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A Popular History of France from the Earliest Time

And would have hanged the rest on a gibbet


With

a harshness of which there is no other example in his life, and of which he appeared to always preserve a painful recollection, Washington remained deaf to his prisoner's noble appeal: Major Andre underwent the fate of a spy. "You are a witness that I die like a man of honor," he said to an American officer whose duty it was to see the orders carried out. The general did him justice. "Andre," he said, "paid his penalty with the spirit to be expected from a man of such merit and so brave an officer. As to Arnold, he has no heart. . . . Everybody is surprised to see that he is not yet swinging on a gibbet." The passionate endeavors of the Americans to inflict upon the traitor the chastisement he deserved remained without effect. Constantly engaged, as an English general, in the war, with all the violence bred of uneasy hate, Arnold managed to escape the just vengeance of his countrymen; he died twenty years later, in the English possessions, rich and despised. "What would you have done if you had succeeded in catching me?" he asked an American prisoner one day. "We would have severed from your body the leg that had been wounded in the service of the country, and would have hanged the rest on a gibbet," answered the militiaman quietly.

The excitement caused by the treachery of Arnold had not yet subsided, when a fresh cup of bitterness was put to the lips of the general-in-chief, and disturbed the hopes he had placed on the reorganization

of his army. Successive revolts among the troops of Pennsylvania, which threatened to spread to those of New Jersey, had convinced him that America had come to the end of her sacrifices. "The country's own powers are exhausted," he wrote to Colonel Lawrence in a letter intended to be communicated to Louis XVI.; "single-handed we cannot restore public credit and supply the funds necessary for continuing the war. The patience of the army is at an end, the people are discontented; without money, we shall make but a feeble effort, and probably the last."

The insufficiency of the military results obtained by land and sea, in comparison with the expenses and the exhibition of force, and the slowness and bad management of the operations, had been attributed, in France as well as in America, to the incapacity of the ministers of war and marine, the Prince of Montbarrey and M. de Sartines. The finances had up to that time sufficed for the enormous charges which weighed upon the treasury; credit for the fact was most justly given to the consummate ability and inexhaustible resources of M. Necker, who was, first of all, made director of the treasury on October 22, 1776, and then director-general of finance on June 29, 1777, By his advice, backed by the favor of the queen, the two ministers were superseded by M. de Segur and the Marquis of Castries. A new and more energetic impulse before long restored the hopes of the Americans. On the 21st of March, 1780, a fleet left under the orders of Count de Grasse; after its arrival at Martinique, on the 28th of April, in spite of Admiral Hood's attempts to block his passage, Count de Grasse took from the English the Island of Tobago, on the 1st of June; on the 3d of September, he brought Washington a reinforcement of three thousand five hundred men, and twelve hundred thousand livres in specie. In a few months King Louis XVI. had lent to the United States or procured for them on his security sums exceeding sixteen million livres. It was to Washington personally that the French government confided its troops as well as its subsidies. "The king's soldiers are to be placed exclusively under the orders of the general-in-chief," M. Girard, the French minister in America, had said, on the arrival of the auxiliary corps.


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