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Chapter 26:

The king Waits to hear of the success of Lord North's proposition.

April—May, 1775.

even so late as the first day of April, the provincial
Chap. XXVI.} 1775. April.
congress of Massachusetts, still fondly hoping for a peaceful end of all their troubles, so far recognised the authority of Gage, as to vote, that if he would issue writs in the usual form for the election of a general assembly, to be held on the last Wednesday in May, the towns ought to obey the precepts, and elect members; but in case such writs should not be issued, they recommended the choice of delegates for a third provincial congress. On Sunday, the second, two vessels arrived at Marblehead with the tidings, that both houses of parliament had pledged to the king their lives and fortunes for the reduction of America, that New England was prohibited from the fisheries, and that the army of Gage was to be largely reinforced. The next morning, congress re-
April 3.
quired the attendance of all absent members, and desired the towns not yet represented to send members without delay. [279]

‘If America,’ wrote Joseph Warren on that day,

Chap. XXVI.} 1775. April.
‘is an humble instrument of the salvation of Britain, it will give us the sincerest joy; but if Britain must lose her liberty, she must lose it alone. America must, and will be free. The contest may be severe— the end will be glorious. United and prepared as we are, we have no reason to doubt of success, if we should be compelled to the last appeal; but we mean not to make that appeal until we can be justified in doing it in the sight of God and man. Happy shall we be, if the mother country will allow us the free enjoyment of our rights, and indulge us in the pleasing employment of aggrandizing her.’

The most appalling danger proceeded from the Indians of the northwest, whom it was now known Canadian emissaries were seeking to influence. The hateful office fell naturally into the hands of La Come, Hamilton, the lieutenant governor for Detroit, and others, who were most ready to serve the bad passions of those from whom they expected favors. Guy Johnson was also carefully removing the American missionaries from the Six Nations.

Countervailing measures were required for immediate security. Dartmouth college, ‘a new and defenceless’ institution of charity on the frontier, where children of the Six Nations received Christian training, was ‘threatened with an army of savages;’ its president, Eleazer Wheelock, sent, therefore, as the first envoy from New England, the young preacher James Dean, who was a great master of the language of the Iroquois, ‘to itinerate as a missionary among the tribes in Canada, and brighten the chain of friendship.’ [280]

To the Mohawks, whose ancient territory included

Chap. XXVI.} 1775. April.
the passes from Canada and the war-paths from the more remote western nations, the Massachusetts congress despatched the humane and thoughtful Kirkland, who had lived among them as a missionary; and who was now instructed to prevail with them either to take part with the Americans, or ‘at least to stand neuter, and not assist their enemies.’ To each of the converted Indians who were domiciled at Stockbridge, the congress voted a blanket and a ribbon as a testimony of affection, saying, ‘we are all brothers.’ The Stockbridge Indians, after deliberating in council for two days, promised in their turn to intercede with the Six Nations in behalf of the colonists among whom they dwelt.

Meantime the Green Mountain Boys formally renounced the government of New York, which was virtually renouncing their allegiance to the king; and agreed to seize the fort at Ticonderoga as soon as the king's troops should commit hostilities. Their purpose was communicated in profound secrecy to Thomas Walker, a restless Anglo-Canadian, at Montreal. ‘In my opinion,’ wrote Walker to Samuel Adams and Joseph Warren, ‘they are the most proper persons for this job, which will effectually curb the province of Quebec.’

The congress of Massachusetts adopted a code for its future army, and authorized the committee of safety to form and pay six companies of artillery; yet they refused to take into pay any part of the militia or minute men. They enjoined every town to have its committee of correspondence; they ordered a day of fasting and prayer for the union of the American [281] colonies, and their direction to such measures as God

Chap. XXVI.} 1775. April.
would approve; they encouraged the poor of Boston to move into the country; they sent special envoys to each of the other New England states to concert measures for raising an army of defence; and they urged ‘the militia and minute men’ in the several towns to be on the alert. They forbade every act that could be interpreted as a commencement of hostilities; but they resolved unanimously that the militia might act on the defensive. If the forces of the colony should be called out, the members of the congress agreed to repair instantly to Concord. Then, on the fifteenth of April, they adjourned, expecting a long and desperate war with the mighty power of Great Britain, yet with no treasury but the good — will of the people; not a soldier in actual service; hardly ammunition enough for a parade day; as for artillery, having scarce more than ten cannon of iron, four of brass, and two cohorns; with no executive but the committee of safety; no internal government but by committees of correspondence; no visible centre of authority; and no distinguished general officer to take the command of the provincial troops. Anarchy must prevail, unless there lives in the heart of the people an invisible, resistless, formative principle, that can organize and guide.

Gage, who himself had about three thousand effective men, learned through his spies the state of the country and the ludicrously scanty amount of stores, collected by the provincial committees at Worcester and Concord. The report increased his confidence as well as the insolence of his officers; and as soon as the members of the congress had gone to [282] their homes, he resolved on striking a blow, as the

Chap. XXVI.} 1775. April. 10.
king desired.

On the tenth of April, the lord mayor Wilkes, with the aldermen and livery of London, approached the throne, to complain to the king that the real purpose of his ministers, whom they earnestly besought him to dismiss, was, ‘to establish arbitrary power over all America;’ the king answered: ‘It is with the utmost astonishment that I find any of my subjects capable of encouraging the rebellious disposition which unhappily exists in some of my colonies;’ and by a letter from the lord chamberlain, he announced his purpose never again to receive on the throne any address from the lord mayor and aldermen, but in their corporate capacity.

If more troops were sent, the king's standard erected, and a few of the leaders taken up, Hutchinson was ready to stake his life for the submission of the colonies. Some of the ministry believed that they were getting more and more divided, and that there would be no great difficulty in bringing the contest to a conclusion. The sending reinforcements was treated as almost a matter of indifference.

To assist in disjoining the colonies, New York, North Carolina, and Georgia, were excepted from restraints imposed on the trade and fisheries of all the rest. That North Carolina could be retained in obedience, through a part of its own people, was believed in England, on the authority of its governor. With the utmost secrecy, the king sent over Allan Maclean of Torloish, to entice to the royal standard the Highlanders of the old forty-seventh regiment, now settled in that province; at the very time when [283] its convention, which met on the third of April, were

Chap. XXVI.} 1775. April. 10.
expressing a perfect agreement with the general congress; and were heartily seconded by its assembly.

New York was the pivot of the policy of minis-10. ters. The defection of its assembly from the acts of the general congress was accepted as conclusive proof that the province would adhere to the king. But if Rivington's gazette quoted texts of Scripture in favor of passive obedience, Holt's paper replied by other texts and examples. The New York mer-

April 15.
chants who furnished supplies to the British army at Boston, were denounced at the liberty pole as enemies to the country. When Sears, who moved that every man should provide himself with four and twenty rounds, was carried before the mayor and refused to give bail, he was liberated on his way to prison, and with flying colors, a crowd of friends, and loud huzzas for him and for Macdougall, was conducted through Broadway to a meeting in the Fields. If the assembly, by a majority of four, refused to forbid importations, the press taunted them for taking gifts, and when they would have permitted a ship to discharge its cargo, the committee laughed at their vote and enforced the association., As they refused to choose delegates to another congress, a poll was taken throughout the city, and against one hundred and sixty-three, there appeared eight hundred and twenty-five in favor of being represented. The rural counties co-operated with the city; and on the twentieth of April, forty-one delegates met in
April 20.
convention, chose Philip Livingston unanimously their president; re-elected all their old members to Congress, except the lukewarm Isaac Low; and unanimously [284] added five others, among them Philip Schuy-
Chap. XXVI.} 1775. April.
ler, George Clinton, and Robert R. Livingston; not to hasten a revolution, but to ‘concert measures for the preservation of American rights, and for the restoration of harmony between Great Britain and the colonies.’

This happened at a time when the king believed New York won over by immunities and benefactions and the generals who were on the point of sailing were disputing for the command at that place. ‘Burgoyne would best manage a negotiation,’ said the king; but Howe would not resign his right to the post of confidence. Vergennes saw things just as they were; the British ministry, with a marvellous blindness that but for positive evidence would be incredible, thought it easy to subdue Massachusetts, and corrupt New York. On the fifteenth day of April, letters were written to Gage, to take possession of every colonial fort; to seize and secure all military stores of every kind, collected for the rebels; to arrest and imprison all such as should be thought to have committed treason; to repress rebellion by force; to make the public safety the first object of consideration; to substitute more coercive measures for ordinary forms of proceeding, without pausing ‘to require the aid of a civil magistrate.’ Thurlow and Wedderburn had given their opinion that the Massachusetts congress was a treasonable body. The power of pardon, which was now conferred on the general, did not extend to the president of ‘that seditious meeting,’ nor to ‘its most forward members,’ who, as unfit subjects for the king's mercy, were to be brought ‘to condign punishment’ by prosecution either in America or in England. [285]

While the king, through Lord Dartmouth, con-

Chap. XXVI.} 1775. April.
fidently issued these sanguinary instructions which a numerous army could hardly have enforced, four of the regiments at first destined to Boston, received orders to proceed directly to New York, where their presence was to aid the progress of intrigue. At the same time the ‘Senegal’ carried out six packages, each containing a very large number of copies of ‘An address of the people of Great Britain to the inhabitants of America,’ written in the blandest terms by Sir John Dalrymple at Lord North's request, to cooperate with his conciliatory resolution.

‘The power of taxation over you,’ said the pamphleteer, ‘we desire to throw from us as unworthy of you to be subject to, and of us to possess. We wished to make the concession. From the late differences it is the fault of us both, if we do not derive future agreement by some great act of state. Let the colonies make the first advance; if not, parliament will do so by sending a commission to America. The first honor will belong to the party which shall first scorn punctilio in so noble a cause. We give up the disgraceful and odious privilege of taxing you. As to the judges dependent on the king's pleasure, if you suspect us, appoint your own judges, pay them your own salaries. If we are wrong in thinking your charters formed by accident, not by forethought, let them stand as they are. Continue to share the liberty of England. With such sentiments of kindness in our breasts, we cannot hear without the deepest concern a charge, that a system has been formed to enslave you by means of parliament.’

The mild and affectionate language of this pamphlet, [286] composed for the ministers, printed at the pub-

Chap. XXVI.} 1775. April.
lie cost, and sent out by public authority to be widely distributed, formed a strange contrast to that written by Samuel Johnson for England, and clashed discordantly with the vengeful orders transmitted to Boston. Yet Lord North was false only as he was weak and uncertain. He really wished to concede and conciliate, but he had not force enough to come to a clear understanding even with himself. When he encountered the opposition in the house of commons, he sustained his administration by speaking confidently for vigorous measures; when alone his heart sank within him from dread of civil war.

The remonstrance and memorial of the assembly of New York, which Burke, their agent, presented to parliament on the fifteenth of May, was rejected, be-

May. 15.
cause they questioned the right of parliament to tax America. Three days later, Lord North avowed the orders for raising Canadian regiments of French Papists; ‘however,’ he continued, ‘the dispute with America is not so alarming as some people apprehend. I have not the least doubt it will end speedily, happily, and without bloodshed.’

On the twenty-third of May, secret advices from

May 23.
Philadelphia confirmed Dartmouth and the king in their confidence, that North's conciliatory resolution ‘would remove all obstacles to the restoration of. public tranquillity,’ through ‘the moderation and loyal disposition of the assembly of New York.’ The king, in proroguing parliament on the twenty-sixth, no longer introduced the rebel people of Massachusetts, but spoke only of ‘his subjects in America, whose wishes were to be gratified and apprehensions [287] removed as far as the constitution would allow.’ The
Chap. XXVI.} 1775 May. 27.
court gazette of the day was equally moderate. Themembers of parliament dispersed, and as yet no tidings came from the colonies of a later date than the middle of April. All America, from Lake Champlain to the Altamaha; all Europe, Madrid, Paris, Amsterdam, Vienna, hardly less than London, were gazing with expectation towards the little villages that lay around Boston.

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