Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub

ate unanimously non-concurred. Whereupon a conference took place in the mecting-house, between the two branches of the legislature. The president, (General Sullivan,) being, ex-officio, a senator, opened the matter, by giving publickly, in the hearing of the people, and as many of the mob as chose to attend, the reasons on which the senate non-concurred the vote of the house. He first considered the petition, and shewed with great strength of reasoning, and very coolly, the extreme folly, as well as the very great injustice of the prayer of their former petition. And also observed, that even if the measure was just and reasonable, the general court ought not to pay attention to it, merely from having the voice of thirty towns only, oui of two hundred in favor of it. He concluded by saying, that if the voice of the whole state was for the measure, yet the legislature ought not to comply with it, while they were surrounded by an armed force. To do it, would be to betray the rights of the people, which they had all solemnly engaged to support, and that no consideration of personal danger should ever compel him to so flagrant a violation of the constitutional rights of the people, who liad placed him in the chair of government.

As soon as this speech was made, the mob beat to arms, and surrounded the meeting-house, where the president, the senate and house remained; those of the mob who had muskets, were ordered to charge with ball, which command they instantly obeyed. The house proceeded to business as usual, without taking any manner of notice of the management at the doors. Centinels were placed at each door with fixed bayonets, and the whole legislature were prisoners. After sun-set the president attempted to come out, but was prevented by a firm column. He reasoned very coolly with them on the impropriety and fatal tendency of their conduct, and assured them that the force

of the state would support the government: which they took leave to deny with as much confidence as he asserted it. Thus all remained, till the evening was quite dark; the minds of the sober part of the people began to raise at the indignity; while the mob clamored, some paper money, some an equal distribution of property, some the annihilation of debts, some release of all taxes, and all clamored against law and government. A drum was now heard at a distance, and a number of men huzzaing for government. The mob appeared frighted, and some of them began to run; the president told them he would prevent bloodshed, and walked through them, and the general court followed.

On this the insurgents returned to another part of the town, and the legislature, who had throughout the whole, acted with the most inimitable firmness and magnanimity, re-assumed their business, and requested the president to call forth the power of the state to quell the rebellion. At eleven in the evening, he issued his orders,and by sun-rise the next morning, the militia were marching in, well armed, with military music, and other incitements to military movements. The major and brigadier-generals of all the state excepting one, whose great remoteness from the scene of action prevented him, assembled early in the morning. Gentlemen of the first rank and education,emulous to save a government for which they had done and suffered so much, appeared either on foot or horse in order, and enthusiasm, quite inexpressible by words, appeared through the whole. By eight o'clock the next morning, a sufficient body of cavalry and infantry had arrived to march against the mob, who, by this time, had collected and advanced, within a mile of the court-house. Having, by their spies, got information of our intentions, the unarmed part of them thought it prudent to retreat to Great-hill. The remainder kept their

ground till the light-horse appeared in view, and then retreated with great precipitation and disorder ; many of thein fell into the hands of their pursuers, and were sent back to town and secured. When they had reached the bridge at King's-falls, being met by those who had before retired, they halted and exhibited the appearance of an intention to dispute the pass: but a few officers and gentlemen on horse-back having, with great spirit and address, taken most of their officers, and principal men from the midst of them, they betook themselves to flight in great confusion, and returned to their respective abodes. The whole affair was conducted with much coolness and moderation; and though orders were repeatedly given by some of the officers of the insurgents to fire on their assailants, there was happily no blood spilt on either side. The mob being dispersed, the troops returned into town, where they met, or were afterwards joined by large bodies, which arrived after the business of the day was over.

About forty prisoners were taken, among whom were most of their officers and leading men, who, upon acknowledging the heinousness of their conduct, and professing great contrition for it, have experienced the undeserved clemency of government, in a full pardon and discharge, five excepted, who are delivered over to the civil authority to be punished as rioters, together with two others of the ring leaders who escaped at the time, but have been since taken. The body under arms amounted to upwards of two thousand, three hundred of whom were horse, all ready to run any risk to preserve legal government, and the due execution of the laws: the spectators, many of whom could not arm themselves, though they discovered no less zeal to support government, amounted to upwards of three thousand. The sentiment, “How can we « live without government, and shall we give our

“selves up to the government of a mob,was constantly re-echoed. If the legislature appeared magnanimous the day before a free government, the people's government shone with a splendor that never was excelled, seldom equalled !

An Extract of a Letter from the Rev. Cotton

Mather, of Boston, to Dr. John Woodward, of London, Fellow of the Royal Society. Communicated by Joshua COFFIN, A. M.

At Hampton, a Town about Fifty miles from this place, there were Twin sisters, whose names were Bridget and Jane Moulton. 'The perpetual Harmony and Sympathy between the sisters was the observation of all the neighbourhood. They were never contented except they were together. If the one were desirous to go abroad, the other would be impatient of staying at home. If the one were merry, the other would be airy. If the one were troubled, the other would be chagrin(ed.) When one was for carding, the other was for spinning. For their Dispositions and Satisfaction there was a very strange Agreement betwixt them. The particulars wherein every body with pleasure and wonder saw how they were agreed, and how like your famous Twins of Hippocrates, which you tell us would Flere et Ridere simul, were numberless. They lived a Virgin life, and in this good acoord, reached about threescore years. Then Death after a short sickness arrested the one of them. The other grew full of pain, and bid her friends not be in a hurry about her sister's funeral for her's must accompany it. By dying within a few hours after her sister, she answered their expectations. Mr. John Cotton, the worthy minister of the place preached a Funeral sermon for this occasion on those words, 2 Samuel I: 23. “In

their Death they were not divided." The nearest unto these congruities, would be those of a true friendship, a blessedness which I am willing to find celebrated among the heathens, and the Regularity they consulted in it cried up and this made an Article of an Elogy, They died, having lived without reproach in Friendship. Nevertheless, I can by no means allow this Astrea has wholly left our world and that the Moderns and Christians are strangers to it, and that the maxims of our Saviour's Holy religion would not move unto a degree of Strictness and Fineness beyond what was ever known in Paganism. I only wish for the experiment, which might be made in my having oftener and nearer opportunities of meriting the esteem of being, Sir,

Your Friend and Servant.
To Dr. Woodward, London.

1716. Copied from a MS. Volume in possession of the Massachusetts Historical Society.

AN ADDRESS, Delivered before the New Hampshire Histori

cal Society, at the Annual Meeting, 11th June, 1828, by Hon. Salma Hale.

The utility of History has been the theme of writers of all ages, and all classes. It has been termed philosophy teaching by example. It has · been called the instructor of politicians, the guide of statesman, and the school of virtue. Commanders have resorted to it to acquire perfection in the art of war; moralists to give a sanction to their precepts; orators to embellish and illustrate their harangues ; and poets to give dignity to their effusions. It has, by common consent, been placed highest on the list of useful and liberal studies, and an acquaintance with it has been deemed in

« ForrigeFortsæt »