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Amongst those renowned patriots, those defenders of the rights of mankind, shone Samuel Adams and John Han. cock, a host in themselves. S. Adams was one of the common people, but having acted as sheriff many years in Boston, and being a man of great natural talents and address, was more popular among the great mass of the people than Hancock. On the other hand, Hancock was wealthy, and liberal as he was rich. He had been educated in ease and affluence, by an uncle who doated on him, and who at his death bequeathed him one million pounds sterling! I had these particulars from Mrs. Scott, his widow, who is now living in Boston. She states that her husband, Hancock. was so generous that he not only gave this great estate away, he threw it away. He came to this fortune at the commencement of the revolution. His high-born soul, fired with the love of liberty, indignant at the attempts of Great Britain to enslave his country, used to hold private consultation with Samuel Adams, whose influence over the people, was greater than Mr. Hancock's; in short, these two used to meet together privately, and lay their plans, which were disclosed to the people by Adams. They found it easy to infuse their spirit into a people naturally brave, generous, and independent. Thus were the citi zens of Boston prepared to meet "liberty or death;" nor did they shrink from the high ground they had taken. Boston was the first to propose a colonial congress to oppose the first tax of Great Britain, on coffee, silks, &c. It was the first to propose the non-importation of British manufactures, addressing circular letters to her sister colonies, to join in the resolution; and it was the first victim of British vengeance. Besides Fanueil Hall, the citizens used to meet in the old south meeting-house, a spacious and splendid building, as best suited to their numbers. When the tea ships arrived in the harbor, the Bostonians in vain endeavored to have them returned, as they were consigned to the governor. Meantime they assembled in the old south, to deliberate what was best to be done, in regard to the tea. They sat from 9 o'clock till 3, when the question was put, "Do you stand to your resolution?" and was answered in the affirmative,
nem. con., and agreed not to suffer it to be landed. However, they concluded to wait till the owner of one of the ships (Mr. Roach) should wait on the governor, for leave to let his ship pass, which being refused, he returned to the meeting. After some disputing, a person in the front gallery, dressed like an Indian, raised the warwhoop. Upon this signal, meeting broke up, and seventeen men, in the disguise of Indians, proceeded to Grif fin's wharf, and in about ten minutes they hoisted out and broke open 342 chests of tea, and threw the whole overboard: they then returned peaceably, not having spoken a word during the transaction. At this time there were two British regiments in Boston; and whilst the tea question was under discussion, an affray took place between the citizens and the British troops, in which three of the former were killed, and one mortally wounded. The fourth man dying of his wounds, all of them were interred in one vault. The citizens of Roxbury and Charlestown, formed a junction with the corps in Key-street, and joining the procession, proceeded through Main-street, followed by an immense crowd of people; so numerous that they were compelled to walk six abreast, and the whole closed by a long train of carriages, belonging to the principal gentry in Boston. During the procession, all the bells tolled in the most doleful manner. But this was trifling compared with the difficulties and mortification they underwent during the port bill, and the residence of the British in their city. Beef, mutton, and pork, sold for 1s. 1 1-2d. sterling, per lb.-geese half a guinea a piece, and fowls 5s. a pair. But worse than all this, the British turned their beloved old south meeting-house into a horse-riding school; converting it into a stable! It was at this time, perhaps, the most richly furnished meeting-house of any in the colonies; the cushions being covered with crimson damask, and other costly meterials, and they stripped it of every thing, to the walls. The old south, however, is still standing, and has no appearance of being old. It is a very large meeting-house, on the corner of Washington and Milk-streets, in the heart of the city, and strange to tell, scarcely any of the young race know any
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thing of its history. It is fitted up in a very superb style, has a large, fine organ, and is still used on public occa sions, as well as for divine worship, which is performed in it every Sunday. I had the honor of hearing a sermon delivered in this "TEMPLE OF LIBERTY."
Since my visit to Boston, I have seen many that witnessed those trying scenes of the revolution; amongst whom is the respected relic of Governor Hancock, (as he is called here.) This lady, after the decease of Mr. Hancock, married a Mr. Scott; he died also. She is now a widow, a little turned of seventy, though no one would suppose her to be more than sixty; her fine yellow hair hanging in ringlets over her forehead, with scarcely a gray hair to be seen. She is under the common size, with a light handsome figure; she has what is called a laughing eye, and is as sprightly as a girl of sixteen. She was married a few days before the battle of Lexington, to Mr. Hancock, and was at Lexington during the battle. She related that "it was with the greatest difficulty she and her aunt kept Mr. Hancock from facing the British on that day, where he must inev itably have been sacrificed to the vengeance of Pitcairn, who had offered a reward for his head; and such was his ardour to engage Pitcairn, that they (the ladies,) both clung round his neck so tenaciously that he was unable to extricate himself from them." She said he was a hot-headed, rash man, being with great difficulty persuaded by his friends to keep concealed while the British were in search of his person. In order to secure his safety, his friends kept him by force several days and nights, hid in a swamp, without shelter. Mr. H. had no children, and bequeathed his property to the state, (as I have been told.) Let this be as it may, Mrs. Scott is far from being in independent circumstances. She is without a carriage, and had to give up the splendid dwelling of her beloved Hancock, whom she speaks of with the greatest veneration. She keeps his portrait in her par lor, which she showed me with much seeming pleasure. I saw the house she was mistress of; it is a noble stone building in Beacon street, and overlooks the mall. It is a reproach to Massachusetts, to suffer the widow of a
man to whom they owed so much, to remain in her pres ent situation. But she bears her reverse of fortune with the fortitude of a philosopher; and with two agreeable nieces, who live with her, is as cheerful as though she rolled in splendor. She is the daughter of the celebrated Quincy, whose father settled the village of that name near Boston. Her father's sister was the wife of the ex-president John Adams, and the mother of John Quincy Adams, president of the United States. So lit tle is this respectable female known, that it was a mere accident I heard of her. I likewise called on the Miss Byles's, daughters of the celebrated Mather Byles, a great poet, a great tory, a great clergyman and a great wit. Finding his name in the history of the times, I mentioned the circumstance to a friend, who told me his two daughters lived in Boston. I sought them out, and found them in an old decayed wooden house, at the foot of the mall. The house (which must have seen a century at least,) stood in a luxuriant grass plat, with two beautiful horse-chesnut trees growing near the door; the whole was enclosed by a decayed wooden paling, which communicated with the street by a small gate with a wooden latch. Upon opening the gate I was within a few steps of the door; but the looks of the house, the old rotten step at the door, the grass growing through it, not the trace of a human footstep to be seen, the silence that pervaded the mouldering man sion before me, I imagined it could be no other than deserted house. I knocked at the door, however, and an elderly female opened it immediately; I inquired for the ladies of the house; she replied," she was one of them, and that her sister was sick." Upon my saying something about paying my respects to them, she vory coldly invited me to walk in. The house looked some thing better inside, though poverty and neglect marked it throughout. The parlor was small and ill furnished, having but two old tables, three or four old chairs that looked as though they had served the revolution. A. mongst these was one which appeared to be the monarch of the rest; it was (a handsome chair once, no doubt,) curiously carved, wholly of wood, with a straight
high back; upon which was mounted the British crown, supported by two cherubims. This chair of state is carefully placed under the portrait of their father which with another portrait of his nephew, (executed by himself and sent to the ladies from England,) constitutes the remaining furniture of the parlor. The other part of the house I did not see; it had a small back room, and an upper story where I suspect the other sister had retired.
Miss Byles appeared to be about 75 years of age, was thin visaged and wrinkled, very distant in her manners, which were by no means affable or refined. She seemed averse to conversation, and appeared to wish me away. I drew a few sentences from her, the amount of which went to show that she was a warm lover of the British crown and government, and that she despised the country she was in; she said "the Americans had her father, herself, and her sister up, in the time of the revolutionary war, treated them ill, imprisoned her father, and suspended him from preaching, came very near sending the whole of them off to England, just because her father prayed for the king." But she said they were very kind to her and her sister now, that she wanted for nothing, though she complained bitterly against some body, she did not know who it was that had knocked the bark off one of their trees: it was poor spite she said. I saw a few inches of the bark rubbed off, which was doubtless an accident.
Matthew Byles was born in the colony and educated at Cambridge. He was (says the writer of those times,) a scholar, eloquent and accomplished. A gentleman of humor, but sided with the royalists in the time of the war, and had the Americans not placed a guard at his door. the populace would have torn him to pieces. The following anecdote was related of him when a young man. "The captain of a vessel, a friend of his, about to set sail, proposed to Byles to go with him as Chaplain; the parson, on some account, was obliged to refuse the office, and told the captain it was out of his power. His friend dropped the subject of chaplain, but insisted upon Byles' spending the evening with him on board the ship; that a number of his friends would be there, and they would