Browsing named entities in George Bancroft, History of the United States from the Discovery of the American Continent, Vol. 7, 4th edition.. You can also browse the collection for William Smith or search for William Smith in all documents.

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a permanent executive. That the colonies, if disconnected from England, would fall into bloody dissensions among themselves, had been the anxious fear of Otis of Massa- Chap. IX.} 1774. Aug. chusetts; and was now the apprehension of Philip Livingston of New York. Union, with the security of all constitutional rights, under the auspices of the British king, was still the purpose of Jay and his intimate associates. This policy had brought all classes together, and loyal men who, like William Smith, were its advocates, passed for consistent, unshaken friends to their country and her liberties. The community did not as yet know with what sullen passion the idea had been trampled under foot by the British ministry, nor how it was hated by the British king; and as yet prudence suppressed every allusion to an appeal to arms. But the appeal was nearer at hand than the most sagacious believed. The last Tuesday in August was the day for holding the supreme court in Boston; Oliver, th
s of resisting the aggressions of the mother country, and conciliation was the ardent wish of all. The South Carolinians greeted the delegates of Massachusetts as the envoys of freedom herself; and the Virginians equalled or surpassed their colleagues in resoluteness and spirit; but all united in desiring to promote the union of Great Britain and the colonies on a constitutional foundation. On Monday the fifth day of September, the mem- Chap. XI.} 1774. Sept. bers of congress, meeting at Smith's tavern, moved in a body to select the place for their deliberations. Galloway, the speaker of Pennsylvania, would have had them use the State House, but the carpenters of Philadelphia offered their plain but spacious hall; and from respect for the mechanics, it was accepted by a great majority. The names of the members were then called over, and Patrick Henry, Washington, Richard Henry Lee, Samuel Adams, John Adams, Jay, Gadsden, John Rutledge of South Carolina, the aged Hopkins of Rhode
mselves through Cambridge and further west, to intercept all communication. In the following night, the grenadiers and light infantry, not less than eight hundred in number, the flower of the army at Boston, commanded by the incompetent Lieutenant Colonel Smith, crossed in the boats of the transport ships from the foot of the common to Chap. XXVII.} 1775. April. East Cambridge. There they received a day's provisions, and near midnight, after wading through wet marshes, that are now covered to rouse almost every house on the way to Lexington. Vol. VII. 25 The troops had not advanced far, when the firing Chap. XXVII.} 1775. April 19. of guns and ringing of bells announced that their expedition had been heralded before them; and Smith sent back to demand a reinforcement. On the morning of the nineteenth of April, between the hours of twelve and one, the message from Warren reached Adams and Hancock, who divined at once the object of the expedition. Revere, therefore, and D
rejected by his fellow-soldiers as premature, but the company in which he served proved among the most alert during the rest of the day. In the town of Concord, Smith, for half an hour, showed by marches and countermarches, his uncertainty of purpose. At last, about noon, he left the town, to retreat the way he came, along the surrendered. But a little after sunset, the survivors escaped across Charlestown neck. The troops of Percy had marched thirty miles in ten hours; the party of Smith, in six hours, had retreated twenty miles; the guns of the ships of war and a menace to burn the town of Charlestown saved them from annoyance during their rest on-four wounded, and five missing. The loss of the British in killed, wounded, and missing, was two hundred and seventy-three. Among the wounded were many officers; Smith himself was hurt severely. All the night long, the men of Massachusetts streamed in from scores of miles around, old men as well as young. They had scarce a se
and even the ministers, would condemn the inglorious expedition which had brought about so sudden and so fatal a change. As if to brand in their shame, the officers shrunk from avowing their own acts; and though no one would say that he had seen the Americans fire first, they tried to make it pass current, that a handful of countrymen at Lexington had begun a fight with a detachment that outnumbered them as twelve to one. They did not make one gallant attempt during so long an action, wrote Smith, who was smarting under his wound, and escaped captivity only by the opportune arrival of Percy. Men are prone to fail in equity towards those whom their pride regards as their inferiors. The Americans, slowly provoked and long suffering, treated the prisoners with tenderness, and nursed the wounded as though they had been members of their own families. They even invited Gage to send out British surgeons for their relief. Yet Percy could degrade himself so far as to calumniate the coun
rotectors to provide for their escape, remained in town to share the hardships of a siege, ill provided, and exposed to the insults of an exasperated enemy. Words cannot describe their sufferings. Connecticut still hoped for a cessation of hostilities, and for that purpose, Johnson, so long its agent abroad, esteemed by public men in England for his moderation and ability, repaired as one of its envoys to Boston; but Gage only replied by a narrative which added new falsehoods to those of Smith and Percy. By a temperate answer he might have confused New England; the effrontery of his assertions, made against the clearest evidence, shut out the hope of an agreement. No choice was left to the Massachusetts committee of safety but to drive out the British army, or perish in the attempt; even though every thing conspired to make the American forces incapable of decisive action. There was no unity in the camp. At Roxbury, John Thomas had command, and received encomiums for the goo