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The Number Seven

From Diary of the American Revolution, Vol II. Compiled by Frank Moore and published in 1859.

August 15.—The number seven, which signifies fulness or perfection, from various passages of scripture, appears to point out events interesting and important. But noth­ing of this kind is more extraordinary than what is afforded to us in the course of the present contest with Great Britain. On the seventeenth day of the month the repeal of the stamp act passed the House of Commons. On the seventeenth day of the month the news of it arrived at Boston. On the seventeenth day of the month and the seventh day of the week was the battle on Bunker’s Hill, from which time just three years, on the seventeenth day of the month was the commencement of hostilities between France and Great Britain. On the seventh day of the week was the battle of Germantown; and on the seventh day of the month was the battle of Stillwater. In August, 1776, instructions were drawn up by the authority of the King of Great Britain, and directed to General Carleton in Canada, relative to the late inglorious expedition of the British northern army. This despatch not arriving in seven months from the above date, new instructions were formed, from which it appears that Burgoyne was to proceed with an army of about seven thousand, and St. Leger with about seven hundred, besides Canadians and Indi­ans, to force their way to Albany. In seven months from the last-mentioned period, on the seventeenth day of the month, in the seventeenth year of the reign of the tyrant George the Third, who is the seventh monarch from the tyrant Charles the First, in seven years and seven months from the first blood shed by the British troops in the present unhappy contest; the massacre in King’s street, Boston, which was seven years from the assumed right of the British Parliament to tax America ; in seventy years from the union of England and Scotland ; in seventeen months from the late important capture, on the seventh day of the month, of seven sail of vessels richly laden. In the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and seventy-seven, Burgoyne and his whole army surrendered.

Seven marks the crisis of the rising States,
When Britain’s hero bows to valiant Gates,
In seventy-seven our troops to conquest led,
Our foes fell captives, or like dastards fled.
When seventeen years the tyrant George had reign’d,
His troops were vanquish’d and his glory stain’d.
Seven years and months successive interven’d,
From Preston’s carnage to the important scene,
When freedom’s sons in one firm band combin’d,
Our foes surrender’d and their arms resign’d.
With joy revere the perfect number seven,
And prize the bounties of indulgent Heaven,
And let seven thunders blast the tyrant’s ire,
And warm our heroes with electric fire.1


1 “An Observer,” in the Massachusetts Spy; and New Hampshire Gazette, August 17.