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.
on the ear.  The cloud dispersed with the noise, and flying troops were seen rushing on from the west.  Men and horses were mingled in one indiscriminate mass of confusion.  The soldiers wore the uniform of the British; but there was no order, as in the former vision.  Ranks were cut up and destroyed—­plumes were bent down and broken—­horses fled without riders—­and the fallen were trampled on by their companions.  Terror seemed to move in their midst, as they hurried onward.  The pillar of a cloud rose again behind them.  It was like a thick smoke from the fire of the enemy.  It curled and wreathed itself away in the heavens, and disappeared, as with another sound of guns.  Then came the Continental Army.  Soldiers marching in triumph—­officers mounted, and flags of victory streaming on the sky.  On and on, they followed in the pursuit, till the singular phantasm melted away in the east.

“The sight was hailed with joy, as an omen of success to the American cause.  Numerous were the spectators to that second vision—­and some are yet alive in the part of the country where it was seen.

“An account of this phenomenon was sent to Murray and Lester, and the latter became confirmed, heart and soul, in the cause to which he had attached himself.  Now, I know, you may look upon these things with a smile of credulity, and say it was all the result of imagination; but a mere fancy cannot mislead hundreds of people, and make them believe that their eyes are traitors.  I have told you nothing but what is well attested.  I don’t pretend to know anything of the causes of such events, but I do know that these visions changed many a heart from toryism to patriotism.”  “I am very much obliged to you for your interesting story, Mr. Morton,” said Mr. Jackson Harmar.  “I like your plain, straight-forward style, and your matter excites my wonder.  It is a fact, that General Washington was known to observe and mention the remarkable apparitions in the heavens, at many different periods of the Revolution.  They were not without their influence on his mind.  I firmly believe that such things occurred; and can look for no cause but that of God’s providence, to explain them.”

Of course Mrs. Harmar believed the story of the apparitions to be perfectly true, and did not look for any other cause except the direct order of the Almighty; but Wilson said he was always suspicious of such stories.  He even ventured to offer an explanation of the phenomenon, which amounted to this:—­A thunder-storm came up while the people were gathered together, very much excited upon the subject of the war, and feeling very anxious for the success of the cause of the colonies; one man thought he saw an army in the clouds driven before the winds, and heard the roar of the artillery; this he communicated in an excited manner to the others, and they, disposed to believe, also thought the clouds looked “very like a whale.”  But Morton, old Harmar, Mr. Jackson Harmar, Smith, and Higgins,

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