And at the very moment the next day that two companies, one of British Fusileers, and one of New Jersey Continentals, were firing a volley over a new-made grave, in which, wrapped in the flag of his country, and buried with every military honor, had been deposited the body of him who had been Sir Frederick Mobray, a fatigue party were rolling into a trench, and carelessly covering with earth from the battered redoubts, along with the bodies of negroes and horses, and of barrels of spoiled pork and beef, the naked corpse of him who had been John Ombrey, Baron Clowes.
On a pleasant June afternoon in the year 1782, the loungers about the Continental Tavern in the village of Brunswick were discussing the recent proclamations of the governor and commander-in-chief forbidding illicit trading with New York, both of which called forth general condemnation, well voiced by Bagby, when he remarked:—
“A man with half an eye can see what they are working for, and that their objections to our supplying the Yorkers is only a blind. What they really wants is that we patriots, who don’t spend our days idling about in camp all winter at Rocky-Hill and now at Middle-Brook, doing nothing except eat the people’s food, and spend the people’s money, but who earn a living by hard work, sha’ n’t have no market but the continental commissaries, and so will have to take whatever they allow to offer us for our crops.”
“’T aint the proclamations ez duz the rale injoory,” asserted Squire Hennion; “fer printed orders duz n’t hurt nobody, but when the gin’ral sends a hull brigade of sogers ter pervent us sellin’ our craps then I consarned ef it aint tyranny ez every freeman is baound ter resist, jest ez we did in ‘65 an’ ’74.”
Bagby, with a sour look at Hennion, said: “That ’s one of the biggest grievances, but not the way some pretended friends of the people would have us think. What do your fellows say to officers having been fixed, so that pickets are only put where they’ll stop us from sending boats to New York, while there ’s one right here is allowed to send cargoes just when he likes?”
“Does yer mean that, Joe?” demanded a farmer.
“That I does,” asserted Bagby, looking meaningly at Hennion. “I was told as a chance was given to the army to catch the man deepest in the business—and in worse—red handed. But what ’s done? Instead of laying a trap, and catching him, they don’t stir a finger, but wait ten months and then sends the very officer who did n’t do nothing to put a stop to it. For weeks that high cock-a-lorum Brereton ’s been smelling about this town, and lining the river at night with his pickets, when all the time he could have come here any afternoon, and arrested the traitor.”
“Thet ’eres lucky fer yer,” snarled Hennion viciously. “yer ain’t the only one ez kin tell tales, I warns yer.”