Myths And Legends Of Our Own Land, Complete
Page: 110Nathan Jackson, of Tyringham, was another Yankee who had seen fit to take arms against his countrymen, and when captured he was charged with treason and remanded for trial. The jail, in Great Barrington, was so little used in those days of sturdy virtue that it had become a mere shed, fit to hold nobody, and Jackson, after being locked into it, might have walked out whenever he felt disposed; but escape, he thought, would have been a confession of the wrongness of Tory principles, or of a fear to stand trial. He found life so monotonous, however, that he asked the sheriff to let him go out to work during the day, promising to sleep in his cell, and such was his reputation for honesty that his request was granted without a demur, the prisoner returning every night to be locked up. When the time approached for the court to meet in Springfield heavy harvesting had begun, and, as there was no other case from Berkshire County to present, the sheriff grumbled at the bother of taking his prisoner across fifty miles of rough country, but Jackson said that he would make it all right by going alone. The sheriff was glad to be released from this duty, so off went the Tory to give himself up and be tried for his life. On the way he was overtaken by Mr. Edwards, of the Executive Council, then about to meet in Boston, and without telling his own name or office, he learned the extraordinary errand of this lonely pedestrian. Jackson was tried, admitted the charges against him, and was sentenced to death. While he awaited execution of the law upon him, the council in Boston received petitions for clemency, and Mr. Edwards asked if there was none in favor of Nathan Jackson. There was none. Mr. Edwards related the circumstance of his meeting with the condemned man, and a murmur of surprise and admiration went around the room. A despatch was sent to Springfield. When it reached there the prison door was flung open and Jackson walked forth free.
THE REVENGE OF JOSIAH BREEZE
Two thousand Cape Cod fishermen had gone to join the colonial army, and in their absence the British ships had run in shore to land crews on mischievous errands. No man, woman, or child on the Cape but hated the troops and sailors of King George, and would do anything to work them harm. When the Somerset was wrecked off Truro, in 1778, the crew were helped ashore, 'tis true, but they were straightway marched to prison, and it was thought that no other frigate would venture near the shifting dunes where she had laid her skeleton, as many a good ship had done before and has done since. It was November, and ugly weather was shutting in, when a three-decker, that had been tacking off shore and that flew the red flag, was seen to yaw wildly while reefing sail and drift toward land with a broken tiller. No warning signal was raised on the bluffs; not a hand was stirred to rescue. Those who saw the accident watched with sullen satisfaction the on-coming of the vessel, nor did they cease to look for disaster when the ship anchored and stowed sail.