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blow was to fall, no human sagacity could foresee. Whether they were to take possession of New York, cut off the communication of the American army, and claim the country by conquest, or proceed southward and make a descent where no preparation would present a barrier, were questions of anxious import to the American commander, and the solution of which was of vital importance. With all his vigilance, he could not unravel the designs of the enemy, whose movements were purposely contradictory. Never during that war, copious as are its records of difficulty, was Washington more perplexed or more filled with anxiety. Finally, he concluded that some one must enter the British lines and gain the requisite information, or he feared that all would be lost.

In this emergency, he applied to the brave Colonel Knowlton, of the Connecticut line, for him to endeavor to obtain an officer for this service possessing the rare union of qualities necessary to success.

Knowlton assembled his officers, and made known to them the request of Washington, stating the exigency of the case, and appealing to their patriotism, in the hope that some one would volunteer for the service. No one responded. He then addressed himself individually to each of those present, but with no better success. Indeed, many of them seemed offended that such a request should be made, in view of the danger of the mission and the ignominious death that would result on detection. One of these, an officer remarkable for a spirit of hazardous adventure, replied, “No, no! I am willing at any time, and on any terms, to fight the British ; but I wont go among them to be hung like a dog."

Knowlton was about despairing of success, when from the assembled group came the slow, firm words, I will undertake it !The speaker had just recovered from a severe illness, and was late in joining the council, or "I will undertake it," would have been heard sooner.

All eyes turned toward the speaker, and a thrill of anguish pervaded the throng as they looked upon the pale, determined face of the universal favorite, the young and noble NATHAN HALE! They at once closed around him, and remonstrated by every appeal which consideration and friendship could dictate, to abandon his purpose-the love of home, the ties of kindred, future fame, and a felon's death, were all in vain urged to dissuade him. Among those most importunate was Lieutenant, afterward General, Hull, his old classmate at Yale, who plead with him almost with tears to abandon the project. Hale listened to the appeals, and replied in these memorable words:

"I think I owe to my country the accomplishment of an object so important, and so much desired by the commander of her armies--and I know of no other mode of obtaining the information, than by assuming a disguise and passing into the enemy's camp. I am fully sensible of the consequences of discovery and capture in such a situation, but for a year I have been attached to the army, and have not rendered any material service, while receiving compensation for which I make no return; yet I am not influenced by the expectation of promotion or pecuniary reward. I WISH TO BE USEFUL, AND EVERY · KIND OF SERVICE NECESSARY FOR THE PUBLIC GOOD, BECOMES HONORABLE BY BEING NECESSARY.

If the exigencies of my country demand a peculiar service, its claims to the performance of that service are imperious."

This was spoken with that air of lofty heroism which showed that he was ready to sacrifice himself if need be, in any way, for the good of his country, even by an ignominious death. Words embodying more truly the soul of patriotism were never expressed.

Hale received instructions from Washington in person, upon the points on which he was to obtain information. The plan was for him to cross over the Sound and land on Long Island, of which the enemy had then full possession. Numerous difficulties were to be overcome at the very outset. The Sound was filled with British cruisers, while the adjacent shores wero scoured by their foraging parties, so that he was liable to be apprehended at any moment. If he succeeded, great benefit was to accrue to his country; if he failed, death on the gallows was to be his certain fate. He proceeded to Norwalk, a distance of fifty miles, and made arrangements there with Captain Pond to have him carried in his sloop across the Sound to the Long Island shore, some twenty miles distant. He assumed the disguise of a school-teacher, wearing on the occasion a suit of brown cloth and a broadbrimmed hat. At Norwalk, he dismissed his faithful friend Stephen Hempstead, and embarking on board the sloop was safely landed on the oppo. site shore, at “The Cedars,” near Huntington Bay.

In this vicinity lived the Widow Chichester, called “Mother Chick" by the tories, who made her house a sort of roost during their predatory incursions. Quite a flock of them might usually have been seen hovering around in the vicinity eager to enjoy the bounty of loyal Mother Chick. Hale passed this tory haunt without difficulty, and proceeded toward the settlements. His first pause was at the house of William Johnson, whose hospitality and confidence he for a few hours enjoyed.

His exact route from thence is not known. The difficulties he encountered—the narrow escapes he ran-the strategems he practiced, we can only conjecture. We do know that he succeeded in reaching the British camp, and in accomplishing the main object of his mission, from the drawings discovered in his possession when taken by the enemy. Doubtless his peaceful demeanor and unpretending attire as a village school-master, subjected him to the "jibes and jokes” of many a British red-coat, as he made his way into their camps; but it facilitated his means of acquiring information.

In the course of his investigations, it is supposed, he entered the city of New York, then overrun with British soldiers, where he was every instant exposed to arrest, as indeed was every citizen who went abroad without a royal protection in his pocket. In such an event, he was very certain to have been confined in the old “Sugar House," from whose fearful gateway the "dead-cart” daily bore away its victims, who had died by starvation or poison at the hands of the infamous wretches in charge.

After spending a week or more among the enemy, Hale had accomplished the main objects of his enterprise. He then retraced his steps the way he came, encountered the same difficulties in passing through a country in the possession of the enemy, and arrived in safety at “The Cedars," where he had arranged to meet a boat which was to convey him back to the Connecticut shore.

: It was early morning, and the bay doubtless presented to him a friendly appearance. He could plainly discern the shores of his native State, rising in beauty beyond the blue waters of the Sound. His perils seemed ended, and his heart must have swelled with emotions of pleasure, as he thought that in a few hours more his feet would again press friendly soil, and he should be enabled to render a great service to his country.

At length he saw, as he supposed, his boat approaching. He hastened to the waters' edge to meet it and get on board. It neared the shore-and, O! how cold must have grown the blood around that gallant young heart, when, springing to their feet, he saw a dozen men with muskets cocked and aimed as a

The boat was a barge belonging to the Halifax, a British man-of-war anchored near by, but concealed by the projection of Lloyd's Neck.

His captors took him on board the Halifax, Captain Quarme. He was searched, and between the soles of his shoes were found drawings of military works, with descriptions in Latin. What had he, a plain schoolmaster, to do with laborious profiles of intrenchments, forts, and batteries ; and these the exact counterpart of those occupied by the royal army ? It was evident he was a spy! As such Captain Quarme treated him, though with kindness, won by his noble bearing, and regretting, as he afterward said, “that so fine a fellow had fallen into his power.”

His subsequent history is soon told. He was conveyed to New York, which he reached on the same day that nearly one half of it had been laid in ruins by a dreadful conflagration.

He was taken into the presence of the relentless Howe. The notes found in his possession, the drawings of the British works, and other information collected for the use of the American commander, were proofs conclusive of his guilt. Before his judge he practiced no duplicity, resortod to no subterfuge ; his garb of a school-teacher made no screen behind which he longer aimed to conceal himself from the British general. The case was soon made out and judgment rendered-such a one as might have been expected-signed by Howe, in the name of his royal majesty, George III. He was condemned as a spy, and sentenced to be hung the next morning at day break.

He was then conducted to prison, to reflect during the remaining few hours upon his melancholy doom. Young, full of life and hope, he was soon to be executed like a common felon, and sent into the presence of that God whose unsearchable riches he had one day hoped to have proclaimed to his fellow-men. What memories must have crowded upon him during the short interval before his execution ! How through the dim past must his thoughts have rolled back along the vista of his brief life, cven to the scenes of his boyhood! How the image of his dear mother must have presented itself to him, as he thought of the shock to her when she received the tidings, in her quiet New England home, that her son had been hung! Then too, the image of his beautiful betrothed would appear lovingly before him, to remind him of the pure young heart his fate would make desolate! But the die was cast. To-morrow, at daybreak, he was to be executed. No power could avert it. Yet he was to perish in the service of his country, and he resolved to meet death as became a Christian patriot, Major Cunningham, a brutal Irishman, whose infamous cruelties upon American prisoners were so notorious, was then provost marshal of the city. He declared, with an oath, that the harshest treatment was too good for such “ traitors to undergo.” He even murdered the prisoners by poisoning their food, that he might appropriate their rations to his own benefit. Such was the vile wretch into whose custody Hale was given.

Their first interview was characteristic. Hale requested writing materials, that he might write to his parents and friends. This was refused. He then asked for the Bible, that he at least might have the benefit of religious consolation. With an oath, this also was denied. A lieutenant of the royal army, then present, here interposed with entreaty, and his requests were finally complied with. There, on the verge of eternity, Hale for the last time communed with his loved ones. It is thought he wrote three letters; one to his parents, one to his brother, and the other to his betrothed. They were handed over to Cunningham for delivery. His eye ran eagerly over their contents, which so incensed him that he tore them to atoms, swearing, " that the rebels should never know they had a man who could die with such firmness !"

A few hours more, and the fatal morning dawned a beautiful Sabbath morning, in early autumn, 1776. The gray tint that streaked the eastern sky told Hale his hour had come. On many just such mornings, he had looked out upon the scenery of his New England home, and felt a thrill of delight; on many such had his father gathered the little flock around his hearth for family worship, to prepare them for that eternity upon whose awful threshold he now stood. It was his last morning. The sun would rise again, but its rays would fall upon his grave. The provost marshal ordered the march to the place of execution to com

With his hands tied behind him ;-a convict's cap on his head; wrapped in the habiliments of the tomb;--beside the cart with his coffin ;before and behind him, files of soldiers for his guard ;-close by, the mulatto hangman of Cunningham, with rope and ladder ;-and behind, Cunningham himself;--to the cadence of the “Dead March,” Hale proceeded to the fatal spot.

They reached the place just as the sun was rising. A large crowd had assembled to witness the death of the spy. The limb of a tree was used for the gallows. Hale manifested no fear as the rope was adjusted around his neck. Though he was cheered by no friendly voice, the fire of freedom animated his bosom with holy inspiration. He mounted firmly upon the ladder on that still Sabbath morning, and looked calmly over the large assemblage. Nowhere did he meet a glance of recognition, but on all sides he saw sympathizing hearts. The men were sad, and here and there the tear rolled down the cheek, expressive of the keenest compassion ; while the women, as they gazed upon the face of one so young and noble, gave vent to their overcharged feelings in sobs and lamentations.

The arrangements being completed, Cunningham, in coarsest tones of fiend-like triumph, demanded of “the rebel” his “dying speech and confession;"--evidently in the hope that the young man would make some remark that he would be able to turn into ridicule for the amusement of the depraved among the by-standers. Bitter, however, was his disappointment

mence.

At the thought of instant death, the face of Hale lit up with an expression of holy patriotism, and, in a clear, manly voice, he spake these heroic words :

“MY ONLY REGRET IS, THAT I HAVE BUT ONE LIFE TO LOSE FOR

MY COUNTRY !"

Stung by this unexpected speech, the enraged Cunningham exclaimed : Swing the rebel up-Swing the rebel up !-and, in a moment more, the spirit of Nathan Hale had passed from earth.

The circumstances of this tragedy were officially conveyed to the American head-quarters by Colonel Mantaznar, of the British arnıy, and as much publicity as possible given to it by the royal officers, so as to intimidate such hardy spirits in the future. The address with which Hale penetrated their garrisons and camps, and the heroic manner in which he met his fate, inspired the enemy with admiration, and made them feel that the subjugation of an army of such men was not an easy task. Even the brutal Cunningham, in his drunken bestiality, when with his boon companions, alluded to his conduct on the gallows in warm terms of commendation.

Among those present at the execution, was Tunis Bogart, an honest farmer of Long Island, who had been impressed as a wagoner in the British service. In 1784, on being asked to witness a public execution, then about to take place, this man replied, “No! I have seen one man hung as a spy," alluding to Hale, "and that was enough for me. I have never been able to efface the scene of horror from my mind-it rises up to my imagination always. That old devil-catcher, Cunningham, was so brutal, and hung him up as a butcher would a calf! The women sobbed aloud, and Cunningham swore at them for it, and told them they likely enough themselves would come to the same fate."

Washington knew Hale well, and when he responded to the appeal of Knowlton, he expressed a regret that it had not fallen to the lot of one less gifted. His death deeply pained him, and he felt that an irreparable loss had been sustained. Nor to him alone were these feelings confined. Hale was well known in the army-a brother among the officers, beloved by all. A thrill of anguish went through the lines as his fate was told, and every brow was sad. But what must have been the agony produced in that home circle, where he was an object of so much affection! In the simple words of one who knew them well, “It almost killed his parents." Though they approved of the spirit which induced their son to enter the army, they looked forward, with hopeful pride, to the time when the banner of liberty would be triumphant, and he would enlist under that of the Cross. But the blow had fallen. Nathan was dead !--and such a death !--the death of a spy! The betrothed of Hale, Miss Hannah Adams, remarkable for her beauty and accomplishments, lived to old age, and died exclaiming, "Write to Nathan 999 Thus his youthful imaye was blended with her latest recollections.

Nor, in this connection, must be forgotten Hale's faithful camp attendant, Asher Wright. He mourned his fate with more than a brother's sorrow. Although he lived seventy years after the sad occurrence, he never lost its vivid recollection, and wept as a very child whenever it was alluded to

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