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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 Self-made General Ingram

By Anonymous

[From “Ingrams Proseedings,” in the “Burwell Papers.” Published by the Mass. Hist. Soc. 1814.]

THE LION had no sooner made his exit, but the ape (by indubitable right) steps upon the stage. Bacon was no sooner removed by the hand of good providence, but another steps in, by the wheel of fickle fortune. The country had, for some time, been guided by a company of knaves; now it was to try how it would behave itself under a fool. Bacon had not long been dead (though it was a long time before some would believe that he was dead), but one Ingram (or Isgrum, which you will) takes up Bacon’s commission (or else by the pattern of that cuts him out a new one), and as though he had been his natural heir, or that Bacon’s commission had been granted not only to himself, but to his executors, administrators, and assigns, he (in the military court) takes out a probate of Bacon’s will and proclaims himself his successor.

This Ingram, when that he came first into the country, had got upon his back the title of an Esquire; but how he came by it may puzzle all the heralds in England to find out until he informs them of his right name; however, by the help of this and his fine capering (for it is said that he could dance well upon a rope), he capered himself into a fine (though short-lived) estate by marrying here with a rich widow, valued at some hundreds of pounds.

The first thing that this fine fellow did, after that he was mounted upon the back of his commission, was to spur or switch those who were to pay obedience unto his authority, by getting himself proclaimed General of all the forces now raised, or hereafter to be raised, in Virginia: which, while it was performing at the head of the army, the milksop stood with his hat in his hand, looking as demurely as the great Turk’s mufti at the reading of some holy sentence extracted forth of the Alcoran. The bellman having done, he put on his hat, and his janizaries threw up their caps, crying out as loud as they could bellow, “God save our new General,” hoping, no doubt, but he, in imitation of the great Sultan at his election, would have enlarged their pay, or else have given them leave to have made Jews of the best Christians in the country; but he, being more than half a Jew himself, at present forbade all plunderings but such as he himself should be personally at.