August 3, 1776

Unknown

In view of the serious threat to New York and its own shores, the State Convention in New Brunswick, New Jersey, resolves to fine all able-bodied men who refuse to bear arms.

General Horatio Gates feels reassured that the energetic Benedict Arnold would be responsible for building and commanding the fleet in order to oppose the inevitable invasion from Canada.

Lieutenant Colonel Benjamin Tupper commanding 5 small boats attacked 5 British ships that passed up the Hudson River from Staten Island and anchored at the Tappan Sea.  The attack failed.  HMS Phoenix and HMS Rose were involved.

John Adams writes to his wife, Abigail (original spelling retained):  Went this Morning to the Baptist Meeting, in Hopes of hearing Mr. Stillman, but was dissappointed. He was there, but another Gentleman preached. His Action was violent to a degree bordering on fury. His Gestures, unnatural, and distorted. Not the least Idea of Grace in his Motions, or Elegance in his Style. His Voice was vociferous and boisterous, and his Composition almost wholly destitute of Ingenuity. I wonder extreamly at the Fondness of our People for schollars educated at the Southward and for southern Preachers. There is no one Thing, in which We excell them more, than in our University, our schollars, and Preachers. Particular Gentlemen here, who have improved upon their Education by Travel, shine. But in general, old Massachusetts outshines her younger sisters, still. In several Particulars, they have more Wit, than We. They have Societies; the philosophical Society particularly, which excites a scientific Emulation, and propagates their Fame. If ever I get through this Scene of Politicks and War, I will spend the Remainder of my days, in endeavouring to instruct my Countrymen in the Art of making the most of their Abilities and Virtues, an Art, which they have hitherto, too much neglected. A philosophical society shall be established at Boston, if I have Wit and Address enough to accomplish it, sometime or other.—Pray set Brother Cranch’s Philosophical Head to plodding upon this Project. Many of his Lucubrations would have been published and preserved, for the Benefit of Mankind, and for his Honour, if such a Clubb had existed.  My Countrymen want Art and Address. They want Knowledge of the World. They want the exteriour and superficial Accomplishments of Gentlemen, upon which the World has foolishly set so high a Value. In solid Abilities and real Virtues, they vastly excell in general, any People upon this Continent. Our N. England People are Aukward and bashfull; yet they are pert, ostentatious and vain, a Mixture which excites Ridicule and gives Disgust. They have not the faculty of shewing themselves to the best Advantage, nor the Art of concealing this faculty. An Art and Faculty which some People possess in the highest degree. Our Deficiencies in these Respects, are owing wholly to the little Intercourse We have had with strangers, and to our Inexperience in the World. These Imperfections must be remedied, for New England must produce the Heroes, the statesmen, the Philosophers, or America will make no great Figure for some Time.

Our Army is rather sickly at N. York, and We live in daily Expectation of hearing of some great Event. May God almighty grant it may be prosperous for America.—Hope is an Anchor and a Cordial. Disappointment however will not disconcert me.  If you will come to Philadelphia in September, I will stay, as long as you please. I should be as proud and happy as a Bridegroom.”

Join us at Bow Tie Tours for Philadelphia’s Best Historical Walking Tours.  Explore American History in our four-hour “Independence Tour Extraordinaire,” which includes tickets to Independence Hall, and admission to the Graff House, Carpenter’s Hall, and the 2nd National Bank.  Or, learn about George Washington and his lessons of leadership on our Valley Forge Tour.  If it’s the Civil War you love, join us for our Gettysburg Tour.  And, for the history fanatics, check into our American History Vacation Packages.

July 30, 1776

founding-fathers-declaration-of-independence

Debate on the “Articles of Confederation” continues.  On the subject of voting in Congress, Dr. Franklin argues that for the smaller colonies to have an equal vote, they should have to give equal money and men.  John Witherspoon, however, fears that “smaller states will be oppressed by the great ones.”  The following discussion takes place in regards to how African Americans should be treated in this new confederation (according to notes taken by John Adams) –

“Chase. Moves that the Word, White, should be inserted in the 11. Article. The Negroes are wealth. Numbers are not a certain Rule of wealth. It is the best Rule We can lay down. Negroes a Species of Property—personal Estate. If Negroes are taken into the Computation of Numbers to ascertain Wealth, they ought to be in settling the Representation. The Massachusetts Fisheries, and Navigation ought to be taken into Consideration. The young and old Negroes are a Burthen to their owners. The Eastern Colonies have a great Advantage, in Trade. This will give them a Superiority. We shall be governed by our Interests, and ought to be. If I am satisfied, in the Rule of levying and appropriating Money, I am willing the small Colonies may have a Vote.

Wilson. If the War continues 2 Years, each Soul will have 40 dollars to pay of the public debt. It will be the greatest Encouragement to continue Slave keeping, and to increase them, that can be to exempt them from the Numbers which are to vote and pay…. Slaves are Taxables in the Southern Colonies. It will be partial and unequal. Some Colonies have as many black as white…. These will not pay more than half what they ought. Slaves prevent freemen cultivating a Country. It is attended with many Inconveniences.

Lynch. If it is debated, whether their Slaves are their Property, there is an End of the Confederation. Our Slaves being our Property, why should they be taxed more than the Land, Sheep, Cattle, Horses, &c. Freemen cannot be got, to work in our Colonies. It is not in the Ability, or Inclination of freemen to do the Work that the Negroes do. Carolina has taxed their Negroes. So have other Colonies, their Lands.

Dr. Franklin. Slaves rather weaken than strengthen the State, and there is therefore some difference between them and Sheep. Sheep will never make any Insurrections.

Rutledge…. I shall be happy to get rid of the idea of Slavery. The

Slaves do not signify Property. The old and young cannot work. The Property of some Colonies are to be taxed, in others not. The Eastern Colonies will become the Carriers for the Southern. They will obtain Wealth for which they will not be taxed.”  This is a discussion that will continue on, through the Constitutional Convention in 1787 and beyond.  General Washington informed British General William Howe that Congress had authorized a “General Exchange of prisoners, to those of equal rank.   Soldier for soldier, sailor for sailor, and citizen for citizen.”  A particular mention, he noted, was made of Colonel Ethan Allen, who would be exchanged for any officer.

Join us at Bow Tie Tours for Philadelphia’s Best Historical Walking Tours.  To learn more about George Washington, take our take our Valley Forge Tour.  Or, enjoy our four-hour “Independence Tour Extraordinaire,” which includes tickets to Independence Hall.  If your interest lies in the Civil War, you will not want to miss out on our extraordinary Gettysburg Tour.  Finally, if you are a huge history fan, please check out our exciting American History Vacation Packages, which include week-long excursions to learn about George Washington or Thomas Jefferson.

 

July 26, 1776

MNY14515

Colonel Alexander Hamilton writes to the New York Representatives in regards to the scarcity of supplies being afforded his men:  “I am obliged to write you, to remove a difficulty which arises respecting the quantity of subsistence which is to be allowed my men. Enclosed you have the rate of rations which is the standard allowance of the whole Continental and even the Provincial army; but it seems Mr. Curtenius can not afford to supply us with more than his contract stipulates, which by comparison, you will perceive is considerably less than the forementioned rate. My men, you are sensible, are by their articles, entitled to the same subsistence with the Continental troops; and it would be to them an insupportable discrimination, as well as a breach of the terms of their enlistment, to give them almost a third less provisions than the whole army besides receives. I doubt not you will readily put this matter upon a proper footing. Hitherto, we have drawn our full allowance from Mr. Curtenius, but he did it upon the supposition that he should have a farther consideration for the extraordinary supply. At present however he scruples to proceed in the same way, until it can be put upon a more certain foundation.”

Congress discussed Article XVIII of the confederation proposal which granted Congress the power of “regulating the trade, and managing al affairs with the Indians.”  John Adams takes notes of the debate (original spellings):  “Rutledge and Linch oppose giving the Power of regulating the Trade and managing all Affairs of the Indians, to Congress. The Trade is profitable they say.

Gwinnett is in favour of Congress having such Power.

Braxton is for excepting such Indians as are tributary to any State. Several Nations are tributary to Virginia.

Jefferson explains it to mean the Indians who live in the Colony. These are Subject to the Laws in some degree.

Wilson. We have no Right over the Indians, whether within or without the real or pretended Limits of any Colony…. They will not allow themselves to be classed according to the Bounds of Colonies. Grants made 3000 miles to the Eastward have no Validity with the Indians. The Trade of Pensilvania has been more considerable with the Indians than that of the neighbouring Colonies.

Walton. The Indian Trade is of no essential service to any Colony. It must be a Monopoly. If it is free it produces Jealousies and Animosities, and Wars. Carolina very passionately considers this Trade as contributory to her Grandeur and Dignity. Deerskins are a great Part of the Trade. A great difference between S. Carolina and Georgia. Carolina is in no danger from the Indians at present. Georgia is a frontier and Barrier to Car. G. must be overrun and extirpated before Car. can be hurt. G. is not equal to the Expence of giving the Donations to the Indians, which will be necessary to keep them at Peace. The Emoluments of the Trade are not a Compensation for the Expence of donations.

Rutledge differs from Walton in a Variety of Points.—We must look forward with extensive Views. Carolina has been run to an amazing expence to defend themselves vs. Indians. In 1760 &c. fifty thousand Guineas were spent. We have now as many Men on the frontiers, as in Charlestown. We have Forts in the Indian Countries. We are connected with them by Treaties.

Lynch. Congress may regulate the Trade, if they will indemnify Car. vs. the Expence of keeping Peace with the Indians, or defending Us vs. them.

Witherspoon. Here are two adjacent Provinces, situated alike with respect to the Indians, differing totally in their Sentiments of their Interests.

Chase. S. Carolina claims to the S. Sea. So does North, Virginia, and Massachusetts Bay. S. Carolina says they have a Right to regulate the Trade with the Indians. If so 4 Colonies have all the Power of regulating Trade with the Indians. S.C. alone could not stand alone vs. the Indian Nations.

Sherman moves that Congress may have a Superintending Power, to prevent Injustice to the Indians or Colonies.

Willson. No lasting Peace will be with the Indians, unless made by some one Body. No such language as this ought to be held to the Indians. We are stronger, We are better. We treat you better than another Colony. No Power ought to treat, with the Indians, but the united States. Indians know the striking Benefits of Confederation— they have an Example of it in the Union of the Six nations. The Idea of the Union of the Colonies struck them forcibly last Year. None should trade with Indians without a Licence from Congress. A perpetual War would be unavoidable, if every Body was allowed to trade with them.  Stone. This Expedient is worse than either of the Alternatives. What is the meaning of this Superintendency? Colonies will claim the Right first. Congress cant interpose untill the Evil has happened. Disputes will arise when Congress shall interpose.”

Join Bow Tie Tours for Philadelphia’s Best Historical Walking Tours.  Take our “Independence Tour Extraordinaire,” which includes tickets to Independence Hall, or learn about Washington at our Valley Forge Tour.  Or, if you are a big history buff, you may think about joining us for one of our American Revolution Vacation Packages, which include several-day trips dedicated to Thomas Jefferson and George Washington.  Or, if the Civil War is your thing, join us for our Gettysburg Tour.

 

 

July 24, 1776

John_Hancock_1770-crop

In a letter to General Philip Schuyler, Congress President John Hancock asserted that the Congress is “concerned to find there should be a necessity of recommending harmony to the officers and troops of different States under your command nothing can show greater weakness or wickedness than to throw provincial reflections on one antoher, which muswt have direct tendency to impede public sercie, and weaken the union of the American States.”

At the Hudson River in New York, the HMS Phoenix exchanges fire with Americans on shore at Haverstraw.

In his General Orders, George Washington makes recommendations for his soldiers dress, knowing that many of them are too poor to purchase specific uniforms and that the Congress, to, has no money for such necessities.

Join Bow Tie Tours for Philadelphia’s Best Historical Walking Tours.  Take our “Independence Tour Extraordinaire,” which includes tickets to Independence Hall, or learn about Washington at our Valley Forge Tour.  Or, if you are a big history buff, you may think about joining us for one of our American Revolution Vacation Packages, which include several-day trips dedicated to Thomas Jefferson and George Washington.  Or, if the Civil War is your thing, join us for our Gettysburg Tour.

July 22, 1776

images

Congress, sitting as a committee of the whole, considered the printed draft of John Dickinson’s “Articles of Confederation.”  They would become finally adopted in November 1777.

Richard Cranch writes to John Adams with word about his family and their inoculations:  “Those that are dearest to you are here, under Inocolation. Charles was Inocolated with me on Thursday, the 11th. Instt. Our Symptoms are very promising; Mrs. A. and the other three Children underwent the operation the next Day. I suppose the enclos’d will be more particular.  The Declaration of Independency which took place here last Thursday, was an Event most ardently wish’d for by every consistant Lover of American Liberty, and was received accordingly by the loudest Acclamations of the People, who Shouted—God Save the united States of America!—We have various Stories current here of Vessels having spoken with Lord Howe, and that he inform’d them he had Powers to treat with Congress &c. Beware of Punic Faith.”

Join Bow Tie Tours for the Philadelphia’s Best Historical Walking Tours.  Take our four-hour Independence Tour Extraordinaire, which includes tickets to Independence Hall.  Or, take our driving Valley Forge Tour, which describes the making of the Continental Army.  If you are a true history buff, you will want to look into our American Revolution Vacation Packages.  Or, if the Civil War is your thing, join us for the best Gettysburg Tour in the area.

 

July 17, 1776

images-5

The third time is the charm!  Learning of General Washington’s repeated refusals to accept letters addressed to “George Washington Esq., etc. etc.” the Congress commends him, stating he “acted with a dignity becoming his station” and directed all American commanders to receive only letters addressed to them “in the characters they respectfully sustain.”  Today Washington receives a letter addressed to “His Excellency, General Washington,” with a request that he meet with Lieutenant Colonel James Patterson, the adjutant general of General William Howe.  Washington agreed to meet with him on July 20th,  at Henry Knox’s headquarters at 1 Broadway, near the water.

In a letter written to Elbridge Gerry, Major Joseph Thompson, from Northampton, Massachusetts, advocated death to all Tories.  “Can we subsist, did any state ever subsist without exterminating traitors?  No one thing made the Declaration of Independence indispensably necessary more than cutting off traitors.”

John Adams writes to Isaac Smith regarding his family and their inoculations.  “Your Letter of the Eighth contains Intelligence of an interesting Nature to the Public as well as to me, and my Family in particular.—The Small Pox is so terrible an Enemy that it is high Time to subdue it.—I am under the greatest Obligation to you, Sir, and Mrs. Smith for your kind Offer of the Accommodations of your House to Mrs. Adams and my Children. I shall be very, very anxious, untill I hear further, and if it was possible I would be in Boston as soon as an Horse could carry me. But this is the most unlucky Time, that ever happened. Such Business is now before Us, that I cannot in Honour and in duty to the public, stir from this Place, at present. After a very few Months, I shall return: But in the mean Time, I shall suffer inexpressible distress, on Account of my Family. My only Consolation is that they have no small Number of very kind Friends.  We are in hourly Expectation of some important Event at New York. We hope there will be a sufficient Number of Men there, to give the Enemy a proper Reception. But am sorry the Massachusetts have not sent along some of their Militia, as requested.”  Indeed, the small pox becomes a much more powerful enemy throughout the war than the England ever come close to being.  Soon it will become a requirement that all soldiers who have not yet been vaccinated first go through the procedure prior to active duty.

Join Bow Tie Tours for Philadelphia’s Best Walking Tours.  To learn more about George Washington, take our award-winning Valley Forge Tour.  Take our four-hour Independence Extraordinaire Tour, which includes tickets to Independence Hall.  Or, if you’re a real history and Washington aficionado, contact us about our upcoming weeklong American Revolution Vacation Package about Washington.  You can also check out our podcast, which is currently discussing the early years of Washington.  If the Civil War is your interest, you won’t want to miss our Gettysburg Tour!

 

July 12, 1776

220px-John_Dickinson_portrait

John Dickinson’s Articles of Confederation are presented to Congress.  This will create a confederation of the states that provides very little central power.  Throughout the course of the war the Congress will find itself begging the states to provide support for the war effort.

The Congress, concerned about the regions around the Great Lakes, directed General Philip Schuyler to order the construction of galleys to protect Lake Ontario and sought to establish how large a naval force would be necessary to secure Lake Erie.

In New York, Admiral Richard Howe arrives on Staten Island with over 100 ships and 11,000 soldiers.  He joins forces with his brother General Sir William Howe.

George Washington writes to John Hancock to inform him of the precarious circumstances in New York:  “The design of this is to inform Congress, that at about half after three oClock this Evening Two of the Enemies Ships of War, one of Forty and the other of Twenty Guns with three Tenders weighed Anchor in the bay opposite Staten Island and availing themselves of a brisk & favourable breeze with a flowing Tide run past our Batteries up the North river without receiving any certain damage that I could perceive notwithstanding a heavy and Incessant Canonade was kept up from our several Batteries here as well as from that at paulus Hook. they on their part returnd and continued the fire as they run by. I dispatched an Express to Brigadr Genl Mifflin at our Encampment towards the upper end of the Island, but have not heard whether they have got by or received any damage. The Account transmitted by this mornings post respecting the Arrival of one of the Fleet seems to be confirmed—Several Ships have come in to day, among them, one this Evening with a St Georges Flag at her Fore topmast head which we conclude to be Admiral Howe from the circumstance of the Flag, and the several and General Salutes that were paid. It is probable they will all arrive in a day or two and immediately begin their operations.  As It will be extremely necessary that the Flying Camp should be well provided with powder and Ball, and It may be impracticable to send supplies from hence on account of our hurry and engagements, besides the communication may be incertain. I must beg the attention of Congress to this matter, and request that they will forward with all possible expedition such a Quantity of Muskett powder and Lead If Balls of different sizes cannot be had, as will be sufficient for the Militia to compose that Camp. By an Express this minute arrived from Genl Mifflin the Ships have past his Works.”

Join us at Bow Tie Tours for Philadelphia’s Best Historical Walking Tours.  Our “Independence Tour Extraordinaire” includes tickets for Independence Hall.  For the true history fan, join us in one of our battle tours, including Washington Crossing to learn the true story of the Battle at Trenton.  And there is always Valley Forge, the birthplace of the army that defeated the English.  Finally, if you are interested in one of our history vacation packages, join us for our Washington or Jefferson trips.