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the hun n of vite
TO THE LITTLE BEACH BIRD.
Thou little bird, thou dweller by the sea,
Why with that boding cry
O'er the waves dost thou fly?
Through the fair land rejoice!
į efect der met
Thy flitting form comes ghostly dim and pale,
Thy cry is weak and scared,
As if thy mates had shared
What does it bring to me?
Thou call'st along the sand, and haunt'st the surge,
With motion, and with roar
Of waves that drive to shore,
The Mystery—the Word.
underet al in diet
Of thousands, thou, both sepulchre and pall,
From out thy gloomy cells
A tale of mourning tells
His sinless glory fled.
Then turn thee, little bird, and take thy flight
Thy spirit never more.
Come, quit with me the shore,
Where birds of summer sing.
LETTERS ILLUSTRATING THE EARLY PERIOD OF THE AMERICAN
[We continue the extracts from the correspondence of the distinguished actors in our revolutionary war, with the Hon. Joseph Palmer, commenced in our eighth number.]
FROM GENERAL WASHINGTON.
Cambridge, August 7th, 1775. Your favour of yesterday came duly to my hands ; as I did not consider local appointments as having any operation upon the general one, I had partly engaged (at least in my own mind) the office of Quarter Master General before
favour was presented to me. In truth, sir, I think it sound policy to bestow offices indiscriminately among gentleman of the different governments, for as all bear a proportionable part towards the expense of this war, if no gentleman out of these four governments come in for any share of the appointments, it may be apt to create jealousies, which will, in the end, give a disgust. For this reason, I would earnestly recommend it to your board to provide for some of the volunteers who are come from Pbiladelphia with very warm recommendations, though strangers to me. In respect to the boats, &c. from Salem, I doubt, in the first place, whether they could be brought over by land ; in the second place, I am sure nothing could ever be executed by surprise, as I am well convinced that nothing is transacted in our camp or lines but what is known in Boston in less than twenty-four hours. Indeed, circumstanced as we are, it is scarce possible to be otherwise, unless we were to stop the communication between the country, and our camp and lines, in which case we should render our supplies of milk, vegetables, &c. difficult and precarious. We are now building a kind of floating battery; when that is done, and the utility of it discovered, I may possibly apply for timber to build more, as circumstances shall require."
FROM GENERAL WASHINGTON.
Cambridge, August 22d, 1775. In answer to your favour of yesterday, I must inform you, that I have often been told of the advantages of Point Alderton with respect to its command of the shipping going in and out of Boston harbour; and that it has, before now, been the object of my particular inquiries. That I find the accounts differ exceedingly in regard to the distance of the ship channel, and that there is a passage on the other side of the Light House Island for all vessels except ships of the first rate. My know
ledge of this matter would never have rested upon inquiries only, if I had found myself, at any one time since I came to this place, in a condition to have taken such a post. But it becomes my duty to consider not only what place is advantageous, but what number of men are necessary to defend it; how they can be supported in case of an attack; how they may retreat if they cannot be supported; and what stock of ammunition we are provided with for the purpose of self-defence, or annoyance of the enemy. In respect to the first, I conceive our defence must be proportioned to the attack of General Gage's whole force, leaving him just enough to man his lines on Charleston Neck and Roxbury; and with regard to the second, and most important object, we have only 134 barrels of powder in all, which is not sufficient to give thirty musket cartridges a man, and scarce enough to serve the artillery in any brisk action a single day.
Would it be prudent, then, in me, under these circumstances, to take a post thirty miles distant from this place, when we already have a line of circumvallation at least ten miles in extent, any part of which may be attacked (if the enemy will keep their own counsel) without our having one hour's previous notice of it? Or is it prudent to attempt a measure which necessarily would bring on a consumption of all the ammunition we have, thereby leaving the army at the mercy of the enemy, or to disperse, and the country to be ravaged and laid waste at discretion. To you, sir, who are a well wisher to the cause, and can reason upon the effects of such conduct, I may open myself with freedom, because no improper discoveries will be made of our situation; but I cannot expose my weakness to the enemy (though I believe they are pretty well informed of every thing that passes) by telling this and that man, who are daily pointing out this, that, and the other place, of all the motives that govern my actions ; notwithstanding I know what will be the consequence of not doing it, namely, that I shall be accused of inattention to the public service, and perhaps with want of spirit to prosecute it, but this shall have no effect upon my conduct. I will steadily (as far as my judgment will assist me) pursue such measures as I think most conducive to the interest of the cause, and rest satisfied under any obloquy that shall be thrown, conscious of having discharged my duty to the best of my abilities.
I am obliged to you, however, as I shall be to every gentleman, for pointing out any measure which is thought conducive to the public good, and will cheerfully follow any advice which is not inconsistent with, but correspondent to the general plan in view, and practicable under such particular circumstances as govern
in cases of the like kind. In respect to Point Alderton, I was no longer ago than Monday last talking to General Thomas on this head, and proposing to send Colonel Putnam down to take distances, &c. but considered it could answer no end but to alarm and make the enemy more viuilant; unless we were in a condition to possess the post to effect, I thought it as well to postpone the matter a while.
FROM R. T. PAINE.
Philadelphia, March 6th, 1776. I have written Mr. Cushing a long letter on cannon foundery, which you will see.
I am desirous to have cannon founding set up our way
have ore. Thus, my friend, you find a lawyer, whose business is scientific, labouring through a long detail of the mechanism of cannon foundery; let not this surprise you, for if cannon are the ultima ratio, surely a discourse on them must be chopping logic.
In search of true freedom in vain do we roam,
To hold it for ever we must find it at home. America never can support her freedom till we have a sufficient source of arms and ammunition of all species among ourselves, and the more these sources are distributed among the colonies, the greater the security of external and internal peace. In pursuance of this idea, I am of a committee who are labouring to push saltpetre and gunpowder making through all the colonies, and are also devising methods to establish a regular and extensive manufacture of muskets, and hope soon to exhibit.
When I began, I intended to have answered some of your political observations, but having exerted myself so much on the sine qua non, you will neither doubt my orthodoxy, nor expect my answers, till I have taken breath from writing, and you from reading."
FROM R. T. PAINE.
Philadelphia, April 2d, 1776. The evacuation of Boston by the king's troops, and the repossession of it by the right owners, agitates my mind with a thousand queries and calculations. As yet we know so little of the state in which they have left the town in general, or the possessions of individuals in particular, that I do not consider myself as yet come to my feelings about the matter; amidst all the joys there must be many scenes of distressing wo.
not the least reason to doubt the general court will direct many circumstances relating to this occurrence with wisdom and expedition ; if, therefore, I mention some matters that occur to me, I trust you will attribute it rather to my desire to help in the common cause, than to an inclination to direct.
Would it not be serviceable to appoint some honest, skilful persons, to take an account of all damage done to the houses, furniture, goods, merchandise, and property of every kind, and by whom done, as near as may be; this may be applied to two uses at least, first, to make a fair representation to the world of the injury done us ; (what use this may be applied to we do not yet know ;) and also sufferers may expect and receive, perhaps, some compensation, which, without such an early estimate, may be very unequally distributed.
I wish, also, that those persons who have tarried in town through the whole siege, who are most capable, might be called upon to draw up as correct a narrative of the whole proceedings of the enemy, and the distress of the inhabitants, and
particularly the behaviour of the tories, collectively and individually, as may be. I should think it by no means advisable to destroy our lines as yet; if it be in the power of the exiled tories to cause the town to be again attacked they will effect it; I doubt not there will be great consultations to fortify the harbour against men-of-war; if we have cannon enough it may be done. I wish much to know what is become of the cannon that belonged to the castle; I fear they are carried off or destroyed. Those cannon which they have spiked up may easily be bored out.
The scene of action is only changed; the efforts of the enemy will be more vigorous elsewhere. I mention this, because I can easily conceive, that people who have been long harassed are too apt to sink into ease when immediate danger seems to be withdrawn. Canada and New-York are now grand objects of attention, and very interesting to New-England.
Pray be kind enough to send me as particular an account of the state of affairs in Boston as you conveniently can; who of the tories are left behind ; how they behave, and what they say for themselves? Whether Master Lowel and other prisoners were carried off? whether they have taken away the bells ? whether any quantity of merchandise is left? any sulphur or other matters that we want? any cash? are the records of the province, superior and inferior and probate courts, left? Have they carried off the lifeless carcase of the charter, as one of their own party that was slain, or have they left it putrefying to contaminate the air? These, and such other matters as you