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ment might deem satisfactory. On the introduction of this measure Lord North exposed himself to a hot fire from his usual supporters, who branded the attempt as grossly inconsistent with all his former measures. So warmly was he opposed by his friends, that he was compelled to give them an explanation, which he did in the following words: "If this bill does no good in the colonies, it will do good here; it will unite the people of England, by holding out to them a distinct object of revenue." He added further, "As it tends to unite England, it is likely to disunite America; for if only one province accept the offer, their confederacy, which alone makes them formidable, will be broken."

This bill, which was thus unblushingly advocated, passed into a law, but as it remedied no grievance but that of taxation, and even on that head contained nothing specific, it was received in America with mingled indignation and derision.

Mr. Burke, on the 25th of March, brought forward, and eloquently supported, a series of resolutions, in which, without entering into any question of speculative right, a complete practical concession was made of all the points in dispute. His resolutions were negatived. The general tendency of his speech may be learned from the language of Mr. Fox respecting it. "Let gentlemen," he said, "read this speech by day, and meditate on it by night; let them peruse it again and again, study it, imprint it on their minds, impress it on their hearts. They would then learn that representation was the sovereign remedy for every evil."

Dr. Franklin, who was then in London, endeavoured to effect a reconciliation by drawing up seventeen propositions, which, with permission, he submitted to the ministry. Two months after their delivery an answer was returned virtually granting all that he asked, except the abolition of the new constitution of Massachusetts. Franklin answered, that the claim of altering the charters and rights upon which the governments were founded, without the consent of the parties to whom they were granted, was one to which Americans could never submit. The obstinate refusal of the cabinet to restore the ancient charter of Massachusetts, broke off the communications, and Franklin, despairing of the continuance of peace, returned to America, resolved to share in her trials, and devote his talents to the maintenance of her rights.

In the mean time, affairs in America were inevitably hurried on in the course to which they had long been tending. General Gage, who had summoned the Massachusetts Assembly, to meet at Salem, on the 5th of October, 1774, felt that in the tumultuary state of the

country, he could not with safety repair thither to open it. Learning also that of thirty-six counsellors named by him, though twentyfour had at first accepted, the greater number were induced or compelled to resign, he issued a proclamation countermanding the writs; but the members, treating it as illegal, repaired at the time appointed to Salem. There they went through the form of waiting a day, as if for the governor, and then removed their sittings to Concord, about twenty miles in the interior. Hence they sent out directions for all the branches of administration, the disciplining of the militia, the retaining of the taxes in the hands of the revenue-officers for patriotic purposes, and the collection of arms and ammunition. They remonstrated with Gage on the increase of troops, the fortifying of Boston, and other hostile proceedings; but he repelled their complaints, and warned them that their own meeting was altogether illegal. He had again recourse to a proclamation enjoining that no regard should be paid to their usurped authority, instead of which, his mandates were entirely disregarded, while theirs met with implicit obedience. They adjourned, but met again by appointment at Cambridge, on the 4th of February. They then announced to the people that the tenor of the king's speech, and other information, afforded little prospect of compliance with their reasonable demands; on the contrary, numerous reinforcements were expected, in order to compel ignominious submission. The most strenuous invitations were therefore employed to induce them to improve their military discipline, and to collect fire-arms and bayonets.

General Gage had hitherto, probably under instructions from home, avoided every movement which would bring on a collision and lead to a commencement of actual war. Yet, remaining almost besieged at Boston, he began to experience scarcity of provisions; and an impression was felt, that something must be done to check these extensive preparations and seize the military stores now collected all over the country. He formed the injudicious plan of sending out secretly small detachments to capture them by surprise. Even if successful, which was not very probable, the adoption of such a scheme must have lowered the impression of British power. If the troops were to march into the country, it should have been in such large bodies as would overpower, and even deter resistance. A small party sent towards Salem, were induced to return, owing to the mere obstacles raised by the country people against their march.*

* Murray's History of the United States.

The governor having learned that a considerable magazine of stores had been formed at Concord, determined on an attempt to seize them. He employed a larger force, but trusted still to secrecy and surprise. On the night of the 18th of April, 1775, he detached from his garrison for this purpose, eight hundred picked men, under the command of Lieutenant-colonel Smith, who sought the more effectually to conceal his march, by sending forward horsemen to arrest all travellers on the road. But, notwithstanding every precaution, startling indications of wakefulness presented themselves on every side. Dr. Warren, of Boston, had, by some means, obtained information of the intended expedition, and no sooner had the detachment started, than the intelligence was borne, as quick as light could carry it, from the steeple of the old townhouse, glancing from every hill-top, and confirmed by the ringing of alarm-bells, until it reached every point within a circle of thirty miles around Boston. As the British troops marched along the road in the early morning twilight, they saw men on horseback hurrying along from point to point, with determination and indignation stamped upon their countenances. As no one offered any opposition to their march, their courage soon revived, and they arrived at the village of Lexington about five o'clock on the morning of the 19th, in high spirits. There they found about a hundred militia-men drawn up under arms, on the green before the meetinghouse. Major Pitcairn, galloping up, in no very courteous terms, ordered them to disperse; and, on their hesitating to obey his commands, he discharged his pistol, and ordered his soldiers to fire. By the discharge which followed, three or four of the militia were killed, and the rest retreated behind the church and dispersed. After this slight skirmish, this opening of the tragedy, Lieutenantcolonel Smith proceeded on his march until he reached the town of Concord, of which he took possession unopposed. He then detached parties to guard the approaches to the town, while the main body proceeded to destroy the arms, ammunition, and provisions, which were found in store. A detachment, sent forward to occupy a bridge, was surrounded by a body of militia and minutemen, who, having approached in the guise of travellers, were opposed and fired upon. A general skirmish commenced, which ended in the confused retreat of the detachment towards the main body in the town. Smith immediately ordered a retreat. The militia, increasing in numbers, commenced a series of desultory attacks; and, without concert, organization, or orders, maintained a galling fire upon the front, flanks, and rear of the retreating

column, from behind houses, walls, and trees. When the British arrived at Lexington, they found themselves in a most exhausted state; and they would, no doubt, have been totally destroyed, had not General Gage, apprehensive for the fate of the expedition, sent forward Lord Percy, in the morning, with sixteen companies of foot, a corps of marines, and two pieces of artillery, to support Lieutenant-colonel Smith. The retreating and advancing detachments entered Lexington at opposite points, at the same time, and the latter, with their field-pieces, checked the fierce pursuit of the provincials, while the former were resuming order, and putting themselves in a better posture of defence. All together then proceeded towards Boston, while the assailants, without attempting to obstruct their march, kept up an incessant fire, both in front and rear, from behind stone walls, which lined the road along the greater part of the route. The British forces arrived, exhausted and wearied, at Bunker's Hill, near Boston, a little after sunset, having sustained a loss of sixty-five killed, one hundred and eighty wounded, and twenty-eight prisoners. The loss of the Americans was fifty killed and thirty-four wounded.

The intelligence of this event excited the utmost enthusiasm throughout Massachusetts, and the whole country was soon put in warlike array. The first blood was shed in defence of American rights, and without adequate provocation. The militia had met in open conflict with the proud army of England and overthrown it. They had come to that conflict on a sudden summons, without arrangement, discipline, or experience, every one obeying the impulse of his own patriotism and courage; and though some were roused from their sleep at the dead of night, others hurried, halfarmed, from long distances, and others mingled in the affray, without well knowing how it commenced, or what was its object; all fought almost without thinking, certainly without shrinking, until the night closed upon vanquished and victors; when the first had time to take counsel, or consider the consequences of the unforeseen battle in which they had engaged, and the unhoped-for triumph which they had won. Out of victory thus gained in the first encounter, arose a new hope for the whole land. The British cannon at Lexington dispelled the apathy, as it kindled the indignation of every man from the St. Lawrence to James's River; and though peace was still assumed to be the condition of the colonies, and England's acts and language were becoming more conciliatory, both felt that their differences were, from that hour, committed to the arbitrement of the sword, and each prepared, at once, with

he utmost diligence, for the bloody trial which appeared imminent and inevitable.

The sentiments of Washington, in reference to these events, may be gathered from a letter written by him to George William Fairfax, in England, dated at Philadelphia, May 31, 1775, while he was there attending the Second Continental Congress. It is as follows:

"DEAR SIR,-Before this letter will come to hand, you must undoubtedly have received an account of the engagement in the Massachusetts Bay, between the ministerial troops (for we do not, nor can we yet prevail upon ourselves to call them the king's troops) and the provincials of that government. But as you may not have heard how that affair began, I enclose you the several affidavits* which were taken after the action.

"General Gage acknowledges that the detachment under Lieutenant-colonel Smith was sent out to destroy private property; or, in other words, to destroy a magazine, which self-preservation obliged the inhabitants to establish. And he also confesses, in effect at least, that his men made a very precipitate retreat from Concord, notwithstanding the reinforcement under Lord Percy; the last of which may serve to convince Lord Sandwich and others of the same sentiment, that the Americans will fight for their liberties and property, however pusillanimous, in his lordship's eye, they may appear in other respects.

"From the best accounts I have been able to collect of that affair, indeed from every one, I believe, the fact, stripped of all colouring, to be plainly this, that if the retreat had not been so precipitate as it was, and God knows it could not well have been more so, the ministerial troops must have surrendered, or been totally cut off. For they had not arrived in Charlestown (under cover of their ships) half an hour, before a powerful body of men from Marblehead and Salem was at their heels, and must, if they had happened to be up one hour sooner, inevitably have intercepted their retreat to Charlestown. Unhappy it is, though, to reflect, that a brother's sword has been sheathed in a brother's breast, and that the once happy and peaceful plains of America are either to be drenched with blood, or inhabited by slaves. Sad alternative! but can a virtuous man hesitate in his choice?"

The Provincial Congress of Massachusetts being in session at the time of the battle of Lexington, passed a vote for raising thir

*These depositions were intended to prove that the British were the aggressors, and had commenced the action at Lexington.

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