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Thrilling Incidents In American History

• Title
• Preface

Revolutionary War
• Opening Of The Revolution
• The Boston Massacre
• Affair of the Sloop Liberty
• Affair of the Gaspee
• The Tea Riot
• The Boston Port Bill
• The First Continental Congress-Consequent Parliamentary proceedings
• Organization of the Minute-Men
• Patrick Henry-Second Provincial Congress-First Military Enterprise
• Battles of Lexington and Concord
• Battle of Bunker's Hill
• Capture of Ticonderoga
• Second Continental Congress-Washington's Appointment
• Siege of Boston
• Incidents at the Evacuation of Boston
• Burning of Falmouth
• Arnold's Expedition to Quebec
• Siege of Quebec, and Death of Montgomery
• Scenes at Quebec during the Siege
• Expedition against Charleston
• The Declaration of Independence
• The Battle of Long Island
• Washington's Retreat through New Jersey-Capture of General Lee
• Battle of Trenton
• Battle of Princeton
• Capture of General Prescott
• Battle of Brandywine
• Battle of Germantown
• Battle of Red-Bank
• Attack on Fort Mifflin-Retirement of the Army to Valley Forge
• Battle of Bennington
• Murder of Miss M'Crea
• Battle of Stillwater
• Battle of Bemis' Heights, and Retreat of Burgoyne
• Capture of Forts Clinton and Montgomery
• Surrender of Burgoyne
• The Treaty with France
• Attack on Savannah, and Death of Pulaski
• Storming of Stony Point
• General Sullivan's Campaign against the Mohawks
• Tarleton's Quarters
• Battle of Camden, and Death of De Kalb
• Arnold's Treason
• The Loss of the Randolph
• The British Prison-Ships
• Capture of the Serapis
• Putnam's Feat at Horseneck
• Battle of Eutaw Springs
• Wayne's Charge at Green Spring
• Capture of the General Monk
• The Mutinies
• Battle of the Cowpens
• Capture of New London
• Massacre of Wyoming
• Surrender of Cornwallis

War With France
• Capture of L'Insurgente
• The Constellation and Vengeance

War With Tripoli
• Burning of the Philadelphia
• Bombardment of Tripoli
• Loss of the Intrepid
• Expedition of General Eaton

Second War With England
• Battle of Tippecanoe
• Capture of the Guerriere
• Tragical Affair of an Indian Chief
• Battle and Massacre at the River Raisin
• Captain Holmes's Expedition
• Capture of the Caledonia and Detroit
• The Wasp and Frolic
• Gallant Conduct of Lieutenant Allen at the Capture of the Macedonian
• Capture and Destruction of the Java
• Siege of Fort Meigs
• Capture of York, and Death of General Pike
• Defence of Sackett's Harbour
• Defence of Fort Stephenson
• Battle of Lake Erie
• Battle of the Thames
• Gallant Action of Commodore Chauncey under the guns of Kingston Citadel
• The Sacking of Hampton
• Capture of the Peacock
• Massacre at Fort Mimms
• Surrender of Weatherford
• Battle of Niagara
• BattIe of New Orleans

War With Mexico
• Battle of Palo Alto
• Battle of Resaca de la Palma
• Capture of Monterey
• Battle in the Streets of Monterey
• Thrilling Scenes in the Battle of Buena Vista
• Bombardment of Vera Cruz
• Battle of Cerro Gordo
• Battles of Contreras and Churubusco
• Storming of Chapultepec


colonial soldier LONG before the passage of Grenville's Stamp Act, Great Britain had given cause of complaint to her colonies by restricting each province to the use of its own manufactures, and preventing the reciprocal importation of their respective fabrics-thus completely discouraging all manufactures. To prevent a whole people from following any branch of industry, is a measure which human nature cannot bear with tame submission. Nor was the severity of the act ameliorated by the representations of the ministry that the articles prohibited could be imported cheaper from England. The injury felt by the measure was not at the time of much consequence; but the regulation was in itself considered an insult to the understanding, more intolerable than pecuniary oppression.

The discontent arising from this restriction would in all probability have passed away, had it not been suceeeded by deprivations of a more serious nature to the colonies. These were the orders of Parliament (1755), restricting the American trade with the West Indies, which had hitherto been a source of large revenue. The prohibition of so profitable a commerce shook the vitals of American prosperity, and distressed the manufacturers and merchants of England. The servile complaisance which Great Britain showed to Spain by these orders, and the unwise policy of oppressing her own subjects to oblige foreigners, were complained of by the people of England as well as by the Americans. But the king and ministry refused to listen to the voice of justice, and continued to pursue that system which eventually recoiled upon themselves.

The peace of 1763 terminated a war, which was both advantageous and glorious to Great Britain. The treaty of Paris, besides ceding to her several islands in the West Indies, and establishing her power in the East, gave her the sovereignty of the vast continent of America, from Florida to the Arctic Seas.

The expenses of the previous war had, however. been immense. In order to meet them and liquidate to some degree the national debt, resolutions were adopted by the ministry to tax the colonies on certain articles of importation. Tbeir ability to pay these taxes was not doubted; and it was considered proper that those who enjoyed so many advantages should contribute their portion towards bearing the public burdens.

The colonists, however, were fully persuaded that whatever might be the necessities of the mother country, yet, exclusive of the restrictions laid during late years on their commerce, the sole enjoyment of their trade was a tax in itself more in proportion, than all that were levied on the people of Great Britain. The right of taxing them without their being represented in the British Parliament, they denied as resolutely as their ancestors did the payment of shipmoney to Charles I.; at the same time claiming the privilege of representation as their undoubted birthright.

The ministry expressed astonishment at hearing such language from the colonists, charging them with ingratitude and disloyalty, and with being solicitous only to profit by the generosity of the mother country. The Americans repelled these unfounded charges wIth indignation. They gloried in calling Britain their mother country; they had never disgraced the title; they had ever obeyed her just and lawful commands; and they submitted, for her benefit, to heavy burdens and commercial restrictions. They referred for proof of these assertions to their expeditions against Louisbourg and Spanish America, and to the bravery displayed in the war against the French in North America.

In their petition they assured the king, that notwithstanding their sufferings, they retained too high a regard for the kingdom from which they derived their origin to request anything which might be inconsistent with her dignity or welfare. "These," they observed, "related as we are to her, honour and duty, as well as indination, induce us to support and advance." "At the conclusion of the last war, the Genius of England and the spirit of wisdom, as if offended at the ungrateful treatment of her sons, withdrew from the British councils, and left the nation a prey to a race of ministers, with whom ancient English honesty and benevolence disdained to dwell." They did not comElain of Parliament, for it had done them no wrong, "but solely of the measures of ministers."

In 1764, a bill was framed laying heavy duties (payable into the British treasury in specie) on all articles imported into the colonies from the French and other islands in the West Indies. This was followed by an act restraining the currency of paper money. In 1765, to complete the link so unjustly begun, was passed Grenville's famous Stamp Act, the prelude to the most tremendous and destructive quarrel that had befallen Britain for several ages. It wag styled "the folly of England and ruin of America."

The colonists were now completely roused; but at the same time conducted their measures with great wisdom, perseverance, and resolution. They united in a general opposition to the views of ministers, who disregarded their petitions and the statements of their agents; and although some acts favourable to the commerce of the colonies were passed, the people became suspicious, and placed no reliance on the good-will of the British government. They especially mistrusted the king. Resolutions were adopted to make no further importations from Great Britain; and so far was the encouragement of domestic manufactures persevered in, that the use of all elegancies was laid aside, and the eating of lamb suspended in order to encourage the raising of wool.

In 1766 Parliament repealed the Stamp Act; thus affording unequivocal proof of the folly and shortsightedness under which that measure was passed. Intelligence of the event filled the colonies with exultation; and the rude domestic articles with which they had long served themselves, were speedily exchanged for the more comfortable ones of British manufacture. But the mother country soon showed that she was by no means disposed to yield her fancied authority. In that year Dr. Franklin was expelled from the Post Office Department; and in the next, duties were imposed on tea and other articles of importation. The colonists remonstrated against this new aggression, and petitioned the king in every possible form; but their efforts were treated with coldness and contempt. The evil star of Britain had arisen, soon to wither her dazzling superiority as a nation, and sever her widely-extended dominions for ever.

The colonial remonstrances against this measure were regarded by the ruling powers of England only wIth anger and indignation. Ministers were equally chagrined and astonished to find that a great portion of the British nation espoused the cause of America. But, disregarding an opposition to Parliament, all remonstrances of thr colonists, as well as petitions from the United Kingdom, the government madly proceeded in the prosecution of its impracticable schemes. At this period the fame and grandeur of Great Britain were so great, that no one imagined that the colonies would presume to dispute any measure dictated by the ministry. The splendid triumphs of the British nation in aU parts of the world, had excited the jealousy of Europe; and the idea of the colonists risking a trial of prowess with the armies and fleets which had defeated the combined strength of France and Spain, was considered presumptuous and visionary. It was, therefore, matter of astonishment to learn the extraordinary and resolute conduct of the Americans in opposing the restrictions on their commerce, and the operation of the Stamp and Tea Acts. From the period of the abolishment of the Stamp Act, in 1766, until the cargoes of the tea-ships were thrown overboard, in December, 1773, included a period of seven years of solemn resistance to arbitrary power.