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in Andover, he was struck by a flash of lightning; his soul was instantly liberated from its shattered tenement, and sent into eternity.
It is a singular coincidence, that he often expressed a wish for such a fate. He told his sister, Mrs. Warren, after his reason was impaired, “ My dear sister, I hope when God Almighty in his righteous providence shall take me out of time into eternity, that it will be by a flash of lightning;" and this idea he often repeated.
There is a degree of consolation blended with awe in the manner of his death, and a soothing fitness in the sublime accident which occasioned it. The end of his life was ennobled, when the ruins of a great mind, in-' stead of being undermined by loathsome and obscure disease, were demolished at once by a bright bolt from heaven,
His body was taken to Boston, and his funeral was attended with every mark of respect, and exhibited one of the most numerous processions ever seen in the town.
Mr. Otis was one of the master-spirits who began and conducted an opposition, which, at first, was only designed to counteract and defeat an arbitrary administration, but which ended in a revolution, emancipated a continent, and established by the example of its effects, a lasting influence on all the governments of the civilized world.
He espoused the cause of his country, not merely because it was popular, but because he said that its progperity, freedom, and honour, would be all diminished, if the usurpation of the British parliament was successful. His enemies constantly represented him as a demagogue, yet no man was less so. His character was too liberal, proud, and honest, to play that part. He led public opinion by the energy which conscious strength, elevated views, and quick feelings inspire, and was followed with that deference and reliance which great talents instinctively command. These were the qualifications that made him, for many years, the oracle and guide of the patriotic party.
As in every case of public or private oppression, he was willing to volunteer in the cause of the suffering, and in many instances, where he thought the occasion would justify it, he employed his talents gratuitously; his enemies were forced to acknowledge his liberality.
He was a man of powerful genius, and ardent temper, with wit and humour that never failed: as an orator, he was bold, argumentative, impetuous, and commanding, with an eloquence that made his own excitement irresistibly contagious; and as a lawyer, his knowledge and ability placed him at the head of his profession; and as a scholar, he was rich in acquisition, and governed by a classic taste; as a statesman and civilian, he was sound and just in his views; as a patriot, he resisted all allurements that might weaken the cause of that country, to which he devoted his life, and for which he sacrificed it. The future historian of the United States, in considering the foundation of American independence, will find that one of the corner stones must be inscribed with the name of Janes Otis.
PRESCOTT, WILLIAM, was an officer distinguished by the most determined bravery, and became conspicu. ous as an American officer, from the circumstance of his having commanded the American troops at the battle of Bunker's Hill, on the memorable 17th of June, 1775. He was born in 1726, at Goshen, in Massachusetts, and was a lieutenant of the provincial troops at the capture of Cape Breton, in 1758. The British general was so much pleased with his conduct in that campaign, that he offered him a commission in the regular army, which he declined, to return home with his countrymen. From this time till the approach of the revolutionary war, he remained on his farm in Pepperel, filling various municipal offices, and enjoying the esteem and affection of his fellow citizens. As the difficulties between the mother country and the colonies grew more serious, he took a deeper and more decided part in public affairs.
In 1774, he was appointed to command a regiment of minute men, organized by the provincial congress.
Hc marched his regiment to Lexington, immediately on
receiving notice of the intended operations of general Gage against Concord; but the British detachment had Tetreated before he had time to meet it: He then proceeded to Cambridge, and entered the army that was ordered to be raised; and the greater part of his officers and privates volunteered to serve with him for the first campaign.
On the 16th June, three regiments were placed under him, and he was ordered to Charlestown in the evening, to take possession of Bunker's Hill, and throw up works for its defence. When they reached the ground, it was perceived that Breed's Hill, which is a few rods south of Bunker's Hill, was the most suitable station. The troops under the direction of colonel Gridley, an able engineer, were busily engaged in throwing up a small redoubt and breast-work, which latter was formed by placing two rail fences near together, and filling the interval with the new mown hay lying on the ground. "There was something in the rustic materials of these defences, hastily inade, in a short summer's night, within gunshot of a powerful enemy, that was particularly apposite to a body of armed husbandmen, who had rushed to the field at the first sound of alarm.
As soon as these frail works were discovered the next morning, the British commander made preparations to get possession of them. General Howe, with various detachments, amounting to near five thousand men, was ordered to dislodge the “rebels.” The force which colonel Prescott could command for the defence of the redoubt and reast-work, was about twelve hundred men. Very few of these had ever seen an action. They had been labouring all night in creating these defences; and the redoubt, if it could be so called, was open on two sides. Instead of being relieved by fresh troops, as they had expected, they were left without supplies of ammupition or refreshment; and thus fatigued and destitute, they had to bear the repeated assaults of a numerous, well appointed, veteran army. They destroyed nearly as many of their assailants, as the whole of their own aumber engaged; and they did not retreat until their ammunition was exhausted, and the enemy, supplied with fresh troops and cannon, completely overpowered them.. Colonel Prescott lost nearly one quarter of his own regiment in the action. When General Warren came upon the hill, Colonel Prescott asked him if he had any orders to give: he answered, “No, colonel, I am only a volunteer; the command is yours.” When he was at length forced to tell his men to retreat as well as they could, he was one of the last who left the intrenchment. He was so well satisfied with the bravery of his compa. nions, and convinced that the enemy were disheartened by the severe and unexpected loss which they had sustained, that he requested the commander in chief to give him two regiments, and he would retake the position the same night.
He continued in the service until the beginning of 1777, when he resigned and returned to his home: but in the autumn of that year, he went as a volunteer to the northern army under general Gates, and assisted in the capture of general Burgoyne. This was his last military service. He was subsequently, for several years, a member of the legislature, and died in 1795, in the seventieth year of his age.
Colonel Prescott was a genuine specimen of an energetic, brave, and patriotic citizen, who was ready in the hour of danger, to place himself in the van, and partake in all the perils of his country; feeling anxious for its prosperity, without caring to share in its emoluments; and maintaining beneath a plain exterior and simple habits, a dignified pride in his native land, and a highininded love of freedom.
The immediate results of this engagement were great and various. Though the Americans were obliged to yield the ground for want of ammunition, yet their defeat was substantially a triumph. The actual loss of the British army was severe, and was deeply felt by themselves and their friends. The charm of their invincibility was broken. The hopes of the whole continent were raised. It was demonstrated, that although they might burn towns, or overwhelm raw troops by superior discipline and numbers, yet the conquest at least would not be an easy one. Those patriots, who, under the most arduous responsibility, at the peril of every thing which men of sense and virtue can value, hazarded in the support of public principles, present ruin and future disgrace, though they felt this onset to be only the begin. ning of a civil war, yet were invigorated by its results, which cleared away some painful uncertainties; while the bravery and firmness that had been displayed by their countrymen, inspired a more positive expectation of being ultimately triumphant.
In the life of James Otis, by William Tudor, of Boston, from which work the foregoing is taken, the following note is made relative to the battle.
" The anxiety and various emotions of the people of Boston, on this occasion, had a highly dramatic kind of interest. Those who sided with the British troops began to see even in the duration of this battle, the possibility that they had taken the wrong side, and that they might become exiles from their country. While those whose whole soul was with their countrymen, were in dreadful apprehension for their friends, in a contest, the severity of which was shown by the destruction of so many of their enemies.
“ After the battle had continued for some time, a young person living in Boston, possessed of very keen and generous feelings, bordering a little perhaps on the romantic, as was natural to her age, sex, and lively imagination, finding that many of the wounded troops brought over from the field of action were carried by her residence, mixed a quantity of refreshing beverage, and with a female domestic by her side, stood at the door, and offered it to the sufferers as they were borne along, burning with fever, and parched with thirst. Several of them, grateful for the kindness, gave her, as they thought, consolation, by assuring her of the destruction of her countrymen. One young officer said, “never mind 'it, my young lady, we have peppered 'em well, depend upon it.' Her dearest feelings, deeply interested in the opposite camp, were thus unintentionally lacerated, while she was pouring oil and wine into their wounds.
General Henry Lee, in his Memoirs of the War in the Southern Department, makes the following remark, in relation to Prescott and his gallant band :
“ When future generations shall inquire, where are the men who gained the brightest prize of glory in the arduous contest which ushered in our nation's birth? upon