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He succeeded, but instead of returning to aid in the siege, his "vanity and rash ambition " led him to try to capture Montreal. He was defeated and sent in irons to England. On November 12 Montgomery, unopposed,. took possession of Montreal. Joined by Arnold, who had been sent to Canada by way of the Kennebec River, he moved against Quebec. The attack was made in the early morning of the.last day of the old year, amid darkness and a furious snow-storm. "Push on, brave boys!" exclaimed the leader. A discharge of grapeshot from the enemy's guns saved Canada to Britain. Montgomery fell and every man "in front of the column, except Captain Aaron Burr and the guide, was struck to death." Forty-three years later the state of New York brought Montgomery's remains to its metropolis, and beside St. Paul's Church a monument to his memory arrests the attention of thousands passing it on Broadway.
Lee and Clinton at New York.-Early in 1776 a British fleet sailed from Boston. Surmising that New York was its destination, Washington authorized General Charles Lee to raise men in Connecticut to put the city in a state of defense and to disarm the Tories, who were especially numerous in southern New York and who were plotting against the patriots. The leaders were to be seized. Governor Tryon, on one of the vessels in the harbor, was at the bottom of all these plots of the Loyalists. General Lee and the British fleet under Sir Henry Clinton reached New York on the same day. The people were panic-stricken and many hastened to remove their effects into the country.
Carts and boats were very busy. The fright was soon over, for in a few days the fleet sailed away.
The Hickey Plot.—When the British troops departed from Boston, Washington sent the larger part of his army to New York, and in April arrived himself. He completed the works for defense begun by Lee and constructed others. General Green was stationed on Long Island. At this time the "Hickey plot " was discovered. It was an agreement among the Tories to kill or capture Washington, to blow up the magazines, and to join the British upon their arrival. Governor Tryon was denounced as the instigator of it. Many leading Tories were tried, but acquitted. One of Washington's bodyguard was arrested as a conspirator, found guilty and hanged.
The Howes after New York. Soon General William Howe with an army of 30,000 men composed of Englishmen, Hessians, and Loyalists landed on Staten Island. His brother, Admiral Lord Howe, had a fleet of over 400 vessels. These British leaders believed that the capture of New York would end the war. To face this formidable enemy the patriots had comparatively few troops, and these were poorly supplied with arms and ammunition.
Declaration of Independence. While Howe's army was reaching New York, Congress was making a nation of the thirteen colonies in revolt. A committee of five persons, of whom Robert R. Livingston was one, reported for adoption that "immortal state paper," the Declaration of Independence. On July 4, 1776, the United States of America was born. Four of New York's representatives, William Floyd, Philip Liv
ingston, Francis Lewis, and Lewis Morris, signed the famous paper. Robert R. Livingston would also have signed it, but was necessarily absent at the time. These men played an important part in the history of the young Republic. William Floyd was a general, a congressman, state senator and presidential elector. Philip Livingston, the grandson of the founder of the manor, was a state senator and a congressman. Robert R. Livingston was the first chancellor of the state. Francis Lewis sacrificed all his wealth for the Revolution. Lewis Morris, the grandson of Chief Justice Lewis Morris, was active in the contest.
CHAPTER XVIII.-THE COLONY BECOMES A STATE
New York Becomes a State.-In May, 1776, the Continental Congress advised the colonies to form state governments. To that end New York sent deputies to the fourth Provincial Congress, which met on July 9 in the court-house at White Plains. This body first unanimously adopted the Declaration of Independence, and then called itself "The Convention of the Representatives of the State of New York" (July 10). For eighteen months this body transacted public business for the state at Fishkill, Harlem, Kingston, and Poughkeepsie. During its adjournment a Committee of Safety had charge of affairs.
Battle of Long Island.-Meanwhile General Howe was planning to take New York. Late in August he sent 20,000 men to Long Island and in three divisions at
tacked the 8,000 Americans at Brooklyn. General Greene had prepared the defense, but sickness compelled him to yield the command to General Sullivan, who, in turn, gave it up to General Putnam, his superior in rank. The battle was a series of terrible skirmishes in which the Americans were defeated with a loss of nearly 2,000 men in killed and captured (Aug. 27, 1776). Among the prisoners were Generals Sullivan and Stirling.
While General Howe was debating what move to make next, Washington crossed to Brooklyn, held a council of war, and by their advice withdrew his troops to New York City under the cover of a foggy night. Seeing his mistake, Howe decided to capture Washington's army on Manhattan Island. War-ships surrounded the metropolis and an army was landed on the west shore. But Washington wisely withdrew his army northward, leaving the city to the British.
Nathan Hale. After withdrawing his forces from Long Island Washington desired information about the enemy. Captain Nathan Hale volunteered his services. In disguise he went to the British camp, got the desired information, and was returning when he was arrested. Howe ordered him hanged as a spy. He met his death bravely, saying, "I only regret I have but one life to lose for my country" (Sept. 22, 1776). In the City Hall Park of New York, 117 years later, a monument was erected to his memory. On "Evacuation Day," November 25, 1893, it was unveiled in the presence of thousands, and the Rev. Dr. Edward Everett Hale, of Boston, a descendant of the martyr-spy, delivered an address. Truly it may be said that