Congress in bills of credit, for the defense of America.” On the next day the committee appointed for the occasion reported and offered resolutions (which were adopted) as follows: “Resolved, That the number and denomination of the bills to be emitted be as follows:
49,000 bills of 8 dollars each, $392,000
49,000 “ 7 ** 343,000
Total, 403,800 $2,000,000
Continental Paper Money. Form of the Bills. Devices and Mottoes. Paul Revere and cotemporary Engravers.
among the colonies according to the supposed number of the inhabitants, including negroes and mulattoes, and each colony was to pay its proportion, in four equal annual payments, the
first by the last of November, 1779, and the fourth by the last of November, 1782. The several Colonial Conventions were to provide, by taxes, for sinking their proportion of the bills, and the bills themselves were to be received in payment for such taxes. Two general treasurers were appointed, and it was recommended to each colony to appoint a treasurer. The amount of the first emission was two millions of dollars.
“Resolved, That the form of the bills be as follows:
- C O N T IN E N T A L CU. R. R. E. N. C. Y. No. — — Dollars. This bill entitles the bearer to receive — Spanish milled dollars, or the value thereof in gold and silver, according to the resolutions of the Congress, held at Philadelphia on the tenth day of May, A.D. 1775.
“Resolved, That Mr. J. Adams, Mr. J. Rutledge, Mr. Duane, Dr. Franklin, and Mr. Wilson be a committee to get proper plates engraved, to provide paper, and to agree with printers to print the above bills.”*
* The paper on which these bills were printed was quite thick, and the enemy called it “the pasteboard money of the rebels.” The vignettes were generally, both in device and motto, significant. The one most prominent in the engraving represents a beaver in the slow but sure process of cutting down a tree with its teeth. The motto, “Perseverando—by Perseverance,” said to the colonists, “Persist, and you will be successful.” I will notice a few other devices and mottoes of bills which I have seen. A globe, with the motto, in Latin, “The Lord Reigns; LET THE EARTH REJoice.” A candlestick with thirteen branches and burners, denoting the number of states; motto, “ONE FIRE, AND To The same purpose.” A thorn-bush with a hand grasping it; motto, “Sustain or ABSTAIN.” A circular chain bearing on each link the name of a state, an emblem of union; motto, “WE ARE one.” I have in my possession a coin, made of some composition resembling German silver of the present day (of which the following is a sac-simile the proper
* The plates were engraved on copper by Paul Revere, of Boston. Himself. Nathaniel Hurd, of the same city, Amos Doolittle, of New Haven, and an Englishman named Smithers, in Philadelphia, were the only engravers in America at that time. Hurd engraved as early as 1760. Revere began a little later. In 1766 he engraved a picture emblematic of the repeal of the Stamp Act. This, and a caricature called The Seventeen Rescinders, were very popular, and had an extensive sale. He engraved and published a print in 1770, representing the "Boston Massacre,” and in 1774 he engraved another of a similar size, representing the landing of the British troops in Boston. In 1775 he engraved the plates, made the press, and printed the bills of the paper money ordered by the Provincial Congress of Massachusetts. Doolittle was at Lexington and Concord, and made drawings and engravings of the skirmishes at those places. The sketches were made on the morning after the engagements, and were en. graved during the summer of 1775. Mr. Doolittle assisted in re-engraving the battle of Lexington on a smaller scale, in 1832, forty-three years afterward, for Barber’s “History and Antiquities of New Haven." A copy of it, by permission, is inserted in this work.