Thursday, October 29, 2009

October 31, 1774

Josiah Quincy to Josiah Quincy, Jr., 31 Oct. 1774:

My Dear Son:

It is now four weeks since you sailed, and if my prayers are heard and the petition of them granted, your health is restored, your voyage comfortable, and your arrival safe; news that would be almost as joyful and reviving to your aged father, as to hear that, through your mediation, peace and harmony were restored between the parent state and her injured and oppressed children upon this Continent.

October 30, 1776

In the House of Commons, Oct. 30, 1776, British Member of Parliament Edmund Burke offered remarks on A Proclamation for a General Fast in England and Wales:

That, after having been massacred, first by the Hessians, and then by the lawyers, they now talked of a revisal of the acts that had been complained of seven years ago. After burning their towns, and ruining their commerce, the Minister cries out, 'Come unto me all ye that are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.' But what sort of rest? You shall have magistrates not of your own choosing; taxes without your assent; and laws made for you in England.

Burke reportedly "complained bitterly" about the Proclamation, indicating that Englishmen and Welshmen were to attend church "to accuse our American brethren of being deluded into acts of treason by specious falsehoods." Burke was called to order, "but afterwords...justified the resistance of the Americans." Burke suggested a general fast should hoped to atone for starting the horrors of war.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

October 29 ,1776

Abigail Adams to John Adams, October, 29, 1776, on privateering, and state military drafts:

"The rage for privateering is as great here as any where. Vast Numbers are employd in that way. If it is necessary to make any more draughts upon us the women must Reap the Harvests. I am willing to do my part. I believe I could gather Corn and Husk it, but I should make a poor figure at diging Potatoes."

Lyman Henry Butterfield, Marc Friedlaender and Richard Alan Ryerson, eds., Adams Family Correspondence: Volume 2: June 1776-March 1778 (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1963), 135.

Letter from Abigail Adams to John Adams, 29 September 1776 [electronic edition]. Adams Family Papers: An Electronic Archive. Massachusetts Historical Society.

October 28, 1776

On October 28, 1776, a prisoner petition the Maryland Council of Safety:

The petition of Joseph Whayland Junr a Languishing Prisoner in the Jail at Annapolis, humbly sheweth, that at the time your Petitioner was taken by Majr Fallin's guard he had all his cloaths taken from him, that he is now naked, and has been so ever since his confinement and had not wherewithall to purchase any cloaths; he therefore humbly prays your Honours would be pleased to grant him an order on Mr. Fallin for the delivery of his cloaths and your Petitioner as in duty shall ever pray.
Joseph Whayland
October 28th 1776

That day, the Maryland Council of Safety ordered "That Major Fallin be directed to deliver to Henry Lowes, or order, all the wearing Apparel of a certain Joseph Whaland now in his possession."

William Hand Browne, ed., Archives of Maryland: Volume 12: Journal and Correspondence of the Maryland Council of Safety July 7-December 31, 1776 (Baltimore: Maryland Historical Society, 1893), 407-408.

October 27, 1774

John Dickinson of Pennsylvania to Arthur Lee of Virginia, Oct. 27, 1774:

"A determined and unanimous resolution animates this Continent, firmly and faithfully to support the common cause to the utmost extremity, in this great struggle for the blessing of Liberty...."

October 26, 1774

Joseph Reed to Josiah Quincy, Junior, Esquire:
"I hope this will find you safely arrived in Great Britain, a country wherein I have spent many happy hours, before she began to play the tyrant over America. The cloud which hung over the Colonies, at the time of your departure, begins to disperse. Instead of divided counsels and feeble measures, which at one time there was too much reason to apprehend, all now is union and firmness; and I trust we shall exhibit such a proof of publick virtue and enlightened zeal, in the most glorious of all causes, as will hand down the present age with the most illustrious characters of antiquity."

Quincy, who was co-counsel with John Adams in the defense of British soldiers accused of their involvement in the Boston Massacre, journeyed to England to meet with British friends of the American cause. On March 15, 1775, Quincy boarded the Boston Packet to return to home, already ill with consumption. On April 25, 1775, the Boston Packet arrived in Gloucester, Massachusetts.

The April 25-May 2 Essex Gazette (of Salem, Mass.) reported from Gloucester that Quincy, "our good Friend and worthy Patriot...was immediately visited by one of the Physicians of this Place, and other respectable Persons--but as he appeared to be actually expiring, no Assistance could be afforded him, & a few Hours put an End to a valuable Life."

Sunday, October 25, 2009

October 25, 1774

Association Signed by Ladies of Edenton, North Carolina, October 24, 1774, signed by 51 ladies:

"As we cannot be indifferent on any occasion that appears to affect the peace and happiness of our country; and as it has been thought necessary for the publick good to enter into several particular Resolves by a meeting of Members of Deputies from the whole Province, it is a duty that we owe not only to our near and dear relations and connexions, but to ourselves, who are essentially interested in their welfare, to do every thing as far as lies in our power to testify our sincere adherence to the same; and we do therefore accordingly subscribe this paper as a witness of our fixed intention and solemn determination to do so."

The fifty-one members of the Ladies' Patriotic Guild met at the Edenton home of Mrs. Elizabeth King. See Cokie Roberts, Founding Mothers: The Women Who Raised Our Nation (New York: William Morrow, 2004), page 42 and Carol Berkin, First Generations: Women in Colonial America (New York: Hill and Wang, 2000 [1996]), page 175.

On Aug. 25, 1774, the Convention of Deputies from the "whole province" of North Carolina resolved solidarity with the people of Boston and Massachusetts. If Britain did not relieve American grievances by Oct. 1, 1774, North Carolina resolved to end its export of such vital goods as naval stores to Great Britain. See the Pennsylvania Packet, Sept. 19, 1774.

American loyalists and newspapers in London ridiculed the "female congress" at Edenton, but Tories did not get the last laugh. The support of American women for boycotts of British goods were vital to the American cause and damaging to the British economy. Similarly, before the US entered World War Two, many American women boycotted Japanese silk after learning of the Empire of Japan's atrocities in China.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

October 24, 1775

General George Washington to President of Congress John Hancock, 24 Oct. 1775:

"Sir: My conjecture of the destination of the late squadron from Boston, in my last, has been unhappily verified, by an outrage exceeding in barbarity and cruelty every hostile act practised among civilized nations. I have enclosed the account given me by Mr. Jones, a gentleman of the Town of Falmouth, of the destruction of that increasing and flourishing village. He is a very great sufferer, and informs me that the time allowed for the removal of effects was so small that valuable property of all kinds, and to a great amount, has been destroyed."

The British burned Falmouth, Massachusetts (now Portland, Maine) on October 18, 1775. Throughout the Revolutioanry War (1775-1783), British forces sporadically burned American towns and cities.

In the Declaration of Independence, Congress included the destruction of towns in a list of grievances against Britain's King George III: "He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people."

Sadly,Continental forces burned the towns of several Native American peoples, destroying homes and crops, and taking the residents (men, women and children) prisoner. For a John Bell's mention of the Continental Army burning Seneca towns, please visit: