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the President of Congress, which upon inspection were discovered to be blank. This circumstance was well calculated to excite suspicion of some intended fraud, and Captain Folger was ordered to be imprisoned, under an impression that he knew more of it than he was willing to communicate. He was also the bearer of despatches from our Commissioners at Paris, which could lead to no developement of the mystery. A committee was appointed by Congress to investigate the strange affair ; but their examination was fruitless, and the Captain, after several months confinement, was finally discharged, with the payment of his expenses. A short time after this occurrence a Mr. Francey arrived from Paris, and presented himself to Congress as the agent of M. Beaumarchais, with a letter of recommendation signed by Silas Deane only, in which the speedy attention of Congress was urgently requested to the settlement of Beaumarchais's claim for supplies, said to have been furnished at his own cost. Though the suspicions of Congress were somewhat awakened by the singular manner in which this claim came before them, they nevertheless received Mr. Francey as the authorised agent of Beaumarchais, and entered into stipulations for the equitable adjustment of his claim. -- It would be to occupy too much time, and to travel somewhat out of the track prescribed to this history, to enter into a minute examination of this deep laid and villainous scheme of imposition; in which there is but too much reason to believe that Mr. Deane, one of our Commissioners at Paris, acted a primary part. Suf- . fice it to say, that subsequent events led to a developement of the fraud : and that after a perseverance of more than forty years by Beaumarchais and his agents,
the Congress (even while we write this) have almost unanimously, and we hope finally, rejected the claim, on the ground that the supplies were furnished from the treasury of the King of France, and not from the the purse of M, Beaumarchais.
Some time in February of the present year, Captain Biddle sailed from Charleston on a cruise, in the frigate Randolph, of 36 guns and 805 men. With this small force, on the night of the 7th of March, he had the boldness to attack the British ship Yarmouth, of 64 guns, commanded by Captain Vincent. With such disparity of force, it was not possible that the Randolph could long sustain the action; after two or three broadsides, she blew up, and the whole crew were lost, with the exception of four or five men, who for five days floated on a piece of the wreck—at the end of this period they were happily discovered by Captain Vincent, and relieved from their distressing situation.
We have now to relate a transaction, the recollection of which, even at this distance of time, is sufficient to freeze the blood of an American, and cause him to blush that he sprang from a nation that could forget the duties and feelings of humanity. General Schuyler had made repeated representations to the proper authority, of the exposed situation of the frontiers of New York, Pennsylvania, and Maryland, and of the threatening attitude which the Savages had assumed, under the countenance of two refugee or tory scoundrels, by the names of Butler and Brandtthe last, half an Indian by birth, and more than a savage in ferociousness of character. These representations of General Schuyler, for some reason or other, met with no attention—the Indians and Tories
continued to increase in numbers, and to be more and more daring in their acts of cruelty and depredation. At length in the beginning of July, their plans haying been completely matured, they collected a considerable force in the fine and flourishing settlement of Wyoming, on the Susquehannah. The scene which they transacted here, has been so often the theme of the poet, the painter, and the historian, that the simple relation of it is all that is left us. Indeed it is scarcely possible for the imagination to go beyond the reality of barbarous sufferings that were there inflicted upon the unoffending and defenceless inhabitants.
The district of Wyoming, consisting of eight townships, cach of five miles square, was situated on both sides of the Susqaehannah ; and though within the territory of Pennsylvania, it was peopled almost entirely by emigrants from Connecticut. A dispute indeed had long existed between these two States under their Colonial governments with regard to the right which both claimed to this district—which is one of the niany proofs to which we had occasion to allude, in the early part of this history, of the entire ignorance of the British King and his Council, as it regarded the geography of this country. The grant had been originally made to Connecticut, and afterwards to Pennsylvania; and these conflicting claims had been supported with such obstinacy by both Colonies, that the Revolution found them actually engaged in mutual hostilities. This event put an end for the time to private jealousies and animosities, and the district furnished a thousand men to the continental army. This circumstance alone is sufficient to show the flourishing condition of this romantick and beautiful country.
Every part of the forty miles
square resembled a rich and fertile garden. The industrious sons of Connecticut had, notwithstanding the constant quarrels with their neighbours, laboured so assiduously to improve their little farms, that no portion of any country in the world, perhaps, ever presented a richer or fairer prospect.
Unfortunately, small as this settlement was, and connected as almost all its inhabitants were, by ties of consanguinity, they did not unite on the grand question of political independence. There were many among them who still adhered to the cause of the King, and who sought by every means in their pow- . er to betray their struggling countrymen. Of these men, called in the language of the day Tories, the two persons already mentioned were the Chiefs; and it is a remarkable fact, that one of them was the near relation and of the same name, of the unfortunate Colonel Butler who commanded the troops of Wyoming. Being, as it appears, abandoned to themselves by the Congress and Commander in Chief, they were compelled to find the means of protecting themselves against the constant incursions of the Savages, and for this purpose they had constructed four small forts. In the largest of these, called fort Kingston, Colonel Butler was stationed, with the principal force of the settlement.
For a considerable time previous to the general attack, small marauding parties, consisting chiefly of tories, had made frequent irruptions into the settlement, and committed robberies and murders; while the Indians themselves were making daily professions of friendship, and deluding the inhabitants with promises of unbroken peace. What seems to have given a new fury to the tories, and brought on this ge
neral attack and universal desolation, was the circumstance of a number of strangers having been taken up by the people of Wyoming, on evidence of their correspondence with the enemy, and sent to Connecticut for trial. These strangers formed a part of the corps of tories, and to avenge the indignity offered to these betrayers of hospitality, the sons and brothers of the unhappy people of Wyoming were resolved to drench their fields in blood, and root out all traces of man from the devoted settlement.
The force under the tory chief, Butler, was between sixteen and seventeen hundred men, about one fourth of whom were Indians--the tories were disguised and painted, after the manner of the savages, with whom they seem to have made an exchange of natures--for the cruelties of the red men, were mercies compared to the barbarities which these AngloAmerican monsters perpetrated. One of the forts was betrayed by the tories, of whom the garrison chiefly consisted ; and a second being taken by storm, its whole force was massacred. After these beginnings, the tories marched to Kingston, where, as it has been said, Colonel Zebulon Butler was posted with about five hundred men, and all the women and children, and defenceless persons, who had crowded into this place for protection. It is possible, and barely possible, that with this force, and with these hindrances, Colonel Butler might have been able to hold out for a short time against the attack of his infamous cousin with four times his numbers ; but in an evil hour he listened to the proposition of the latter for a parley, and was thus ensnared beyond the possibility of escape. The Indian Butler had agreed to withdraw
. his troops from the investment of the garrison, upon