Affair at North Kingstown, R.I.

Affair at North Kingstown, R.I.

1776 flintlock pistol
1776 U.S. flintlock pistol. (

APRIL 5, [1777].—Last Thursday, a party of rebels, under the command of one George Babcock, came into the house of Mr. Charles Slocum, at North Kingston [sic]. His son, coming to the door, was immediately collared by one of the banditti. Young Slocum clenched with him, and would soon have made him repent his rashness, had it not been for the interference of the rest of the gang. His father, seeing the scuffle, came out of the house to interfere in behalf of his son, when the infamous Babcock discharged a pistol at him. The ball entered a little below his heart, and he died in about three hours. Not content with the misery they had already occasioned to this unhappy family, they took both his sons and dragged them before their assembly, who, in their clemency, permitted them to return under a strong guard to attend the funeral of their murdered father. The mourning relatives were accordingly escorted to the grave by this unfeeling clan, who immediately upon their return home, carried both the young men off to Providence jail. This unparalleled barbarity is said to be occasioned by the information of some villain that has escaped from Newport.

Every breast susceptible of the miseries of its fellow creatures must feel for this unhappy family—a husband murdered! A number of orphan children deprived of him to whom they were wont to look up for support; and to complete the tragic scene, two sons, whose presence at home might in some measure have alleviated the loss of their parent, are likewise torn from their wives, expecting soon to share the same cruel fate. And all this performed by men who have decorated their standard with the specious names of Liberty and Justice.

—from Diary of the American Revolution from Newspapers and Original Documents, Volume 1 by Frank Moore (1860), quoting the journal of "Captain Smythe of the Royal Army."

[What Smythe leaves out of his account is the reason the rebel authorities were at Slocum's house in the first place. Said authorities were dispatched under order of the Rhode Island General Assembly to apprehend Charles Slocum and his sons on suspicion of having corresponded with, and furnished supplies to, British forces—ed.].

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