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[179] the experience of life had tinged his spirit with
Chap. LII.} 1775.
melancholy, and he would often say: ‘My happiness is not lasting; but yet let us enjoy it as long as we may, and leave the rest to God.’ And they did enjoy life; blest with parents, brothers, sisters, and friends, their circle was always enlivened by intelligent conversation and the undisturbed flow of affection. The father of his wife used to say, that ‘if American liberty should not be maintained, he would carry his family to Switzerland, as the only free country in the world.’ War was the dream of her grandfather alone, the aged Robert Livingston, the staunchest and most sagacious patriot of them all. In 1773, in his eighty fourth year, he foretold the conflict with England, and when his son and grandchildren smiled at his credulity, ‘You, Robert,’ said he to his grandson, ‘will live to see this country independent.’ At the news of the retreat of the British from Concord, the octogenarian's eye kindled with the fire of youth, and he confidently announced American independence. Soon after the battle of Bunker Hill, he lay calmly on his deathbed, and his last words were: ‘What news from Boston?’

From such a family circle the county of Dutchess, in April, 1775, selected Montgomery as a delegate to the first provincial convention in New York, where he distinguished himself by unaffected modesty, promptness of decision, and soundness of judgment. On receiving his appointment as brigadier general he reluctantly bade adieu to his ‘quiet scheme of life;’ ‘perhaps,’ he said, ‘for ever, but the will of an oppressed people, compelled to choose between liberty and slavery, must be obeyed.’

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