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milled dollars were emitted for the purpose of defraying the expences of the war, and the twelve confederated colonies were pledged for their redemption. Articles of war for the government of the continental army were formed, though, as yet, the troops were raised under the authority of the states, without even a requisition from Congress, except in a few instances. A solemn dignified declaration, in the form of a manifesto, was prepared to be published to the army, in orders, and to the people from the pulpit. After detailing the causes of their opposition to the mother country, with all the energy of men, feeling the injuries of which they complain, the manifesto exclaims, “ But why should we enumerate our injuries in detail ? By one statute it is declared, that parliament can of right make laws to bind us in all cases whatsoever. What is to defend us against so enormous, so unlimited a power? Not a single man of those who assume it is chosen by us, or is subject to our controul or influence; but, on the contrary, they are all of them exempt from the operation of such laws, and an American revenue, if not diverted from the ostensible purposes for which it is raised, would actually lighten their own burdens, in propor
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tion as they increase ours. We saw the misery to which such CHAP. III. despotism would reduce us. We for ten years incessantly and ineffectually besieged the throne as supplicants ; we reasoned, we remonstrated with Parliament in the most mild and decent language.”
The measures adopted by administration to enforce the claims of Great Britain are then enumerated; after which the manifesto proceeds: “ We are reduced to the alternative of choosing an unconditional submission to the tyranny of irritated ministers, or resistance by force. The latter is our choice. We have counted the cost of this contest, and find nothing so dreadful as voluntary slavery. Honour, justice, and humanity, forbid us tamely to surrender that freedom, which we received from our gallant ancestors, and which our innocent posterity have a right to receive from us. We cannot endure the infamy and guilt of resigning succeeding generations to that wretchedness which inevitably awaits them, if we basely entail hereditary bondage upon
“ Our cause is just. Our union is perfect. Our internal resources are great; and, if necessary, foreign assistance is undoubtedly attainable. We gratefully acknowledge, as signal instances of divine favour towards us, that his providence would not permit us to be called into this severe controversy, until we were grown up to our present strength, had been previously exercised in warlike operation, and possessed of the means of defending ourselves. With hearts fortified with these animating reflections, we most solemnly, before God and the world, DECLARE, that, exerting the utmost energy of those powers, hh 2
which our beneficent Creator hath graciously bestowed on us, the arms we have been compelled by our enemies to assume, we will, in defiance of every hazard, with unabating firmness and perseverance, employ for the preservation of our liberties; being with one mind resolved to die freemen rather than to live slaves.
“ Lest this declaration should disquiet the minds of our friends and fellow-subjects in any part of the empire, we assure them, that we mean not to dissolve that union which has so long and so happily subsisted between us, and which we sincerely wish to see restored. Necessity has not yet driven us into that desperate measure, or induced us to excite any other nation to war against them. We have not raised armies with ambitious designs of separating from Great Britain, and establishing independent states. We fight not for glory or for conquest. We exhibit to mankind the remarkable spectacle of a people attacked by unprovoked enemies, without any imputation, or even suspicion of offence. They boast of their privileges and civilization, and yet proffer no milder conditions than servitude or death.
“ In our native land, in defence of the freedom, that is our birth-right, and which we ever enjoyed till the late violation of it, for the protection of our property, acquired solely by the honest industry of our fore-fathers and ourselves, against violence actually offered, we have taken up arms.
We shall lay them down when hostilities shall cease on the part of the aggressors, and all danger of their being renewed shall be removed, and not before.”
During these transactions, Generals Howe, Burgoyne, and Clinton, with a reinforcement of troops from England, arrived at Boston; soon after which General Gage published a proclamation, declaring martial law to be in force, and offering pardon to those who would lay down their arms and submit to the king, with the exception of Samuel Adams and John Hancock.
This proclamation, like every other measure, designed to intimidate or divide, served only to increase the activity of the Americans by strengthening their conviction, that arms, and arms alone, were to be relied upon for ultimate safety.
It having been conjectured from intelligence received respecting the movements of the British army, that General Gage intended to penetrate into the country, it was recommended by the provincial congress to the council of war to take the necessary measures for the defence of Dorchester Neck, and to occupy Bunker's Hill, a very high and commanding piece of ground just within the peninsula on which Charlestown stands, and which had hitherto been neglected by both armies *. In observance of these instructions, a detachment of one thousand men, under the command of General Prescot, was ordered to take possession of this ground; but by some mistake Breed's Hill, situated on the further part of the peninsula, next to Boston, was marked out instead of Bunker's Hill for the intrenchments proposed
to be thrown up.
* Charlestown is separated from Boston only by a narrow sheet of water, over
The party sent on this service proceeded to Breed's Hill, and worked with so much diligence and secrecy, that, by the dawn of day, they had thrown up a small square redoubt, about forty yards on each side, without having given the least alarm to some ships of war which were stationed in the river, at no great distance from them. As soon as light had discovered this new work to the enemy, a heavy cannonade was commenced upon it, which the provincials bore with firmness. They continued their labour till they had thrown up a small breast-work stretching from the east side of the redoubt to the bottom of the hill, so as very considerably to extend their line of defence.
As this eminence overlooked Boston, General Gage thought it necessary to drive the provincials from it. To affect this object, he detached Major-General Howe, and Brigadier-General Pigot, at the head of ten companies of grenadiers, and the same number of light infantry, with a proper proportion of field artillery. These troops landed at Moreton's Point, where they immediately formed; but, perceiving the Americans to wait for them with firmness, they remained on the ground till the success of the enterprize should be rendered secure by the arrival of a reinforcement from Boston, for which General Howe had applied. During this interval, the Americans also were reinforced by a body of their countrymen, led by Generals Warren and Pommeroy; and they availed themselves of this delay to increase their security by pulling up some adjoining post and rail fences, and arranging them in two parallel lines at a small distance from each other, the space between which they filled up with hay, so as to form a complete cover from the musketry
of the enemy