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into execution"-a proof, by the way, under his own hand, that he could laugh occasionally; and even when surrounded by perplexities.

According to Lee's account, the New Yorkers showed a wonderful alacrity in removing the cannon. "Men and boys of all ages," writes he, "worked with the greatest zeal and pleasure. I really believe the generality are as well-affected. as any on the continent." Some of the well-affected, however, thought he was rather too self-willed and high-handed. "Though General Lee has many things to recommend him as a general," writes one of them, "yet I think he was out of luck when he ordered the removal of the guns from the battery; as it was without the approbation or knowledge of our Congress." *-Lee seldom waited for the approbation of Congress in moments of exigency.

He now proceeded with his plan of defenses. A strong redoubt, capable of holding three hundred men, was commenced at Horen's Hook, commanding the pass at Hell Gate, so as to block up from the enemy's ships the passage between the mainland and Long Island. A regiment was. stationed on the island, making fascines and preparing other materials for constructing the works for an intrenched camp, which Lee hoped would render it impossible for the enemy to get a footing there. "What to do with this city," writes he, "I own, puzzles me. It is so encircled with deep navigable water that whoever commands the sea must command the town. To-morrow I shall begin to dismantle that part of the fort next to the town, to prevent its being converted into a citadel. I shall barrier the principal streets, and, at least, if I cannot make it a Continental garrison, it shall be a dis

* Fred. Rhinelander to Peter Van Schaack.

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putable field of battle." Batteries were to be erected on an eminence behind Trinity Church, to keep the enemy's ships at so great a distance as not to injure the town.

King's Bridge, at the upper end of Manhattan or New York Island, linking it with the mainland, was pronounced by Lee "a most important pass, without which the city could have no communication with Connecticut." It was, therefore, to be made as strong as possible.

Heavy cannon were to be sent up to the forts in the Highlands; which were to be enlarged and strengthened.

In the midst of his schemes, Lee received orders from Congress to the command in Canada, vacant by the death of Montgomery. He bewailed the defenseless condition of the city; the Continental Congress, as he said, not having, as yet, taken the least step for its security. "The instant I leave it," said he, "I conclude the Provincial Congress, and inhabitants in general, will relapse into their former hysterics. The men-of-war and Mr. Tryon will return to their old station at the wharfs, and the first regiments who arrive from England will take quiet possession of the town and Long Island."

It must be observed that, in consequence of his military demonstrations in the city, the enemy's ships had drawn off and dropped down the bay; and he had taken vigorous measures, without consulting the committees, to put an end to the practice of supplying them with provisions.

"Governor Tryon and the 'Asia,'" writes he to Washington, "continue between Nutten and Bedlow's Islands. It has pleased his Excellency, in violation of the compact he has made, to seize several vessels from Jersey laden with flour. It has, in return, pleased my Excellency to stop all provisions from the city, and cut off all intercourse with him

-a measure which has thrown the mayor, council and tories into agonies. The propensity, or rather rage, for paying court to this great man is inconceivable. They cannot be weaned from him. We must put wormwood on his paps, or they will cry to suck, as they are in their second childhood."

We would observe, in explanation of a sarcasm in the above quoted letter, that Lee professed a great contempt for the titles of respect which it was the custom to prefix to the names of men in office or command. He scoffed at them, as unworthy of "a great, free, manly, equal commonwealth." "For my own part," said he, "I would as lief they would put ratsbane in my mouth as the Excellency with which I am daily crammed. How much more true dignity was there in the simplicity of address among the Romans: Marcus Tullius Cicero, Decius Bruto Imperatori, or Caio Marcello Consuli, than to 'His Excellency Major-general Noodle,' or to the 'Honorable John Doodle.'"


Monotonous State of Affairs before Boston-Washington anxious for Action-Exploit of Putnam-Its Dramatic ConsequencesThe Farce of the Blockade of Boston-An Alarming Interruption-Distresses of the Besieged-Washington's Irksome Predicament-His Bold Proposition—Demur of the Council of War -Arrival of Knox with Artillery-Dorchester Heights to be Seized and Fortified-Preparations for the Attempt

THE siege of Boston continued through the winter, without any striking incident to enliven its monotony. The British remained within their works, leaving the beleaguering army slowly to augment its forces. The country was dissatisfied with the inaction of the latter. Even Congress was

anxious for some successful blow that might revive popular enthusiasm. Washington shared this anxiety, and had repeatedly, in councils of war, suggested an attack upon the town, but had found a majority of his general officers opposed to it. He had hoped some favorable opportunity would present, when, the harbor being frozen, the troops might approach the town upon the ice. The winter, however, though severe at first, proved a mild one, and the bay continued open. General Putnam, in the meantime, having completed the new works at Lechmere Point, and being desirous of keeping up the spirit of his men, resolved to treat them to an exploit. Accordingly, from his "impregnable fortress" of Cobble Hill, he detached a party of about two hundred, under his favorite officer, Major Knowlton, to surprise and capture a British guard stationed at Charlestown. It was a daring enterprise, and executed with spirit. As Charlestown Neck was completely protected, Knowlton led his men across the milldam, round the base of the hill, and immediately below the fort; set fire to the guard-house and some buildings in its vicinity; made several prisoners, and retired without loss; although thundered upon by the cannon of the fort. The exploit was attended by a dramatic effect on which Putnam had not calculated. The British officers, early in the winter, had fitted up a theater, which was well attended by the troops and tories. On the evening in question, an afterpiece was to be performed, entitled "The Blockade of Boston," intended as a burlesque on the patriot army which was beleaguering it. Washington is said to have been represented in it as an awkward lout, equipped with a huge wig and a long rusty sword, attended by a country booby as orderly sergeant, in rustic garb, with an old firelock seven or eight feet long.

The theater was crowded, especially by the military. The first piece was over and the curtain was rising for the farce, when a sergeant made his appearance and announced that "the alarm guns were firing at Charlestown, and the Yankees attacking Bunker's Hill." At first this was supposed to be a part of the entertainment, until General Howe gave the word, "Officers, to your alarm posts.'

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Great confusion ensued; every one scrambled out of the theater as fast as possible. There was, as usual, some shrieking and fainting of ladies; and the farce of "The Blockade of Boston" had a more serious than comic termination.

The London "Chronicle," in a sneering comment on Boston affairs, gave Burgoyne as the author of this burlesque afterpiece, though perhaps unjustly. "General Burgoyne has opened a theatrical campaign, of which himself is sole manager, being determined to act with the Provincials on the defensive only. Tom Thumb has been already represented; while, on the other hand, the Provincials are preparing to exhibit early in the spring, 'Measure for Measure.""

The British officers, like all soldiers by profession, endeavored to while away the time by every amusement within their reach; but, in truth, the condition of the besieged town was daily becoming more and more distressing. The inhabitants were without flour, pulse or vegetables; the troops were nearly as destitute. There was a lack of fuel, too, as well as food. The small-pox broke out, and it was necessary to inoculate the army. Men, women and children either left the city voluntarily, or were sent out of it; yet the distress increased. Several houses were broken open and plundered; others were demolished by the soldiery for fuel. General Howe resorted to the sternest measures to put a stop to these excesses. The provost was ordered to go the rounds with

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