Turning to Solomon, he added:
“Colonel Binkus, I am indebted to you for faithful, effective and valiant service. You shall have a medal.”
“Gin’ral Washington, we’re a-goin’ to lick ’em,” said Solomon. “We’re a-goin’ to break their necks.”
“Colonel, you are very confident,” the General answered with a smile.
“You’ll see,” Solomon continued. “God A’mighty is sick o’ tyrants. They’re doomed.”
“Let us hope so,” said the Commander-in-Chief. “But let us not forget the words of Poor Richard: ‘God helps those who help themselves.’”
JACK AND SOLOMON MEET THE GREAT ALLY
The Selectmen of Boston, seeing the city threatened with destruction, had made terms with Washington for the British army. It was to be allowed peaceably to abandon the city and withdraw in its fleet of one hundred and fifty vessels. The American army was now well organized and in high spirit. Washington waited on Dorchester Heights for the evacuation of Boston to be completed. Meanwhile, a large force was sent to New York to assist in the defense of that city. Jack and Solomon went with it. On account of their physical condition, horses were provided for them, and on their arrival each was to have a leave of two weeks, “for repairs,” as Solomon put it. They went up to Albany for a rest and a visit and returned eager for the work which awaited them.
They spent a spring and summer of heavy toil in building defenses and training recruits. The country was aflame with excitement. Rhode Island and Connecticut declared for independence. The fire ran across their borders and down the seaboard. Other colonies were making or discussing like declarations. John Adams, on his way to Congress, told of the defeat of the Northern army in Canada and how it was heading southward “eaten with vermin, diseased, scattered, dispirited, unclad, unfed, disgraced.” Colonies were ignoring the old order of things, electing their own assemblies and enacting their own laws. The Tory provincial assemblies were unable to get men enough together to make a pretense of doing business.
In June, by a narrow margin, the Congress declared for independence, on the motion of Richard Henry Lee of Virginia. A declaration was drafted and soon adopted by all the Provincial Congresses. It was engrossed on parchment and signed by the delegates of the thirteen states on the second of August. Jack went to that memorable scene as an aid to John Adams, who was then the head of the War Board.
He writes in a letter to his friends in Albany:
“They were a solemn looking lot of men with the exception of Doctor Franklin and Thomas Jefferson of Virginia. The latter wore a long-tailed buff coat with round gold buttons. He is a tall, big-boned man. I have never seen longer arms than he has. His wrists and hands are large and powerful.