History of the United States of America, from the Discovery of the Continent - Vol. 3

By George Bancroft | Go to book overview

CHAPTER IV.
THE FIRST AMERICAN CONGRESS.
SEPTEMBER–OCTOBER 1774.

THE province kept powder for its militia at Quarry Hill on a point of land between Medford and Cambridge. The towns had been removing their stock, each according to its proportions. On the first day of September, a corps of two hundred and sixty men, embarking from Boston an hour before sunrise, seized all the powder that remained, amounting to two hundred and fifty half-barrels, and transferred it to the castle. A detachment from the corps brought off two field-pieces from Cambridge.

This seizure, secretly planned and suddenly executed, set the country in a flame. The next morning, thousands of freeholders, leaving their guns in the rear, advanced to Cambridge. Warren, accompanied by as many of the Boston committee as came in his way, crossed to Charlestown, and with the committee of that town hastened to meet the committee of Cambridge. On their arrival, they found Danforth, a county judge and mandamus councillor, addressing a very large gathering of people who stood in the open air round the court-house steps; and such order prevailed that the low voice of the feeble old man was heard by the whole multitude. He finished by giving a written promise never “to be any way concerned as a member of the council.” Lee, in like manner, confirmed his former resignation. The turn of Phipps, the high sheriff, came next, and he signed an agreement not to execute any precept under the new act of parliament.

Oliver, the lieutenant-governor, who resided at Cambridge,

-55-

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