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Voyage to Rhode Island. – Stonington. – Arrival at Providence. – Roger Williams’s Rock. – "Water Lots." – Proposed Desecration. – Arrival of Roger Williams. – His Character. – Narrow Views of the old Puritans. – Zeal of Roger Williams. – Disturbance at Salem. – Williams arraigned for Treason. – Banishment of Roger Williams. – Flight to the Seekonk. – Landing at Providence. – Commencement of a Settlement. – Williams’s Negotiations with the Indians. – Ingratitude of the Massachusetts Colony. – March of the French Army to Providence. – The French Troops at Providence. – Site of the Encampment. – Remains. – Departure of the French from Boston. – Governor Cooke’s Monument. – La Fayette’s Head-quarters. – Roger Williams’s Spring. – Old Tavern in Providence. – Its Associations. – Destruction of Tea in Market Square. – Rhode Island Historical Society. – Valuable Manuscripts. – A telescopic Peep at the Moon and Stars. – Bryant’s "Song of the Stars." – Voyage to Gaspee Point. – The Gaspee. – Conduct of her Commander. – Sketch of Gaspee Point. – Governor Wanton. – Montague’s insolent Letter. – Wanton’s Rejoinder. – Captain Lindsey’s Packet chased by the Gaspee. – Grounding of the Gaspee. – Expedition against the Gaspee. – Her Destruction. – Efforts to discover the Incendiaries. – The Commissioners. – Return to Providence. – Visit to Mr. John Howland. – His military Career in the Revolution. – Departure for Newport. – Appearance of Rhode Island. – Old Tower at Newport. – Mansion of Governor Gibbs. – Old Tower at Newport. – Its former Appearance. – Attempt to destroy it. – Obscurity of its Origin. – First Wind-mill at Newport. – Inquiries respecting the Tower. – "Antiquitates Americana." – Inscription on Dighton Rock. – Prescott’s Head-quarters in Newport. – Old Cemetery. – Perry’s Monument. – Runic Inscriptions elsewhere. – ’Tonomy Hill. – Hubbard’s House and Mill. – Inscription on Perry’s Monument. – Oppression of the Whigs by Prescott. – View from ’Tonomy Hill. – Mrs. Hutchinson and Sir Henry Vane. – Persecution of Mrs. Hutchinson and her Friends. – Settlement of Rhode Island. – Its first Constitution. – Royal Charter. – Toleration in Rhode Island. – Separation and Reunion of the Plantations. – Newport. – Destruction of the Sloop Liberty. – Admiral Wallace in Narraganset Bay. – Disarming of the Tories. – Skirmish in the Harbor. – Engagement at Sea. – Continued Hostilities in Newport Harbor. – Privateers. – Arrival of a large British Force. – Conduct of the Enemy.


"I’ve gazed upon thy golden cloud

Which shades thine emerald sod;
Thy hills, which Freedom’s share hath plow’d,
Which nurse a race that have not bow’d
Their knee to aught but God.
And thou hast gems, ay, living pearls,
And flowers of Eden hue;
Thy loveliest are thy bright-eyed girls,
Of fairy forms and elfin curls,
And smiles like Hermon’s dew.
They’ve hearts, like those they’re born to wed,
Too proud to nurse a slave.
They’d scorn to share a monarch’s bed,
And sooner lay their angel head
Deep in their humble grave."

"Ye say they all have pass’d away,

That noble race and brave;
That their light canoes have vanish’d
From off the crested wave;
That mid the forests where they warr’d
There rings no hunter’s shout;
But their name is on your waters,
Ye may not wash it out."


To the land of the Narragansets and Wampanoags – the land of Massasoit and Philip, of Canonicus and Miantonomoh – the land of Roger Williams and toleration – the Rhode Island and Providence plantations of colonial times, I next turned my attention. On a clear frosty evening [October 19, 1848.], the moon in its wane and the winds hushed, I went up the Sound in the steam-boat Vanderbilt. We passed through the turbulent eddies of Hell Gate at twilight, and as we entered the broader expanse of water beyond Fort Schuyler, heavy swells, that were upheaved by a gale the day before, came rolling in from the ocean, and disturbed the anticipated quiet of the evening voyage. It was to end at Stonington 1 at midnight, so I paced the promenade deck in the biting night air to keep off sea-sickness, and was successful. We landed at Stonington between twelve and one o’clock, where we took cars for Providence, arriving there at three. Refreshed by a few hours’ sleep, and an early breakfast at the "Franklin," I started upon a day’s ramble with Mr. Peeks, of Providence, who kindly offered to accompany me to memorable places around that prosperous city. We first visited the most interesting, as well as one of the most ancient, localities connected with the colonial history of Rhode Island, the rock on which Roger Williams first landed upon its shores. It is reached from the town by the broad avenue called Power Street, which extends to the high bank of the Seekonk or Pawtucket River, and terminates almost on a line with the famous rock, some sixty feet above high water mark. The town is rapidly extending toward the Seekonk, and the hand of improvement was laying out broad streets near its bank when I was there. The channel of the Seekonk here is narrow, and at low tide broad flats on either side are left bare. I was informed that a proposition had been made to dig down the high banks and fill in the flats to the edge of the channel, to make "desirable water lots," the "Roger Williams’ Rock" to be in the center of the public square, though at least thirty feet below the surface! Mosheim informs us that when the Jews attempted to rebuild Jerusalem, in the time of Julian, the workmen were prevented from labor by the issuing of fire-balls from the earth with a horrible noise, and that enterprise, undertaken in opposition to the prophecy of Jesus, was abandoned. 2 Should mammon attempt the desecrating labor of covering the time-honored rock on the shore of old Seekonk, who can tell what indignant protests may not occur?


Here is a mossy spot upon the patriarch’s back; let us sit down in the warm sunlight and wind-sheltered nook, and glance at the record.

A few months after the arrival of Winthrop and his company at Boston, and before Hooker and Cotton, afterward eminent ministers in the colony, had sailed from England, there landed Nantasket [February 5, 1631.] an enlightened and ardent Puritan divine, young in years (for he was only thirty-one), but mature in judgment and those enlightened views of true liberty of conscience, which distinguish the character of modern theological jurisprudence from the intolerance of the seventeenth century. He was a fugitive from English persecution but his wrongs had not clouded his accurate understanding. In the capacious recesses of his mind he had resolved the nature of intolerance, and he alone had arrived at the great principle which is its sole effectual remedy. He announced his discovery under the simple proposition of sanctity of conscience. The civil magistrate should restrain crime, but never control opinion; should punish guilt, but never violate the freedom of the soul. 4 This was a wonderful discovery in modern science; too wonderful for the hierarchy of England, or the magistrates and ministers of the Puritan colony of America. They could not comprehend its beauty or utility; and as it had no affinity with their own narrow views of the dignity of the human soul, they pronounced it heresy, as soon as the discoverer began to make a practical development of his principles. Yet they perceived, with a yearning affection for its truth, that it would quench the fires of persecution, abrogate laws making non-conformity a felony, abolish tithes, and all forced contributions to the maintenance of religion, and protect all in that freedom of conscience to worship God as the mind should dictate, for which they had periled their lives and fortunes in the wilderness. Still, its glory was too brilliant; it dazzled their vision; the understanding could not comprehend its beneficent scope; they looked upon it with the jealous eye of over-cautiousness, and, true to the impulses of human nature, what they could not comprehend, they rejected. This great apostle of toleration and intellectual liberty was ROGER WILLIAMS.

The New England Churches had not renounced the use of coercion in religious matters, and Williams, so soon as his tolerant views were made known, found himself regarded with suspicion by the civil and religious authorities. Disappointed, yet resolutely determined to maintain his principles, he withdrew to the settlement at Plymouth, where he remained two years, and by his charity, virtues, and purity of life, won the hearts of all. The people of Salem called him to be their minister, a movement which made the court of Boston marvel. Being an object of jealousy, and now having an opportunity to speak in the public ear, he was in perpetual collision with the clergy. The magistrates insisted on the presence of every man at public worship. Williams reprobated the law. To compel men to unite with those of a different creed he regarded as an open violation of their natural rights; to drag to public worship the irreligious and unwilling seemed only like requiring hypocrisy. This doctrine alarmed both magistrates and clergy, and they began to denounce Williams. In proportion to the severity of their opposition his zeal was kindled, and so earnest did he become in enforcing his tolerant views, that intolerance and fanaticism marked his own course. He denounced King James as a liar; declared that the settlers had no right to the lands they occupied, these belonging to the aborigines; raised a tumult about the red cross of St. George in the banner [1634.]; 5 at last boldly denounced the Churches of New England as anti-Christian, and actually excommunicated such of his parishioners as held intercourse with them. The vision of that great mind which saw general principles of righteousness in a clear light, became clouded in his practical endeavors to bring the power of those principles to bear upon society. When weak and persecuted, the scope of his vision of intellectual liberty and Christian charity embraced the earth; when in power and strong, it contracted to the small orbit of his parish at Salem – himself the central sun of light and goodness. Such is the tendency of all human minds under like circumstances; and Roger Williams, great and good as he was, was not an exception.

The magistrates were greatly irritated; some of Williams’s language was construed as treasonable and schismatic, and he was arraigned before the General Court at Boston on this charge. There he stood alone in defense of his noble principles; for his congregation, and even the wife of his bosom, could not justify all his words and acts. Yet he was undaunted, and declared himself "ready to be bound, and banished, and even to die in New England," rather than renounce the truth whose light illuminated his mind and conscience. He was allowed to speak for himself before the court, and also to dispute upon religious points with the Reverend Mr. Hooker. Every effort to "reduce him from his errors" was unavailing, and the court, composed of all the ministers, proceeded to pass sentence of banishment upon him [October, 1635.]. He was ordered to leave the jurisdiction of the colony within six weeks. He obtained leave to remain until the rigors of winter had passed, but, continuing active in promoting his peculiar views, the court determined to ship him immediately for England. He was ordered to Boston for the purpose of embarking. He refused obedience, and, hearing that a warrant had been issued for his arrest, set out, with a few followers, for the vast unexplored wilds of America, with an ambitious determination to found a new colony, having for its foundation the sublime doctrine of liberty of conscience in all its plenitude, and the equality of opinions before the law. In the midst of deep snows and biting winds [January, 1636.] they journeyed toward Narraganset Bay. "For fourteen weeks he was sorely tossed in a bitter season, not knowing what bread or bed did mean." 6 He describes himself, in a letter to Mason, "as plucked up by the roots, beset with losses, distractions, miseries, hardships of sea and land, debts and wants." He at last found refuge and hospitality from the Indian sachem Massasoit, whom he had known at Plymouth; and in the spring, under a grant from that sachem, commenced a settlement at Seekonk, 7 on the east side of the Seekonk or Pawtucket River, just within the limits of the Plymouth colony. Many of the ministers in that colony wrote him friendly letters, for he was personally beloved by all. Winslow, who was then governor, wrote a letter to Williams, in which he claimed Seekonk as a part of the Plymouth domain, and suggested his removal beyond the jurisdiction of that colony to prevent difficulty. Williams heeded the advice of Winslow, and, entering a canoe with five others, paddled down the Seekonk almost to its mouth, and landed upon the west side of the river, upon the bare rock, delineated on page 620 {original text has "52".} [June, 1636.]. He crossed over to the west side of the peninsula, and upon that shore, at the head of the bay, commenced a new settlement. He obtained from Canonicus and Miantonomoh, principal chiefs of the Narragansets, a grant of land for the purpose. He named his new settlement PROVIDENCE, "in commemoration of God’s providence to him in his distress." "I desired," he said, "it might be for a shelter for persons distressed for conscience." And so it became, for men of every creed there found perfect freedom of thought. Although every rood of land belonged to Williams, by right of deed from the Narraganset sachems, not a foot of it did he reserve for himself. He practiced his holy precepts, and "gave away his lands and other estates to them that he thought most in want, until he gave away all." 8 Nor was there any distinction made among the settlers, "whether servants or strangers;" each had an equal voice in the affairs of government, and the political foundation of the settlement was a pure democracy. The Massachusetts people believed that the fugitives "would have no magistrates," and must necessarily perish politically, yet they thrived wonderfully. The impress of that first system is yet seen upon the political character of Rhode Island, for "in no state in the world, not even in the agricultural state of Vermont, have the magistrates so little power, or the representatives of the freemen so much." 9 Such was the planting of the first and only purely democratic colony in America; and its founder, though persecuted and contemned, maintained, in the opinion of all good men, that high character which Cotton Mather and others were constrained to award him, as "one of the most distinguished men that ever lived, a most pious and heavenly-minded soul." 10


The Christian charity of Roger Williams was remarkably displayed soon after his banishment from Massachusetts. In 1637, when the Pequots were attempting to induce the Narragansets to join them in a general war upon the whites, and particularly against the Massachusetts people, Mr. Williams informed the latter of the fact. They solicited his mediation, and, forgetting the many injuries he had received from those who now needed his favor, he set out on a stormy day, in a poor canoe, upon the rough bay, and through many dangers repaired to the cabin of Canonicus. The Pequots and Narragansets were already assembled in council. The former threatened him with death, yet he remained there three days and nights. "God wonderfully preserved me," he said, "and helped me to break in pieces the designs of the enemy, and to finish the English league, by many travels and changes, with the Narragansets and Mohegans against the Pequots." This alliance we noticed in the last chapter. Notwithstanding this great service, the Massachusetts court would not revoke Williams’s sentence of banishment.

Let us now close the volume for a time, and visit other places of historic interest.

Leaving the Seekonk, we walked to the site of the encampment of the French army in the autumn of 1782, while on its march to Boston for embarkation. It had remained in Virginia after the battle of Yorktown, in the autumn of 1781, until the summer of 1782, when it joined Washington and his army on the Hudson. The place of its encampment there was near Peekskill. The order and discipline of this army, and its uniform respect for property – the soldiers not even taking fruit from the trees without leave – were remarkable, and on their march northward Rochambeau and his officers received many congratulatory addresses. 12 The army remained at Peekskill until October, when it commenced its march for Boston, going by the way of Hartford and Providence. Count de Rochambeau accompanied it to the latter place, where he took his leave of the troops [October 22, 1782.] and returned to Washington’s head-quarters. The army had received orders to sail to the West Indies in the French fleet of fifteen sail of the line and four frigates, then lying in the harbor of Boston, in the event of the evacuation of New-York or Charleston by the British. The Baron de Viomenil was ordered to accompany the troops as commander instead of Rochambeau. The latter, with several other officers, returned from Rhode Island to Virginia, and at Norfolk embarked for France.

The French troops arrived at Providence in November, and to give color to the pretext that they marched eastward to go into winter quarters, made excavations, in which to find protection from the cold, instead of pitching their tents, as a moving army would do. The object was to allow the expedition to the West Indies – where a brisk naval warfare was in progress between the French and British – to remain a secret even to the suspicions of the English. After remaining about a fortnight at Providence the troops marched toward Boston, where they arrived early in December. 13 On the 24th of that month the French fleet sailed from Boston for St. Domingo, with all the troops except Lauzun’s legion, the army having been in the United States two and a half years. 14

The place of the encampment at Providence is in a field of cold, wet land, rough and rocky, a mile and a half east-northeast from Market Square in the city. It lies on the northeast side of Harrington’s Lane, at the head of Greene Lane, which latter runs parallel with Prospect Street. We passed on our way along the brow of Prospect Hill, whence we had a fine view of the city and surrounding country, including northward the spires of Pawtucket, and southward the blue waters of Narraganset Bay. The encampment was on the western slope of the northern termination of Prospect Hill. Several shallow pits and heaps of stones, with some charcoal intermingled (the remains of the temporary dwellings of the French soldiers), are yet to be seen [1848.]. It was a sheltered position, and favorable for a winter encampment The ground is full of small surface springs, which, with the wash from the cultivated hills above, will soon obliterate every trace of the encampment.


About a quarter of a mile westward of the camp ground is the "North Burying-ground," belonging to the city. It has been beautified within a few years by graveled foot-paths and carriage-ways, fine vaults, handsome monuments and inclosures. Its location is such that it may be made a beautiful cemetery, though small. Not far from the south entrance is a marble monument about nine feet high, erected to the memory of Stephen Hopkins, for a long time colonial governor of Rhode Island, and one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. On the southern side of the obelisk is the name of HOPKINS in large letters. The inscriptions are upon three sides of the pedestal. 15

In the northeast part of the burial-ground is a granite obelisk erected to the memory of Nicholas Cooke, who was Governor of Rhode Island from 1775 until 1778, and an active and efficient patriot until his death, which occurred before the independence of his country was secured by treaty. 16 His biography is briefly inscribed upon his monument in the following words:


"NICHOLAS COOKE, born in Providence, February 3d, 1717; Died September 14th, 1782. Unanimously elected Governor of Rhode Island in 1775, he remained in office during the darkest period of the American Revolution. He merited and won the approbation of his fellow-citizens, and was honored with the friendship and confidence of Washington." This is the inscription upon the east side, immediately above which, in raised letters, is the name COOKE. On the west is the following:

"Hannah Sabine, relict of Nicholas Cooke, born in Killingly, Connecticut, March 13th, 1722; died in Providence, March 22d, 1792." This monument is about twenty feet high, composed of a single block. The sketch of it here given is from the cemetery, looking eastward, and includes in the distance the French camp-ground just mentioned. The most remote of the two fields seen between the trees on the right, is the one wherein the remains of the encampment are to be seen.

On the road leading from the cemetery to the town is a brick building, with a hip-roof, which La Fayette occupied as head-quarters, while in Providence a short time in 1778. He had been sent by Washington with two thousand men to assist Sullivan in the siege of Newport. The house is well preserved, but changed somewhat in its external appearance

On our way into the town we passed along Benefit Street, on the east side of which, in a vacant lot, upon the slope of a steep hill, near the mansion of the father of Governor Dorr, is a living water-fountain, called Roger Williams’s Spring. Tradition asserts that here, in the cool shade of sycamores (of which the huge trees that now overshadow it are the sprouts), Williams first reposed after his journey, and that here his first tent was pitched, at twilight, on a beautiful evening in June. It is a pleasant spot now, even with the pent-up city around it; it must then have been a delicious resting-place for the weary exile, for below him were the bright waters of the Narraganset, beyond which arose the gentle slopes and more lofty hills of the fair land of Canonicus, his friend and protector.


Within the city, on the east side of Market Square, stands the old tavern, with moss-grown roof, where many a grave and many a boisterous meeting were held by the freemen of the Providence Plantations during the Stamp Act excitement, and the earlier years of the war of the Revolution. There the Sons of Liberty met and planned their measures in opposition to the British ministry. From the same balcony were read the proclamation announcing the accession of George III. to the throne in 1760; the odious Stamp Act in 1765; the bill for its repeal in 1766; and the Declaration of Independence in 1776. That balcony seemed to be the forum of the people; and many excited audiences have crowded Market Square, in front of it, to listen to patriotic speeches.

The people of Providence, and particularly the matrons and maidens, cheerfully acquiesced in the demands made upon their self-denial by the non-importation agreements, and foreign tea was discarded as if it had been a poisonous drug. 18 In 1773, when it was ascertained that the ships of the East India Company, heavily laden with tea, were about to sail for America, the people of Providence were among the first to express their disapprobation; and on one occasion the town crier, with a drum, patroled the streets in the evening, announcing that a bonfire of tea would be made in Market Square at ten o’clock at night, and requesting those who possessed and repudiated the article to cast it upon the heap. At the appointed hour the square was crowded, and the old tavern front and its neighbors were brilliantly illuminated by the glow of the burning tea, aided by other combustibles, while shouts long and loud went up as one voice from the multitude. This was but a prelude to the united and vigorous action of the people when the war notes from Lexington aroused the country; and until the close of the contest Providence was a "nest of rebels against the king."

I concluded the labors and pleasures of the day by making the above sketch, and in the evening attended, by invitation, a meeting of the Rhode Island Historical Society, over which Albert G. Greene, Esq., presided, the venerable president, John Howland, then ninety-one years of age, being absent. Their rooms are in a small but convenient building near Brown University, and contain about five thousand volumes of books and pamphlets, many of them very rare. The meeting was one of much interest, especially to Rhode Islanders, for Professor Gammel, of the University, made a verbal communication on the subject of important manuscripts concerning the early history of New England, which are in the British colonial office. He imparted the gratifying intelligence that J. Carter Brown, Esq., of Providence, with an enlightened liberality worthy of all praise, had made arrangements to have all the manuscripts in question copied at his own expense, under the direction of Mr. Stephens, the eminent agriculturist, then in Europe [1848.]. 19 The manuscripts relate to New England history, from 1634 to 1720, and consist of more than four hundred pieces, about two hundred and fifty of which have special reference to the Rhode Island and Providence Plantations. Among them is a minute account of all the transactions relating to Captain Kidd, the noted pirate. Already two thousand four hundred pages of copies, beautifully written by one hand, on vellum foolscap, had been forwarded to Mr. Brown, a few of which were exhibited by Professor Gammel.

Moon and stars were shining brightly when we left the Society’s rooms, and afforded a fine field of view through a large telescope that was standing under the porch of the college. The professor having it in charge kindly allowed me a glance at our celestial neighbors. The moon was gibbous, and brilliant as molten silver appeared its ragged edges. Saturn was visible, but the earth being upon the plane of its rings, they could not be seen. Some double stars, even of the seventeenth magnitude, were pointed out; and over the whole field of view, those distant worlds, that appear like brilliant points to the unaided vision, were seen glowing in all the beautiful colors of the emerald, the ruby, the sapphire, and the topaz. While gazing upon them, it seemed to me as if

"Their silver voices in chorus rang,
And this was the song the bright ones sang.

"Away! away! through the wide, wide sky –
The fair blue fields that before us lie.
Each sun with the worlds that round it roll;
Each planet poised on her turning pole;
With her isles of green and her clouds of white,
And her waters that lie like fluid light.

"For the Source of Glory uncovers his face,
And the brightness o’erflows unbounded space;
And we drink, as we go, the luminous tides,
In our ruddy air and our blooming sides.
Lo! yonder the living splendors play;
Away! on our joyous path, away!

"Glide on in your beauty, ye youthful spheres,
To weave the dance that measures the years.
Glide on in the glory and gladness sent
To the farthest wall of the firmament –
The boundless, visible smile of Him,
To the veil of whose brow our lamps are dim."


On the morning of the 21st [October, 1848.], I procured a sort of pinnace, and a boatman to manage it, and with a stiff cold breeze from the northwest, sailed down the Narraganset Bay 20 to Gaspee Point, a place famous in our Revolutionary annals as the scene of a daring act on the part of the people of Rhode Island. The Point is on the west side of the bay, about six miles below Providence, and consists, first, of a high jutting bank, and then a sandy beach stretching into the bay, almost uncovered at low tide, but completely submerged at high water. The bay is here about two miles wide, and the low bare point extends at least half a mile from the bank, its termination marked by a buoy. The navigation of this section of the bay is dangerous on account of the sand-bars, and also of submerged rocks, lying just below the surface at low water. Two of them, in the vicinity of Field’s Point, are marked by strong stone towers about thirty feet high, both of which are above Gaspee Point. The tide was ebbing when we arrived at the Point, and anchoring our vessel, we sought to reach the shore in its little skiff – a feat of no small difficulty on account of the shallowness of the water. I waited nearly an hour for the ebbing tide to leave the Point bare; before making my sketch.


The historical incident alluded to was the burning of the Gaspee, a British armed schooner, in 1772. She first appeared in the waters of Narraganset Bay in March, having been dispatched thither by the commissioners of customs at Boston to prevent infractions of the revenue laws, and to put a stop to the illicit trade which had been carried on for a long time at Newport and Providence. Her appearance disquieted the people, and her interference with the free navigation of the bay irritated them. Deputy-governor Sessions, residing at Providence, wrote in behalf of the people there to Governor Wanton 21 at Newport, expressing his opinion that the commander of the Gaspee, Lieutenant Duddington, had no legal warrant for his proceedings. Governor Wanton immediately dispatched a written message, by the high sheriff, to Duddington, in which he required that officer to produce his commission without delay. This the lieutenant refused to do, and Wanton made a second demand for his orders. Duddington, apparently shocked at the idea that a colonial governor should claim the right to control, in any degree, the movement of his majesty’s officers, did not reply, but sent Wanton’s letters to Admiral Montague at Boston. That functionary, forgetting that the Governor of Rhode Island was elected to office by the voice of a free people – that he was the chief magistrate of a colony of free Englishmen, and not a creature of the crown – wrote an insulting and blustering letter to Governor Wanton [April 6, 1772.] in defense of Duddington, and in reprehension of his opponents. In it he used these insulting words: "I shall report your two insolent letters to my officer [Duddington] to his majesty’s secretaries of state, and leave them to determine what right you have to demand a sight of all orders I shall give to all officers of my squadron; and I would advise you not to send your sheriff on board the king’s ship again on such ridiculous errands." To this letter Governor Wanton wrote a spirited reply [May 8, 1772.]. "I am greatly obliged," he said, "for the promise of transmitting my letters to the secretaries of state. I am, however, a little shocked at your impolite expression made rise of upon that occasion. In return for this good office, I shall also transmit your letter to the Secretary of State, and leave to the king and his ministers to determine on which side the charge of insolence lies. As to your advice not to send a sheriff on board any of your squadron, please to know, that I will send the sheriff of this colony at any time, and to any place within the body of it, as I shall think fit." On the 20th of May, Governor Wanton, pursuant to a vote of the Assembly, transmitted an account of the matter to the Earl of Hillsborough but, before any reply could be received, the Gaspee became a wreck, under the following circumstances:


On the 9th of June, 1772, Captain Lindsey left Newport for Providence, in his packet, 23 at about noon, the wind blowing from the South. 24 The Gaspee, whose commander did not discriminate between the well-known packets and the strange vessels that came into the harbor, had often fired upon the former, to compel their masters to take down their colors in its presence – a haughty marine Gesler, requiring obeisance to its imperial cap. As Captain Lindsey, on this occasion, kept his colors flying, the Gaspee gave chase, and continued it as far as Namquit (now Gaspee) Point. The tide was ebbing, but the bar was covered. As soon as Lindsey doubled the Point, he stood to the westward. Duddington, commander of the Gaspee, eager to overtake the pursued, and ignorant of the extent of the submerged Point from the shore, kept on a straight course, and in a few minutes struck the sand. The fast ebbing tide soon left his vessel hopelessly grounded. Captain Lindsey arrived at Providence at sunset, and at once communicated the fact of the grounding of the Gaspee to Mr. John Brown, one of the leading merchants of that city. Knowing that the schooner could not be got off until flood-tide, after midnight, Brown thought this a good opportunity to put an end to the vexations caused by her presence. He ordered the preparation of eight of the largest long-boats in the harbor, to be placed under the general command of Captain Whipple, one of his most trusty ship-masters; each boat to have five oars, the row-locks to be muffled, and the whole put in readiness by half past eight in the evening, at Fenner’s Wharf, near the residence of the late Welcome Arnold. At dusk, a man named Daniel Pearce passed along the Main Street, beating a drum, and informing the inhabitants that the Gaspee lay aground on Namquit Point; that she could not get off until three o’clock in the morning; and inviting those who were willing to engage in her destruction to meet at the house of James Sabine, afterward the residence of Welcome Arnold. The boats left Providence between ten and eleven o’clock, filled with sixty-four well-armed men, a sea captain in each boat acting as steersman. They took with them a quantity of round paving-stones. Between one and two in the morning [June 9, 1772.] they reached the Gaspee, when a sentinel on board hailed them. No answer being returned, Duddington appeared in his shirt on the starboard gunwale, and waving the boats off, fired a pistol at them. This discharge was returned by a musket from one of the boats. 25 Duddington was wounded in the groin, and carried below. The boats now came alongside the schooner, and the men boarded her without much opposition, the crew retreating below when their wounded commander was carried down. A medical student among the Americans dressed Duddington’s wound, 26 and he was carried on shore at Pawtuxet. The schooner’s company were ordered to collect their clothing and leave the vessel, which they did; and all the effects of Lieutenant Duddington being carefully placed in one of the American boats to be delivered to the owner, the Gaspee was set on fire and at dawn blew up. 27

On being informed of this event, Governor Wanton issued a proclamation [June 12.], ordering diligent search for persons having a knowledge of the crime, and offering a reward of five hundred dollars "for the discovery of the perpetrators of said villainy, to be paid immediately upon the conviction of any one or more of them." Admiral Montague also made endeavors to discover the incendiaries. Afterward the home government offered a reward of five thousand dollars for the leader, and two thousand five hundred dollars to any person who would discover the other parties, with the promise of a pardon should the informer be an accomplice. A commission of inquiry, under the great seal of England, was established, which sat from the 4th until the 22d of January, 1773. 28 It then adjourned until the 26th of May, when it assembled and sat until the 23d of June. But not a solitary clew to the identity of the perpetrators could be obtained, notwithstanding so many of them were known to the people. 29 The price of treachery on the part of any accomplice would have been exile from home and country; and the proffered reward was not adequate to such a sacrifice, even though weak moral principles or strong acquisitiveness had been tempted into compliance. The commissioners closed their labors on the 23d of June, and further inquiry was not attempted. 30


After finishing my sketch of Namquit, or Gaspee Point (page 628 {original text has "60".}), we embarked for Providence, the wind blowing a gale from the northwest. It was with much difficulty that we managed our vessel; and before we reached the harbor we were drenched with the spray that dashed over the gunwale from the windward. In company with Mr. Weeden I visited the fine library of the Athenium Association, 31 and afterward had the pleasure of a brief interview, at his residence, with the venerable Mr. Howland, president of the Historical Society. So clear and vigorous was his well-cultivated mind, that I regretted the brevity of my visit, made necessary by the near approach of the hour of departure of the steam-packet, in which I was to proceed to Newport. Mr. Howland passed his ninety-first birth-day a few days before I saw him. He was a soldier early in the war for independence, having been drafted as a minute man in the winter of 1775, to go to Newport. He was afterward attached to the Rhode Island regiment under Colonel Lippincott, and joined the Continental army under Washington at Kingsbridge, at the upper end of York or Manhattan Island. He was in the retreat to White Plains in the autumn of 1776, and was engaged in the skirmish at Chatterton’s Hill. He related an amusing circumstance which occurred during that retreat. While the Americans halted upon Chatterton’s Hill, the British, in close pursuit, rested, for a short time, upon another eminence close by. An Irishman, one of Colonel Lippincott’s servants, who was called "Daddy Hall," seemed quite uneasy on account of the presence of the enemy. He had charge of the colonel’s horse, and frequently exclaimed, "What are we doing here? Why do we stop here? Why don’t we go on? I don’t believe the colonel knows that the red-coated rascals are so near." Paymaster Dexter, 32 seeing the perturbation of the poor fellow, said, "Daddy Hall, you’re afraid! you’re a trembling coward!" The Milesian’s ire was aroused at these words, and looking the paymaster in the face with a scornful curl of his lips, he said, "Be jabers! no, Maisther Dexther, I’m not afeerd more nor yez be; but faith! ye’ll find yourself that one good pair of heels is worth two of hands afore night; if ye don’t, call Daddy Hall a spalpeen." And so he did; for before sunset the Americans were flying before their pursuers, more grateful to heels than hands for safety.

Mr. Howland accompanied Washington in his retreat across New Jersey, and was in the division of Cadwallader, at Bristol, which was to go over the Delaware on the night when Washington crossed that river [December 25, 1776.], and surprised the Hessians at Trenton. The ice prevented; but they crossed the next day, and were stationed at Crosswicks for a day or two. Mr. Howland was among those at Trenton who were driven across the Assanpink by the British on the evening of the 2d of January [1777.], the night before the battle of Princeton. The bridge across the Assanpink was much crowded, and Mr. Howland remembers having his arm scratched by one of Washington’s spurs as he passed by the commander in the crowd, who sat upon his white horse at the south end of the bridge. He performed the dreary night march through the snow toward Princeton, and was in the battle there on the following morning. His term of service expired while the American army was at Morristown, whither it went from Princeton. From Morristown, himself and companions made their way on foot, through deep snows, back to Providence, crossing the Hudson River at King’s Ferry (Stony Point), and the Connecticut at Hartford. Gladly would I have listened until sunset to the narrative of his great experience, but the first bell of the packet summoned me away.

I left Providence at three o’clock in the Perry, and arrived at Newport, thirty miles distant, at about five, edified on the way by the conversation of the venerable William Cranston, of Attlebury, Massachusetts, then eighty-one years of age, who was a resident of Newport during the Revolution. The bald appearance of Rhode Island, relieved only by orchards, which showed like dark tufts of verdure in the distance, with a few wind-mills and scattered farm-houses, formed a singular and unfavorable feature in the view as we approached Newport; while upon small islands and the main land appeared the ruins of forts and batteries, indicating the military importance of the waters we were navigating. This was

"Rhode Island, the land where the exile sought rest;
The Eden where wandered the Pilgrim oppress’d.
Thy name be immortal! here man was made free,
The oppress’d of all nations found refuge in thee.

"There Freedom’s broad pinions our fathers unfurl’d,
An ensign to nations and hope to the world;
Here both Jew and Gentile have ever enjoy’d
The freedom of conscience in worshiping God."



The fair promises of a pleasant morrow, sweetly expressed by a bright moonlight evening, were not realized, for at dawn [October 22, 1848.] heavy rain-drops were pattering upon my window, and the wind was piping with all the zeal of a sudden "sou’easter." I had intended to start early for the neighborhood of Quaker Hill, toward the north end of the island, the scene of conflict in 1778; but the storm frustrated my plans, and I passed the day in visiting places of interest in the city and its immediate vicinity. The object of greatest attraction to the visitor at Newport is the Old Tower, or wind-mill, as it is sometimes called. It stands within a vacant lot owned by Governor Gibbs, directly in front of his fine old mansion, which was erected in 1720, and was then one of the finest dwellings in the colony. It is a brick building, covered with red cedar. The main object in the picture is a representation of the tower as it appeared at the time of my visit. On the right of it is seen the residence of Governor Gibbs, 33 surrounded by shade-trees and flowering shrubs in abundance. I passed the stormy morning under its roof; and to the proprietor I am indebted for much kindness during my visit at Newport, and for valuable suggestions respecting the singular relic of the past that stands upon his grounds, mute and mysterious as a mummy. On the subject of its erection history and tradition are silent, and the object of its construction is alike unknown and conjectural. It is a huge cylinder, composed of unhewn stones – common granite, slate, sandstone, and pudding-stone – cemented with coarse mortar, made of the soil on which the structure stands, and shell lime. It rests upon eight round columns, a little more than three feet in diameter, and ten feet high from the ground to the spring of the arches. The wall is three feet thick, and the whole edifice, at the present time, is twenty-four feet high. The external diameter is twenty-three feet. Governor Gibbs informed me that, on excavating at the base of one of the pillars, he found the soil about four feet deep, lying upon a stratum of hard rock, and that the foundation of the column, which rested upon this rock, was composed of rough-hewn spheres of stone, the lower ones about four feet in circumference. On the interior, a little above the arches, are small square niches, in depth about half the thickness of the wall, designed, apparently, to receive floor-timbers. In several places within, as well as upon the inner surface of some of the columns, are patches of stucco, which, like the mortar, is made of coarse sand and shell lime, and as hard as the stones it covers. Governor Gibbs remembers the appearance of the tower more than forty years ago, when it was partially covered with the same hard stucco upon its exterior surface. Doubtless it was originally covered within and without with plaster, and the now rough columns, with mere indications of capitals and bases of the Doric form, were handsomely wrought, the whole structure exhibiting taste and beauty. During the possession of Rhode Island by the British, in the Revolution, the tower was more perfect than now, having a roof, and the walls were three or four feet higher than at present. 34 The British used it for an ammunition magazine, and when they evacuated the island, they attempted to demolish the old "mill" by igniting a keg of powder within it! But the strong walls resisted the Vandals, and the only damage the edifice sustained was the loss of its roof and two or three feet of its upper masonry. Such is the Old Tower at Newport at the present time. Its early history is yet unwritten, and may forever remain so. 35


The rain ceased at ten o’clock, and a westerly wind dispersed the clouds, but made the day unpleasant by its blustering breath. I sketched the house on the corner of Spring and Peckham Streets, now owned by Mr. Joshua Sayre, which was occupied as his city head-quarters by the petty tyrant, General Prescott, while he was in command of the British troops on Rhode Island. His acts will be noted presently. About noon I strolled up to the cemetery in the northern part of the city, where lie the remains of a great multitude of the early inhabitants of Newport. Workmen were employed in regulating it, by placing the old grave-stones upright, and painting them so as to bring out their half-effaced inscriptions, and in beautifying the grounds in various ways. There, beneath a broad slab of slate, repose the bodies of John and William Cranston, father and son, who were governors of Rhode Island – the former in 1679, the latter from 1698 to 1726. Near by is the tomb of William Jefferay, who, tradition says, was one of the judges of Charles I. It is covered by a large slab of gray-wacke, ornamented, or, rather, disfigured, at the head, by a representation of a skull and cross-bones, below which is a poetic epitaph. He died January 2d, 1675.


On the top of the slope on which a portion of the cemetery lies, is a granite obelisk, erected to the memory of Commodore Perry, by the State of Rhode Island, at a cost of three thousand dollars. It is formed of a single stone, twenty-three feet in height, standing upon a square pedestal ten feet high, having white marble tablets. It is inclosed by an iron railing, and has an imposing appearance. 36


About a mile and a half northward of Newport rises a bold, rocky eminence, called " ’Tonomy Hill" (the first word being an abbreviation of Miantonomoh), celebrated as the seat of the Narraganset sachem of that name, and the commanding site of a small fort or redoubt during the war of the Revolution. Thitherward I made my way from the old cemetery, passing several wind-mills that were working merrily in the stiff breeze which swept over the island from the west. The absence of streams of sufficient strength to turn water-wheels is the cause of the retention of these ancient mills, which give Rhode Island an Old England appearance. One of them, standing near the junction of the main road and the lane leading up to " ’Tonomy Hill," is a patriarch among the others, for its sails revolved when the Gaspee lorded over the waters of the Narraganset. It is invested with associations of considerable interest.


The mill and the old house near by were owned by a man named Hubbard. When the British took possession of Rhode Island, Prescott turned many of the families of the Whigs (and there were but few others) out of their houses, to take shelter in barns and other coverts, while his soldiers occupied their comfortable dwellings. Mr. Hubbard and his family were thus driven from their house, and compelled to live for nearly two years in their mill, while insolent soldiery, ignorant and vile, occupied their rooms. The family of Mr. Hubbard took possession of the house on the evening after the evacuation, but all was desolation, the enemy having broken or carried away every article the family had left there.

’Tonomy Hill is said to be the highest land upon the island, except Quaker Hill, toward the northern end. On its southern slope is the mansion of Mr. Hazzard, where families from a distance have a pleasant home during the warm season, while the younger fashionables are sporting at the Ocean House on the shore. On the top of the hill Mr. Hazzard has erected an observatory, seventy feet high, over a cellar which was dug by the Indians, and in which is a living spring of water. The hill is two hundred and seventy feet above the bay, and the top of the observatory commands one of the most beautiful panoramic views in the world. Stretching away northward was seen Narraganset Bay, broken by islands and pierced by headlands, and at its remote extremity the spires of Providence were glittering in the sun. On its western shore were glimpses of Warwick, Greenwich, and Wickford, and on the east were seen Warren and Bristol, and the top of Mount Hope, the throne of King Philip. On the south and west were the city and harbor of Newport, the island of Canonicut with its ruined fort, and the smaller islands in the harbor, with the remains of fortifications. Beyond the city, looking oceanward with a spy-glass over the ramparts of Fort Adams, was seen the dim outline of Block Island, like a mist lying upon the waters. There rolled the dark and boundless Atlantic, with no limit but the blue horizon, no object but a few sails. Turning the glass a little more eastward, there was a faint apparition of Gayhead, on Martha’s Vineyard, and of some of the islands in Buzzard’s Bay. The cultivated fields of more than one half of Rhode Island, upon which I stood, were spread out like a map around me, rich in Nature’s bounties and historical associations. From our lofty observatory, let us take a field survey with the open chronicle before us.

We have seen Roger Williams expelled from Massachusetts because of alleged heresy. The rulers of that colony had scarcely recovered their equanimity, before similar difficulties arose from an unexpected quarter. Mrs. Anne Hutchinson, a Lincolnshire lady of good birth, education, and great energy of character, had been leavened by the tolerant principles of Williams before he left, and assumed the right to discuss religious dogmas and to detect the errors of the clergy. A privilege had been granted to hearers, at the end of sermons, to ask questions "wisely and sparingly." Mrs. Hutchinson put so many searching questions upon abstruse points in theology, in a manner which convinced the ministers that she well understood the subject, that they were greatly annoyed. She held conferences at her own house every Sabbath evening, which were fully attended, and her brother-in-law, a minister named Wheelwright, who was of the same mind with her, drew crowds to his chapel every Sunday. Henry Vane, a young man of splendid talents, heir to a princely fortune, and son to Charles the First’s chief secretary, had just arrived in the colony, and took up his residence with the Reverend Mr. Cotton, who treated Mrs. Hutchinson’s views with gentleness, if not with favor. Vane (afterward Sir Henry Vane) was elected governor the following year, and being imbued with the spirit of toleration, was on terms of intimacy with Mrs. Hutchinson. The ministers were alarmed; their churches were thinned, while the chapel of Mr. Wheelwright could not contain the hundreds that flocked to hear him. A clamor was raised by the old party of ministers and their friends, and the next year Mr. Winthrop was elected governor, and Vane soon afterward returned to England.

A general synod of ministers now assembled at Salem [August 30, 1637.], consisting of the preachers, deputies from the congregations, and magistrates, and after a session of three weeks, marked by stormy debates, unanimously passed sentence of censure against Mr. Wheelwright, Mrs. Hutchinson, and their adherents. Continuing to hold her conferences, Mrs. Hutchinson was ordered to leave the colony within six months; and a similar command was given to Mr. Wheelwright, Mr. Aspinwall, and others. They, like the Tories in the Revolution, were required to deliver up their arms. With their departure ended the Antinomian strife in Massachusetts. Wheelwright and his friends went to the banks of the Piscataqua, and founded the town of Exeter at its head waters; but the larger number of Mrs. Hutchinson’s friends, led by John Clarke and William Coddington, proceeded southward, designing to make a settlement on Long Island, or with the Swedes on the Delaware. On their way through the wilderness Roger Williams gave them a hearty welcome, and by his influence and the name of Henry Vane as their friend, obtained for them from Miantonomoh, chief of the Narragansets, a gift of the beautiful island of Aquitneck. 39 A deed signed by Canonicus and Miantonomoh was given them in March, 1638. Naming the beautiful land the Isle of Rhodes, because they fancied that it resembled the island of that name in the eastern Mediterranean, they bound themselves as a community of freemen, by these solemn words, to found a new state, appealing to the great Searcher of Hearts for aid in the faithful performance of their promises:

"We, whose names are underwritten, do swear solemnly, in the presence of the Great Jehovah, to incorporate ourselves into a body politic; and as he shall help us, will submit our persons, lives, and estates unto the Lord Jesus Christ, the King of kings and Lord of lords, and to all those most perfect laws of his, given us in his most holy word of truth, to be guided and judged thereby."

This was a simple declaration, but a broad and sure foundation upon which to build a state. Mr. Clarke and eighteen others began their new settlement at Pocasset (Portsmouth), on the north part of the island; borrowed the forms of the administration of laws from the Jews; elected Coddington "judge in the new Israel," and prospered greatly. Soon after the arrival of these pioneers, Mrs. Hutchinson, with her children, made her way through the wilderness to the settlement of Roger Williams, and paddling down the Narraganset in a canoe, joined her friends on Rhode Island. She had been left a widow, but blessed with affectionate children. Her powerful mind continued active; young men from the neighboring colony were converted to her doctrines, and so great became her influence that "to the leaders of Massachusetts it gave cause of suspicion of witchcraft," and they sought to ensnare her. Rhode Island seemed no longer a place of safe refuge for her, and the whole family removed into the territory of the Dutch, in the neighborhood of Albany. The Indians and Keift, the Dutch governor, were then at enmity. The former regarded all white people as enemies, and Mrs. Hutchinson and her whole family, except one child, were murdered by the savages, and their dwelling burned. 40

So rapid was the increase of the Rhode Island settlement at Pocasset, that another town was projected. Newport was founded in 1639. Settled by persecuted men holding the same liberal views, the republic of Roger Williams at Providence, and that upon Aquitneck, governed by no other than the Divine laws of the Bible, felt themselves as one political community, and were so regarded by the other colonies. Under the pretense that the Providence and Rhode Island Plantations had no charter, and were claimed by Plymouth and Massachusetts, they were excluded from the confederacy that was formed in 1643. Perceiving the disadvantages of an entire independency of the imperial government, Roger Williams proceeded to England, and in March, 1644, through the influence of his personal character, and of Henry Vane, obtained a free charter of incorporation from Parliament, then waging a fierce war with King Charles the First. The two plantations were united by it under the same government, and the signet for the state was ordered to be a "sheafe of arrows," with the motto "AMOR VINCET OMNIA" – Love is all powerful.

In 1647, the General Assembly of the several towns met at Portsmouth, and organized the government by the choice of a president and other officers. They adopted a code of laws by which entire freedom of thought in religious matters, as well as a democracy in civil affairs, was guarantied. Churchmen, Roman Catholics, Quakers, were all tolerated; and none were excluded from the ballot-box on account of their religious opinions. Consequently, many Quakers settled in Rhode Island, and they have ever formed a large and influential class of the population.

The two plantations were separated for a brief time, when, in 1651, Mr. Coddington was appointed by the supreme authority of England, Governor of Rhode Island alone. The people, alarmed at the apparent danger of having their freedom abridged by depriving them of the choice of their own rulers, sent Roger Williams to England, who obtained a revocation of the appointment. Mr. Coddington retired to private life, the Plantations were reunited, and from that time until the Revolution they were prosperous and happy, disturbed only by the alarms produced by King Philip’s War, to be noticed presently, and the distant conflicts with the French and Indians during the first half of the eighteenth century. A charter of incorporation was obtained in 1663 from Charles II., by which the province was constituted a body politic, by the name of "The Governor and Company of the Rhode Island and Providence Plantations in New England, in America." Under this charter the state has been governed until the present time. Rhode Island quietly submitted to the brief usurpation of Andross, and its charter was undisturbed. On his imprisonment, the people assembled at Newport, resumed their former charter privileges, and re-elected the officers whom that petty tyrant had displaced.

The fine harbor of Newport and its healthy location made that place one of the most important sea-port towns on the American coast; 41 and soon after the Revolution it was said that if New York continued to increase as rapidly as it was then growing it would soon rival Newport in commerce! The navies of all Europe might safely ride at anchor in its deep and capacious harbor, and for a long time Newport was regarded as the future commercial metropolis of the New World. During the wars with the French, English and colonial privateers made Newport their chief rendezvous. In the course of one year [1745.], more than twenty prizes, some of them of great value, were sent into that harbor.

During all the occurrences preliminary and relative to the Revolution, the people of Rhode Island, thoroughly imbued with the principles of freedom, took a firm stand against British oppression, and were ever bold in the annunciation and maintenance of their political views. Indeed, Newport was the scene of the first overt act of popular resistance to royal authority other than the almost harmless measures of opposition to the Stamp Act in 1765. This was the destruction of the British armed sloop Liberty, which the commissioners of customs had sent to Narraganset Bay on an errand similar to that of the Gaspee subsequently. This vessel was boarded, her cable cut, and having drifted to Goat Island, she was there scuttled and set on fire, after her stores and armaments had been thrown overboard. 42

The first warlike menace made against Rhode Island was in the autumn of 1775. We have already noticed the alacrity with which the people armed and hastened toward Boston when they received intelligence of the affair at Lexington. Admiral Wallace commanded a small British fleet in the harbor of Newport during that summer, and the people became convinced that it was his intention to carry off the live stock from the lower end of the island, with which to supply the British army at Boston. Accordingly, on a dark night in September, some of the inhabitants went down and brought off about one thousand sheep and fifty head of cattle. Three hundred minute men drove up to Newport a large number more, and Wallace was foiled in his attempts at plunder. Enraged, he threatened the town with destruction. He laid the people under contributions to supply his fleet with provisions, and, to enforce the demand, he cut off their supplies of fuel and provisions from the main. The inhabitants were greatly alarmed, and about one half of them left the town, among whom were the principal merchants, with their families. By consent of the state government and the Continental Congress, a treaty was entered into. The people agreed to supply the fleet with beer and fresh provisions, and Wallace removed all restrictions upon their movements [October 1, 1775.]. He then sailed up the bay to Bristol, and demanded from the inhabitants there three hundred sheep. They refused compliance, and the town was bombarded, the assault commencing at about eight o’clock in the evening [October 7.]. The rain was pouring in torrents. The house of Governor Bradford, with some others, was burned, and in the midst of the darkness women and children fled to the open fields, beyond the reach of the invaders’ missiles, where they suffered dreadfully. This Wallace was the same officer who was afterward sent up the Hudson River to plunder and destroy, laying Kingston in ashes, and desolating the farms of innocent men because they loved freedom better than tyranny and misrule 43 He was a commissioned pirate in the Narraganset Bay, and for a month reveled in the wanton destruction of property. Every American vessel that came into Newport harbor was captured and sent into Boston. He burned and plundered the dwellings upon the beautiful island of Providence, in the bay; and at the close of November [1775.] passed over to Canonicut, and destroyed all the buildings near the ferry. These outrages aroused the vengeance of the people, and the few Tories upon the island who favored the marauders were severely dealt with. Washington, then at Boston, sent General Charles Lee, with some riflemen, to their assistance. Lee arrested all the Tories he could find, deprived them of their arms, and imposed upon them the severest restrictions.

Wallace maintained possession of the harbor until the spring of 1776. On the 6th of April, American troops, with two row-galleys, bearing two eighteen pounders each, arrived from Providence. The British fleet was then anchored about a mile above Newport. Two eighteen pounders, brought by the provincial troops, were planted on shore in view of the enemy, and without any works to protect them. These, commanded by Captain Elliot, with the row-galleys, under Captain Grimes, promised Wallace such great and immediate danger, that he weighed anchor and left the harbor with his whole squadron without firing a shot. Soon afterward, the Glasgow, of twenty-nine guns, came into the harbor and anchored near Fort Island, having been severely handled in an engagement with Admiral Hopkins off Block Island. 44 Colonel Richmond, the same evening, ordered several pieces of heavy artillery to be brought to bear upon the Glasgow from Brenton’s Point, where a slight breast-work was thrown up. On the following morning such a vigorous fire was opened from this battery upon the Glasgow and another vessel, that they cut their cables and went to sea.

A few days after these events, the British ship of war Scarborough, of twenty guns and two hundred and twenty-five men, and the Scymetar, of eighteen guns and one hundred and forty men, came into the harbor with two prize ships, and anchored a little south of Rose Island. The Americans resolved to attempt the rescue of the prizes. The Washington galley, Captain Hyers, attacked the Scarborough, and at the same time Captain Grimes and his men, of the Spitfire galley, boarded one of the prizes and took it. The guns upon the North Battery and upon Brenton’s Point were well manned, to give aid if necessary. The Scarborough attempted to recapture her prize, and the other schooner in her custody tried to get under the protecting wing of that vessel; but the hot cannonade from the Washington and the North Battery arrested the progress of both, and the schooner was captured and sent to Providence. The Scarborough and Scymetar now came to anchor between Canonicut, and Rose Island; but a battery upon the former, unknown to the enemy, poured such a shower of well-directed balls upon them, that, finding no safe place in the harbor, they determined to take refuge in the broad expanse of the ocean. As they passed out of the harbor, they were terribly galled by a cannonade from Brenton’s Point and Castle Hill. 45 For eight days War held a festival upon the waters of Newport Harbor, yet in all that time the Americans did not lose a man, and had only one slightly wounded!

The summer of 1776 was a season of comparative quiet for the people of Rhode Island. They were active, however, in fitting out privateers, and in preparations for future invasions. 46 Early in the fall intelligence reached them that the British fleet and army, which had been so roughly received and effectually repulsed at Charleston, in South Carolina, were on the way to take possession of Rhode Island. These forces arrived on the 26th of December, the day on which Washington crossed the Delaware and accomplished his brilliant achievement at Trenton. The squadron was commanded by Sir Peter Parker, and the land forces, consisting of about an equal number of British and Hessians, in all between eight and ten thousand men, were commanded by General Clinton and Earl Percy. The squadron sailed up on the west side of Canonicut, crossed the bay at the north point of the island, and landed the troops in Middletown, about four and a half miles above Newport. They were encamped upon the southern slope of two hills (Gould’s and Winter’s), except a few who landed at Coddington’s Cove and marched into Newport. When the enemy entered the harbor, there were two Rhode Island frigates (the Warren and Providence) and several privateers at anchor. These, with the weak land force, were insufficient to make a successful resistance, and the island was left at the mercy of the invaders. 47 The American frigates and privateers fled up the bay to Providence, whence, taking advantage of a northeast gale, and eluding the vigilance of the blockading squadron, they escaped, and went to sea. A system of general plunder of the inhabitants was immediately commenced by the troops, and, after one week’s encampment, the British soldiers were unceremoniously quartered in the houses of the inhabitants, from ten to forty in each, according to the size and convenience of the edifice. The beautiful Aquitneck, or Isle of Peace, soon became the theater of discord, misery, and desolation.



1 Stonington is a thriving town, situated upon an estuary of Long Island Sound, and about midway between the mouths of the Mystic and Pawcatuc Rivers. It was settled by a few families about 1658. The first squatter was William Cheeseborough, from Massachusetts, who pitched his tent there in 1649. It has but little Revolutionary history except what was common to other coast towns, where frequent alarms kept the people in agitation. It suffered some from bombardment in 1813, by the squadron under Sir Thomas Hardy, which drove Decatur into the harbor of New London. The enemy was so warmly received, that Hardy weighed anchor, and made no further attempts upon the coast of Connecticut.

2 Mosheim’s Church History (external), part i., chap. i., sec. xiv.

3 This view is on the left bank of the Seekonk, looking south. The point on which the figure stands is the famous rock, composed of a mass of dark slate, and rising but little above the water at high tide. The high banks are seen beyond, and on the extreme left is India Point, with the rail-road bridge near the entrance of the river into Narraganset Bay.

4 Bancroft, i., 367.

5 The preaching of Williams warmed the zeal of Endicott, then one of the board of military commissioners for the colony, and afterward governor. The banner of the train-bands at Salem had the cross of St. George worked upon it. Endicott, determining to sweep away every vestige of what he deemed popish or heathenish superstition, caused the cross to be cut out of the banner. The people raised a tumult, and the court at Boston, mercifully considering that Endicott’s intentions were good, though his act was rash, only "adjudged him worthy admonition, and to be disabled for one year from bearing any public office." – Savage’s Winthrop, i., 158; Moore’s Colonial Governors, i., 353.

6 Massachusetts Historical Collections, i., 276.

7 Seekonk is the Indian name for the wild or black goose with which the waters in that region originally abounded. The town is the ancient Rehoboth, first settled by William Blackstone, an English non-conformist minister, a few months previous to the arrival here of Roger Williams. Blackstone was the first white man who lived upon the peninsula of Shawmut, where Boston now stands. Williams’s plantation was on the little Seekonk River, the navigable portion of which is really an arm of Narraganset Bay.

Although Williams was the real founder of Rhode Island, Blackstone was the first white settler within its borders. He had no sympathy with Williams, and continued his allegiance to Massachusetts, though without its jurisdiction.

8 Backus’s History of New England, i., 290.

9 Bancroft, i., 380.

10 Callender’s Historical Discourse.

11 ROGER WILLIAMS was born in Wales, in 1599, and was educated at Oxford. He became a minister in the Church of England, but his views of religious liberty made him a non-conformist, and he came to America. Bold in the annunciation of his tenets respecting the perfect liberty of mind and conscience, he was banished from Massachusetts, and planted a colony at the head of Narraganset Bay, now the city of Providence. In 1639 he embraced the doctrines of the Baptists, and being baptized by one of his brethren, he baptized ten others. Doubts as to the correctness of his principles arose in his mind, and he finally concluded that it would be wrong to perform the rite of baptism without a revelation from Heaven. The Church which he had formed was accordingly dissolved. He went to England in 1643, as agent for the colony, and obtained a charter, with which he returned in September, 1644. This charter was granted on the 14th of March, and included the shores and islands of Narraganset Bay, west of Plymouth and south of Massachusetts, and as far as the Pequot River and country, to be known as the PROVIDENCE PLANTATIONS. He landed at Boston, but was not molested on account of being under sentence of banishment, for he brought with him recommendatory letters from influential members of Parliament. He went to England again for the colony in 1651, where he remained until 1654. He was chosen president of the government on his return, which office he held until 1657, when Benedict Arnold was appointed. In 1672 he held a dispute with the Quakers for three days at Newport, of which he wrote an account. * He died in April, 1683, aged eighty-four years.

* The title of the pamphlet containing the account (which was published In 1676) was, "George Fox digged out of his Burrows," it being written against Fox and Burrows, two eminent Quakers. An answer to it was published in 1679, entitled "A New England Fire-brand Quenched."

12 At Philadelphia, a deputation of Quakers waited upon Rochambeau, and one of them, in behalf of the others, said, "General, it is not on account of thy military qualities that we make thee this visit; those we hold in little esteem; but thou art the friend of mankind, and thy army conducts itself with the utmost order and discipline. It is this which induces us to render thee our respects."

13 Soon after their arrival, Governor John Hancock and the Council gave a public dinner to the commanding general, Viomenil, and his officers, and to the commander of the fleet, Vaudreuil, and his officers.

14 The Magnifique, a French seventy-four gun ship, one of the fleet, having been lost in Boston Harbor by accident, Congress, in testimony of their sense of the generosity of the French king, had resolved, more than three months before (September 3), to present the America, a seventy-four gun ship, to the French minister, the Chevalier de Luzerne, for the service of his king. – See Journals of Congress, viii., 343.

15 The following are the inscriptions:

NORTH SIDE. – "Sacred to the memory of the illustrious STEPHEN HOPKINS, of Revolutionary fame, attested by his signature to the Declaration of our National Independence. Great in council, from sagacity of mind; magnanimous in sentiment, firm in purpose, and good as great, from benevolence of heart, he stood in the first rank of statesmen and patriots. Self-educated, yet among the most learned of men, his vast treasury of useful knowledge, his great retentive and reflective powers, combined with his social nature, made him the most interesting of companions in private life."

WEST SIDE. – "His name is engraved on the immortal records of the Revolution, and can never die. His titles to that distinction are engraved on this monument, reared by the grateful admiration of his native state in honor of her favorite son."

SOUTH SIDE. – Born March 7, 1707. Died July 13, 1785."


A biography and portrait of this venerated patriot will be found among those of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, in another part of this work. The fac-simile of his signature here given is a copy of his autograph in my possession, attached to the commission of Captain Ephraim Wheaton, issued in June, 1761. Mr. Hopkins was then Governor of Rhode Island, and in that capacity signed the instrument. It is attested by HENRY WARD, secretary. Mr. Ward was one of the delegates from Rhode Island to the "Stamp Act Congress" in 1765. This signature of Hopkins exhibits the same tremulousness of hand which is seen in that attached to the Declaration of Independence, written fifteen years afterward, and is a proof, if evidence were wanting, that it was not the effect of fear, but "shaking palsy," that makes the patriot’s sign-manual to our National Document appear so suspiciously crooked.

16 Mr. Cooke was deputy governor in 1775. When the Assembly, or House of Magistrates of the colony, voted to raise an army of fifteen hundred men, Joseph Wanton, then the Governor of Rhode Island, his deputy, and others in the government, were opposed to the measure. The people were displeased, yet Wanton, who had been chief magistrate since 1769, was rechosen governor in May; but, failing to appear and take the prescribed oath, the Assembly directed that the deputy governor should perform the duties of chief magistrate. Mr. Cooke became convinced that the warlike measures of the Assembly were correct, and entered heartily into all their views. Wanton appeared in June, and demanded that the oath of office should be administered to him, but, as he had not given satisfaction to the Assembly, his request or demand was not complied with.

17 This view is from the market, looking north. The building stands on the east side of the square, and parallel with its front commences North Main Street. In the yard on the right is a venerable horse-chestnut tree, standing between the house and the Roger Williams’ Bank. In former times, a balcony extended across the front. The door that opened upon it is still there, but the balcony is gone. The roof is completely overgrown with moss, and every appearance of age marks it.

18 On the 12th of June, 1769, twenty-nine young ladies, daughters of the first citizens of Providence, met under the shade of the sycamores at the Roger Williams’ Spring, and there resolved not to drink any more tea until the duty upon it should be taken off. They then adjourned to the house of one of the company (Miss Coddington), where they partook of a frugal repast, composed in part of the "delicious Hyperion," tea of domestic manufacture. – See note on page 481.

19 Mr. Brown is a son of Nicholas Brown, whose liberal endowment of the college at Providence, and active influence in its favor, caused the faculty to give his name to the institution. It is called Brown University.

20 The northern portion of the bay is quite narrow, and from the Pawtuxet to its head is generally called Providence River.

21 Joseph Wanton was a native of Newport, Rhode Island. He graduated at Harvard in 1751. In 1769 he was elected Governor of Rhode Island, which office he held by re-election until 1775, when his opposition to the views of the people, and his neglect to take the oath of office at the proper time, made the Assembly declare his place vacant. His deputy, Nicholas Cooke, performed the duties of governor. The confidence of the people in his attachment to American liberty was doubtless shaken by his appointment, under the great seal of England, to inquire into the affair of the Gaspee. But in that he acted as a conscientious man, and there was evidently a desire on his part that the incendiaries of that vessel should not be known, although he labored with apparent zeal to discover them. He was regarded as a Loyalist during the remainder of his life. He died at Newport in 1782.

22 This view is from the bank of the cove just below the Point, looking northeast, showing its appearance at low water when the clam-fishers are upon it. The buoy is seen beyond the extreme end of the Point on the right. The bank is about fifteen feet high. In front of Pawtuxet, about a mile above, are the remains of breast-works, thrown up during the war of 1812. There are also breast-works at Field’s Point, two miles below Providence, where is a flag-staff. There is the quarantine ground.

23 This packet was called the Hannah, and sailed between New York and Providence, touching at Newport.

24 Cooper, in his Naval History, i., 81, says that the Hannah was "favored by a fresh southerly breeze." The details here given are taken chiefly from a statement by the late Colonel Ephraim Bowen, of Providence, who was one of the party that attacked the Gaspee. Colonel Bowen says the wind was from the North. The circumstances of the chase, however, show that it must have been from the South.

25 Thomas Bucklin, a young man about nineteen years of age, fired the musket. He afterward assisted in dressing the wound which his bullet inflicted.

26 This was Dr. John Mawney. His kindness and attention to Duddington excited the gratitude of that officer, who offered young Mawney a gold stock-buckle; that being refused, a silver one was offered and accepted.

27 The principal actors in this affair were John Brown, Captain Abraham Whipple, John B. Hopkins, Benjamin Dunn, Dr. John Mawney, Benjamin Page, Joseph Bucklin, Turpin Smith, Ephraim Bowen, and Captain Joseph Tillinghast. The names were, of course, all kept secret at the time.

28 The commission consisted of Governor Joseph Wanton, of Rhode Island; Daniel Horsmanden, chief justice of New York; Frederic Smyth, chief justice of New Jersey; Peter Oliver, chief justice of Massachusetts; and Robert Auchmuty, judge of the Vice-admiralty Court.

29 The drum was publicly beaten; the sixty-four boldly embarked on the expedition without disguise; and it is asserted by Mr. John Howland (still living), that on the morning after the affair, a young man, named Justin Jacobs, paraded on the "Great Bridge," a place of much resort, with Lieutenant Duddington’s gold-laced beaver on his head, detailing the particulars of the transaction to a circle around him.

30 See Documentary History of the Destruction of the Gaspee, by the Honorable William R. Staples; Providence, 1845. In a song written at the time, and composed of fifty-eight lines of doggerel verse, is ingeniously given the history of the affair. It closes with the following allusion to the rewards offered:

"Now, for to find these people out.
King George has offered very stout.
One thousand pounds to find out one
That wounded William Duddington.
One thousand more he says he’ll spare,
For those who say the sheriff’s were.
One thousand more there doth remain
For to find out the leader’s name;
Likewise five hundred pounds per man
For any one of all the clan.
But let him try his utmost skill,
I’m apt to think he never will
Find out any of those hearts of gold,
Though he should offer fifty-fold."

31 Mr. Weeden was formerly librarian of the institution. It is situated in a handsome building on the east side of Benefit Street, and contains about five thousand volumes, among which is a copy of the great work on Egypt, arranged under the superintendence of Denon, and published by Napoleon at the expense of the government of France. This copy belonged to Prince Polignac, the minister of Charles X. Many of the plates were colored by his direction. It is a beautiful copy, bound in morocco.

32 I was informed, after leaving Providence, that Mr. Dexter was yet living in the northern part of the town, at the age of ninety-two years.

33 Mr. Gibbs was Governor of Rhode Island in 1819.

34 Governor Gibbs showed me a Continental bill of the denomination of five dollars (not signed), which his son found in a crevice in the tower.

35 There has been much patient investigation, with a great deal of speculation, concerning this ancient edifice, but no satisfactory conclusion has yet been obtained. Of its existence prior to the English emigration to America there is now but little doubt; and it is asserted that the Indians, of whom Mr. Coddington and other early settlers upon Aquitneck (now Rhode Island) solicited information concerning the structure, had no tradition respecting its origin. Because it was called a "mill" in some old documents, some have argued, or, rather, have flippantly asserted, that it was built by the early English settlers for a wind-mill. Thus Mr. Cooper disposes of the matter in his preface to Red Rover. A little patient inquiry would have given him a different conclusion; and if the structure is really ante-colonial, and perhaps ante-Columbian, its history surely is worthy of investigation. That it was converted into and used for a wind-mill by some of the early settlers of Newport, there is no doubt, for it was easily convertible to such use, although not by a favorable arrangement. The English settlement upon the island was commenced in 1636, at the north end, and in 1639 the first house was erected on the site of Newport, by Nicholas Easton. Mention is made in the colonial records of the erection of a wind-mill by Peter Easton, in 1663, twenty-five years after the founding of Newport; and this was evidently the first mill erected there, from the fact that it was considered of sufficient importance to the colony to induce the General Court to reward Mr. Easton for his enterprise, by a grant of a tract of fine land, a mile in length, lying along what is still known as Easton’s Beach. That mill was a wooden structure, and stood upon the land now occupied by the North Burying-ground, in the upper suburbs of Newport. The land on which the Old Tower stands once belonged to Governor Benedict Arnold, and in his will, bearing the date of 1678, forty years after the settlement, he mentions the "stone mill," the tower having evidently been used for that purpose. Its form, its great solidity, and its construction upon columns, forbid the idea that it was originally erected for a mill; and certainly, if a common wind-mill, made of timber, was so highly esteemed by the people, as we have seen, the construction of such an edifice, so superior to any dwelling or church in the colony, would have received special attention from the magistrates, and the historians of the day. And wherefore, for such a purpose, were the foundation-stones wrought into spheres, and the whole structure stuccoed within and without?

When, in 1837, the Royal Society of Northern Antiquaries of Copenhagen published the result of their ten years’ investigations concerning the discovery of America by the Northmen in the tenth century, in a volume entitled "Antiquitates Americana," the old "mill" at Newport, the rock inscription at Dighton, in Massachusetts, and the discovery of skeletons, evidently of a race different from the Indians, * elicited the earnest attention of inquirers, as subjects in some way connected with those early discoveries. Dr. Webb (whom I have mentioned as extending to me his friendly services at the rooms of the Historical Society of Massachusetts), who was then a resident of Providence, and secretary to the Rhode Island Historical Society, opened a correspondence with Charles C. Rafn, the secretary to the Royal Society of Copenhagen. Dr. Webb employed Mr. Catherwood to make drawings of the "mill," and these, with a particular account of the structure, he transmitted to Professor Rafn. Here was opened for the society a new field of inquiry, the products of which were published, with engravings from Mr. Catherwood’s drawings. According to Professor Rafn, the architecture of this building is in the ante-Gothic style, which was common in the north and west of Europe from the eighth to the twelfth century. "The circular form, the low columns, their thickness in proportion to their distance from each other, and the entire want of ornament," he says, "all point out this epoch." He imagines that it was used for a baptistry, and accounts for the absence of buildings of a similar character by the abundance of wood in America. The brevity of the sojourn of the Northmen here was doubtless another, and perhaps principal reason, why similar structures were not erected. The fact that the navigators of Sweden, Norway, and Iceland visited and explored the American coast as far as the shores of Connecticut, and probably more southerly, during the tenth and eleventh centuries (five hundred years before the voyages of Columbus), appears to be too well attested to need further notice here. For the proofs, the reader is referred to the interesting work alluded to, "Antiquitates Americana."


The inscription upon the rock at Dighton has given rise to much speculation and to many theories. The rock lies upon the east side of Taunton River, between high and low water marks, so that it is covered and exposed at every ebb and flow of the tide. It is an insulated mass of fine-grained granite, or grunstein, lying northwest and southeast on the sands of the river. Its length is eleven feet, and its height four and a half feet. It has a regular surface and nearly smooth, whereon the inscription is carved. The inscription presents four parts or divisions, and evidently refers to a combat. On the left is a figure armed with a bow and arrow, and may represent an Indian. Next to it is an inscription composed of Runic or Phœnician characters, doubtless a history of the event there partially pictured. Further to the right is a vessel, and on the extreme right are two figures, differing from the one on the left, without bows and arrows, and evidently connected with the vessel. These and the vessel doubtless indicate them as voyagers from a distant land. Between the figures and the boat are Runic or Phœnician characters. The question arises, By whom was the inscription made? The Phœnician characters seem to be proof that those ancient navigators visited the American coast and made this record of combat with the Indians; and hence some reject the opinion of others that the rock was inscribed by the hand of a Scandinavian. When we remember that the Phœnicians were for many ages in the undisputed possession of the traffic of the Baltic, around which clustered the Scandinavian nations, and that Runic, or ancient German inscriptions, in Phœnician characters, have been discovered in abundance in all the countries formerly occupied by these nations, the inference is plainly correct, that the Scandinavians received their alphabet from the Phœnicians. ** In the Journal des Debats of Paris, a letter was published, dated Copenhagen, February 5, 1850, in which it is mentioned that Dr. Pierre André Munch, professor at the University of Christina, then in Copenhagen, had just presented to the Society of Northern Antiquaries an extremely curious manuscript, in a state of excellent preservation, which he discovered and obtained during his voyage, in 1849, to the Orkney Isles. This manuscript, which the professor refers to the ninth and tenth centuries, contains several episodes, in the Latin language, on the history of Norway, presenting some important facts, heretofore entirely unknown, which illustrate the obscure ages that in Norway preceded the introduction of Christianity. Dr. Munch also presented to the society several fac-similes of Runic inscriptions, which he discovered in the Orkney Isles and in the north of Scotland. It is probable these discoveries may cast some light upon the obscure subject under consideration. In the record of the voyages to America of the Northmen, a severe combat with the natives (skrellings) is mentioned, and various circumstances show that in the vicinity of this inscription the battle occurred. Is it not reasonable to infer that those Scandinavians, acquainted with the Phœnician alphabet, made a record of the battle upon the rock, by a mingling of alphabetical characters and pictorial hieroglyphics? And may not the same people have reared the Old Tower at Newport, in the vicinity, for a baptistry, with a view of erecting a church, and making a permanent settlement there? for it must be remembered that at that time those Northern nations were nominal Christians. The records of their voyages were compiled by Bishop Thorlack, of Iceland, a grandson of Snorre, †† son of Gudrida, who was born in Wineland, or Massachusetts, in 1008. The subject is one of great interest, and worthy of further and more minute inquiries than have yet been made.

* Dr. J. C. V. Smith, of Boston, has written an account of a remarkable stone cemetery, discovered about fifty years ago on Rainsford Island, in Boston Bay, which contained a skeleton and sword-hilt of iron. Dr. Webb has also published an interesting account of a skeleton discovered at Fall River, in Massachusetts, on or near which were found a bronze breast-plate, bronze tubes belonging to a belt, &c., none of which appear to be of Indian, or of comparatively modern European manufacture. Drs. Smith and Webb both concluded that these skeletons were those of Scandinavian voyagers.

Kendall, in his Travels, published in 1809, describes this rock and the inscription, and gives the following Indian tradition: "Some ages past, a number of white men arrived In the river in a bird [sailing vessel], when the white men took Indians into the bird as hostage. They took fresh water for their consumption at a neighboring spring, and while procuring it, the Indians fell upon and murdered some of them. During the affray, thunder and lightning issued from the bird, and frightened the Indians away. Their hostages, however, escaped." The thunder and lightning spoken of evidently refers to fire-arms, and, if the tradition is true, the occurrence must have taken place as late as the latter part of the fourteenth century, for gunpowder, for warlike purposes, was not used in Europe previous to 1350. In a representation of the battle of Cressy (which was fought in 1343) upon a manuscript Froissart, there are no pictures of fire-arms, and probably they were not in common use at that time; yet there is a piece of ordnance at Amberg, in Germany, on which is inscribed the year 1303. Roger Bacon, who died in 1292, was acquainted with gunpowder, and the Chinese and other Eastern nations were familiar with it long before that thus.

** On this point consult Schlegel’s fourth lecture on The History of Literature.

†† The late Bertel Thorwaldsen, the greatest sculptor of our time, was a lineal descendant of Snorre.

36 The inscriptions upon the monument are as follows:

EAST SIDE. – "Oliver Hazard Perry. At the age of 27 years he achieved the victory of Lake Erie, September 10, 1813."

NORTH SIDE. – "Born in South Kingston, R. I., August 23d, 1785. Died at Port Spain, Trinidad, August 23d, 1819, aged 34 years."

WEST SIDE. – "His remains were conveyed to his native land in a ship of war, according to a resolution of Congress, and were here interred, December 4, 1826."

SOUTH SIDE. – "Erected by the State of Rhode Island."

37 This view is from the north side of the hill, looking south. The wall appearance is a steep precipice of huge masses of pudding-stone, composed of pebbles and larger smooth stones, ranging in size from a pea to a man’s head. It is a very singular geological formation. In some places the face is smooth, the stones and pebbles appearing as if they had been cut with a knife while in a pasty or semi-fluid state. On the top of this mound are traces of the breast-works that were thrown up, not high, for the rocks formed a natural rampart, on all sides but one, against an enemy. Here Miantonomoh had his fort, and here his councils were held when he planned his expeditions against the Mohegans. The observatory is a strong frame, covered with lattice-work. On the right is seen the city of Newport in the distance.

38 The house and the mill are covered with shingles instead of clap-boards. This view is from the lane, looking east. The ocean is seen in the distance, on the left.

39 This Indian name of Rhode Island is variously spelled: Aquiday, Aquitnet, and Aquitneck. It is a Narraganset word, signifying peaceable isle.

40 Bancroft, i., 388, 393. Winthrop, i., 296. Callender, Gorton, in Hutchinson’s History of Massachusetts, i., 73.

41 Dr. Benjamin Waterhouse, in an article published in the Boston Intelligencer, in 1824, says, "The island of Rhode Island, from its salubrity and surpassing beauty, before the Revolutionary war so sadly defaced it, was the chosen resort of the rich and philosophic from nearly all parts of the civilized world. In no spot of the thirteen, or, rather, twelve colonies, was there concentrated more individual opulence, learning, and liberal leisure." "In 1769," says Mr. Ross, "Newport rivaled New York in foreign and domestic navigation. The inhabitants of New Haven, New London, &c., depended entirely upon Newport for a market to supply themselves with foreign goods, and here they found a ready market for the produce of their own state." – See Historical Discourse by Reverend Arthur A. Ross of Newport: 1838, page 29.

42 A sloop and a brig belonging to Connecticut had been seized and brought into Newport. The wearing apparel and sword of the captain of the brig were put on board the Liberty, and going for them he was violently assaulted. As his boat left the sloop a musket and brace of pistols were discharged at him. This act greatly exasperated the people of Newport. They demanded of Captain Reid, of the Liberty, that the man who fired on Captain Packwood, of the brig, should be sent ashore. The request was denied, or rather, a wrong man was sent each time, until the populace determined not to be trifled with longer. A number of them went on board, cut her cables, and set her adrift, with the result mentioned in the text. Her boats were dragged up the Long Wharf, thence to the Parade, through Broad Street, at the head of which, on the Common, they were burned. The "Newport Mercury," of July 31, 1769, contained this announcement: "Last Saturday the sloop Liberty was floated by a high tide, and drifted over to Goat Island, and is grounded near the north end, near the place where the pirates were buried. What this prognosticates we leave to the determination of astrologers." The same paper observed, August 7, " Last Monday evening, just after the storm of rain, hail, and lightning, the sloop Liberty, which we mentioned in our last as having drifted on Goat Island near where the pirates were buried, was discovered to be on fire, and continued burning for several days, until almost entirely consumed." – See Ross’s Discourse.

43 See page 388.

44 This engagement occurred on the same day when Wallace left Newport. Hopkins, with his little fleet, was on a cruise eastward, having left the Capes of the Delaware in February, visiting the Bermudas, and was now making his way toward Massachusetts Bay. On the 4th of April (1776) he fell in with a British schooner on the east end of Long Island, and took her. About one in the morning of the 6th he fell in with the Glasgow, of twenty-nine guns and one hundred and fifty men. The American brigantine Cabot, Captain Hopkins, Junior, and the Columbus, Captain Whipple, raked her as she passed. The American brig Annadona and sloop Providence were also in the engagement, yet the Glasgow escaped and fled into Newport Harbor, whither Hopkins thought it not prudent to follow. Of the American navy of the Revolution and its operations in general I have given an account in the Supplement, page 637.

45 These localities will be better understood by reference to the map of Narraganset Bay on page 648.

46 These privateers captured about seventy-five prizes (some of them very valuable) during the season and sent them to Providence, New London, and one or two other ports.

47 On hearing of the approach of the enemy, the people of the island drove large quantities of sheep and cattle from it, crossing to the main at Howland’s Ferry.



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