Frontiersmen of New York
by Jeptha R. Simms
Albany, NY 1883
Volume I, Page 554.
Church Bells of New York-In the early part of the war, every expedient to obtain munitions and implements of war was resorted to. September 19, 1775, the New York Committee of Safety contracted with James Byers, a brass-founder of N. Y. city, to manufacture five brass six-pounder field-pieces. They were to be of good proof, not to exceed 620 pounds each in weight, at 3s. 9d. (47 cents) per pound. To make further provision for the public necessities still later, the Provincial Convention, September 5, 1776,
"Resolved, unanimously, That His Excellency, Gen. Washington, be requested and authorized to cause all the bells in the different churches and public edifices in the city of New York, to be taken to Newark, N. J., with all possible dispatch, that the fortune of war may not throw the same into the hands of our enemy, and deprive this State, at this critical period, of that necessary though unfortunate resource for supplying our want of cannon." *
Two days later the same body further resolved, that all the brass door-knockers of the houses in New York city should be sent to Newark, N. .J., for the same purpose, an accurate account to be kept of their weight, their value and of the houses from whence taken, that they might subsequently be paid for.
The leaden window sash of the old Dutch dwellings of New York and Albany, are also said to have been appropriated to the manufacture of bullets for fire-arms. Our State authorities also recommended, that the leaden weights for lifting windows should be pressed into service for the army, an invoice being kept of the true ownership for future accountability.
Journal of the Provincial Congress, how kept.-The days of the week were usually entered in Latin, with the prefix of die for day. Here are the daily headings of the morning sessions for a week, commencing with Sunday, the hour being indicated by the letters ho.:
* Journal of Provincial Convention, p. 610.
Die Solis, 10 ho. A. M., May 19, 1776-Sunday.
Die Lume, 9 ho. A. M., May 20, 1776-Monday.
Die Martis, 10 ho. A. M., May 21, 1776-Tuesday.
Die Mercurii, 9 ho. A. M., May 22, 1776- Wednesday.
Die Jovis, 9 ho. A. M., May 23, 1776-Thursday.
Die Veneris, 9 ho. A. M., May 24, 1776-Friday.
Die Sabbati, 9 ho. A. M., May 25, 1776-Saturday.
Unless business was urgent, this Congress did not meet on Sunday.
The Course of Sir John Johnson.-I have shown how, in 1775, Sir John Johnson maintained his position and influence at the county seat, against the popular cause of his country; and it remains briefly to follow his fortunes until he left the scenes of his childhood, to take his chance with the more active friends of royalty. That he did not leave the county with his kinsmen and the Butlers at an earlier date, was doubtless because he had hoped by maintaining, so far as he could, a neutral position, to prevent the confiscation of his large landed estate. But since the clashing of arms in Massachusetts, his home at Johnson Hall had never ceased to become, to a greater or less extent, the rallying point in the county for spirits in fellowship with his own. And there is reason to believe that what was apprehended by his whig neighbors was literally true, viz.: that Cols. Guy Johnson and John Butler were kept posted, after they went to Canada, of everything transpiring here, through Indian and tory emissaries, who secretly came to and went from Johnson Hall. Campbell says that it subsequently became known that such a correspondence was carried on through the Indians, who conveyed letters in the heads of their tomahawks, and in ornaments on their persons.
Sir John's position of wealth and respectability-surrounded as he was by a large body of tenantry, ready at all times to do his bidding and if necessary defend his person; was a constant source of anxiety to the whigs of the county-kept alive no doubt by both false and truthful rumors. His position for evil came to be looked upon by the public authorities at the close of 1775, so that early in 1776 measures were taken to compel him to define his position with certainty, and cripple his influence against the popular cause. A rumor that arms and ammunition were being clandestinely received at Johnson Hall, gave a new impulse to the fears of the whigs and hastened on a climax. The Continental Congress apprised of the condition of things at Johnstown, instructed Gen. Schuyler, early in January, to visit Sir John Johnson, and see that in the future he occupied no equivocal position. *
He left Albany with 700 troops, and in order not needlessly to alarm the Indians remaining at the Lower Mohawk castle, and professing amity, he dispatched a Mr. Bleecker of Albany as interpreter, with a message to them. They were cautioned against being alarmed to see troops in the valley-were assured they were not designed to harm them; but they were given to understand that from rumors, measures were being pursued at Johnstown against the interest of the Americans, which it. was necessary to investigate, and that as bad been promised them the preceding summer, their friend Sir John Johnson and his family should not be disturbed if be was acting honestly. The message also desired them to apprise the Nations west of them of the true cause of this proceeding.
Little Abram, the principal sachem at this castle sent word back not to have the troops come up, but suggested that three of their warriors should at once go to Sir John and have him remain quiet-said they had heard that New England people were coming up to destroy Sir John, etc. The squaws of the castle also with a formal belt, gave a return message. They begged that no disturbance should be made, said that in case Sir John was distressed, it might touch their blood, and hoped the uneasiness might be settled without their corning up.
Gen. Schuyler without waiting the return of Mr. Bleecker, proceeded forward, and was met at Schenectada by a delegation of Mohawks headed by Little Abram; who addressed him in a sarcastic tone as follows: "We intended to have gone down to Albany in order to speak to you; but thank God that he has given us an opportunity to meet you here, as we have some matters to communicate to you." Gen. Schuyler replied with similar brevity: "I am very glad to see you here, and I shall be glad to hear what the brothers have to say, as my ears are always open to them."
Abram, a fluent speaker and said to have been a brother of
* The report of Gen. Schuyler, of the circumstances attending this mission. are fortunately preserved in Stone's Life of Brant.
the celebrated King Hendrick, then made a long and searching speech, He gave the General and his friends to understand that with regard to floating rumors he must search out the truth of the reports-that he must not be the aggressor in the spilling of blood-that he was to acquaint his own castle of any design, and they were to send it to all of the Six Nations, He said that all obstacles were to be kept out of the path of peace, so that they (the Indians) might pass and repass unannoyed, He said they came to beg of the general to use care and prudence in this matter, so as not to spill any blood in their path; they looked upon themselves as mediators between the parties, and hoped that neither he or Sir John would be an aggressor; but if the people came up to take Sir John's life, he would be justified in defending himself; he said he had never seen any hostile preparations making by Sir John at Johnson Hall; said the sachems had inculcated peace, but so large a party coming had alarmed their warriors, who were determined to be present at the interview between him and Sir John, and see and hear everything that was there transacted; said the news of the General's coming up had alarmed them, and some were ready to take up arms, but he had begged them to remain quiet until he should return; begged to know if some should go to the interview whom he and his friends with him could not restrain, and anything evil should happen, what treatment those remaining peaceably at home might expect.
General Schuyler Replied-" Brothers of the Mohawk Nation : We the commissioners appointed by the Congress, and your brothers of Albany and Schenectada, have paid great attention to the speech you have delivered us, We now desire you to open your ears, and attentively listen to what we have to say in answer," He said they were pleased to hear them express their minds freely, and said they would do the same hiding nothing from them; said he had hoped their message by Mr. Bleecker would have eased their minds, and convinced them that no hostile intentions existed against them or any other Indians; if they had, he added, we should not have supplied you with powder the other clay; he expressed his regret that they had not complied with their request, and sent the speech delivered them by Mr. Bleecker, to the Six Nations; you told us, said he, that five or six men would have been sufficient to send to Johnstown, to learn what was being done there, and thought it would have been a shame if they had been sent there and been interrupted: but we have full proof that many people in Johnstown and the neighborhood, have for some time past made preparations to carry into execution, the wicked designs of the King's evil counselors. It is true that last summer the United Colonies promised that the path to the Indian country should be kept open; and they again repeat that promise: and although it is by the special order of Congress that this body of troops are marching up, it is not to shut the path but to keep it open, and prevent people about Johnstown from cutting off the communication between us and our brethren of the Six Nations, and our other brethren living up the river.
"Brothers," he continued, "although we have before said that. the people living about Johnstown are making hostile preparations against us, yet we will not shed a drop of their blood, unless they refuse to come to an agreement of safety to us, or oppose us with arms. We do not mean that any of our warriors shall set their foot on any lands you possess, or that of the Six Nations, unless our enemies find shelter there; for those we determine to follow wherever they go. We again repeat we have no quarrel with you, and we expect that you will not interfere in this family contest, but stand by as indifferent spectators, agreeable to the engagement of the Six Nations made to us last summer at their own request."
He alluded to the pledge made in the preceding summer that, as we had no quarrel with the Indians, a hair of their heads should not be touched; and yet, he added, when our warriors were at St. John's, they were attacked by Indians, when two of your tribe and some others were killed. You have never blamed us for it, because you knew that our lives are dear to us, and we have a right to kill any who attempt to kill us. You should not now be surprised that we take every precaution to prevent being destroyed by the King's evil doers: We may be called on to go and fight against our enemies to the eastward, and can you think it prudent that we should leave enemies behind us, who might destroy our families and our property. Would you leave your wives and children in such a situation? We are convinced you would not, and so cautious are we that no blood may be shed, that we shall send a letter to Sir John, inviting him to meet us on the road between this place and his house; and if he comes, everything will no doubt be settled in an amicable manner; and he may be under no apprehension, for if we do not come to an agreement, he will be permitted to return to his own house.
We also wish you to be present to hear what we shall propose to Sir John Johnson and the people about Johnstown, who are our enemies; and we want you to tell your warriors that, although we have no quarrel with them, yet, if we should be under the necessity of fighting with our enemies, and your warriors should join them and fight against us, that we should do as was done at St. John's-repel force by force. You all ask what treatment your people who remain at home might expect from us? In the treaty at Albany last summer, your people promised to remain neutral in this quarrel. Should your warriors of the lower castle now take up arms against us, we shall consider it a breach of the late treaty, and shall lay the matter before the great council at Philadelphia. We are surprised that a doubt should remain in your minds about our friendly intentions toward you-after the many instances we have given you of love and friendship-but attribute it to the machinations of our enemies. If our enemies about Johnstown had no evil intentions against us, we should not have come thus far with an army. Whoever takes up arms against us must he considered the aggressor, and not he who tries to prevent the blow.
" Brothers, we have now freely and fully disclosed to you our minds. We hope you will remember what we have said, and repeat it to your brothers, counselors and warriors: and lest you should not be able to recollect every part of this speech, you may have your brothers Ka-rah-qua-dir-hon and Ti-ze-de-ron-de ron [Deane and Bleecker] interpreters, to attend you, if it be agreeable to you.
" Brothers, your women have sent us a belt. We beg you to assure them of our regard, and to entreat them to prevent your warriors from doing anything that would have the least tendency to incur our resentment, or interrupt that harmony which we wish may subsist to the end of time."
The Indians replied to the speech of Gen. Schuyler, that what he had said was perfectly agreeable to them. They were gratified to know that he would write to Sir John for an interview, and said their sachems would attend that meeting, if needs be, at the risk of their lives. They expressed a wish to have the interpreters there, not only to interpret Gen. Schuyler's speech for the benefit of those at the castle, but for their convenience at the interview. They closed their rejoinder as follows:
"Brothers, you may depend on it that we will use our utmost. influence with our warriors to calm their minds. You may depend on it, likewise, that our sisters will use their utmost influence for the same purpose." . Here crops out, even among those we call savages, the influence. for good, of woman, whose counsels, however degraded she may be among her people-even though regarded as a slave-is sought for, and, in danger, coveted.
Gen. Schuyler wrote to Sir John Johnson from Schenectada, January 16, 1776, in substance, that from information received of dangerous tendencies to liberty existing in Tryon county, he was ordered to march thither with a body of men to execute certain resolutions of his superiors. Influenced by motives of humanity, he said he desired to comply with his orders so that no blood should be shed. He asked him to meet him at any place betweem Schenectada and Johnstown, whither he should set out on the following day. He pledged his honor that his own person, and those attending him, should pass to and from their interview in safety back to their own homes. He dispatched his letter by Rutgers Bleecker and Henry Glen, believed to be of the Albany and Schenectada committees, through whom he expected to hear from him; assuring him also that, whatever might be the result of their interview, Lady Johnson might rest satisfied that no indignity should be offered her.
Schuyler moved forward on the 17th, and was met by Sir John, it is said, 16 miles above Schenectada, which would bring the interview at Guy Park. I desire to present this movement just as it took place, because some of the friends of Sir John complain that he was not well used, and even go so far as to say that he did not break his parole when he left Johnstown in such hot haste.
The Terms Offered to Sir John Johnson were substantially as follows: He stated to Sir John, and all such persons in Tryon county as evinced their intention of supporting his Majesty's ministry
First-" That Sir John should, upon his word of honor, at once deliver up all cannon, arms, and other military stores of all kinds in his own possession, or which he had caused to be delivered into the possession of any others, either directly or indirectly, or that were to his knowledge concealed in any part of the county. That he should distinguish such military stores as belonged to the crown, or were designed to arm the Indians, from those of a private character, that an inventory of the latter might be taken, that they might be returned or their value refunded when this unhappy contest should be over.
Secondly-" Out of respect for Sir John, and his rank, the General consented that he should retain for his own use a complete set of armor, and as much powder as might be sufficient for his domestic purposes.
Third-" That Sir John shall remain upon his parole of honor in any part of Tryon county which he may choose, to the eastward of the district of-[Kingsland as believed]-unless it should appear necessary to the honorable, the Continental Congress to remove him to some other part of this, or any other colony, in which case he is immediately to comply with such orders as they may think proper to give for that purpose."
Fourth-" That the Scotch inhabitants of the county should, without exception, immediately deliver up an arms in their possession, of whatever kind they might be; and further solemnly promise not to take up arms during the contest without the permission of the Continental Congress, or of their general officers, delivering six hostages for the faithful performance of this article.
Fifth-" That all other inhabitants of Tryon county as have avowed themselves opposed to the measures of the United Colonies, should also deliver up their arms, with hostages for its performance.
Sixth-" That all blankets, strouds, and other Indian articles belonging to the Crown, and intended as presents to the Indians, shall be delivered up to a commissary appointed by Gen. Schuyler, in the presence of three or more of the Mohawk chiefs, in order that the same may be dispensed among the Indians, for the purpose of cementing the ancient friendship between them and their brethren of the United Colonies, for which sole purpose they ought to have been furnished."
Seventh-" If Sir John Johnson and the people referred to in the preceding articles should abide by the requirements therein, the General in behalf of the Continental Congress, promised that neither he or. any of those people should be molested by any person in the thirteen "U. Colonies; but should be protected in the peaceable enjoyment of their property: the sole intent of this treaty being to prevent the horrid effects of a civil and intestine war betwixt those who ought to be brothers. All arms thus delivered up, were to be valued by sworn appraisers. If the Continental Congress wanted them they were to betaken, if not they were to be delivered to their respective owners at the end of the contest."
It is stated that Sir John told Gen. Schuyler that the Indians would support him, many of whom were then at the Hall. They were probably mostly from the Upper Castle, that is the Mohawks, and quite likely the western nations were also there represented in the Canadian interest. The General told him that although he was averse to the shedding of blood, yet if the terms offered were not acceded to; force would be opposed to force without distinction of persons, and the consequences of resistance would be serious. Sir John asked until the evening of the next day to consider the propositions, which request was granted. The reader will perceive that sufficient time was given Sir John, if hE! chose to embrace it, to secretly send many of the guns and ammunition to a rendezvous among the Onondagas.
Soon after Sir John left Schuyler's camp, Abram and another chief from the lower castle called on the General, who professed not to credit Sir John's statement about the Indians being then at the Hall ready to defend him; saying the Mohawks would only interfere as mediators. The General gave him explicitly to understand that if they were there as foes, he should not hesitate to destroy them, with all others opposing him in arms.
The next day Gen. Schuyler moved up to Caughnawaga, four miles from Johnstown, where he was joined by Col. Herkimer with a body of the Tryon county militia, swelling his force to nearly 3,000 effective troops. At six o'clock that evening Sir John answered the terms in his own behalf and that of the people of Kingsborough and neighborhood as follows: That he and his friends expected that all such arms as were their own property should remain in their possession; that all other arms should be given up, and that he had no military stores belonging to the crown. That he, Sir John, did not expect to be confined to the county. That the Scotch inhabitants would deliver up their arms, and promise not to take up any during the contest without permission of the American authorities; but could not give hostages, as one bad no command over another: and thought women and children should not be included in the terms. He denied having any blankets or other presents intended for the Indians. If his propositions were agreed to he and his people would rely on the assurance of protection.
Sir John's terms were unsatisfactory to Gen. Schuyler, and two hours later he dispatched another letter by Messrs. Adams and McDonell, bearers of the terms of the former, to Messrs. Johnson and McDonell. The General told them replies were omitted to several of his proposals, while answers were imperfect and unsatisfactory to others, saying the whole were exceptional except the last. He continued:
"I must therefore obey my orders, and again repeat, that, in the execution of them, I shall strictly abide the laws of humanity; at the same time assuring you, that if the least resistance is made, I will not answer for the consequences, which may be of a nature the most dreadful.
" If Lady Johnson is at Johnson Hall, I wish she would retire, (and therefore enclose a passport,) as I shall march my troops to that place without delay.
"You may, however, still have time to reconsider the matter, and for that purpose I will give you until 12 o'clock this night, after which I shall receive no proposals; and I have sent you Mr. Robert Yates,* Mr. Glen,+ and Mr. Deer++ to receive the
* Robert Yates was a jurist and statesman, born
at Schenectada in 1738-died at Albany In 1801. He was educated and studied
law in Albany, and became eminent in his profession. He was a patriot and
a statesman in the Revolution, and established a reputation as a writer in
defense of his country's liberty. He was a prominent member of the Provincial
Congress, and also of the New York committee of safety. He was chairman of
the committee of military operations, in which capacity he was acting at the
time which we are considering, etc.-Drake's Biographical Dictionary.
+ Henry Glen was a staunch citizen of Albany county, and was May l0, 1775, chosen with Robert Yates and nine others, a delegate from that county to the Provincial Congress, to which body he was also returned May 26, 1776. In the disbursement of public moneys placed in the hands of different persons, he held June 13, 1776, as bounty money, £1,152 ($2,280).-N. Y. Calendar of Rev. Incidents.
++ Col. William Deer was born in England In 1747, and came to this country some years before the Revolution. He warmly espoused the cause of American liberty. At the beginning of difficulties he was a resident of Charlotte county, N. Y. (now part of Vermont, from which he claimed a seat in the Provincial Congress. He was from time to time a member of several important committees, one of which was to cooperate with Gen. George Clinton, in disposing of the militia of Orange and Ulster counties. He was also chairman of the committee on conspiracies, etc.-Drake's Biog. Dic., and New York Calendar.
Thus the reader will see that Gen Schuyler was surrounded by able advisers In this delicate business. Who Allan McDonell was, I am not Informed, but suppose him to have been one of Sir John's best informed Scotch neighbors.
ultimate proposals you have to make. This condescension I make
from no other motive than to prevent the effusion of blood, so far as it can
be effected without risking the safety of the county, or being guilty of a
breach of the positive orders I have received from the Honorable Continental
"I am, gentlemen, with due respect,
" Your humble servant, PH. SCHUYLER."
Many interested Mohawks, who had not yet been seduced into the royal interest, came to Schuyler's camp just after he sent his last letter. They seemed anxious for an amicable arrangement, and hoped Sir John might not be taken from the county. He promised to grant that favor to them, in the hope as he said, flatteringly, that their example might influence him for good. Many of those Indians had not yet forgotten the pledge of neutrality they had made at Albany some months before.
By the time specified, Sir John's answer came to Schuyler's last letter. To the General's terms he replied substantially as follows:
First and second articles agreed to except in reserving a few favorite family arms.
Third-Sir John having given his parole of honor not to take up arms against America, for the sake of preserving peace and removing any suspicions or undue influence, consented not to go to the westward of the German Flatts and Kingsland districts. To every other part of the continent southward of the county he expected the privilege of going.
Fourth-This article was agreed to, except that part regarding hostages. He stated that after the Scotch inhabitants had surrendered their arms, the General could take six prisoners such as he chose among them-without resistance. He said they would expect to be maintained. agreeable to their respective rank, with the privilege of going to any part of the province of New Jersey or Pennsylvania, which the General or the Congress might appoint. They would expect the General to make provision for the maintenance of their wives and children in their absence. Yet, he added, that for the harmony of the country, they would not break off the treaty on that account, if the General thought he had no discretionary power in the matter; in which case they hoped for the General's influence with the Congressional Congress to be charitable toward those wives and children. The prisoners would claim a few days' time to get ready, and, if gentlemen, hoped to wear their side arms.
Fifth-Sir John said that neither he or the Scotch gentlemen could make any engagement for any any other persons than those over whom they might have influence. Neither could they possibly know the names of all such as have shown themselves averse to the measures of the "United Colonies. They, however, pledged their word and honor that, so far as depended on them, the inhabitants should give up their arms, and enter into a like engagement with the Scotch settlers. Neither would they adopt the quarrel of any such persons as their own.
Sixth-Sir John gave his word of honor that he had no blankets, strouds, or other presents belonging to the crown and intended for the Indians: of course, could not comply with the requisition.
Seventh-Sir John said if the above proposals are agreed
to, and signed by the General, he and the people referred to would rely on
the assurances of protection; but added, that as it would be impossible to
collect the arms before Saturday noon (the 20th), he would. then have the
men paraded in Johnstown, and ground their arms in the presence of such troops
as the General might appoint.
Johnson Hall, January 13, 1776."
The Mohawks were yet at Gen. Schuyler's quarters when this message came from the Hall, and, being informed that matters were shaping amicably, they left much gratified. This was a most exciting time at Caughnawaga; and the reader, to appreciate it, must remember that it was past midnight, with the cold winds of mid-winter whistling among-as must be supposed-the poorly sheltered army. How they were quartered is unknown, but it is presumed that the ancient church of that village contained as many of the troops as could be crowded into it. The ground was covered with snow, and the streams were ice-bound.
The following day-January 19th-Gen. Schuyler closed up the correspondence with Sir John Johnson, writing from Caughnawaga, in substance, as follows: Sir. John was permitted to retain his family arms by making a list of them. He was to be allowed to go as far westward as the German Flatts and Kingsland districts in Tryon county, and to every other part of the colony southward and eastward of said districts, except into seaport towns. The General believed if his business should require him to go to other English colonies, Congress would allow him to do so. The General would take six of the Scotch inhabitants prisoners, if they preferred to go as such, instead of hostages; gave them to understand they should be treated humanely; could not tell where Congress would send them, but, for the present, they would go to Reading or Lancaster, Pa.; could not speak definitely about the maintenance of their families, but would recommend that subject to Congress. The General expects that all the Scotch inhabitants of all ranks, not confined to beds of illness, will attend with their arms, and deliver them up at 12 M. on Saturday; and if this condition was not faithfully performed, he would consider himself absolved from any engagement entered into with them; said be never refused a gentleman his side arms. The prisoners taken were to be removed to Albany immediately, where they might remain a reasonable time to settle their family affairs. If his terms of the 17th inst. were accepted with the above qualifications, fair copies would be made out and signed by the parties, one of them to be delivered to Sir John and McDonell, signed by the General; and, to save time, he wished for an immediate answer.
Sir John acceded to the terms, and on the same day-Friday the 19th-Schuyler marched to Johnstown. Some of his troops also scoured the county, to bring in such disaffected as were not comprehended in the Johnstown arrangement. The same afternoon Sir John delivered up the arms and ammunition in his possession, the quantity being smaller than was expected. On Saturday, at noon, Gen. Schuyler paraded his troops, as we imagine, not far from the old colonial court house, where the Highlanders-between 200 and 300 in number-marched to the front and grounded their arms, which, having been secured, the Scotchmen were dismissed with an admonition to remain quiet at their homes, with an assurance of protection if they did so.
It had been stated, even upon oath, by one Connel, before the visit of Schuyler, that arms and ammunition had been secreted by burial near Johnson Hall; but the parties he would criminate pronounced the witness to his face a perjured villain, and a search was now made at the place indicated by digging through the snow and mud; and such articles were not found, nor have they been since. There is no doubt the rascal perjured himself from some motive; possibly to spite some of the accused for an old grudge.
Gen. Schuyler returned the same evening to Caughnawaga, where, on the two following days, over 100 tories were brought in from different parts of the county. Col. Herkimer was left to complete the disarming of the disaffected, and receive the hostage prisoners, and Gen. Schuyler returned to Albany. Mr. Dean, Indian interpreter to Gen. Schuyler, was sent west with a belt, to explain the nature of this bloodless enterprise to the five Indian nations to the westward. It would seem, at this distant day, that this strategic movement did not take place one day too soon for the popular cause in Tryon county, as it was seemingly an easy matter for the tories to keep up their clandestine intercourse for evil with their Canadian friends, hemmed in, as most of the pioneer settlements were, by dense forests, to conceal their approach and retreat. And it is very fortunate for the American reader that Col. Stone was able to secure the details of this very important transaction, as regarded civilization, in what was then Western New York. The Continental Congress gave Gen. Schuyler very flattering commendation for the prudent and faithful achievement of this enterprise.
That the Indians and tories from Canada, continued to come into the settlements around Johnstown clandestinely by the Sacondaga route, and there found a welcome after so many had been disarmed, there can be no doubt. Indeed, for several years they had their safe retreats, coming and going at their pleasure; few such visits becoming known to the whigs until long after they transpired, if ever. Whether any arms were really ever concealed by the Johnstown loyalists, by which any number of Sir John's Scotch tenantry could again be armed, is now unknown; but, if they were, it was doubtless on the outskirts of civilization, or in the unbroken forest. Some arms and ammunition may secretly have been brought hither from Canada.
I believe all American writers agree in stating that Sir John Johnson violated his parol, which act was repeatedly so stated to the writer many years ago by people who lived in his vicinity at the time he left Johnstown. Their statements were, in substance, that he and his political friends were not only restless, but were secretly endeavoring to thwart the doings of the whigs, and were constantly growing to be a more dangerous leaven in the county; which matter, being submitted to Gen. Schuyler, he sent Col. Elias Dayton, in May, 1776, with a part of his regiment to arrest him. Sir John had friends in Albany, by whom he was fore-warned of Dayton's coming; and as the latter arrived in Johnstown in the evening-having made, though hastily, some seasonable arrangements-he gathered a large body of disaffected tenants and retainers, and, during the night, or, as often expressed, between two days, took his departure from Johnson Hall for Canada by the Sacondaga route. The party was illy supplied with food, and suffered much in a 19 days' journey-such as few of them had ever experienced-between their homes and Montreal, whither they traversed with Indian guides through an unbroken wilderness. * The county breathed much more freely for a time for this opportune exodus. Col. Dayton remained with his troops awhile in Johnstown, until the excitement attendant on this
*Stone's LIfe of Brant, vol. 1, p. 143.
remarkable change in the condition of things in that vicinity had somewhat subsided.
Mrs. Johnson was removed to Albany, where she is said, for a time, to have been retained as a hostage for the conduct of her husband. She chafed under durance, as it is natural to suppose she would; but it was her misfortune, just then, to have been the wife of a man who stood in the path of human progress; and she had, to some extent, to suffer for his conduct.
An intelligent gentleman*-who claims kindred to Sir John -in an article entitled Sir John Johnson's Life, in the New York Times of July 13, 1879, says, on borrowed authority, "Sir John did not break his parole," but says" he was to be released from his parole and made prisoner simultaneously." The fact is, he was not made a prisoner, and hence no such simultaneous action: how, then, could the one condition transpire and not the other? But, says the able writer quoted, "The General commanding discharged him from his parole." How, we ask, by simply ordering his arrest? This seems a very fine-spun theory. Because some political friend in Albany privately, clandestinely, informed Sir John that measures were being taken by which he was to be arrested and held a prisoner-which caused his precipitate flight to Canada-I fail to see how that was honorably to absolve his parole of honor, given several months before.
If a prisoner is held to bail for a slight offense, and is about to be arrested for a more aggravated phase of that offense, and he succeeds in making his escape before his arrest for the second offense takes place, I can not see how his escape will honorably absolve him from the one condition until the other actually transpires. I am not versed in the technicalities of law, but I suppose that all wise laws are intended to be based upon reason and common sense. Everybody in and around Johnstown, so far as I have knowledge of their expressed opinions upon this action of Sir John, have said that he broke his parole; and the expression thereabouts is to-day not only among the descendants of those considered Sir John's foes, but of those of his political friends-for there have always been some such there
* Gen. John Watts de Peyster.
that they would think more highly of the memory of Sir John Johnson, if he had not broken his parole to go to Canada, and come back among his old neighbors with a party of savages to drag them from their beds and murder them at midnight.
On his arrival in Canada, Sir John was commissioned a Lieut.-Colonel in the British service, of a regiment composed of loyalists who had left Johnstown and its vicinity. Col. John Butler was also instrumental in raising a similar regiment for his command, many of whom accompanied him and Col. Guy Johnson in their flight to Canada the summer before. Numbers of men in those regiments, went from Albany county, and some from New England. When embodied, they were designated as Royal Greens, from the color of their coats; but from the cruelties they practiced on their former neighbors, with the Indians associated with them in mercenary enterprises, they might not inappropriately have been called Royal Reds.
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