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provincial assembly of Philadelphia in the end of Ja. nuary passed a resolution for the encouragement of manufacturing gunpowder,
The assembly of New York, which met in the be: ginning of the year, differed indeed from the rest of the continent. After several debates upon the question concerning acceding to the general congȚess, it was rejected upon a division, but by a very small majority. About this time the friends of government, by instructions from Britain, formed a representation of grievances, which they proposed to lay before the king and parliament; in țhis they were encouraged by, che lieutenant-governor, imagiding that as they had refused to join the general congress, that their reprez sentation and petition would meet with acceptance ; but this petition and representation was as ineffectual as many others.
The new provincial congress of Massachusett's-Bay assembled upon the ist of February at Cambridge, and pursued the same plan that had been marked oui fos them by their predecessors. Among other resolutions they published one to inform the people, that from the present disposition of the British ministry and parliament, there was real cause to fear that the reasonable and just application of that continent to Great Britain for peace, liberty, and safety, would not meet with a favourable reception ; but on the contrary, from the large reinforcement of troops, expected in that colony, the general appearance, and tenor of intelligence from Great Britain, they had reason to apprehend that the sudden destruction of that colony was intended, for refusing with the other American colonies, tamely to submit to what they termed, the most ignominious slavery. They therefore urged in the strongtít manner, the militia in general, and the
minuta men in particular, to spare neither time, pains, nor expence, at so critical a juncture, in perfecting themselves in military discipline. They paffed other resolutions for the providing and making of fire arms and bayonets, and renewed more strictly the prohibiţion of the former congress, concerning not supplying the troops at Boston with any of those neceffaries which are peculiarly requisite for the military service: The markers of Boston being still open for the supply of provisions. The distinction that is here made between the militia and the minute men may perhaps not be understood by some. The meaning of this diftinétion is, thar a select body of the militia were engaged to hold themselves ready upon all occafions, and at the shortest notice, for actual service. That is, according 10 the phrase, to be ready at a minute's warning: On this account they are stiled minutemen; and they have thewn, by their readiness and activity since, the propriety of their name.
The meetings of the general congress, and the cona ventions of particular provinces, were a dreadful eyefore to the government. The secretary of state for the American department, issued a circular letter, for, bidding, in the king's name, and under the pain of hisdispleasure, the election of deputies for the ensuing general congress ; but this letter produced no effect. The ele&tions took place every where, and even in the province of New York, notwithstanding their late promising proceedings. Matters continued very quiet at Boston, which happened on account of the injunctions of the general congress, more than from the ships of war that crowded the harbour, or the force that was stationed in the town. The calin was, however, precarious and fiétitious. Abundance of fuel had been gathered on both fides, fufficiently
prepared to kindle with the smallest spark; more was preparing, and the least touch was likely to kindle a general conflagration. Upon the 26th of February, General Gage sent a detachment of troops, under the command of a field officer, to seize some brass can. non he had been informed were deposited in the town of Salem. These failed a board a transport to Marblehead, which lies four miles south of Salem, and about fourteen miles from the town of Boston; from thence they marched to Salem, where they found
cannon. They were, however, fufpicious that they had been carried away that morning in consequence of the report of their approach, and from this apprehension marched farther into the country, in hopes of overtaking them. In this pursuit they arrivedat a draw-bridge over a small river, where a number of the country people were assembled, and those on the opposite side had taken up the bridge to prevent their passage. The commanding officer ordered the bridge to be let down, which the people peremptorily refused to do, saying, that it was a private road, and he had no authority to demand a passage that way; for both sides still professed to keep the public peace, though war was in their hearts, and till the sword was drawn all resistance was carried on upon legal grounds and pretences. If this was actually a private road, the soldiers had no right to commit a tresspass from a pretence of seeking cannon, where they were not likely to find any, and they people had an undoubted right to dispute the passage with the military as they were off the king's highway, and not travelling: in the common road where such travellers were wont to pass. The officer, who feems to have considered himself in an enemy's country, and not in a country where he was amenable to the laws, was determined to force his passage, and perceiving a boat near at hand,
determined to make use of it to gain the possession of the bridge. But the country people perceiving his design, several of them jumped into it, and with axes cut holes in its bottom, which occasioned a scuffle between them and the soldiers in and about the boat. Things were now tending to extremities, as the commander seemed determined to force his passage, and the others were as resolutely bent to prevent it. In this situation were matters, when a clergyman in the neighbourhood, who had attended the whole transaction, remonstrated with the officer, who was a lieutena ant colonel, upon the faral consequences that would insue, provided he made use of force; and finding that the officer stood upon a point of honour in making good his passage, more than any other thing, for it was then too late to go in search of the
persuaded the people to let down the bridge, which the troops took poffeffion of.
The colonel having sent a detachment a short way into the country, in exercise of his right which he assumed, they immediately returned, without molestation, on board the transport. Thus ended this first expedition, without producing any material effect, and without much mischief. But it now appeared how smalla matter would have produced hofti. lities, and in what a precarious situation the peace of the empire now was; and thatthe least exertion of the military would certainly bring inatters to an extremity. There was one thing which greatly exafperated the colonists, and that was, the act for taking away their charters, and for protecting the military from any trial in the province; this made them consider themselves as under a military government. Every motion of the military body became suspected, and in the eyes of the people was considered as an exertion of the most hateful and odious tyranny. This appearance of resistance greatoffended and irritated the military, who, from this
time, appear to have lived upon worse terms with tlie people of Boston, than they had done before. Med who have been bred to the profeffion of arms, and consider all inferiors merely under the command of their superiors, and bound to obey them without asking or giving any other reason of their doing so, than that they are commanded, consider all opposition to their will and pleasure as the most heinous transgreffion. It becomes natural to them to rule over all whom they have power, according to the military law, for whichi reason they become very disagreeable neighbours to all those who have just ideas of liberiy, and pursue the rights of human nature: The British soldiery imagining; as indeed was the case, that they were sent to Boston to rule the town, and act towards the people as rebels to the king, began to insult the inhabitants, and to behave as in an enemy's country. Several of their outrages were now complained of, and all things feemed to tend to a general rupture. The crisis fast approached when all leffer calam ties were to be for gotten; in a general contemplation of those of a greata er and more serious nature.
The provincials having collected a considerable quantity of military stores at the town of Concord; where the provincial congress was fitting; General Gage considered it as expedient to detach a party of the troops to destroy them. Lieutenant Colonel Smith, and Major Pitcairn, with the grenadiers and light in: fantry of the army, were detached for that purpose: It was confidently reported and believed at that time, that this military appointment had another object in view, and that the intention tliereof principally was; to seize Messrs. Hancock and Adams, these great obpoxious leaders of what was called the faction, whichi was against the new form of government. This de: