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