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When CLEVELAND reigns I'm thought a wit
Now all is calm, discreet, and wise,
But soon, alas, this happy vein
Thus great am I, till SEWELL's crown
But who comes now ? Alas ! 'tis WATERS,
And such am I ! no transmigration
To aid you in affairs of state ;
Select such parts—and spurn the rest,
BORN about 17H. Dies at Sissibou, N. 8., 1809.
FAILURE OF THE PLOT TO SEIZE THE FEDERAL ARCHIVES.
[Narrative of his Exertions and Sufferings. 1783.]
TALE far more melancholy than any yet related comes now to be
told; the recollection of which (and it is impossible he should ever forget it) will forever wring with anguish the heart of the writer of this narrative. In the end of October, 1781, Major Beckwith, aide-de-camp to General Kniphausen, came and informed Lieutenant Moody, that one Addison had been with him, on a project of high moment. It was nothing less than to bring off the most important books and papers of Congress. This Addison was an Englishman; and had been employed in some inferior department, under Mr. Thompson, the Secretary to the Congress. He was then a prisoner; and the plan was, that he should be immediately exchanged, return in the usual manner to Philadelphia, and there resume his old employment. The Lieutenant was abundantly careful, and even scrupulous, in his inquiries concerning the man's character ; on which head Major Beckwith expressed the most entire confidence; and observed, that Addison was equally cautious respecting the characters of those who were to attend him.
The matter was of importance; and Lieutenant Moody was confident that, though it might be difficult to perform his part of the business, yet it was not impracticable. He resolved, however, as Addison might think him an object worth betraying, that he should not be informed of his consenting to be of the party. If any other person did inform him of it, he was, to say the least, very imprudent. The Lieutenant pitched upon his only brother, of whom some mention has already been made, and another faithful American soldier, for this arduous enterprise. Their first instructions were to wait on Addison, and to bind him, as they themselves had just been bound, to mutual secrecy and fidelity, by an
oath, which the Lieutenant had always administered to his followers in all his expeditions, when the importance of the object rendered such an additional tie necessary.
After taking this oath, a certain number of nights was agreed on, in which Addison was to expect them; and a certain place also appointed, where he was to meet them. In such an adventure, it was impossible to be exact to any time; but it was agreed, that if they failed of being at the place in any of the specified nights, he should no longer expect them; and they farther promised, by proper means, to apprise him, if possible, if any accident should befall them, so as either to delay, or wholly put an end to their project.
Things being thus settled, Addison left New York in due form and manner, as was generally supposed, in order to return to his former friends and employment; and, at the proper time, Lieutenant Moody and his friends followed him. The manner and circumstances of their march, it is not material nor proper here to relate: Suffice it to say, that, on the night of the 7th of November, the first in the order of those that had been appointed, they arrived in the neighborhood of Philadelphia, but on the opposite side of the river. They found Addison already on the spot, waiting for them, according to appointment. Lieutenant Moody kept a little back, at such a distance as not to have his person distinguished, yet so as to be within hearing of the conversation that passed. His brother, and Marr his associate, on going up to Addison, found him apparently full of confidence, and in high spirits; and every thing seemed to promise success. He told them, that their plot was perfectly ripe for execution ; that he had secured the means of admission into the most private recesses of the State House, so that he should be able the next evening to deliver to them the papers they were in quest of. They, on their parts, assured him, that every necessary precaution had been taken to secure and expedite their retreat; and that they had with them a sure friend, who would wait for them on that side of the river, who, as well as themselves, would die by his side, rather than desert him, should any disaster befall them. He replied, that they should find him as true and faithful to them and their cause, as they themselves could possibly be. Soon after they crossed the river together to Philadelphia; and it is probable that, on the passage, Addison was for the first time informed that this friend was Lieutenant Moody. Whether it was this discovery that put it first into his head, or whether he had all along intended it, and had already taken the necessary previous steps, the Lieutenant cannot certainly say; but he assures himself, that every generous-minded man will be shocked when he reads, that this perfidious wretch had either sold, or was about to sell them to the Congress.
As the precise time in which they should be able to execute their plan
could not be ascertained, it was agreed that Lieutenant Moody should remain at the Ferry-house, opposite to Philadelphia, till they returned. On going into the house, he told the mistress of it, by a convenient equivocation, that he was an officer of the Jersey Brigade, as he really was, though of that Jersey Brigade which was in the King's service. The woman understood him as speaking of a rebel corps, which was also called the Jersey Brigade. To avoid notice, he pretended to be indisposed; and, going up stairs, he threw himself upon a bed, and here continued to keep his room, but always awake, and always on the watch. Next morning, about 11 o'clock, he saw a man walk hastily up to the house, and overheard him telling some person he met at the door, that "there was the devil to pay in Philadelphia; that there had been a plot to break into the State House, but that one of the party had betrayed the others ; that two were already taken; and that a party of soldiers had just crossed the river with him, to seize their leader, who was said to be there. abouts.” The Lieutenant felt himself to be too nearly interested in this intelligence, any longer to keep up the appearance of a sick man; and, seizing his pistols, he instantly ran down stairs, and made his escape.
He had not got a hundred yards from the house when he saw the soldiers enter it. A small piece of wood lay before him, in which he hoped at least to be out of sight; and he had sprung the fence in order to enter it. But it was already lined by a party of horse, with a view of cutting off his retreat. Thus surrounded, all hopes of flight were in vain; and to seek for a hiding-place, in a clear, open field, seemed equally useless. Drowning persons are said to catch at straws; with hardly a hope of escaping so much as a moment longer undiscovered, he threw himself flat on his face in a ditch, which yet seemed of all places the least calculated for concealment, for it was without weeds or shrubs, and so shallow, that a quail might be seen in it. Once more he had reason to moralize on the vanity of all human contrivance and confi. dence; yet, as Providence ordered it, the improbability of the place proved the means of his security. He had lain there but a few minutes, when six of his pursuers passed within ten feet of him, and very diligently examined a thickety part of the ditch that was but a few paces from him. With his pistols cocked, he kept his eye constantly on them, determining, that, as soon as he saw himself to be discovered by any one of them, he would instantly spring up, and sell his life as dearly as might be; and, refusing to be taken alive, provoke, and, if possible, force them to kill him. Once or twice he thought he saw one of the soldiers look at him, and he was on the point of shooting the man; but reflecting that possibly though the soldier did see, yet he might have the humanity not to discover him, as he would fain hope was really the case, his heart
smote him for his rash resolution; and he thanks God that he was restrained from putting it in execution.
From the ditch they went all round the adjacent field; and, as Lieuten. ant Moody sometimes a little raised up his head, he saw them frequently running their bayonets into some small stacks of Indian corn-fodder. This suggested to him an idea, that if he could escape till night, a place they had already explored would be the securest shelter for him. When night came, he got into one of those stacks. The wind was high, which prevented the rustling of the leaves of the fodder, as he entered, from being heard by the people who were at that time passing close by him into the country in quest of him. His position in this retreat was very uncomfortable, for he could neither sit nor lie down.
In this erect posture, however, he remained two nights and two days, without a morsel of food, for there was no corn on the stalks, and, which was infinitely more intolerable, without drink. He must not relate, for reasons which may be easily imagined, what became of him immediately after his coming out of this uneasy prison; but he will venture to inform the reader, that, on the fifth night after his elopement from the Ferry-house, he searched the banks of the Delaware till he had the good fortune to meet with a small boat. Into this he jumped; and having waited a little for the tide of flood, which was near, he pulled off, and rowed a considerable way up the river. During this voyage he was several times accosted by people on the water; but, having often found the benefit of putting on a fearless air, he endeavored to answer them in their own way; and recollecting some of the less polished phrases of the gentlemen of the oar, he used them pretty liberally; and thus was suffered to pass on unsuspected. In due time he left his boat; and, relying on the aid of Loyalists, some of whom he knew were everywhere to be found, he went into a part of the country least known to him, and the least likely for him to have thought of; and at length, after many circuitous marches, all in the night, and through pathless courses, in about five days, he once more arrived safe in New York.
All these efforts for life were dictated, it would seem, rather by instinct than reason; for, occupied as his mind had been with his own danger, and his own sufferings, he can truly say, his greatest uneasiness was on account of his brother. There was not a ray of hope that he could escape, and less, if possible, that he would be pardoned. He was the son of his old age to a most worthy and beloved father, who had himself been a soldier, and who loved and honored the profession. Indeed he was a most amiable young man, as remarkable for the sweetness of his disposition as for his undaunted intrepidity. Excellent youth! Every feeling heart will forgive the tear which is now dropped to thy memory, by thy sorrowing brother! He perished by an ignominious