August 4, 1776

220px-Joseph_Reed_by_Pierre_Eugène_du_Simitière

Colonel Joseph Reed in New York, an astute member of Washington’s staff, observes to a friend that although Admiral Howe spoke convincingly of “peace and accommodation,” his written communications fail to disclose any “serious intention of relinquishing one iota of their despotic claim over this country.”  He also reveals that Washington had considered an attack on Staten Island where the British troops were garrisoned but a lack of men and boats forced him to abandon the idea.

During July and August the entire frontier from Virginia to Georgia was thrown into turmoil by Indian attacks instigated by British agents.  Colonel Andrew Williamnson reports to President Rutledge that the state militia has fought its way out of an Indian ambush and on the following day crossed the Kenowee River to destroy four Indian towns.

An anonymous citizen complains to George Washington about his bad treatment by the army:  “My House is forcibly entered & posessed by officers and Soldiers without my Consent, to the number of 60 or 70. . . . From A barrack, my House is now become A mere Hospital Noise & Disturbance day and night, reign in every part—The two Halls below are occupied by the rude hand of Insolence the Doors nailed, & I am at last reduced to such narrow limits that the next Encroachment must consign myself & family to the Fields, & Mr Clarkes Estate to every waste.” One wonders what redress the anonymous citizen can expect if he does not give Washington his name:

John Adams writes to Nathaniel Greene about regional differences within the army:  “The New England Collonells, you observe, are jealous, that southern Officers are treated with more Attention than they, because Several of the Southern Collonells have been made Generals, but not one of them.”  After discussing some of the specific cases involving who had been promoted and who not, Adams goes on to discuss his perception of the difference between the two regions:  “Military Characters in the southern Colonies, are few—they have never known much of War and it is not easy to make a People Warlike who have never been so. All the Encouragement, and every Incentive therefore, which can be given with Justice ought to be given, in order to excite an Ambition among them, for military Honours.”  Just what characteristics do we want in our officers?  “A General Officer, ought to be a Gentleman of Letters, and General Knowledge, a Man of Address and Knowledge of the World. He should carry with him Authority, and Command. There are among the New England Officers, Gentlemen who are equal to all this… It is not every Piece of Wood that will do, to make a Mercury. And Bravery alone, is not a Sufficient Qualification for a General Officer. Name me a New England Collonell of whose real Qualifications, I can Speak with Confidence, who is intituled to Promotion by succession and If I do not get him made a General Officer, I will join the N. E. Collonells, and outclamour the loudest of them in their Jealousy.  nay I will go further!There is a real difficulty, attending this subject, which I know not how to get over. Pray help me. I believe, there would be no Difficulty in obtaining Advancement for some of the N. E. Collonells here. But by promoting them over the Heads of So many, there would be a Difficulty in the Army. Poor Massachusetts will fare the worst.”

Meanwhile, Nathaniel Greene writes from Long Island:  “Col. Hand Reports 21 Sail seen off last Evening, Eight arrivd at the Hook this morning and thirteen coming in.The Enemies Guard Boats pattroled much higher up the Bay than usual last Night.  I apprehend a couple of Guard Boats are necessary to Pattrole from Red to Yellow Hook across the Bay leading to Rappelyeas Mills, providing there are Boats to spare.”

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.

 

Advertisements

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 18, 1776

images

Loylist lawyer William Lynchon of Salem wrote, “at noon the Congress read the Declaration of Independence of the colonies of Great Britain from the balcony of the town house, a regiment under arms, and artillery company in King Street, and the guns at the several batteries were fired.  Three cheers given, bell ringing, etc.  In the afternoon the King’s arms were taken down and broken to pieces in King Street, and carried off by the people.”

John Adams writes to a young lawyer, Jonathan Mason, to advise him to stick to his books:  I cannot advise you, to quit the retired scene, of which you have hitherto appeared to be so fond, and engage in the noisy Business of War. I doubt not you have Honour and Spirit, and Abilities sufficient, to make a Figure in the Field: and if the future Circumstances of your Country should make it necessary, I hope you would not hesitate to buckle on your Armour. But at present I See no Necessity for it. Accomplishments of the civil and political Kind are no less necessary, for the Happiness of Mankind than martial ones. We cannot be all Soldiers, and there will probably be in a very few Years a greater Scarcity of Lawyers, and Statesmen than of Warriours.  The Circumstances of this Country, from the Years 1755 to 1758, during which Period I was a student in Mr. Putnams Office, were almost as confused as they are now. And the Prospect before me, my young Friend was much more gloomy than yours. I felt an Inclination, exactly Similar to yours, for engaging in active martial Life, but I was advised, and upon a Consideration of all Circumstances concluded, to mind my Books. Whether my determination was prudent or not, it is not possible to say, but I never repented it. To attain the real Knowledge, which is necessary for a Lawyer, requires the whole Time and Thoughts of a Man in his youth, and it will do him no good to dissipate his Mind among the confused objects of a Camp. Nocturnâ versate manu, versate diurnâ [Give your days and nights to the study of these authors”]—must be your Motto.  I wish you had told me, particularly, what Lawyers have opened Offices in Boston, and what Progress is made in the Practice, and in the Courts of Justice. I cannot undertake to Advise you, whether you had better go into an office in Boston or not. I rather think that the Practice at present is too inconsiderable to be of much service to you. You will be likely to be obliged to waste much of your Time in running of Errands, and doing trifling drudgery without learning much.—Depend upon it, it is of more Importance that you read much, than that you draw many Writts. The common Writts upon Notes, Bonds and Accounts, are mastered in half an Hour. Common Declarations for Rent, and Ejectment and Trespass, both of Assault and Battery and Quare Clausum fregit, are learn’d in very near as short a Time. The more difficult Special Declarations, and especially the Refinements of Special Pleadings are never learnd in an office. They are the Result of Experience, and long Habits of Thinking.  If you read Ploudens Commentaries, you will see the Nature of Special Pleadings. In Addition to these read Instructor Clericalis, Mallory, Lilly, and look into Rastall and Cooke. Your Time will be better Spent upon these Authors, than in dancing Attendance upon a Lawyers Office and his Clients. Many of our most respectable Lawyers never did this att all. Gridly, Pratt, Thatcher, Sewall, Paine. Never served regularly in any office.  Upon the whole, my young Friend, I wish that the State of public Affairs, would have admitted of my Spending more Time with you. I had no greater Pleasure in this Life, than in assisting young Minds possessed of ambition to excell, which I very well know to be your Case. Let me intreat you not to be too anxious about Futurity. Mind your Books. Set down patiently to Ploudens Commentaries, read them through coolly, deliberately, and Attentively. Read them in Course. Endeavour, to make yourself Master of the Point on which the Case turns. Remark the Reasoning, and the Decision. And tell me a year hence, whether your Time has not been more agreably, and profitably Spent than in drawing Writs and running of Errands. I hope to see you eer long. I am obliged to you for this Letter, and wish a Continuance of your Correspondence. I am anxious, very anxious, for my dear Mrs. Adams, and my Babes. God preserve them. I can do them no kind office, whatever.

Join Bow Tie Tours for Philadelphia’s Best Walking Tours.  To learn more about George Washington, take our award-winning Valley Forge Tour.  Or join us on our four-hour Independence Tour Extraordinaire, 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 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 11, 1776

george-washington-writing-at-his-desk-by-candlelight

From Boston, Massachusetts, General Artemus Ward sends “73 fire arms, 60 bayonets, 73 bayonet belts, 73 slings, 73 shot pouches, 50 cartridges boxes, 73 knapsacks” to New York.

General Washington writes to John Hancock:  “By virtue of the discretionary power that Congress were pleased to vest me with, and by advice of such of my General Officers as I have had an opportunity of consulting, I have ordered the Two remaining Continental Regiments in the Massachusetts bay to march immediately for the defence of this place, in full confidence that nothing hostile will be attempted against that State in the present Campaign.  I have wrote to the General Court of Massachusetts bay, and transmitted a Copy of the Resolve for employing the Eastern Indians; entreating their good Offices in this Instance, and their exertions to have them forth with engaged and marched to Join this Army. I have desired Five or Six hundred of them to be Inlisted for two or three years If they will consent to It, subject to an earlier discharge If It shall be thought necessary and upon the same Terms of the Continental Troops, If better cannot be had, though I am hopefull they may.  In my Letter of Yesterday, I mentioned the arrival of part of the Connecticut Light Horse to assist in the defence of this place and my objection to their Horses being kept. Four or five hundred of them are now come in, and in Justice to their zeal and laudable attachment to the cause of their Country I am to inform you, they have consented to Stay as long as Occasion may require, though they should be at the expence of maintaining their horses themselves. They have pastured them out about the neighbourhood of Kings bridge, being unwilling to send them away, at the rate of half a dollar  Week each, meaning to leave It entirely with Congress either to allow or refuse It as they shall Judge proper. I promised to make this representation, and thought It my duty and will only observe, the motives which Induced them at first to set out were good and praiseworthy and were to afford the most speedy and early succour which they apprehended would be wanted before the Militia arrived. their Services may be extremely important being most of them, If not all, Men of reputation & of property.  The Subject of the Inclosed Copy of a Letter from Governor Trumbull I beg leave to submit to the consideration of Congress. they will perceive from his representation, the disquieting apprehensions that have seized on the minds of the people since the retreat of the Northern Army, and how exposed the Northern Frontiers of New York and New Hampshire are to the ravages and Incursions of the Indians. How far It may be expedient to raise the Battallion he conceives necessary to prevent the calamities and distresses he points out, they will determine upon what he has said, and the necessity that may appear to them for the measure, What I have done being only meant to lay the matter before them in compliance with his wishes. I have also Inclosed a memorial from the Surgeons mates setting forth the Inadequacy of their pay to their services and maintenance, and praying that It may be increased. I shall observe that they have a long time complained in this Instance, and that some additional allowance may not be unnecessary.  As I am truly sensible the time of Congress is much taken up with a variety of Important matters, It is with unwillingness and pain I ever repeat a request after having once made It, or take the liberty of Enforcing any opinion of mine after It is once given, but as the establishing of some Office for auditing accounts is a matter of exceeding importance to the public Interest I would beg leave once more to call the attention of Congress to an appointment competent to the purposes. two motives induce me to urge the matter, first a conviction of the utility of the measure—Secondly that I may stand exculpated, If hereafter It should app⟨ear⟩ that money has been improperly expended and necessa⟨ries⟩ for the army obtained upon unreasonable Terms. For me whose time is employed from the hour of my rising, till I retire to bed again, to go into an examination of the amounts of such an Army as this, with any degree of precision and exactness, without neglecting other matters of equal importance is utterly impracticable—All that I have been able to do, & that in fact was doing nothing, was when the Commissary and Quarter Master & director Genl of the Hospital (for It is to these the great advances are made) applyed for Warrants, to make them at times produce a Genl Account of their expenditures—but this answers no valuable purpose—It is the minutie that must be gone into—the propriety of each charge examined—the Vouchers looked into—and with respect to the Commissary General his victualling returns and expenditures of provisions should be compared with his purchases, otherwise a person in this department if he was inclined to be knav⟨ish⟩ might purchase large quantities with the public money and sell one half of It again for private emolument and yet his Accounts upon paper would appear fair and be supported with vouchers for every charge.  I do not urge this matter from a suspicion of any unfair practices in either of the departments before mentioned, and sorry should I be, if this construction was put upon It, having a high opinion of the honor and Integrity of these Gentlemen, but there should nevertheless be some control as well upon their discretion as Honesty—to which may be added that Accounts become perplexed and confused by long standing, and the errors therein not so discoverable as if they underwent an early revision and examination. I am well apprized that a Treasury Office of Accounts has been resolved upon, and an Auditor General for settling all public accounts, but with all deference and submission to the opinion of Congress, these Institutions are not calculated to prevent the Inconveniences I have mentioned, nor can they be competent to the purposes circumstanced as they are.  We have Intelligence from a Deserter that came to us, that on Wednesday morning the Asia, Chatham & Greyhound men of War weighed Anchor, & It was said, Intended to pass up the North river above the City to prevent the Communication with the Jerseys. they did not attempt It nor does he know what prevented them. A prisoner belonging to the 10th Regimt taken yesterday, Informs that they hourly expect Admiral Howe and his Fleet, he adds that a Vessell has arrived from them, and the prevailing Opinion is that an Attack will be made immediately on their arrival.  By a Letter from Genl Ward I am Informed, that the small pox has broke out at Boston and Infected some of the Troops. I have wrote him to place the Invalids under an Officer to remain till they are well, and to use every possible precaution to prevent the Troops coming from thence bringing the Infection. The distresses and calamities we have already suffered by this disorder in one part of our Army, I hope will excite his utmost care that they may not be Increased.”

Join Bow Tie Tours for Philadelphia’s Best Historical Walking Tours.  Take our four-hour “Independence Tour Extraordinaire,” which includes tickets to Independence Hall.  Contact us about our upcoming vacation packages regarding Thomas Jefferson and George Washington, as well as our exciting current podcast, Washington 101.

July 8, 1776

Unknown

In Philadelphia, on the steps of the State House, the Declaration is read aloud by John Nixon in the presence of “a great concourse of people.”  The crowd cheered enthusiastically and the King’s arms were taken down in the Court Room and the State House at the same time.

The bell later known as the Liberty Bell rings in center Philadelphia in order to gather citizens of the city for the reading of the Declaration.

Join us at Bow Tie Tours for Philadelphia’s Best Historical Walking Tours.  Take our four-hour Independence Tour Extraordinaire, which includes tickets to Independence Hall, or enjoy our driving tour at Valley Forge, where you will learn the exciting story of how George Washington, with the help of a few friends, turns a rabble of hungry and discontented individuals into an army ready to stand up against Great Britain.  If you are interested in one of our exciting historical vacation packages, check out our options for our Washington and Jefferson trips!

 

June 7, 1776

Unknown

Richard Henry Lee of Virginia introduces to Congress three resolutions, total independence from Britain, the formation of foreign alliances, and preparation of a plan of colonial confederation.  This is a dramatic and world changing moment!  John Adams seconds the resolutions, which is as follows:  “Resolved That these United Colonies are, and of right 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.  That it is expedient forthwith to take the most effectual measures for forming   foreign Alliances. That a plan of confederation be prepared and transmitted to   the respective Colonies for their consideration and approbation.  Resolved that it is the opinion of this Committee tha[t] the first Resolution be postponed to this day three weeks and that in the mean time least any time should be lost in case the Congress agree to this resolution a committee be appointed to prepare a Declaration to the effect of the said first resolution.”

In Newburyport, Massachusetts, the American privateer U.S.S. Yankee Hero was attacked by HMS Melford and a small group of ships, commanded by Captain John Burr.  Outnumbered 4 to 1 the Yankee Hero surrendered after a two-hour fight.

Join us at Bow Tie Tours to see the place where this resolution was offered to congress!  We also offer the best battlefield tours in the area, including the battles of Washington’s Crossing/Trenton/Princeton, The Battle of Brandywine, and the Battle of Monmouth.