The whole soul clamors for arms, and is on fire to attack the brutal banditti; we fly agonizing to the horrid aceldama*;we gaze on the mangled corpses of our brethren and grinning furies, gloating o'er their carnage, the hostile attitude of the miscreant murders, redoubles our resentment, and makes revenge a virtue.
By heaven they die! Thus nature spoke, and the swollen heart leap'd to execute the dreadful purpose; dire was the interval of rage, fierce was the conflict of the soul. In that important hour, did not the stalking ghosts of our stern forefathers, point us to bloody deeds of vengeance? Did not the consideration of our expiring liberties, impel us to remorseless havock? But hark! The guardian God of New England issues his awful mandate. "Peace, be Still." Hushed was the bursting war, the lowering tempest frowned its rage away. Confidence in that God, beneath whose wing we shelter all our cares, that blessed confidence released the dastard, the cowering prey. With haughty scorn we refused to become their executioners, and nobly gave them to the wrath of heaven. But words can poorly paint the horrid scene. Defenceless, prostrate, bleeding countrymen -- the piercing, agonizing groans --the mingled moan of weeping relatives and friends -- these best can speak; to rouse the luke-warm into noble zeal, to fire the zealous into manly rage; against the foul oppression of quartering troops, in populous cities, in times of peace.
And, of course, New England's best contemporary poet ended with this poem:
Thou who yon bloody walk shalt traverse, there
Where troops of Britain's King, on Britain's Sons,
Discharg'd the leaden vengeance; pass not on
E'er thou hast blest their memory, and paid
Those hallowed tears, which sooth the virtuous dead:
O stranger! Stay thee, and the scene around
Contemplate well, and if perchance thy home,
Salute thee with a father's honor'd name,
Go call thy Sons __ instruct them what a debt
They owe their ancestors, and make them swear
To pay it, by transmitting down entire
Those sacred rights to which themselves were born.
* "Aceldama" refers to the field Judas Iscariot purchased with the money he received for betraying Christ and means "field of blood."
|Old South Meeting House|