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ous. The general court, at its session in November, had provided for such a measure, if the exigency should require it ; but the governor chose to have the opinion of the council, whether the state of the country then demanded it. It was believed, that further lenity and forbearance would be useless, and that the spirit of insubordination might spread to such an extent, as not to be subdued. The great body of the people, in most parts of the state, were undoubtedly in favor of law and government; but many were deceived by the leaders of the opposition, and were led to suppose the general court might have provided immediate relief. The period had arrived, when it was no longer proper to expect the discontented would submit, nor consistent with the public safety to delay measures of sufficient energy to put an end to the combination of these infatuated men. Orders were issued to raise four thousand four hundred of the militia in Suffolk, Essex, and Middlesex; the greater number to be from the counties of Worcester and Hampshire; a proof that many of the people in those counties were sound and correct in their opinions. Four companies of artillery were also ordered, from Suffolk and Middlesex.
The command of the troops was given to General Lincoln, in whose energy and prudence the governor and the public had the highest confidence. The public treasury was empty, but individuals loaned such sums as were necessary to meet the expenses of the expedition. The governor published an address to the people, exhorting them to aid in the support of law and order, and warning them of the evils of forcible opposition to the authority of the state. He received, at this time, a memorial from the insurgents; but it was from men under arms in opposition to lawful authority, and of such a tenor, as rendered it impossible to comply with its demands, or to delay the measures for the safety of the commonwealth. General Lincoln was therefore ordered to march with the militia to Worcester, where the court was to be holden on the 23d of January. He arrived on the 22d, and General Brooks was directed to be in readiness to proceed for his support, if necessary. The insurgents in that vicinity retired; but soon collected, in great numbers, at Springfield, where they intended to make a stand against the regular forces of the state, and to gain possession of the arsenal of military stores belonging to the continent. But General Shepard had been previously ordered both by the state and by congress, to take post at the arsenal, with one thousand men, of the militia, to prevent its falling into the hands of these lawless The insurgents, though intimidated, were not discouraged; for they then numbered nearly two thousand.
became evident, that their object was not only to stop the courts, but to oppose the whole authority of the state; and to gain possession of military stores, to enable them to act with effect against the government, till their wild schemes were accomplished.
General Lincoln was aware of the critical situation of General Shepard, and hastened to his relief; but the insurgents resolved to attack Shepard before the militia from Worcester should arrive. They advanced towards the arsenal where General Shepard was posted, when he sent them word, that he held the place by just authority, and warned them not to approach. They still advanced, and he sent a second message to them, that he was resolved to maintain his post, and forbid their marching nearer, at their peril. But they continued to approach, and in a manner sufficiently indicative of a design to attack him. He then ordered two cannon to be discharged, but designedly intending not to strike the insurgents. Even this failed to check them; and perceiving their purpose to attack him, he gave orders to fire into their ranks; when three of their number were killed, and the whole party fled precipitately to an adjoining town. General Shepard was fully justified in his conduct; and applauded by most of the citizens for his prudence and forbearance. Some of the insurgents returned to their homes after this affair; but the leaders were not discouraged; and many joined them from Berkshire the day following. Another attack on the arsenal was proposed, but General Lincoln arrived from Worcester with four regiments, and a battalion of artillery, which prevented the advance of the insurgents on Springfield; and which gave great joy to the friends of government. A part of the insurgents moved up to Northampton, on the west side of the river, and were followed by General Lincoln; and a portion of them retired to Hadley, on the east side, who were pursued by General Shepard.
But few joined the standard of the insurgents after General Lincoln reached Connecticut River. The party on the west side of the river returned to their homes, or retired to a distance in small bodies, to see the fate of the main party on the east of the river. The latter proceeded to Amherst, and thence to Pelham, and Petersham. The men with General Lincoln suffered from the severity of the weather, and the bad travelling, on account of a heavy snow; and often found it difficult to obtain sufficient provisions. He paused at Hadley, for the repose of his men, and, as it was believed also, to give opportunity for those of the discontented who were disposed, to forsake their leaders, and cease their opposition.
General Lincoln addressed a letter to the insurgents from Hadley, advising them to separate; but the leaders required a promise from him of pardon for their conduct, which he was not authorized to make. He could only use his influence for such measures of clemency as the general court might approve. The insurgents sent a petition to the governor, proposing to lay down their arms and disperse, on assurance of forgiveness. But, at this stage of the insurrection, he did not think it proper to give any such promise, or to hold any correspondence with them while they continued under arms. The general court soon assembled, and expressed their full approbation of the conduct of the executive, and also formally declared the existence of a dangerous rebellion in the state.
In the meantime, General Lincoln, finding the insurgents did not disperse, but even received some accession to their party, and that a spirit of opposition and menace was prevailing in Berkshire, made a prompt movement and advanced on Petersham, a distance of thirty miles, during the night. It was severely cold, and his men suffered a great deal. General Lincoln reached Petersham at an early hour of the morning, and when the insurgents had no expectation of his approach. Most of them fled immediately, and without making any opposition; among which were the leaders. One hundred and fifty were taken prisoners. Those who were the most obnoxious to government, from their great activity and influence in stirring up and protracting the rebellion, left the state, as the only means of safety.
The militia, under General Lincoln, were engaged for thirty days only the general court, therefore, before they heard of the dispersion of the rebels, voted to raise others for three months, unless sooner discharged. But when the intelligence of General Lincoln's success arrived, they gave authority to the governor to employ such number as he might judge necessary, and for the period he might direct.
It was known, that in Berkshire, many were illy disposed, though a great portion of the citizens were firm supporters of the measures of the government. A voluntary association of five hundred was formed for the support of order and the laws. About this time, a portion of these were met by a number of the insurgents, who fired as they approached; one of the friends of government rode up to them boldly, and ordered them to throw down their arms. Some of them fled, but the greater part gave up their arms, and took the oath of allegiance to the state, as required by a late law. Other parties. of the insurgents assembled in different sections of the county,
and threatened the friends of government; but they were soon dispersed by General Patterson, commanding the militia in that county. Soon after, a party entered Berkshire from the state of New York, but chiefly inhabitants of Massachusetts, who had then lately fled, and proceeded to Stockbridge, where they threatened the people who were known to be friendly to government, and put some of them under guard. Colonel Ashley collected the militia from the neighboring towns to quell them; and as he approached them they fired, when he advanced and returned the fire. The fire continued some minutes from both parties; but the insurgents soon fled, leaving two of their number slain, and nearly thirty wounded. Two of the militia, under Colonel Ashley, were also killed.
By the united prudence and firmness of the governor, aided by the majority of the legislature, the promptness of the militia in most places, and by the influence of wise and discreet individuals, an unhappy rebellion was early suppressed, with the loss of only a very few lives, and a small expense to the state. Had there not been great firmness and energy in the executive, the evil would have been far more extensive; and had more severity been used, the records of the commonwealth would have been stained with blood for many years. Several officers of the revolutionary army gave efficient aid to the militia sent out by government, besides Lincoln, Shepard, and Brooks; among whom were Patterson, and Ashley, of Berkshire, and Tupper, Putnam, and Baldwin, of Worcester. And most of the leading men of the revolution, not of the military, were firm supporters of the measures of Governor Bowdoin.
The most active among the deluded men, who excited the insurrection, fled from the state; and though demanded of the authorities of the states, where they were supposed to be residing, were not apprehended. In most cases, they probably were secreted, if they did not go beyond the bounds of the United States.
When the supreme judicial courts were first afterwards holden in the several counties, many indictments were made for treason; and six persons were found guilty in Berkshire, six in Hampshire, one in Worcester, and one in Middlesex. They were sentenced to the punishment of death, by the court. Eight of them were afterwards pardoned, and the others were reprieved.
Boundary line between Massachusetts and New York settled both on west and east of Hudson river-Delegates to a general convention to revise the confederation-Mr. Hancock chosen governor in 1787-Objections to Mr. Bowdoin unjust-The most intelligent were his supporters-Produce a tender for debts-Governor's salary reduced-Domestic manufactures encouraged Attempts to pay off the public debt-Federal constitution formed and presented to the states for adoption-Objections to constitution; a subject of great discussion-Small majority in its favor-Amendments proposed by the convention.
THE Controversy with the State of New York, as to the claims of Massachusetts to lands west of Hudson River, was settled in 1786. The dispute was of ancient date. New York at one time denied the right of Massachusetts to any lands west of that river: and Massachusetts claimed the width of its bounds on the seaboard to the west, till it reached the extreme limits of the United States, by the treaty of 1783; excepting a certain distance from the river fully and clearly included in the early patent of New York. The subject was referred to congress in 1784, by the two states, and commissioners appointed, who held several meetings to hear the agents of each state concerned, but came to no decision. Agents from the two states met at Hartford, in December, 1786, and agreed that Massachusetts should have the preemptive right to two large tracts of land within the territory which it claimed, being about 5,000,000 acres ; but which was a small part of the whole tract demanded; and that the jurisdiction should be and remain in New York. In 1787, these lands were sold, or the right to buy them of the Indians, for $1,000000. And during the same year, the bounds between New York and Massachusetts, on the east side of Hudson River, were definitely fixed. There had been frequent disputes respecting the line; and acts of violence were sometimes committed by those who set up interfering claims. A decision was made in 1773, by commissioners from New York and Massachusetts;