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The second French armament was daily expected, and General Washington had ordered a large body of militia into the field ; but the difficulty of procuring subsistence led him to countermand the order for their march to camp, although their aid would be essential in the event of active operations.
The American and French Commanders SEPT. 21. met at Hartford to complete the general
system of subsequent operations, and they agreed to direct their offensive measures against the British post in New-York.
While expectations of immediate and effectual aid from France were entertained through the United States, information was brought, that the second armament destined for America was blocked up in the harbour of Brest, and would not this season reach the American Continent. The flattering prospect of terminating the war hy the conquest of the British posts in a moment vanished; and elevated views of brilliant success were succeeded by disappointment and chagrin. General WASHINGTON himself had admitted the persuasion, that the campaign would end in a decisive manner ; and he felt the deepest mortification at its failure. “ We are,” he observed in a letter to a friend,“ now drawing to a close an inactive campaign, the beginning of which appeared pregnant with events of a very favourable complexion. I hoped, but I hoped in vain, that a prospect was opening which would enable me to fix a period to my military pursuits, and restore me to domestick life The favourable disposition of Spain, the promised succour from France, the combined force in the West Indies, the declaration of Russia, (acceded to by other powers of Europe, lium.fiating to the naval pride and power of Great Britain) the superiority of France and Spain by sea in Europe, the Irish claims and English disturbances, formed in the aggregate, an opinion in my breast which is not very susceptible of peaceful dreams, that
che hour of deliverance was not far distant; for that however unwilling Great Britain might be to yield the point, it would not be in her power to continue the contest But alas ! These prospects, flattering as they were, have proved delusory ; and I see nothing before us but accumulating distress. We have been half of our time without provisions, and are likely to continue 90. We have no magazines, nor money to form them. We have lived upon expedients, until we can live no onger. In a word, the history of the war is a histo ry of false hopes and temporary devices, instead of system and economy. It is in vain, however, to look back, nor is it our business to do so Our case is not desperate, if virtue exists in the people, and there is wisdom among our rulers. But to suppose that this great revolution can be accomplished by a temporary army ; that this army will be subsisted by state supplies, and that taxation alone is adequate to our wants, is in my opinion absurd, and as unreasonable as to expect an inversion of the order of nature to accommodate itself to our views. If it were necessary, it would be easily proved to any person of a moderate understanding, that an annual army, or any army raised on the spur of the occasion, besides being unqualified for the end designed, is, in various ways, which could be enumerated, ten times more expensive than a permanent body of men under good organiza tion and military discipline; which never was, nor ever will be the case with new troops. A thousand arguments, resulting from experience and the nature of things might also be adduced to prove that the army, if it is to depend on state supplies must disband or starve ; and that taxation alone, (especially at this late · hour) cannot furnish the means to carry on the war. Is it not time to retract from errour, and benefit from experienc9? or do we want further proof of the ruinous system, we have pertinaciously adhered to?"
At the time, the country was exhausting its resuurces, and Genera] WASHINGTON, under innumerable embarrassments exerting every power to obtain an honourable peace, treason entered the strong hold of independence, and planned the destruction of the infant states of America. General Arnold early art warmly embraced the American cause. His enterprising spirit, his invincible fortitude, his heroick and persevering ardour in battle, had exalted his milita.y character in his own country and in Europé. Being incapacitated for the duties of the field, by the wounds he received before Quebeck, and at Saratoga, he was appointed Commandant in Philadelphia, when the British evacuated that city. In this flattering command, he adopted a style of living above his means, and soon found himself loaded with debt. To relieve himself he entered into various schemes of speculation, and was unsuccessful in all. Hollow at heart, he had recourse to fraud and peculation. These practices rendered himn odious to the citizens, and gave offence to government. At length formal complaints were lodged against him ; and Congress ordered his trial by a Court Martial. By this Court he was found guilty, and sentenced to be reprimanded by the Commander in Chief. The sentence was approved by Congress, and carried into execution by General WASHINGTON. In the gold that was to reward his treason, Arnold expected relief from his pecuniary embarrassments; and his implacable spirit scught its reve:age of his country by betraying into the hand of her enemy the post that had been called the Gibraltar of America.
West l'oint was the first post in importance within the United States. Its great natural strength had been increased by every expense and labour of fortification; and it was an object on which General WashiNGTON perpetually kept his eye. This fortress Arnold selected to give consequence to his apostacy. By the sus.
render of this into the hands of the British commander, he expected to ensure a high price for his treason, and, at the same moment, to inflict a mortal wound upon his country. His measures were artfully adopted to accomplish his perfidious purpose.
He obtained a letter from a member of Congress to General WashINGTON, recommending him to the command of this important post. He induced General Schuyler to mention to the Commander in Chief, his desire to rejoin the army, and wis inclination to do garrison duiy
At the time General WASHINGTON was moving 'down to New-York, when Sir Henry Clinton had em.. barked a large body of troops, with the design to attack the French at Newport, he offered the command of the left wing of the army to General Arnold, who declined on the plea that his wound unfitted him for the active duties of the field; but he intimates a desire to command at West Point. Knowing his ambition for military fame, the General was surprised that Arnold declined this favourable opportunity to distinguish himself; but tho purity of his own mind forbade him to suspect an officer of treason, whose blood had been freely shed in the cause of his country, and be gratified him with the solicited command.
Under fictitious names, and in the disguise of mercantile business, Arnold had already opened a correspondence with Sir Henry Clinton through Major André, Adjutant General of the British army. To him the British General committed ihe maturing of Arnold's treason, and to facilitaie measures for its execution, the Vulture sloop of war conveyed him up
the Nort: river. Under a pass for John Anderson, André came on shore in the night, and had a personal interview with Arnold without the American works. The morning opened upon them before their business was accomplished. Arnold told André that his return on board the Vulture by daylight was impracticable, and that he must be concealed until he next night. For
this purpose he was conducted within an American post, and spent the day with Arnold. In the course of the day a gun was brought to bear on the Vulture, which obliged her to shift her station; and at night the boatmen on this account refused to carry André on board the sloop.
The return to New York by land, was the only allernative left. To render the attempt the more safe, Major André laid aside his uniform, which he had yet worn under a surtout, and in a plain coat, on horse. back, began his journey. He was furnished with a passport signed by Arnold, in which permission was granted to John Anderson “to go to the lines of White Plains, or lower if he thought proper, he being on publick service.” Alone, and without having excited suspicion, he passed the American guards, and was silently congratulating himself that he had passed all danger, when his imaginary security was disturbed by three militia men, who were scouring the country be. tween the outposts of the hostile armies. They suddenly seized the bridle of his horse, and challenged his business in that place. The surprise of the moment put him off his guard, and instead of showing his
pass, he hastily asked the men," where do you belong?” they answered,“ to below," meaning New-York.' The Major instantly replied, “so do I.” He declared himself to be a British officer, and pressed for permission to proceed on the urgent business on which he was employed.
The mistake was soon apparent, and he offered the mon a purse of gold and a valuable gold watch, for permission to pass ; and on condition that they would accompany him to the city, he promised them present reward and future promotion. But the patriotism of these yeomen could not be bribed.
They proceeded to search André, and found sécreted in his ooots, in the hand writing of Arnold, exact res turns of the state of the forces, ordnance, and defences