"Free and Equal"
When the affair known as the "Boston Tea Party" occurred,
Cynthia Smith was five years old. Her home was in
Charleston, and she helped in many ways when her father
sent all his rice to the North, as he was obliged to,
because England had shut up our harbor by what is known
as the "Boston Port Bill." Two years later, she saw,
with aching heart, four of her brothers go to the war;
and, eager to help the cause, she learned in time to
spin, to weave, and to knit for the brave soldiers.
The only pleasure she had was with a pretty red and
white calf that her father had given her; and when the
Declaration of Independence was signed she named her
pet "Free-'n-Equal." Through all the dreary days and
months which followed, Cynthia grew more and more fond
of her friend. Still she longed to go herself and
fight for her country. Finally her father and one
remaining brother left home to join General Gates'
army. During this time, great damage was done to the
Southern homes by the British soldiers. Cynthia was
ready to protect her home and mother, come what might.
But one day, on returning home from an errand, she was
dismayed to find that the British soldiers had carried
off "Free-'n-Equal." It did not take long, however,
for Cynthia to decide what she would do. Off she
started at once for the headquarters of Lord
Cornwallis. Hurrying over three miles of hot, dusty
road, she gained entrance to the great General's room.
A feast was
being held just then; but once in his
presence, it would not do to give up; so, summoning
all her courage, she told him that his soldiers had
stolen her cow, and that she had come to take her back
again. Lord Cornwallis was much attracted towards the
"sturdy little rebel" as he called her, and promised to
have "Free-'n-Equal" returned to her at once. Before
the little girl went back home with her pet, the
General patted her on her head, told her she was a
brave little woman, and gave her a pair of silver
knee-buckles. These buckles are still in the hands of
the descendants of Cynthia Smith, and they are, and
justly too, very proud of them and of their
grandmother, once the little Cynthia.