Page images
[ocr errors]

son's house in Garden Court Street. He and his children had barely time to escape to a neighboring house.

Hutchinson's letter describes this :“'The hellish crew fell on my house with the rage of devils and in a moment split down the doors and entered. My son being in the great entry, heard them cry, ‘Damn him, he is upstairs; we'll have him!' 'Not content with tearing off all the wainscot and hangings, and splitting the doors to pieces, they beat in the partition walls

cut down the cupola and began to take the slate and boards from the roof but were prevented by approaching daylight... The garden house was laid fat and all my trees broken to the ground. Besides my plate and family pictures household furniture of every kind, my own, my children's and servants' apparel, they carried off about £900 sterling and emptied the house of everything whatsoever. They have scattered or destroyed all the MSS. and other papers I had been collecting for 30 years, besides a great number of public papers in my custody.

"During the riot one of the militia officers observed two men disguised, with long staves in their hands, who acted as directors. He ventured to say to them that the Lieutenant-Governor might not be the only one injured by the destruction of so many papers. Answer was made that it had been resolved to destroy everything in the house, and such would be carried out."

"For weeks and months the leaders of the democracy governed the town by a system of espionage and terrorism, boycotting tradesmen not favorable to them, mobbing the persons or houses or both of those who censured them, and maintaining a sort of Holy Inquisition into the daily business of counting-rooms and the daily contents of kitchens. Gov. Hutchinson doubted his right to call out the troops.

He exhorted the justices to act. They replied that the assemblies might be unwarrantable, but there were times when irregularities could not be restrained. · Had either Bernard or Hutchinson used the regiments with proper vigor the Mackintoshes would never have dared to stain the cause of liberty and that conflict between the citizens and soldiers, miscalled the


[ocr errors]

'Boston Massacre,' would never have occurred." (Levermore's "Gov. Hutchinson," N. Eng. Magazine, Feb., 1901.)

This mob and its leaders so well described by Levermore was the counterpart of other mobs existing in the colonies from whose organizations have sprung the government of the republic of the United States and its existing society. Sam. Adams, its leader, had been dismissed from the British civil service as a dishonest collector of taxes. And he has described John Hancock (the smuggler) "as an ape, Robert Treat Paine as an ox, and Cushing as an ass. The entire scheme of these “Sons of Liberty” was to liberate themselves from parliamentary authority for the sake of the plunder and proscription of the great provincial families. An U. E. Loyalist officer of Georgia said: “They are vermin who seek to drive out the old families.” To accomplish this, their leaders, the “smartest rascals” in the colonies, seized on the justice of the cause, namely, that the provinces are not constituencies of the London Parliament, but are fiefs of the Crown, over which parliament has no legal jurisdiction. They hoped after embroiling all the colonies to call in foreign aid by means of which the Crown itself might be separated from its provincial fiefs, which would fall a prey to the democracy contrary to all the previous oaths of allegiance and spurious pretentions of its leaders.


Conspiracy and Hypocrisy and Loyalty and Honor

Armed Together.

For the holy purpose of defending the Crown and provincial constitution against the illegal action of the London Parliament the republicans and loyalists were united. But apart from this the republicans conspired among themselves to revolutionize society, plunder the aristocracy and overturn the state. Without foreign aid they could not do this. They had been told that France was desirous for revenge against England for the loss of Canada and Louisiana and they began overtures to France at the very time that they were protesting their loyalty to Britain. One of them, Dr. Franklin, whom the French called "Bonhomme," said in 1773, "I never heard from any person the least expression of a wish for separation." Oct., 1774, Washington wrote: “I am well satisfied that no such thing as independence is desired by any thinking man in America." April, 1775, Jefferson wrote: "I never heard whisper of a disposition to separate from Great Britain," and "as for the form of the British government, it is the best yet and I desire none better” (to Sir John Randolph). At the same time John Adams published in Boston : "That there are any who pant after independence is the greatest slander in the province.”

Ryerson ("Loyalists of America," Vol. I., p. 513), says: “It seems difficult to recognize with truthfulness, fairness and consistency the intrigues and proposed terms of alliance between the leaders of Congress and the King of France. These intrigues commenced

while the authors of them were disclaiming any wish or design, to separate from England and their desire to be reconciled with the mother-country by a recognition of their rights as they existed before 1763." "As early as Dec., 1775

a secret committee of correspondence of Congress wrote Arthur Lee, their agent in London, and Charles Dumas, at The Hague, re

[ocr errors]

questing them to ascertain the feeling of European Courts respecting America, enjoining them to 'great circumspection and secrecy.'

"M. de Beauvoulois, agent for the French government, appeared in Philadelphia, held a secret conference with the secret committee and assured them that France was ready to aid the colonies on such conditions as might be considered equitable. These conferences were so secret that M. de Beauvoulois said that, 'the committee met him at an appointed place after dark, each going to it by a different road!' A few weeks later Silas Deanej by the secret committee, was appointed commercial agent to Europe to obtain supplies and to communicate to the French premier, Comte de Vergennes, the probable separation from Great Britain.”

After once being known is it possible that dependence can be put on a nation sprung from such material ? Gen. Wolfe had written in his day: “The Americans are in general the dirtiest, most contemptible, cowardly dogs that you can conceive. There is no depending on 'em in action. They fall down dead in their own dirt and desert by battalions, officers and all. Such rascals as these are rather an encumbrance than a strength."

Washington, who had been used to better things in the society of the Fairfaxes, Brockinboroughs, Randolphs, Grymeses and other royalists of Virginia, wrote in Nov., 1775, about these new people of the democracy: "Such a dearth of public spirit and such a want of virtue, such stock-jobbing and fertility in all the low arts to obtain advantages of one kind or another I never saw before and pray God's mercy that I may never see again!"

At this time and up to 1778, the time when the London Parliament ate humble pie and acknowledged that the provinces were not its constituencies, but were fiefs of the Crown with whose management it had no right to interfere, the major part of the royalists as well were united in opposition to it. The bravest and most resolute organized themselves as "Minute Men" under three articles: I. To defend the Royal Prerogative in the province. II. To defend the provincial constitution. III. To obey their own officers chosen by themselves to these ends. Colonists of all classes, royalists and repub

licans, sent delegates to a congress to form means of defense. Each colony provided for the enlistment of its own militia. And in many instances the militia of different colonies refused to leave the territory of their particular colony because they had been recruited merely to defend that territory. All officers below the rank of Colonel were appointed by the provincial government, while the general officers were commissioned by Congress.

But there were more republicans, who had an understanding among themselves, thạn royalists, in the Congress of 1775. They were arranged as follows:

The delegates of the Northern colonies in the General Congress at Philadelphia in 1775, were for separating from the Empire. The delegates of the six southern colonies were for resisting the infringement of their charters by the action of the London Parliament, but preferred to remain in the Empire, and with a royal form of government. Pennsylvania, the thirteenth colony, had five delegates. Of these two were for separating from the Empire, two were for the Empire and royalty, and the fifth man undecided. The republicans saw their chance here. Disguising their intent they, under the plea of forming parliamentary rules to expedite affairs, urged three measures, which were adopted by all the delegates. These measures were:

I. That the Congress should count votes by colonies.

II. That the majority of the delegates of a colony should control the voice of that colony.

III. That what a majority of the colonial voices thus constituted should decide to do, the others would be bound to follow.

Measures from this time forward went pretty much as the republicans directed, for the wavering of the fifth vote of Pennsylvania was intrigued for by them. When the motion was put that the colonies be declared Free and Independent States, the six southern colonies voted against the measure. The six northern colonies voted for it, and three of the five votes that Pennsylvania had, turned the balance by making that colony on the side of separation and democracy. Hence Pennsylvania is call

« PreviousContinue »