and I heard no more of them till the next night at ten o'clock. In the mean time I sent my own father and mother in my horse and chaise to a Mr. Blair's in Newtown. Afterwards I took my children and went to the house of a Mr. Pigeon in another part of Newtown, and took possession of his house, he having fled still further from the scene of strife. Here I waited anxiously for the return of my husband and father. I had begun to despair, when they galloped up to the house. They had ridden the whole day, and my husband had completely ruined a beautiful horse, called the Rising Sun, which he had given me, as a bridal present. My father was nearly killed by this day of toil. He had to be listed from his horse, and was borne into the house and laid on the parlor floor. He was so exhausted as to be unable to speak or move, and it was many hours, under the most judicious treatment, before he showed any encouraging signs of animation.” “I used to go to Watertown every day, and on the 15th of June following, I met Gen. Warren for the last time. He had been our family physician, and I am sure that I liked him better than any body except my husband. He was a handsome man and wore a tie wig. He had a fine color and bright blue eyes. He dined with us, and while at dinner said to me, ‘Come my little girl, drink a glass of wine with me for the last time, for I am going upon the hill to-morrow, and I shall never come off.” The next day I rose very early, and could hear the cannon from Bunker's Hill and see the smoke of burning Charlestown. I hastened to Watertown to hear the news. Gen. Warren's servant met me in front of our house and seizing my horse's head, exclaimed, “Oh missee, missee 1 the devils hab killed my master.” The tears ran down his cheeks. I saw Dr. John Warren, the brother of the general. He

was much affected, and gave me all the papers he could collect, which belonged to his brother. I spent most of the summer at a little farmhouse on the estate of Mr. Pigeon. My husband was still engaged in the duties of quarter master general.” The first record of Gen. Joseph Palmer's public life, that is to be found, is on the 6th of Sept., 1774, where he is moderator of a meeting at the house of Mr. R. Woodward of Dedham. This was a meeting of delegates from every town and district in Suffolk, (which county then included all that is now Suffolk and Norfolk.) A very noble report was made by this meeting. It begins with an expression of allegiance to King George, but goes on to protest against late acts of the British Parliament, suspends the allegiance of the people to the present unconstitutional government, (as they deem it,) and recommends abstaining from British merchandise; appoints a committee, of which Mr. Palmer is one, to encourage domestic arts and manufactures; and while it earnestly recommends the abstaining from all riots, proposes regular measures of opposition. The report is amply worth reading, as an expression of the wisdom and spirit of the time, and may be found in the appendix of William Lincoln's “History of the Massachusetts Provincial Congress.” When the first provincial congress was organized, October 7th, 1774, we find Mr. Palmer one. It is well known that Gen. Gage summoned the general court of Massachusetts to meet Oct. 5th, 1774. Mr. Palmer was one of the three members from Braintree. When, “on account of the rebellious movements in the province,” Gen. Gage countermanded his order, ninety of the court, nevertheless, assembled at Salem, the appointed place, and waiting two days in vain for Gen. Gage, organized themselves as a Provincial Congress, “to take into consideration the dangerous situation,” &c. Mr. Palmer was one of these ninety gentlemen. The records of the provincial Congress, above referred to, bear testimony to his activity. October 13th, we find him on the committee to report a resolve, recommending the total disuse of India teas; October 22d, to prepare a non-consumption agreement, relative to all British and India goods; October 24th, to take into consideration and determine what number of ordnance and quantity of powder will be necessary, &c.; October 27th, he was made one of the committee of safety, consisting of six gentlemen; October 28th, to resolve the non-consumption agreement ; November 28th, to take into consideration the state of manufactures, &c., and how they may be improved; December 7th, to determine the recompense of the delegates, who attended the continental Congress in September, 1774. When it was resolved that a committee consisting of one gentleman from each county and maritime town should be appointed to prepare information for the continental Congress of May 10th, 1775, respecting the number of inhabitants, state of merchandise and manufactures of the province, Mr. Palmer was the sole delegate for the whole county of Suffolk. In the second provincial Congress we also find him on the various committees, viz. to take into consideration the state of the province; to sit in the recess and prepare rules and regulations for the provincial army; to rouse the people to prepare for defense; to corresPond with the other governments during the recess; to regulate the regiments of the army; to confer with the delegates from Connecticut, on a point of honor, touching a letter they were charged with to the assembly of Connecticut by Gen. Gage; to take measures for organizing the Massachusetts army, May

20th, 1775. He was also made secretary to this Congress, when Dr. Warren was chosen its president. He is equally active in the third provincial Congress, when, as in the second, he was the only delegate from Braintree. May 31st, he is the medium of conference between the Congress and the convention of the clergy at Watertown; June 3d, on a committee to take care of a case of small pox at Brookline; June 13th, to consider with three other gentlemen, “Gen. Gage's extraordinary proclamation of June 12th,” in which his friends Samuel Adams and John Hancock were excluded from the general amnesty proposed; June 14th, on a committee to appoint a day of fasting; June 19th, to advise and assist the commissary general; July 1st, to direct that the rules and regulations of the army be frequently read to the soldiers; and to report a resolve on a new emission of bills of credit; July 11th, to raise a speedy reinforcement of the army; July 13th, to settle and define the powers of the committee of safety, of which he was one. As a permanent member of the committee of safety, we find him, according to its journals, constantly active, and especially in such military offices as seeing to the fortification of Bunker Hill, (June 15th, 1775,) and surveying other places (June 23d) for the same purpose.” In the memoir of Robert Treat Paine, which makes an appendix to Ward's life of Curwin, we find Gen. Palmer mentioned as president of the provincial Congress. His son, Joseph Pearse Palmer, was secretary of the committee of safety until appointed quarter master general; for both father and son served their country, not merely in the civil, but military department. They were both engaged in the af. fair at Lexington, the father as brigadier general. Still farther light may be thrown upon Gen. P.'s public services, and upon the estimation in which he was held by the great men of our country, by selections from the correspondence between them and him and with his family, about this period.

* The original draft of Fort Independence, in General Palmer's own handwriting, was preserved in the hands of one of his grandsons, until within a few years.

To Joseph PALMER, Esq., Germantown. Philadelphia, Sept. 26, 1774. Dear Sir—Yesterday I had the pleasure of receiving yours of the 14th instant, for which I am very much obliged to you. I receive a greater pleasure from the letters of my friends than ever, and every line we receive is of use to us. Before this reaches you, the sense of the Congress, concerning your wisdom, fortitude, and temperance, in the Massachusetts in general, and the county of Suffolk in particular, will be public in our country. It is the universal sense here that the Massachusetts acts and Murder act, ought not to be submitted to a moment. But then, when you ask the question, what is to be done they answer, “stand still, bear with patience; if you come to a rupture with the troops, all is lost.” Resuming the first charter, absolute independency, &c., are ideas which startle people here. It seems to be the general opinion here, that it is practicable for us in the Massachusetts to live wholly without a legislature and courts of justice as long as will be necessary to obtain relief. If it is practicable, the general opinion is that we ought to bear it. The commencement of hostilities is exceedingly dreaded here. It is thought that such an attack upon the troops, even though it should prove successful and triumphant, would certainly involve the whole continent in a war. It is generally thought here that the ministry would rejoice at a rupture in Boston, because that would furnish him with

an excuse to the people at home, and unite them with him in an opinion of the necessity of pushing hostilities against us. On the contrary the delegates and and other persons from all parts, are unanimously very sanguine that if Boston and the Massachusetts can possibly steer a middle course between obedience to the acts, and open hostilities with the troops, the exertions of the colonies will procure a total change of measures and full redress for us.. However, my friend, I can not at this distance, pretend to judge. We must leave it all to your superior wisdom. What you propose, sir, of holding out some proposal which shall shew our willingness to pay for our protection at sea, is a subject often mentioned in private conversation here. Many gentlemen have pursued the thought and digested their plans, but what is to be the fate of them I can not say. It is my opinion, sir, that we do our full proportion towards the protection of the empire, and towards the support of the naval power. To the support of the standing army, we ought never to contribute voluntarily. A gentleman put into my hands a plan, a few days ago, for offering to raise £200,000 sterling annually, and to appropriate it for the maintenance of a ship of war. But is not this surrendering our liberty P I have not time, however, to discuss these questions at present. I hope to have the pleasure of considering these things in private conversation. Mean time I pray God to direct, assist, and protect you, and all our friends, amidst the dangers that surround you. Am glad to hear Mr. Cranch is about taking refuge at Braintree. I wish every living creature, except the tories, was well provided for in the country. My respects to all your worthy family. I remain with great respect, your friend and humble servant, John ADAMs.

To Mr. Joseph PALMER, Germantown. Boston, January 14th, 1775.

Dear Sir–I hope your health is by this time perfectly recovered. Mr. Gridley (as an engineer) is (I apprehend) much wanted. We have an opportunity of obliging him which will I believe secure him to us in case of necessity. The furnace held by him and Mr. Quincy is held as security for £250 of money. Mr. Pitts has this money and is willing to lend it if the security is good. He confides in your judgment, begs you would visit the furnace, know what it is worth, as it now stands, and what the place would be worth if fire should destroy the buildings. If you can settle this matter, I think you can do the cause an essential service. I need not urge you to undertake this affair. Your zeal in the cause of your country is a sufficient stimulus.

I am, sir, your most obedient servant, Joseph WARREN.


Concord, April 3d, 1775.

My dear Friends—I have only time, by my son, to write a few lines; you are much upon my heart, as the best wife and children ought to be. I rejoice that your spirits keep up so well amidst these difficulties; be not discouraged. He that is the highest rules and governs all. I thank Polly for her favor; it was very acceptable. I have written the captain of the militia and to the selectmen; and the call is now to Congress. I have given my son directions about packing up some of the most valuable effects not in use ; he will give you all the news, and let you know how I am engaged. I must add that I beg you to acquaint my friend Alleyne of my advice to you; I shall watch as well as I can, and advise farther, as occasion offers.

I remain, my dear wife and children, your ever affectionate friend, - J. PALMER.

Cambridge, April 27th, 1775.

My dear Friends—I have only time just to write a few lines without any order. I am well and in better spirits since the day of blood than for years past. We lost about twenty eight men killed and about thirteen wounded. My son as well as myself are in the public business, and matters are ripening fast; but order will not instantaneously grow out of confusion. General Gage has agreed with the inhabitants of Boston, that they with their effects may remove, by land or water, provided they lay down their arms, and provided also that the tories in the country may have liberty to retire into the town with their effects. I think it a good bargain. Mr. Cleverly may now partake of the blessings of government by retiring. Love to brother, and sister Cranch and children, the Adamses, Alleynes, &c. &c. I hope to obtain leave to visit you soon. General Gage and the admiral are putting on board the ships immense quantities of water, pork, beef, &c. They are in terror, and I believe are preparing for retreat. Tell the men that I hope to see them soon, and am glad to hear they have behaved well. Adieu.


To Col. Joseph PALMER, Braintree. Philadelphia, May 29th, 1775. Dear Sir—We have had but little intelligence from Cambridge or any part of Massachusetts since I left it. Your difficulties press upon you so fast as to take up all your time, I suppose. So do ours. I believe no assembly ever had more extensive and complicated objects before them than our Congress. We shall be united. But I can say no more. Mr. A. Guild Hall, and Mr. Josias Carville Hall, the bearers of this, will inform you of the state of the colonies. They are two young military adventurers, volunteers, joining the army in Massachusetts to gain experience and skill. They are of one of the first families in Maryland, and have independent fortunes. Their letters will make impression on the southern colonies. It is of importance that they be treated with respect. I beg that you will introduce them to our friends, &c. &c. My respects to your family and to all friends. News of every kind will be told you by the bearers. I am your friend, John ADAMs.

Letter to the Provincial Congress of New Hampshire from J. PALMER, on behalf of the Committee of Safety for Massachusetts. (Published in the second volume of New Hampshire Historical Collections.)

Cambridge, April 22d, 75.

Gentlemen—On Wednesday the 19th instant, early in the morning, a brigade of General Gage's army marched into the country to Lexington, about thirteen miles from Boston, where they met with a small party of our militia exercising, but who had no intention of doing any injury to the regulars. But the regulars fired upon our men, without any provocation, killed eight of them, and wounded two others. Then they marched to Concord, where they destroyed part of our magazines and stores. However, our people collected as soon as possible and repulsed the troops, pursuing them quite down to Charlestown, where they encamped on a place called Bunker Hill. The first division, which consisted of about one thousand men, went to Concord ; and the second division, of about the same number, who took the same route and supported the first division as well as they could ; but all were obliged to retire. Our loss is supposed between twenty or thirty killed and a few wounded. Their loss is much larger. As the troops have now begun hostilities, we think it our duty to exert our utmost strength to save our country from absolute slavery, and we pray

you to afford us all the assistance in your power. And we shall be glad that our brethren who may come to our aid may be supplied with all necessary provisions and military stores, as we have no more of either than what is absolutely necessary for ourselves. We pray God to direct you to such measures as shall tend to the salvation of our common liberties. We are, gentlemen, with great respect, your distressed friends and brethren. By order of the Committee of Safety, J. PALMER.

To Joseph PALMER, Esq. of Braintree, at the Provincial Congress, Watertown. (Favored by Gen. Washington.)

Philadelphia, June 20th, 1775.

Dear Sir—We send you for your comfort the Generals Washington and Lee, with commissions for Ward and Putnam, together with a vote to support about twenty thousand men for the present—fifteen thousand in Massachusetts and five thousand in New York. We have voted to issue bills of credit to the amount of two million dollars, and must, I suppose, vote to issue a good deal more.

I hope a good account will be given of Gage, Haldiman, Burgoyne, Clinton, and Howe, before winter. Such a wretch as Howe, with a statue in honor of his family in Westminster Abbey, erected by the Massachusetts, to come over with a design to cut the throats of

[blocks in formation]
« 上一頁繼續 »