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PICTORIAL FIELD BOOK OF THE REVOLUTION.

VOLUME II.

BY BENSON J. LOSSING

1850.

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CHAPTER III.

The State House. – Independence Hall. – Hancock’s Chair. – Portraits of Penn and La Fayette. – Picture of the Treaty Tree. – Statue of Washington. – Liberty Bell. – Its History. – Independence not Early nor generally Desired, except by a Few. – Patrick Henry’s Prediction. – Testimony of Washington and others concerning the Loyalty of the Colonies. – Paine’s Common Sense. – First public Movements favorable to Independence. – Paine’s Crisis. – The Ministry order it to be Burned. – The Result. – Timidity in the State Legislatures. – State Governments Recommended. – Lee’s Resolution for Independence. – Absence of R. H. Lee. – Jefferson’s Draft of the Declaration. – Reasons why he was Chosen to Write it. – Original Draft of the Declaration of Independence, and Amendments. – The Debaters. – Action of the several Colonies on the Subject of Independence. – Adoption of the Declaration. – The Declaration of Independence as Adopted. – Ringing of the Liberty Bell. – Signers of the Declaration. – Its Reception in New York and elsewhere. – The Principles of the Declaration, and their Effects. – Opinions of Raynal, Mirabeau, and Napoleon. – Organization of State Governments. – Adjournment of Congress to Baltimore. – Trip to Red Bank. – Fort Mercer. – Donop’s Grave. – Whitall’s House. – De Chastellux’s Visit there. – Anecdote of Mrs. Whitall. – Old Cannon. – Distant View of Fort Mifflin. – Military Works on the Delaware. – Obstructions in the River. – Their Removal by the British. – Capture of Billingsport. – The American Fleet in the Delaware. – Hessian Expedition against Fort Mercer. – Storming of the Fort. – Repulse of the Hessians at Red Bank. – Count Donop. – Lieutenant-colonel Greene. – Monument at Red Bank. – Attack on Fort Mifflin. – American Flotilla. – Lieutenant-colonel Smith. – Successful Defense of Fort Mifflin. – Preparations for another Attack. – Plan of the Fort. – Washington’s Efforts to Re-enforce his Army. – Conduct of Gates and Putnam. – Second Attack on Fort Mifflin. – Gallant Defense of Fort Mifflin. – Destructive Effects of Cannons and Bombs. – Plan of Operations on the Delaware. – Retreat of the Garrison. – Destruction of the Fort. – Movements in New Jersey. – Fort Mercer Abandoned.

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"This is the sacred lane wherein assembled

The fearless champions on the side of Right;
Men at whose Declaration empires trembled,
Moved by the truth’s immortal might.

"Here stood the patriot – one union folding
The Eastern, Northern, Southern sage and seer,
Within that living bond which, truth upholding,
Proclaims each man his fellow’s peer.

"Here rose the anthem which all nations, hearing,
In loud response the echoes backward hurled;
Reverberating still the ceaseless cheering,
Our continent repeats it to the world.

"This is the hallowed spot where first unfurling,
Fair Freedom spread her blazing scroll of light;
Here, from oppression’s throne the tyrant hurling,
She stood supreme in majesty and might !"
GEORGE W. DEWEY.

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THE STATE HOUSE AS IT APPEARED IN 1774.

From a vignette on an old map of Philadelphia.

From Carpenters’ Hall I went up Chestnut Street to the venerable State House, situated upon its southern side, between Fifth and Sixth Streets. 1 Hallowed by so many patriotic associations, it has become a Caaba to every American when first visiting the city of Penn. It is cherished by the people of Pennsylvania because of the memories of colonial times, immediately antecedent to the Revolution, which embalm it; and it is cherished by the people of the whole Union as the most revered relic of the war for independence, because it contains the hall wherein the Declaration of that independence was discussed, and adopted in council, and signed, and sent forth to the world. Being used for public business, this edifice, unlike Carpenters’ Hall, is free from the desecrations of mammon, and the Hall of Independence is kept closed, except when curious visitors seek entrance, or some special occasion opens its doors to the public. 2

Nothing now remains of the old furniture of the hall except two antique mahogany chairs, covered with red leather, one of which was used by Hancock as president, and the other by Charles Thomson as secretary of Congress, when the Declaration of Independence was adopted. On the walls hang two fine paintings; one a full-length portrait, life size, of William Penn, by the late Henry Inman, and the other a portrait, same size, of La Fayette, taken from life by the late Thomas Sully. The former is a superb picture, and exhibits, in the back-ground, a representation of the Treaty Tree. Upon the floor stands a statue of Washington, upon a high pedestal, wrought in wood by Mr. Rush, of Philadelphia. Near it is a piece of stone, said to be a part of the door-step of the balcony in the rear of the State House, upon which John Nixon stood and read the Declaration of Independence to the people 3 for the first time, on the 8th of July, 1776. These compose the Souvenirs of Independence Hall.

LIBERTY BELL.

I ascended to the steeple, where hangs, in silent grandeur, the "Liberty Bell." It is four feet in diameter at the lip, and three inches thick at the heaviest part. Its tone is destroyed by a crack, which extends from the lip to the crown, passing directly through the names of the persons who cast it. An attempt was made to restore the tone by sawing the crack wider, but without success; the melody of the "glory-breathed tone" that thrilled the hearts of the people on the birth-day of the nation could not be reawakened. The history of this bell is interesting. In 1752, a bell for the State House was imported from England. On the first trial-ringing, after its arrival, it was cracked. It was recast by Pass and Stow, of Philadelphia, in 1753, under the direction of Isacc Norris, Esq., the then speaker of the Colonial Assembly. And that is the bell, "the greatest in English America," which now hangs in the old State House steeple and claims our reverence {original text has "revererence".}. 4 Upon fillets around its crown, cast there twenty-three years before the Continental Congress met in the State House, are the words of Holy Writ, "Proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof." 5 How prophetic! Beneath that very bell the representatives of the thirteen colonies "proclaimed liberty." Ay, and when the debates were ended, and the result was announced, on the 4th of July, 1776, the iron tongue of that very bell first "proclaimed liberty throughout all the land, unto all the inhabitants thereof," by ringing out the joyful annunciation for more than two hours, its glorious melody floating clear and musical as the voice of an angel above the discordant chorus of booming cannon, the roll of drums, and the mingled acclamations of the people.

"That old bell is still seen by the patriot’s eye,
And he blesses it ever, when journeying by;
Long years have pass’d o’er it, and yet every soul
Will thrill, in the night, to its wonderful roll;
For it speaks in its belfry, when kiss’d by the blast,
Like a glory-breathed tone from the mystical past.
Long years shall roll o’er it, and yet every chime
Shall unceasingly tell of an era sublime;
Oh yes! if the flame on our altars should pale,

Let its voice but be heard, and the freemen shall start,
To rekindle the fire, while he sees on the gale
All the stars and the stripes of the flag of his heart."
WILLIAM ROSS WALLACE.

Here, upon this dusty beam, leaning against the old "Liberty Bell," let us sit a while, and peruse that brilliant page in our history, whereon is written the record of the DECLARATION OF OUR INDEPENDENCE.

It is now impossible to determine the precise time when aspirations for political independence first became a prevailing sentiment among the people of the colonies. The thought, no doubt, was cherished in many minds years before it found expression; but it was not a subject for public discussion more than a few months before it was brought before Congress by Richard Henry Lee, of Virginia. A few men, among whom were Dr. Franklin, Samuel Adams, Patrick Henry, Richard Henry Lee, Timothy Dwight, and Thomas Paine, seem to have had an early impression that political independence was the only cure for the evils under which the colonies groaned; yet these ideas, when expressed, met with little favor, even among the most ardent patriots. 6 English writers declare that, from the beginning, the colonies aimed at political independence; and Chalmers asserts that there were documents among the Board of Trade to prove that such had been the desire and intent of the colonies through every administration, from the time of the Revolution in England, in 1688. As early as 1773, according to Mr. Wirt, Patrick Henry, speaking of Great Britain, said, "She will drive us to extremities; no accommodation will take place; hostilities will soon commence; and a desperate and bloody touch it will be." This, Mr. Wirt asserts, was said in the presence of Colonel Samuel Overton, who at once asked Mr. Henry if he thought the colonies sufficiently strong to oppose successfully the fleets and armies of Great Britain. "I will be candid with you," replied Mr. Henry; "I doubt whether we shall be able, alone, to cope with so powerful a nation; but," continued he, rising from his chair with great animation, "where is France? where is Spain? where is Holland? the natural enemies of Great Britain. Where will they be all this while? Do you suppose they will stand by, idle and indifferent spectators to the contest? Will Louis XVI. be asleep all this time? Believe me, no! When Louis XVI. shall be satisfied, by our serious opposition and our Declaration of Independence, that all prospect of a reconciliation is gone, then, and not till then, will he furnish us with arms, ammunition, and clothing; and not with them only, but he will send his fleets and armies to fight our battles for us; he will form a treaty with us, offensive and defensive, against our unnatural mother. Spain and Holland will join the confederation! Our independence will be established! and we shall take our stand among the nations of the earth!" How literally these predictions were soon fulfilled the pen of history has already recorded.

Dr. Franklin talked of total political emancipation as early as 1774; and yet Jay, Madison, Richard Penn, and others positively assert that, until after the meeting of the second Congress in 1775, there was no serious thought of independence entertained. Washington, in a letter to his early friend, Captain Mackenzie, written in October, 1774, said, in reply to an intimation of that officer that the province of Massachusetts was seeking independency, "Give me leave to add, and I think I can announce it as a fact, that it is not the wish or interest of that government, or any other upon this continent, separately or collectively, to set up for independence."

Although smarting under the lash of ministerial aggressions upon their rights, the colonists, prompted by the pride of political and social birth-right, as children of Great Britain, maintained a loyal spirit, and a separation from the British empire was a proposition too startling to be readily embraced, or even favorably received by the great mass of the people, who regarded "Old England" with filial reverence. But when Britain sent fleets and armies hither to coerce submission to her injustice; "to plunder our seas, ravage our coasts, burnt our towns, harass our people, and eat out their substance;" when king, Lords, and Commons became totally "deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity," the colonies were obliged to "acquiesce in the necessity which compelled them to dissolve the political bands which connected them with the parent state, and to assume among the powers of the earth the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature’s God entitled them." "The lightning of the Crusades was in the people’s hearts, and it needed but a single electric touch to make it blaze forth upon the world," says James, in writing of an earlier disruption of political systems. Likewise, the flame of desire for absolute independence glowed in every patriot bosom at the beginning of 1776, and the vigorous paragraphs of Common Sense, 7 and kindred publications, laboring with the voice of impassioned oratory at every public gathering of the people, uncapped the volcano, and its brilliant coruscations were seen and hailed with a shout throughout our broad land.

The colonial assemblies soon began to move in the matter. North Carolina was the first to take the bold progressive step toward independence. By a vote of a convention held on the 22d of April, 1776, the representatives of that state in the Continental Congress were authorized "to concur with those in the other colonies in declaring independence." 8 Massachusetts took a similar step. On the 10th, the General Assembly requested the people of that colony, at the then approaching election of new representatives, to give them instructions on the subject of independence. 9 Pursuant to this request, the people of Boston, in town meeting assembled on the 23d, instructed their representatives to use their best endeavors to have their delegates in Congress "advised that, in case Congress should think it necessary, for the safety of the united colonies, to declare themselves independent of Great Britain, the inhabitants of that colony, with their lives and the remnants of their fortunes, would most cheerfully support them in the measure." The Convention of Virginia passed a similar resolution on the 17th of May, 10 but going further, by instructing their representatives to propose a declaration of independence. So, also, did the Assembly of Rhode Island, during its session in that month. 11 On the 8th of June the New York delegates asked for special instructions on that subject; but the Provincial Assembly, deeming itself incompetent to instruct without the previous sanction of the people, did no more than to recommend them to signify their sentiments at the new election just at hand. The Assembly of Connecticut, on the 14th of June, instructed the delegates from that colony to give their assent to a declaration of independence; on the 15th the New Hampshire Provincial Congress issued similar instructions, and on the 21st, the new delegates from New Jersey were instructed to act in the matter as their judgments should dictate.

In the Pennsylvania Assembly, several months previously [November, 1775.], the subject of independence had been hinted at. The Conservatives were alarmed, and procured the adoption of instructions to their delegates adverse to such an idea. In June these restrictions were removed, but the delegates were neither instructed nor officially permitted to concur with the other colonies in a declaration of independence. The Convention of Maryland, by a resolution adopted about the last of May, positively forbade their delegates voting for independence. Georgia, South Carolina, and Delaware took no action on the subject, and their delegates were left free to vote as they pleased.

Thus stimulated by affirmative action in various colonies, the desire for independence became a living principle in the hall of the Continental Congress, and that principle found utterance, albeit with timorous voice. Congress resolved [May 10, 1776.], "That it be recommended to the several assemblies and conventions of the united colonies, where no government sufficient to the exigencies of their affairs hath hitherto been established, to adopt such a government as shall, in the opinions of the representatives of the people, best conduce to the happiness and safety of their constituents in particular, and America in general." 12 This was certainly a bold step, yet not sufficiently positive and comprehensive as a basis of energetic action in favor of independence. The hearts of a majority in Congress yearned with an irrepressible zeal for the consummation of an event which they knew to be inevitable, yet there seemed to be no one courageous enough in that assembly to step forth and take the momentous responsibility of lifting the knife that should sever the cord which bound the American colonies to the British throne. The royal government would mark that man as an arch rebel, and all its energies would be brought to bear to quench his spirit or to hang him on a gibbet.

We have seen that Virginia instructed her representatives in Congress to propose independence; she had a delegate equal to the task. In the midst of the doubt, and dread, and hesitation which for twenty days had brooded over the national assembly, Richard Henry Lee 13 arose [June 7, 1776.], and, with his clear, musical voice, read aloud the resolution, "That these united colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent states; and that all political connection between us and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved." John Adams immediately seconded the resolution. To shield them from the royal ire, Congress directed its secretary to omit the names of its mover and seconder, in the Journals. The record says, "Certain resolutions respecting independency being moved and seconded, Resolved, that the consideration of them be deferred until to-morrow morning; and that the members be enjoined to attend punctually at ten o’clock, in order to take the same into their consideration." The resolution was not considered until three days afterward [June 10.], when it was resolved to "postpone its further consideration until the first day of July next; and, in the mean while, that no time be lost, in case Congress agree thereto, that a committee be appointed to prepare a declaration to that effect." This committee was appointed on the 11th, and consisted of Thomas Jefferson, of Virginia; John Adams, of Massachusetts; Benjamin Franklin, of Pennsylvania; Roger Sherman, of Connecticut; and Robert R. Livingston, of New York. On the evening of the 10th, Mr. Lee received intelligence by express that his wife was seriously ill, and he was compelled to ask leave of absence for a short time. He left Philadelphia the next morning, and this fact accounts for the omission of his name in the formation of the committee on that day. Mr. Jefferson was appointed chairman of the committee, and to him his colleagues assigned the task of preparing the draft of a declaration to be presented to Congress. 14 It was drawn with care, and was unanimously adopted by the committee, after a few verbal alterations by Adams and Franklin.

On the 1st of July, pursuant to agreement, Mr. Lee’s motion was brought up in the committee of the whole House, Benjamin Harrison, of Virginia (father of the late President Harrison), in the chair. The draft of a declaration of independence was reported at the same time, and for three consecutive days it was debated by paragraphs seriatim. Many alterations, omissions, and amendments were made. The following is a copy of that original draft, before any amendments were made in committee of the whole. The passages omitted by Congress are printed in italics, and the substitutions are given in notes at the bottom of the page. 15 TRANSCRIBER’S NOTE: In order to (hopefully) improve the flow for the reader, I have chosen to leave the substitutions in the body of the text, enclosed in brackets and underlined, thus – [substitution.] – rather than append them as endnotes to this chapter.

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"A Declaration by the Representatives of the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, in general Congress assembled.

When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume, among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with inherent and inalienable [certain unalienable] rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; that, to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that, whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate, that governments, long established, should not be changed for light and transient causes. And, accordingly, all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, begun at a distinguished period, and pursuing invariably the same object, evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security. Such has been the patient sufferance of these colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to expunge [alter] their former systems of government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of unremitting [repeated] injuries and usurpations; among which appears no solitary fact to contradict the uniform tenor of the rest; but all have [having], in direct object, the establishment of an absolute tyranny over these states. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world; for the truth of which we pledge a faith yet unsullied by falsehood.

He has refused his assent to laws the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his governors to pass laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has neglected utterly [utterly neglected] to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of representation in the Legislature; a right inestimable to them, and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the repository of their public records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved representative houses repeatedly and continually, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused, for a long time after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the legislative powers, incapable of annihilation, have returned to the people at large for their exercise, the state remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without and convulsions within.

He has endeavored to prevent the population of these states: for that purpose obstructing the laws for naturalization of foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither; and raising the conditions of new appropriations of lands.

He has suffered the administration of justice totally to cease in some of these states [He has obstructed the administration of justice, by], refusing his assent to laws for establishing judiciary powers.

He has made our judges dependent on his will alone, for the tenure of their offices and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of new offices by a self assumed power, and sent hither swarms of officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, standing armies and ships of war, without the consent of our Legislatures.

He has affected to render the military independent of, and superior to, the civil power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitutions, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his assent to their acts of pretended legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us;

For protecting them, by a mock trial, from punishment for any murders which they should commit on the inhabitants of these states;

For cutting off our trade with all parts of the world;

For imposing taxes on us without our consent;

For depriving us [in many cases] of the benefits of trial by jury;

For transporting us beyond the seas to he tried for pretended offenses;

For abolishing the free system of English laws in a neighboring province, establishing therein an arbitrary government, and enlarging its boundaries, so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these states [colonies];

For taking away our charters, abolishing our most valuable laws, and altering fundamentally the forms of our governments;

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated government here, withdrawing his governors, and [by] declaring us out of his allegiance and protection, and waging war against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burned our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large armies of foreign mercenaries to complete the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of cruelty and perfidy [scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally] unworthy the head of a civilized nation.

He has endeavored to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers the merciless Indian savages, whose known rule of warfare is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes, and conditions of existence; he has excited treasonable insurrections of our fellow-citizens with the allurements of forfeiture and confiscation of our property.

He has constrained others [our fellow-citizens], taken captive on the high seas, to bear arms against their country, to become the executioners of their friends and brethren, or to fall themselves by their hands.

He has waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating its most sacred rights of life and liberty in the persons of a distant people, who never offended him, captivating and carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere, or to incur miserable death in their transportation thither. This piratical warfare, the opprobrium of infidel powers, is the warfare of the CHRISTIAN King of Great Britain. Determined to keep open a market where MEN should be bought and sold, he has prostituted his negative for suppressing every legislative attempt to prohibit or to restrain this execrable commerce. And that this assemblage of horrors might want no fact of distinguished dye, he is now exciting those very people to rise in arms among us, and to purchase that liberty of which he has deprived them by murdering the people upon whom he obtruded them: thus paying off former crimes committed against the LIBERTIES of one people with crimes which he urges them to commit against the LIVES of another. 16

In every stage of these oppressions we have petitioned for redress in the most humble terms: our repeated petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a people who mean to be free [free people]. Future ages will scarce believe that the hardiness of one man adventured, within the short compass of twelve years only, to build a foundation, so broad and undisguised, for tyranny over a people fostered and fixed in principles of freedom.

Nor have we been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them, from time to time, of attempts by their Legislature to extend a [an unwarrantable] jurisdiction over these our states [us]. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here, no one of which could warrant so strange a pretension; that these were effected at the expense of our own blood and treasure, unassisted by the wealth or the strength of Great Britain; that in constituting, indeed, our several forms of government, we had adopted one common king, thereby laying a foundation for perpetual league and amity with them; but that submission to their Parliament was no part of our Constitution, nor ever in idea, if history may be credited; and we [have] appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, as well as to [and we have conjured them by] the ties of our common kindred, to disavow these usurpations, which were likely to [would inevitably] interrupt our connection and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity; and when occasions have been given them, by the regular course of their laws, of removing from their councils the disturbers of our harmony, they have, by their free election, re-established them in power. At this very time, too, they are permitting their chief magistrate to send over, not only soldiers of our common blood, but (Scotch 17 and) foreign mercenaries to invade and destroy us. These facts have given the last stab to agonizing affection, and manly spirit bids us to renounce forever these unfeeling brethren. We must endeavor to forget our former love for them; we must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity which denounces our separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, enemies in war; in peace, friends.

We might have been a free and great people together; but a communication of grandeur and of freedom, it seems, is below their dignity. Be it so, since they will have it. The road to happiness and to glory is open to us too; we will climb it apart from them, and acquiesce in the necessity which denounces our eternal separation.

We, therefore, the representatives of the United States of America in general Congress assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the name, and by the authority of the good people of these states [colonies], reject and renounce all allegiance and subjection to the kings of Great Britain., and all others who may hereafter claim by, through, or under them; we utterly dissolve all political connection which may heretofore have subsisted between us and the Parliament or people of Great Britain; and, finally, we do assert the colonies to be free and independent states; and that, as free and independent states, they have full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and to do all other acts and things which independent states may of right do. And, for the support of this declaration, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor."

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NOTE. – This draft is in the handwriting of Mr. Jefferson. The amendments were made by Dr. Franklin and John Adams. The alterations, by interlining, in the portion given here, are in the handwriting of Mr. Adams. It will be perceived, by a comparison, that nearly the whole of this paragraph was omitted in the Declaration adopted on the 4th of July.

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Mr. Lee’s resolution, declaring the colonies "free and independent states," was adopted on the 2d of July, and that day, rather than the 4th, should be celebrated as our national anniversary. It was only the form of the Declaration, which accompanied the resolution, that was adopted on the latter day.

The debates on the question of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence were long and animated, for there was very little unanimity in feeling and opinion when they began in June. Richard Henry Lee, the Adamses, of Massachusetts, Dr. Witherspoon, of New Jersey, and Edward Rutledge, of South Carolina, were the chief speakers in favor of the measure, and John Dickenson, of Pennsylvania, against it. Although it was evident, from the first introduction of the resolution, that a majority of the colonies would vote for it, its friends were fearful that a unanimous vote of the colonies could not be obtained, inasmuch as the Assemblies of Maryland and Pennsylvania had refused to sanction the measure, and South Carolina, Georgia, and New York were silent. The delegates from Maryland were unanimously in favor of it, while those from Pennsylvania were divided. On the 24th of June [1776.], at a convention held in Philadelphia, the people expressed their willingness, by resolution, "to concur in a vote of Congress, declaring the united colonies free and independent states;" and by the unwearied exertions and great influence of Charles Carroll, William Paca, Samuel Chase, and others, the Convention of Maryland recalled their former instructions on the 28th of June, and empowered their delegates "to concur with the other colonies in a declaration of independence." The most important barriers to unanimity were now broken down. When a vote was taken in committee of the whole House, all the colonies assented to the Declaration, except Pennsylvania and Delaware; four of the seven delegates of the former voting against it, and the two delegates who were present from Delaware were divided – Thomas M‘Kean favoring it, George Read opposing it. Mr. M‘Kean, burning with a desire to have his state speak in favor of the great measure, immediately sent an express after Cæsar Rodney, the other delegate from Delaware, then eighty miles distant. Rodney was in the saddle within ten minutes after he received Mr. M‘Kean’s letter, and arrived in Philadelphia on the morning of the 4th of July, just before the final vote was taken. Thus Delaware was secured. On that day the Declaration was taken up for final decision. Robert Morris and John Dickenson, of Pennsylvania, were absent. The former was in favor of, the latter was against the measure. Of the other five who were present, Doctor Franklin, James Wilson, and John Morton were in favor of it, and Thomas Willing and Charles Humphreys were opposed to it; so the vote of Pennsylvania was also secured in favor of the Declaration. The question was taken, and on the 4th of July, 1776, a unanimous vote of the thirteen colonies 18 was given in favor of the great Declaration which pronounced them FREE AND INDEPENDENT STATES. 19 The annunciation was made in the following plain manner in the journal of Congress for that day:

"Agreeably to the order of the day, the Congress resolved itself into a committee of the whole, to take into their further consideration the Declaration; and, after some time, the president resumed the chair, 20 and Mr. Harrison reported that the committee have agreed to a declaration, which they desired him to report. 21 The Declaration being read, was agreed to as follows

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A DECLARATION BY THE REPRESENTATIVES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, IN CONGRESS ASSEMBLED.

When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume, among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident – that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That, to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that, whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute a new government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and, accordingly, all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object, evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security. Such has been the patient sufferance of these colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former systems of government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over these states. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his assent to laws the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his governors to pass laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operations till his assent should he obtained; and, when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of representation in the Legislature – a right inestimable to them, and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the repository of their public records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved representative houses repeatedly, for opposing, with manly firmness, his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused, for a long time after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected whereby the legislative powers, incapable of annihilation, have returned to the people at large for their exercise; the state remaining, in the mean time, exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without and convulsions within.

He has endeavored to prevent the population of these states; for that purpose obstructing the laws for the naturalization of foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migration hither, and raising the conditions of new appropriations of lands.

He has obstructed the administration of justice, by refusing his assent to laws for establishing judiciary powers.

He has made judges dependent on his will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of officers, to harass our people and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, standing armies, without the consent of our Legislatures.

He has affected to render the military independent of, and superior to, the civil power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitutions, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his assent to their acts of pretended legislation.

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us;

For protecting them, by a mock trial, from punishment for any murders which they should commit on the inhabitants of these states;

For cutting off our trade with all parts of the world;

For imposing taxes on us without our consent;

For depriving us, in many cases, of the benefits of trial by jury;

For transporting us beyond seas, to be tried for pretended offenses;

For abolishing the free system of English laws in a neighboring province, establishing therein an arbitrary government, and enlarging its boundaries, so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these colonies;

For taking away our charters, abolishing our most valuable laws, and altering, fundamentally, the forms of our governments;

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated government here, by declaring us out of his protection, and waging war against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burned our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large armies of foreign mercenaries, to complete the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of cruelty and perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow-citizens, taken captive on the high seas, to bear arms against their country, to become the executioners of their friends and brethren, or to fall themselves by their hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections among us, and has endeavored to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers the merciless Indian savages, whose known rule of warfare is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes, and conditions.

In every stage of these oppressions we have petitioned for redress in the most humble terms: our repeated petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a tyrant is unfit to be the ruler of a free people. 22

Nor have we been wanting in our attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them, from time to time, of attempts by their Legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred, to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They, too, have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity which denounces our separation, and hold them as we hold the rest of mankind – enemies in war – in peace, friends.

We, therefore, the representatives of the United States of America, in general Congress assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the name and by the authority of the good people of these colonies, solemnly publish and declare that these united colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent states: that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British crown, and that all political connection between them and the state of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved; and that, as free and independent states, they have full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and to do all other acts and things which independent states may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.

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It was two o’clock in the afternoon when the final decision was announced by Secretary Thomson to the assembled Congress in Independence Hall. It was a moment of solemn interest; and when the secretary sat down, a deep silence pervaded that august assembly. Thousands of anxious citizens had gathered in the streets of Philadelphia, for it was known that the final decision was to be made on that day. From the hour when Congress convened in the morning, the old bellman had been in the steeple. He placed a boy at the door below, to give him notice when the announcement should be made. As hour succeeded hour, the gray-beard shook his head, and said, "They will never do it! they will never do it!" Suddenly a loud shout came up from below, and there stood the blue-eyed boy, clapping his hands and shouting, "Ring! ring!" Grasping the iron tongue of the old bell against which we are now leaning, backward and forward he hurled it a hundred times, its loud voice proclaiming "Liberty throughout all the land, unto all the inhabitants thereof." The excited multitude in the streets responded with loud acclamations, and with cannon-peals, bonfires, and illuminations, the patriots held a glorious carnival that night in the quiet city of Penn.

The Declaration of Independence was signed by John Hancock, the president of Congress, only, on the day of its adoption, and thus it went forth to the world. Congress ordered it to be entered at length upon the journals. It was also ordered to be engrossed upon parchment, for the delegates to sign it. This last act was performed on the second day of August following, by the fifty-four delegates then present; it was subsequently signed by two others, 23 making the whole number FIFTY-SIX. 24 A fac simile of their signatures, carefully copied from the original at Washington City, is given on the two following pages.

The Declaration was every where applauded; and in the camp, in cities, churches, and popular assemblies, it was greeted with every demonstration of joy. Washington received it at head-quarters in New York on the 9th of July, 25 and caused it to be read, at six o’clock that evening, at the head of each brigade. It was heard with attention, and welcomed with loud huzzas by the troops; and on that same evening the populace pulled down the leaden equestrian statue of George III., which was erected in the Bowling Green, at the foot of Broadway, in 1770, and broke it in pieces. The material was afterward consigned to the bullet-molds. Other demonstrations of mingled joy and indignation were made in New York then, which will be more fully noticed hereafter.

The Declaration was read to a vast assemblage collected in and around Faneuil Hall, in Boston, by Colonel Crafts, at noon, on the 17th of July. When the last paragraph escaped his lips, a loud huzza shook the old "Cradle of Liberty." It was echoed from without; and soon the batteries on Fort Hill, Dorchester, Nantasket, and Long Island boomed forth their cannon acclamations in thirteen rounds. A banquet followed, and bonfires and illuminations made glad the city of the Puritans.

WALNUT STREET FRONT OF THE STATE HOUSE IN 1776. 26

From an old Print of the Period.

In Philadelphia, the grand demonstration was made on the 8th of July. From the platform of an observatory, erected near the Walnut Street front of the State House, by Rittenhouse, many years before, for the purpose of observing a transit of Venus, John Nixon read the Declaration to a vast concourse of people gathered from the city and surrounding country. When the reading was finished, the king’s arms over the seat of justice in the court room 27 were torn down and burned in the street; and at evening bonfires were lighted, the houses were illuminated, and it was not until a thunder-shower at midnight compelled the people to retire, that the sounds of gladness were hushed. Newport, New London, Williamsburgh, Norfolk, Charleston, Savannah, and other large towns, manifested their great joy; and from every inhabited hill and valley, town and hamlet of the old Thirteen States, arose the melodies of freedom, awakened by this great act of the people’s proxies. Thousands of hearts in Europe, beating strongly with hope for the future, were deeply impressed. Bold men caught the symphony, and prolonged its glad harmony, even until it wooed sleeping slaves from their slumbers in the shadows of despotism forth to the clear light, panoplied in the armor of absolute right. France was aroused, and turning in its bed of submission, like the Titans beneath old Ætna, to look for light and liberty, an earthquake shock ensued, which shook thrones, crumbled feudal altars, whereon equality was daily sacrificed, and so rent the vail of the temple of despotism, that the people saw plainly the fetters and instruments of unholy rule, huge and terrible, within the inner court. They pulled down royalty, overturned distinctions, and gave the first impulse to the revolutions which have since spread from that focus to purify the political atmosphere of Europe. Back to our glorious manifesto the struggling nations look, and, when they wish to arraign their tyrants, that indictment is their text and guide. 28 Its specific charges against George the Third of course are irrelevant, but the great truths set forth have no limit in their application and appositeness

"Throughout the world its voice is sounding!

Life and death are in its call!
Kings and thrones in dust confounding;
Millions rising o’er their fall!
Brothers, on! till, bless’d as we,
They’ve plenty, peace, and LIBERTY!"
MRS. R. BALMANNO.

"E’en now the word that rous’d our land

Is calling o’er the waves, ‘Awake!’
And pealing on from stand to strand,
Wherever ocean surges break.
Up to the quicken’d ear of toil
It rises from the teeming soil,
And bids the slave his bonds forsake.
Hark! from the mountain to the sea,
The Old World echoes ‘Liberty!’
Till thrones to their foundations shake."
MARY E. HEWITT.

It was an easy matter to declare the colonies free and independent; it was not so easy to maintain that declaration. The die being cast, Congress put forth all its energies to secure union and harmony among the confederated states, and these, in turn, perceived the necessity of prompt action in civil affairs. The resolves in Congress in May [1776.], recommending the several states to organize governments for themselves, based upon democratic principles, were heeded, and, soon after the publication of the Declaration of Independence, most of the states took action on the subject, and formed constitutions. New Hampshire had already formed a state government [January 5, 1776.]. The charters of Connecticut and Rhode Island, being considered sufficiently democratic, were not altered, New Jersey had adopted a constitution two days before the Declaration of Independence was voted in Congress [July 2, 1776.]. Virginia adopted one on the 5th of July; Pennsylvania, on the 15th; Maryland, on the 14th of August; Delaware, on the 20th of September; North Carolina, on the 18th of December; Georgia, on the 5th of February, 1777; New York, on the 20th of April; South Carolina, on the 19th of March, 1778; and Massachusetts deferred the important work until the 1st of September, 1779. In the mean while, the necessity for Federal union became apparent, and this subject occupied the thoughts and active efforts of the statesmen of America. They finally elaborated a scheme of general government; and on the 15th of November, 1777, Congress adopted ARTICLES OF CONFEDERATION, having debated the subject three times a week for nearly seven months. Copies of these articles were sent to the various state Legislatures for approval, but they did not receive the sanction of all until March, 1781, when they became the organic law of the Union, and continued such until the adoption of the Federal Constitution in 1787.

During the summer and autumn of 1776, military operations were active, and that session of Congress was one of the busiest during the war. The disastrous battle of Long Island or Brooklyn occurred in August; the skirmishes at Harlem, Kingsbridge, Throg’s Neck, and White Plains; the fall of Forts Washington and Lee; the retreat of the American army under Washington across the Jerseys, and the menacing approach of a large British army toward Philadelphia, all occurred in rapid succession during the autumn. Disasters, gloom, and despondency were on every side; and Congress, alarmed at the proximity of British and Hessian troops, then only awaiting the freezing of the Delaware to march to the capture of Philadelphia, withdrew to Baltimore on the 12th of December [1776.], as we have already seen, where they resumed their deliberations on the 20th.

Let us close the record, and, like the fugitive Congress, leave the old State House for a season.

Toward noon [November 27, 1848.], accompanied by a friend (Mr. Samuel Agnew), I left the city to visit the remains of the old forts at Red Bank, on the Jersey shore of the Delaware, a few miles below Philadelphia. Unable to gain positive information respecting a ferry, we concluded to drive down to Fort Mifflin, and obtain a passage there. We crossed the Schuylkill, and, passing through the cultivated country on its right bank, missed the proper road to Fort Mifflin, and reached the termination of the one we were traveling, at a farm-house. Here we ascertained that we could not obtain ferriage at the fort, so we crossed the Schuylkill again, upon a bateau, near its mouth, and, returning to the city suburbs, found the proper avenue to League Island, 29 whence we could be ferried to Red Bank. Our blunder consumed two hours, and then we had to wait almost another hour upon the dike which defends League Island from the waters of the Delaware, before a skiff, for which we telegraphed by a white handkerchief upon a ratan, came over to us. The river is there about a mile wide; and while the waterman was slowly rowing across, we dined upon bread and cheese, cold sausage, and grape jelly, which the kind consideration of my friend’s wife had furnished at our departure. It was a rather uncomfortable pic-nic on that unsheltered dike in the keen November wind.

LOCALITIES AT RED BANK. 30

Leaving my horse in a stall at the ferry, we crossed to the great coal depôt, upon Eagle Point, on the Jersey shore, about half a mile above the site of Fort Mercer, at Red Bank. We met a resident gentleman on the way to the fort, who kindly turned back and pointed out the various localities. The embankments and trenches are quite prominent, and will doubtless long remain so, for a forest of young pines now covers and protects them from the destroying hand of cultivation. The form of the fort and outworks, as denoted in the sketch, was easily distinguished, and the serried lines of the soldiers’ graves were palpable along the brow of the high bank. These are the graves of those who were slain in the battle which occurred there in the autumn of 1777. They were buried in boxes, and now their remains are often exposed by the washing away of the banks. At the southern line of the fort, close by the bank, are the remains of the hickory-tree which was used as a flag-staff during the battle; and near it are traces of the gateway of the fort.

DONOP’S GRAVE.

A little below, and in the path leading to the house of Mr. Whitall, is the grave of Count Donop, marked by a small, rough sandstone, about fourteen inches in height. Vandal fingers have plucked relic-pieces from it, and so nearly was the rude inscription effaced that I could only decipher a portion of the words, DONOP WAS LOST, as seen in the sketch. 31 Even his bones have not been allowed to molder in his grave, but are scattered about the country as cherished relics, his skull being in possession of a physician of New Jersey!

WHITALL’S HOUSE.

A few rods south of Donop’s grave, close by the river bank, is the ancient residence of the Whitall family. It is a two-story house, built of brick, and is now (1851) one hundred and three years old. The date of its erection is given on the north gable, where the characters "I A W [James and Anna Whitall] 1748," are delineated by dark, glazed brick. The Whitalls were Quakers, and of course, although Whigs, took no part in the war. This fact made some suspect the old man of Toryism. 32 I was informed by the present owner that, when the attack was made upon the fort, and his grandmother was urged to flee from the house, she refused, saying, God’s arm is strong, and will protect me; I may do good by staying." She was left alone in the house; and while the battle was raging, and cannon-balls were driving like sleet against and around her dwelling, she calmly plied her spinning-wheel in a room in the second story. At length a twelve-pound ball, from a British vessel in the river, grazing the American flag-staff (the walnut-tree) at the fort, passed through the heavy brick wall on the north gable, and with a terrible crash perforated a partition at the head of the stairs, crossed a recess, and lodged in another partition, near where the old lady was sitting. Conceiving Divine protection a little more certain elsewhere after this manifestation of the power of gun-powder, the industrious dame gathered up her implements, and with a step quite as agile as in youth, she retreated to the cellar, where she continued spinning until called to attend the wounded and dying who were brought into her house at the close of the battle. She did, indeed, "do good" by remaining; for, like an angel of mercy, she went among the maimed, unmindful whether they were friend or foe, and administered every relief to their sufferings, in her power. She scolded the Hessians for coming to America to butcher the people. At the same time, she bound up their wounds tenderly, and gave them food and water. The scar made by the passage of that iron ball is quite prominent in the gable; it is denoted in the engraving by the dark spot. I saw within the house where the missile cut off the wood-work in its passage, and where it lodged.

OLD CANNON AT RED BANK.

On the green, between the Whitall house and the river, lies a portion of an iron cannon which was bursted during the engagement. That event killed several of the Americans. The picture represents its present appearance, with its breech blown away. Beyond it is the Delaware, and in the distance, opposite, is seen Fort Mifflin, lying almost upon the water level on Fort or Great Mud Island, near the western shore. In the far distance, bounding the view, are the hills of Pennsylvania, toward Valley Forge.

In the summer of 1777, Sir William Howe, the British commander-in-chief, sailed from New York [July 23.] with a large land force, and with a naval armament under his brother Richard, Earl Howe, and, landing at the head of Chesapeake Bay [August 25.], commenced a victorious march toward Philadelphia. Washington, informed of the movement, went out from Philadelphia to meet him, and had proceeded beyond the Brandywine, in the neighborhood of Wilmington, when the van of the enemy appeared at Kennet Square. The battle of Brandywine occurred soon afterward [September 11.], in which the Americans were defeated, and driven back toward Philadelphia. The enemy pushed steadily forward, and entered the city in triumph [September 26.]. In anticipation of the possibility of such an event, the Americans had applied themselves diligently to the erection of obstructions in the Delaware, to prevent the ascent of the British fleet, and also in rearing batteries upon the shores to cover them. Upon isolated marshes, or low islands of mud, made green by reeds, a little below the mouth of the Schuylkill, they erected a strong redoubt, with quite extensive outworks, and called it Fort Mifflin. These islands were called Great and Little Mud Islands. The former, on which the redoubt and main works were erected, has been called Fort Island ever since that time. On the opposite shore of New Jersey, a strong redoubt, called Fort Mercer, was also erected, and well supplied with artillery. In the deep channels of the river between, and under cover of these batteries, they sunk ranges of strong frames, with iron-pointed wooden spikes, called chevaux de frise, which formed almost invulnerable stackadoes. Three miles further down the river, at Byllinge’s Point 33 (now Billingsport), was a redoubt with extensive outworks, covering strong stackadoes, which were sunken there in the navigable channel of the river, between the main and Billing’s Island. In addition to these works, several armed galleys and floating batteries were stationed in the river, all forming strong barriers against the fleet of the enemy. This circumstance troubled the British general, for he foresaw the consequences of having his supplies by water cut off and the danger to which his army would be exposed in Philadelphia if unsupported by the fleet.

CHEVAUX DE FRISE. 34

Immediately after the battle at Brandywine, Earl Howe sailed down the Chesapeake, and entered the lower Delaware with several light vessels, among which was the Roebuck, commanded by Captain Hammond. 35 That officer represented to General Howe, that if a sufficient force could be sent to reduce the fortifications at Billingsport, he would take upon himself the task of opening a passage for vessels through the chevaux de frise, or stackadoes, at that point. Howe readily consented to attempt the important measure. Two regiments, under Colonel Stirling, were dispatched from Chester, in Pennsylvania, for that purpose. They crossed the river a little below Billingsport, marched in the rear of the unfinished works, and made a furious assault upon the garrison. The Americans were dismayed at this unexpected attack, and believing themselves incompetent to make a successful defense, they spiked their cannons, set fire to the barracks, and fled. The English remained long enough to demolish the works on the river front; when Hammond, by the great exertions of his men, made a passage-way seven feet wide in the chevaux de frise, and, with six vessels, sailed through, and anchored near Hog Island. Stirling returned to Chester, and, with another detachment, proceeded to camp, as an escort of provisions, bearing to General Howe intelligence of his success.

Howe now determined to make a general sweep of all the American works on the Delaware, and, preparatory thereto, he called in his outposts and concentrated his whole army near to and within Philadelphia. Two Rhode Island regiments, belonging to General Varnum’s 36 brigade, under Colonel Christopher Greene, garrisoned the fort at Red Bank, and about the same number of the Maryland line, under Lieutenant-colonel Samuel Smith, occupied Fort Mifflin, on Mud Island. The American fleet in the river, consisting chiefly of galleys and floating batteries, was commanded by Commodore Hazlewood. 37 It was quite as important to the Americans to maintain these forts and defend the river obstructions as it was to the British to destroy them. It was therefore determined to hold them to the last extremity, for it was evident that such continued possession would force Howe to evacuate Philadelphia.

Count Donop, with four battalions, consisting of twelve hundred picked Hessians, was sent by Howe to attack Fort Mercer, at Red Bank. They crossed the Delaware, and landed at Cooper’s Ferry, on the 21st of October [1777.]. The same evening they marched to Haddonsfield, in New Jersey, a little above Gloucester. As they approached Timber Creek, on their way down the river, the Americans took up the bridge, and the enemy were obliged to march four miles up the stream to a shallow ford. They arrived at the edge of a wood, within cannon-shot of Fort Mercer, on the morning of the 22d. Their appearance, full-armed for battle, was the first intimation the garrison had of their approach. Although informed that the number of Hessians was twenty-five hundred, the little garrison of four hundred men, in a feeble earth fort, and with only fourteen pieces of cannon, were not intimidated. They made immediate preparations for defense. While thus engaged, a Hessian officer, who was permitted to approach the fort with a flag and a drummer, rode up, and insolently proclaimed, "The King of England orders his rebellious subjects to lay down their arms; and they are warned that, if they stand the battle, no quarters whatever will be given!" 38 "We ask no quarters, nor will, we give any!" was the prompt reply of Colonel Greene. The Hessian and the drummer rode hastily back to Donop, and the assailants began at once the erection of a battery within half cannon-shot of the outworks of Fort Mercer. All was activity and eagerness for combat within the fort. The outworks were unfinished, but the redoubt was a citadel upon which the garrison placed much reliance. Skill and bravery were called to combat fierceness, discipline, and overwhelming numbers.

It was four o’clock in the afternoon when a brisk cannonade was opened from the Hessian battery, and at a quarter before five a battalion advanced to the attack, on the north part of the fort, near a morass that covered it. Finding the first advance post and the outworks abandoned, but not destroyed, the enemy imagined that they had frightened the Americans away. Filled with this idea, they raised the shout of victory, and, with the drummer just mentioned beating a lively march, rushed toward the redoubt, where not a man was to be seen. They were about to ascend the ramparts, to plant the flag of conquest upon a merlon, when, from the embrasures in front, and from a half-masked battery upon their left flank, formed by an angle of an old embankment, a shower of grape-shot and musket-balls poured upon them with terrible effect, driving them back to the remote intrenchments. Another division of the enemy, under the immediate command of the brave Donop, attacked the fort on the south side at the same time, passed the abatis, traversed the fosse or ditch, and some actually leaped the pickets, and mounted the parapet of the redoubt; but the fire of the Americans was so heavy and continuous that they were soon forced back, and driven out with great loss. They retreated precipitately to Haddonfield, under Lieutenant-colonel Linsing, (Donop, and Mingerode, his second in command, being wounded), leaving between three and four hundred of their comrades behind. They were considerably galled, when first retreating, by the American galleys and floating batteries in the river. The conflict was short, but severe. The precise loss of the enemy is not known. Marshall estimates it at four hundred in killed and wounded. Colonel Donop, the commander of the expedition, fell, mortally wounded, at the first fire. After the engagement, while Manduit, the French engineer, who directed the American artillery on the occasion, was out with a detachment, fixing the palisades, he heard a voice among the slain, saying, "Whoever you are, draw me hence." It was the voice of Count Donop. Manduit had him conveyed into the fort, and the next day to Mr. Whitall’s, where he attended him until his death, which occurred three days afterward. "It is finishing a noble career early" [he was thirty-seven], said Donop to Manduit, "but I die the victim of my ambition and of the avarice of my sovereign." 39 The loss of the Americans within the fort was eight men killed, twenty-nine wounded, and a captain taken prisoner while reconnoitering. The number killed by the bursting of the cannon, mentioned on a preceding page, is not known. So close was the combat at one time, that several Hessians were pierced by the gun-wads of the Americans. 40

The conduct of Lieutenant-colonel Greene 41 on this occasion was highly applauded, and November 4 [1777.], Congress ordered the Board of War to present him with an elegant sword. This tribute was given to his family at the close of the contest, when Colonel Greene was no longer living to receive it. He had been basely murdered in his quarters, near Croton River, in Westchester county, New York, by a band of Tories, consisting of about one hundred and fifty dragoons, under Colonel Delancy, who surprised his post. Colonel Greene fell after his single arm had slain several of his assailants. They attempted to carry him off, but he died upon the road. Major Flagg, a meritorious officer, was killed at the same time; also two subalterns and twenty-seven men were killed or wounded. 42

MONUMENT AT RED BANK. 43

In commemoration of the battle at Red Bank and the valor of Colonel Greene, a monument of blue veined marble, about fifteen feet high, was erected in 1829, just within the northern line of the outworks of Fort Mercer, and within a few feet of the margin of the Delaware. This tribute to the memory of valor and patriotism was made by some New Jersey and Pennsylvania volunteers. While it is a testimony of one of the most noble traits in human character, it bears an exhibition of the existence of another of the most detestable. In the inscription were the words NEW JERSEY AND PENNSYLVANIA, in a single prominent line. Some Jersey scoundrel almost obliterated the word PENNSYLVANIA; and afterward some Pennsylvania Vandal, in the fierceness of his retaliatory zeal for the credit of his state, disgraced it, so far as insignificance could do it, by obliterating the words NEW JERSEY. The whole line is destroyed; and that marble shaft perpetuates a remembrance of unknown barbarians as well as of honored patriots. 44

The firing of the first gun from the Hessian battery upon Fort Mercer was the signal for the British vessels to approach and attack Fort Mifflin. They had already made their way through the lower barrier at Billingsport, and the Augusta, a sixty-four gun ship, and several smaller vessels, were anchored just above it, waiting for flood tide. As soon as Fort Mercer was attacked, the Augusta, with the Roebuck, of forty-four guns, two frigates, the Merlin, of eighteen guns, and a galley came up, but were kept at bay by the American galleys and floating batteries. These galleys did good execution, not only upon the British vessels, but by flanking the assailants at Red Bank. The attack upon Fort Mifflin was deferred until next morning [October 23, 1777.], when, the Hessians being driven from Fort Mercer, the whole power of the American flotilla was brought to bear upon the British fleet. A heavy cannonade was opened upon Fort Mifflin, and attempts were made to get floating batteries in the channel in the rear of Mud Island. Lieutenant-colonel Smith, 45 the commandant at Fort Mifflin, who was vigilant and brave, thwarted every attempt thus to outflank him (if the term may be used in reference to a garrison in a fort), and by a gallant defense essentially aided the American flotilla in repulsing the enemy. The fire was so fierce and incessant, that the British ships endeavored to fall down the river. A hot shot struck and set fire to the Augusta; and at noon, while lying aground upon a mud bank near the Jersey shore, she blew up. The engagement continued with the other vessels until three o’clock in the afternoon, when the Merlin also took fire and blew up, near the mouth of Mud Creek. The conflict now ceased; the Roebuck dropped down the river, and passed below the chevaux de frise 46 at Billingsport, and the Americans remained masters of the Delaware forts for a short season. 47

It was, indeed, but a short season that quiet possession of the river was vouchsafed the patriots. Although repulsed, his ships beaten back, and his mercenary allies decimated, Howe was not discouraged; and he labored eagerly and hopefully to dislodge the Americans from their strong posts upon the only avenue through which his army could receive food and clothing, and his magazine supplies for the winter. A timely re-enforcement from New York enabled him to act with energy. He took possession of Province Island, lying between Fort Mifflin and the main, and at different points works were thrown up to strengthen his power and annoy the patriots. This was on the 1st of November [1777.]; and from that time never was a garrison more harassed than that at Fort Mifflin; and never was patience and true courage more nobly exhibited than was then shown by Lieutenant-colonel Smith and his compatriots.

EXPLANATION. – A, the inner work or redoubt; b b b, a high, thick stone wall, built by Montressor, with indentations, where the men boiled their kettles. This wall was pierced with loop-holes for musketry. cccc, block-houses, built of wood, with loop-holes, and mounting four pieces of cannon each, two on the lower platform; d d d, barracks; e e e, stockadoes; f f f, trous de Loup; g g, ravelins. On the southeast side were two strong piers, and a battery mounting three cannons.

Old Fort Mifflin was upon the lower end of Mud (now Fort) Island, having its principal fortification in front, for the purpose of repelling ships that might come up the river. On the side toward Province Island (a low mud bank, nearly covered at high water, and separated front Mud Island by a narrow channel) the fort had only a wet ditch, without ravelin or abatis. This part was flanked by a blockhouse at each of its angles. These were not strong. When the Americans saw the enemy take possession of Province Island, and begin the planting of batteries to bruise their weakest points, they were sensible that Fort Mifflin would be untenable if the British completed their works. Such, too, was the painful conviction of Washington, and from his camp at Whitemarsh he put forth all his energies to prevent the evil. But, weak in numbers, and deficient in every thing which constitutes the strength of an army, he was obliged to see the enemy, day after day, rearing his battle-works, without being able to interpose. He had sent anxious requests to General Gates to forward re-enforcements from the North, Burgoyne’s invading army being captured, and no other formidable enemy requiring a large force in that quarter; but that officer, doubtless willing to see his rival unsuccessful, gave no heed to his orders until longer non-compliance would have been positive disobedience. 48 To break up the encampment at Whitemarsh, and move the army to the west side of the Schuylkill, would be to leave depositories of stores and hospitals for the sick within reach of the enemy. It would also leave the fords of the Schuylkill in the custody of the royal troops, and render a junction of the expected Northern forces with the main army difficult, if not impossible. Furthermore, it might bring on a general engagement, which, with his weakened forces, the commander-in-chief knew might be fatal. Thus situated, Washington viewed the progress of the enemy in his designs upon Fort Mifflin with intense anxiety.

NOTE. Explanation of the Map. – This shows the main operations upon the Delaware between the middle of October and the close of November, 1777. Fort Mifflin is seen on the lower end of Mud Island. A, B, two British transports; C, the Experiment; D, the Vigilant frigate; E, the Fury sloop; F, a passage opened through the stockadoes at Billingsport; G, American fleet burned at Gloucester; H, the village of Woodbury and Cornwallis’s encampment on the 21st of November, 1777; I, camp on the 24th, between the branches of Timber Creek; J, a battery of two eighteen pounders and two nine pounders; K, fort at Billingsport, Colonel Stirling’s corps, and Cornwallis’s camp on the 18th of November; L, redoubt on Carpenter’s Island; M, on Province Island, to cover the bridge in the direction of Philadelphia; N, a battery of six twenty-four pounders, one eight-inch howitzer, and one eight-inch mortar; O, a battery with one eight-inch howitzer and one eight-inch mortar; P, a battery with one thirteen-inch mortar; n, two twelve pounders; o, one eighteen pounder; S, stockadoes in the channel in front of Fort Mifflin; a, a small vessel; b, wreck of the Merlin; c, the Liverpool; d, Cornwallis galley; e, the Pearl; f, the Somerset; g, the Roebuck; h, wreck of the Augusta; i, the Iris; j, ship sunk; k, the Vigilant; l, the Fury; W, the Whitall house, just below Fort Mercer. The parallelograms around Fort Mercer denote the attack by Donop, on the 22d of October. The small island between Red Bank Island and the Jersey shore is Woodbury Island, on which the Americans erected a small battery. The creek, just below Fort Mercer, is Woodbury Creek, a deep and sluggish stream, near the Delaware.

The British erected five batteries on Province Island, of eighteen, twenty-four, and thirty-two pounders, within five hundred yards of Fort Mifflin. They also brought up, by the new channel made between Hog Island and the main by the changing of the current by the chevaux de frise, a large floating battery, mounting twenty-two twenty-four pounders, within forty yards of an angle of the fort. They also brought to bear upon the fort four sixty-four gun ships, within nine hundred yards, and two forty gun ships. Altogether the enemy had fourteen strong redoubts, and these were well manned and furnished with heavy artillery. On the 10th of November [1777.], the enemy opened their batteries on land and water, and for six consecutive days poured a storm of bombs and round shot upon the devoted fortification. With consummate skill and courage, Lieutenant-colonel Smith directed the responses from the ordnance of the fort. The artillery, drawn chiefly from Colonel Lamb’s regiment, were commanded by Lieutenant Treat, who was killed on the first day of the siege, by the bursting of a bomb. On that day the barracks alone suffered, but on the morning of the 11th the direction of the enemy’s fire was changed; a dozen of the strong palisades were demolished, and a cannon in an embrasure was disabled. The firing did not cease until midnight, and many of the garrison were killed or wounded. Colonel Smith, the commander, had a narrow escape. He had just gone into the barracks to write a letter to General Varnum, when a ball passed through a chimney. He was struck by the scattered bricks, and for a time lay senseless. He was taken across to Red Bank, and the command devolved on Lieutenant-colonel Russell, of the Connecticut line. That officer was disabled by fatigue and ill health, and Major Thayer, of the Rhode Island line, volunteered to take his place. Major Henry, who sent daily reports to Washington of the progress of the siege, was also wounded on the 11th, but he continued with the garrison. On the 12th, a two-gun battery of the Americans was destroyed, the northwest block-house and laboratory were blown up, and the garrison were obliged to seek shelter within the fort. The enemy continued to throw shells at night, and fearful indeed was the scene. At sunrise on the 13th, thirty armed boats made their appearance; and during that night the heavy floating battery was brought to bear upon the fort. It opened with terrible effect on the morning of the 14th, yet that little garrison of only three hundred men managed to silence it before noon. Hitherto the enemy did not know the real weakness of the garrison; on that day a deserter, in a boat, carried information of the fact to the British, who were seriously thinking of abandoning the siege, for they had suffered much. Hope was revived, and preparations were made for a general and more vigorous assault. At daylight, on the 15th, the Iris and Somerset, men-of-war, passed up the east channel to attack the fort on Mud Island in front. Several frigates were brought to bear on Fort Mercer; and the Vigilant, an East Indiaman of twenty twenty-four pounders, and a hulk with three twenty-four pounders, made their way through a narrow channel on the western side, and gained a position to act in concert with the batteries on Province Island, in enfilading the American works. At ten o’clock, while all was silent, a signal-bugle sent forth its summons to action, and instantly the land batteries and the shipping poured a terrible storm of missiles upon Fort Mifflin. The little garrison sustained the shock with astonishing intrepidity, and far into the gloom of evening an incessant cannonade was kept up. Within an hour, the only two cannons in the fort which had not been dismounted shared the fate of the others. Every man who appeared upon the platform was killed by the musketeers in the tops of the ships, whose yards almost hung over the American battery. Long before night not a palisade was left; the embrasures were ruined; the whole parapet leveled; the block-houses were already destroyed. Early in the evening Major Thayer sent all the remnant of the garrison to Red Bank, excepting forty men, with whom he remained. Among those sent was the brave Captain (afterward Commodore) Talbot, of the Rhode Island line, who was wounded in the hip, having fought for hours with his wrist shattered by a musket ball. At midnight, every defense and every shelter being swept away, Thayer and his men set fire to the remains of the barracks, evacuated the fort, and escaped in safety to Red Bank. Altogether it was one of the most gallant and obstinate defenses made during the war. In the course of the last day, more than a thousand discharges of cannon, from twelve to thirty-two pounders, were made against the works on Mud Island. Nearly two hundred and fifty men of the garrison were killed and wounded. The loss of the British was great; the number was not certainly known. 49

Fort Mercer was still in possession of the Continental troops. Howe determined to dislodge them; for, while they remained, the obstructions in the river could not, with safety, be removed. While a portion of his force was beating down Fort Mifflin, he was busy in fortifying Philadelphia. He had extended intrenchments across from the Delaware to the Schuylkill. Having received more re-enforcements from New York, he sent Cornwallis to fall upon Fort Mercer in the rear. That officer, with a detachment of about two thousand men, crossed the Delaware from Chester to Billingsport [November 18, 1777.], where he was joined by some troops just arrived from New York. Washington had been apprised of this movement, and had detached General Huntington’s brigade to join that of Varnum in New Jersey. He also ordered Major-general Greene to proceed with his division to the relief of the garrison, and to oppose Cornwallis. That able officer, accompanied by La Fayette, who had not yet quite recovered from a wound received in the battle on the Brandywine, crossed the Delaware at Burlington, and marched with a considerable force toward Red Bank. He expected to be re-enforced by Glover’s brigade, then on its march through New Jersey, but was disappointed. Ascertaining that the force of Cornwallis was greatly superior to his own in numbers, General Greene abandoned the plan of giving him battle, and filed off toward Haddonfield. Colonel Greene, deprived of all hope-of succor, evacuated Fort Mercer [November 20.], leaving the artillery, with a considerable quantity of cannon-balls and stores, in the hands of the enemy. Cornwallis dismantled the fort and demolished the works. His army was augmented by re-enforcements, and, with about five thousand men, he took post at and fortified Gloucester Point, whence he might have a supervision of affairs in Lower Jersey. Morgan’s rifle corps joined General Greene, but the Americans were not strong enough to venture a regular attack upon Cornwallis. A detachment of one hundred and fifty riflemen, under Lieutenant-colonel Butler, and an equal number of militia, under La Fayette, attacked a picket of the enemy three hundred strong, killed between twenty and thirty of them, drove the remainder quite into the camp at Gloucester, and returned without losing a man. General Greene soon afterward withdrew from New Jersey and joined Washington, and Cornwallis returned to Philadelphia. The American fleet, no longer supported by the forts, sought other places of safety. On a dark night [November 21, 1777.], the galleys, one brig, and two sloops, crept cautiously along the Jersey shore past Philadelphia, and escaped to Burlington. Seventeen other vessels, unable to escape, were abandoned by their crews, and burned at Gloucester. 50 The American defenses on the Delaware were now scattered to the winds; the obstructions in the river were removed; the enemy had full possession of Philadelphia; Congress had fled to the interior, and the broken battalions of the patriot army sought winter quarters on the banks of the Schuylkill, at Valley Forge.

Gloomy indeed were the November twilights of 1777 to the eye and heart of the patriot, for there were no brilliant omens of a pleasant to-morrow. Not so was the bright sunset and radiant twilight of that November evening in 1848, when we left the ruins at Red Bank and sought a waterman to convey us back to League Island. There was no cloud in the heavens; an orange glow suffused the chambers of the west where the king of day had gone to his couch, and promises of a fair to-morrow were revealed in the clear sky.

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ENDNOTES

1 The erection of this edifice was begun in 1729, and completed in 1734. The two wings were added in 1739-40, and it was then one of the largest and most costly edifices for civil purposes in America. Previous to its erection, the annual sessions of the Legislature of Pennsylvania were held at private houses. The first purchase of grounds for the building included only about half the depth to Walnut Street. In 1760 the other half square was purchased, and the whole space inclosed by a heavy brick wall. John Vaughan, who came from England to reside in Philadelphia, planted the grounds with elm-trees and shrubbery in 1783. Afterward the brick wall was removed, and the present neat iron railing erected in its place. The cost of the main building of the State House and its steeple was about $28,000. The style of the architecture was directed by Dr. John Kearsly, Senior, the same amateur who gave architectural character to Christ Church. The glass and lead sashes cost $850. The glazing was done by THOMAS GODFREY, afterward celebrated as the inventor of the quadrant.

2 It was made the hall of audience for La Fayette in 1824, when, as the "nation’s guest," he visited Philadelphia. The room had been materially altered by the removal of wainscoting and other architectural ornaments, yet its general features were sufficiently preserved to awaken in the bosom of the veteran the liveliest emotions. In that hall John Hancock signed the commission of the marquis as major general in the Continental army; and there, during the struggle, the young hero was frequently greeted by the supreme legislature as a public benefactor. It was there that he shared the honors (not on the same day) with Washington, of a grateful reception by Congress, after the capture of Cornwallis; and there he took leave of that body, for the last time during the war, and returned to France. In that room the body of the late ex-president, John Quincy Adams, lay in state while on its progress to the family vault at Quincy.

3 Watson says that Captain Hopkins, of the navy, read the Declaration on that occasion, but testimony appears to predominate in favor of the claims of John Nixon to that honor.

4 When the British army approached Philadelphia, in 1777, this bell was taken down and carried to a place of safety. In 1778, the ancient steeple, on account of decay, was taken down, and a simple belfry put in its place. The present steeple is quite modern.

5 Leviticus, xxv., 10.

6 Says Dr. Dwight, "I urged, in conversation with several gentlemen of great respectability, firm Whigs, and my intimate friends, the importance, and even the necessity, of a declaration of independence on the part of the colonies, and alleged for this measure the very same arguments which afterward were generally considered as decisive, but found them disposed to give me and my arguments a hostile and contemptuous, instead of a cordial reception. Yet, at this time, all the resentment and enthusiasm awakened by the odious measures of Parliament, by the peculiarly obnoxious conduct of the British agents in this country, and by the recent battles of Lexington and Breed’s Hill, were at the highest pitch. These gentlemen may be considered as representatives of the great body of the thinking men in this country. A few may, perhaps, be excepted, but none of these durst at that time openly declare their opinions to the public. For myself, I regarded the die as cast, and the hopes of reconciliation as vanished, and believed that the colonists would never be able to defend themselves unless they renounced their dependence on Great Britain." - Dwight’s Travels in New England, i., 150.

7 This was the title of a pamphlet written by Thomas Paine, and published about the commencement of 1776. It is said to have been prepared at the suggestion of Dr. Rush, of Philadelphia. It was the earliest and most powerful appeal in behalf of independence, and probably did more to fix that idea firmly in the public mind than any other instrumentality. After giving many and weighty reasons why the Americans should seek independence, he said, "it matters little, now, what the King of England either says or does. He hath wickedly broken through every moral and human obligation, trampled nature and conscience beneath his feet, and by a steady and constitutional spirit of insolence and cruelty procured for himself a universal hatred. It is now the interest of America to provide for herself. . . . . . Independence is the only bond that will tie and keep us together. We shall then see our object, and our ears will be legally shut against the schemes of an intriguing, as well as cruel, enemy. We shall then, too, be on a proper footing to treat with Great Britain; for there is reason to conclude that the pride of that court will be less hurt by treating with the American States for terms of peace, than with those whom she denominates "rebellious subjects" for terms of accommodation. It is our delaying it that encourages her to hope for conquest, and our backwardness tends only to prolong the war. . . . . . O ye that love mankind! ye that dare oppose not only the tyranny, but the tyrant, stand forth! Every spot of the Old World is overrun with oppression. Freedom hath been hunted round the globe. Asia and Africa hath long expelled her; Europe regards her like a stranger, and England hath given her warning to depart. Oh! receive the fugitive, and prepare, in time, an asylum for mankind." Such were the trumpet tones of Common Sense which aroused the people to action. So highly was its influence esteemed, that the Legislature of Pennsylvania voted the author $2500. Washington, writing to Joseph Reed from Cambridge, on the 31st of January, 1776, said, "A few more of such flaming arguments as were exhibited at Falmouth and Norfolk [two towns burned by the British]. added to the sound doctrine and unanswerable reasoning contained in the pamphlet Common Sense, will not leave numbers at a loss to decide" upon the propriety of a separation. Again, writing to the same gentleman two months afterward, he said, "By private letters which I have lately received from Virginia, I find that Common Sense is working a powerful change there in the minds of many men." Common Sense was the signature which Paine usually affixed to his earlier political writings. Paine also wrote a series of political pamphlets called The Crisis, which were admirably adapted to the state of the times, and which did much toward keeping alive the spirit of determined rebellion against the unjust government of Great Britain. They were put forth at different times, from the close of 1776 until the end of the war. The first number was published in December, 1776. Paine was then in Washington’s camp. The pamphlet was read to every corporal’s guard, and its strong and truthful language had a powerful effect in the army and among the people at large. * The second Crisis was published in January, 1777. It was addressed to Lord Howe, and ridiculed his proclamations, &c. The third number was published at Philadelphia on the 19th of April, 1777. This was devoted to an examination of events since the Declaration of Independence, and a reiteration of arguments in favor of that measure. In September, immediately after the battle on the Brandywine, the fourth Crisis was published. It was a cheering trumpet-blast for the army. In March, 1778, the fifth Crisis was published at Lancaster, in Pennsylvania. It consisted of a letter to Sir William Howe, and an address to the inhabitants of America. The sixth Crisis, consisting of a letter to the British commissioners (Carlisle, Clinton, and Eden), was published at Philadelphia, in October, 1778. The seventh number was published at Philadelphia, on the 21st of November, 1778. It was addressed to the people of England. The eighth Crisis, which was a second address to the people of England, was published in March, 1780; in June following the ninth number was published; and in October of the same year, a long discussion on the subject of taxes, called A Crisis extraordinary, was published. The last three numbers were written at the instigation of Robert Morris, the financier, with the knowledge and approval of Washington. Two others were published during the war; one discussed general topics, the other, published in May, 1782, considered "The present State of News."

When the first number of the Crisis reached England, it was seized and ordered to be burned near Westminster Hall by the common hangman. A large concourse of people assembled; the fire was put out by the populace, and dead dogs and cats were thrown en the ashes. Acts of Parliament were then east upon the heap, and consumed. Sir Richard Steele wrote a political pamphlet called The Crisis, in 1714, for which he was expelled from his seat in the House of Commons.

* Among other equally strong paragraphs was the following: "I have as little superstition in me as any man living, but my secret opinion has ever been, and still is, that GOD Almighty will not give up a people to military destruction, or leave them unsupportedly to perish, who had so earnestly and repeatedly sought to avoid the calamities of war by every decent method which wisdom could invent. Neither have I so much of the infidel in me as to suppose that HE has relinquished the government of the world, and given us up to the care of devils; and as I do not, I can not see on what grounds the King of Great Britain can look up to heaven for help against us: a common murderer, a highwayman, or a house-breaker has as good a pretense as he."

Paine also wrote a poetical Epistle to Lord Howe, of which the following is the closing stanza:

"Since, then, no hopes to civilize remain,
And mild philosophy has preach’d in vain,
One pray’r is left, which dreads no proud reply,
That he who made you breathe will make you die."

This was written in March, but was not published until Autumn.

8 A portion of North Carolina made a much earlier and very important movement toward independence. I refer to the Mecklenburg Convention, in May, 1775. See page 411 of this volume.

9 Bradford, p. 104.

10 After its adoption, the Convention proceeded to the establishment of a regular independent government, a course which Congress shortly afterward recommended to all the states.

11 The Assembly directed the oath of allegiance thereafter to be in the name of the Colony of Rhode Island, instead of to the King of Great Britain.

12 John Adams, Edward Rutledge, and Richard Henry Lee were appointed a committee to prepare a preamble to this resolution. See Journals of Congress, ii., 158. In this preamble it was declared "irreconcilable to reason and a good conscience for the colonists to take the oaths required for the support of the government under the crown of Great Britain," It was also declared necessary that all royal power should be suppressed, and "all the powers of government exerted under the authority of the people of the colonies, for the preservation of internal peace, virtue, and good order, as well as for the defense of their lives, liberties, and properties, against the hostile invasions and civil depredations of their enemies." – Journals, ii., 166.

13 A portrait of Mr. Lee will be found among those in the frontispiece to this volume, and a sketch of his life, with those of the other signers, in the Supplement.

14 Mr. Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence at his lodgings, in the house of Mrs. Clymer, on the southwest corner of Seventh and High Streets, Philadelphia – See Watson’s Annals, ii., 309. John Adams, in his autobiography, gives the following reasons why Mr. Jefferson was chosen to write the Declaration: "Mr. Jefferson had been now about a year a member of Congress, but had attended his duty in the House a very small part of the time, and when there had never spoken in public. During the whole time I sat with him in Congress, I never heard him utter three sentences together.

"It will naturally be inquired how it happened that he was appointed on a committee of such importance. There were more reasons than one. Mr. Jefferson had the reputation of a masterly pen; he had been chosen a delegate in Virginia in consequence of a very handsome public paper which he had written for the House of Burgesses, which had given him the character of a fine writer. Another reason was, that Mr. Richard Henry Lee was not beloved by the most of his colleagues from Virginia, and Mr. Jefferson was sent up to rival and supplant him. This could be done only by the pen, for Mr. Jefferson could stand no competition with him, or any one else, in elocution and public debate.

"The committee had several meetings, in which were proposed the articles of which the Declaration was to consist, and minutes made of them. The committee then appointed Mr. Jefferson and me to draw them up in form, and clothe them in a proper dress. The sub-committee met, and considered the minutes, making such observations on them as then occurred, when Mr. Jefferson desired me to take them to my lodgings. and make the draft. This I declined, and gave several reasons for so doing:

"1. That he was a Virginian, and I a Massachusettensian. 2. That he was a Southern man, and I a Northern one, 3. That I had been so obnoxious for my early and constant zeal in promoting the measure, that every draft of mine would undergo a more severe scrutiny and criticism in Congress than one of his composition. 4. And lastly, and that would be reason enough, if there were no other, I had a great opinion of the elegance of his pen, and none at all of my own. I therefore insisted that no hesitation should he made on his part. He accordingly took the minutes, and in a day or two produced to me his draft."

15 On the 8th of July, four days after the amended Declaration was adopted, Mr. Jefferson wrote the following letter, and sent it, with the original draft, to Mr. Lee:

------------------------------------------------------------------------

"PHILADELPHIA, July 8, 1776.

"DEAR SIR, – For news, I refer you to your brother, who writes on that head. I inclose you a copy of the Declaration of Independence, as agreed to by the House, and also as originally framed; you will judge whether it is the better or the worse for the critics. I shall return to Virginia after the 11th of August. I wish my successor may be certain to come before that time: in that case, I shall hope to see you, and not Wythe, in convention, that the business of government, which is of everlasting concern, may receive your aid. Adieu, and believe me to be your friend and servant,

THOMAS JEFFERSON.

"To Richard Henry Lee, Esq."

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16 It has been asserted that this paragraph was expunged because it was not palatable to those delegates who were slaveholders, and that it was stricken out lest it should cause them to cast a negative vote on the question. There is no proof that such selfish motives actuated any member of that assembly. It was a sacred regard for truth which caused it to be stricken out. No such charge as the paragraph contained could justly be made against George III., then under arraignment. The slave-trade was begun and carried on long before the reign of any of his house. and it is not known that he ever gave his assent to any thing relating to slavery, except to abolish it, and to declare the trade a piracy. By a resolution offered by Charles F. Mercer, of Virginia, and adopted by Congress in 1817, the slave-trade was declared "a piracy." Mr. Jefferson was the first American statesman, and probably the first writer of modern times, who denounced that infamous traffic as "a piratical warfare." – See Life of Richard Henry Lee, i., 176.

17 Doctor Witherspoon, who was a Scotchman by birth, moved the striking out of the word Scotch.

18 Georgia was not represented in the Congress of 1774. On the 20th of July, 1775, Congress received a letter from the convention of that colony, setting forth that it had acceded to the general Association, and appointed delegates to attend Congress – See Journals of Congress, i., 161.

19 On the 9th of September, 1776, Congress resolved, "That in all Continental commissions, and other instruments, where heretefore the words ‘United Colonies’ have been used, the style be altered, for the future, to the ‘United States.’ " – Ibid., ii, 328. From that day the word colony is not known in our history.

20 John Hancock was then President of Congress. He was chosen to that post on the 19th of May, 1775, as successor to Peyton Randolph, who was called to his home in Virginia. Randolph was now dead.

21 The great importance of this event does not seem to have been realized even by many men in public life. Anderson, in his Constitutional Gazette, announced the fact thus, as a mere on dit, without commentary or further reference to the subject: "On Tuesday last the Continental Congress declared the united Colonies free and independent States."

22 The undisputed records of our colonial history bear ample testimony to the truth of every charge contained in this indictment. These I have cited in a small volume containing Biographical Sketches of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence, and the Declaration Historically Considered.

23 These were Thomas M‘Kean, of Delaware, and Matthew Thornton, of New Hampshire. The former, on account of absence with a regiment of City Associators, of which he was colonel, did not sign it until October. Doctor Thornton was not a member of Congress when the Declaration was signed, but, being elected in the autumn following, he obtained permission to sign the instrument, and affixed his signature to it in November.

24 The delegates represented the several states as follows: New Hampshire: Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton. Massachusetts: John Hancock, John Adams, Samuel Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry. Rhode Island: Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery. Connecticut: Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott. New York: William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris. New Jersey: Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark. Pennsylvania: Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson. George Ross. Delaware: Cæsar Rodney, George Read, Thomas M‘Kean, Maryland: Samuel Chase, Thomas Stone, William Paca, Charles Carroll, of Carrollton. Virginia: George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton. North Carolina: William Hooper, Joseph Hewes. John Penn. South Carolina: Edward Rutledge, Thomas Hayward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton. Georgia: Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton.

25 On the same day, the Provincial Assembly of New York, then in session at White Plains, adopted a resolution expressive of their approbation of the measure, at the same time pledging their lives and fortunes in support of it. They also, by resolution, gave their delegates in Congress liberty to act in future, upon all public measures, in accordance with their best judgments. See Journals of Congress, ii., 250.

26 This gives the appearance of the shorter steeple, which took the place of the stately one taken down in 1774. This was its appearance during the Revolution. A huge clock case was upon each gable of the main building of the State House.

27 The second story of the State House was occupied by the courts; and while the Continental Congress was in session below, the Provincial Assemblies met above.

28 "With what grandeur, with what enthusiasm, should I not speak of those generous men who erected this grand edifice by their patience, their wisdom, and their courage!" wrote the Abbé Raynal in 1781. "Hancock, Franklin, the two Adamses, were the greatest actors in this affecting scene; but they were not the only ones. Posterity shall know them all. Their honored names shall be transmitted to it by a happier pen than mine. Brass and marble shall show them to remotest ages. In beholding them, shall the friend of freedom feel his heart palpitate with joy – feel his eyes float in delicious tears. Under the bust of one of them has been written, HE WRESTED THUNDER FROM HEAVEN AND THE SCEPTER FROM TYRANTS. * Of the last words of this eulogy shall all of them partake." – Essay on The Revolution in America.

"I ask," exclaimed Mirabeau, on the tribune of the National Assembly of France, while descanting upon our Declaration, "I ask if the powers who have formed alliances with the States have dared to read that manifesto, or to interrogate their consciences after the perusal? I ask whether there be at this day one government in Europe – the Helvetic and Batavian confederations and the British isles excepted – which, judged after the principles of the Declaration of Congress on the 4th of July, 1776, is not divested of its rights?" And Napoleon afterward, alluding to the same scene, said, "The finger of God was there!" – See Bailey’s Preface to Records of Patriotism.

* "Eripuit cœlo fulmen sceptrumque tyrannis."

This line was the exergue of a medal which was struck in Paris in honor of Franklin, when he was the United States embassador at the court of Versailles in 1777. It was written by Turgot, the Controller general of the Finances of France, who died four years afterward.

29 This is a low island just below the city suburbs, and, until protected by a heavy stone dike, was formerly almost covered with water at high tide. It is now a very fertile piece of reclaimed land, and reached from the main by a bridge, the intervening channel being quite narrow.

30 Red Bank, where these remains are, is in the township of Woodbury, in Gloucester county, New Jersey. The fortifications erected there were little more than earthen embankments, and a ditch covered by abatis. The arrow in the sketch denotes the direction of Fort Mifflin, on the opposite side of the Delaware.

31 The Marquis de Chastellux, who visited this spot in 1781, says, in his Journal (i., 260), "We had not gone a hundred yards before we came to a small elevation, on which a stone was vertically placed, with this short epitaph: ‘Here lies buried Colonel Donop.’ " M. de Mauduit was the guide on the occasion. He acted in the double capacity of engineer and officer of artillery at the battle, and had the charge of arranging and defending the post, under Colonel Green. "He assured us," says the marquis, "we could not make a step without treading on the remains of some Hessian, for near three hundred were buried in the front of the ditch."

32 De Chastellux, in recording his visit, says: "On landing from our boat, he [Mauduit] proposed conducting us to a Quaker’s, whose house is half a musket-shot from the fort, or rather the ruins of the fort; for it is now destroyed, and there are scarcely any reliefs of it remaining. ‘This man,’ said M. de Mauduit, ‘is a little of a Tory: I was obliged to knock down his barn, and fell his fruit trees; but he will be glad to see M. de La Fayette, and will receive us well.’ We took him at his word; but never was expectation more completely deceived. We found our Quaker seated in the chimney corner, busied in cleaning herbs. He recollected M. de Mauduit, who named M. de La Fayette to him; but he did not deign to lift his eyes, nor to answer any of our introducer’s discourse, which at first was complimentary, and at length jocose. Except Dido’s silence, I know nothing more severe; but we had no difficulty in accommodating ourselves to this bad reception, and made our way to the fort. – Travels, i., 259.

33 So called in honor of Edward Byllinge, the purchaser of Lord Berkley’s moiety of the province of New Jersey. Slight remains of this redoubt, it is said, yet remain.

34 This cut, copied from an old print, shows the form of the chevaux de frise. A is a profile view, and B a plan. The spikes were made of heavy timbers, about thirty feet in length. Partially filled with heavy stone, they presented a formidable obstacle to vessels. It is said that these obstructions were mainly planned by Dr. Franklin, and constructed under the immediate supervision of M. Du Plessis Manduit, a French engineer.

35 Sir Andrew Snape Hammond, Royal Navy.

36 James Mitchell Varnum was born at Dracut, Massachusetts, in 1749, and graduated in the first class at Providence College in 1769. He afterward studied law at East Greenwich, became an active politician in Rhode Island, espoused the patriot cause, and joined the army in 1775. In February, 1777, he was commissioned a brigadier in the Continental service. He served under Sullivan in the operations on Rhode Island, in 1778, and the next year resigned his commission and left the army. He was a delegate to Congress in 1786, and the following year was appointed a judge of the Northwestern Territory. He died at Marietta, Ohio, January 10, 1790, aged forty-one. His brother, Joseph Bradley Varnum, was also an officer in the Revolution; a member, from Massachusetts, of the first Congress after the adoption of the Federal Constitution; was four years speaker of the Lower House, and succeeded Timothy Pickering as United States senator in 1811. He died on the 11th of September, 1821, aged seventy-one years.

37 The following is a list and description of the American fleet: Thirteen galleys, one bearing a thirty-two pounder; two carrying each a twenty-four pounder; ten each an eighteen pounder. Twenty-six half-galleys, each carrying a four pounder. Two xebeques, each carrying in bow two twenty-four pounders; in stern, two eighteen pounders; in waist, four nine pounders. Two floating batteries (the Arnold and Putnam), one carrying twelve eighteen pounders, one ten eighteen pounders. One provincial ship, ten eighteen pounders. Fourteen fire-ships. The brig Andre Doria, of fourteen six pounders. One schooner-galley, in bow two eighteen pounders; in stern, two nine pounders. One brig-galley, in bow two eighteen pounders; in stern, two nine pounders. There were also a number of fire-rafts.

38 De Chastellux, i., 262.

39 De Chastellux, i., 266.

40 Marshall. Ramsay. De Chastellux. Major Ward’s Letter.

41 Christopher Greene, a native of Rhode Island, was a brave and accomplished soldier. When the battles at Lexington and Concord awakened the nation, he went to the field. After the battle of Bunker Hill he was appointed colonel of a Rhode Island regiment, and in that capacity accompanied Arnold through the wilderness to Quebec, and fought bravely under the walls of that city, when beleaguered by Montgomery. In the autumn of 1777, he was placed in chief command at Fort Mercer, at Red Bank, with his own and Angell’s regiments, which formed a part of General Varnum’s brigade. He there behaved with gallantry, and received marks of approbation from Congress. He continued in active service until his death, which occurred on the 13th of May, 1781, at the age of forty-four years. Lieutenant-colonel Greene left a widow, with three sons and four daughters. She was the child of J. Lippitt, Esq., of Warwick, Rhode Island.

42 See Heath’s Memoirs. Bolton, in his History of Westchester County (ii., 391), says that the house in which Greene was quartered belonged to Richard Davenport, and is situated at the end of a narrow lane which diverges from the Pine’s Bridge road, about a mile below the residence of William Smith. When he wrote (1848) the house was in the possession of Joshua Carpenter, a grandson of Davenport.

43 This view includes the monument, a portion of the Delaware, and the mouth of the Schuylkill, on the western shore.

44 The following is a copy of the inscriptions upon the monument:

SOUTH SIDE. – "This monument was erected on the 22d Octo., 1829, to transmit to Posterity a grateful remembrance of the Patriotism and Gallantry of Lieutenant-colonel CHRISTOPHER GREENE, who, with 400 men, conquered the Hessian army of 2000 troops (then in the British service), at Red Bank, on the 22d Octo., 1777. Among the slain was found their commander, Count Donop, whose body lies interred near the spot where be fell."

WEST SIDE. – "A number of the NEW JERSEY AND PENNSYLVANIA Volunteers, being desirous to perpetuate the memory of the distinguished officers and soldiers who fought and bled in the glorious struggle for American INDEPENDENCE, have erected this monument, on the 22d day of October, A. D. 1829."

45 Samuel Smith was born in Lancaster county, Pennsylvania, July 27th, 1752. His education, commenced at Carlisle, was completed at an academy at Elkton, in Maryland, after his father made Baltimore his place of residence. He was in his father’s counting-house five years, and then, in 1772, sailed for Havre in one of his father’s vessels, as supercargo. Having traveled extensively in Europe, he returned home to find his countrymen in the midst of the excitements of the opening of the Revolutionary hostilities. The battles of Lexington, Concord, and Bunker Hill had been fought. Fired with patriotic zeal, he sought to serve his country in the army, and in January, 1776, obtained a captain’s commission in Colonel Smallwood’s regiment. He was soon afterward promoted to the rank of major, and early in 1777 he received a lieutenant colonel’s commission. In that capacity he served with distinction in the battles of Brandywine and Fort Mifflin, suffered at Valley Forge, and participated in the action on the plains of Monmouth. At the close of the war he was appointed a brigadier general of militia, and commanded the Maryland quota of troops in the "Whisky Insurrection" in Pennsylvania. He served as major general in the war of 1812, and commanded the troops assembled for the defense of Baltimore in 1814. During a riot in Baltimore in 1836, when the civil power was inadequate to quell the violence of the mob, the aged general, then eighty-four years old, appeared in the streets with the United States flag, placed himself at the head of peaceful citizens, and very soon restored order and tranquillity. In the autumn of that year he was elected mayor of the city, which office he held until his death on the 22d of April, 1839, at the age of eighty-seven years. General Smith was elected a representative in Congress in 1793, and served until 1803. He was again elected in 1816, and served six years longer. He was also a member of the United States Senate for a period of twenty-three years. The accompanying portrait is from an engraving by St. Memin, an artist who engraved a large number of the distinguished men of our country at about the commencement of the present century. The signature is from a frank, kindly sent to me by his son, General Smith, president of the Maryland Historical Society.

46 The Merlin, like the Augusta, had got aground, and stuck so fast that it was impossible to get her off. The obstructions which the Americans had placed in the river had caused such a change in the channels, that the pilots of the British vessels were completely at fault.

47 On the 4th of November, ten days after the battle, Congress honored Lieutenant-colonel Smith and Commodore Hazlewood, by voting each an elegant sword. – Journals of Congress, iii., 374.

48 Gates had ample stores and a formidable force; and had he acted with the energy of true patriotism, he might have re-enforced Washington, by which the Delaware forts could have been saved, and the enemy driven out of Philadelphia. But he was vainly expecting soon to supersede Washington in the chief command, and he treated his orders with indifference. So tardy were his movements, when he concluded to comply, that Washington sent Colonel Hamilton to hasten his march. When Hamilton arrived at Albany, he found Gates reluctant to part with any of his troops; but, after much persuasion, he consented to send Morgan’s corps and some thin brigades to the commander-in-chief. Hamilton was indignant, and by plain speech caused Gates to send a stronger re-enforcement. These, on their march down the Hudson, encountered a check from Putnam, who, dreaming of glory to be derived from an attack on New York, had actually detained a part of the force sent forward by Gates, and had marched them to Tarrytown, while he had himself advanced to White Plains. Thus, by tardy movements in Congress, and the undutiful ambition of subordinate officers, Washington was often foiled. Hamilton, by advice of Governor Clinton, assumed the authority of issuing a peremptory order to Putnam to put the Continental troops in motion for Whitemarsh. "I now, sir," he wrote, "in the most explicit terms, by his excellency’s authority, give it as a positive order from him, that all the Continental troops under your command may be immediately marched to King’s Ferry, there to cross the river, and hasten to re-enforce the army under him." The Massachusetts militia and some new recruits were to replace the Continental soldiers thus sent away. So much did Hamilton censure Putnam when he returned to head-quarters, that it was thought a court martial would arraign the veteran; but the matter was passed over without notice, obedience having followed the peremptory order of Washington’s representative.

49 Gordon, ii., 276. Botta, ii., 51. Washington’s Official Letters.

50 See plan on the preceding page.

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