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or cabinet a topic of conversation. He was remarkably fond of society, and loved to see the old and young together. In the street, he never passed any acquaintance without a friendly recognition; and he has taken me up a hundred times, when a schoolboy, to give me a ride in his chaise. He liked to work on his land ; and, as many of his horticultural experiments were suggested by books, he often found them of small pecuniary profit. In the army, he played chess with his friend Kosciusko, and occasionally in Medford enjoyed a social game:
He said that the most fatiguing day he ever spent was the 19th of April, 1775. That, we apprehend, was the auroral hour of his life. He was greater than his means. How many men are less !
Rev. Mr. Foster says:“ On the morning of the 19th of April, just at sunrise, alarmguns were fired. The regulars had gone to Concord. I ran directly to Major Brooks, and asked if he were going to Concord, and when? Immediately' was the answer."
With his minute-men, he pursued the enemy to their boats at Charlestown. Dr. Ripley says:
“As the enemy passed the road from Bedford, they met a body of minute-men, commanded by Major John Brooks. A little below Bedford Road there was a sharp action, and several of the British were killed.”
Rev. Mr. Foster says:
“ The enemy faced about suddenly, and fired a volley of musketry upon us. They overshot. The fire was immediately returned, and two British soldiers fell dead in the road near the brook.”
Col. Phinney says:"A little to the eastward of the village, they received a heavy fire from the Reading minute-men, under Capt John Brooks."
An instance of his sturdy Spartan-like directness of purpose and warm zeal was seen in his volunteering to march for the relief of Fort Stanwix (now Rome), at the head of the Mohawk:
“It was besieged, August, 1777, by one thousand seven hundred British and Indians, under Col. St. Leger. Gen. Herkemer, advancing to its aid, had been killed, and his troops dispersed. At a council of officers, it was objected to weaken the main army at Saratoga by sending away any of the regular troops. Gen. Schuyler, much depressed and excited, said he would beat up for volunteers the next day, if he could get men by no other means,' and asked for a brigadier to command them. The next day the drum beat for volunteers, and Lieut. Col. Brooks volunteered with his regiment.”
How noble to see a man thus putting his shoulder under a forsaken cause !
He considered his efforts at Saratoga as the most effective in his military career. No skill or bravery during the war exceeded his on that occasion. The historian says:
“On the left of Arnold's detachment, Jackson's regiment of Massachusetts, then led by Lieut. Col. Brooks, was still more successful. It turned the right of the encampment, and carried by storm the works occupied by the German reserve. Lieut. Brayman was killed; and Brooks maintained the ground he had gained. This advantage of the Americans was decisive.”
Another historian, member of the army, says:
“The capture of Gen. Burgoyne and his army may be attributed in no small degree to the gallant conduct of Col. Brooks and his regiment, on the 7th of October, in the battle at Saratoga.”
The same author, an eye-witness, further says:
“ The confidence which Washington reposed in him was shown on many occasions, and particularly in calling him to his councils in that terrible moment when, at Newburg, in March, 1783, a conspiracy of some of the officers, excited by the publication of inflammatory anonymous letters, had well nigh disgraced the army, and ruined the country. On this occasion, the Commander-in-Chief, to whom this day was the most anxious moment of his life, rode up to Col. Brooks with intent to ascertain how the officers stood affected. Finding him, as he expected, to be sound, he requested him to keep his officers within quarter to prevent them from attending the insurgent meeting. Brooks replied: "Sir, I have anticipated your wishes, and my orders are given. Washington, with tears in his eyes, took him by the hand, and said: Col. BROOKS, THIS IS JUST WHAT I EXPECTED FROM YOU.'”
At the end of the war, he retired, a laurelled hero of the revolution, to private life, and found himself so poor that he opened a small shop in a building next the bridge, on the
custom doctrines, Shad come
west side of Main Street. He did not succeed in this; but he bore his poverty with a hero's resolution to conquer it; and conquer he did.
When first a candidate for Governor in 1816, Medford gave two hundred and thirty-eight votes for him, and twentyeight for Mr. Dexter. More than twenty-eight votes against him were never given in Medford during the seven years he was Governor.
The uniformity of his example in attending public worship had a powerful influence on the people of Medford. He was never absent, morning or afternoon, when he could be present; and his attention to the preacher was profound. He often made an abstract of the sermon. His favorite moral writer was Paley; and he used to speak of his Hora Paulina as an “unanswerable book.” When the controversy between the Calvinists and Unitarians arose in 1820, he took side with the latter, but never liked the extremes of either sect. For many years he had wished to make a public profession of his faith in Christianity ; but had been deterred by the minister's custom of calling upon each candidate to express belief in certain doctrines, some of which doctrines he did not believe. In 1817, he had come to the conclusion that he would announce to Dr. Osgood his convictions, and request him to suppress the objectionable sentence, and thus admit him. The sentence was this: “Sensible of the depravity of the human heart, your own proneness to sin and inability to that which is good, you promise,” &c. He did not believe in man's inability to that which is good, and therefore he wished this omitted. Dr. Osgood knew so well his force of mind and purity of life that he yielded to his wishes; and on the 22d of March, 1818, the Governor of the Commonwealth declared in public his belief in the divine origin of Christianity, and took his seat at the table of the Lord. We who were present, and witnessed that act of dedication, can never forget the solemnity of the scene. There was so much of Socrates and Solon about him, that Christianity did not seem strange to him. He lived as he professed. It seemed to be his youthful resolution to make his life worthy the contemplation of his most elevated moments in old age. Some years after, he was chosen deacon of the church, but declined on account of age.
We may record here an illustration of the truthfulness and depth of his family affections; an illustration which the
writer of this witnessed. He said once to his first cousin, Mrs. Jonathan Brooks, “I wish to make a bargain with you. I will promise to be with you when you are sick, and I wish you to promise to be with me when I am sick.” She did so promise ; and, after several sicknesses, she performed the last sad duty of closing his eyes in death. A very dangerous illness of Mrs. Brooks occurred, while he, as Governor, was engaged at Boston by the sitting of the Legislature. In the coldest part of the winter, he rode out each day in his chaise to see her. As she became more ill, his attendance increased, and his solicitude was that of a brother. One evening he arrived at eight o'clock; and, having found her more ill than ever, he jumped into his chaise, drove quickly to his house, and brought back a bottle of particular old wine. He asked to go to the kitchen fire; her son conducted him there ; and, having opened the wine, he placed himself before the fire, and there made a porringer full of wine-whey. When it was done, he waited to have it cool. He would not accept of any help. He took out a few spoonfuls, and said, “Give your mother that.” Her son took it to her with a prayer on his lips. In ten minutes after she had taken it, she whispered to him, “ I shall recover.” With a heart almost bursting, he rushed to the Governor to announce the tidings. A tear started in his eye: and he said, " Thank God, we shall have her again.” I felt at that moment as if I should fall down, and worship him as the saviour of my mother.
When Gen. Lafayette came to Massachusetts in 1824, he took an early opportunity to dine with his friend and fellowofficer, then living in dignified retirement at Medford. Respect for the illustrious stranger, and love for their patriotic townsman, induced the inhabitants to make ample prepara·tions for receiving the guest. On Saturday, Aug. 28, 1824, the General entered Medford, at half-past two o'clock, P. M., from West Cambridge, attended by a few select friends. The. notice of his coming was short; nevertheless, the ladies, with their characteristic enchantment, made flowers from the gardens, and evergreens from the fields, fly at their bidding, and arrange themselves into wreaths of beauty and crowns of honor, while the young men spanned the streets with arches, and filled the air with flags. When he crossed the Wear Bridge, the bells began to ring, and the cannon to thunder. The houses were filled with eager and happy gazers, waving handkerchiefs in the joy of recognition. The children of the
town, in uniform, were stationed in order to salute him, and the huzzas of the crowded streets testified to the triumph and gladness of the occasion. Opposite the front door of the meeting-house of the first parish, a graceful arch spanned
and BROOKS.” And there, under a canopy of trees, garlands, and flowers, the Selectmen of the town met the General and his cortege ; and they thus addressed him, by Turell Tufts, Esq., their Chairman:
“General Lafayette, — The Selectmen of Medford, as representatives of the town, deem it a grateful and honorable part of their duty to bid you welcome.
“They are proud, sir, that Medford is the birthplace of one of your companions in arms; a man who, by his bravery in the field, his patriotism and civic virtues, contributed to acquire as much of glory to our country as honor to himself.
“ We rejoice, sir, that you both live to meet again and to enjoy together the consolations fairly derived from your virtuous and heroic deeds.
“The minds of our countrymen traced your course with anxious solicitude through the French Revolution, from your first success in the cause of liberty until the spirit of oppression confined you in a dungeon; and their hearts were gladdened when, by the influence of our great and good WASHINGTON, their friend was at last set free. In the rich harvest you are now gathering of the expressions of interest and gratitude of this numerous people, whose freedom and happiness your exertions so essentially contributed to establish, we hope you will find some compensation for all your toils, sacrifices, and sufferings; and we feel much complacency, that in this respect you have gained so complete a triumph over the monarchs of the world.
“ Again, sir, we bid you a most cordial welcome; and hope the testimonials of approbation you are receiving from every heart and every tongue will for ever remain an instructive lesson to mankind,
that patriots who endure faithfully to the end shall not lose their reward."
To this, the General replied, in substance, as follows:
“Mr. Chairman and Gentlemen, -I am most happy, in visiting the town of my old brother-soldier and friend, General Brooks, to be received with so kind a welcome. You speak of some compensation.' Compensation! Sir, the smallest part of the delight which I have experienced would more than repay me for all sufferings past or to come.
"I beg you to accept my grateful acknowledgments for this cheering welcome.”