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were supposed to be privateers, and caused no alarm. The appearance of the fleet, on the 30th of April, gave the French the first intimation of their danger.
The troops immediately landed, and the next day a detachment of four hundred, marching round the hills approached within a mile of the grand battery, setting fire to all the houses and stores on the
way. Many of these contained pitch and tar, which produced a thick smoke, that completely enveloped the invaders.
The fears of the French were increased by their uncertainty. They imagined the whole army was coming upon them, and, throwing their powder into a well, deserted the battery, of which the New England troops took possession without loss.
This was uncommon good fortune; but the most difficult labours of the siege remained to be performed. The cannon were to be drawn nearly two miles, over a deep morass, in plain view, and within gun-shot, of the enemy's principal fortifications. For fourteen nights the troops, with straps over their shoulders, and sinking to their knees in mud, were employed in this service.
The approaches were then begun in the mode which seemed most proper to the shrewd understandings of untaught militia. Those officers, who were skilled in the art of war, talked of zig zags and epaulements ; but the troops made themselves merry with the terms, and proceeded in their own way. By the 20th of May, they had erected five batteries, one of which mounted five forty-two pounders and did great execution.
Meanwhile the fleet, cruising in the harbour, had been equally successful. It captured a French ship of sixty-four guns, loaded with stores for the garrison, to whom the loss was as distressing, as to the besiegers the capture was fortunate. English ships of war were, besides, continually arriving, and added such strength to the fleet, that a combined attack upon the town was resolved upon.
The enemy, discovering the design, deemed it unwise to abide the hazard of an assault. On the 15th of June, the French commander proposed a cessation of hostilities, and, on the 17th, capitulated.
Intelligence of this event flying swiftly through the colonies, diffused great and universal joy. And well might the citizens of New England be elated with the glad tidings. Without even a suggestion from the mother country, they had projected, and with but little assistance, had achieved, an enterprise of vast importance to her and to them. Their commerce and fisheries were now secure, and their maritime cities relieved from all fear of attack from that quarter.
Francé, fired with resentment at her loss, made extraordinary exertions to retrieve it, and to inflict chastisement on New England. The next summer, she despatched to the American coast a powerful fleet, carrying a large number of soldiers. The news of its approach spread terror thoughout New England; but an uncommon succession of disasters, which the pious of that time attributed to the special interposition of Providence, deprived it of all power to inflict injury. After remaining a short time on the coast, it returned to France, having lost two admirals, both of whom it was supposed, put an end to their lives through chagrin; having also, by tempests, been reduced to one half its force, and effected nothing.
In 1748, peace was concluded, each party restoring all its prisoners and conquests; a striking, but not uncommon, illustration of the folly of war. Louisburg, though conquered by the colonies, was exchanged, by Great Britian, for territories which she had lost in Europe. New England murmured at this injustice; but what avail the murmurs of the weak?
From this period to the commencement of the next French war, but few important events occurred in Massachusetts. The bills of credit. which the colony had issued to defray its enormous expenditure, were redeemed by the government at their depreciated value. This example was followed, though tardily, by the other governments. At the time of their redemption, they were worth no more, in some colonies, than onetenth, and in others, one twentieth, of the sum for which they had been issued.
With the history of Massachusetts the parent of the New England colonies, that of New Hampshire has been necessarily blended. A brief relation of some detached events which occurred in the latter colony will now be given.
John Mason, Ferdinand Gorges, and others, having obtained of the Plymouth or New England company grants of several tracts of land, lying north of Massachusetts, sent from England in 1623, a few persons to begin a, settlement. Part landed, and for a short time remained at Little Harbour, on the west side of Piscataqua river,and near its mouth. Here the first house was built, which was called Mason Hall. The remainder, proceeding higher up the river, settled at Cocheco, afterwards called Dover.
Fishing and trade being the principal objects of these emigrants, their settlements increased slowly. In 1629 the territory situated between Merrimac and Piscataqua rivers, and extending sixty miles from the sea, was granted to Mason alone, and then first called New Hampshire. In 1631, the first house was built at Portsmouth. In 1638 the Reverend John Wheelwright, who, in 1629, but previous to the date of Mason's patent, had purchased the land of the Indians, laid the foundation of Exeter. The next year, thirty-five persons residing in that town, combined and established civil government. Within a year or two afterwards, the inhabitants of Dover and Portsmouth followed their example, each town remaining distinct and independent.
In 1641, these little republics, distrusting their ability to protect themselves, formed a coalition with Massachusetts, and long remained a part of that colony. The civil wars in England diverted the attention of Mason from his grant, and those who migrated to the country purchased of Wheelwright the lands which they occupied. In the war with Philip, the settlements on Piscataqua and Oyster rivers, were attacked by the Indians, and suffered severely,
In 1875, Robert Mason, grandson and heir of John Mason, applied to the king to obtain possession of the territory and rights which had been granted to his ancestor. Notice of this application was given to Massachusetts, and the parties were heard before the king in council. In 1679, a decree was passed that New Hampshire should be constituted a separate province, to be ruled by a president and council, who were to be appointed by the king, and a house of representatives to be chosen by the people. No decision was made affecting the titles to land.
The first assembly consisting of eleven members, met in 1680 at Portsmouth. At this session, a code of laws was adopted, of which the first, in a style worthy of freemen, declared that no act, imposition, law, or ordinance, should be