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[231] flames along the river; and as the buildings were
Chap. LVI.} 1776. Jan.
chiefly of pine wood, the conflagration, favored by the wind, spread with amazing rapidity, and soon became general. Women and children, mothers with little ones in their arms, were seen by the glare, running through the shower of cannonballs to get out of their range. Two or three persons were hit; and the scene became one of extreme horror and confusion. Several times the British attempted to land, and once to bring cannon into a street; but they were driven back by the spirit and conduct of the Americans. The cannonade did not abate till ten at night; after a short pause it was renewed, but with less fury, and was kept up till two the next morning. The flames, which had made their way from street to street, raged for three days, till four fifths, or, as some computed, nine tenths, of the houses were reduced to ashes and heaps of ruins.

In this manner the royal governor burned and laid waste the best town in the oldest and most loyal colony of England, to which Elizabeth had given a name, and Raleigh devoted his fortune, and Shakespeare and Bacon and Herbert foretokened greatness; a colony where the people of themselves had established the church of England, and where many were still proud that their ancestors, in the day of the British commonwealth, had been faithful to the line of kings. On second thought, Dunmore feared he had done too much, and he insinuated that the ‘great number of boats’ from his fleet had set fire only to the buildings nearest the water: but a fire kindled in many places along the outer row of houses built chiefly of pine, could extend itself with irresistible fury. Who can

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