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ton's distrust, he became his secret enemy, and exerted himself to disparage his proceedings. With him originated the secret scheme to substitute Gates for Washington, known as the “ Conway cabal,” which was brought to the knowledge of Washington through the instrumentality of Stirling. Colonel James Wilkinson, aide-de-camp of Gates, being on his way with despatches to Congress, then sitting at York in Pennsylvania, stopped at Stirling's bead-quarters at Reading, and having dined with bim, repeated to Major Mc Williams, an aid of Stirling, the following passage from a letter of Conway to Gates : “ Heaven has determined to save your country, or a weak general and bad counsellors would have ruined it.” Major McWilliams considered it his duty to disclose this communication to Stirling, who in turn felt bound by public duty as well as by private friendship to make it known to Washington. He immediately did so, with the remark, “Such wicked duplicity I shall always consider it my duty to detect."
This led to a correspondence between Washington, Gates, and Conway, and subsequently between Stirling and Wilkinson. Rumors respecting it got abroad, and public sentiment was so aroused against the conspirators, that they were compelled to abandon their ambitious projects. A part of the rancor of these disappointed men was naturally enough directed against Stirling. An attempt was made to disparage him for an imputed violation of the laws of hospitality, by imparting to Washington the scheme which had been divulged at table in a moment of conviviality. Those whose conspiracy could not bear the light, who were themselves plotting treason and circulating calumny, evinced a wonderful respect for the laws of honor and hospitality. But Stirling only communicated intelligence reported to him as a matter of duty by his subordinate officer. It would have been treason alike against friendship and patriotism to have withheld a knowledge of this plot from its intended victim. The course which be pursued was identical with that of Patrick Henry, then governor of Virginia, when the same cabal attempted to poison his mind against the commanderin-chief. He at once informed him of what was plotting for his injury, remarking, “ While you face the armed enemies of your country, and by the favor of God have been kept unhurt, I trust your cou will never harbour in her bosom the miscreant who would ruin her best supporter."
The army remained at Valley Forge until Sir Henry Clinton evacuated Philadelphia, on the 18th of June, 1778, when Washington immediately started in pursuit, with the intention of hanging on the British rear, harassing its march, and, if a favorable opportunity occurred, of bringing it to battle. On the 28th, the British occupied the high grounds about Monmouth court-house, Sir Henry Clinton having sent forward his baggage under Knyphausen, leaving the flower of his army wholly unencumbered to bring up the rear. At eight in the morning, the British rear having descended into the plains, Lee, who led the advance of the Americans, commenced cannonading them, and pushed forward a force on both their flanks. The whole of the enemy immediately marched back to resist this attack. Part of Lee's troops fell into confusion, and he ordered a retreat, intending, as he afterwards alleged, to rally them in a more defensible position. Washington, who was ignorant of what had occurred, ordered up the rear of the army to support the advance, and rode forward, when he was niet by the troops in full retreat. He ordered Lee to rally his corps and make a stand, which he partially accomplished, but was again forced from the ground. At this moment, Stirling, who commanded the left wing, brought forward a detachment of artillery, which played with such effect on the British, who had now crossed the morass, as to check their advance. They then attempted to turn the left flank, but were repulsed by Stirling's infantry. Wayne had now come up with the right wing, and equally checked their advance on his side, compelling the British to retire to the position they had occupied on the arrival of Washington. 'Washington now ordered the artillery forward to cannonade the enemy, and detached a corps of infantry to gain their flanks ; but before any further impression could be made, night put an end to the battle. At midnight, the British decamped so silently that their retreat was not perceived, and thus got beyond the reach of further pursuit. Lee subsequently requested a court-martial upon his conduct, and measures were immediately taken for his trial. Stirling was made president of the court, and Lee was found guilty of all the charges preferred against him, and suspended from command for a year.
In October, Stirling was ordered to Elizabethtown, to command the troops in New Jersey employed in watching
the British fleet and the army in New York. On the opening of the campaign of 1779, he was ordered to take post at Pompton with the Virginia division, and cover the country towards the Hudson. Major Henry Lee, who, with his light horse, formed part of the command, was stationed in advance to watch the motions of the enemy. Having learned that their advanced party at Paulus Hook was remiss in keeping guard, Major Lee formed a project of surprising it. His suggestion being approved by Washington, Stirling furnished him with the necessary force, and took part in person with a strong detachment to cover his retreat. The enterprise was carried through with great spirit, and was entirely successful, the British post being surprised, and one hundred and fifty men taken prisoners. For the part which Stirling took in this affair, he received the thanks of Washington and of Congress.
The main body of the army having gone into winterquarters at Morristown, Washington detached Stirling with two thousand men to attempt carrying the British posts on Staten Island. The troops moved rapidly forward on sleds, and having crossed the inlet on the ice, Stirling detached Colonel Willet to attack a British regiment at Decker's, whilst he proceeded with the remainder to the wateringplace, where the main body of the enemy lay. Notwithstanding the precautions that had been taken, and the great despatch with which the assailants had moved, the spies of the enemy had gained intelligence, and the British troops were all within their works, prepared for resistance. The projected surprise having thus failed, the works being too strong to be carried by assault, and the communication, moreover, with New York being unexpectedly found open, by which the British could be reinforced, the attack was necessarily abandoned. Some skirmishing took place in the retreat, a charge on the rear from the enemy's cavalry was repulsed, and a few prisoners were brought off by the Americans.
The campaign of 1780 was not fruitful of any important events in the northern part of the United States, where Stirling was employed. Projects were entertained for the recovery of New York, with the assistance of the French, who had now engaged actively in our behalf ; but on account of the delay in waiting for our allies, the plans for this purpose were not carried into effect. In 1781, Stirling was or
dered to Albany, to take the chief command of the Northern army collecting there, to resist another invasion from Canada under St. Leger. He had under his orders Brigadier-Generals Stark, Van Rensselaer, Gansevoort, and Enos, with a small body of regular troops, and militia from New York, Massachusetts, Vermont, and New Hampshire. He collected the main body of his army at Saratoga, and made the most judicious arrangements to maintain the favorable omen of a battle-field already consecrated by victory.
Soon after his arrangements were completed, he had the satisfaction of announcing to his troops the complete triumph of our arms at Yorktown. This decisive event, with the approach of winter, doubtless put an end to the projected expedition of St. Leger. Stirling soon after dismissed the militia to their homes, and transferred his head-quarters to Albany. A scheme was formed for a winter's expedition, moving the troops in sleds over the snow, to reduce St. Johu's, Chamblee, and Montreal; but it was deemed advisable to remain on the defensive in this quarter, and the project was not prosecuted.
Stirling now resumed the command in New Jersey, and in January, 1782, he repaired to Philadelphia, which was within his military command, and established his headquarters there for the winter. In the spring of the following year, he was appointed, with the adjutant-general of the army and another officer, on a commission to settle the rank of the subalterns of the Connecticut line; and he proceeded for that purpose to Fishkill, where those troops were encamped. This service being accomplished, he was again ordered to command the Northern department, and established his headquarters at Albany. There were rumors again of a contemplated expedition from Canada, to join an army of the enemy from New York, and effect the long meditated junction by the Hudson river and the Lakes ; but no real movement was made towards this object, and Stirling had only to remain on the watch, and use every effort to keep himself well informed of the intentions of the enemy.
Whilst thus engaged in the service of his country, his useful and honorable career was suddenly brought to a close. " The fatigue of body and mind to which he had been subjected during his command on an important and exposed frontier, superadded to the hard service and constant exposure he had undergone from the commencemeut of the war, brought on a violent attack of the gout, which soon proved fatal. He died at Albany, on the 15th of January, 1783, in the fifty-seventh year of his age,” within a week of the day on which the independence of his country was solemnly recognized by treaty.
“ He was buried in the vault of his wife's ancestors, within the walls of the ancient Dutch church in that city ; and when that venerable edifice was demolished, his bones were removed to the cemetery belonging to the Protestant Episcopal Church, of which he was a member. His funeral was solemnized with the mili. tary observances appropriate to his rank, and the religious rites of his communion; and the ceremonies of the occasion are still remembered by the elder inhabitants of that city, as a spectacle of extraordinary interest and solemnity. He left a widow and two daughters; Mary, the elder, married to Robert Watts; Catharine, the younger, to Colonel William Duer.
“ The death of Lord Stirling was lamented by his brother officers, and the troops he had commanded, [embracing every brig. ade in the American army, except those of South Carolina and Georgia,] as well as by his personal friends. He was regretted, indeed, by all, both in military and civil life, who knew him either in his public capacity or private relations; by many also, who, without knowing him personally, were aware of the loss the public cause had sustained in being deprived of the influence of his character and the benefit of his services."
From what we have thus gleaned from the work before us, it is apparent that Stirling was among the foremost of those to whom we are indebted for the priceless blessings and the daily increasing national greatness that we enjoy. When these States were colonies, we have seen him with patriotic foresight endeavouring to foster their growth by enlightened suggestions to their rulers in the mother country ; by advice to his neighbours, and by example, extending the number of objects of agricultural cultivation, and exploring and developing our mineral wealth ; with enlightened benevolence aiding to found a library for the diffusion of knowledge among the inhabitants of his native city, and fostering in its infancy an institution of learning, which has sent forth so many youth fitted for a career of usefulness and honor.
An ardent lover of his country and of her liberties, we find him strenuously opposing the earliest attempts to assail