Monthly Archives: October 2021

New York merchants sign non-importation agreement

New York merchants sign non-importation agreement

 

On this day in history, October 31, 1765, New York merchants sign a non-importation agreement, agreeing not to import goods from Great Britain in protest of the Stamp Act. The Stamp Act placed a small tax on all paper goods, such as contracts, licenses, newspapers, almanacs, etc. The tax affected nearly everyone since it was placed on such common goods.

 

Lawyers, businessmen, judges and other affluent people were hit particularly hard by the tax because so much of their work required legal papers and contracts. The New York Non-Importation Agreement was signed by 200 New York City merchants who agreed not to import any more British goods until the Stamp Act was repealed. They were joined by many merchants and common people in the other colonies as well.

 

The colonists rebelled against the Stamp Act in many ways, including mob actions and riots against British officials, but the non-importation agreement had the most serious effect in London. English merchants suffered terribly because the Americans wouldn’t import their goods or pay their bills. Widespread unemployment gripped England as a result. Pressure from these London merchants ultimately caused Parliament to back down and repeal the Stamp Act.

 

http://www.revolutionary-war-and-beyond.com  

 

Jack Manning

President General

2019 – 2021

National Society Sons of the American Revolution

www.sar.org

 

“It was by one Union that we achieved our independence and liberties, and by it alone can they be maintained.”
James Monroe

 

 

 


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Martha Wayles Skelton is born

Martha Wayles Skelton is born

 

On this day in history, October 30, 1748, Martha Wayles Skelton is born. She would later become the wife of Thomas Jefferson. If you look for images of Martha Jefferson, you are only likely to find drawings of her like this one. This might seem strange at first. Wouldn’t the wife of one of the earliest Presidents have sat for a portrait? We have portraits of Martha Washington and Abigail Adams, Dolly Madison, Elizabeth Monroe and Louisa Adams. The truth is that Martha died 18 years before Jefferson became President so she was never the famous figure in her lifetime that she would have been had she become the First Lady. Thomas Jefferson never did remarry so he was single when he was President.

 

Martha Jefferson had been married once before her marriage to Thomas Jefferson, but her husband had died young. They had one child, but he died as a toddler. Martha apparently had frequent health problems. She and Jefferson had six children, only two of whom lived to adulthood and only one of them survived past age 25.

 

Little is known about Martha’s education but according eyewitnesses she was musically talented and an avid reader. She helped Martha Washington raise $300,000 for shirts for the Continental Army during the American Revolution. Martha died shortly after the birth of her last child sending Jefferson into an inconsolable grief that took him months to come out of.

 

http://www.revolutionary-war-and-beyond.com   

 

Jack Manning

President General

2019 – 2021

National Society Sons of the American Revolution

www.sar.org

 

"It is the manners and spirit of a people, which preserve a republic in vigor. A degeneracy in these is a canker which soon eats to the heart of its laws and constitution."
Thomas Jefferson (1787)


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Congress authorizes Yorktown Victory Monument

Congress authorizes Yorktown Victory Monument

 

On This Day in History, October 29, 1781, the Continental Congress authorizes the Yorktown Victory Monument at York, Virginia, to remember the surrender of Lord Cornwallis and the British army, news of which had just reached the Congress in Philadelphia. The monument was not even begun for 100 years and was started during the centennial celebration of the victory in 1881.

 

Congress’ original resolution to erect the monument reads as follows: "That the United States in Congress assembled, will cause to be erected at York, in Virginia, a marble column, adorned with emblems of the alliance between the United States and his Most Christian Majesty; and inscribed with a succinct narrative of the surrender of earl Cornwallis to his excellency General Washington, Commander in Chief of the combined forces of America and France; to his excellency the Count de Rochambeau, commanding the auxiliary troops of his most Christian Majesty in America, and his excellency the Count de Grasse, commanding in chief the naval army of France in the Chesapeake."

 

Notice the emphasis on French involvement during the war. If it hadn’t been for French cooperation, the war likely would have been lost, a fact not known by many Americans. The Yorktown Victory Monument was finished in 1884. The main pillar is 84 feet tall, and the statue of the Lady Victory is 14 feet on top of that. The statue was replaced in 1956 after the original was damaged by lightning. Today the monument can be found on the southeast end of Main Street in Yorktown, Virginia.

 

Each of the four sides of the base of the monument contain an inscription:

 

Side 1:

 

At York on Oct 19 1781 after a siege of nineteen days by 5500 American & 7000 French troops of the line 3500 Virginia Militia under command of Gen Thomas Nelson & 33 French ships of war Earl Cornwallis commander of the British forces at York & Gloucester surrendered his army 1751 officers and men 840 seamen 244 cannon and 24 standards to His Excellency George Washington Commander in Chief of the combined forces of America and France to his Excellency the Comte de Rochambeau commanding the auxiliary troops of His Most Christian Majesty in America and to His Excellency The Comte de Grasse Commanding Chief The Naval Army of France in Chesapeake

 

Side 2:

 

The provisional Articles of Peace concluded Nov 30, 1782 & the definitive treaty of peace concluded Sept 3 1783 between the U.S.A. and George III King of Great Britain & Ireland declare His Britannic Majesty acknowledges the said U.S. viz New Hampshire Massachusetts Bay Rhode Island and Providence Plantations Connecticut New York new Jersey Pennsylvania Delaware Maryland Virginia North Carolina South Carolina and Georgia to be free sovereign and independent states

 

Side 3:

 

The treaty concluded Feb 6, 1778, between the U.S.A. and Louis XVI King of France declares the essential & direct end of the present defensive alliance is to maintain effectually the liberty & sovereignty & independence absolute & unlimited of the said U.S. as well in matters of government as of commerce

 

Side 4:

 

Erected in pursuance of a resolution of Congress adopted Oct 29 1781 & an act of congress approved June 7 1880 to commemorate the victory by which the independence of the U.S.A. was achieved

 

http://www.revolutionary-war-and-beyond.com   

 

Jack Manning

President General

2019 – 2021

National Society Sons of the American Revolution

www.sar.org

 

"Every new regulation concerning commerce or revenue; or in any manner affecting the value of the different species of property, presents a new harvest to those who watch the change and can trace its consequences; a harvest reared not by themselves but by the toils and cares of the great body of their fellow citizens."

James Madison (1788)


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John Hancock marries Dorothy Quincy

John Hancock marries Dorothy Quincy

 

On This Day in History, October 28, 1775, John Hancock married Dorothy Quincy in Fairfield, Connecticut where they were staying while was Boston was blockaded by the British. He was presiding over the Continental Congress at the time and would soon sign the Declaration of Independence and be the first governor of Massachusetts.

 

Hancock and Quincy were engaged while they were in Boston and when the unrest started rising, Dorothy went to live with Hancock and his aunt Lydia at their Beacon Hill home. When colonists learned of British plans to capture patriot leaders, Hancock fled the city with his aunt and Dorothy in tow to Lexington where they stayed with the Reverend Jonas Clarke in Hancock’s boyhood home.

 

John Hancock and Samuel Adams were warned by Paul Revere that the British were coming for them and they fled the city. Hancock and the two women eventually ended up staying at the home of Thaddeus Burr, uncle of Aaron Burr, the future Vice President and killer of Alexander Hamilton, in Fairfield. Lydia did all she could to keep Dorothy away from young Aaron because she suspected Dorothy had a crush on him, but John and Dorothy married anyway.

 

Lydia passed away in Fairfield in April, 1776 and the Burr home was destroyed by the British when they invaded Fairfield in 1779. John Hancock offered to pay for all the windows of a new home if Thaddeus would build an exact replica of Hancock’s Beacon Hill home back in Boston, an offer which Mr. Burr took him up on.

 

http://www.revolutionary-war-and-beyond.com   

 

Jack Manning

President General

2019 – 2021

National Society Sons of the American Revolution

www.sar.org

 

“It is too true, however disgraceful it may be to human nature, that nations in general will make war whenever they have a prospect of getting anything by it.”
John Jay,
The Federalist Papers

 

 

 


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First of the Federalist Papers is published

First of the Federalist Papers is published

 

On this day in history, October 27, 1787, the first of the Federalist Papers is published. The Federalist, as it was originally called, was a series of articles written by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and John Jay, to explain and justify the need for the newly proposed United States Constitution.

 

The United States Constitution was written by the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in the summer of 1787 to replace the failing Articles of Confederation, America’s first governing document. The Confederation Congress sent a copy of the new Constitution to each state at the end of September, 1787, for each state to debate and make its own vote for or against ratification. Within days of its arrival, the first criticisms of the document began to appear in newspapers.

 

In New York, one of the states whose ratification of the Constitution was deemed critical to its success because of its large population, a very strong anti-Constitution coalition arose. Articles published under pseudonyms such as Brutus, Cato and the Federal Farmer began to appear, by people such as George Clinton, Robert Yates and Melancton Smith. To counter these arguments, Alexander Hamilton masterminded a plan to write a series of articles to refute the arguments and provide solid reasons why the Constitution should be adopted.

 

The first of the articles, which was written by Hamilton, appeared on October 27, 1787. Hamilton recruited fellow Federalist John Jay to write more articles, but after writing only 4 articles, Jay became ill and James Madison was recruited to the effort. Hamilton and Madison wrote the remainder of the 85 articles with the exception of one more written by Jay. In all, Hamilton wrote 51 articles, Madison 26 and Jay 5, all of which were written using the pseudonym, Publius.

 

According to The Federalist No. 1, the purpose of the articles was to explain how the Constitution would benefit the individual American citizen; why the current Confederation was not working; and the benefits of each provision in the Constitution. For example, Federalist Nos. 6-9 explain the benefits of a federal union; Federalist Nos. 24-29 discuss the need for common defense; Federalist No. 45 discusses alleged dangers to the authority of the states from the federal government; and Federalist Nos. 52-56 discuss the proposed House of Representatives.

 

The articles were published from October, 1787, to August, 1788, in several New York papers. Some of the articles were printed elsewhere, but they were primarily read in New York. By March of 1788, the articles had become so popular that a bound edition of the first 36 articles was printed under the title of The Federalist. Eventually all the other articles were printed together as well.

 

Scholars debate how much the Federalist Papers actually influenced the New York ratification vote. The required 9 states for the Constitution to be established had already been achieved with New Hampshire’s vote for ratification on June 21, 1788. Virginia was the tenth state to ratify on June 25. New York finally voted for ratification on July 26 in a 30-27 vote.

 

In later times, The Federalist Papers have come to be regarded as a unique window into the intentions of the Founders. They are studied by law students and Constitutional scholars and are often referred to in Supreme Court decisions, perhaps taking on an even greater role today than they held at the time they were written.

 

http://www.revolutionary-war-and-beyond.com   

 

Jack Manning

President General

2019 – 2021

National Society Sons of the American Revolution

www.sar.org

 

“If the people let the government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will be in as sorry a state as are the souls living under tyranny.”
Thomas Jefferson


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Benjamin Franklin sets sail for France

Benjamin Franklin sets sail for France

 

On this day in history, October 26, 1776, Benjamin Franklin sets sail for France as ambassador from the Continental Congress. The new United States was formed on July 4th only a few months before. One of the nation’s primary goals was to obtain foreign alliances. France was considered to be the best possibility for an alliance, due to France’s continual feud with Great Britain dating back centuries.

 

When Ben Franklin arrived in France, he was already a well-known celebrity. In the 1750s, Franklin’s discoveries with electricity had made him a household name in Europe after his letters about the subject were published. Upon his arrival in France, Franklin’s fame was so great that he found his likeness on portraits, snuff boxes and busts. His celebrity status gave him exactly what he needed in Paris, status and open doors to the highest society and government officials.

 

Franklin’s chief mission in France was to secure a financial and military alliance. All of the high society citizens wanted to know the famous American and Franklin quickly became part of their inner circle. The only problem was that the French government was reluctant to publicly make an alliance with the upstart Americans. Secretly, however, France was willing to send aid in the form of military supplies.

 

In the fall of 1777, the big break came when British general, John Burgoyne surrendered more than 6,000 men to the Americans at the Battle of Saratoga. This victory convinced France that the Americans could indeed handle a war against England. France decided to join the war and Franklin helped negotiate a treaty of alliance the next spring. Tons of military supplies, fleets of French ships and some of France’s best soldiers went to America. Franklin encouraged such soldiers as the Marquis de Lafayette, Thaddeus Kosciuszko and Casimir Pulaski to go to America and join the fight.

 

France’s involvement in the American Revolution turned out to be one of the keys to the eventual American victory. France’s involvement, along with Spain, which joined the war as well, made the American Revolution a world war. Fighting erupted between France and England all over the globe, in such disparate places as the Mediterranean, Africa, India and the West Indies. England was forced to spread its resources to these far flung places and even remove troops from America to defend its interests elsewhere. England couldn’t sustain such a vast war and was eventually forced to capitulate in the American colonies where the war began.

 

http://www.revolutionary-war-and-beyond.com   

 

Jack Manning

President General

2019 – 2021

National Society Sons of the American Revolution

www.sar.org

 

"There is nothing I have more at heart than the ease and security of every part of the Country and its inhabitants."
George Washington, letter to Connecticut Governor Jonathan Trumbull, December 19, 1778

 

 

 

 


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John and Abigail Adams are married

John and Abigail Adams are married

 

On this day in history, October 25, 1764, John and Abigail Adams are married. They would become one of the most recognizable couples in American history, not only for their time in the White House when John was the 2nd President of the United States, but also because of the more than 1200 letters between them that have survived.

 

John Adams and Abigail Smith were third cousins who knew one another from a young age. Both grew up in Christian households, John’s father being a deacon and Abigail’s a minister. John grew up on a farm and became a lawyer, while Abigail was educated at home, as was the custom for many women of the day. Abigail’s education was far more extensive than most women of the day, however. She became quite versed in politics, philosophy, poetry and other subjects, due to access to the libraries of her father and grandfather.

 

When the two married in 1764, John was 28 and Abigail was 19. They lived at the farm John’s father had left him in Quincy, Massachusetts, a few miles from Boston. Their first child, Abigail, also known as Nabby, was born in 1765. The Adams’ had 5 more children over the years, one of whom, John Quincy, became the 6th President of the United States.

 

As John’s law practice grew, the couple moved to Boston where they became intimately involved in revolutionary politics. John became involved in local politics and was eventually elected to attend the Continental Congress where he was a strong advocate of independence from Great Britain. During John’s long absences to Congress, he and Abigail kept up a vigorous letter writing habit that has provided subsequent generations a unique window into typical family life during the Revolution. Abigail was forced to raise their youngest children on her own and manage the farm as well.

 

John and Abigail often discussed political matters in their letters and her views were always taken to heart by Adams. Both were strong advocates of American independence and the abolition of slaves. She was also a strong proponent of women’s rights.

 

In the 1780s, John spent several years as the American ambassador to the Netherlands and Great Britain. In 1784, Abigail went to join him and the two spent several years in Paris and London. Neither of them particularly liked the social life of Europe.

 

John Adams was elected Vice-President with George Washington and subsequently became the 2nd President of the United States. The Adams’ came under great scrutiny and criticism while he was president and both had their feelings hurt from the criticisms and the lost election for a second term in the White House. After returning to Quincy from the capital, the two lived at their home called Peacefield. Abigail passed away in 1818 and John finished his memoirs. He passed away on July 4, 1826, the 50th anniversary of American Independence.

 

http://www.revolutionary-war-and-beyond.com   

 

Jack Manning

President General

2019 – 2021

National Society Sons of the American Revolution

www.sar.org

"Our obligations to our country never cease but with our lives."
John Adams (1808)


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