Excerpt: A Narrative of a Revolutionary Soldier

Just before we had done sowing, I told him [JPM’s grandsire] that all my young associates were going to New-Haven to commencement this season. “Well”–said he, “you shall go too, if you chuse, and you shall have one of the horses, you shall have your choice of them, and I will give you some pocket money.” pp. 10-11

Well, the day arrived; I got up early, did all the little jobs about the place, that my grandsire might have nothing to accuse me of. He had gone out during the morning and did not return till breakfast time. I was waiting with impatience for his coming in, that I might prepare for my excursion,–when, lo, he did come,–much to my sorrow; for the first words I heard, were, “come, get up the team, I have gotten such a one,” naming a neighbour’s boy, somewhat older than myself, ‘to go with us and cart home the salt hay.’ Had thunder and lightning fallen upon the four corners of the house, it would not have struck me with worse feelings than these words of his did. Shame, grief, spite, revenge, all took immediate possession of me. p. 11

Time and again, as I read through a different work, A People’s History of the American Revolution, I see the various motives of the people who served, those who resisted, those who assisted. This passage from Mr. Martin’s memoir starts to give a clear picture of the motives that drove him to enlist.



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