The Youth’s Companion printed several pieces about the American Revolution. The traditional ingenuity of American colonists is a theme of “Heroism,” as a woman makes bullets from her pewter spoons. She is very much the Spartan mother, arming her sons for war and enjoining the youngest—armed with only a rusty sword—to, in essence, return with his shield or on it.


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[Narrative] “Heroism” (reprinted from the Juvenile Gazette; from Youth’s Companion, 12 October 1831; pp. 81-82)

[The following article is inserted at the request of one of our juvenile subscribers.]

The Juvenile Gazette

A good old lady, in 1775 lived on the sea board, about a day’s march from Boston, where the British army then was. By some unaccountable accident a rumor was spread, in the town and country, about there, that the Regulars were on a full march for the place, and would probably arrive in three hours at fartherest. [sic] This was after the battle of Lexington; and all, as might be well supposed, was in sad confusion; some were boiling with rage, and full of fight, some with fear and confusion, some hiding

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p. 82

their treasures, and others flying for life. In this wild moment, when most people in some way or other, were frightened from their property, our heroine, who had two sons, one about 19 years of age, and the other about 16, was seen by our informant, preparing them to discharge their duty. The eldest she was able to equip in fine style, she took her husband’s fowling piece, ‘made for duck or plover,’ (the good man being absent on a coasting voyage to Virginia,) and with it the power-horn and shot bag: but the lad thinking the duck and goose shot not quite the size to kill Regulars, his mother took a chizel, [sic] cut up her pewter spoons, and hammered them into slugs, and put them into his bag, and he set off in great earnest, but thought he would call one moment and see the parson, who said, ‘well done my brave boy; God preserve you;’ and on he went in the way of his duty.

The youngest was importunate for his equipments, but his mother could find nothing to arm him with but an old and rusty sword; the boy seemed rather unwilling to risk himself with this alone, but lingered in the street, in a state of hesitation, when his mother thus upbraided him: You John H*****, what will your father say, if he hears that a child of his is afraid to meet the British? Go along: beg or borrow a gun and march forward, and if you come back, and I hear you have not behaved like a man, I shall carry the blush of shame on my face to my grave.

They both joined the march: and met the enemy. A violent conflict ensued, but the villagers, came off victorious, and our heroes returned to their homes amid shouts of applause, and to the joy of their fond mother.

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