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there should be so much resistance to it, and we ascribed it to tne power of selfishness---for we saw in every direction, great interests_great commercial ambition, and powerful political interests united against the progress of this idea. And yet, I apprehend, we ascribed too much of this resistance to the power of selfishness and interest. We ought to have remembered more distinctly prehaps that great ideas, simple and commanding as they are, make but too slow progress to dominion over the minds of nations and individuals.

You may convince an individual of the truth of an idea in conversation with him alone, but he does not stay convinced ; the sympathy between his mind and that of the vast multitude is too strong, and it is with your argument, as it fared with Cato, when he read "Plato on the Immortality of the Soul,” he was convinced and believed ; but when he had shut the book, he could not remember the force of reasoning in the argument;-it is therefore in this way-on this principle--that truth, simple and commanding as it may be, makes but slow progress toward dominion over communities and nations.

Let us now look for a moment at the effects and results of the progress of this idea. An idea to many people is a particular conformation of the skull, an incomprehensible thing. An idea! Why, they never saw it ! How large is it? They want to put their fingers on it, or judge in some such way as this. An idea is a spiritual substance simply, and they cannot see it or feel it, unless it be of the nature of ardent spirits. An idea! It's an idea wrought out and applied, that has brought the continent of Europe within twelve days' distance of the continent of America ; it was the idea of steam navigation.

It was an idea in the mind of Fulton that created the first steamboat that plied the North River. This same idea changes the face of nature. Any man who is familiar with the landscape, in any part of the country, for the last twenty years, certainly any one familiar with New England, knows that it has wrought great changes upon the fair face of the country, for everyone is remarking upon the increased beauty of the New England landscape.

The neatness and simplicity of the farm-house strike the eye of the traveler as he passes by-there is more beauty in the fields, the very grass grows greener and richer than twenty years ago ; and the windows of the pretty cottages are festooned with plants and flowers that shed their sweet fragrance around the dwelling. What is the cause of it ? Cold water-it is this that has thrown off from the shoulders of the farmer, and the laborer a prodigious taxation he was wont to pay.

Oh! how will the land smile when this idea shall have wrought all its triumphs; from the farthest north and east, over all those broad and waving prairies, even beyond the Rocky Mountains, to where the streams of the west mingle with the ocean.

And when this idea, the emanation of Christianity, proceeding from the Church of God, shall have reformed the people, how will Christianity itself regenerate this reformed and happy people !-a reformed and happy world ! God will shower his blessings like rain upon the fruitful field.”

THE PRETENDED DESERTION

OF

J JO H N

CH A M P E

TO THE BRITISH, IN THE WAR OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION, FOR THE PURPOSE OF

CAPTURING THE TRAITOR, BENEDICT ARNOLD.

JOHN CHAMPE, Sergeant-Major of Lee's Legion of Virginia Light Horse, in the Revolutionary war, was selected to undertake a very perilous and difficult project, which is thus well and fully narrated in " Lee's Memoirs :"

The treason of Brigadier Arnold,--the capture of André,—with intelligence received by Washington, through his confidential agents in New York, communicating that many of his officers, and especially a major-general named to him, were connected with Arnold, --could not fail to seize the attention of a commander even less diligent and zealous than Washington. It engrossed his mind entirely, exciting reflections the most anxious as well as unpleasant.

To Major Lee, afterward lieutenant-colonel of the legion of cavalry for whom he had sent, he said, "I have sent for you, in the expectation that you have in your corps individuals capable and willing to undertake an indispensable, delicate, and hazardous project. Whoever comes forward upon this occasion, will lay me under great obligations personally, and in behalf of the United States I will reward him amply. No time is to bo lost; he must proceed, if possible, this night. My object is to probe to the bottom the afflicting intelligence contained in the papers you have just read ; to seize Arnold, and by getting him, to save André. They are all connected. While my emissary is engaged in preparing means for the seizure of Arnold, the guilt of others can be traced ; and the timely delivery of Arnold to me, will possibly put it into my power to restore the amiable and unfortunate André to his friends. My instructions are ready, in which you will find my express orders that Arnold is not to be hurt; but that he be permitted to escape if to be prevented only by killing him, as his public punishment is the sole object in view. This you cannot too forcibly press upon whomsoever may engage in the enterprise ; and this fail not to do. With my instructions are two letters, to be delivered as ordered, and here are some guineas for expenses.”

Major Lee replying, said that he had little or no doubt but that his legion contained many individuals daring enough for any operation, however perilous; but that the one in view required a combination of qualities not easily to be found unless in a commissioned officer, to whom he could not venture to propose an enterprise, the first step to which was desertion. That though the sergeant-major of the cavalry was in all respects qualified for the delicate and adventurous project, and to him it might be proposed without indelicacy, as his station did not interpose the obstacle before stated; yet it was very probable that the same difficulty would occur in his breast, to remove which would not be easy, if practicable.

Washington was highly pleased at finding that a non-commissioned officer was deemed capable of executing his views; as he had felt extreme difficulty in authorizing an invitation to officers, who generally are, and always ought to be, scrupulous and nice in adhering to the course of honor. He asked the name, the country, the age, the size, length of service, and character of the sergeant. Being told his name,---that he was a native of Loudon county, in Virginia ; about twenty-three or twenty-four years of age,--that he had enlisted in 1776,-rather above the common size --full of bone and muscle; with a saturnine countenance, grave, thoughtful, and taciturn, ---of tried courage, and inflexible perseverance, and as likely to reject an overture coupled with ignominy as any officer in the corps; a commission being the goal of his long and anxious exertions, and certain on the first vacancy ;--the general exclaimed, that he was the very man for the business ; that he must undertake it; and that going to the enemy by the instigation and at the request of his officer, was not desertion, although it appeared to be so. And he enjoined that this explanation, as coming from him, should be pressed on Champe ; and that the vast good in prospect should be contrasted with the mere semblance of doing wrong, which he presumed could not fail to conquer every scruple. Major Lee, sending instantly for the sergeant-major, introduced the business in the way best calculated, as he thought, to produce his concurrence. Observing that the chance of detection became extremely narrow, and consequently that of success enlarged. That by succeeding in the safe delivery of Arnold, he not only gratified his general in the most acceptable manner, but he would be hailed as the avenger of the reputation of the army, stained by foul and wicked perfidy; and what could not but be highly pleasing, he would be the instrument of saving the life of Major André, soon to be brought before a court of inquiry, the decision of which could not be doubted, from the universally known circumstances of the case, and had been anticipated in the general's instructions. That, by investigating with diligence and accuracy the intelligence communicated to him, he would bring to light new guilt, or he would relieve innocence (as was most probable) from distrust; quieting the torturing suspicions which now harrowed the mind of Washington, and restoring again to his confidence a once honored general, possessing it at present only ostensibly, as well as hush doubts affecting many of his brother soldiers.

This discourse was followed by a detail of the plan, with a wish that he would enter upon its execution instantly. Champe listened with deep attention, and with a highly excited countenance; the perturbations of his breast not being hid even by his dark visage. He briefly and modestly replied, that no soldier exceeded him in respect and affection for the commander-in-chief, to serve whom he would willingly lay down his life; and that he was sensible of the honor conferred by the choice of him for the execution of a project all over arduous; nor could he be at a loss to know to whom was to be ascribed the preference bestowed, which he took pleasure in acknowledging, although increasing obligations before great and many. He was not, he said, deterred by the danger and difficulty which was evidently to be encountered, but he was deterred by the ignominy of desertion, to be followed by the hypocrisy of enlisting with the enemy; neither of which comported with his feelings, and either placed an insuperable bar in his way to promotion. He concluded by observing, that if any mode could be contrived free from disgrace, he would cordially embark in the enterprise. As it was, he prayed to be excused ; and hoped that servioes, always the best in his power to perform, faithfully performned, entitled his prayer to success.

Major Lee entreated the sergeant to ask himself what must be the reflections of his comrades, if a soldier from some other corps should execute the attempt, when they should be told that the glory transferred to the regiment of which he was one, might have been enjoyed by the legion, had not Sergeant Champe shrunk from the overture made to him by his general rather than reject scruples too narrow and confined to be permitted to interfere with grand and virtuous deeds. The esprit du corps could not be resisted; united to his inclination, it subdued his prejudices, and he declared his willingness to conform to the wishes of the general ; relying, as he confidently did, that his reputation would be protected by those who had induced him to undertake the enterprise, should he be unfortunate. The instructions were read to him, and each distinct object presented plainly to his view, of which he took notes so disguised as to be understood only by himself. He was particularly cautioned to use the utmost circumspection in delivering his letters, and to take care to withhold from the two individuals, addressed under feigned names, knowledge of each other; for although both had long been in the confidence of the general, yet it was not known by either that the other was so engaged. He was further urged, to bear in constant recollection the solemn injunction so pointedly expressed in the instructions to Major Lee, of forbearing to kill Arnold in any condition of things.

This part of the business being finished, their deliberation was turned to the manner of Champe's desertion ; for it was well known to them both that to pass the numerous patrols of horse' and foot crossing from the stationary guards, was itself difficult, which was now rendered more so by parties thrown occasionally beyond the place called Liberty Pole, as well as by swarms of irregulars, induced sometimes to venture down to the very point at Powles-Hook, with the hope of picking up booty. Evidently discernible as were the difficulties in the way, no relief could be administered by Major Lee, lest it might induce a belief that he was privy to the desertion, which opinion getting to the enemy would involve the life of Champe. The sergeant was left to his own resources and to his own management, with the declared determination, that in case his departure should be discovered before morning, Lee would take care to delay pursuit as long as practicable.

Giving to the sergeant three guineas, and presenting his best wishes, ho recommended him to start without delay, and enjoined him to communicate his arrival in New York as soon as he could. Champe pulling out his watch, compared it with the major’s, reminding the latter of the importance of holding back pursuit, which he was convinced would take place in the course of the night, and which might be fatal, as he knew that he should be obliged to zigzag in order to avoid the patrols, which would consume time. It was now nearly eleven. The sergeant returned to camp, and taking his cloak, valise and orderly book, he drew his horse from the picket, and mounting himn put himself upon fortune.

Within half an hour Captain Carnes, officer of the day, waited upon the major, and with considerable emotion told him that one of the patrol had fallen in with a dragoon, who, being challenged, put spur to his horse and escaped, though instantly pursued. Lee, complaining of the interruption, and pretending to be extremely fatigued by his ride to and from headquarters, answered as if he did not understand what had been said, which compelled the captain to repeat it. Who can the fellow that was pursued be ? inquired the major ; adding, a countryman, probably. No, replied the captain, the patrol sufficiently distinguished him to know that he was a dragoon ; probably one from the army, if not certainly one of our own. This idea was ridiculed from its improbability, as during the whole war but a single dragoon had deserted from the legion. This did not convince Carnes, so much stress was it now the fashion to lay on the desertion of Arnold, and the probable effect of his example. The captain withdrew to examine the squadron of horse, whom he had ordered to assemble in pursuance of established usage on similar occasions. Very quickly he returned, stating that the scoundrel was known, and was no less a person than the sergeant-major, who had gone off with his horse, baggage, arms and orderly book,--as neither the one nor the other could be found. Sensibly affected at the supposed baseness of a soldier extremely respected, the captain added that he had ordered a party to make ready for pursuit, and begged the major's written orders.

Occasionally this discourse was interrupted, and every idea suggested which the excellent character of the sergeant warranted, to induce the suspicion that he had not deserted, but had taken the liberty to leave camp with a view to personal pleasure; an example, too often set by the officers themselves, destructive as it was of discipline, opposed as it was to orders, and disastrous as it might prove to the corps in the course of service. Some little delay was thus interposed; but it being now announced that the pursuing party was ready, Major Lee directed a change in the oflicer, saying that he had a particular service in view, which he had determined to intrust to the lieutenant ready for duty, and which, probably, must be performed in the morning. He therefore directed him to summon Cornet Middleton for the present command. Major Lee was induced thus to act, first to add to the delay, and next from his knowledge of the tenderness of Middleton's disposition, which he hoped would lead to the protection of Champe, should he be taken. Within ten minutes Middleton appeared to receive his orders, which were delivered to him made out in the customary form, and signed by the major. “Pursue so far as you can with safety Sergeant Champe, who is suspected of deserting to the enemy, and has taken

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