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rested on the assumption that Parliament had no constitutional power to suspend the charter of a colony, in whole or in part, or to interfere in any way with the internal concerns of any colony. The Provincial Congress, acting for the people of Massachusetts, appointed a Committee of Safety to act with other committees as an executive. It also appointed a Receiver-General, or Colonial Treasurer, and advised the town authorities to pay the taxes, usually levied on the inhabitants of the towns, to him and not to the official acting under the authority of the king. Preparations for armed resistance were now pushed forward. On the other hand, Gage found himself almost isolated in

Boston. Workingmen refused to work for him, Lexington and Concord, and as the farmers refused to sell him supplies, April 19, 1775.

he was obliged to import food for his army from Halifax. Alarmed at the hostile spirit everywhere displayed, he determined to disarm the populace of eastern Massachusetts. The first attempt to seize arms ended in a failure, but without bloodshed. Later on (April 19th, 1775), he sent out a strong detachment to seize stores said to be accumulated at Concord, a small town about eighteen miles from Boston. He had expected to surprise the colonists, but the secret became known before the troops left Boston on the night of the eighteenth. When the soldiers reached Lexington, on their way to Concord, they discovered a small body of militia, drawn up as if to oppose them, which however dispersed in the face of such a strong force.

It is not certain which party fired first, as the accounts are conflicting, nor is it important; but it is certain that blood was shed on Lexington Common in the early hours of that April morning. Pressing onward, the soldiers reached Concord to find that most of the stores and munitions of had been removed to some place of greater security. They destroyed a few barrels of flour, burned a cart-wheel or two, and disabled a few iron field-pieces. While there, they were



Lexington and Concord, 1775.


assailed by the militiamen, and their starting on the return march to Boston was the signal for a general attack, which continued until the survivors gained the protection of the guns of the men-of-war anchored off Charlestown. Instead of returning home, the colonists encamped at Cambridge and began the siege of Boston. The time for constitutional opposition was now at an end. The rightfulness of the colonial theories must be tested by war, or, to use the phrase of that time, “by an appeal to God.”



The Colonists in 1775.

The fifteen years covering the events described in the last

chapter (1760-1775) were years of growth in population and in material resources without

parallel in the colonial period. The total population increased from sixteen hundred thousand in 1760 to nearly two and one-half million souls in 1775. The slaves formed about one-fifth of this total — numbering in 1775 nearly half a million to about four hundred thousand in 1760. The increase in slave population was confined to the South, and was made up largely of fresh importations from Africa. The total populations of the North and South were nearly equal, in the proportion of about thirteen to eleven; but the white population of the colonies, north of Mason and Dixon's line, far outnumbered that of the colonies to the southward. A further examination of the statistics will enable one better to understand the greater capacity for resistance displayed by the North in the coming conflict. For instance, the two largest colonies, Virginia and Massachusetts, contained respectively five hundred and fifty thousand and three hundred and fifty thousand inhabitants. The white population of the two colonies, however, was in the proportion of four to three and one-half.

The next



The Colonists in 1775.



largest colony was Pennsylvania, containing three hundred thousand inhabitants, nearly all white. In South Carolina, the negroes formed nearly two-thirds of the total of two hundred thousand. On the other hand, Connecticut, with about the same total population, contained hardly any blacks, slave or free. The fighting strength of the colonies having large slave populations was reduced nearly in the proportion of the blacks to the whites.

Notwithstanding the disputes as to the enforcement of the trade laws and the complaints made by the colonies, it appears to be well ascertained that prosperity, commerce and trade had flourished to an ex

1765-75. traordinary degree. Manufacturing had been extended, and, although it was still on a small scale, the Revolution found the colonists nearly self-supporting. Munitions of war were no doubt lacking, and at first there seemed to be no way to replenish them within the colonies. Gunpowder was soon manufactured there, however, and a lead mine in Virginia furnished material for bullets until the vein gave out in 1781. But the greater part of the supplies of war-materials were either captured from the British or procured from the French.

The younger men among the co sts knew little of actual warfare. But everywhere there were veterans

Capacity of of the French wars, Washington and Prescott, for instance, who soon infused a knowledge of military methods into the masses of raw recruits. Experience showed that time had not diminished the fighting qualities of the race which disputed the fields of Naseby, Worcester, and Dunbar. The descendants of Cavaliers and Ironsides fought side by side in the American armies. With them might often have been discovered the grandchildren of the brave defenders of Limerick and Londonderry. In fact, the most venturesome of all parties in the great contests of the Stuart period had either emigrated or had been deported to the colonies.

the Colonists for war.

The Americans were peculiarly fortunate in their leaders.

As a man, and as a leader of men, George Washington, Greene, and Washington occupies an unique position among Lafayette.

historic personages of ancient and modern times. Other men have been more brilliant than he; but in no other man have considerable abilities been combined with absolute honesty and steadfastness of purpose as they were in him. Always serious, as if conscious of his own greatness, he never for one moment faltered. As a strategist and tactician, he was not the equal of some of his subordinates. It must not be supposed, however, that Washington did not know when to strike and how to strike hard. The return of the offensive at Trenton and the rescue of the army at Monmouth will for ever remain among the most instructive operations of war. More important for a man in his position, he was able to wait, and feared not the reproach of the moment. Cold and impassive in bearing, he yet inspired his men with confidence and respect. The greatest soldier, as a soldier, on the American side, was Nathanael Greene. Born of Quaker stock, in the little colony of Rhode Island, he taught himself the art of war, buying and borrowing books on that subject far and wide. Marching at the head of the Rhode Island troops, at the summons sent forth from Lexington, he at once gained a position to which neither his age, his experience, nor the force at his back entitled him. Washington, one of the wealthiest of the Virginia aristocrats, confided in the military insight of this son of the most democratic colony, as he confided in that of no other man. In the beginning, Greene made many mistakes; but a few lessons in. real fighting, combined with his theoretical training, made him a very efficient commander of a division or an independent force. Another soldier, worthy of mention with Washington and Greene, was Anthony Wayne, whose impetuosity in attack earned for him the sobriquet of “Mad Anthony." Unstable in character and ignorant of strategy, Wayne executed

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