A bright day in May was set apart for the display
of the public gladness, and the spot where resistance to the Stamp Act began, was the centre of attraction.
At one in the morning the bell nearest Liberty Tree
was the first to be rung; at dawn, colors and pendants rose over the housetops all around it; and the steeple of the nearest meeting-house was hung with banners.
During the day all prisoners for debt were released by subscription.
In the evening the town shone as though night had not come; an obelisk on the Common was brilliant with a loyal inscription; the houses round Liberty Tree
exhibited illuminated figures, not of the king only, but of Pitt
, and Camden
, and Barre
; and Liberty Tree
itself was decorated with lanterns, till its boughs could hold no more.
All the wisest agreed that disastrous consequences would have ensued from the attempt to enforce the Act, so that never was there a more rapid transition of a people from gloom to joy. They compared themselves to a bird escaped from the net of the fowler, and once more striking its wings freely in the upper air; or to Joseph, the Israelite, whom Providence
had likewise wonderfully redeemed from the perpetual bondage into which he was sold by his elder brethren.
The clergy from the pulpit joined in the fervor of patriotism and the joy of success.
would not have submitted,’ said Chauncy
‘History affords few examples of a more general, generous, and just sense of liberty in any country than has appeared in America
within the year past.’
Such were Mayhew
's words; and while all the continent was calling out and cherishing the name of Pitt
, the greatest