« AnteriorContinuar »
reason to doubt the Goodness of it more now than at any former time) make (as you say) an unexpected demand either of the money Immediately, or a Mortgage. Security of any kind I never was asked for before. My Credit has always been good. My Circumstances are at least as good now as ever. had you suggested to me last Summer any uneasiness, I would have found a way before this to have discharged the Debt. I will Endeavour to do it when my Vessels return in the Spring. I cannot pay this Sum of Money at present. I am not willing to give a Mortgage, nor will I ever Injure you or your Children. What you mean by your Insinuation of my Conduct being such as Exposes me to ruin I know not. Surely you can charge me neither with Drunkeness, Idleness, or Extravagance, the Common Sources of ruin. if you have in Contemplation the Idea of Gibbets and Confiscations, let me tell you it is the most Utopian and Contemptible one that ever Entered the Head of a Man. Few Hearts have been wicked enough to wish for them and much fewer Heads weak enough to Expect them. I will not at present suppose yours among them. I will therefore presume that I have traced this Conduct of yours to its true Sources. I am, Sir, Your Obedt. Humble Servt.
HANNAH WINTHROP TO MERCY WARREN
[ANDOVER, April or May, 1775]
Can the Friend of my heart, who is engraven there as with the point of a diamond, question whether it is in the power of the greatest Commotion, danger or Abscense, to erase the tender Idea, or in the least impair the sincerest friendship? No, you have been the object of my waking thoughts and my nightly dreams; but since we were dispossest of our earthly enjoyments all nature has seemed reversed, and with it the weakened mind of your friend, rendered incapable of attending to those pleasures which made life agreeable. Nor can she yet forget, nor will old Time ever cease the horrors of that midnight cry, preceeding the Bloody Massacre at Lexington, when we were rousd from the benign Slumbers of the Season, by beat of drum and ringing of Bell, with the fire alarm, That a thousand of the Troops of George the third were gone forth to murder the peacefull inhabitants of the surrounding Villages. A few hours with the dawning day convinced us the Bloody purpose was executing. The platoon firing assuring us the rising Sun must witness the Bloody Carnage. Not knowing what the Event would be at Cambridge at the return of these Bloody ruffians, and seeing another Brigade dispatched to the Assistance of the former, Looking with the ferocity of Barbarians,
it seemed necessary to retire to some place of Safety till the Calamity was passed. My partner had been a fortnight confind by illness. After dinner we set out not knowing whither we went. we were directed to a place called fresh pond about a mile from this town,1 but what a distressd house did we find there filld with women whose husbands were gone forth to meet the Assailiants, 70 or 80 of these with numbers of Infant Children, crying and agonizing for the Fate of their husbands. In addition to this scene of distress we were for some time in sight of the Battle, the glistening instruments of death proclaiming by an incessant fire that much blood must be shed, that many widowd and orphand ones be left as monuments of that persecuting Barbarity of British Tyranny. Another uncomfortable night we passd, some nodding in their Chairs, others resting their weary limbs on the floor. The welcome harbingers of day give notice of its dawning light, but brings us news it is unsafe to return to Cambridge as the enemy were advancing up the river and firing on the town. to stay in this place was impracticable. methinks in that hour I felt the force of my Mother Eve's Soliloquy on being driven out of Paradise, comparing small things with great
O unexpected stroke, worse than of death!
and wild? how shall we breath in other air
Less pure, accustomed to immortal fruits?
and could only be consold by the mild reply of Michael her Guardian Angel.
Lament not Eve, but patiently resign.
What justly thou has lost: nor set thy heart
thy husband, him to follow thou art bound,
His benign words to Adam must also afford Consolation to the lonely
His omnipresence fills Land, sea and air,...
surmise not then
His presence to these narrow bounds confind.3
2 Paradise Lost, x1. 268 ff.
3 Ib., 336 ff.
Thus with precipitancy were we driven to the town of Andover, following some of our Acquaintance, five of us to be conveyd with one poor tired horse and chaise. Thus we began our pilgrimage alternately walking and riding, the roads filld with frighted women and children, some in carts with their tattered furniture, others on foot fleeing into the woods. But what added greatly to the horror of the scene was our passing thro the Bloody field at Menotomy which was strewd with the mangled Bodies, we met one affectionate Father with a cart looking for his murderd son and picking up his Neighbours who had fallen in Battle, in order for their Burial.
I should not have chose this town for an Asylum, being but twenty miles from seaports where men of war and their Pirates are stationed, but in being fixd here I see it is not in man to direct his steps, As you kindly enquire after our Situation, I must tell you it is Rural and romanticaly pleasing. Seated in a truly retired spot, no house in sight, within a mile of Neighbours thinly settled, the House decent and neat stands under the shade of two venerable elms, on a gently rising, one flight of steps with a View of a spacious meadow before it, a small Rivulet meandring thro it, the grassy Carpet interspersd with a Variety of flowers, shrubs, several little mounts rising in the conic form, intersected with fertile spots of waving grain. The Horizon bounded with a thick wood as if nature intended a Barricade against the Canonade of some formidable despot. But here all is perfect Silence, nothing is heard but the melody of the groves and the unintelligible Language of the Animal Creation. From the profound stillness and serenity of this woody region I can almost persuade myself we are the only human inhabitants of Creation and instead of Lossing my fondness for Society I shall have a higher relish for the pleasures of friendly converse and social endearments, tho the Family we live with are very obliging. But alas the gloomy appearance of mortal things sets the Vanity of human life in the clearest demonstration before me, nor can I forbear to drop a tear over that Seminary which has been the glory of this Land, and lamenting those walls early dedicated to the Study of Science and calm Philosophy Instead of the delightfull harmony of nature nothing but the din of arms and the clarion of War, the Youth dispersd, the hands of their preceptors sealed up, those fountains of Knowledge the Library and Apparatus entirely useless and perhaps may fall into those hands whose highest joy would be to plunge us into darkness and Ignorance that we might become fitter objects for Slavery and Despotic rule. my partner wishes some attention might be paid to these important Treasures. Oh, shall we ever be restord to that peacefull abode, that happy roof, where retird from all the glitter and noise of the gay and busy world, my Consort would joy to finish his mortal life in in
vestigating the great Temple of the Skies and adoring the Divine Architect of Heaven and quietly quitting this lower Creation.
When I think of the sufferings of my Friends in Boston, I am ashamed that my inconvenience should have such an undue effect upon me. I blush that I have so little Fortitude to encounter the Struggles we must expect to meet before the unnatural Campaign is over. I must confess I sometimes Indulge Fears which excite mirth rather than Sympathy in my Philosop[h]er. I have not seen our son since his return from sea. It is a Satisfaction that our Sons possess that love of Liberty which will engage them in the Cause of their Bleeding Country. It would give me great pleasure to pay you a Visit in your hospitable abode of peace and elegance, but the Length of the journey and the uncertainty of the times forbid it. It would add Inexpressible pleasure to us to see you in our Rural retirement, then might I profit by your Example of Equanimity and patience in times of Affliction. We are now cut off from all our Living, but those divine intimations in that sacred Book which have been the Consolation of many an exild one must be our Support. pray let me hear from you as often as possible. As it has been the mode of some distinguished Patriots on the other side the water in their late letters to a person of my acquaintance in these perilous times not to affix any Signature to them but that of Sentiment and Affection, so in humble imitation, after offering my partner's and my best Affection to you and Coll. Warren to subscribe yours Unalterably
JAMES WARREN TO SAMUEL ADAMS
WATERTOWN, June 21, 1775
MY DEAR SIR, I got up yesterday morning with a determination to have wrote to you and acknowledged the pleasure I received by yours, but was then prevented and shall be able now to write very little before the Bearer will call for this. The Multiplicity of Business to be done in the present Situation and Hurry of our Affairs fills up every moment of my Time with an Attention hardly tolerable. The late Action at Charlestown you will hear of before this reaches you. I gave our Friend, J. Adams, an Imperfect Account of it yesterday.1 I refer you to him and haveing nothing to be relied on since shall only say that tho' the Troops and Torys in Boston Exult much, I think they have nothing to Bragg of but the possession of the Ground, and what was still of more Consequence to us, the Death of our worthy Friend Doctr. Warren. but you may de1 Vol. 1. 62, supra.
pend on it they paid very dearly for their Acquisition. I believe we shall find their killd and wounded very great, perhaps not much less than 1000, and among them many officers. Their Troops that came over it is said were 5000, Commanded by Lord How. it is amazeing how uncertain we remain to this time of many facts you might suppose we were fully possessd of. we are not at this time able to ascertain the number of our own men killd and wounded, tho' we have reason to suppose they will not greatly Exceed 100. we are well pleased with the Spirit and Resolutions of your Congress. we could only have wished you had suffered us to have Embraced so good an Opportunity to form for ourselves a Constitution worthy of Freemen. all Bodies have their Foibles. Jealousy, however Groundless, may predominate in yours. we have, however, submitted and are sending out our Letters and shall Express our Gratitude by this Conveyance for your kindness and Benevolence to us in this Respect. our Good Major Hawley can be very sincere and your Brother Cushing I suppose likes it. he has relieved me by an Intimation of a probability that you will regulate the Constitution of all the Colonies. I must again refer you to my Friend Adams for my Sentiments of the Situation of our own Army. you would tremble to be possessd of the true state of it. fine fellows you know our Countrymen are and want nothing but a general of [struck out] abilities to make them a fine army. all our Efforts, which are many, cannot supply that defect. Yours must do it. could you believe he never left his House on Saturday last. I shall Add no more. I wish that was the worst of it. by the way I must do Justice to Thomas. he is a good Officer and is Esteemed. we have no trouble with his Camp; it is always in good order and things are Conducted with dignity and Spirit in the military Stile. we Yesterday chose Heath to succeed our Friend Warren as second Major General. Whitcomb is the first. The Humanity of the Good Genl. Gage that we have heard so much of has reduced Charlestown to ashes and will I presume treat all other Towns in his power in the same manner, I am now called on and must conclude, with my regards, etc., to all our Friends and am with my best wishes for every Happiness to you your Friend
do write to me and among other things let me know how it is with your Health and Spirits.