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ities to relax in their vigilance, nor the inhabitants to feel secure, till Dorr should be apprehended, or a more signal blow be struck. The Governor issued his proclamation, offering a reward of one thousand dollars for the arrest and delivery of this fugitive from justice ; and this offer was subsequently, by order of the General Assembly, increased to five thousand ; but without effect. He was known to be lurking somewhere on the borders of the State, concerting measures with his adherents for another outbreak ; but his movements and policy were too well concealed to admit of the discovery or seizure of his person. The military organization of the State, therefore, was still kept up, and a sickening uncertainty and suspense rested on people's minds. Business had long been at a stand, and the aspect of affairs was gloomy. No clue could be obtained to the secret movements of the insurgents, but report magnified their numbers and means, and stories were current respecting great promises of aid to them from the populace of New York and other cities. That such stories were not entirely without foundation appears from the violent and incendiary character of the speeches made by some of the street orators in these cities, about this period. " You stand here idle,” said one to a large assemblage in State Street, Boston, “you stand here idle, while those aristocrats in Rhode Island are pouring out the blood of your brethren like water upon
paveIn respect either to the falsity of the charge, or to the fiendlike nature of the only purpose with which it could have been uttered, a parallel to this speech can be found only in the detestable ravings of Danton or Marat.
İncidents occurred, from time to time, that showed the continued, though secret, activity of the hostile party, and that preparations were making for another struggle. There were indications of a general movement in the northern parts of the State, and especially in the city and county of Providence, where the faction had always been most numerous and violent. Bands of armed men appeared suddenly in Woonsocket, North Providence, Cumberland, Gloucester, and other places, and great pains were taken to collect arms and munitions of war. A party of them, about fifty in number, made an attempt, one dark and stormy night, to get possession of some cannon in the hands of an artillery company, about nine miles distant from Providence, having pro
vided themselves with four horses in order to carry the pieces off. In the darkness, they missed the place where the cannon were deposited, and broke open two other buildings. By this time, the guard had alarmed the town, and there were soon two hundred and fifty armed men in the streets. But the marauders succeeded in making their escape, though without having effected their object. A few days afterwards, a powder magazine in the neighbourhood of the city was discovered to have been broken open, and about twelve hundred pounds of gunpowder carried off. It was easy to perceive the motive of this class of thefts, the end being quite as patriotic, as the means were honorable.
At last, about the 20th of June, news arrived, that the insurgents were assembling in great force at Chepachet, a considerable village of the town of Gloucester, near the Connecticut line ; that they had taken possession of an eminence there, called Acote's hill, and were fortifying it by throwing up entrenchments. Field-works were thrown up on two sides of the summit, with wide spaces for the cannon, of which there were seven pieces. The first accounts were, that seven or eight hundred men had come together, that many others were on their way to join them, and that they were all well supplied with arms and ammunition. To the major part of the people of Rhode Island, weary of repeated alarms and reports of treasonable machinations, this information of the renewal of the contest brought rather a feeling of relief than of terror or discouragement. Now that the insurrection had come to a head, by a vigorous effort it might be crushed, and it would no longer be necessary
Against the undivulged pretence to fight
Of treasonous malice.” Their spirits and courage were high, strengthened, as they were, by the recollection of former success, and by a conviction of the justice of their cause; and when the call was sounded, they rallied to the support of the government with a quickness and energy, that promised a speedy termination of the contest. The General Assembly passed an act, placing the whole State under martial law. Volunteers were called for, and more than a thousand citizens of Providence enrolled themselves in a single day. All places of business were closed, and men of all ages, ranks, and professions again assumed the duties of common soldiers. Providence, Warren, Bristol, and Newport had the appearance of so many camps, the citizens remaining almost constantly under arms, and devoting day and night to military exercises. Steamboats were despatched down the Bay to bring together the troops, and by the evening of the 26th, more than three thousand were collected in Providence, well supplied with arms, and others were constantly coming in. Thirteen pieces of ordnance were provided, and the government stores of ammunition were ample. General McNeil was appointed to the chief command, and he was assisted by many gentlemen capable of rendering efficient aid both in council and in action.
Dorr joined the camp of the insurgents on the 25th, and immediateiy issued a proclamation, requiring his “ General Assembly," which had been adjourned to meet at Providence, to come together at Gloucester ; that is, into the midst of his forces ; and he requested those towns in which vacancies had occurred by resignation, to proceed forthwith to fill them by new elections. This last clause was a very necessary one, for there were hardly half a dozen members of his legislature who had not resigned. He also issued “ General Orders,” countersigned by his “ Adjutant-General,” requiring “ the military of this State,” who were in favor of the “ People's Constitution,” to repair forthwith to his head-quarters, and requesting all volunteers to do the
But even those newspapers in Providence, which had hitherto advocated his cause, refused to publish these orders, and they could be printed only in New York. Many of his former friends in Providence, also, as Dorr himself declares, were led to renounce and denounce our proceedings, as no longer to be tolerated'; and they subscribed a paper to this effect.” In truth, the utmost efforts of the more violent members of the insurgent party could not bring together more than a very paltry force at Chepachet ; and, if their weakness had been known, a great part of the labor of preparation for putting down the rebellion might have been spared. But it was impossible to obtain information that could be relied upon. Their leader affirms, that on the 27th, they had but two hundred and twenty-five men under arms, although “a much larger number of persons came and went as spectators, some of whom may have been set down as a part of the military.” They had
seven pieces of artillery, and more muskets than they could
It was men that they needed. Dorr himself remarks, with infinite simplicity and astonishment, that “the people were called, and they did not come.
The first act of hostility was committed by the insurgents. A party of four persons, who went out from Providence to obtain information respecting the movements of the rebels, were met by a detachment from Dorr's
and taken prisoners. They were disarmed, robbed, and bound, and marched off twelve miles on foot to Woonsocket. A movement of a mob of “sympathizers ” from another State led to the only loss of life, that occurred during the contest. On the 27th, a crowd of persons collected in Pawtucket, Massachusetts, apparently determined to cross the bridge and enter Rhode Island. The government had posted a company of soldiers to keep guard at the Rhode Ísland end of the bridge. In the evening, the mob began to press on ; they assailed the guard with brickbats and other missiles, and wounded one or more. They were ordered to disperse, and when they would not obey, a volley of musketry was fired over their heads. Still they persisted, and the order to fire was given, and, being obeyed, one man was killed, and probably one or two others were slightly wounded.
The organization of the government forces being completed on the 27th, General McNeil prepared to march against the insurgents ; and, with that purpose, ordered a considerable detachment to go round into their rear, so as to cut off their retreat into Connecticut. The steps of this party, and of the main body, were soon hastened by a report, that the hostile camp was already breaking up, and the men dispersing to their several homes. At the bare rumor of the approach of so large an array against them, the insurgent force dissolved like snow in the sunbeams. Dorr summoned a council of his officers on that day, and the order to dismiss the troops was given at seven o'clock in the evening ; an hour afterwards, he himself left the camp, and made his escape into Connecticut. But the obstinate fatuity of the man appears in the senseless boast, which he afterwards uttered, that, if an attack was not made, on the night of the 27th, upon Greenville, the nearest post held by the government forces, the failure should be attributed, not to the terror
inspired by the number of troops arrayed against them, 6 but to our repudiating friends.” A rumor of these occurrences hastened the advance of the troops, who pressed on without halting during the night, though it was very dark, and the rain poured in torrents. A few hours after daybreak, on the morning of the 27th, a considerable force, under Colonel Brown, entered the fort at Chepachet, where they found only the deserted tents and abandoned artillery of the insurgents. They had taken about a hundred prisoners on the way ; but the body of Dorr's adherents had dispersed, never to appear in arms again. Dorr himself lived as an unnoticed fugitive in New Hampshire or Massachusetts, till a few months ago, when he returned to Rhode Island, where he was immediately arrested, and is now in prison there, awaiting his trial for treason. The numerous other
persons, who were arrested for treasonable conduct, have been contemptuously discharged, we believe, without punishment.
We have only to add, in order to complete our historical sketch of the whole affair, that the General Assembly of Rhode Island, indefatigable in its efforts to create a form of government that would satisfy the whole people, passed an act in June for calling another Convention, the delegates to which were to be chosen by all male citizens of the United States, of the age of twenty-one years or upwards, who had had a permanent residence in the State for three years or
This body came together in September, and framed a constitution free even from the trifling objections that were made to the one proposed by the “ Landholders' Convention” in the preceding February, and constituting a government as liberal and equal in respect to the elective franchise, the representation of the towns, and all other points, as that which exists in any State of the Union. This in- , strument was submitted to the people in November, and adopted by an overwhelming vote, the Suffrage party making no opposition to it, but staying away from the polls. After it was accepted, however, they determined to register their names under it as voters, and to make another trial to obtain the command of the State through the ballot box. The election took place in the spring, and though they used every effort, they were again defeated by a large majority, and did not succeed in polling much over 7,000 votes. In view of these facts, and of the whole history of the latter part of the