October 7th Colonial and American Revolutionary War History

Oct 7 1763 George III of Great Britain issues Proclamation of 1763, closing lands in North America north and west of Alleghenies to white settlement.

The Proclamation of 1763, issued by Great Britain’s Board of Trade under King George III, represented an attempt to control settlement and trade on the western frontier of Britain’s North American colonies. The Proclamation of 1763 essentially closed the Ohio Valley to settlement by colonists by defining the area west of the Appalachian Mountains as Indian land and declaring that the Indians were under the protection of the king. No settlement or land purchases were to be conducted there without the Crown’s approval. The proclamation also defined four new colonies that Great Britain had won from France in the just-concluded Seven Years’ War (1756–1763, known in its American manifestation as the French and Indian War). These colonies were Quebec (which in fact had long been settled), East and West Florida, and the island of Grenada.

Oct 7 1765 – Nine American colonies sent a total of 28 delegates to New York City for the Stamp Act Congress. The delegates adopted the “Declaration of Rights and Grievances.”

Background:

The Declaration of Rights and Grievances was issued by the Stamp Act Congress in New York City in October 1765. It set forth what was to become the battle cry of the colonists — no taxation without representation.

The Stamp Act, enacted by the British Parliament in 1765, was essentially a tax on the colonies. It provided that most legal documents, newspapers, other periodicals, and even playing cards be printed on special paper containing an embossed tax stamp. The British argued that revenue from the Stamp Act was needed to help repay large debts incurred during the Seven Years War (known as the French and Indian War in America). The Stamp Act was met by anger, scorn, and violent protests in the colonies. Part of this had to do with America’s resistance to paying a tax now that the French threat was gone. But anger also stemmed from the fact that the tax was imposed by the British Parliament, which contained no colonial representatives.

With delegates from nine colonies, the Stamp Act Congress was the first pan colonial meeting since the abortive attempt to agree on the Albany Plan in 1756. The Declaration of Rights and Grievances was drafted by John Dickenson of Pennsylvania and presented at the Congress. It not only opposed the Stamp Act itself, but raised the broader issue of who had the right to tax the colonists. Arguing that colonists enjoyed “all the inherent rights and privileges of people living in Great Britain, including the right to be free of taxation without representation,” the Declaration contended that Parliament had no right to tax the colonists since they had no representatives in Parliament. Only the colonial assemblies, Dickenson argued, had the right to levy taxes in North America.

Declaration of Rights and Grievances:

THE MEMBERS of this congress, sincerely devoted, with the warmest sentiments of affection and duty to his majesty’s person and government, inviolably attached to the present happy establishment of the protestant succession, and with minds deeply impressed by a sense of the present and impending misfortunes of the British colonies on this continent; having considered as maturely as time will permit, the circumstances of the said colonies, esteem it our indispensable duty to make the following declarations of our humble opinion, respecting the most essential rights and liberties of the colonists, and of the grievances under which they labour, by reason of several late acts of parliament.

1. That his majesty’s subjects in these colonies, owe the same allegiance to the crown of Great Britain, that is owing from his subjects born within the realm, and all due subordination to that august body the parliament of Great Britain

2. That his majesty’s liege subjects in these colonies, are entitled to all the inherent rights and liberties of his natural born subjects, within the kingdom of Great Britain

3. That it is inseparably essential to the freedom of a people, and the undoubted right of Englishmen, that no taxes be imposed on them but with their own consent, given personally, or by their representatives

4. That the people of these colonies are not, and, from their local circumstances, cannot be, represented in the House of Commons in Great Britain

5. That the only representatives of the people of these colonies, are persons chosen therein by themselves; and that no taxes ever have been, or can be constitutionally imposed on them, but by their respective legislatures

6. That all supplies to the crown being free gifts of the people, it is unreasonable and inconsistent with the principles and spirit of the British constitution, for the people of Great Britain to grant to his majesty the property of the colonists

7. That trial by jury, is the inherent and invaluable right of every British subject in these colonies

8. That the late act of parliament, entitled, an act for granting and applying certain stamp duties, and other duties, in the British colonies and plantations in America, &c., by imposing taxes on the inhabitants of these colonies, and the said act, and several other acts, by extending the jurisdiction of the courts of admiralty beyond its ancient limits, have a manifest tendency to subvert the rights and liberties of the colonists

9. That the duties imposed by several late acts of parliament, from the peculiar circumstances of these colonies, will be extremely burdensome and grievous; and from the scarcity of specie, the payment of them absolutely impracticable

10. That as the profits of the trade of these colonies ultimately center in Great Britain, to pay for the manufacturers which they are obliged to take from thence, they eventually contribute very largely to all supplies granted there to the crown

11. That the restrictions imposed by several late acts of parliament on the trade of these colonies, will render them unable to purchase the manufacturers of Great Britain

12. That the increase, prosperity and happiness of these colonies, depend on the full and free enjoyments of their rights and liberties, and an intercourse with Great Britain mutually affectionate and advantageous

13. That it is the right of the British subjects in these colonies, to petition the king, or either house of parliament

Lastly, That it is the indispensable duty of these colonies, to the best of sovereigns, to the mother country, and to themselves, to endeavour by a loyal and dutiful address to his majesty, and humble applications to both houses of parliament, to procure the repeal of the act for granting and applying certain stamp duties, of all clauses of any other acts of parliament, whereby the jurisdiction of the admiralty is extended as aforesaid, and of the other late acts for the restriction of American commerce.

Oct 7, 1777 – During the American Revolution the second Battle of Saratoga began. Also called the Battle of Bemis Heights:

Background:

After the first battle at Battle of Freeman’s Farm comes to an end on September 19, 1777 and following a standoff September 20-October 6, 1777 Maj. General John Burgoyne now ordered his force to entrench around Freeman’s Farm. He was waiting for Lt. General Sir Henry Clinton, who was supposedly preparing to leave New York City and march north to Albany. Burgoyne waited for three weeks, but Clinton did not come. Burgoyne was now once again low on supplies and facing an American army that was growing in numbers. He could wait no longer. He had to choose to either retreat or engage General Gates.

The Battle:

On October 7, General Burgoyne sent a British force of 1,500 to test the American left flank. The Americans responded to the British movement with three columns under Colonel Daniel Morgan, Maj. General Ebenezer Learned, and Maj. General Enoch Poor, and attacked at about 3 P.M. The British line was repeatedly broken, but rallied again and again.

After Brig. General Simon Fraser was mortally wounded trying to rally his men to cover a withdrawal, Maj. General Benedict Arnold rode onto the field. He and Maj. General Horatio Gates had earlier quarrelled and had been relieved of command. However, he now led General Learned’s column against the British center held by the German troops. The Germans joined the withdrawal.

Within an hour of the beginning of the battle, the British were forced to fall back to their fortifications around Freeman’s Farm. The Americans now believed that victory was theirs, but the British heavy entrenchments proved difficult to overwhelm. After failing to overrun one redoubt, General Arnold led the attack on another that was manned by Germans. Here, he succeeded, but received a wound in the leg.

Fighting only ceased when darkness fell. The darkness had saved General Burgoyne from defeat. During the night, he left campfires burning and withdrew to a large redoubt. He had suffered 1,000 casualties to only 500 for the Americans. The following night he retreated to fortifications at Saratoga, New York, where the American force, which now numbered 20,000 surrounded the British force of 6,000.

Timothy Murphy of Captain Daniel Morgans Riflemen kills Gen. Simon Fraser and Sir Francis Clerke:

Benedict Arnold watched as Gen. Simon Fraser fervently rallied his men, and commented to Capt. Daniel Morgan that he (Fraser) needed to be “disposed of”. Within minutes, Timothy Murphy had climbed a tree, aimed his rifle, and shot Fraser through the midsection from a distance of 300 yards. His next shot killed Sir Francis Clerke (or Clarke) instantly. Fraser survived the night but died 8 October 1777. These two shots of Timothy Murphy’s are credited with turning the tide of the Revolution, demoralizing British soldiers and giving courage to the Americans.

Morgan’s Rifles were sent to join the main army at Valley Forge, and spent that memorable winter with them. The following summer, Morgan’s Rifles were sent to the Mohawk Valley of New York to defend against attacks by Tory and Indian raiders. Murphy elected to remain in New York after his service expired, joining with the Albany County Militia in 1779 or 1780. It was while he was there that he met and married Peggy (Margaret) Feeck or Feek, the daughter of Johannes Feeck. And it was against the British raids that he earned the nickname “The Rifleman”. In 1781, Murphy reenlisted in the Pennsylvania Line under Gen. “Mad” Anthony Wayne, and was present at the final battle of Yorktown.

After the fighting, Murphy returned to his wife and family in the Schoharie valley, and he appears there in the 1800 and 1810 censuses, living close to several Feek/Fake families. Peggy died in 1807, after giving him 5 sons and 4 daughters. He then married Mary Robertson and they moved to Charlottesville. Mary presented Timothy with 4 more sons. Being unable to read or write, he nonetheless became quite wealthy and a local politician. Toward the end of his life, he returned to the Schoharie, where he died in 1818 at the age of 67.

October 7, 1780 Battle of King’s Mountain click link for this history