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[47] its way through the British ministry to Vergennes,
Chap. XLII.} 1775. July.
who pronounced it an absurdity worthy only of contempt.

All the while skirmishes continued. A party of Americans on the eighth of July drove in the British advance guard nearest Roxbury, and took several muskets. On the evening of the tenth, three hundred volunteers swept Long Island, in Boston harbor, of more than seventy sheep and fifteen head of cattle, and carried off sixteen prisoners. Two days later, just after the arrival of six crowded transports, Greaton, with one hundred and thirty six men, went again to the same island, and burnt the hay which was stacked there for the British cavalry. After a few days more, companies at Weymouth and Hingham reaped and brought off the ripe grain from Nantasket.

On the fifteenth of July, the army of Cambridge heard Langdon, the president of Harvard college, read the declaration by the continental congress for taking up arms, which they interpreted to mean that the Americans would never sheathe the sword till their grievances were redressed to their utmost wishes. On the eighteenth it was read on Prospect Hill amidst such shouts that the British on Bunker Hill put themselves in array for battle; but neither then, nor even after the arrival of their last transports, did they venture an attack or even a sally. ‘I despair seeing a battle fought this time coming down,’ wrote Emerson to his wife at Concord.

In conformity to the direction of the continental congress, the people of Massachusetts, holding town meetings according to their usage and their charter,

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