Billeder på siden

accompanied this visitation, and the invalids were recommended to try a milder climate than their native one.

At Bath, the last seven years of Mrs Moore's life were devoted to the education and health of her children, when, to their inexpressible sorrow, she died suddenly, leaving them ample fortunes, and a richer inheritance derived from her own virtuous and honourable example. The orphan heiresses were now intrusted to the protection of their maternal uncle, a dignitary of the established church. He was an old bachelor, of a cheerful and hospitable disposition, and the Glebe-house was consequently frequented by all the respectable persons in the neighbourhood. Here, O'Hara, while visiting his small inheritance, was introduced to the Doctor's ward. The soldier was conquered at first sight, and immediately laid close siege to the lady. No very formidable resistance was offered, preliminaries having been satisfactorily discussed; a capitulation was concluded, and the worthy Prebendary surrendered his fair charge to the Captain of Grenadiers.

Poor Fanny idolized her young and hand

[ocr errors]

some husband; and certainly, if honest Dryden says true, he did “ deserve the fair.” The orders of readiness for the regiment were consequently to her distracting. She, however, hesitated not; and contrary to the wishes of her husband and relatives, and heedless of her own situation, then evidently unfitted for sharing fatigue and danger, she instantly determined to accompany him to the scene of action. They embarked at Cork in the beginning of April, and landed in Boston Bay in the latter end of May, 1775.

It may not be unnecessary to take a short retrospective view of the affairs of this country for some years prior to the time of O'Hara's visit. The home administration of American affairs, from its ruinous policy, had been long alarming. In positive infringement of colonial charters, an attempt was made by the Court of St. James, to draw a direct revenue to the treasury of Great Britain, by the introduction of stamped paper.

This first infringement on their rights met, of course, with a warm resistance from the Americans; and when the Ministry found it necessary to repeal this ob

noxious impost, they endeavoured, by indirect taxation, to place a portion of the heavy burden at home on the shoulders of the Colonists abroad. The attempt was too apparent in its object not to be easily discovered, and steadily rejected. Here, then, the business should have been abandoned; but following up an unsatisfactory and vacillating policy, one grievance Was removed only to be replaced by anotheroppression produced resistance, and the Americans solemnly combined against the consumption of any taxable article of British merchandise. The teas from the East India House were returned unlanded to the Company who shipped them; or when a small quantity found its way on shore, it was suffered to rot unsold in the vaults of Charleston. In Boston no middle course was adopted, for the mob boarded the vessel which brought this obnoxious cargo and committed its contents to the waves.

At this time perhaps an abandonment on the part of Ministers, of measures, unwise as they were unjust, might have been attended with eminent success ; but they had passed the Rubicon, and nothing kind, nothing conciliatory

issued from the Cabinet; on the contrary, harsh and tyrannical proceedings were resorted to; the malecontents were branded as insurgents, and their most popular leaders proscribed. The inhabitants of Boston, in particular, were treated with unexampled severity ; for, by the passing of a cruel law, entitled - The Boston Port Bill,” the harbour was closed, and consequently their trade utterly destroyed.

The Colonists thus finding themselves marked out as victims of unrelenting persecution, determined not to be coldly submissive. In public and in private, a dangerous discussion of freedom and independence became universalfrom the


flowed torrents of remonstrance and reproach-pageants representing the death and resuscitation of liberty were exhibited in the public streets—persons holding obnoxious places under the government were executed in effigy—the guards insulted at their posts, and the carriage of the governor burnt beneath the guns of Fort William; till at last the sword, so long suspended by a hair, fell-it was drawn in the cause of freedom, and red indeed was the blade before it could be sheathed again.

The bad terms on which the inhabitants and the military were, rendered a residence in Boston, as may be well imagined, not very desirable. This town had always been the focus of the revolution, and the first shot fired in the infancy of resistance was here discharged from the guard-house of the 29th Regiment. The mob and the soldiery had been continually embroiled at this moment martial law prevented any thing like commotion in the streets; but those feelings which circumstances rendered it prudent to conceal, were becoming more hostile and inveterate. From the factious temper of the lower classes, and the avowed revolutionary principles of the more respectable, all intercourse had long ceased to subsist between the military and the citizens; each party felt uncomfortable in the other's

presence, this viewing that with fear, and the other in return looking on them with distrust. In short, all within Boston was repulsive and unfriendly—all without gloomy and portentous.

Before the arrival of the forty-seventh regiment in America, actual hostilities had commenced. General Gage at that time com

Vol. I.


« ForrigeFortsæt »