the term of the enlistment of every one of them would
CHAP. Lxviii} 1776.
arrive in a few months.
Little had been done by congress to reinforce Washington
except to pass votes, ordering out large numbers of militia from Massachusetts
, New York, and New Jersey
; and still again more militia under the name of the flying camps of Pennsylvania
, and Maryland
; and none of these were to be engaged beyond December.
Congress had not yet authorized the employment of men for three years or for the war; nor did it do so till near the end of June, when it was too late for any success in enlistments; the feeble army, then under Washington
's command, was by the conditions of its existence to melt away in the autumn and coming winter.
Moreover a secret plot was fostered by Tryon
, who ever unscrupulous and indefatigable, from on board the Duchess of Gordon
, sought through the royalist mayor of the city of New York
and others to prepare a body of conspirators, who should raise an insurrection in aid of Howe
on his arrival, blow up the magazines, gain possession of the guns, and seize Washington
and his principal officers.
Some of the inferior agents were suspected of having intended to procure Washington
There were full proofs that the plan against his army was prosecuted with the utmost diligence; but it was discovered before it was matured.
It is certain that two or three of his own guard were partners in the scheme of treachery; and one of them, after conviction before a court martial, was hanged.
It was the first military execution of the revolution.
This discovery of danger from secret foes, made no change in the conduct of the commander