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The officers, very generally I believe, behaved with politeness to the inhabitants; and many of them, upon going away, expressed their satisfaction that no injury to the city was contemplated by their commander. They said that living among the inhabitants, and speaking the same language, made them uneasy at the thought of acting as enemies.
At first, provisions were scarce and dear, and we had to live with much less abundance than we had been accustomed to. Hard money was, indeed, as difficult to come at as if it had never been taken from the mines, except with those who had things to sell for the use of the army.
The day of the battle of Germantown, we heard the firing all day, but knew not the result. Towards evening they brought in the wounded. The prisoners were carried to the state-house lobbies ; and the street was presently filled with women, taking lint and bandages, and every refreshment which they thought their suffering countrymen might want.
Gen. Howe, during the time he staid in Philadelphia, seized, and kept for his own use, Mary Pemberton's coach and horses_in which he used to ride about the town. The old officers appeared to be uneasy at his conduct, and some of them freely expressed their opinions. They said, that before his promotion to the chief command he sought for the counsels and company of officers of experience and merit; but now, his companions were usually a set of boys--the inost dissipated fellows in the army.
Lord Howe was much more sedate and dignified than his brother,--really dignified—for he did not seem to affect any pomp or parade.
They were exceedingly chagrined and surprised at the capture of Burgoyne, and at first would not suffer it to be mentioned. We had received undoubted intelligence of the fact, in a letter from Charles Thompson; and upon communicating this circumstance to Henry Gurney, his interrogatories forced an acknowledgment from some of the superior officers that it was, as he said, “ alas! too true!"
While the British remained, they held frequent plays at the Old Theatre—the performances by their officers. The scenes were painted by Major André and Capt. Delancy. They had also stated balls.-Letter from a Lady, in Watson's Annals.
The Meschianza was a magnificent fêtema combination of the regatta, the tournament, the banquet, and the ball-given in honor of Gen. Howe, by his field-officers, on the occasion of his departure for England, in May, 1778. The principal scenes were enacted at Mr. Wharton's country-seat, in Southwark; but a splendid spectacle was exhibited on the Delaware, by the procession of galleys and barges, which left the foot of Green-st., with the ladies, knights
, Lord and Gen. Howe, Gen. Kniphausen, &c., on board, with banners and music. The British men. of-war, the Vigilant, the Roebuck, and the Fanny, lay in the stream opposite the city; and the shores were crowded with British transport-ships, from which thousands of eager spectators watched the scene. Cheers and salutes of cannon greeted the procession. The principal actors in the pageant were the six Knights of the Blended Rose, splendidly arrayed in white and pink satin, with bonnets and nodding plumes, mounted on white steeds elegantly caparisoned, and attended by their squires. These knights were the champions of the Ladies of the Blended Rose, who were dressed in Turkish habits of rich white silk. To these were opposed the Knights of the Burning Mountain, dressed and mounted with equal splendor, and professing to defend the Ladies of the Burning Mountain. The names of the Ladies of the Blended Rose, as given by one of the actors in the pageant, were “Miss Auchmuty, (the daughter of a British officer,) Miss Peggy Chew, Miss Jenny Craig, Miss Williamina Bond, Miss Nancy White, and Miss Nancy Redman, The Ladies of the Burning Mountain, Miss Becky Franks, Miss Becky Bond, Miss Becky Redman, Miss Sally Chew, and Miss Williamina Smith”-only five; but Maj. André, in his account, gives it a little differently. In place of Miss Auchmuty, of the Blended Rose, he has Miss M. Shippen; and in place of Miss Franks, of the Burning Mountain, he has Miss S. Shippen, and in addition Miss P. Shippen.* The challenge given by the Knights of the Blended Rose was, that “the Ladies of the Blended Rose excel in wit, beauty, and every other accomplishment, all other ladies in the world; and if any knight or knights should be so hardy as to deny this, they are determined to support their assertions by deeds of arms, agreeable to the laws of ancient chivalry.” The challenge was of course accepted by the Knights of the Burning Mountain, and the tournament (not a real one, but a bloodless imitation) succeeded. After the tournament succeeded a grand triumphal procession, through an arch; and then a fite champetre, with dancing, supper, &c., enlivened by all the music of the army. Such were the scenes exhibited in Philadelphia, while the half-naked and half-starved officers and soldiers of the American army were suffering on the hills of Valley Forge. The accomplished and unfortunate Maj. André was one of the knights, and was, besides, the very life and soul of the occasion. He, with another officer, painted the scenery, and designed and sketched the dresses, both of the Knights and Ladies. One of these sketches, of a lady's dress, has been preserved by Mr. Watson, in the City Library. Where are now the lovely belles that figured in that brilliant pageant, and who “excelled all others in wit, beauty, and accomplishments ?” Sixty-five years have
* See the two descriptions, at length, in Hazard's Register, vol. iv., p. 100; and vol. xiv., p. 295.
passed since the event; and, if any are still living, they are the venerable aunts and grandmothers of eighty and eighty-five !—Abridged from Hazard's Register.
“ Even whig ladies went to the Meschianza, and to balls; but I knew of very few instances of attachments formed, nor, with the exception of one instance, of any want of propriety in behavior. When they left the city, [18th June, 17718,) the officers came to take leave of their acquaintance, and express their good wishes. It seemed to us that a considerable change had taken place, in their prospects of success, between the time of their entry and departure. They often spoke freely in conversation on these subjects.
“The Hon. Cosmo Gordon staid all night ant his quarters, and lay in bed so long, the next morning, that the family thought it but kind to waken him, and tell him his friends, the rebels, were in town. It was with great difficulty Kie procured a boat to put him over the Delaware. Perhaps he and his man were the last that e mbarked. Many soldiers hid themselves in cellars and other places, and staid behind-(I have bheard.) In two hours after we saw the last of them, our own dragoons galloped down the street.
“ When our own troops took possession of the city, Gen. Arnold, then flushed with the recent capture of Burgoyne, was appointed to the command of it, and his quarters, (as if we had been conquered from an enemy,) appointed at Henry Gurney's! They were appalled at the circumstance, but thought it prudent to make no resistance; when, to their agreeable surprise, his polite ness, and that of his aids, Maj. Franks and Capt. Clarkson, made the imposition set light, and in a few days he removed to Mrs. Master's house in Market-st., that had been occupied as head. quarters by Gen. Howe-where he entered upon a style of living but ill according with republi. can simplicity, giving sumptuous entertainments, that involved him in expenses and debt, and most probably laid the foundation, in his necessities and poverty, of his future deception and treason to his country. He married our Philadelphia. Miss Shippen.”—Lady, in Watson's Annals.
“When the American army entered Philadelphia, in June, 1778, after the evacuation by the British troops, we were hard pressed for ammunition. We caused the whole city to be ransacked in search of cartridge-paper. At length I thought of the garrets, &c., of old printing-offices. In that once occupied as a lumber-room by Dr. Franklin, when a printer, a vast collection was discovered. Among the mass was more than a cart-body load of Sermons on Defensive War, preached by a famous Gilbert Tenant, during the old British and French war, to rouse the colonists to indispensable exertion. These appropriate manifestoes were instantly employed as cases for musket-cartridges, rapidly sent to the army, came most opportunely, and were fired away at the battle of Monmouth, against our retiring foe."-Garden's Revolutionary Anecdotes.
In Jan. 1778, whilst the British troops were in possession of Philadelphia, some Americans, up the river Delaware, had formed a project of sending down, by the ebb-tide, a number of kegs charged with gunpowder, and furnished with machinery, so constructed that on the least touch of any thing obstructing their passage, they would immediately explode, with great force. The design was to injure the shipping, which lay at anchor opposite to the city, in such numbers that the kegs could not pass without encountering some of them. But, the very evening in which those machines were sent down, the first hard frost came on, and the shipping were hauled into the docks--so that the scheme failed. One of the kegs, however, happened to explode near the town. This gave a general alarm in the city--the wharves were filled with troops, and the greater part of a day spent in firing at every chip or stick that was seen floating on the river. For the kegs were sunk under water, nothing appearing on the surface but a small buoy. This circumstance gave occasion to the following publication, in the New Jersey Gazette :
Extract of a Letter, dated Philadelphia, Jan. 9, 1788. “This city hath been lately entertained with a most astonishing instance of the activity, bravery, and military skill of the royal army and navy of Great Britain. The affair is somewhat particular, and deserves your notice. Sometime last week, a keg of singular construction was observed floating in the river. The crew of a barge attempting to take it up, it suddenly exploded, killed four of the hands, and wounded the rest. On Monday last, some kegs of a similar con struction made their appearance. The alarm was immediately given. Various reports prevailed in the city, filling the royal troops with unspeakable consternation. Some asserted that these kegs were filled with armed rebels, who were to issue forth in the dead of night, as the Grecians did of old from the wooden horse, at the siege of Troy, and take the city by surprise ; declaring that they had seen the points of their bayonets sticking out of the bung-holes of the kegs. Others said that they were filled with inveterate combustibles, which would set the Delaware in flames, and consume all the shipping in the harbor ; whilst others conjectured that they were machines constructed by art magic, and expected to see them mount the wharves, and roll, all flaming with infernal fire, through the streets of the city. I say nothing as to these reports and apprehensions; but certain it is that the ships of war were immediately manned, and the wharves crowded with chosen men. Hostilities were commenced without much ceremony, and it was surprising to behold the incessant firing that was poured upon the enemy's kegs. Both officers and men exhibited unparalleled skill and prowess on the occasion; whilst the citizens stood gaping, as solemn witnesses of this dreadful scene. In truth, not a chip, stick, or drift-log passed
by, without experiencing the vigor of the British arms. The action began about sunrise, and would have terminated in favor of the British by noon, had not an old market-woman, in crossing the river with provisions, unfortunately let a keg of butter fall overboard; which, as it was then ebb-tide, floated down to the field of battle. At sight of this unexpected reinforcement of the enemy, the attack was renewed with fresh force; and the firing from the marine and land troops was beyond imagination, and so continued until night closed the conflict. The rebel kegs were either totally demolished, or obliged to fly, as none of them have shown their heads since. It is said that his excellency Lord Howe has dispatched a swift-sailing packet, with an account of this signal victory, to the court of London. In short, Monday, the of Jan. 1778, will be memorable in history for the renowned battle of the kegs."-American Museum, 1787.
THE BATTLE OF THE KEGS_BY FRANCIS HOPKINSON, Esq.* Gallants, attend, and hear a friend
“Arise, arise !" Sir Erskine cries; Trill forth harmonious ditty :
“ The rebels-more's the pityStrange things I'll tell, which late befell
Without a boat are all afloat, In Philadelphia city.
And rang'd before the city. 'Twas early day, as poets say,
“The motley crew, in vessels new, Just when the sun was rising,
With Satan for their guide, sir, A soldier stood on log of wood,
Pack'd up in bags, or wooden kegs, And saw a thing surprising.
Come driving down the tide, sir. As in amaze he stood to gaze,
“ Therefore prepare for bloody war(The truth can't be denied, sir,)
These kegs must all be routed, He spied a score of kegs, or more,
Or surely we despis'd shall be, Come floating down the tide, sir.
And British courage doubted." A sailor, too, in jerkin blue,
The royal band now ready stand, The strange appearance viewing,
All rang'd in dread array, sir, First d his eyes, in great surprise,
With stomach stout to see it out, Then said, “Some mischief's brewing.
And make a bloody day, sir. "These kegs, I'm told, the rebels hold, The cannons roar from shore to shore; like pickled herring;
The small-arms loud did rattle : And they've come down t'attack the town, Since wars began, I'm sure no man In this new way of ferry'ng."
Eer saw so strange a battle.
The rebel dales, the rebel vales,
With rebel trees surrounded,
With rebel echoes sounded. Now, up and down, throughout the town, The fish below swam to and fro, Most frantic scenes were acted ;
Attack'd from every quarter : And some ran here, and others there,
Why, sure, (thought they,) the devil's to pay Like men almost distracted.
'Mongst folks above the water. Some fire cried, which some denied,
The kegs, 'tis said, though strongly made But said the earth had quaked;
Of rebel staves and hoops, sir,
Could not oppose their powerful foes,
The conqu’ring British troops, sir.
From morn to night, these men of might Lay all this time a snoring ;
Display'd amazing courage;
And when the sun was fairly down
Retir'd to sup their porridge.
A hundred men, with each a pen,
Or more, upon my word, sir,
It is most true, would be too few “For God's sake, what's the matter ?"
Their valor to record, sir.
Such feats did they perform that day,
Against these wicked kegs, sir,
That, years to come, if they get home, And t'other in his hand, sir.
They'll make their boasts and brags, sir.
See note on page 581.
+ Sir William Howe.
1 Sir William Erskine
Franklin's Grave. The unostentatious grave of Doctor Franklin is in the northwest corner of the cemetery of Christ Church, at the southeast corner of Fifth and Arch streets. * The plain marble slab, (the one nearest the wall, as seen in the view,) is strictly in accordance with the directions in his will, which were as follows :—“ I wish to be buried by the side of my wife, if it may be, and that a marble stone to be made by Chambers, six feet long, four feet wide, plain, with only a small moulding round the upper edge, and this inscription,
be placed over us both.” The actual date on the stone is 1790. The similar stone by the side of it is that of his daughter Sarah and her husband, Richard Bache. The following epitaph is not on the stone. written by Franklin for himself in 1728, when he was only 22 years of age, as appears by the original, found among his papers, and from which this is a faithful copy:
Its contents torn out,
Lies here, food for worms.
But the work shall not be lost,
THE AUTHOR. Benjamin Franklin was born in Boston in 1705, and died in Philadel* It was said in the cotemporary papers at the time of his funeral, that this site was selected, "in order that, if a monument should be erected over his grave, it might be seen to more advan
phia 17th April, 1790. His biography would be too long, even were it not too well known, to be inserted here. One of the most interesting scenes in his life was his first arrival in Philadelphia in October, 1723, then at the age of 17. It is well known that he had been an apprentice in his brother's printing office in Boston; had disagreed with his brother, and had left home without the knowledge of his parents in a sloop for NewYork. Thence he had come on foot to Burlington, where he embarked in one of the passage boats that then plied between there and Philadelphia. The doctor says:
We arrived on Sunday about eight or nine o'clock in the morning and landed on Market-st. wharf. I have entered into the particulars of my voyage, and shall, in like manner, describe my first entrance into this city, that you may compare beginnings so little auspicious, with the figure I have since made.
On my arrival in Philadelphia I was in my working dress, my best clothes being to come by sea. I was covered with dirt : my pockets were filled with shirts and stockings ; I was unacquainted with a single soul in the place, and knew not where to look for a lodging. Fatigued with walking, rowing, and having passed the night without sleep, I was extremely hungry, and all my money consisted of a Dutch dollar, and about a shilling's worth of coppers, which I gave to the boatman for my passage. As I had assisted them in rowing, they refused it at first ; but I insisted on their taking it. man is sometimes more generous when he has little, than when he has much money; probably because, in the first case, he is desirous of concealing his poverty.
I walked towards the top of the street, looking eagerly on both sides, till I came to Marketst., where I met with a child with a loaf of bread. Often had I made my dinner on dry bread. I inquired where he had bought it, and went straight to the baker's shop which he pointed out to
I asked for some biscuits, expecting to find such as we had at Boston ; but they made, it seems, none of that sort at Philadelphia. I then asked for a three-penny loaf. They made no loaves of that price. Finding myself ignorant of the prices, as well as of the different kinds of bread, I desired him to let me have three-pennyworth of bread of some kind or other. He gave me three large rolls. I was surprised at receiving so much. I took them, however, and having no room in my pockets, I walked on with a roll under each arm, eating the third. In this manner I went through Market-street to Fourth-street, and passed the house of Mr. Reed, the father of my future wife. She was standing at the door, observed me, and thought, with reason, that I made a very singular and grotesque appearance.
I then turned the corner, and went through Chestnut-street, eating my roll all the way; and having made this round, I found myself again on Market-streect wharf, near the boat in which I arrived. I stepped into it to take a draught of the river water; and, finding myself satisfied with the first roll, I gave the other two to a woman and her child, who had come down the river with us in the boat, and was waiting to continue her journey. Thus refreshed, I regained the street, which was now full of well-dressed people, all going the same way. I joined them, and was thus led to a large Quaker meeting-house near the market-place. I sat down with the rest, and, after looking around me for some time, hearing nothing said, and being drowsy from my last night's labor and want of rest, I fell into a sound sleep. In this state I continued till the assem. bly dispersed, when one of the congregation had the goodness to wake me. This was consequently the first house I entered, or in which I slept in Philadelphia.
I began again to walk along the street by the river-side ; and, looking attentively in the face of every one I met with, I at length perceived a young Quaker whose countenance pleased me. I accosted him, and begged him to inform me where a stranger might find a lodging. We were then near the sign of the Three Mariners. They receive travellers here, said he, but it is not a house that bears a good character; if you will go with me, I will show you a better one. He conducted me to the Crooked Billet, in Water-street. There I ordered something for dinner, and, during my meal, a number of curious questions were put to me; my youth and appearance exciting the suspicion of my being a runaway. After dinner my drowsiness returned, and I threw myself upon a bed without taking off my clothes, and slept till six o'clock in the evening, when I was called to supper. I afterwards went to bed at a very early hour, and did not awake till the next morning. tage." It is perhaps better that the grave should be left with the simple monument prescribed by his will : but could not some expedient be adopted by which not only citizens but strangers might be indulged with a sight of this interesting spot? It is now seldom that either have the opportunity. The process of hunting up a sexton to unlock the gate of the cemetery is neither agreeable nor convenient. If one or two rods of neat and appropriate iron railing were inserted in the brick wall at this point, every person might view the grave without inconvenience.-D.