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other measures with which it came attended. Already had Lord North proposed, and there was then passing through both Houses, a Bill for restraining the commerce of the New England provinces with Great Britain, Ireland, and the West Indies, and prohibiting them for a limited time from any share in the fishery on the banks of Newfoundland, with certain exceptions to be made by the Governors in favour of their friends and partisans. This measure was framed in retaliation of the Nonimportation andExportation agreement, in which the New England provinces had taken the lead; the argument being that since they refused to continue their trade with this country, we had a right to prevent their trade with any other. This measure, according to a phrase current at the time, was in fact an extension of the Boston Port Bill; an extension of its penalties from one city to four provinces. This measure, I need scarcely say, or still less show, was calculated in no slight degree to heap fresh fuel on the flames already burning in America. With such a measure which another Act of this same Session extended to other provinces besides New England) any project of conciliation, according to the judgment passed upon it on the other side of the Atlantic, would be little better than a mockery. — A far more suitable accompaniment to that measure was afforded in the votes taken at this time for increasing the sea forces by 2,000, and the land forces by 4,300 men.
A few weeks afterwards the eloquence of Chatham (not perhaps his political courage or sagacity) was rivalled in the other House. On the 22d of March Mr. Burke moved certain Resolutions as the basis of conciliation with America. Though pointing in the same direction as Lord Chatham, these Resolutions were of far less bold and comprehensive character. Omitting all mention of the Congress, they declared in general terms the propriety of repealing several of the recent Acts, — of appointing the Judges during good behaviour, — of improving the Admiralty Courts, — and of leaving to the Provincial Assemblies the right of taxation. A long debate ensued, but finally theseResolutions were nega1775. RESOLUTIONS MOVED BY BtRKE.
tived by a large majority — 270 votes against 78. Burke's own speech on this occasion, as shortly afterwards reported and published by himself, may deserve to be ranked among the master-pieces of oratory from whatever age or whatever country derived. In this justly celebrated composition, and amidst its galaxy of beauties, no passage perhaps is entitled to higher admiration than the one portraying the friend in early days of Pope and Swift, — the father of Lord Chancellor Apsley, — the still surviving veteran Earl Bathurst. The growth of our commercial and colonial prosperity, said Burke , has happened within the short period of the life of man. There are those alive — Lord Bathurst for example — whose memory might touch the two extremes. "Suppose "then that in 1704,"—thus did Burke continue, — "Suppose, "Sir, that the angel of this auspicious youth, foreseeing the "many virtues which made him one of the most amiable as "he is one of the most fortunate men of his age, had opened "to him in vision that when in the fourth generation the "third prince of the House of Brunswick had sat twelve "years on the throne of that nation, which by the happy "issue of moderate and healing councils was to be made "Great Britain, he should see his son, Lord Chancellor of "England, turn back the current of hereditary dignity to its "fountain, and raise him to a higher rank of peerage, whilst "he enriched the family with a new one, — if amidst these "bright and happy scenes of domestic honour and prosperity "that angel should have drawn up the curtain and unfolded "the rising glories of his country, and whilst he was gazing "with admiration on the then commercial grandeur of England the Genius should point out to him a little speck, "scarce visible in the mass of the national interest, a small "seminal principle rather than a formed body, and should "tell him: 'Young man, there is America, which at this day "' serves for little more than to amuse you with stories of "'savage men and uncouth manners, yet shall before you "' taste of death show itself equal to the whole of that com'"merce which now attracts the envy of the world. What"'ever England has been growing to by a progressive in"' crease of improvement, brought in by varieties of people, "' by succession of civilizing conquests and civilizing settle'"ments in a series of seventeen hundred years, you shall "1 see as much added to her by America in the course of a "'single life,'— If this state of his country had been fore"told to him, would it not require all the sanguine credulity "of youth, and all the fervid glow of enthusiasm, to make "him believe it? Fortunate man, he has lived to see it! For"tunate indeed if he lives to see nothing that shall vary the "prospect and cloud the setting of his day!"*
• Speech of Burke, March22. 1775. On the 16th of September following, and at ninety-one years of age Lord Bathurst died.
The winter in Massachusetts had passed gloomily, amidst the din of controversies and the preparations for strife; the scene resembling two adverse camps in presence far rather than one united Colony. At Boston the Governor and the Governor's principal adherents maintained their station surrounded by the Royal troops. At Cambridge, on the other side of the bay, and afterwards at Waterton, an opposite authority, a new Provincial Congress, had assembled, with the popular feeling in their favour, and with several thousands of Militia or Minute-men under their command. No pains were spared by them both to increase and discipline this force. They passed Resolutions for the providing or making of fire-arms and bayonets; they decreed an issue of bills of credit; they formed a provincial arsenal at Concord, about eighteen miles inland; they exhorted the Militia to perfect themselves as speedily as possible in military exercises, and denounced all those who should presume to supply the troops of their Sovereign with building or military stores. But the most determined of all their measures was to enlist in their service a company of Minute-men from among the Stockbridge Indians residing in their province. Further still, they directed the writing of a secret letter, — and secret it has been kept for more than fifty years, — to a Missionary much esteemed by the Indians in the western parts of New York, entreating "that you will use your "influence with them to join with us in the defence of our "rights;" — in other words, to assail and scalp the British soldiers. * — It is worthy of remark that the Massachusetts
* This letter, dated Concord, April 4. 1775, and derived from the MS Journals of the Massachusetts Congress, may be seen at length in the Appendix to Mr. Sparks's edition of Washington's Writings, vol. iii. p. 495. The pretext assigned for the application was a rumour "that those who are "inimical to us in Canada have been tampering with these nations," — an assertion very easy to make.
delegates, the framers of this very letter, were among those who expressed the highest astonishment and indignation 'when at a later period a similar policy was adopted on the British side.
About a fortnight from the date of this letter, and towards the middle of April, General Gage determined to attempt the destruction of the stores collected at Concord. With this view he sent out a detachment of several hundred light troops under the command of Major Pitcairn and Lieutenant-Colonel Smith. In the night of the 18th these troops were conveyed in boats to the opposite shore. The utmost pains had been taken to keep the expedition secret; nevertheless the men had advanced only a few miles inland when it was perceived from the firing of guns and the ringing of bells that their purpose was known, and that the country was alarmed. In fact Dr. Warren, a physician and patriot at Boston, had succeeded in sending out messengers with early information. Marching all night the first ranks aboui five o'clock in the morning of the 19th reached Lexington, a small town about fifteen miles from Boston. Here they found a body of Militia belonging to the town and neighbourhood, amounting to seventy men, drawn out on the parade and under arms. It afterwards appeared that these arms, or some of them at least, were loaded. Major Pitcairn, who led the van, galloped up to inquire the cause of their assemblage. It is stated by the one side, but not acknowledged by the other, that he addressed them as "you rebels!" Certain it is that he bade them lay down their arms and disperse. The Americans showed no disposition to relinquish their arms, but they did begin to break their ranks and retire from the ground. Then it was that some firing occurred. According to the accounts of the British several muskets were discharged at them from behind a stone wall and from some adjoining houses, which wounded one man and shot Major Pitcairn's horse in two places; upon which they returned the fire. The Americans state, on the contrary, that the British fired first and without provocation.