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ed the "Keystone State.” The vote then stood by colonies, seven for separation and democracy, and six for Empire and royalty. The intrigue that gained the one vote of Pennsylvania that turned the balance in favour of separation, imposed on the unwilling southern colonies the burden of assisting in a cause for which their delegates had been led to pledge their honour, before the ultimate purpose of that cause was revealed to them. It is true that the Cavaliers who had fought for the Stuarts from the time of Charles I. in the middle of the 17th century to the time of Charles Edward, the "Pretender's" son, in the middle of the 18th, and had taken refuge in the colonies, bore no greater love for the House of Hanover, now seated on the British throne, than the Puritans, whose sires had crossed the ocean to found a government without priestcraft and kingcraft. The Scottish and Irish families from Ulster, who had come to the colonies to be freed from a parliamentary jurisdiction in Ireland that debarred them from public position and representation if they were not of the Established Church, were also determined to resist the imposition of a parliamentary tyranny in the colonies. Another class, the exiled knight-errants of Europe, like De Kalb, Kusiosko, Pulaski, and De Elbe, saw in the formation of a new state the opportunity of winning feudal tenures by strengthening the sword of Washington. Finally, those whose families had won a way in the New World burned with the desire to resent the slights cast on their achievements and pretensions.
It is true that the colonists had charters from the Crown, but they had created the power on which their governments rested, and they had made states where before there were deserts. In the heat of mutual recrimination many were borne beyond their cooler calculations, and were led by crafty democrats to come to a rupture with the Home Government instead of a reconciliation.
That same year (1775) Lord Chatham brought forward a bill in parliament to reconcile the two parties by withdrawing parliamentary interference with colonial! affairs, but it was defeated. The news of this defeat put the colonies at once under arms.
Immediately, the armed ports, mostly under surveillance of colonial authorities in their various territories, were occupied. Large forts and arsenals that were not securely guarded fell into the same hands without a struggle. Only one colony refused to act with the others jin this matter, and that was the Colony of Georgia. Although a party existed there favorable to an union with the other colonies, it did not develop an early strength, and after it did come to an expression it was speedily extinguished, while the loyal Province of Florida, that had been acquired from Spain, poured her troops over the border, under command of Gen. Prevost, and quelled all further uprisings until the final surrender of the province by Lord Cornwallis in the terms following on the surrender at Yorktown in 1782.
There were small conflicts here and there in all the colonies, as the colonial authorities proceeded to gather the means of defense, but none so serious as that at Concord and Lexington in Massachusetts.
For quite a while powder, shot and arms had been collected in the neighborhood of Concord and Lexington, and the first serious effort made by the metropolitan troops to dispossess the locality of these stores brought on the beginning of the American Revolution.
Lord Percy's letters show the British side of this account, and, as the American side of the story is known to every schoolboy, the British side will be novel and interesting, especially as Lord Percy was an eyewitness of the greater part of the fight, he having been sent with the relief corps from Boston to cover the retreat of the Concord and Lexington expedition.
It seems that Lieutenant-Colonel Smith, at the head of nearly 800 grenadiers, light infantry and marines, marched to Lexington and Concord, dispersed the few militia who were posted there, destroyed some of the military stores which had not been removed by the inhabitants to places of greater safety, and started on their return trip to Boston. But at this time bodies of armed men arrived from every quarter; the woods were full of them, so were housetops, barns, from which an incessant fire was kept up on the British force. The peril of this
force was great, and General Gage sent Lord Percy with reinforcements to save them. The following is Percy's official account to General Gage:
"Sir,-In obedience to your Excellency's orders, I marched yesterday (April 19), at 9 o'clock in the morning, with the First Brigade and two field pieces, in order to cover the retreat of the grenadiers and light infantry on their return from the expedition to Concord.
“As all the houses were shut up, and there was not the appearance of a single inhabitant, I could get no intelligence concerning them till I had passed Menotomy (Brookline), where I was informed that the rebels had attacked his Majesty's troops, who were retiring, overpowered by numbers, greatly exhausted and fatigued, and having expended almost all their ammunition. And about 2 o'clock I met them retiring through the town of Lexington.
"I ordered immediately the two field pieces to fire at the rebels, and drew up the brigade on a height. The shot from the cannon had the desired effect and stopped the rebels for a little time, who dispersed and endeavored to surround us, being very numerous. Now, as it began to grow pretty late, and we had 15 miles to retire and only our 36 rounds, I ordered the grenadiers and light infantry to move off first and covered them with my brigade, sending out very strong flanking parties, which was absolutely necessary, as there was not a stone wall or house, though before in appearance evacuated, from whence the rebels did not fire on us. “So soon
as they saw us begin to retire, they pressed very much on our rear guard, which for that reason I relieved every now and then. In this manner we retired for 15 miles under an incessant fire all around us till we arrived at Charlestown between 7 and 8 in the evening, very much fatigued with a march of about 30 miles and having expended almost all our ammunition.
“We had the misfortune of losing a good many men in the retreat, though nothing like the number which from many circumstances I have reason to believe were killed of the rebels.
"His Majesty's troops during the whole affair behaved with their usual intrepidity and spirit. Nor were
they a little exasperated at the cruelty and barbarity of the rebels, who scalped and cut off the ears of some of the wounded men who fell into their hands. I am, etc., (Signed)
“Acting Brigadier-General.” In another letter to General Harvey he says: "During the whole affair the rebels attacked us in a very scattered, irregular manner, but with perseverance and resolution, nor did they ever dare to form into any regular body. Indeed, they knew too well what was proper to
“Whoever looks on them as an irregular mob will find himself much mistaken. They have men among them who know very well what they are about, having been employed as rangers against the Indians and Canadians, and this country being much covered by wood and hilly, is very advantageous for their method of fighting.
“Nor are several of their men void of a spirit of enthusiasm, as we experienced yesterday, for many of them concealed themselves in houses and advanced to within 10 yards to fire at me and other officers, though they were morally certain of being put to death themselves in an instant.
"You may depend on it that, as the rebels have now had time to prepare, they are determined to go through with it, nor will the insurrection here turn out so despicable as it is imagined perhaps at home.”
It was at this time that some of the Puritan Yankees who dominated in the former “Land of Evangeline” met together in a church in Nova Scotia to prepare an organization of sympathy and of aid for the democrats of the old colonies. They were filled with hatred for the French, whose land had been robbed from them and on which land they were now living. They were exasperated to think that the French noblesse, the French language and the Catholic religion were confirmed in constitutional rights by the Act of Quebec of 1774.
But while they were deliberating on their treasonable projects, there stalked in among them an old soldier in full uniform with loaded and bayoneted musket. He had been retired and had settled in the neighborhood and
had come to the meeting to act his part as a feudatory of the crown. Proceeding up the aisle, in the midst of the astounded Yankees, he reached the speaker's desk, which was vacated on his approach. Then turning about with his musket cocked and on guard, he demanded in a loud voice for the man to rise who was plotting treason to the Crown and Constitution. At the sound of that demand there was an immediate scramble for the door, from which the conspirators scattered in safety for their homes. And the old soldier in his scarlet uniform, on guard to defend the constitution and the law, remained the triumphant master of the situation.