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Autograph of Riedesel. The “Washington Elm." Bunker Hill Monument. Desecration of the Spot.
may be seen the undoubted autograph of that accomplished woman, inscribed with a diamond point. It is an interesting memento, and is - O f preserved with great care. The annexed is a facsimile of it. J wd e3% | During the first moments of the soft evening twilight Isketched the lo “Washington elm,” one of the ancient anakim of the primeval forest, older, probably, by a half century or more, than the welcome of Samoset to the white settlers. It stands upon Washington Street, near the westerly corner of the Common, and is distinguished by the circumstance that, beneath its broad shadow, General Washington first drew his sword as commander-in-chief of the Continental army.” Thin lines of clouds, glowing in the light of the setting sun . Julya like bars of gold, streaked the western sky, and so prolonged the 1775. twilight by reflection, that I had ample time to finish my drawing before the night shadows dimmed the paper. Early on the following morning I procured a chaise to visit Charlestown and Dorchester Heights. I rode first to the former place, and climbed to the summit of the great obelisk that stands upon the site of the redoubt upon Breed's Hill. As I ascended the steps which lead from the street to the smooth gravel-walks upon the eminence whereon the “Bunker Hill Monument” stands, I experienced a feeling of disappointment and regret, not easily to be expressed. Before me was the great memento, huge and grand—all that patriotic reverence could wish—but the ditch scooped out by Prescott's - toilers on that starry night in June, and the mounds that were upheaved to protect them from the shots of the astonished Brit- ons, were effaced, and no more vestiges remain of the handiwork of those in whose honor and to whose memory this obelisk was raised, than of Roman conquests in the shadow of Trajan's Column—of the naval battles of Nelson around his monument in Trafalgar Square, or of French victories in the Place Vendôme. The fosse and the breast-works were all quite prominent +. when the No. foundation
– I--- stone of the monument was laid,
BUNKER HILL Monument.”
the illumination. We were all deeply moved, and proud to have the courage to display such sentiments in the midst of our enemies. Even Mr. Carter* could not forbear participating in our enthusiasm.”—Letters and Memoirs relating to the War of American Independence, and the Capture of the German Troops at Saratoga : By Madame De Riedesel. * This important event is recorded on page 564, where a picture of the tree is given. * This monument stands in the center of the grounds included within the breast-works of the old redoubt on Breed's Hill. Its sides are precisely parallel with those of the redoubt. It is built of Quincy granite, and is two hundred and twenty-one feet in height. The foundation is composed of six courses of stones, and extends twelve feet below the surface of the ground and base of the shaft. The four sides of the foun
* Mr. Carter was the son-in-law of General Schuyler. Remembering the kindness which she had reccived from that gentleman while in Albany, the baroness sought out Mr. and Mrs. Carter (who were living in Boston) on her arrival at Cambridge. “Mrs. Carter,” she says, “resembled her parents in mildness and goodness of heart, but her husband was revengeful and false." The patriotic zeal of Mr. Carter had given rise to foolish stories respecting him. “They seemed to feel much friendship for us,” says Madame De Riedesel; “though, at the same time, this wicked Mr. Carter, in consequence of General Howe's having burned several villages and small towns, suggested to his countrymen to cut off our generals' heads, to pickle them, and to put them in small barrels, and, as often as the English should again burn a village, to send them one of these barrels; but that cruelty was not adopted.”
Description of Bunker Hill Monument. View from its Chamber. Its Construction and Dedication. “Hancock" and "Adams.”
and a little care, directed by good taste, might have preserved them in their interesting state of half ruin until the passage of the present century, or, at least, until the sublime centenary of the battle should be celebrated. Could the visitor look upon the works of the patriots themselves, associations a hundred-fold more interesting would crowd the mind, for wonderfully suggestive of thought are the slightest relics of the past when linked with noble deeds. A soft green-sward, as even as the rind of a fair apple, and cut by eight straight gravel-walks, diverging from the monument, is substituted by art for the venerated irregularities made by the old mattock and spade. The spot is beautiful to the eye untrained by appreciating affection for hallowed things; nevertheless, there is palpable desecration that may hardly be forgiven.
The view from the top of the monument, for extent, variety, and beauty, is certainly one of the finest in the world. A “York shilling” is charged for the privilege of ascending the monument. The view from its summit is “a shilling show” worth a thousand miles of travel to see. Boston, its harbor, and the beautiful country around, mottled with villages, are spread out like a vast painting, and on every side the eye may rest upon localities of great historical interest. Cambridge, Roxbury, Chelsea, Quincy, Medford, Marblehead, Dorchester, and other places, where
dation extend about fifty feet horizontally. There are in the whole pile ninety courses of stone, six of them below the surface of the ground, and eighty-four above. The foundation is laid in lime mortar; the other parts of the structure in lime mortar mixed with cinders, iron filings, and Springfield hydraulic cement. The base of the obelisk is thirty feet square; at the spring of the apex, fifteen feet. Inside of the shaft is a round, hollow cone, the outside diameter of which, at the bottom, is ten feet, and at the top, six feet. Around this inner shaft winds a spiral flight of stone steps, two hundred and ninety-five in number. In both the cone and shaft are numerous little apertures for the purposes of ventilation and light. The observatory or chamber at the top of the monument is seventeen feet in height and eleven feet in diameter. It has four windows, one on each side, which are provided with iron shutters. The cap-piece of the apex is a single stone, three feet six inches in thickness and four feet square at its base. It weighs two and a half tons. Almost fifty years had elapsed from the time of the battle before a movement was made to erect a commemorative monument on Breed's Hill. An association for the purpose was founded in 1824; and to give eclat to the transaction, and to excite enthusiasm in favor of the work, General La Fayette, then “the nation's guest,” was invited to lay the corner-stone. Accordingly, on the 17th of June, 1825, the fiftieth anniversary of the battle, that revered patriot performed the interesting ceremony, and the Honorable Daniel Webster pronounced an oration on the occasion, in the midst of an immense concourse of people. Forty survivors of the battle were present; and on no occasion did La Fayette meet so many of his fellow-soldiers in our Revolution as at that time. The plan of the monument was not then decided upon; but one by Solomon Willard, of Boston, having been approved, the present structure was commenced, in 1827, by James Savage, of the same city. In the course of a little more than a year, the work was suspended on account of a want of funds, about fifty-six thousand dollars having then been collected and expended. The work was resumed in 1834, and again suspended, within a year, for the same cause, about twenty thousand dollars more having been expended. In 1840, the ladies moved in the matter. A fair was announced to be held in Boston, and every female in the United States was invited to contribute some production of her own hands to the exhibition. The fair was held at Faneuil Hall in September, 1840. The proceeds amounted to sufficient, in connection with some private donations, to complete the structure, and within a few weeks subsequently, a contract was made with Mr. Savage to finish it for forty-three thousand dollars. The last stone of the apex was raised at about six o'clock on the morning of the 23d of July, 1842. Edward Carnes, Jr., of Charlestown, accompanied its ascent, waving the American flag as he went up, while the interesting event was announced to the surrounding country by the roar of cannon. On the 17th of June, 1843, the monument was dedicated, on which occasion the Honorable Daniel Webster was again the orator, and vast was the audience of citizens and military assembled there. The President of the United States (Mr. Tyler), and his whole cabinet, were present. In the top of the monument are two cannons, named, respectively, “Hancock” and “Adams,” which formerly belonged to the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company. The “Adams” was burst by them in firing a salute. The following is the inscription upon the two guns:
“SACRED TO LIBERTY,
“This is one of four cannons which constituted the whole train of field-artillery possessed by the British colonies of North America at the commencement of the war, on the 19th of April, 1775. This cannon and its fellow, belonging to a number of citizens of Boston, were used in many engagements during the war. The other two, the property of the government of Massachusetts, were taken by the enemy.
“By order of the United States in Congress assembled, May 19th, 1788.”
View from Bunker Hill Monument. The Past and the Present. Dorchester Heights. Condition of the Fortifications.
“The old Continentals,
and the numerous sites of small fortifications which the student of history can readily call to mind. In the far distance, on the northwest, rise the higher peaks of the White Mountains of New Hampshire; and on the northeast, the peninsula of Nahant, and the more remote Cape Anne may be seen. Wonders which present science and enterprise are devel. oping and forming are there exhibited in profusion. At one glance from this lofty observatory may be seen seven rail-roads," and many other avenues connecting the city with the country; and ships from almost every region of the globe dot the waters of the harbor, Could a tenant of the old grave-yard on Copp's Hill, who lived a hundred years ago, when the village upon Tri-mountain was fitting out its little armed flotillas against the French in Acadia, or sending forth its few vessels of trade along the neighboring coasts, or occasionally to cross the Atlantic, come forth and stand beside us a moment, what a new and wonderful world would be presented to his vision | A hundred years ago!
“Who peopled all the city streets
They were men wise in their generation, but ignorant in practical knowledge when com. pared with the present. In their wildest dreams, incited by tales of wonder that spiced the literature of their times, they never fancied anything half so wonderful as our mighty drayhorse, “The black steam-engine ! steed of iron power— The wond’rous steed of the Arabian tale, Lanch'd on its course by pressure of a touch— The war-horse of the Bible, with its neck Grim, clothed with thunder, swallowing the way In fierceness of its speed, and shouting out, ‘Ha! hal” A little water, and a grasp Of wood, sufficient for its nerves of steel, Shooting away, ‘Ha! hal’ it shouts, as on It gallops, dragging in its tireless path Its load of fire.” I lingered in the chamber of the Bunker Hill monument as long as time would allow, and descending, rode back to the city, crossed to South Boston, and rambled for an hour among the remains of the fortifications upon the heights of the peninsula of Dorchester. The present prominent remains of fortifications are those of intrenchments cast up during the war of 1812, and have no other connection with our subject than the circumstance that they occupy the site of the works constructed there by order of Washington. These were greatly reduced in altitude when the engineers began the erection of the forts now in ruins, which are properly preserved with a great deal of care. They occupy the summits of two hills, which command Boston Neck on the left, the city of Boston in front, and the harbor on the right. Southeast from the heights, pleasantly situated among gentle hills, is the village of Dorchester, so called in memory of a place in England of the same name, whence many of its earliest settlers came. The stirring events which rendered Dorchester Heights famous will be noticed presently. I returned to Boston at about one o'clock, and passed the remainder of the day in visit. ing places of interest within the city—the old South meeting-house, Faneuil Hall, the Province House, and the Hancock House, all delineated and described in preceding pages. I am
* When I visited Boston, in 1848, it was estimated that two hundred and thirty trains of cars went daily over the roads to and from Boston, and that more than six millions of passengers were conveyed in them during the preceding year.
* Job, xxxix., 24, 25.
Mementors of John Hancock. The State IIouse. Chantrey's Washington. Copp's Hill. The Mather Tomb
indebted to John Hancock, Esq., nephew of the patriot, and present proprietor and occupant of the “Hancock House,” on Beacon Street, for polite attentions while visiting his interesting mansion, and for information con- stands in the open center of the cerning matters that have passed - first story; also the group of under the eye of his experience of trophies from Bennington, that threescore years. He has many hang over the door of the Senate mementoes of his eminent kins- chamber." Under these trophies, man, and among them a beauti- in a gilt frame, is a copy of the fully-executed miniature of him, reply of the Massachusetts Assempainted in London, in 1761, while bly to General Stark's letter, that he was there at the coronation of accompanied the presentation of George III. He also owns the the trophies. It was written fifty original portrait of Governor Han- years ago. cock, of which the engraving on After enjoying the view from page 515 is a copy. the top of the State House a Near Mr. Hancock's residence while, I walked to Copp's Hill, a is the State House, a noble struc- little east of Charlestown Bridge, ture upon Beacon Hill, the cor- at the north end of the town, ner-stone of which was laid in where I tarried until sunset in 1795, by Governor Samuel Ad- the ancient burying-ground. The ams, assisted by Paul Revere, earliest name of this eminence master of the Masonic grand lodge. was Snow Hill. It was subse. There I sketched the annexed quently named after its owner, picture of the colossal statue of WAsifix Grox.” William Copp.” It came into Washington, by Chantrey, which the possession of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company by mortgage ; and when, in 1775, they were forbidden by Gage to parade on the Common, they went to this, their own ground, and drilled in defiance of his threats. The fort, or battery, that was built there by the British, just before the battle of Bunker Hill, stood near its southeast brow, adjoining the burying-ground. The remains of many eminent men repose in that little cemetery. Close by the entrance is the vault of the Mather family. It is covered by a plain, oblong structure of brick, three feet high and about six feet long, upon which is laid a heavy brown stone slab, with a tablet of slate, bearing the names of the principal tenants below."
Oct. 7, I passed the forenoon of the next day in the
librarian, for examining the assemblage of things curious collected there." The printed books and manuscripts, relating principally to American his
* See map on page 395.
* This is a picture of Chantrey's statue, which is made of Italian marble, and cost fifteen thousand dollars.
* On some of the old maps of Boston it is called Corpse Hill, the name supposed to have been derived from the circumstance of a burying-ground being there.
* The following is the inscription upon the slate tablet: “The Reverend Doctors Increase, Cotton, and Samuel Mather were interred in this vault.
“Increase died August 27, 1723, AE. 84.
* This society was incorporated in February, 1794. The avowed object of its organization is to collect. preserve, and communicate materials for a complete history of this country, and an account of all valuable efforts of human industry and ingenuity from the beginning of its settlement. Between twenty and thirty octavo volumes of its “Collections” have been published.
* The library of Dr. Samuel Mather was burned at Charlestown, when it was destroyed by the British in 1773.
Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society. Colonial and other Relics. Departure from Boston.
tory, are numerous, rare, and valuable. There is also a rich depository of the autographs of the Pilgrim fathers and their immediate descendants. There are no less a pop than twenty-five large folio volumes of valuable o letters and other 9. 28, 19, - y & 2 Evvu so Aarosst documents; besides which are six thick fow “Y” 2.92, & to ro 9. &af. 24 4, quarto manuscript volumes—a comment- it ri now *** *** ***' *y-six ary on the holy Scriptures—in the hand-writing of /Vov. 7.9 - 16:22. Cotton Mather. From an autograph letter of that l smassier singular man the annexed fac-simile of his writing Čohon and signature is given. Among the portraits in the MATHER’s WRITING. cabinet of the society are those of Governor Winslow, supposed to have been painted by Vandyke, Increase Mather, and Peter Faneuil, the founder of Faneuil Hall. I had the pleasure of meeting, at the rooms of the society, that indefatigable antiquary, Dr. Webb, widely known as the American correspondent of the “Danish Society of Northern Antiquarians” at Copenhagen. He was sitting in the chair that once belonged to Governor Winslow, writing upon the desk of the speaker of the colonial Assembly of Massachusetts, around which the warm debates were carried on concerning American liberty, from the time when James Otis denounced the Writs of Assistance, until Governor Gage adjourned the Assembly to Salem, in 1774. Hallowed by such associations, the desk is an interesting relic. Dr. Webb's familiarity with the collections of the society, and his kind attentions, greatly facilitated my search among the six thousand articles for things curious connected with my subject, ******.****** and made my brief visit far more profitable to myself than it would otherwise have been. Among the relics preserved are the chair that belonged to Governor Carver, very similar in its appearance to the ancient one delineated on page 438; the sword of Miles Standish; the huge key of Port Royal gate; a samp-pan, that belonged to Metacomet, or King Philip ; and the sword reputed to have been used by Captain Church when he cut off that unfortunate sachem's head. The dish is about twelve inches in diameter, wrought out of an elm knot with great skill. The sword is very rude, and was doubtless made by a blacksmith of the colony. The handle is a roughly-wrought piece of ash, and the guard is made of a wrought-iron plate. The circumstances connected with the death of Philip will be noticed hereafter. I lingered in the rooms of the society, copying and sketching, with busy hands, until after one o'clock. An urgent call beckoning me homeward, I departed in the cars for Norwich and New-London between two and three o'clock in the afternoon, regretting that my tarry in the city of the Pilgrims was necessarily so brief, and that I was obliged to forego the pleasures of a * visit to the neighboring villages, all of which are associated with events of the Revolution. Before departure let us revert to the history of Boston subsequent to the battle of Bunker Hill. That event was but the beginning of the stirring scenes of the siege, which terminated in success for the Americans.
* This desk is made of ash. The semicircular front is about three feet in diameter. The chair, which belonged to Governor Winslow, is of English oak. It was made in 1614.