Three Rivers
History From America's Most Famous Valleys

The Orderly Book of Sir John Johnson
During the Oriskany Campaign
Annotated by Wm. L. Stone
With an Historical Introduction illustrating the Life of Johnson by J. Watts De Peyster, and Some Tracings from the Foot-Prints of the Tories, or Loyalists in America by T. R. Myers.
Joel Munsell, 1882


J. Watts de Peyster<- J. Watts de Peyster. John Watts DePeyster
Soldier, Author, Philanthropist

Information about DePeyster located on this site. ajberry)

Born in New York City, DePeyster was the descendent of New York's first Mayor Colonel de Heer Abraham DePeyster. A member of a wealthy family active in civil and military affairs, DePeyster authored numerous works on military and world history and served as Brigadier General in the New York State Militia in the 1850s and during the Civil War. Although ill health prevented DePeyster from serving as a field commander, he was active in raising and training troops and was granted the honorary rank of Brevet Major General in 1866 for his service. After the war the General continued his literary pursuits and civil leadership, advocating improvements in New York's police and fire protection, and became a benefactor to many municipalities, charities and libraries.

The preceding pages are the result of a promise, made in haste and repented at leisure; but kept to the letter, as man's word of honor should be, at whatever cost it may be to him. Reflection soon led to regret that the pledge had ever been given; because, as a friend wisely observed, "the people of this country have sucked in fiction as fact with their mothers' milk, and no amount of reason could reverse the verdict of success, however obtained." No philosopher believes in the judgment of the people, so styled-the people, as usually understood, are the simple dupes and pack and prey of the bold and the designing, who possess the serpent guile of pandering to their lusts and to their passions. There is a PEOPLE, invisible but influential, running through every portion of the body politic, like the mysterious sympathetic nerve on which vitalization depends. This people is that portion of the community referred to when Elijah said, '' I, even I only, am left;'' and God answered that he had reserved to himself seven thousand who had not bowed the knee to Baal nor worshipped him. Unfortunately this minority entertain opinions which, for their own preservation, discretion teaches them to keep out of sight as much as possible. They are like the Jews of the Middle Ages, who had to conceal their riches, lest the people, so called, by violence then, by votes now, should "go for them,'' make a raid upon their dwellings, and "rabble" them. Once in a while a bold exponent of the ideas of the minority comes forward, like an Arnold of Brescia, a Savonarola, a Huss, a Zwingli or a Luther, and inaugurates a moral revolution, generally with fatal and terrible effect to himself: for instance, the first three were burned at the stake, and Zwingli was murdered on the battlefield. Luther, thanks to the aegis of Providence, died a natural death, but lived long enough to feel the disgust that invades the bosom of every able and true man who reaches the period when the decay of the bodily faculties-that is, of the resistive and recuperative powers-begins to quench the hopes and illusions which, with few rarely continue to exist when the downward road becomes rough and steep. The people, so styled, the masses, are today what they were a thousand, yes thousands of years ago, the obtuse instruments of wicked minds. "Panem et Circenses'" (Food and Pleasure) was and is and ever will be their watchword: their bellies and their eyes; in our days, their ears. All great men see through the utter" emptiness of popular applause, although few, like William III., have the cold, caustic cynicism to express the conviction publicly. When the mob received him with cheers, he simply remarked, the same class that cries "Hosanna" today will shout "Crucify him" tomorrow. Bold, bad men, with serpents' intellects and oily tongues or versatile pens, like our successful politicians or popular favorites of the press, conduct or excite the "many headed" at their pleasure. The verdict of the people, "by a vast majority," recalls the anecdote of the lamented wit, Arthur Gilman, recently deceased, in regard to Colonel Yell, of Yellville, a member of one of the southwestern legislatures. The Yellville Bank had gone up suddenly, and the funds had disappeared under the receivership of the said colonel. For this the Honorable Kurnel Yell was called upon for an explanation. In a speech, as involved as one of the calculated deceptive utterances of Crumble, the colonel furnished no clue to the disappearance of the assets of the Bank, or the particular pockets into which they had eventually found their winding way; but he covered his tracks, and awakened the enthusiasm of the Legislature and crowded galleries by a hifalutin (high-for-newton) glorification of the Stars and Stripes " that was kalkerlated to stir the heart of the most fastidious." Pronounce an oration or write a book or article thunderous with citations of the '' patriot sires;'' shout out or italicize '' Bunker Hill! Old Put! Valley Forge! Brutal Butchers! Washington, the Father of his Country! Traitor Arnold!'' and ''the Captors of Andre,'' at judicious intervals ; abuse " the mother country," multiply the virtues which do not exist in the audience, and a triumph inevitably must ensue. Endeavor honestly to tell the plain unvarnished truth, and hold the mirror up to nature, and the, result is either the silence of contemptuous might or inconsequent stupidity, or a storm such as furnishes the speaker or writer with. a full realization of the vulgar but expressive proverb of " having as good a chance as a specimen of the feline genus without claws in the dominion of Abaddon."

The preceding pages were furnished solely to oblige a diligent fellow-laborer and a prospector in the historical mining wilderness of the American Revolution. While the writer holds himself responsible for his facts and opinions, he wishes it to be perfectly understood that he has nothing to do with the publication itself and the profits of the conjoint work of W. L, STONE and of himself. The pages numbered with letters comprise his labors, and, having turned them over to MR. STONE, subscribers must consider that the writer's responsibility ends then and there and their business relations are altogether with the Editor of " Sir John Johnson's Orderly Book."

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