NEW HAVEN CT, ONE HUNDRED YEARS AGO by Leonard Bacon July 4, 1876

Leonard BaconIn the year of our Lord, one thousand seven hundred and seventy-six, the fourth of July fell on Thursday. On that day, the Continental congress at Philadelphia gave notice to all nations that the political communities which it represented had ceased to be colonies, were absolved from their allegiance to the British Crown, and had become Independent States. The news that such a Declaration had been made was not flashed along electric wires; it was not conveyed by steam car or steam boat; nor can I learn that it was sent in all directions by an extraordinary express. But we may assume that as early as Tuesday morning, July 9th, the people of New Haven heard the news, and that such news reported by neighbor to neighbor, was talked about everywhere, with every variety of opinion as to whether the Independence that had been declared could be maintained; some rejoicing in the Declaration and sure that it would stand; others doubting; here and there one indignant, but not daring to express his indignation. All knew that the decisive step had been taken, and that the country was committed to a life and death struggle, not for the recovery of chartered and inherited rights as provinces included in the British empire, but for an independent nationality and a place among acknowledged sovereignties.

It is difficult for us to form in our minds any just conception of what New Haven was a hundred years ago. But let us make the attempt. At that time, the town of New Haven included East Haven, North Haven, Hamden, West Haven, and almost the entire territory of what are now the three towns of Woodbridge, Beacon Falls and Bethany. What is now the city of New Haven was then “the town plat”—the nine original squares —with the surrounding fields and scattered dwellings, from the West river to the Quinnipiac, and between the harbor and the two sentinel cliffs which guard the beauty of the plain. Here was New Haven proper—the territorial parish of the First Ecclesiastical Society, all the outlying portions of the township having been set off into distinct parishes for church and school purposes. In other words, the town of New Haven, at that time was bounded on the cast by Branford, on the north by Wallingford (which included Cheshire), on the west by Derby and Milford; and all the “freemen” within those bounds were accustomed to assemble here in town meeting.

A hundred years ago, there was a very pleasant village here at the “town-plat,” though very little had been done to make it beautiful. This public square had been reserved, with a wise forethought for certain public uses; but in the hundred and thirty-eight years that had passed since it was laid out by the proprietors who purchased these lands from the Indians, it had never been enclosed, nor planted with trees, nor graded; for the people had always been too poor to do much for mere beauty. Here, at the centre of their public square, the planters of New Haven built a plain, rude house for public worship, and behind it they made their graves—thus giving to the spot a consecration that ought never to be forgotten. At the time which we are now endeavoring to recall, that central spot (almost identical with the site of what is now called Centre church) had been reoccupied about eighteen years, by the brick meeting-house of the First church; and the burying-ground, enclosed with a rude fence, but otherwise neglected, was still the only burial-place within the parochial limits of the First Ecclesiastical Society. A little south of the burying-ground, was another brick edifice, the state house, so called even while Connecticut was still a colony. Where the North church now stands, there was a framed meeting-house, recently built by what was called the Fair Haven Society, a secession from the White Haven, whose house of worship (colloquially called “the old Blue Meetinghouse”) was on the corner now known as St. John Place. Beside those three churches there was another from which Church street derives its name. That was per-eminently “the church”—those who worshipped there would have resented the suggestion of its being a meeting-house. It was, in fact, a missionary station or outpost of the Church of England, and as such was served by a missionary of the English “Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts.” The budding, though of respectable dimensions (58×38), was smaller than the others, yet it had one distinction,—its steeple—a few feet south of Cutler comer, and in full view from the Green, though somewhat less aspiring than the other three—was surmounted by the figure of a crown signifying that, whatever might be the doctrine or the sentiment elsewhere, there the king’s ecclesiastical supremacy was acknowledged, and loyalty to his sacred person was a conspicuous virtue’ Only a few householders worshipped there, for the Church of England was an exotic in the climate of New England. Not till the Episcopal church had become (in consequence of the event which this day commemorates) an organization dependent on no king but Christ, an American church, and therefore no longer English, did it begin to strike its roots deep into the soil and to flourish as if it were indigenous. Two other public buddings adorned this “market-place;” one a little school-house just behind the Fair Haven meeting-house and not unlike the old-time wayside school-houses in the country; the other a county jail, which was a wooden structure fronting on College street about half way from Elm to Chapel.

Yale UniversityBeside all these public buddings, representative of religion, of government and justice, and of provision by the commonwealth against popular ignorance, there was the college, then as now, the pride of New Haven, but very different then from what we now see. The college buddings at that time were only three. First there was the original college edifice, to which, at its completion, in 1718, the name of Yale had been given in honor of a distinguished benefactor, and from which that name had been gradually, and at last authoritatively, transferred to the institution which has made it famous. That original Yale College was close on the comer of College and Chapel streets, a wooden budding, long and narrow, three stories high, with three entries, and cupola and clock.

Next in age was the brick chapel with its tower and spire, the building now called the Athenaeum and lately transformed into recitation rooms. More glorious yet was the new brick college (then not ten years old), which had been named Connecticut Hall, and which remains (though not unchanged) the “Old South Middle.”

Such was New Haven, a hundred years ago, in its public buildings and institutions. Its population, within the present town limits was, at the largest estimate, not more than 1800 (including about 150 students) where there are now more than thirty times that number. If you ask, what were the people who lived here then, I may say that I remember some of them. Certainly they were, at least in outward manifestation, a religious people. Differences of religious judgment and sympathy had divided them, within less than forty years, into three worshiping assemblies beside the little company that had gone over to the Church of England. Their religious zeal supported three ministers; and I will venture to say that the houses were comparatively few in which there was not some form of household religion. Compared with other communities in that age (on either side of the ocean) they were an intelligent people. With few exceptions, they could read and write; and though they had no daily newspapers, nor any knowledge of the modern sciences, nor any illumination from popular lectures, nor that sort of intelligence and refinement which comes from the theater, they knew some things as well as we do. They knew something about the chief end of man and man’s responsibility to God; something about their rights as freeborn subjects of their king; something about their chartered freedom; and the tradition had never died out among them. There were graves in the old burial ground which would not let them forget that a king may prove himself a traitor to his people, and may be brought to account by the people whom he has betrayed. There were social distinctions then, as now. Some families were recognized as more intelligent and cultivated than others. Some were respected for their ancestry, if they had not disgraced it. Men in official stations—civil, military, or ecclesiastical— were treated with a sort of formal deference now almost obsolete; but then, as now, a man, whatever title he might bear, was pretty sure to be estimated by bis neighbors at bis real worth, and nothing more. Some men were considered wealthy, others were depressed by poverty, but the distinction between rich and poor was not just what it is to-day. There were no great capitalists, nor was there anything like a class of mere laborers with no dependence but their daily wages. The aggregate wealth of the community was very moderate, with no overgrown fortunes and hardly anything like abject want. Almost every family was in that condition—”neither poverty nor riches “—which a wise man of old desired and prayed fox as most helpful to right living. Such a community was not likely to break out into any turbulent or noisy demonstrations. Doubtless the Declaration of Independence was appreciated as a great fact by the people of New Haven when they heard of it . Perhaps the church bells were rung (that would cost nothing); perhaps there was some shouting by men and boys (that would also cost nothing): perhaps there was a bonfire on the Green or at the “Head of the Wharf” (that would not cost much); but we may be sure that the great fact was not greeted with the thunder, of artillery nor celebrated with fireworks; for gunpowder was just then too precious to be consumed in that way. The little newspaper, then published in this town every Wednesday, gives no indication of any popular excitement on that occasion. On “Wednesday, July 10th, 1776,” the Connecticut Journal had news, much of it very important, and almost every word of it relating to the conflict between the colonies and the mother country; news from London to the date of April 9; from Halifax to June 4 ; from Boston to July 4; from New York to July 8, and from Philadelphia to July 6. Under the Philadelphia date the first item was “Yesterday the Congress unanimously resolved to declare the United Colonies Free And Independent States.” That was all, save that, in another column, the printer said, “To-morrow will be ready for sale ‘The Resolves of the Congress declaring the United Colonies Free And Independent States.”’ What the printer, in that advertisement, called “The Resolves of Congress,” was a handbill, 8 inches by 9, in two columns, with a rudely ornamented border, and was reproduced in the Journal for July 17. It was the immortal state paper with which we are so familiar, and we may be sure that everybody in New Haven, old enough to know the meaning of it had read it, or beard it read, before another seven days had been counted.

The Declaration of Independence was not at all an unexpected event. It surprised nobody. Slowly but irresistibly the conviction bad come that the only alternative before the United Colonies was absolute subjection to a British Parliament or absolute independence of the British crown. Such was the general conviction, but whether independence was possible, whether the time had come to strike for it, whether something might not yet be gained by remonstrance and negotiation, were questions on which there were different opinions even among men whose patriotism could not be reasonably doubted.

[Here followed some of the facts intended to give a better understanding of “what were the thoughts, and what the hopes and fears of good men in New Haven a hundred years ago.”]

Having at last undertaken to wage war in defense of American liberty, the Continental Congress proceeded, very naturally, to a formal declaration of war, setting forth the causes which impelled’ them to take up arms.

That declaration preceded by a year the Declaration of Independence; for at that time only a few sagacious minds had seen clearly the impossibility of reconciliation. Declaring to the world that they had taken up arms in self-defense and would never lay them down till hostilities should cease on the part of the aggressors, they nevertheless disavowed again the idea of separation from the British empire. “Necessity,” said they, “has not yet driven us to that desperate measure;” “we have not raised armies with ambitious designs of separating from Great Britain and establishing independent states.” That was an honest declaration. Doubtless a few prophetic souls had seen the vision of a separate and independent nationality, and knew to what issue the long controversy had been tending; but the thought and sentiment of the people throughout the colonies, at that time—the thought and sentiment of thoughtful and patriotic men in every colony—was fairly expressed in that declaration. They were English colonies, proud of the English blood and name; and as young birds cling to. the nest when the mother trusts them out half-fledged, so they clung to their connection with Great Britain notwithstanding the unmotherly harshness of tho mother country. They were English as their fathers were; and it was their English blood that roused them to resist the invasion of their English liberty. The meteor flag of England

“Had braved a thousand years
The battle and the breeze,”

and it was theirs; its memories of Blenheim and Ramillies, of Crecy and Agincourt, were theirs; and they themselves had helped to plant that famous banner on the ramparts of Louisburg and Quebec. Because they were English they could boast

“That Chatham’s language was their mother-tongue,
And Wolfe’s great name compatriot with their own.”

Because they were English, Milton was theirs, and Shakespeare, and the English Bible. They still desired to be included in the great empire whose navy commanded the ocean, and whose commerce encircled the globe. They desired to be under its protection, to share in its growth and glory, and enjoying their chartered freedom under the imperial crown, to maintain the closest relations of amity and mutual helpfulness with the mother country and with every portion of the empire.

All this was true in July, 1775. When Washington consented to command the Continental armies “raised or to be raised,” he thought that armed resistance might achieve some adequate security for the liberty of the colonies without achieving their independence. When, in his journey from Philadelphia to New York, hearing the news from Bunker Hill and how the New England volunteers had faced the British regulars in battle, he said, “Thank God! our cause is safe;” he was not thinking of independence, but only of chartered liberty. When, on his journey from New York to New Haven, he said to Dr. Bipley, of Green’s Farms, who dined with him at Fairfield, “If we can maintain the war for a year we shall succeed,” his hopes was that by one year of unsuccessful war the British ministry and parliament would be brought to some reasonable terms of reconciliation. When (in the words of our historian Palfrey), “the roll of the New England drums at Cambridge announced the presence there of the Virginian, George Washington,” he knew not, nor did Putnam know, nor Prescott, nor Stark, nor the farmers who had hastened to the siege of Boston, that the war in which he then assumed the chief command was, what we now call it, the war of independence. With all sincerity the Congress, four days later, while solemnly declaring “before God and the world,” “The arms we have been compelled by our enemies to assume, we will, in defiance of every hazard, with unbating firmness and perseverance, employ for the preservation of our liberties, being with one mind resolved to die freeman rather than to live slaves “—could also say, at the same time, to their “friends and fellow subjects in every part of the empire,” “We assure them that we mean not to dissolve that union which has so long and so happily subsisted between us, and which we sincerely wish to be restored.” The declaration on the 6th of July, 1775, was a declaration of war, but not of independence.

Yet, from the beginning of the war, there was in reality only one issue—though a whole year must pass before that issue could be clearly apprehended by the nation and proclaimed to the world. From the first clash of arms the only possible result was either subjection or separation; either the loss of liberty or the achievement of independence. The first shot from Major Pitcairn’s pistol on the village green at Lexington, at the gray dawn of April 19th, 1775, was fatal to the connection between these colonies and their mother country. That was “the shot that echoed round the world,” and is echoing still along “the corridors of time.” That first shot, with the slaughter that followed and the resistance and repulse of the British soldiery that day at Concord, was felt by thousands who knew in a moment that it meant war in defense of chartered liberty, but did not yet know that, for colonies at war with their mother country, independence was the only possible liberty. As the war proceeded, its meaning, and the question really at issue became evident. The organization of a Continental army, the expulsion of the king’s regiments and the king’s governor from Boston, the military operations in various parts of the country, the collapse of the regal governments followed by the setting up of popular governments under the advice of the Continental Congress—what did such things mean but that the colonies must be thenceforward an independent nation or provinces conquered and enslaved?

It came, therefore, as a matter of course, that from the beginning of 1876, the people in all the colonies began to be distinctly aware that the war in progress was and could be nothing less than a war for independence. The fiction fundamental to the British Constitution, that the king can do no wrong, and that whatever wrong is done in his name is only the wrongdoing of his ministers, gave way before the harsh fact that they were at war, not with Parliament nor with Lord North, but, with king George III. So palpable was the absurdity of professing allegiance to a king who was waging war against them, that as early as April in that year, the Chief Justice of South Carolina under the new government just organized there, declared from his official seat in a charge to the grand jury, “The Almighty created America to be independent of Great Britain, let us beware of the impiety of being backward to act as instruments in the Almighty hand now extended to accomplish His purpose.”

When the public opinion of the colonies, north and south, was thus declaring itself, the time had come for action on the part of the Continental Congress. Accordingly on the 7th of June, Richard Henry Lee, in behalf of the delegation from Virginia, proposed a resolution “that the united colonies are and ought to be free and independent states; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British crown; and that all political connection between them and the state of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved.” It was agreed that the resolution should be considered the next day, and every member was enjoined to be present for that purpose. The next day’s debate was earnest, for the Congress was by no means unanimous. Nobody denied or doubted that liberty and independence must stand or fall together, but some who had been leaders up to that point could not see that the time had come for such a declaration. Some were embarrassed by instructions given the year before and not yet rescinded. The debate having been continued through the day (which was Saturday) was adjourned to Monday, June 10. On that day the resolution was adopted in committee of the whole by a vote of seven colonies against five, and so was reported to the house. Hoping that unanimity might be gained by a little delay, the house postponed its final action for three weeks, but appointed a committee to prepare a formal declaration of independence. Meanwhile, though the sessions of the congress were always with closed doors, these proceedings were no secret, and public opinion was finding distinct and authentic expression. I need not tell what was done elsewhere; but I may say what was done, just at that juncture, in our old commonwealth.

On the 14th of June there came together at Hartford, in obedience to a call from Jonathan Trumbull, governor, “a General Assembly of the Governor and Company of the English colony of Connecticut, in New England, in America “—the last that was to meet under that name. It put upon its record a clear though brief recital of the causes which had made an entire separation from Great Britain the only possible alternative of slavery, and then—what? Let me give the words of the record: “Appealing to that God who knows the secrets of all hearts for the sincerity of former declarations of our desire to preserve our ancient and constitutional relation to that nation, and protesting solemnly against their oppression and injustice which have driven us from them, and compelled us to use such means as God in His providence hath put in our power for our necessary defence and preservation, resolved, unanimously, by this Assembly, that the delegates of this colony in General Congress be and they are hereby instructed to propose to that respectable body, to declare the United American colonies free and independent States, absolved from all allegiance to the King of Great Britain, and to give the assent of this colony to such declaration.”

It was amid such manifestations of the national will coming in from various quarters, that the Congress, on Monday, July 1, took up the postponed resolution declaring the colonies independent, discussed it again in committee of the whole and passed it, so bringing it back for a final decision. The vote in the house was postponed till the next day, and then, July 2, the resolution was adopted and entered on the journal. In anticipation of this result, the formal Declaration of Independence had been reported by the special committee on the preceding Friday (June 28), and it was next taken up for consideration. After prolonged discussion in committee of the whole and various amendments (some of which were certainly changes for the better), it came before the house for final decision, and was then adopted, in the form in which we have heard it read to-day, the most illustrious state paper in the history of nations.

We may be sure, therefore, that whatever diversity of opinion there may have been in New Haven on the 4th of July, 1776, about the expediency of declaring independence at that time, news that such a declaration had been made by the Congress caused no great astonishment or excitement here. The General Assembly of Connecticut, had already made its declaration, and instructed its delegates in the Congress. One of those delegates was Roger Sherman (or as his neighbors called him, “Squire Sherman”) ; and nobody in this town, certainly, could be surprised to hear that the Continental Congress had done what Roger Sherman thought right and expedient to be done. The fact that Roger Sherman had been appointed on a committee to prepare the Declaration may have been unknown here, even in his own house; but what he thought about the expediency of the measure was no secret. We, to-day, I will venture to affirm are more excited about the Declaration of Independence than they were to whom the news of it came, a hundred years ago.

[Here followed a large number of records, or extracts from records, principally from the town clerk’s office in New Haven, to show that our fathers on all proper public occasions were firmly, perhaps unconsciously, pursuing those steps which when taken by a brave and high-spirited people inevitably lead to their complete independence.]

I have exhausted your patience, and must refrain from tracing even an outline of the war, as New Haven was concerned in it, after that memorable day a hundred years ago. Especially must I refrain from a description of the day when this town was invaded and plundered, and was saved from conflagration only by the gallant resistance of its citizens keeping the enemy at bay till it was too late for him to do all he designed. The commemoration of that day will be more appropriate to its hundredth anniversary, July 4th, 1876. From the day of that invasion to this time, no footstep of an enemy in arms has pressed our soil—no roll of hostile drums or blare of hostile trumpet has wounded the air of beautiful New Haven. So may it be through all the centuries to come!

But before I sit down, I may yet say one word, suggested by what I have just been reading to you from the records of 1775. At the time of that conflict with Great Britain—first for municipal freedom, and then for national independence as the only security of freedom, the people of these colonies, and eminently the people of New England, were, perhaps, in proportion to their numbers, the most warlike people in Christendom. From the day when Miles Standish, in the Pilgrim settlement at Plymouth, was chosen “Captain” and invested with “authority of command” in military affairs, every settlement had its military organization. The civil order, the ecclesiastical, and the military, were equally indispensable. In every town, the captain and the trained militia were as necessary as the pastor and the church, or the magistrate and the town meeting. When the founders of our fair city came to Quinnipiack, 238 years ago, they came not only with the leaders of their unformed civil state, Eaton and Goodyear—not only with their learned minister of God’s word, Davenport, to be the pastor of the church they were to organize—but also with their captain, Turner, who had been trained like Standish in the wars of the Dutch Republic, and who in the Pequot war of the preceding year had seen the inviting beauty of the Quinnipiack bay and plain. Who does not know how, in those early times,

“Our grandsires bore their guns to meeting,
Each man equip’d, on Sunday morn,
With psalm-book, shot, and powder-horn,”

and that, in the arrangements of the house of worship, a place for “the soldiers,” near the door, was as much a matter of course as the place for “the elders” at the other side of the building? Who does not know that every able-bodied man (with few exceptions) was required to bear arms and to be trained in the use of them? What need that I should tell how a vigorous military organization and the constant exhibition of readiness for self-defense, not less than justice and kindness in dealing with the Indians, were continually the indispensable condition of safety? What need of my telling the story of King Philip’s war, just two hundred years ago? Let it suffice to remind you of the long series of inter-colonial wars, contemporaneous with every war between England and her hereditary enemies, France and Spain—beginning in 1689 and continued with now and then a few years’ interruption till the final conquest and surrender of the French dominion on this continent in 1762. It was in the last war of that long series that the military heroes of our war for independence had their training, and it was in the same war that the New England farmers and Virginia hunters, fighting under the same flag and under the same generals with British red-coats, learned how to face them without fear. That war which swept from our continent the Bourbon lillies and the Bourbon legions made us independent and enabled us, a few years later, to stand up as independent, and, in the ringing proclamation of July 4th, 1776, to inform the world that where the English colonies had been struggling for existence, a nation had been born.

Fellow citizens! We have a goodly heritage—how came it to be ours? God has given it to us. How? By the hardships, the struggles, the self-denial, the manifold suffering of our fathers and predecessors on this soil; by their labor and their valor, their conflicts with rude nature and with savage men; by their blood shed freely in so many battles; by their manly sagacity and the Divine instinct guiding them to build better than they knew. For us (in the Eternal Providence) were their hardships, their struggles, their sufferings, their heroic self denials. For us were the cares that wearied them and their conflicts in behalf of liberty. For us were the hopes that cheered in labor and strengthened them in battle. For us—no not for us alone, but for our children too, and for the unborn generations. They who were here a hundred years ago, saw not what we see to-day (oh! that they could have seen it), but they labored to win it for us, and for those who shall come after us. In this sense they entered into God’s plan and became the ministers of his beneficence to us. We bless their memory to-day and give glory to their God. He brought a vine out of Egypt when ho brought hither the heroic fathers of New England. He planted it and has guarded it age after age. We are now dwelling for a little while under its shadow and partaking of its fruit. Others will soon be in our places, and the inheritance will be theirs. As the fathers lived not for themselves but for us, so we are living for those who will come after us. Be it ours so to live that they shall bless God for what we have wrought as the servants of his love ; and that age after age, till time shall end, may repeat our fathers’ words of trust and of worship, Latin Motto: Qui Transtulit Sustinet. (English translation: He who transplanted sustains)

See also:
Non-Revisionist Politically Incorrect History of America from the Ancient Authors Part 1

Non-Revisionist Politically Incorrect History of the World With Biblical References Part 1

Joseph Baldwin: Address 1892, to National Teachers Association in New York
Eulogy of Thomas Jefferson and John Adams by Daniel Webster

The Crisis Extraordinary Founder Thomas Paine On the Subject of Taxation

IT IS impossible to sit down and think seriously on the affairs of America, but the original principles upon which she resisted, and the glow and ardor which they inspired, will occur like the undefaced remembrance of a lovely scene. To trace over in imagination the purity of the cause, the voluntary sacrifices that were made to support it, and all the various turnings of the war in its defence, is at once both paying and receiving respect. The principles deserve to be remembered, and to remember them rightly is repossessing them. In this indulgence of generous recollection, we become gainers by what we seem to give, and the more we bestow the richer we become.

So extensively right was the ground on which America proceeded, that it not only took in every just and liberal sentiment which could impress the heart, but made it the direct interest of every class and order of men to defend the country. The war, on the part of Britain, was originally a war of covetousness. The sordid and not the splendid passions gave it being. The fertile fields and prosperous infancy of America appeared to her as mines for tributary wealth. She viewed the hive, and disregarding the industry that had enriched it, thirsted for the honey. But in the present stage of her affairs, the violence of temper is added to the rage of avarice; and therefore, that which at the first setting out proceeded from purity of principle and public interest, is now heightened by all the obligations of necessity; for it requires but little knowledge of human nature to discern what would be the consequence, were America again reduced to the subjection of Britain. Uncontrolled power, in the hands of an incensed, imperious, and rapacious conqueror, is an engine of dreadful execution, and woe be to that country over which it can be exercised. The names of Whig and Tory would then be sunk in the general term of rebel, and the oppression, whatever it might be, would, with very few instances of exception, light equally on all.

Britain did not go to war with America for the sake of dominion, because she was then in possession; neither was it for the extension of trade and commerce, because she had monopolized the whole, and the country had yielded to it; neither was it to extinguish what she might call rebellion, because before she began no resistance existed. It could then be from no other motive than avarice, or a design of establishing, in the first instance, the same taxes in America as are paid in England (which, as I shall presently show, are above eleven times heavier than the taxes we now pay for the present year, 1780) or, in the second instance, to confiscate the whole property of America, in case of resistance and conquest of the latter, of which she had then no doubt.

I shall now proceed to show what the taxes in England are, and what the yearly expense of the present war is to her — what the taxes of this country amount to, and what the annual expense of defending it effectually will be to us; and shall endeavor concisely to point out the cause of our difficulties, and the advantages on one side, and the consequences on the other, in case we do, or do not, put ourselves in an effectual state of defence. I mean to be open, candid, and sincere. I see a universal wish to expel the enemy from the country, a murmuring because the war is not carried on with more vigor, and my intention is to show, as shortly as possible, both the reason and the remedy.

The number of souls in England (exclusive of Scotland and Ireland) is seven millions,and the number of souls in America is three millions.

The amount of taxes in England (exclusive of Scotland and Ireland) was, before the present war commenced, eleven millions six hundred and forty-two thousand six hundred and fifty-three pounds sterling; which, on an average, is no less a sum than one pound thirteen shillings and three-pence sterling per head per annum, men, women, and children; besides county taxes, taxes for the support of the poor, and a tenth of all the produce of the earth for the support of the bishops and clergy.Nearly five millions of this sum went annually to pay the interest of the national debt, contracted by former wars, and the remaining sum of six millions six hundred and forty-two thousand six hundred pounds was applied to defray the yearly expense of government, the peace establishment of the army and navy, placemen, pensioners, etc.; consequently the whole of the enormous taxes being thus appropriated, she had nothing to spare out of them towards defraying the expenses of the present war or any other. Yet had she not been in debt at the beginning of the war, as we were not, and, like us, had only a land and not a naval war to carry on, her then revenue of eleven millions and a half pounds sterling would have defrayed all her annual expenses of war and government within each year.

An account of the money drawn from the public by taxes, annually, being the medium of three years before the year 1776.

Amount of customs in England                         2,528,275 £.
Amount of the excise in England                      4,649,892
Land tax at 3s.                                      1,300,000
Land tax at 1s. in the pound                           450,000
Salt duties                                            218,739
Duties on stamps, cards, dice, advertisements,
bonds, leases, indentures, newspapers,
almanacks, etc.                                      280,788
Duties on houses and windows                           385,369
Post office, seizures, wine licences, hackney
coaches, etc.                                        250,000
Annual profits from lotteries                          150,000
Expense of collecting the excise in England            297,887
Expense of collecting the customs in England           468,703
Interest of loans on the land tax at 4s. expenses
of collection, militia, etc.                         250,000
Perquisites, etc. to custom-house officers, &c.;      supposed                                             250,000
Expense of collecting the salt duties in England
10 1/2 per cent.                                      27,000
Bounties on fish exported                               18,000
Expense of collecting the duties on stamps, cards,
advertisements, etc. at 5 and 1/4 per cent.           18,000

Total 11,642,653 £.

But this not being the case with her, she is obliged to borrow about ten millions pounds sterling, yearly, to prosecute the war that she is now engaged in, (this year she borrowed twelve) and lay on new taxes to discharge the interest; allowing that the present war has cost her only fifty millions sterling, the interest thereon, at five per cent., will be two millions and an half; therefore the amount of her taxes now must be fourteen millions, which on an average is no less than forty shillings sterling, per head, men, women and children, throughout the nation. Now as this expense of fifty millions was borrowed on the hopes of conquering America, and as it was avarice which first induced her to commence the war, how truly wretched and deplorable would the condition of this country be, were she, by her own remissness, to suffer an enemy of such a disposition, and so circumstanced, to reduce her to subjection.

I now proceed to the revenues of America.

I have already stated the number of souls in America to be three millions, and by a calculation that I have made, which I have every reason to believe is sufficiently correct, the whole expense of the war, and the support of the several governments, may be defrayed for two million pounds sterling annually; which, on an average, is thirteen shillings and four pence per head, men, women, and children, and the peace establishment at the end of the war will be but three quarters of a million, or five shillings sterling per head. Now, throwing out of the question everything of honor, principle, happiness, freedom, and reputation in the world, and taking it up on the simple ground of interest, I put the following case:

Suppose Britain was to conquer America, and, as a conqueror, was to lay her under no other conditions than to pay the same proportion towards her annual revenue which the people of England pay: our share, in that case, would be six million pounds sterling yearly. Can it then be a question, whether it is best to raise two millions to defend the country, and govern it ourselves, and only three quarters of a million afterwards, or pay six millions to have it conquered, and let the enemy govern it?

Can it be supposed that conquerors would choose to put themselves in a worse condition than what they granted to the conquered? In England, the tax on rum is five shillings and one penny sterling per gallon, which is one silver dollar and fourteen coppers. Now would it not be laughable to imagine, that after the expense they have been at, they would let either Whig or Tory drink it cheaper than themselves? Coffee, which is so inconsiderable an article of consumption and support here, is there loaded with a duty which makes the price between five and six shillings per pound, and a penalty of fifty pounds sterling on any person detected in roasting it in his own house. There is scarcely a necessary of life that you can eat, drink, wear, or enjoy, that is not there loaded with a tax; even the light from heaven is only permitted to shine into their dwellings by paying eighteen pence sterling per window annually; and the humblest drink of life, small beer, cannot there be purchased without a tax of nearly two coppers per gallon, besides a heavy tax upon the malt, and another on the hops before it is brewed, exclusive of a land-tax on the earth which produces them. In short, the condition of that country, in point of taxation, is so oppressive, the number of her poor so great, and the extravagance and rapaciousness of the court so enormous, that, were they to effect a conquest of America, it is then only that the distresses of America would begin. Neither would it signify anything to a man whether he be Whig or Tory. The people of England, and the ministry of that country, know us by no such distinctions. What they want is clear, solid revenue, and the modes which they would take to procure it, would operate alike on all. Their manner of reasoning would be short, because they would naturally infer, that if we were able to carry on a war of five or six years against them, we were able to pay the same taxes which they do.

I have already stated that the expense of conducting the present war, and the government of the several states, may be done for two millions sterling, and the establishment in the time of peace, for three quarters of a million.

As to navy matters, they flourish so well, and are so well attended to by individuals, that I think it consistent on every principle of real use and economy, to turn the navy into hard money (keeping only three or four packets) and apply it to the service of the army. We shall not have a ship the less; the use of them, and the benefit from them, will be greatly increased, and their expense saved. We are now allied with a formidable naval power, from whom we derive the assistance of a navy. And the line in which we can prosecute the war, so as to reduce the common enemy and benefit the alliance most effectually, will be by attending closely to the land service.

I estimate the charge of keeping up and maintaining an army, officering them, and all expenses included, sufficient for the defence of the country, to be equal to the expense of forty thousand men at thirty pounds sterling per head, which is one million two hundred thousand pounds.

I likewise allow four hundred thousand pounds for continental expenses at home and abroad.

And four hundred thousand pounds for the support of the several state governments — the amount will then be:

For the army 1,200,000 £.

Continental expenses at home and abroad 400,000

Government of the several states 400,000

Total 2,000,000 £.

I take the proportion of this state, Pennsylvania, to be an eighth part of the thirteen United States; the quota then for us to raise will be two hundred and fifty thousand pounds sterling; two hundred thousand of which will be our share for the support and pay of the army, and continental expenses at home and abroad, and fifty thousand pounds for the support of the state government.

In order to gain an idea of the proportion in which the raising such a sum will fall, I make the following calculation:

Pennsylvania contains three hundred and seventy-five thousand inhabitants, men, women and children; which is likewise an eighth of the number of inhabitants of the whole United States: therefore, two hundred and fifty thousand pounds sterling to be raised among three hundred and seventy-five thousand persons, is, on an average, thirteen shillings and four pence per head, per annum, or something more than one shilling sterling per month. And our proportion of three quarters of a million for the government of the country, in time of peace, will be ninety-three thousand seven hundred and fifty pounds sterling; fifty thousand of which will be for the government expenses of the state, and forty-three thousand seven hundred and fifty pounds for continental expenses at home and abroad.

The peace establishment then will, on an average, be five shillings sterling per head. Whereas, was England now to stop, and the war cease, her peace establishment would continue the same as it is now, viz. forty shillings per head; therefore was our taxes necessary for carrying on the war, as much per head as hers now is, and the difference to be only whether we should, at the end of the war, pay at the rate of five shillings per head, or forty shillings per head, the case needs no thinking of. But as we can securely defend and keep the country for one third less than what our burden would be if it was conquered, and support the governments afterwards for one eighth of what Britain would levy on us, and could I find a miser whose heart never felt the emotion of a spark of principle, even that man, uninfluenced by every love but the love of money, and capable of no attachment but to his interest, would and must, from the frugality which governs him, contribute to the defence of the country, or he ceases to be a miser and becomes an idiot. But when we take in with it every thing that can ornament mankind; when the line of our interest becomes the line of our happiness; when all that can cheer and animate the heart, when a sense of honor, fame, character, at home and abroad, are interwoven not only with the security but the increase of property, there exists not a man in America, unless he be an hired emissary, who does not see that his good is connected with keeping up a sufficient defence.

I do not imagine that an instance can be produced in the world, of a country putting herself to such an amazing charge to conquer and enslave another, as Britain has done. The sum is too great for her to think of with any tolerable degree of temper; and when we consider the burden she sustains, as well as the disposition she has shown, it would be the height of folly in us to suppose that she would not reimburse herself by the most rapid means, had she America once more within her power. With such an oppression of expense, what would an empty conquest be to her! What relief under such circumstances could she derive from a victory without a prize? It was money, it was revenue she first went to war for, and nothing but that would satisfy her. It is not the nature of avarice to be satisfied with any thing else. Every passion that acts upon mankind has a peculiar mode of operation. Many of them are temporary and fluctuating; they admit of cessation and variety. But avarice is a fixed, uniform passion. It neither abates of its vigor nor changes its object; and the reason why it does not, is founded in the nature of things, for wealth has not a rival where avarice is a ruling passion. One beauty may excel another, and extinguish from the mind of man the pictured remembrance of a former one: but wealth is the phoenix of avarice, and therefore it cannot seek a new object, because there is not another in the world.

I now pass on to show the value of the present taxes, and compare them with the annual expense; but this I shall preface with a few explanatory remarks.

There are two distinct things which make the payment of taxes difficult; the one is the large and real value of the sum to be paid, and the other is the scarcity of the thing in which the payment is to be made; and although these appear to be one and the same, they are in several instances riot only different, but the difficulty springs from different causes.

Suppose a tax to be laid equal to one half of what a man’s yearly income is, such a tax could not be paid, because the property could not be spared; and on the other hand, suppose a very trifling tax was laid, to be collected in pearls, such a tax likewise could not be paid, because they could not be had. Now any person may see that these are distinct cases, and the latter of them is a representation of our own.

That the difficulty cannot proceed from the former, that is, from the real value or weight of the tax, is evident at the first view to any person who will consider it.

The amount of the quota of taxes for this State for the year, 1780, (and so in proportion for every other State,) is twenty millions of dollars, which at seventy for one, is but sixty-four thousand two hundred and eighty pounds three shillings sterling, and on an average, is no more than three shillings and five pence sterling per head, per annum, per man, woman and child, or threepence two-fifths per head per month. Now here is a clear, positive fact, that cannot be contradicted, and which proves that the difficulty cannot be in the weight of the tax, for in itself it is a trifle, and far from being adequate to our quota of the expense of the war. The quit-rents of one penny sterling per acre on only one half of the state, come to upwards of fifty thousand pounds, which is almost as much as all the taxes of the present year, and as those quit-rents made no part of the taxes then paid, and are now discontinued, the quantity of money drawn for public-service this year, exclusive of the militia fines, which I shall take notice of in the process of this work, is less than what was paid and payable in any year preceding the revolution, and since the last war; what I mean is, that the quit-rents and taxes taken together came to a larger sum then, than the present taxes without the quit-rents do now.

My intention by these arguments and calculations is to place the difficulty to the right cause, and show that it does not proceed from the weight or worth of the tax, but from the scarcity of the medium in which it is paid; and to illustrate this point still further, I shall now show, that if the tax of twenty millions of dollars was of four times the real value it now is, or nearly so, which would be about two hundred and fifty thousand pounds sterling, and would be our full quota, this sum would have been raised with more ease, and have been less felt, than the present sum of only sixty-four thousand two hundred and eighty pounds.

The convenience or inconvenience of paying a tax in money arises from the quantity of money that can be spared out of trade.

When the emissions stopped, the continent was left in possession of two hundred millions of dollars, perhaps as equally dispersed as it was possible for trade to do it. And as no more was to be issued, the rise or fall of prices could neither increase nor diminish the quantity. It therefore remained the same through all the fluctuations of trade and exchange.

Now had the exchange stood at twenty for one, which was the rate Congress calculated upon when they arranged the quota of the several states, the latter end of last year, trade would have been carried on for nearly four times less money than it is now, and consequently the twenty millions would have been spared with much greater ease, and when collected would have been of almost four times the value that they now are. And on the other hand, was the depreciation to be ninety or one hundred for one, the quantity required for trade would be more than at sixty or seventy for one, and though the value of them would be less, the difficulty of sparing the money out of trade would be greater. And on these facts and arguments I rest the matter, to prove that it is not the want of property, but the scarcity of the medium by which the proportion of property for taxation is to be measured out, that makes the embarrassment which we lie under. There is not money enough, and, what is equally as true, the people will not let there be money enough.

While I am on the subject of the currency, I shall offer one remark which will appear true to everybody, and can be accounted for by nobody, which is, that the better the times were, the worse the money grew; and the worse the times were, the better the money stood. It never depreciated by any advantage obtained by the enemy. The troubles of 1776, and the loss of Philadelphia in 1777, made no sensible impression on it, and every one knows that the surrender of Charleston did not produce the least alteration in the rate of exchange, which, for long before, and for more than three months after, stood at sixty for one. It seems as if the certainty of its being our own, made us careless of its value, and that the most distant thoughts of losing it made us hug it the closer, like something we were loth to part with; or that we depreciate it for our pastime, which, when called to seriousness by the enemy, we leave off to renew again at our leisure. In short, our good luck seems to break us, and our bad makes us whole.

Passing on from this digression, I shall now endeavor to bring into one view the several parts which I have already stated, and form thereon some propositions, and conclude.

I have placed before the reader, the average tax per head, paid by the people of England; which is forty shillings sterling.

And I have shown the rate on an average per head, which will defray all the expenses of the war to us, and support the several governments without running the country into debt, which is thirteen shillings and four pence.

I have shown what the peace establishment may be conducted for, viz., an eighth part of what it would be, if under the government of Britain.

And I have likewise shown what the average per head of the present taxes is, namely, three shillings and fivepence sterling, or threepence two-fifths per month; and that their whole yearly value, in sterling, is only sixty-four thousand two hundred and eighty pounds. Whereas our quota, to keep the payments equal with the expenses, is two hundred and fifty thousand pounds. Consequently, there is a deficiency of one hundred and eighty-five thousand seven hundred and twenty pounds, and the same proportion of defect, according to the several quotas, happens in every other state. And this defect is the cause why the army has been so indifferently fed, clothed and paid. It is the cause, likewise, of the nerveless state of the campaign, and the insecurity of the country. Now, if a tax equal to thirteen and fourpence per head, will remove all these difficulties, and make people secure in their homes, leave them to follow the business of their stores and farms unmolested, and not only drive out but keep out the enemy from the country; and if the neglect of raising this sum will let them in, and produce the evils which might be prevented — on which side, I ask, does the wisdom, interest and policy lie? Or, rather, would it not be an insult to reason, to put the question? The sum, when proportioned out according to the several abilities of the people, can hurt no one, but an inroad from the enemy ruins hundreds of families.

Look at the destruction done in this city [Philadelphia]. The many houses totally destroyed, and others damaged; the waste of fences in the country round it, besides the plunder of furniture, forage, and provisions. I do not suppose that half a million sterling would reinstate the sufferers; and, does this, I ask, bear any proportion to the expense that would make us secure? The damage, on an average, is at least ten pounds sterling per head, which is as much as thirteen shillings and fourpence per head comes to for fifteen years. The same has happened on the frontiers, and in the Jerseys, New York, and other places where the enemy has been — Carolina and Georgia are likewise suffering the same fate.

That the people generally do not understand the insufficiency of the taxes to carry on the war, is evident, not only from common observation, but from the construction of several petitions which were presented to the Assembly of this state, against the recommendation of Congress of the 18th of March last, for taking up and funding the present currency at forty to one, and issuing new money in its stead. The prayer of the petition was, that the currency might be appreciated by taxes (meaning the present taxes) and that part of the taxes be applied to the support of the army, if the army could not be otherwise supported. Now it could not have been possible for such a petition to have been presented, had the petitioners known, that so far from part of the taxes being sufficient for the support of the whole of them falls three-fourths short of the year’s expenses.

Before I proceed to propose methods by which a sufficiency of money may be raised, I shall take a short view of the general state of the country.

Notwithstanding the weight of the war, the ravages of the enemy, and the obstructions she has thrown in the way of trade and commerce, so soon does a young country outgrow misfortune, that America has already surmounted many that heavily oppressed her. For the first year or two of the war, we were shut up within our ports, scarce venturing to look towards the ocean. Now our rivers are beautified with large and valuable vessels, our stores filled with merchandise, and the produce of the country has a ready market, and an advantageous price. Gold and silver, that for a while seemed to have retreated again within the bowels of the earth, have once more risen into circulation, and every day adds new strength to trade, commerce and agriculture. In a pamphlet, written by Sir John Dalrymple, and dispersed in America in the year 1775, he asserted that two twenty-gun ships, nay, says he, tenders of those ships, stationed between Albermarle sound and Chesapeake bay, would shut up the trade of America for 600 miles. How little did Sir John Dalrymple know of the abilities of America!

While under the government of Britain, the trade of this country was loaded with restrictions. It was only a few foreign ports which we were allowed to sail to. Now it is otherwise; and allowing that the quantity of trade is but half what it was before the war, the case must show the vast advantage of an open trade, because the present quantity under her restrictions could not support itself; from which I infer, that if half the quantity without the restrictions can bear itself up nearly, if not quite, as well as the whole when subject to them, how prosperous must the condition of America be when the whole shall return open with all the world. By the trade I do not mean the employment of a merchant only, but the whole interest and business of the country taken collectively.

It is not so much my intention, by this publication, to propose particular plans for raising money, as it is to show the necessity and the advantages to be derived from it. My principal design is to form the disposition of the people to the measures which I am fully persuaded it is their interest and duty to adopt, and which need no other force to accomplish them than the force of being felt. But as every hint may be useful, I shall throw out a sketch, and leave others to make such improvements upon it as to them may appear reasonable.

The annual sum wanted is two millions, and the average rate in which it falls, is thirteen shillings and fourpence per head.

Suppose, then, that we raise half the sum and sixty thousand pounds over. The average rate thereof will be seven shillings per head.

In this case we shall have half the supply that we want, and an annual fund of sixty thousand pounds whereon to borrow the other million; because sixty thousand pounds is the interest of a million at six per cent.; and if at the end of another year we should be obliged, by the continuance of the war, to borrow another million, the taxes will be increased to seven shillings and sixpence; and thus for every million borrowed, an additional tax, equal to sixpence per head, must be levied.

The sum to be raised next year will be one million and sixty thousand pounds: one half of which I would propose should be raised by duties on imported goods, and prize goods, and the other half by a tax on landed property and houses, or such other means as each state may devise.

But as the duties on imports and prize goods must be the same in all the states, therefore the rate per cent., or what other form the duty shall be laid, must be ascertained and regulated by Congress, and ingrafted in that form into the law of each state; and the monies arising therefrom carried into the treasury of each state. The duties to be paid in gold or silver.

There are many reasons why a duty on imports is the most convenient duty or tax that can be collected; one of which is, because the whole is payable in a few places in a country, and it likewise operates with the greatest ease and equality, because as every one pays in proportion to what he consumes, so people in general consume in proportion to what they can afford; and therefore the tax is regulated by the abilities which every man supposes himself to have, or in other words, every man becomes his own assessor, and pays by a little at a time, when it suits him to buy. Besides, it is a tax which people may pay or let alone by not consuming the articles; and though the alternative may have no influence on their conduct, the power of choosing is an agreeable thing to the mind. For my own part, it would be a satisfaction to me was there a duty on all sorts of liquors during the war, as in my idea of things it would be an addition to the pleasures of society to know, that when the health of the army goes round, a few drops, from every glass becomes theirs. How often have I heard an emphatical wish, almost accompanied by a tear, “Oh, that our poor fellows in the field had some of this!” Why then need we suffer under a fruitless sympathy, when there is a way to enjoy both the wish and the entertainment at once.

But the great national policy of putting a duty upon imports is, that it either keeps the foreign trade in our own hands, or draws something for the defence of the country from every foreigner who participates in it with us.

Thus much for the first half of the taxes, and as each state will best devise means to raise the other half, I shall confine my remarks to the resources of this state.

The quota, then, of this state, of one million and sixty thousand pounds, will be one hundred and thirty-three thousand two hundred and fifty pounds, the half of which is sixty-six thousand six hundred and twenty-five pounds; and supposing one fourth part of Pennsylvania inhabited, then a tax of one bushel of wheat on every twenty acres of land, one with another, would produce the sum, and all the present taxes to cease. Whereas, the tithes of the bishops and clergy in England, exclusive of the taxes, are upwards of half a bushel of wheat on every single acre of land, good and bad, throughout the nation.

In the former part of this paper, I mentioned the militia fines, but reserved speaking of the matter, which I shall now do. The ground I shall put it upon is, that two millions sterling a year will support a sufficient army, and all the expenses of war and government, without having recourse to the inconvenient method of continually calling men from their employments, which, of all others, is the most expensive and the least substantial. I consider the revenues created by taxes as the first and principal thing, and fines only as secondary and accidental things. It was not the intention of the militia law to apply the fines to anything else but the support of the militia, neither do they produce any revenue to the state, yet these fines amount to more than all the taxes: for taking the muster-roll to be sixty thousand men, the fine on forty thousand who may not attend, will be sixty thousand pounds sterling, and those who muster, will give up a portion of time equal to half that sum, and if the eight classes should be called within the year, and one third turn out, the fine on the remaining forty thousand would amount to seventy-two millions of dollars, besides the fifteen shillings on every hundred pounds of property, and the charge of seven and a half per cent. for collecting, in certain instances which, on the whole, would be upwards of two hundred and fifty thousand pounds sterling.

Now if those very fines disable the country from raising a sufficient revenue without producing an equivalent advantage, would it not be for the ease and interest of all parties to increase the revenue, in the manner I have proposed, or any better, if a better can be devised, and cease the operation of the fines? I would still keep the militia as an organized body of men, and should there be a real necessity to call them forth, pay them out of the proper revenues of the state, and increase the taxes a third or fourth per cent. on those who do not attend. My limits will not allow me to go further into this matter, which I shall therefore close with this remark; that fines are, of all modes of revenue, the most unsuited to the minds of a free country. When a man pays a tax, he knows that the public necessity requires it, and therefore feels a pride in discharging his duty; but a fine seems an atonement for neglect of duty, and of consequence is paid with discredit, and frequently levied with severity.

I have now only one subject more to speak of, with which I shall conclude, which is, the resolve of Congress of the 18th of March last, for taking up and funding the present currency at forty for one, and issuing new money in its stead.

Every one knows that I am not the flatterer of Congress, but in this instance they are right; and if that measure is supported, the currency will acquire a value, which, without it, it will not. But this is not all: it will give relief to the finances until such time as they can be properly arranged, and save the country from being immediately doubled taxed under the present mode. In short, support that measure, and it will support you.

I have now waded through a tedious course of difficult business, and over an untrodden path. The subject, on every point in which it could be viewed, was entangled with perplexities, and enveloped in obscurity, yet such are the resources of America, that she wants nothing but system to secure success.

Common Sense.
Philadelphia, Oct. 4, 1780.

P. S. While this paper was preparing for the press, the treachery of General Arnold became known, and engrossed the attention and conversation of the public; and that, not so much on account of the traitor as the magnitude of the treason, and the providence evident in the discovery. The matter, as far as it is at present known, is thus briefly related:

General Arnold about six weeks before had obtained the command of the important post of West Point, situated on the North River, about sixty miles above New York, and an hundred below Albany, there being no other defenceable pass between it and the last mentioned place. At what time, or in what manner, he first entered into a negotiation with the enemy for betraying the fort and garrison into their hands, does not yet appear.

While Arnold commanded at West Point, General Washington and the Minister of France went to Hartford in Connecticut, to consult on matters, in concert with Admiral Terney, commander of the French fleet stationed at Rhode Island. In the mean time Arnold held a conference with Major Andre, Adjutant-General to General Clinton, whom he traitorously furnished with plans of the fort, state of the garrison, minutes of the last council of war, and the manner in which he would post the troops when the enemy should attempt a surprise; and then gave him a pass, by the name of Mr. John Anderson, to go to the lines at the White Plains or lower, if he Mr. Anderson thought proper, he being (the pass said) on public business.

Thus furnished Andre parted from Arnold, set off for New York, and had nearly arrived at the extent of our lines, when he was stopped by a party of militia, to whom he produced his pass, but they, not being satisfied with his account, insisted on taking him before the commanding officer, Lieut. Col. Jamieson. Finding himself in this situation, and hoping to escape by a bribe, he offered them his purse, watch and a promise of any quantity of goods they would accept, which these honest men nobly and virtuously scorned, and confident with their duty took him to the proper officer. On examination there was found on him the above mentioned papers and several others, all in the handwriting of General Arnold, and finding himself thus detected, he confessed his proper name and character. He was accordingly made a close prisoner, and the papers sent off by express to West Point, at which place General Washington had arrived soon after the arrival of the packet. On this disclosure, he went in quest of Arnold, whom he had not seen that day, but all that could be learned was that Arnold had received a letter some short time before which had much confused him, since which he had disappeared. Colonel Hamilton, one of General Washington’s aids, with some others were sent after him, but he, having the start, eluded the pursuit, took boat under pretence of a flag, and got on board the Vulture sloop of war lying in the North River; on which it may be truly said, that one vulture was receiving another. From on board this vessel he addressed a letter to General Washington, which, in whatever light it may be viewed, confirms him a finished villain.

The true character of Arnold is that of a desperado. His whole life has been a life of jobs; and where either plunder or profit was the object, no danger deterred, no principle restrained him. In his person he was smart and active, somewhat diminutive, weak in his capacities and trifling in his conversation; and though gallant in the field, was defective in the talents necessary for command. The early convulsion of the times afforded him an introduction into life, to the elegance of which he was before a stranger, and the eagerness of the public to reward and encourage enterprise, procured him at once both applause and promotion. His march to Quebec gave him fame, and the plunder of Montreal put the first stamp to his public character. His behavior, at Danbury and Saratoga once more covered over his crimes, which again broke forth in the plunder of Philadelphia, under pretence of supplying the army. From this time, the true spring of his conduct being known, he became both disregarded and disesteemed, and this last instance of his treachery has proved the public judgment right.

When we take a review of the history of former times it will turn out to the honor of America that, notwithstanding the trying variety of her situation, this is the only instance of defection in a general officer; and even in this case, the unshaken honesty of those who detected him heightens the national character, to which his apostasy serves as a foil. From the nature of his crime, and his disposition to monopolize, it is reasonable to conclude he had few or no direct accomplices. His sole object was to make a monied bargain; and to be consistent with himself, he would as readily betray the side he has deserted to, as that he deserted from.

But there is one reflection results from this black business that deserves notice, which is that it shows the declining power of the enemy. An attempt to bribe is a sacrifice of military fame, and a confession of inability to conquer; as a proud people they ought to be above it, and as soldiers to despise it; and however they may feel on the occasion, the world at large will despise them for it, and consider America superior to their arms.

The Crisis by Founder Thomas Paine

Letter to Lord Howe January 13, 1777:

“What’s in the name of lord, that I should fear to bring my grievance to the public ear? UNIVERSAL empire is the prerogative of a writer. His concerns are with all mankind, and though he cannot command their obedience, he can assign them their duty. The Republic of Letters is more ancient than monarchy, and of far higher character in the world than the vassal court of Britain; he that rebels against reason is a real rebel, but he that in defence of reason rebels against tyranny has a better title to “Defender of the Faith,” than George the Third.

As a military man your lordship may hold out the sword of war, and call it the “ultima ratio regum”: the last reason of kings; we in return can show you the sword of justice, and call it “the best scourge of tyrants.” The first of these two may threaten, or even frighten for a while, and cast a sickly languor over an insulted people, but reason will soon recover the debauch, and restore them again to tranquil fortitude. Your lordship, I find, has now commenced author, and published a proclamation; I have published a Crisis. As they stand, they are the antipodes of each other; both cannot rise at once, and one of them must descend; and so quick is the revolution of things, that your lordship’s performance, I see, has already fallen many degrees from its first place, and is now just visible on the edge of the political horizon.

It is surprising to what a pitch of infatuation, blind folly and obstinacy will carry mankind, and your lordship’s drowsy proclamation is a proof that it does not even quit them in their sleep. Perhaps you thought America too was taking a nap, and therefore chose, like Satan to Eve, to whisper the delusion softly, lest you should awaken her. This continent, sir, is too extensive to sleep all at once, and too watchful, even in its slumbers, not to startle at the unhallowed foot of an invader. You may issue your proclamations, and welcome, for we have learned to “reverence ourselves,” and scorn the insulting ruffian that employs you. America, for your deceased brother’s sake, would gladly have shown you respect and it is a new aggravation to her feelings, that Howe should be forgetful, and raise his sword against those, who at their own charge raised a monument to his brother. But your master has commanded, and you have not enough of nature left to refuse. Surely there must be something strangely degenerating in the love of monarchy, that can so completely wear a man down to an ingrate, and make him proud to lick the dust that kings have trod upon. A few more years, should you survive them, will bestow on you the title of “an old man”: and in some hour of future reflection you may probably find the fitness of Wolsey’s despairing penitence- “had I served my God as faithful as I have served my king, he would not thus have forsaken me in my old age.”

The character you appear to us in, is truly ridiculous. Your friends, the Tories, announced your coming, with high descriptions of your unlimited powers; but your proclamation has given them the lie, by showing you to be a commissioner without authority. Had your powers been ever so great they were nothing to us, further than we pleased; because we had the same right which other nations had, to do what we thought was best. “The UNITED STATES of AMERICA,” will sound as pompously in the world or in history, as “the kingdom of Great Britain”; the character of General Washington will fill a page with as much lustre as that of Lord Howe: and the Congress have as much right to command the king and Parliament in London to desist from legislation, as they or you have to command the Congress. Only suppose how laughable such an edict would appear from us, and then, in that merry mood, do but turn the tables upon yourself, and you will see how your proclamation is received here. Having thus placed you in a proper position in which you may have a full view of your folly, and learn to despise it, I hold up to you, for that purpose, the following quotation from your own lunarian proclamation.- “And we (Lord Howe and General Howe) do command (and in his majesty’s name forsooth) all such persons as are assembled together, under the name of general or provincial congresses, committees, conventions or other associations, by whatever name or names known and distinguished, to desist and cease from all such treasonable actings and doings.”

You introduce your proclamation by referring to your declarations of the 14th of July and 19th of September. In the last of these you sunk yourself below the character of a private gentleman. That I may not seem to accuse you unjustly, I shall state the circumstance: by a verbal invitation of yours, communicated to Congress by General Sullivan, then a prisoner on his parole, you signified your desire of conferring with some members of that body as private gentlemen. It was beneath the dignity of the American Congress to pay any regard to a message that at best was but a genteel affront, and had too much of the ministerial complexion of tampering with private persons; and which might probably have been the case, had the gentlemen who were deputed on the business possessed that kind of easy virtue which an English courtier is so truly distinguished by. Your request, however, was complied with, for honest men are naturally more tender of their civil than their political fame. The interview ended as every sensible man thought it would; for your lordship knows, as well as the writer of the Crisis, that it is impossible for the King of England to promise the repeal, or even the revisal of any acts of parliament; wherefore, on your part, you had nothing to say, more than to request, in the room of demanding, the entire surrender of the continent; and then, if that was complied with, to promise that the inhabitants should escape with their lives. This was the upshot of the conference. You informed the conferees that you were two months in soliciting these powers. We ask, what powers? for as commissioner you have none. If you mean the power of pardoning, it is an oblique proof that your master was determined to sacrifice all before him; and that you were two months in dissuading him from his purpose. Another evidence of his savage obstinacy! From your own account of the matter we may justly draw these two conclusions: 1st, That you serve a monster; and 2d, That never was a messenger sent on a more foolish errand than yourself. This plain language may perhaps sound uncouthly to an ear vitiated by courtly refinements, but words were made for use, and the fault lies in deserving them, or the abuse in applying them unfairly.

Soon after your return to New York, you published a very illiberal and unmanly handbill against the Congress; for it was certainly stepping out of the line of common civility, first to screen your national pride by soliciting an interview with them as private gentlemen, and in the conclusion to endeavor to deceive the multitude by making a handbill attack on the whole body of the Congress; you got them together under one name, and abused them under another. But the king you serve, and the cause you support, afford you so few instances of acting the gentleman, that out of pity to your situation the Congress pardoned the insult by taking no notice of it.

You say in that handbill, “that they, the Congress, disavowed every purpose for reconciliation not consonant with their extravagant and inadmissible claim of independence.” Why, God bless me! what have you to do with our independence? We ask no leave of yours to set it up; we ask no money of yours to support it; we can do better without your fleets and armies than with them; you may soon have enough to do to protect yourselves without being burdened with us. We are very willing to be at peace with you, to buy of you and sell to you, and, like young beginners in the world, to work for our living; therefore, why do you put yourselves out of cash, when we know you cannot spare it, and we do not desire you to run into debt? I am willing, sir, that you should see your folly in every point of view I can place it in, and for that reason descend sometimes to tell you in jest what I wish you to see in earnest. But to be more serious with you, why do you say, “their independence?” To set you right, sir, we tell you, that the independency is ours, not theirs. The Congress were authorized by every state on the continent to publish it to all the world, and in so doing are not to be considered as the inventors, but only as the heralds that proclaimed it, or the office from which the sense of the people received a legal form; and it was as much as any or all their heads were worth, to have treated with you on the subject of submission under any name whatever. But we know the men in whom we have trusted; can England say the same of her Parliament?

I come now more particularly to your proclamation of the 30th of November last. Had you gained an entire conquest over all the armies of America, and then put forth a proclamation, offering (what you call) mercy, your conduct would have had some specious show of humanity; but to creep by surprise into a province, and there endeavor to terrify and seduce the inhabitants from their just allegiance to the rest by promises, which you neither meant nor were able to fulfil, is both cruel and unmanly: cruel in its effects; because, unless you can keep all the ground you have marched over, how are you, in the words of your proclamation, to secure to your proselytes “the enjoyment of their property?” What is to become either of your new adopted subjects, or your old friends, the Tories, in Burlington, Bordentown, Trenton, Mount Holly, and many other places, where you proudly lorded it for a few days, and then fled with the precipitation of a pursued thief? What, I say, is to become of those wretches? What is to become of those who went over to you from this city and State? What more can you say to them than “shift for yourselves?” Or what more can they hope for than to wander like vagabonds over the face of the earth? You may now tell them to take their leave of America, and all that once was theirs. Recommend them, for consolation, to your master’s court; there perhaps they may make a shift to live on the scraps of some dangling parasite, and choose companions among thousands like themselves. A traitor is the foulest fiend on earth.

In a political sense we ought to thank you for thus bequeathing estates to the continent; we shall soon, at this rate, be able to carry on a war without expense, and grow rich by the ill policy of Lord Howe, and the generous defection of the Tories. Had you set your foot into this city, you would have bestowed estates upon us which we never thought of, by bringing forth traitors we were unwilling to suspect. But these men, you’ll say, “are his majesty’s most faithful subjects;” let that honor, then, be all their fortune, and let his majesty take them to himself.

I am now thoroughly disgusted with them; they live in ungrateful ease, and bend their whole minds to mischief. It seems as if God had given them over to a spirit of infidelity, and that they are open to conviction in no other line but that of punishment. It is time to have done with tarring, feathering, carting, and taking securities for their future good behavior; every sensible man must feel a conscious shame at seeing a poor fellow hawked for a show about the streets, when it is known he is only the tool of some principal villain, biassed into his offence by the force of false reasoning, or bribed thereto, through sad necessity. We dishonor ourselves by attacking such trifling characters while greater ones are suffered to escape; ’tis our duty to find them out, and their proper punishment would be to exile them from the continent for ever. The circle of them is not so great as some imagine; the influence of a few have tainted many who are not naturally corrupt. A continual circulation of lies among those who are not much in the way of hearing them contradicted, will in time pass for truth; and the crime lies not in the believer but the inventor. I am not for declaring war with every man that appears not so warm as myself: difference of constitution, temper, habit of speaking, and many other things, will go a great way in fixing the outward character of a man, yet simple honesty may remain at bottom. Some men have naturally a military turn, and can brave hardships and the risk of life with a cheerful face; others have not; no slavery appears to them so great as the fatigue of arms, and no terror so powerful as that of personal danger. What can we say? We cannot alter nature, neither ought we to punish the son because the father begot him in a cowardly mood. However, I believe most men have more courage than they know of, and that a little at first is enough to begin with. I knew the time when I thought that the whistling of a cannon ball would have frightened me almost to death; but I have since tried it, and find that I can stand it with as little discomposure, and, I believe, with a much easier conscience than your lordship. The same dread would return to me again were I in your situation, for my solemn belief of your cause is, that it is hellish and damnable, and, under that conviction, every thinking man’s heart must fail him.

From a concern that a good cause should be dishonored by the least disunion among us, I said in my former paper, No. I. “That should the enemy now be expelled, I wish, with all the sincerity of a Christian, that the names of Whig and Tory might never more be mentioned;” but there is a knot of men among us of such a venomous cast, that they will not admit even one’s good wishes to act in their favor. Instead of rejoicing that heaven had, as it were, providentially preserved this city from plunder and destruction, by delivering so great a part of the enemy into our hands with so little effusion of blood, they stubbornly affected to disbelieve it till within an hour, nay, half an hour, of the prisoners arriving; and the Quakers put forth a testimony, dated the 20th of December, signed “John Pemberton,” declaring their attachment to the British government. [NOTE] These men are continually harping on the great sin of our bearing arms, but the king of Britain may lay waste the world in blood and famine, and they, poor fallen souls, have nothing to say.

In some future paper I intend to distinguish between the different kind of persons who have been denominated Tories; for this I am clear in, that all are not so who have been called so, nor all men Whigs who were once thought so; and as I mean not to conceal the name of any true friend when there shall be occasion to mention him, neither will I that of an enemy, who ought to be known, let his rank, station or religion be what it may. Much pains have been taken by some to set your lordship’s private character in an amiable light, but as it has chiefly been done by men who know nothing about you, and who are no ways remarkable for their attachment to us, we have no just authority for believing it. George the Third has imposed upon us by the same arts, but time, at length, has done him justice, and the same fate may probably attend your lordship. You avowed purpose here is to kill, conquer, plunder, pardon, and enslave: and the ravages of your army through the Jerseys have been marked with as much barbarism as if you had openly professed yourself the prince of ruffians; not even the appearance of humanity has been preserved either on the march or the retreat of your troops; no general order that I could ever learn, has ever been issued to prevent or even forbid your troops from robbery, wherever they came, and the only instance of justice, if it can be called such, which has distinguished you for impartiality, is, that you treated and plundered all alike; what could not be carried away has been destroyed, and mahogany furniture has been deliberately laid on fire for fuel, rather than the men should be fatigued with cutting wood. [NOTE] There was a time when the Whigs confided much in your supposed candor, and the Tories rested themselves in your favor; the experiments have now been made, and failed; in every town, nay, every cottage, in the Jerseys, where your arms have been, is a testimony against you. How you may rest under this sacrifice of character I know not; but this I know, that you sleep and rise with the daily curses of thousands upon you; perhaps the misery which the Tories have suffered by your proffered mercy may give them some claim to their country’s pity, and be in the end the best favor you could show them.

In a folio general-order book belonging to Col. Rhal’s battalion, taken at Trenton, and now in the possession of the council of safety for this state, the following barbarous order is frequently repeated, “His excellency the Commander-in-Chief orders, that all inhabitants who shall be found with arms, not having an officer with them, shall be immediately taken and hung up.” How many you may thus have privately sacrificed, we know not, and the account can only be settled in another world. Your treatment of prisoners, in order to distress them to enlist in your infernal service, is not to be equalled by any instance in Europe. Yet this is the humane Lord Howe and his brother, whom the Tories and their three-quarter kindred, the Quakers, or some of them at least, have been holding up for patterns of justice and mercy!

A bad cause will ever be supported by bad means and bad men; and whoever will be at the pains of examining strictly into things, will find that one and the same spirit of oppression and impiety, more or less, governs through your whole party in both countries: not many days ago, I accidentally fell in company with a person of this city noted for espousing your cause, and on my remarking to him, “that it appeared clear to me, by the late providential turn of affairs, that God Almighty was visibly on our side,” he replied, “We care nothing for that you may have Him, and welcome; if we have but enough of the devil on our side, we shall do.” However carelessly this might be spoken, matters not, ’tis still the insensible principle that directs all your conduct and will at last most assuredly deceive and ruin you.

If ever a nation was made and foolish, blind to its own interest and bent on its own destruction, it is Britain. There are such things as national sins, and though the punishment of individuals may be reserved to another world, national punishment can only be inflicted in this world. Britain, as a nation, is, in my inmost belief, the greatest and most ungrateful offender against God on the face of the whole earth. Blessed with all the commerce she could wish for, and furnished, by a vast extension of dominion, with the means of civilizing both the eastern and western world, she has made no other use of both than proudly to idolize her own “thunder,” and rip up the bowels of whole countries for what she could get. Like Alexander, she has made war her sport, and inflicted misery for prodigality’s sake. The blood of India is not yet repaid, nor the wretchedness of Africa yet requited. Of late she has enlarged her list of national cruelties by her butcherly destruction of the Caribbs of St. Vincent’s, and returning an answer by the sword to the meek prayer for “Peace, liberty and safety.” These are serious things, and whatever a foolish tyrant, a debauched court, a trafficking legislature, or a blinded people may think, the national account with heaven must some day or other be settled: all countries have sooner or later been called to their reckoning; the proudest empires have sunk when the balance was struck; and Britain, like an individual penitent, must undergo her day of sorrow, and the sooner it happens to her the better. As I wish it over, I wish it to come, but withal wish that it may be as light as possible.

Perhaps your lordship has no taste for serious things; by your connections in England I should suppose not; therefore I shall drop this part of the subject, and take it up in a line in which you will better understand me.

By what means, may I ask, do you expect to conquer America? If you could not effect it in the summer, when our army was less than yours, nor in the winter, when we had none, how are you to do it? In point of generalship you have been outwitted, and in point of fortitude outdone; your advantages turn out to your loss, and show us that it is in our power to ruin you by gifts: like a game of drafts, we can move out of one square to let you come in, in order that we may afterwards take two or three for one; and as we can always keep a double corner for ourselves, we can always prevent a total defeat. You cannot be so insensible as not to see that we have two to one the advantage of you, because we conquer by a drawn game, and you lose by it. Burgoyne might have taught your lordship this knowledge; he has been long a student in the doctrine of chances.

I have no other idea of conquering countries than by subduing the armies which defend them: have you done this, or can you do it? If you have not, it would be civil in you to let your proclamations alone for the present; otherwise, you will ruin more Tories by your grace and favor, than you will Whigs by your arms.

Were you to obtain possession of this city, you would not know what to do with it more than to plunder it. To hold it in the manner you hold New York, would be an additional dead weight upon your hands; and if a general conquest is your object, you had better be without the city than with it. When you have defeated all our armies, the cities will fall into your hands of themselves; but to creep into them in the manner you got into Princeton, Trenton, &c. is like robbing an orchard in the night before the fruit be ripe, and running away in the morning. Your experiment in the Jerseys is sufficient to teach you that you have something more to do than barely to get into other people’s houses; and your new converts, to whom you promised all manner of protection, and seduced into new guilt by pardoning them from their former virtues, must begin to have a very contemptible opinion both of your power and your policy. Your authority in the Jerseys is now reduced to the small circle which your army occupies, and your proclamation is no where else seen unless it be to be laughed at. The mighty subduers of the continent have retreated into a nutshell, and the proud forgivers of our sins are fled from those they came to pardon; and all this at a time when they were despatching vessel after vessel to England with the great news of every day. In short, you have managed your Jersey expedition so very dexterously, that the dead only are conquerors, because none will dispute the ground with them.

In all the wars which you have formerly been concerned in you had only armies to contend with; in this case you have both an army and a country to combat with. In former wars, the countries followed the fate of their capitals; Canada fell with Quebec, and Minorca with Port Mahon or St. Phillips; by subduing those, the conquerors opened a way into, and became masters of the country: here it is otherwise; if you get possession of a city here, you are obliged to shut yourselves up in it, and can make no other use of it, than to spend your country’s money in. This is all the advantage you have drawn from New York; and you would draw less from Philadelphia, because it requires more force to keep it, and is much further from the sea. A pretty figure you and the Tories would cut in this city, with a river full of ice, and a town full of fire; for the immediate consequence of your getting here would be, that you would be cannonaded out again, and the Tories be obliged to make good the damage; and this sooner or later will be the fate of New York.

I wish to see the city saved, not so much from military as from natural motives. ‘Tis the hiding place of women and children, and Lord Howe’s proper business is with our armies. When I put all the circumstances together which ought to be taken, I laugh at your notion of conquering America. Because you lived in a little country, where an army might run over the whole in a few days, and where a single company of soldiers might put a multitude to the rout, you expected to find it the same here. It is plain that you brought over with you all the narrow notions you were bred up with, and imagined that a proclamation in the king’s name was to do great things; but Englishmen always travel for knowledge, and your lordship, I hope, will return, if you return at all, much wiser than you came.

We may be surprised by events we did not expect, and in that interval of recollection you may gain some temporary advantage: such was the case a few weeks ago, but we soon ripen again into reason, collect our strength, and while you are preparing for a triumph, we come upon you with a defeat. Such it has been, and such it would be were you to try it a hundred times over. Were you to garrison the places you might march over, in order to secure their subjection, (for remember you can do it by no other means,) your army would be like a stream of water running to nothing. By the time you extended from New York to Virginia, you would be reduced to a string of drops not capable of hanging together; while we, by retreating from State to State, like a river turning back upon itself, would acquire strength in the same proportion as you lost it, and in the end be capable of overwhelming you. The country, in the meantime, would suffer, but it is a day of suffering, and we ought to expect it. What we contend for is worthy the affliction we may go through. If we get but bread to eat, and any kind of raiment to put on, we ought not only to be contented, but thankful. More than that we ought not to look for, and less than that heaven has not yet suffered us to want. He that would sell his birthright for a little salt, is as worthless as he who sold it for pottage without salt; and he that would part with it for a gay coat, or a plain coat, ought for ever to be a slave in buff. What are salt, sugar and finery, to the inestimable blessings of “Liberty and Safety!” Or what are the inconveniences of a few months to the tributary bondage of ages? The meanest peasant in America, blessed with these sentiments, is a happy man compared with a New York Tory; he can eat his morsel without repining, and when he has done, can sweeten it with a repast of wholesome air; he can take his child by the hand and bless it, without feeling the conscious shame of neglecting a parent’s duty.

In publishing these remarks I have several objects in view.

On your part they are to expose the folly of your pretended authority as a commissioner; the wickedness of your cause in general; and the impossibility of your conquering us at any rate. On the part of the public, my intention is, to show them their true and sold interest; to encourage them to their own good, to remove the fears and falsities which bad men have spread, and weak men have encouraged; and to excite in all men a love for union, and a cheerfulness for duty.

I shall submit one more case to you respecting your conquest of this country, and then proceed to new observations.

Suppose our armies in every part of this continent were immediately to disperse, every man to his home, or where else he might be safe, and engage to reassemble again on a certain future day; it is clear that you would then have no army to contend with, yet you would be as much at a loss in that case as you are now; you would be afraid to send your troops in parties over to the continent, either to disarm or prevent us from assembling, lest they should not return; and while you kept them together, having no arms of ours to dispute with, you could not call it a conquest; you might furnish out a pompous page in the London Gazette or a New York paper, but when we returned at the appointed time, you would have the same work to do that you had at first.

It has been the folly of Britain to suppose herself more powerful than she really is, and by that means has arrogated to herself a rank in the world she is not entitled to: for more than this century past she has not been able to carry on a war without foreign assistance. In Marlborough’s campaigns, and from that day to this, the number of German troops and officers assisting her have been about equal with her own; ten thousand Hessians were sent to England last war to protect her from a French invasion; and she would have cut but a poor figure in her Canadian and West Indian expeditions, had not America been lavish both of her money and men to help her along. The only instance in which she was engaged singly, that I can recollect, was against the rebellion in Scotland, in the years 1745 and 1746, and in that, out of three battles, she was twice beaten, till by thus reducing their numbers, (as we shall yours) and taking a supply ship that was coming to Scotland with clothes, arms and money, (as we have often done,) she was at last enabled to defeat them. England was never famous by land; her officers have generally been suspected of cowardice, have more of the air of a dancing-master than a soldier, and by the samples which we have taken prisoners, we give the preference to ourselves. Her strength, of late, has lain in her extravagance; but as her finances and credit are now low, her sinews in that line begin to fail fast. As a nation she is the poorest in Europe; for were the whole kingdom, and all that is in it, to be put up for sale like the estate of a bankrupt, it would not fetch as much as she owes; yet this thoughtless wretch must go to war, and with the avowed design, too, of making us beasts of burden, to support her in riot and debauchery, and to assist her afterwards in distressing those nations who are now our best friends. This ingratitude may suit a Tory, or the unchristian peevishness of a fallen Quaker, but none else.

‘Tis the unhappy temper of the English to be pleased with any war, right or wrong, be it but successful; but they soon grow discontented with ill fortune, and it is an even chance that they are as clamorous for peace next summer, as the king and his ministers were for war last winter. In this natural view of things, your lordship stands in a very critical situation: your whole character is now staked upon your laurels; if they wither, you wither with them; if they flourish, you cannot live long to look at them; and at any rate, the black account hereafter is not far off. What lately appeared to us misfortunes, were only blessings in disguise; and the seeming advantages on your side have turned out to our profit. Even our loss of this city, as far as we can see, might be a principal gain to us: the more surface you spread over, the thinner you will be, and the easier wiped away; and our consolation under that apparent disaster would be, that the estates of the Tories would become securities for the repairs. In short, there is no old ground we can fail upon, but some new foundation rises again to support us. “We have put, sir, our hands to the plough, and cursed be he that looketh back.”

Your king, in his speech to parliament last spring, declared, “That he had no doubt but the great force they had enabled him to send to America, would effectually reduce the rebellious colonies.” It has not, neither can it; but it has done just enough to lay the foundation of its own next year’s ruin. You are sensible that you left England in a divided, distracted state of politics, and, by the command you had here, you became a principal prop in the court party; their fortunes rest on yours; by a single express you can fix their value with the public, and the degree to which their spirits shall rise or fall; they are in your hands as stock, and you have the secret of the alley with you. Thus situated and connected, you become the unintentional mechanical instrument of your own and their overthrow. The king and his ministers put conquest out of doubt, and the credit of both depended on the proof. To support them in the interim, it was necessary that you should make the most of every thing, and we can tell by Hugh Gaine’s New York paper what the complexion of the London Gazette is. With such a list of victories the nation cannot expect you will ask new supplies; and to confess your want of them would give the lie to your triumphs, and impeach the king and his ministers of treasonable deception. If you make the necessary demand at home, your party sinks; if you make it not, you sink yourself; to ask it now is too late, and to ask it before was too soon, and unless it arrive quickly will be of no use. In short, the part you have to act, cannot be acted; and I am fully persuaded that all you have to trust to is, to do the best you can with what force you have got, or little more. Though we have greatly exceeded you in point of generalship and bravery of men, yet, as a people, we have not entered into the full soul of enterprise; for I, who know England and the disposition of the people well, am confident, that it is easier for us to effect a revolution there, than you a conquest here; a few thousand men landed in England with the declared design of deposing the present king, bringing his ministers to trial, and setting up the Duke of Gloucester in his stead, would assuredly carry their point, while you are grovelling here, ignorant of the matter. As I send all my papers to England, this, like Common Sense, will find its way there; and though it may put one party on their guard, it will inform the other, and the nation in general, of our design to help them.

Thus far, sir, I have endeavored to give you a picture of present affairs: you may draw from it what conclusions you please. I wish as well to the true prosperity of England as you can, but I consider INDEPENDENCE as America’s natural right and interest, and never could see any real disservice it would be to Britain. If an English merchant receives an order, and is paid for it, it signifies nothing to him who governs the country. This is my creed of politics. If I have any where expressed myself over-warmly, ’tis from a fixed, immovable hatred I have, and ever had, to cruel men and cruel measures. I have likewise an aversion to monarchy, as being too debasing to the dignity of man; but I never troubled others with my notions till very lately, nor ever published a syllable in England in my life. What I write is pure nature, and my pen and my soul have ever gone together. My writings I have always given away, reserving only the expense of printing and paper, and sometimes not even that. I never courted either fame or interest, and my manner of life, to those who know it, will justify what I say. My study is to be useful, and if your lordship loves mankind as well as I do, you would, seeing you cannot conquer us, cast about and lend your hand towards accomplishing a peace. Our independence with God’s blessing we will maintain against all the world; but as we wish to avoid evil ourselves, we wish not to inflict it on others. I am never over-inquisitive into the secrets of the cabinet, but I have some notion that, if you neglect the present opportunity, it will not be in our power to make a separate peace with you afterwards; for whatever treaties or alliances we form, we shall most faithfully abide by; wherefore you may be deceived if you think you can make it with us at any time. A lasting independent peace is my wish, end and aim; and to accomplish that, I pray God the Americans may never be defeated, and I trust while they have good officers, and are well commanded, and willing to be commanded, that they NEVER WILL BE.

PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 13, 1777.

Founder Thomas Paine on these trying times

December 23, 1776

These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as freedom should not be highly rated. Britain, with an army to enforce her tyranny, has declared that she has a right not only to tax but to bind us in all cases whatsoever, and if being bound in that manner, is not slavery, then is there not such a thing as slavery upon earth. Even the expression is impious; for so unlimited a power can belong only to God.

Whether the independence of the continent was declared too soon, or delayed too long, I will not now enter into as an argument; my own simple opinion is, that had it been eight months earlier, it would have been much better. We did not make a proper use of last winter, neither could we, while we were in a dependent state. However, the fault, if it were one, was all our own;1 we have none to blame but ourselves. But no great deal is lost yet. All that Howe has been doing for this month past, is rather a ravage than a conquest, which the spirit of the Jerseys, a year ago, would have quickly repulsed, and which time and a little resolution will soon recover.

1 The present winter is worth an age, if rightly employed; but, if lost or neglected, the whole continent will partake of the evil; and there is no punishment that man does not deserve, be he who, or what, or where he will, that may be the means of sacrificing a season so precious and useful.

I have as little superstition in me as any man living, but my secret opinion has ever been, and still is, that God Almighty will not give up a people to military destruction, or leave them unsupportedly to perish, who have so earnestly and so repeatedly sought to avoid the calamities of war, by every decent method which wisdom could invent. Neither have I so much of the infidel in me, as to suppose that He has relinquished the government of the world, and given us up to the care of devils; and as I do not, I cannot see on what grounds the king of Britain can look up to heaven for help against us: a common murderer, a highwayman, or a house-breaker, has as good a pretense as he.

‘Tis surprising to see how rapidly a panic will sometimes run through a country. All nations and ages have been subject to them. Britain has trembled like an ague at the report of a French fleet of flat-bottomed boats; and in the fourteenth [fifteenth] century the whole English army, after ravaging the kingdom of France, was driven back like men petrified with fear; and this brave exploit was performed by a few broken forces collected and headed by a woman, Joan of Arc. Would that heaven might inspire some Jersey maid to spirit up her countrymen, and save her fair fellow sufferers from ravage and ravishment! Yet panics, in some cases, have their uses; they produce as much good as hurt. Their duration is always short; the mind soon grows through them, and acquires a firmer habit than before. But their peculiar advantage is, that they are the touchstones of sincerity and hypocrisy, and bring things and men to light, which might otherwise have lain forever undiscovered. In fact, they have the same effect on secret traitors, which an imaginary apparition would have upon a private murderer. They sift out the hidden thoughts of man, and hold them up in public to the world. Many a disguised Tory has lately shown his head, that shall penitentially solemnize with curses the day on which Howe arrived upon the Delaware.

As I was with the troops at Fort Lee, and marched with them to the edge of Pennsylvania, I am well acquainted with many circumstances, which those who live at a distance know but little or nothing of. Our situation there was exceedingly cramped, the place being a narrow neck of land between the North River and the Hackensack. Our force was inconsiderable, being not one-fourth so great as Howe could bring against us. We had no army at hand to have relieved the garrison, had we shut ourselves up and stood on our defence. Our ammunition, light artillery, and the best part of our stores, had been removed, on the apprehension that Howe would endeavor to penetrate the Jerseys, in which case Fort Lee could be of no use to us; for it must occur to every thinking man, whether in the army or not, that these kind of field forts are only for temporary purposes, and last in use no longer than the enemy directs his force against the particular object which such forts are raised to defend. Such was our situation and condition at Fort Lee on the morning of the 20th of November, when an officer arrived with information that the enemy with 200 boats had landed about seven miles above; Major General [Nathaniel] Green, who commanded the garrison, immediately ordered them under arms, and sent express to General Washington at the town of Hackensack, distant by the way of the ferry = six miles. Our first object was to secure the bridge over the Hackensack, which laid up the river between the enemy and us, about six miles from us, and three from them. General Washington arrived in about three-quarters of an hour, and marched at the head of the troops towards the bridge, which place I expected we should have a brush for; however, they did not choose to dispute it with us, and the greatest part of our troops went over the bridge, the rest over the ferry, except some which passed at a mill on a small creek, between the bridge and the ferry, and made their way through some marshy grounds up to the town of Hackensack, and there passed the river. We brought off as much baggage as the wagons could contain, the rest was lost. The simple object was to bring off the garrison, and march them on till they could be strengthened by the Jersey or Pennsylvania militia, so as to be enabled to make a stand. We staid four days at Newark, collected our out-posts with some of the Jersey militia, and marched out twice to meet the enemy, on being informed that they were advancing, though our numbers were greatly inferior to theirs. Howe, in my little opinion, committed a great error in generalship in not throwing a body of forces off from Staten Island through Amboy, by which means he might have seized all our stores at Brunswick, and intercepted our march into Pennsylvania; but if we believe the power of hell to be limited, we must likewise believe that their agents are under some providential control.

I shall not now attempt to give all the particulars of our retreat to the Delaware; suffice it for the present to say, that both officers and men, though greatly harassed and fatigued, frequently without rest, covering, or provision, the inevitable consequences of a long retreat, bore it with a manly and martial spirit. All their wishes centred in one, which was, that the country would turn out and help them to drive the enemy back. Voltaire has remarked that King William never appeared to full advantage but in difficulties and in action; the same remark may be made on General Washington, for the character fits him. There is a natural firmness in some minds which cannot be unlocked by trifles, but which, when unlocked, discovers a cabinet of fortitude; and I reckon it among those kind of public blessings, which we do not immediately see, that God hath blessed him with uninterrupted health, and given him a mind that can even flourish upon care.

I shall conclude this paper with some miscellaneous remarks on the state of our affairs; and shall begin with asking the following question, Why is it that the enemy have left the New England provinces, and made these middle ones the seat of war? The answer is easy: New England is not infested with Tories, and we are. I have been tender in raising the cry against these men, and used numberless arguments to show them their danger, but it will not do to sacrifice a world either to their folly or their baseness. The period is now arrived, in which either they or we must change our sentiments, or one or both must fall. And what is a Tory? Good God! what is he? I should not be afraid to go with a hundred Whigs against a thousand Tories, were they to attempt to get into arms. Every Tory is a coward; for servile, slavish, self-interested fear is the foundation of Toryism; and a man under such influence, though he may be cruel, never can be brave.

But, before the line of irrecoverable separation be drawn between us, let us reason the matter together: Your conduct is an invitation to the enemy, yet not one in a thousand of you has heart enough to join him. Howe is as much deceived by you as the American cause is injured by you. He expects you will all take up arms, and flock to his standard, with muskets on your shoulders. Your opinions are of no use to him, unless you support him personally, for ’tis soldiers, and not Tories, that he wants.

I once felt all that kind of anger, which a man ought to feel, against the mean principles that are held by the Tories: a noted one, who kept a tavern at Amboy, was standing at his door, with as pretty a child in his hand, about eight or nine years old, as I ever saw, and after speaking his mind as freely as he thought was prudent, finished with this unfatherly expression, “Well! give me peace in my day.” Not a man lives on the continent but fully believes that a separation must some time or other finally take place, and a generous parent should have said, “If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may have peace;” and this single reflection, well applied, is sufficient to awaken every man to duty. Not a place upon earth might be so happy as America. Her situation is remote from all the wrangling world, and she has nothing to do but to trade with them. A man can distinguish himself between temper and principle, and I am as confident, as I am that God governs the world, that America will never be happy till she gets clear of foreign dominion. Wars, without ceasing, will break out till that period arrives, and the continent must in the end be conqueror; for though the flame of liberty may sometimes cease to shine, the coal can never expire.

America did not, nor does not want force; but she wanted a proper application of that force. Wisdom is not the purchase of a day, and it is no wonder that we should err at the first setting off. From an excess of tenderness, we were unwilling to raise an army, and trusted our cause to the temporary defence of a well-meaning militia. A summer’s experience has now taught us better; yet with those troops, while they were collected, we were able to set bounds to the progress of the enemy, and, thank God! they are again assembling. I always considered militia as the best troops in the world for a sudden exertion, but they will not do for a long campaign. Howe, it is probable, will make an attempt on this city [Philadelphia]; should he fail on this side the Delaware, he is ruined. If he succeeds, our cause is not ruined. He stakes all on his side against a part on ours; admitting he succeeds, the consequence will be, that armies from both ends of the continent will march to assist their suffering friends in the middle states; for he cannot go everywhere, it is impossible. I consider Howe as the greatest enemy the Tories have; he is bringing a war into their country, which, had it not been for him and partly for themselves, they had been clear of. Should he now be expelled, I wish with all the devotion of a Christian, that the names of Whig and Tory may never more be mentioned; but should the Tories give him encouragement to come, or assistance if he come, I as sincerely wish that our next year’s arms may expel them from the continent, and the Congress appropriate their possessions to the relief of those who have suffered in well-doing. A single successful battle next year will settle the whole. America could carry on a two years’ war by the confiscation of the property of disaffected persons, and be made happy by their expulsion. Say not that this is revenge, call it rather the soft resentment of a suffering people, who, having no object in view but the good of all, have staked their own all upon a seemingly doubtful event. Yet it is folly to argue against determined hardness; eloquence may strike the ear, and the language of sorrow draw forth the tear of compassion, but nothing can reach the heart that is steeled with prejudice.

Quitting this class of men, I turn with the warm ardor of a friend to those who have nobly stood, and are yet determined to stand the matter out: I call not upon a few, but upon all: not on this state or that state, but on every state: up and help us; lay your shoulders to the wheel; better have too much force than too little, when so great an object is at stake. Let it be told to the future world, that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive, that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet and to repulse it. Say not that thousands are gone, turn out your tens of thousands; throw not the burden of the day upon Providence, but “show your faith by your works,” that God may bless you. It matters not where you live, or what rank of life you hold, the evil or the blessing will reach you all. The far and the near, the home counties and the back, the rich and the poor, will suffer or rejoice alike. The heart that feels not now is dead; the blood of his children will curse his cowardice, who shrinks back at a time when a little might have saved the whole, and made them happy. I love the man that can smile in trouble, that can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection. ‘Tis the business of little minds to shrink; but he whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves his conduct, will pursue his principles unto death. My own line of reasoning is to myself as straight and clear as a ray of light. Not all the treasures of the world, so far as I believe, could have induced me to support an offensive war, for I think it murder; but if a thief breaks into my house, burns and destroys my property, and kills or threatens to kill me, or those that are in it, and to “bind me in all cases whatsoever” to his absolute will, am I to suffer it? What signifies it to me, whether he who does it is a king or a common man; my countryman or not my countryman; whether it be done by an individual villain, or an army of them? If we reason to the root of things we shall find no difference; neither can any just cause be assigned why we should punish in the one case and pardon in the other. Let them call me rebel and welcome, I feel no concern from it; but I should suffer the misery of devils, were I to make a whore of my soul by swearing allegiance to one whose character is that of a sottish, stupid, stubborn, worthless, brutish man. I conceive likewise a horrid idea in receiving mercy from a being, who at the last day shall be shrieking to the rocks and mountains to cover him, and fleeing with terror from the orphan, the widow, and the slain of America.

There are cases which cannot be overdone by language, and this is one. There are persons, too, who see not the full extent of the evil which threatens them; they solace themselves with hopes that the enemy, if he succeed, will be merciful. It is the madness of folly, to expect mercy from those who have refused to do justice; and even mercy, where conquest is the object, is only a trick of war; the cunning of the fox is as murderous as the violence of the wolf, and we ought to guard equally against both. Howe’s first object is, partly by threats and partly by promises, to terrify or seduce the people to deliver up their arms and receive mercy. The ministry recommended the same plan to Gage, and this is what the Tories call making their peace, “a peace which passeth all understanding” indeed! A peace which would be the immediate forerunner of a worse ruin than any we have yet thought of. Ye men of Pennsylvania, do reason upon these things! Were the back counties to give up their arms, they would fall an easy prey to the Indians, who are all armed: this perhaps is what some Tories would not be sorry for. Were the home counties to deliver up their arms, they would be exposed to the resentment of the back counties who would then have it in their power to chastise their defection at pleasure. And were any one state to give up its arms, that state must be garrisoned by all Howe’s army of Britons and Hessians to preserve it from the anger of the rest. Mutual fear is the principal link in the chain of mutual love, and woe be to that state that breaks the compact. Howe is mercifully inviting you to barbarous destruction, and men must be either rogues or fools that will not see it. I dwell not upon the vapors of imagination; I bring reason to your ears, and, in language as plain as A, B, C, hold up truth to your eyes.

I thank God, that I fear not. I see no real cause for fear. I know our situation well, and can see the way out of it. While our army was collected, Howe dared not risk a battle; and it is no credit to him that he decamped from the White Plains, and waited a mean opportunity to ravage the defenseless Jerseys; but it is great credit to us, that, with a handful of men, we sustained an orderly retreat for near an hundred miles, brought off our ammunition, all our field pieces, the greatest part of our stores, and had four rivers to pass. None can say that our retreat was precipitate, for we were near three weeks in performing it, that the country might have time to come in. Twice we marched back to meet the enemy, and remained out till dark. The sign of fear was not seen in our camp, and had not some of the cowardly and disaffected inhabitants spread false alarms through the country, the Jerseys had never been ravaged. Once more we are again collected and collecting; our new army at both ends of the continent is recruiting fast, and we shall be able to open the next campaign with sixty thousand men, well armed and clothed. This is our situation, and who will may know it. By perseverance and fortitude we have the prospect of a glorious issue; by cowardice and submission, the sad choice of a variety of evils- a ravaged country- a depopulated city- habitations without safety, and slavery without hope- our homes turned into barracks and bawdy-houses for Hessians, and a future race to provide for, whose fathers we shall doubt of. Look on this picture and weep over it! and if there yet remains one thoughtless wretch who believes it not, let him suffer it unlamented.

 

October 24th History of Early America

October 24, 1590
John White, The governor of the second Roanoke Colony, returns to England after an unsuccessful search for the “lost” colonists.

October 24, 1644
William Penn was born in London, the son of Admiral Sir William Penn.

William Penn and the Quakers:
Despite high social position and an excellent education, he shocked his upper-class associates by his conversion to the beliefs of the Society of Friends, or Quakers, then a persecuted sect. He used his inherited wealth and rank to benefit and protect his fellow believers. Despite the unpopularity of his religion, he was socially acceptable in the king’s court because he was trusted by the Duke of York, later King James II. The origins of the Society of Friends lie in the intense religious ferment of 17th century England. George Fox, the son of a Leicestershire weaver, is credited with founding it in 1647, though there was no definite organization before 1668. The Society’s rejections of rituals and oaths, its opposition to war, and its simplicity of speech and dress soon attracted attention, usually hostile.

October 24, 1755
French and Indian War – First British expedition against the French held Fort Niagara ends in failure after Braddock’s defeat at Fort Duquesne; the French increased the garrison and improved the fortifications. Youngstown, New York

October 24-25,. 1775
Patriots successfully defend Hampton, Virginia, from a British naval attack.
Lord John Murray Dunmore, Virginia’s last royal governor, orders a British naval fleet of six ships to sail up the James River and into Hampton Creek to attack Patriot troops and destroy the town of Norfolk, Virginia. British Captain Matthew Squire led the six ships into Hampton Creek and began bombarding the town with artillery and cannon fire, while a second contingent of British troops sailed ashore to begin engaging the Patriots.

Expecting the Patriots and local militia to come charging and to engage in open combat, the British were surprised to come under fire from expert riflemen, who began striking down British troops at a distance. Hearing of the British attack, Virginia’s local militia leader, Colonel William Woodford, marched an additional 100 members of the militia to defend Norfolk.

With reinforcements in place, the Patriots and militia pushed the British back to their ships, where the riflemen again began picking off British troops from the decks of their vessels. Facing a humiliating defeat at the hands of an outnumbered local militia, Captain Squire ordered a full British retreat. In the unorganized and hurried withdrawal that followed, two British ships ran aground and were captured. The Patriots, meanwhile, did not suffer a single fatality.

October 24,. 1776
The Secret Committee of Congress retained the Ship Reprisal, Captain Lambert Wickes, to carry Benjamin Franklin to Nantes, France.

October 24, 1777
Note: After  American artillery at Fort Mifflin, Pennsylvania, inflicts severe damage on the British fleet as it moves up the river from Delaware Bay, on the 23rd.

Letter from George Washington to Continntal Congress
Head Quarters, October 24, 1777.

Sir: I do myself the honor of transmitting to Congress the inclosed copies of sundry letters just now received, and congratulate them most sincerely on the important intelligence which they contain.(fn.1) The damage the Enemy have sustained in their Ships, I hope will prevent their future attempts to gain the passage of the River, and the repulse of the Troops under Count Donnop and his Captivity, I flatter myself will also be attended with the most happy consequences. At the time these Actions happened, a Supply of ammunition was on the way to the Forts, and I have also ordered a further Quantity to be immediately sent. By Colo. Blaine one of the issuing Commissaries who left Red Bank, in the morning before the action, I am happily informed, that he had thrown considerable supplies of provision into both garrisons, he also adds, that he came from Jersey this morning, and that the Enemy had recrossed the Delaware and returned to Philadelphia.

I have written to Colonel Greene, that the Prisoners must be immediately sent from his Post, and Mr. Clymer, (fn.2) a Deputy under Mr. Boudinot,(fn.3) will set out to morrow morning to make a proper disposition of them.

It gives me great concern, to inform Congress, that after all my exertions we are still in a distressed situation for want of Blankets and Shoes. At this time, no inconsiderable part of our force are incapable of acting thro’ the deficiency of the latter, and I fear, without we can be relieved, it will be the case with two thirds of the Army in the course of a few days.

I am and have been waiting with the most anxious impatience, for a confirmation of Genl Burgoynes surrender. I have received no further intelligence respecting it, except vague report, than the first accounts which came to hand so long ago as Saturday morning. If Congress have had authentic advices about it, I wish to be favored with them. I have the honor etc.(fn.4)

October 24, 1791
First session of the 2nd Congress of the United States began in Philidelphia, in the 16th year of independence of said states, in session till May 8, 1792
Congress refuses to accept an antislavery petition from Quaker. Warner Mifflin

Footnotes:

1. These were from Maj. Samuel Ward and Commodore John Hazelwood. Ward stated: “On the 21st Inst. Four Battalions of Germans, amounting to about 1200 men commanded by Baron Donop Colo. Commandant landed at Cooper’s Ferry and Marched the same Evening to Haddonfield. At 3 o’Clock Yesterday Morning, they marched for this place; when the guard at Timber Creek bridge were informed of their approach, they took up that Bridge, and the Enemy filed off to the Left, and crossed at a Bridge four miles above. Their Advanced Parties were discovered within a quarter of a mile of the fort at 12 o’clock; At half after 4 o’Clock P.M. They sent a flag to summons the Fort, who was told, that it should never be surrendered. At three quarters after four, they began a Brisk Canonade, and soon after advanced in two Columns to the Attack. They passed the Abattis, gained the ditch, and some few got over the Pickets, but the fire was so heavy, that they soon were drove out again with considerable loss, and retreated precipitately towards Haddonfield, The Enemy’s loss amounts to 1 Lieut. Col., 3 Capts., 4 Lieuts., and near 70 killed and. the Baron Donop, his Brigade Major, a Captain-Lieutenant and upwards of 70 nonCommissioned Officers and Privates wounded and taken Prisoners. We are also informed, that several waggons are taken. The Colo. proposes to send the wounded Officers to Burlington. He also enjoins me to tell your Excellency, that both Officers and Privates behaved with the greatest Bravery. The Action Lasted 40 minutes.” The Hessians confessed to a loss of 402 killed and wounded, of whom 26 were officers. The American loss was 14 killed, 23 wounded, and 1 captain, who was reconnoitering, taken prisoner. Donop died of his wounds three days after the action. The naval part of the action was described by Commodore Hazelwood in a more complete report of October 26: “While the Fort at Red Bank was attacked, the Augusta of 64 Guns, the Roebuck of 44, Two Frigates, the Merlin of 18, and a Galley, came up through the lower Chevaux de Frieze, which were attack’d by the floating Batterys and some of the Galleys, while the rest of the Galleys was flanking the enemy, that were attacking the Fort where the Galleys did much execution. As soon as the enemy was repuls’d at the Fort, the Ships finding so hot a fire, endeavour’d to fall down, but the Augusta and Merlin ran aground. Early next morning the Galleys and floating Batteries attacked them, when an incessant fire was kept up. About 11 o’Clock I believe one of our Shot set the Augusta on fire, and at 12 she blew up, being aground. The engagement continued with the other Ships, and at 3 in the afternoon, the Merlin we think also took fire and blew up, then the firing ceased on both sides. The Roebuck dropped down to the lower Chevaux de Frieze and went thro’. Yesterday I went down to the Wrecks, and found that the Guns of both ships may be got out, if the enemy’s Ships can be kept at a proper distance. We brought off two 24 Pounders, and as soon as possible shall endeavour for the rest.” Commoodore Hazelwood complained of his lack of men. “The fleet is now so poorly Mann’d,” he wrote, “and the constant cry from Fort Mifflin is to guard that Post, that I know not how to act without more assistance.” There had been numerous desertions from the fleet. Lieutenant Colonel Smith had written (October 2): “So general a discontent and panic runs through that part of the fleet, that neither Officer nor men can be confided in, they conceive the River is lost, if the enemy gets possession of Billingsport nothing can convince them of the contrary and I am persuaded as soon as that fort is taken that almost all the fleet will desert, indeed from their disposition I am induced to believe they will openly avow themselves and desert Officers with their Crew (which has been the case with two) perhaps with their Gallies.” These letters, dated Oct. 22, 1777, are in the Washington Papers in the Library of Congress.

2. Daniel Clymer. Deputy Commissary General of Prisoners.

3. Elias Boudinot. He was Commissary General of Prisoners of the Continental Army; resigned in May, 1778; later a Delegate to Congress from New Jersey and President of Congress.

4. In the writing of Richard Kidder Meade. It was read in Congress on October :27 and referred to the Committee of Intelligence.

October 23rd History of Early America

October 23, 4004 BC.
According to 17th century divine James Ussher, Archbishop of Armagh, and Dr. John Lightfoot of Cambridge, the world was created on this day, a Sunday, at 9 a.m.

October 23, 1641
Outbreak of the Irish Rebellion of 1641.
Catholics, under Phelim O’Neil, rise against the Protestants and massacred men, women and children to the number of 40,000 (some say 100,000).

October 23, 1642
Battle of Edgehill: First major battle of the First English Civil War.

October 23, 1694
British/American colonial forces, led by Sir William Phipps, fail to seize Quebec from the French.

October 23, 1707
The first Parliament of Great Britain meets.

October 23, 1739
War of Jenkins’ Ear starts: British Prime Minister, Robert Walpole, reluctantly declares war on Spain.

October 23. 1775
The Congressional Committee meeting with Washington agrees to accept the Penobscot, Stockbridge, and St. John’s Indian tribes offers of assistance, allowing them to be employed in the Army if necessary. The committee decides, however, to exclude African Americans.

October 23. 1776
Washington moved his headquarters from Harlem Heights to White Plains.

October 23. 1776
The Maryland Convention reported that inhabitants of Caroline County had marched into Dorchester County and in a “violent manner” taken and carried away salt from the local inhabitants.

October 23, 1777
American artillery at Fort Mifflin, Pennsylvania, inflicts severe damage on the British fleet as it moves up the river from Delaware Bay.

October 23, 1783
Virginia emancipates slaves who fought for independence during the Revolutionary War.

I’ll have to details later

October 22nd Colonial and American Revolutionary War History

October 22. 1746
The College of New Jersey was officially chartered. It later became known as Princeton University.

October 22. 1775
Former president of the Continental Congress, Peyton Randolph of Virginia, dies in Philadelphia.

October 22. 1776
Congress elected Arthur Lee of London as Commissioner to France. “Mr. (Thomas) Jefferson having informed Congress that the state of his family will not permit him to accept the honour of going as their Commissioner to France.” Benjamin Franklin was the second Commissioner chosen.

Short bio: Arthur Lee, born in Virginia in 1740. educated at Eton College and University of Edinburgh, studied law at the Temple in London, and practiced law in London, 1770-6, sent by Congress on several diplomatic missions in Europe during the Revolution, member of Congress, 1782-4, member of the Board of the Treasury, 1784-9, died in Virginia, 1792.

October 22, 1777
An American garrison at Fort Mercer, New Jersey, repels an attack by Hessian troops, at the Battle of Red Bank

October 22, 1777
After failing to receive requested reinforcements, General Howe asks that he be relieved of command. The British Government refused to send him any.

General William Howe in the American Revolution:

Stating that “he was ordered, and could not refuse,” Howe sailed for Boston with Major Generals Henry Clinton and John Burgoyne. Arriving May 15, Howe brought reinforcements for General Thomas Gage. Under siege in the city, the British were forced to take action when American forces fortified Breed’s Hill on the Charlestown Peninsula overlooking the city. While Clinton favored an amphibious attack to cut off the American line of retreat, Howe advocated a more conventional frontal attack. Taking the conservative route, Gage ordered Howe to move forward on June 17.

In the resulting Battle of Bunker Hill, Howe’s men succeeded in driving off the Americans but sustained over 1,000 casualties in capturing their works. Though a victory, the battle deeply influenced Howe and crushed his initial belief that the rebels represented only a small part of the American people. A dashing, daring commander earlier in his career, the high losses at Bunker Hill made Howe more conservative and less inclined to attack strong enemy positions. Knighted that year, Howe was temporarily appointed commander-in-chief on October 10 (it was made permanent in April 1776) when Gage returned to England.

Howe’s Inability to Crush the Rebellion:

Forced out of Boston on March 17, 1776, after General George Washington emplaced guns on Dorchester Heights, Howe withdrew with the army to Halifax, Nova Scotia. There, a new campaign was planned with the goal of taking New York. Landing on Staten Island on July 2, Howe’s army soon swelled to over 30,000 men. Crossing to Gravesend Bay, Howe flanked and defeated Washington at the Battle of Long Island on August 26/27. Falling back to fortifications at Brooklyn Heights, the Americans awaited a British assault. Based on his earlier experiences, Howe was reluctant to attack and began siege operations.

This hesitation allowed Washington’s army to escape to Manhattan. He was soon joined by his brother who had orders to act as a peace commissioner. Though the Howes met with American leaders, they were only permitted to extend pardons to those rebels who submitted. Their offer refused, they began active operations against New York City. Landing on Manhattan on September 15, Howe ultimately forced Washington from the island and later drove him from a defensive position at the Battle of White Plains. Rather than pursue Washington’s beaten army, Howe returned to New York to secure Forts Washington and Lee.

Again showing an unwillingness to eliminate Washington’s army, Howe soon moved into winter quarters around New York and only dispatched a small force under Major General Lord Charles Cornwallis to create a “safe zone” in northern New Jersey. Recovering in Pennsylvania, Washington was able to win victories at Trenton and Princeton in December and January. As a result, Howe pulled back many of his outposts. While Washington continued small-scale operations during the winter, Howe was content to remain in New York enjoying a full social calendar.

In the spring of 1777, Burgoyne proposed a plan for defeating the Americans which called for him to lead an army south through Lake Champlain to Albany while a second column advanced east from Lake Ontario. These advances were to be supported by an advance north from New York by Howe. While this plan was approved by Colonial Secretary Lord George Germain, Howe’s role was never clearly defined nor was he issued orders from London to aid Burgoyne. As a result, though Burgoyne moved forward, Howe launched his own campaign to capture the American capital at Philadelphia. Left on his own, Burgoyne was defeated in the critical Battle of Saratoga

Sailing south from New York, Howe moved up the Chesapeake Bay and landed at Head of Elk on August 25, 1777. Moving north, Howe defeated Washington at the Battle of Brandywine on September 11. Outmaneuvering the Americans, Howe captured the city without a fight eleven days later. Concerned about Washington’s army, Howe left a small garrison in the city and moved northwest. On October 4, he won a near-run victory at the Battle of Germantown. In the wake of the defeat, Washington retreated into winter quarters at Valley Forge.

Under severe criticism in England for failing to crush the Americans and feeling he had lost the king’s confidence, Howe requested to be relieved on October 22. After attempting to lure Washington into battle late that fall, Howe and the army entered winter quarters in Philadelphia. Again enjoying a lively social scene, Howe received word that his resignation had been accepted on April 14, 1778. After an extravagant festival in his honor on May 18, Howe turned command over to Clinton and departed.
Howe in Later Life

Arriving in England, he entered into the debate over the conduct of the war and published a defense of his actions. Made a privy counselor and Lieutenant General of the Ordnance in 1782, Howe remained in active service. With the outbreak of the French Revolution he served in a variety of senior commands in England. Made a full general in 1793, he died on July 12, 1814, after a prolonged illness, while serving as governor of Plymouth. An adept battlefield commander, Howe was beloved by his men but received little credit for his victories in America. Slow and indolent by nature, his greatest failure was an inability to follow up on his successes.

October 22, 1779
The New York Act of Attainder or Confiscation Act
The New York legislature declares Governor Lord John Murray Dunmore, General Wiliam Tryon, Oliver De Lancey, along with 57 others, to be public enemies. As a result of this act, these individuals have their personal estates confiscated.

October 22, 1836
Sam Houston was inaugurated as the first constitutionally elected president of the Republic of Texas.

October 22, 1844
This day is recognized as “The Great Disappointment” among those who practiced Millerism. The world was expected to come to an end according to the followers of William Miller.

October 20th Colonial and American Revolutionary War History

October 20, 1774
The new Continental Congress, the governing body of America’s colonies, passed an order proclaiming that all citizens of the colonies “discountenance and discourage all horse racing and all kinds of gaming, cock fighting, exhibitions of shows, plays and other expensive diversions and entertainment.”

October 20, 1775
The committee meeting with Washington about the Army agrees that the forces should be supplied with provisions by the New England colonies. Washington is given the authority to impress wagons, vessels, horses, and other necessary items.

October 20, 1776
The William Morris & Co. wrote this day that the American coast was quite clear (of British ships) “so that the spirits of enterprize has seized most People and they are making or trying to make Fortunes.”

October 20, 1776
Rev. William McKay gave a sermon at Fort Ticonderoga in which he begged them not to be be weak and afraid, but to “do yourselves honor by using the weapons of your warfare with that heroism, firmness, and magnanimity which the cause requires.”

October 20-30 1781
Combined British, Loyalist, and Indian Raid Launched in the Mohawk Valley, New York. This force, led by Major John Ross, is nipped in the bud by a combination of lack of Indian interest, muddy roads, and the possibility of encountering Patriot militia commanded by Colonel Marinus Willett. This is the last attempted British offensive in Tryon County.

October 20, 1782
Battle of Cape Spartel (Morocco)
Spain’s primary objective upon entering the American Revolution was to regain Gibraltar from the British. The 46 ship-of–the-line Franco-Spanish squadron commanded by Admiral Cordoba vastly outnumbers the 35 ships-of-the line belonging to Admiral Sir Richard Howe. In the four-hour engagement, each side incurs over 600 casualties. However, the British retain possession of Gibraltar and manage to maintain control of the vital supply routes leading to the island.

October 20, 1783
Congress votes to build a second “federal town” on the banks of the Potomac River, with plans to alternate sessions between there and Philadelphia.

October 14th Colonial and American Revolutionary War History

Born October 14 1644 William Penn, English Quaker leader and founder of Pennsylvania.

October 14, 1656
Massachusetts enacts the first punitive legislation against the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers).

Quakers believed that you could receive personal revelations from the Lord thru the Holy Spirit, the Puritans in Mass. believed them to be heretics. The Quakers emphasized the direct revelation of Christ to the individual’s soul and minimized an ordained ministry and the traditional forms of worship in the church. Many Puritans objected to the Quakers’ belief in an inner revelation separate from the Word of God. We recognize this today as a personal relationship with Jesus, which in my opinion we all need to have. Quakers were frequently asked to leave Massachusetts. The group had been founded in the 1640s by the Englishman George Fox. After finding no peace for his soul in the churches of his day, Fox had begun to give up all hope when he had the experience of a voice speaking to him. He believed that this inner voice was the voice of God,

Because of the arrival of more and more Quakers The Federal Commissioners who were in session at Boston, Massachusetts under the presidency of Endicott. Their last proceeding before they parted was to pass the following vote: “Whereas there is an accursed and pernicious sect of heretics lately risen up in the world who are commonly called Quakers, who take upon them to be immediately sent of God and infallibly assisted; who do speak and write blasphemous things, despising government and the order of God in church and commonwealth, speaking evil of dignities, reproaching and reviling magistrates and the ministers of the Gospel, seeking to turn the people from the faith, and to gain proselytes to their pernicious ways; — and whereas the several jurisdictions have made divers laws to prohibit and restrain the aforesaid cursed heretics from coming amongst them, yet notwithstanding they are not deterred thereby, but arrogantly and presumptuously do press into several of the jurisdictions, and there vent their pernicious and devilish opinions, which being permitted tends manifestly to the disturbance of our peace, the withdrawing of the hearts of the people from their subjection to government, and so in issue to cause division and ruin, if not timely prevented; — it is therefore propounded and seriously commended to the several General Courts, upon the considerations aforesaid, to make a law that all such Quakers formerly convicted and punished as such, shall (if they return again) be imprisoned, and forthwith banished or expelled out of the said jurisdiction, under pain of death; and if afterwards they presume to come again into that jurisdiction, then to be put to death as presumptuously incorrigible, unless they shall plainly and publicly renounce their cursed opinions; and for such Quakers as shall come into any jurisdiction from any foreign parts, or such as shall arise within the same, after due conviction that either he or she is of that cursed sect of heretics, they be banished under pain of severe corporal punishment; and if they return again, then to be punished accordingly, and banished under pain of death; and if afterwards they shall yet presume to come again, then to be put to death as aforesaid, except they do then and there plainly and publicly renounce their said cursed opinions and devilish tenets.”

Massachusetts, alone of the four Colonies, carried this advice into full effect. The General Court of that Colony, which met three weeks after the adjournment of the Commissioners, received a memorial from twenty-five leading citizens of Boston, urging the necessity of more efficient measures of protection against the Quakers. “Their incorrigibleness,” say the petitioners, “after so much means used both for their conviction and preserving this place from contagion, is such as, by reason of their malignant obdurities, daily increaseth rather than abateth our fear of the spirit of Muncer or of John of Leyden renewed, and consequently of some destructive evil impending.” And they formally present the question, whether “it be not necessary, after the example of other Christian commonwealths infested with pests not more perilous than these are, and the common and universally approved argument of se defendendo, upon the sad experience that the remedy hitherto applied is not only not effectual, but contemned and abused with the highest hand, if, after the sentence of banishment added thereunto, they shall still presumptuously obtrude themselves upon this jurisdiction, whether we say, it be not necessary to punish so high incorrigibleness in such and so many capital evils with death.” The provision which threatened with death persons returning after being banished, was no novelty in Massachusetts legislation. It had been resorted to over and over again, through a course of years, and had never once failed of its intended effect in inducing the banished persons to stay away, and to confine themselves, at least, to such annoyance as they could inflict from a distance.

In July, 1656, the ship Swallow anchored in Boston harbor with two Quaker women from Barbados on board. The two women, Mary Fisher and Ann Austin, had come to Boston to share their Quaker faith. When they landed, however, they were kept on board the ship while their belongings were searched and over 100 books were confiscated. They were then hurried off to jail where they were stripped of their clothing and inspected for signs of witchcraft. Five weeks later, the captain of the Swallow was placed under £100 bond to take the women back to Barbados. But two days later, another ship with eight more Quakers came to dock! These Quakers were imprisoned for eleven weeks before they were shipped back to England. They were able to convert one man to their Quaker faith, Nicholas Upsall, but he fled to Rhode Island to avoid punishment. Notwithstanding these laws, the Quakers continued to come, and at last the situation improved, although it was not until 1724 that their appeals to the Royal Privy Council in England were sustained. A few years later laws were enacted in their favor. The Quakers also came against slavery protesting against the “traffic in the bodies of men,” and considered the question of the “lawfulness and unlawfulness of buying and keeping negroes.” The question continued to be agitated, and in 1758 the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting directed a “visitation” of all who held slaves, and decided that all who should ” be concerned in importing, selling, or purchasing slaves” should be forbidden to sit in meetings held for deciding matters of discipline. In 1776 slaveholders were to be “disowned” if they refused to manumit their slaves, and by 1787 personal ownership of slaves by acknowledged members of the society had ceased.

October 14, 1773
Just before the beginning of the American Revolutionary War, several of the British East India Company’s tea ships are set ablaze at the old seaport of Annapolis, Maryland to protest the tax rebate the British East India Company received when delivering tea. The tax exemption gave the company a strong competitive edge over its American colonial competitor companies. The protest was a precursor to the Boston Tea Party and the beginning of the American Revolutionary War.

October 14, 1774
Declaration and Resolves on Colonial rights of the First Continental Congress.

Following the Boston Tea Party and the adoption of the Intolerable Acts, the first Continental Congress (fn.1) met in Carpenter’s Hall in Philadelphia, from September 5, to October 26, 1774. Carpenter’s Hall was also the seat of the Pennsylvania Congress. All of the colonies except Georgia sent delegates. These were elected by the people, by the colonial legislatures, or by the committees of correspondence of the respective colonies. The colonies presented there were united in a determination to show a combined authority to Great Britain, but their aims were not uniform at all. Pennsylvania and New York sent delegates with firm instructions to seek a resolution with England. The other colonies voices were defensive of colonial rights, but pretty evenly divided between those who sought legislative parity, and the more radical members who were prepared for separation. Virginia’s delegation was made up of a most even mix of these and not incidentally, presented the most eminent group of men in America. Colo. George Washington, Richard Henry Lee, Patrick Henry, Edmund Pendleton, Colo. Benjamin Harrison, Richard Bland, and at the head of them Peyton Randolph — who would immediately be elected president of the convention.

The objectives of the body were not entirely clear but, with such leadership as was found there, a core set of tasks was carried out. It was agreeable to all that the King and Parliament must be made to understand the grievances of the colonies and that the body must do everything possible to communicate the same to the population of America, and to the rest of the world.

The first few weeks were consumed in discussion and debate. The colonies had always, up to this time, acted as independent entities. There was much distrust to overcome. The first matter to be considered by all was A Plan of Union of Great Britain and the Colonies, offered by Joseph Galloway of Pennsylvania. The plan was considered very attractive to most of the members, as it proposed a popularly elected Grand Council which would represent the interests of the colonies as a whole, and would be a continental equivalent to the English Parliament. Poised against this would be a President General, appointed by the crown, to represent the authority of the king in America. Conflict in Boston overcame the effort at conciliation. The arrival of the Suffolk County (Boston) resolves just prior to the vote on the Plan of Union, caused it to be discarded by a narrow margin.

On October 14, the Declaration and Resolves established the course of the congress, as a statement of principles common to all of the colonies. Congress voted to meet again the following year if these grievances were not attended to by England.

Several days later, on the 20th, came The Association, which was patterned after the Virginia Association and others that followed. This was a pact for nonimportation of English goods, to establish mechanisms throughout the colonies to enforce and regulate the resistance to Great Britain, and to keep the channels of communication open. It was to become effective on December 1, 1774 unless parliament should rescind the Intolerable Acts, by the end of 1774

Joseph Galloway (173l -1803), a Philadelphia merchant and lawyer, led a Loyalist attempt to unite the colonies within the Empire. He had served as speaker of the Pennsylvania Assembly from 1776 to 1774. In the war Galloway supported the British cause and after 1778 became spokesman for the Loyalists in England. In the First Continental Congress the Patriot delegates thrust aside Galloway’s proposal and on October 14 adopted instead, by unanimous action, the Declaration of Colonial Rights reproduced here. The first draft of these resolutions was written by Major John Sullivan (1740-95 ), delegate from New Hampshire, lawyer, major of the New Hampshire militia, major general in the Continental Army, judge, and eventually governor of his state.

Before they dissolved, on October 26, the members voted to meet again in the same city on May 10, 1775, “unless the redress of grievances … be obtained before that time”

Sullivan’s draft:

Whereas, since the close of the last war, the British Parliament, claiming a power of right to bind the people of America, by statute in all cases whatsoever, hath in some acts expressly imposed taxes on them, and in others, under various pretenses, but in fact for the purpose of raising a revenue, hath imposed rates and duties payable in these colonies, established a board of commissioners, with unconstitutional powers, and extended the jurisdiction of courts of admiralty, not only for collecting the said duties, but for the trial of causes merely arising within the body of a county.

And whereas, in consequence of other statutes, judges, who before held only estates at will in their offices, have been made dependent upon the crown alone for their salaries, and standing armies kept in times of peace:

And it has lately been resolved in Parliament, that by force of a statute, made in the thirty-fifth year of the reign of King Henry the Eighth, colonists may be transported to England, and tried there upon accusations for treasons, and misprisions, or concealments of treasons committed in the colonies; and by a late statute, such trials have been directed in cases therein mentioned.

And whereas, in the last session of Parliament, three statutes were made; one, entitled “An act to discontinue, in such manner and for such time as are therein mentioned, the landing and discharging, lading, or shipping of goods, wares and merchandise, at the town, and within the harbor of Boston, in the province of Massachusetts Bay, in North America”; another, entitled “An act for the better regulating the government of the province of the Massachusetts Bay in New England”; and another, entitled “An act for the impartial administration of justice, in the cases of persons questioned for any act done by them in the execution of the law, or for the suppression of riots and tumults, in the province of the Massachusetts Bay, in New England.” And another statute was then made, “for making more effectual provision for the government of the province of Quebec, etc.” All which statutes are impolitic, unjust, and cruel, as well as unconstitutional, and most dangerous and destructive of American rights.

And whereas, assemblies have been frequently dissolved, contrary to the rights of the people, when they attempted to deliberate on grievances; and their dutiful, humble, loyal, and reasonable petitions to the crown for redress have been repeatedly treated with contempt by His Majesty’s ministers of state:

The good people of the several colonies of New Hampshire, Massachusetts Bay, Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Newcastle, Kent and Sussex on Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina, justly alarmed at these arbitrary proceedings of Parliament and administration, have severally elected, constituted, and appointed deputies to meet and sit in General Congress, in the city of Philadelphia, in order to obtain such establishment, as that their religion, laws, and liberties may not be subverted:

Whereupon the deputies so appointed being now assembled, in a full and free representation of these colonies, taking into their most serious consideration, the best means of attaining the ends aforesaid, do, in the first place, as Englishmen, their ancestors in like cases have usually done, for asserting and vindicating their rights and liberties, declare,

That the inhabitants of the English Colonies in North America, by the immutable laws of nature, the principles of the English constitution, and the several charters or compacts, have the following rights:

[Note: N.C.D means nemine contradicente, meaning without a dissenting vote or unanimously Commenting on these proceedings before a committee of the British House of Commons, in June, 1779, Galloway stated that, although the resolutions were recorded as having been passed unanimously, this meant not that they were approved by every member present but by a majority of each delegation (The Examination of Joseph Galloway … before the House of Commons … , 2d ed.; London, 1780, p. 61)]

Resolved, N.C.D. 1. That they are entitled to life, liberty, and property, and they have never ceded to any sovereign power whatever, a right to dispose of either without their consent.

Resolved, N.C.D. 2. That our ancestors, who first settled these colonies, were, at the time of their emigration from the mother-country, entitled to all the rights, liberties, and immunities of free and natural-born subjects, within the realm of England.

Resolved, N.C.D. 3. That by such emigration they by no means forfeited, surrendered, or lost any of those rights, but that they were, and their descendants now are, entitled to the exercise and en joyment of all such of them, as their local and other circumstances enable them to exercise and enjoy.

Resolved, 4. That the foundation of English liberty, and of all free government, is a right in the people to participate in their legislative council: and as the English colonists are not represented, and from their local and other circumstances, cannot properly be represented in the British Parliament, they are entitled to a free and exclusive power of legislation in their several provincial legislatures, where their right of representation can alone be preserved, in all cases of taxation and internal polity, subject only to the negative of their sovereign, in such manner as has been heretofore used and accustomed. But, from the necessity of the case, and a regard to the mutual interest of both countries, we cheerfully consent to the operation of such acts of the British Parliament, as are bona fide, restrained to the regulation of our external commerce, for the purpose of securing the commercial advantages of the whole empire to the mother-country, and the commercial benefits of its respective members; excluding every idea of taxation, internal or external, for raising a revenue on the subjects in America, without their consent.

Resolved, N.C.D. 5. That the respective colonies are entitled to the common law of England, and more especially to the great and inestimable privilege of being tried by their peers of the vicinage, according to the course of that law.

Resolved, 6. That they are entitled to the benefit of such of the English statutes as existed at the time of their colonization; and which they have, by experience, respectively found to be applicable to their several local and other circumstances.

Resolved, N.C.D. 7. That these His Majesty’s colonies, are likewise entitled to all the immunities and privileges granted and confirmed to them by royal charters, or secured by their several codes of provincial laws.

Resolved, N.C.D. 8. That they have a right peaceably to assemble, consider of their grievances, and petition the king; and that all prosecutions, prohibitory proclamations, and commitments for the same are illegal.

Resolved, N.C.D. 9. That the keeping a standing army in these colonies, in times of peace, without the consent of the legislature of that colony, in which such army is kept, is against law.

Resolved, N.C.D. 10. It is indispensably necessary to good government, and rendered essential by the English constitution, that the constituent branches of the legislature be independent of each other; that, therefore, the exercise of the legislative power in several colonies, by a council appointed, during pleasure, by the crown, is unconstitutional, dangerous, and destructive to the freedom of American legislation.

All and each of which the aforesaid deputies, in behalf of themselves and their constituents, do claim, demand, and insist on, as their indubitable rights and liberties; which cannot be legally taken from them, altered or abridged by any power whatever, without their own consent, by their representatives in their several provincial legislatures.

In the course of our inquiry, we find many infringements and violations of the foregoing rights, which, from an ardent desire, that harmony and mutual intercourse of affection and interest may be restored, we pass over for the present, and proceed to state such acts and measures as have been adopted since the last war, which demonstrate a system formed to enslave America.

Resolved, N.C.D. That the following acts of Parliament are infringements and violations of the rights of the colonists; and that the repeal of them is essentially necessary in order to restore harmony between Great Britain and the American colonies, viz.:

The several acts of 4 Geo. 3, ch. 15, and ch. 34. — 5 Geo. 3, ch. 25. — 6 Geo. 3, ch. 52. — 7 Geo. 3, ch. 41, and ch. 46. — 8 Geo. 3, ch. 22, which impose duties for the purpose of raising a revenue in America, extend the powers of the admiralty courts beyond their ancient limits, deprive the American subject of trial by jury, authorize the judges’ certificate to indemnify the prosecutor from damages, that he might otherwise be liable to, requiring oppressive security from a claimant of ships and goods seized, before he shall be allowed to defend his property, and are subversive of American rights.

Also the 12 Geo. 3, ch. 24, entitled “An act for the better securing His Majesty’s dockyards, magazines, ships, ammunition, and stores,” which declares a new offense in America, and deprives the American subject of a constitutional trial by a jury of the vicinage, by authorizing the trial of any person, charged with the committing any offense described in the said act, out of the realm, to be indicted and tried for the same in any shire or county within the realm.

Also the three acts passed in the last session of Parliament, for stopping the port and blocking up the harbor of Boston, for altering the charter and government of the Massachusetts Bay, and that which is entitled “An act for the better administration of justice,” etc.

Also the act passed in the same session for establishing the Roman Catholic religion in the Province of Quebec, abolishing the equitable system of English laws, and erecting a tyranny there, to the great danger, from so total a dissimilarity of religion, law, and government of the neighboring British colonies, by the assistance of whose blood and treasure the said country was conquered from France.

Also the act passed in the same session for the better providing suitable quarters for officers and soldiers in His Majesty’s service in North America.

Also, that the keeping a standing army in several of these colonies, in time of peace, without the consent of the legislature of that colony in which such army is kept, is against law.

To these grievous acts and measures, Americans cannot submit, but in hopes that their fellow-subjects in Great Britain will, on a revision of them, restore us to that state in which both countries found happiness and prosperity, we have for the present only resolved to pursue the following peaceable measures:

Resolved, unanimously, That from and after the first day of December next, there be no importation into British America, from Great Britain or Ireland of any goods, wares or merchandise whatsoever, or from any other place of any such goods, wares or merchandise.

1st. To enter into a nonimportation, nonconsumption, and nonexportation agreement or association.

2. To prepare an address to the people of Great Britain, and a memorial to the inhabitants of British America, and

3. To prepare a loyal address to His Majesty; agreeable to resolutions already entered into.

October 14, 1775
In London, Secretary of State Lord Suffolk receives intelligence that the colony of Pennsylvania is preparing an armed fleet and floating batteries to prevent the passage of the King’s ships through the Delaware River. He recommends that the Admiralty dispatch vessels to destroy the floating batteries.

Early in 1775 a permanent lookout scout was stationed at Lewes, and pilots were warned not to bring any British armed vessel up the bay. The river below Philadelphia was obstructed after September 9th with the chevaux-de-frise, about forty vessels being allowed to pass out before the last day of grace. A narrow, intricate channel only was left, the secret of which lay with two trusty pilots, who were in the pay of Pennsylvania, and whose duty it was to bring up vessels with stores and ammunition, privateers and other authorized crafts. The buoys had all been removed from the Delaware, and pilots were ordered to lay up their boats except when on special service. To prevent the enemy from coming up, fire-rafts were built and a floating battery was constructed at Philadelphia.

October 14, 1776
Congress dispatched 500,000 dollars to New York to pay a bounty to all soldiers would would reenlist.

October 14, 1776
Salem, NC: The Moravain diary recorded, “Tomorrow is the Election of Delegates to the next Congress. Since last February we gave the commission a written declaration that we did not meddle in political affairs we have decided to abide by it.”

Footnotes:

1. Delegates to the first Continental Congress:

New Hampshire:     John Sullivan, Nathaniel Folsom

Massachusetts Bay:    John Adams, Samuel Adams, Thomas Cushing, Robert Treat Paine

Rhode Island:    Stephen Hopkins, Samuel Ward

Connecticut:    Eliphalet Dyer, Roger Sherman, Silas Deane

New York:    Isaac Low, John Alsop, John Jay, Philip Livingston, James Duane, William Floyd, Henry Wisner, Simon Boerum

New Jersey:    James Kinsey, William Livingston, Stephen Crane, Richard Smith, John De Hart

Pennsylvania:    Joseph Galloway, John Dickinson, Charles Humphreys, Thomas Miffin, Edward Biddle, John Morton, George Ross

Delaware:    Caesar Rodney, Thomas McKean, George Read

Maryland:    Matthew Tilghman, Thomas Johnson, William Paca, Samuel Chase, Robert Goldsborough

Virginia:    Peyton Randolph, Richard Henry Lee, George Washington, Patrick Henry, Richard Bland, Benjamin Harrison, Edmund Pendleton

North Carolina:    William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, Richard Caswell

South Carolina:    Henry Middleton, Thomas Lynch, Jr., Christopher Gadsden, John Rutledge, Edward Rutledge

October 12th Colonial & American Revolutionary War History

October 12. 1492
Christopher Columbus, an Italian explorer, sighted Watling Island in the Bahamas. He believed that he had found Asia while attempting to find a Western ocean route to India. The same day he claimed the land for Isabella and Ferdinand of Spain.

October 12. 1692
The Salem witch trials are ended by a letter from Massachusetts Governor William Phips.

October 12. 1773
America’s first insane asylum opens for ‘Persons of Insane and Disordered Minds’ in Virginia.

October 12. 1775
The Irish Parliament finalizes an address to King George III, pledging their “unfeigned zeal and unshaken loyalty” for the King and the British government.

October 12. 1776
Thomas Jefferson: “obtained leave to bring in a bill declaring tenants in tail to hold their lands in fee simple.” He won the battle to repeal the laws of entail which allowed transfer of land to an heir of body, not wives or adopted child and led to large land holding interests. He wrote “The repeal of the laws of entail would prevent the accumulation and perpetuation of wealth, in select families, and preserve the soil of the country from being daily more and more absorbed in mortmain. The abolition of primogeniture, and equal partition of inheritances, removed the feudal and unnatural distinctions which made one member of every family rich, and all the rest poor, substituting equal partition, the best of all Agrarian laws.”

October 12. 1776
British General Henry Clinton led a force of 4000 men up the East River at Throg’s Neck. Washington sent a force, not to oppose but to remove the bridge that connected the neck with the mainland.

Details:
General Howe, on the 12th, leaving Percy in command before Harlem Heights, moved the greater part of his army nine miles up the East River to Throg’s Neck, a peninsula in the Sound, separated from the mainland by a narrow creek and a marsh that was overflowed at high tide. By landing here suddenly, Howe hoped to get in Washington’s rear and cut him off from his base of supply in Connecticut. But Washington had foreseen the move and forestalled it. When Howe arrived a Throg’s Neck, he found the bridge over the creek destroyed, and the main shore occupied by a force which it would be dangerous to try to dislodge by wading across the marsh. While Howe was thus detained six days on the peninsula, Washington moved his base to White Plains, and concentrated his whole army at that point, abandoning everything on Manhattan Island except Fort Washington. Sullivan, Stirling, and Morgan, who had just been exchanged, now rejoined the army, and Lee also arrived from South Carolina.

By this movement to White Plains, Washington had foiled Howe’s attempt to get in his rear, and the British general decided to try the effect of an attack in front. On the 28th of October he succeeded in storming an outpost at Chatterton Hill, losing 229 lives, while the Americans lost 140. But this affair, which is sometimes known as the battle of white Plains, seems to have discouraged Howe. Before renewing the attack he waited three days, thinking perhaps of Bunker Hill; and on the last night of October, Washington fell back upon North Castle, where he took a position so strong that it was useless to think of assailing him. Howe then changed his plans entirely, and moved down the east bank of the Hudson to Dobb’s Ferry, whence he could either attack Fort Washington, or cross into New Jersey and advance upon Philadelphia, the “rebel capital.” The purpose of this change was to entice Washington from his unassailable position.

October 12, 1792
First celebration of Columbus Day in the USA held in New York.

October 12, 1792
The first monument honoring Christopher Columbus was dedicated in Baltimore, Maryland.

October 12, 1793
The cornerstone of Old East, the oldest state university building in the United States, is laid on the campus of the University of North Carolina

October 12, 1892
The Pledge of Allegiance is first recited by students in many US public schools, as part of a celebration marking the 400th anniversary of Columbus’s voyage.

October 11th Colonial and American Revolutionary War History

Oct 11, 1614; Adriaen Block and 12 Amsterdam merchants petition the States General for exclusive trading rights in the New Netherland colony.

Oct 11, 1649; Sack of Wexford: After a ten-day siege, English New Model Army troops (under Oliver Cromwell) stormed the town of Wexford, killing over 2,000 Irish Confederate troops and 1,500 civilians. Added because it is also important to understand what was happening in Great Britain at the time when our ancestors started coming here in geater and greater numbers.

Oct 11, 1727; George II and Caroline of Ansbach are crowned King and Queen of Great Britain. Also added because of the importance to Colonial America history.

Oct 11, 1759; Parson Mason Weems was born. He is remembered for his fictitious stories that he presented as fact. He was responsible for the story about George Washington cutting down his father’s cherry tree.

Oct 11, 1775; John Hancock writes to General Philip Schuyler expressing Congress’s hope that his endeavors in Canada result in convincing the Canadians to join in the union with the Colonies, form a Provincial Convention, and send delegates to the Continental Congress.

Oct 11, 1776; During the American Revolution the first naval battle of Lake Champlain was fought. The forces under Gen. Benedict Arnold suffered heavy losses, but delays the British advance until 1777. The British fleet under General Carleton surprised the American fleet lying near Valcour Island.

The Battle of Valcour Island, also known as the Battle of Valcour Bay:

A naval engagement in a narrow strait in Lake Champlain, between the New York mainland and Valcour Island. It is generally regarded as the first naval battle fought by the U.S. Navy. Although the outcome of the battle was the destruction of most the American ships, the overall campaign delayed the British attempt to cut the colonies in half by a year and eventually led to the British military disaster at the Battle of Saratoga in 1777.

Following the failed American invasion of Canada, the British Navy launched a counteroffensive intended to gain control of the Hudson River Valley, which extends southward from Lake Champlain. Control of the upper Hudson River would have enabled the British to link their Canadian forces with those in British-occupied New York City, dividing the American colonies of New England from those in the South and Mid-Atlantic, and potentially finishing the revolution.

Access to the river’s source was protected by American strongholds at Crown Point and Fort Ticonderoga, and elimination of these defenses would require the transportation of troops and supplies from the British-controlled St. Lawrence Valley to the north.

Roads were either impassable or nonexistent, making water transport over Lake Champlain the only viable option, but the only ships on the lake were in American hands, and even though they were lightly armed, they would have made transport of troops and stores impossible for the British. The two sides therefore set about building fleets; the British at St. Johns in Quebec and the Americans at the other end of the lake in Skenesborough. The British had adequate supplies, skilled workmen, and prefabricated ships transported from England, including a 180-ton warship they disassembled and rebuilt on the lake. All told, the 30-ship British fleet had roughly twice as many ships and twice the firepower of the Americans’ 16 vessels.

Brig. Gen. Benedict Arnold’s flagship was initially the USS Royal Savage, a 2-masted schooner, but he transferred to the USS Congress, a row galley. Arnold’s fleet included USS Revenge and USS Liberty, also schooners, as well as the USS Enterprise, a sloop, and 8 gondolas: USS New Haven, USS Providence, USS Boston, USS Spitfire, USS Philadelphia, USS Connecticut, USS Jersey, USS New York, and the galley USS Trumbull.

Facing them were the ships of the British Royal Navy constructed in Quebec: The flagship HMS Inflexible’; the schooners HMS Maria, HMS Carleton, HMS Royal Convert, the ketch HMS Thunderer, as well as over 20 gunboats armed with a single cannon. Arnold shrewdly chose to force the British to attack his inferior forces in a narrow, rocky body of water between the coast and Valcour Island, where the British fleet would have difficulty bringing its superior firepower to bear.

The British fleet took up positions at noon around 300 yards in front of the American battle line with the small gunboats forward, and the five main ships around 50-100 yards behind the gunboats. The British then opened up a huge broadside against the American ships which continued for the next 5 hours.

During the exchange of cannon fire, the Revenge was heavily hit and abandoned. The Philadelphia, was also heavily hit and sank later at around 6:30 P.M. The Royal Savage, ran aground and was set on fire by the crew to prevent the ship from falling in British hands. The Congress, and Washington were heavily damaged, and the Jersey and New York, were also badly hit. On the British side, casualties began mounting too. The HMS Carlton was heavily hit as it tried to land a boarding party on the grounded Royal Savage and was forced to withdraw under heavy fire. One small gunboat, commanded by Lt. Dufais, blew up and sank from a direct hit. Most of the other small gunboats were also hit, forcing them to withdraw and reform their battle line 700 yards from the American line. Two of the gunboats were so heavily damaged that they were forced to be scuttled after the action.

On October 11, the battle was not going well for the Americans when the sun set. Aware that he could not defeat the British fleet, Arnold decided to withdraw. He managed to sneak his fleet past (and through) the British fleet during the night and attempted to run for the cover of the shore batteries situated at the American-held fort at Crown Point at the south end of the lake. Unfortunately, the weather did not cooperate, and the Americans were caught short of their goal.

On October 12, after sailing only 8 miles, Arnold drove one ship, the Providence ashore in the shallow water of Buttonmold Bay off Schuyler Island where the heavier British ships could not follow, and the American ship was then stripped of guns, powder and everything else of use. The New Jersey also ran aground while the crew from the Lee did likewise.

On October 13, the British fleet finally caught up to the American fleet off Split Rock where the Washington was captured and the Congress sank attempting to flee. Arnold led about 200 men from the lost ships on foot to Crown Point where the remaining ships Trumbull, Enterprise, Revenge, New York, and Liberty finally reached safety. Arnold was forced to burn his remaining ships and withdrew further towards Ticonderoga.

Although the British had cleared the lake of American ships, establishing naval control, snow was already falling as Arnold and his men reached Ticonderoga on October 20. The British commander, Gen. Guy Carleton, had no choice but to defer the attacks on Crown Point and Fort Ticonderoga and withdrew to a winter camp in Canada by early November, a decision with profound consequences.

The next year, a better-prepared American army would eventually stop the British advance at Saratoga and bring France into the war on the American side.

Oct 11, 1777; Continuing his pattern of disparaging his commanding officers, Thomas Conway sends Gates a letter suggesting that Washington should be relieved of his duties as commander-in-chief and Gates should be appointed as his replacement.

An Irish soldier of fortune, who became an officer on the American side in the Revolutionary War. He was educated in France, entered the French army, and had attained the rank of colonel when, early in 1777, he came to America and offered his services to Congress. He was appointed a brigadier general in May of this year, served at Brandywine and Germantown, and later in the year was made inspector-general, with the rank of major general, contrary to Washington’s wishes. He was the chief conspirator in the ‘Conway Cabal’, and upon the discovery of his intrigue resigned from the army in 1778. Soon afterwards, on July 22, he was wounded in a duel by General Cadwallader, who challenged him because of his attacks upon Washington. Conway then returned to France, reentered the army, and in 1784 was appointed Governor of Pondicherry and the French settlements in Hindustan. In 1792 he was appointed commander of the royalist forces in the south of France, but on the success of the Revolutionists fled from the country.

Conway Cabal details:

The most dangerous ground upon which Congress ventured during the whole course of the war was connected with the dark intrigues of those officers who wished to have Washington removed from the chief command that Gates might be put in his place. Gates had been in supplanting Schuyler on the eve of victory. Without having been under fire or directing any important operation, Gates had carried off the laurels of the northern campaign. From many persons, no doubt, he got credit even for what had happened before he joined the army, on the 19th of August. His appointment dated from the 2d, before either the victory of Stark or the discomfiture of St. Leger; and it was easy for people to put dates together uncritically, and say that before the 2d of August Burgoyne had continued to advance into the country, and nothing could check him until after Gates had been appointed to command. The very air rang with the praises of Gates, and his weak head was not unnaturally turned with so much applause. In his dispatches announcing the surrender of Burgoyne, he not only forgot to mention the names of Arnold and Morgan, who had won for him the decisive victory, but he even seemed to forget that he was serving under a commander-in-chief, for he sent his dispatches directly to Congress, leaving Washington to learn of the event through hearsay. Thirteen days after the surrender, Washington wrote to Gates, congratulating him upon his success. “At the same time,” said the letter, “I cannot but regret that a matter of such magnitude, and so interesting to our general operations, should have reached me by report only, or through the channels of letters not bearing that authenticity which the importance of it required, and which it would have received by a line over your signature stating the simple fact.”

But, worse than this, Gates kept his victorious army idle at Saratoga after the whole line of the Hudson was cleared of the enemy, and would not send reinforcements to Washington. Congress so far upheld him in this as to order that Washington should not detach more than 2,500 men from the northern army without consulting Gates and Governor Clinton. It was only with difficulty that Washington, by sending Colonel Hamilton with a special message, succeeded in getting andshows back Morgan with his riflemen. When S’orZiL’ reinforcements finally did arrive, it was tlontoo late. Had they come more promptly, Howe would probably have been unable to take the forts on the Delaware, without control of which he could not have stayed in Philadelphia. But the blame for the loss of the forts was by many people thrown upon Washington, whose recent defeats at Brandywine and Germantown were now commonly contrasted with the victories at the North.

The moment seemed propitious for Gates to try his peculiar strategy once more, and displace Washington as he had already displaced Schuyler. Assistants were not wanting for this dirty work. Among the foreign adventurers then with the army was one Thomas Conway, an Irishman, who had been for a long time in the French service, and, coming over to America, had taken part in the Pennsylvania campaign. Washington had opposed Conway’s claim for undue promotion, and the latter at once threw himself with such energy into the faction then forming against the commander-inThe Conway chief that it soon came to be known as cabal. the “Conway Cabal.” The other principal members of the cabal were Thomas Mifflin, the quartermaster-general, and James Lovell, a delegate from Massachusetts, who had been Schuyler’s bitterest enemy in Congress. It was at one time reported that Samuel Adams was in sympathy with the cabal, and the charge has been repeated by many historians, but it seems to have originated in a malicious story set on foot by some of the friends of John Hancock. At the beginning of the war, Hancock, whose overweening vanity often marred his usefulness, had hoped to be made commander-in-chief, and he never forgave Samuel Adams for preferring Washington for that position. In the autumn of 1777, Hancock resigned his position as president of Congress, and was succeeded by Henry Laurens, of South Carolina. On the day when Hancock took leave of Congress, a motion was made to present him with the thanks of that body in acknowledgment of his admirable discharge of his duty; but the New England delegates, who had not been altogether satisfied with him, defeated the motion on general grounds, and established the principle that it was injudicious to pass such complimentary votes in the case of any president. This action threw Hancock into a rage, which was chiefly directed against Samuel Adams as the most prominent member of the delegation; and after his return to Boston it soon became evident that he had resolved to break with his old friend and patron. Artful stories, designed to injure Adams, were in many instances traced to persons who were in close relation with Hancock. After the fall of the cabal, no more deadly stab could be dealt to the reputation of any man than to insinuate that he had given it aid or sympathy; and there is good ground for believing that such reports coucerning Adams were industriously circulated by unscrupulous partisans of the angry Hancock. The story was revived at a later date by the friends of Hamilton, on the occasion of the schism between Hamilton and John Adams, but it has not been well sustained. The most plausible falsehoods, however, are those which are based upon misconstrued facts; and it is certain that Samuel Adams had not only favoured the appointment of Gates in the North, but he had sometimes spoken with impatience of the so-called Fabian policy of Washington. In this he was like many other ardent patriots whose military knowledge was far from commensurate with their zeal. His cousin, John Adams, was even more outspoken. He declared himself “sick of Fabian systems.” “My toast,” he said, ” is a short and violent war;” and he complained of the reverent affection which the people felt for Washington as an “idolatry” dangerous to American liberty. It was by working upon such impatient moods as these, in which high-minded men like the Adamses sometimes indulged, that unscrupulous men like Gates hoped to attain their ends.

The first-fruits of the cabal in Congress were seen in the reorganization of the Board of War in November, 1777. Mifflin was chosen a member of the board, and Gates was made its president, with permission to serve in the field should occasion require it. Gates was thus, in a certain sense, placed over Washington’s head; and soon afterward Conway was made inspector-general of the army, with the rank of major-general. In view of Washington’s well-known opinions, the appointments of Mifflin and Conway might be regarded as an open declaration of hostility on the part of Congress. Some weeks before, in regard to the rumor that Conway was to be promoted, Washington had written, “It will be impossible for me to be of any further service, if such insuperable difficulties are thrown in my way.” Such language might easily be understood as a conditional threat of resignation, and Conway’s appointment was probably urged by the conspirators with the express intention of forcing Washington to resign. Should this affront prove ineffectual, they hoped, by dint of anonymous letters and base innuendoes, to make the commander’s place too hot for him. It was asserted that Washington’s army had all through the year outnumbered Howe’s more than three to one. The distress of the soldiers was laid at his door; the sole result, if not the sole object, of his many marches, according to James Lovell, was to wear out their shoes and stockings. An anonymous letter to Patrick Henry, then governor of Virginia, dated from York, where Congress was sitting, observed: “We have wisdom, virtue, and strength enough to save us, if they could be called into action. The northern army has shown us what Americans are capable of doing with a general at their head. The spirit of the southern army is no way inferior to the spirit of the northern. A Gates, a Lee, or a Conway would in a few weeks render them an irresistible body of men. Some of the contents of this letter ought to be made public, in order to awaken, enlighten, and alarm our country.” Henry sent this letter to Washington, who instantly recognized the well-known handwriting of Dr. Benjamin Rush. Another anonymous letter, sent to President Laurens, was still more emphatic: “It is a very great reproach to America to say there is only one general in it. The great success to the northward was owing to a change of commanders; and the southern army would have been alike successful if a similar change had taken place. The people of America have been guilty of idolatry by making a man their God, and the God of heaven and earth will convince them by woful experience that he is only a man; for no good can be expected from our army until Baal and his worshippers are banished from camp.” This mischievous letter was addressed to Congress, but, instead of laying it before that body, the high-minded Laurens sent it directly to Washington. But the commander-in-chief was forewarned, and neither treacherous missives like these, nor the direct affronts of Congress, were allowed to disturb his equanimity. Just before leaving Saratoga, Gates received from Conway a letter containing an allusion to Washington so terse pointed as to be easily remembered and quoted, and Gates showed this letter to his young confidant and aid-de-camp, Wilkinson. A few days afterward, when Wilkinson had reached York with the dispatches relating to Burgoyne’s surrender, he fell in with a member of Lord Stirling’s staff, and under the genial stimulus of Monongahela whiskey repeated the malicious sentence. Thus it came to Stirling’s ears, and he straightway communicated it to Washington by letter, saying that he should always deem it his duty to expose such wicked duplicity. Thus armed, Washington simply sent to Conway the following brief note : —

“Sir, — A letter which I received last night contained the following paragraph: ‘In a letter from General Conway to General Gates, he says, Heaven has determined to nave your country, or a weak General and bad counsellors would have ruined it.’ I am, sir, your humble servant, George Washington.”

Conway knew not what sort of answer to make to this startling note. When Mifflin heard of it, he wrote at once to Gates, telling him that an extract from one of Conway’s letters had fallen into Washington’s hands, and advising him to take better care of his papers in future. All the plotters were seriously alarmed; for their scheme was one which would not bear the light for a moment, and Washington’s curt letter left them quite iu the dark as to the extent of his knowledge. “There is scarcely a man living,” protested Gates, “who takes greater care of his papers than I do. I never fail to lock them up, and keep the key in my pocket.” One thing was clear: there must be no delay in ascertaining how much Washington knew and where he got his knowledge. After four anxious days it occurred to Gates that it must have been Washington’s aid-de-camp, Hamilton, who had stealthily gained access to his papers during his short visit to the northern camp. Filled with this idea, Gates chuckled as he thought he saw a way of diverting attention from the subject matter of the letters to the mode in which Washington had got possession of their contents. He sat down and wrote to the commander-in-chief, saying he had learned that to washiugsome of Conway’s confidential letters to himself had come into his excellency’s hands: such letters must have been copied by stealth, and he hoped his excellency would assist him in unearthing the wretch who prowled about and did such wicked things, for obviously it was unsafe to have such creatures in the camp; they might disclose precious secrets to the enemy. And so important did the matter seem that he sent a duplicate of the present letter to Congress, in order that every imaginable means might be adopted for detecting the culprit without a moment’s delay. The purpose of this elaborate artifice was to create in Congress, which as yet knew nothing of the matter, an impression unfavourable to Washington, by making it appear that he encouraged his aidsde-camp in prying into the portfolios of other generals. For, thought Gates, it is as clear as day that Hamilton was the man; nobody else could have done it.

But Gates’s silly glee was short-lived. Washington discerned at a glance the treacherous purpose of the letter, and foiled it by the simple expedient of telling the plain truth. “Your letter,” he replied, “came to my hand a few days ago, and, to my great surprise, informed me that a copy of it had been sent to Congress, for what reason I find myself unable to account; but as some end was doubtless intended to be answered by it, I am laid under the disagreeable necessity of returning my answer through the same channel, lest any member of that honourable body should harbour an unfavourable suspicion of my having practised some indirect means to come at the contents of the confidential letters between you and General Conway.” After this ominous prelude, Washington went on to relate how Wilkinson had babbled over his cups, and a certain sentence from one of Conway’s letters had thereupon been transmitted to him by Lord Stirling. He had communicated this discovery to Conway, to let that officer know that his intriguing disposition was observed and watched. He had mentioned this to no one else but Lafayette, for he thought it indiscreet to let scandals arise in the army, and thereby ” afford a gleam of hope to the enemy.” He had not known that Conway was in correspondence with Gates, and had even supposed that Wilkinson’s information was given with Gates’s sanction, and with friendly intent to forearm him against a secret enemy. “But in this,” he disdainfully adds, “as in other matters of late, I have found myself mistaken.”

So the schemer had overreached himself. It was not Washington’s aid-de-camp who had pried, but it was Gates’s own aid who had blabbed. But for Gates’s treacherous letter Washington would not even have suspected him; and, to crown all, he had only himself to thank for rashly blazoning before Congress a matter so little to his credit, and which Washington, in his generous discretion, would forever have kept secret. Amid this discomfiture, however, a single ray of hope could be discerned. It appeared that Washington had known nothing beyond the one sentence which had come to him as quoted in conversation by Wilkinson. A downright falsehood might now clear up the whole affair, and make Wilkinson the scapegoat for himself and all others. Gates accordingly wrote again to Washington, denying his intimacy with Conway, declaring that he had never received but a single letter from him, and solemnly protesting that this letter contained no such paragraph as that of which Washington had been informed. The information received through Wilkinson he denounced as a villainous slander. But these lies were too transparent to deceive any one, for in his first letter Gates had implicitly admitted the existence of several letters between himself and Conway, and his manifest perturbation of spirit had shown that these letters contained remarks that he would not for the world have had Washington see. A cold and contemptuous reply from Washington made all this clear, and put Gates in a very uncomfortable position, from which there was no retreat.

When the matter came to the ears of Wilkinson, who had just been appointed secretary of the Board of War, and was on his way to Congress, his youthful blood boiled at once. He wrote bombastic letters to everybody, and challenged Gates to deadly combat. A meeting was arranged for sunrise, behind the Episcopal church at York, with pistols. At the appointed hour, when all had arrived on the ground, the old general requested, through his second, an interview with his young antagonist, walked up a back street with him, burst into tears, called him his dear boy, and denied that he had ever made ny injurious remarks about him.

Wilkinson’s wrath was thus assuaged for a moment, only to blaze forth presently with fresh violence, when he made inquiries of Washington, and was allowed to read the very letter in which his general had slandered him. He instantly wrote a letter to Congress, accusing Gates of treachery and falsehood, and resigned his position on the Board of War.

These revelations strengthened Washington in proportion as they showed the malice and duplicity of his enemies. About this time a pamphlet was published in London, and republished in New York, containing letters which purported to have been written by Washington to members of his family, and to have been found in the possession of a mulatto servant taken prisoner at Fort Lee. The letters, if genuine, would have proved their author to be a traitor to the American cause; but they were so bunglingly con- letterscocted that every one knew them to be a forgery, and their only effect was to strengthen Washington still more, while throwing further discredit upon the cabal, with which many persons were inclined to connect them.

The army and the people were now becoming incensed at the plotters, and the press began to ridicule them, while the reputation of Gates suffered greatly in Congress as the indications of his real character were brought to light. All that was needed to complete the discomfiture of the cabal was a military fiasco, and this was soon forthcoming. In order to detach invading Lafayette from Washington, a winter expedition against Canada was devised by the Board of War. Lafayette, a mere boy, scarcely twenty years old, was invited to take the command, with Conway for his chief lieutenant. It was said that the French population of Canada would be sure to welcome the high-born Frenchman as their deliverer from the British yoke; and it was further thought that the veteran Irish schemer might persuade his young commander to join the cabal, and bring to it such support as might be gained from the French alliance, then about to be completed. Congress was persuaded to authorize the expedition, and Washington was not consulted in the matter.

But Lafayette knew his own mind better than was supposed. He would not accept the command until he had obtained Washington’s consent, and then he made it an indispensable condition that Baron de Kalb, who outranked Conway, should accompany the expedition. These preliminaries having been arranged, the young general went to The dinner at York for his instructions. There he found Gates, surrounded by schemers and sycophants, seated at a very different kind of dinner from that to which Lafayette had lately been used at Valley Forge. Hilarious with wine, the company welcomed the new guest with acclamations. He was duly flattered and toasted, and a glorious campaign was predicted. Gates assured him that on reaching Albany he would find 3,000 regulars ready to march, while powerful assistance was to be expected from the valiant Stark with his redoubtable Green Mountain Boys. The marquis listened with placid composure till his papers were brought him, and he felt it to be time to go. Then rising as if for a speech, while all eyes were turned upon him and breathless silence filled the room, he reminded the company that there was one toast which, in the generous excitement of the occasion, they had forgotten to drink, and he begged leave to propose the health of the commander-in-chief of the armies of the United States. The deep silence became still deeper. None dared refused the toast, “but some merely raised their glasses to their lips, while others cautiously put them down untasted.” With the politest of bows and a scarcely perceptible shrug of the shoulder, the new commander of the northern army left the room, and mounted his horse to start for his headquarters at Albany.

When he got there, he found neither troops, supplies, nor equipments in readiness. Of the army to which Burgoyne had surrendered, the militia had long since gone home, while most of the regulars had been withdrawn to Valley Forge or the highlands of the Hudson. Instead of 3,000 regulars which Gates had promised, barely 1,200 could be found, and these were in no wise clothed or equipped for a winter march through the wilderness. Between carousing and the backbiting, the new Board of War had no time left to attend to its duties. Not an inch of the country but was known to Schuyler, Lincoln, and Arnold, and they assured Lafayette that an invasion of Canada, under the circumstances, would be worthy of Don Quixote. In view of the French alliance, moreover, the conquest of Canada had even ceased to seem desirable to the Americans; for when peace should be concluded the French might insist upon retaining it, in compensation for their services. The men of New England greatly preferred Great Britain to France as a neighbour, and accordingly Stark, with his formidable Green Mountain Boys, felt no interest whatever in the enterprise, and not a dozen volunteers could be got together for love or money.

The fiasco was so crmplete, and the scheme it self so emphatically condemned by public opinion, that Congress awoke from its infatuation. Lafayette and Kalb were glad to return to Valley Forge. Conway, who stayed behind, became indignant with Congress over some fancied slight, and sent a conditional threat of resignation, which, to his unspeakable amazement, was accepted unconditionally. In vain he urged that he had the cabal. exactly what he said, having lost the nice use of English during his long stay in France. His entreaties and objurgations fell upon deaf ears. In Congress the day of the cabal was over. Mifflin and Gates were removed from the Board of War. The latter was sent to take charge of the forts on the Hudson, and cautioned against forgetting that he was to report to the commander-in-chief. The cabal and its deeds having become the subject of common gossip, such friends as it had mustered now began stoutly to deny their connection with it. Conway himself was dangerously wounded a few months afterward in a duel with General Cadwallader, and, believing himself to be on his death-bed, he wrote a very humble letter to Washington, expressing his sincere grief for having ever done or said anything with intent to injure so great and good a man. His wound proved not to be mortal, but on his recovery, finding himself generally despised and shunned, he returned to France, and American history knew him no more.

Had Lord George Germain been privy to the secrets of the Conway cabal, his hope of wearing out the American cause would have been sensibly strengthened. There was really more danger in such intrigues than in an exhausted treasury, a half-starved army, and defeat on the field. The people felt it to be so, and continental the events of the winter left a stain upon the reputation of the Continental Congress from which it never fully recovered. Congress had already lost the high personal consideration to which it was entitled at the outset. Such men as Franklin, Washington, Jefferson, Henry, Jay, and Rutledge were now serving in other capacities. The legislatures of the several states afforded a more promising career for able men than the Continental Congress, which had neither courts nor magistrates, nor any recognized position of sovereignty. The meetings of Congress were often attended by no more than ten or twelve members. Curious symptoms were visible which seemed to show that the sentiment of union between the states was weaker than it had been two years before. Instead of the phrase “people of the United States,” one begins, in 1778, to hear of “inhabitants of these Confederated States.” In the absence of any central sovereignty which could serve as the symbol of union, it began to be feared that the new nation might after all be conquered through its lack of political cohesion. Such fears came to cloud the rejoicings over the victory of Saratoga, as, at the end of 1777, the Continental Congress began visibly to lose its place in public esteem, and sink, step by step, into the utter degradation and impotence which was to overwhelm it before another ten years should have expired.

As the defeat of the Conway cahal marked the beginning of the decline of Congress, it marked at the same time the rise of Washington to a higher place in the hearts of the people than he had ever held before. As the silly intrigues against him recoiled upon their authors, men began to realize that it was far more upon his consummate sagacity and unselfish patriotism than upon anything that Congress could do that the country rested its hopes of success in the great enterprise which it had undertaken. As the nullity of Congress made it ever more apparent that the country as a whole was without a government, Washington stood forth more and more conspicuously as the living symbol of the union of the states. In him and his work were centred the common hopes and the common interests of all the American people. There was no need of clothing him with extraordinary powers. During the last years of the war he came, through sheer weight of personal character, to wield an influence like that which Perikles had wielded over the Athenians. He was all-powerful because he was “first in the hearts of his countrymen.” Few men, since history began, had ever occupied so lofty a position; none ever made a more disinterested use of power. His arduous labours taught him to appreciate, better than any one else, the weakness entailed upon the country by the want of a stable central government. But when the war was over, and the political problem came into the foreground, instead of using this knowledge to make himself personally indispensable to the country, he bent all the weight of his character and experience toward securing the adoption of such a federal constitution as should make anything like a dictatorship forever unnecessary and impossible.

During the dreary winter at Valley Forge, Washington busied himself in improving the organization of his army. The fall of the Conway cabal removed many obstacles. Greene was persuaded, somewhat against his wishes, to serve as quartermaster-general, and forthwith the duties of that important office were discharged with zeal and promptness. Conway’s resignation opened the way for a most auspicious change in the inspectorship of the army. Of all the foreign officers who served under Washington during the War for Independence, the Baron von Steurich von steuben was in many respects the most important. Member of a noble family which for five centuries had been distinguished in the local annals of Magdeburg, Steuben was one of the best educated and most experienced soldiers of Germany.

Died Oct 11, 1779 Casimir Pulaski, or Kazimierz Pułaski in Polish, full name in Polish: (Kazimierz Michał Wacław Wiktor Pułaski) of Ślepowron coat-of-arms, born March 6, 1745 in the now-nonexistent Pulaski manor house, located near the present address 53 Nowy Świat St. near Warecka St., in Warsaw, Poland.

About:

He was a Polish soldier, nobleman, and politician who has been called “the father of American cavalry”.

A member of the Polish landed nobility, Pulaski was a military commander for the Bar Confederation and fought against Russian domination of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. When this uprising failed, he emigrated to North America as a soldier of fortune. During the American Revolutionary War, he saved the life of George Washington and became a general in the Continental Army. He died of wounds suffered in the Battle of Savannah. Pulaski is one of only seven people to be awarded honorary United States citizenship.

Benjamin Franklin recommended that General George Washington accept Pulaski as a volunteer in the American cavalry and said that Pulaski “was renowned throughout Europe for the courage and bravery he displayed in defense of his country’s freedom.” After arriving in America, Pulaski wrote to Washington, “I came here, where freedom is being defended, to serve it, and to live or die for it.”

His first military engagement against the British was on September 11, 1777, at the Battle of Brandywine. When the Continental troops began to yield, he reconnoitered with Washington’s bodyguard, and reported that the enemy were endeavoring to cut off the line of retreat. He was authorized to collect as many of the scattered troops as came in his way, and employ them according to his discretion, which he did in a manner so prompt as to effect important aid in the retreat of the army. His courageous charge averted a disastrous defeat of the American cavalry and saved the life of Washington. As a result, on September 15, 1777, Washington promoted Pulaski to brigadier general of the American cavalry.

He saved the army from a surprise at Warren Tavern, near Philadelphia, took part in the Battle of Germantown, and in the winter of 1777/78 engaged in the operations of General Anthony Wayne, contributing to the defeat of a British division at Haddonfield, New Jersey. However, the cavalry officers could not be reconciled to the orders of a foreigner who could scarcely speak English and whose ideas of discipline and tactics differed widely from those to which they had been accustomed. In addition, there was his imperious personality. These circumstances prompted him to resign his general command in March 1778, and return to Valley Forge.

At his suggestion, which was adopted by Washington, Congress authorized the formation of a corps of lancers and light infantry, in which even deserters and prisoners of war might enlist. This corps, which became famous under the name of the Pulaski Cavalry Legion, was recruited mainly in Baltimore. In September, it numbered about 350 men, divided into three companies of cavalry and three of infantry. It was one of the few cavalry regiments in the American Continental Army. Pulaski was put at its head. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow commemorated in verse this episode of Pulaski’s life.

The “father of the American cavalry” demanded much of his men and trained them in tested cavalry tactics. He used his own personal finances when money from Congress was scarce, in order to assure his forces of the finest equipment and personal safety. Congress named him “Commander of the Horse”.

In the autumn he was ordered to Little Egg Harbor with his legion, a company of artillery, and a party of militia. A Hessian deserter, Lt. Gustav Juliet, who held a grudge against Col. de Bosen, the leader of the infantry, betrayed their whereabouts to the British, who made a night attack on De Bosen’s camp. Pulaski heard the tumult and, assembling his cavalry, repelled the enemy, but the legion suffered a loss of forty men. During the following winter he was stationed at Minisink, at that time in New Jersey. He was dissatisfied with his petty command, and intended to leave the service and return to Europe, but was dissuaded by Washington. He was ordered to South Carolina.

In February 1779, the legion ejected the British occupiers from Charleston, South Carolina. Although he had frequent attacks of malarial fever, he remained in active service. Toward the beginning of September, he received orders to proceed to Augusta. There he was to join with General Lachlan McIntosh, and the united force was to move toward Savannah in advance of the army of Gen. Benjamin Lincoln. Before the enemy was aware of his presence, Pulaski captured a British outpost, and, after several skirmishes, established permanent communications with the French fleet at Beaufort. He rendered great services during the siege of Savannah, and in the assault of October 9 commanded the whole cavalry, both French and American. During a cavalry charge, while probing for a weak point in the British lines, Pulaski was wounded by grapeshot. The grape shot is still on display today at The Powder Magazine military museum in Charleston, SC. After he was wounded, Pulaski was carried from the field by several comrades, including Col. John C. Cooper, and taken aboard the privateer merchant brigantine Wasp, where he died two days later having never regained consciousness.

According to several contemporary witnesses, including Pulaski’s aide-de-camp, he was buried at sea. Other witnesses however, including Captain Samuel Bulfinch of the Wasp, claimed that the wounded Pulaski was actually later removed from the ship and taken to Greenwich plantation near Savannah, Georgia, where he died and was buried. The alleged remains were later reinterred in Monterey Square in Savannah, Georgia. Remains at Monterey Square alleged to be Pulaski’s were exhumed in 1996 and examined in a lengthy forensic study. The eight-year examination ended inconclusively, and the remains were reinterred with military honors in 2004.

Oct 11, 1890; Daughters of the American Resolution founded in Washington D.C.

History from the DAR website:

The National Society Daughters of the American Revolution was founded on October 11, 1890, during a time that was marked by a revival in patriotism and intense interest in the beginnings of the United States of America. Women felt the desire to express their patriotic feelings and were frustrated by their exclusion from men’s organizations formed to perpetuate the memory of ancestors who fought to make this country free and independent. As a result, a group of pioneering women in the nation’s capital formed their own organization and the Daughters of the American Revolution has carried the torch of patriotism ever since.

The objectives laid forth in the first meeting of the DAR have remained the same in over 100 years of active service to the nation. Those objectives are: Historical – to perpetuate the memory and spirit of the men and women who achieved American Independence; Educational – to carry out the injunction of Washington in his farewell address to the American people, “to promote, as an object of primary importance, institutions for the general diffusion of knowledge, thus developing an enlightened public opinion…”; and Patriotic – to cherish, maintain, and extend the institutions of American freedom, to foster true patriotism and love of country, and to aid in securing for mankind all the blessings of liberty.

Since its founding in 1890, DAR has admitted more than 800,000 members.

Oct 11 1976; George Washington’s appointment, posthumously, to the grade of General of the Armies of the United States by congressional joint resolution Public Law 94-479 is approved by President Gerald R. Ford.

Colonial & American Revolutionary War History Oct 5

Oct 5 1775 A committee to prepare a plan for fitting out two armed vessels to intercept enemy transport ships is appointed by the Continental Congress.

Meeting in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the second Continental Congress used the word “Marines” on one of the earliest known occasions, when it directed General George Washington to secure two vessels on “Continental risque and pay”, and to give orders for the “proper encouragement to the Marines and seamen” to serve on the two armed ships.

Background:

It is necessary to sketch briefly the various sources of authority and the administrative systems under which acted the different classes of vessels throughout the course of the war. These classes were: First, Continental vessels; second, the state navies; third, the privateers, commissioned either by the Continental government or by the various states, and in some cases by both.

Public vessels cruising under Continental authority comprised not only the Continental navy, strictly speaking, including vessels fitted out in France, but also the fleets organized by Washington in Massachusetts Bay in 1775 and later in New York; by Arnold on Lake Champlain in 1776 and by Pollock in 1778 on the Mississippi River.

General Washington took the first actual step towards placing a Continental force upon the sea by fitting out the schooner Hannah, which sailed from Beverly September 5, 1775, and returned to port two days later with a prize. An important measure in making effective the siege of Boston, then in progress, was the intercepting of supplies coming to the town by water; the supplies being at the same time of the utmost value to the American army investing the town. Before the end of the year seven other vessels, officered and manned from the army, were fitted out by Washington. The next year he organized a similar but smaller fleet at New York.

The first official suggestion of a Continental navy came from the Assembly of Rhode Island which, August 26, 1775, declared “that the building and equipping an American fleet, as soon as possible, would greatly and essentially conduce to the preservation of the lives, liberty and property of the good people of these colonies,” and instructed the delegates from that province in the Continental Congress “to use their whole influence at the ensuing congress for building at the Continental expence a fleet of sufficient force for the protection of these colonies.” The Rhode Island delegates presented their instructions to Congress October 3 and this brought the matter fairly before that body. Discussion of these instructions was postponed from time to time and it was several weeks before definite action was taken on them. Meanwhile intelligence had been received of the sailing from England of two brigs laden with military supplies bound to Quebec. The practicability of intercepting these vessels was considered in Congress October 5. Strong opposition was developed on the part of a vociferous minority to any participation of the Continental government in maritime warfare; to them it appeared sheer madness to send ships out upon the sea to meet the overwhelming naval force of England. After a lively debate the matter was referred to a committee consisting of John Adams, John Langdon, and Silas Deane. Upon the recommendation of this committee it was decided to instruct Washington at once to procure two Massachusetts cruisers for that service and to request the cooperation of the governors of Rhode Island and Connecticut.

Elbridge Gerry wrote from Watertown, October 9, 1775, to Samuel Adams, then a member of the Continental Congress at Philadelphia, saying: “If the Continent should fit out a heavy ship or two and increase them as circumstances shall admit, the Colonies large privateers, and individuals small ones, surely we may soon expect to see the coast clear of cutters.”

On the advice of the committee appointed October 5, Congress voted on the 13th to fit out two vessels, one of them to carry ten guns, to cruise three months to the eastward in the hope of intercepting British transports. Another committee of three was appointed to inquire into the expense. October 30, 1775, is an important date in naval legislation. Congress resolved to arm the second of the vessels already provided for with fourteen guns and also authorized two additional vessels which might carry as many as twenty and thirty-six guns respectively, “for the protection and defence of the United Colonies.” By this vote Congress was fully committed to the policy of maintaining a naval armament. On the same day a committee of seven was formed by adding four members to those already appointed. This committee was the first executive body for the management of naval affairs. It was known as the Naval Committee and the members were John Langdon of New Hampshire, John Adams of Massachusetts, Stephen Hopkins of Rhode Island, Silas Deane of Connecticut, Richard Henry Lee of Virginia, Joseph Hewes of North Carolina, and Christopher Gadsden of South Carolina.

During the closing months of 1775 much legislation necessary for the organization of the navy was enacted by Congress on the recommendation of the Naval Committee. In the beginning there was strong opposition to all enterprises of a naval character, but it gradually broke down before the arguments of the more far-sighted and reasonable members. November 10 the Marine Corps was established. On the 25th captures of British ships of war, transports, and supply vessels were authorized and the several colonies were advised to set up prize courts. The apportionment of the shares in prizes was prescribed. In the case of privateers all the proceeds went to the owners and captors; in the case of Continental or colony cruisers two thirds of the value of a prize when a transport or supply vessel, one half when a vessel of war, went to the government, while the captors took the rest. November 28, “Rules for the Regulation of the Navy of the United Colonies”were adopted. These early navy regulations were brief, relating chiefly to discipline and prescribing the ration and pay. The rules provided for courts martial, but not for courts of inquiry; there was much subsequent legislation on the subject of naval courts. Pensions for permanent disability and bounties, to be awarded in certain cases, were provided for, the necessary funds for which were to be set apart from the proceeds of prizes. The rules of November 28 were framed by John Adams and were based on British regulations. Adams was a leader in all this early legislation and the part he took in the founding of the Revolutionary navy was important and influential.
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Oct 5 1776 In Savannah, GA: The first Constitutional Convention met to draft a plan of government for the state. It was adopted in 1777.

Background:

The Continental Congress recommended that the newly independent states adopt a permanent frame of government. Accordingly, Georgians elected delegates to a state constitutional convention that met in October 1776 in Savannah. Whig Patriot leaders of local committees dominated the convention and produced one of the most democratic constitutions of any state. The electorate included all men over twenty-one who possessed property worth ten pounds or were employed as artisans. A one-house assembly enacted legislation, and elected the governor, judges, and other officials. Georgia’s constitution, adopted on February 5, 1777, created the state’s first counties: Burke, Camden, Chatham, Effingham, Glynn, Liberty, Richmond, and Wilkes, all named for friends of the colonies in British Parliament, except Liberty, a title that honored St. John Parish’s early zeal for American rights.

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Oct 5, 1776 Congress following up on the committee’s report on the Army in New York ordered the continental agents to turn over all salt in their hands to the commissary general.

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Oct 5, 1776 General and Admiral Howe both went to Long Island to find out the ability to land in Westchester County to get in the rear of Washington and his Army.

Background and bio of Howe

William Howe was born on Aug. 10, 1729, the younger brother of the future admiral Richard Howe. After attending Eton, he entered the army at the age of 17. For the next 30 years he rose steadily in rank. He distinguished himself in the Canadian campaign of the French and Indian War. Serving under Gen. James Wolfe at the siege of Quebec in 1759, Howe in the succeeding year commanded the attack on Montreal. In 1762 he participated in the siege of Spanish-held Havana, Cuba. When the war was over, he had a brilliant record. He also enjoyed important family connections at court and by 1772 had been advanced to major general.

Commander in Chief in America

Howe also held political office. In 1758 he had been elected to a seat in the House of Commons. While he did not take an active role in Parliament debate, he made clear his opposition to the Foreign Ministry’s American policy and declared that he would refuse to accept a command in the Colonies. Yet Howe did go to America in May 1775, explaining that “he was ordered, and could not refuse.” His command of the British forces in the Battle of Bunker Hill displayed personal valor and a considerably greater degree of energy and decision than he would show later. By October, Howe had been given a local rank of full general and made commander-in-chief of the British army in the Colonies. Considerable controversy has always surrounded the roles played by William and Richard Howe during the Revolution, because in addition to commanding the military they were supposed to negotiate peace with the Americans.

Howe was forced to evacuate Boston in March 1776; he moved his troops by sea to New York. His invasion of Long Island and Manhattan included a series of tactical successes. But the long delays and ineffective pursuits that followed, though they mauled the American forces, left Gen. George Washington’s retreating army intact.

British overconfidence, the dilatory movements of Gen. Howe, and the failure of Gen. Charles Cornwallis to catch the retreating Washington all contributed to a surprising turn of events at the end of 1776. Howe had left scattered forces occupying central New Jersey as far as the Delaware River. In a surprise attack on December 6, 1776, the Americans routed a garrison at Trenton, and then 8 days later triumphed in a full-scale battle at Princeton. Gen. Howe had lost another chance to destroy Washington, and 1776 ended on a note of rebel victory.

Again, in 1777, Howe’s strategic failures resulted in reverses for the British. The grand British strategy that year involved a two-pronged attack against the Americans. First, Gen. John Burgoyne would move down from Canada into New York to interrupt colonial communications, recruit Tory allies, and prepare for a later invasion of rebel strongholds. Second, Howe would move overland to engage the Continental Army in a contest for the American capital, Philadelphia. But Howe changed his mind, decided to bring his invading forces by water, wasted time maneuvering in New Jersey, and then spent nearly all of August at sea. Consequently, Howe’s land movement toward Philadelphia did not begin until the end of August. A series of engagements – including British victories at Brandywine and Paoli – saw the British safely into the American capital. And American efforts to oust them were repulsed in early October.

Meanwhile, Howe was confronted with the decisive defeat of Gen. Burgoyne’s troops at Saratoga. Burgoyne had earlier assured Howe of his ability to care for himself; and as a result, when he was besieged, there were no British forces near enough or large enough to rescue him. While the capture of Philadelphia did not really shake the Revolutionary cause, the defeat at Saratoga truly injured the British. It also made possible the Franco-American alliance of 1778.

Return to England

In October 1777, the month of Burgoyne’s surrender, Howe offered his resignation. He then tried unsuccessfully to lure Washington into a general engagement. While Howe’s army wintered in relative comfort in Philadelphia, Washington’s men barely survived their encampment at Valley Forge. Howe finally received word that his resignation had been accepted and left Philadelphia in May 1778. Back in England, Howe became involved in an inconclusive debate on the conduct of the war and published a defense, claiming that all his actions had been determined by military necessity, not by any desire to appease the colonists.

Howe went on to hold a variety of important military positions. He became a full general in 1793. When the wars of the French Revolution began, he held important commands in the north and then in the east of England. In 1799, on the death of his brother, Richard, he succeeded to the Irish title of viscount. Failing health forced him to retire from active office in 1803. He died in Plymouth on July 12, 1814.

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Oct 4-5, 1778 Raid on Mincock Island (Egg Harbor), New Jersey; A combined force of British regulars and Loyalists attempts to eradicate this nest of privateers a few miles north of what is today Atlantic City. About 50 colonials die in a surprise attack in the darkness before driving off the British and capturing some of them.

NOTE by Captain James Davis: I am proud to say that, Colonel Patrick Ferguson would later meet his death at the Battle of Kings Mountain, North Carolina, October 7, 1780. King’s Mountain was owned by my 6x Great Grandfather Samuel King.

Captain Patrick Ferguson led 300 men from the 70th regiment and the 3rd New Jersey Tory Regiment against a privateer base at Little Egg Harbor. Meanwhile, a naval force also approached. Pulaski’s Legion of Continentals was sent to combat the British, but Ferguson was able to destroy ten vessels and moved twenty miles up the Mullica River destroying storehouses, shipyards and homes of prominant patriots.

When Ferguson return to the mouth of the river, he learned that Pulaski was camped not far away and security was lax. Some believe that Captain Gustav Juliet had deserted Pulaski and gave the British that information. Ferguson took 250 men, rowed ten miles in small boat under the cover of darkness and surprised Pulaski at Mincock Island. At about 4 A.M. on October 5, 1778, the British Tories entered three house and killed about fifty officers and men by bayonet. Pulaski’s infantry commander Colonel de Boze was killed in the attack. Pulaski arrived with his dragoons and was able to drive Ferguson back to his boats with some of his men captured in the confusion. The Americans raised charges of a massacre. There is some dispute over the dates of the attack with some listing it on October 15, 1778.

Also called the Battle of Chestnut Neck

The Setting:

The southern forests of New Jersey, the Pine Barrens, prior to the American Revolution and during the war years, were a haven, a wondrous place of natural treasures, heaven-scented evergreens, flowing rivers, cedar streams and mysterious swamps teeming with vegetation, but, those same forests were inhabited by a “Nest of Rebel pirates,” as the British called the area, a place where the dense trees offered a cloak for “rebellious” activities.

The sea, the sandy coves and bays along the Jersey coast were places of amazing beauty, where a person could find tranquility, a setting for reflection. The sea cast a spell on the observer, the enigma, the majesty, the excitement and astonishment, but, those same coves were also crowded with sloops and frigates, captained by adventurous men, privateers, some opportunists and some patriots. Their aim? To rid the American waterways of British ships! And perhaps to add a bit of booty to their coffers by capturing enemy ships, taking the cargo and auctioning it in rebel ports, such as Toms River, Chestnut Neck and Mays Landing.

The Colonies, seeking to become an independent nation, had land troops led by General Washington, though few in number. A Colonial navy, however, was almost nonexistent. Washington knew that the “rebels,” without a navy, could not defeat the British. With monetary concerns, the inability to organize and equip a navy, the General had to turn to another source.

Several of Washington’s officers, whom he paid for their experience and knowledge of seafaring, found American sailors, amateur privateers, willing to stalk and capture British vessels. Privateers, just pirates, some said, but there was a difference. Privateers chose a country to have an allegiance to and only “pirated” enemies of that country.

Shortly thereafter Colonial investors commissioned privateers to seek out British merchant ships, board them, seize the cargo and capture the crews. The investors, the Colonial captains and their crews all profited from these activities.

The New Jersey coast grew into a roaring, pulsating center for privateers. At the beginning of the American Revolution, Colonial New Jersey had approximately 80,000 residents. About one third of the population sympathized with the rebel cause, another third were loyalists, and the last third were neutral, yet New Jersey played a crucial part in the war, being the scene of five major battles and two hundred minor encounters.

One of those battles was fought in October of 1778. Chestnut Neck, near the mouth of the Little Egg Harbor River, was a bustling port of trade, and, when tensions between America and Britain burst into fiery flames, the docks were cluttered with privateers and their captured vessels.

The British, frustrated and angered by Jersey’s “Nest of Rebel pirates,” wanted to crush the Colonials and eradicate the entire area of resistance. When the captured vessels Venus and Major Pearson were brought up the Little Egg Harbor River to Chestnut Neck, the confiscated cargo was estimated to be worth $500,000, and the British formulated plans for a major assault. A fleet of nine ships gathered in New York Harbor, led by the sloops Zebra, Vigilant and Nautilus. On September 30, 1778 the fleet, passing by Sandy Hook, encountered strong winds and turbulent waters, which forestalled their arrival off the bar at Little Egg Harbor until October 6. In the meantime, General Washington, having been informed of the expedition by patriot spies, ordered forces, led by Count Casimir Pulaski, to march from Red Bank in Monmouth County to Middle of the Shore (Tuckerton), and on to Chestnut Neck. New Jersey’s governor, William Livingston, sent Express Riders to forewarn the! residents.

The British fleet had been held off by the churning sea, but learning, through Tory spies, that the Colonials knew of the impending attack, the ships made haste to sail upriver to Chestnut Neck. Impeded at every turn, especially by enshrouding fog, the British doggedly pushed toward the port, while the Colonial troops, marching through the pine forest and intending to defend Chestnut Neck, got lost and never reached their destination.

Chestnut Neck had hurriedly prepared to meet the enemy with privateer ships and an armed Pilot-boat. The locals erected a “Work with Embrasures for six Guns,” level with the water, to protect the Channel. As the enemy vessels approached the shore, they were welcomed by Colonial gunfire coming from the tall meadow grass, but the British managed to land, form a line and charge.

The inhabitants, without Pulaski’s reinforcements and facing trained soldiers, retreated into the woods. Chasing, the British exhausted their supply of gunfire, and Tory Volunteers set fire to the homes, the tavern and storehouse. Apparently victorious at the port, the British forces wanted to head upriver toward an ironwork, Batsto, where patriots smelted iron and molded munitions for Colonial troops, but, not knowing the exact location of Pulaski’s men and fearing bottleneck in the river, they returned to the fleet and the expedition sailed for New York. . .without the flagship, Zebra, whose bottom became forever cemented to a sandbar.

The port was burned, but thanks to advance warning, the privateersmen, not one of whom was captured, sailed their ships far up the river, saving their valuable stores and private possessions. The British reported that Chestnut Neck had been destroyed and that it would not rise from the smoldering ashes. Not so. The port was never again what it once had been, for most of the locals rebuilt elsewhere, but just six weeks after the battle, a privateer, Captain Stevens, who had captured the Venus, towed in a prize, the armed schooner, Two Friends. . .and the seizures continued.

Privateers operated out of Chestnut Neck until the close of the War, which can be verified by viewing the Newspaper Extracts in the New Jersey Archives, chronicling the captured vessels and their cargoes for sale at Chestnut Neck.

The question again presents itself, can tranquility and revolution coexist? History seems to answer positively. Within the lovely, fragrant pine barrens of South Jersey, preserved today for all generations to enjoy, and along the shell-strewn beaches, patriots and privateers rousingly rooted out the British, leading the way to the formation of a new nation, America.

Background: Chestnut Neck

     At the entrance to the Little Egg Harbor River was a small village called Chestnut Neck. It became a hotbed of activity during the American Revolution. It was a major center for the privateers who were regularly capturing British Merchant Ships and relieving them of their cargos. The ships were landed in Chestnut Neck and their cargos were transported, first to warehouses at Chestnut Neck or further up the river to a larger community called “the Forks” . Then the captured goods would be disposed of (see below) and most made there way by wagon to Philadelphia.  

The Privateers

The American Colonists did not have and could not afford much of a navy, but the Continental Congress had seen the British effectively disrupt the French economy by commissioning private vessels to prey upon French merchant vessels. They adopted the same kind of system and issued letters (called Letters of Marquee) appointing specific ships, owners & captains to takeover British Merchant ships and confiscate the cargos. The cargos were then sold and the proceeds divided up by the Government’s Court of Admiralty. The ships owners, captains, crews and of course the government all got specific shares. Along the west Jersey coast these sales took place at Chestnut Neck (a small village at the mouth of the Little Egg Harbor River), The Forks ( a larger settlement further up the river), and at Mays Landing (on the Great Egg Harbor River). Large warehouses were built to hold the cargos, while they awaited sales and shipment.

The Privateer system was a great success for the American Rebels. It disrupted the British Merchant Fleet and prevented the British Army from being well supplied. It, also, provided a great income to the participants.

The Iron Works

The iron works at Batsto on the Little Egg Harbor River was started in 1766. Cannon balls and other military equipment was produced there and used by the Continental Army. The importance of the iron works can be seen in the fact that the workmen were given an exemption from military service.

The Salt Works

On the north side of the Bay were numerous salt works. Salt was a highly prized commodity at a time when vast quantities of food needed to be preserved for use by armies and aboard ships.

The Colonist Activity:

During September of 1777, the NJ General Assembly voted to reimburse Lt. Col. Elijzh Clark & Major Wescoat for building the fort at Chestnut Neck. The fort was built at water level and had places for 6 guns. On a nearby hill, a platform was built to mount more guns. It does not appear as if any guns were ever mounted.

Late summer of 1778

According to Mr. Kemps research almost 30 ships and their cargos were sold at “The Forks” and Chestnut Neck in August of 1778. In September at least another 6 ships were sold at Chestnut Neck and “The Forks,” including The Venus of London.

The British in New York

In New York, General Clinton and Admiral Gambier decide to organize an expedition to wipe out the privateering center at Little Egg Harbor and destroy the Iron Works at Batsto. Preparations are begun for an expedition. The expedition would become known to the British as “The Egg Harbor Expedition.”

September 29, 1778, Trenton, New Jersey

The Colonial Governor William Livingston and the Council of Safety become aware of the plans but not the destination. They dispatched riders to warn the residents of the coastal communities and informed General Washington of the expected fleet movements..

September 30,1778

Around midnight, Commander Henry Colins, on the newly commissioned  H.M.S. Zebra and 15 other ships slipped out of New York Harbor.

In command of the troops is Captain Patrick Ferguson of the 70th Regiment of Foot. (Captain Ferguson had invented and patented the Ferguson rifle on 12/4/1776)

October 1-4, 1778

The British – Due to a storm and heavy seas it took the British fleet 4 1/2 days to reach Little Egg Harbor Bay.

The Continental Army – Major General Benedict Arnold received notice of the impending attack and ordered Col. Procter’s Pennsylvania regiment of artillery to the Little Egg Harbor area. (Arnold, also, took it upon himself to empty some warehouses and move his troops and supplies further from the coast. He forgot to get permission from Gen. Washington and this is said to be part of the reason for his later Court Martial hearing. ( I am looking for more information about this part of the story.)

Because of the warning, at Chestnut Neck, several ships were able to put to sea, before the British arrived. Other remaining vessels were sent up to the river to the community known as “The Forks.” Warehouses were emptied and many residents removed themselves and their household items.

At Trenton, General Pulaski was ordered to place his Legion under the command of Major General Lord Sterling and move to the defense of the coast.

October 5, 1778

British fleet reached Little Egg Harbor around noon. At favorable tide a few of the more light weight ships enter the bay to prevent escaping ships. Armed vessels were stripped and loaded with troops. Local loyalists join expedition onboard the Zebra and inform of the militia at Chestnut Neck.

The Continental Army – General Pulaski and his Legion leave Trenton.

The Burning of Chestnut Neck Oct 6, 1778

October 6, 1778

Daybreak, the British assault force began moving across the bay, 7 miles to the mouth of the Little Egg Harbor River. It was very slow going, because of the shallow water and the lack of experienced pilots.

Two ships became grounded near Osborne Island, but the H.M.S. Zebra and two other large ships cross the sand bar and enter Little Egg Harbor Bay.

The Colonists at Chestnut Neck – A group of local militia, under the command of Captain Johnson occupy a two platform fort, that had placements for 6 guns, but unfortunately had none.

Around 4:00 pm

The British arrive and the militia was routed by the bayonet wielding British regulars. There was not much they could do to defend the town. The British had cannons and many men. The defenders of Chestnut Neck, probably numbered less then 20, with no cannons.

Commander Colins found 10 prize vessels still at Chestnut Neck. He ordered the town and all the vessels to be dismantled, set afire and scuttled. It took all night until noon on the 7th.

The Grounding of the British Ships Oct 7, 1778

October 7, 1778

Daybreak Commander Colins faced with the decision to follow the original plan and continue up the Little Egg Harbor River and destroy “The Forks” and the iron works at Batsto or to abort the mission, since the element of surprise had been lost. Local loyalists came aboard the British flagship, Zebra, and told Collins that Procter’s Artillery was on the way. Colins decided to withdraw.

At noon, the British assembled to withdraw. They had taken and destroyed the prized vessels. Burned all the storehouses and wiped out the village. Only one British soldier was wounded.

The British – It was not as easy to leave as they might have hoped. Two of the British ships were aground. Col Ferguson decided to take his soldiers and raid the north shore and the salt works. They destroyed 2 landings, 3 salt works and 10 buildings owned by patriots.

October 8, 1778

The 2 grounded ships were refloated and got underway. H.M.S. Greenwich again became grounded. The H.M.S. Dependance was left with her for protection and the rest of the ships rejoined the Zebra in the bay. Commander Colins planned to search Barnegat and Cranbury Inlets on the way back to New York, but the weather continued to worsen and the ships were unable to cross the sand bar

The Continental Army (Pulaski’s Legion) reached Little Egg Harbor. They enter the little Quaker settlement known as Middle of the shore (now, Tuckerton). They formed and encampment on the farm of James Willet. Pulaski located his headquarters at an unoccupied farmhouse belonging to Jeremiah Ridgway.

October 9 – 18, 1778

The British capture and unwary American Brigantine with a load of lumber. While they are waiting for better weather they transfer the lumber to their ships. It took 10 days to transfer all the cargo. During that time a few other American vessels were captured. Still the British Fleet was unable to put to sea.

October 12, 1778

A Hessian Lieutenant named Juliat had deserted the British on September 12 and joined The Pulaski Legion. He was assigned to the First Troop of Dragoons under Baron Bose. Baron Bose regarded Juliat with contempt for having deserted his post, even if it was with the enemy. Perhaps to get back at Baron Bose or perhaps he was always loyal to the British. Juliat took several men on a fishing party. They did not return and were thought drowned. They had actually rowed the twenty miles and were given permission to board the H.M.S. Nautilus. The story continues with intrigue. (Check it out in The Nest of Rebel Pirates, by Franklin Kemp)

The battle of Ridgway Farm Oct 15, 1778

Colonel Ferguson decides to lead an attack on the Pulaski Legion. They stop at Osborn Island and compel Thomas Osborn to lead them to the encampment. Juliat uses his influence to make sure the attack takes place at the farmhouse where Baron Bose and his troop are encamped. Ferguson left a party of 50 men behind to guard the bridge and loosen the planking, so that it could be easily removed during the retreat.

At the Ridgway Farm, the lone sentry was easily overpowered and sleeping soldiers were awakened and killed, before they could mount a defense. Only 5 were left alive and taken prisoner. Pulaski’s camp was close by and they were quick to respond, but arrived too late. Ferguson’s plan to remove the planks from the bridge, plus the high tide, cut off the pursuit and most of the British returned to their ships without incident. Baron Rose and from 30 to 50 of his men died in the attack.

Abandoning the H.M.S. Zebra and return to New York

October 20, 1778

Commander Colins decided to wait no longer and attempted to get his ships back across the bar and back to New York. After several attempts the Nautilus made it. The attempts to free the flag ship H.M.S. Zebra were unsuccessful.

October 21, 1778

Commander Colins gives up on the attempts to free the Zebra and transfer his men and himself to the Nautilus.

October 22, 1778

The Zebra is blown up and the rest of the fleet moves toward New York.

October 23, 1778

The Little Egg Harbor Expedition ends in New York Harbor, when the Nautilus drops anchor at 5:00 pm on October 23. It is met by Admiral Gambier .