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  • Blackstone Chase

    • Home State: New York Age at Creation: 49 Previous Occupation: Politics/Law Hometown: (Choose one) Traits: Soldier

    Blackstone Chase (1750-Present)

    (Avatar: William Stephens Smith)

    Career Highlights History:
    Lawyer (1770-1775, 1780-Present)
    Businessman, Chase and Sons (1768-1775, 1780-Present)
    New York Committee of Correspondence (1772-1775)
    Captain, Continental Army (1775-1778)
    Lieutenant Colonel, Continental Army (1778-1780)
    New York State Assembly (1780-1789)
    New York Attorney General (1787-1789)
    United States House of Representatives (1789-present)

    Significant Battles:
    Battle of Quebec - Captain
    White Plains - Captain
    Trenton – Lieutenant Colonel
    Fort Stanwix/Oriskany – Lieutenant Colonel
    Chemung – Lieutenant Colonel
    Newtown – Lieutenant Colonel

    Blackstone Chase was born in New York City to Titan Leeds Chase, Sr., a successful New York merchant and publisher, and his first wife, Elizabeth Blackstone, the sole heir to a Waterford-based land speculator. Blackstone was the first of seventeen children (eleven living to adulthood) of Titan Chase and one of the eight through his first marriage, and received an education that was consistent with all later members of the family: extensive private tutoring in the home followed by attendance at King’s College (now Columbia University).

    As a child and into his present adulthood, Blackstone divided his time between a family townhome in New York City and a family estate in Waterford. His father, being prominent in both communities, regularly hosted prominent members of the Mohawk Nation as an importer and sometime-negotiator. In the aftermath of the French and Indian War, Blackstone’s father hosted several Mohawk leaders at his home, including future chieftain Joseph Brant. This marked the first, but not last, meeting between Brant and Blackstone. When Brant was proposed as the first native student at King’s College, Blackstone was one of the many students to petition (unsuccessfully) in favor of Brant’s attendance and the two maintained an active, if perfunctory, correspondence during this period.

    In 1768, Blackstone matriculated from King’s College and for two years dedicated himself to employment at his father’s importation firm, but by 1770 split his duties between the firm and his own private law practice. That same year, he married Esther Verplanck, who hailed from one of the oldest Dutch families in New York.

    Relatively young and still attending school during the dispute over the Stamp Act, Blackstone’s first brush with Revolutionary politics came in 1768 with the occupation of Boston by British troops. Like many others in the colonies, Blackstone bristled under the occupation. After the Boston Massacre in 1770, his activities increased and he joined a committee of correspondence in 1772. In April of 1775, as news of the battles of Lexington and Concord reached New York City, Blackstone joined the New York militia and participated in a number of early skirmishes against the British and Native allies. In June, with the creation of the Continental Army, Blackstone transitioned to the New York Department.

    Blackstone Chase’s military service was fraught with difficulties, largely due to the actions of his commanding officers. A member of the Third New York Regiment, Blackstone was appointed as a captain due to his militia experience and, most likely, his social status and personal wealth. On December 1, 1775, Blackstone and three hundred men assembled from the New York Regiments arrived in Quebec under the command of Richard Montgomery to reinforce Benedict Arnold at the siege of Quebec – they entered a tense situation as the enlistment for many of the men of the Regiment was about to expire and, despite Montgomery’s attempt to maintain order, they faced a number of desertions as the month wore on. On December 30, Montgomery ordered an assault of the city under the cover of a snowstorm and, despite believing that the assault was coming more from a place of desperation than sound tactical decision-making, Blackstone participated in Montgomery’s assault on the Quebec blockhouse, the maneuver that resulted in the death of Montgomery and many of the senior commanding officers – ordered to withdraw by the only remaining senior officer, Chase and his men abandoned Montgomery’s body and withdrew. After entering siege camp at the Plains of Abraham,  Blackstone and the rest of the American force was ordered to withdraw – in the ensuing withdrawal, Blackstone participated in several rearguard defenses orchestrated by Arnold that allowed the Americans to withdraw without suffering heavy casualties.

    Following the withdrawal from Canada, the Third New York Regiment was stationed in upstate New York to address possible incursions from Canada but was then pulled back towards New York City following Washington’s withdrawal. Reunited with the main body of the Continental Army, Chase would have his second chance for direct action the Battle of White Plains. Arriving to an ongoing battle, the Third New York  Regiment helped slow the British advance until Blackstone’s commanding officer Rudolphus Ritzema defected to the British Army, sowing confusion among the Third as they were simultaneously exposed to heavy fire by Washington’s retreat. Although enraged by the operation, Blackstone was noted for his courage in the chaos that followed and his attempts to keep order in the unit as the battle raged around them, and received a brevet promotion to Lieutenant Colonel under the new commander, the Prussian expatriate officer Baron de Weissenfels. This was also a definitive moment in Blackstone’s ultimate political development, as he became skeptical (along with many other officers at the time) of Washington’s decision-making over the exposure of his Regiment and the abandonment of American soldiers left in New York, and not for the last time. Blackstone was never implicated in any published or voiced criticism of Washington’s command, but one of his subordinates would later describe his displeasure in the aftermath of White Plains as palpable. As part of the withdrawal into New Jersey, Blackstone participated in a series of holding actions akin to what had happened in Canada, and then in the American counter-attack at Trenton.

    Following the end of winter camp, Washington sent some of his forces into upstate New York to provide support to Horatio Gates. Once again under the command of Benedict Arnold, The Third New York Regiment and Blackstone Chase marched north, this time encamping not far from the Chase family residence at Waterford. The Third New York Regiment would subsequently be assigned to the newly constructed Fort Schuyler, over the ruins of the old Fort Stanwix. From there, Chase engaged in a number of small skirmishes with British columns as well as the Onondaga, while also acting as a negotiator as the American forces negotiated alliances with other Iroquois tribes. On August 6, 1777, an American relief regiment was ambushed near the village of Oriskaney a combined force of British soldiers and Blackstone’s old acquaintance Joseph Brant – while the British carried the battle, intervention from the Fort Schuyler garrison saved the majority of the unit and pillaged the British supply train, assisting in the eventual surrender at Ticonderoga.* Chase then entered winter camp with the rest of the American forces at Morristown, New Jersey, where he was briefly reunited with one of his brothers** who was serving in the now-fled New York government.

    In 1779, Blackstone and the Third New York Regiment accompanied Generals James Clinton and John Sullivan on what would become known as the Sullivan Expedition, an effort to suppress the efforts of Blackstone’s long-time acquaintance and now Iroquois war chief, Joseph Brant. Under Clinton’s command, Blackstone first engaged Iroquois-allied Delaware warriors at the Battle of Chemung – the aftermath of the battle would mark Blackstone’s first contentious moment with Clinton, as he objected to the pillaging and burning of New Chemung (a position which won him few friends, given that Clinton and Sullivan were acting under direct orders from General Washington to savage the natives). At the following battle of Newtown, Blackstone participated in the final defeat of Joseph Brant and the British-allied Iroquois, and made additional complaints against the destruction of the Iroquois communities.

    Following this, Blackstone made the decision to depart from the army by joining the decision-making side of the war, believing that he would be better positioned to pursue his vision of how the war (and the peace) would be won. Writing letters to a number of friends, contacts, and family members in New York, as well as producing more than a few editorials under his own name, Chase secured election in 1780 to the New York State Assembly, ending his military career and starting his political ascent.

    Blackstone was elected to subsequent terms in the State Assembly, serving from 1780 to 1787 along with his brother, with Blackstone running from his family townhome in Manhattan.  He developed a reputation for being an ally to the more radical faction in state politics, affiliating with Aaron Burr and Gouverneur Morris, as well as an on-again off-again ally for Governor George Clinton depending on the issue in question. Blackstone made a name for himself as one of the few members of the State Assembly to actively support separation for the Vermont Republic (although he conditioned it on the idea that they remain united with the Colonies), calling the unwillingness of the Clinton administration to accept popular opinion in Vermont as tantamount to betraying the Revolution, as well as advocating for peaceful relations and continued negotiations with the Iroquois (something likely coming from his participation in the Sullivan Expedition). In total, Blackstone has largely embraced the new style of mass politics that has been developing in New York under Burr and Clinton – direct appeals to the public through speeches and newspaper, with little interest in the feigned indifference and supposed aristocracy of his political rivals.

    Starting in 1781, Blackstone joined in the successful legislative effort to free enslaved Africans who had worked on behalf of the Revolution and, in 1785, he became one of the founding thirty-two members*** of the New York Manumission Society. He joined other members of the radical faction (and some proto-federalist allies) in two unsuccessful attempts to abolish slavery within New York in 1784 and 1785. In 1787, Blackstone was appointed as the New York Attorney General by the Council of Appointment, a position he held concurrently with his position in the Assembly.

    During the debate over the Constitution, Blackstone assumed a moderate position while attacking both the enemies and proponents of ratification. While calling for the creation of a federal government, Blackstone attacked the Constitution as offered on the grounds that it worked to elevate the position a certain unnamed New York politician and financier***** who had so far failed to find meaningful success when dealing with New York’s electorate and other self-proclaimed aristocrats and had certain anti-republican traits. At the same time, Blackstone was willing to support the document because of the amendment process and chaffed under the arguments of those who called for conditional or temporary ratification. With the ratification of the Constitution, Blackstone was subsequently elected to serve in the First Congress of the United States of America and has expressed an intention to force a reform of the document.

    In his private life, Blackstone Chase has remain active as a lawyer and businessman, a budding philanthropist, and a regular contributor to the newspaper maintained as part of his family’s holdings. With his wife Esther, Blackstone has five children between the ages of six and nineteen.

    *In real life, this event is why the Third New York regiment flag became the state flag/state coat of arms of New York
    **This will be a multi
    ***In real life, thirty-one
    ****You know who

    - Given his significant private education and later attendance at King’s College, Blackstone is fluent in both French and Latin; his childhood and war-time experience with the Iroquois (as ally and enemy) has led to him developing some fluency in Mohawk and Oneida, and he has a smattering of German due to his time under de Weissenfels.
    - During the furor over the Conway Cabal, Blackstone was challenged to two duels by his fellow officers who felt his defense of Washington was insufficient – while privately skeptical of Washington following White Plains, Blackstone had never voiced this criticism and chaffed under the accusations that Gates was unfit for command. Chase accepted both duels, though only one ended in a fatality, and has since expressed a strong distaste for dueling and voted for its illegalization in New York.
    - Chase has as of game start published three lengthy pamphlets: an abbreviated history of the Third New York Regiment, a primer on the languages of the Iroquois (which later ethnographers/linguists will find to be flawed due to Blackstone’s limited fluency in only two of the six languages they speak), and a (much better received) primer on Iroquois political structures. This is in addition to a number of pamphlets and articles related to contemporary New York politics.





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