Home  »  A Library of American Literature  »  The Revolt against Sir Edmund Andros

Stedman and Hutchinson, comps. A Library of American Literature:
An Anthology in Eleven Volumes. 1891.
Vols. IX–XI: Literature of the Republic, Part IV., 1861–1889

The Revolt against Sir Edmund Andros

By Nathaniel Byfield (1653–1733)

[Born in Surrey, England, 1653. Died in Boston, Mass., 1733. An Account of the Late Revolution in New-England. Written, from Boston, to friends in London. 1689.]

GENTLEMEN:—Here being an opportunity of sending for London, by a vessel that loaded at Long Island and for want of a wind put in here; and not knowing that there will be the like from this country suddenly, I am willing to give you some brief account of the most remarkable things that have happened here within this fortnight last past; concluding that, till about that time, you will have received, per Carter, a full account of the management of affairs here. Upon the 18th instant, about eight of the clock in the morning, in Boston, it was reported at the south end of the town, that at the north end they were all in arms; and the like report was at the north end, respecting the south end. Whereupon Captain John George was immediately seized, and about nine of the clock the drums beat through the town; and an ensign was set up upon the beacon. Then Mr. Bradstreet, Mr. Danforth, Major Richards, Dr. Cooke, and Mr. Addington, etc., were brought to the council-house by a company of soldiers under the command of Captain Hill. The meanwhile the people in arms did take up and put into jail Justice Bullivant, Justice Foxcroft, Mr. Randolf, Sheriff Sherlock, Captain Ravenscroft, Captain White, Farewel, Broadbent, Crafford, Larkin, Smith, and many more, as also Mercey the then jail-keeper, and put Scates the bricklayer in his place. About noon, in the gallery at the council-house, was read the declaration here inclosed. Then a message was sent to the fort to Sir Edmund Andros, by Mr. Oliver and Mr. Eyres, signed by the Gentlemen then in the council-chamber,… to inform him how unsafe he was like to be if he did not deliver up himself, and fort and government forthwith, which he was loath to do. By this time, being about two of the clock (the lecture being put by) the town was generally in arms, and so many of the country came in that there was twenty companies in Boston, besides a great many that appeared at Charlestown that could not get over (some say fifteen hundred). There then came information to the soldiers, that a boat was come from the frigate that made towards the fort, which made them haste thither, and come to the sconce soon after the boat got thither; and ’tis said that Governor Andros and about half a score gentlemen were coming down out of the fort; but the boat being seized, wherein were small arms, hand-grenades, and a quantity of match, the Governor and the rest went in again; whereupon Mr. John Nelson, who was at the head of the soldiers, did demand the fort and the Governor, who was loath to submit to them; but at length did come down, and was with the gentlemen that were with him conveyed to the council-house, where Mr. Bradstreet and the rest of the gentlemen waited to receive him; to whom Mr. Stoughton first spake, telling him, he might thank himself for the present disaster that had befallen him, etc. He was then confined for that night to Mr. John Usher’s house under strong guards, and the next day conveyed to the fort (where he yet remains, and with him Lieutenant-Colonel Ledget), which is under the command of Mr. John Nelson; and at the castle, which is under the command of Mr. John Fairweather, is Mr. West, Mr. Graham, Mr. Palmer, and Captain Tryfroye. At that time Mr. Dudley was out upon the circuit, and was holding a court at Southold on Long Island. And on the 21st instant he arrived at Newport, where he heard the news. The next day letters came to him, advising him not to come home; he thereupon went over privately to Major Smith’s at Naraganzett, and advice is this day come hither, that yesterday about a dozen young men, most of their own heads, went thither to demand him; and are gone with him down to Boston. We have also advice, that on Friday last towards evening Sir Edmund Andros did attempt to make an escape in woman’s apparel, and passed two guards, and was stopped at the third, being discovered by his shoes, not having changed them. We are here ready to blame you sometimes, that we have not to this day received advice concerning the great changes in England, and in particular how it is like to fare with us here; who do hope and believe that all these things will work for our good; and that you will not be wanting to promote the good of a country that stands in such need as New England does at this day. The first day of May, according to former usage, is the election-day at Road Island; and many do say they intend their choice there then. I have not farther to trouble you with at present, but recommending you, and all our affairs with you, to the direction and blessing of our most gracious God, I remain
Your most humble servant at command,
BRISTOL, April 29, 1689.

Through the goodness of God, there has been no blood shed. Nath. Clark is in Plymouth jail, and John Smith in jail here, all waiting for news from England.