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Clinton’s Threat – Arnold

From Diary of the American Revolution, Vol II.  Compiled by Frank Moore and published in 1859.

November 14.—It is reported, that when Sir Henry Clinton heard of the disgraceful death of his brave and faithful aide-de-camp, Major Andre, he made a solemn declaration in the presence of many of the British officers, that if ever Washington fell into his hands, he would hang him on the instant, and bury him without a coffin.

General Arnold was one of the principal partisans for the American rebellion, and has distinguished himself in the field more than any other American. The public, doubtless, remember his exploits at Quebec, Saratoga, the Lakes, and many other places. The success of the rebel arms over the northern army, was principally owing to his bravery and judicious arrangements. His acquisition is regarded at New York as a very fortunate event, not only on account of the merit of that gentleman in a military capacity, and the secrets of which he is in possession, but as it is an indication of those discontents and murmurings that have been said to have distracted, for some time, the American councils. It is a common saying at New York, that the ship must be near sinking when the rats are leaving it.1


1 Upcott, vi. 145, 135, 167.