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arms, had recently been induced by him to purchase an estate in his neighborhood in Berkeley County, with a view to making it his abode, having a moderate competency, a claim to land on the Ohio, and the half-pay of a British colonel. Both of these officers, disappointed in the British service, looked forward probably to greater success in the patriot cause.
Lee had been at Philadelphia since his visit to Boston, and had made himself acquainted with the leading members of Congress during the session. He was evidently cultivating an intimacy with every one likely to have influence in the approaching struggle.
To Washington the visits of these gentlemen were extremely welcome at this juncture, from their military knowledge and experience, especially as much of it had been acquired in America, in the same kind of warfare, if not the very same campaigns in which he himself had mingled. Both were interested in the popular Lee was full of plans for the organization and disciplining of the militia, and occasionally accompanied Washington in his attendance on provincial reviews. He was subsequently very efficient at Annapolis in promoting and superintending the organization of the Maryland militia.
It is doubtful whether the visits of Lee were as interesting to Mrs. Washington as to the general. He was whimsical, eccentric, and at times almost rude; negligent also, and slovenly in person and attire; for though he had occasionally associated with kings and princes, he had also campaigned with Mohawks and Cossacks, and seems to have relished their "good breeding." What was still more annoying in a well
regulated mansion, he was always followed by a legion of dogs, which shared his affections with his horses, and took their seats by him when at table. "I must have some object to embrace," said he misanthropically. "When I can be convinced that men are as worthy objects as dogs, I shall transfer my benevolence, and become as stanch a philanthropist as the canting Addison affected to be."*
In his passion for horses and dogs, Washington, to a certain degree, could sympathize with him, and had noble specimens of both in his stable and kennel, which Lee doubtless inspected with a learned eye. During the season in question, Washington, according to his diary, was occasionally in the saddle at an early hour following the fox-hounds. It was the last time for many a year that he was to gallop about his beloved hunting-grounds of Mount Vernon and Belvoir.
In the month of March the second Virginia Convention was held at Richmond. Washington attended as delegate from Fairfax County. In this assembly, Patrick Henry, with his usual ardor and eloquence, advocated measures for embodying, arming and disciplining a militia force, and providing for the defence of the colony. "It is useless," said he, "to address further petitions to government, or to await the effect of those already addressed to the throne. The time for supplication is past; the time for action is at hand. We must fight, Mr. Speaker," exclaimed he emphatically; "I repeat it, sir, we must fight! An appeal to arms, and to the God of Hosts, is all that is left us!"
Lee to Adams. Life and Works of Adams, ii., 414.
Washington joined him in the conviction, and was one of a committee that reported a plan for carrying those measures into effect. He was not an impulsive man to raise the battle cry, but the executive man to marshal the troops into the field, and carry on the war.
His brother, John Augustine, was raising and disciplining an independent company; Washington offered to accept the command of it, should occasion require it to be drawn out. He did the same with respect to an independent company at Richmond. "It is my full intention, if needful," writes he to his brother, "to devote my life and fortune to the cause.'
* Letter to John Augustine. Sparks, ii., 405.
INFATUATION IN BRITISH COUNCILS-COLONEL GRANT, THE BRAGGART— COERCIVE MEASURES-EXPEDITION AGAINST THE MILITARY MAGAZINE AT CONCORD-BATTLE OF LEXINGTON-THE ORY OF BLOOD THROUGH THE LAND-OLD SOLDIERS OF THE FRENCH WAR-JOHN STARKISRAEL PUTNAM-RISING OF THE YEOMANRY-MEASURES OF LORD DUNMORE IN VIRGINIA-INDIGNATION OF THE VIRGINIANS-HUGH MERCER AND THE FRIENDS OF LIBERTY-ARRIVAL OF THE NEWS OF LEXINGTON AT MOUNT VERNON-EFFECT ON BRYAN FAIRFAX, GATES, AND WASHINGTON.
WHILE the spirit of revolt was daily gaining strength and determination in America, a strange infatuation reigned in the British councils. While the wisdom and eloquence of Chatham were exerted in vain in behalf of American rights, an empty braggadocio, elevated to a seat in Parliament, was able to captivate the attention of the members, and influence their votes by gross misrepresentations of the Americans and their cause. This was no other than Colonel Grant, the same shallow soldier who, exceeding his instructions, had been guilty of a foolhardy bravado before the walls of Fort Duquesne, which brought slaughter and defeat upon his troops. From misleading the army, he was now promoted to a station where he might mislead the councils of his country. We are told that he entertained Par
liament, especially the ministerial side of the House, with ludicrous stories of the cowardice of Americans. He had served with them, he said, and knew them well, and would venture to say they would never dare to face an English army; that they were destitute of every requisite to make good soldiers, and that a very slight force would be sufficient for their complete reduction. With five regiments, he could march through all America!
How often has England been misled to her cost by such slanderous misrepresentations of the American character! Grant talked of having served with the Americans; had he already forgotten that in the field of Braddock's defeat, when the British regulars fled, it was alone the desperate stand of a handful of Virginians, which covered their disgraceful flight, and saved them from being overtaken and massacred by the savages ?
This taunting and braggart speech of Grant was made in the face of the conciliatory bill of the venerable Chatham, devised with a view to redress the wrongs of America. The counsels of the arrogant and scornful prevailed; and instead of the proposed bill, further measures of a stringent nature were adopted, coercive of some of the middle and southern colonies, but ruinous to the trade and fisheries of New England.
At length the bolt, so long suspended, fell! The troops at Boston had been augmented to about four thousand men. Goaded on by the instigations of the tories, and alarmed by the energetic measures of the whigs, General Gage now resolved to deal the latter a crippling blow. This was to surprise and destroy their