Stories of Later American History

Stories of Later American History / Gordy, Wilbur Fisk, 1854-1929


Author: Gordy, Wilbur Fisk, 1854-1929
Title: Stories of Later American History
Publisher: Project Gutenberg
Tag(s): washington; clark; patrick henry; army; boston; british; virginia; indians; boone; fort
Contributor(s): Bishop, Julia Truitt [Editor]
Versions: original; local mirror; HTML (this file); printable
Services: find in a library; evaluate using concordance
Rights: GNU General Public License
Size: 62,990 words  Grade range: 9-12  Readability (Flesch) score: 61
Identifier: etext18618

The Project Gutenberg eBook, Stories of Later American History, by Wilbur
F. Gordy

This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with
almost no restrictions whatsoever.  You may copy it, give it away or
re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included
with this eBook or online at

Title: Stories of Later American History

Author: Wilbur F. Gordy

Release Date: June 19, 2006  [eBook #18618]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-646-US (US-ASCII)


E-text prepared by Barbara Tozier, Bill Tozier, and the Project Gutenberg
Online Distributed Proofreading Team (

Note: Project Gutenberg also has an HTML version of this
      file which includes the original illustrations.
      See 18618-h.htm or

Transcriber's note

      There are a few phonetic descriptions:
      ' is a stress mark,
      [=e] is an e-with-macron
      and [=a] is an a-with-macron.




Formerly Superintendent of Schools, Springfield, Mass.; Author of "A
History of the United States for Schools," "Elementary History of the
United States," "American Leaders and Heroes," "American Beginnings in
Europe," "Stories of American Explorers," "Colonial Days," and "Stories
of Early American History"

With Maps and Illustrations

[Illustration: Pioneers on the Overland Route, Westward.]

Charles Scribner's Sons
New York      Chicago         Boston
Copyright, 1915, by Charles Scribner's Sons


This book, like "Stories of Early American History," follows somewhat
closely the course of study prepared by the Committee of Eight, the
present volume covering the topics outlined for Grade V, while the earlier
one includes the material suggested for Grade IV.

It was the plan of that committee to take up in these grades, largely in a
biographical way, a great part of the essential facts of American history;
and with this plan the author, who was a member of that committee, was in
hearty accord. This method, it is believed, serves a double purpose. In
the first place, it is the best possible way of laying the foundation for
the later and more detailed study of United States history in the higher
grammar grades by those pupils who are to continue in school; and in the
second, it gives to that large number of pupils who will leave school
before the end of the sixth grade--which is at least half of all the boys
and girls in the schools of the country--some acquaintance with the
leading men and prominent events of American history.

It is without doubt a great mistake to allow half of the pupils to go out
from our public schools with almost no knowledge of the moral and material
forces which have made this nation what it is to-day. It is an injustice
to the young people themselves; it is also an injury to their country, the
vigor of whose life will depend much upon their intelligent and patriotic

With this conviction, it has been the author's desire to make the story of
the events concrete, dramatic, and lifelike by centring them about
leaders, heroes, and other representative men, in such a way as to appeal
to the imagination and to influence the ideals of the child. In so doing,
he has made no attempt to write organized history--tracing out its
intricate relations of cause and effect. At the same time, however, he has
aimed to select his facts and events so carefully that the spirit of our
national life and institutions, as well as many of the typical events of
American history, may be presented.

It is confidently hoped that the fine illustrations and the attractive
typographical features of the book will help to bring vividly before the
mind of the child the events narrated in the text.

Another aid in making the stories vivid will, it is intended, be found in
"Some Things to Think About." These and many similar questions, which the
teacher can easily frame to fit the needs of her class, will help the
pupil to make real the life of days gone by as well as to connect it with
the present time and with his own life.

In conclusion, I wish to acknowledge my deep obligations to Mr. Forrest
Morgan, of the Watkinson Library, Hartford, and to Miss Elizabeth P. Peck,
of the Hartford Public High School, both of whom have read the manuscript
and have made many valuable criticisms and suggestions.

                                                     WILBUR F. GORDY.

April 15, 1915.





  Pioneers on the Overland Route, Westward
  George III
  Patrick Henry
  Patrick Henry Delivering His Speech in the Virginia House of
  William Pitt
  St. John's Church, Richmond
  Samuel Adams
  Patriots in New York Destroying Stamps Intended for Use in
  Faneuil Hall, Boston
  Old South Church, Boston
  The "Boston Tea Party"
  Carpenters' Hall, Philadelphia
  John Hancock
  John Hancock's Home, Boston
  A Minuteman
  Old North Church
  Paul Revere's Ride
  Monument on Lexington Common Marking the Line of the Minutemen
  Concord Bridge
  President Langdon, the President of Harvard College, Praying for the
          Bunker Hill Entrenching Party on Cambridge Common Just
          Before Their Departure
  Prescott at Bunker Hill
  Bunker Hill Monument
  George Washington
  Washington, Henry, and Pendleton on the Way to Congress at
  The Washington Elm at Cambridge, under which Washington took Command
          of the Army
  Sir William Howe
  Thomas Jefferson Looking Over the Rough Draught of the Declaration
          of Independence
  The Retreat from Long Island
  Nathan Hale
  British and Hessian Soldiers
  Powder-Horn, Bullet-Flask, and Buckshot-Pouch Used in the Revolution
  General Burgoyne Surrendering to General Gates
  Marquis de Lafayette
  Lafayette Offering His Services to Franklin
  Winter at Valley Forge
  Nathanael Greene
  The Meeting of Greene and Gates upon Greene's Assuming Command
  Daniel Morgan
  Francis Marion
  Marion Surprising a British Wagon-Train
  John Paul Jones
  Battle Between the Ranger and the Drake
  The Fight Between the Bon Homme Richard and the Serapis
  Daniel Boone
  Boone's Escape from the Indians
  Boone Throwing Tobacco into the Eyes of the Indians Who Had Come to
          Capture Him
  James Robertson
  Living-Room of the Early Settler
  Grinding Indian Corn
  A Kentucky Pioneer's Cabin
  John Sevier
  A Barbecue of 1780
  Battle of King's Mountain
  George Rogers Clark
  Clark on the Way to Kaskaskia
  Clark's Surprise at Kaskaskia
  Wampum Peace Belt
  Clark's Advance on Vincennes
  George Washington
  Washington's Home, Mount Vernon
  Tribute Rendered to Washington at Trenton
  Washington Taking the Oath of Office as First President, at Federal
          Hall, New York City
  Washington's Inaugural Chair
  Eli Whitney
  Whitney's Cotton-Gin
  A Colonial Planter
  A Slave Settlement
  Thomas Jefferson
  "Monticello," the Home of Jefferson
  A Rice-Field in Louisiana
  A Flatboat on the Ohio River
  House in New Orleans Where Louis Philippe Stopped in 1798
  A Public Building in New Orleans Built in 1794
  Meriwether Lewis
  William Clark
  Buffalo Hunted by Indians
  The Lewis and Clark Expedition Working Its Way Westward
  Andrew Jackson
  "The Hermitage," the Home of Andrew Jackson
  Fighting the Seminole Indians, under Jackson
  Robert Fulton
  Fulton's First Experiment with Paddle-Wheels
  The "Clermont" in Duplicate at the Hudson-Fulton Celebration, 1909
  The Opening of the Erie Canal in 1825
  The Ceremony Called "The Marriage of the Waters"
  Erie Canal on the Right and Aqueduct over the Mohawk River, New York
  "Tom Thumb," Peter Cooper's Locomotive Working Model, First Used
          near Baltimore in 1830
  Railroad Poster of 1843
  Comparison of "DeWitt Clinton" Locomotive and Train, the First Train
          Operated in New York, with a Modern Locomotive of the New
          York Central R.R.
  S.F.B. Morse
  The First Telegraph Instrument
  Modern Telegraph Office
  The Operation of the Modern Railroad is Dependent upon the Telegraph
  Sam Houston
  Flag of the Republic of Texas
  David Crockett
  The Fight at the Alamo
  John C. Fremont
  Fremont's Expedition Crossing the Rocky Mountains
  Kit Carson
  Sutter's Mill
  Placer-Mining in the Days of the California Gold Rush
  John C. Calhoun
  Calhoun's Office and Library
  Henry Clay
  The Birthplace of Henry Clay, near Richmond
  The Schoolhouse in "the Slashes"
  Daniel Webster
  The Home of Daniel Webster, Marshfield, Mass.
  Henry Clay Addressing the United States Senate in 1850
  Abraham Lincoln
  Lincoln's Birthplace
  Lincoln Studying by Firelight
  Lincoln Splitting Rails
  Lincoln as a Boatman
  Lincoln Visiting Wounded Soldiers
  Robert E. Lee
  Lee's Home at Arlington, Virginia
  Jefferson Davis
  Thomas J. Jackson
  A Confederate Flag
  J.E.B. Stuart
  Confederate Soldiers
  Union Soldiers
  Ulysses S. Grant
  Grant's Birthplace, Point Pleasant, Ohio
  General and Mrs. Grant with Their Son at City Point, Virginia
  William Tecumseh Sherman
  Sherman's March to the Sea
  Philip H. Sheridan
  Sheridan Rallying His Troops
  The McLean House Where Lee Surrendered
  General Lee on His Horse, Traveller
  Cotton-Field in Blossom
  A Wheat-Field
  Grain-Elevators at Buffalo
  Cattle on the Western Plains
  Iron Smelters
  Iron Ore Ready for Shipment


  Boston and Vicinity
  The War in the Middle States
  The War in the South
  Early Settlements in Kentucky and Tennessee
  George Rogers Clark in the Northwest
  The United States in 1803, after the Louisiana Purchase (Colored)
  Jackson's Campaign
  Scene of Houston's Campaign
  Fremont's Western Explorations
  Map of the United States Showing First and Second Secession
    Areas (Colored)
  Route of Sherman's March to the Sea
  The Country Around Washington and Richmond




The Last French War had cost England so much that at its close she was
heavily in debt.

"As England must now send to America a standing army of at least ten
thousand men to protect the colonies against the Indians and other
enemies," the King, George III, reasoned, "it is only fair that the
colonists should pay a part of the cost of supporting it."

The English Parliament, being largely made up of the King's friends, was
quite ready to carry out his wishes, and passed a law taxing the
colonists. This law was called the Stamp Act. It provided that
stamps--very much like our postage-stamps, but costing all the way from
one cent to fifty dollars each--should be put upon all the newspapers and
almanacs used by the colonies, and upon all such legal papers as wills,
deeds, and the notes which men give promising to pay back borrowed money.

[Illustration: George III.]

When news of this act reached the colonists they were angry. "It is
unjust," they said. "Parliament is trying to make slaves of us by forcing
us to pay money without our consent. The charters which the English King
granted to our forefathers when they came to America make us free men just
as much as if we were living in England.

"In England it is the law that no free man shall pay taxes unless they are
levied by his representatives in Parliament. We have no one to speak for
us in Parliament, and so we will not pay any taxes which Parliament votes.
The only taxes we will pay are those voted by our representatives in our
own colonial assemblies."

They were all the more ready to take this stand because for many years
they had bitterly disliked other English laws which were unfair to them.
One of these forbade selling their products to any country but England.
And, of course, if they could sell to no one else, they would have to sell
for what the English merchants chose to pay.

Another law said that the colonists should buy the goods they needed from
no other country than England, and that these goods should be brought over
in English vessels. So in buying as well as in selling they were at the
mercy of the English merchants and the English ship owners, who could set
their own prices.

But even more unjust seemed the law forbidding the manufacture in America
of anything which was manufactured in England. For instance, iron from
American mines had to be sent to England to be made into useful articles,
and then brought back over the sea in English vessels and sold to the
colonists by English merchants at their own price.

Do you wonder that the colonists felt that England was taking an unfair
advantage? You need not be told that these laws were strongly opposed. In
fact, the colonists, thinking them unjust, did not hesitate to break them.
Some, in spite of the laws, shipped their products to other countries and
smuggled the goods they received in exchange; and some dared make articles
of iron, wool, or other raw material, both for their own use and to sell
to others.

"We will not be used as tools for England to make out of us all the profit
she possibly can," they declared. "We are not slaves but free-born
Englishmen, and we refuse to obey laws which shackle us and rob us of our

So when to these harsh trade laws the Stamp Act was added, great
indignation was aroused. Among those most earnest in opposing the act was
Patrick Henry.

Let us take a look at the early life of this powerful man. He was born in
1736, in Hanover County, Virginia. His father was an able lawyer, and his
mother belonged to a fine old Welsh family.

But Patrick, as a boy, took little interest in anything that seemed to his
older friends worth while. He did not like to study nor to work on his
father's farm. His delight was to wander through the woods, gun in hand,
hunting for game, or to sit on the bank of some stream fishing by the
hour. When not enjoying himself out-of-doors he might be heard playing his

Of course the neighbors said, "A boy so idle and shiftless will never
amount to anything," and his parents did not know what to do with him.
They put him, when fifteen years old, as clerk into a little country
store. Here he remained for a year, and then opened a store of his own.
But he was still too lazy to attend to business, and soon failed.

[Illustration: Patrick Henry.]

When he was only eighteen years old, he married. The parents of the young
couple, anxious that they should do well, gave them a small farm and a few
slaves. But it was the same old story. The young farmer would not take the
trouble to look after his affairs, and let things drift. So before long
the farm had to be sold to pay debts. Once more Patrick turned to
storekeeping, but after a few years he failed again.

He was now twenty-three years old, with no settled occupation, and with a
wife and family to support. No doubt he seemed to his friends a

About this time he decided to become a lawyer. He borrowed some law-books,
and after studying for six months, he applied for permission to practise
law. Although he passed but a poor examination, he at last was started on
the right road.
He succeeded well in his law practice, and in a few years had so much
business that people in his part of Virginia began to take notice of him.
In 1765, soon after the Stamp Act was passed by the British Parliament, he
was elected a member of the Virginia House of Burgesses, a body not unlike
our State Legislature.


History gives us a vivid picture of the young lawyer at this time as he
rides on horseback along the country road toward Williamsburg, then the
capital of Virginia. He is wearing a faded coat, leather knee-breeches,
and yarn stockings, and carries his law papers in his saddle-bag. Although
but twenty-nine, his tall, thin figure stoops as if bent with age. He does
not look the important man he is soon to become.

When he reaches the little town of Williamsburg, he finds great
excitement. Men gather in small groups on the street, talking in anxious
tones. Serious questions are being discussed: "What shall we do about the
Stamp Act?" they say. "Shall we submit and say nothing? Shall we send a
petition to King George asking him for justice? Shall we beg Parliament to
repeal the act, or shall we take a bold stand and declare that we will not
obey it?"

Not only on the street, but also in the House of Burgesses was great
excitement. Most of the members were wealthy planters who lived on great
estates. So much weight and dignity had they that the affairs of the
colony were largely under their control. Most of them were loyal to the
"mother country," as they liked to call England, and they wished to obey
the English laws as long as these were just.

[Illustration: Patrick Henry Delivering His Speech in the Virginia House
of Burgesses.]

So they counselled: "Let us move slowly. Let nothing be done in a passion.
Let us petition the King to modify the laws which appear to us unjust, and
then, if he will not listen, it will be time to refuse to obey. We must
not be rash."

Patrick Henry, the new member, listened earnestly. But he could not see
things as these older men of affairs saw them. To him delay seemed
dangerous. He was eager for prompt, decisive action. Tearing a blank leaf
from a law-book, he hastily wrote some resolutions, and, rising to his
feet, he read them to the assembly.

We can easily picture the scene. This plainly dressed rustic with his bent
shoulders is in striking contrast to the prosperous plantation owners,
with their powdered hair, ruffled shirts, knee-breeches, and silver
shoe-buckles. They give but a listless attention as Henry begins in quiet
tones to read his resolutions. "Who cares what this country fellow
thinks?" is their attitude. "Who is he anyway? We never heard his voice

It is but natural that these men, whose judgment has been looked up to for
years, should regard as an upstart this young, unknown member, who
presumes to think his opinion worth listening to in a time of great crisis
like this.

But while they sit in scornful wrath, the young orator's eyes begin to
glow, his stooping figure becomes erect, and his voice rings out with
fiery eloquence. "The General Assembly of Virginia, _and only_ the General
Assembly of Virginia," he exclaims, "has the right and the power of laying
taxes upon the people of this colony."

These are stirring words, and they fall amid a hushed silence. Then the
debate grows hot, as members rise to speak in opposition to his burning

[Illustration: William Pitt.]

But our hero is more than a match for all the distinguished men who
disagree with him. Like a torrent, his arguments pour forth and sweep all
before them. The bold resolutions he presents are passed by the assembly.

It was a great triumph for the young orator. On that day Patrick Henry
made his name. "Stick to us, old fellow, or we're gone," said one of the
plain people, giving him a slap on the shoulder as he passed out at the
close of the stormy session. The unpromising youth had suddenly become a
leader in the affairs of the colony.

Not only in Virginia, but also in other colonies, his fiery words acted
like magic in stirring up the people against the Stamp Act. He had proved
himself a bold leader, willing to risk any danger for the cause of justice
and freedom.

You would expect that in the colonies there would be strong and deep
feeling against the Stamp Act. But perhaps you will be surprised to learn
that even in England many leading men opposed it. They thought that George
III was making a great mistake in trying to tax the colonies without their
consent. William Pitt, a leader in the House of Commons, made a great
speech, in which he said: "I _rejoice_ that America has resisted." He went
on to say that if the Americans had meekly submitted, they would have
acted like slaves.

Burke and Fox, other great statesmen, also befriended us. And the English
merchants and ship owners, who were losing heavily because the Americans
refused to buy any English goods as long as the Stamp Act was in force,
joined in begging Parliament that the act be repealed. This was done the
next year.

Other unjust measures followed, but before we take them up, let us catch
another glimpse of Patrick Henry, ten years after his great speech at


The people of Virginia are again greatly aroused. King George has caused
Parliament to send English soldiers to Boston to force the unruly people
of Massachusetts to obey some of his commands, against which they had
rebelled. Virginia has stood by her sister colony, and now the royal
governor of Virginia, to punish her, has prevented the House of Burgesses
from meeting at Williamsburg.

But the Virginians are not so easily kept from doing their duty. With a
grim determination to defend their rights as free men, they elect some of
their leaders to act for them at this trying time.

These meet in Richmond at old St. John's Church, which is still standing.
Great is the excitement, and thoughtful people are very serious, for the
shadows of the war-cloud grow blacker hour by hour.

The Virginians have already begun to make ready to fight if they must. But
many still hope that all disagreements may yet be settled peaceably, and
therefore advise acting with caution.

[Illustration: St. John's Church, Richmond.]

Patrick Henry is not one of these. He believes that the time has come when
talking should give place to prompt, decisive action. The war is at hand.
It cannot be avoided. The colonists must fight or slavishly submit.

So intense is his belief that he offers in this meeting a resolution that
Virginia should at once prepare to defend herself. Many of the leading men
stoutly oppose this resolution as rash and unwise.

At length Patrick Henry rises to his feet, his face pale, and his voice
trembling with deep emotion. Again we see the bent shoulders straighten
and the eyes flash. His voice rings out like a trumpet. As he goes on with
increasing power, men lean forward in breathless interest. Listen to his
ringing words:

"We must fight! I repeat it, sir, we must fight! An appeal to arms and to
the God of Hosts is all that is left us! They tell us, sir, that we are
weak; unable to cope with so formidable an adversary. But when shall we be
stronger? Will it be the next week, or the next year? Will it be when we
are totally disarmed, and when a British guard shall be stationed in every
house? Shall we gather strength by irresolution and inaction? Shall we
acquire the means of effectual resistance by lying supinely on our backs
and hugging the delusive phantom of hope, until our enemies shall have
bound us hand and foot? Sir, we are not weak if we make a proper use of
the means which the God of nature hath placed in our hands.... There is no
retreat but in submission and slavery! Our chains are forged! Their
clanking may be heard on the plains of Boston! The war is inevitable--and
let it come! I repeat it, sir, let it come!

"... Gentlemen may cry peace, peace--but there is no peace. The war is
actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our
ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field!
Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they
have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price
of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course
others may take; but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death!"

What wonder that the audience sways to his belief!

He was a true prophet, for in less than four weeks the first gun of the
Revolution was fired in the quiet town of Lexington, Massachusetts.
Undoubtedly Patrick Henry's fiery spirit had done much to kindle the flame
which then burst forth.

Not long after this, he was made commander-in-chief of the Virginia forces
(1775), and the next year was elected governor of Virginia.

When the war--in the declaring of which he had taken so active a part--was
over, Patrick Henry retired at the age of fifty-eight (1794), to an estate
in Charlotte County called "Red Hill," where he lived a simple and
beautiful life. He died in 1799.

Without doubt he was one of the most eloquent orators our country has ever
produced, and we should be grateful to him because he used his great gift
in helping to secure the freedom we now enjoy.


1. What was the Stamp Act? Why did Parliament pass it, and why did the
colonists object to it?

2. What did Patrick Henry mean by saying that the General Assembly of
Virginia, _and only_ the General Assembly of Virginia had the right and
the power of laying taxes upon the people of that colony?

3. Have you in your mind a picture of young Patrick Henry as he rode on
horseback along the country road toward Williamsburg? Describe this
picture as clearly as you can.

4. What did William Pitt think of the Stamp Act? Why did Parliament repeal

5. Can you explain Patrick Henry's power as an orator? When did he make a
great speech in St. John's Church, Richmond?

6. What do you admire in Patrick Henry?

7. Do not fail to locate every event upon your map.



While Patrick Henry was leading the people of Virginia in their defiance
of the Stamp Act, exciting events were taking place in Massachusetts under
another colonial leader. This was Samuel Adams. Even before Virginia took
any action, he had introduced in the Massachusetts Assembly resolutions
opposing the Stamp Act, and they were passed.

This man, who did more than any one else to arouse the love of liberty in
his colony, was born in Boston in 1722. His boyhood was quite different
from that of Patrick Henry. He liked to go to school and to learn from
books, and he cared little for outdoor life or sport of any kind.

[Illustration: Samuel Adams.]

As he grew up, his father wished him to become a clergyman, but Samuel
preferred to study law. His mother opposing this, however, he entered upon
business life. This perhaps was a mistake, for he did not take to
business, and, like Patrick Henry, he soon failed, even losing most of the
property his father had left him.


But although not skilful in managing his own affairs, he was a most loyal
and successful worker for the interests of the colony. In fact, before
long, he gave up most of his private business and spent his time and
strength for the public welfare.

His whole income was the very small salary which he received as clerk of
the Assembly of Massachusetts. This was hardly sufficient to pay for the
food needed in his household. But his wife was so thrifty and cheerful,
and his friends so glad to help him out because of the time he gave to
public affairs, that his home life, though plain, was comfortable, and his
children were well brought up.

Poor as he was, no man could be more upright. The British, fearing his
influence, tried at different times to bribe him with office under the
King and to buy him with gold. But he scorned any such attempts to turn
him aside from the path of duty.

The great purpose of his life seemed to be to encourage the colonists to
stand up for their rights as freemen, and to defeat the plans of King
George and Parliament in trying to force the colonists to pay taxes. In
this he was busy night and day. In the assembly and in the town meeting
all looked to him as an able leader; and in the workshops, on the streets,
or in the shipyards men listened eagerly while he made clear the aims of
the English King, and urged them to defend their rights as free-born

Even at the close of a busy day, this earnest, liberty-loving man gave
himself little rest. Sometimes he was writing articles for the newspapers,
and sometimes urgent letters to the various leaders in Massachusetts and
in the other colonies. Long after midnight, those who passed his dimly
lighted windows could see "Sam Adams hard at work writing against the

[Illustration: Patriots in New York Destroying Stamps Intended for Use in

Had you seen him at this time, you would never have thought of him as a
remarkable man. He was of medium size, with keen gray eyes, and hair
already fast turning white. His head and hands trembled as if with age,
though he was only forty-two years old and in good health.

He was a great power in the colony. Not only did he rouse the people
against the Stamp Act, but he helped to organize, in opposition to it,
societies of patriots called "Sons of Liberty," who refused to use the
stamps and often destroyed them. In Massachusetts, as in Virginia and
elsewhere, the people refused to buy any English goods until this hateful
act was repealed.

At the close of a year, before it had really been put into operation, the
act was repealed, as we have already seen. But this did not happen until
many resolutions had been passed, many appeals made to the King, and after
much excitement. Then great was the rejoicing! In every town in the
country bonfires were lighted, and every colonial assembly sent thanks to
the King.

But the obstinate, power-loving George III was not happy about this
repeal. In fact, he had given in very much against his will. He wanted to
rule England in his own way, and how could he do so if he allowed his
stubborn colonists in America thus to get the better of him?

So he made up his mind to insist upon some sort of a tax. In 1767,
therefore, only one year after the repeal of the Stamp Act, he asked
Parliament to pass a law taxing glass, lead, paper, tea, and a few other
articles imported into the colonies.

This new tax was laid, but again the colonists said: "We had no part in
levying it, and if we pay it, we shall be giving up our rights as freemen.
But how can we help ourselves?"

Samuel Adams and other leaders answered: "We can resist it just as we did
the Stamp Act--by refusing to buy any goods whatever from England." To
this the merchants agreed. While the unjust tax was in force, they
promised to import no English goods, and the people promised not to ask
for such goods.

Then many wealthy people agreed to wear homespun instead of English
cloths, and to stop eating mutton in order to have more sheep to produce
wool for this homespun, thus showing a willingness to give up for the
cause some of the luxuries which they had learned to enjoy.

Of course, this stand taken by the colonists angered the King. He called
them rebels and sent soldiers to Boston to help enforce the laws (1768).

From the first the people of Boston felt insulted at having these soldiers
in their midst, and it was not long before trouble broke out. In a street
fight at night the troops fired upon the crowd, killing and wounding a
number of men.

This caused great excitement. The next day, under the leadership of Samuel
Adams, the citizens of Boston demanded that all the soldiers should be
removed. Fearing more serious trouble if the demand was disregarded, the
officers withdrew the soldiers to an island in the harbor.

Still the feeling did not die down. The new taxes were a constant
irritation. "Only slaves would submit to such an injustice," said Samuel
Adams, and his listeners agreed. In Massachusetts and in other colonies
the English goods were refused, and, as in the case of the Stamp Act, the
English merchants felt the pinch of heavy losses, and begged that the new
tax laws be repealed.


Feeling grew stronger and matters grew worse until at length, after
something like three years, Parliament took off all the new taxes except
the one on tea. "They must pay one tax to know we keep the right to tax,"
said the King. It was as if the King's followers had winked slyly at one
another and said: "We shall see--we shall see! Those colonists must have
their tea to drink, and a little matter of threepence a pound they will

It would have been much better for England if she had taken off all the
taxes and made friends with the colonists. Many leaders in that country
said so, but the stubborn King was bent upon having his own way. "I will
be King," he said. "They shall do as I say."

Then he and his followers worked up what seemed to them a clever scheme
for hoodwinking the colonists. "We will make the tea cheaper in America
than in England," they said. "Such a bargain! How can the simple colonists
resist it?" Great faith was put in this foolish plan.

But they were soon to find out that those simple colonists were only
Englishmen across the sea, that they too had strong wills, and that they
did not care half so much about buying cheap tea as they did about giving
up a principle and paying a tax, however small, which they had no part in

King George went straight ahead to carry out his plan. It was arranged
that the East India Company should ship cargoes of tea to Boston, New
York, Philadelphia, and Charleston.

In due time the tea arrived. Then the King's eyes were opened. What did he
find out about the spirit of these colonists? That they simply would _not_
use this tea. The people in New York and Philadelphia refused to let it
land, and in Charleston they stored it in damp cellars, where it spoiled.

But the most exciting time was in Boston, where the Tory governor,
Hutchinson, was determined to carry out the King's wishes. Hence occurred
the famous "Boston Tea Party,"--a strange tea-party, where no cups were
used, no guests invited, and no tea drunk! Did you ever hear of such a
party? Let us see what really happened.

It was on a quiet Sunday, the 28th of November, 1773, when the Dartmouth,
the first of the three tea ships bound for Boston, sailed into the harbor.
The people were attending service in the various churches when the cry,
"The Dartmouth is in!" spread like wild-fire. Soon the streets were alive
with people. That was a strange Sunday in Puritan Boston.

The leaders quickly sought out Benjamin Rotch, the owner of the Dartmouth,
and obtained his promise that the tea should not be landed before Tuesday.
Then they called a mass meeting for Monday morning, in Fanueil Hall,
afterward known as the "Cradle of Liberty."

[Illustration: Fanueil Hall, Boston.]

The crowd was so great that they adjourned to the Old South Church, and
there they overflowed into the street. There were five thousand in all,
some of them from near-by towns. Samuel Adams presided. In addressing the
meeting, he asked: "Is it the firm resolution of this body not only that
the tea shall be sent back, but that no duty shall be paid thereon?"
"Yes!" came the prompt and united answer from these brave men.

So the patriots of Boston and the surrounding towns, with Samuel Adams at
their head, were determined that the tea should not be landed. Governor
Hutchinson was equally determined that it should be. A stubborn fight,
therefore, was on hand.

The Boston patriots appointed men, armed with muskets and bayonets, to
watch the tea ships, some by day, others by night. Six post-riders were
appointed, who should keep their horses saddled and bridled, ready to
speed into the country to give the alarm if a landing should be attempted.
Sentinels were stationed in the church belfries to ring the bells, and
beacon-fires were made ready for lighting on the surrounding hilltops.

Tuesday, December 16, dawned. It was a critical day. If the tea should
remain in the harbor until the morrow--the twentieth day after
arrival--the revenue officer would be empowered by law to land it

[Illustration: Old South Church, Boston.]

Men, talking angrily and shaking their fists with excitement, were
thronging into the streets of Boston from the surrounding towns. By ten
o'clock over seven thousand had assembled in the Old South Church and in
the streets outside. They were waiting for the coming of Benjamin Rotch,
who had gone to see if the collector would give him a "clearance," or
permission to sail out of the port of Boston with the tea.

Rotch came in and told the angry crowd that the collector refused to give
the clearance. The people told him that he must get a pass from the
governor. Then the meeting adjourned for the morning.

At three o'clock in the afternoon a great throng of eager men again
crowded the Old South Church and the streets outside to wait for the
return of Rotch. It was an anxious moment. "If the governor refuses to
give the pass, shall the revenue officer be allowed to seize the tea and
land it to-morrow morning?" Many anxious faces showed that men were asking
themselves this momentous question.

[Illustration: The "Boston Tea Party."]

But while, in deep suspense, the meeting waited for Rotch to come they
discussed the situation, and suddenly John Rowe asked: "Who knows how tea
will mingle with salt water?" At once a whirlwind of applause swept
through the assembly and the masses outside. A plan was soon formed.

The afternoon light of the short winter day faded, and darkness deepened;
the lights of candles sprang up here and there in the windows. It was past
six o'clock when Benjamin Rotch entered the church and, with pale face,
said: "The governor refuses to give a pass."

An angry murmur arose, but the crowd soon became silent as Samuel Adams
stood up. He said quietly: "This meeting can do nothing more to save the

These words were plainly a signal. In an instant a war-whoop sounded
outside, and forty or fifty "Mohawks," or men dressed as Indians, who had
been waiting, dashed past the door and down Milk Street toward Griffin's
Wharf, where the tea ships were lying at anchor.

It was then bright moonlight, and everything could be plainly seen. Many
men stood on shore and watched the "Mohawks" as they broke open three
hundred and forty-two chests, and poured the tea into the harbor. There
was no confusion. All was done in perfect order. But what a strange "tea
party" it was! Certainly no other ever used so much tea or so much water.

Soon waiting messengers were speeding to outlying towns with the news, and
Paul Revere, "booted and spurred," mounted a swift horse and carried the
glorious message through the colonies as far as Philadelphia.


The Boston Tea Party was not a festivity which pleased the King. In fact,
it made him very furious. He promptly decided to punish the rebellious
colony. Parliament therefore passed the "Boston Port Bill," by which the
port of Boston was to be closed to trade until the people paid for the
tea. But this they had no mind to do. They stubbornly refused.

Not Boston alone came under the displeasure of King George and Parliament.
They put Massachusetts under military rule, with General Gage as governor,
and sent more soldiers. The new governor gave orders that the colonial
assembly should hold no more meetings. He said that the people should no
longer make their own laws, nor levy their own taxes. This punishment was
indeed severe.

With no vessels allowed to enter or leave the harbor and trade entirely
cut off, the people of Boston soon began to suffer. But the brave men and
women would not give in. They said: "We will not pay for the tea, nor will
we tell the King we are sorry for what we have done."

When the people of the other colonies heard of the suffering in Boston,
they sent wheat, cows, sheep, fish, sugar, and other kinds of food to help
out. The King thought that by punishing Boston he would frighten the other
colonies. But he was mistaken, for they said: "We will help the people of
our sister colony. Her cause is our cause. We must all pull together in
our resistance to King George and the English Parliament." So his action
really united the colonies.

In order to work together to better advantage, the colonies agreed that
each should send to a great meeting some of their strongest men to talk
over their troubles and work out some plan of united action. This meeting,
which was called the First Continental Congress, was held at Carpenters'
Hall, Philadelphia (1774).

Samuel Adams and his cousin, John Adams, were two of the four men that
Massachusetts sent. They began their journey from Boston in a coach drawn
by four horses. In front rode two white servants, well mounted and bearing
arms; while behind were four black servants in livery, two on horseback
and two as footmen. Such was the manner of colonial gentlemen.

[Illustration: Carpenters' Hall, Philadelphia.]

As they journeyed through the country the people honored them in many
ways. From some of the larger towns officials and citizens rode out on
horseback and in carriages to meet them and act as escort; and on reaching
a town they were feasted at banquets and greeted by gleaming bonfires, the
ringing of bells, and the firing of cannon. These celebrations showed
honor not to the men alone but to the cause.

The First Continental Congress, to which these messengers were travelling,
urged the people to stand together in resisting the attempt of King George
and Parliament to force them to pay taxes which they had had no share in
laying. They added: "We have the right not only to tax ourselves, but also
to govern ourselves."

With all these movements Samuel Adams was in sympathy. He went even
further, for at this time he was almost or quite alone in his desire for
independence, and he has well been called the "Father of the Revolution."
Perhaps we think of him especially in connection with the Boston Tea
Party, but his influence for the good of his country lasted far beyond
that time.

Till the close of his life he was an earnest and sincere patriot. He died
in 1803, at the age of eighty-one years. Not an orator like Patrick Henry,
but a man of action like Washington, he had great power in dealing with
men. Truly his life was one of great and heroic service to his country.


1. In what respects were Samuel Adams and Patrick Henry unlike as boys?

2. Tell why Samuel Adams had great power over men.

3. What kind of man was George III? Why did he so strongly desire that the
colonists should be compelled to pay a tax to England?

4. What was the tax law of 1767, and why did the colonists object to
paying the new taxes?

5. What led up to the "Boston Tea Party"? Imagine yourself one of the
party, and tell what you did.

6. In what way did George III and Parliament punish Boston for throwing
the tea overboard? How did the colonies help the people of Boston at this

7. What was the First Continental Congress, and what did it do?

8. What do you admire in Samuel Adams?



When Parliament passed the Boston Port Bill, the King believed that such
severe punishment would not only put a stop to further rebellious acts,
but would cause the colonists to feel sorry for what they had done and
incline them once more to obey him. Imagine his surprise and indignation
at what followed!

As soon as General Gage ordered that the Massachusetts Assembly should
hold no more meetings, the colonists made up their minds they would not be
put down in this manner. They said: "The King has broken up the assembly.
Very well. We will form a new governing body and give it a new name, the
Provincial Congress."

[Illustration: John Hancock.]

And what do you suppose the chief business of this Congress was? To make
ready for war! An army was called for, and provision made that a certain
number of the men enlisted should be prepared to leave their homes at a
minute's notice. These men were called "minute-men."

Even while the patriots, for so the rebellious subjects of King George
called themselves, were making these preparations, General Gage, who was
in command of the British troops in Boston, had received orders from
England to seize as traitors Samuel Adams and John Hancock, who were the
most active leaders.

[Illustration: John Hancock's Home, Boston.]

Of Samuel Adams you already know. John Hancock was president of the newly
made Provincial Congress.

General Gage knew that Adams and Hancock were staying for a while with a
friend in Lexington. He had learned also through spies that minutemen had
collected some cannon and military stores in Concord, twenty miles from
Boston, and only eight miles beyond Lexington.

The British general planned, therefore, to send a body of troops to arrest
the two leaders at Lexington, and then to push on and capture or destroy
the stores at Concord.

[Illustration: A Minuteman.]

Although he acted with the greatest secrecy, he was unable to keep his
plans from the watchful minutemen. We shall see how one of these, Paul
Revere, outwitted him. Perhaps you have read Longfellow's poem which tells
the story of the famous "midnight ride" taken by this fearless young man.

Paul Revere had taken an active part in the "Boston Tea Party," and the
following year, with about thirty other young patriots, he had formed a
society to spy out the British plans. I fancy that the daring and courage
called for in this business appealed to the high spirits and love of
adventure of these young men. Always on the watch, they were quick to
notice any strange movement and report to such leaders as Samuel Adams,
John Hancock, and Doctor Joseph Warren.

On the evening of April 18, 1775, Paul Revere and his friends brought word
to Doctor Warren that they believed General Gage was about to carry out
his plan, already reported to the patriots, of capturing Adams and
Hancock, and of taking or destroying the military stores at Concord.

Doctor Warren quickly decided that Paul Revere and William Dawes should go
on horseback to Lexington and Concord and give the alarm. He sent them by
different routes, hoping that one at least might escape the British
patrols with whom Gage had carefully guarded all the roads leading from

Soon Dawes was galloping across Boston Neck, and Paul Revere was getting
ready for a long night ride.

[Illustration: Old North Church.]

After arranging with a friend for a lantern signal to be hung in the
belfry of the Old North Church to show by which route the British forces
were advancing, "one if by land and two if by sea," he stepped into a
light skiff with two friends who rowed him from Boston across the Charles
River to Charlestown.

Upon reaching the other side of the river, he obtained a fleet horse and
stood ready, bridle in hand, straining his eyes in the darkness to catch
sight of the signal-lights. The horse waits obedient to his master's
touch, and the master stands eagerly watching the spot where the signal is
to appear.

[Illustration: Paul Revere's Ride.]

At eleven o'clock a light flashes forth. Exciting moment! Then another
light! "Two if by sea!" The British troops are crossing the Charles River
to march through Cambridge!

No time to lose! Springing into his saddle and spurring his horse, he
speeds like the wind toward Lexington.

Suddenly two British officers are about to capture him. He turns quickly
and, dashing into a side-path, with spurs in horse he is soon far from his

Then, in his swift flight along the road he pauses at every house to
shout: "Up and arm! Up and arm! The regulars are out! The regulars are

Families are roused. Lights gleam from the windows. Doors open and close.
Minutemen are mustering.

When Lexington is reached, it is just midnight. Eight minutemen are
guarding the house where Adams and Hancock are sleeping. "Make less noise!
Don't disturb the people inside," they warn the lusty rider. "Noise!"
cries Paul Revere. "You'll have noise enough before long. The regulars are

Soon William Dawes arrived and joined Revere. Hastily refreshing
themselves with a light meal, they rode off together toward Concord, in
company with Samuel Prescott, a prominent Son of Liberty whose home was in
that town. About half-way there, they were surprised by mounted British
officers, who called: "Halt."

Prescott managed to escape by making his horse leap a stone wall, and rode
in hot haste to Concord, which he reached in safety; but Paul Revere and
William Dawes both fell into the hands of the British.


Meantime, the British troops numbering eight hundred men, under
Lieutenant-Colonel Smith, were on their way to Lexington. But before they
had gone far they were made aware, by the ringing of church-bells, the
firing of signal-guns, the beating of drums, and the gleaming of
beacon-fires from the surrounding hilltops, that their secret was out, and
that the minutemen knew what was going on.

[Illustration: Monument on Lexington Common Marking the Line of the

Surprised and disturbed by these signs that the colonists were on the
alert, Colonel Smith sent Major Pitcairn ahead with a picked body of
troops, in the hope that they might reach Lexington before the town could
be completely aroused. He also sent back to Boston for more men.

The British commander would have been still more disturbed if he had known
all that was happening, for the alarm-signals were calling to arms
thousands of patriots ready to die for their rights. Hastily wakened from
sleep, men snatched their old muskets from over the door, and bidding a
hurried good-by to wife and children, started for the meeting-places long
before agreed upon.

Just as the sun was rising, Major Pitcairn marched into Lexington, where
he found forty or fifty minutemen ready to dispute his advance.

"Disperse, ye rebels; disperse!" he cried, riding up. But they did not
disperse. Pitcairn ordered his men to fire, and eighteen minutemen fell to
the ground.

Before the arrival of Pitcairn the British officers who had captured
Revere and Dawes returned with them to Lexington, where, commanding Revere
to dismount, they let him go. Running off at full speed to the house where
Samuel Adams and John Hancock were staying, he told them what had
happened, and then guided them across the fields to a place of safety.

Leaving the shocked and dazed villagers to collect their dead and wounded,
Colonel Smith hastened to Concord. He arrived about seven in the morning,
six hours after Doctor Prescott had given the alarm.

There had been time to hide the military stores, so the British could not
get at those. But they cut down the liberty-pole, set fire to the
court-house, spiked a few cannon, and emptied some barrels of flour.

About two hundred of them stood guard at the North Bridge, while a body of
minutemen gathered on a hill on the opposite side. When the minutemen had
increased to four hundred, they advanced to the bridge and brought on a
fight which resulted in loss of life on both sides. Then, pushing on
across the bridge, they forced the British to withdraw into the town.

[Illustration: Map: Boston and Vicinity.]

The affair had become more serious than the British had expected. Even in
the town they could not rest, for an ever-increasing body of minutemen
kept swarming into Concord from every direction.

By noon Colonel Smith could see that it would be unwise to delay the
return to Boston. So, although his men had marched twenty miles, and had
had little or no food for fourteen hours, he gave the order for the return

But when they started back, the minutemen kept after them and began a
deadly attack. It was an unequal fight. The minutemen, trained to woodland
warfare, slipped from tree to tree, shot down the worn and helpless
British soldiers, and then retreated only to return and repeat the
harassing attack.

[Illustration: Concord Bridge.]

The wooded country through which they were passing favored this kind of
fighting. But even in the open country every stone wall and hill, every
house and barn seemed to the exhausted British troops to bristle with the
guns of minutemen. The retreating army dragged wearily forward, fighting
as bravely as possible, but on the verge of confusion and panic.

They reached Lexington Common at two o'clock, quite overcome with fatigue.
There they were met by one thousand two hundred fresh troops, under Lord
Percy, whose timely arrival saved the entire force from capture. Lord
Percy's men formed a square for the protection of the retreating soldiers,
and into it they staggered, falling upon the ground, "with their tongues
hanging out of their mouths like those of dogs after a chase."

After resting for an hour, the British again took up their march to
Boston. The minutemen, increasing in numbers every moment, kept up the
same kind of running attack that they had made between Concord and
Lexington until, late in the day, the redcoats came under the protection
of the guns of the war vessels in Boston Harbor.

The British had failed. There was no denying that. They had been driven
back, almost in a panic, to Boston, with a loss of nearly three hundred
men. The Americans had not lost one hundred.

But the King was not aroused to the situation. He had a vision of his
superb regiments in their brilliant uniforms overriding all before them.

And how did the Provincials, as the British called the Americans, regard
the situation? They saw clearly and without glamour the deadly nature of
the struggle upon which they had entered and the strength of the opposing
army against which they must measure their own strength.

The people of Massachusetts for miles around Boston were now in a state of
great excitement. Farmers, mechanics, men in all walks of life flocked to
the army, and within a few days the Americans, sixteen thousand strong,
were surrounding the British in Boston.

While the people of Massachusetts were in the midst of these stirring
scenes, an event of deep meaning to all the colonies was taking place in
Philadelphia. Here the Continental Congress, coming together for the
second time, was making plans for carrying on the war by voting money for
war purposes and by making George Washington commander-in-chief of the
Continental army, of which the troops around Boston were the beginning.
Thus did the colonies recognize that war had come and that they must stand
together in the fight.

[Illustration: President Langdon, the President of Harvard College,
Praying for the Bunker Hill Entrenching Party on Cambridge Common Just
Before Their Departure.]

Meantime more British troops, under the command of General Howe, arrived
in Boston, making an army of ten thousand men. Believing they could be
forced to leave the town by cannon planted on Bunker Hill, the Americans
decided to occupy it.

On the night of June 16, therefore, shortly before midnight, twelve
hundred Americans marched quietly from Cambridge and, advancing to Breed's
Hill, which was nearer Boston than Bunker Hill, began to throw up

[Illustration: Prescott at Bunker Hill.]

They worked hard all night, and by early morning had made good headway.
The British, on awaking, were greatly surprised to see what had been done.
They turned the fire of their war vessels upon the Americans, who,
however, kept right on with their work.

General Howe, now in command of the British army, thought it would be easy
enough to drive off the "rebels." So about three o'clock in the afternoon
he made an assault upon their works.

The British soldiers, burdened with heavy knapsacks, and suffering from
the heat of a summer sun, had to march through tall grass reaching above
their knees and to climb many fences.

Behind their breastworks the Americans watched the scarlet ranks coming
nearer and nearer. Powder was low, and must not be wasted. Colonel William
Prescott, who was in command, told his men not to fire too soon. "Wait
till you see the whites of their eyes," he said.

Twice the British soldiers, in their scarlet uniforms, climb the slope of
the hill and charge the breastworks. Twice the Americans drive them back,
ploughing great gaps in their ranks.

[Illustration: Bunker Hill Monument.]

A third time they advance. But now the Americans do not answer the charge.
There is good reason--the powder has given out! A great rush--and the
redcoats have climbed over. But it is no easy victory even now, and there
is no lack of bravery on the part of the Americans. With clubbed muskets
they meet the invaders.

The British won the victory, but with great loss. "Many such," said one
critic, "would have cost them their army."

On the other hand, the Americans had fought like heroes, and news of the
battle brought joy to every loyal heart. Washington heard of it when on
his way to take command of the army.

"Did the Americans stand fire?" was his first question.

"Yes," was the answer.

"Then," said he, "the liberties of the country are safe."


1. Impersonating Paul Revere, tell the story of his famous ride. What do
you think of him?

2. Why did the British troops march out to Lexington and Concord?

3. Imagine yourself at Concord on the morning of the battle, and tell what

4. Why did the Americans fortify Breed's Hill? What were the results of
the Battle of Bunker Hill?

5. What did Washington say when he heard that the Americans had stood
their ground in face of the British assault?

Comments are closed.