He had discovered a great law of human action, without knowing it—namely, that in order to make a man or a boy covet a thing, it is only necessary to make the thing difficult to obtain. — Mark Twain

Story of the Thirteen Colonies - Helene Guerber




A Traitor's Death

Before continuing the story of the Revolutionary War, it is well to finish this painful story of a traitor. After fighting against his country in Virginia, and burning many houses and villages there, Arnold was sent into Connecticut, where he set fire to New London, watching the flames from the church tower. But soon after this Arnold went to London, where he spent most of the rest of his life, with few friends.

We are told that no one respected him there, and once, when he went into Parliament to hear the speeches, a member pointed right at him, saying: "Mr. Speaker, I will not speak while that man is in the house." Another time Arnold was introduced to a British officer who had fought against him at Saratoga. But, while this man had then admired him for his courage, and would have been proud to know him, he now refused to shake hands with him, curtly saying that he could not endure traitors.

A gentleman who did not know Arnold's story once asked him for letters of introduction to his friends, saying he was about to sail for America. But the traitor sadly answered: "I was born in America; I lived there to the prime of my life; but, alas! I can call no man in America my friend." In fact, even his children were so ashamed of what he had done that two of his sons changed their name as soon as they grew up.

After living thus twenty years, bereft of his own as well as public respect, Arnold on his deathbed begged for the epaulets and sword-knot which Washington had once given him, and cried: "Let me die in my old American uniform, in which I fought my battles. God forgive me for ever having put on any other!"

Arnold was buried in England. While his victories are honored in America, his treachery has made his name so disliked that it is always coupled with the words "the traitor." The battles of Saratoga, where he, Schuyler, and Morgan really won the victories attributed to Gates, are kept in mind by history and by the beautiful monument at Saratoga. There you can see four niches. Three are occupied by statues of Gates, Schuyler, and Morgan; but the fourth—which was to contain a statue of Arnold—must always remain empty!

The sadness which filled all patriot hearts in the country at the news of Arnold's treason was, however, soon made more bearable by the welcome tidings of a victory in the South—the battle of Kings Mountain (1780).

Battle of Kings Mountain
BATTLE OF KINGS MOUNTAIN


More than a thousand of the British troops took up their position on the top of this mountain, and their leader then cried: "Well, boys, here is a place from which all the rebels outside of hell cannot drive us!" Still, a smaller number of patriots climbed up by three different paths, and, hiding behind rocks and trees, killed many of the British, and took the rest prisoners.

General Greene, taking command of the American forces in the South after Gates's defeat at Camden, found himself at the head of a ragged and almost famished army. But stout hearts beat beneath tattered garments, and the forces under Morgan soon after won a great victory at Cowpens (1781).

The cruel Tarleton was in command on this occasion, and during the battle he was wounded by Colonel William Washington, a distant relative of the general in chief. In speaking of the battle afterwards, Tarleton scornfully remarked to an American lady that Colonel Washington was so ignorant a man that he could not even write his own name. As people who could not write in those days were in the habit of making a rough mark instead of signing their names, the lady archly said, pointing to his wound: "Ah, colonel, you bear evidence that he can at least make his mark!" When Tarleton later added that he wondered what Colonel Washington looked like, the same lady slyly said: "Had you only looked behind you at Cowpens, you might have had that pleasure."



Contents

Front Matter

Our Country Long Ago
The Barbarous Indians
The Mounds
Where the Northmen Went
The Northmen in America
Queer Ideas
Prince Henry the Navigator
Youth of Columbus
Columbus and the Queen
"Land! Land!"
Columbus and the Savages
Home Again
Columbus Ill-treated
Death of Columbus
How America Got its Name
The Fountain of Youth
"The Father of Waters"
The French in Canada
French and Spanish Quarrels
The Sky City
Around the World
Nothing but Smoke
Smith's Adventures
The Jamestown Men
Smith Wounded
Pocahontas Visits England
Hudson and the Indians
The Mayflower
Plymouth Rock
The First Thanksgiving
Snake Skin and Bullets
The Beginning of Boston
Stories of Two Ministers
Williams and the Indians
The Quakers
The King-Killers
King Phillip's War
The Beginning of New York
Penn and the Indians
The Catholics in Maryland
The Old Dominion
Bacon's Rebellion
A Journey Inland
The Carolina Pirates
Charter Oak
Salem Witches
Down the Mississippi
La Salle's Adventures
Indians on the Warpath
Two Wars with the French
Washington's Boyhood
Washington's Journey
Washington's First Battle
Stories of Franklin
Braddock's Defeat
Wolfe at Quebec
England and her Colonies
The Stamp Tax
The Anger of the Colonies
The Boston Tea Party
The Minutemen
The Battle of Lexington
Bunker Hill
The Boston Boys
The British leave Boston
Declaration of Independence
A Lady's Way of Helping
Christmas Eve
The Fight at Bennington
Burgoyne's Surrender
Winter at Valley Forge
The Quaker Woman
Putnam's Adventures
Indian Cruelty
Boone in Kentucky
Famous Sea Fights
The "Swamp Fox"
The Poor Soldiers
The Spy
A Traitor's Death
Two Unselfish Women
Surrender of Cornwallis
British Flag hauled down
Washington's Farewell