The Old Bell of Independence; Or, Philadelphia in 1776 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 159 pages of information about The Old Bell of Independence; Or, Philadelphia in 1776.

“Speaking of awful deaths,” said Morton, “reminds me of a scene I witnessed at Saratoga, which I may as well tell you about, as young Mr. Harmar seems anxious to hear anything relating to the war of independence.  You know there was an unconscionable number of tories up there in New York State about the time of Burgoyne’s invasion.  Some of them were honest, good sort of men, who didn’t happen to think just as we did:  they kept at home, and did not lift their arms against us during the war, though some of them were pretty hardly used by their whig neighbors.  Another set of the tories, however, acted upon the maxim that ‘might makes right.’  They were whigs when the royal power was weak, and tories when they found it strong.  Though raised in the same neighborhood with the staunch whigs, these men turned robbers and murderers, and lost all virtuous and manly feelings.  Colonel Tom Lovelace was one of this class:  He was born and raised in the Saratoga district, and yet his old neighbors dreaded him almost as much as if he had been one of the fierce Senecas.  When the war commenced, Lovelace went to Canada, and there confederated with five men from his own district, to come down to Saratoga, and kill, rob, or betray his old neighbors and friends.  There’s no denying Lovelace was a bold, wary, and cunning fellow, and he made the worst use of his qualities.  He fixed his quarters in a large swamp, about five miles from the residence of Colonel Van Vechten, at Dovegat, and very cunningly concealed them.

“Soon after, the robberies and captures around that neighborhood became frequent.  General Schuyler’s house was robbed, and an attempt was made, by Lovelace and his companions, to carry off Colonel Van Vechten.  But General Stark, who was in command of the barracks north of Fish Creek, was too wide awake for him.  He got wind of the scheme, and gave the Colonel a strong guard, and so Lovelace was balked, and compelled to give up his design.  Captain Dunham, who commanded a company of militia in the neighborhood, found out the tory colonel’s place of concealment, and he determined to attempt his capture.  Accordingly, he summoned his lieutenant, ensign, orderly, and one private, to his house; and, about dusk, they started for the swamp, which was two miles distant.  Having separated to reconnoitre, two of them, named Green and Guiles, got lost; but the other three kept together, and, about dawn, discovered Lovelace and his party, in a hut covered over with boughs, just drawing on their stockings.  The three men crawled cautiously forward till near the hut, when they sprang up with a shout, levelled their muskets, and Captain Dunham sang out, ‘Surrender, or you are all dead men!’ There was no time for parley; and the tory rascals, believing that our men were down on them in force, came out one by one, without arms, and Dunham and his men marched them off to General Stark’s quarters.  The rascals were all tried by court-martial, as spies,

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The Old Bell of Independence; Or, Philadelphia in 1776 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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