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hostage and fellow sufferer of the gallant Stobo;" for "it seems to me,' he says, " that a hateful stigma, unwarranted by the facts in the case, has been placed upon his name, his services, and his character,” which ought in all justice to be removed. He proceeds, accordingly, as follows:
Capt. Van Braam had accompanied Washington on his mission, in 1753, to the French on the Upper Ohio. The succeediny spring he was, by Washington's partiality, made a 1 aptain in the Virginia regiment, and so acceptable were his services, that some time prior to the battle at the Great Meadows, Washington commended him as "an experienced, good officer,” who had “behaved extremely well.” No hint is anywhere given, that he did not properly conduct himself in the engagement at the Meadows; the inference is plain that he fought with his characteristic bravery, else : ashington would not have entrusted to him the important negotiations preceeding the capitulation. Van Braam's erroneous translation of the articles caused no little subsequent difficulty and ill-feeling. His ignorancefor ignorance only it could have been-was not his fault but misfortune, and we should not, therefore, too hastily impeach his fidelity and patriotism.
"Washington avers that he was wilfully or ignorantly deceived' by Van Braam's interpretation of the French word assassinat, which he rendered loss or death, but which was afterwards found to mean, when literally translated, the assassination of Jumonville; and adds, 'ihe interpreter was a Dutchman, little acquainted with the English tongue, therefore might not advert to the tone and meaning of the word in English.' Thus Washington himself seems to have put a charitable construction upon Van Braam's conduct. Major Adam Stephen, who was next in rank to Washington at the affair of the Great Meadows, in his letter of August 11th, 1754, which appeared in the gazettes of the day, and the substance of which is quoted in the 2d vol. of Spark's Washington, on page 460, says : When Mr. Van Braam returned with the French proposals, we were obliged to take the sense of them by the word of mouth: It rained so heavy that he could not give us a written translation of them ; we could scarcely keep the candle lighred to read them by; they were written in a bad hand, on wet and blotted paper, so that no person could
read them but Van Braam, who had heard them from the mouth of the French officer. Every officer, then present, is willing to declare that there was no such word as assassination mentioned; the terms expressed were, the death of Jumonville.'
So, then, Van Braam read the articles, doubtless, as he had heard them from the mouth of the French officer;' and this, unquestionably, is the true version of the affair.
"Gov. Dinwiddie's account of this transaction to Lord Albemarle, written shortly after its occurrence, when suspicions of Van Braam's treachery were rise in the land, * charges him also with desertion—' they say he has joined the French.' But Dinwidde's they say' authority, is not sustained by subsequent facts. The two noble letters of Stobo, written from Fort Duquesne July 28th and 29th, nearly four weeks after the capitulation, contain internal evidence of Van Braam's faithfulness to his country. To repeat the expressive quotations, once already introduced, from these letters : Consider the good of the expedition without the least regard to us:' • Let the good of the expedition be considered preferable to our safety. Stobo in using the words 'us' and 'our safety,' clearly includes his fellow hostage with himself; and, in Stobo's estimation, the 'safety' of both might be endangered, if Virginia should but do her duty and strike a bold and decisive blow, yet his patriotic and emphatic advice was to strike.
This, too, must have been the counsel of Van Braam, for the plurals 'our' and 'us' convey a very strong probability that Van Braam was privy to their contents, if, indeed, he did not aid in their dictation. Had he evinced the least signs of treachery, or received any suspicious favors or indulgences from the French, the scrutinizing eye of Stobo would have instantly detected, and his pen as quickly exposed them. In those letters Stobo does not breathe a hint even of any such suspicion ; but, on the contrary, the inference is clear and unequivocal, that his fellow prisoner as well as himself, was willing, nay, solicitous, to run the risk of suffering martyrdom itself, rather than Fort Duquesne should
* Corroborative of the prevalent feeling at that period, the statement of Mr. Sparks, that the month following the capitulation, when the Virginia Assembly passed a vote of thanks to Col. Washington and his officers for their bravery and gallant defence of their country," Van Braam was excepted, as being charged with having acted a treacherous part in his interpretation of the articles.
not be re-possessed, and its braggart occupants driven from the land.
“ Both Burk and Sparks tell us that Van Braam as well as Stobo was sent to Quebec, and still a prisoner; and there, according to the former historian, broke from his prison, but after becoming weak from hunger and fatigue, was compelled, rather than perish, to surrender himself once more to the tender mercies of his enemies. Those who profit by treason are apt to reward the traitor; we have no such evidence in this case; no hint, no surmise even, that poor Van Braam was a whit better treated than Stobo.". (Indeed we have some evidence that he was not. For “ I have found,” says Mr. D. in a postscript, Maryland Gazette of the 20th November, 1760, a notice of him from which it appears that he was kept imprisoned in Montreal, and only released after that city finally surrendered to the British, Sept. 8th, 1760, when he repaired soon after to Virginia ;” and the following paragraph is added, taken, we suppose,
from the old Virginia Gazette. Williamsburg, Nov. 7.—This week arrived in town Capt. Van Braam, of the old Virginia regiment, &c.) “And,”
, finally," to cap the climax, he makes application from England, in 1771, through the medium of Washington himself,* for the entry of his portion of military lands, to which, for these very services, he was entitled and the claim is acknowledged and the land readily granted, and not a whisper from Washington but that they were richly deserved.”
* Sparks' Washington, vol. 2nd, page 365.
A TASTE FOR READING.
If I were to pray for a taste which should stand me in stead under every variety of circumstances, and be a source of happiness and cheerfulness to me through life, and a shield against its ills, however things might go amiss, and the world frown upon me, it would be a taste for reading.
Sir J. Herschell.
AN OLD SONG.
“The following song," says Miss Mitford, in her recent volume entitled “Recollections of a Literary Life,” is strikingly illustrative of a peculiarity that has often struck me in reading the dramas of Beaumont and Fletcher; the absence of any mark of antiquity, either in the diction or construction. Hardly any thing in their verse smacks of the age. They were cotemporary with Ben Jonson, and yet how rugged is his English compared with their fluent and courtly tongue! They were almost cotemporary with a greater than hema greater far than any or all, and yet Shakspeare's blank verse has an antique sound when read after theirs. Dryden, himself so perfect a model as regards style, says in one of those master-pieces of criticism, the prefaces to his plays, that in Beaumont and Fletcher, our language has attained to its perfection. I doubt if it have much improved since, nor has it for the uses of poetry very materially altered.”
SONG FROM "ROLLO."
That so sweetly were forsworn;
Lights that do mislead the morn:
Hide, oh, hide those hills of snow,
Which thy frozen bosom bears,
Are of those that April wears :
FROM GEN. WASHINGTON TO COL. JOHN ARMSTRONG.
(We copy the following Letters from General Washington to Colonel John Armstrong, of Carlyle, Pennsylvania, who had been a fellow officer with him in Braddock's army, and who was subsequently father of Gen'l John Armstrong, sometime Secretary of War, under Mr. Madison; from the originals bitherto inedited which Dr. Meaux, of Amelia, has, very politely, put into our hands for the purpose, and the last of which, (a highly important and interesting one,) he has, most obligiogly, presented to our Virginia Historical Society for preservation in its archives.]
From Col. George Washington to Col. John Armstrong.
Mount VERNON, Oct. 10th, 1773.
Dear Sir,-Upon my return home from the Annapolis Races (from whence I wrote you, committing the Letter to the care of Capt. McGachen of Baltimore Town, who assured me it should be forwarded the week after,) I received a Letter from Lord Dunmore our Governor, containing the following Paragraph ; which I inclose for your information, agreeable to my promise.
"I last Post receiv'd yours of the 12th inst. (that is September) wherein you beg to be informed whether I propose granting Patents on the Ohio to such Officers and Soldiers as claim under his Majesty's Proclamation in 8 ber 1763. I do not mean to grant any Patents on the Western Waters, as I no not think I am at present impowered so to do. I did indeed tell a poor old German Lieut. who was with me, and informed me he was very poor and had ten children that I possibly might grant him a Patent contiguous to that which he had under Mr. Dinwiddie's Proclamation, which