Page images
PDF
EPUB

Tryon's Retreat from Fairfield. Journey resumed. Return to New Haven. Visit to West Bridge and other Localities.

Yes, Britons scorn the councils of the skies,
Extend wide havoc, spurn the insulted foes;
The insulted foes to ten-fold vengeance rise,
Resistance growing as the danger grows.
Red in their wounds, and pointing to the plain,
The visionary shapes before me stand;
The thunder bursts, the battle burns again,
And kindling fires encrimson all the strand.
Long, dusky wreaths of smoke, reluctant driven,
In black'ning volumes o'er the landscape bend:
Here the broad splendor blazes high to heaven,
There umber'd streams in, purple pomp ascend.
In fiery eddies round the tott'ring walls,
Emitting sparks, the lighter fragments fly;
With frightful crash the burning mansion falls,
The works of years in glowing embers lie.
Tryon, behold thy sanguine flames aspire,
Clouds tinged with dies intolerably bright:
Behold, well pleased, the village wrapp'd in fire,
Let one wide ruin glut thy ravish’d sight!
Ere fades the grateful scene, indulge thine eyes,
See age and sickness tremulously slow
Creep from the flames. See babes in torture die,
And mothers swoon in agonies of woe.
Go, gaze enraptured with the mother's tear,
The infant's terror, and the captive's pain;
Where no bold bands can check thy cursed career,
Mix fire with blood on each unguarded plain!
These be thy triumphs, this thy boasted fame!
Daughters of mem'ry, raise the deathless song,
Repeat through endless years his hated name,
Embalm his crimes, and teach the world our wrong.”

Large numbers of militia had collected in the neighborhood of Fairfield on the morning of the 9th, and at eight o'clock Tryon sounded a retreat to the shipping. His troops were galled very much by the militia, and it was noon before all were embarked. At three in the afternoon they weighed anchor and sailed over to Huntington, Long Island, whence they made a descent upon, and destroyed, Norwalk. We will close the record and hasten from the mountain, for

“”Tis Sabbath morn, and lingering on the gale
The mellow'd peals of the sweet bells arise,
Floating where'er the restless winds prevail,
Laden with incense and with harmonies,”

and inviting me back to the city and the open sanctuary. I arrived in time for a luncheon breakfast, and to listen to an eloquent sermon in Trinity Church on the College Green, from a stripling deacon who had just taken orders. The afternoon was warm and lowery, the rain came pattering down in the evening, and the next morning a nor'easter was piping its melancholy notes among the stately elms of the city," while the rain poured as if Aquarius had overturned his water-jar. There was a lull in the storm about nine o'clock, and, accompanied by Mr. Barber, the artist-author, in a covered wagon, I visited some of the points of interest about the city. We first rode to the West Bridge on West River, near which the Americans made their first stand against General Garth, and in the midst of a heavy dash of rain made the sketch on page 423. Returning to the city, we visited the dwelling of Arnold, Neck Bridge, and the Cemetery. In the latter, a large and beautiful “city of the dead,” lie many illustrious remains, among which are those of Colonel David Humphreys, one of Washington's aids.

* The fine elms which shade the public square and vicinity were planted by the Rev. David Austin and Hon. James Hillhouse. They are the pride of New Haven, and have conferred upon it the title of The city of Elms.

The Cemetery. Humphreys's Monument. The Grave of Arnold's Wife. Her Character. Colonel Humphreys.

They lie near the southwestern part of the Cemetery, and over them stands a fine monument consisting of a granite obelisk and pedestal, about twelve feet in height. Upon two tablets of copper, inserted in the pedestal, is the following inscription, written by his friend, the author of M*Fingal : “David Humphreys, LL.D., Acad. Scient. Philad., Mass., et Connect., et in Anglia Aquae Solis, et Regiae Societat. Socius. Patriae et libertatis amore ac census, juvenis vitam reipub. integram consecravit. Patriam armistuebatur, consiliis auxit, literis exornavit, apud exteras gentes concordia stabilivit. In bello gerendo maximi ducis Washington administer et adjutor; in exercitu patrio Chiliarchus; in republica Connecticutensi, militum evocatorum imperator; adaulam Lusitan. et Hispan. legatus. Iberia reversus natale solum vellere vere aureo ditavit. In Historia et Poesi scriptor eximius; in artibus et scientiis excolendis, quae vel decori vel usui inserviunt, optimus ipse et patronus et exemplar. Omnibus demum officiis expletis, cursuq ; vitae feliciter peracto, fato cessit, Die xxi. Februar., Anno Domini

Cumn allilos is represented as a woman ** 1 of the most fervent piety,

HUMPHREYS's Monum ENT.

[ocr errors]

In the northeast section of the Cemetery is a dark stone, neatly carved

exalted patriotism, gentleness of manners, and sweetness of disposition.

with an ornamental border, sacred to the memory of Margaret, the first wife of Benedict Arnold, who died on the 19th of June, 1775, while her husband was upon Lake Champlain. Her maiden name was Mansfield, and by her Arnold had

These qualities are powerful checks upon unruly passions, particularly when exerted in the intimate relation of husband and wife. Had she lived until the close of the Revolution, far different might have been the fate

of her husband,

three sons. She for there is litwas thirty-one - 2% tle doubt that years old when - ~~~~ * his resentments she died. She against Con

gress and the managers of military affairs for two years previous to his treason were fostered

Mr. Barber gives the following translation: “David Humphreys, doctor of laws, member of the Academy of Sciences of Philadelphia, Massachusetts, and Connecticut, of the Bath [Agricultural Society] and of the Royal Society of London. Fired with the love of country and of liberty, he consecrated his youth wholly to the service of the republic, which he defended by his arms, aided by his counsels, adorned by his learning, and preserved in harmony with foreign nations. In the field he was the companion and aid of the great Washington, a colonel in the army of his country, and commander of the veteran volunteers of Connecticut. He went embassador to the courts of Portugal and Spain, and, returning, enriched his native land with the true golden fleece.* He was a distinguished historian and poet; a model and a patron of science, and of the ornamental and useful arts. After a full discharge of every duty, and a life well spent, he died on the 21st day of February, 1818, aged sixty-five years.” To complete the brief biography given in this inscription, I will add that Colonel Humphreys was born in Derby, Connecticut, in 1753, and graduated at Yale College in 1771. He soon afterward went to reside with Colonel Phillips, of Phillips's Manor, New York. He joined the Continental army, and in 1778 was one of General Putnam's aids, with the rank of major. Washington appointed him his aid in 1780, and he remained in the military family of the chief until the close of the war. For his valor at Yorktown, Congress honored him with a sword. He accompanied Jefferson to Paris, as secretary of legation, in 1784. Kosciusko accompanied them. He was a member of the Legislature of Connecticut in 1786, and about that time he, Barlow, and Hopkins wrote the Anarchiad. From

* This is in allusion to the fact that Colonel Humphreys was the man who introduced merine sheep into the United States. He sent over from Spain a flock of one hundred in 1801.

[graphic]
[graphic]

Arnold's Disaffection. Dr. Eneas Munson. Death of Colonel Scammell. His Epitaph by Humphreys.

by his intercourse with the Tory friends of his second wife, Margaret Shippen, of Philadelphia. Indeed, the Loyalists claimed him for a friend as early as December, 1778. Charles Stewart, writing to Joseph Galloway, said, “General Arnold is in Philadelphia. It is said that he will be ations, two Hesdischarged, being ~ sian horsemen came thought a pert To- suddenly upon him, ry. Certain it is and presented their that he associates pistols. Perceiving mostly with these that there was no people.” chance for escape, On leaving the he surrendered, sayCemetery, we call- ing, “Gentlemen, I edupon the venera- am your prisoner.” ble Eneas Munson, Either because they M.D., a vigorous did not understand relic of the Revo- his words, or actulution. He is still ated by that want living (January, of humanity which 1850), more than generally characeighty-six years of terized those merceage. He was Dr. naries, one of them Thacher's assistant fired, and wounded in the Continental the colonel mortalarmy, and was pres- ly. He was carent at the siege of ried to WilliamsYorktown and the burg, and Dr. Munsurrender of Corn- son was the first wallis, in October, surgeon in attend. 1781. He was ance upon him. then a surgeon in He died there on Colonel Scammell's the 6th of Octoregiment, which, in ber. Colonel Humthat action, was at- phreys (to whose tached to General regiment Dr. MunHamilton's brigade. son was attached During the siege after the death of Colonel Scammell was = . Scammell) wrote shot by a Hessian cavalry - o o the following poetic epiofficer, while reconnoitering ... taph for the tomb of his a small redoubt on a point friend. I do not know of land which had been al- whether the lines were ever ternately in possession of the inscribed upon marble, or reAmericans and British. It , corded by the pen of history. was just at twilight, and, 4% They were repeated to me while making careful observ- a 7.2//zzzzzoz. by Dr. Munson, and I give them as a memorial of a brave and accomplished officer of the Revolution.

1788 until he was appointed minister to Portugal, in 1790, he resided with Washington at Mount Vernon. He was appointed minister plenipotentiary to Spain in 1794; married the daughter of a wealthy English gentleman at Lisbon in 1797; returned in 1801, and for ten years devoted his time to agriculture. In 1812 he took the command of the militia of Connecticut. His death was sudden, caused by an organic disease of the heart. His literary attainments were considerable. Besides several poems, he wrote some political pamphlets; and in 1788, while at Mount Vernon, completed a life of Putnam, a large portion of the material of which he received from the lips of the veteran. * This portrait is from a Daguerreotype kindly lent me by Dr. Munson, with permission to copy it.

[graphic]

Nathan Beers. Yale College. Its political Character in the Revolution. A Tory Student.

“What though no friend could ward thine early fall,
Nor guardian angels turn the treacherous ball;
Bless'd shade, be soothed Thy virtues all are known—
Thy fame shall last beyond this mouldering stone,
Which conquering armies, from their toils return,
Read to thy glory while thy fate they mourn.”

A drawing of the place where Scammell was killed, and a biographical sketch of that officer, are given in the notice of my visit to Yorktown. A few doors from Dr. Munson, in the same street, lived the almost centenarian, Nathan Beers, who was paymaster in Scammell's regiment at Yorktown. He was ninety-six years old, and completely demented; second childhood, with all its trials for the subject and his friends, was his lot; yet did I look with rev

erence upon that thin visage and “lack-luster * eye,” where once were indices of a noble mind within. A truer patriot never drew blade for

his country, and, above all, he was “an honest man, the noblest work of God.” For years he struggled with the misfortunes of life, and became involved in debt. At length Congress made a decision in his favor respecting a claim for a pension as paymaster in the Continental army, and arrearages amounting to some thousands of dollars were awarded him. There was enough to give him a competence in his old age, but even this reward for public services he handed over to his creditors. He has since gone to receive the final recompense of the patriot and Christian. He died on the 10th. of February, 1849, aged nearly 98. After a short visit to the Trumbull Gallery of Paintings and the Library of Yale College, I returned to my lodgings, and at four o'clock in the afternoon departed in the cars for Hartford.

SIGNATURE or NATHAN BEERS AT 90.

• Yale College, aside from its intrinsic worth as a seminary of learning, is remarkable for the great number of the leading men of the Revolution who were educated within its walls. That warm and consistent patriot, President Daggett, gave a political tone to the establishment favorable to the republican cause, and it was regarded as the nursery of Whig principles during the Revolution. When New Haven was invaded by Tryon, Yale College was marked for special vengeance, but, as we have seen, the invaders retreated hastily without burning the town. There were very few among the students, during our war for independence, who were imbued with Tory principles, and they were generally, if known, rather harshly dealt with.

One instance may suffice to show the spirit of the times. In June, 1775, a student named Abiather Camp was reported unfriendly to Congress. A committee of investigation was appointed, who wrote a very polite note to the young gentleman, setting forth the charges made against him, and demanding an explicit denial, if the report was untrue. The young scape-grace returned the following answer:

“New Haven, June 13, 1775. “To the Honorable and Respectable Gentlemen of the Committee now residing in Yale College: “May it please your honors, ham—ham—ham.

“Finis cumsistula, popularum gig–
A man without a head has no need of a wig.
“ABIATHER CAMP.”

The insulted committee resolved to advertise Camp as an enemy to his country, and to treat him with all possible scorn and neglect. Such advertisement was posted upon the hall door. He braved public opinion until October, when he recanted, and publicly asked pardon for his offenses. Yale College was founded by ten principal ministers in the colony, who met for the purpose, at New Haven, in 1700. Each brought a number of books at their next meeting in 1701, and, presenting them to the society, said, “I give these books for the founding of a college in the colony.” A proposition to found a college had been named fifty years before. The first commencement was held at Saybrook, in 1702. In 1717 the first college building was erected in New Haven. It was seventy feet long and twenty-two wide. From time to time several liberal endowments have been made to the institution, the earliest and most munificent of which was from Elihu Yale, in whose honor the college was named. Among its distinguished benefactors were Sir Isaac Newton, Dean Berkley, Bishop Burmet, Halley, Edwards, &c. The present imposing pile was commenced in 1750. Additions have been made at different times, and it now consists of four spacious edifices, each four stories high, one hundred and four by forty feet on the ground; a chapel, lyceum, atheneum, chemical laboratory, dining-hall, and a dwelling-house for the president.

New England and its Associations. Arrival at Hartford. Continuation of the Storm.

CHAPTER XIX.

“Land of the forest and the rock—
Of dark blue lake and mighty river—
Of mountains rear'd aloft to mock
The storm's career, the lightning's shock:
My own green land forever.

Oh! never may a son of thine,
Where'er his wandering steps incline,
Forget the sky which bent above
His childhood like a dream of love—
The stream beneath the green hill flowing—
The broad-armed trees above it growing—
The clear breeze through the foliage blowing;
Or hear, unmoved, the taunt of scorn
Breathed o'er the brave New England born.”
WHITTIER

- : LTHOUGH much of the soil of New England is rough and sterile, and labor o —hard and unceasing labor—is necessary to procure subsistence for its - teeming population, in no part of our republic can be found stronger birthplace attachments. It is no sentiment of recent growth, springing up under the influence of the genial warmth of our free institutions, but ** ante-dates our Revolution, and was prominently manifest in colonial times. This sentiment, strong and vigorous, gave birth to that zealous patriotism which distinguished the people of the Eastern States during the ten years preceding the war for independence, and the seven years of that contest. Republicanism seemed to be indigenous to the soil, and the people appeared to inhale the air of freedom at every breath. Every where upon the Connecticut, and eastward, loyalty to the sovereign—a commendable virtue in a people governed by a righteous prince—was changed by kingly oppression into loyalty to a high and holy principle, and hallowed, for all time, the region where it flourished. To a pilgrim on an errand like mine the rough hills and smiling valleys of New England are sanctuaries for patriot worship; and as our long train swept over the sandy plain of New Haven, and coursed among the hills of Wallingford and Meriden, an emotion stirred the breast akin to that of the Jew of old when going up to Jerusalem to the Great Feast. A day's journey before me was Boston—the city of the pilgrims, the nursery of liberty cradled in the May Flower, the first altar-place of freedom in the Western World. . The storm, which had abated for a few hours at mid-day, came down with increased violence, and the wind-eddies wrapped the cars in such wreaths of smoke from the engine, that only an occasional glimpse of the country could be obtained. It was almost dark when we october a reached Hartford, upon the Connecticut River, thirty-six miles northward of New * Haven; where, sick and weary from the effects of exposure and fatigue during the morning, a glowing grate and an “old arm-chair” in a snug room at the “United States” were, under the circumstances, comforts which a prince might covet. Let us close the shutters against the impotent gusts, and pass the evening with the chroniclers of Hartford and its vicinage. Hartford (Suckiag), and Wethersfield, four miles distant, were the earliest settlements in Connecticut. In 1633 the Dutch from Nieu Amsterdam went up the Connecticut River,

[graphic]
[graphic]
[graphic]
« PreviousContinue »