Page images
PDF
EPUB

how they were expended. To this board the royal agents in the colonies addressed their letters, and Frothingham says: “It was the lion's mouth into which the accusations and complaints against the colonies were indiscriminately cast.” In order to arouse the Lords of Trade and Plantations to action, some overt act of disobedience must be obtained against the colonies. The bluff Admiral Clinton, Governor of New York was selected as the proper person to bring on the crisis, though each governor had some grievance to lay before the board. Governor Clinton was not long in finding an occasion for quarrel with the New York assembly. He demanded of that body an appropriation for the support of the government for five years next ensuing, with a view of making himself, as governor, independent of the assembly. Of course they refused compliance with his demands as he expected, and he then warned them of the danger of incurring the displeasure of Parliament, and dissolved the assembly. He wrote letters to the Lords of Trade, complaining of the rebellious tendencies of a greater part of the assembly whom he charged with “claiming all the powers and privileges of Parliament,” asserting that they had “set up the people as the high court of American appeal,” that they had “virtually assumed all of the public money into their own hands, and issued it without warrant from the governor,” and, also had assumed the right to nominate all officers of government; to reward all services by granting salaries annually, “not to the office, but by name to the person in the office,” concluding that the system if not speedily remedied, would affect the dependency of the colonies on the crown. “I beseech his majesty, through the Lords of Trade and Plantations your honorable body, to make a good example for all America, by regulating the government of New York. Until that is done, I cannot meet the assembly without danger of exposing the king's authority and myself to contempt.” As the authorities at home did not come immediately to his relief, he became involved in a bitter quarrel with the assembly of New York and finally abandoned the government in disgust, and returned home. He was succeeded by Sir Danvers Asborne, who came with orders to demand from the assembly a permanent revenue to be disbursed solely by himself. His council assured him that the assembly would refuse compliance with the demand. He became involved in a bitter wrangle and ended by committing suicide by hanging himself with his pocket handkerchief to the garden fence at his lodgings in New York.

The firm attitude of the New York assembly met the approbation of all the colonists, where republican principles were constantly on the increase. The young American Eagle was quickened in the egg, and it only needed to break the thin shell to spread its pinions and soar away to liberty.

While there was further danger from France, the American colonies clung to the mother country. The famous treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle, in 1748, produced peace in Europe and caused a lull only in the warfare in America. In that ancient city of Rhenish Prussia, where Charlemagne was born and where he died and where fifty-five emperors have been crowned, the representatives of Great Britain, France, IIolland, Germany, Spain and Genoa signed a solemn treaty, which ended a war begun in 1740. That was the consequence of the ascension of the throne of Austria by Maria Theresa in conformity to the “Progmatic Sanction”—a royal ordinance—of her father, Charles VI. of Germany, made in 1713. That treaty confirmed six other treaties, which had been made in the space of a century; and hopeful men looked for the peace of the millennium; but the treaty was delusive, and, in the American colonies, it was only the lull before the storm, which, for a few years longer, was to make the English colonies in America endure the intolerant tyranny of royal governors.

CHAPTER IX.

THE INTERRUPTED WEDDING.

For them no more the blazing hearth shall burn,
Or busy housewife ply her evening care.
No children run to lisp their sire's return,
Or climb his knee the envied kiss to share.

—GRAY.

It was September, 1755, that delightful season of all seasons in Acadia. The balmy air, deprived of its excessive heat and not yet chilled by the . early breath of Autumn, fanned the cheek of pretty Adrianne Blanc, as she gazed across the fields and meadows of Grand Pre. The village among the emerald hills lay like a pearl in an oyster shell not half a mile away; but through the dreamy misty fog it seemed much farther. The sun was just climbing the eastern shores and hills and tipping the church spires with golden light. Twenty-five years had wrought but little change in Grand Pre.

The broad, low meadows, spreading away before the eyes, gleamed with golden-rods, whose fires, unquenched in the morning dews, sparkled with a

brighter lustre. The fields of golden grain, which

harvesters were gathering for the winter's supply, seemed to speak of peace and abundance. Acadia was happy, and no maid in all the land was more happy on this early morn than Adrianne. She had cause to be happy, for this was to be her wedding day. At high noon she was to wed the man she loved best, Jean Baptiste De Barre, one of the most popular young men in all the parish. As she stood by the gate, gazing down the long road, a handsome young English officer came riding by on his gayly caparisoned steed. His gaudy uniform, epaulets, sword hilt, gold cord and tassels, flashing in the morning sunlight, seemed ablaze with glory. His prancing steed went past the cottage of Madame Blanc without pausing, the rider not even turning his eyes toward the maiden at the gate. This was something remarkable, especially as the officer was young and handsome, and the maiden at the gate was very pretty. Few persons are willing to miss a glance at a young and pretty face. Adrianne knew the officer, and she turncol instinctively away as the haughty Briton rode past. There was a story connected with this young officer and the maiden at the gate. He had been at Grand Pre ever since June. He was Henry Winslow, a nephew of John Winslow, major-general of the Massachusetts militia. Soon after his

« PreviousContinue »