Oliver Wiswell

Oliver Wiswell

Oliver Wiswell

Oliver Wiswell

Excerpt

MY FATHER, Seaton Wiswell of Milton and Boston, was an attorney. Daniel Dulaney, greatest of American lawyers, once wrote that he was as richly endowed with foresight as were the majority of his generation with hindsight.

He was one of the foremost men of his time, a colleague and intimate of those great Americans, Daniel Dulaney, Governor Hutchinson and Samuel Seabury, all of whom had to hear themselves reviled as traitors by lesser Americans.

To my father's foresight I owe the most satisfying thing I have had in life--the desire to write history truthfully. Not only did he persuade our great and good neighbor, Thomas Hutchinson, historian and governor, to take an interest in me; but when, in 1772, John Trumbull of Yale attacked his own and other American colleges for deriding polite literature and English grammar, my father at once sent me to Yale to study under Trumbull.

It was while I was at Yale in April, 1775, that I received word of my father's illness; and in spite of all that happened as a result, I shall always be thankful that I instantly set out for Milton to be with him.

That was how I came to be in the shadow of Great Blue Hill between Dedham and Milton in the dusk of April 17th, 1775, and how I happened to encounter a Boston mob in action.

Except for that I never would have seen the destruction of Henry Wade's barn or the mutilation of his cattle, nor would I have rescued Thomas Buell.

Lacking that warning of the lengths to which a Boston mob would go, my days on this earth might have been considerably shorter, and . . .

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