Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

DISTRESS OF MRS. ARNOLD.

169

to this place by some upper road, rather than by the route of Crompond. I would not wish Mr. André to be treated with insult; but he does not appear to stand upon the footing of a common prisoner of war, and, therefore, he is not entitled to the usual indulgences which they receive, and is to be most closely and narrowly watched.”

In the meantime, Mrs. Arnold remained in her room in a state bordering on frenzy. Arnold might well confide in the humanity and delicacy of Washington in respect to her. He regarded her with the sincerest commiseration, acquitting her of all previous knowledge of her husband's guilt. On remitting to her, by one of his aides-de-camp, the letter of her husband, written from on board of the Vulture, he informed her that he had done all that depended upon himself to have him arrested, but not having succeeded, he experienced a pleasure in assuring her of his safety.*

A letter of Hamilton's written at the time, with all the sympathies of a young man, gives a touching picture of Washington's first interview with her. "She for a time entirely lost herself. The general went up to see her, and she upbraided him with being in a plot to murder her child. One moment she raved, another she melted into tears, sometimes she pressed her infant to her bosom, and lamented its fate occasioned by the impru.

* Memoirs of Lafayette, vol. i. p. 264.

dence of its father, in a manner that would have pierced 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.”

During the brief time she remained at the Robinson House, she was treated with the utmost deference and delicacy, but soon set off, under a passport of Washing ton, for her father's house in Philadelphia.

CHAPTER XI.

ANDRK'S CONDUCT AS A PRISONER.—HIS CONVERSATIONS WITH COLONEL TALL

MADGE.-STORY OF NATHAN HALE.-ANDRÉ'S PRISON AT TAPPAN. -CORRESPONDENCE ON HIS BEHALF.—HIS TRIAL.-EXECUTION.— REWARD OF THE CAPTORS.—REWARD OF ARNOLD.-HIS PROCLAMATION.-AFTER FORTUNES OF MRS. ARNOLD.

DA N the 26th of September, the day after the

treason of Arnold had been revealed to WashSA) ington, André arrived at the Robinson House, having been brought on in the night, under escort and in charge of Major Tallmadge. Washington made many inquiries of the major, but declined to have the prisoner brought into his presence, apparently entertaining a strong idea of his moral obliquity, from the nature of the scheme in which he had been engaged, and the circumstances under which he had been arrested.

The same evening he transmitted him to West Point, and shortly afterwards, Joshua H. Smith, who had like. wise been arrested. Still, not considering them secure even there, he determined on the fcllowing day to send them on to the camp. In a letter to Greene he writes : “They will be under an escort of horse, and I wish you to have separate houses in camp ready for their reception, in which they may be kept perfectly secure; and also strong, trusty guards, trebly officered, that a part may be constantly in the room with them. They have not been permitted to be together, and must be kept apart. I would wish the room for Mr. André to be a decent one, and that he may be treated with civility ; but that he may be so guarded as to preclude a possibility of his escaping, which he will certainly attempt to effect, if it shall seem practicable in the most distant degree.”

Major Tallmadge continued to have charge of André. Not regarding him from the same anxious point with the commander-in-chief, and having had opportunities of acquiring a personal knowledge of him, he had become fascinated by his engaging qualities. “The ease and affability of his manners,” writes he, “polished by the refinement of good society 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 future fate, and that too, as I feared, so near at hand.”

Early on the morning of the 28th, the prisoners were embarked in a barge, to be conveyed from West Point to King's Ferry. Tallmadge placed André by his side on the after seat of the barge. Both being young, of equal rank, and prepossessing manners, a frank and cordial intercourse had grown up between them. By a cartel, mutually agreed upon, each might put to the other any question not involving a third person. They were pass

CONVERSATION OF ANDRÉ.

173

ing below the rocky heights of West Point, and in full view of the fortress, when Tallmadge asked André whether he would have taken an active part in the attack on it, should Arnold's plan have succeeded. André promptly answered in the affirmative ; pointed out a table of land on the west shore, where he would have landed at the head of a select corps, described the route he would have taken up the mountain to a height in the rear of Fort Putnam, overlooking the whole parade of West Point" and this he did," writes Tallmadge, “with much greater exactness than I could have done. This eminence he would have reached without difficulty, as Arnold would have disposed of the garrison in such manner as to be capable of little or no opposition and then the key of the country would have been in his hands, and he would have had the glory of the splendid achievement."

Tallmadge fairly kindled into admiration as André, with hereditary French vivacity, acted the scene he was describing. “It seemed to him," he said, “as if André were entering the fort sword in hand.”

He ventured to ask what was to have been his reward had he succeeded. “Military glory was all he sought. l'he thanks of his general and the approbation of his king would have been a rich reward for such an undertaking."

Tallmadge was perfectly charmed, but adds quietly, “I think he further remarked, that, if he had succeeded, he ! was to have been promoted to the rank of a brigadier-general."

« ZurückWeiter »