History of the Loyalists: Lieut. James Moody's Narrative

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History of the Loyalists: Lieut. James Moody's Narrative
James Hannay
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HISTORY OF THE LOYALISTS LIEUT. JAMES MOODY'S NARRATIVE Of His Exertions and Sufferings in the Cause of the Government Since the Year 1776. [Continued.] It is with the utmost concern Mr. Moody has heard of the doubts and debates that have been agitated in England concerning the number and the zeal of the Loyalists in America. It might be uncharitable, and possibly unjust, to say that every man who had entertained such doubts has some sinister purposes to serve by them; but it would be blindness in the extreme not to see that they were first raised by men who had other objects at heart than the interests of their country. Men who have performed their own duty feebly or falsely, naturally seek to excuse themselves by throwing the blame upon others. It would ill become an obscure individual to obtrude his opinions; but an honest man may, and, when he thinks it would serve his country should, relate what he has seen. The writer of this narrative has already disclaimed all pretensions to any extraordinary share of political sagacity; but he has common sense—he can see, and he can hear. He has had more opportunities of seeing and hearing the true state of loyalty in the middle colonies, than elsewhere, and he most solemnly declares it to be his opinion, that a very great majority of the people there are at this time loyal, and would still do and suffer almost anything rather than remain under the tyranny of their present rulers. Let but the war be undertaken and conducted on some plan, and with some spirit; let but commanders be employed who will encourage their services, and leave them under no apprehensions of being deserted and betrayed; and then, if they do not exert themselves, and very effectually, let every advocate they have had, or may have, be reprobated as a feel or a knave, or both put together—and let the Americans continue to feel the worst punishment their worst anomies can wish them—nominal independency, but real slavery. Perhaps the honest indignation of the writer may have carried him too far; but, on such a subject, who, in his circumstances could speak coolly, and with any temper? That he speaks only what he really thinks, no man, who is acquainted with him will doubt; and if after all he is mistaken, he errs with mere and better opportunities of being right, than almost any other person has ever had. He has given the strongest proofs of his sincerity, he has sacrificed his all; and little as it may be thought by others, it was enough for him, and he was contented with it. He made this sacrifice, because he sincerely believed what he declares and professes. If the same were to do over again, he would again as cheerfully make the same sacrifice. He trusts therefore it will not be deemed presumptuous in him to say, that he cannot decently be contradicted in these matters by any man who has neither had such opportunities of informing his judgment, nor given such unequivocal proofs of his sincerity. The writer has certainly no bye-ends to serve; he is not an ambitious man nor avaricious. The profession of arms is foreign from the habits of one who has lived and wishes only to live in quiet under his own vine and his own fig tree; and he can truly say that if his Sovereign should be graciously pleased to confer on him the highest military honors, he would most gladly forego them all to be once more reinstated in his own farm, with his wife and children around him, as he was seven years ago. He has hitherto received but a very trifling compensation for his services and sufferings; and he seeks for no more than will free him from indigence and enable him more effectually to serve his country. In enlisting and paying men for public services, he has expended what was saved from the wreck of his own fortune to a considerable amount, and he was reduced to the necessity of borrowing from these whose better circumstances enabled them and whose generous spirits disposed them to hazard something in the cause of their country. This may be enthusiasm; be it so. Mr. Moody will net conceal his wish that the world abounded with such enthusiasts. Not his torture only but his constitution has been greatly impaired by the exertions he has made. His physicians recommend a sea-voyage, a change of air, and a respite of his fatigues and anxiety of mind, as the only remedies left him; and the late commander-in-chief, Sir Henry Clinton, was pleased to second their recommendation, by politely inviting him to England. He acknowledges with gratitude that their kind intentions with regard to his health have not been wholly frustrated. He trusts he will soon be able, and he would rejoice to be called by the service, to return to America. He would go with recruited spirits, and unabated ardor; for, rather than outlive the freedom of his country, it is his resolution, with King William of glorious memory, even to die in the last ditch. James Moody. Wardem Street, No. 97, Nov., 1782. APPENDIX. The following certificates, selected from a great number of others in the author's possession, are presumed to be sufficient to establish the truth of this narrative. No. I The events related in the following narrative are so very extraordinary, that many gentlemen who are unacquainted with the country, and with the several circumstances might doubt of the truth of them, I think it therefore a piece of justice due to the merit of Mr. Moody's services, to declare, that I believe this narrative to be a true account of his proceedings. Wm Franklin, Late Governor of New Jersey. No. II I do hereby certify, that Mr. James Moody came within the British lines in April 1777, and brought in with him upwards of 70 men, all of whom, except four, entered into my Brigade. That in June following he was sent into the rebel country for the purpose of enlisting men for his majesty's service, with orders to continue there until a favorable opportunity offered for him to disarm the rebels, and arm the loyalists, and with what men he could collect, to join the royal army but as he was prevented from putting that plan into execution by our army's taking a different route from what was expected. That Mr. Moody being thus disappointed assisted by two of his neighbors, soon altar embodied about a hundred men, with whom he attempted to rejoin the British army but was unsuccessful. That afterwards he made two successful excursions into the rebel country, and thought with him from Sussex county about 60 able-bodied recruits, nearly all of whom entered into my brigade; that after this time he made many trips into New Jersey and Pennsylvania, and brought in with him many good men and gained many articles of important intelligence concerning the movements of Gen. Butler, the real state of the rebel country, the situation and condition of the rebel armies under the command of their Generals Washington, Sullivan, &c. And that while Mr. Moody was under my immediate direction, he also destroyed a considerable magazine of stores near Black Point, taking prisoners two colonels, one major and several other officers, and broke open the Sussex county jail rescuing a number of loyalists that were imprisoned in it, one of whom was under sentence of death; besides performing many other important services. I do also certify that in the month of October 1777, the said Mr. Moody was mustered as an ensign but received no pay as such till April 1776; that he continued his exertions under my direction till 1780, about which time he was taken from the regiment which prevented his being appointed to a company in it, as it was in general believed the commander-in-chief intended doing something better for him; that I have every reason to believe Mr. Moody received from government to reward him for his extraordinary services, or so indemnify him for his extraordinary expenses till 1780; that from the time of his joining the army in April 1777 till his departure for Europe in May 1782, he did upon every occasion, exert himself with the utmost zeal in support of his majesty's cause in America, and one the whole, that I believe all that is related in his printed narrative to be true, without exaggeration. London, January 30th, 1783. Cortland Skinner, Brigr. General, &c. [To be concluded.]