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the command devolved on him, was not so gene
He being at Philadelphia, on his retreat, or rather flight, I applied to him for the discharge of the servants of three poor farmers of Lancaster County, that he had enlisted, reminding him of the late general's orders on that head. He promised me that if the masters would come to him at Trenton, where he should be in a few days on his march to New York, he would there deliver their men to them. They accordingly were at the expense and trouble of going to Trenton, and there he refused to perform his promise, to their great loss and disappointment.
As soon as the loss of the waggons and horses was generally known, all the owners came upon me for the valuation which I had given bond to pay.
Their demands gave me a great deal of trouble: I acquainted them that the money was ready in the paymaster's hands, but the order for paying it must first be obtained from General Shirley, and that I had applied for it; but he being at a distance an answer could not soon be received, and they must have patience. All this however was not sufficient to satisfy, and some began to sue me: General Shirley at length relieved me from this terrible situation, by appointing commissioners to examine the claims, and ordering payment. They amounted to near twenty thousand pounds, which to pay would have ruined me.
Before we had the news of this defeat, the two
doctors Bond came to me with a subscription paper for raising money to defray the expense of a grand firework, which it was intended to exhibit at a rejoicing on receiving the news of our taking Fort Duquesne. I looked grave, and said, “ It would, I thought, be time enough to prepare the rejoicing when we knew we should have occasion to rejoice." They seemed surprised that I did not immediately comply with their proposal. Why the d1," said one of them, “ you surely don't suppose that the fort will not be taken ?” “I don't know that it will not be taken ; but I know that the events of war are subject to great uncertainty." I gave them the reasons of my doubting: the subscription was dropped, and the projectors thereby missed the mortification they would have undergone if the firework had been prepared. Dr. Bond, on some other occasion afterwards, said that he did not like Franklin's forebodings.
Governor Morris, who had continually worried the assembly with message after message before the defeat of Braddock, to beat them into the making of acts to raise money for the defence of the province, without taxing among others the proprietary estates, and had rejected all their bills for not having such an exempting clause, now redoubled his attacks with more hope of success, the danger and necessity being greater. The assembly howeyer continued firm, believing they had justice on their side; and that it would be giving up an
ëssential right, if they suffered the governor to amend their money bills. In one of the last indeed, which was for granting £50,000, his proposed amendment was only of a single word: the bill expressed, “ that all estates real and personal were to be taxed; those of the proprietaries not excepted." His amendment was; for not read only. A small, but very material alteration! However, when the news of the disaster reached England, our friends there, whom we had taken care to furnish with all the assembly's answers to the governor's messages, raised a clamor against the proprietaries for their meanness and injustice in giving their governor such instructions; some going so far as to say, that by obstructing the defence of their province, they forfeited their right to it. They were intimidated by this; sent orders to their receiver-general to add £5000 of their money to whatever sum might be given by the assembly for such
This being testified to the house, was accepted in lieu of their share of a general tax, and a new bill was formed with an exempting clause, which passed accordingly. By this act I was appointed one of the commissioners for disposing of the money, £60,000. I had been active in modelling the bill, and procuring its passage; and had at the same time drawn one for establishing and disciplining a voluntary militia; which I carried through the house without much difficulty, as care was taken in it to leave the Quakers at liberty. To promote the association necessary to form the militia, I wrote a dialogue' stating and answering all the objections I could think of to such a militia ; which was printed, and had, as I thought, great effect. While the several companies in the city and country were forming, and learning their exercise, the Governor prevailed with me to take charge of our North Western frontier, which was infested by the enemy, and provide for the defence of the inhabitants by raising troops, and building a line of forts. I undertook this military business, though I did not conceive myself well qualified for it.
He gave me a commission with full powers, and a parcel of blank commissions for officers, to be given to whom I thought fit. I had but little difficulty in raising men, having soon 560 under my command. My son, who had in the preceding war been an officer in the army raised against Canada, was my aid-de-camp, and of great use to me. The Indians had burned Gnadenhut, a village settled by the Moravians, and massacred the inhabitants; but the place was thought a good situation for one of the forts. In order to march thither, I assembled the companies at Bethlehem, the chief establishment of those people; I.was surprised to find it in so good a posture of defence: the destruction of Gnadenhut had made them apprehend danger. The principal buildings were defended by a stock
" This Dialogue and the Militia Act, are in the Gentleman's Magazine for February and March, 1756.
ade; they had purchased a quantity of arms and ammunition from New York, and had even placed quantities of small paving-stones between the windows of their high stone houses, for their women to throw them down upon the heads of any Indians that should attempt to force into them. The armed brethren too kept watch, and relieved each other on guard as methodically as in any garrison town. In conversation with the Bishop, Spangenberg, I mentioned my surprise; for knowing they bad obtained an act of parliament exempting them from military duties in the colonies, I had supposed they were conscientiously scrupulous of bearing arms. He answered me, “That it was not one of their established principles; but that at the time of their obtaining that act it was thought to be a principle with many of their people. On this occasion, however, they to their surprise found it adopted by but a few.” It seems they were either deceived in themselves, or deceived the Parliament: but common sense aided by present danger will sometimes be too strong for whimsical opinions.
It was the beginning of January when we set out upon this business of building forts; I sent one detachment towards the Minisink, with instructions to erect one for the security of that upper part of the country; and another to the lower part, with similar instructions: and I concluded to go myself with the rest of my force to Gnadenhut, where a fort was thought more immediately neces