an’, with the stale in one hand an’ a
whip in t’ other, lead me up to the tax collector
to pay fer his fun. I’d ruther fight him.
Some o’ you has fam’lies. Don’t
worry ’bout ’em. They’ll be
took care of. I got some confidence in the Lord
myself. Couldn’t ‘a’ lived
without it. Look a’ me. I’m
so ragged that I got patches o’ sunburn on my
back an’ belly. I’m what ye might
call a speckled man. My feet ‘a’
been bled. My body looks like an ol’ tree
that has been clawed by a bear an’ bit by woodpeckers.
I’ve stuck my poker into the fire o’ hell.
I’ve been singed an’ frost bit an’
half starved an’ ripped by bullets, an’
all the pay I want is liberty an’ it ain’t
due yit. I’ve done so little I’m
‘shamed o’ myself. Money!
Lord God o’ Israel! If any man has come
here fer to make money let him stan’ up while
we all pray fer his soul. These ’ere United
States is your hum an’ my hum an’ erway
down the trail afore us they’s millions ‘pon
millions o’ folks comin’ an’ we want
’em to be free. We’re a-fightin’
fer ’em an’ fer ourselves. If ye
don’t fight ye’ll git nothin’ but
taxes to pay the cost o’ lickin’ ye.
It’ll cost a hundred times more to be licked
than it’ll cost to win. Ye won’t
find any o’ the ol’ boys o’ Washington
squealin’ erbout pay. We’re lookin’
fer brothers an’ not pigs. Git down on
yer knees with me, every one o’ ye, while the
Chaplain asks God A’mighty to take us all into
The words of Solomon put the new men in better spirit
and there was little complaining after that.
They called that speech “The Binkussing of
the Recruits.” Solomon was the soul of
the old guard.
IN WHICH ARNOLD AND HENRY THORNHILL ARRIVE IN THE HIGHLANDS
Margaret and her mother returned to England with David
Hartley soon after Colonel Irons had left France.
The British Commissioner had not been able to move
the philosopher. Later, from London, he had sent
a letter to Franklin seeking to induce America to
desert her new ally. Franklin had answered:
“I would think the destruction of our whole
country and the extirpation of our people preferable
to the infamy of abandoning our allies. We may
lose all but we shall act in good faith.”
Here again was a new note in the history of diplomatic
Colonel Irons’ letter to Margaret Hare, with
the greater part of which the reader is familiar,
was forwarded by Franklin to his friend Jonathan Shipley,
Bishop of St. Asaph, and by him delivered. Another
letter, no less vital to the full completion of the
task of these pages was found in the faded packet.
It is from General Sir Benjamin Hare to his wife
in London and is dated at New York, January 10, 1780.
This is a part of the letter: