“It was a bloody time,” remarked Smith.
“God grant that we may never see its like again,” added Morton.
“Up this way,” said Wilson, “the tories were quite peaceable and respectable; and some of them were badly treated without any reason for it. They were honest men, and differed in opinion with those who judged the Declaration of Independence and the assumption of arms, necessary measures.”
“Yes,” replied Higgins; “its all very well for men to differ in opinion—nobody finds fault with that; its taking up arms against their own countrymen, and opposing their country’s cause, that we grumble at. We should all adopt Commodore Decatur’s motto; ’Our country—right or wrong.’ If she be right, our support cannot be refused; if wrong, we should endeavor to set her right, and not, by refusing our support, or by taking up arms against her, see her fall.”
“Bravo!” cried Mr. Jackson Harmar. “There’s the true patriotic sentiment for you. Allow me, Mr. Higgins, to shake hands with you over that sentiment.”
The veteran patriot extended his hand, and received the hearty shake of the patriot of another generation.
“Grandfather,” said Thomas Jefferson Harmar, “wont you tell us something about Mad Anthony Wayne?”
“Who learnt you to call him Mad Anthony Wayne?” inquired Higgins.
“That’s what grandfather calls him,” replied the boy.
“Yes,” said old Harmar; “we always called him Mad Anthony—he was such a dare-devil. I don’t believe, if that man, when alone, had been surrounded by foes, they could really have made him afraid.”
“He was a bold and skilful general,” remarked Morton. “He was equal to Arnold in those qualities, and superior to him in all others.”
“I think I can see him now, at Morristown, in the midst of the mutineers, with his cocked pistol in his hand, attempting to enforce orders—an action that no other man would have thought of doing under such circumstances.” “He did his duty,” said Wilson; “but the men cannot be censured for their conduct. They had received no pay for many months, were without sufficient clothing to protect them from the weather, and sometimes without food. If they had not been fighting for freedom and their country’s rights, they never could have stood it out.”
“One of the best things Wayne ever did,” said Smith, “was that manoeuvre of his in Virginia, where the British thought they had him surely in a net.”
“What manoeuvre was that?” inquired Mr. Jackson Harmar.