« PreviousContinue »
When I talk of Whig and Tory, when I tell the Rebel
To you the words are ashes, but to me they're burning coals.
I had heard the muskets' rattle of the April running
Lord Percy's hunted soldiers, I can see their red coats
But a deadly chill comes o'er me, as the day looms up before me,
When a thousand men lay bleeding on the slopes of Bunker's Hill.
heard and used by her. They begin the first number of The Crisis: "These are the times that try men's souls: the summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of his country; but he that stands it Now deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.' 99
3. The terms Whig and Tory were applied to the two parties in England who represented, respectively, the Whigs political and religious liberty, the Tories royal prerogative and ecclesiastical authority. The names first came into use in 1679 in the struggles at the close of Charles II.'s reign, and continued in use until a generation or so ago, when they gave place to somewhat corresponding terms of Liberal and Conservative. At the breaking out of the war for Independence, the Whigs in England opposed the measures taken by the crown in the management of the American colonies, while the Tories supported the crown. The names were naturally applied in America to the patriotic party, who were termed Whigs, and the loyalist party, termed Tories. The Tories in turn called the patriots rebels.
5. The Lexington and Concord affair of April 19, 1775, when Lord Percy's soldiers retreated in a disorderly manner to Charlestown, annoyed on the way by the Americans who followed and accompanied them.
"T was a peaceful summer's morning, when the first thing gave us warning
Was the booming of the cannon from the river and the shore:
"Child," says grandma, "what's the matter, what is all this noise and clatter?
Have those scalping Indian devils come to murder us once more ?
Poor old soul! my sides were shaking in the midst of all my quaking,
To hear her talk of Indians when the guns began to
She had seen the burning village, and the slaughter and the pillage,
When the Mohawks killed her father with their bullets through his door.
Then I said, "Now, dear old granny, don't you fret and worry any,
For I'll soon come back and tell you whether this is work or play;
There can't be mischief in it, so I won't be gone a minute"
For a minute then I started. I was gone the livelong
No time for bodice-lacing or for looking-glass grima
16. The Mohawks, a formidable part of the Six Nations, were held in great dread, as they were the most cruel and warlike of all the tribes. In connection with the French they fell upon the frontier settlements during Queen Anne's war, early in the eighteenth century, and committed terrible deeds, long remembered in New England households.
Down my hair went as I hurried, tumbling half-way
to my heels;
God forbid your ever knowing, when there's blood around her flowing,
How the lonely, helpless daughter of a quiet household feels!
In the street I heard a thumping; and I knew it was the stumping
Of the Corporal, our old neighbor, on the wooden leg
With a knot of women round him, it was lucky I
had found him,
So I followed with the others, and the Corporal marched before.
They were making for the steeple, the old soldier and his people;
The pigeons circled round us as we climbed the creaking stair,
Just across the narrow river - Oh, so close it made
Stood a fortress on the hill-top that but yesterday was
Not slow our eyes to find it; well we knew who stood behind it,
Though the earthwork hid them from us, and the stubborn walls were dumb:
Here were sister, wife, and mother, looking wild upon
And their lips were white with terror as they said,
THE HOUR HAS COME!
The morning slowly wasted, not a morsel had we
And our heads were almost splitting with the cannons' deafening thrill,
When a figure tall and stately round the rampart strode sedately;
It was PRESCOTT, one since told me; he commanded on the hill.
Every woman's heart grew bigger when we saw his manly figure,
With the banyan buckled round it, standing up so straight and tall;
Like a gentleman of leisure who is strolling out for pleasure,
Through the storm of shells and cannon-shot he walked around the wall.
At eleven the streets were swarming, for the red-coats' ranks were forming;
At noon in marching order they were moving to the
How the bayonets gleamed and glistened, as we looked far down, and listened
To the trampling and the drum-beat of the belted grenadiers !
40. Colonel William Prescott, who commanded the detachment which marched from Cambridge, June 16, 1775, to fortify Breed's Hill, was the grandfather of William Hickling Prescott, the historian. He was in the field during the entire battle of the 17th, in command of the redoubt.
42. Banyan- a flowered morning gown which Prescott is said to have worn during the hot day, a good illustration of the unmilitary appearance of the soldiers engaged. His nonchalant walk upon the parapets is also a historic fact, and was for the encouragement of the troops within the redoubt.
At length the men have started, with a cheer (it seemed faint-hearted),
In their scarlet regimentals, with their knapsacks on
And the reddening, rippling water, as after a seafight's slaughter,
Round the barges gliding onward blushed like blood along their tracks.
So they crossed to the other border, and again they formed in order;
And the boats came back for soldiers, came for soldiers, soldiers still:
The time seemed everlasting to us women faint and
At last they're moving, marching, marching proudly up the hill.
We can see the bright steel glancing all along the lines advancing
Now the front rank fires a volley
away their shot;
they have thrown
For behind their earthwork lying, all the balls above
Our people need not hurry; so they wait and answer
Then the Corporal, our old cripple (he would swear sometimes and tipple),
He had heard the bullets whistle (in the old French war) before,
62. Many of the officers as well as men on the American side had become familiarized with service through the old French war, which came to an end in 1763.