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n in their navy yards for a report of every keel that was laid, every new armament or reinforcement to the usual fleets. Doubting the French assurances of a wish to see the troubles in America quieted, they resolved to force the American struggle to an immediate issue, hoping not only to insulate Massachusetts, but even to confine the contest to its capital. On the day of the accession of Louis the Sixteenth, 10. the act closing the port of Boston, transferring the board of customs to Marblehead, and the seat of government to Salem, reached the devoted town. The king was confident that the slow torture which was to be applied, would constrain its inhabitants to cry out for mercy and promise unconditional obedience. Success in resistance could come only from an American union, which was not to be hoped for, unless Boston should offer herself as a willing sacrifice. The mechanics and merchants and laborers, altogether scarcely so many as thirty-five hundred able-bodied men, knew
e town would but pay the first cost of the tea. Before his departure, one hundred and twenty-three merchants and others of Boston clandestinely addressed him, lamenting the loss of so good a governor, confessing the propriety of indemnifying the East India company, and appealing to his most benevolent disposition to procure by his representations some speedy relief; but at a full meeting of merchants and Chap. II.} 1774. May. traders the address was disclaimed. Thirty-three citizens of Marblehead, who signed a similar paper, brought upon themselves the public reprobation of their townsmen. Hutchinson had merited in civil cases the praise of an impartial judge; twenty-four lawyers, including judges of admiralty and attorneys of the crown, subscribed an extravagant panegyric of his general character and conduct; but those who, for learning and integrity, most adorned their profession, withheld their names. On the other hand, the necessity of a response to the courage of the peopl
sailor roamed the streets Chap. IV.} 1774. June 1. listlessly without hope of employment. The law was executed with a rigor that went beyond the intentions of its authors. Not a scow could be manned by oars to bring an ox, or a sheep, or a bundle of hay from the islands. All water carriage from pier to pier, though but of lumber, or bricks, or lime, was strictly forbidden. The boats between Boston and Charlestown could not ferry a parcel of goods across Charles River; the fishermen of Marblehead, when from their hard pursuit, they bestowed quintals of dried fish on the poor of Boston, were obliged to transport their offering in wagons by a circuit of thirty miles. The warehouses of the thrifty merchants were at once made valueless; the costly wharfs, which extended far into the channel, and were so lately covered with the produce of the tropics and with English fabrics, were become solitary places; the harbor, which had resounded incessantly with the cheering voices of prosperous
Chapter 5: Boston ministered to by the continent. June, July, 1774. the martyr town was borne up in its agony by mes- Chap. V.} 1774. June. sages of sympathy. From Marblehead came offers to the Boston merchants of the gratuitous use of its harbor, its wharfs, its warehouses, and of all necessary personal attendance in lading and unlading goods. Forty-eight persons were found in Salem, willing to entreat of Gage his patronage for the trade of that place; but a hundred and twenty-five of its merchants and freeholders addressed him in a spirit of disinterestedness, repelling the ungenerous thought of turning the course of trade from Boston. Nature, said they nobly, in the formation of our harbor, forbids our becoming rivals in commerce to that convenient mart. And were it otherwise, we must be lost to all the feelings of humanity, could we indulge one thought to seize on wealth and raise our fortunes on the ruin of our suffering neighbors. The governor, in his answer
res, we have reason to expect the restoration and establishment of the public liberties. On Sunday, the twenty-sixth of February, two or three hundred soldiers, under the command of Leslie, sailed from Castle William, landed clandestinely at Marblehead, and hurried to Salem in quest of military stores. Not finding them there, the officer marched towards Danvers; but at the river, he found the bridge drawn up, and was kept waiting for an hour and a half, whilst the stores, insignificant in am. Then having pledged his honor not to advance more than thirty yardson the other side, he was allowed to march his troops across the bridge. The alarm spread through the neighborhood; but Leslie hastily retraced his steps, and re-embarked at Marblehead. At this time the British ministry received news Mar. of the vote in the New York assembly, refusing to consider the resolutions of congress. The confidence of the king reached its climax; and he spared no pains to win the colony. In an o
. 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. If America, wrote Joseph Warren on that day, Chap. XXVI.} 1775. April. is an humble instrumen
1775. April 19. flagged.— Below West Cambridge, the militia from Dorchester, Roxbury, and Brookline came up. Of these, Isaac Gardner of the latter place, one on whom the colony rested many hopes, fell about a mile west of Harvard college. The field pieces began to lose their terror, so that the Americans pressed upon the rear of the fugitives, whose retreat could not become more precipitate. Had it been delayed a half hour longer, or had Pickering with his fine regiment from Salem and Marblehead been alert enough to have intercepted them in front, it was thought that, worn down as they were by fatigue and exhausted of ammunition, they must have surrendered. But a little after sunset, the survivors escaped across Charlestown neck. The troops of Percy had marched thirty miles in ten hours; the party of Smith, in six hours, had retreated twenty miles; the guns of the ships of war and a menace to burn the town of Charlestown saved them from annoyance during their rest on Bunker Hi