Posts Tagged ‘Traitors’

Dissolution of the Union

March 14, 2012

Image from the Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture

DISSOLUTION OF THE UNION.
BY ALBERT PIKE.

Some twenty or thirty years ago one of the most popular of the young poets of America, was Albert Pike of Arkansas. The grace and vigor of his pen, the elegance of his scholarship, and the elevated tone of his thought, gave the brightest promise of an illustrious future. —  His patriotism in political life was equally conspicuous, and abundant wealth gave him means to pursue the career of an honorable ambition unfettered. But, unfortunately, a great portion of his wealth was in human chattels, and he was surrounded by, and associated with, men upon whom slave society had produced its usual soul deadening effects. A quarter of a century has passed, and the year 1862 found the same Albert Pike, who commenced his career as the rival of Longfellow, of Holmes and Halleck, a traitor to his country, and leading a horde of Indian savages to massacre, scalp and torture his countrymen.

These remembrances are suggested to us by the following verses, by Mr. Pike, which we find in “The Ladies’ Companion” for 1838, although they were written some years earlier, at the time of the nullification and threatened rebellion of South Carolina. The lines are almost prophetic, and it should seem that to read them to-day ought to make their author throw down his traitorous sword and go out and hang himself.

Down with the stars and stripes from out the sky!
Off with your banner from the bounding deep!
Chain up your eagle from his flight on high!
Bid him no more along the ocean sweep —
Scream to the wind — turn to the sun his eye!
Ay, down with Freedom from her rampart steep,
From promontory tall, and prairie wide,
Where she hath been, till now, so defied!

Listen, how Europe rings from land to land,
With jeer and laugh and bitter, biting scorn!
Lo, kings sit smiling, while the red right hand
Of Treason waves above a country, torn
With strife and tumult — and their armies stand
Ready to darken our yet breaking morn,
Lending their aid to this unhallowed strife,
So lately sprung of Terror into life.

Look on the future with prophetic eye!
Lo, on your plain are armies gathering,
As mist collecting when the storm is nigh —
And such a storm! Along the hill-sides cling
The light-horse — and the swift, patroling spy
Hoevers in front, like birds with restless wing —
While here, the rifleman moves sure, but swift;
And there, the musketeers, unbroken, drift.

The battle! Listen to the musketry!
While ever and anon, amid the roll,
Cries out the cannon! Lo, the cavalry,
Careering down like storms that seek their goal!
And now, as sea doth fiercely dash with sea,
The stern battalions charge, as with one soul —
And now, like seas that break in spray and rain,
The broken bands go floating back again!

The fight is o’er! and here lies many a one,
With bosom crushed by hoof or heavier train,
The hoary head lies glittering in the sun,
Pillowed upon the charger’s misty mane —
And just anear, with hair like moon light spun,
A delicate boy is fallen. Lo, the stain
Of blood around his nostril and his lip,
While just below his heart the gore doth drip.

The banner of your State is laid full low —
Rebellion seems approaching to its end —
And lonely shapes among the carnage go,
Peering into dead eyes with downward bend —
For men are seeking ‘mid the fallen foe,
A son, brother, or, at least a friend —
And ever and anon upon the air,
Rises the piercing wail of wild despair.

Where are you leaders? Where are they who led
Yours souls into this perilous abyss?
The bravest and the best are lying dead,
Shrouded in treason and dark perjuries;
The most of them have basely from ye fled,
Followed by scorn’s unending, general hiss.
Fled into lands that Liberty disowns,
And crouched within the shadow of tall thrones.

Ah, here they come — and with them many a band
Of hireling serfs, sent out by your liege lord
And good ally, the autocrat most grand,
Or august Emperor; he lends this horde,
To bend your brethren unto your command,
And you to his; Now draw again the sword!
Onward! ‘Tis God’s anointe I now that leads —
And he that dieth, for the Emperor bleeds!

And this! oh, God, is this to be our fate?
Disgraced, degraded, humbled and abased —
Sunken forever from our high estate —
To wander over Tyranny’s dark waste,
To crouch like slaves around a Despot’s gate —
Bend at his nod, and at his mandate haste?
Oh, Thou who hast thus far Thy aidance lent,
Avert the doom — Spirit omnipotent!

Turn then! before the final seal be set
To your apostacy — before the flood
Is wakened by your murmur and your fret,
And whelms you in its mighty solitude!
Turn to your duty, ere your land be wet
By the pollution of a brother’s blood —
Ere the avenging angel spread his wing,
And where its shadow falls herb never spring.

Oh, turn! that when some day men make your grave,
They say not, as they pile the parting sod,
“Here lies a traitor!” or, “here lies a slave!”
Turn! lest, henceforth, old men above it nod,
And warn their child to be no traitor knave,
To reverence their country and their God,
And never to deserve so foul a doom,
As that which men have written on your tomb.

Say! are you never troubled in your dreams,
With spirits rising from your fathers’ tombs,
And in the darkness of the moon’s thin gleams,
Warning you all of those eternal dooms,
Which haunt the traitor like devouring beams,
Until his heart is withered or consumes? —
Oh, these must haunt you — these more noble ones —
These heroes, who were Liberty’s best sons!

Had I a sire, who thus from death could rise,
Point to his wounds, and say, with these I bought
That freedom which you now so much despise —
With these I sealed the compact you have sought
To break and mar — Oh, I would close my eyes,
For shame, that I to shame had thus been wrought —
Yea — heap up dust and ashes on my head,
As knave corrupt, or idiot misled.

The Berkshire County Eagle (Pittsfield, Massachusetts) May 7, 1863

Peace at any Price

January 30, 2012

Peace at any Price.

Peace — yes, peace with the men who would basely betray us!
Let the treacherous hand be in friendliness pressed!
Let us welcome the foeman that’s seeking to slay us!
Let the poisonous serpent be clasped to our breast!

Since there’s nothing so wrong in one’s being the hater
Of whatever is noble and lofty, why, then,
Let poor Judas no longer be curst as a traitor,
And let Satan go back into heaven again!

Let us show to the thief where our treasures are hidden;
Let us polish a sword for the murderer’s hand;
Let the breakers of oaths and of compacts be bidden
To sign pledges of peace and write laws for the land.

Let the scruples of honor and right be surmounted,
And, since now is the time for concession, why, then
Let poor Judas among the Apostles be counted,
And let Satan go back into heaven again!

The Berkshire County Eagle (Pittsfield, Massachusetts) Feb 19, 1863

Charles Lee: The Traitor Who Threatened America

October 20, 2011

Gen. Charles Lee — The Traitor Who Threatened America

GEN. WASHINGTON and his staff thundered up, through the broiling summer heat, to the stricken battlefield of Monmouth. News had reached the commander-in-chief that his trusted leader, Gen. Chas. Lee, had disobeyed orders and that as a result, the American army was retreating.

Washington took in the situation at a glance. The patriots were falling back. The British were everywhere successful. His blue eyes ablaze with anger, the chief galloped across to Lee.

“In heaven’s name, General,” he shouted, “what means this ill-timed prudence?”

“I know of no one,” sneered Lee, “who has more of that abominable virtue than your excellency.”

At this retort the last barriers of Washington’s patience gave way. He hurled at Lee a public reprimand that the latter never forgot nor forgave. It was a case of a just man’s wrath at a blackguard’s misdeeds.

Charles Lee was born in England in 1731. He joined the British army as a mere child. At the age of eleven he was a commissioned officer. He fought in America during the French and Indian war and rose fast in rank to a lieutenant-colonelcy. But he had a sarcastic tongue and an ungovernable temper. He criticised his superior officers and made fun of their weaknesses. This sort of thing does not help a man on in any walk of life. It led at last to Lee’s practical dismissal from the army. He drifted to Poland and Russia, where, serving as a soldier of fortune, he received the rank of major-general. He also won doubtful fame as a ferocious duelist.

Leaving Russia, Lee made his way to America a short time before the Revolution. He hated England and he loved intrigue. So he plunged into the stirring politics of the day, siding with the patriots. The Revolutionary army was short of experienced officers and was delighted to accept the services of so noted a soldier as Lee. He was offered the rank of second major-general under General Washington. He bargained shrewdly with congress before accepting this honor, declaring that King George’s government would surely confiscate his British estates, and demanding to be paid for them. Congress agreed to give him $30,000 out of the impoverished patriot treasury as recompense for this possible loss.

Now began Lee’s American military career. From the first he seems to have had two aims. One, to seize Washington’s position as commander-in-chief; the other, to sell the American cause, at the best possible terms, to the British. After more than once risking the army’s welfare by disobeying Washington’s orders, Lee was captured at Basking Ridge, N.J., by the British. Whether or not he consented to the capture in order to carry out his treason plot cannot be known. But during his captivity (most of which he spent in a suite of rooms in New York City Hall) he came to terms of understanding with the British general, Howe, and explained to him his ideas on how best to crush the Revolution. Thinking he would be of more use to them in the Revolutionary army than in prison, the British set him free in 1778 and he went back to his duties. (The complete draft of Lee’s plan, by which the colonies might be overthrown, was found in 1857 among General Howe’s private papers.)

Then came the battle of Monmouth. The English, under Clinton, in June, 1778, evacuated Philadelphia and retreated across New Jersey to the British headquarters at New York. Washington resolved to smash part of the British army at Monmouth, N.J., on its march. Lee begged him not to make the attempt, but Washington sent him with an advance guard of 6,000 men to overtake the enemy. Lee caught up with the British at Monmouth on June 28, 1778, and began the battle in so strange and incompetent a way that Lafayette, in alarm, sent a secret message begging Washington to hurry to the front. Washington arrived in time to meet Lee in full retreat. He rebuked the traitor, rallied the army and saved the day.

No one could understand Lee’s odd behavior, for no one then knew he was false. In rage at the rebuke, he wrote two insulting letters to Washington, who promptly ordered him arrested. A court-martial suspended him from active service for a year. In rage, he retired to a mountain hut, where, for months, he lived like a hermit.

As his year of suspension drew to an end, Lee wrote an abusive letter to congress, and was at once dismissed from the army. He went to live on an estate he had bought in the Shenandoah Valley. In 1782 he visited Philadelphia, where he fell ill and died.

Daily Commonwealth (Fond Du Lac, Wisconsin) Jul 16, 1912

Georgia’s Traitor and the Patriots of Liberty

October 13, 2011

John Zubly, the American Patriot Who Turned Traitor

“A REPUBLIC is little better than a government of devils!” So declared John Joachim Zubly, a man on  whom our country had relied, and whom the Revolutionists had trusted. He was a patriot who suddenly turned traitor at a time when America and liberty needed every true man’s aid.

The colonies had long groaned under British oppression. When they rose against England, in 1775, it was less with an idea of breaking loose from the mother country than of showing resentment by force of arms where argument and appeal had failed. They simply wished to bring England to her senses and to obtain relief from injustice. Even George Washington in later years confessed: “The idea of independence was at first abhorrent to me.”

But soon he and all the rest of the patriots realized that the time for half-way measures had passed. There must be either dumb submission or open defiance. And, should they choose defiance, they must free the colonies wholly from the British yoke and declare our country free and independent.

It was to discuss this that the continental congress met at Philadelphia in 1776.

We are apt to think that congress was a collection of ardent patriots, panting for liberty at any price. This was not wholly true. While the majority of the delegates were firm in their resolve to declare for independence, several of them threatened to balk at so rash a step.

Nor can they be severely blamed for hesitating. They were men of property and importance. They had more to lose than had most Americans. Should the Revolution fail their goods would doubtless be seized by the British government and they themselves would be hanged. As Benjamin Franklin said, in grim jest:

“We must hang together or we’ll hang separately!”

But, to their eternal credit, these wary delegates at last yielded to the popular voice. The Declaration of Independence was drawn up, and on July 4, 1776, was adopted (although it was not signed until the next month). The grave step was taken. The congressmen stood committed. They had “crossed the Rubicon” and were ready to take the consequences.

There was one exception to this band of patriots. He was John Joachim Zubly, a Swiss, who had emigrated to America in early life and had settled in Georgia. Zubly was not only prominent as a scholar and a statesman, but was a preacher as well. He had shown great indignation at the colonists’ wrongs and had both written and spoken in protest against tyranny.

So patriotic was he that Georgia chose him as one of its five delegates to congress in 1775. There he worked hard for the people’s cause and even drew up a petition to King George III, “upon the present unhappy situation of affairs.” Altogether, he was looked upon as an ardent patriot. Indeed, it is hard to understand the sudden and terrible change in the man.

As soon as Zubly found congress was determined to adopt the Declaration, he fought the proposition most bitterly and utterly refused any part in it. He denounced the idea of a republic and did everything in his power to stem the tide of opinion. Had this been all he did no great shame need to have been attached to him. But he was not content with refusing to vote for the Declaration. He actually entered into secret correspondence with the enemy, betraying to the British the patriots’ private plans and giving warning that the Declaration was about to be adopted. What further harm he might have done the cause of liberty cannot be guessed, for a fellow congressman (Samuel Chase of Maryland) found reason to suspect him. A treasonable letter from Zubly was intercepted. Chase exposed the man’s whole black treachery to congress.

Zubly fled in hot haste from Philadelphia to escape punishment. He went at once to Georgia. There, utterly casting away his cloak of patriotism, he sided openly with America’s foes. For this he was banished from Georgia and half of his property was declared forfeit. He rushed to the British for protection.

After a few years of misery and disgrace he died, in 1781, while the Revolutionary war was still at its height.

Adams County News (Gettyburg, Pennsylvania) Aug 10, 1912

The colonial ball, which was given at the Kimball house last Friday evening, has developed the amusing fact that nearly everybody in Atlanta is provided with a great ancestor.

To the strains of old colonial music, which might have soothed the ear of George Washington, when that distinguished patriot was a dashing cavalier, these ancestors in their knee breeches, powdered wigs and fluted shirts, marched out in gay procession before the assembled lookers-on. The customs in vogue before the revolution were revived in all of their quaint and amusing comedy and not a few of the old ancestors, as they skipped about the ballroom, gave refreshing evidence of the fact that age and long imprisonment in their respective places of abode had not impaired their ease of locomotion. In fact, their long retirement had seemingly lubricated their joints and prepared them, as it were, for greater exhibitions of agility.

This ball will serve a beneficial purpose if it kindles a renewed interest in the old colonial era. It is a foolish idea which many have acquired, because of the rapid growth which has characterized this country during the present century, that our fathers were very simple men. There are many respects in which they far surpass us, and we could set at their feet, so to speak, and drink in many valuable lessons of social and political wisdom. After all, we only surpass them in the enlarged development of the inventive faculty, as applied to the practical aspect of life. We have steam engines, electric telegraph and sewing machines, all of which our fathers might have given us had they lived in an age of peace and tranquility, but they had no time for such thinking. From the science of war they emerged, without a moment’s rest, into the science of government, and began to study the problems that would shape the destiny of the new world and promote the happiness of their posterity.

There is much to be gained from the study of past events, for wisdom lies in review as well as in progression, and the prophet’s vision is often clarified by looking backward. Americans have no reason to be ashamed of their simple and patriotic ancestry. A grander federation never met in solemn caucus than the continental congress of 1776, which proclaimed the principles of the American declaration and in the streets of Philadelphia kindled the flaming bonfires of liberty.

An Old Story Reviewed.

To widen the retrospective area thus opened by the social events of the week, it may be of interest to the readers of The Constitution to know that Georgia was entitled to five signers of the declaration.

Instead of this number, however, only three names appear in her behalf on the scroll of independence. The other two have been omitted from the document, which is still preserved in Washington city.

Behind the apparent oversight there hangs an interesting story and one with which only a very few, at this time, are familiar.

The declaration of independence was signed by the members of the continental congress, which met in the spring of 1776. In this congress Georgia was represented by a delegation of five representatives. These were Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton, John Houston and Rev. John Zubly.

The latter member, although a wearer of the sacred cloth, was guilty of an act of perfidy which has eternally blighted his reputation.

Why Mr. Zubly Fled.

During the early part of the session of congress a few of the members had privately discussed the subject of drawing up a declaration of independence, Zubly opposed the efforts of the delegation, on account of the strong political affinity which bound him to the English government.

Although a member of the continental congress and Georgia’s accredited representative, he was not as ardent in his championship of liberty as the other members of the delegation. He was not in favor of any radical measure by which the colonies would be wholly separated from England.

Finding, however, that his ardor was unavailing, he secretly dispatched a letter to the British governor, acquainting him with the nature of the situation and advising him to adopt, in Georgia, a speedy measure of prevention.

A copy of this letter, by a fortunate accident, was obtained from one of the clerks, and Mr. Chase, a representative from Maryland, openly brought against Mr. Zubly the charge of improper conduct in betraying the interests of liberty. Seeing that his perfidy had been discovered and apprehending the action of congress, which he knew would blight his reputation, he cowardly betook himself to flight.

Mr. Houston, a member of the Georgia delegation and a colleague of the clergyman, who had thus violated the sanctity of his high oath, was appointed by congress to go in search of him and to counteract any evil that might result from his disclosure of the situation.

In addition to the search for Mr. Zubly, which occupied a considerable portion of his time, other important business detained Mr. Houston in Georgia for several weeks, and for that reason he was not present when the document of liberty was signed. There were only three of the Georgia members in their places, at this time, and these were Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall and George Walton.

The protest of Georgia, therefore, against the tyranny of England and her solemn declaration in favor of a total severance, was couched in the strong, manly and characteristic signatures of this illustrious trinity.

In Augusta, Ga., a handsome granite monument has been erected to the signers, and three counties have been named for them, as a tribute to their exalted memory. A braver, bolder or more devoted trio never served the cause of liberty, and their glory, like Orion’s belt, illuminates the misty background of our colonial history.

Button Gwinnett

Image from The New Georgia Encyclopedia website

On the Field of Honor.

The first of these signers, Mr. Gwinnett, was the unfortunate victim of the code of honor.

His antagonist was Colonel Lackland McIntosh. A feud of long standing was the cause of their fatal meeting. The failure of Mr. Gwinnett, in 1777, to be re-elected to the continental congress, after a warm fight, exasperated him no little and the taunts of Colonel McIntosh, who was greatly pleased with the result, prompted him to send a challenge to that gentleman.

The challenge was accepted. They agreed to fight with pistols at a distance of only twelve paces. In exhange of bullets both principals were wounded. Colonel McIntosh however, recovered, while Mr. Gwinnett was mortally wounded and died on the 7th of May, 1777, in the forty-fifth year of his age.

Mr. Gwinnett was an Englishman by birth and for several years was engaged in mercantile pursuits in Bristol. After his marriage he came to America, in 1770, and settled on St. Catherine’s island, near the coast of Georgia.

At first Mr. Gwinnett was not an ardent friend of liberty, because of the exposure of his property. He doubted the ability of the colonial government to cope with England in a fight for independence. When he was afterwards convinced, however, that independence was a possibility, he entered into the revolutionary protest with great enthusiasm. His property was seized and totally destroyed by the British and yet he was loyal in affliction to the cause which he espoused.

Dr. Lyman Hall was a devoted patriot from the beginning of the movement which resulted in the overthrow of English tyranny.

The remaining signer, George Walton, was the most distinguished of this colonial group. He was six times a member of the continental congress, a soldier of the revolution, the first governor of the young commonwealth, the chief justice of the supreme court, and for nearly fifteen years prior to his death a stainless wearer of the judicial ermine. His home is yet standing near the city of Augusta, in plain view of the Carolina hills. Here he entertained Washington and LaFayette, during the days of the revolution, and dispensed his lavish hospitality. Colonel Walton was a man of great genius and his memory is the precious heritage of all Georgians. A subsequent article may touch upon his services at greater length. His grave is on the Sand Hills, near Augusta, Ga., where he has slept, under the overhanging foliage, since the first faint glimmering of the century.

L.L. KNIGHT.

The Atlanta Constitution (Atlanta, Georgia) May 20, 1894