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CAPTAIN STOBO.

[The association of this worthy officer with our youthful Washington in one of his early campaigns, at the Great Meadows, and the patriotic spirit which he displayed in the service of our State, at a trying period of her history, seem to entitle his memory to a brief record in our work. We bave, accordingly, compiled the following account of him from Burk, and more particularly from a communication of our highly valued correspondent, Lyman C. Draper, to the editor of the Olden Time," published in that magazine, (vol. lst, p. 370, &c.,) which we think our readers, or some of them at least, will find highly interesting.]

It appears that some time before the surrender of Fort Necessity to the French by our young Washington, then commanding a small force on our frontier, he had arrested a Frenchman by the name of La Force, who had acquired considerable influence among the various tribes of Indians at the back of our settlements, and after the seizure of Fort Duquesne, had been employed to obtain information of the state of things on our border, and to embroil the savages with our people; and Governor Dinwiddie, regarding him as a dangerous character, had caused him to be brought to Williamsburg, and confined in close jail. But now, on the surrender of the fort, under circumstances which we need not detail, the opportunity to redeem this man, so meritorious in the eyes of his countrymen for his activity and sufferings in their cause, naturally suggested itself to De Villier as one of the terms of the capitulation, and for the performance of it two hostages were demanded and received. The hostages were Stobo and Van Braam; who were accordingly detained and carried off to Fort Duquesne, where they were kept in custody. While here, however, Captain Stobo, contrived to convey intelligence to our Governor of the state of things in the fort in which he was confined, and to urge the sending of a force against it, in terms that breathe the most generous and patriotic spirit. "I send this,” he writes, " by Monecatooth's brother-in-law, (an Indian,) a worthy fellow and may be trusted. The garrison consists of 200 workmen, and all the rest went in several detachments to the number of 1000, two days hence. Mencin, a line soldier goes; so that Contreceur, with a few young officers and cadets, remain here. La Force is greatly wanted here—no scouting now-he certainly must have been an extraordinary man amongst them--he is so much regretted and wished for. When we engaged to serve the country, it was expected we were to do it with our lives. Let them not be disappointed. Consider the good of the expedition without the least regard to us. For my part I would die a thousand deaths for the pleasure of possessing the fort but one day, &c., 8c. (Here follows a plan of the fort.]

It further appears, that some time afterwards, this La Force, who was still detained by the Governor, had, by almost incredible efforts, broken the prison at Williamsburg, and the minds of the people of the whole country were in alarm. The opinion that before prevailed of his extraordinary address and activity, his desperate courage and fertility in resources, was by this new feat wrought into a mingled agony of terror and astonishment. Already had he reached King and Queen court-house, without any knowledge of the country through which he had passed, without a compass, and not daring to ask a question, when he attracted the notice of a backwoodsman. Their route lay the same way; and it occurred to La Force that by the friendship and fidelity of this man, he might escape in spite of the difficulties and dangers of his situation. Some questions proposed by La Force relative to the distance and

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direction of Fort Duquesne, confirmed the woodman in his suspicions, and he arrested him as he was about to cross the ferry at West Point. In vain did La Force tempt the woodsman with an immediate offer of money, and with promises of wealth and preferment if he would accompany him to the fort. He was proof against every allurement inconsistent with his duty, and he led him back to Williamsburg. The condition of La Force, after this attempt, became in the highest degree distressing. He was loaded with a double weight of irons, and chained to the floor of his dungeon." So much for poor La Force; but Captain Slobo, with his brother hostage, now claims our attention, and we shall give our account of him, in Mr. Draper's words omitting only a few paragraphs to save space.

Captain Stobo “was born in or near Glasgow,"'* Scots land, and probably emigrated early to Virginia. The genius and energy of Stobo, with something of a cultivated mind, superadded to his Scotch origin, secured from Gov. Dinwiddie the appointment of Captain in that little force which was placed on the frontiers of Virginia in the spring of 1754; and took an active part in all the operations proceeding the surrender of Fort Necessity, at the Great Meadows, on the 3d of July of that year. As already seen, contrary to the articles of capitulation, La Force and his companions were detained as prisoners, instead of being released, as they plainly should have been, and sent to their friends at Fort Duquesne. The reasons assigned by Gov. ernor Dinwiddie for violating the pledge of Washington, have considerable force, but cannot be deemed satisfactory. This impolitic detention of the French captives, was not only a palpable breach of faith with the French government and the prisoners themselves, but bore with peculiar weight and injustice upon the Euglish hostages, the generous Stobo and Van Braam, who had, to serve their country, voluntarily yielded themselves into the enemy's hands, to suffer hardships severe and prolonged, of which they could have had but a faint conception.

* Maryland Gazette, July 12th 1759, extract of a letter from Louisburg of June 9th,

Immediately succeeding the account already quoted from Burk’s History of Virginia, respecting La Force's escape from prison and his recapture, the following occurs :

" Meanwhile the hostages, Stobo and Van Braam, had been ordered for greater security to Quebec, and in retaliation of the sufferings of La Force, they too were confined in prison; but without any additional severity. Almost

l at the same moment that La Force had broken his prison, Stobo and Van Braam, by efforts equally extraordinary, had escaped from Quebec, and were passing the causeway leading from the city at the moment that the Governor of Canada was airing in his carriage. Stobo succeeded in effecting his escape ; but Van Braam fainting with fatigue and hunger, and despairing of being able to effect his escape, called out to the Governor from beneath the arch of the causeway where he concealed himself, and desired to surrender. The Governor received him in his carriage, and remanded him to prison ; but without any extraordinary severity."

It was in the summer of 1756, that La Force broke his prison; and if “almost at the same moment,” Slobo and Van Braam made a similar attempt, it must have proved in the end equally unsuccessful. Burk informs us that Stobo succeeded in effecting his escape. But if this adventure really occurred at any period prior to the spring of 1759, Stobo was as unfortunate as Van Braam, though very likely he may have longer eluded recapture. This seems the most probable ; for, at the time of the final escape of Strobo,

he does not appear to have been confined, nor could Van Braain have shared with him the romantic adventures about to be related.

The letter writers from Louisburg to the Gazette of that day, chronicle the arrival there from Quebec, of Captain Stobo, late in May, or early in June, 1759. A meagre outline only is given of the particulars of his escape; but brief as it is, it gives us no small insight into his true character as a man of extraordinary daring and enterprise. The impression that Stobo made upon the officers and troops at Louisburg must have been most favorable ; for the letter writers in question speak of bim as a man of most enterprising genius,” showing himself "a sensible gentleman ;'and, say they, “ his tale is very long and very romantic, and his information is relied on by every body here." By combining their statements, we have the following narrative :

As a hostage, Stobo was treated as well as he could have expected for some considerable time; but at length they began to use him at Quebec but very indifferently, frequentby imprisoning him, and finally condemning him to die, * the execution of which was suspended till the necessary approval of sentence should be received from France. In due time, after, as we may well suppose, a most painful suspense on the part of poor Stobo, the long looked for intelligence came-mercy and justice triumphed, and the prisoner was set at liberty.

This, however, was but a partial freedom. Well nigh five years had rolled away, rife with suffering and adventure, among the rude and half-civilized French Canadians, and he longed once more to join his friends and countrymen.

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* Possibly for breaking the prison, and attempting to escape with Vua Braam.

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