Abbildungen der Seite


He saw the mansion, — all repose, —
Great corridors and porticos
Propped with the columns' shining rows;
And these — for beauty was the rule—
The polished pavements, hard and cool,
Redoubled, like a crystal pool.

And there the odorous feast was spread:
The fruity fragrance widely shed
Seemed to the floating music wed.
Seven angels, like the Pleiad Seven,
Their lips to silver clarions given,
Blew welcome round the walls of heaven.

In skyey garments, silky thin,
The glad retainers floated in, —
A thousand forms, and yet no din:
And from the visage of the Lord,
Like splendor from the Orient poured,
A smile illumined all the board.

Far flew the musie's circling sound,
Then floated back with soft rebound,
To join, not mar, the converse round, —
Sweet notes that melting still increased,
Such as ne'er cheered the bridal feast
Of king in the enchanted East.

Did any great door ope on close,
It seemed the birth-time of repose, —
The faint sound died where it arose;
And they who passed from door to door,
Their soft feet on the polished floor
Met their soft shadows, — nothing more.

Then once again the groups were drawn
Through corridors, or down the lawn,
Which bloomed in beauty like a dawn:
Where countless fountains leap alway,
Veiling their silver heights in spray,
The choral people held their way.

There, 'mid the brightest, brightly shone
Dear forms he loved in years agone, —
The earliest loved, — the earliest flown:
He heard a mother's sainted tongue,
A sister's voice who vanished young,
While one still dearer sweetly sung!

No further might the scene unfold,
The gazer's voice could not withhold,
The very rapture made him bold:

He cried aloud, with clasped hands,
"O happy fields! O happy bands,
Who reap the never-failing lands!

"O master of these broad estates,

Behold, before your very gates

A worn and wanting laborer waits!

Let me but toil amid your grain,

Or be a gleaner ou the plain,

So I may leave these fields of pain!

"A gleaner, I will follow far,
With never look or word to mar,
Behind the Harvest's yellow car:
All day my hand shall constant be,
And every happy eve shall see
The precious burden borne to Thee!"

At morn some reapers neared the place,
Strong men, whose feet recoiled apace,—
Then gathering round the upturned face,
They saw the lines of pain and care,
Yet read in the expression there
The look as of an answered prayer.


In the first week of March, 1C89, Sir fees were demanded for the transaction Edmund Andros returned to Boston from of business in the courts and public offian expedition against the Indians of ces. Town-meetings were forbidden, exMaine. He had now governed New cept one to be held in each year for the England more than two years for King choice of assessing-officers. The ancient James IL, imitating, in his narrow titles to land in the Colony were deelarspbere, the insolent despotism of bis ed to be worthless, and proprietors were master. required to secure themselves by taking

The people had no share in the gov- out new patents from the Governor, for

ernment, which was conducted by An- which high prices were extorted. Com

dros with the aid of Counsellors appoint- plaint of these usurpations was severely

ed by the King. Some of these were punished by fine and imprisonment. An

the Governor's creatures, — English ad- order that "no«man should remove out

.venturers, who came to make their for- of the country without the Governor's

tunes. Their associates of a difl'ercnt char- leave" cut off whatever small chance

acter were so treated that they absent- existed of obtaining redress in England,

ed themselves from the Council - Board, The religious feelings of the people were

and at length not even formal meetings outraged. The Governor directed the

.were held. Heavy taxes were arbitrarily opening of the Old South Church in

imposed on the inhabitants. Excessive Boston for worship according to the


English ritual. If the demand had been for the use of the building for a mass, or for a carriage-house for Juggernaut, it would scarcely have given greater displeasure.

Late in the autumn of 1688, the Governor had led a thousand New-England soldiers into Maine against the Indians. His operations there were unfortunate. The weather was cold and stormy. The fatigue of long marches through an unsettled country was excessive. Sickness spread among the companies. Shelter and hospital-stores had been insufficiently provided. The Indians fled to the woods, and there laughed at the invader.

The costliness, discomforts, and miserable ill-success of this expedition, while they occasioned clamor in the camp, sharpened the discontents existing at the capital. Suspicions prevailed of treachery on the Governor's part, for he was well known to be without the excuse of incompetence. Plausible stories were told of his being in friendly relations with the murderous Indians. An apprehension that he was instructed by his Popish master to turn New England over to the French, in the contingency of a popular outhreak in England, was confirmed by reports of French men-ofwar hovering along the coast for the consummation of that object. When, in mid-winter, Andros was informed of the fears, entertained at Court of a movement of the Prince of Orange, he issued a proclamation, commanding His Majesty's subjects in New England, and especially all officers, civil and military, to be on the alert, should any foreign fleet approach, to resist such landing or invasion as might be attempted. Not causelessly, even if unjustly, the Governor's object was understood to be to hold New England for King Jan«?s, if possible, should the parent-country reassert its rights.

Of course, no friendly welcome met him, when, on the heels of his proclamation, he returned to Boston from the Eastern Country. He was himself so out of humor as to be hasty and imprudent, and

one of his first acts quickened the popular resentment . The gloomy and jealous state of men's minds had gained some degree of credit for a story that he had furnished the hostile natives w ith ammunition for the destruction of the force under his command. An Indian declared, in the hearing of some inhabitants of Sudbury, that he knew this to be true. Two of the townsmen took the babbler to Boston, ostensibly to be punished for his license of speech. The Governor treated the informers with great harshness, put them under heavy bonds, and sent one of them to jail. The comment of the time was not unnatural nor uncandid: — "Although no man does accuse Sir Edmund merely upon Indian testimony, yet let it be duly weighed whether it might not create suspicion and an astonishment in the people of New England, in that he did not punish the Indians who thus charged him, but the English who complained of them for it."

The nine-days' wonder of this transaction was not over, when tidings of far more serious import claimed the public ear. On the fourth day of April, a young man named John Winslow arrived at Boston from the Island of Nevis, bringing a copy of the Declarations issued by the Prince of Orange on his landing in England. Winslow's story is best told in the words of an affidavit made by him some months after.

"Being at Nevis," he says, "there came in a ship from some part of England with the Prince of Orange's Declarations, and brought news also of his happy proceedings in England, with his entrance there, which was very welcome news to me, and I knew it would be so to the rest of the people in New England; and I, being bound thither, and very willing to convey such good news with me, gave four shillings sixpence for the said Declarations, on purpose to let the people in New England understand what a speedy deliverance they might expect from arbitrary power. We arrived at Boston harbor the fourth day of April following; and as soon as I came home to my house, Sir Edmund Andros, understanding I brought the Prince's Declarations with me, sent the Sheriff to me^ So I went along with him to the Governor's house, and, as soon as I came in, he asked me why I did not come and tell him the news. I told him I thought it not my duty, neither was it customary for any passenger to go to the Governor, when the master of the ship had been with him before, and told him the news. He asked me where the Declarations I brought with me were. I told him I could not tell, being afraid to let him have them, because he would not let the people know any news. He told me I was a saucy fellow, and bid the Sheriff carry me away to the Justices of the Peace; and as we were going, I told the Sheriff I would choose my Justice. He told me, No, I must go before Dr. Bullivant, one picked on purpose (as I judged) for the business. Well, I told him, I did not care who I went before, for I knew my cause was good. So soon as I came* in, two more of the Justices dropped in, Charles Lidgett and Francis Foxcroft, such as the former, fit for the purpose. So they asked me for my papers. I told them I would not let them have them, by reason they kept all the news from the people. So when they saw they could not get what I bought with my money, they sent me to prison for bringing traitorous and treasonable libels and papers of news, notwithstanding I offered them security to the value of two thousand pounds."

The intelligence which reached Winslow at Nevis, and was brought thence by him to Boston, could scarcely have embraced transactions in England of a later date than the first month after the landing of the Prince of Orange. Within that time, the result of the expedition was extremely doubtful. There had been no extensive rising against the King, and every day of delay was in his favor. He had a powerful army and fleet, and it had been repeatedly shown how insecure were any calculations upon popular discontent in England, when an occasion arose for putting English loyalty to the

last proof. Should the clergy, after all, be true to their assertions of the obligation of unqualified obedience,—should the army be faithful,—should the King, by artifice or by victory, attract to his side the wavering mass of his subjects, and expel the Dutch invader, — there would be an awful reckoning for all who had taken part against the Court. The proceedings after the insurrection under Monmouth had not entirely shown how cruel James could be. His position then had been far less critical than now. Then he enjoyed some degree of popular esteem, and the preparations against him were not on a formidable scale. Now he was thoroughly frightened. In proportion to his present alarm would be his fury, if he should come off victorious. The last chance was pending. If now resisted in vain, he would be henceforward irresistible. Englishmen who should now oppose their king must be sure to conquer him, or they lost all security for property, liberty, and life. Was it any way prudent for the feeble colony of Massachusetts, divided by parties, and with its administration in the hands of a tool of the tyrant, to attempt to throw itself into the contest at this doubtful stage?

It is unavoidable to suppose that these considerations were anxiously weighed by the patriots of Massachusetts after the reception of the intelligence from England. It is natural to believe, that, during the fortnight which followed, there were earnest arguments between the more and the less sanguine portions of the people. It seems probable that the leaders, who had most to fear from rashness, if it should be followed by defeat, pleaded for forbearance, or at least for delay. If any of them took a different part, they took it warily, and so as not to be publicly committed. But the people's blood was up. Though any day now might bring tidings which would assure them whether a movement of theirs would be safe or disastrous, their impatience could not be controlled. If the leaders would not lead, some of the followers must take their places. Massachusetts must at all events have her share in the struggle,—and her share, if King James should conquer, in the ruin.

It may be presumed that Andros saw threatening signs, as, when next heard of, he was within the walls of the work on Fort Hill. Two weeks had passed after Winslow came with his news, when suddenly, at an early hour of the day, without any note of preparation, Boston was all astir. At the South end of the town a rumor spread that armed men were collecting at the North end. At the North it was told that there was a bustle and a rising at the South; and a party having found Captain George, of the Rose frigate, on shore, laid hands on him, and put him under a guard. "About nine of the clock the drums beat through the town, and an ensign was set up upon the beacon." Presently Captain Hill marched his company up King [State] Street, escorting Bradstreet, Danforth, Richards, Cooke, Addington, and others of the old Magistrates, who proceeded together to the Council-Chamber. Meantime, Secretary Randolph, Counsellor Bullivant, Sheriff Sherlock, and "many more" of the Governor's party, were apprehended and put in gaol. The gaoler was added to their company, and his function was intrusted to "Scates, the bricklayer."

About noon, the gentlemen who had been conferring together in the CouncilChamber appeared in the eastern gallery of the Town-House in King Street, and there read to (he assembled people what was entitled a "Declaration of the Gentlemen, Merchants, and Inhabitants of Boston, and the Country Adjacent." The document contains a brief narrative of the oppressions that had been suffered by the Colony, under the recent maladministration. Towards the end it refers in a few words to "the noble undertaking of the Prince of Orange, to preserve the three kingdoms from the horrible brinks of Popery and Slavery, and to bring to a condign punishment those worst of men by whom English liberties have been destroyed." One point was

delicate; for among the recent Counsellors of the Governor had been considerable men, who, it was hoped, would hereafter act with the people. It is thus disposed of:—"All the Council were not engaged in these ill actions, but those of them which were true lovers of their country were seldom admitted to, and seldomer consulted at, the debates which produced these unrighteous things. Care was taken to keep them under disadvantages, and the Governor, with five or six more, did what they would." The Declaration concludes as follows: —

"We do therefore seize upon the persons of those few ill men which have been (next to our sins) the grand authors of our miseries; resolving to secure them, for what justice, orders from his Highness, with the English Parliament, shall direct, lest, ere we are aware, we find (what we may fear, being on all sides in danger) ourselves to be by them given away to a foreign power before such orders can reach' unto us; for which orders we now humbly wait . In the mean time, firmly believing that we have endeavored nothing but what mere duty to God and our country calls for at our hands, we commit our enterprise unto the blessing of Him who hears the cry of the oppressed, and advise all our neighbors, for whom we have thus ventured ourselves, to join with us in prayers and all just actions for the defence of the land."

Andros sent the son of the Chief Justice with a message to the ministers, and to two or three other considerable citizens, inviting them to the Fort for a conference, which they declined. Meanwhile the signal on Beacon Hill had done its office, and by two o'clock in the afternoon, in addition to twenty companies in Boston under arms, several hundred soldiers were seen on the Charlestown side, ready to cross over. Fifteen principal gentlemen, some of them lately Counsellors, and others Assistants under the old Charter, signed a summons to Andros. "We judge it necessary," they wrote, "you forthwith surrender and deliver up the government and fortification, to be

« ZurückWeiter »