“Ye see them Injuns is doomed,” said Solomon. “Some on ’em has got good sense, but rum kind o’ kills all argeyment. Rum is now the great chief o’ the red man. Rum an’ Johnson ’ll win ’em over. Sir William was their Great White Father. They trusted him. Guy an’ John have got his name behind ’em. The right an’ wrong o’ the matter ain’t able to git under the Injun’s hide. They’ll go with the British an’ burn, an’ rob, an’ kill. The settlers ’ll give hot blood to their childern. The Injun ‘ll be forever a brother to the snake. We an’ our childern an’ gran’childern ‘ll curse him an’ meller his head. The League o’ the Iroquois ‘ll be scattered like dust in the wind, an’ we’ll wonder where it has gone. But ‘fore then, they’s goin’ to be great trouble. The white settlers has got to give up their land an’ move, ’er turn Tory, ’er be tommy-hawked.”
With a sense of failure, they slowly made their way back to Albany, riding the last half of it on the sled of a settler who was going to the river city with a grist and a load of furs.
ADVENTURES IN THE SERVICE OF THE COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF
Soon after they reached home Jack received a letter from Doctor Franklin who had given up his fruitless work in London and returned to Philadelphia.
It said: ’My work in England has been fruitless and I am done with it. I bring you much love from the fair lady of your choice. That, my young friend, is a better possession than houses and lands, for even the flames of war can not destroy it. I have not seen, in all this life of mine, a dearer creature or a nobler passion. And I will tell you why it is dear to me, as well as to you. She is like the good people of England whose heart is with the colonies, but whose will is being baffled and oppressed. Let us hope it may not be for long. My good wishes for you involve the whole race whose blood is in my veins. That race has ever been like the patient ox, treading out the corn, whose leading trait is endurance.
“There is little light in the present outlook. You and Binkus will do well to come here. This, for a time, will be the center of our activities and you may be needed any moment.”
Jack and Solomon went to Philadelphia soon after news of the battle of Lexington had reached Albany in the last days of April. They were among the cheering crowds that welcomed the delegates to the Second Congress.
Colonel Washington, the only delegate in uniform, was the most impressive figure in the Congress. He had come up with a coach and six horses from Virginia. The Colonel used to say that even with six horses, one had a slow and rough journey in the mud and sand. His dignity and noble stature, the fame he had won in the Indian wars and his wisdom and modesty in council, had silenced opposition and opened his way. He was a man highly favored of Heaven. The people of Philadelphia felt the power of his personality. They seemed to regard him with affectionate awe. All eyes were on him when he walked around. Not even the magnificent Hancock or the eloquent Patrick Henry attracted so much attention. Yet he would stop in the street to speak to a child or to say a pleasant word to an old acquaintance as he did to Solomon.