Page images
PDF
EPUB

lishmen, because gentlemen, say I, if you are English dissatisfied with my answer, and say I had no need to men, you must be bound by acts of parliament, until say more than three words, viz. I have none-This they that parliament releases you from that obedience, which could have protested upon and sent home to the custom has not yet been done as I know of. To this they reply house, but I believe they have no great inclination to our charters have done it absolutely. No, gentlemen, send bome this letter; however, I think it my duty to your charters are but the declarations of the kings that I send it you with a copy of theirs; also I wish I knew granted them, and they cannot be- to mean no whether the act would be enforced or not, for if it is to more, than that the king of Great Britain would not ar- be repealed, I might resign voluntarily in time, and bitrarily, and without law, raise money on the subject in thereby escape the violence of the party, for if the act America, and this is all our forefathers seemed to have is not enforced, nor I do not resign in time, I shall not be asked—when they left Britain, and indeed it is all the able to go into some of the neighbouring colonies, and kings of Great Britain can legally promise, for the king look after my interest during my life time, for they threacannot bar the rights of the lords and commons, any ten me already in Maryland and Virginia, and if they more than they can his prerogatives. The answer then ever catch me there they will make a sacrifice of me: is, you are an enemy to America, and ought to have | but if they should be made subject to Great Britain, I your brains beat out, &c. And indeed there is nothing shall then be in no danger, for the issue of this act will has saved me but the great number of friends and rela- absolutely determine Britain's sovereignty in America. tions that I have in this country, and, had it not been for For, if by these rebellious actions we can get this act retheir numbers, I must have resigned my office absolute pealed, I have no doubt but some of my children may ly, or else not only me but my family and fortune would live to see a duty laid by Americans on some things imhave fallen a sacrifice. I believe I am the only stamp ported from Britain, for I do not know an instance of a distributor that has not either resigned absolutely, or mob's sitting down contented with one thing, unless fled the province between Virginia and Hallifax, and if they have a force able to quell them. the Virginia officer had been there, I think he must I presume when the remonstrances from the grand have resigned also, for there the fire began. It is my committee (who meet at New York) come here, it will private opinion, that if the province of Pennsylvania be casy to judge what we would be at; for even in this was changed from proprietary to a royal government, province some few say, if we stick by one another, it is and some person appointed to govern it, that had both not in the power of Britain to enforce it, and say that interest among the people, and a perfect knowledge of Ireland did the same formerly, and by that means have them, so as to be able to displace the disloyal, and put escaped the burthen as they call it. i am unable at this it in power and commission such only as could be de- time to give a more full account of the proceedings in pended on, and have demonstrated their loyalty to their America, being not recovered from my late illness. I king; such a person, after the changes aforesaid, might am, gentlemen, with respect, your most obedient, humeasily govern this province, and preserve the peace of ble servant, it, and keep it in subjection to his Majesty, which I think

JOHN HUGHES. we hardly are at this time. One reason assigned for

Nov. 7, 1765. not paying obedience to this act of parliament, is, that | To the Commissimers of we have no representative in parliament; I then say, the Stamp Office. let us petition for representatives. O, no, we will not agree to that, because we have representatives of our

No. I. own, and have always given money when we have been

Mr. John Hughes, called on by the king or his ministers, and if that will Sir,—We have heard from public report, that you are not do, let us have a house of commons in America, to the officer appointed to distribute stamp-papers and settle what shall be the quota of each colony when mo- parchment in the province, pursuant to an act of parlia. ney is wanted—No, gentlemen, you have foreclosed ment lately published in England, and we now apply to yourselves of that, for you have demonstrated your pro- you, to know whether you can supply us with stamp pensity to rebellion, to that degree, that in my opinion papers proper for cockets and clearances, on which the the ministry never can advise his Majesty to unite you duty of four-pence sterling is imposed (if the copy we more than you now are; but if they knew our circuim- have seen of the act be genuine.) We apprehend it is stances rightly, they would divide us yet more, by form- our duty to apply to you for them, as we cannot proceed ing new colonies out of Virginia, and perhaps some oth regularly in the business of our office without them.ers that are already but too large; but these things are Please to let us have your answer in writing as soon as at a distance, for Great Britain must first determine whe possible, in order to prevent any mistake or misunderther she is to govern or not, and whether she will per. standing, that may happen from a verbal conference bemit us to put ourselves under the protection of France, tween us. We beg you will be pleased to have a direct or Spain, as many upon the continent declare they will answer, whether you will or not let us have the stamp ward off the stamp act, until they can get France or papers for the purposes above mentioned. Weare, sir, Spain to protect them; and some few have gone so far your most humble servants, in this province. I must now contradict your allegation

J. SWIFT, Dep. Collr. of our giving money when called upon. Pray has Ma.

A. BARCLAY, Compt. ryland given one shilling all the last war, and did not

T. GRAME, Naval Offr. most of the colonies, except Pennsylvania, refuse both Custom-house, Philadelphia, men and money for Colonel Bouquet's last expedition Nov. 4, 1764. against the Indians to the westward; and when Colonel Bouquet, by his friends, got some volunteers raised for

No. II. the purpose in Virginia, was le not obliged to apply to Gentlemen,-I received yours of the 4th instant, and the commissioners of this province to pay them, or else cannot but infer from the contents, that you are stranhe must have paid them out of his private fortune; al. gers in Pennsylvania, since by the tenor of your letter, though the war was on the Virginia frontier, and their you seem to be unacquainted with the things that are people frequently murdered at that time.

come to pass in these our days. Therefore, I think it November the Sd, being Saturday evening, I was call necessary, before I proceed in answer, to give you a ed upon by the collector, to let me know that he and brief detail of what has happened. First then, I am to the other custom house officers would call upon me inform you, that on Saturday the 5th of October Jast, the next day, but they afterwards changed their plan; and State-house and Christ-church bells were rung mufflerl,

-Tuesday the 5th, I received the paper, (No. and two negro-drummers, one of whom belonged to alI.) and that afternoon returned for answer the paper derman Samuel Miffin, beat through all parts of the city (No. II.) and I now understand that the party are much I with muffled drums, thereby alarming the inhabitants.

a

on

In consequence whereof, a large number of people was you no doubt have informed the commissioners I cannot raised and assembled at the State-house, where it was in point of honour go back, until something or other is publicly declared (as I am informed,) that if I did not done by the people to render it impossible for me to immediately resign my office, my house should be pull proceed; but, perhaps when a mob is on foot, my intered down and my substance destroyed, but before the est may fall a sacrifice to an infatuated multitude, and I convention broke up, the gentlemen assembled there, know of no other way to prevent it, but absolutely dein part changed their resolution, and by a note they at claring off' as all the rest have done to the eastward, but night sent me, indulged me till ten o'clock the Monday as yet I cannot prevail upon myself, notwithstanding the morning following, to satisfy them whether I would or threats of some, and the persuasions of others, to do an not resign my office as stamp distributor for this province. act that appears to me neither loyal nor reputable. Secondly, although it was currently reported through "I had hitherto kept matters easy, by saying I had the city on the 4th of October last, that capt. Halland, nothing to resign, for I have neither received any comwith the stamp papers, &c. would be up next day, and mission or any other kind of writing from the stampthat a mob would be raised to destroy them, yet neither office;' but when it is known I have received my comthe governor, the supreme judges, the mayor, recorder, mission, I fancy I shall not escape the storm of presbyaldermen, nor any other judiciary officers. (Benjamin terian rage, and as captain Friend is expected every day, Shoemaker, Esq. excepted) took the least notice there my doom will soon be known, but whether I may live to of, nor used any means to preserve the peace of the city. inform you, is yet in the womb of futurity. Thirdly, although on Monday the 7th of October, when “By governor Franklin's letters, and by my last, you the people collected at the Free Masons lodge, and their will see that Mr. Cox has resigned the stamp-office for delegates, who need not here be named, came to my New Jersey, and there is scarce a day goes over my head, house and demanded of me my answer, whether I would but many people call on me to resign, and say I am an or would not resign my office as stamp-distributor of this enemy to North America if I do not; but since I am now province, yet neither the governor, the judges of the su

-and must abide by consequences, be they preme court, although then sitting, the mayor, recorder, what they will, I shall be exceedingly obliged to you, if aldermen, nor any of the peace officers of this city, tes- it is consistent with your judgment, to recommend my tified the least disapprobation thereof, but permitted son Hugh for Mr. Cox's successor. My son is married, those gentlemen and their associates, to compel me to and settled in New Jersey, has a good estate, both real make the declaration which you may see printed in the and personal, and can give any security that may be reGazette and Pennsylvania Journal of the 10th of Octo- quired-I am the more induced to ask this favour, as I ber last. Fourthly, these gentlemen delegates and their think there will be no difficulty in putting the act in exassociates have therefore prevented any stamp from com- ecution in that province; and, if my property, and pering into my possession. Of consequence, it is not in haps my life may be lost in this province, my son I hope my power to supply you. But as you may be unacquaint- will be the better for the office in that province, which ed vith the situation of the stamp-papers, I do myself may be some compensation for what property may be the pleasure of informing you, that his honour the gov- lost out of the family. ernor, has committed them to the care of capt. Hawker,

Sept. 10, 1765. commander of his Majesty's ship Sardine. And I would

"Our assembly met yesterday, and this day a majority likewise, gentlemen, beg leave to acquaint you, that he of fifteen against fourteen, were for sending a committee has taken, as I am informed, a solemn oath, "to do his to New York, to meet the committee of Boston on the utmost, that all and every of the clauses contained in the first of October, where they insinuate there will be mery stamp-act shall be bona fide observed;” wherefore I must

sent from every colony, in order to unite and become, as refer you to him, as I am for the reasons already assign- they express it, like a bundle of rods, alluding to the ed, at present incapacitated to supply you with stampt fable of the old man and his sons. This scheme, or plary papers, &c. for a more full answer, if necessary, to your of union, is not only begun, but indefatigably pushed letter. Fifthly, if any inconveniences or damages, there forward, by the presbyterians principally. fore, should happen to any person or persons for wint of the stampt papers, the blame neither can nor does lie at

Sept. 11. This afternoon captain Friend arrived, and my door, whatever it may of those of the gentlemen de- as he says he has no stamp papers on board, all seems legates and their associates. I am sorry, gentlemen,

pretty quiet at present. The assembly have named Jothat you suffered an insinuation to escape your pen, as if seph Fox, Geo. Bryan, John Morton and John DickinI would not afford you a direct answer to your letter, for son, as a committee to go to the Congress at New York. I am perswaded no part of my conduct has given you or Sept. 12. Our clamours run very high, and I am told any other person cause to suspect either my candor or my house shall be pulled down and the stamps burnt, to integrity, therefore, permit me to say, I must look upon which I give no other answer than that I will defend my tris insinuation both ungenerous and unfriendly. I am, house at the risque of my life. I must say that all the sirs, your humble servant,

sensible quakers behave prudently.

J. HUGHES. Sept. 16. in the evening. Common report threatens Philadelphia, Nor. 5, 1765.

my house this night, as there are bonfires and rejoicings John Swift, Alex. Barclay, and

for the change of ministry. The sober and sensible part Thomas Grume, Esquires.

of the people are doing every thing in readiness to sup

press a mob, if there should be any intention of rising. Philadelphia, Sept. 1765.

I, for my part, am well armed with fire-arms, and am deExtract of letters from John Hughes, Esq. appointed ing, shall give you a further account

, but as it is now

termined to stand a siege. If I live till to-morrow mornDistributor of the Stamps for Pennsylvania, to Ben. about eight o'clock I am on my guard, and only write jamin Franklin, Esq. Agent for said Province, by him, this between whiles, as every noise or bustle of the peoper order, laid before the Parliament.

ple calls me off. “You are now from letter to letter to suppose each Nine o'clock. Several friends that patrole between my may be the last that you will receive from your old friend, house and the coffee-house, came in just now, and say as the spirit or flame of rebellion is got to a high pitch the collection of rabble begins to decrease visibly in among the North Americans, and it seems to me, that a the streets, and the appearance of danger seems a good sort of frenzy, or madness, has got such hold of the peo- deal less than it did. ple of all ranks, that I fancy some lives will be lost before Twelve o'clock. There are now several burdreds of this fire is put out; I am at present much perplexed what our friends about the street ready to suppress any mob, course to steer; for, as I have given you reason to ex. if it should attempt to rise, and the rabble are disperspect, I would endeavour to put the act in execution, and ing.

Sept. 17. five in the morning. We are all yet in the expression of countenance indicative of the most poigland of the living, and our properties safe, thank God. nant anguish and deep despair, he was passing him in

silence, when the benevolent Quaker, who had critically

observed him, and marked the agitation of his mind, Extract of a letter from Joseph Galloway, Esq. dated feelingly said, “Robert, I fear there is bad news.”. The Philadelphia, Sept. 29, 1765, to Benjamin Franklin, reply was, "Yes, very bad; I am under the most helpless Esq.

embarrassment for the want of some hard money."“The public papers will inform you of the present “How much would relieve thy difficulties, Robert?" distracted state of the colonies, and the many outrages The sum was mentioned. “But I could only give my and riots that have been occasioned by a dislike to the private engagement in a note, which I would sacredly stamp act, all which have been incited by the principal pledge my honour to repay,” rejoined Mr. Morris. members of the colonies where they have been com- "Cease thy sorrows, then, Robert; thou shalt have the mitted - Measures have not been wanting to create the money in confidence of thy silence on the subject, as it same temper in the people here, in which some have regards me.” The specie was procured, immediately been very active. In hopes to prevent their ill effects, I remitted to General Washington, and saved the army. wrote a moderate piece, signed Americanus, published here and at New York, and since in Virginia, wherein "In 1779, or 1780, two of the most distressing years you will see my sentiments on the subject. I am told it of the war, General Washington wrote to me a most had good effect in those places as well as here, being alarming account of the prostrate condition of the milimuch approved by the moderate part of the people; tary stores, and enjoining my immediate exertions to yet we should not have been free from riots here, if ano- supply deficiencies. There were no musket cartridges ther method had not been taken to prevent them, viz. but those in the men's boxes, and they were wet; of By assembling quietly at the instance of Mr. Hughes's course, if attacked, a retreat or a rout was inevitable.friends (and not by order from the government of the We (the Board of War) had exhausted all the lead accity,) near eight hundred sober inhabitants were posted cessible to us, having caused even the spouts of houses in different parts, ready to prevent any mischief that to be melted, and had offered, abortively, the equivalent should be attempted by the mob, which effectually inti- in paper of two shillings specie per pound for lead. I midated them and kept all tolerable quiet, only they went in the evening of the day in which I received this burnt a figure that they called a stamp man, and letter, to a splendid entertainment given by Don Mirailabout midnight dispersed. Great pains have been taken les, the Spanish Minister. My heart was sad, but I had to persuade and frighten Mr. Hughes into a resignation the faculty of brightening my countenance even under of his office, but he continues firm, and will not resign gloomy disasters, yet it seems then not sufficiently adroitin any manner that shall do dishonor to his appointment, ly. Mr. Morris, who was one of the guests, and knew and I think will be able to put bis commission into exe. me well, discovered some casual traits of depression. cution, notwithstanding the example set by other colo- He accosted me in his usual blunt and disengaged mannies.

ner, "I see some clouds passing across the sunny coun

tenance you assume-what is the matter?" After some REVOLUTIONARY ANECDOTES.

hesitation I showed him the General's letter, which I had brought from the office with the intention of placing it at home in a private cabinet. He played with my anxi.

ety, which he did not relieve for some time. At length, At the most distressful period of the war, General however, with great and sincere delight, he called me Washington wrote to Congress, “That he was surround- aside, and told me that the Holker privateer had just ared by secret foes, destitute of the means of detecting rived at his wharf with ninety tons of lead, which she them, or of getting intelligence of the enemy's move had brought as ballast. It had been landed at Martiments and designs. The army was in rags, had few or nique, and stone ballast had supplied its place, but this no blankets, and military stores were in the dregs. The had been put on shore and the lead again taken in. 'Yog troops reduced in numbers, must retreat, without the shall have my half of this fortunate supply; there are means of defence if attacked, and would probably dis- the owners of the other half,' (indicating gentlemen in perse from the want of subsistence and clothing in an the apartment.) 'Yes, but I am already under heavy inclement season, too severe for nature to support. In personal engagements, as guarantee for the Departa a word, we have lived upon expedients till we can live ment, to those and other gentlemen.' 'Well,' rejoined no longer; and it may truly be said, that the history of Mr. Morris, "they will take your assumption with my this war, is a history of false hopes and temporary devi guaranty.' I instantly, on these terms, secured the lead, ces, instead of system and æconomy, which results from left the entertainment, sent for the proper officers, and it.” All business was, in consequence, suspended in set more than one hundred people to work through the Congress, and dismay was universal, since no supplies of night. Before morning a supply of cartridges was the requisitions demanded could be provided.

ready, and sent off to the army. Judge l'eters. Mr. Robert Morris, to whom the United States is more indebted for their prosperity and happiness, than to any "It may not be generally known, but it is an inconother individual, with the exception of General Wash- trovertible fact, that the plan of the campaign for the ington, overcome by his feelings, quitted the hall with year 1781, as agreed upon by General Washington and a mind completely depressed, without a present hope, Admiral De Grasse, was to aim at the reduction of New or cheering expectation of future prosperity. On enter- York, and that the southern enterprise was never coning his counting house, he received the welcome intelli- templated until, unexpectedly, and to his extreme surgence, that a ship which he had despaired of, had, at prise, General Washington (by the French Admiral's that moment, arrived at the wharf, with a full cargo of breaking his engagements to come into New York bay, all the munitions of war, and of soldier's clothing. He and announcing his intention, through the Admiral comreturned to Congress almost breathless with joy, and an. manding the squadron at Rhode Island, to enter and renounced the exhilarating good news. Nor did propi- main, for a few weeks, in the Chesapeake) was obliged tious fortune end here. Accidentally meeting with a to change the whole plan of operations; which, from worthy Quaker, who had wealth at command, and a the powerful resources of his mind, he planned and perhearty well wisher to the American cause, although from formed in a sudden and masterly manner. An account his religious principles averse to war and fighting, he has been published, by which it appears that the count thought it no departure from the strict line of propriety, Rochambeau claimed the credit of planning the enterto endeavour, by every exertion, to awaken his sympa- prise a year before it was put in execution. A military thy and obtain his assistance. Assuming, therefore, an ! character who had rendered such important services to

ROBERT MORRIS,

[ocr errors]

our country as were, by universal consent, attributed to stances, mon General," said he, it would be my ambihim, needed no borrowed plume. He avows his having tion to serve you, but here I have no chance of showing advised count De Grasse not to venture into New York my talents, and I think myself obliged, in honor, to sare bay. He should, had he acted consistently with his you expense, since your wagoner is just as able to turn duty) with candour, and in due season, bave made this the string as I am.' 'Believe me, gentlemen,' continued communication to General Washington; whereas, the the Baron, 'the Treasury of America is, at present, just first intimation of a change of the original plan, was the as empty as my kitchen was at Valley Forge; and Mr. French Admiral's letter from Rhode Island, which the Morris wisely retires, thinking it of very little conse. General put into my hands a few hours after he had re- quence who turns the string' ceived it, with strong expressions of surprise and resentment. Assuredly, at this period, the expedition to the To the instances given by Judge Peters, of the happy southward had never been thought of; but as count Ro- arrival of supplies for the army, at the moment that they chambeau's countervailing advice had been attended were most needed, I would add another occurrence dewith successful consequences, he adroitly takes advan- rived from the same authority. ."On our entering Phitage of this good fortune and turns, an otherwise unjus- ladelphia, in June 1778, after the evacuation by the Britifiable interference, into personal merit. I was sent by tigh troops, we were hard pressed for ammunition. We Congress, under the belief that New York was the ob- caused the whole city to be ransacked in search of car. ject, to consult with General Washington, on the sup- tridge paper. At length, I thought of the garrets, &c. plies necessary for the attack. But, the apprehension of old printing offices. In that once occupied as a lumexpressed by count De Grasse, of danger to his heavy ber room by Dr. Franklin, when a printer, a vast collec. ships, should they enter the bay, and the avowal of his tion was discovered. Among the mass was more than intention to sail for the Chesapeake, put at once an end a cart body load of sermons on defensive war, preached to deliberation on the subject. A new object was now by a famous Gilbert Tenant, during an old British and to be sought for, on which the co-operation of the allies French war, to rouse the colonists to indispensable exmight be employed with effect. I was present when ertion. These appropriate manifestoes were instantly the southern enterprise was resolved on, (claiming no employed as cases for musket cartridges, ràpidly sent to merit or agency in the military part of it) and superin- the army, came most opportunely, and were fired away tended the provision of every thing required by the ge- at the battle of Monmouth against our retiring foc. neral, for the operation. From seventy to eighty pieces

Garden's Rev. Aniec. of battering cannon, and one hundred of field artillery, were completely fitted and furnished with attirail and

ADDRESS ammunition, although, when I returned from the camp Delivered before the Blockley & Merion Agricultural Socito Philadelphia, there was not a field carriage put toge- ety, on Saturday, Sept. 20th, 1828, on the death of their ther, and but a small quantity of fixed ammunition in late President, the HON. RICHARD' PETERŠ—B our magazines. The train was progressively sent on in SAMUEL BRECK, Vice President of the Society. three or four weeks, to the great honour of the officers GENTLEMEN :and men employed in this meritorious service. All this, I may be excused, I hope, for offering of my own actogether with the expense of provision for, and pay of the cord, to address you on the recent loss of our President: troops, was accomplished on the persunat credit of Mr. Ro- As the second officer in the Society, it becomes, in some bert Morris, who issued his noles to the amount of one measure, my duty, to notice the melancholy event. That million four hundred thousand dollars, which were finally eminent and worthy man--so well known to us, sợ all paid. Assistance was furnished by Virginia and oth- much beloved by us; who, för forty years has so usefuler States, from the merit whereof I mean not to detract. ly and affectionately associated with us, has, at a good But, as there was no money in the chest of the War old age, paid the debt of nature. Office, and the Treasury of the United States empty, Death, perhaps, at no time strikes a victim, however the expedition never could have been operative and obscure, who does not leave some sorrowing surviver: brought to a successful issue, had not, most fortunately, none so destitute of friends, as to descend to the grave Mr. Morris' credit, superior exertions, and management, wholly unlamented. How deeply, then, should we supplied the indispensable sine qua non, the funds neces- mourn the loss of a man, so remarkably distinguished as sary togive effect to exertion.”

the late President of this seciety.

Upon an occasion so solemn, and to us so afflictive, Dining with him shortly after the resignation of Mr. we ought not to be satisfied with an ordinary notice: it Robert Morris, as Financier of the United States, the is fit that we should dwell, somewhat at length, on the cause of which appeared inexplicable to the company prominent passages of such a man's life; that we should present, 'To me,' said Baron Steuben, 'there appears no recall to our minds the deeds of patriotism, of public mystery: I will illustrate my sentiments by a simple spirit, and general usefulness, which have marked his narrative, When I was about to quit Paris to embark lengthened career. This I shall attempt, and, howsofor the United States, the better to insure comfort when ever imperfectly, I beg you to indulge me with a hearin camp, I judged it of importance to engage in my ser- ing: vice a cook of celebrity. The American army was post- Richard Peters, who died on the 22d of August, at ed at Valley Forge, when I joined it. Arrived at my his residence in Blockley, was born in the month of June, quarters, a wagoner presented himself, saying that he 1744, in the same house in which he expired; and had, was directed to attach himself to my train, and obey my consequently, passed, by a few months, the great age of orders. Commissaries arriving; furnished a supply of eighty-four. He received his education in the city of beef and bread, and retired. My cook looked around Philadelphia; and, on entering the active scenes of life, Him for utensils, indispensable, in his opinion, for pre-was a good Latin' and Greek scholar, and possessed a paring a meal, and finding nonc, in an agony of despair, knowledge of the French and Gerinan languages. applied to the wagoner for advice, “We cook our meat,' Having adopted the law as a profession, his acquainreplied he, “by banging it up by a string, and turning it tance with the Germán greatly facilitated his country before a good fire till sufficiently roasted.' The next practice; while his intuitive smartness, and steady indusday--and still another passed, without material change. try, placed bim in the front rank of the young practiThe commissary made his deposit. My cook showed tioners of the day. He had an uncle who was Secretathe strongest indications of uneasiness by shrugs and ry of the Colonial Government, and whose office was, as heavy sighing, but, with the exception of a few oaths, I think, connected with the land department. This un. spoke not a ward of complaint. His patience, however, cle was fond of young Peters, and occasionally charged was completely exhausted; he requested an audience, him with a part of the duties of his office. It was here, and demanded his dismission. 'Under happier circum-'no doubt, that he became familiar with the land titles of

Vol. II.

[ocr errors]

a

32

the province, and laid the foundation of the reputation necessary to arm. Mr. Peters volunteered with his he acquired in after times, of possessing an intimate neighbours, and when they assembled for the purpose knowledge of the land laws of the commonwealth. - of organization, he was chosen their captain. His milThese avocations, however, were transient, and did not tary career, however, was short. A mind so gifted, cause any relaxation in his professional pursuits, on the studies so essentially fitted for the civil departments of contrary, they were made the means of extending luis government, as those of Mr. Peters, soon removed him acquaintance with influential men in the interior of the from the camp to the cabinet. Congress placed him at colony, and enabled bim to follow, very profitably, the the Board of War, where his services for many years, Courts of Justice, into all the surrounding counties, during the struggle for independence, have been acknow. where his Auent conversation in Gerinan, extensive ledged by a solemn vote of thanks by that illustrious knowledge of the provincial grants and kindred laws, body; services that can have been only properly apprebrought him into practice, and in due time competently ciated by those who knew, like his fellow labourers, the rewarded his labours.

destitute state of the country, and consequent difficulOn those circuits, he was accustomed to display his ties in the execution of his duty as adjunct war minisunrivalled wit. The playfulness of his conversation, ter. always enlivened by Aashes of the gayest pleasantry, Who among us that has associated with our late venewas forever quick and unrestrained, and varied by casts rable friend, has not often heard him advert to that glooof true humor; sometimes as broad and well eracted as my period of our history, in language of trepidation and the most exaggerated farce, and at others convolved in doubt! At one time the army was without powder, at double meaning, fitted only for the ready perception of another, lead; and always food or clothing was wanting. the most practised car and polished taste. . Thus distin- These were daily requisitions, to which no other answer guished, our young friend became a favourite with all oftentimes could be given, than that the public stores classes.

were empty. To illustrate the naked state of our maIt was about the time when this brilliant talent was gazines, and mental anguish of our public functionaries already conspicuous; a talent that never after forsook at that critical time, I will give youi, very nearly in the him, even whilst age was wasting his tottering frame: words of Mr. Peters, a revolutionary anecdote," which it was at this period of youthful buoyancy, that a confer- I thought sufficiently curious to note in writing, on the ence was held with the Indians of the six nations, at Fort 9th of November 1823---the day that it was told to me Stanwix, in the province of New York. Our lamented by him. friend accompanied the delegation from Pennsylvania. "I was Commissioner of War, he said, in 1779. Gen. Daring the negotiation of the treaty, he insinuated him- Washington wrote to me that all his powder was wet, self so much into the good graces of the Indian chiefs, and that he was entirely without lead or balls; so that and became so entirely acceptable to them, by his light should the enemy approach him, he must retreat. When hearted jests, and sportive behaviour, that even those I received this letter, I was going to a grand gala at the sedate reelmen relaxed their rigid carriage, and unbend- Spanish ambassador's, who lived in Mr. Chew's fine house ing for a moment the usual severity of their characters, in South Third street. The spacious gardens were suproposed to adopt him into their tribes. The offer was perbly decorated with variegated lamps; the edifice it. accepted, and Mr. Peters was formally introduced to self was a blaze of light;--the show was splendid; but his new relations, receiving from them, in allusion to his my feelings were far from being in harmony with all this amusing talkativeness, the appropriate name of Tigoh- brilliancy. I met at this party, my friend Robert Morris, tias, which meang Puroquet.

who soon discovered the state of my mind. 'You are He used to say, that these Indians called the great not yourself, to night, Peters; what's the matter?'asked William Penn, Onas, the name of quill, or pen, in their Morris. Notwithstanding my unlimited confidence in language; whereas, added he, on my adoption, they that great patriot, it was sometime before I could prevail have been more complimental, for they have given me upon myself to disclose the cause of my depression; but the name of the bird and all his quills into the bargain. at length I ventured to give him a hint of my inability to

Political difficulties with the mother country, now answer the pressing calls of the commander in chief. compelled every man to choose his side. Mr. Peters, | The army is without lead, and I know not where to get although rather intimately associated with the proprie. an ounce to supply it: the general must retreat for want tary government, which was chicfly royal in its feelings, of ammunition. Well, let him retreat,' replied the high did not hesitate to separate himself from it, and join and liberal minded Morris: but cheer up: there are in the cause of his native country. While many influen- the Holkar privateer, just arrived, ninety tons of lead, tial members of the bar went over to the king, he stept one half of which is mine, and at your service; the reforward with zeal in defence of American rights. sidue you can get by applying to Blair M'Clapaghan, and

Pennsylvania was, in that early day, without a militia. Holkar, both of whom are in the house with us.' The peaceful descendants of Penn, and of his non-re- I accepted the offer, from Mr. Morris, said Mr. Comsistent companions, to whose excellent rule and exem. missioner Peters, with many thanks, and addressed myplary conduct, the state is so much indebted for its rapid self immediately to the two gentlemen who owned the growth and present prosperity, had managed its affairs, other half, for their consent to sell; but they had already even with the fierce aborigines, for nearly a century, trusted a large amount of clothing to the continental without military aid, or any restraint whatever, other Congress, and were unwilling to give that body any furthan the authority of mild and prudent laws, upheld as ther credit. I informed Morris of their refusal. 'Telf much by the probity, philanthropy, and unblemished them," said he, that I will pay them for their share.'demeanour of the law givers, as by any penal provisions This settled the business; the lead was delivered; I set contained in the statutes themselves.

three or four hundred men to work, who manufactured But those quiet times were about to be disturbed.-- it into cartridge bullets for Washington's army, to which Impolitic and unjust notions respecting this country,had it gave complete relief.” got possession of the minds of the British ministry, The sequel of this anecdote shows, that the supply which led them to adopt a system destructive of our was entirely accidental. The Holkar privateer was af rights and liberties. The cabinet—the parliament,the Martinico, preparing to return home, when her Captain, press of G. Britain, at that time, misunderstood the mutual Matthew Lawler, who is still living, had this lead offerinterests of the two countries, pretty much as they have ever continued to do from that day to this. “Having * This and a subsequent anecdote were in type before their ears full of pride and airy famc," they treated us we were favored with Mr. Breck's address although with ‘scurril jests, and matched us in comparisons with substantially the same-some particulars are added by dirt, to weaker and discredit our expostulations.”—The Mr. Breck, which induce us to give the anecdotes as recolonial disputes were pushed to extremity. It became lated by him.

« PreviousContinue »