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sired; the bridge was lowered, the troops went over, and after marching twenty or thirty rods, returned, and made their way to Marblehead with some appearance of precipitation. For the failure of this expedition, Leslie was tried by a court martial and cashiered, but afterwards restored to his former rank. Not long afterwards, Mason made a considerable deposit of powder and other military stores at Concord, the discovery and destruction of which by the British, occasioned the first hostilities of the revolutionary war. On that occasion, Mason was out as a volunteer at the head of one of those parties which harrassed the enemy on their retreat through Lexington. Immediately afterwards, he was engaged in transporting the guns and ammunition which had been collected to Cambridge, where the provincial troops were beginning to assemble. An incident which took place at Salem about that time, furnishes a striking example of the apprehensions that prevailed in that part of the country. A British vessel came into the port of Marblehead, and sent word to the inhabitants, that if they rendered any assistance whatever to the rebels in Cambridge, they would destroy their town. The same message was every hour expected at Šalem, when just as it began to grow dark in the evening, a man came riding through the streets on a furious gallop, shouting at the top of his voice, and warning the inhabitants to get the women and children immediately out of the town, as the British were within a few miles of the place. Immediately the streets were crowded with people ; men and women, old and young left their houses, and as they knew not from which quarter the danger was approaching, messengers were despatched in every direction for intelligence. It was only until the messengers bad returned without seeing or hearing any thing to justify the alarm, that the inhabitants could be persuaded to return to their homes. It is remarkable that the same thing took place at the very same time in several other places in Massachusetts, and it is said also in Connecticut, but neither the person who gave the alarm nor his object in giving it was ever ascertained.
Upon the organization of the continental army at Cambridge in 1775, Mason exerted himself to procure the promotion of Gen. Knox to the command of the artillery, and succeeded. On account of his services and experience, he had some pretensions of his own to this appointment, but he was satisfied of the military talents of Knox, and thought moreover that his more youthful age and popular manners would be the means of attracting to the army the young men of the provinces. Ma
son himself received the commission of Lieut. Colonel in the artillery.
Early in the month of March, 1776, immediately after the Americans had taken possession of Dorchester heights, it was determined to bombard the town of Boston, with a view of driving out the enemy. Stong batteries were erected on the heights, to the north of the town, and a thirteen inch mortar, found among some military stores on board the Nancy, a British vessel captured a little while before by Capt. Manly, of the privateer Lee, was transported thither. It was cracked, but it was the largest that had been seen in the country, and was thought an important acquisition. Col. Mason commanded the battery in which this mortar was placed. He directed it, as he judged, in such a manner as to throw a homb into the old South Meeting House, which stood nearly in the centre of the town, but the elevation being too great, it passed just over the steeple. In discharging the mortar
a second time, it burst, killed three men, and severely wounded Mason him. self. The other attempts to fire the town were frustrated by similar accidents, but the desired effect was produced without the meditated injury; for in a few days afterwards, Gen. Howe, finding his position not only exceedingly dangerous, but not worth keeping, while the batteries on the heights cominanded the harbour and the surrounding country, evacuated the town. He could hardly have been aware, at that time, of the scanty means which the Americans possessed to annoy him. The following is a copy of a return of ammunition made about that time from the most important magazine they had. It was found among the papers of Col. Mason.
“ Prospect Hill, March 23, 1776. 6 A RETURN OF AMMUNITION IN THE MAGAZINE. 4 half barrels of powder and 2 quarter do full; and an half do. almost out. Paper cartridges for 24 pounders. 53 Flannel do. for do.
18 Paper cartridges for 12 pounders 9 Canister shot for 24 pounders
26 Small canister shot for 6 pounders 26 Boxes of buckshot
19 Musket cartridges
49,336." When Washington marched the American army to NewYork, in the summer of 1776, Mason was yet too ill with his wounds to follow him; he however engaged to join him as soon as he was sufficiently recovered to ride. Immediately, therefore, upon his being able to sit on a horse, he set out for New
York. The next day a committee from the legislature of Massachusetts came to offer him the command of the fortifications on Castle Island, a situation which he had formerly greatly desired. At the desire of his family, who hoped that he might be induced to accept the appointment, the committee followed him, overtook him at Worcester, and communicated their mes. sage. He replied, that although the post was one which, under other circumstances, he should be most happy and proud to accept, yet he must not violate his engagement to General Washington; and that were they to offer him the command of the province, he could not accept it.
Late in the autumn of 1776, Mason was sent by Washington to New-England, with orders to select a place for the establishment of a manufactory of ammunition and other military stores. He applied, in the first place, to the inhabitants of Hartford, who refused to cede to Congress the necessary land; he then went to Springfield, and bargained with the select men of that town for ten acres of land east of the village, where he laid the foundation of the present flourishing arsenal. It continued for nearly five years under his direction. Most of the ammunition expended in the war north of Philadelphia was manufactured there. About the year 1780, Col. Mason received a letter from the secretary at war of the United States, informing him that the establishment which he superintended was now on such a footing that its management might be committed to an officer of inferior rank and less pay, and that therefore the government had no further occasion for his services. Mason immediately wrote for an explanation to Generals Washington and Knox, reminding them of the assurances they had given him, that in case he undertook the establishment of the arsenal, he should retain his rank with every other, advantage which could arise from his remaining with the army. Washington and Knox both answered, that his services could not be dispensed with, directed him to remain where he was, and undertook to be responsible that he should retain his post. He continued at the head of the establishment for eight months longer; but the seat of war being changed to the southern states, and his friends being either ignorant of the measures taken to remove him, or unable effectually to interfere in his behalf, he received from the secretary at war another letter of the same import, and immediately left the arsenal, without making any further effort to keep his place. He removed with his family to Boston ; but after having been so long and actively engaged in public business, he found himself ill fitted for the gainful pursuit of any other employment. His circumstances, Vol. ).
however, were such, as to make it necessary that he should engage in some occupation for the support of his family. He had preserved all his stale securities, as the notes or certificates issued by the state of Massachusetts in payment of the wages of the officers and soldiers employed in its service were called. These amounted nominally to a considerable sum, but they were at that time in bad credit, and greatly depreciated. He found himself obliged to make sale of them, and realized only two shillings and sixpence on the pound. The legislature of Massachusetts soon after redeemed these securities by a payment of the whole sum which purported to be due. With the money raised by this sale, Mason bought a stock of West India goods, and furnished a shop; but being purchased immediately at the close of the war, they were of course at high prices, and two years after the peace there was nothing left of all that he had received from the sale of his securities. On the adoption of the Constitution, he forwarded to Congress a claim for the five years pay granted by them to the officers who had served in the revolutionary war, together with the wages due him for eight months services at the arsenal in Springfield, after the first letter from the Secretary at war. The documents accompanying these claims, among which were the letters from Washington and Knox, were lodged in the war office at Philadelphia, and burnt when that office was unfortunately consumed by fire. Thus ended all his connexion with the government of his country, and all his claims upon her justice or her liberality. He died of a consumption at Boston, on the 17th of September, 1794, after having been confined to the house for three years by the disorder. He left behind him the reputation of a man who had rendered his country important services, which had been scantily rewarded; and who, to great personal bravery and presence of mind, qualities not uncommon in the times in which he lived, joined others then more rare, and therefore quite as valuable, great knowledge and great dexterity in things which constitute the means and resources of war.
MY FATHER-A SKETCH.
We sat, three sisters in the bloom of youth,
Speak of approaching winter, and the stars
Not as yet Had stern decay relaxed his steely nerve, Or dimmed his eye, or dipped his raven hair In the pale mist which floats o’er death's dark vale. And we were whispering in his well-pleased ear Our hopes, and joys, and sorrows; and we With childish eagerness and well brook'd glee, Whose boon should be first sanctioned by our sire. One spoke of poesies, and some of gawds, And the gay ornaments which women crave, While, to the observant sire, the deepening blush And downcast eye spoke tender thoughts unnamed. And, when the hour of peaceful rest approached, And the time came that we must part--for ayeWe kneeled before that sire, who gently strained His children to his breast, and bade them go.
It was the midnight I was deep in sleep-
They woke me from my sleep-three rushing forms