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and the writer of this epistle. Both had been plundered ere this. He said, likewise, that the houses for publick worship should be spared. He was far from being in a good temper, during the whole affair. Gen. eral Garth, at the other end of the town, treated the inhabitants with as much humanity, as his errand would admit.
At sun rise, some considerable part of the town was standing ; but in about two hours the flames became general. The burning parties carried on their business with horrible alacrity, headed by one or two persons who were born and bred in the neighbouring towns. All the town from the bridge by Colonel Gold's to the Mill river, a few houses excepted, was a heap of ruin. About eight o'clock, the enemy sounded a retreat.
We had some satisfaction, amidst our sorrow and distress, to see that the meeting house and a few other buildings remained. But the rear guard, consisting of a banditti, the vilest that was ever loose among men, set fire to every thing which General Tryon had left, the large and elegant meeting house, the ministers' houses, Mr. Burr's, and several other houses wbich had received protection. They tore the protection to pieces, damned Try on, abused the women most shamefully, and then ran off in a most disgraceful manner. Happily our people came in and extinguished the Hames in several houses ; so that we are not entirely destitute.
The rear guard, which behaved in so scandalous a manner, were chiefly German troops, called Yaugers. They carry a small rifle gun, and fight in a skulking inanner like our Indians. They may be properly called sons of plunder and devastation.
Our people on the heights, back of the town, were joined by numbers, but not equal to the numbers of the enemy. They were skirmishing all the evening, part of the night, and the next morning. The enemy were several times disconcerted and driven from their outposts. Had they continued longer in town, it must have been fatal to them ; for the militia were collecting from all parts.
Our fort yet stands. The enemy sent a row galley to silence it, and there was constant firing between tham all night. One or two attempts were made to take it by parties of troops, but it was most bravely and obstinately defended by Lieutenant Isaac Jarvis of this town, who had but twenty-three men besides himself.
The militia followed these bloody incendiaries to the place of embarkation, and galled them considerably. The embarkation took place about twelve o'clock, and they set sail for Long Island about two and three in the afternoon.
Many were killed on both sides. The number cannot be ascertain. ed. They carried off some prisoners, but no person of distinction.
One particular I would mention. After Tryon had begun to burn, he sent out the proclamation which you have in the Hartford paper. In the midst of hostilities, while the flames were raging and bullets flying, who should come out with a flag, but Mr. Sayre! A spirited answer was sent in ; and the people were so enraged that hostilities should be
going on in the time of negociation ; and that Mr. Sayre should be the bearer of such an insulting proclamation, and at such a time, that the said gentleman was obliged to quit the town, when the enemy left it. His whole family were obliged to go with him, leaving the greatest part of their substance bebind, which became fuel for the flames, indiscriminately scattered by the rear guard. The reply which General Tryon made to Mr. Sayre, when he asked to go with him, was, “ You may go on board the ships, Sir, but I cannot promise you any help or assistance."
The Church of England building was consumed, but by whom, or at what time, I am unable to say.
Unconnected with them, unsolicited on my part, through the intercession of Mr. Sayre, my house and property received a protection in General Tryon's own hand writing. A sentinel was placed there some part of the time. But sad experience convinces me to how little purpose all this was. My property was plundered, my house and furniture all consumed, though a lady was so kind as to show them the protection, which like others, was torn in pieces by the Yaugers.
Our friend, Joseph Bartram, was shot through the breast ; old Mr. Solomon Suurgis, an Irish servant of Mr. Penfield, and a negro man belonging to Mr. Lewis, were put to death by the bayonet.
The distress of this poor people is inexpressible. A most pleasant and delighiful town in flames ! What a scene did the 8th of July present !
But I must forbear!Every thing I have written you may depend upon as fact : my pen bas not been guided by prejudice, whatever my feelings are ; and should you publish the letter, every reader may be assured that there is not the least deviation from what actually took place upon this melancholy occasion.
AN ORIGINAL LETTER FROM GOVERNOUR SHIRLEY TO THE BOARD OF TRADE, RESPECTING FORT DUMMER. 1748.
Boston, Nov. 30, 1748. My Lords, TAKE the first opportunity, after informing myself fully of the
necessary facts, to answer that part of your lordships' letter of the 1810 June last, which relates to Fort Dummer.
I find, upon examining the records of the province, that this fort was built about ihe year 1723, in time of war with the Indians : that in 1726, Lieutenant Governour Dummer made peace with them, and agreed to supply them with necessaries, and take their furs in exchange: that several forts in the eastern parts were pitched upon as places for carrying on this truck trade ; and Fort Dummer being the only fort at the west
ward was thought convenient for it in that part of the province. But I must observe to your lordships, that the province by this trade have been little better than tributary to the Indians ; for they supplied them with goods near as cheap as they cost, and allowed for their furs the market price at Boston, and were at a great charge in keeping garrisons at the several forts, and always had a transport sloop in pay ; and if it had not been for fear of a breach with the Indians, would soon have discontinued so disadvantageous a
When the present war broke out, there were several thriving settlements near this fort, and no other fortification of any sort beyond it ; for which reason I engaged the assembly of this province to continue to support a garrison, and they agreed to it. The inhabitants of a new township on Connecticut river, forty miles beyond this fort, afterwards built at their own charge a very good and large fort of square timber, known by the name of No. 4, which has several times been attacked by great bodies of the enemy, and very bravely defended. There were also built afterwards several small forts, on and near the river, between this No. 4 and Fort Dummer, at the charge of this prove ince ;. for the people were in hopes to have been able to continue in possession of their new settlements, but they found it impracticable ; small parties of Indians frequently destroying them, when about their "farming business ; so that in a few months no inhabitants were left, except those in the forts. Upon this I endeavoured to prevail on the asseinbly to keep garrisons in all these forts, but they refused, and some of them were burnt by the enemy ; and for several months, Fort Dummer was the furthermost fort on that frontier, which had a garrison in it, until I ordered a party of the levies raised for the Canada expedition to possess themselves of No. 4, to prevent it from being burnt or taken possession of by the enemy; and it happened fortunately that the soldiers arrived just time enough to save it from the enemy, who presently after attacked it in a large body; and a garrison has been kept there in the pay of the province ever since. Now though there be no settlements between No. 4 and Fort Dummer, yet I have always thought it necessary both should be supported. The first was useful for parties to go out from, against the enemy, and at the same time diverted them from spending their rage upon the defenceless people further within ; and Fort Dummer being nearer the settlements, I likewise thought necessary, because No. 4 being very remote, the enemy might sometimes have come within in small parties, destroyed the inhabitants and escaped without the notice of the garrison there ; and which I have reason to think they have often been diverted from, for fear of a party from the garrison at Fort Dummer intercepting them on their return; and by means of these fortresses, the enemy have been kept more at a dis. tance, and a less number of people have been destroyed on the frontiers than in any former wars.
I inust now inform your lordships, that none of the forts upon the inland frontiers are capable of resisting an enemy furnished with cara
yet fort Dummer, with a suitable garrison, would never be in danger from any bodies of French and Indians, who come on our frontiers, as they never bring artillery. As to the artillery with which this fort has been furnished, there were four patararoes mounted before the war, and since the commencement of that, it has had two swivel guns and two four pounders.
Having never been on the spot myself, I cannot so well satisfy your lordships as to the conveniency of the situation. It was pitched upon as the most proper place, when it was built; and I have never heard any exceptions to it, but from Mr. Wentworth's letter ; though if the province of New Hampshire had gone on to build the stone fort in the place they proposed, I cannot say but it might have been in many respects as convenient ; but I never heard of any such proposal only in this letter ; to be sure there never was any step taken to carry it into execution, as I have heard of.
I would observe, further, my lords, that Fort Dummer is but a few miles beyond a town called Northfield, part of which, by the new line, was taker, from this province, and goes to New Hampshire ; so that if the fort be removed within the line, it will be in the midst of the in. habitants, who all live in garrison houses themselves; and the principal end of such a fort, viz. keeping the enemy at a distance, or intercepting them on their return from our settlements. will be lost. And as for using it for a trading house, I am persuaded that the province will not go into such a trade again, if they can have peace without it; but if they are obliged to it, in such a case it will be most agreeable to the Indians to have a trading house at some distance from our settlements, and will be most convenient in other respects.
I wish, my lords, Mr. Wentworth had represented in his letter the whole that passed between him and me relating to this fort. When I received his majesty's order in council of the 26th September, 1748, I immediately acquainted Mr. Wentworth of it: and several letters passed between us ; and at length he informed me that his assembly had refused to support the fort, and a copy of the vote of that assembly was laid before the assembly of this province ; and I engaged them to continue the support which they agreed to. But this vote of New Hampshire being lost in a late fire, which consumed the court house, I cannot send your lordships a copy of it. Afterwards Mr. Wentworth prevailed on another assembly to agree to support this fort. The house of representatives of this province then desired me to draw in all the forces beyond the new line. Whereupon I wrote to Mr. Wentworth, and desired him to take possession of the fort, and send orders to the commanding officers to deliver it to him ; but upon acquainting his majesty's council of this province with what I had done, they were of opinion that after New Hampshire had refused, according to the terms, and this province thereupon agreed to continue the support of it ; I could not by his majesty's orders be justified in delivering it up until his majesty's pleasure should be known; and upon considering his
majesty's orders, I thought there was great room for such a construction. There was a jealousy besides, that it was the design of Nil. to make a short provision for this fort, and after they had got it out of the hands of tiis province, to slight it ; for their proposed allowance to the soldiers was not half so much as was given by ti is government; and yet my soldiers were always complaining, that without additional allowance they could not subsist. So that upon the whole, I thought it my duty to countermand my first orders, and the fort has been supported by this government ever since.
I shall direct the commissary general to prepare an authentick account of the charge of supporting this fort since the war.
And I cannot help observing to your ordships, that this is but a very inconsid erable part of the charge this province has been at beyond their line ; but as your lordships have given no directions any further than respects this fort, I shall send no other accounts. I cannot but think, my lords, that the new running of west line certainly has a tendency to prevent the settlement of the country, for the inhabitants can have no dependence for sufficient protection, in case of war, from New Hampshire, within whose jurisdiction almost the whole western frontier now lies: nor indeed can it be expected from so small a government. And it has been with the greatest difficulty, that I have been able to prevail on this province to defend beyond their line, there being a very long frontier eastward, which lies within their bounds, and occasions a vast expense. However, I shall not presume to offer to your lordships any proposal, that may occasion any controversy between the two govern
I am, &c.
Two ORIGINAL LETTERS FROM DR. BENJAMIN FRANKLIN TO THE
HONOURABLE THOMAS CUSHING, Esq. SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE
London, February 15, 1774.
there had been a hearing on our petition. I shall now give you the history of it as succinctly as I can.
We had long imagined that the king would have considered that petitionas he had done the preceding one in his cabinet, and have given an answer without a hearing, since it did not pray punishments or disabilities on the governours.
But on Saturday, the 8th of January, in the afternoon, I received notice from the clerk of the council, that the lords of the committee for plantation affairs, would, on the Tuesday following at twelve, meet at the Cockpit, to take into consideration the petition referred to them by his majesty, and that my attendance was required.