hard-fighting boors, but with their sordid and contemptible masters.
With the near approach of this great army the Tories began plotting; and most rigorous measures were taken to stamp out these plots. For some reason the lower class of liquor sellers were mostly Tories, and many of the plots were found to have their origin among them or their customers. The Loyalist gentry had for the most part fled to the British lines. Those who remained behindincluding both the mayor and ex-mayor of the citywere forced to take a stringent oath of allegiance to the Continental Congress and the new nation. The Tory plots were not mythical; one was unearthed which aimed at nothing less than the abducting or killing of Washington,the ringleader, Thomas Hickey, an Irish soldier who had deserted from the royal army, being hanged for his villainy.
Washington saw the hopelessness of trying to defend New York with the materials he had, against such a force as was coming against it; and it was proposed to burn the town and retire so that the kings troops might gain nothing by the capture. This was undoubtedly the proper course to follow, from a purely military standpoint; but the political objections to its adoption were insuperable. Washington labored unceasingly at the almost hopeless task of perfecting the