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of blood, induced him, on the 16th of October, to agree to terms of capitulation as follows:
"The troops under General Burgoyne to march out of their camp with the honours of war, and the artillery of the intrenchments to the verge of the river, where the arms and artillery are to be left. The arms to be piled by word of command from their own officers. A free passage to be granted to the army under Lieutenantgeneral Burgoyne to Great Britain, upon condition of not serving again in North America during the present contest; and the port of Boston to be assigned for the entry of the transports to receive the troops whenever General Howe shall so order. The army under Lieutenant-general Burgoyne to march to Massachusetts bay, by the easiest route, and to be quartered in, near, or as convenient as possible to Boston. The troops to be provided with provisions by General Gates's orders, at the same rate of rations as his own army. All officers to retain their carriages, bat-horses, and no baggages to be molested or searched. The officers to be permitted on their parol, and to be permitted to wear their side-arms."
On the night of the day that the British army paid this homage to American valour on the banks of the Hudson, thus redeeming the boast that retreat was not for them, Gates received at his table Burgoyne and his staff, and the officers who so often panted to cross each other on the field of death, exchanged the most cordial civilities, and paid each other that mutual honour and respect, in discharge of which there is, under every circumstance, a generous emulation between the brave.
The number of men contributing to that pile of arms was five thousand seven hundred and ninety, the remnant of the noble army, at least ten thousand strong, independent of the Indian auxiliaries, that crossed the States' boundary in search of sure conquest and glory. The northern American army now amounted to nearly fourteen thousand men.
This achievement led a few unthinking men to suppose that the arms of America might be more fortunate if General Gates was elevated to the supreme command. He himself seems not to have been hostile to the prevalence of such an opinion, and some parts of his conduct are sufficient to show that if it did not originate with him, he was not the last to adopt it. Not only did he neglect to communicate to General Washington the success of his army, after the victory of the 7th of October had opened to him the prospect of finally destroying the enemy opposed to him; but he carried on a correspondence with General Conway, in which that officer ex
pressed himself with great contempt of the commander-in-chief; and on the disclosure of this circumstance, General Gates had demanded the name of the informer in a letter expressed in terms by no means conciliatory, and which was passed through the hands of Congress-a very extraordinary circumstance in the case of a general communicating with his commander. This letter, dated Albany, December 8th, 1777, was in the following words:
"I shall not attempt to describe what, as a private gentleman, I cannot help feeling, on representing to my mind the disagreeable situation in which confidential letters when exposed to public inspection may place an unsuspecting correspondent; but, as a public officer, I conjure your excellency to give me all the assistance you can, in tracing out the author of the infidelity, which puts extracts from General Conway's letters to me into your hands. Those letters have been stealingly copied; but which of them, when, and by whom, is to me, as yet, an unfathomable secret. There is not one officer in my suite, nor amongst those who have free access to me, upon whom I could, with the least justification to myself, fix the suspicion; and yet my uneasiness may deprive me of the usefulness of the worthiest men. It is, I believe, in your excellency's power to do me and the United States a very important service, by detecting a wretch who may betray me, and capitally injure the very operations under your immediate directions. For this reason, sir, I beg your excellency will favour me with the proof you can procure to that effect. But the crime being eventually so important, that the least loss of time may be attended with the worst consequences, and it being unknown to me, whether the letter came to you from a member of Congress or from an officer, I shall have the honour of transmitting a copy of this to the president, that the Congress may, in concert with your excellency, obtain as soon as possible a discovery which so deeply affects the safety of the states. Crimes of that magnitude ought not to remain unpunished. I have the honour to be, &c. "HORATIO GATES."
General Washington sent the following answer to this letter to General Gates, through the hands of the President of Congress, saying that the unaccountable course of General Gates compelled him so to transmit it. It is dated Valley Forge, 4th January, 1778, and is as follows:
"Sir, your letter of the 8th ultimo came to my hands a few days ago, and, to my great surprise, informed me that a copy of it had been sent to Congress, for what reason I find myself unable to
account; but as some end doubtless was intended to be answered by it, I am laid under the disagreeable necessity of returning my answer through the same channel, lest any member of that honourable body should harbour an unfavourable suspicion of my having practised some indirect means to come at the contents of the confidential letters between you and General Conway.
"I am to inform you, then, that Colonel Wilkinson, on his way to Congress, in the month of October last, fell in with Lord Stirling at Reading, and, not in confidence that I ever understood, informed his aide-de-camp, Major McWilliams, that General Conway had written this to you: Heaven has been determined to save your country, or a weak general and bad counsellors would have ruined it.' Lord Stirling, from motives of friendship, transmitted the account with this remark: The enclosed was communicated by Colonel Wilkinson to Major McWilliams. Such wicked duplicity of conduct, I shall always think it my duty to detect. In consequence of this information, and without having any thing more in view than merely to show that gentleman that I was not unapprized of his intriguing disposition, I wrote to him a letter in these words:
"Sir, a letter which I received last night, contained the following paragraph: In a letter from General Conway to General :-"In Gates, he says, Heaven has been determined to save your country, or a weak general and bad counsellors would have ruined it." I am sir, &c.'
"Neither the letter, nor the information which occasioned it, was ever, directly or indirectly, communicated to me by a single officer in this army, out of my own family, excepting the Marquis de Lafayette, who, having been spoken to on this subject by General Conway, applied for, and saw, under injunctions of secrecy, the letter which contained Wilkinson's information; so desirous was I of concealing every matter that could, in its consequences, give the smallest interruption to the tranquillity of this army, or afford a gleam of hope to the enemy by dissensions therein.
"Thus, sir, with an openness and candour which I hope will ever characterize and mark my, conduct, have I complied with your request. The only concern I feel upon the occasion, finding how matters stand, is, that in doing this, I have necessarily been obliged to name a gentleman, who, I am persuaded, although I never exchanged a word with him upon the subject, thought he was rather doing an act of justice, than committing an act of infidelity; and
sure I am, that till Lord Stirling's letter came to my hands, I never knew that General Conway, whom I viewed in the light of a stranger to you, was a correspondent of yours; much less did I suspect that I was the subject of your confidential letters. Pardon me then for adding, that so far from conceiving that the safety of the States can be effected, or in the smallest degree injured, by a discovery of this kind, or that I should be called upon in such solemn terms to point out the author, I considered the information as coming from yourself, and given with a friendly view to forewarn, and consequently to forearm me, against a secret enemy, or, in other words, a dangerous incendiary; in which character, sooner or later, this country will know General Conway. But in this, as in other matters of late, I have found myself mistaken.”
Other letters passed between Washington, Gates, and Conway; but each succeeding one only the more clearly set forth the wickedness and ambition of those who, for their own aggrandizement, would not scruple to sacrifice the welfare or even the existence of their infant country. Lafayette, who was early made acquainted with the facts, warmly sympathized with Washington, and took every opportunity of expressing his undiminished confidence in him, though in the presence only of his opponents.
Anonymous papers, containing high charges against him, and urging the necessity of placing some more active and efficient person at the head of the army, were sent to Henry Laurens, the President of Congress, Patrick Henry, the Governor of Virginia, and others. These gentlemen forwarded the papers to the commanderin-chief, warning him to be on his guard against a dangerous plot, which, from their tenor, they conceived to be forming; expressing, at the same time, their high regard for him, and their sense of the injustice of the groundless censures contained in them. To Mr. Laurens, he replied:-"I cannot sufficiently express the obligation I feel to you, for your friendship and politeness upon an occasion in which I am so deeply interested. I was not unapprized, that a malignant faction had been for some time forming to my prejudice; which, conscious as I am of having ever done all in my power to answer the important purposes of the trust reposed in me, could not but give me some pain on a personal account. But my chief concern arises from an apprehension of the dangerous consequences which intestine dissensions may produce to the common cause.
"As I have no other view than to promote the public good, and am unambitious of honours not founded in the approbation of my country, I would not desire in the least degree to suppress a free
spirit of inquiry into any part of my conduct, that even faction itself may deem reprehensible. The anonymous paper handed to you exhibits many serious charges, and it is my wish that it should be submitted to Congress. This I am the more inclined to, as the suppression or concealment may possibly involve you in embarrassments hereafter, since it is uncertain how many or who may be privy to the contents.
"My enemies take an ungenerous advantage of me. They know the delicacy of my situation, and that motives of policy deprive me of the defence I might otherwise make against their insidious attacks. They know I cannot combat their insinuations, however injurious, without disclosing secrets which it is of the utmost moment to conceal. But why should I expect to be exempt from censure the unfailing lot of an elevated station? Merit and talents, with which I can have no pretensions of rivalship, have ever been subject to it. My heart tells me, that it has been my unremitted aim to do the best that circumstances would permit; yet I may have been very often mistaken in my judgment of the means, and may in many instances deserve the imputation of error. I cannot forbear repeating, that I have a grateful sense of the favourable disposition you have manifested to me in this affair, and beg you will believe me to be, with sentiments of real esteem and regard, sir, &c."
His answer to Mr. Henry was of the same nature.
Not content with thus attempting to poison the minds of Washington's firmest friends, by spreading malignant insinuations against his character as a general, his enemies industriously circulated a report that it was his intention to resign his commission of commander-in-chief of the American army, and retiring, to leave the people to fight their own battles. On this subject he wrote to Doctor Gordon, a gentleman of New England, as follows:
"I can assure you, that no person ever heard me drop an expression that had a tendency to resignation. The same principles that led me to embark in the opposition to the arbitrary claims of Great Britain, operate with additional force at this day; nor is it my desire to withdraw my services while they are considered of importance in the present contest; but to report a design of this kind is among the arts which those who are endeavouring to effect a change are practising, to bring it to pass. I have said, and I still do say, that there is not an officer in the service of the United States, that would return to the sweets of domestic life with more heartfelt joy than I should. But I would have this declaration accompanied