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.
traitors, and robbers; and Lovelace was sentenced to be hung, as he was considered too dangerous to be allowed to get loose again.  He made complaint of injustice, and said he ought to be treated as a prisoner of war; but our general could not consent to look upon such a villain as an honorable soldier, and his sentence was ordered to be carried into effect three days afterwards.  I was then with a company of New York volunteers, sent to reinforce General Stark, and I was enabled to gratify my desire to witness the execution of a man I detested.  The gallows was put up on the high bluff a few miles south of Fish Creek, near our barracks.  When the day arrived, I found that our company was on the guard to be posted near the gallows.  It was a gloomy morning, and about the time the tory colonel was marched out to the gallows, and we were placed in position at the foot of the bluff, a tremendous storm of wind and rain came on.  It was an awful scene.  The sky seemed as black as midnight, except when the vivid sheets of lightning glared and shot across it; and the peals of thunder were loud and long.  Lovelace knelt upon the scaffold, and the chaplain prayed with him.  I think if there was anything could change a man’s heart, it must have been the thought of dying at such a time, when God himself seemed wrathful at the deeds of men.

“I expected to be delighted with seeing such a man hung; but I tell you, my friends, I felt very differently when the time came, and I saw the cruel tory kneeling on the scaffold, while the lightning seemed to be quivering over the gallows.  I turned away my head a moment, and when I looked again, the body of Lovelace was suspended in the air, and his spirit had gone to give its account to its God.”

The account of this terrible scene had deeply interested the company; and the animated manner of Morton impressed even the children with a feeling of awe.

“Why didn’t they postpone the hanging of the man until there was a clear day?” enquired Mrs. Harmar.

“Executions are never postponed on account of the weather, my dear,” replied her husband.  “It would be rather cruel than otherwise thus to delay them.”

“I’ve heard of that Lovelace before,” remarked old Harmar.  “I judged that he was a bold villain from some of his outrages, and I think he deserved his death.”

“For my part,” said Higgins, “I hated the very name of a tory so much, during the war, that I believe I could have killed any man who dared to speak in their defence.  All that I knew or heard of were blood-thirsty scoundrels.”


“If you were at Saratoga, Mr. Morton, perhaps you know something about the murder of Miss M’Crea,” said Mrs. Harmar.

“Oh, yes!  I know the real facts of the case,” replied Morton.  “I got them from one who was acquainted with her family.  The real story is quite different from the one we find in the histories of the war, and which General Gates received as true.”

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