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tranquillity, upon constitutional grounds, may be restored, and the horrors of civil discord prevented." 1
This letter we have considered especially worthy of citation, from its being so full and explicit a declaration of Washington's sentiments and opinions at this critical juncture. His views on the question of independence are particularly noteworthy, from his being at this time in daily and confidential communication with the leaders of the popular movement, and among them with the delegates from Boston. It is evident that the filial feeling still throbbed toward the mother country, and a complete separation from her had not yet entered into the alternatives of her colonial children.
On the breaking up of Congress, Washington hastened back to Mount Vernon, where his presence was more than usually important to the happiness of Mrs. Washington, from the loneliness caused by the recent death of her daughter, and the absence of her son. The cheerfulness of the neighborhood had been diminished of late by the departure of George William Fairfax for England, to take possession of estates which had devolved to him in that kingdom. His estate of Belvoir, so closely allied with that of Mount Vernon by family ties and reciprocal hospitality, was left in charge of a steward, or overseer. Through some accident the house took fire, and was burned to the ground. It was never rebuilt. The course of political events which swept Washington from his quiet home into the current of public and military life, prevented William Fairfax, who was a royalist, though a liberal one, from returning to his once happy abode, and the hospitable intercommunion of Mount Vernon and Belvoir was at an end forever.
I Sparks. Washington's Writings, vol. ii., p. 899.
GAGE'S MILITARY MEASURES REMOVAL OF GUNPOWDER FROM THE ARSENAL- PUBLIC AGITATION ALARMS IN THE COUNTRY CIVIL GOVERNMENT OBSTRUCTED BELLIGERENT SYMPTOMS -ISRAEL PUTNAM AND GENERAL CHARLES LEE, THEIR CHARAC TERS AND STORIES GENERAL ELECTION SELF-CONSTITUTED CONGRESS HANCOCK PRESIDENT ADJOURNS TO CONCORD REMONSTRANCE TO GAGE-HIS PERPLEXITIES GENERALS AR TEMAS WARD AND SETH POMEROY — COMMITTEE OF SAFETY — COMMITTEE OF SUPPLIES RESTLESSNESS THROUGHOUT THE LAND INDEPENDENT COMPANIES IN VIRGINIA MILITARY TONE AT MOUNT VERNON- WASHINGTON'S MILITARY GUESTS -MAJOR HORATIO GATES ANECDOTES CONCERNING HIM GENERAL CHARLES LEE HIS PECULIARITIES AND DOGS WASHINGTON AT THE RICHMOND CONVENTION — WAR SPEECH OF PATRICK HENRY - WASHINGTON'S MILITARY INTENTIONS.
THE rumor of the cannonading of Boston, which had thrown such a gloom over the religious ceremonial at the opening of Congress, had been caused by measures of Governor Gage. The public mind, in Boston and its vicinity, had been rendered excessively jealous and sensitive by the landing and encamping of artillery upon the Common, and Welsh Fusiliers on Fort Hill, and by the planting of four large field-pieces on Boston Neck, the only entrance to the town by land. The country people were arming and disciplining themselves in every direction, and collecting and depositing arms and ammunition in places where they would be at hand in case of emergency. Gage, on the other hand, issued orders that the munitions of war in all the public magazines should be brought to Boston. One of these magazines was the arsenal in the north-west part of Charlestown, between Medford and Cambridge. Two companies of the king's troops passed silently in boats up Mystic River in the night; took possession of a large quantity of gunpowder deposited there, and conveyed it to Castle Williams. Intelligence of this sacking of the arsenal flew with lightning speed through the neighborhood. In the morning several thousands of patriots were assembled at Cambridge, weapon in hand, and were with difficulty prevented from marching upon Boston to compel a restitution of the powder. In the confusion and agitation, a rumor stole out into the country that Boston was to be
attacked; followed by another that the ships were cannonading the town, and the soldiers shooting down the inhabitants. The whole country was forthwith in arms. Numerous bodies of the Connecticut people had made some marches before the report was contradicted.1
To guard against any irruption from the country, Gage encamped the 59th regiment on Boston Neck, and employed the soldiers in intrenching and fortifying it.
In the mean time the belligerent feelings of the inhabitants were encouraged, by learning how the rumor of their being cannonaded had been received in the General Congress, and by assurances from all parts that the cause of Boston would be made the common cause of America. "It is surprising," writes General Gage, "that so many of the other provinces interest themselves so much in this. They have some warm friends in New York, and I learn that the people of Charleston, South Carolina, are as mad as they are here."2
The commissions were arrived for those civil officers appointed by the crown under the new modifications of the charter: many, however, were afraid to accept of them. Those who did soon resigned, finding it impossible to withstand the odium of the people. The civil government throughout the province became obstructed in all its operations. It was enough for a man to be supposed of the governmental party to incur popular ill-will. Among other portentous signs, war-hawks began to appear above the horizon. Mrs. Cushing, wife to a member of Congress, writes to her husband, "Two of the greatest military characters of the day are visiting this distressed town. General Charles Lee, who has served in Poland, and Colonel Israel Putnam, whose bravery and character need no description." As these two men will take a prominent part in coming events, we pause to give a word or two concerning them.
Israel Putnam was a soldier of native growth; one of the military productions of the French war; seasoned and proved in frontier campaigning. He had served at Louisburg, Fort Duquesne, and Crown Point; had signalized himself in Indian warfare; been captured by the savages, tied to a stake to be tortured and burned, and had only been rescued by the interference, at the eleventh hour, of a French partisan of the Indians.
Since the peace, he had returned to agricultural life, and was now a farmer at Pomfret, in Connecticut, where the scars of his
1 Holmes's Annals, ii., 191.-Letter of Gage to Lord Dartmouth.
wounds and the tales of his exploits rendered him a hero in popular estimation. The war spirit yet burned within him. He was now chairman of a committee of vigilance, and had come to Boston in discharge of his political and semi-belligerent functions.
General Charles Lee was a military man of a different stamp; an Englishman by birth, and a highly cultivated production of European warfare. He was the son of a British officer, Lieutenant-Colonel John Lee, of the dragoons, who married the daughter of Sir Henry Bunbury, Bart., and afterward rose to be a general. Lee was born in 1731, and may almost be said to have been cradled in the army, for he received a commission by the time he was eleven years of age. He had an irregular education; part of the time in England, part on the continent, and must have scrambled his way into knowledge; yet by aptness, diligence and ambition, he had acquired a considerable portion, being a Greek and Latin scholar, and acquainted with modern languages. The art of war was his especial study from his boyhood, and he had early opportunities of practical experience. At the age of twenty-four, he commanded a company of grenadiers in the 44th regiment, and served in the French war in America, where he was brought into military companionship with Sir William Johnson's Mohawk warriors, whom he used to extol for their manly beauty, their dress, their graceful carriage and good breeding. In fact, he rendered himself so much of a favorite among them, that they admitted him to smoke in their councils, and adopted him into the tribe of the Bear, giving him an Indian name, signifying "Boiling Water.”
At the battle of Ticonderoga, where Abercrombie was defeated, he was shot through the body, while leading his men against the French breastworks. In the next campaign, he was present at the siege of Fort Niagara, where General Prideaux fell, and where Sir William Johnson, with his British troops and Mohawk warriors, eventually won the fortress. Lee had, probably, an opportunity on this occasion of fighting side by side with some of his adopted brethren of the Bear tribe, as we are told he was much exposed during the engagement with the French and Indians, and that two balls grazed his hair. A military errand, afterward, took him across Lake Erie, and down the northern branch of the Ohio to Fort Duquesne, and thence by a long march of seven hundred miles to Crown Point, where he joined General Amherst. In 1760, he was among the forces which followed that general from Lake Ontario down the St. Lawrence; and was present at the surrender of Montreal, which completed the conquest of Canada.
In 1762, he bore a colonel's commission, and served under Brigadier-General Burgoyne in Portugal, where he was intrusted with an enterprise against a Spanish post at the old Moorish castle of Villa Velha, on the banks of the Tagus. He forded the river in the night, pushed his way through mountain passes, and at 2 o'clock in the morning, rushed with his grenadiers into the enemy's camp before daylight, where every thing was carried at the point of the bayonet, assisted by a charge of dragoons. The war over, he returned to England, bearing testimonials of bravery and good conduct from his commander-in-chief, the Count de la Lippe, and from the king of Portugal.1
Wielding the pen as well as the sword, Lee undertook to write on questions of colonial policy, relative to Pontiac's war, in which he took the opposition side. This lost him the favor of the ministry, and with it all hope of further promotion.
He now determined to offer his services to Poland, supposed to be on the verge of a war. Recommendations from his old commander, the Count de la Lippe, procured him access to some of the continental courts. He was well received by Frederick the Great, and had several conversations with him, chiefly on American affairs. At Warsaw, his military reputation secured him the favor of Poniatowsky, recently elected king of Poland, with the name of Stanislaus Augustus, who admitted him to his table, and made him one of his aides-de-camp. Lee was disappointed in his hope of active service. There was agitation in the country, but the power of the king was not adequate to raise forces sufficient for its suppression. He had few troops, and those not trustworthy; and the town was full of the disaffected. "We have frequent alarms," said Lee, "and the pleasure of sleeping every night with our pistols on our pillows."
By way of relieving his restlessness, Lee, at the suggestion of the king, set off to accompany the Polish ambassador to Constantinople. The latter travelled too slow for him; so he dashed ahead when on the frontiers of Turkey, with an escort of the grand seignior's treasure; came near perishing with cold and hunger among the Bulgarian mountains, and after his arrival at the Turkish capital, ran a risk of being buried under the ruins of his house in an earthquake.
Late in the same year (1766), he was again in England, an applicant for military appointment, bearing a letter from king Stanislaus to king George. His meddling pen is supposed
1 Life of Charles Lee, by Jared Sparks. Also, Memoirs of Charles Lee; published in London, 1792.