Great Men and Famous Women. Vol. 6 A series of pen and pencil sketches of the lives of more than 200 of the most prominent personages in History

Anonymous Great Men and Famous Women. Vol. 6 A series of pen and pencil sketches of the lives of more than 200 of the most prominent personages in History
ISBN:
2000000001399
Мова:
англійська
Автор:
Anonymous
Видавництво:
Project Gutenberg
Рік видання:
2009 р.
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Some of Arnold's biographers have declared that he was a very vicious boy, and have chiefly illustrated this fact by painting him as a ruthless robber of birds'-nests. But a great many boys who began life by robbing birds'-nests have ended it much more creditably. The astonishing and interesting element in Benedict Arnold's career was what one might term the anomaly and incongruity of his treason. Born at Norwich, Conn., in 1741, he was blessed from his earliest years by wholesome parental influences. The education which he received was an excellent one, considering his colonial environment. Tales of his boyish pluck and hardihood cannot be disputed, while others that record his youthful cruelty are doubtless the coinings of slander. It is certain that in 1755, when the conflict known as "the old French war" first broke out, he gave marked proof of patriotism, though as yet the merest lad. Later, at the very beginning of the Revolution, he left his thriving business as a West India merchant in New Haven and headed a company of volunteers. Before the end of 1775 he had been made a commissioned colonel by the authorities of Massachusetts, and had marched through a sally-port, capturing the fortress of Ticonderoga, with tough old Ethan Allen at his side and 83 "Green Mountain Boys" behind him. Later, at the siege of Quebec, he behaved with splendid courage. Through great difficulties and hardships he dauntlessly led his band to the high-perched and almost impregnable town. Pages might be filled in telling how toilsome was this campaign, now requiring canoes and bateaux, now taxing the strength of its resolute little horde with rough rocks, delusive bogs and all those fiercest terrors of famine which lurk in a virgin wilderness. Bitter cold, unmerciful snow-falls, drift-clogged streams, pelting storms, were constant features of Arnold's intrepid march. When we realize the purely unselfish and disinterested motive of this march, which has justly been compared to that of Xenophon with his 10,000, and to the retreat of Napoleon from Moscow as well, we stand aghast at the possibility of its having been planned and executed by one who afterward became the basest of traitors.

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