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guilty threatened with death, if detected in that or firing a house. March 14.] The streets were barricaded in different parts of the town, and dispositions made, as though the troops would soon take there departure. Stores &c. were plundered by sailors from the ships of war, led by their officers under pretence of orders from the admiral [March 15.] Proclamation was made by the crier for every inhabitants to keep to his house from eleven o'clock in the morning till night, lest they should ennoy the troops in their intended embarkation; but the wind coming about to east, they mostly returned to their barracks again.-[March 16.] The troops waiting only for a fair wind to embark, had little else to study but mischief, which they practised to a great degree, by breaking open stores and tossing the contents, being private proverty, into the dock; destroying the furniture of every house they could get into, and otherwise committing every kind of wantonness, which disappointed malice could suggest.
[March 17.] A breast work was discovered, to be thrown up by the Americans at Nook's Hill on Dorchester peninsula, which from its proximity, had an entire command of Boston Neck and the south end of the town-a work which the king's troops had most fearfully dreaded. In consequence of it, they began to embark at four o'clock in the morning, and were all on board and under sail before ten.* When it was certain that they were quite gone, search was made, for fear of what might be, and fires were discovered in several houses so circumstanced as to intimate a design of setting them on fire, which was happily frustrated. Nothing but prevailing prejudice will impute such design to any other than some unprincipled privates: though an officer of rank was strongly suspected of having plundered under an offcial character, and of having connived at the rascally conduct of smaller villains. What so hastened the British upon a sight of the works at Nook's Hill, was probably an apprehension, that the Americans would possess themselves of Noddle's Island, and by erecting batteries at both places, enclose the harbor with the fire of their cannon. When the king's troops withdrew from Charlestown, they left centries standing as usual with their firelocks shouldered; but it was soon suspected what regiment they belonged to, and that they were only effigies set there by the flying enemy. It appears by one of the orderly books which was left behind, that their force was 7575, exclusive of the staff; so that with the marines and sailors, Howc might have been
*Most of the above from March the 6th, is taken from the manufcript journal of a gentleman who continued in Bofton, while in the hand of the Brit ifh generals.
considered as 10,000 strong, had it not been for the mutual jeaJousies which took place between the army and navy.
The difficulties which the troops were under, from being so unexpectedly obliged to evacuate Boston, were much increased by the numbers who were under the necessity of removing with them. Many who were disaffected to the American cause had fled there with their families for safety: besides these, there were not a few of the old inhabitants, who concluded it was far more prudent for them to withdraw than remain. Both together, with their families, made up some hundreds, and with their effects encumbered the transports; to which must be added the plunder taken from the town, consisting of furniture and various other articles of a bulky nature. The suddenness of the evacua tion prevented an application to Halifax for a supply of shipping to lessen the embarrassments. When the fleet got down to King and Nantasket roads, they remained there several days, and du ring that period, burnt the blockhouse and barracks on CastleIsland, blowed up and demolished the fortifications; but they did not undertake to carry off the cannon, and only attemptedrendering them unserviceable, which was affected as to several
General Washington was soon acquainted with the evacuation of the town, when measures were taken to preserve the peace and order of it, by placing guards and giving directions as to the admission of persons into it. The day of evacuating being the Sabbath, was in favor of regularity. On the Monday [Mar. 18.] his excellency sent off five regiments under gen. Heath. After marching about a hundred miles, they embarked and went from New-London through the Sound to New-York by water. The rest, excepting a few which were left in Boston, took the same route, when the fleet put to sea, the American army was well supplied with flour, while in the neighbourhood of Boston, with out any particular interruption, owing to capt. Wallace's having been ordered to cruise about Rhode-Island, instead of NewLondon. Consequently the flour for the army always got safe from New-York or elsewhere to New-London, from thence to Norwich, and then by land to the place of destination.-About a week after the evacuation, the British fleet sailed as was soon. known, for Halifax; but commodore Banks was left with two or three men of war to protect the vessels that should arrive from Great-Britain or Ireland; some of which will undoubtedly be taken notwithstanding such precaution. It was but three day before the evacuation, that capt. Manly took a transpart of 400 tons burthen, laden with pease, potatoes, pork, sour Grout and ten packages of medicine.
When admission into Boston was allowed, the American troops were very desirous of seeing the town. Many of them came from inland places and were never in a sea-port; their curiosity was much excited on a variety of accounts. But the small-po was in several parts of it; and therefore they only, who were past the disorder were to be admitted. Such however was the desire of numbers, that they were guilty of a deception, to ob tain entrance. The thought of being liable to catch the distem per would have terrified them in the highest degree a little while back; but to gratity a different passion, they suppressed their fears, which might operate for the preventing of their taking the infection. The works of the enemy naturally engaged their at tention. These, by judicious persons who have surveyed them, are acknowledged to be excellent, and every one is convinced, that it would have been a most hazardous attempt to have endea vored forcing them.
General Washington appointed persons to procure an account and to take care of the articles which the British troops left be hind. Beside others, there were at the Castle-Island and Boston 250 pieces of cannon, great and small, more than half of which may be rendered serviceable by the aids of ingenuity; the hea viest have been the least injured-four thirteen and a half inch morters, two of them with their beds weighing five tons each 2,500 chaldron of sea coal-25,000 hushels of wheat-2,300 bushels of barley-600 bushels of oats-100 jars of oil, containing a barrel each-and 150 horses. Some of the ordnance were thrown into the water; but the Americans will recover them. The joy of the inhabitants, whether such as remained in town or withdrew for personal security, upon finding themselves restored to the safe and peaceable enjoyment of their ancient rights, freed from what they deemed an odious tyrannical authority, in a situation to triumph over the disgrace of their enemies, and with the prospect of speedy relief from the distresses which they had been under for many tedious months-that joy is more easily conceived than expressed. They received the commander in chief with every mark of respect and gratitude, which could be shown to a deliverer...
[Mar. 28.] At his excellency's request, Dr. Elliot preached a thanksgiving sermon on the opening afresh of the Thursday's lecture. That you may not be at the trouble of turning to your Bible, take his text in manuscript, "Look upon Zion the city of our solemnities; thine eyes shall see Jerusalem a quiet habitation, a tabernacle that shall not be taken down; not one of the stakes thereof shall ever be remored, neither shall any of the cords thereof be broken." When you are minded to exa
amine the context, look for chap. xxxiii. 20. of Isaiah. The general and a number of officers attended. A dinner was provided for his excellency and other gentlemen in public and private life.
The day after the lecture, (March 29.) the Massachusett's council and house of representatives complimented him in a joint address. They took notice, among many other things, of his attention to the civil constitution of the colony; of the regard he had always shown for the lives and health of those under his command; of his having attended to the preservation of their metropolis, in the quiet possession of which they now were, without that effusion of blood they so much wished to avoid. When they expressed their good wishes for him at the close, they began with, May you still go on, approved by heaven, revered by all goodmen, and dreaded by those tyrants who claim their fellow men as their property"—and finished with, "May future generations in the peaceful enjoyment of that freedom, the exercise of which your sword shall have established, raise the richest and most lasting monuments to the name of a Washington." His answer was proper, moderate, and becoming his situation. It will be to his honor to mention, that in private conversation, he expressed himself to this purpose: "The recovery of Boston, by the speedy flight of the enemy, is more satisfactory than a victory gained at the expence of much blood-shed." When he sent off an express to Lord Stirling, at New-York, he wrote, "Gen. Howe abandoned Boston without destroying it. The town is in a much better situation, and less injured than I expected, from the reports I had received; though to be sure, it is much damaged, and many houses despoiled of their valuable furniture." following anecdote of the general may be acceptable. A genfleman who had heard the Rev. Mr. Davis relate, that col. Washington had mentioned he knew of no music so pleasing as the whistling of bullets; being alone in conversation with him at Cambridge, asked him whether it was as had been related; the general answered-"If I said so, it was when I was young." Let us take a transient notice of the hardships experienced by the Boston inhabitants, whether they remained in the town or withdrew from it, and resided elsewhere till the evacuation. Notwithstanding the universal profession of patriotism, advantages were too generally taken for oppressing them, by extravagant charges. A sensible writer justly censured such proceedings in the Connecticut Gazette; and complained, that the refugees were obliged to pay far higher rents for houses than usual, and in some instances double. The greatest sufferings of those who remained, arose from the want of fuel and from provisions, not to menE
tion such as resulted from the presence of the British army and navy. Fresh provisions were not alway to be had, and were mostly too dear for the lower class to obtain; but at length the rations of the soldiers were so plentiful, that by the aid of these and arrivals from Europe, they that remained in the town had a tolerable supply of pork, peas, salt butter, sweet oil and bread, at a moderate price. But the intense cold of the season rendered the want of fuel extremely grievous. Families, which had been accustomed to plenty, were obliged to burn with the most sparing hand, and to save by going to their beds very early, and leaving them as late. Many kept to them in the sharpest weather, other than as they got up to dress their victuals and eat their meals. Numbers, to supply the want of fuel, pulled up the floors. of their houses, the stairs, and whatever offered. The wooden buildings, taken down by order of gen. Howe, were appropriated to the use of the royal refugees. It was as much charity to the poorer inhabitants to admit them to a small fire, as to furnish them with victuals. You must recollect the hard frosts you have in Britain, once in a great number of years, to conceive of what persons must endure through the want of fuel, from the long continued frosts of this country. The houses which the British officers inhabited while in Boston, were generally left in good. condition; but afterwards much damaged when tenanted by the Americans, whose style of life did not lead them to pay attention to neatness and elegance.
New-York, most probably, is henceforward to be the grand scene of action. Gen. Lee has left the city some time, and is gone to the southward. While there, he took care to remove the good cannon on the battery, and at the king's store amounting to about a hundred, to a place of safety; a third of them are. thirty-two poundèrs. He also drew up another tremendous oath to be administered to the tories, and sent captain Sears over to Queen's county with it; which led congress to resolve, "That no oath by way of test be imposed upon, exacted or required of any of the inhabitants of these colonies, by any military officer." In many of the streets of the city there are breast-works, barricadoes, &c. and more are making, together with forts in abundance. Actual service began in the colony, (April 6.) A British sloop sent her boat ashore on Staten-Island to get water, and a party of riflemen took the boat and crew prisoners. The firing between the sloop and the riflemen lasted all day. The city, in a week's time, was thronged with provincials; and it might be concluded, that the environs were not very safe from so undisciplined a multitude; but there are few instances of so great a number of troops being together with so little mischief done by them. However