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[66] or half his crew. The next day he warped off, carry-
Chap. XLIV.} 1775. Aug.
ing away no spoils except the skiff, in which the wounded lieutenant had been brought away.

Meantime Gage endeavored to terrify the Americans and cheer his own soldiers, by foretelling the coming of thousands of Russians and Hessians and Hanoverians. Performing no one act of courage during the summer, he vented his ill humor on his unhappy prisoners; throwing officers of high rank indiscriminately into a felon's jail, to languish of wounds and even to undergo amputation. Pleading for ‘kindness and humanity’ as the ‘joint rule for their treatment of prisoners,’ Washington remonstrated; but Gage scorned to promise reciprocity to rebels, for any ‘barbarity’ shown to British prisoners menaced ‘dreadful consequences,’ and further replied: ‘Britons, ever preeminent in mercy, have overlooked the criminal in the captive; your prisoners, whose lives by the laws of the land are destined to the cord, have hitherto been treated with care and kindness; indiscriminately it is true, for I acknowledge no rank that is not derived from the king.’ Consulting with Lee, Washington, who knew Gage from the day when his want of presence of mind lost the battle on the Monongahela, rejoined: ‘I shall not stoop to retort and invective. You affect, Sir, to despise all rank not derived from the same source with your own. I cannot conceive one more honorable than that which flows from the uncorrupted choice of a brave and free people, the purest source and original fountain of all power. Far from making it a plea for cruelty, a mind of true magnanimity would comprehend and respect it.’ Towards his supercilious adversary, Washington

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