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report of a committee of the citizens appointed to investigate the subject :
The first of the recent riots took place on Wednesday evening, Sept. 21. Five sailors, after supper, started from their boarding houses in the southerly part of the town to go on a cruise.” They arrived at the foot of Olney's lane about eight o'clock, where they met six or seven men, of one of the steamboats, with sticks or clubs in their hands, and without hats or jackets. They stated that they had been up and had a row with the ‘darkies,' and asked the five sailors to go up and aid them. About a hundred persons were assembled, all of whom appeared ready for an affray. The five sailors admit that they proceeded up the lane with the multitude. A great noise was made, the crowd singing and shouting until they came near the elm tree, when a gun was discharged and stones thrown from the vicinity of the houses occupied by the blacks. Stones were also thrown by the crowd against the houses. Upon the firing of the gun, the main body of the crowd retreated to the foot of the lane. The five sailors, however, continued up the lane, and when nearly opposite the blacksmith's shop, another gun was discharged. William Henry, one of the five sailors, put his hand to his face and said he was shot. George Erickson and William Hull joined their three comrades and proceeded up the lane about a hundred feet to a passage leading from the north side of the lane to a lot in the rear. They saw three or four men, one of whom Hull knew. The black standing on the steps with a gun, perceiving that they had stopped, ordered them to clear out,” or he would fire upon them. The sailors told the black “to fire and be damned.” Two attempts to fire were made, a flash and a snap; upon the third, the gun went off.
George fell, mortally wounded, with a large shot in his breast. Wm. Hull and John Phillips were wounded, but not dangerously. George died in about half an hour, during which time Hull states that he could obtain no assistance from the crowd below. Before he was removed and within half an hour of his death, as Hull states, the crowd had increased to a large mob, and they proceeded up the lane, and demolished two of the houses occupied by blacks, and broke the win. dows and some of the furniture of others.
On the 22d, the mob assembled at 7 o'clock; the sheriff arrested seven and committed them to jail, but in three or four other instsnces the mob made a rescue. Twenty-five soldiers of Capt. Shaw's company being ordered out, they were pelted by the mob with some injury, and it being perceived that nothing short of firing would have any other effect than to exasperate the mob, they marched off, and no further attempt was made that night to quell the mob. On Friday morning it was generally reported that an attempt would be made to break into the jail and rescue the prisoners. A meeting of the state council was had, three infantry, one cavalry and one artillery company ordered to be under arms. Four of the rioters were liberated for want of evidence, and three bound over for trial, that the mob might have no pretense to attack the jail. In the afternoon the following placard was posted :
"Notice. — All persons ho are in favor of Liberating those Men ho are confined within the walls of the Providence Jail are requested to make due preparation, and govern themselves accordingly,
NB-No quarters Shone."
Most of the evening from 30 to 50 collected in front of the jail, many threats were uttered, and it was with difficulty that the mob could be made to believe that all the prisoners had been discharged. Soon after, a man who had an instrument under his arm, apparently a sword, appeared and ordered the mob to Snow Town, whither they went, but did little damage.
On Saturday evening the mob again attacked one of these houses, throwing stones and demolishing the windows. The sheriff, in a very loud voice, com: manded them to desist, but no attention was paid to him. The violence of the attack increased, so that it was supposed they had begun to tear the building down. At this time the sheriff requested the governor to detach a portion of the force to suppress the riot. The light dragoons and the first light infantry were accordingly ordered to march under the sheriff's direction.
During this march, the stones were continually heard rattling against the muskets, and fell thick among the soldiers. As the troops approached the bridge, part of the mob retired before them: some occupied the ground upon each flank, and the sides of the bridge were filled. They slowly crossed the bridge, the sheriff continually and earnestly repeating his request for the rioters to disperse, warning them of their danger. The crowd immediately closed in upon their rear with great clamor, throwing stones without cessation. After the detachment had gained the street east of the bridge, the assaults upon them increased to so great a degree of violence that the cavalry were forced against the infantry, and the rear platoon of infantry nearly upon the front. The dragoons called out to the infantry that they could not withstand the incessant shower of missiles; and unless the infantry fired upon the rioters, it was impossible that they could remain. The cavalry were without ammunition. The infantry also exclaimed that they could no longer sustain these dangerous volleys of stones, and if they were not permitted to defend themselves, they felt they were sacrificed. The detachment halted in Smith street, near its junction with North Main street, at the distance of about forty rods from the residue of the military on the hill. The infantry faced about to present a front to the assailants, and the light dragoons, who had been compelled to advance partly along their flanks, filed past them, and formed upon the left.
After they halted, the stones were still hurled unremittingly. Many of the sol. diers were seriously injured. The stocks of several of the muskets were split by the missiles. The air was filled with them. The sheriff, who was by the side of the captain of the infantry during the whole march, repeatedly commanded the mob to desist, but those orders were wholly unavailing. It having now become manifest that no other ineans existed by which the riot could be suppressed, or the lives of the men preserved, the sheriff directed the captain to fire. The captain then gave the word, "ready.” Here a momentary pause took place. The stones were still thrown with the greatest violence, and exclamations were vociferated, “ Fire, and be dd." The captain turned to the sheriff and asked, "Shall I fire?”. Perceiving that the crisis had at length arrived, and that the danger was imminent, he replied, “ Yes, you must fire." The further orders were then given, Aim-fire." A discharge followed in a somewhat scattering manner, in which four persons were killed. After the order was thus executed, a second was immediately given to cease firing. The most perfect silence ensued, not a sound was heard, and all violence instantly ceased. "In about five minutes, it being evident the mob was now quelled, the infantry assumed a new position in the line on the east side of Main street, facing westwardly, with the cavalry on their left.
At the moment these two companies passed the bridge on their march eastward, the shouts were so violent, and the attacks upon them appeared so alarming, that the governor, apprehensive for their safety, ordered the company of cadets to march double quick time to their support. The firing of the infantry was heard immediately after. The cadets were then moving down, but had not passed below the point where the governor with the artillery and volunteer companies remained." They however continued their march, crossed the bridge, and proceeded down Canal street to Weybosset bridge, dispersing the mob before them. After the firing ceased, information was brought to the governor that the multitude was separating. Before leaving the hill, the governor requested Dr. Parsons, who was with him, to attend upon the wounded, and render them every possible assistance.
A few years later, in what was generally termed the “ Dorr Insurrection” (see page 299), this town and vicinity narrowly escaped witnessing a more sanguinary scene.
“On the 16th of May, 1843, Thos. W. Dorr entered Providence, escorted by a party of his friends, about 1,300 in number, of whom 300 were in arms. When arrived at his quarters, he issued his proclamation defying the power of those opposed to him, and expressing his determination to maintain his claims to the last extremity. About two o'clock, on the morning of the 18th of May, Dorr, at the head of his adherents, made an attempt to obtain possession of the state arsenal.
Having drawn up his troops on the plain, and planted his cannon, he sent a flag of trace to the arsenal. Col. Blodget, who was in command, asked, " For whom, and in whose name? The answer was, “For Gov. Dorr, and in the name of Col. Wheeler." He said he knew no such men, and if they attacked the arsenal, it would be defended. When the flag returned, Dorr gave orders to fire; but his gun flashed three times. It is said that there was dissatisfaction in his ranks, and some of his men had dampened the powder. Whatever was the cause, it was a merciful dispensation, sparing probably the effusion of much human blood. Dorr then retired to his quarters, a house on a hill, guarded by men armed with inuskets and cannon. The military were now ordered out, with orders to arrest Dorr in the name of Gov. King. The insurgents were intimidated, and after some persuasion the most of them dispersed. The house was searched, but Dorr could not be found. Most of the officers chosen by the suffrage party resigning their situations, this difficulty ended without bloodshed.
On the 28th of June, 1842, another disturbance took place, caused by the disagreement between the charter and suffrage parties. The adherents of Dorr, abou 700 in number, took possession of a hill in Chepachet, where they entrenched themselves with five pieces of cannon. Martial law was proclaimed throughout the state, and about 3,000 militia were ordered out to support the government. The greater part of the insurgents left the camp in consequence of these prepations, and the hill was taken by the state troops without bloodshed. Dorr was eventually tried for treason, and sentenced to hard labor during life, June 25, 1844. By an act of amnesty from the Legislature, he was liberated from prison, June 27, 1845.
The following inscriptions are copied from monuments in the North burying ground in Providence:
Sacred to the memory of the illustrious STEPHEN Hopkins of Revolutionary fame, attested by his signature to the Declaration of our National Independence. Great in Council from sagacity of mind, magnanimous in sentiment, firm in purpose, and good as great from benevolence of heart; he stood in the first rank of statesmen and Patriots. Self-educated, yet among the most learned of men. His vast treasury of useful knowledge, his great retentive and reflective powers, combined with his social nature, made him the most interesting companion of social life. His name is engraven on the immortal records of the Revolution, and can never die. His titles to that distinction are engraved on this monument, reared by the grateful admiration of his native state, in honor of her favorite son. Born March 7, 1707, died July 13, 1785.
In memory of the Rev. JAMES MANNING, D.D. President of Rhode Island College. 'He was born in New Jersey, A. D. 1738. Became a member of a Baptist Church, A. D. 1758. Graduated at Nassau Hall, A. D. 1762, was ordained a Minister of the Gospel in 1763; obtained a charter for the college, A. D. 1765; was elected a President of it the same year, and was a member of Congress, A. D. 1786. His person was graceful, and his countenance remarkably expressive of sensibility, cheerfulness and dignity. The variety and excellence of his natural abilities, improved by education, and enriched by science, raised him to eminence among literary characters. His manners were engaging, his voice harmonious, his eloquence natural and powerful. His social virtues, classic learning, eminent patriotism, shining talents for instructing and governing youth, and zeal in the cause of CHRISTIANITY on the Tables of many hearts. He died of apoplexy, July 29, A. D. 1791. Ætat. 53. The Trustees and Fellows of the College have erected this monument.
In memory of the Hon. Joseph Brown, Esquire, who departed this life Dec. 3, 1785, in the 52d year of his age. In the course of his life, he was a Representative for the town of Providence; an Assistant to the Governor in Council; a Trustee of Rhode Island College ; a Professor of Experimental Philosophy therein. A member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and of the Baptist Church here. He descended from a respectable line of ancestors to which his character added no inconsiderable luster. The faculties of his mind were truly great and rare. By the mere force of Natural Genius, he became an adept in electricity, and well versed in Experimental Philosophy; but his great strength appeared in his favorite study, Mechanica. Was a Patriot fromą principle, and zealous for his Country's Freedom and Independence. In his life were exemplified Charity and Munificence preeminently with the virtues of an honest man.
In memory of NICHOLAS Brown, Esq., who died May 29, A. D. 1791. Ætat. 62. He de
sconded from respectable ancestors, who were some of the first settlers of this state. His statue was large, his personal appearance manly and noble. His genius penetrating, his memory tenacious, his judgment strong, his affections lively and warm. He was an early, persevering, and liberal patron of the College in this town, and a member and great benefactor to the Baptist Society. His donations for the support of learning and religion were generous and abundant. His occupation was merchandise; in which, by industry, punctuality and success, he accumulated a large fortune. He was plain and sincere in his manners, a faithful friend, a good neighbor, and entertaining companion. His knowledge of books and men, of business and of the world was great, and of the most useful kind. He loved his country, and had an equal esteem of Liberty and good government. He had deeply studied the Holy Scriptures, and was convinced of the great truths of Revelation. He was a religious observer of the Sabbath, and of Public worship, and trained up his household after him. He was a lover of all men, especially of the Ministers and Disciples of Christ, who always received a friendly welcome under his hospitable roof. As in life he was universally esteemed, so in death he was universally lamented.
of his age.
In memory of the Revered STEPHEN GANO, Pastor of the First Baptist Church in Providence, who departed this life Aug. 18, A. D. 1828, in the 420 year of his ministry, and 66th
As a Preacher, he was evangelical, devout and impressive: as a Pastor, faithful and vigilant, in the duties of private life exemplary. His sound judgment, mild and conciliating manners, fidelity in friendship, integrity of heart, ardent and onlightened piety, and indefatigable labors in the cause of Christianity have left an indelible impression on all who knew him.
NICHOLAS COOKE, Born in Providence, Feb. 3, 1717. Died Sept. 14, 1782. Unanimously elected governor of Rhode Island, in 1775. He remained in office during the darkest period of the American Revolution. He merited and won the approbation of his fellow-citizens, and was honored with the friendship and confidence of Washington.
of his age.
Sacred to the memory of Col. JEREMIAH OLNEY, a patriot soldier of the Revolution, late Collector of the Customs for the District of Providence, and President of the Society of Cincinnati, of the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations. He closed his honorable and useful life with Christian serenity, on the 10th day of Nov., 1812, in the 63d year
As a citizen, he was virtuous and public spirited. As an officer he was ardent, judicious, and intrepid. The unqualified approbation of Washington, his immortal chief, is a demonstration of his worth, which will transmit his name in the Annals of his country, with reputation to Posterity. To bis natural elevation of soul, was signally united the purest Honor and Integrity from which no interest could swerve, no danger appal him. His CONSCIENCE was his Monitor. Truth and Justice were his Guides. Hospitality and Benevolence were conspicuous traits in his character, and his relatives and his friends will. oberish the remembrance of his virtues while “memory holds a seat."
Sacred to the memory of EBENEZER Knight Dexter, Esq., who departed this life Aug. 10, A. D. 1824, aged 51 years, having sustained, through life, the character of an upright man and useful citizen. He was in death resigned to the will of that Adorable Being who gives and receives again to himself the Spirit of man. The deceased received many tokens of public confidence. For many years, and until his death, he sustained the office of Marshal of the United States, for the Rhode Island District, and by a happy union of vigilance with humanity in the discharge of his official duties, conciliated the esteem of the government and of the public. His memory is endeared to the memory of his fellow-citizens, of this, his native place, as well as by his many virtues as by the Munificent Donation of a large portion of his ample estate to the Town of Providence to constitute a Permanent Fund for the comfortable and respectable support of the Unfortunate Poor. This fund, with other valuable property, will remain a lasting monument of his public Spirit and Benevolence.
The grave of NICHOLAS BROWN, an eminent merchant, the Friend of the friendless; the Patron of Learning; the benefactor of the Insane, and the liberal supporter of every good design. Born in Providence, April 4, 1769. Died Sept. 27, 1841, Aged 72 years, 6 mo. 23 days. The blessing of him that was ready to perish came upon me, and I caused the Widow's heart to sing for joy.
Vir integer innocens religioous. In boni civis officiis spectatus atque probatus cum in paupertate levanda tum præcipue in religione colenda beneficentiæ laude insignis ; De litteris autem humanitatis que studiis unice meritus testis Universitas ipsius nomique appellata quam cura singulariæ vere paterna alebat copiisque munifice instruxit.
To the momory of persons whose remains were removed from the Sheldon Burial Ground in the South part of the city where 100 of them were mouldering without monuments to
designate names, sex, or ages, and deposited in this enclosure July 1844. Erected by permission of the Honorable General Assembly of Rhode Island, by the advice of the Municipal Court of the city of Providence.
The following inscription is copied from a neat and unpretending monument in a small burying ground, about half a mile westward from the North burying ground. Commodore Hopkins held the rank of commander-in-chief of the American navy, a position corresponding to that of Washington in the army:
This stone is consecrated to the memory of Ezek Hopkins, Esq., who departed this life on the 26th day of Feb., A. D. 1802. He was born in the year 1718, in Scituate in this State, and during our Revolutionary War was appointed Admiral and Commander-in-chief of the Naval forces of the United States. He was afterwards a member of the State Legislature, and was no less distinguished for his deliberation, than for his valor. As he lived highly respected, so he died deeply regretted by his Country and his friends, at the advanced age of 83 years and 10 months.
“Look next on Greatness, say where Greatness lies."
NEWPORT, the semi-capital of the state, and most fashionable watering place in New England, is beautifully situated, being built on a gentle acclivity which rises gracefully from the water on the west side of the Island of Rhode Island, about five miles from the ocean by the ship channel; about 30 S. by E. from Providence; 70 from Boston, and 165 from New York. Population about 11,000. The harbor is considered one of the best on the American Coast, being safe, capacious, easy of access, and of sufficient depth for the largest ships. It is defended by Forts Adams, Greene and some other fortifications. Fort Adams, a work of great magnitude, is half mile S. W. of the city, on a point projecting northwardly. It was commenced in 1814, and up to the present time has cost the government about $2,000,000. With the redoubt at the south, it will mount 468 guns, and garrison 3,000 men. Fort Greene is at the northern extremity of Washington street. It was called North Battery until 1798, when the present fort was built and named after Gen. Greene. On Goat Island are the remains of Fort Wolcott, originally called Fort Ann. The public buildings of the city are the State House, City Hall, Redwood Library, 10 churches, a Jewish Synagogue, and eight hotels, four of which are only opened during the summer, for the accommodation of the crowds who resort here at that season.
The Island of Rhode Island is 15 miles in length and four in breadth, and comprises the three towns of Newport, Middletown, and Portsmouth. The settlement of the island commenced in 1637, at the N. E. part in Portsmouth. Some of the settlers, with others who were to unite with them, went to the south end the next spring, 1638, and began the settlement of Newport. Of this beautiful island, Neal, an ancient writer says, “It is deservedly esteemed the Paradise of New England, for the fruitfulness of the soil, and the temperateness of the climate. Though it is not above 60 miles S. of Boston, it is a coat warmer in winter; and being surrounded by the ocean, is not so much affected in summer by the hot land breezes, as the towns on the continent."
As a place of trade and commerce, previous to the American Revolution,