Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 73.djvu/37

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33
COUNT RUMFORD

was Governor Wentworth, who made him Major of the Second Provincial Regiment. This appointment aroused hostile criticism from Thompson's fellow officers, who could not repress their indignation on learning that a young man, not yet of age and without military knowledge, had been raised above veterans whose long service justly entitled them to advancement. It will be shown presently that this incident prevented Thompson from engaging in the revolutionary struggle and led him to foreign lands where his genius had a wider field for

 

PSM V73 D037 Thompson birthplace in woburn mass.png

Birthplace at Woburn, Mass.

 

development, and where he soon became closely associated with the most learned and accomplished men of Europe.

In 1774 he left Concord with his wife and infant child and returned to Woburn. Charges were circulated that he was unfriendly to the cause of American liberty, and soon after the battle of Lexington he was arrested, and confined at Woburn. His case was heard by the Town Committee of Correspondence, by whom he was released. The principal evidence presented against him was that he had employed on his farm two British deserters, who, wishing to return to the British army, applied to their employer to secure immunity from punishment. Thompson complied by giving them a letter to General Gage, in which he asked that his efforts in their behalf be not disclosed.