frighted into an immediate compliance w'h their demand â€” upon ye sight of
Independence at Last. 87
a Comparatively Small no. of troops parading in ye Streets of Boston, & a
few large ships in its harbour, ready to cooperate w* the same upon opposi-
tion. To this egregious blunder of ye B. Gov' ye present safety of these A.
Cols, has been, & is, greatly owing, inasmuch as it has, for several years,
prevented ye ministry fr. applyg to P' for such a formidable force as they
threaten this year to bring against us. We hear of sundry prize ships, sent
into several parts since you left us â€” 2 sugar ships from Jamaica, one 450
tons â€” 30 Gent" & ladies passengers â€” w'h 20000 dollars on brd besides a
valuable Cargo â€” ye passengers by agreemt were landed at Providence â€” this
morning advise of a Scotch ship w'h a no of highlanders & others near about
140 wth Cargo brot into Salem as soldiers â€” they are best under our com-
mand. Let me know if any good manufacs are hopefully rising in or near
P. The present Scarcity of B. Commod^ is & will prove of vast advante to
ye whole Am" Community â€” tho' a fatal stab to ye B. commerce. To pre-
vent ye latter, I presume, adm''o" has made an argumt of ye apparent danger
to persuade B. merchants & manufacrs to lend them aid to ye present grand
preparations, with many promises of compens^ for all their losses out of ye
Amca" forfeited estates. One wd almost think that Reason as well as vir-
tue had taken its flight fr the most important ranks of B. Subjects."
ytily igth. â€” Independence is declared at last ! The glorious document
which proclaims our Colonies to be free and independent States, has been
read from the balcony of the State House and in Faneuil Hall, and greeted
with cheers of welcome from thousands of patriotic throats. The thought of
independence has been a familiar one for many months, and the fiery enthu-
siasm which now flames forth from all quarters tells of the universal joy of
the nation. The seventh day of June Mr. Richard Henry Lee of Virginia
made a motion in Congress, that "these United Colonies are and of right
ought to be free and independent States," and proposed that they dissolve
all connection with the mother country. The question was debated vigor-
ously and eloquently, and on the eleventh of June a committee, consisting of
Thomas Jefferson of Virginia, John Adams of our own Colony, Benjamin
Franklin of Pennsylvania, Roger Sherman of Connecticut, and Robert R.
Livingston of New York, was appointed to draft a Declaration of Independ-
ence. Each member of the committee drew up such a paper as expressed
his own views and feelings, and then the five met for consultation. Mr. Jef-
ferson's paper was read first, and so entirely met the ajjproval of the others,
that it was unanimously adopted as being in every way superior to their own.
This was reported to Congress, and after being discussed several days and
slightly altered, was agreed to on the fourth day of July. The streets of
Philadelphia, on that day, were filled with eager crowds, waiting to know the
decision of Congress. The bellrringer of the State House stood at his post
in the steeple, from the early morning, that he might be prompt to announce
to the people that their independence was formally declared. His little boy
88 Extracts from the Diary of Dorothy Dudley.
was stationed where he could get the earliest news of the event and at last,
as the old man grew impatient at the long delay, the boyish voice rung
through the air : " Ring ! Ring, Father ! Ring ! " And then the bells sent
forth a triumphant peal which was answered by shouts of joy from the ex-
cited multitude. The declaration thus concludes: "We, therefore, the
representatives of the United States of America in General Congress assem-
bled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the World for the rectitude of our
intentions, do, in the name, and by the authority of the good people of these
Colonies, solemnly publish and declare. That these United Colonies are, and
of right ought to be. Free and Independent States ; that they are absolved
from all allegiance to the British crown, and that all political connection be-
tween them and the state of Great Britian, is, and ought to be, totally dis-
solved ; and that, as Free and Independent States, they have' full power to
levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and to do
all other acts and things which Independent States may of right do. And
for the support of this declaration, with a_/fr/;/ reliance on the protection of
Dii'ine Providence., we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes,
and our sacred honor."
Though this declaration was agreed to on the fourth, the resolution adopt-
ing it was passed on the second day of July, and Mr. John Adams, writ-
ing on the day after that memorable event, says : " The second day of July,
1776, will be the most memorable epocha in the history of America ; to be
celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival, com-
memorated as the day of deliverance by solemn acts of devotion to God
Almighty, from one end of the continent to the other, from this time forward
forevermore. I am well aware of the toil, and blood, and treasure that it
will cost us to maintain this declaration, and support and defend these
States ; yet through all the gloom, I can see the rays of light and glory ; that
the end is worth all the means ; that posterity will triumph in that day's
transaction, even though we should rue it, which I trust in God we shall
[The Editor reluctantly closes his extracts from Miss Dudley's Diary at
this point. It would be interesting to read her animadversions upon the
succeeding events, but tliey would frequently take us away from Cambridge,
which, as she has remarked, was very quiet after the evacuation of Boston.
The extracts already given subserve the purposes of this volume, and are
also unconscious witnesses to the firm and enthusiastic patriotism of the
writer, as well as to her remarkable ability as a gatherer and recorder of cur-
rent news at a period when the public press was not the all-pervading power
that it now is.]
THE GUESTS AT HEAD-QUARTERS.
BY H. E. SCUDDER.
THE great square house which was provided for Washington's head-
quarters in Cambridge, had seen a generous hospitahty displayed, no
doubt, when Mr. John Vassall occupied it and looked out over the broad
acres attached to it, and noted the half dozen similar mansions scattered
along the Watertown Road, that held his Tory neighbors. But the Virginian
who took possession brought with him traditions of ample living and social
habits which were re-enforced by the demands made upon the Commander-
in-chief of the Continental army. Washington was a soldier, and a man, be-
sides, of self-restraint. His moderation was seen in his diet, which was ex-
tremely simple, sometimes nothing, we are told, but baked apples or berries
with cream and milk ; and in his early and regular hours. As the central
figure, however, in the American army, and representative of the cause
which brought soldiers and civilians to Cambridge, he gathered about liim,
at his head-quarters, the officers of the army and the prominent visitors who
for public or personal reasons made their way to the camp. The Provincial
Congress enabled him to maintain a style of living which comported with
his position, and his table was the social centre of the camp. Some of his
officers dined with him everyday. Let us see who they were that became
familiar with the halls of this historic house.
Major-General Charles Lee was the most conspicuous of tlie military
men toward whom the young country, anxious for heroes, looked with ad-
miration. His romantic career as a soldier of fortune, his ready defence of
the American cause, when other men of patriotic principle were more cau-
tious, and his* reputation for personal courage, gave him at once a strong
hold upon the popular mind. Indeed, he cut a dashing figure beside the
dignified, reserved Washington. He has been well described in his personal
appearance as " a tall man. lank and thin, with a huge nose, a satirical
mouth, and restless eyes, who sat his horse as if he had often ridden at fox-
hunts in England, and wore his uniform with a cynical disregard of common
opinion." ^ Seen near at hand, this restless, ambitious man piqued his com-
rades and friends by his apparently indifferent, contemptuous ways. He
was always attended by a great dog, Spada by name, perhaps brought
* Greene's Life of Nathannel Greene, vol. i. p. loo.
90 The Guests at Hcad-Qjinrters.
with him from Portugal, that shared his quarters in Hobgobhn Hall, went
with him to dinner parties, and was formally presented to his guests and
friends. Two years later, when General Lee was a prisoner, his dog was
sent down the lines by General Greene under passport, and passes out of
history just as Lee himself enters the shadow of a terrible reproach.
Of all the officers who then sat at Wasiiington's table, Nathanael Greene
was the one whose laurels have remained the most unfaded. This sturdy
Quaker bred anchor-smith, who by slow but sure degrees had been welding
his Quaker integrity and business faculty into sinewy completeness, now
at the time of need was found with a steady brain and ready hand, slip-
ping off easily the civilian and letting the soldier and sagacious general
come forth. Washington's right hand man in the hard struggle to come,
that was to witness cabals and intrigues as well as open enmities, it is im-
possible but that the great general should have lookect upon this New Eng-
land man as one of the most welcome at his table.
The soldiers' favorite. General Israel Putnam, was also one of Washing-
ton's guests. No doubt this hot-headed, blustering, but brave officer brought
other than the politest manners to the table of the Virginian gentleman, but
Washington, witli his cool, clear judgment of men, was not one to be gov-
erned in his tastes by the presence or lack of elegant manners. General
Putnam brought to the military society an intrepid courage, a readiness of
invention, and a hoiihoiiiic which must have rendered him an important ele-
ment. One scene laid at the head-quarters is given, when Old Put dashes up
to the gateway, bearing behind his saddle the woman to whom Church had
intrusted his treacherous letter, and drags her, terrified, up the broad path-
wav to the door.
Major Thomas Mifflin, afterwards general, now upon Washington's staff,
and residing in the old Brattle House facing the lane that led to Harvard
Square, must have been a constant visitor. Brave and eloquent, he had a
(K presence and manner which charmed all about him. His
i|l>i- \ wife, in delicate health, was with him, but this did not
-.^jjjt^ prevent him from being eagerly souglit by all the ladies in
society, who sang his praise with hearty unanimity. It
was he who, raised to the rank of colonel and quarter-
master-general, was called to the council ft^r deterniining
the day when Dorchester Heights sliould be taken pos-
session of, and made the suggestion, so quickly taken
up, that the night of the 4th of March should be chosen,
since then, if a battle were fought on the 5th, the memory
^ ' of the " Massacre " v/ould give a rallying cry to the sol-
The Brattle Arms. -j:,>â€žc
Closer to Washington's person was the accomplished Joseph Reed, his
secretary and dear friend, who wrote so freely and easily, and between
whom and Washington there subsisted so charming a relation, leading the
Mrs. Washington in Cambridge. 91
reserved general to write almost boyishly to the junior soldier. His an-
swer to Governor Johnstone's temptation â€” "I am not worth purchasing ;
but such as I am the King of Great Britain is not rich enough to do it," was
the instantaneous and scornful message of a man of the highest honor.
It was in July when Washington took possession of the Vassall house,
and in November he was joined by Mrs. Washington, who made the sol-
diers' quarters a home, and received there the officers' wives, who had
joined their husbands when it was evident that the siege was to be a win-
ter one. Mrs. Greene was one of these, and out of the friendship that
there sprang up came the names of George and Martha Washington given
to the two children of General Greene and his wife. Mrs. John Adams also
was a visitor, and records in her lively letters the social stir that was known
in the Cambridge camp at this period.
But it was not only these who walked the broad pathway to the Vassall
house, â€” officers and officers' wives and neighboring civiHans, â€” but hospi-
tality was extended to the public men of the Colony, to the members of the
Committee of Safety who visited the General, and of the Provincial Con-
gress, sitting hard by in Watertown. The most noted company, however,
that sat at Washington's table, was when in October a committee of Con-
gress, consisting of Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Lynch of Carolina, and
Colonel Harrison of Virginia, arrived to confer with the generals. With
these commissioners were present Deputy-Governor Griswold and Judge
Nathaniel Wales from Connecticut, Deputy-Governor Cooke from Rhode
Island, James Bowdoin, Colonel Otis, William Sever and Walter Spooner
of the Massachusetts Council. The records of this conference have been
preserved, and are a matter of history. We have a glimpse of a dinner
party given to tliem, afforded by Dr. Belknap, who was a guest, and who
writes : " Lynch, Harrison, and Wales wished to see Boston in flames. Lee
told them it was impossible to burn it unless they sent men in with bundles
of straw on their backs to do it. He said it could not be done with carcass
and hot shot ; and instanced the Isle Royal, in St. Lawrence River, which
was fired at in 1760 a long time, with a fine train of artillery, hot shot, and
carcasses, without effect." ^
In this extract Dr. Franklin's voice is not heard. We can imagine that
no visitor would attract more attention than this renowned man, who sat and
listened to a discussion whether his native town should be destroyed. He
was sixty-nine years old at this time, twenty-six years older than the com-
manding general. He represented the mind which had foreseen the im-
pending conflict years before, and was able now to write to his philosophic
friend Priestley : " Enough has happened, one would think, to convince
your ministers that the Americans will fight, and that this is a harder nut
to crack than they imagine." His buoyant, hopeful nature, and shrewd,
worldly wisdom, must have given to General Washington at this time a sense
' Life of Dr. Belknap, p. g6, quoted in Frothingham's Siege of Boston., p. 257.
The Gjiests at Head- Quarters.
of strength in the council at Philadelphia, and it is not hard to imagine
that between the great general and the sagacious statesman there should
have passed much deliberation, weighing of men and measures, gauging of
the forces in conflict.
The walls of the Vassall House resounded to talk of war and sport and
frolic. Often Washington left the table in charge of one of his aids, and
retired in accordance with his methodical habits. No one has preserved
the record of the jest and story that were tossed back and forth by the eager
young officers who were entering upon a war which, in its seven years' de-
tail, was to sober some, and lay some in the grave. The victories of peace,
of scholarship, and of letters, have been won because of the conferences
there held in the early days of the Revolution. The clank of spur and sword
have ceased, but the voices of wisdom and of mirth have never yet died
out within those historic walls.
THE BATCHELDER HOUSE, AND ITS OWNERS.
BY MRS. ISABELLA JAMES.
" We have no title-deeds to house or lands;
Owners and occupants of earlier dates
From graves forgotten stretcli their dusty hands,
And hold in mortmain still their old estates."
THE Story of a house where many generations have lived and died, can
hardly be contained within the brief space allowed in this volume,
yet these pages will give in as condensed form as possible some interesting
facts connected with one of the most ancient houses of this historic town, if
not the very oldest now standing in Cambridge. The dates here given,
which will correct some accounts previously printed, have been drawn from
deeds and other legal papers by the present owner of the estate, aged nine-
ty-one and a half, who has held and occupied it for thirty-four years.
This ancient house stands on the southwesterly side of the old Watertown
Road nearlv opposite Mason Street. The first recognition of any highway
in the town records of Cambridge is December 2, 1633 : " Ordered that no
person shall fell any trees within the path that goeth from Watertown to
Charlestown." This path ^ is what was afterwards called the King's high-
way, and until after the Revolution was the only route from Market Square
and the colleges to Watertown and the country beyond.
From the early records it appears that this part of Cambridge was called
West End, for in the account of the houses and lands of the inhabitants of
the town given in at a General Court holden at Boston 6th of 7'h mo. A. d.
1642. " Cary Latham.^ Imprimis, in West End, one dwelling house with
outhouses and seven acres of land more or less ; " then follow the boundaries
on the southeast by Ash Street at that time called the Highway to Windmill
Hill,8 and northeast the highway to Watertown. 20th 5th mo., 1645, Latham
conveyed the estate with the same boundaries to Thomas Crosby. At the
first settlement of Cambridge, it appears that part of this land facing the
Watertown Road was laid off in half-acre lots, one of which was owned and
1 Now Kirkland, Garden, Mason, and Rrattle streets.
2 He removed early to New London, where he was representative in 1664 and 1670. â€” Sav. Gen.
3 In a grant of land March 2d, to John Benjamin, there is this reservation, " Provided that the
Windmill Hill shall be reserved for the town's use and a cartway of two rods wide unto the san.e."
94 â€¢ Tlie BatcJielder House, and its Owners.
occupied by Roger Bancroft before 1645, for in that year he bought another
adjoining from Robert Parker, a butcher, whose son John graduated at Har-
vard University, 1661. Evidence of this occupation of the premises two
hundred and thirty years ago appeared when Brattle Street was widened in
1871. The excavations made to rebuild the wall revealed heaps of animal
bones which for a few hours created quite a sensation in the neighborhood..
No record of a deed from Crosby can be found ; but Thomas Marrit, one
of the early settlers of Cambridge, was in possession of the property in
1663. From his will and invento'-y it appears that he held a good deal of
land in this part of the town, the West End and West fields, and it was
probably from his great-grandson Amos ^ that Colonel Vassall, nearly a cent-
ury later, bought the land that so long bore the name of Vassall. The last
clause of Thomas Marrit's will, dated October 15, 1663, is as'follows : â€”
" To the children of my sonne George Bastow I Ao give and bequeath in
full of what I stand engaged to them fifty-two pounds, on payment whereof
they shall give my executor a full and final discharge, and for the payment
thereof this house and land wherein my sonne John Marrit lives to my friend
Roger Bancroft to stand engaged on payment of the debt.and legacy. He
ma)' sell or dispose of the said House and land as he shall please ; finally I
do nominate and appoint my sonne John Marrit sole executor to this my last
will and Testament." In the inventory that follows the first entry is "The
dwelling house and outhouses orcliard and upland and meadow and marsh
and the Wold adjoining ^90 00 00." The seventh " The dwelling house
and outhouses that was Roger Bancroft's and eight acres of land ^50 00 00."
Thomas Marrit died in 1664; and September 21, 1665, John Marrit con-
veyed to Jonathan Remington "one messuage or tenement in Cambridge
containing one dwelling house, outhouses and barns and five acres of land
adjoining thereto." From the boundaries given in this deed the lot front-
ing on the Watertown Road extended from the western line of the present
row of old hawthorns and lindens to what is now Ash Street, excepting a
half -acre house lot- at that corner, and southerly nearly to the marsh.
Ash Street, once called Bath Lane, but previously known as the highway
to Windmill Hill, was the northwestern boundary of the palisado which the
Court voted in 1632 to erect about "the New-Towne." This protection
against the wild inhabitants of the land commenced at Brick Wharf, says
Holmes, then called Windmill Hill. About thirty years ago a mound was
plainly visible at the corner of Bath Lane, and the back road to Mount Au-
burn, which was known to the young people of the writer's generation as
the Old Fort. When tlie street was straightened in 1844, and the present
proprietor bought a corner of the land and removed his fence, the founda-
tion of this fortification was uncovered revealing a built up wall of stones.
The house erected by Abel Stevens in 1874 now occupies the spot.
' A Kraiidsoii, Amos M.init, is mentioned in his will.
^ 'J'hen the ijiemises of Nathaniel Greene and Ricliard Eccles.
A year before Jonathan Remington purchased this estate, he had married
Martha, daughter of the first Andrew Belcher ; in this house it is probable
that most of their married life was passed ; he was town clerk and treasurer
of Cambridge for many years ; his son. Judge Remington of the Supreme
Court, was eminent in his generation, and the daughter of the latter married
Lieutenant-Governor William Ellery of Newport, and became the mother
of the signer of the Declaration of Independence bearing that name.
September 22, 1682, Jonathan Remington conveyed to his wife's brother,
Andrew Belcher, the same estate for ^120. Ke was the son of the first
Andrew who came to Cambridge, and was a shipmaster and merchant of
Boston. He was called " an ornament and blessing to his country," for
after the swamp fight in King Philip's war, December, 1675, Captain Belcher
arrived in Narragansett Bay with provisions, and thus saved the troops from
perishing. He held many important offices, and was a councillor from 1702
until his death in 1717. In 1700, he gave a bell to the Cambridge meeting-
house, and the town gave the " old bell to the Farmers." ^
At the death of Captain Belcher, this estate was inherited by his only
son, Jonathan,- who was royal governor of Mas-
sachusetts and New Jersey for twenty-seven
years. When, in 1730, he received his first ap-
pointment in England, Dr. Isaac Watts ad-
dressed to him an adulatory poem, some lines
of which are said to be so extravagant as to
border on impiety. His arrival at Boston with
his commission, was hailed with the grreatest
joy. All the dignitaries of the town went to
escort him from the ship ; the military were out
in full force, cannons were discharged, the tur-
rets and balconies of the houses were covered
with flags and carpets, while the shipping in the
harbor displayed all their colors. Twenty-five
years before this triumphant entry of Governor
Belcher into Boston, the newspaper of the day described his marriage to
Mary, daughter of Lieutenant-Governor William Partridge of New Hamp-
shire. January 4, 1705-06, he was met at Hampton by several gentlemen from
Portsmouth, and was accompanied by them and others who attended him,
and arrived the same night in order to celebrate his marriage on the 8th, " but
at the motion of the gentlemen that accompanied him," the marriage took
place " the same night as he came off the journey in his boots. The wedding
was celebrated on the Tuesday following (January 8th), when there was a no-
ble and splendid entertainment for the guests." Why this unseemly haste,
' Cambridge Farms, now Lexington.
2 For much of the following account of Governor Belcher, I am indebted to the MSS. of Rev. J.
L. Sibley, librarian of Harvard University.
The Belcher Arms.
96 TJie BatcJicldcr House, and its Otvners.
the reporter of that clay does not inform us; or why the ceremony should
have taken place on Friday evening, after a long day's journey from Hamp-
ton on horseback,^ in snowy if not muddy boots. We see how our modern
telegram might have been useful here in notifying expectant Boston friends
that the marriage had taken place four days earlier than had been antici-