PICTORIAL FIELD BOOK OF THE REVOLUTION.
BY BENSON J. LOSSING
Departure from Trenton. – Buck’s County. – St. Tammany. – Old Villages. – Frankford. – Revolutionary Events at Frankford. – Kensington. – Arrival in Philadelphia. – Christ Church and its Sounding-board. – The Grave of Dr. Franklin, and others. – His early-written Epitaph. – Description of Christ Church. – The Natives on the Delaware and Schuylkill. – The Delawares. – Their Character portrayed by William Penn. – First Settlements on the Delaware by the Dutch and Swedes. – Troubles with the Indians. – Gustavus Adolphus. – Extension of Swedish Settlements. – Opposition of the Dutch. – Stuyvesant’s Conquests. – Charter granted to William Penn. – Emigrations. – Arrival of Penn. – His Biography. – Annexation of Delaware. – Penn’s just Dealings with the Natives. – Effect of his Justice. – Treaty Monument. – Character and Influence of the Quakers. – Founding of the Pennsylvania Commonwealth, and of the City of Philadelphia. – Secession of Delaware. – Penn’s Difficulties. – His liberal Concessions. – Pennsylvania Charter. – Penn’s Heirs. – Penn’s Successors hostile to the Indians. – Popular Feeling against the Proprietaries. – Dr. Franklin. – The Stamp Act. – Spirit of the People. – Party Rancor. – Franklin Lampooned. – William Bradford. – The Pennsylvania Journal. – Repeal of the Stamp Act. – Rejoicings. – Dickenson’s Letters. – Firmness of Pennsylvania. – Tea Ships. – Destruction of Tea at Greenwich. – Revolutionary Movements. – Members of Assembly instructed. – Quakers Opposed to the Revolution. – "Testimony" of their Yearly Meeting in 1775. – James Pemberton and others sent to Virginia. – Arrest and Removal of Governor Penn and Chief-justice Chew. – Execution of Roberts and Carlisle. – Justice of their Punishment. – Carpenter’s Hall. – Desecration of Carpenter’s Hall. – Congress Hall. – Prevalence of a Desire for Union. – First Movements toward a General Congress. – Election of Delegates. – Names of the Representatives of each Colony. – Character of the first Continental Congress. – Its Organization. – Peyton Randolph. – Charles Thomson. – Opening of the first Continental Congress. – Patrick Henry. – The first Prayer in Congress. – Sessions with closed Doors. – Sympathy with Massachusetts. – Declaration of Rights. – "American Association." – Mr. Duché. – State Papers issued by Congress. – Debates. – Diversity of Opinion. – Dartmouth’s Circular. – Joseph Galloway. – Opinions concerning the Adamses. – Sketch of Galloway’s public Life. – Disposition of his Estate.
"Th’ autumnal glories all have pass’d away!
The sun was shining in its noontide glory when I crossed the great Trenton Bridge over the Delaware to Morrisville, and reined my horse to the right into the Falsington road, for Philadelphia, twenty-eight miles distant. Unlike a summer rain, the storm developed no new beauties in the fields and orchards, but "a mantle dun" continued to overspread the landscape, and a cold north wind was heralding the approach of winter. I was now in the fertile region of "old Bucks"1 in Pennsylvania, and with a loose rein traversed the gentle undulating country over which the Continental battalions often marched and countermarched. It was the anniversary of the evacuation of New York by the British – the departure of the last hostile foot from our free shores [November 25, 1783.]. The mind, laden with the associations of the place and hour, its soul-stirring thoughts kept me such entertaining company, that the sun went down, and I entered the suburban district of Kensington, in the "Northern Liberties" of Philadelphia, before I was fairly conscious that a dozen miles had been traveled. It was but little more than four hours’ journey with my strong and vigorous horse.
After leaving Falsington, the traveler obtains frequent glimpses of the Delaware and its white sails, on the left. The several small villages on the way (Falsington, Hulmeville, and Frankford being the largest) bear marks, in their dwellings, of considerable antiquity, if that word may properly be applied to American edifices. Many of them are small, steep-roofed stone houses, with little windows and wide doors, built before the war of the Revolution broke out, and presenting a great contrast with the New England villages, which seem as if just finished, with the white paint scarcely dry. It was almost sunset when I arrived at Frankford, quite a large town upon the Tacony Creek, five miles northeast of Philadelphia. Here the Americans kept quite a strong picket, during the occupation of Philadelphia by the British in 1777-8, after the battles of Brandywine and Germantown. Near here was stationed the fine corps of light infantry guards under Colonel Twistleton (afterward Lord Say and Sele); and here, also, the active partisan corps called the Queen’s Rangers, under Lieutenant-colonel Simcoe (afterward Governor of Canada), was recruited, and disciplined by actual service.
In November, 1777, the Rangers, in concert with Major Gwyn, attempted to surprise the American post at Frankford. They approached the town cautiously, and rushing in, expected to secure prisoners and booty; but the patriots had temporarily withdrawn. Some days afterward, another attempt to take the post was made. An American officer and twenty men were made prisoners. They were raw and undisciplined militia. Each man had the countersign, Richmond, written with chalk in his hat that he might not forget it. Soon after capturing these men, a patrol of cavalry, under Major Gwyn, which had pursued a party toward Bristol, came retreating in great confusion. They had been attacked, both in front and rear, by a troop of horsemen under Count Pulaski. Thoroughly alarmed, the whole British force at Frankford crossed the Tacony, and returned in haste to Philadelphia.
Parties of the Queen’s Rangers were almost every day at Frankford, where the Americans did not keep a fixed post. Simcoe had trained his men to quick and energetic movements with the bayonet, and his standing order was, "Take as many prisoners as possible, but never destroy life unless absolutely necessary." On one occasion, a patroling party of the Rangers approached Frankford undiscovered by an American sentinel at the bridge. They were so near that they might easily have killed the guard, but a boy was sent to warn him to run for his life. He did so, and no more sentinels were posted there afterward; a matter of some consequence," says Simcoe, "to the poor people of Philadelphia, as they were not prevented from getting their flour ground at Frankford Mills."2
Passing through a portion of the Kensington suburb of Philadelphia, its mud and wretchedness, its barking dogs and squalling babies, where society seems in a transition state from filth to cleanliness, and consequently from vice to godliness, I wheeled down Second Street, amid its glowing shops, and reined up at Congress Hall, just as the last hue of daylight faded away. It was Saturday night, a season as welcome to the traveler as a "cross day" in the calendar to the faithful. I was in Philadelphia, the city of brotherly love; the quiet Sabbath near; a glorious harvest of Revolutionary reminiscences spread out around me, inviting the pen-sickle to reap for my garner; and the broad and sunny South, its chivalry and its patriotism, beckoning me onward. Busy thought kept sleep at bay until midnight.
The Sabbath morning dawned brilliant and frosty. As I went up to worship in the venerable Christ Church, around which cluster so many interesting associations of the past, I felt that it was a two-fold sanctuary – a sanctuary of religion and of patriotism. The exterior is the same as it was when the later colonial governors and officers of state – when Washington and Franklin – when Congress and the officers of the Continental army went there to worship; but the interior has been greatly changed by that iconoclast, improvement – that breaker of the images which patriotism delights to worship! One vestige of the olden time remained untouched, but a Vandal taste has since removed it. I refer to the pulpit sounding-board, the indispensable canopy of the old pastors.
"That sounding-board, to me it seem’d
Within its grave-yard, on Fifth and Arch Streets, rests the dust of many of the early and distinguished citizens of Philadelphia, the most renowned of whom was Dr. Benjamin Franklin. His grave is beside that of his wife, and daughter (Mrs. Bache), in the northwest corner of the yard. "I wish," he said in his will, "to be buried by the side of my wife, if it may be, and that a marble stone be made by Chambers, six feet long, four feet wide, plain, with only a small molding round the upper edge, and this inscription:
His wishes were complied with. The date on the stone is 1790.4 In the same inclosure General Mercer, who was killed at Princeton, was first buried; also Major-general Charles Lee, whose aversion to burial with Dissenters has been noticed. Standing amid its graves, and overshadowed by the venerable church, the American feels that he is upon consecrated ground indeed – consecrated by something holier than the voice of man setting it apart as a resting-place for the dead.
Here, wide open, is a broad page of our national history; let us sit down this still Sabbath afternoon and peruse a portion of it preparatory to a ramble on the morrow.
On the beautiful banks of the Delaware5 – the Indian’s Mack-er-isk-iskan – dwelt for ages the powerful tribes of the LENNI LENAPÉS 6 – the Original People. They claimed the broad land from the Hudson to the Potomac as their grand council-house. While they called themselves the original people, they repeated the tradition that at some remote age their ancestors came from beyond the Mississippi, conquering, on their way, the more civilized nations, whose monuments are so profusely scattered over the rich valleys westward of the Alleghany Mountains. They were divided into three principal tribes, the Turtle, the Turkey, and the Wolf. The two former occupied the northern portions of New Jersey north of the Raritan, extending from the Hudson across the Delaware into Pennsylvania, and are known to the whites as the Minsi division; the latter, known as the Delawares, inhabited the southern portions of New Jersey and the entire valley of the Schuylkill. 7 Their settlement extended up the Susquehanna and Delaware Rivers, and they had a local council-fire at the Minisink flats, above the Delaware Water-gap. When these tribes first became known to the English, they were tributary to the Five Nations of New York, who applied to them the scornful epithet of "women." They were forbidden to sell lands or make war without the consent of their conquerors, and were reduced to absolute vassalage [1650.]. In the course of time, however, the Delawares were enabled to throw off the yoke of the conquerors. At Tioga, in 1756, the great Teedyuscung extorted from the chiefs of the Six Nations an acknowledgment of the independence of his people.
When the whites first visited the Delaware with a view to settlement, the Lenni Lenapés, broken into many small tribes, were scattered along the shores of the river on either side.8 They received the whites with open-handed hospitality. "In liberality they excel," wrote William Penn. "Nothing is too good for their friend. Give them a fine gun, coat, or other thing, it may pass twenty hands before it sticks. Light of heart, strong affections, but soon spent. The most merry creatures that live; feast and dance perpetually. They never have much, nor want much. Wealth circulates like the blood – all parts partake; and, though none shall want what another hath, yet exact observers of property." Penn drew a charming picture of their hospitality, their liberal distribution of presents when received, and the universal happiness that prevailed among them; and then, with the hand of truth, holds up this record of the curse which boasted civilization carries with it as continually as its own shadow: "Since the Europeans came into these parts, they are grown great lovers of strong liquors, rum especially, and for it exchange the richest of their skins and furs. If they are heated with liquors, they are restless till they have enough to sleep; that is their cry, ‘Some more, and I will go to sleep;’ but, when drunk, one of the most wretched spectacles in the world."
In 1609, Captain Henry Hudson, then in the service of the Dutch East India Company, touched near Cape May, at the mouth of Delaware Bay, but, finding shoal water, put to sea, and soon afterward sailed through the Narrows into New York Bay. The Dutch established a trading-post on Manhattan Island, now New York. The establishment increased, and in 1621 the Dutch West India Company was formed. In 1623, this company took formal possession of the country discovered by Hudson, including the Delaware, or South River, as they called it, in contradistinction to the North River, now the Hudson. The foundation of New Amsterdam was laid, and Captain Jacobus May was sent to take possession and colonize in the most southern part of New Jersey. He gave Cape May the name it still bears. Near where Gloucester, in New Jersey, now stands, he built Fort Nassau. This was the first white settlement on the shores of the Delaware, but it was not permanent. In 1631, Captain David Pieterson de Vries entered the Delaware River with two ships and about thirty colonists. He was associated with Godyn, Bloemart, and Van Rensselaer, wealthy Dutch patroons,9 in establishing a permanent settlement on the Delaware for the purpose of cultivating tobacco and grain, and prosecuting the whale and seal fishing. He built Fort Oplandt, near Lewiston, Delaware. De Vries returned to Holland, and when he came back, in 1632, his colony was destroyed. The arms of Holland, emblazoned on a piece of tin, had been raised upon a pole. An Indian stole the metal to make a tobacco-box of it. Osset, the commander, quarreled with the Indians, and the latter fell upon the colonists, while at work in the fields, and butchered every one of them. De Vries made peace with the tribe, but, finding Fort Nassau deserted, and the whole settlement a desolation, he left the bay forever; for, before the Dutch could re-establish their power, the patent granted to Lord Baltimore, proprietor of Maryland [1632.], gave them an English competitor for the lower portions of the territory on the west side of the Delaware.
The discoveries of the Dutch in the New World soon attracted the attention of the enlightened Gustavus Adolphus, king of Sweden. He conceived a scheme for planting a Swedish colony in America, an idea suggested and heartily seconded by William Usselinx, a wealthy and enterprising Netherlander. A commercial company was formed; the stock was open to all Europe, and Gustavus pledged four hundred thousand dollars to the enterprise. Slavery was repudiated as a disadvantage to the proposed colony. "Slaves," they said, "cost a great deal, labor with reluctance, and soon perish from hard usage. The Swedish nation is laborious and intelligent, and surely we shall gain more by a free people with wives and children." America seemed to them a paradise, and Gustavus suggested that the proposed colony might prove an advantage to all oppressed and persecuted Christians. At that moment Germany, and indeed Protestant Christendom, was menaced with a total subversion of the principles of the Reformation; and against the increasing power of the pope – a power composed of religious influence and imperial soldiers – Gustavus took the field. All other considerations were, for the moment, absorbed by this one movement; and yet the idea of planting a free colony in the New World held a conspicuous place in the mind of the Swedish monarch. At Nuremberg, only a few days before the battle of Lützen, where he lost his life, he recommended the great scheme, "the jewel of his kingdom," to the Germans. His views were warmly seconded by Oxenstiern, the eminent statesman, who controlled the political affairs of Sweden during the minority of Queen Christina.
In 1638, a colony of Swedes from Gottenburg, under the command of Peter Minuits, a former governor of New Amsterdam, arrived in the Delaware, and landed at Cape Henlopen. Charmed with the beauty of the place, they called it Paradise. They approached the Indians with kindness, and purchased from them their lands upon the Delaware from Cape Henlopen to the falls at Trenton, and named the region New Sweden. They built a church and fort on the Minquaas, or Mingoes (now Christiana) Creek, where Wilmington now stands, and there laid out a town. The Dutch claimed a title to all this region by virtue of prior discovery and settlement, and Governor Keift protested against this intrusion. Other emigrants came; some from Maryland, who settled near the Schuylkill, and others from New Haven, who established themselves on the Jersey shore. These Keift promptly expelled, but did not disturb the Swedes.
John Printz succeeded Minuits as governor in 1643. With him came John Campanius, from Stockholm, as chaplain for the colony. They came in the ship Fame, accompanied by two war vessels, the Swan and the Chantas. Governor Printz selected Tinicum Island,10 at the mouth of Darby Creek, for a residence. There he built a strong fort of hemlock logs, and a church, and beautified the neighborhood with orchards and pleasure-grounds. Quite a village of fine houses, for the times, sprung up, and New Gottenburg, as it was called, was for some years the metropolis of New Sweden. Emigrants continued to arrive in considerable numbers from Old Sweden, and they scattered neat dwellings and cultivated acres all along the Delaware, from the present Wilmington to Philadelphia.
In 1651, the Dutch determined to maintain their power on the Delaware, and erected Fort Kasimer, on the south of Minquaas Creek, now the site of New Castle, in Delaware. Printz protested, and also built Fort Elsinberg on the Jersey shore, near the mouth of Salem Creek. The garrison was soon put to flight by a foe more numerous and annoying than Indians or Dutch, and the place was significantly named Mosquitoesburg.
John Claudius Rising, or Risingh, succeeded Printz in 1652. Risingh was more belligerent than his predecessor, and captured Fort Kasimer, either by storm or stratagem, in 1654, hoisted the Swedish flag over it, and called it Fort Trinity. Sven Schute, a bold Swedish warrior, was appointed to the command of its garrison. This act excited the ire of the Dutch at New Amsterdam, and in 1655 Governor Stuyvesant, with seven ships, and six or seven hundred men, went up the Delaware, took all the Swedish forts, and desolated New Gottenburg, on Tinicum Island. The Swedes obtained honorable terms of capitulation, and the settlers prospered under the Dutch rule. The Indians remained the firm friends of the Swedes; and when the Dutch attempted to prevent a Swedish ship with emigrants from passing up the Delaware in 1656, the natives interfered, and the Mercurius sailed up unmolested. The Dutch and Swedes continued to occupy the Delaware in common for nine years, the former possessing the political authority. In 1664, Charles the Second, of England, having granted a charter to his brother James, the Duke of York, for the whole of the New Netherlands, including the Dutch and Swedish settlements on the Delaware, the English conquered the whole country, and changed the name of New Amsterdam to New York. Lord Berkeley and Sir George Carteret obtained a grant of the province of New Jersey from the Duke of York in 1665. The latter was appointed governor, and Bergen and other portions of East Jersey began to be settled. That province was divided into East and West Jersey in 1676. Lord Berkeley transferred his half of West Jersey, in 1677, to John Fenwick, in trust for Edward Billinge, both of them Quakers. Becoming embarrassed, Billinge transferred his interest to trustees, for the benefit of his creditors. William Penn was one of those trustees, and thus he became interested in the settlements in the New World. Between 1676 and 1680, the eastern shore of the Delaware, from Burlington to Salem, became quite populous with Quakers, who came chiefly from Yorkshire in England.
Admiral Sir William Penn, the father of the founder of Pennsylvania, left, at his death, claims to a considerable amount against the crown, for his services. His son, with the two-fold motive of settling these claims and providing an asylum for his persecuted Quaker brethren, applied to King Charles the Second for a grant of land in the New World. He was successful, and on the 4th of March, 1681, a charter was granted. The assent of the Duke of York on the north, and of Lord Baltimore on the south, was obtained to the provisions of the charter, and a province on the west side of the Delaware, three degrees of latitude in breadth by five degrees of longitude in length, was named by the king’s proclamation as well as in the charter[April, 1681.], PENNSYLVANIA, in honor of the illustrious Admiral Penn. The proprietor immediately published "certain conditions or concessions" to adventurers; and an association, composed principally of Quakers, was formed at London and Bristol, called "The Free Society of Traders," who emigrated to America to purchase lands in the new province. William Markham, a kinsman of Penn’s, had been sent forward as his deputy to take possession of the country and prepare for the colonists.
From an English Print.
On the 30th of August, 1682, Penn, and quite a large number of emigrants, chiefly Quakers, sailed in the Welcome, from England. They arrived at New Castle on the 7th of October. The settlers of every kind received the new proprietor with great joy, for the fame of his noble and excellent character had preceded him. At Upland (now Chester) he convened an assembly, where he made known his plans and benevolent designs. His words were heard with delight, and the people flocked around him with the affectionate feelings of children. The Swedes said, "It was the best day they ever saw." At this assembly an Act of Union was adopted, conformable to a deed which he had obtained, by which the "three lower counties," New Castle, Kent, and Sussex (now the State of Delaware), were annexed to Pennsylvania. A few days afterward, Penn proceeded to Shackamaxon (now Kensington, in Philadelphia), where he entered into a treaty with the Indians, and established with them an everlasting covenant of peace and friendship. This was the memorable treaty held beneath the wide-spread branches of a huge elm. "Under the shelter of the forest, now leafless by the frosts of autumn," says Bancroft, "Penn proclaimed to the men of the Algonquin race, from both banks of the Delaware – from the border of the Schuylkill, and, it may have been, from the Susquehanna – the same simple message of peace and love which George Fox had professed before Cromwell, and Mary Fisher had borne to the Grand Turk. The English and the Indian should respect the same moral law, should be alike secure in their pursuits and their possessions, and adjust every difference by a peaceful tribunal, composed of an equal number of men from each race." We meet," said Penn, "on the broad pathway of good faith and good will; no advantage shall be taken on either side, but all shall be openness and love. I will not call you children, for parents sometimes chide their children too severely; nor brothers only; for brothers differ. The friendship between me and you I will not compare to a chain; for that the rains might rust, or the falling tree might break. We are the same as if one man’s body were to be divided into two parts; we are all one flesh and blood."
" ‘Thou’lt find,’ said the Quaker, ‘in me and mine,
But friends and brothers to thee and to thine,
Who abuse no power and admit no line
The children of the forest were touched by the sacred doctrine which the "Quaker king" avowed. They received the presents of Penn in sincerity, and in hearty friendship they gave the belt of wampum. " ‘We will live,’ said they, ‘in love with William Penn and his children as long as the moon and the sun shall endure.’ "
Thus was established the commonwealth of Pennsylvania, its foundations laid deep and broad upon the sacred rules of truth and justice, the cardinal principles of the Quakers, who formed the prime element of the new state. That sect stood out in bold relief as exemplars of moral purity in an age and among a people eminently licentious. The court, the fountain-head of example, was wholly impure in morals, skeptical in religion, and unscrupulous in politics. Unlike the other Puritan sects, which gave royalty so much trouble, the Quakers taught morality more by example than by precept; yet they were ever bold in the avowal of their principles. Their benevolence was as extensive as the round world; their plans designed no less than the establishment of universal religion. No station was too exalted for their faithfulness to reach. George Fox spoke boldly, face to face, to the king, as did Paul before Agrippa; and he did not fail to catechise, by letter, even Pope Innocent XI. No station was too low for their paternal care, and no instrument too humble to be made useful as a preacher of righteousness. "Plowmen and milk-maids, becoming itinerant preachers, sounded the alarm throughout the world, and appealed to the consciences of Puritans and Cavaliers, of the pope and the Grand Turk, of the negro and the savage. Their apostles made their way to Rome and Jerusalem, to New England and Egypt; and some were even moved to go toward China and Japan in search of the unknown realms of Prester John."13 Democracy, in its largest sense, was their political creed. "We lay a foundation," said Penn, "for after ages to understand their liberty as Christians and as men, that they may not be brought into bondage but by their own consent; FOR WE PUT THE POWER IN THE PEOPLE" With such views he framed his government; with the simplicity of honest truth and love he made the treaty with the Indians. This treaty was not confirmed by oath, nor ratified by signatures and seals; no written records were made, "and its terms and conditions had no abiding monuments but on the heart. There they were written like the laws of God, and were never forgotten." 14 Kindness was more powerful in subduing than the sword, and justice had greater weight with the Indian warrior than gunpowder. "New England had just terminated a disastrous war of extermination; the Dutch were scarcely ever at peace with the Algonquins; the laws of Maryland refer to Indian hostilities and massacres which extended as far as Richmond. Penn came without arms; he declared his purpose to abstain from violence; he had no message but peace; and not a drop of Quaker blood was ever shed by an Indian." 15 They themselves were conscious of the power of rectitude. "We have done better," they said, in the Planter’s Speech, in 1684, "than if, with the proud Spaniards, we had gained the mines of Potosi. We may make the ambitious heroes whom the world admires blush for their shameful victories. To the poor dark souls round about us we TEACH THEIR RIGHTS AS MEN."
Near the close of 1682 Penn purchased lands lying between the Delaware and the Schuylkill, at their confluence, for the purpose of founding a capital city. Already the Swedes had built a church there;16 and the situation was "not surpassed," in the estimation of Penn, "by one among all the many places he had seen in the world." With great joy and brilliant hopes they marked the boundaries of streets on the trunks of the chestnut, maple, ash, and walnut trees of the original forest, and gave them names derived from these natural landmarks. They called the city Philadelphia – brotherly love – and with unexampled rapidity the forest disappeared, and pleasant houses uprose upon the "virgin Elysian shore."
In March, 1683, the second Assembly of the province convened in the infant city, and, at the suggestion of Penn, the original "form of government" was so amended, that the "charter of liberties" signed by him at that time rendered the government of Pennsylvania, all but in name, a representative democracy. Penn soon afterward returned to England[August, 1684.], having first appointed five commissioners, with Thomas Loyd as president, to administer his government during his absence. Every thing went on prosperously, and nothing occurred to disturb the quiet of the new state until 1691, when the "three lower counties on the Delaware" already mentioned, withdrew from the Union on account of some dissatisfaction with the proceedings of a majority of the council. With the reluctant consent of Penn, a deputy governor was appointed over them.
Charles the Second died in 1685, and his brother James, the Duke of York, ascended the throne. The bad private character of James, his duplicity, and his known attachment to the Roman. Catholics, made him detested by a majority of the people of England, and, three years after his accession, he was driven into exile. His scepter passed into the hands of his daughter Mary and her husband William, prince of Orange. William Penn was suspected of adherence to the cause of the fallen monarch, and of secret efforts to effect his restoration. For this he was imprisoned; and in 1692 his provincial government was taken from him by Gov. Fletcher, of New York, under a royal commission. These suspicions were speedily removed, and in 1694 Penn’s proprietary rights were restored to him.
PENN’S SEAL AND SIGNATURE.17
Penn again visited his colony in 1699, but he did not find that prevailing peace which gladdened his heart when he left it. Discontents had arisen among the people, and they were clamorous for further popular concessions. Ever intent upon the happiness of the people, he presented them with a more liberal charter than the former ones. It conferred greater powers upon the people, and the Assembly declared, in signing it, that "they thankfully received the same from the proprietor and governor, this twenty-eighth day of October, 1701." This charter remained unaltered until the separation of the province from Great Britain, and the adoption of a constitution in 1776. The delegates from the lower counties had withdrawn from the general Assembly, and refused allegiance to the new charter of the Union with Pennsylvania. Penn labored to bind them harmoniously together, but without success, and in 1703 a total separation was agreed upon. From that period, Pennsylvania and the "three lower counties," or Delaware, had separate Legislatures, although the same governor continued to preside over both. A scheme was now elaborating in the British cabinet to abolish all of the proprietary governments in America, and Penn hastened back to England to oppose it[1701.]. 18 He never returned to America, but died in England in 1718, leaving his interest in Pennsylvania and Delaware to his three sons, John, Thomas, and Richard Penn (then minors), who continued to administer the government – by deputies, most of the time – until the Revolution. The commonwealth of Pennsylvania then purchased all their interest in the province for five hundred and eighty thousand dollars. 19
It would be a pleasant and profitable task to trace the history of Pennsylvania in detail, from the period of Penn’s death to the commencement of the war for independence, but our plan and limits forbid it. Having taken a general view of the settlement and establishment of the province, we must be content with a consideration of leading events bearing directly upon the Revolutionary struggle.
John, a grandson of William Penn, and son of Richard, then one of the proprietors living in England, was lieutenant governor of Pennsylvania when the Stamp Act and kindred measures of government stirred up a rebellious spirit in the colonies. The province was then engaged in hostilities with the Delawares, Shawanese, and Seneca Indians, who were committing dreadful atrocities on the western frontier. It seemed necessary for Governor Penn to assume the attitude of an enemy toward the people with whom his grandfather lived so affectionately; and it is painful to contemplate the fact that he offered, by proclamation, in the city of Philadelphia, a bounty for the capture of Indians or their scalps[July, 1764.]! 20 The war was successful; and in the autumn of 1764 the hostile Indians sued for peace.
Internal commotions now became more frequent, and ominous of political disruption. For years the province had been agitated by quarrels between the Assembly and the proprietors on the subject of prerogatives. The popular mind was led by Dr. Franklin and his associates, who contended that the proprietary estates should be taxed in common with other property. The proprietors, resting upon the privileges of their charter, resisted the measure, and in John Penn they had a powerful, because interested, champion. All hope of a reconciliation through concession being at an end, Franklin and others had previously proposed to petition the king to purchase the jurisdiction of the province from the proprietors, and vest the government directly in the crown. The proposition was favorably considered by the people at large, and the petition was accordingly drawn up by Franklin. It set forth the increasing property, and, as a consequence, the increasing power of the proprietaries, and the danger to be apprehended from the influence of such a power in the state intervening between the crown and the people. This was the first great step toward revolution in Pennsylvania – an attempt to crush feudal power and remove all barriers between the supreme governor and the governed. Many leading men, whose relationship to the proprietaries, and attachment to things made reverend by age, opposed the petition; but the Quakers, whose principles had been set at naught by the successors of William Penn, were in favor of the measure. Several successive Assemblies favored the proposition, and Dr. Franklin was appointed provincial agent[November, 1764.] to urge the measure before the king. This was the beginning of the system of colonial agencies which so efficiently aided the progress of the Revolution.
In Philadelphia, as in other commercial towns, opposition to the Stamp Act was a prevailing sentiment. Intelligence of its enactment, and the king’s assent, produced great excitement; and, as the day on which it was to go into effect approached, open hostility became more and more manifest. Party spirit, at that time, was peculiarly rancorous in Pennsylvania, and the political opposers of Dr. Franklin asserted that he was in favor of the odious act. The fact that he had procured the office of stamp-master for Philadelphia for his friend John Hughes (as he did for Ingersoll of Connecticut), gave a coloring of truth to the charge, and his family and property were menaced with injury.21 He was lampooned by caricatures 22 and placards; but they had little effect upon the great mass of the people, by whom he was admired and confided in.
The store-keepers of Philadelphia resolved to cease importing British goods while the Stamp Act was in force; the people resolved to abstain from mutton, so that wool for the purpose of domestic manufacture might be increased; and among other resolves concerning frugality in living, they determined to restrain the usual expenses of funerals. Benjamin Price, Esq., was buried in an oaken coffin and iron handles; and Alderman Plumstead was conveyed to the grave without a pall or mourning-dresses. When the commission for Hughes and the stamps arrived, all the bells were muffled and tolled; the colors were hoisted half mast, and signs of a popular outbreak appeared. The house of Hughes was guarded by his friends; but the current of popular feeling ran so high and menacing that he resigned his office. As in New York, the odious act was printed and hawked about the streets, headed The Folly of England, and the Ruin of America.23 The newspaper of William Bradford, 24 the leading printer in Philadelphia, teemed with denunciations of the act; and on the day preceding the one in which the law was to go in force, it contained the emblematic head and "doleful" communication seen in the engraving. 25
The repeal of the Stamp Act the following year produced great rejoicing in Philadelphia. The intelligence of the repeal was brought by Captain Wise. He was invited to drink punch at the Coffee-house, 26 where a gold-laced hat was given him, and presents were distributed among his crew. The punch was made common; and many of the "first men played hob-and-nob over their glasses with sailors and common people." The city was brilliantly illuminated at night; a large quantity of wood was given for bonfires; many barrels of beer were distributed among the populace; and the next day the governor and mayoralty gave a feast to three hundred persons at the State House gallery. At that feast it was unanimously resolved by those present to dress themselves, at the approaching birth-day of the king, in new suits of English manufacture, and to give their homespun garments to the poor. The anniversary of the king’s birth-day, in June, was also celebrated with great displays of joy and loyalty; and the people, in the plenitude of their good feelings, did not heed the advice of Franklin and Richard Penn, "not to exult as at a great victory."
When the British Parliament devised other schemes for taxing the Americans, Pennsylvania, like Massachusetts and all the other colonies, was aroused, and the rights of the American people were every where freely discussed. John Dickenson sent forth his powerful "Letters of a Pennsylvania Farmer," 27 and the circular letter from Massachusetts, recapitulating arguments against taxation, was received with loud acclaim. Alarmed at the progress of opposition in the colonies, Hillsborough, the colonial secretary, sent forth his countervailing circulars. Governor Penn was instructed to enjoin the Assembly to regard the Massachusetts circular as seditious and of a dangerous tendency, and to prorogue the Assembly if they should countenance it. The Assembly, firm in the right cause, practically asserted their privilege to correspond with the other colonies, and they heartily seconded the proposition of Virginia for a union of the provinces in a respectful petition to the king for a redress of grievances. Leagues, non-importation agreements, committees of correspondence, and other revolutionary machinery, such as were zealously engaged in New England, were equally active in Pennsylvania; and when the British government poured all its wrath upon Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, in word and deed, stood up as the bold champion and sympathizing friend of the New Englanders. Its course was more temperate than its sister colony, but not less firm. While a convention at Philadelphia recommended the people of Boston to try all lenient measures for relief, they assured them that "the people of Pennsylvania would continue firmly to adhere to the cause of American liberty."
In December, 1773, two of the "detested tea-ships" sailed up the Delaware as far as Gloucester Point. There they were ordered to anchor, and to proceed no further, at their peril. The authority acting on the occasion was a committee from a meeting of full eight thousand persons, then congregated in the State House yard. They allowed the captain of one of the ships (the Polly) to go up to the city and witness the manifested feelings of the people, by which he might determine which was the wiser course to pursue, to persist in landing the tea, or to weigh anchor for Europe. He chose the latter, and in the mean time the consignees of the tea were all forced to resign. In November, the following year [1774.], the brig Greyhound, bound to Philadelphia with a cargo of tea, landed at Greenwich, on the Jersey shore. There the cargo was discharged, and placed in the cellar of a house standing in front of the market. grounds. On the evening of the 22d, about fifty men, disguised as Indians, took the chests from the cellar, piled them in a neighboring field, and burned them. Suits were brought against some of the leading young men who were engaged in this transaction, but the war breaking out, and courts of justice being abolished or suspended, they were abandoned. 28
On the 18th of June, 1774, another meeting of at least eight thousand persons convened in Philadelphia. The governor had been requested to call a special session of the Assembly, but refused.29 John Dickenson and Thomas Willing were appointed chairmen of the meeting: the whole proceedings were revolutionary. They recommended a Continental Congress; formed a committee to correspond with the counties and with the other colonies in relation to the appointment of deputies to a general Congress, and to solicit subscriptions for the sufferers at Boston. A convention of deputies from all parts of the province was recommended, and, as peaceably as it convened, the mass meeting adjourned.
A meeting of deputies from the several counties was held on the 15th of July[1774.], in which the kindred sentiments of loyalty and patriotism glowed with intensity. They resolved "that they owed allegiance to George the Third; that they ardently desired the restoration of their ancient harmony with the mother country on the principles of the Constitution; that the inhabitants of the colonies were entitled to the same rights and liberties within the colonies as subjects born in England were entitled to within that realm, and that the right of representation in the British Parliament was implied by the asserted power of the government to tax them." The convention also adopted a series of instructions for the Assembly about to convene, in which, in the strongest terms, colonial rights were asserted. These were from the pen of John Dickenson, and, though loyal in spirit, they were firm in resistance to the arm of oppression. 30 When the Assembly met, these instructions were regarded as binding, and were faithfully carried out. Joseph Galloway (who afterward became a Tory), the speaker of the Assembly, Samuel Rhoades, Thomas Mifflin, Charles Humphries, John Morton, George Ross, Edward Biddle, and subsequently John Dickenson, were appointed delegates [July 22, 1774.] to represent Pennsylvania in the Continental Congress, to assemble in Philadelphia in September following.
We have seen that, from the founding of Pennsylvania, the Quakers held a commanding social and political influence in the commonwealth. Although this influence was much diminished at the commencement of the Revolution, a large influx of Germans and adventurers from New England having populated extensive districts of the province, their principles, precepts, and practices had great weight with the public mind. They had generally taken affirmative ground in the popular peaceable measures adopted to procure redress of political grievances, and warmly approved of the conduct of the first Continental Congress; but when an appeal to arms became an apparent necessity, and the tendency of action in popular conventions and legislative assemblies pointed to that dreadful alternative, their love of order, and their principles of non-resistance by force of arms, positively enjoined in their "Discipline," made them pause. They held extra and protracted meetings, even till after night, to determine what to do. There was a spirit abroad favorable to enforcing a compliance with the letter of the American Association recommended by the first Congress – an association designed to draw, in strong lines of demarcation, the separation between the friends of Congress and the friends of the king. To this spirit the Quakers were opposed, because it usurped the dearest prerogatives of conscience, and pronounced the exercise of honest opinions to be a political misdemeanor. They not only paused, but cast the weight of their influence into the scale of royalty, believing it to be the guardian of law and order.
While a Provincial Convention was in session in Philadelphia, in which the eloquence of Thomas Mifflin, a young Quaker, was urging his countrymen to a resort to arms, his sect, not sharing his enthusiasm, were holding their yearly meeting in the same city[January 1, 1775.]. That meeting, swayed in its opinions and action by James Pemberton, one of the most prominent and sound men of his day, put forth its "Testimony," in which the members of the society were exhorted to withhold all countenance from every measure "tending to break off the happy connection of the colonies with the mother country, or to interrupt their just subordination to the king." 31 From that time until the close of the war, the Quakers, as a body, were friends of the king, though generally passive, so far as public observation could determine. But in secret, and through their "testimonies," they gave "aid and comfort to the enemy." To such an extent did they exert their influence against the patriots, that Congress thought it proper to recommend the executives of the several states to keep a watch upon their movements. That body also earnestly recommended the supreme executive council of Pennsylvania to apprehend and secure the persons of eleven of the leading Quakers of Philadelphia. 32 Among these was James Pemberton, whose likeness is here given. He remained two years in Virginia, where he wrote a journal, a portion of which is published in the "Friends’ Miscellany," vol. vii.
From a print in "Watson’s Annals."
Unlike other Tories, the Quakers were so passive that little positive evidence of their acting against the patriots could be obtained; and very few of them, suffering from confiscation of property or other penalties, became refugees at the close of the war. John Roberts and Abraham Carlisle, of Philadelphia, members of this sect, suffered death at the hands of the Whigs, in November, 1778. This act has been cited a hundred times as evidence against the claims to the exercise of uniform humanity on the part of the patriots, and magnified into a foul murder, justified by no plea of public expediency. The facts prove otherwise; for if it was ever expedient to take the life of a dangerous citizen, then Roberts and Carlisle suffered justly. While they abstained from open hostility to the Revolutionary government, and refused to bear arms for the king, they gave secret aid, far more potent to the enemies of liberty. They were employed by Joseph Galloway and his loyal friends as secret agents in detecting foes to the government. While Howe had possession of Philadelphia, Carlisle granted permissions to pass the lines, watched at the entrance of the city to point out obnoxious persons coming from the country, and many were arrested and cast into prison on his bare suggestion. Under the meek garb and demeanor of the Quaker was a Torquemada, exercising the functions of an inquisitor general. When Howe ordered a detachment, under Lieutenant-colonel Abercrombie, to go out upon the Frankford road, and fall upon a party of American militia, who, he was informed, were lying in the woods, Roberts and Carlisle, who would not bear arms for the wealth of the Indies, acted as guides in conducting Abercrombie to the massacre of their countrymen. According to the rules of war and of state policy, their execution was expedient and salutary in effect. It was a subject for bitter vituperation on the part of the Tories, and even those who would fain have saved them from death were charged with dishonorable motives. "Governor Livingston went to Philadelphia," wrote John Potts to Joseph Galloway, "and urged his endeavors to prevail on the banditti in power there to save Roberts and Carlisle, not from any principle of honor or conscience – you know him too well – but from motives, as he thought, of policy." I think it may be safely asserted that where one Tory lost his life at the hands of the Whigs during the Revolution, fifty Whigs were slain in cold blood by the Tories. The reason is obvious – a heart warmed with love of country is benevolent and humane; its active opposers may fairly be presumed to be mercenary, and consequently cruel.
The supper-bell has rung; let us close the chronicle for to-night, and in the morning go out in search of localities made memorable by events connected with our war for independence.
On Monday morning[November 27, 1848.] I visited Carpenters’ Hall, the building in which the first Continental Congress held its brief session. Having had no intimation concerning its appearance, condition, and present use, and informed that it was situated in "Carpenters’ Court," imagination had invested its exterior with dignity, its interior with solemn grandeur, and its location a spacious area, where nothing "common or unclean" was permitted to dwell. How often the hoof of Pegasus touches the leafless tree-tops of sober prose when his rider supposes him to be at his highest altitude! How often the rainbow of imagination fades, and leaves to the eye nothing but the forbidding aspect of a cloud of plain reality! So at this time. The spacious court was but a short and narrow alley; and the Hall, consecrated by the holiest associations which cluster around the birth-time of our republic, was a small two-story building, of somber aspect, with a short steeple, and all of a dingy hue. I tried hard to conceive the apparition upon its front to be a classic frieze, with rich historic triglyphs; but it would not do. Vision was too "lynx-eyed," and I could make nothing more poetic of it than an array of impudent letters spelling the words
C. J. WOLBERT & CO., AUCTIONEERS
FOR THE SALE OF
REAL ESTATE AND STOCKS,
HORSES, VEHICLES, AND HARNESS.
What a desecration! Covering the façade of the very Temple of Freedom with the placards of groveling mammon! If sensibility is shocked with this outward pollution, it is overwhelmed with indignant shame on entering the hall where that august assembly of men – the godfathers of our republic – convened to stand as sponsors at the baptism of infant American Liberty, to find it filled with every species of merchandise, and the walls which once echoed the eloquent words of Henry, Lee, and the Adamses, reverberating with the clatter of the auctioneer’s voice and hammer. Is there not patriotism strong enough and bold enough in Philadelphia to enter this temple and "cast out all them that buy and sell, and overthrow the table of the money-changers?"
The hall in which Congress met is upon the lower floor, and comprehends the whole area of the building. It is about forty-five feet square, with a recess in the rear twenty-five feet wide and about twelve feet deep, at the entrance of which are two pillars, eighteen feet high. The second story contains smaller apartments which were used by Congress, and occupied by the society as committee rooms. In one of these, emptied of all merchandise except a wash-tub and a rush-bottomed chair, let us sit down and consider the events connected with that first great Continental Council.
We have already, in former chapters, considered the causes which awakened a desire in the colonies for a political union, and which impelled them to resistance. For many years a strong sympathy had existed between the several colonies, and injuries done to one, either by the aggressions of the French and Indians, or the unkind hand of their common mother, touched the feelings of all the others, and drew out responsive words and acts which denoted an already strong bond of unity. Widely separated as some of them were from each other by geographical distance, and diversity of interest and pursuits, there were, nevertheless, political, social, and commercial considerations which made the Anglo-Americans really one people, having common interests and common hopes. Called upon as free subjects of Great Britain to relinquish, theoretically and practically, some of the dearest prerogatives guaranteed to them by Magna Charta and hoary custom – prerogatives, in which were enveloped the most precious kernels of civil liberty – they arose as one family to resist the insidious progress of on-coming despotism, and yearned for union to give themselves strength commensurate to the task. Leading minds in every colony perceived the necessity for a general council, and in the spring of 1774, the great heart of Anglo-America seemed to beat as with one pulsation with this sublime idea. That idea found voice and expression almost simultaneously throughout the land. Rhode Island has the distinguished honor of first speaking out publicly on the subject. A general Congress was proposed at a town meeting in Providence on the 17th of May, 1774. A committee of a town meeting held in Philadelphia on the 21st, four days afterward, also recommended such a measure; and on the 23d, a town meeting in New York city uttered the same sentiment. The House of Burgesses of Virginia, dissolved by Lord Dunmore, assembled at the Raleigh Tavern,34 in Williamsburgh, on the 27th, and on that day warmly recommended the assembling of a national council; and Baltimore, in county meeting, also took action in favor of it on the 31st. On the 6th of June, a town meeting at Norwich, Connecticut, proposed a general Congress; on the 11th, a county meeting at Newark, New Jersey, did the same; on the 17th, the Massachusetts Assembly, and, at the same time, a town meeting in Faneuil Hall, in Boston, strenuously recommended the measure; and a county meeting at New Castle, Delaware, approved of it on the 29th. On the 6th of July, the committee of correspondence at Portsmouth, New Hampshire, expressed its approbation of the measure. A general province meeting, held at Charleston, South Carolina, on the 6th, 7th, and 8th of that month, urged the necessity of such a Congress; and a district meeting at Wilmington, North Carolina, held on the 21st, heartily responded affirmatively. Thus we perceive that, within the space of sixty-four days, twelve of the thirteen colonies spoke out decidedly in favor of a Continental Congress, Georgia alone remaining silent. 35 The Massachusetts Assembly designated the 1st of September, 1774, as the time, and Philadelphia as the place for the meeting of the Congress. 36 Other colonies acquiesced, and at Philadelphia the delegates convened.
"Now meet the fathers of this western clime,
On Monday, the 5th of September, fifty-four delegates, from twelve colonies, assembled in Carpenters’ Hall.38 It was a congregation of men, viewed in every important aspect, such as the world had never seen. "For a long time," says the eloquent Charles Botta, "no spectacle had been offered to the attention of mankind of so powerful an interest as this of the present American Congress. It was, indeed, a novel thing, and, as it were, miraculous, that a nation hitherto almost unknown to the people of Europe, or only known by the commerce it occasionally exercised in their ports, should, all at once, step forth from this state of oblivion, and, rousing as from a long slumber, should seize the reins to govern itself; that the various parts of this nation, hitherto disjointed, and almost in opposition to each other, should now be united in one body, and moved by a single will; that their long and habitual obedience should be suddenly changed for the intrepid counsels of resistance, and of open defiance to the formidable nation whence they derived their origin and laws. 39
The men who composed that first Congress were possessed of the purest minds, the loftiest and most disinterested patriotism, and moral characters without spot or blemish. Instinctively the people had turned to their best men for counsel and action when the crisis arrived; and the representatives there assembled composed the flower of the American colonies. "There is in the Congress," wrote John Adams, "a collection of the greatest men upon this continent in point of abilities, virtues, and fortunes." The sectional factions and personal ambitions, which afterward disturbed the harmony and injured the character of the Continental Congress,40 had no tangible shape in this first Assembly. They felt, with all the solemnity of wise and virtuous men, the weight of the momentous responsibility resting upon them. They knew that toward them all eyes were turned, all hearts were drawn; that not only America, but the whole civilized world, was an interested spectator of their acts; and that for posterity, more than for cotemporaries, they held a trust of value infinitely beyond human estimation. Impressed with the consciousness of such responsibility, the delegates commenced their labors.
Congress was organized by the choice of Peyton Randolph, 41 of Virginia, as president, and Charles Thomson, 42 of Pennsylvania, as secretary.
The credentials of the various delegates were then presented, and now came a pause; who should take the lead? what measure should be first proposed? They had come together from distant provinces, some instructed by the power that appointed them, others left free to act as circumstances should require. There was a profound silence, and deep anxiety was depicted upon every countenance. No one seemed willing to break that silence, until a grave-looking member, in a plain, dark suit of "minister’s gray" and unpowdered wig, arose. "Then," said Bishop White, who was present, and related the circumstance, "I felt a regret that a seeming country parson should so far have mistaken his talents and the theater for their display." But his voice was so musical, his words so eloquent, and his sentiments so profoundly logical, that the whole House was electrified, and the question went from lip to lip, "Who is it? who is it?" A few, who knew the stranger, answered, "It is PATRICK HENRY, of Virginia!" 43 There was no more hesitation; he who startled the people of colonial America, nine years before, by his bold resolutions against the Stamp Act, and, a few months afterward, by the cry of "Give me liberty or give me death!" now gave the impulse to the representatives of that people in grand council assembled, and set in motion that machinery of civil power which worked so nobly while Washington and his compatriots were waging war with the enemy in the field.
Two days afterward [September 7.], another impressive scene occurred. It was the first prayer in Congress, offered up by the Reverend Mr. Duché. 44 The first day had been occupied in the reception of credentials and the arrangement of business; the second, in the adoption of rules for the regulation of the session; and now, when about to enter upon the general business for which they were convened, the delegates publicly sought Divine aid. It was a spectacle of great interest, for men of every creed were there. In this service their creeds were forgotten, and the hearts of all united in the prayer which flowed from the pastor’s lips; a prayer which came from a then patriot’s heart, though timidity afterward lost him the esteem of his friends and countrymen. 45
The Congress resolved to sit with closed doors, for enemies were around them with open eyes and busy tongues, and nothing was to be made public without special orders. Having no means at hand to ascertain the relative importance of the colonies, it was agreed "that each colony or province should have one vote in determining questions." One of their first acts was to express an opinion that the whole continent ought to support Massachusetts in resistance to the unconstitutional change in her government[September 10.]; and they afterward resolved that any person accepting office under the new system ought to be held in detestation as a public enemy [October 10.]. Merchants were advised to enter into non-importation agreements [September 22.]; and a letter was addressed to General Gage, remonstrating against the fortifications on Boston Neck, and his arbitrary exercise of power [October 11.]. On the 14th of October, a Declaration of Colonial Rights, prepared by a committee of two from each province, was adopted, in which was set forth the grievances complained of, and the inalienable rights of British subjects 46 in every part of the realm. As a means of enforcing the claim of natural and delegated rights, fourteen articles were agreed to as the basis of an American Association, pledging the associators to an entire commercial non-intercourse with Great Britain, Ireland, and the West Indies, and the non-consumption of tea and British goods. In one clause the slave trade was specially denounced, and entire abstinence from it, and from any trade with those concerned in it, formed a part of the association. Committees were to be appointed in every county, city, and town, to detect and punish all violations of it; and all dealings with such enemies of American liberty were to be immediately broken off. One hundred and fifty copies of the Articles of Association were ordered to be printed.
An eloquent address to the people of Great Britain, from the pen of John Jay, and a memorial to the inhabitants of the several British-American colonies, written by William Livingston, were adopted by Congress on the 21st[October, 1774.]. A petition to the king, drawn by John Adams, and corrected by John Dickenson, was approved on the 26th. Letters to the colonies of St. John’s Island (now Prince Edward’s, Nova Scotia), Georgia, and the Floridas, inclosing the doings of Congress, and inviting them to join the Association, were also adopted on that day (the last of the session). At the same time, they approved of an elaborate address to the inhabitants of Canada. This was drawn up by Mr. Dickenson. Having made provision for another Congress to meet on the 10th of May following, 47 the first general council closed its session by adopting a second humble petition to the king, and a vote of thanks to the advocates of colonial rights in both houses of Parliament.
Congress was in actual session only thirty-one days out of the eight weeks of the term, the remainder of the time being occupied in preparatory business. It was a session of extraordinary activity, and a great amount of business of vast importance was transacted, notwithstanding many unnecessary speeches were evidently made.48 They were certainly more to the purpose than are most of the harangues in Congress at the present day, or, considering the diversity of opinion that must have existed upon the sentiments of the various state papers that were adopted, the session would have continued for several months. We have no means of knowing what harmony or what discord characterized those debates. The doors were closed to the public ear, and no reporters for the press have preserved the substance of the speeches. That every resolution adopted was far from receiving a unanimous vote, is very evident; for we find, by the subsequent declarations and acts of delegates, that some of the measures were violently opposed. Many deplored the probability of an open rupture with the mother country, and refused acquiescence in any measure that should tend to such a result. Indeed, the sentiments of a large majority of the delegates were favorable to an honorable reconciliation, and the Congress was determined not to present the least foundation for a charge of rushing madly into an unnatural contest without presenting the olive branch of peace. Such was the tenor of its petitions and addresses; and every charge of a desire on the part of Congress for a war that might lead to independence rested solely upon inference. Galloway, 49 Duane, and others, even opposed the American Association and they regarded the Adamses as men not only too much committed to violent measures by the part they had taken in Boston, but that they were desperate men, with nothing to lose, and hence unsafe guides to gentlemen who had estates to forfeit. And yet Galloway, when he became a proscriptive Loyalist, and one of the most active enemies of the Republicans, was forced to acknowledge the stern virtues of many of the patriots of that assembly, and among them Samuel Adams. "He eats little, drinks little, sleeps little, and thinks much," he said, "and is most indefatigable in the pursuit of his object. It was this man who, by his superior application, managed at once the factions in Congress at Philadelphia, and the factions in New England." 50
The proceedings of this first Congress went forth to the world with all the weight of apparent unanimity, and throughout the colonies they were hailed with general satisfaction. The American Association adopted and signed by the delegates was regarded by the people with great favor, and thousands in every province affixed their signatures to the pledge. These formed the fibers of the stronger bond of the Articles of Confederation afterward adopted, and may be considered the commencement of the American Union.
1 Tradition currently reports that the renowned Indian chief Tamene, or St. Tammany, was buried near a spring about three and a half miles west of Doylestown, in this county. He was an unequaled chief among the Delawares. Heckewelder says that when Colonel George Morgan, of Princeton, visited the Western Indians, by order of Congress, in 1776, he was so beloved for his goodness, that the Delawares conferred upon him the name of their venerated chief. Morgan brought back to the whites such glowing accounts of the qualities of that ancient chief, that in the Revolutionary war he was dubbed a saint, and his name was placed on some calendars. He was called by politicians, St. Tammany, and established as the patron saint of republican America. Tammany societies were organized, and Tammany halls dedicated, and on the 1st of May (the festival of the saint), meetings of the societies were held. "On that day," says Heckewelder, "numerous societies of his votaries walked together in procession through the streets of Philadelphia, their hats decorated with bucks’ tails, and proceeded to a handsome rural place out of town, which they called the wigwam, where, after a long talk, or Indian speech, had been delivered, and the calumet of peace and friendship had been duly smoked, they spent the day in festivity and mirth." The Tammany society of New York is yet in existence. Its meetings are held regularly at Tammany Hall, on the east side of the City Hall Park.
2 Simcoe’s Military Journal, page 28. At that time the Philadelphians were dependent chiefly upon the Frankford Mills for their flour. It was with the pretense of going thither for flour, that Lydia Darrah left Philadelphia and hastened to the American camp at Whitemarsh, apprised Washington of an intended attack upon him, and, by her patriotic vigilance, doubtless saved the American army, under the commander-in-chief, from destruction or captivity.This circumstance is noted on pages 95 and 96.
3 This view is from Second Street, looking northwest. It was built at various periods. The first (western) end was erected in 1727; the eastern or front portion was raised in 1731; and a small steeple was reared in 1753-4. A small church edifice was built upon its site in 1695, and the later edifice was raised around the old one while worship continued in it. The bell of the old church was hung in the crotch of a tree near by. The new church was furnished with an organ in 1729. The design of the church was made by Dr. John Kearsley, an eminent physician of Philadelphia. In 1752-3 it was proposed to build a fine steeple upon the church, and, in order to raise funds for the purpose, a lottery was established – "a scheme to raise £1012 10s. to finish the steeple to Christ Church, and to purchase a ring of bells, and a clock." The "Philadelphian Steeple Lottery" was successful, and the structure, as it now appears, was finished in 1754, A chime of bells, weighing eight thousand pounds, was purchased in England, at a cost of $4500. These bells were taken down from the steeple by the commissary general, on the approach of the British to Philadelphia in 1777, and conveyed to Trenton for safety. They were returned, and hung again after the enemy evacuated the city. Watson, in his Annals of Philadelphia, says that these bells were first tolled on the occasion of the funeral of Governor Anthony Palmer’s wife, the mother of twenty-one children, all of whom died of consumption. On the top of the steeple is a miter, bearing the following inscription: "The Right Reverend William White, D. D., consecrated Bishop of the Episcopal Church of Pennsylvania, February 4th, 1787." The miter is four feet in circumference at the bottom, and has thirteen holes in it, indicative of the number of the original states. Bishop White was one of the first chaplains of the Continental Congress, and the first bishop of Pennsylvania. It is related that when he was a boy, living next door to a Quaker family in Market Street, he used to play with their little daughter. She often said, when she grew up, that Billy White was born for a bishop, for she never could persuade him to play any thing but church. He would tie her apron around his neck for a gown, and stand behind a chair for a pulpit, while she, seated before him on a low bench, was to be the congregation.
4 As early as 1727, when Franklin was only twenty-two years of age, he wrote the following epitaph for himself:
Like the cover of an old Book,
Its contents torn out
(And stripped of its lettering and gilding),
Lies here, food for worms.
But the work shall not be lost,
For it will (as he believed) appear once more
In a new and more elegant edition,
Revised and corrected
This epitaph was first printed in a Boston newspaper (the New England Courant), established and printed by Dr. Franklin.
5 This name was given to the bay and river in honor of Lord De Ia Ware, who was Governor of Virginia in 1611.
6 This has been sometimes used as a generic term, and applied to all the tribes of the Algonquin family.
7 The two most noted chiefs of the Delawares at the time of our Revolution, was Captain WHITE EYES and Captain PIPE. The former became chief sachem in 1776, and espoused the patriot cause. He was a firm friend to the missionaries, and earnestly desired the conversion of his people to Christianity, and the enjoyment of the accompanying blessings of civilization. He died of the small-pox, at Philadelphia, in 1780. Captain PIPE secretly favored the British at the opening of the Revolution, but the vigilant WHITE EYES frustrated all his plans for a while. The Delawares at length became divided, and most of them, under Captain PIPE, joined the British. We have metthese chiefs once before (page 264, vol. i.), and shall meet their followers again when we consider the Indian war of the Revolution, beyond the Alleghanies.
8 The Assanpink Indians were at the Falls of the Delaware (Trenton); the Rankokas and Andastakas at Christina Creek, near Wilmington; the Neshaminies near Bristol; the Shackamaxons about Kensington; the Mantas, or Frogs, near Burlington; the Minseys, or Minisinks, at the Forks of the Delaware; and three or four other tribes were in New Jersey, Maryland, and Virginia. A few Mingoes were among these.
9See page 391, vol. i.
10 This is the island upon which the lazaretto now stands, and is not the low, sandy island in the middle of the Delaware above.
11 William Penn was born in London, October 14th, 1644, and in his fifteenth year entered, as a gentleman commoner, a college in Oxford. Brilliant talents and unaffected goodness characterized his early youth. While at Oxford, he heard an itinerant Quaker preach, and was so impressed with the doctrines which he taught, that he joined, with other students similarly impressed, in withdrawing from the established worship and holding meetings by themselves. He was fined for non-conformity and expelled from college when he was sixteen years of age. Parental discipline attempted to reclaim him, but in vain. He was sent to France, where he passed two years, and became a very polished young gentleman. He studied law in Lincoln’s Inn until the breaking out of the plague in London in 1665. He was sent to Ireland in 1666, to manage an estate for his father, but, associating with Quakers there, he was recalled. He could not be persuaded to take off his hat in the presence of his father or the king, and for this inflexibility he was expelled from his father’s house. He became an itinerant Quaker preacher, and made many proselytes. He suffered much "for conscience’ sake," sometimes by revilings, sometimes by imprisonments. He wrote much, and preached with daily increasing fervor. In 1668 he wrote his No Cross, no Crown; and in 1670 he was tried at the Old Bailey, but acquitted by the jury. His father died soon afterward, leaving him a very large estate, but he continued to travel, preach, and write, as usual. Having obtained a charter for a province in America, and settled his government on a sure basis, he formed a plan for a capital city, and named it Philadelphia – brotherly love. Two years after it was founded it contained two thousand inhabitants. On returning to England in 1684, he obtained the release of thirteen hundred Quakers then in prison. He resided mostly in England, but visited his colony occasionally. He was seized with a paralytic disorder in 1712, which terminated his life on the 30th of July, 1718, at the age of seventy-four. His posterity held his possessions till the Revolution. His last surviving son, Thomas Penn, died in 1775.
12 This monument stands near the intersection of Hanover and Beach Streets, Kensington, on the spot where the celebrated Treaty Tree stood. The tree was blown down in 1810, when it was ascertained to be 283 years old. When the British were in possession of Philadelphia, during the winter of 1778, their foraging parties were out in every direction for fuel. To protect this tree from the ax, Colonel Simcoe, of the Queen’s Rangers, placed a sentinel under it. Of its remains, many chairs, vases, work-stands, and other articles have been made. The commemorative monument was erected by the Penn Society. Upon it are the following inscriptions:
NORTH SIDE. – "Treaty ground of William Penn and the Indian nation, 1682. Unbroken Faith."
SOUTH SIDE. – "William Penn, born 1644. Died, 1718."
WEST SIDE. – "Placed by the Penn Society, A. D. 1827, to mark the site of the great Elm Tree."
EAST SIDE. – "Pennsylvania founded, 1681, by deeds of Peace."
13 Bancroft, ii., 337.
14 Ibid., ii., 382.
15 Ibid., ii., 383.
16 Several years before the arrival of Penn, the upper Swedish settlement on the Delaware erected a block-house at Wicaco, now the district of Southwark. The block-house was converted into a church for the convenience of the settlement, the port-holes serving for windows. The first sermon was preached in it in 1677. This edifice stood upon a pleasant knoll sloping to the river. North of it, where Christian Street is, was an inlet, and beyond this was another knoll, on which was erected the house of three Swedish brothers, Sven, Oele, and Andries Swenson [Swanson], from whom Penn purchased the site of Philadelphia. This building was noticed by Kalm in 1748; and Mr. Watson, in his Annals of Philadelphia, (i., 148), says, "the original log-house was standing until the British occupied Philadelphia, when it was taken down and converted into fuel." A brick church was built upon the site of the old block-house in 1700, and is still standing on Swanson Street, a little distance from the navy yard.
17 This is a representation of the seal and signature of William Penn attached to the Pennsylvania charter. The names of the subscribing witnesses to the instrument are James Claypoole, Francis Plumsted, Thomas Barker, Philip Ford, Edward Pritchard, Andrew Soule, Christopher Taylor, Charles Lloyd, William Gibson, U. More, George Rudyard, Harbt. Springett.
18 The parting message of Governor Penn to the Assembly is a pattern of brevity, and might be studied with profit by some of our chief magistrates. It was communicated just before his departure for England, and was as follows:
"10th month, 15th, 1708.
"FRIENDS, – Your union is what I desire; but your peace and accommodating one another is what I must expect from you; the reputation of it is something – the reality much more. I desire you to remember and observe what I say. Yield in circumstances to preserve essentials; and being safe in one another, you will always be so in esteem with me. Make me not sad now I am going to leave you; since it is for you, as well as for your friend, and proprietor, and governor,
Just before leaving, Penn granted a city charter to Philadelphia, and Edward Shippen was appointed the first mayor. He appointed Andrew Hamilton, of New Jersey, lieutenant governor of his province, and James Logan secretary.
19 The founder of Pennsylvania, by the expenses incident to the establishment of his government, together with many acts of private benevolence, so impaired his paternal estate as to make it necessary to borrow $30,000, the most of which was secured by a mortgage on his province. This was the commencement of the state debt of Pennsylvania, now amounting to about $40,000,000.
20 The bounties were as follows: "For every male above the age of ten years captured, $150; scalped, being killed, $134; for every female Indian enemy, and every male under ten years, captured, $130; for every female above the age of ten years, scalped, $50!
21 His wife, in a letter written on the 22d of September, 1765, from "near Philadelphia," informs him that a mob was talked of; that several houses were indicated for destruction; and that she was advised to remove to Burlington for safety. "It is Mr. S. S.," she said, "that is setting the people mad, by telling them that it was you that had planned the Stamp Act, and that you are endeavoring to get the Test Act brought over here." The courageous woman declared she would not stir from her dwelling, and she remained throughout the election (the immediate cause of excitement at that time) unharmed.
22 In one of these, called The Medley, Franklin is represented among the electors, accompanied by the Devil, who is whispering in his ear, "Thee shall be agent, Ben, for all my realm." In another part of the caricature is the following verse:
"All his designs concenter in himself,
For building castles and amassing pelf.
The public! ’tis his wit to sell for gain,
Whom private property did ne’er maintain."
23 Watson’s Annals of Philadelphia, ii., 271.
24 William Bradford was a grandson of William Bradford, the first printer who settled in the colony.* He went to England in 1741, and the next year returned with printing materials and books. In December, 1742, he published the first number of the Pennsylvania Journal, which was continued until about the close of the century, when his son Thomas, who was his business partner, changed its name to the True American. While carrying on the printing business, he opened, in 1754, at the corner of Market and Front Streets, "The London Coffee-house," and in 1762 a marine insurance office, with Mr. Kydd. His republican bias was manifested during the Stamp Act excitement; and when the war of the Revolution began, he joined the Pennsylvania militia. As a major and colonel, he fought in the battles of Trenton and Princeton, and was at Fort Mifflin, below Philadelphia, when it was attacked. After the British army left Philadelphia, he returned with a broken constitution and a shattered fortune. A short time before his death, a paralytic shock gave him warning of its approach. To his children he said, "Though I bequeath you no estate, I leave you in the enjoyment of liberty." He died on the 25th of September, 1791, aged seventy-two years.
* His son, Andrew, was also a printer, and carried on business in Philadelphia after his father had retired to New York on a pension from government of sixty pounds a year. In a poetic effusion printed by Keimer, the first employer of Dr. Franklin, in 1734, is the following allusion to the Bradfords:
In Penn’s wooden country type feels no disaster,
The printers grow rich; one is made their postmaster.
His father, a printer, is paid for his work,
And wallows in plenty, just now, in New York.
Though quite past his labor, and old as my gran’num,
The government pays him pounds sixty per annum."
25 This is one third the size of the original, and gives a fac simile, in appearance, of the device.
26 The London Coffee-house, established, as we have seen, by William Bradford ten years before, on the corner of Front and Market Streets, was the daily resort of the governor and other public functionaries, and there vendues were generally held. John Pemberton, a Quaker, owned the house in 1780; and in his lease to Gifford Dally, he stipulated that swearing should he discouraged there, and that the house should be closed on "the first day of the week." This would be an excellent clause in like leases at the present day.
27See page 476, vol. i.
28 The following are the names of the leading young men who composed this New Jersey Tea-party: Dr. Ebenezer Elmer, Richard Howell (afterward major in the army and governor of the state), David Pierson, Stephen Pierson, Silas Whitecar, Timothy Elmer, Rev. Andrew Hunter, Rev. Philip Fithian, Alexander Moore, Jr., Clarence Parvin, John Hunt, James Hunt, Lewis Howell, Henry Starks, James Ewing, father of the late chief justice of New Jersey, Dr. Thomas Ewing, Josiah Seeley, and Joel Fithian.
29 In 1771 Governor John Penn returned to England, leaving executive affairs in the hands of Andrew Hamilton, the president of the council. In the autumn of that year, Richard Penn, a younger brother of John, arrived with credentials as lieutenant governor. He held the office until September, 1773, when John Penn returned, and resumed the reins of government. It was during the latter part of the first administration of John Penn, and those of Hamilton and Richard Penn, that thehostilities in the Valley of Wyoming occurred, of which we have written in the first volume.
30 "Honor, justice, and humanity," they said, "call upon us to hold, and to transmit to posterity, that liberty which we received from our ancestors. It is not our duty to leave our wealth to our children, but it is our duty to leave liberty to them. No infamy, iniquity, or cruelty can exceed our own, if we, born and educated in a country of freedom, entitled to its blessings, and knowing their value, pusillanimously deserting the post assigned us by Divine Providence, surrender succeeding generations to a condition of wretchedness from which no human efforts, in all probability, will be sufficient to extricate them, the experience of all states mercifully demonstrating to us that, when arbitrary power has been established over them, even the wisest and bravest nations that ever flourished have, in a few years, degenerated into abject and wretched vassals. To us, therefore, it appears, at this alarming period, our duty to God, to our country, to ourselves, and to our posterity, to exert our utmost ability in promoting and establishing harmony between Great Britain and these colonies on a constitutional foundation."
31 The following is a copy of that document, taken from the Pennsylvania Evening Post, No. 402:
The TESTIMONY of the people called Quakers, given forth by a meeting of the Representatives of said people in PENNSYLVANIA and NEW JERSEY, held at Philadelphia the twenty-fourth day of the first month, 1775:
Having considered, with real sorrow, the unhappy contest between the Legislature of Great Britain and the people of these colonies, and the animosities consequent thereon, we have, by repeated public advices and private admonitions, used our endeavors to dissuade the members of our religious society from joining with the public resolutions promoted and entered into by some of the people, which, as we apprehended, so we now find, have increased contention, and produced great discord and confusion.
The Divine Principle of grace and truth which we profess leads all who attend to its dictates to demean themselves as peaceable subjects, and to discountenance and avoid every measure tending to excite disaffection to the king as supreme magistrate, or to the legal authority of his government, to which purpose many of the late political writings and addresses to the people appearing to be calculated, we are led by a sense of duty to declare our entire disapprobation of them, their spirit and temper being not only contrary to the nature and precepts of the Gospel, but destructive of the peace and harmony of civil society, disqualifies men, in these times of difficulty, for the wise and judicious consideration and promoting of such measures as would be most effectual for reconciling differences or obtaining the redress of grievances.
From our past experience of the clemency of the king and his royal ancestors, we have ground to hope and believe that decent and respectful addresses from those who are vested with legal authority, representing the prevailing dissatisfactions and the cause of them, would avail toward obtaining relief, ascertaining and establishing the just rights of the people, and restoring the public tranquillity; and we deeply lament that contrary modes of proceeding have been pursued, which have involved the colonies in confusion, appear likely to produce violence and bloodshed, and threaten the subversion of the Constitutional government, and of that liberty of conscience for the enjoyment of which our ancestors were induced to encounter the manifold dangers and difficulties of crossing the seas and of settling in the wilderness.
We are therefore incited, by a sincere concern for the peace and welfare of our country, publicly to declare against every usurpation of power and authority in opposition to the laws and government, and against all combinations, insurrections, conspiracies, and illegal assemblies; and as we are restrained from them by the conscientious discharge of our duty to Almighty God, "by whom kings reign and princes decree justice," we hope, through his assistance and favor, to be enabled to maintain our testimony against any requisitions which may be made of us, inconsistent with our religious principles and the fidelity we owe to the king and his government, as by law established; earnestly desiring the restoration of that harmony and concord which have heretofore united the people of these provinces, and been attended by the Divine blessing on their labors.
Signed in and on behalf of the said meeting,
JAMES PEMBERTON, Clerk at this time.
This Testimony gave offense to many Friends in Philadelphia who were favorable to the patriots. Some left, and formed a separate meeting. They built themselves a brick meeting-house at the southwest corner of Fifth and Arch Streets; and others so far seceded as to form a military company, under Captain Humphreys, which they called The Quaker Company.
32 The reason given for this measure by Congress was, "that when the enemy, in the month of December, 1776, were bending their progress toward the city of Philadelphia, a certain seditious publication, addressed ‘To our friends and brethren in religious profession in these and the adjacent provinces,’ signed John Pemberton, in and on behalf of the meeting of sufferings, held at Philadelphia, for Pennsylvania and New Jersey, the 26th of the 12th month, 1776," was published, and, as your committee is credibly informed, circulated among many members of the society called Quakers, throughout the different states." The paper originated in Philadelphia, and Joshua Fisher, Abel James, James Pemberton, Henry Drinker, Israel Pemberton, John Pemberton, John James, Samuel Pleasants, Thomas Wharton, senior, Thomas Fisher, and Samuel Fisher, of that city, leading members of the society, were banished to Fredericksburg, in Virginia. The Board of War was also instructed to remove the Honorable John Penn, the governor, and Benjamin Chew, the chief justice of Pennsylvania, thither, for safe custody. – See Journals of Congress, iii., 290.
The papers and records of the yearly meeting of the Quakers of New Jersey and Pennsylvania, which were captured by Sullivan, in an expedition against the Loyalist regiments lying on Staten Island, opposite Perth Amboy, gave Congress the first positive proof of the general disaffection of the sect.
33 This building is constructed of small imported bricks, each alternate one glazed, and darker than the other, giving it a checkered appearance. Many of the old houses of Philadelphia were built of like materials. It was originally erected for the hall of meeting for the society of house-carpenters of Philadelphia. It stands at the end of an alley leading south from Chestnut Street, between Third and Fourth Streets.
34 A drawing of theRaleigh Tavern, and also of the Apollo Room, in which the Assembly met, will be found on pages 278 and 280, of this volume.
35 Connecticut elected its delegates on the 3d of June; Massachusetts on the 17th; Maryland on the 22d; New Hampshire on the 21st of July; Pennsylvania on the 22d; New Jersey on the 23d; New York on the 25th; Delaware on the 1st of August; Virginia on the same day; South Carolina on the 2d; Rhode Island on the 10th; and North Carolina on the 25th.
36See pages 510, 511, vol. i.
37 The author of M‘Fingal. These lines are from his Elegy on the Times, published while this first Congress was in session.
38 The following are the names of the members who composed the first Continental Congress:
NEW HAMPSHIRE. – John Sullivan, Nathaniel Folsom.
MASSACHUSETTS. – Thomas Cushing, Samuel Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine.
RHODE ISLAND AND PROVIDENCE PLANTATIONS. – Stephen Hopkins, Samuel Ward.
CONNECTICUT. – Eliphalet Dyer, Roger Sherman, Silas Deane.
NEW YORK. – James Duane, John Jay, Isaac Low, John Alsop, William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Henry Wisner.
NEW JERSEY. – James Kinsey, Stephen Crane, William Livingston, Richard Smith, John De Hart.
PENNSYLVANIA. – Joseph Galloway, John Morton, Charles Humphreys, Thomas Mifflin, Samuel Rhodes, Edward Biddle, George Ross, John Dickenson.
DELAWARE. – Cæsar Rodney, Thomas M‘Kean, George Read.
MARYLAND. – Robert Goldsborough, Samuel Chase, Thomas Johnson, Matthew Tilghman, William Paca.
VIRGINIA. – Peyton Randolph, Richard Henry Lee, George Washington, Patrick Henry, Richard Bland, Benjamin Harrison, Edmund Pendleton.
NORTH CAROLINA. – William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, Richard Caswell.
SOUTH CAROLINA. – Henry Middleton, John Rutledge, Thomas Lynch, Christopher Gadsden, Edward Rutledge.
39 Otis’s Botta, i., 128.
40 In the opinion of Charles Thomson, who was Secretary of Congress for fifteen consecutive years, no subsequent national Assembly during the war could compare with the first in point of talent and purity. He represents the Congress that sat at York, in Pennsylvania, while Washington and his army were suffering at Valley Forge, as a body of weak men compared to former delegations. It was in that Congress that a faction favored the scheme for making Gates commander-in-chief of the army in place of Washington.
41 Peyton Randolph was a native of Virginia, descended from one of its oldest and most respected families. Like other young men of the aristocracy, he was educated in England. He chose the profession of the law, and such were his talents that he was appointed attorney-general of the province in 1756, at the age of twenty-seven years. In that year he engaged, with one hundred gentlemen, to band as volunteers, and march against the Indians on their Western frontiers. He was for some years a member of the House of Burgesses of Virginia, and was at one time its speaker. He was one of the delegates from Virginia in the first Continental Congress, presided over that body with dignity, and was elected to the presidential chair by the second Congress, the following year. On account of ill health, he was obliged to resign his station on the 24th of May, 1775, and return to Virginia. He afterward resumed his seat in Congress. He died at Philadelphia, of apoplexy, on the 22d of October, 1775, aged fifty-two years.
The accompanying likeness of Mr. Randolph I copied from a miniature by Charles Wilson Peale, in the possession of his son, Titian R. Peale, Esq., of Washington City. The original portrait from life, painted by Peale, is in the Congress library; the miniature is a copy by the same artist. Mr. Randolph was a Free-mason; the scarf seen across his breast is a part of the regalia of a grand master. The portrait was painted for a lodge of the fraternity.
42 Charles Thomson was born in Ireland, in 1730, and came to America, with his three elder brothers, in 1741. They landed at New Castle, Delaware, with no other dependence than their industry. He was educated by Dr. Allison, the tutor of several of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. He was afterward a teacher at the Friends’ Academy, at New Castle. From thence he went to Philadelphia, where he obtained the advice and lasting friendship of Dr. Franklin. He was called to the responsible duty of keeping the minutes of the proceedings of the first Continental Congress in 1774, and from that time until he resigned his office, in 1789, he was the sole secretary of that body. He married Hannah Harrison, the aunt of General Harrison, late President of the United States. Mr. Thomson died at Lower Merion, Montgomery county, Pennsylvania, August 16, 1824, aged ninety-four years. The likeness of Secretary Thomson here given I copied from a portrait painted from life by Charles Wilson Peale, and in the present possession of P. T. Barnum, Esq., of New York. It agrees with the description of him given by the Abbé Robin, who was attached to Rochambeau’s staff. Alluding to those who paid their respects to Rochambeau when he was in Philadelphia, he says: "Among others, Charles Thomson, secretary of Congress, the soul of that political body, came also to receive and present his compliments. His meager figure, furrowed countenance, his hollow, sparkling eyes, his white, straight hair, that did not hang quite so low as his ears, fixed our thorough attention, and filled us with surprise and admiration."
43 See Watson’s Annals, vol. i., 422.
44 John Adams thus wrote to his wife on the 8th of September, concerning that first prayer in Congress; "When the Congress met, Mr. Cushing made a motion that it should be opened with prayer. It was opposed by Mr. Jay, of New York, and Mr. Rutledge, of South Carolina, because we were so divided in religions sentiments – some Episcopalians, some Quakers, some Anabaptists, some Presbyterians, and some Congregationalists – that we could not join in the same act of worship. Mr. Samuel Adams arose, and said ‘that he was no bigot, and could hear a prayer from any gentleman of piety and virtue who was at the same time a friend to his country. He was a stranger in Philadelphia, but had heard that Mr. Duché (Dushay they pronounce it) deserved that character, and therefore he moved that Mr. Duché, an Episcopal clergyman, might be desired to read prayers before the Congress to-morrow morning.’ The motion was seconded, and passed in the affirmative. Mr. Randolph, our president, waited on Mr. Duché, and received for answer that, if his health would permit, he certainly would. Accordingly, next morning, he appeared with his clerk, and in pontificals, and read several prayers in the Established form, and then read the Psalter for the seventh day of September, a part of which was the 35th Psalm. You must remember this was the next morning after we had heard the rumor of the horrible cannonade of Boston. It seemed as if Heaven had ordained that Psalm to be read on that morning.
"After this, Mr. Duché, unexpectedly to every body, struck out into an extemporary prayer, which filled the bosom of every man present. I must confess, I never heard a better prayer, or one so well pronounced. Episcopalian as he is, Dr. Cooper himself never prayed with such fervor, such ardor, such correctness, such pathos, and in language so elegant and sublime, for Congress, for the province of Massachusetts Bay, especially the town of Boston. It had an excellent effect upon every body here. I must beg you to read that Psalm. If there is any faith in the Sortes Virgillianæ, or Sortes Homericæ, or especially the Sortes Biblicæ, it would be thought providential." Bishop White, who was present, says that Washington was the only member who knelt on that occasion.
45 Mr. Duché was at that time an ardent Whig, but subsequently became an enemy to his country. He was the son of a Huguenot, who came to America with William Penn. In youth he was a good orator, and, after taking holy orders in England, he became a very popular Episcopal clergyman in Philadelphia, his native city. He was appointed chaplain to Congress on the 9th of July, 1776, but resigned in October. When the British took possession of Philadelphia, Mr. Duché, alarmed at the gloomy aspect of affairs, forsook the patriot cause, and, in a letter to Washington, endeavored to persuade the general to do likewise, and to "represent to Congress the indispensable necessity of rescinding the hasty and ill-advised Declaration of Independence." Washington transmitted this letter to Congress, and Mr. Duché was obliged to leave the country. He became a preacher in the Lambeth Asylum, where he was greatly respected. He returned to America is 1790, and died in Philadelphia in 1794, aged about sixty years. Mr. Duché was a man of much benevolence of character. He gave the amount of his salary ($150), while chaplain of Congress, to be distributed among families whose members had been slain in battle. He married a sister of Francis Hopkinson, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence.
46This and other state papers, mentioned on the next page, may be found in the Supplement.
47 The following circular letter was sent to all the royal governors in America, soon after the proceedings of the Continental Congress were received in England. It was a "bull" without horns, and did not alarm the patriots.
"Whitehall, Jan. 4th, 1775.
"Certain persons stiling" (sic) "themselves delegates of his majesty’s colonies in America, having presumed, without his majesty’s authority or consent, to assemble together, at Philadelphia, in the month of September and October last; and having thought fit, among other unwarrantable proceedings, to resolve that it will be necessary that another Congress should be held in this place on the 10th of May next, unless redress for certain pretended grievances be obtained before that time, and to recommend that all the colonies in North America should choose deputies to attend such Congress, I am commanded by the king to signify to you his majesty’s pleasure, that you do use your utmost endeavors to prevent such appointment of deputies within the colony under your government; and that you do exhort all persons to desist from such unwarrantable proceedings, which can not but be highly displeasing to the king.
"I am, sir, your most obedient servant,
48 "Every man in this assembly," wrote John Adams to his wife, "is a great man, an orator, a critic, a statesman; and therefore every man, upon every question, must show his oratory, his criticism, his political abilities. The consequence is, that business is spun out to an immeasurable length."
49 Joseph Galloway was one of the most popular of the leaders in Pennsylvania when the war of the Revolution broke out. He was once the confidential friend of Franklin, and had worked shoulder to shoulder with him against the proprietaries. He was elected a delegate to the first Continental Congress. In that body he submitted a plan, as a measure of accommodation, which seemed quite feasible. It proposed a union of the colonies, with a grand council authorized to regulate colonial affairs jointly with the British Parliament, each to have a mutual negation on each other. * This plan was favorably received, and on the question of its adoption it was rejected by a majority of only one. The debates were very warm, and it was on this occasion that Samuel Adams, regarding the proposition as a concession to tyranny, exclaimed, "I should advise persisting in our struggle for liberty, though it were revealed from heaven that nine hundred and ninety-nine were to perish, and only one of a thousand were to survive and retain his liberty! One such freeman must possess more virtue and enjoy more happiness than a thousand slaves; and let him propagate his like, and transmit to them what he has so nobly preserved" ** Before the meeting of the next Congress, Galloway manifested lukewarmness; and in 1776 he abandoned the Whigs, and became the most virulent and proscriptive Loyalist of the time. He joined the royal army in New York, where he continued until 1778, when, accompanied by his only daughter, † he went to England. There he remained until his death in September, 1803, at the age of seventy-three years. His pen, for many years, was continually employed in correspondence with Loyalists in America, and upon subjects connected with the war. The prominent position which he at first held among the Whigs, and his virulence against them after his defection, made him the target for many an arrow of indignant wit. Trumbull, in his M‘Fingall, gave him some hard hits; and a writer in the Pennsylvania Journal of February 5, 1777, thus castigates him with some lines, after saying to the printer,
"If you think them severe enough, print ‘em, egad!"
"Gall’way has fled, and join’d the venal Howe,
To prove his baseness, see him cringe and bow;
A traitor to his country and its laws,
A friend to tyrants and their cursed cause.
Unhappy wretch! thy interest must be sold
For Continental, not for polish’d gold.
To sink the money thou thyself cried down,
And stabb’d thy country to support the crown.
Go to and fro, like Lucifer on earth,
And curse the Being that first gave thee birth.
Away to Scotland and thyself prepare,
Coal dust and brimstone is their only fare;
Fit materials for such Tory blood,
Who wrong their country and deny their God.
There herd with Bute, Mansfield, and his brother;
Galloway’s estate, valued at $200,000, was confiscated by Pennsylvania. A large part of it was derived from his wife. A considerable portion was restored to his daughter.
* This plan is printed in Sabine’s Lives of the Loyalists, p. 309.
** Mr. Adams reiterated this sentiment when debating the resolution for independence twenty months afterward.
† Just before he left Philadelphia he discovered that his daughter was about to elope with Judge Griffin, who was afterward president of Congress. This doubtless hastened his departure.
‡ Murray, confidential secretary to the Pretender, Prince Charles Edward.
50 Galloway’s Historical and Political Reflections on the Rise and Progress of the American Rebellion: London, 1780. In this pamphlet the writer handles Sir William Howe and other British commanders with severity.
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