at least to the extent of being but a lukewarm supporter of the new order of things,and lacked the tact to handle himself properly in such an emergency. He ended by bursting into a passion, and dismissing the militia officers from his presence with the remark that he would rather see the town on fire than be commanded by them.
This was the spark to the train. The indignant militiamen were soon spreading the report that the governor had threatened in their presence to burn the town. The burghers readily believed the truth of the statement, and under Leisler's lead determined to take the reins of the government into their own hands. At noon of May 31, 1689, Leisler summoned the citizens to arms by beat of drum, mustering his own trainband before his house. The suddenness of the movement, and Leisler's energy, paralyzed opposition. The lieutenant-governor yielded up the fort, no time being given him to prepare for resistance; and the city council were speedily overawed by the militia, who marched into their presence as they sat in the City Hall. The popular party for the first time was in complete control of the city.
There was much justification for this act of the common people and their leaders. Doubtless their fears for their own lives and property were exaggerated; but there was good ground for uneasiness so long as the city was under the control of the