The United states in Congress assembled receive with emotions too affecting for utterance this solemn resignation of the authorities, under which you have led their troops with success through a perilous and a doubtful war.
Called upon by your country to defend its invaded rights you accepted the sacred charge before it had found alliances and whilst it was without funds or a government to support you.
You have conducted the great military contest with wisdom and fortitude, invariably regarding the rights of the civil power through all disasters and changes. You have by the love and confidence of your fellow citizens enabled them to display their martial genius and transmit their fame to posterity. You have persevered till these United States aided by a magnanimous king & nation have been enabled, under a just Providence, to close the war in freedom, safety and independence, on which happy event we sincerely join you in congratulations.
Having defended the standard of liberty in this new world, having taught a lesson useful to those who inflict and to those who feel oppression you retire from the great theatre of action with the blessings of your fellow citizens: But the glory of your virtues will not terminate with your military command: it will continue to animate remotest ages.
We feel with you our obligations to the army in general and will particularly charge ourselves with the interests of those confidential Officers who have attended your person to this affecting moment.
We join you in commanding the interests of our dearest Country to the protection of Almighty God, beseeching Him to dispose the hearts and minds of its citizens to improve the opportunity afforded them of becoming a happy and respectable nation; And for you we address to Him our earnest prayers that a life so beloved may be fostered with all his care—that your days may be happy as they have been illustrious and that He will finally give you that reward, which this World cannot give.
Note: After this chapter you should have a good understanding of the nature and philosophy of Colonial resistance. Begin to think about the process by which “Resistance” transitions into “Revolution”. You should also have an idea of how inter-colonial relationships formed and how compromise and cooperations developed among them a critical understanding when considering national formation and the expectations of the founders about how American leaders would deal with conflict.
Thought / Response Quotes
- “The Sons of Liberty of this place have wrote to Philadelphia,” he informed his father, “that if they do not make Hugh[e]s resign as fully as the other Distributors … [t]hey will disown them and hold no longer Correspondence with them.”
- “our worthy ancestors … having felt the effects of tyranny … fled … to seek shelter beneath the peaceful wing of liberty,” an article in the Boston Evening Post once proclaimed; hence the colonists were “the sons of noble freedom.”
- “to march with the utmost dispatch, at their own proper costs and expense, on the first proper notice (which must be signified to them by at least six of the sons of liberty) with their whole force if required … to the relief of those that shall, are, or may be in danger from the stamp act.”
- “Such a goal required that the Sons continue earlier efforts to restrain the possible violence of extra-legal gatherings. Military discipline could contribute to this end”
- “the greatest inducements to believe, that the Colonies will never more be threaten’d with such a Fetter, as an Act so mischievously calculated to bereave its Inhabitants of their darling Liberty.”
- Describe the development of inter-colonial Stamp Act resistance
- Describe the evolution of the Stamp Act protests from random inceptions to organized resistance.
- What are some examples of rudimentary inter-colonial cooperation?
- In what ways did the Sons of Liberty in 1765 form an ideal type for colonial resistance?
- What is the history behind the label “Sons of Liberty”?
- How did the New York Sons of Liberty play a special part in inter-colonial cooperation?
- In what ways were the personal and familial relationships between the prominent Sons of Liberty significant?
- What are some examples of personal and familial relationships between the prominent Sons of Liberty impacting the course of resistance?
- Why were personal relationships between the Sons of Liberty essential to the development of inter-colonial resistance?
- Compare and Contrast: Alliances between the “noble families” in Britain and Alliances between Colonial merchants
- Describe the purpose and effectiveness of Committees of Correspondence?
- Name several significant leaders of the Sons of Liberty
- How did the end of the Stamp Act crisis impact the Sons of Liberty?
- How did the formation of the Sons of Liberty impact other colonial social institutions?
- Compare and Contrast the reasoning behind resistance to the Stamp Act in different colonies and regions?
- In what ways did the Sons of Liberty attempt to mobilize the “mass body politic” in the colonies and what was their intentions?
- How did the Sons of Liberty use Colonial newspapers to mobilize resistance?
- What was the Sons of Liberty New London agreement and how was it significant in shaping the wider actions of the Son of Liberty in other colonies?
- What were some examples of the Sons of Liberty cooperating and coordinating with established colonial authorities?
- In what ways did the Sons of Liberty act as a “shadow government” when British authorities dissolved Colonial Assemblies?
- How did the Sons of Liberty seek to balance resistance to British authority with loyalty to the British crown?
- What was the Boston Gazette and the Constitutional Courant what role did it play in Colonial resistance and coordination?
- Who were the “Loyal Nine”?
- In what ways did the repeal of the Stamp Act impact the Sons of Liberty, British authorities and the Colonial public?
Articles and Resources
- What were the different motivations that inspired individuals, American and British, to fight and in some cases die in the American Revolution?
- How were individual motivations for joining the fight in the American Revolution similar and different in the War of 1812 and the American Civil War?
- What different circumstances effected the performance of Continentals and militias?
- How did the experience of serving in the Continental Army under Washington create a feeling of nationhood?
- How did the geographic differences in the composition of the Continental Army and militias impact sectional characteristics and feelings?
- Compare the factors that influenced the performance of British soldiers and the Continental Army and British soldiers and the militias?
- In what ways did the “Civil War” the British soldiers experienced compare and contrast to the “Revolution” the American soldiers experienced?
- A classic American Revolution memoir is A Narrative of a Revolutionary Soldier: Some of the Adventures, Dangers, and Sufferings of Joseph Plumb Martin (free on Librivox)
- If you are interested in the experience of British soldiers in the American Revolution, consider Tories: Fighting for the King in America’s First Civil War by Thomas B. Allen and British Soldiers, American War: Voices of the American Revolution by Don N. Hagist
Chapter Thought and Response Quotes
- “Why did those men—those who survived and those who died—fight? Why did they hold their ground, endure the strain of battle, with men dying about them and danger to themselves so obvious?”
- “We need to know why these men fought and why the American regulars performed better than the militia.”
- “The activity of a commander in chief does not at all resemble the activity we imagine to ourselves when we sit at ease in our studies examining some campaign on the map, with a certain number of troops on this and that side in a certain known locality, and begin our plans from a given moment. A commander in chief is never dealing with the beginning of any event—the position from which we always contemplate it. The commander in chief is always in the midst of a series of shifting events and so he never can at any moment consider the whole import of an event that is occurring.”
- “The Continentals occupied the psychological and moral ground somewhere between the militia and the British professionals.”
Optional Supplemental Reading
Continue Reading American Heritage History of the American Revolution by Bruce Lancaster