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Added to the above, under date of the 18th, there is a receipt from Dyer for the pork and calivance, which he engaged to deliver on board the Rose and obtain from Wallace the proper receipt. The last of the previous demands were dated September 30th—one for the Rose and the other for the Swan. Here there is a break, and it does not appear that the ships were further provisioned by the agents of Grant, or that they obtained any supplies in these waters after November 18th, except by force. The fear of being fired upon kept the inhabitants in a state of excitement, which feeling was heightened by the sight of blazing farm houses on the neighboring islands, and the hope was entertained, that if the ships could have their ordinary supply of fresh meat, the place might be spared. This led to the calling of another Town meeting, as will appear from the following letter:
NEWPORT, March 18th, 1776. “SIR: As the General Assembly is called to meet at East Greenwich, the freemen of this Town have resolved that it is necessary a Committee should be appointed to attend the Assembly, to oppose any attempt which may be made to repeal the act allowing the Council to supply the ships of war in this harbor with beef and so forth, and have accordingly, from your known attachment to them as well as the common interest, appointed you one of that committee and make no doubt you will exert your influence in defeating any measure which may have a tendency to obstruct the supply, as the SALVATION of the Town absolutely depends upon a continuance thereof.
By order of the Town Meeting held this day, I am, sir, your most Humb. S'v't.
WM. CODDINGTON, Town Clerk. The back of the letter, with the name of the person to whom it was addressed, is missing; but it matters little to whom this duty was assigned, for no hand could then turn the people from their purpose, and it was but a few weeks later, May 4th— two months before the Declaration of Independence—that Rhode Island threw off her allegiance to the British Crown. From that time to the end of the war there was nothing but hostilities to be looked for.
NICHOLAS EASTON VS. THE CITY OF NEWPORT.
In 1785 the citizens of Newport were greatly surprised to find their right questioned to what was then, and is still, known as Easton's Pond, Marsh and Beach. A year or two prior to that date, Nicholas Easton, who had inherited the Easton farm in a direct line, laid claim to the pond, marsh and beach, as part and parcel of the land conveyed to the original Nicholas, by the freemen of Newport, at a meeting held February 5, 1644, for the distribution of the town lands undisposed of; and subsequently he forbade the taking away of sand, gravel and seaweed from the beach, without his knowledge and consent. But little attention was paid to this claim, till suit was brought by Easton against Giles Sanford, for trespass ; and as this was to be a test case, the City of Newport agreed to defend it. Counsel was accordingly employed by both parties, and they gat them ready for the battle. Helme and Goodwin appeared for the Plaintiff, and Marchant and Channing for the Defendants.
The case was brought before the Court of Common Pleas, the third Monday in December, 1785, and was submitted, by a rule of Court, to Samuel Huntington, Governor of Connecticut, Richard Law, Esq., of New London, and Oliver Ellsworth, Esq., as referees.
The following April the referees met the parties by appointment, at the Court House in Newport, and for four days heard the testimony on both sides, and the arguments of opposing counsel.
By order of the Court, a plat of the beach was made, April 14, 1786, by Caleb Harris; and to get at the root of the whole matter, it was thought necessary to go back to the early distribution of land, at the time that the Island was first settled.