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   Chapter 18 BLAZING THE WAY TO WAR

The Wonderful Story of Washington By Charles M. Stevens Characters: 3489

Updated: 2017-12-06 00:04


Nothing illustrates better the conditions of mind in the long, bitter turmoil, than an incident, infuriating the people of Boston, which happened March 5, 1770. A number of young men and boys, probably fifty or sixty of them, gathered on Boston Common to throw snowballs. A company of militia being near, offered too tempting an object, and they began to pelt the soldiers. The claim was that some of the snowballs contained rocks, though no one was seriously injured. The soldiers charged the bunch of boys, not with weapons, but with fists, and put them to flight. This was not enough for the victors, and so the soldiers pursued the flying enemy. Seeing this, some citizens rang alarm bells. A mob assembled around the custom house and was ordered away. The troops were assailed with clubs and stones. They fired into the crowd and killed four, wounding several others. The town was aflame with wrath and the troops were removed to the barracks outside to prevent further bloodshed. Though it was hardly disastrous enough to deserve the name, "Boston Massacre," yet there was no doubt that nothing in the early days of the revolution, had more effect in setting the minds of the people against England. It was a sign of the times, and was like a little word that may sometimes mean as much as a whole discourse, especially when a social group of minds is unified in one interest of opposition or defense.

It was during these stirring times in the North that Washington was prevailed on by the Colonial government to visit the Indian tribes on the Ohio for a better understanding of the right of each side under the existing treaties. His journey to the site of old Fort Duquesne, renamed Fort Pitt, where Pittsburg now stands, was full of

romantic memories, and was met with many assurances of friendship among the now reconciled Indians.

Through the many interesting scenes, still somewhat perilous from the uncertainty of Indian friendship, he arrived at the mouth of the Great Kanawha. It was at this place where Washington was visited by an old Indian Sachem, who approached him with great reverence as if he were in the presence of a very superior being. Through the interpreter, the Indian chief said that he had heard of his coming to their country and had come a long way to see him. He explained his unusual interest by saying that he had led his warriors against the English under General Braddock. It was he with his band of braves who had lain in ambush on the banks of the Monongahela and had done such deadly slaughter to the English troops. But his reverence for Washington had a special reason. The Indians saw Washington as one of the boldest, riding fearlessly over the battlefield, carrying the General's orders. The chief and his warriors had singled Washington out as one they must kill. They had tried their best but their bullets never found him. At last they would not waste their bullets on him because he had a charmed life, under the protection of the Great Spirit. And who knows about these things! Everything may not be of inevitable physical order! The simple Indian may have been nearer the truth than would be any psychological or scientific explanation.

The Indians very generally believed that the Great Spirit exercised power over bullets, and, in many instances, faced death fearlessly in the faith raised by their "medicen-man" that the enemy's bullets could not harm them. Religious assurance of some kind is the consolation of every mind.

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