June 12, 1776

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Congress creates “A Board of War and Ordnance” inspired in part by the failing Canadian campaign.  Americans start a retreat from Canada.

In Williamsburg, Virginia, George Mason and the Virginia Convention adopt a declaration of rights.  This will later be the model for the U.S. Congress when they amend the U.S. Constitution to include a Bill of Rights.

In Philadelphia, Congress appoints a committee to prepare a draft of a working government entitled the Articles of Confederation.

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June 10, 1776

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Congress stops short of declaring “total independence” from Britain, but calls for a committee to prepare a declaration based on the premise “That these United States are, and of right ought to be, free and independent states, that they all are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and all political connection between them and the state of Gret Britain is, and ought to be totally dissolved,” as stated in the Virginia proposal.

George Washington writes to John Hancock, addressing the threats to Philadelphia as well as the internal threats to the cause in general.  “To Congress I also submit the Propriety of keeping the two Continental Battalions (under the Comd of Colonels Shae & McGaw) at Philadelpa when there is the greatest probability of a speedy attack upon this place from the Kings Troops. the Incouragements given by Govr Tryon to the disaffected, which are circulated no one can well tell how—the movements of these kind of People which are more easy to perceive than describe —the confident report which is said to have come immediately from Govr Tryon, & brought by a Frigate from Hallifax that the Troops at that place were Imbarking for this, added to a thousand Incidental Circumstances trivial in themselves but strong from comparison, leaves not a doubt upon my Mind but that Troops are hourly expected at the Hook.  I had no doubt when I left this City, for Philadelphia, but that some measures would have been taken to secure the suspected, & dangerous Persons of this Government before now, and left Orders for the Military to give every aid to the Civil Power—But, the Subject is delicate, & nothing is done in it—we may therefore have Internal, as well as external Enemies to contend with.”

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June 2, 1776

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American Major General John Thomas dies of smallpox near Sorel n Quebec.  Many of the men under his command are dying of smallpox as well.

John Adams writes to Abigail:  “Yesterday I dined with Captain Richards, the Gentleman who made me the present of the brass Pistolls. We had Cherries, Strawberries and Green Peas in Plenty. The Fruits are three Weeks earlier here than with you, indeed they are a fortnight earlier on the East, than on the West side of Delaware River. We have had green Peas, this Week past, but they were brought over the River from New Jersey to this Markett. There are none grown in the City, or on the West side of the River yet. The Reason is, the Soil of New Jersey is a warm Sand, that of Pensilvania, a cold Clay. So much for Peas and Berries.  Now for something of more Importance. In all the Correspondencies I have maintained, during a Course of twenty Years at least that I have been a Writer of Letters, I never kept a single Copy.2 This Negligence and Inaccuracy, has been a great Misfortune to me, on many Occasions.—I have now purchased a Folio Book, in the first Page of which, excepting one blank Leaff, I am writing this Letter, and intend to write all my Letters to you in it from this Time forward. This will be an Advantage to me in several Respects. In the first Place, I shall write more deliberately. In the second Place, I shall be able at all times to review what I have written. 3. I shall know how often I write. 4. I shall discover by this Means, whether any of my Letters to you, miscarry.  If it were possible for me to find a Conveyance, I would send you such another blank Book, as a Present, that you might begin the Practice at the same Time, for I really think that your Letters are much better worth preserving than mine.”

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May 27, 1776

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Indian deputies of the Six Nations hold an audience with Congress. The delegates stage a military parade with Continental troops and soldiers from the local Association.

Abigail Adams writes to her husband John, distressed by the lack of letters from him.  “What can be the reason I have not heard from you since the 20 of April, and now tis the 27 of May. My anxious foreboding Heart fears every Evil, and my Nightly Slumbers are tortured; I have sent, and sent again to the post office, which is now kept in Boston at the office of the formour Solisiter General, not one line for me, tho your hand writing is to be seen to several others. Not a scrip have I had since the General Assembly rose, and our Worthy Friend W[arre]n left Watertown. I fear you are sick. The very Idea casts such a Gloom upon my Spirits that I cannot recover them for Hours, nor reason my self out of my fears. Surely if Letters are deliverd to any other hand than those to whose care they are directed tis cruel to detain them. I believe for the future you had better direct them to be left in the post office from whence I shall be sure of obtaining them.”

At the same time, John is writing to Abigail:  “I have three of your Favours, before me—one of May 7., another of May 9. and a third of May 14th. The last has given me Relief from many Anxieties. It relates wholly to private Affairs, and contains such an Account of wise and prudent Management, as makes me very happy. I begin to be jealous, that our Neighbours will think Affairs more discreetly conducted in my Absence than at any other Time.  Whether your Suspicions concerning a Letter under a marble Cover, are just or not, it is best to say little about it.1 It is an hasty hurried Thing and of no great Consequence, calculated for a Meridian at a great Distance from N. England. If it has done no good, it will do no harm. It has contributed to sett People a thinking upon the subject, and in this respect has answered its End. The Manufactory of Governments having, since the Publication of that Letter, been as much talk’d of, as that of salt Petre was before.  I rejoice at your Account of the Spirit of Fortification, and the good Effects of it. I hope by this Time you are in a tolerable Posture of defence. The Inhabitants of Boston have done themselves great Honour, by their laudable Zeal, the worthy Clergymen especially.  I think you shine as a Stateswoman, of late as well as a Farmeress. Pray where do you get your Maxims of State, they are very apropos.  I am much obliged to Judge Gushing, and his Lady for their polite Visit to you: should be very happy to see him, and converse with him about many Things but cannot hope for that Pleasure, very soon. The Affairs of America, are in so critical a State, such great Events are struggling for Birth, that I must not quit this station at this Time. Yet I dread the melting Heats of a Philadelphia Summer, and know not how my frail Constitution will endure it. Such constant Care, such incessant Application of Mind, drinking up and exhausting the finer Spirits upon which Life and Health so essentially depend, will wear away a stronger Man than I am.—Yet I will not shrink from this Danger or this Toil. While my Health shall be such that I can discharge in any tolerable manner, the Duties of this important Post, I will not desert it.”

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May 18, 1776

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A resolution in Congress requests the Committee of Secret Correspondence to dispatch vessels to the French West Indies to purchase at least 10,000 muskets and to learn, if possible, whether the large French military force concentrated there would act “for or against the colonies.”

Richard Henry Lee sends John Adams the following exciting news:  “Inclosed you have a printed Resolve [calling to ‘declare the United Colonies free and independent states,’ and the convention further resolved that a committee be named to set forth a declaration of rights and draft a plan of government for the colony] which passed our Convention to the infinite joy of our people. The Resolve for Independency has not that peremtory and decided Air I could wish. Perhaps the proviso which reserves to this Colony the power of forming its own Government may be questionable as to its fitness. Would not a Uniform plan of Government prepared for America by the Congress and approved by the Colonies be a surer foundation of Unceasing Harmony to the whole. However such as they are the exultation here was extreme. The british flag on the Capitol was immediately Struck and the Continental hoisted in its room. The troops were drawn out and we had a discharge of Artillery and small arms.”

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May 17, 1776

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An order in council extends the ban on exports of gunpowder, saltpeter, and any type of arms or ammunition.  The order also bans the transportation of those products to the coast without the previous permission of the king or his privy council.

General Charles Cornwallis was on a secret mission with 900 British Regulars, was to sail up the Cape Fear River and burn Brunswick Town.  The town was a base for American rebels.  They burned the town and took some livestock.

John Adams writes to Abigail with his usual mix of philosophy, politicks, news, and personal tenderness.  “I have this Morning heard Mr. Duffil upon the Signs of the Times. He run a Parrallell between the Case of Israel and that of America, and between the Conduct of Pharaoh and that of George.  Jealousy that the Israelites would throw off the Government of Egypt made him issue his Edict that the Midwives should cast the Children into the River, and the other Edict that the Men should make a large Revenue of Brick without Straw. He concluded that the Course of Events, indicated strongly the Design of Providence that We should be seperated from G. Britain, &c.  Is it not a Saying of Moses, who am I, that I should go in and out before this great People? When I consider the great Events which are passed, and those greater which are rapidly advancing, and that I may have been instrumental of touching some Springs, and turning some small Wheels, which have had and will have such Effects, I feel an Awe upon my Mind, which is not easily described.  G[reat] B[ritain] has at last driven America, to the last Step, a compleat Seperation from her, a total absolute Independence, not only of her Parliament but of her Crown, for such is the Amount of the Resolve of the 15th.  Confederation among ourselves, or Alliances with foreign Nations are not necessary, to a perfect Seperation from Britain. That is effected by extinguishing all Authority, under the Crown, Parliament and Nation as the Resolution for instituting Governments, has done, to all Intents and Purposes. Confederation will be necessary for our internal Concord, and Alliances may be so for our external Defence.  I have Reasons to believe that no Colony, which shall assume a Government under the People, will give it up. There is something very unnatural and odious in a Government 1000 Leagues off. An whole Government of our own Choice, managed by Persons whom We love, revere, and can confide in, has charms in it for which Men will fight. Two young Gentlemen from South Carolina, now in this City, who were in Charlestown when their new Constitution was promulgated, and when their new Governor and Council and Assembly walked out in Procession, attended by the Guards, Company of Cadetts, Light Horse &c., told me, that they were beheld by the People with Transports and Tears of Joy. The People gazed at them, with a Kind of Rapture. They both told me, that the Reflection that these were Gentlemen whom they all loved, esteemed and revered, Gentlemen of their own Choice, whom they could trust, and whom they could displace if any of them should behave amiss, affected them so that they could not help crying.

They say their People will never give up this Government.

In one or two of your Letters you remind me to think of you as I ought. Be assured there is not an Hour in the Day, in which I do not think of you as I ought, that is with every Sentiment of Tenderness, Esteem, and Admiration.

Meanwhile, General Washington writes to General Schuyler about the growingly difficult situation in Canada.  “I this Morning received Your Favor of the 13th Inst. with Its Inclosures, Conveying Intelligence of the Melancholly Situation of our Affairs in Canada; & am not Without My Fears, I confess, that the Prospect we had of possessing that Country of such Importance in the present Controversy is almost Over, or at best, that It will be Effected with much More Difficulty and Effusion of Blood than were Necessary, had our Exertions been timely applied. However we Must Not despair, a Manly & spirited Opposition can only ensure Success, & prevent the Enemy from Improving the Advantage they have Obtained. I have forwarded the Letters to Congress, & their Answer to You & the Honble Commissioners I will transmit You, as soon as they come to Hand.

I am fully sensible that this unfortunate Event has greatly deranged Your Schemes, & will involve You in Difficulties only to be Obviated by Your Zeal & Assiduity, which I am well satisfyed will not be wanting in this or any other Instance where the Good of Your Country require them.  Notwithstanding the most diligent Pains; but a small Part of the Nails You wrote for, is Yet Collected, Nor will there be a possibility of Getting more than half the Quantity; the Qr Master expects that they will be here to Day When they will be instantly forwarded with the five Tons of Lead.”

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The Ultimate July 4th Celebration!!!!

Bow Tie Tours is pleased to announce the Ultimate July 4th Celebration, a 7-Hour Extravaganza that will take you to all of the top sites in Colonial Philadelphia.  Included in this tour is admission to Independence Hall, Graff House, the 2nd National Bank/Portrait Studio, the Betsy Ross, House, and the brand new Museum of the American Revolution that includes the actual tent where George Washington slept.  This will all end off at the City Tavern for a drink and a Huzzah!

Join Dr. Benjamin Rush, a Signer of the Declaration of Independence and a man who can tell you all about the Revolution from a first-hand basis.  Hear about his friends, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and George Washington.  (Dr. Rush is portrayed by author David Cross, Director of Bow Tie Tours.)

 

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