DAUGHTERS OF THE REVOLUTION AND THEIR TIMES
A Historical Romance
CHARLES CARLETON COFFIN
BOSTON AND NEW YORK HOUGHTON, MIFFLIN AND COMPANY The Riverside Press, Cambridge 1896
Copyright, 1895, BY CHARLES CARLETON COFFIN.
All rights reserved.
The Riverside Press, Cambridge, Mass., U. S. A. Electrotyped and Printed by H. O. Houghton and Company.
No period in the history of our country surpasses in interest that immediately preceding and including the beginning of the Revolutionary War. Many volumes have been written setting forth the patriotism and heroism of the fathers of the Republic, but the devotion of the mothers and daughters has received far less attention. This volume is designed, therefore, to portray in some degree their influence in the struggle of the Colonies to attain their independence. The narration of events takes the form of a story—a slight thread of romance being employed, rather than didactic narrative, to more vividly picture the scenes and the parts performed by the actors in the great historic drama. It will not be difficult for the reader to discern between the facts of history and the imaginative parts of the story.
Eminent educators have expressed the opinion that history may be more successfully taught through the medium of fiction than by any other form of diction. The novels of Sir Walter Scott, notably "Waverley," "Ivanhoe," are cited as presenting pictures of the times more effectively than any purely historic volume. The same may be said of "Uncle Tom's Cabin," as illustrating the state of affairs in our own country preceding the War of the Rebellion. It may be questioned whether any work of fiction in the world's history has been so far-reaching in its influence as that portrayal of the institution of slavery by Mrs. Stowe. Believing that the spirit of the times can be best pictured by the employment of romance, I have adopted that form of narrative.
The story opens in the fall of 1769. The Stamp Act had been repealed, and the irritation produced by that act had been allayed. It was a period of quiet and rest. The colonists still regarded themselves as Englishmen and loyal to the crown. Information came that His Majesty George III. was determined to maintain his right to tax the Colonies by imposing an export duty on tea, to be paid by the exporter, who, in turn, would charge it to the consumer. The first resistance to that claim was the agreement of all but six of the merchants of Boston not to import tea from England, and the agreement of their wives and daughters not to drink tea so imported. It was a resistance which had its outcome in the destruction of three cargoes of tea by the historic "Tea-Party,"—a resistance which became equally effective in the other Colonies, if less dramatic than in Boston. The determination of the mothers and daughters to abstain from its use brought about a change in social life, and was influential in awakening a public sentiment which had its legitimate outcome in the events at Lexington, Concord, and Bunker Hill.
There were causes other than the Stamp Act, Writs of Assistance, and the Tax on Tea, which brought about the Revolution.
"Whoever would comprehend the causes which led to the struggle of the Colonies for independence," says John Adams, "must study the Acts of the Board of Trade."
In this volume I have endeavored to briefly present some of those acts, in the conversation of Sam Adams with Robert Walden, that the school children of the country may have a comprehension of the underlying causes which brought about resistance to the tyranny of the mother country. The injustice of the laws had its legitimate result in a disregard of moral obligations, so that smuggling was regarded as a virtuous act.
In no history have I been able to find an account of the tragic death and dramatic burial of the schoolboy Christopher Snider, given in chapter VIII. It was the expression of sympathy by the people in following the body of the murdered boy from the Liberty Tree to the burial-place that intensified the antagonism between the citizens and the soldiers of the Fourteenth and Twenty-ninth regiments of the king's troops, which led, the following week, to the Massacre of March 5, 1770. Bancroft barely mentions the name of Snider; other historians make no account of the event.
To explain the motives and the play of forces which brought about the Revolution, I have endeavored to set forth society as it was not only in Boston but in Parliament and at the Court of George III. Most historians of the Revolutionary period regard the debt incurred by Great Britain in the conquest of Canada as the chief cause of the war, through the attempt of the mother country, subsequently, to obtain revenue from the Colonies; but a study of the times gives conclusive evidence that a large portion of the indebtedness was caused by mismanagement and the venality and corruption of Parliament.
To set forth the extravagance and frivolity of society surrounding King George, I have employed Lord Upperton and his companion, Mr. Dapper, as narrators. The student of history by turning to Jessee's "Life and Times of George III.," Molloy's "Court Life Below Stairs," Waldegrave's "Memoirs," Horace Walpole's writings, and many other volumes, will find ample corroboration of any statement made in this volume.
The period was characterized by sublime enthusiasm, self-sacrifice, and devotion, not only by the patriots but by loyalists who conscientiously adhered to the crown. In our admiration of those who secured the independence of the Colonies, we have overlooked the sacrifices and sufferings of the loyalists;—their distress during the siege of Boston, the agony of the hour when suddenly confronted with the appalling fact that they must become aliens, exiles, and wanderers, leaving behind all their possessions and estates,—an hour when there was a sundering of tender ties, the breaking of hearts.
I have endeavored to make the recital of events strictly conformable with historic facts by consulting newspapers, documents, almanacs, diaries, genealogical records, and family histories.
It was my great privilege in boyhood to hear the story of the battle of Bunker Hill told by three men who participated in the fight.—Eliakim Walker, who was in the redoubt under Prescott, Nathaniel Atkinson and David Flanders, who were under Stark, by the rail fence. They were near neighbors, pensioners of the government, and found pleasure in rehearsing the events of the Revolutionary War. My grandfather, Eliphalet Kilburn, was at Winter Hill at the time of the battle.
It was also my privilege to walk over Bunker Hill with Richard Frothingham, author of the "Siege of Boston," whose home was on the spot where Pigot's brigade was cut down by the withering fire from the redoubt. Mr. Frothingham had conversed with many old pensioners who were in the redoubt at the time of the battle. In my account of the engagement I have endeavored to picture it in accordance with the various narratives.
I hardly need say that Ruth Newville, Berinthia Brandon, and Mary Shrimpton are typical characters, representing the young women of the period,—a period in which families were divided, parents adhering to King George, sons and daughters giving their allegiance to Liberty.
I am under obligations to the proprietors of the "Memorial History of Boston" for the portrait of Mrs. Joseph Warren. The portrait of Dorothy Quincy is from that in possession of the Bostonian Society; that of Mrs. John Adams from her "Life and Letters."
The historic houses are from recent photographs.
I trust the reader will not regard this volume wholly as a romance, but rather as a presentation of the events, scenes, incidents, and spirit of the people at the beginning of the Revolution.
CHARLES CARLETON COFFIN.
I. ROBERT WALDEN GOES TO MARKET 1
II. FIRST DAY IN BOSTON 20
III. THE SONS OF LIBERTY 38
IV. AN EVENING WITH SAM ADAMS 49
V. A GARDEN TEA-PARTY 69
VI. CHRIST CHURCH CHIMES 93
VII. LAUNCHING OF THE BERINTHIA BRANDON 104
VIII. CHRISTOPHER SNIDER 119
IX. THE LOBSTERS AND ROPEMAKERS 130
X. MRS. NEWVILLE'S DINNER-PARTY 149
XI. SOCIETY LIFE IN LONDON 174
XII. A NEW ENGLAND GIRL 188
XIII. THE MOHAWKS AND THEIR TEA-PARTY 203
XIV. BENEVOLENCE AND BROTHERHOOD 221
XV. THE MIDNIGHT RIDE 241
XVI. THE MORNING DRUMBEAT 259
XVII. BEGINNING OF A NEW ERA 266
XVIII. BESIEGED 280
XIX. BUNKER HILL 291
XX. WHEN THE TIDE WAS GOING OUT 305
XXI. THE ESCAPE 320
XXII. BRAVE OF HEART 337
XXIII. SUNDERING OF HEARTSTRINGS 356
XXIV. IN THE OLD HOME 374
ELIZABETH HOOTON WARREN Frontispiece
OLD BRICK MEETINGHOUSE 16
LATIN SCHOOL 17
GREEN DRAGON TAVERN 18
FANEUIL HALL AND MARKET-PLACE 21
MAP OF BOSTON 23
SAMUEL ADAMS 26
DOCTOR JOSEPH WARREN 40
COPP'S HILL BURIAL GROUND 49
IN THE SHIPYARD 53
MASTER LOVELL 73
ABIGAIL SMITH ADAMS 82
MR. HANCOCK'S HOUSE 83
DOROTHY QUINCY 84
CHRIST CHURCH 94
LAUNCHING THE SHIP 110
LORD NORTH 129
KING'S CHAPEL 135
TOWN HOUSE 143
GEORGE III. 161
QUEEN SOPHIA CHARLOTTE 166
LORD PERCY 232
PAUL REVERE'S HOUSE 253
REVEREND JONAS CLARK'S HOUSE 258
BUCKMAN'S TAVERN 260
JONATHAN HARRINGTON'S HOUSE 264
ROBERT MUNROE'S HOUSE 266
MAP, ROUTE TO LEXINGTON AND CONCORD 267
REVEREND WILLIAM EMERSON'S HOUSE 268
WRIGHT'S TAVERN 270
NORTH BRIDGE 272
MERRIAM'S CORNER 274
MUNROE TAVERN 276
PROVINCE HOUSE 281
WHERE WASHINGTON ASSUMED COMMAND 308
PLANNING THE ESCAPE 324
WASHINGTON'S HEADQUARTERS 334
THE DINNER-PARTY 381
HOME OF THE EXILES 384
DAUGHTERS OF THE REVOLUTION.
ROBERT WALDEN GOES TO MARKET.
Joshua Walden, of Rumford, Province of New Hampshire, was receiving letters from Samuel Adams and Doctor Joseph Warren in relation to the course pursued by King George III. and his ministers in collecting revenue from the Colonies. Mr. Walden had fought the French and Indians at Ticonderoga and Crown Point in the war with France. The gun and powder-horn which he carried under Captain John Stark were hanging over the door in his kitchen. His farm was on the banks of the Merrimac. The stately forest trees had fallen beneath the sturdy blows of his axe, and the sun was shining on intervale and upland, meadow and pasture which he had cleared. His neighbors said he was getting forehanded. Several times during the year he made a journey to Boston with his cheeses, beef, pigs, turkeys, geese, chickens, a barrel of apple-sauce, bags filled with wool, together with webs of linsey-woolsey spun and woven by his wife and daughter. He never failed to have a talk with Mr. Adams and Doctor Warren, John Hancock, and others foremost in resisting the aggressions of the mother country upon the rights and liberties of the Colonies. When at home he was up early in the morning, building the fire, feeding the cattle, and milking the cows. Mrs. Walden, the while, was stirring the corn meal for a johnny-cake, putting the potatoes in the ashes, placing the Dutch oven on the coals, hanging the pots and kettles on the hooks and trammels.
Robert, their only son, twenty years old, would be glad to take another nap after being called by his father, but felt it would not be manly for one who had mowed all the hired men out of their swaths in the hayfield, and who had put the best wrestler in Rumford on his back, to lie in bed and let his father do all the chores, with the cows lowing to get to the pasture. With a spring he was on his feet and slipping on his clothes. He was soon on his way to the barn, drumming on the tin pail and whistling as he walked to the milking.
The cows turned into pasture, he rubbed down the mare Jenny and the colt Paul, fed the pigs, washed his face and hands, and was ready for breakfast.
It would not have been like Rachel Walden, the only daughter, eighteen years old, to lie in bed and let her mother do all the work about the house. She came from her chamber with tripping steps, as if it were a pleasure to be wide awake after a good sleep. She fed the chickens, set the table, raked the potatoes from the ashes, drew a mug of cider for her father. When breakfast was ready, they stood by their chairs while Mr. Walden asked a blessing. The meal finished, he read a chapter in the Bible and offered prayer. When the "Amen" was said, Mr. Walden and Robert put on their hats and went about their work. Mrs. Walden passed upstairs to throw the shuttle of the loom. Rachel washed the dishes, wheyed the curd, and prepared it for the press, turned the cheeses and rubbed them with fat. That done, she set the kitchen to rights, made the beds, sprinkled clean sand upon the floor, wet the web of linen bleaching on the grass in the orchard, then slipped upstairs and set the spinning-wheel to humming. His neighbors said that Mr. Walden was thrifty and could afford to wear a broadcloth blue coat with bright brass buttons on grand occasions, and that Mrs. Walden was warranted in having a satin gown.
Haying was over. The rye was reaped, the wheat and oats were harvested, and the flax was pulled. September had come,—the time when Mr. Walden usually went to Boston with the cheese.
"Father," said Rachel at dinner, "I wish you would take the cheeses to market. It is hard work to turn so many every day."
Mr. Walden sat in silence awhile. "Robert," he said at length, "how would you like to try your hand at truck and dicker?"
"If you think I can do it I will try," Robert replied, surprised at the question, yet gratified.
"Of course you can do it. You can figure up how much a cheese that tips the steelyard at twenty pounds and three ounces will come to at three pence ha'penny per pound. You know, or you ought to know, the difference between a pistareen and a smooth-faced shilling. When you truck and dicker, you've got to remember that the other feller is doing it all the time, while you will be as green as a pumpkin in August. When you are tasting 'lasses, you must run a stick into the bung-hole of the barrel clear down to the bottom and then lift it up and see if it is thick or thin. T'other feller will want you to taste it at the spiggot, where it will be almost sugar. When you are selecting dried codfish, look sharp and not let him give you all damp ones from the bottom of the pile, neither the little scrimped ones from the top. Of course you will get cheated, but you have got to begin knocking about some time. You're old enough to have your eye teeth cut. You can put Jenny up at the Green Dragon and visit Cousin Jedidiah Brandon on Copp's Hill, see the ships he is building, visit with Tom and Berinthia. Tom, I guess, is going to be a chip of the old block, and Berinthia is a nice girl. Take your good clothes along in your trunk, so after you get through handling the cheese you can dress like a gentleman. I want you to pick out the best cheese of the lot and give it to Samuel Adams, also another to Doctor Warren, with my compliments. You can say to Mr. Adams I would like any information he can give about what is going on in London relative to taxing the Colonies. He is very kind, and possibly may ask you to call upon him of an evening, for he is very busy during the day. Doctor Warren is one of the kindest-hearted men in the world, and chuck full of patriotism. He will give a hearty shake to your hand.
"You had better mouse round the market awhile before trading. John Hancock bought my last load. His store is close by Faneuil Hall. He is rich, inherited his property from his uncle. He lives in style in a stone house on Beacon Hill. He is liberal with his money, and is one of the few rich men in Boston who take sides with the people against the aggressions of King George and his ministers. Mr. Adams begins to be gray, but Warren and Hancock are both young men. They are doing grand things in maintaining the rights of the Colonies. I want you to make their acquaintance. By seeing and talking with such men you will be worth more to yourself and everybody else. Your going to market and meeting such gentlemen will be as good as several months of school. You'll see more people than you ever saw on the muster-field; ships from foreign lands will be moored in the harbor. You'll see houses by the thousand, meetinghouses with tall steeples, and will hear the bells ring at five o'clock in the morning, getting-up time, at noon for dinner, and at nine in the evening, bed-time. Two regiments of redcoats are there. The latest news is that they are getting sassy. I can believe it. At Ticonderoga and Crown Point they used to put on airs, and call the Provincials "string-beans," "polly-pods," "slam bangs." They turned up their noses at our buckskin breeches, but when it came to fighting we showed 'em what stuff we were made of. Don't let 'em pick a quarrel, but don't take any sass from 'em. Do right by everybody."
"I will try to do right," Robert replied.
The sun was rising the next morning when Robert gathered up the reins and stood ready to step into the wagon which had been loaded for the market.
"You have three dozen new milk cheeses," said Rachel, "and two and one half dozen of four meal. I have marked the four meals with a cross in the centre, so you'll know them from the new milk. There are sixteen greened with sage. They look real pretty. I have put in half a dozen skims; somebody may want 'em for toasting."
"You will find," said Mrs. Walden, "a web of linsey-woolsey in your trunk with your best clothes, and a dozen skeins of wool yarn. It is lamb's wool. I've doubled and twisted it, and I don't believe the women will find in all Boston anything softer or nicer for stockings."
"I have put up six quarts of caraway seed," said Rachel. "I guess the bakers will want it to put into gingerbread. And I have packed ten dozen eggs in oats, in a basket. They are all fresh. You can use the oats to bait Jenny with on your way home."
"There are two bushels of beans," said Mr. Walden, "in that bag,—the one-hundred-and-one kind,—and a bushel and three pecks of clover seed in the other bag. You can get a barrel of 'lasses, half a quintal of codfish, half a barrel of mackerel, and a bag of Turk's Island salt."
"Don't forget," said Mrs. Walden, "that we want some pepper, spice, cinnamon, nutmegs, cloves, and some of the very best Maccaboy snuff. Oh, let me see! I want a new foot-stove. Our old one is all banged up, and I am ashamed to be seen filling it at noon in winter in Deacon Stonegood's kitchen, with all the women looking on, and theirs spick and span new."
"Father and mother have told me what they want, and now what shall I get for you, Rachel?" Robert asked of his sister.
"Anything you please, Rob," Rachel replied with such tender love in her eyes that he had half a mind to kiss her. But kissing was not common in Rumford or anywhere else in New England. Never had he seen his father give his mother such a token of affection. He had a dim recollection that his mother sometimes kissed him when he was a little fellow in frock and trousers, sitting in her lap. He never had kissed Rachel, but he would now, and gave her a hearty smack. He saw an unusual brightness in her eyes and a richer bloom upon her cheek as he stepped into the wagon.
"I'll get something nice for her," he said to himself as he rode away.
Besides the other articles in the wagon, there was a bag of wool, sheared from his own flock. Years before his father had given him a cosset lamb, and now he was the owner of a dozen sheep. Yes, he would get something for her.
The morning air was fresh and pure. He whistled a tune and watched the wild pigeons flying in great flocks here and there, and the red-winged blackbirds sweeping past him from their roosting in the alders along the meadow brook to the stubble field where the wheat had been harvested. Gray squirrels were barking in the woods, and their cousins the reds, less shy, were scurrying along the fence rails and up the chestnut-trees to send the prickly burrs to the ground. The first tinge of autumn was on the elms and maples. Jenny had been to market so many times she could be trusted to take the right road, and he could lie upon his sack of wool and enjoy the changing landscape.
Mrs. Stark was blowing the horn for dinner at John Stark's tavern in Derryfield when Jenny came to a standstill by the stable door. Robert put her in the stall, washed his face and hands in the basin on the bench by the bar-room door, and was ready for dinner. Captain Stark shook hands with him. Robert beheld a tall, broad-shouldered man, with a high forehead, bright blue eyes, and pleasant countenance, but with lines in his cheek indicating that he could be very firm and resolute. This was he under whom his father served at Ticonderoga and Crown Point.
[Footnote 1: John Stark, tavern-keeper in Derryfield, was the renowned Indian fighter and captain of the corps of Rifle Rangers in the war with France. (See Biography by Jared Sparks.) The tavern is still standing in the suburbs of the city of Manchester, N. H.]
"So you are the son of Josh Walden, eh? Well, you have your father's eyes, nose, and mouth. If you have got the grit he had at Ti, I'll bet on you."
Many times Robert had heard his father tell the story of the Rifle Rangers, the service they performed, the hardships they endured, and the bravery and coolness of John Stark in battle.
Through the afternoon the mare trotted on, halting at sunset at Jacob Abbott's stable in Andover.
It was noon the next day when Robert reached Cambridge. He had heard about Harvard College; now he saw the buildings. The students were having a game of football after dinner. The houses along the streets were larger than any he had ever seen before,—stately mansions with porticoes, pillars, pilasters, carved cornices, and verandas. The gardens were still bright with the flowers of autumn. Reaching Roxbury, he came across a man slowly making his way along the road with a cane.
"Let me give you a lift, sir," Robert said.
"Thank you. I have been down with the rheumatiz, and can't skip round quite as lively as I could once," said the man as he climbed into the wagon. "'Spect you are from the country and on your way to market, eh?"
Robert replied that he was from New Hampshire.
"Ever been this way before?"
"No, this is my first trip."
"Well, then, perhaps I can p'int out some things that may interest ye."
Robert thanked him.
"This little strip of land we are on is the 'Neck.' This water on our left is Charles River,—this on our right is Gallows Bay. Ye see that thing out there, don't ye?"
The man pointed with his cane. "Well, that's the gallows, where pirates and murderers are hung. Lots of 'em have been swung off there, with thousands of people looking to see 'em have their necks stretched. 'Tain't a pretty sight, though."
The man took a chew of tobacco, and renewed the conversation.
"My name is Peter Bushwick, and yours may be—?"
"Thank ye, Mr. Walden. So ye took the road through Cambridge instead of Charlestown."
"I let Jenny pick the road. That through Charlestown would have been nearer, but I should have to cross the ferry. My father usually comes this way."
[Footnote 2: No bridge from Charlestown had been constructed across Charles Rivers (1769), and the only avenue leading into Boston was from Roxbury.]
"Mighty fine mare, Mr. Walden; ye can see she's a knowing critter. She's got the right kind of an ear; she knows what she's about."
They were at the narrowest part of the peninsula, and Mr. Bushwick told about the barricade built by the first settlers at that point to protect the town from the Indians, and pointed to a large elm-tree which they could see quite a distance ahead.
"That is the Liberty Tree," he said.
[Footnote 3: The elm-tree stood at the junction of Orange and Essex streets and Frog Lane, now Washington, Essex and Boylston streets. In 1766, upon the repeal of the Stamp Act, a large copper plate was nailed upon the tree with the following inscription: "This tree was planted in the year 1646 and pruned by the Order of the Sons of Liberty February 14, 1766." Other trees stood near it, furnishing a grateful shade. The locality before 1767 was known as Hanover Square, but after the repeal of the Stamp Act, as Liberty Hall. In August, 1767, a flagstaff was raised above its branches; the hoisting of a flag upon the staff was a signal for the assembling of the Sons of Liberty.]
"Why do you call it the Liberty Tree?"
"Because it is where the Sons of Liberty meet. It is a mighty fine tree, and, as near as we can make out, is more than one hundred years old. We hang the Pope there on Guy Fawkes' day, and traitors to liberty on other days."
"I have heard you have jolly good times on Gunpowder Plot days."
"You may believe we do. You would have laughed if you'd been here Gunpowder day seven years ago this coming November, when the Pope, Admiral Byng, Nancy Dawson, and the Devil, all were found hanging on the old elm."
[Footnote 4: Nancy Dawson, when a little girl, was employed in setting up skittles for players in High Street, Mary-le-bone, London. She was agile, graceful, and had an attractive figure. She first appeared as a dancer at Sadler's Wells theatre, where she soon attracted much attention, and in a short time became a great favorite. A rhymster wrote a song for her which was introduced (1764) into the play, "Love in a Valley." It was also arranged as a hornpipe for the harpsichord and sung by young ladies throughout England. Children sang it in the play, "Here we go round the Mulberry bush." The popularity of Nancy Dawson was at its height in 1769.]
"I don't think I ever heard about Admiral Byng and Nancy Dawson."
"Well, then, I must tell ye. Byng didn't fight the French and Spaniards at Minorca, but sailed away and sort o' showed the white feather, and so was court-martialed and shot on his own ship."
"What did Nancy do?"
"Oh, Nancy never did anything except kick up her heels; she's the best dancer in London, so they say. We haven't any theatre in this 'ere town, and don't have much dancing. We have the Thursday lecture instead."
Robert wondered whether the allusion to the lecture was said soberly or in sarcasm.
"In London they go wild over dancing. Maybe I might sing a song about her if ye would like to hear it."
"I would like very much to hear it."
Mr. Bushwick took the quid of tobacco from his mouth, cleared his throat, and sang,—
"'Of all the girls in our town, The black, the fair, the red, the brown, That dance and prance it up and down, There's none like Nancy Dawson.
"'Her easy mien, her shape, so neat, She foots, she trips, she looks so sweet, Her every motion so complete,— There's none like Nancy Dawson.
"'See how she comes to give surprise, With joy and pleasure in her eyes; To give delight she always tries,— There's none like Nancy Dawson.'"
"That's a good song," said Robert. Mr. Bushwick put the quid once more in his mouth, and went on with the story.
"On that night a great crowd gathered around the tree; the boys who go to Master Lovell's school came with an old knocked-kneed horse and a rickety wagon with a platform in it. They fixed the effigies on the platform with cords and pulleys, so that the arms and legs would be lifted when the boys under it pulled the strings. We lighted our torches and formed in procession. The fifers played the Rogue's March, and the bellman went ahead singing a song.
"'Don't you remember The fifth of November— The gunpowder treason plot? I see no reason Why gunpowder treason Should ever be forgot.
"'From the city of Rome The Pope has come Amid ten thousand fears, With fiery serpents to be seen At eyes, nose, mouth, and ears.
"'Don't you hear my little bell Go chinking, chinking, chink? Please give me a little money To buy my Pope a drink.'
"The streets were filled with people, who tossed pennies into the bellman's hat. Everybody laughed to see the Pope lifting his hands and working his under jaw as if preaching, Byng rolling his goggle eyes, Nancy kicking with both legs, and the Devil wriggling his tail. We marched awhile, then put the Pope and the devil into the stocks, Nancy in the pillory, tied Byng to the whipping-post and gave him a flogging, then kindled a bonfire in King Street, pitched the effigies into it, and went into the Tun and Bacchus, Bunch of Grapes, and Admiral Vernon, and drank flip, egg-nogg, punch, and black strap."
[Footnote 5: Black strap was composed of rum and molasses, and was often drunk by those who could not afford more expensive beverages.]
Mr. Bushwick chuckled merrily, and took a fresh quid of tobacco. Robert also laughed at the vivacious description.
"But I don't quite see why it should be called the Liberty Tree," Robert said.
"I was coming to that. You know that Lord Bute brought forward the Stamp Act a few years ago: well, this old elm being so near the White Lamb and the White Horse, it was a convenient place for the citizens to meet to talk about the proposition to tax us. One evening Ben Edes, who publishes the 'Gazette and News-Letter,' read what Ike Barre said in Parliament in opposition to the Stamp Act, in which he called us Americans Sons of Liberty, and as that was our meeting-place, we christened the place Liberty Hall and the old elm Liberty Tree. That was in July, 1765, just after Parliament passed the Stamp Act. The king had appointed Andrew Oliver stamp-master, and one morning his effigy was dangling from the tree, and a paper pinned to it writ large:—
"'Fair Freedom's glorious Cause I've meanly quitted For the sake of pelf; But ah, the Devil has me outwitted; Instead of hanging others, I've hanged myself.'
"Then there was a figure of a great boot, with the Devil peeping out of it, to represent the king's minister, Lord Bute. When night came, all hands of us formed in procession, laid the effigies on a bier, marched to the Province House so that the villain, Governor Bernard, could see us, went to Mackerel Lane, tore down the building Oliver was intending to use for the sale of the stamps, went to Fort Hill, ripped the boards from his barn, smashed in his front door, and burned the effigies to let him know we never would consent to be taxed in that way. A few days later Oliver came to the tree, held up his hand, and swore a solemn oath that he never would sell any stamps, so help him God! And he never did, for ye see King George had to back down and repeal the bill. It was the next May when Shubael Coffin, master of the brigantine Harrison, brought the news. We set all the bells to ringing, fired cannon, and tossed up our hats. The rich people opened their purses and paid the debts of everybody in jail. We hung lanterns on the tree in the evening, set off rockets, and kindled bonfires. John Hancock kept open house, with ladies and gentlemen feasting in his parlors, and pipes of wine on tap in the front yard for everybody."
"It must have been a joyful day," said Robert.
"That's what it was. Everybody was generous. Last year when the day came round a lot of us gathered under the old tree to celebrate it. Sam Adams was there, James Otis, Doctor Warren, John Hancock, and ever so many more. We fired salutes, sang songs, and drank fourteen toasts. That was at ten o'clock. Just before noon we rode out to the Greyhound Tavern in Roxbury in carriages and chaises, and had a dinner of fish, roast pig, sirloin, goose, chickens and all the trimmings, topping off with plum-pudding and apple-pie, sang Dickenson's Liberty Song, drank thirty more toasts, forty-four in all, filling our glasses with port, madeira, egg-nogg, flip, punch, and brandy. Some of us, of course, were rather jolly, but we got home all right," said Mr. Bushwick, laughing.
"You mean that some of you were a little weak in the legs," said Robert.
"Yes, and that the streets were rather crooked," Mr. Bushwick replied, laughing once more.
They were abreast of the tree, and Robert reined in Jenny while he admired its beautiful proportions.
"I think I must leave you at this point; my house is down here, on Cow Lane, not far from the house of Sam Adams. I'm ever so much obliged to you for the lift ye've given me," said Mr. Bushwick as he shook hands with Robert.
[Footnote 6: Cow Lane is the present High Street.]
"I thank you for the information you have given me," Robert replied.
Jenny walked on, past the White Horse Inn and the Lamb Tavern. A little farther, and he beheld the Province House, a building with a cupola surmounted by a spire. The weather-vane was an Indian with bow and arrow. The king's arms, carved and gilded, were upon the balcony above the doorway. Chestnut trees shaded the green plot of ground between the building and the street. A soldier with his musket on his shoulder was standing guard. Upon the other side of the way, a few steps farther, was a meetinghouse; he thought it must be the Old South. His father had informed him he would see a brick building with an apothecary's sign on the corner just beyond the Old South, and there it was. Also, the Cromwell's Head Tavern on a cross street, and a schoolhouse, which he concluded must be Master Lovell's Latin School. He suddenly found Jenny quickening her pace, and understood the meaning when she plunged her nose into a watering trough by the town pump. While she was drinking Robert was startled by a bell tolling almost over his head; upon looking up he beheld the dial of a clock and remembered his father had said it was on the Old Brick Meetinghouse; that the building nearly opposite was the Town House. He saw two cannon in the street and a soldier keeping guard before the door. Negro servants were filling their pails at the pump, and kindly pumped water for the mare. Looking down King Street toward the water, he saw the stocks and pillory, the Custom House, and in the distance the masts and yard-arms of ships. Up Queen Street he could see the jail.
[Footnote 7: The building known as the Old Corner Bookstore, at the junction of School and Washington streets. The Cromwell's Head Tavern was No. 19 School Street.]
[Footnote 8: The old brick meetinghouse of the First Church occupied the site of the present Rogers Building, nearly opposite the Old State House.]
The mare, having finished drinking, jogged on. He saw on the left-hand side of the street the shop of Paul Revere, goldsmith. The thought came that possibly he might find something there that would be nice and pretty for Rachel.
[Footnote 9: The shop of Paul Revere stood on Cornhill, now No. 169 Washington Street.]
Jenny, knowing she was nearing the end of her journey, trotted through Union Street, stopping at last in front of a building where an iron rod projected from the wall, supporting a green dragon with wings, open jaws, teeth, and a tongue shaped like a dart. The red-faced landlord was standing in the doorway.
[Footnote 10: The Green Dragon Tavern stood in Green Dragon Lane, now Union street. The lane in 1769 terminated at the mill-pond, a few rods from the tavern. In front it showed two stories, but had three stories and a basement in the rear. The hall was in the second story. The sign was of sheet copper, hanging from an iron rod projecting from the building. The rooms were named Devonshire, Somerset, Norfolk, respectively, for the shires of Old England. The building was about one hundred years old, and was occupied, 1695, by Alexander Smith as a tavern. The estate at one time was owned by Lieut.-Governor William Stoughton, who was acting governor and took a prominent part in persecuting those accused of witchcraft. He was a man of large wealth, and devised a portion of his property to Harvard College, Stoughton Hall being named for him.]
"Well Jenny, old girl, how do you do?" he said, addressing the mare. "So it is the son and not the father? I hope you are well. And how's your dad?"
Robert replied that his father was well.
"Here, Joe; put this mare in the stable, and give her a good rubbing down. She's as nice a piece as ever went on four legs."
The hostler took the reins and Robert stepped from the wagon.
"Pete Augustus, take this gentleman's trunk up to Devonshire. It will be your room, Mr. Walden."
Robert followed the negro upstairs, and discovered that each room had its distinctive name. He could have carried the trunk, but as he was to be a gentleman, it would not be dignified were he to shoulder it. He knew he must be in the market early in the morning, and went to bed soon after supper. He might have gone at once to Copp's Hill, assured of a hearty welcome in the Brandon home, but preferred to make the Green Dragon his abiding-place till through with the business that brought him to Boston.
FIRST DAY IN BOSTON.
Farmers from the towns around Boston were already in the market-place around Faneuil Hall the next morning when Robert drove down from the Green Dragon. Those who had quarters of beef and lamb for sale were cutting the meat upon heavy oaken tables. Fishermen were bringing baskets filled with mackerel and cod from their boats moored in the dock. An old man was pushing a wheelbarrow before him filled with lobsters. Housewives followed by negro servants were purchasing meats and vegetables, holding eggs to the light to see if they were fresh, tasting pats of butter, handling chickens, and haggling with the farmers about the prices of what they had to sell.
[Footnote 11: The market was held in the open space around Faneuil Hall, in which were rails where the farmers from the surrounding towns hitched their horses. It was bounded on one side by the dock where the fishermen moored their boats.]
The town-crier was jingling his bell and shouting that Thomas Russell at the auction room on Queen Street would sell a great variety of plain and spotted, lilac, scarlet, strawberry-colored, and yellow paduasoys, bellandine silks, sateens, galloons, ferrets, grograms, and harratines at half past ten o'clock.
Robert tied Jenny to the hitching-rail, and walked amid the hucksters to see what they had to sell; by observation he could ascertain the state of the market, and govern himself accordingly. After interviewing the hucksters he entered a store.
"No, I don't want any cheese," said the first on whom he called.
"The market is glutted," replied the second.
"If it were a little later in the season I would talk with you," was the answer of the third.
"I've got more on hand now than I know what to do with," said the fourth.
Robert began to think he might have to take them back to Rumford. He saw a sign, "John Hancock, Successor to Thomas Hancock," and remembered that his father had traded there, and that John Hancock was associated with Sam Adams and Doctor Warren in resisting the aggressions of the king's ministers. Mr. Hancock was not in the store, but would soon be there. The clerk said he would look at what Robert had to sell, put on his hat, stepped to the wagon, stood upon the thills, held a cheese to his nose, pressed it with his thumb, tapped it with a gimlet, tasted it, and smacked his lips.
"Your mother makes good cheese," he said.
"My sister made them."
"Your sister, eh. Older than yourself?"
"No, younger; only seventeen."
"Indeed! Well, you may tell her she is a dabster at cheese-making. Do you want cash? If you do I'm afeard we shall not be able to trade, because cash is cash these days; but if you are willing to barter I guess we can dicker, for Mr. Hancock is going to freight a ship to the West Indias and wants something to send in her, and it strikes me the sugar planters at Porto Rico might like a bit of cheese," the clerk said.
"I shall want some sugar, coffee, molasses, codfish, and other things."
"I'll give you the market price for all your cheeses, and make fair rates on what you want from us."
"I can't let you have all. I must reserve two of the best."
"May I ask why you withhold two?"
"Because my father wishes to present one to Mr. Samuel Adams and the other to Doctor Joseph Warren, who are doing so much to preserve the rights of the Colonies."
"Your father's name is"—
"Joshua Walden," said Robert.
"Oh yes, I remember him well. He was down here last winter and I bought his load. He had a barrel of apple-sauce, and Mr. Hancock liked it so well he took it for his own table. There is Mr. Hancock, now," said the clerk, as a chaise drove up and halted before the door.
Robert saw a tall young man, wearing a saffron colored velvet coat, ruffled shirt, buff satin breeches, black silk stockings, and shining shoe-buckles, step in a dignified manner from the chaise and hand the reins to a gray-headed negro, who lifted his hat as he took them.
"Good-morning, Mr. Ledger," he said to the clerk.
"Good-morning," the clerk replied, lifting his hat.
"Well, how is the Mary Jane getting on? Have you found anything in the market on which we can turn a penny? I want to get her off as soon as possible."
"I was just having a talk with this young gentleman about his cheeses. This is Mr. Walden from Rumford. You perhaps may remember his father, with whom we traded last year."
"Oh yes, I remember Mr. Joshua Walden. I hope your father is well. I have not forgotten his earnestness in all matters relating to the welfare of the Colonies. Nor have I forgotten that barrel of apple-sauce he brought to market, and I want to make a bargain for another barrel just like it. All my guests pronounced it superb. Step into the store, Mr. Walden, and, Mr. Ledger, a bottle of madeira, if you please."
The clerk stepped down cellar and returned with a bottle of wine, took from a cupboard a salver and glasses and filled them.
"Shall we have the pleasure of drinking the health of your father?" said Mr. Hancock, courteously touching his glass to Robert's. "Please give him my compliments and say to him that we expect New Hampshire to stand shoulder to shoulder with Massachusetts in the cause of liberty."
Mr. Hancock drank his wine slowly. Robert saw that he stood erect, and remembered he was captain of a military company—the Cadets.
"Will you allow me to take a glass with you for your own health?" he said, refilling the glasses and bowing with dignity and again slowly drinking.
"Mr. Ledger, you will please do what you can to accommodate Mr. Walden in the way of trade. You are right in thinking the planters of Jamaica will like some cheese from our New England dairies, and you may as well unload them at the dock; it will save rehandling them. We must have Mary Jane scudding away as soon as possible."
Mr. Hancock bowed once more and sat down to his writing-desk.
Robert drove his wagon alongside the ship and unloaded the cheeses, then called at the stores around Faneuil Hall to find a market for the yarn and cloth and his wool. Few were ready to pay him money, but at last all was sold.
"Can you direct me to the house of Mr. Samuel Adams?" he asked of the town crier.
"Oh yes, you go through Mackerel Lane to Cow Lane and through that to Purchase Street, and you will see an orchard with apple and pear trees and a big house with stairs outside leading up to a platform on the roof; that's the house. Do you know Sam?"
[Footnote 12: Mackerel Lane is the present Kilby Street.]
"No, I never have seen Mr. Adams."
"Well, if you run across a tall, good-looking man between forty-five and fifty, with blue eyes, who wears a red cloak and cocked hat, and who looks as if he wasn't afeard of the king, the devil, or any of his imps, that is Maltster Sam. We call him Maltster Sam because he once made malt for a living, but didn't live by it because it didn't pay. He's a master hand in town meetings. He made it red-hot for Bernard, and he'll make it hotter for Sammy Hutchinson if he don't mind his p's and q's. Sam is a buster, now, I tell you."
Robert drove through Cow Lane and came to the house. He rapped at the front door, which was opened by a tall man, with a pleasant but resolute countenance, whose clothes were plain and getting threadbare. His hair was beginning to be gray about the temples, and he wore a gray tie wig.
"This is Mr. Adams, is it not?" Robert asked.
"That is my name; what can I do for you?"
"I am Robert Walden from Rumford. I think you know my father."
"Yes, indeed. Please walk in. Son of my friend Joshua Walden? I am glad to see you," said Mr. Adams with a hearty shake of the hand.
"I have brought you a cheese which my father wishes you to accept with his compliments."
"That is just like him; he always brings us something. Please say to him that Mrs. Adams and myself greatly appreciate his kind remembrance of us."
A tall lady with a comely countenance was descending the hall stairs.
"Wife, this is Mr. Walden, son of our old friend; just see what he has brought us."
Robert lifted his hat and was recognized by a gracious courtesy.
"How good everybody is to us. The ravens fed Elijah, but I don't believe they brought cheese to him. We shall be reminded of your kindness every time we sit down to a meal," said Mrs. Adams.
Robert thought he never had seen a smile more gracious than that upon her pale, careworn countenance. He noticed that everything about the room was plain, but neat and tidy. Upon a shelf were the Bible, Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress, and a volume of Reverend Mr. South's sermons. Robert remembered his father said Mrs. Adams was the daughter of Reverend Mr. Checkley, minister of the New South Meetinghouse, and that Mr. Adams went to meeting there. Upon the table were law books, pamphlets, papers, letters, and newspapers. He saw that some of the letters bore the London postmark. He remembered his father said Mr. Adams had not much money; that he was so dead in earnest in maintaining the rights of the people he had little time to attend to his own affairs.
[Footnote 13: Mrs. Adams was the daughter of Reverend Samuel Checkley, pastor of the New South Church, which stood on Church Green at the junction of Summer and Bedford streets. She was a woman of much refinement and intelligence, and greatly beloved.]
"Will you be in town through the week and over the Sabbath?" Mr. Adams asked.
Robert replied that he intended to visit his relatives, Mr. and Mrs. Brandon, on Copp's Hill.
"Oh yes, my friend the shipbuilder—a very worthy gentleman, and his wife an estimable lady. They have an energetic and noble daughter and a promising son. I have an engagement to-night, another to-morrow, but shall be at home to-morrow evening, and I would like to have you and your young friends take supper with us. I will tell you something that your father would like to know."
Robert thanked him, and took his departure. Thinking that Doctor Warren probably would be visiting his patients at that hour of the day, he drove to the Green Dragon, and put Jenny in her stall, and after dinner made his way to the goldsmith's shop to find a present for Rachel.
Mr. Paul Revere, who had gold beads, brooches, silver spoons, shoe and knee buckles, clocks, and a great variety of articles for sale, was sitting on a bench engraving a copper plate. He laid down his graving-tool and came to the counter. Robert saw he had a benevolent face; that he was hale and hearty.
"I would like to look at what you have that is pretty for a girl of eighteen," said Robert.
Mr. Revere smiled as if he understood that the young man before him wanted something that would delight his sweetheart.
"I want it for my sister," Robert added.
Mr. Revere smiled again as he took a bag filled with gold beads from the showcase.
"I think you cannot find anything prettier for your sister than a string of beads," he said. "Women and girls like them better than anything else. They are always in fashion. You will not make any mistake, I am sure, in selecting them."
He held up several strings to the light, that Robert might see how beautiful they were.
"I would like to look at your brooches."
While the goldsmith was taking them from the showcase, he glanced at the pictures on the walls, printed from plates which Mr. Revere had engraved.
The brooches were beautiful—ruby, onyx, sapphire, emerald, but after examining them he turned once more to the beads.
"They are eighteen carats fine, and will not grow dim with use. I think your sister will be delighted with them."
Robert thought so too, and felt a glow of pleasure when they were packed in soft paper and transferred from the case to his pocket.
With the afternoon before him he strolled the streets, looking at articles in the shop windows, at the clock on the Old Brick Meetinghouse, the barracks of the soldiers,—the king's Twenty-Ninth Regiment. Some of the redcoats were polishing their gun barrels and bayonets, others smoking their pipes. Beyond the barracks a little distance he saw Mr. Gray's ropewalk. He turned through Mackerel Lane and came to the Bunch of Grapes Tavern, and just beyond it the Admiral Vernon. He strolled to Long Wharf. The king's warship, Romney, was riding at anchor near by, and a stately merchant ship was coming up the harbor. The fragrance of the sea was in the air. Upon the wharf were hogsheads of molasses unloaded from a vessel just arrived from Jamaica. Boys had knocked out a bung and were running a stick into the hole and lapping the molasses. The sailors lounging on the wharf were speaking a language he could not understand. For the first time in his life he was in touch, as it were, with the great world beyond the sea.
[Footnote 14: The troops were ordered to Boston in 1765, in consequence of the riots growing out of the passage of the Stamp Act, the mob having sacked the house of Chief Justice Thomas Hutchinson. Though the Stamp Act had been repealed, and though the citizens were orderly and law-abiding, the regiments remained.]
[Footnote 15: The Bunch of Grapes Tavern stood on the corner of Mackerel Lane and King Street, now Kilby and State streets. Its sign was three clusters of grapes. It was a noted tavern, often patronized by the royal governors. In July, 1776, the Declaration of Independence was read to the people from its balcony. After hearing it they tore the lion and unicorn, and all emblems of British authority, from the Custom House, Court House, and Town House, and made a bonfire of them in front of the tavern.]
During the day he had met several of the king's soldiers, swaggering along the streets as if privileged to do as they pleased, regardless of the people. Two, whom he had seen drinking toddy in the Admiral Vernon, swayed against him.
"Hello, clodhopper! How's yer dad and marm?" said one.
Robert felt the hot blood mount to his brow.
"Say, bumpkin, how did ye get away from your ma's apron-string?" said the other.
"He hasn't got the pluck of a goslin," said the first.
Robert set his teeth together, but made no reply, and walked away. He felt like pitching them headforemost into the dock, and was fearful he might do something which, in cooler blood, he would wish he had not done.
By what right were they strolling the streets of an orderly town? Those who supported the king said they were there to maintain the dignity of the crown. True, a mob had battered the door of Thomas Hutchinson, but that had been settled. The people were quiet, orderly, law-abiding. The sentinel by the Town House glared at him as he walked up King Street, as if ready to dispute his right to do so. He saw a bookstore on the corner of the street, and with a light heart entered it. A tall, broad-shouldered young man welcomed him.
"May I look at your books?" Robert asked.
"Certainly; we have all those recently published in London, and a great many pamphlets printed here in the Colonies," the young man replied.
"I live in the country. We do not have many books in New Hampshire," said Robert.
"Oh, from New Hampshire? Please make yourself at home, and look at any book you please. My name is Henry Knox," said the young man.
[Footnote 16: Mr. Knox was clerk in the bookstore kept by Daniel Henchman. In 1773 he began business on his own account on Cornhill now Washington Street, upon the site now occupied by the Globe newspaper. His store was frequented by the officers of the regiments, and doubtless he obtained from them information that he turned to good account during the war.]
"I am Robert Walden."
"I am pleased to make your acquaintance, Mr. Walden, and shall be glad to render you any service in my power. Is this your first visit to town?"
Robert said it was. He could only gaze in wonder at the books upon the shelves. He had not thought there could be so many in the world. Mr. Knox saw the growing look of astonishment.
"What can I show you? Perhaps you do not care for sermons. We have a good many; ministers like to see their sermons in print. I think perhaps you will like this better," said Mr. Knox, taking down a copy of the Arabian Nights' Entertainments. "You will find it very interesting; just sit down and look at it."
Robert seated himself in a chair and read the story of the Forty Thieves.
"Do you think these are true stories?" he asked when he had finished it.
Mr. Knox replied they were true in so far as they described the manners and customs of the people of Arabia and Persia. He did not doubt the stories had been told in Babylon, Nineveh, and Damascus, and he might think of the people in those cities sitting in the calm evenings under the almond-trees on the banks of the Euphrates or the river Abana listening to the story-teller, who probably did his best to make the story entertaining.
"Doubtless," said Mr. Knox, "we think it would not be possible for things to happen as they are narrated, but I am not quite sure about that. One of the stories, for instance, tells how a man went through the air on a carpet. We think it cannot be true, but here is a pamphlet which tells how Henry Cavendish, in England, a little while ago discovered a gas which he calls hydrogen. It is ten times lighter than air—so light that another gentleman, Mr. Black, filled a bag with it which took him off his feet and carried him round the room, to the astonishment of all who beheld it. I shouldn't be surprised if by and by we shall be able to travel through the air by a bag filled with such gas."
Robert listened with intense interest, not being able to comprehend how anything could be lighter than air. He was not quite sure that his father and mother would approve of his reading a book that was not strictly true, and he was sure that the good minister and deacons of the church would shake their heads solemnly were they to know it; but he could read it on his way home and hide it in the haymow and read it on rainy days in the barn. But that would not be manly. No, he could not do that. He would tell his father and mother and Rachel about it, and read it to them by the kitchen fire. Hit or miss, he would purchase the book.
Mr. Knox kindly offered to show him the Town House. They crossed the street, and entered the council chamber. Lieutenant-Governor Hutchinson and the members of the council were sitting in their armchairs, wearing white wigs and scarlet cloaks. Their gold-laced hats were lying on their desks. Lieutenant-Colonel Dalrymple, commanding the king's troops, was seated by the side of Governor Hutchinson as a visitor. Upon the walls were portraits of Kings Charles II. and James II. in gilded frames; also portraits of Governors Winthrop, Endicott, and Bradstreet.
Thanking Mr. Knox for his kindness, Robert passed into the street, took a look at the stocks and pillory, and wondered if that was the best way to punish those who had committed petty offenses.
He saw a girl tripping along the street. A young lieutenant in command of the sentinels around the Town House stared rudely at her. In contrast to the leering look of the officer, the negro servants filling their pails at the pump were very respectful in giving her room to pass. He saw the two soldiers who had attempted to pick a quarrel with him on the wharf, emerge from an alley. One chucked the young lady under the chin: the other threw his arm around her and attempted to steal a kiss. Robert heard a wild cry, and saw her struggle to be free. With a bound he was by her side. His right arm swung through the air, and his clenched fist came down like a sledge-hammer upon the head of the ruffian, felling him to the earth. The next moment the other was picked up and plunged headforemost into the watering-trough. No word had been spoken. The girl, as if not comprehending what had happened, stood amazed before him.
"Thank you, sir; I never shall forget your kindness," she said, dropping a low courtesy and walking rapidly up Queen Street.
Never before had he seen a face like hers, a countenance that would not fade from memory, although he saw it but a moment.
Suddenly he found himself confronted by the lieutenant, who came running from the Town House, with flashing eyes and drawn sword. Robert did not run, but looked him squarely in the face.
"What do you mean, you"—
The remainder of the sentence is not recorded: the printed page is cleaner without it.
"I meant to teach the villains not to insult a lady."
"I've a good mind to split your skull open," said the lieutenant, white with rage, but not knowing what to make of a man so calm and resolute.
"Let me get at him! Let me get at him! I'll knock the daylight out of him," shouted the fellow whom Robert had felled to the ground, but who had risen and stood with clenched fists. The other, the while, was clambering from the trough, wiping the water from his face and ready to rush upon Robert, angered all the more by the jeers of the grinning negroes.
"What is all this about?"
It was Lieutenant-Colonel Dalrymple speaking. He had seen the commotion from the window of the council chamber, and hastened to the scene. "Put up your sword," he said to the lieutenant.
"What have you been doing, sir?" he asked, turning sternly to Robert.
"Suppose you first ask those two fellows what they've been doing? Nevertheless, Colonel, lest you might not get a true answer, allow me to say that they insulted a lady, that I knocked one down and tossed the other into the watering-trough, to teach them better manners. For doing it your lieutenant has seen fit to draw his sword and threaten to split my head open."
It was said quietly and calmly.
"What have you to say to that?" Colonel Dalrymple asked, addressing the soldiers, who made no reply.
"Lieutenant, take them to the guardhouse, and consider yourself under arrest till I can look into this matter. Don't you know better than to draw your sword against a citizen in this way?"
The lieutenant made no reply, but looked savagely at Robert, as if to say, "I'll have it out with you sometime," sheathed his sword and turned away, following the crestfallen soldiers to the guardhouse.
Colonel Dalrymple bowed courteously, as if to apologize for the insult to the lady. Robert came to the conclusion that he was a gentleman.
The negroes were laughing and chuckling and telling the rapidly gathering crowd what had happened. Robert, having no desire to be made conspicuous, walked up Queen Street. He tarried a moment to look at the iron-grated windows and double-bolted doors of the jail, then turned down Hanover Street and made his way to the Green Dragon.
THE SONS OF LIBERTY.
"Is it far to Doctor Warren's house?" Robert asked of the landlord after supper.
"Oh no, only a few steps around the corner on Hanover Street. So you are going to call on him, just as your father always does. You will find him a nice gentleman. He is kind to the poor, charging little or nothing when they are sick and need doctoring. He isn't quite thirty years old, but there isn't a doctor in town that has a larger practice. He is a true patriot. I heard a man say the other day that if Joe Warren would only let politics alone he would soon be riding in his own coach. The rich Tories don't like him much. They say it was he who gave Governor Bernard such a scorching in Ben Edes's newspaper awhile ago. He is eloquent when he gets fired up. You ought to hear him in town meeting; you won't find him stuck up one mite; you can talk with him just as you do with me."
With the cheese under his arm Robert walked along Hanover Street to Doctor Warren's house. It was a wooden building standing end to the road. Entering a small yard, he rattled the knocker on the door. The doctor opened it.
[Footnote 17: The home of Doctor Warren stood upon the spot now occupied by the American House. It was a plain structure and was surrounded a garden. Mrs. Warren—Elizabeth Hooton before marriage—was the daughter of Richard Hooton, a merchant possessing large wealth. She was beautiful in person and character. She died May, 1773. The Boston Gazette contained an appreciative tribute to her worth.
"Good sense and modesty with virtue crowned; A sober mind when fortune smiled or frowned. So keen a feeling for a friend distressed, She could not bear to see a man oppressed."]
"Good-evening; will you walk in?" he said. It was a pleasant, cheery voice, one to make a sick person feel well.
"Please step into the office."
Robert entered a room smelling of rhubarb, jalap, ipecac, and other medicines in bottles and packages on the shelves.
Sincere and hearty were the thanks of Doctor Warren for the present.
"I want Mrs. Warren to make your acquaintance," he said.
A beautiful woman entered and gave Robert a cordial greeting.
"It is very kind of you to bring us such a gift. It is not the first time your father has made us happy," she said. "We must find some way, husband, to let Mr. Walden know we appreciate his kindness."
"That is so, wife."
"We live so far away," said Robert, "we do not know what is going on. Father wishes me especially to learn the latest news from London in regard to the proposed tax on tea, and what the Colonies are going to do about it."
"That is a very important matter," the doctor replied, "and we are to have a meeting of the Sons of Liberty this evening to consider what shall be done in case the bill now before Parliament becomes a law, as I have no doubt it will. I shall be pleased to have you go with me. Of course our meetings are somewhat secret. We do not care to have any mousing Tory know just what we intend to do. You will have a hearty welcome from the boys. It is only a few steps from here, at the Green Dragon."
"That is where I am stopping," Robert replied.
"You can say to your father," the doctor continued, "that the redcoats are becoming very insolent, and we fear there will be trouble."
Robert said nothing about his experience at the town pump.
"Tommy Hutchinson," the doctor went on, "is acting governor. He is not the hyena Bernard was. Hutchinson was born here. He is a gentleman, but loves office. I would not do him any injustice, but being in office he naturally sides with the ministry. He does not see which way the people are going. King George believes that he himself is chosen of God to rule us, and Lord North is ready to back him up. The people around the king are sycophants who are looking after their own personal advantage. The ministers know very little about affairs in the Colonies. They are misled by Bernard and others. They are determined to raise revenue from the Colonies, but will be disappointed. But we will go round to the Green Dragon."
They reached the tavern. Doctor Warren nodded to the landlord, and led the way up the stairs along the hall and gave four raps on a door. One of the panels swung open. A man on the other side said something which Robert could not understand, neither could he make out what the doctor said in reply. The panel closed, the door opened, and they passed into a large room dimly lighted by two tallow candles. A dozen or more young men were seated in chairs around a table smoking their pipes. At one end of the table was a large punch-bowl, a basket filled with lemons, a bottle of rum, a plate of crackers, and half a cheese. One young man was slicing lemons and making rum punch. All clapped their hands when they saw Doctor Warren.
"I have brought a young friend; he is from New Hampshire and as true as steel," said the doctor.
"Boys," said Amos Lincoln, "this is the gentleman I was telling you about; let's give him three cheers."
The room rang. Robert did not know what to make of it; neither did Doctor Warren till Amos Lincoln told how he had seen Mr. Walden at the town pump, knocking down one lobster, throwing another into the watering-trough, and calmly confronting the prig of a lieutenant. When Amos finished, all came and shook hands with Robert.
Mr. John Rowe called the meeting to order.
"Since our last meeting," he said, "a ship has arrived bringing the news that the king and ministers are determined to levy an export duty of three pence per pound on tea: that is, all tea exported from England will be taxed to that extent. Of course, we could pay it if we chose, but we shall not so choose."
The company clapped their hands.
"We have sent round papers for the merchants to sign an agreement that they will not sell any tea imported from England. All have signed it except Hutchinson's two sons, Governor Bernard's son-in-law, Theophilus Lillie, and two others. The agreement does not prevent the merchants from selling tea imported from Holland. The Tories, of course, will patronize the merchants who have not signed the agreement, and the question for us to consider is how we shall keep out the tea to be imported by the East India Company."
"We must make it hot for 'em," said Mr. Mackintosh.
"The tea, do you mean?" shouted several.
There was a ripple of laughter.
"I don't see but that we shall have to quit drinking tea," said Doctor Warren. "We drink altogether too much. It has become a dissipation. We drink it morning, noon, and night. Some of the old ladies of my acquaintance keep the teapot on the coals pretty much all the time. Our wives meet in the afternoon to sip tea and talk gossip. The girls getting ready to be married invite their mates to quiltings and serve them with Old Hyson. We have garden tea-parties on bright afternoons in summer and evening parties in winter. So much tea, such frequent use of an infusion of the herb, upsets our nerves, impairs healthful digestion, and brings on sleeplessness. I have several patients—old ladies, and those in middle life—whose nerves are so unstrung that I am obliged to dose them with opium occasionally, to enable them to sleep."
"Do you think we can induce the ladies to quit drinking it?" Mr. Molineux asked.
"I am quite sure Mrs. Warren will cheerfully give it up, as will Mrs. Molineux if her husband should set the example," Doctor Warren replied.
Mr. Molineux said he was ready to banish the teapot from his table.
"I believe," continued the doctor, "that the women of America will be ready to give up the gratification of their appetites to maintain a great principle. They will sacrifice all personal considerations to secure the rights of the Colonies. Parliament proposes to tax this country without our having a voice in the matter. It is a seductive and insidious proposition—this export duty. I suppose they think we are simpletons, and will be caught in the trap they are setting. They think we are so fond of tea we shall continue to purchase it, but the time has come when we must let them know there is nothing so precious to us as our rights and liberties; that we can be resolute in little as well as in great things. I dare say that some of you, like myself, have invitations to Mrs. Newville's garden party to-morrow afternoon. I expect to attend, but it will be the last tea-party for me, if the bill before Parliament becomes a law. Mrs. Newville is an estimable lady, a hospitable hostess; having accepted an invitation to be present, it would be discourteous for me to inform her I could not drink a cup of tea from her hand, but I have made up my mind henceforth to stand resolutely for maintaining the principle underlying it all,—a great fundamental, political principle,—our freedom."
The room rang with applause.
"Sometimes, as some of you know, I try my hand at verse-making. I will read a few lines."
That seat of Science, Athens, And earth's proud mistress, Rome: Where now are all their glories? We scarce can find their tomb. Then guard your rights, Americans, Nor stoop to lawless sway; Oppose, oppose, oppose, For North America.
We led fair Freedom hither, And lo, the desert smiled, A paradise of pleasure Was opened in the wild. Your harvest, bold Americans, No power shall snatch away. Huzza, huzza, huzza, For free America.
Some future day shall crown us The masters of the main; Our fleets shall speak in thunder To England, France, and Spain. And nations over ocean spread Shall tremble and obey The sons, the sons, the sons, Of brave America.
Captain Mackintosh sang it, and the hall rang with cheers.
"It is pitiable," said Mr. Rowe, "that the people of England do not understand us better, but what can we expect when a member of Parliament makes a speech like that delivered by Mr. Stanley just before the last ship sailed. Hear it."
Mr. Rowe, taking a candle in one hand and snuffing it with his thumb and finger, read an extract from the speech: "What will become of that insolent town, Boston, when we deprive the inhabitants of the power of sending their molasses to the coast of Africa? The people of that town must be treated as aliens, and the charters of towns in Massachusetts must be changed so as to give the king the appointment of the councilors, and give the sheriffs the sole power of returning juries."
"The ignoramus," continued Mr. Rowe, "does not know that no molasses is made in these Colonies. He confounds this and the other Colonies with Jamaica. One would suppose Lord North would not be quite so bitter, but he said in a recent speech that America must be made to fear the king; that he should go on with the king's plan until we were prostrate at his feet."
"Not much will we get down on our knees to him," said Peter Bushwick. "Since the war with France, to carry on which the Colonies contributed their full share, the throne isn't feared quite as much as it was. Americans are not in the habit of prostrating themselves."
Captain Mackintosh once more broke into a song.
"Come join hand in hand, Americans all; By uniting we stand, dividing we fall. To die we can bear, but to serve we disdain, For shame is to freedom more dreadful than pain. In freedom we're born, in freedom we'll live. Our purses are ready: steady, boys, steady, Not as slaves but as freemen our money we'll give."
The Sons again clapped their hands and resolved that they would drink no more tea. The formal business of the evening being ended, they broke into groups, helped themselves to crackers and cheese, and lighted their pipes.
A young man about Robert's age came and shook hands with him.
"Did I understand correctly that you are Robert Walden from Rumford?" he asked.
"That is my name, and I am from Rumford."
"Then we are cousins; I am Tom Brandon."
"I was intending to call upon you to-morrow."
"You must go with me to-night. Father and mother never would forgive me if I did not take you along, especially when I tell them how you rubbed it into the king's lobsters."
The bells were ringing for nine o'clock—the hour when everybody in Boston made preparations for going to bed. All the Sons of Liberty came and shook hands with Robert.
"It is the most wholesome lesson the villains have had since they landed at Long Wharf," said Doctor Warren, who hoped to have the pleasure of seeing more of Mr. Walden.
"We must rely upon such as you in the struggle which we are yet to have to maintain our liberties," said Mr. Molineux.
Tom Brandon took Robert with him to his home on Copp's Hill. Robert could see by the light of the moon that it was a large wooden house with a hipped roof, surmounted by a balustrade, fronting the burial ground and overlooking the harbor and a wide reach of surrounding country.
"Why, Robert Walden! where did you come from?" Mr. Brandon exclaimed as Tom ushered him into the sitting-room.
"What! stopping at the Green Dragon! Why didn't you come right here, you naughty boy?"
He tinkled a bell and a negro entered the room.
"Mark Antony, go up to the Green Dragon and get this gentleman's trunk. Tell the landlord I sent you. Hold on a moment: it is after nine o'clock, and the watchman may overhaul you and want to know what you are doing. You must have an order."
Mr. Brandon stepped to a writing-desk and wrote an order, receiving which Mark Antony bowed and took his departure.
Mr. Brandon was in the prime of life, hale, hearty, vigorous, a former ship captain, who had been to London many times, also through the Straits of Gibraltar, to Madeira, Jamaica, and round Cape of Good Hope to China. He had seen enough of ocean life and had become a builder of ships. He was accustomed to give orders, manage men, and was quick to act. He had accumulated wealth, and was living in a spacious mansion on the summit of the hill. On calm summer evenings he smoked his pipe upon the platform on the roof of his house, looking through a telescope at vessels making the harbor, reading the signals flying at the masthead, and saying to himself and friends that the approaching vessel was from London or the West Indias.
Robert admired the homelike residence, the paneled wainscoting, the fluted pilasters, elaborately carved mantel, glazed tiles, mahogany centre-table, armchairs, the beautifully carved writing-desk, the pictures on the walls of ships under full sail weathering rocky headlands.
Mrs. Brandon and her daughter Berinthia entered the room. Mrs. Brandon was very fair for a woman in middle life. Berinthia had light blue eyes, cherry ripe lips, and rosy cheeks.
"I have heard father speak of you often, and he is always holding up cousin Rachel as a model for me," said Berinthia, shaking hands with him.
Tom told of what had happened at the town pump.
"The soldiers are a vile set," said Mrs. Brandon.
"They are becoming very insolent, and I fear we shall have trouble with them," said Mr. Brandon.
Mark Antony came with the trunk, and Tom lighted a candle to show Robert to his chamber. Berinthia walked with him to the foot of the stairs.
"Good-night, cousin," she said; "I want to thank you in behalf of all the girls in Boston for throwing that villain into the watering-trough."
AN EVENING WITH SAM ADAMS.
"How beautiful!" Robert exclaimed, as he beheld the harbor, the town, and the surrounding country from the top of the house the following morning. Berinthia pointed out the localities. At their feet was Copp's Hill burial ground with its rows of headstones and grass-grown mounds. Across the river, northward, was Charlestown village nestling at the foot of Bunker Hill. Ferryboats were crossing the stream. Farther away beyond fields, pastures, and marsh lands were the rocky bluffs of Malden, the wood-crowned heights russet and crimson with the first tinges of autumn. Eastward was the harbor with its wave-washed islands, and the blue ocean sparkling in the sunlight. White sails were fading and vanishing on the far distant horizon. Ships were riding at anchor between the town and castle. Southward were dwellings, stores, shops, and the spires of meetinghouses. Beyond the town were the Roxbury, Dorchester, and Milton hills—fields, pastures, orchards, and farmhouses. Westward rose Beacon Hill, its sunny slopes dotted with houses and gardens; farther away, across Charles River, he could see the steeple of Cambridge meetinghouse and the roof of the college.
"This is Christ Church," said Berinthia, pointing to the nearest steeple. "That beyond is the Old North Meetinghouse where Cotton Mather preached. Of course you have heard of him."
[Footnote 18: Historical writers have made a mistake in speaking of Christ Church as the Old North Meetinghouse. They were distinct edifices—Christ Church standing in Salem Street, the Old North fronting North Square. Christ Church is the historic edifice from whose steeple Robert Newman hung the lantern to give notice of the movement of the king's troops, April, 1775. The Old North was torn down during the siege of Boston.]
Robert replied that the name seemed familiar.
"He was one of the ministers first settled," said Berinthia, "and wrote a curious book, the 'Magnalia.' When he was a boy he picked up Latin so quickly that when twelve years old he was able to enter college, graduating four years later. That stately mansion near the meetinghouse was the home of Lieutenant-Governor Hutchinson. A mob smashed the windows in connection with the attempt to enforce the Stamp Act; and it was that which induced the king to send the two regiments of soldiers to Boston. The house adjoining is the home of Lady Agnes Frankland."
She told the romantic story of Lady Frankland's life; how Sir Henry, when a young man, came from England to be the king's collector of customs. One day he went to Marblehead, and while at the tavern saw a girl scrubbing the floor. She was barefooted, but had a beautiful face. He thought that so pretty a girl ought not to go barefooted, and gave her money to buy a pair of shoes. A few weeks passed, and again he saw her barefooted, still scrubbing the floor. She had purchased the shoes, but was keeping them for Sunday. Sir Henry was so pleased with her that he offered to give her an education. A good minister took her into his family and she learned very rapidly. She in return gave him her love, and after leaving school went to live with him. He not only owned the house in town, but a great estate in the country. He kept horses and hounds, and had good wines. After a while he took Agnes to England with him, and from thence to Portugal. He was in Lisbon in 1755, at the time of the great earthquake, and was riding in his carriage when suddenly the earth began to heave and tremble, and houses, churches, all came tumbling down, burying thirty thousand people. Sir Henry's horses and himself and carriage were beneath the bricks and mortar. Agnes was not with him at the moment, but showed her love by running as fast as she could and digging away the bricks with her own hands, finding him badly mangled but alive. He thought he was going to die, and made a vow that if his life was spared Agnes should be his lawfully wedded wife. His wounds healed and he kept his word, making her Lady Frankland. They came once more to Boston, bought the house next to Chief Justice Hutchinson, and lived very happily.
"We will go down to father's shipyard," said Tom, "and you can see the carpenters at work building a ship."
They descended the hill and entered the yard. Robert hardly knew what to think as he listened to the clattering of axes and mallets. Some of the workmen were hewing timber and putting up the ribs of the vessel; others were bolting planks to the ribs. The size of the ship amazed him; it was larger than his father's barn. In a few weeks the hull would be finished, the masts put in, the rigging rove, and then the ship would be launched.
"Father is going to name her for me, and I am to be the figurehead; come to the carver's shop and see me," said Berinthia with sparkling eyes and merry laugh.
They went into a little shop where a good-looking young man, with chisels, gouges, and mallet, was fashioning the bust of a woman. Tom introduced him as Abraham Duncan. Robert noticed a lighting up of Mr. Duncan's eyes as he greeted Berinthia.
"Mr. Duncan is one of us. As for that matter, every man in the yard is a Son of Liberty," Tom said.
"That is me," said Berinthia, pointing to the figurehead. "I am to be perched beneath the bowsprit to look out upon the ocean and see which way the ship ought to go. The waves will wet my hair, and the tears will run down my cheeks when the storms are on. My eyes will behold strange things. I shall see the whales spout and the porpoises play, and poke my nose into foreign parts," she said playfully.
Robert saw that the carver had fashioned the face to look like her. She had been down to the shop several times, that he might study her features. On Saturday evenings after work for the week was over he put on his best coat and called at the Brandon house to look at her as she sat by the fireside with the light from the hearth illumining her face. Although Mr. Duncan usually went to hear Reverend Mr. Checkley preach, he sometimes strayed away to Reverend Doctor Cooper's meetinghouse in Brattle Street, and took a seat where he could see Berinthia's features in repose, as she listened to the sermon. Although the minister was very eloquent, Mr. Duncan was more interested in looking at her than hearing what was said in the pulpit. Robert noticed that she seemed to enjoy talking with the carver, and when he went to the other side of the building to get a portfolio of drawings to show her how the cabin was to be ornamented her eyes followed him.
"Father says Mr. Duncan is a very talented young man, and one of the best artists in town," she said, as they walked back to the house.
After dinner, Robert went to the Green Dragon, obtained a chaise, harnessed Jenny, took in Berinthia, and crossed the ferry to Charlestown, for a ride in the country. They drove along a wide street at the foot of Bunker Hill, and came to a narrow neck of land between Charles River on the south and Mystic River on the north. The tide was flowing in and covering the marsh lands. They gained the summit of Winter Hill, gazed upon the beautiful landscape, then turned southward toward Cambridge. Reaching the college, they entered the library and the room containing the philosophical instruments. Robert rubbed his knife on a magnet so he could pick up a needle by touching it with the blade. They had little time to spare, for they were to take supper with Mr. Samuel Adams. Berinthia informed him that Mr. Adams was not rich, that he was very kind-hearted, and had lost his property through kindness to a friend.
"He lives very plainly," she said as they rode homeward. "We shall find simple fare, but he will give you a hearty shake of the hand. People have faith in him because he is true to his convictions."
It was supper time when they reached Mr. Adams's house.
"I am pleased to see you, and am glad to have an opportunity for a little talk," said Mr. Adams, welcoming them.
"We have very simple fare, only mush and milk, pandowdy, and some Rumford cheese which is very delicious," said Mrs. Adams as she invited them to the supper table. They stood by their chairs while Mr. Adams asked a blessing, then took their seats.
[Footnote 19: Pandowdy was a compote of apples, with several layers of pastry made from rye meal, baked in a deep earthen dish and eaten with milk.]
"We have abolished tea from our table," he said. "I see no better way of thwarting the designs of the king and the ministry to overthrow the liberties of the Colonies than for the people to quit using it."
"Do you think the people will deny themselves for a principle?" Robert asked.
"Yes; I have unbounded faith in the virtue of the American people. I do not know that we naturally are more virtuous than the people of other lands, but the course pursued by England ever since Cromwell's time has been one of oppression. Now tyranny, when exercised towards a free and intelligent people, is a process of education. Away back when Cromwell was administering the affairs of the nation a law was passed, the design of which was to build up the commerce of England. At that time Spain and Holland were great maritime countries. The ships of Spain were bringing gold from Cuba, Mexico, and South America to that country. The ships of Holland were bringing silks and tea from India and China. Those countries were doing pretty much all the carrying on the ocean. Cromwell, one of the greatest and most far-sighted of all England's rulers, determined that England should have her share of the trade. The law which was passed provided that no goods should be imported into that country or exported from it except in English vessels, and the master of every ship and three fourths of the crew must be Englishmen, under penalty of forfeiture of the ship and cargo. The act was passed in 1651. In a very short time the commerce of England was twice what it had been. The law was not designed to work any injury to the Colonies, but for their benefit. The great abundance of timber in America, so much that farmers were slashing down hundreds of acres and burning it, enabled the colonists to build ships very cheaply, and so there was a swinging of axes in all our seaport towns. When Charles II. came to the throne the royalists determined there should be nothing left to remind the people that a Commonwealth had ever existed. All the laws enacted during the period were repealed. Their hatred was so great they could not let Cromwell's bones rest in peace, but dug them up, dragged them through the streets of London, and set his skull on Temple Bar. Well, that did not hurt Cromwell, but it did hurt Charles II. and monarchy. I do not imagine anybody in coming years will erect a statue to the memory of that voluptuous king or hold him in reverence, but the time will come when Oliver Cromwell will be held in grateful remembrance."
Mr. Adams passed his bowl for more pandowdy, and then went on with the conversation.
"The meanness of human nature," he said, "is seen in the action of Parliament immediately after Charles II. came to the throne in repealing every law enacted during the period of the Commonwealth. Having wiped out every statute, what do you suppose Parliament did?"
Robert replied that he had not the remotest idea.
"Well, they reenacted them—put them right back on the statute book. They were good laws, but the Cromwellians had enacted them and they must be expunged; having blotted them out, they must be put back again because they were good laws."
Mr. Adams leaned back in his chair and laughed heartily.
"Now we come to the iniquity of Parliament," he continued. "Under the Commonwealth the Colonies were kindly treated. Cromwell, at one time, together with John Hampden, thought of emigrating to America, but he did not, and by staying in England rendered inestimable service to his fellow-men. The iniquity was this: Parliament enacted a law which made each of these Colonies a distinct country, so far as commerce was concerned. Greed and selfishness prompted the passage of this act, which aimed to make England the distributor of all commerce, not only between the Colonies and other countries, but between this country and England, and, to cap the climax, England was to control the trade between the Colonies; that is, Massachusetts could not trade with New Hampshire, or New York with Connecticut, except by paying tribute to England. The people were no longer Englishmen, with the privileges of Englishmen, but outsiders, foreigners, so far as trade was concerned. If a Dutchman of Amsterdam wanted to find a market here in Boston he could not send his ship across the Atlantic, but only to England, that the goods might be taken across the ocean in an English ship. The merchants here in Boston who had anything to sell in Holland, France, Spain, or anywhere else, could not send it to those countries, but must ship it to England. The fishermen of Gloucester and Marblehead could not ship the codfish they had caught to Spain or Cuba. The people in Catholic countries cannot eat meat on Friday, but may eat fish. Spain and Cuba were good customers, but the fishermen must sell their fish to merchants in London or Bristol, instead of trading directly with the people of those countries. You see, Mr. Walden, that it was a cunningly devised plan to enrich England at our expense."