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ington, Lafayette, Kosciusko, and other illustrious patriots. How noble the conduct of Washington, who, though possessed of wealth, and able to import luxuries from England, resolved to abandon the use of tea, (of which, according to Irving, he was fond,) and of all other articles that bore the odious British tax. Looking a little further you may see, in one corner of the room, a piece of oak timber, water worn, and hard as iron; it is a part of the chevaux-de-frise, placed at Plum Point to prevent the British from ascending the river. Timbers of hard wood, pointed with iron, and so placed as to pierce ships attempting to pass, were certainly a formidable barrier, especially when guarded by a battery on shore. Here, too, is a bomb-shell that was found near the battery that was stationed to sweep the river at this point. The case at the north side of the room is full of interesting relics, at which we can only glance, without pretending even to mention the great multitude of things that one might study. Here is a surveyor's chain, used by Charles Clinton from 1731
till his death. Charles Clinton was the grandfather of De Witt Clinton. The Clintons were great men, of whom our country may justly boast. The family originated from this neighborhood, a little distance below Newburgh. Next we see a piece of the old Jersey Prison-ship, and a spur worn by Major André. "A vest of Washington's" - beware, credulous stranger; read the word "time," just below, or you may think Washington wore that vest, that probably set off some flashy dragoon. There you see a bayonet, the point of which was broken off in the wall of the fort at Stony Point while in the body of a British soldier. That was a terrible night to the British when Wayne and his iron men came pressing on, in death-like silence, with unloaded guns, and bayonets set, while the startled sleepers heard the night guard cry, "To arms! to arms!" But they awoke to surrender or die. Wayne had divided his men into two companies, taking the command of one himself. The two divisions met in the center of the fort, and victory was
Another interesting relic in this room is the portrait of Usual Knapp, the last surviving member of "Washington's LifeGuard." This picture was painted by Tice, and is a very correct representation of the original. It is from a daguerreotype from the life, taken in the summer of 1854. Mr. Knapp was born in Connecticut 1759, and is, therefore, now ninety-six years old. The infirmities of years are pressing hard upon that giant frame; but there are traces of the ancient strength that was roused to guard the life of Washington. At the last anniversary of the battle of Plattsburgh, on the 11th of September, in Newburgh, Usual Knapp was present. All eyes were fixed upon him, and all hearts were filled with the awe expressed in the language of Webster: "Venerable man! you have come down to us from a former generation." Yes! this interesting scene is fading from our eyes, and the last representative of "Washington's Life-Guard" will be seen no more; but he shall live in the stirring history of the ancient time, and in the grateful memory of freemen.
Passing into the armory, we behold the memorials of American bravery, from the days of the Revolution down to the Mexican war. Here may be seen battle-axes taken from the British by Commodore Perry on Lake Erie, a musket used at Bunker Hill, muskets brought from France by Lafayette, and a cartridge-box picked up on the field of Plattsburgh. A bullet hole through it shows that some poor fellow was shot in the back. But the mind soon sups full of horrors." Still, some of these terrible instruments of death have a friendly look, on account of the associations that linger around them.
We go into the bed-room where Washington slept. Here, very appropriately, is hung a picture of Lafayette. Letters and frames cover the sides of the room. One of these is the copy of a letter found upon a spy, who came, unwittingly, into the American camp, misled by the name of Clinton, who proved to be one of our own generals, instead of the British General, Sir Henry Clinton. When the spy found himself caught, he was seen to put something into his mouth and swallow it. A dose of tartar-emetic compelled him to disgorge a silver bullet of oval shape, which, by means of a compound screw, disclosed the following secret dispatch :
"FORT MONTGOMERY, October 8, 1777. "Nous y voici, and nothing now between us and Gates. I sincerely hope that this little In answer to your letter of the 28th of Septemsuccess of ours may facilitate your operations. ber by C. C., I shall only say I cannot presume to order, or even advise, for reasons obvious. I heartily wish you success. "Faithfully yours, H. CLINTON."
Here, too, is the sword worn by Lafayette during the Revolution, and presented to Col. Barber, in exchange for his own, after the surrender of Yorktown. We learn that the sword of General Jackson has recently been presented to the U. S. Congress, and will rest at the capitol, with the sword of Washington and the staff of Franklin.
We hasten to glance, in front of the house, at the remnant of the chain that has been recently raised from the bottom of the river at West Point. This consisted of large iron links, nearly two feet long and two inches thick. There were three such links between the logs by which they were floated. These logs are eighteen feet long and two feet in diameter. The chain is attached to the logs by large iron collars, from four to six inches wide and two inches thick. The logs were chained in this manner at both ends, thus forming a double chain, or, as many suppose, what is known in military phrase as a boom. This chain, it is said, was never broken by the British; but, to make way for our own shipping, was let loose, and sunk to the bottom of the river.
I cannot describe the impression this curious relic made upon my mind. I seemed to be standing in the olden time on the banks of the Hudson. The roving Indian had not yet left the land, dear to him by its natural beauty, and hallowed by the graves of his fathers. He stands watching in deep perplexity these warlike preparations. He beholds the hills fortified by cannon, and across the wide river he sees swung the Titan chain which would defy, apparently for ages, his slender canoe, and the utmost exertion of his rude skill. The chain is indeed gone, but another, more stupendous, stretches with its iron bands from the mouth to the source of the stream that smiled on the ancient red man, and the mighty steamboat, with the rushing car, the monuments of power and of pride, assert the presence of a severe unconquered race.
Detraction might whisper that it was only the profound foresight of Washington that saved him from this gilded snare. His whole previous career contradicts such a narrow supposition. The first outburst of the Revolution, which exhibited an intense hatred of wrong, and a settled resistance to tyranny, is thus described by Washington Irving :
I now proceed to gather up the sacred memories that cluster around Newburgh as the abode of the illustrious Washington. "Washington," says Lossing, "established his head-quarters at New-Windsor in December, 1780, where he remained until June, 1781, when the French, who had quartered during the winter at Newport and Lebanon, formed a junction with the Americans on the Hudson. In April, 1782, he established his head-quarters at Newburgh, two miles above the village of New-Windsor, where he continued most of the time until November, 1783, when the continental army was disbanded."
Over the ancient camp, once covered by a forest, now are seen growing, by the road side, or in the fields, various fruit trees, which have been sown at random from the waste fruit of the army. There are seen also the remains of old fire-places and huts, but the traces of these will ere long pass away. Here stood" The Temple," on an eminence commanding a view of the camp-ground, and also of the Highlands, the great mountain-gate of the Hudson. This temple, called also "The New Building," though rude in construction, being built of logs, was well adapted to the purposes for which it was designed, as a masonic hall, and a place of assembly for the congenial spirits of the army. While the army was at Newburgh the famous papers, commonly called "The Newburgh Letters," were written. The first of these was communicated by Colonel Lewis Nicola, in behalf of the army, to General Washington. After setting forth the sufferings and grievances of the soldiers, he appealed to the ambition of Washington, and proposed the name ever obnoxious to republican ears - KING. What a bribe to aspiring ambition, and what a delicate appeal to the heart of one who felt with the strongest sympathies of generous manhood? His old companions in arms, with strong affection for him, were ready to pronounce the name that cringing subjects carve in gold. Besides, Washington had already, in time of great danger, been invested with the actual power of military dictator. Other plausible excuses for the assumption of kingly power might have been suggested. But no! Washington will not falter. By the unerring integrity of a noble and good heart he is borne on, unconsciously, to a more resplendent crown.
"From the time of taking command at Boston he (General Gage) had been perplexed how to manage its inhabitants. Had they been hotheaded, impulsive, and prone to paroxysm, his task would have been comparatively easy; but it was the cool, shrewd common-sense by which all their movements were regulated that confounded him.
"High-handed measures had failed of the anticipated effect. Their harbor had been thronged with ships, their town with troops. The port-bill had put an end to commerce; wharves were deserted, warehouses closed, streets grass-grown and silent. The rich were growing poor, and the poor were without employ; yet the spirit of the people was unbroken. There was no uproar, however; no riots; everything was awfully systematic, and according to rule. Town meetings were held, in which public rights and public measures were eloquently discussed by John Adams, Josiah Quincy, and other eminent men. Over these meetings Samuel Adams presided as moderator; a man clear in judgment, calm in conduct, inflexible in resolution, deeply grounded civil and political history, and infallible on all points of constitutional law."
Washington at that time had no idea that the colonies would assert their independence. He was then as pure a loyalist as he was afterward a republican. He says in a letter to a friend, Captain Mackenzie,—
"I think I can announce it as a fact that it is not the wish or interest of that government, (Massachusetts,) or any other upon this continent, separately or collectively, to set up for independence; but this you may at the same time rely on, that none of them will ever submit to the loss of their valuable rights and privileges, which are essential to the happiness of every free state, and without which life, liberty, and property are rendered totally insecure."t.
Such was the man who started on horseback from Mount Vernon, with Patrick Henry and Edmund Pendleton, to attend the first General Congress at Philadelphia. In this august assembly Washington exhibited that profound wisdom that marked him the greatest statesman
*Irving's Life of Washington, vol. i, pp. 394, 895. + Irving's Life of Washington, vol. i, p. 407.
Let us return from this digression. It was not best for Washington to seek to check harshly this dangerous movement. There was need of caution. It was, therefore, a wise policy when he summoned the officers together to consider the proposals of the malcontents in a special council. They had referred to their great general as favorable to their plan. He came already, the kind adviser of those mighty men, some of whom were old and tried in battle, others young, fiery, and panting for war. He came the friend and father of his country. Washington had prepared an address. He wrote it on the piazza of the old stone house, with the battlements of God-the great mountains-around him, and with the broad Hudson glimmering before him. On his way to the temple he stopped at the head-quarters of General Knox, at New-Windsor. The house is still standing. It is a wild and dreamy mansion, with its babbling waters, its old mill, its broad lawn, and ancient trees.
As Washington arose to address his brothers, he was compelled to use glasses.
as well as the ablest military leader in This gave occasion to say, "Gentlemen! America. you see I have not only grown gray, but blind in your service." The effect of this remark was electrical.
The recent address to the army had been written by a concealed hand, and went so far as to propose to intimidate Congress, that justice thus, if in no other way, might be secured. The appeal of Washington, while it sifted closely the insidious doctrines of this anonymous paper, was full of generous sympathy for his compatriots in arms, and pledged all his efforts and influence for their relief. The movement was crushed. The writer of these seditious papers was Major John Armstrong; but the moving spring was probably the disappointed ambition of General Gates, to whom this younger officer was aide-de-camp.
Addressing the army, the anonymous writer had said, "Can you consent to wade through the vile mire of dependency, and owe the miserable remnant of that life to charity which has hitherto been spent in honor? If you can, go, and carry with you the jest of Tories and the scorn of Whigs; the ridicule, and, what is worse, the pity of the world! Go, starve, and
be forgotten!" To this Washington replied, "Let me request you to rely on the plighted faith of your country, and place a full confidence in the purity of the intentions of Congress, that, previous to your dissolution as an army, they will cause all your accounts to be fairly liquidated, as directed in the resolutions which were published to you two days ago, and that they will adopt the most effectual measures in their power to render ample justice to you for your faithful and meritorious services. And let me conjure you in the name of our common country, as you value your own sacred honor, as you respect the rights of humanity, and as you regard the military and national character of America, to express your utmost horror and detestation of the man who wishes, under any specious pretences, to overturn the liberties of our country, and who wickedly attempts to open the flood-gates of civil discord, and deluge our rising empire with blood."
Another pleasing association, that enshrines Newburgh in the heart of America, is, that here the army was disbanded in 1783. Washington parted here from Knox, and Steuben, and the amiable and chivalrous Lafayette. It seems to me, when I look upon the lovely scenery that surrounds us, when the wind plays gently among the trees, or kisses the glowing cheek of the Hudson, that I hear in those tranquil sounds the suppressed utterances of love, the sighs of parting friends, and the hopeful whispers of faithful hearts. Sometimes Nature invites to melancholy meditations along the peaceful waters, or on the shaded lawn; but, not unfrequently, the sun rises over our bold hills, like a daring rider through the sky; or our strong river hurries on its way, bearing gay steamboats and freighted ships, and seems to laugh outright; or the mysterious tops of Beacon Hill and the recesses of the distant Crow Nest are invested with clouds, and shaken with thunder. Ever in our sight, down the stream, we behold West Point, the school of our young warriors, and the Gibraltar of America; but with the magnificent pageant of beating drums, and waving plumes, and fair women weaving chaplets for the brave, a mightier spell awes the heart of the freeman when he gazes on the blue hills of Newburgh, the refuge of the Eagle of Liberty and the home of Washington.
[For the National Magazine.]
Not bright gay flowers
I pluck with willing hand:
But thoughts are free
Is green all months and days
Glad thoughts I'll bind,
Wakes all the soul
And stars, and flowers, and birds,
To holier heights:
Nor fade the flowers
In Heaven's own bowers!
HOPE is the sweetest friend that ever kept a distressed soul company; it beguiles the tediousness of the way-all the miseries of our pilgrimage.