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hibited by them, and they are now given without any disparagement to hundreds of others. Indeed, we might add that all the ladies, married and unmarried, were engaged, in one way or another, in sustaining the great cause of liberty. While some were at work on farms, others were engaged in making clothes for the army, or administering to the wants of the sick and wounded. But his principal object was to pay a tribute to the memory of the "sterner sex” during our Rev. olutionary struggle, and to collect the materials, and exhibit at one view, the efforts of the Government and people, and to publish the names, so far as they have come to his knowledge, of those who belonged to Rhode Island and enlisted in the army, as well as such historical and biographical sketches as would exhibit their predominant spirit in the cause ; and he will take each year by itself, beginning with the year seventeen hundred and seventy-five.
Soon after the battle of Lexington, April 19th, 1775, a spirit of resistance throughout the whole country was awakened ;blood had been spilt, and it called forth the most determined opposition to British tyranny. Men met together as if by instinct, without any previous call, in work-shops, in taverns, in town-houses, highways and by ways, and determined, by the aid of the Almighty, to avenge the high-handed butchery. As the news spread, it touched the heart to the quick-it roused the energies of the soul to the highest tone of feeling, and to most manly and lofty action. The mechanic left his shop and took his gun—the farmer dropped his implements of husbandry and left the field. The writer was told by one in particular, who, when the news was brought to him, was “sowing oats.”—He immediately left all, called his company together, (he was Captain of militia,) and, before sunset, was on his march to Boston, at their head. Boston was soon surrounded by a large army, determined the enemy should not have another opportunity to send detachments into the country to burn and destroy. It was soon after this memorable event that John Hancock, who always carried his purse in one hand and his life in the other, at a secret caucus held in an “old barn," where the friends of liberty were discussing the best mode of expelling the British from Boston, exclaimed, “Burn Boston, and make John Hancock a beggar, if necessary to accomplish this object !” How different this from the conduct of many of the rich men of those days !
Immediately after the battle of Lexington, the Legislature of Rhode Island were called together to devise ways and means to defend the country, and they passed an act to raise
fifteen hundred men, and to be raised as soon as possible. — But Gov. Wanton, who was a tory, and had been from the commencement of the troubles, protested against it. This protest was signed by Joseph Wanton, Darius Sessions, Thomas Weeks and William Potter. Sessions was Deputy Governor, and the other two Senators. The attempt, therefore, to raise a Brigade, was defeated. But in May, '75, following, the Legislature of Rhode Island, which had been then recently chosen, met at Providence, and a very great majority were in favor of enlisting men immediately to send to the relief of Boston; but a difficulty occurred-How was this to be done ? This colony was a British colony, and owed allegiance to the King of Great Britain ; and if troops were raised to fight His Majesty's troops, it was “treason and rebellion,” &c., &c. This difficulty, however, was soon surmounted. The troops to be raised were to be called the “ Army of Observation.” They were enlisted into "His Majesty's service," to serve until the end of December following. The form of the enlistment was rather a curiosity. It run as follows: May, 1775.
"And be it further enacted by the Authority aforesaid, That each Soldier be enlisted by signing the following enlistment, to wit: I, the subscriber, hereby solemnly engage and enlist myself as a Soldier in His Majesty's service, and in the pay of the Colony of Rhode Island, for the preservation of the Liberties of America, from the day of my enlistment to the last day of December next, unless the service admit of a discharge sooner, which shall be at the discretion of the General Assembly; and I hereby promise to submit myself to all the orders and regulations of the Army, and faithfully to observe and obey all such orders as I shall receive from time to time from my Officers."
It will be seen that this form of enlistment carried loyalty on its face at least, and it moreover dissipated all the fears of the timid about enlisting. But another difficulty arose.
Gov. Wanton was a tory.-He had recently been elected Governor, but had been prohibited from taking the oath of office by the General Assembly, in consequence of his sympathies with the British; there
was, therefore, no Governor to sign the commissions. But this difficulty, too, was soon overcome. The Assembly passed a special act, authorizing the Secretary to sign all the commissions, which should make them as valid as if signed by the Governor. All the commissions of the officers of the Army of Observation were, therefore, signed only by “Henry Ward, Secretary.” In October following, however, the office of Governor was declared vacant. This was a bold move of the Legislature, but the times justified it. This act is so unique in its character, that it is not deemed improper to recite it in this connection :
“An Act, declaring the office of Governor of this Colony vacant.
"Whereas this General Assembly, at the session held at Providence on the first Wednesday of May last, made and passed an Act (for divers weighty reasons therein mentioned) to prevent the Hon. Joseph Wanton, who was chosen Governor of this Colony at the general election held on the first Wednesday of May, from acting in said office, which Act hath been continued from session to session until now, without proceeding to declare said office vacant, from a tender regard to said Joseph Wanton, and in order to give him an opportunity of making due satisfaction for his former conduct, and of convincing this General Assembly of his friendly disposition to the United Colonies in general, and this Colony in particular.
"And whereas the said Joseph Wanton, by the whole course of his behavior since the passing of said Act, hath continued to demonstrate that he is inimical to the rights and liberties of America, and is thereby totally unfit to sustain said office: And whereas the calamities of the present times make it necessary for the General Assembly to avail themselves of the advantages given them by Charter and the fundamental principles of the Constitution.
This General Assembly do therefore resolve and declare, and by authority thereof it is resolved and declared, that the said Joseph Wanton hath justly forfeited the office of Governor of this Colony, and that thereby said office has become vacant."
As soon as the office of Governor was declared vacant, the Deputy Governor, Nicholas Cooke, acted as Governor until the spring of 1776, when he was chosen Governor at the gen
eral election, which office he held for several years to the satisfaction of the friends of liberty. He was faithful to the trusts reposed in him-faithful to his friends, and faithful to his country. The writer has had many of his official letters placed in his hands, but was obliged to part with them to substantiate claims on Government. Two of his daughters married distinguished officers of the Revolution. One married Lieutenant Colonel Jeremiah Olney, of the Rhode Island Line, and the other, Asa Waterman, Esq., a Commissary of Issues.
The officers appointed for the Army of Observation, and Committee of Safety, were as follows:
THE COMMITTEE OF SAFETY.
William Richmond, Esq., for the County of Newport; Mr. John Smith and Daniel Tillinghast, Esqs., for the County of Providence; John Northup, Esq., for the County of Kings County; William Bradford, Esq., for the County of Bristol ; Mr. Jacob Greene for the County of Kent.
OFFICERS OF THE ARMY OF OBSERVATION.
Nathaniel Greene, Jr., Esq., Brigadier General, afterwards Major General and Quarter Master General in the U. S. Army; Peter Phillips, Esq., Commissary; Thomas Church, Esq., Colonel of the Regiment to be raised in the counties of Newport and Bristol; Daniel Hitchcock, Esq., Colonel of the Regiment to be raised in the county of Providence; James Mitchell Varnum, Esq., Colonel of the Regiment to be raised in the counties of Kings County and Kent, (Col. Varnum was afterwards promoted to be General of Brigade); William Turner Miller, Esq., Lieutenant Colonel of the Regiment to be raised in the counties of Newport and Bristol ; Ezekiel Cornell, Esq., Lieutenant Colonel of the Regiment to be raised in the County of Providence, afterwards General of R. I. Brigade; James Babcock, Esq., Lieutenant Colonel of the Regiment of Kings County and Kent; John Forrester, Esq., Major of the Regiment of Newport and Bristol ; Israel Angel), Esq.,