Lucius R. (Lucius Robinson) Paige.

History of Hardwick, Massachusetts. With a genealogical register online

. (page 10 of 73)
Online LibraryLucius R. (Lucius Robinson) PaigeHistory of Hardwick, Massachusetts. With a genealogical register → online text (page 10 of 73)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


ing, to the General's formal salutation the Brigadier responded,
" Good-morning, General Abercrombie : I hope your terrible
defeat yesterday may be sanctified to you."

" On the morning of the battle of Bunker Hill, General Gage
said to him, that the rebels would disperse at the sight of his
cannon ; that he should not be under the necessity of discharging
a gun ; ' without discipline, without officers, and under the disad-
vantage of being engaged in an unjust cause,' continued he taunt-
ingly, ' it is impossible for them to withstand our arms a moment.'
Ruggles replied with warmth, ' Sir, you know not with whom
you have to contend. These are the very men who conquered,
Canada. I fought with them side by side ; I know them well ;
they will fight bravely. My God ! Sir, your folly has ruined
your cause.' " ^

1 Worcester Magazine, ii. 59.
6



CHAPTER VII.

CIVIL HISTORY.

Committee of Correspondence. — County Convention. — Courts of Law ob-
structed. — New Organization of Militia, and Officers elected. — Minute
Men. — Alarm List. — Provincial Congress. — Constables indemnified. —
Contribution to Boston SuflPerers. — Tories treated with Neglect, disarmed,
confined, and advertised as Public Enemies. — Tempoi'ary State Govern-
ment organized. — Few Tories in Hard wick. — Sharp Controversy with
One of the Number ; settled by Appeal to the General Court. — The Con-
flict succeeded by Peace. — Anecdote.

At a meeting, on the 22d of August, 1774, the town " Chose
a committee of fifteen men for a Committee of Correspondence,
nine of whom being met shall have power to act, to correspond
■with the Committees of other towns within this Province respect-
ing the important matters relating to our civil and political
rights and privileges, as may be necessary from time to time, and
to agree to such measures as may be thought most proper to be
taken in order to frustrate and disappoint the purposes of wicked
and designing men to deprive us and our posterity of our just
rights and privileges ; and that said Committee shall have power
from time to time, as they shall think necessary, to appoint some
person or persons from among themselves to attend upon any
Convention of members from the Committees of any other towns
within this Province, to consult upon matters relating to our
civil riglits and privileges, and that said person or persons, so
delegated, shall have power to agree with the majority of such
Convention in any method that they may think proper to come
into, to answer the above purposes ; and that the town will pay
the expenses of those persons, and their horses, that may attend
upon such convention. And furthermore, the town chose a com-
mittee of three men, viz. : Capt. Paul Mandell, Mr. Stephen
Rice, and Lieut. Jonathan Warner, as a Committee to meet the
Committee of Correspondence at Worcester, on Tuesday the 30*''
instant."

The Committee of Correspondence, elected in Boston, Novem-



CIVIL HISTORY. 83

ber 2, 1772, was the first in the Province, and was a device of
the sterling patriot, Samuel Adams. " This inaugurated the
system of local committees of correspondence. They multiplied
and widened under successive impulses, until they constituted the
accredited organs of the party that founded the Republic of the
United States." ^ The inhabitants of Hardwick did not so soon
respond to the message from Boston, nor so promptly as some
other towns elect their Committee of Correspondence ; but in due
time, and after careful deliberation, they heartily joined in the
movement which induced Governor Hutchinson to say : " Thus,
all on a sudden, from a state of peace, order, and general con-
tentment, as some expressed themselves, the province, more or
less from one end to the other, was brought into a state of conten-
tion, disorder, and general dissatisfaction ; or, as others would
have it, were roused from stupor and inaction to sensibility and
activity." ^ The power exercised by this committee was not
absolutely unlimited, because, from time to time, they rej^orted
their proceedings to the town, for approval. But in the general
confusion which prevailed until the adoption of the Constitution
in 1780, they exercised to a considerable extent both judicial
and executive authority ; and from their known character we
may be certain that the individuals first elected did not perform
their duty negligently. This committee consisted of " Capt.
Benjamin Ruggles, Capt. Constant Merrick, Capt. Paul Mandell,
Deac. Joseph Allen, Deac. William Paige, Deac. John Bradish,
Li&ut. Jonathan Warner, Mr. Daniel Warner, Mr. Stephen Rice,
Ens. Ezra Leonard, Ens. Timothy Newton, Mr. Thomas Robin-
son, Mr. Seth Paddleford, Mr. Josiali Locke, and Lieut. Joseph
Safford." 3

The committee of three, namely, Paul Mandell, Stephen Rice,

1 Fioth'inglvdin's Rise of the Republic, -p. Elisha Billings, Thomas Wheeler, Isaac
266. Fay, Denison Robinson, Timothy New-

2 Hutchinsou's i/^i'sf. q/" il/ass., iii. 370. ton, and Zebadiah Johnson. — 1779:
^ The same persons were reelected in David Allen, Samuel Dexter, Aaron Bar-

1775. Their successors were, — 1776: low, Ephraira Cleaveland, Jr., James

William Paige, Thomas Robinson, Sam- Paige, Jr., Daniel Warner, Ezra Leonard,

tiel Dexter, Samuel Billings, John Brad- Elisha Billings, John Hastings, Timothy

ish, Daniel Warner, David Allen, Abra- Paige, John Haskell, Thomas Robinson,

ham Knowlton, and Gamaliel Collins. — Timothy Newton, Jonathan Warner, and

1777: William Paige, John Bradish, Ephraim Pratt. — 1780: Daniel Egery,

Thomas Robinson, Stephen Rice, Tim- Oliver Allen, Isaac Fay, John Haskell,

othy Paige, Barnabas Sears, Samuel and James Wing. Further elections

Dexter, David Allen, Timothy Newton, were rendered unnecessary by the estab-

Thomas Haskell, John Hastings, and lishment of a regular government.
Elisha Billings. — 1778 : Daniel Warner,



84 HISTORY OF HARDWICK.

and Jonathan Warner, elected August 22, 1774, and increased,
September 22, 1774, by the election of John Bradish, to " meet
the Committee of Correspondence at Worcester," faithfully per-
formed their duty, and from time to time reported to the town
the proceedings of the Convention. That Convention met at
Worcester, August 9, 1774, organized, and adjourned to the thir-
tieth day of the same month, in order that, as " a considerable
number of respectable towns in this county have not yet chosen
committees, and by that means may not have received the letters
notifying this Convention," such towns might receive notice and
be duly represented. At the appointed time, the Convention re-
assembled. Rev. Ebenezer Chaplin, then of Sutton, and after-
wards of Hardwick, one of the members, officiated as chaplain
at its various sessions until its final dissolution. May 31, 1775.
Under the form of recommendations, this body exercised sub-
stantial legislative authority ; and their fellow citizens yielded a
ready obedience to whatever was required. Among the earliest
recommendations were the following, adopted August 31, 1774: —
" Resolved, that it is the indispensable duty of the inhabitants
of this county, by the best ways and means, to prevent the sitting
of the respective courts under such regulations as are set forth in
a late act of parliament, entitled an act for regulating the civil
government of the JNIassachusetts Bay.

" Resolved, that in order to prevent the execution of the late
act of parliament, respecting the courts, that it be recommended
to the inhabitants of this county to attend, in person, the next
inferior court of common pleas and general sessions, to be holden
at Worcester, in and for said county, on the sixth day of Septem-
ber next.

" Resolved, that it be recommended to the several towns that
they choose proper and suitable officers, and a sufficient number,
to regulate the movements of each town, and prevent any dis-
order which might otherwise happen ; and that it be enjoined on
the inhabitants of each respective town, that they adhere strictly
to the orders and directions of such officers.

"And whereas, the courts of justice will necessarily be im-
peded by the opposition to the said acts of parliament, therefore,
Resolved, that it be recommended to the inhabitants of this prov-
ince in general, and to those of this county in particular, that
they depute fit persons to represent them in one general provin-
cial convention, to be convened at Concord, on the second Tues-
day of October next, to devise proper ways and means to resume



CIVIL HISTORY. 85

our original mode of government, whereby the most dignified
servants were, as they ever ought to be, dependent on the people
for their existence as such ; or some other which may appear to
them best calculated to regain and secure our violated rights. . . .

" Resolved, that it be recommended to the several towns that
they indemnify their constables for neglecting to retui'n lists of
persons qualified to serve as jurors."

The convention then adjourned to September 6, when it again
met and " voted, as the opinion of this convention, that the court
should not sit on any terms," . . . and " that the body of the
people in this county now in town assemble on the common."
Not only were the courts prevented from sitting, but the judges
and officers of tlie courts were required to promise that they
would " stay all such judicial proceedings," and would not
attempt to put the parliamentary "act into execution." ^ On
the same day, the Convention " voted, that it be recommended
to the military ofiicers in this county that they resign their com-
missions to the colonels of the respective regiments: — voted, that
the field officers resign their offices, and publish their resignations
in all the Boston newspapers : — voted, that it be recommended
to the several towns of the county, to choose proper officers for
the military of the town, and a sufficient number."

At a subsequent session, September 20, 1774, it was " voted, as
the opinion of this convention, that the sheriff adjourn the supe-
rior court appointed by law to be held this day, and that he retain
such as are, or may be, committed as criminals, in his custody,
until they have a trial." The Convention then recommended a
more thorough reorganization of the militia : —

" As the several regiments in this county are large and incon-
venient, by the increase of its inhabitants since the first settle-
ment of said regiments, therefore, voted, that the county be
divided into seven distinct regiments, in the following manner,
to wit : — ... Fourth. Brookfield, Western, Braintree, Hard-
wick, Oakham. . . .

" Voted, that it be recommended to the several towns in this

1 In a note to these proceedings, it is royalist justices and oflBcers were com-

stated that "on the invitation of the con- pelled to pass through the ranks, paus-

vention, the people of the county had ing, at intervals, to read their declara-

assembled to the number of about six tions of submission to the public will,

thousand. The companies of the several At evening, finding that no troops were

towns were under officers of their own on their way to sustain the judicial tribu-

election, and marched in military order, nals, whose constitution had been cor-

Having been formed in two lines, when rupted by the act of parliament, the great

the arrangements were completed, the assembly dispersed peacefully."



86 HISTORY OF HARDWICK.

county, to choose pi'oper military officers, and a sufficient number
for each town, and that the captains, lieutenants, and ensigns,
wlio are chosen by the people in each regiment, do convene on or
before the tenth day of October next, at some convenient place
in each regiment, and choose their field officers to command the
militia until they be constitutionally appointed; and that it be
recommended to the officers in each town of the county, to enlist
one third of the men of their respective towns, between sixteen
and sixty years of age, to be ready to act at a minute's warning ;
and that it be recommended to each town in the count}^, to choose
a sufficient number of men as a committee to supply and support
those troops that shall move on any emei'gency.

" Voted, that it be recommended to the company officers of
the minute-men, to meet at Worcester, on the 17th of October
next, at ten o'clock of the forenoon, to proportion their own regi-
ments, and choose as many field officers as they shall think neces-
sary."

On the same day the Convention made provision for a political
emergency, by recommending a Provincial Congress, whicli exer-
cised almost unUmited power for the next year: " Resolved, that
it be recommended to the several towns and districts, that they
instruct their representatives, who may be chosen to meet at
Salem, in October next, absolutely to refuse to be sworn by any
officer or officers, but such as are or may be appointed according
to the constitution, or to act as one branch of the legishiture in
concert with any others, except such as are or may be appointed
according to the charter of this province ; and that they refuse
to give their attendance at Boston, while the town is invested
with troops and ships of war : And should there be any thing to
prevent tKeir acting with such a governor and council as is ex-
pressly set forth in the charter, that they immediately repair to
the town of Concord, and there join in a provincial congress with
such other members as are or may be chosen for that purpose, to
act and determine on such measures as they shall judge to be
proper to extricate this colony out of the present unhappy cir-
cumstances." ^

How promptly and heartily the inhabitants of Hardwick re-
sponded to these recommendations may be seen in their recorded
votes. At a town-meeting, September 16,1774, — " The town
made choice of officers to regulate the soldiers that went to

1 The proceedings of this County Convention are printed with tlie Journals of
each Provincial Conjress, pp. G27-652.



CIVIL HISTORY. 87

Worcester. — Voted, to accept the Resolves of the Committee of
Correspondence, which was hiid before the town at that time.^ —
Chose Deac. Joseph Allen, Capt. Paul Mandell, Stephen Rice,
Capt. William Paige, and Ebenezer Washburn, to draw up a
covenant that may bind them to abide by whatever the majority
of the town think proper to vote." Six days later, the town
" voted to accept the covenant drawn up by a committee chosen
for that purpose." ^

September 22, 1774, only two days after the recommendation
of the measure was adopted by the County Convention, a town
meeting was held under a warrant, of which one article was, " to
see if the town will make some consideration, as an encourage-
ment to a certain number of persons, as the town may think
proper, to serve as minute-men, upon any sudden invasion, for the
defence of our country." At this meeting all the officers of the
two militia companies having resigned, new officers were elected
by the town, to wit : for the South Company, Captain, Jonathan
Warner; Lieutenant, Elisha Billings; Ensign, Elijah Warner:
for the North Company, Captain, Paul Mandell ; Lieutenant,
Stephen Rice ; Ensign, Josiah Locke, who being transferred to
the company of minute-men. Ensign Timothy Newton was elected
in his stead : for the company of minute-men. Captain, Jonathan
Warner ; Lieutenant, Simeon Hazeltine ; Ensign, Josiah Locke.
And it was " voted, that if there should be an invasion, and the
minute-men should march for our relief, they should be supported
by the town." The rainute-raen were also offered pay for the
time which they devoted to drilling and instruction. But this
they were too patriotic to allow, while others were not paid.
They proposed at a town meeting, January 2, 1775, " that if the
town in general would provide themselves with arms, and be
equipped as they be, and endeavor to acquaint themselves with
the art military, it would be satisfactory to them, without any
other pay." Whereupon the town voted, " that all between six-

1 Probably the Resolves (already quot- inces, for the non-consumption of British
ed) which were adopted, August 31, 1774, goods. This, we aiiprehend, will have a
by the Worcester Convention of Commit- tendency to convince our brethren in
tees of Correspondence. Britain that more is to be gained, in the

2 This covenant is not found on the way of justice, from our friendship and
records, nor among the files of the toAvn. affection than by extortion and arbitrary
Perhaps it had reference to a recommen- power. . . . Such an agreement, if strictly
dation of the County Convention, August adhered to, will greatly prevent extrava-
10, 1774: "We greatly approve of the gance, save our money, encourage our
agreement entered and entering into manufactures, and reform our manners."
through this and the neighboring prov-



88 HISTORY OF HARDWICK.

teen and seventy years of age, be equipped with arms and ammu-
nition equal to the minute men, by the first day of February
next ; " also voted, " that all above forty years of age meet at the
training field on Monday next at nine o'clock in the forenoon, to
choose their officers." When thus assembled, they organized two
companies of " alarm men." Of one company, Deacon Joseph
Allen, then sixty-seven years of age, was elected Captain ; Lieu-
tenant Joseph Safford, First Lieutenant ; and Lieutenant Daniel
Fay, Second Lieutenant ; and of the other. Deacon William Paige,
aged fifty-one years, who had been a captain in the French war,
■was elected Captain ; Mr. Thomas Robinson, First Lieutenant ; and
Ensign Ezra Leonard, Second Lieutenant. Thus while this town
contained not much more than twelve hundred inhabitants, five
military companies, averaging about fifty men each, were prepared
for service, before the first blood was shed in the contest ; — one
for action in any sudden emergency ; two for more regular service,
in such detachments as circumstances might require; and two of
old men, to defend their hearthstones at the last extremity, and
to sacrifice their lives, if necessary, in defence of their families.^

One more recommendation of the County Convention met a
ready response at this town-meeting September 22, 1774 : " Chose
Mr. Stephen Rice to represent the town at the Provincial Con-
gress to be held at Concord." The town had previously elected
Paul Mandell as their representative for this year in the General
Court. He was desired and empowered to act in the Provincial
Congress, if the House of Representatives should be dissolved by
the Governor. Instructions to him, drawn up by Captain Wil-
liam Paige, Lieutenant Stephen Rice, and Dr. John Paddleford,
were reported and adopted at a town-meeting, September 30,
1774 : " To Capt. Paul Mandell ; Sir, As we have chosen you to
represent us in the Great and General Court to be holden at Sa-

1 " Hardwick Jan. 19. Such is the mil- to the laws of the province in that case
itary spirit, and such the oi)position to made and provided. So that we have rea-
military tyranny, in this town, that, ex- son to believe that the Tory Covenant or
elusive of the train-band companies and Association, sent into this town by Brig-
one company of minute-men, tlie alarm- adier Ruggles, will have little or no effect
men consisting of near one hundred and amongst us, nor will any other means
twenty, most of whom are able-bodied and used by our enemies to divide or divert us
good marksmen, met on Monday the six- from pursuing the measures which we
teenth instant, and having formed them- think will have a tendency to recover and
selves into two comi)anies and made secure to us and our jjosterity our just
choice of their officers, did likewise enter rights and privileges." Massachusetts
into a covenant to attend militar}' duty Spy, February 2, 1775.
and equip themselves to a man, agreeable



CIVIL HISTORY. 89

lem, on Wednesday, the fifth day of October next ensuing, we do
hereby instruct you to adhere firmly, in all your doings as a mem-
ber of the House of Representatives, to the Charter of this Prov-
ince granted by their Majesties King William and Queen Mary,
and that you do no act that can possibly be construed into an ac-
knowledgement of the validity of the British ParUament for al-
tering the Government of the Massachusetts 'Bay ; and that you
acknowledge no other than the honorable Board of Councillors
elected by the General Court in their sessions last May as the
only constitutional and rightful Council ; and that you pay no re-
gard or act in any manner whatever with the Council appointed
by Mandamus from his Majesty. And as we have reason to be-
lieve that a conscientious discharge of your duty will produce your
dissolution as a house of representatives, we do hereby empower
and direct you to join with the members who may be sent from
this and the other towns in this province, and to meet with them
at a time to be agreed on in a general Provincial Congress, to act
upon such matters as shall then come before you in such a man-
ner as may appear most conducive to preserve the liberties of
North America."

The anticipated emergency occurred. The House of Represen-
tatives was dissolved by the Governor, and the Provincial Con-
gress " convened at Salem on Friday the seventh day of October
A. D. 1774," organized by electing Hon. John Hancock, chair-
man, and Benjamin Lincoln, Esq., clerk, and " adjourned to the
court-house in Concord, there to meet on Tuesday next ; " and on
the next Friday " adjourned to the court-house in Cambridge,
there to meet on Monday next, at ten o'clock in the forenoon."
A recess was taken from October 29 to November 23, and the
Congress was dissolved December 10, 1774. Among the recom-
mendations by this Congress were these : —

October 21, 1774. " Resolved that this Congress do earnestly
recommend to the people of this province an abhorrence and de-
testation of all kinds of East India teas, as the baneful article of
a corrupt and venal administration for the purpose of introducing
despotism and slavery into this once happy country ; and that
every individual in this province ought totally to disuse the same.
And it is recommended, that every town and district appoint a
committee to post up in some public place the names of all such
in their respective towns and districts, who shall sell or consume
so extravagant and unnecessary an article of luxui-y."

October 29, 1774. " Whereas, it has been recommended by this



90 HISTORY OF HARDWICK.

Congress, that the moneys heretofore granted and ordered to be
assessed by the general court of this province, and not paid into
the province treasury should not be paid to the Hon. Harrison
Gray, Esq., for reasons most obvious : — Therefore Resolved, that
Henry Gardner, Esq., of Stow, be, and hereby is, appointed re-
ceiver general. . . . And it is hereby I'ecommended to the several
towns and districts within this province, that they immediately
call town and district meetings, and give directions to all consta-
bles, collectors, and other persons who may have any part of the
province tax of such town or district in their respective hands or
possession, in consequence of any late order and directions of any
town or district, that he or they immediately pay the same to the
said Henry Gardner, Esq., for the purposes aforesaid. And it is
also recommended that the several towns and districts, in said
directions, signify and expressly engage to such constable, col-
lector, or other persons as shall have their said moneys in their
hands, that their paying the same to Henry Gardner, Esq., afore-
said, and producing his receipt therefor, shall ever hereafter oper-
ate as an effectual discharge to such persons for the same." ^

At a legal meeting, November 17, 1774, the town, by vote, ap-
proved the proceedings of the Provincial Congress, generally ;
and in particular ordered the constables to pay the public moneys
to the Receiver-General instead of the King's Treasurer, and
agreed to indemnify them for so doing ; appointed a committee
" to post up in some public place the names of those persons who
shall hereafer sell or consume Bohea or Indian Tea ; " and " made
choice of the following men as a committee to observe the con-
duct of all persons in this town, touching the observation of the
determinations of the Provincial Congress, viz., Deac. Joseph
Allen, Col. Jonathan Warner, Thomas Haskell, Deac. William
Paige, Thomas Robinson, Col. Paul Mandeli,^ and John Paige."

Four days afterwards, " The town met according to adjourn-
ment, Nov. 21, 1774, and l^', Voted to reconsider the former votes



Online LibraryLucius R. (Lucius Robinson) PaigeHistory of Hardwick, Massachusetts. With a genealogical register → online text (page 10 of 73)