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He was the presiding justice of the court of common pleas in his native county of Plymouth, for the term of twelve years, and held that office at the time of his death. He was of the family of governor Winslow, and was born in Marshfield in 1703. His father, Isaac Winslow, who was a son of the governor, had been chief justice of the same court, for the term of ten years, and left the bench in 1738. General Winslow was educated as a merchant, and pursued mercantile business as a means of livelihood. Early in life, however, he became connected with public affairs, and among other offices, he was for some time register of probate for the county of Plymouth. Soon after this appointment he was commissioned as a military officer, and entered upon a brilliant and successful career. An expedition was fitted out under the direction of the crown, against Cuba, then, as now, under the government of Spain, and the command of a company was on that occasion given to Mr. Winslow. He took an active part in the enterprise, but it altogether failed. The troops belonging to the British army were attacked and swept off by disease to such a degree, that of the five hundred men who had been furnished by Massachusetts, fifty only returned from this disastrous campaign. In 1744, he was in command of a company which formed a part of an expedition then fitted out against the French in Nova Scotia, and ten years afterwards he led an expedition against the Indians in the Castine part of Maine. In these various enterprises, his courage and conduct had been such as to secure him general confidence, and when in the year 1755 it was desirable to raise a new army to carry on the war with the French, general Winslow, who held the rank of lieutenant colonel in the expedition, was able to enlist two thousand men in the space of two months. The enterprise in which he now bore a part, was among the most memorable in the annals of New England, not so much on account of the magnitude of its consequences, as the incidents that marked its progress. The whole expedition was put under the general command of colonel Monckton, but the chief responsibility rested upon lieutenant colonel Winslow, who was at the head of the provincial troops. The destination of this army was Nova Scotia, which was claimed by Great Britain under the treaty of Utrecht. The inhabitants of a considerable portion of the country were French, who had been suffered to retain their property and religion, under an understanding that they would in the case of a war with France remain neutral. They were accordingly known as the “French Neutrals,” and the early history of Massachusetts contains frequent references to them as a people. From a real or supposed violation of their neutrality, and the danger which was apprehended from their number and concert of action, it was thought to be necessary to remove them from the country and to scatter them through the English colonies. The execution of this severe, not to say odious measure, devolved upon general Winslow, whose good judgment, forbearance and lenity in performing so ungracious a duty, met with universal approbation. There was in the character and manners of this people more of romance than ordinarily is found in civilized life. They realized the poet's dream of Arcadian simplicity, honesty, happiness and contentment. Attached to their religion, fond beyond measure of their homes, possessed of comfortable if not independent estates in their well cultivated and well stocked farms, they formed a most interesting community. As nothing but stratagem could avail in inducing them to bring themselves within the power of the invading army,
that was resorted to, and about five hundred men in the district of Minas were thus seized. The families of these were also secured, making a total of nearly two thousand persons in that district alone. To prevent any escape the country was laid waste by fire. There were more than two hundred and fifty houses burned in a single district. The historian of Nova Scotia," describing this scene, says, the soldiery “stationed in the midst of a beautiful and fertile country, suddenly found themselves without a foe to subdue and without population to protect. “The volumes of smoke which the half expiring embers emitted, while they marked the site of the peasants' humble cottage, bore testimony to the extent of destruction. “For several successive evenings the cattle assembled around the smouldering ruins, as if in anxious expectation of their masters, while all night long the faithful watchdogs of the Neutrals howled over the scene of desolation, and mourned alike the hand that fed and the house that sheltered them.” The whole population were forced on board ships and carried off into exile. More than a thousand were distributed through Massachusetts, being divided among the towns and supported for a while at the public charge. But they were never reconciled to their state of bondage and dependence, and never mingled with the inhabitants or became incorporated with them. Many of them died, and some returned at last to their former homes, and their history is lost. General Winslow having executed this unpleasant commission, returned to Massachusetts in disgust at the treatment to which the Provincial troops were subjected by the officers of the regular army. He did not however long remain inactive. War was then raging all along the frontier settlements. The year ’55 became memorable not only by the defeat of general Braddock, but by disasters upon the northern frontier. The following year, general Winslow was in command of an expedition under lord Loudon against Crown Point, but accomplished little by the enterprise. He however received on this occasion a commission as commander in chief of the Provincial troops, from the governor of New York. The next year, 1757, he received from Governor Pownal, the appointment of major general of the Massachusetts forces, and this commission was renewed by governor Bernard in 1762. Nor was it in military life only that he received marks of public confidence. He filled many important civil posts of honor, especially that of counsellor, which was ever regarded as one of the most honorable in the province under its charter form of government. It may have seemed almost a solecism that the name of general Winslow should have been selected as deserving notice as one of the judges of the commonwealth. But in addition to his eminent character as a public officer, there seemed to be a propriety in illustrating through him the qualifications which were regarded as fitting a man, at that period of our history, for a judicial station. At the age of fifty nine, without any previous preparation or study, he was made the chief justice of his county. How he succeeded in his new sphere of duties—or how the stern soldier and exemplary officer was able to hold the scales of justice between his fellow citizens, does not appear. He retained the office till his death, May 17, 1774, at the age of 71. His contemporaries spoke of his character in the obituary notices of him, which have been preserved, in terms of high eulogy, and the long time during which he retained the public confidence seems to have justified such commendations, for he was alike esteemed as a gentleman, a soldier, and a magistrate. E. W.
1 Halliburton. WOL, XXIII—NO. XLVI.
ART. VI.-ON MISTAKES OF LAW.
[Concluded from the last number.]
HAVING, in our last number, inquired somewhat into the grounds of the alleged doctrine, that there can be no relief against mistakes of law, we proceed now to an examination of the authorities, with a view to ascertain whether from them it can be satisfactorily made out, that such a doctrine does actually exist. The first case we shall notice, is that of Bilbie v. Lumley,' a leading case on the subject. There an action was brought by an underwriter on a policy of insurance, to recover back money paid on a loss by capture. The position assumed by the plaintiff was, that the money was paid under a mistake. It does not, however, appear from the report, what evidence there was to establish that fact. It may be admitted, that the underwriter was not legally obligated to pay the loss;–a material letter, then in the possession of the assured, not having been disclosed at the time the policy was effected. But the casualty contemplated by the parties had occurred; a loss had happened. That the letter in question was fraudulently withheld, was not pretended; and such a supposition is rendered highly improbable by the fact, that the same letter was submitted, with the other papers, to the inspection of the underwriters, before the loss was adjusted. Under these circumstances, it is possible, to say the least, that the plaintiff might have thought himself bound in honor and honesty to pay, though he knew that, by the strict letter of the law, he was exonerated; and that he might afterwards, for some cause, have changed his views of the matter. At all events, as the defendant had been guilty of no moral delinquency, as a loss
* 2 East, 469.