페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub

March 18, 1768, the repeal of the Stamp Act was celebrated “by a large company at the British Coffee-house, and Col. Ingersoll's in King Street.” Rejoicings were heard on every hand, and though a projected bonfire was not lighted, yet the next morning two effigies were found hanging on Liberty Tree. The King's birthday was observed, June 4, the governor's troop, the town regiment under command of Col. Jackson (1738), and the train of artillery, commanded by Capt. Paddock (1762), being mustered in King Street, when the “new pieces,” afterward called “Hancock” and “Adams,” were used for the first time. Events calculated to produce trouble between America and the Mother Country followed one another swiftly. Seamen were impressed in the streets of Boston; John Hancock's sloop, “The Liberty,” was seized and anchored under the guns of the frigate “Romney,” and the people manifested their disapproval by the destruction of property, and the making a bonfire on the Common of Collector Hallowell's pleasure-boat. The populace was upon the eve of revolution in defence of their liberties. The royal officers sought safety within the Castle. Liberty Hall' was filled with “Sons of Liberty.” The General Court was prorogued July 1, amid much confusion, and the governor waited the arrival of force. The British ministry ordered two Irish regiments from Ireland to Boston, also soldiers from Halifax. The former, the 14th and 29th regiments, of five hundred men each, arrived in Boston harbor in six ships of war, having “cannons loaded and tompkins out,” Sept. 30, 1768. The next day the soldiers were landed on Long Wharf, and soon after came the 59th regiment and a train of artillery from Halifax. Boston became a garrison. Faneuil Hall was filled with armed mercenaries. The storm was gathering. The clouds thicken, darken — thunders roll, lightnings illume sky and earth, and a deluge drenches the Atlantic coast. The storm expends itself, the clouds slee, and the sun of victory and independence illumines wood and vale, and brings to the victorious yeomanry the blessings of peace, freedom, and progress. “In the brigantine ‘Abigail, Capt. Stevens, from London, came, in the month of February, 1768, two beautiful field-pieces, three-pounders, with the Province arms thereon, for the use of the train of artillery of the regiment of this town. They were cast from two old pieces which were purchased some time since by the General Court,of this Province.”? A gun-house stood at the corner of West Street at the beginning of the Revolution, separated by a yard from the school-house. In this gun-house were kept two brass three-pounders (mentioned above) belonging to Capt. Adino Paddock's (1762) train. These pieces had been recast from two old guns sent by the town to London for that purpose, and had the arms of the province engraved upon them. They arrived in Boston in 1768, and were first used at the celebration of the King's birthday, June 4, when a salute was fired in King Street. Both school and gun-house are connected with a celebrated event. Major Paddock (1762) had expressed an intention of surrendering these guns to Gov. Gage. The mechanics, who composed this company, resolved that it should not be so. The British general had begun to seize the military stores of the province and disarm the inhabitants. Accordingly, the persons engaged in the plot met in the schoolroom, and when the attention of the sentinel, stationed at the door of the gun-house, was taken off, by roll-call, they crossed the yard, entered the building, and, removing the

The ground under and around Liberty Tree was called “Liberty Hall.”
* Boston Gazette, Feb. 15, 1768. -

guns from their carriages, carried them to the school-room, where they were concealed in a box in which fuel was kept.

The loss of the guns was soon discovered, and search made, in which the schoolhouse did not escape. The master placed his lame foot upon the box, and it was not disturbed. Several of the boys were privy to the affair, but made no sign. Besides the school-master, Abraham Holbrook, Nathaniel Balch, father of Jonathan (1786), Samuel Gore (1786), William Dawes, Jr. (1768), Moses Grant, Jeremiah Gridley, Whiston, and some others, executed this coup de main. The guns remained in the school-room about a fortnight. They were then, in the night-time, taken in a wheelbarrow, and carried to Whiston's blacksmith-shop, at the South End, and deposited under the coal. From here they were taken to the American lines in a boat. The guns were in actual service during the whole war. After the peace, the State of Massachusetts applied to Congress for their restoration, which was granted by a resolve passed May 19, 1788, in which Gen. Knox, secretary of war, was directed to place a suitable inscription upon them. The two guns were called the “Hancock” and “Adams,” and the inscription was as follows (the name only being different): —

“The Hancock | Sacred to Liberty. | This is one of four cannon which constituted the whole train of Field Artillery | possessed by the British Colonies of | North America || at the commencement of the war on the 19 of April 1775. | This cannon and its fellow | belonging to a number of citizens of | Boston were used in many. Engagements | during the War. | The other two, the property of the Government of Massachusetts I were taken by the enemy. | By order of the United States in Congress assembled | May 19, 1788. ”

The guns were in the possession of the State until 1817, when, in answer to a petition from the Artillery Company that the State would furnish them cannon, the lixecutive Council voted “That His Excellency be advised to direct the Quarter Master General to loan to the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company a pair of brass six pound Cannon completely equipped for field service, and to supply said Company for the use of said cannon, the usual quantity of ammunition as is directed by law for other Companies of Artillery within the Commonwealth.” This report was accepted and approved by the governor, July 5, 1817, and a general order, carrying the vote into effect, was issued by him, July 12, 1817. The guns remained in the possession of the Artillery Company, and were used on anniversary and field days until 1821. The following paper is in the archives of the Company : —

“Council. CHAMBER February 2" 1821.

“The committee to whom was committed a communication from the Quarter Master General of the 16" ult, relative to the bursting of a piece of cannon while employed in experimental gunnery in the service of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company, and a letter from the Commander of said Company stating the circumstances unto [under] which the accident happened — beg leave respectfully to represent that the said cannon was one of the two pieces which were designated by the names of Hancock & Adams and which have engraven thereon the following inscription “Sacred to Liberty.'” (Then follows the inscription as heretofore given.) The committee continues: —

“It is desirable to perpetuate two pieces of ordnance to which a memorial so interesting to the people of this Commonwealth is attached, they therefore recommend that his 12xcellency be advised to instruct the Quarter Master General to cause the Adams gun to be recast and the inscription to be restored thereon and that it be made to conform in all respects to the other piece.

“And it appears by the representation of the Quarter Master General that from the defective state of said gun when loaned to said Company, no blame is imputable to them for the injury it has sustained. The Committee therefore further recommend that the Quarter Master General be directed to re-deliver the cannon when completed to said Company on loan for field service and experimental gunnery, until the further order of thee Executive. SILAs HolmAN per Order.

“In Council Feb'y 2, 1821.

“This report is accepted and by the Governor approved.

“A. BRADFORD,
“Sec'y of Commonwealth.”

The “Adams” gun was not recast, but soon after, with the “Hancock,” was presented by the Commonwealth to the Bunker Hill Monument Association. The guns are now to be seen in the chamber at the top of the monument. There is a tradition that the two guns, referred to as captured by the enemy, were concealed in a stable belonging to a house on the south side of Court Street, near the Court House. They were taken out over the Neck in a cart loaded with manure, driven by a negro servant of George Minot, a Dorchester farmer. Thus the four guns belonging to the province escaped the clutches of Gage. The two last referred to were sometime in possession of the Dorchester Artillery. At a town meeting, held March 29, 1776, it was voted that Thomas Crafts, Esq. (1765), Col. Thomas Marshall (1761), and Major Paul Revere “be a committee to wait on Gen. Washington, and to acquaint him that it is the desire of the town that the four pieces of cannon which are in the Continental Train of Artillery, and belonging to the town of Boston, may not be carried out of this colony, is his Excellency should apprehend the general interest of the colony will permit their remaining here.” The guns were a necessity in the Continental service, and were in use throughout the Revolution. The members of the Artillery Company recruited in 1768 were: Seth Adams, Samuel Condon, William Dawes, Jr., Elisha Eaton, John Fullerton, John Greenleaf, John Haskins, Michael Homer, William Hoogs, Israel Loring, John Newell, John Skillin, Jr., Nathaniel Waterman, Charles Williams, Jacob Williams.

Seth Adams (1768), printer, of Boston. Seth Adams (1768) served his apprenticeship with Samuel Kneeland. He began printing in Queen Street with John Kneeland. They afterward occupied a printing-house in Milk Street, at the corner of Board Alley, now Hawley Street. They were in business together for three or four years, and printed chiefly for the booksellers. Subsequently he kept a shop at No. 57 Cornhill.

Mr. Adams's (1768) father-in-law was the first post-rider between Boston and Hartford. When he died, Seth Adams (1768) gave up the printing business, and continued in the occupation of his father-in-law. He united with the Old South Church, April 7, 1765. He lived, in 1796, at No. 15 Franklin Place.

Samuel Condon (1768), probably son of Edmund and Jane Condon, who came to Boston about 1740. He is not mentioned in the Records of the Town of Boston. He was second sergeant of the Artillery Company in 1771, and its clerk from 1771 to 1774 inclusive. He died March 12, 1775, aged twenty-eight years.

Seth Adams (1768). Authority; Thomas's Hist, of Printing, Vol. I., p. 366.

William Dawes, Jr. (1768), tanner, of Boston, son of William (1760) and Lydia (Boone) Dawes, and great-grandson of Ambrose Dawes (1674), was born in Boston April 6, 1745, and died Feb. 25, 1799. He married, May 3, 1768, Mehitable, daughter of Samuel and Catherine (Mears) May. She died Oct. 28, 1793, aged forty-two years, two months, and twenty-two days. William (1768) married, (2) Nov. 18, 1795, Lydia Gendall, who survived her husband nearly ten years, dying Aug. 1 1, 1809. By his first wife he had seven children, and by the second, one child, of whom the eldest, Hannah, married Benjamin Goldthwait (1793), son of Benjamin (1740) and Sarah (Dawes) Goldthwait." The principal facts in the life of William Dawes, Jr. (1768), and others relating to the Dawes family, are taken, by permission, from an essay by Henry W. Holland, Esq., entitled “William Dawes and his Ride with Paul Revere.” Without enlarging upon the disputed points therein discussed, the simple story of William Dawes, Jr. (1768), is as follows : — He passed his early years in his father's home on Ann Street, a home religiously strict, after the manner of that time. Little is known of his youth, except that he learned the trade of a tanner, which he followed for some years, having his tanyard on what is now the corner of Sudbury and Friend streets. Feb. 5, 1769, he and his wife, Mehitable, united with the Old South Church.” For six or eight years they lived at No. 64 Ann, now North, Street, néarly opposite to his father, in a house previously owned by Josiah Waters (1747). April 8, 1768, Major William Dawes, Jr. (1768), joined the Artillery Company, and was its second sergeant in 1770. In 1786, at the revival of the Artillery Company, Mr. Dawes held the position of clerk. He was an ardent supporter of the colonial cause, was annoyed by the presence of the British soldiers in Boston, with whom, on sundry occasions, he had collisions. He scoured the country, organizing and aiding the birth of the Revolution. His granddaughter wrote: “ During these rides, he sometimes borrowed a friendly miller's hat and clothes and sometimes he borrowed a dress of a farmer, and had a bag of meal behind his back on the horse. At one such time a British soldier tried to take away his meal, but grandfather presented arms and rushed on. The meal was for his family. But in trying to stir up recruits, he was often in great danger.” In 1775, he was in correspondence with the Salem Committee of Safety, to obtain powder for the Boston patriots. The two leading spirits in the purloining the guns from the gun-house were William Dawes, Jr. (1768), and Samuel Gore (1786). They planned and executed the daring deed. These men forced their way into the gun-house while the guard was at roll-call, the guns were taken off their carriages, carried into the school-house, and placed in a large box under the master's desk, in which wood was kept. When the carriages were found without the guns, by a lieutenant and sergeant, who came to look at them previous to removing them, the sergeant exclaimed, in the presence of Samuel Gore (1786), then captain of the governor's troop of horse, “They are gone. These fellows will steal the teeth out of your head while you are keeping guard.” The yard, gunhouse, and school-house were examined over and over again, except the box. The guns remained under the master's feet for a fortnight. During the removal into the school-house, William Dawes (1768) injured his wrist, making the surgical aid of Dr. Joseph Warren necessary. From the school-house, the guns were carried to Whiston's blacksmith shop, and hidden under the coal. The Committee of Safety, Jan. 5, 1775, voted “that Mr. William Dawes [1768] be directed to deliver to said Cheever [Deacon Cheever] one pair of brass cannon and that the said Cheever procure carriages for said cannon or any other cannon that require them; that the battering cannon carriages be carried to the cannon at Waltham and that the cannon and carriages remain there until further orders.”. Under this order the guns were sent by boat to Waltham, and were in active service during the war. After the Peace, the State of Massachusetts applied to Congress for their restoration, which was granted, May 19, 1788, when Congress “Resolved, that the Secretary of War cause a suitable inscription to be placed on said cannon; and that he deliver the same to the order of his Excellency, the Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.” Gen. Knox, a native of Boston, then Secretary of War, well knew the history of the guns, and caused the arms of Massachusetts, with an inscription, to be chiselled upon them in bold relief. This work was done by Joseph Callender, of Boston. The guns were in seventeen engagements during the Revolutionary War, and one was taken by the enemy, and retaken, several times." William Dawes, Jr. (1768), was chosen by the town of Boston an informer of deer from 1770 to 1773 inclusive, warden in 1774, and, Sept. 9, 1776, the town clerk informed the inhabitants that, agreeably to their recommendation, signified to the General Assembly, William Dawes, Jr. (1768), had been appointed second major of the regiment of militia in the town of Boston. He held other minor town offices prior to the Revolution. Not long after the affair of the cannon occurred the ever-memorable ride to Lexington and Concord. For some days before the 19th of April, 1775, it had been known the British were preparing to move. It was suspected that the destination of the troops would be Concord, where stores of war material were gathered, and in the vicinity of which were Hancock, Adams, and other Revolutionary leaders. On the afternoon of the day before the attack, Gen. Warren learned that the British were about to start. He waited until they had begun to move to their boats, and then he sent out William Dawes, Jr. (1768), by the land route,” over the Neck, and across the river at the Brighton Bridge to Cambridge and Lexington; and directly after, “about ten o'clock,” he “sent in great haste” for Paul Revere, and sent him by the water route through Charlestown to Lexington to arouse the country, and warn Hancock and Adams. About midnight Paul Revere arrived at Parson Clark's, where he found the leaders of the Revolution. A half hour later, Revere met Dawes (1768) on the Green in Lexington. The latter started from

William Dawes, Jr. (1768). Authorities: Holland’s “William Dawes, and his ride with Paul Revere”; Drake's Old Landmarks of Boston; Loring's One Hundred Boston Orators; Boston Records; Hill's Hist. of Old South Church.

* Henry Ware Holland, author of “William Dawes [1768] and his Ride with Paul Revere,” is a grandson of Benjamin (1793) and IIannah (Dawes) Goldthwait,

* His ancestor, William Dawes, was one of the founders of the Old South Church in 1669; his great-grandfather, Ambrose [1674], became a member in 1670, his grandfather, Thomas, in 1705, and his father, William [1760], in 1735. Major Thomas Dawes [1754], who was chosen deacon in 1786, was his second cousin,

*

"Columbian Centinel, June 4, 1788.

* “Intelligence of the intended expedition to Lexington on the 19th of April was conveyed over the Neck by William Dawes [1768], who was mounted on a slow-jogging horse, with saddle-bags behind him, and a large slapped hat upon his head to resemble a countryman on a journey. Col. Josiah

Waters [Capt. Waters (1747), not Col. (1769)], of Boston, a staunch Whig, and who afterwards, as engineer, assisted in building the forts at Roxbury, followed on foot on the sidewalk at a short distance from him until he saw him safely past all the sentinels.” Drake's //ist. of Roxbury, fo. 74.

« 이전계속 »