Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

information relating to the Battle of Harlem Heights. To my satisfaction I found a tracing of Colton's map, which confirms the accuracy of my recollection in relation to the site of Day's tavern. In addition I found that in all essentials as to the wooded country, roads etc., I had been accurate; a remarkable circumstance, as I have had to trust to the impressions made by my observation and historical studies at a period which would doubtless antedate the birth of either of these gentlemen. Colton's map shows, as I stated, that there was no road at this time from these heights to the valley, and that only a pathway existed from the Claremont Heights along the course of the Bloomingdale road, which was not open in this neighborhood until after the Revolution. It does give, however, what was probably a farm road from Hoagland's house down into the King's Bridge road, at about 110th Street. After the Bloomingdale road was extended to Manhattanville, this one was probably closed, as it did not exist within my recollection.

Mrs. Lamb gives a confused account in relation to Major Morris' letter, but this is evidently an oversight, if taken in connection with her full account of the battle. So fully does she consider every authority in locating the site of Harlem Heights, and her deductions are so in accord with my position, that it is unnecessary for me to take further exceptions to other inaccurate statements made by these gentlemen. In conclusion, I will state that under the circumstances I feel that their prologue written as a warning to the public as to the accuracy of my statement, is, to say the least, uncalled for.

Thos. Addis EMMET, M. D.

(I omitted to correct a misstatement at the beginning of the paper by these gentlemen: My article was written for the Evening Post last winter, while I was South, and in answer to an editorial which had appeared shortly before, but that paper declined to publish it. The editor probably labored under the impression that Messrs. Hall and Bolton knew all about it; and that the buckwheat field could not have been anywhere else but in the grounds of Columbia University, while in fact the real buckwheat field was situated far to the north, near the real Day's tavern.)

LETTERS OF GEORGE WASHINGTON TO GEORGE AND

JAMES CLINTON

[It was our intention to print this matter in February, but a few of the letters having recently appeared in another magazine, we begin the publication of the series now, and will continue it next month.

The collection (which is for sale by Mr. George H. Richmond, New York) is of remarkable value and Mr. Hellman's prefatory notes add materially to its interest. Of the thirtyfive letters, twenty-six are unpublished.-ED.]

PREFATORY NOTE
LITTLE more than half a century ago the Legislature of the
State of New York purchased the “ Public Papers of George

Clinton, First Governor of New York,” publishing them many years later in six thick volumes. The late George W. Clinton of Buffalo, editor-in-chief of these manuscripts and documents, after a most thorough investigation made this significant statement: “Several letters of Washington to George Clinton are wanting; of which I especially regret the absence of one or two in which it seems he must have stated some grand movement he had in contemplation against the enemy, but which is not disclosed in George Clinton's answers assuring him of hearty and strong co-operation.”

In this connection the New York State Historian in his preface to “ The Clinton Papers," falls into a serious error in stating that “ The missing letters of Washington have, with two or three exceptions, been secured by the State Historian from the correspondence of the statesmen of the time, as published by George P. Putnam's Sons, New York.” As a matter of fact, although the contents of a few of these letters have been ascertained in this manner, the whereabouts of the originals, as well as the contents of the majority of the series, was only recently revealed by the death of Wm. S. Appleton, a Boston collector, and the consequent public auction of his library.

Not only are many letters of Washington to George Clinton missing in the six Clinton volumes, but also many equally interesting letters of the Commander-in-Chief to Brigadier-General James Clinton are conspicu

Oston Co" was onlle original

ously absent. These letters to the two famous brothers were in many cases inter-related, bearing upon campaigns and actions in which both the Clintons played prominent parts. Strange to say, when this collection was recently offered at auction in the Appleton sale in Boston, the catalogue made no mention of the fact that these letters, with few exceptions, are entirely unpublished—the very series that is missing from the Clinton papers owned by New York State.

Of the thirty-five letters now in our possession, items numbered VI, XIX, XXI, XXVII, and XXXV have been entirely published, and items numbered IV, VII, XXIII and XXXIII mainly published, the interesting postscripts of these four letters remaining unpublished. The other twenty-six letters have never been printed, and form an unpublished series of historic Revolutionary manuscripts such as may never be met with again.

As will be found from the following pages, these letters supply a lost chapter in the story of that event of paramount importance in the history of the world—the American Revolution. It is a chapter written by the chief actor in that great drama. It throws a stronger light than ever upon the many-sided character of George Washington; it shows his caution, coupled with boldness; his unfaltering zeal for the American cause, his bravery and brilliancy, his watchfulness and mastery of detail-in a word it gives a perfect picture of the “Father of his Country." These letters enlighten several dark places in the history of those troublous times and are valuable as helping to complete a story that cannot be too often, too fully, or too truthfully told.

All these letters were dictated and signed by Washington. The body of many of them is in the autograph of Alexander Hamilton and of Col. David Humphreys. The collection contains so very much of interest that it seems invidious to particularize, yet special attention may be called ot Letters X-XVII, inclusive, which constitute an unpublished series having to do with the successful Sullivan-Clinton expedition against the Indians, after the Cherry Valley massacre; Letter XX, which is probably the lengthiest unpublished important war letter of Washington in existence Letter XXXIII, Washington's notable appeal to the Governors of the States; and Letter XXXV, the famous “ Newburgh Address, composed by Washington when he retired from command of the army.

To avoid confusion, George Clinton is alluded to as “Governor " and James as “ General," although both brothers held the rank of Brigadier-General.

G. S. HELLMAN.

GEORGE CLINTON

BRIGADIER-GENERAL IN THE REVOLUTION, GOVERNOR OF NEW YORK

STATE, VICE-PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES

George Clinton was born in Little Britain, Ulster County, N. Y., in 1739, and died in Washington in 1812. On his return from a privateering cruise in 1758, he accompanied his father and brother James in the expedition against Fort Frontenac as a lieutenant, and on the disbanding of the colonial forces he studied in the law-office of William Smith, and settled in his birthplace, receiving shortly afterward a clerkship from the colonial governor, Admiral George Clinton, a connection of the family. He was elected in 1768 to the New York Assembly, where he so resolutely maintained the cause of the colonies against the Crown that on April 22, 1775, he was elected by the New York Provincial Convention one of the delegates to the second Continental Congress, taking his seat on May 15. He did not vote on the question of independence, as the members of the New York Provincial Congress, which he represented, did not consider themselves authorized to instruct their delegates to act on that question. They purposely left it to the new Provincial Congress, which met at White Plains, July 8, 1776, and which, on the next day, passed unanimously a resolution approving of the declaration. Clinton was likewise prevented from signing the declaration with the New York delegation on July 15 by receiving on the 7th of that month an imperative call from Washington to take post in the Highlands, with rank as general of militia. In the spring of 1777 he was a deputy to the New York Provincial Congress, which framed the first State constitution, but was again called into the field by Congress, and appointed March 25, 1777, a brigadier-general in the Continental army. Assisted by his brother James, he made a brilliant, though unsuccessful defense, October 6, 1777, of the Highland forts, Clinton and Montgomery, against Sir Henry Clinton. He was chosen first governor of the State, April 20, 1777, and in 1780 was re-elected to the office, which he retained by successive elections until 1795. From the period of his first occupation of the gubernatorial chair until its final relinquishment he exhibited great energy of character, and in the defense of the State rendered important services, both in a civil and military capacity. In 1780 he thwarted an expedition, led by Sir John Johnson, Brant, and Cornplanter, into the Mohawk Valley, and thus saved the settlers from the horrors of the torch and scalping-knife. He was active in preventing encroachments on the territory of New York by the settlers of the New Hampshire Grants, and was largely instrumental with Timothy Pickering in concluding, after the war, lasting treaties of peace with the Western Indians. In 1783 he accompanied Washington and Hamilton on a tour of the northern and western posts of the State, on their return visiting, with Schuyler as a guide, the High-Rock Spring at Saratoga. While on this trip he first conceived the project of a canal between the Mohawk and Wood Creek, which he recommended to the Legislature in his speech opening the session of 1791, an idea that was subsequently carried out to its legitimate end in the Erie and Champlain canals by his nephew, Governor De Witt Clinton. At the time of Shays's Rebellion, 1787, he marched in person, at the head of the militia, against the insurgents, and by this prompt action greatly aided the Governor of Massachusetts in quelling that outbreak. In 1788 he presided at the State convention to ratify the Federal Constitution, the adoption of which he opposed, believing that too much power would thereby pass to the Federal Congress and the Executive. At the first presidential election he received three of the electoral votes cast for the vice-presidency. In 1792, when Washington was re-elected, Clinton had for the same office fifty votes, and at the sixth presidential election, 1809-13, he received six ballots from New York for the office of President. In 1800 he was chosen to the Legislature after one of the most hotly contested elections in the annals of the State, and in 1801 he was again governor. In 1804 he was elected Vice-President of the United States, which office he filled until his death. His last important public act was to negative, by his casting vote in the Senate, the renewal of the charter of the United States Bank in 1811. He took great interest in education, and in his message at the opening session of the Legislature of 1795 he initiated the movement for the organization of a common-school system. As a military man Clinton was bold and courageous, and endowed with a will that rarely failed him in sudden emergencies. As a civil magistrate he was a staunch friend to literature and social order. In private life he was affectionate, winning, though dignified in his manner, strong in his dislikes, and warm in his friendships. The vast influence that he wielded was due more to sound judgment, marvelous energy, and great moral force of character, than to any specially high-sounding or brilliant achievements.From The Cyclopædia of American Biography."

same od six bathe Lege State;

« ZurückWeiter »