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Myths and Facts 

of the 




American Revolution 




A Ccmmentary on United States History 
as It is Written 






BY 






ARTHUR JOHNSTON 






" Nescire quid antea quam natus sis accederit, id est 
semper esse puerum " 






" Tot ou tard to-t se siit " 






" Tell truth and shame the Devil." 






TORONTO 

WILLIAM BRIGGS 

,190? 


■■'■ 


: : ,' \^ ' '> ' >' 



^.eelced 



THE NEW YORK 

PUBLIC LIBRARY 

TIL DEN r^\»^OAT\tUt$* 



Copyright, Canada, 1908, by William Briggs. 



TO THE MEMORY 
OF 

^be Xo?aU6t0 

TRUE "HEROES OF THE REVOLUTION," 

WHO SACRIFICED 

THEIR LIVES AND FORTUNES 

IN AN ATTEMPT TO PRESERVE 

THE INTEGRITY OF AN EMPIRE THAT HAS 
FORGOTTEN THEM, 

THIS LITTLE BOOK IS INSCRIBED BY 
THEIR FELLOW-COUNTRYMAN, 

THE AUTHOR. 



CONTENTS 

Chapter Page 

To THE Reader 7 

I. The Myth and the Myth-Makers . 15 

11. Taxation, Colonial Commerce, Church 
Domination, Colonial Representa- 
tion, Petitions, British Oppression 
and British Encouragement to Re- 
volt ....... 29 

III. Indians, Hessians, and British Bar- 

barity 53 

IV. The Insurgent Troops and their 

Allies 65 

V. Philanthropic Treason .... 89 

VI. American Patriotism and Self- 

Seeking 98 

VII. Some Crimes Committed in the Name 

OF Liberty 120 

VIII. Loyalty and Pseudo-Loyalty . . 133 

V 



CONTENTS 
Chapter Page 

IX. The Royal Scapegoat .... 149 

X. The Rights of Property and of Man. 154 

XL Self-Government and Natural Law . 166 

XIL Do the Anglo-Britannic Race and 
the Rest of the World owe their 
Free Institutions to the Success 
OF the American Revolution ? . . 171 

XIII. What do the American People owe 

TO THE Revolution ? . . . . 197 

XIV. The Facts 217 

Notes 255 



VI 



TO THE READER 



" Candor," Ambassador James Bryce is reported to 
have said, " is the first requisite to the uninterrupted 
progress of Anglo-American good-will. We want to 
get together and speak our minds freely." 

In so saying, the distinguished gentleman had refer- 
ence solely to conditions existing, or liable to arise, 
causing misunderstandings and ill-feeling between the 
peoples of Great Britain and the United States. But if, 
in order to nourish mutual sentiments of good-will 
between these peoples, and to do away with the mis- 
trust and prejudice cherished by the latter to the 
former, it be needful to use candor and to give free 
expression of opinion regarding existing conditions, 
vastly more needful, and, indeed, essential, to the accom- 
plishment of that object, is it to use candor and a free 
expression of fact regarding the original source of this 
mistrust and prejudice — the American Revolution. 

Why this is essential no one who has lived long 
among Americans, and being not of them, needs to be 
informed. It is because distrust of, and a latent anti- 
pathy to, England and Englishmen is the inheritance of 
every citizen of the great Republic born or educated 
on its soil. Their minds are so filled and obsessed by 
the lessons taught by the absurd and mendacious Amer- 
ican school histories and traditions that they are 
incapable of dissociating Englishmen of the present 
generation from those who participated in the scenes 
enacted in the early history of their country. Almost 
unconsciously they adjudge them particeps criminis in 
the supposed sinful designs of their forefathers against 

7 



TO THE READER 

the liberties of their own ; and they cannot free their 
minds from the beUef that all Englishmen in secret 
cherish vindictive feelings towards the United States 
and their citizens because of the failure of these designs. 
Where England, her government and her people are 
concerned, the Revolutionary Myth dominates their 
every thought. 

It is certain, then, that until this hereditary prejudice 
is removed from the minds of Americans they will 
never regard their British cousins as their friends. 
Until it is removed, all offers of fellowship and good- 
will coming to America from across the sea, how- 
ever sincere or magnanimous they may be, will fail 
of the desired effect. No plea of mca culpa, so 
often put forth on behalf of their country by British 
writers, whether prompted by ignorance or false mag- 
nanimity, will suffice to remove from the minds of 
Americans this distrust and antipathy, founded, as it is, 
on misconception and vicious teachings. 

On the other hand, no well-informed and self- 
respecting Briton can respond with unrestrained cor- 
diality to overtures of friendship made by Americans 
so long as they cherish this latent distrust of his country 
and his countrymen, because it is impossible to believe 
them sincere, and because without mutual confidence 
there can be no true friendship. 

Thus both peoples are held in bonds forged by pre- 
judice, bonds from which no one-sided concessions, no 
sincere or insincere confession of WTong-doing, is able 
to release them. Truth alone will set them free. 

" But this will never do !" I seem to hear some patriot 
exclaim. " Truth is not always to be told ; especially 
when it may tend to annihilate the spirit of patriotism 
in a great and free people, by destroying their belief 
in the immaculate virtue and wisdom of the founders 
of the Republic and the righteousness of their cause." 

A few years ago, in an address to the American His- 
torical Association, of which he was President, a distin- 
guished citizen of Massachusetts, a well-known United 

8 



TO THE READER 

States Senator, expressed his views of the duties of an 
historian. 

" If in anything the love of country or a lofty enthu- 
siasm may have led him to paint her in too favorable 
colors," he said, "the sober judgment of time will 
correct the mistake. No serious harm will have been 
done. . . . It is surely better to err on the side of 
ennobling the country's history than to err on the side 
of degrading it. . . . It is the memory of virtue 
that should he immortal, and it is best that the memory 
and example of evil should perish. . . . I do not 
see how the love of country can long abide toward a 
country which is altogether unlovely. No man can feel 
a noble pride in a base history."* 

After reading these words it is a little confusing to 
find the orator, in the same speech, declaring^ that he 
is " pleading for no departure from absolute verity/' and 
that " the first duty of the historian is to absolute 
truth. "t It would seem the gentleman protests too 
much. 

But there is no mistaking his meaning. In a few 
words, it is that truth should be sacrificed on the altar 
of patriotism so that its devotees may grow great and 
multiply. No Jesuit was ever accused of the promul- 
gation of a doctrine more false and mischievous. It 
would seem that the learned orator needs to be informed 
that there is nothing m.ore " unlovely " and " base " than 
falsehood, and that it is powerless to '' ennoble " any- 
thing. Were the annals of nations to be registered in 
this spirit, the historic tomes would stand like head- 
stones on the grave of truth. 

Nor is it less absurd than false. Suppose, for 
example, that British historians, led by " lofty^ enthu- 
siasm," had painted their country's history " in too 
favorable colors," had "ennobled" it by "immortal- 
izing" all that was virtuous therein, and making to 

♦Inaugural address of Hon. George F. Hoar, Dec. 27th, 1895- 

9 



TO THE READER 

perish all that was evil, so that their countrymen might 
be brought to ** feel a noble pride " in it ! Then it might 
have been recorded of England that her " pilgrim 
fathers," the Saxons, came to Britain on a mission of 
amity and good-will ; that her early Williams, Henrys 
and Edwards were consistent members of the Peace 
Society and never coveted that which was not their own ; 
that her eighth Henry was a faithful and indulgent hus- 
band, on principle a strict monogamist, his eldest daugh- 
ter renowned for religious tolerance and tenderness of 
heart ; that her Charleses were men of high honor and 
fidelity ; that Chief Justice Jeffreys was an impartial 
and merciful judge, and Kirke's " Lambs " lambs indeed 
with the whitest of fleeces ! Then it might have 
been boasted that the British people had never sought 
aggrandisement, and had ever been eager to uphold the 
independence and welfare of other races ; that their 
mission in India was solely to give peace to native jar- 
ring factions, and their restrictions on the trade of 
Ireland were but for the purpose of fostering its infant 
industries. These, and many other such " absolute 
truths," might have become articles of faith to every 
Englishman, and their history rendered delightful and 
inspiring reading. 

Of course, too, the British historian would have seen 
his duty in denying every allegation of wrong-doing 
made against his country by American writers, in the 
matter of their Revolution, without being at any pains 
to inquire into their truth or falsity, since it would 
behoove him to see that all memory of evil in the his- 
tory of his country should perish — just as the American 
historian would see his duty in insisting upon their 
truth — otherwise, how could he " ennoble " his country's 
history? Thus would ensue a maze of absurdities and 
contradictions without a clue. It would be to dress 
history in cap and bells, like a mediaeval jester, with a 
bauble for a stylus. 

But is it true that faithfully to chronicle the history 
of the great Republic would annihilate or impair the 

10 



TO THE READER 

spirit of patriotism in her sons? If their faith in the 
immaculate virtue of their fathers of Revolutionary 
days and the goodness of their cause were disturbed, 
would their patriotism sicken and die for want of need- 
ful stimulant? I do not believe that true patriotism is 
so anaemic as this ! Can patriotism find no food to feed 
on save ancestor-worship? When first were promul- 
gated the speculations of the Evolutionists, it was 
objected by the old school of orthodoxy that the destruc- 
tion of the people's belief in special creations would 
result in the degradation of mankind in its own eyes. 
To this Thomas Huxley replied that, in his opinion, it 
was far more degrading to humanity to have fallen 
from the estate of angels than to have risen from the 
status of the brute. As with the Eden story so might 
it be with the American Revolutionary Myth. Surely 
the American people should feel more degradation in 
having fallen from the lofty plane of virtue, wisdom 
and morality upon which their forefathers are supposed 
to have stood, than to be able, truthfully, to boast that 
they have maintained or advanced their standard of 
virtue, and so have not fallen at all. 

Besides, why should it be assumed that they have no 
ancestry of which they may be justly proud except 
the " Revolutionary Fathers " and their adherents ? 
Though we may disregard the fact that by far the 
greater number of the progenitors of the present genera- 
tion of Americans living at the time of the Revolution 
first saw the light in alien lands — not a few in the coun- 
try of their cherished enemy — still it should be remem- 
bered that a very large number of these progenitors, 
native to the soil, were opposed to the claims and acts 
of the revolutionists, and testified to the sincerity of 
their convictions by the sacrifice of their freedom and 
their lives. When the truth is acknowledged, why may 
not patriotic Americans feel proud of their Loyalist 
ancestors, who thus suffered persecution " for con- 
science' sake " ? That this is possible is proven by an 
analogous fact. In the Northern States, a generation 

II 



TO THE READER 

since, the names of the constructors and defenders of 
the Southern Confederacy were never mentioned but in 
terms of hatred and obloquy as malefactors and traitors 
to their country. Now many of them are honored as 
heroic sons of a reunited nation. If, from having 
obtained a more just view of the objects of these men, 
and having found them not altogether evil, the men of 
the North to-day can thus look with pride upon the 
achievements of their Southern brethren, though they 
attempted to disrupt the Commonwealth, were as full a 
light thrown upon their actions might they not honor 
the motives of those who opposed its formation? For 
then it would be found that the intent of these men was 
but to prevent the disruption of the Empire to which 
all Americans then owed allegiance, and that their 
patriotism perhaps was as pure as, and certainly was 
more unselfish than, that of their detractors and per- 
secutors. 

The life-blood of these men, so long despised and 
vilified, mingles with the best blood of the Republic. 
Their steadfastness of character, their patience and 
courage under the infliction of cruel and undeserved 
persecution, has been transmitted to its citizens, and has 
helped to raise higher its character among the nations 
of the earth. They cannot be ignored, and to condemn 
them is to attaint the blood of the whole nation. 

Surely it is time that the citizens of the great Republic 
should more closely scan the records of its foundation, 
and no longer remain complacently content with fairy 
tales in the guise of history, vicariously flattering to 
their vanity If it be true, as Cicero has declared, that 
a people who know not their own history are children, 
babes in arms must be those who know it wrongly. The 
facts once learned, both branches of the Anglo-Britannic 
race will be the gainers. To Americans the British will 
no longer appear, as for generations they have, their 
" cruel and unrelenting enemies," and, to the British, 
Americans v/ill appear as just and generous friends. 
Above all, Americans will have the inestimable satis- 

12 



TO THE READER 

faction of knowing that their historic records are free 
from falsehood and vainglory. 

For these reasons, in accordance with the precept of 
Mr. Bryce, I have '' spoken my mind freely." Or, more 
accurately, I have suppressed no fact appearing on 
record, and spared no comment thereon, because of the 
tendency of either to show to the disadvantage of the 
instigators of the American Revolution, or to prove the 
falsity of the received version of its history. For this 
I have no apology to make, and no comment, save in 
the words of the Apostle: "Am I therefore become 
your enemy, because I tell you the truth?"* 

It may be that because of this, and because in the 
following pages there is found no detailed account of 
the sins of commission and omission of the British Gov- 
ernment from the time of the voyage of the MayUower 
to that of the tea-ships, I shall be accused of a lack of 
the ''historic spirit," and thus of being guilty of the 
very faults of which I have ventured to accuse others. 
But I do not think such an accusation would be a just 
one. I have denied none of these sins charged against 
it, except such as I hold not to have been sustained by 
a particle of evidence ; and have avowed all in any way 
relating to the American Revolution that are so sus- 
tained. That these are singularly few may be a matter 
for surprise, but it is also a matter of fact. 

This little book makes no pretension to being a his- 
tory. It is solely what it purports to be, a refutation 
of the American Revolutionary Myth. As such it is 
not within the province of the writer to go out of his 
way to demonstrate that the Government of Great 
Britain (like other governments) has not been immacu- 
late, and her people (like other peoples) have not been 
animated solely by sentiments of benevolence and dis- 
interestedness. 

To revert to American histories. One is inclined to 
suggest that there be prefixed to such of them as treat 

*Galatians iv. i6. 

13 



TO THE READER 

of the Revolution and the War of 1812 the words which 
the old printer, Caxton, prefixed to one of his historical 
romances :* " for to pass the time, this book shall be 
pleasant to read in, but for to give faith and belief that 
ail is true that is contained herein, ye be at your liberty." 

♦Sir Thomas Malory's Morte Darthur. 



14 



MYTHS AND FACTS 

OF THE 

AMERICAN REVOLUTION 



CHAPTER I. 

THE MYTH AND THE MYTH-MAKERS. 

All primitive communities have had their myths to 
account for their being. Woven on a meagre warp of 
fact, adorned by the fancies of ttoztt/?, skald, bard and 
troubadour, these flimsy illusions became things of 
beauty for the admiration and delight of future ages of 
men. One modern community has followed this example 
and garnished its origin with equally unsubstantial con- 
ceits, as provocative of admiration if not of delight. 

The American Revolutionary ]\Iyth, risen like an 
exhalation from decaying facts, has little more evidence 
to support it than has the myth of the wolf-fostered 
twins of the Alban Hills, or that of the blameless British 
king and his circle of knights. It was not fabricated 
by bard or skald, but by distinguished statesmen and 
grave historians. It originated during the decade that 
preceded the declaration of independence, and reached 
its greatest expansion about the middle of the following 
century by means of the impudent perversions of 
Bancroft, than whom a more shamelessly unscrupulous 
writer never foisted upon his readers falsehood for fact 
in a so-called history. It pictures the revolutionists as 
endowed with all the cardinal virtues, paladins without 

15 



MYTHS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION 

fear or reproach; the British and loyal Americans as 
destitute of every moral principle, sons of Belial and 
workers of iniquity. 

As set forth in the pagies of celebrated American 
histories, biographies and state papers, supplemented by 
the assertions of some British orators and historians, 
the American Revolution was brought about by unlawful 
and oppressive acts of the British Government. By 
these authorities it is substantially asserted: 

That there was an attempt made by the ministry, 
instigated, or at least countenanced, by the King, to tax 
the American colonists for the benefit of the Govern- 
ment and people of Great Britain, they having arrogated 
to themselves that " dreadful authority "* in spite of the 
fact that these colonists had ever enjoyed the constitu- 
tional and exclusive right to " tax themselves."t 

That, in the face of the protestations of the colonists, 
the Home Government persisted in maintaining control 
over their commerce and manufactures, under the pro- 
visions of the acts of navigation and trade ; that the 
refusal of the Government to relinquish this control 
provoked the Revolution. ** It was," wrote a celebrated 
English economist of the eighteenth century, " that bale- 
ful spirit of commerce that wished to govern great 
nations on the maxims of the counter which occasioned 
the American war/'i Many statements to the same 
effect have since been made, especially by British writers. 

That the colonial revolt — at least in part — was caused 
by a fear of Episcopal domination. " No sketch of the 
American Revolution is adequate which does not take 
this influence into account," writes an eminent British 
historian.§ 

That the colonists, as a body, desired to be repre- 

*Declaration of Second Continental Congress. 

fAsserted by Lord Chatham and other Whig leaders, the 
" friends of America " ; denied by Lord Mansfield and every 
other jurist and publicist of eminence since his time- 

t-Arthur Young, Preface to the Tour in Ireland- 

§Lecky, History of England, Vol. IV., p. 169. 

16 



THE MYTH AND THE MYTH-MAKERS 

sented in the Imperial Parliament ; that they endeavored 
to obtain such representation, and the failure of the Gov- 
ernment to grant it helped to precipitate the revolt. 

That the colonists repeatedly sent " humble petitions " 
to the King and Parliament praying for redress of these 
oppressive measures and the restoration of their con- 
stitutional rights ; but that their petitions were treated 
with contempt and answered only by additional injuries. 

That the denial of these constitutional rights to the 
colonists was made in furtherance of a " plan of des- 
potism," deliberately formed by a " tyrant " king and 
his " infatuated ministry,"^ in order to render the col- 
onists subservient to their authority in all things that 
affected their interests, or — in the words of the Revolu- 
tionary leaders and their British coadjutors — to '' en- 
slave " them. 

That having besieged the throne as suppliants in vain, 
and remonstrated with Parliament ; having exhibited to 
mankind the remarkable spectacle of a people attacked 
by unprovoked enemies, without any imputation or even 
suspicion of offence ;2 having no choice between uncon- 
ditional submission to tyrannical rule or resistance by 
force, the colonists took up arms in their own defence 
and drove the invaders from their shores. 

That, substantially, all the inhabitants of the thirteen 
colonies were " of one mind " in opposition to the Home 
Government, and made common cause against it. In 
the words of the Revolutionary chiefs, the American 
Revolution was the uprising of " three millions of souls 
united in one cause ;"* " one understanding governing 
and one heart animating the whole body ;"t or, in those 
of an illustrious British statesman, it was a " revolt of a 
whole people. "J 

That the people of Great Britain, likewise, were sub- 
stantially of one mind, and, therefore, the American 
Revolution was a contest between Britain and America, 

*Speech of Samuel Adams to the Congress, 
tjohn Adams, Letters of Novanglus: Works, Vol. IV., p. 35- 
$Burke's Works, Vol. I., p. 318. 
2 17 



MYTHS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION 

without any material division of sentiment on either 
side; so that in meeting their mighty opponent on the 
field of war, the colonists engaged in an enterprise of 
daring unprecedented in the world's history, an enter- 
prise such as only desperation could inspire and tran- 
scendent heroism achieve. 

That in the attempt to reduce to subjection " a vir- 
tuous, loyal and affectionate people,"* the British Gov- 
ernment allied itself with " the wild and inhuman savage 
of the woods/'t with the merciless Indians, inciting 
them by presents and bribes to massacre defenceless 
frontier families, without distinction of age or sex. 3 
That, with a similar cruel intent, that Government em- 
ployed European mercenary troops to war against the 
unoffending colonists. That British officers were guilty 
of atrocities unprecedented in the annals of war, in 
burning defenceless towns and in the infliction of 
inhuman cruelties upon their prisoners of war. 

That in spite of all their disadvantages — destitute of 
resources, without unity of purpose, without foreign aid, 
or with such as had no appreciable effect upon the 
result — the colonists overcame the large battalions of 
trained British troops sent against them, and so won 
their independence. In the words of Mr. Bancroft: 
" Without union, without magazines and arsenals, with- 
out a treasury, wdthout credit, without government, 
[they] fought successfully against the whole strength and 
wealth of Great Britain. An army of veteran soldiers 
capitulated to insurgent husbandmen. "J That even if 
foreign arms did aid the colonists in winning their inde- 
pendence — as a few American writers reluctantly admit — 
vet the credit and glory is all theirs, for these foreign 
alliances were the direct result of the success of their 
arms. 

That at the period of the Revolution the people of the 
American colonies intellectually and morally surpassed 

*Declaration of the Second Continental Congress- 
tSpeech of Lord Chatham, Nov. i8th. I777- 
iBancroft, History of the United States, Vol. Ill, p. ii. 

i8 



THE MYTH AND THE MYTH-MAKERS 

those of Great Britain and all other nationalities ; they 
were picked men and women, superior beings as com- 
pared with the commonality and aristocracies of other 
countries.* 

That the Revolution was conceived on a strict ques- 
tion of principle, and carried on, on the part of the 
Revolutionists — in spite of the dictum of Monsieur 
Nicolas Chamfort — in true rose-water style. Again, in 
the words of Mr. Bancroft : " The American Revolu- 
tion was achieved with such benign tranquillity that even 
conservatism hesitated to censure. . . . The period 
abounded in new forms of virtue. Fidelity to principle 
pervaded the masses "f of the American people, while 
vice and degradation reigned over those of Great Britain. 

That until within a few months prior to the declara- 
tion of independence the colonists one and all cher- 
ished feelings of profound veneration and fervent affec- 
tion for the Government and people of Great Britain ; 
were devoted to the colonial relation, and turned with 
horror from the thought of separation from the mother- 
land ; that gladly would they have submitted to any 
terms of accommodation with the Home Government, 
short of being reduced to " abject slavery.''^ That 
when forced by the insufferable tyranny of the insensate 
tyrants over the sea to proclaim their independence, they 
did so with tears and lamentations. 4 So that, in the 
space of a few months, Great Britain, from being that 
** happy island " whose people " of all the enviable things 
are to be envied most ;" people " of a noble and gen- 
erous nature, loving and honoring the spirit of liberty ;'* 
ruled by a king '' the very best in the world;" "the best 
king any nation was ever blessed with :" than whom 
** scarcely could be conceived a king of better disposi- 
tions, or more exemplary virtues, or more truly desirous 
of promoting the welfare of all his subjects;" — in short, 
the best of all possible peoples, blessed with the best 

*Hosmer's Samuel Adams, p. 89. 

jHistory of the United States, Vol- III., pp. 10, 11. 

$John Adams, Novanglus: Works, Vol. IV., p. 28. 

19 



MYTHS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION 

of all possible rulers ; — became an " old rotten state," in 
which '* extreme corruption " prevailed " among all 
orders of men ;" a '' wicked country," a *' sink of cor- 
ruption ;" whose people were filled with " bloody and 
insatiate malice and wickedness," and whose king was 
a " tyrant," "' N crone Neronier;" — with other epithets 
presumably for decency's sake suggested by dashes, — 
who '' thirsted for the blood " of the American people, 
" of which he has already drunk large draughts. "5 

That there was evolved from the hearts and brains 
of the American people new and untried principles of 
government, by which men were emancipated from the 
arbitrary rule of kings and enabled to " govern them- 
selves/'6 That they inaugurated a government over 
which the people were supreme: in the words of one 
of the most illustrious of Americans, " a new nation 
conceived in liberty," " a government of the people, by 
the people, and for the people. "7 

That in fighting for their independence the revolting 
colonists also were fighting to preserve the free institu- 
tions of Great Britain, and had they failed to attain it, 
not only their own freedom but the freedom of all 
British subjects would have been subverted and over- 
thrown. 

Such are the tenets of the cult of the Revolutionary 
Myth as expounded by its high priests, the most dis- 
tinguished American historians, many of them being 
accepted as true, and some, indeed, originated, by those 
of Great Britain. A host of lesser American writers, 
enthusiastic in the faith, have amplified them to such 
an extent as, by comparison, to make them seem like 
sober fact. 

One of these histories — the work of a writer of almost 
world-wide fame* — may be cited as an example. " In 
these volumes," he writes, " I have taken the view that 
the American nation is the embodiment of a Divine 
purpose to emancipate and enlighten the human race." 
A perusal of his history is in itself an enlightenment. 

♦Julian Hawthorne. 

20 



THE MYTH AND THE MYTH-MAKERS 

For the first time we learn that Franklin " demurely 
arched his eyebrow ;" that Samuel Adams " pointed his 
finger ;'' that " General Gage stalked about, solemn, 
important and monosyllabic ;" that Colonel Smith at one 
time " held himself unusually erect," at another " puffed 
out his cheeks;" that during the battle of Bunker 
Hill Burgoyne cried '' Humph !" while Joseph Warren 
'' smiled quietly." 

Happenings overlooked by other chroniclers cannot 
escape the purview of the clairvoyant brain of our his- 
torian. On the night of the '' Boston Massacre," he 
sees, " by the glint of the moon," some " blood-stained 
marks in the snow " made by the feet of Governor 
Hutchinson while " in his dismay hurrying between the 
soldiers and the crowd." By the same pale light he 
observes " a sinister intent " in the *' look and bearing " 
of Captain Preston and his squad of men, and a moment 
later he discerns the former " quivering with agitation." 

Indeed, so often is this " agitation " manifested among 
the British officers in America during the colonial and 
revolutionary days, that we see plainly that, to fill the 
military and civil posts in the colonies, the Government 
had emptied a young ladies' finishing school, and sent 
its inmates to the New World, a decorous host, with a 
white feather for a banner. 

For, during one of the campaigns of the French war, 
our historian — without the glint of the moon this time — 
espies General Webb on the field of battle ** whimpering 
to be allowed to fall back on the Hudson," and at the 
same moment he perceives General Loudoun " cowering 
in New York." 

As for Braddock ! Flattering commentators have pic- 
tured this " grizzled nincompoop " as a dauntless if 
incompetent soldier. The picture is familiar to all : An 
heroic soul, insensible to his own danger, rallying his 
scattered forces, who, perplexed by a sudden and 
unaccountable assault from invisible foes — quite invisible, 
being concealed in natural trenches overgrown with 
grass — have broken their ranks, while the provincial 

21 



MYTHS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION 

soldiers are " flying, hiding themselves behind the trees ;" 
beating them into the open. His officers have " fallen, 
almost to a man," but not while he lives shall the King's 
scarlet be disgraced by lurking cowards! Let them 
leave such tactics to the Americans, who are to the 
manner born, and whose homespun clothes better match 
the tree-trunks and rotting logs that serve them as ram- 
parts. The soldiers of the King shall die, if die they 
must, in the fair light of heaven, elbow to elbow and 
face to the foe! 

Pooh ! pooh ! says our historian, that is all wrong ! 
*' Braddock has been called brave, but the term is inap- 
propriate." This man who *' raged about the field 
like a dazed bull — fly he could not " — was "a. poltroon 
at heart." Ill-bred, too, and sadly lacking courtesy ; for 
when he had received his fatal wound " his honor was 
so little sensitive that he felt no gratitude at being thus 
saved the consequences of one of the most disgraceful 
and wilfully incurred defeats that ever befell an English 
general." Actually the man was not grateful for being 
killed ! 

Colonel Washington, of course, '' in that hell of explo- 
sions, smoke, yells, and carnage " — all proceeding, as, 
our historian tells us, from a few hundred painted 
savages and Frenchmen, no doubt armed with flint-lock 
muskets and bows and arrows — no more minded " the 
rain of bullets " than " if his body were no more mortal 
than his soul." But as for the British regulars, after 
the fall of that " dull curmudgeon," their commander, 
they " ran like sheep before the hounds, leaving the 
saving of the day to the Americans," who ** did almost 
the only fighting that was done on the English side." 
It may be remarked, as a dull and uninteresting fact, 
that " the Americans " did not " save the day," though 
there were more than " a few hundred " of them. 

General Abercrombie, too, he a soldier! Why, at the 
siege of Ticonderoga, our historian informs us, though 
" he had four times as many men as Montcalm," and 
" could easily have captured the works," being " ' dis- 

22 



THE MYTH AND THE MYTH-MAKERS 

tilled almost to a jelly by the act of fear,' " he " fled 
headlong," and, thereafter, though he '' could have taken 
Canada with ease," he " thought only of keeping out 
of Montcalm's way." In fact, we are told, this cam- 
paign was remarkable only " as showing of what enorm- 
ities the English of that age were capable. Their entire 
conduct during the French war was dishonorable and 
often atrocious." So we are not surprised to learn that 
the Americans, '' who had thus far done all the fighting 
and won all the successes," then " took the war into 
their own hands, while disgrace and panic reigned 
among all the English commanders." 

But in the following campaign the British generals 
behaved a little better ; or, what seems more likely, they 
followed the example of Abercrombie and kept out of 
the way of the enemy. But, however this may be, we 
learn that " Gage was the only English officer to dis- 
grace himself in this campaign." Still, the improve- 
ment in the morale of the British army was only tem- 
porary, for as soon as they came into conflict with the 
patriotic colonists the white feather again was promin- 
ently displayed and the civil officers were just as pusil- 
lanimous. Gag'e, " who had betrayed lack of courage 
under Amherst," was at the head of both the civil and 
military government ; clearly no good could be expected 
of him! Bernard and Hutchinson had preceded him in 
civil authority, and Bernard's " cowardice made him 
despised, even by the British/' who, of course, were 
used to that kind of thing. As for Hutchinson, " his 
cowardice was equal to Bernard's." Lord Percy, too — 
from whom, with Chevy Chase and Salisbury Plain 
fresh in our minds, we should have expected better 
things — '' soon became as frightened as the rest," and, 
on the day of the battle of Bunker Hill, having before 
" helped Colonel Smith to run away," he took to his bed 
and stayed there " on the plea of illness." This we know, 
for our historian tells us so, but Percy himself had the 
assurance to report that he was " upon duty in the lines 
on that day," and that while there he assisted in " a 

23 



MYTHS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION 

pretty smart cannonade, which we kept up from there 
upon Roxbury," where lay the main body of the pro- 
vincial army. 

It seems that not only the courage but the wits of 
British officers failed them when in America ; all who 
served there, we are told, who were not cowards, were 
" fools and merry- Andrews " — if, indeed, they were not 
both. For instance, there was that " preposterous old 
imbecile," Admiral Sir Hovenden Walker, and " the not 
less absurd" "Jack Hill." The Duke of Cumberland, 
too — who, strangely, did not serve in America — it seems, 
was " absurd " also ; a remarkable discovery to be made 
of the " Butcher of Culloden." 

After these examples it comes to us as a shock of 
surprise to learn that General Howe was a " fearless 
man." To be sure, as Howe virtually was an ally of 
the Revolutionists, to whom more than to all the other 
generals on both sides they were indebted for the ability 
to keep an army in the field, it seems only right that his 
name should be excluded from the roll of dishonor, 
where properly belonged the other British officers, who 
had not the grace to play with treason for the benefit of 
the enemies of their country.^ 

We learn many other things from our historian not 
before revealed to mortal man. For instance, that in 
Franklin's veins " flowed the blood of Quakers ;" that 
the famous letters of Governor Hutchinson were written 
''to the English ministry;" that he (Hutchinson) 
" brought false charges against Franklin, and begged to 
receive the latter's office of deputy postmaster-general ;" 
that his two sons, " worthy of their sire, were guilty of 
felony." Our historian also has discovered that " Lord 
George Sackville Germaine " — who never left the shores 
of Europe — was " cashiered for cowardice on an Amer- 
ican field of battle." Doubtless it was appropriate that 
a British officer, if he played the poltroon at all, should 
do so '' on an American field of battle." 

Of course, the American officers and men were all 
immaculate heroes, with " dauntless hearts," who " in 

24 



THE MYTH AND THE MYTH-MAKERS 

their homespun smallclothes, home-knit stockings, home- 
made shirts and cowhide shoes," were willing and eager 
to " march to the cannon's mouth." 

Faith in the American Revolutionary Myth, save for 
the lesson at the mother's knee, is first taught in the 
juvenile histories to be found in lavish abundance in 
every school library in the United States between the 
two oceans. Let us take half a dozen of these works, 
haphazard, from the shelves of one of them (we might 
find as many score) and glance at their pages. 

From the first one we open we learn that '' England 
insisted that the colonists should aid in paying the heavy 
debt " [of the French war] ; that " she would not allow 
them to be represented in the British Parliament," and 
'' continued to treat them as though they had no rights 
whatever."* 

In the next we are informed that the colonists '' were 
forbidden to cut down trees on their own lands for 
staves and barrels. "f 

In another we are instructed that '' George the Third 
ordered the colonists to give him money, which they felt 
he had no right to demand from them," and that, to a 
remonstrance against this unwarrantable claim, he 
" replied : * I must have the tax, and if you refuse to 
give me the money, I shall take it by force.' "J 

From still another we gather further knowledge of the 
doings of that bold, bad monarch. It seems that: 
" Sometimes the King, without caring for the wishes 
of the colonists, would make laws to suit himself," and 
** sent orders to the Governors that the colonists should 
trade with no other country than his own ;" that they 
[the colonists] " wished to build factories and weave 
their own cloth, but the King would not allow this," and 
'* said that the colonists should pay the expenses of that 
[the French] war, and therefore began to tax them 
heavily. "§ 

*A. S. Barnes, A Primary History of the United States, p- 90. 
fBlaisdell, The Story of American History, p. 143- 
$Montgomery, An Elementary American History, pp. 117, 118. 
§Beebe, The Story of Paul Jones, p. 20, 

25 



MYTHS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION 

From the next we learn that : '* Flushed with victory, 
but burdened with debt, the Government of Great Britain 
insisted that, as America had been benefited by the con- 
quest of Canada, America should pay the bills.'' The 
colonists " must just pay and keep quiet, England 
declared, and at once set about arranging things so as 
successfully to ' squeeze the Colonies ' for money."* 

In the last one, which aspires to the dignity of a 
popular history, we find set forth, in ornate and pathetic 
phrase, a summary of the crimes committed by the 
unnatural motherland against her innocent and guileless 
bantlings, the colonies. Here we learn that England 
" made up her mind" to force them " to pay her debts, 
fight her enemies, subserve her interests first and always. 
So, with blustering words about rights, she imposed 
burdens, with significant hints in regard to chastise- 
ments." She " was a veritable stepmother, with the 
hardest of hearts ;" while the colonists were " confiding 
and unsuspicious." From England *' exaction followed 
exaction, in increasing intensity and number. The his- 
tory of coercive legislation can scarcely find a parallel 
to that of the British Parliament for the fifteen years 
following the fall of Quebec. Withal, no excuse was 
ever made for the injustice done, no sympathy was ever 
expressed for the sufferings inflicted, but all communica- 
tions conveyed the stern purpose to subdue. Hungry 
for affection, the half-grown offspring turned his face 
towards England for the smallest caress, and the east 
wind brought back across the Atlantic, full in his face, 
the sharp crack of the whip. "9 

The artist Lely painted Oliver Cromwell, '' pimples, 
w^arts and everything." The American historic artist, 
before painting his heroes, carefully pares the warts 
away, making amends by covering the visages of their 
British enemies with these unsightly excrescences. 

Surely it is not surprising that a charming French 
writer,! several times a visitor to the United States, 

*Brooks. Stories of the Old Bay State, p. in. 
tPaul Blouet ("Max O'Rell"), in Her Royal Highness 
Woman. 

26 



THE MYTH AND THE MYTH-MAKERS 

should have recorded his " firm conviction " that so long 
as the present style of school-books are published there, 
there will be very little love to spare in America for the 
English people. 

Do the American people, then, still retain faith in the 
Revolutionary Myth, or have they put it away with 
other childish things ? Or is it that they, knowing it to 
be false and foolish, wish to preserve it as an article of 
national faith to feed their national vanity? It is likely 
that the truth is to be found in a mixture of these 
sentiments. 

Some years ago there was published in a leading 
magazine of the United States'"'' an article which, as the 
opinions therein expressed are fairly expressive of those 
held to-day by the great mass of intelligent Americans, 
may be cited as an example. 

The writer begins by eulogizing the American Revolu- 
tionary Myth, or, as he prefers to style it, the '' Heroic 
Age" of the United States. This ''Heroic Age," he 
says, " we may justly boast of as one equalling in 
interest and grandeur any similar period in the annals 
of Greece and Rome; as one which would not shrink 
from a comparison with the chivalrous youth of any of 
the nations of modern Europe. It is the unselfish age, 
or, rather, the time when self-consciousness, both indi- 
vidual and national, is lost in some strong and all- 
absorbing emotion; when a strange elevation of feeling 
and dignity of action are imparted to human nature, and 
men act from motives which seem unnatural and incred- 
ible to the more calculating and selfish temperaments of 
succeeding times. ... It furnishes a treasury of 
glorious reminiscences wherewith to reinvigorate, from 
time to time, the national virtue. . _ . . What 
political utility can there be in discovering, even if it 
were so, that Washington was not so zvise, or Warren 
so brave, or Putnam so adventurous, or Bunker Hill 
not so heroically contested, as has been believed? Away 
zvith such scepticism, we say; and the mousing criticism 

"^Harper's Magazine, Vol. V., pp. 262, 265. 

27 



MYTHS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION 

by zvJiich it is sometimes attempted to he supported. 
Such beliefs have at all events become real for us by 
entering into the very soul of our history and forming 
the style of our national thought. To take them away 
would nozv be a baneful disorganizing of the national 
mind."'^ 

That is to say, these fantastic barnacles must not be 
scraped from the hull of the American ship of intel- 
lectual progress, lest its crew should cease to admire its 
fine lines and its sailing qualities become impaired. 

Thus the *' foolish word " comes to the aid of the 
'* frantic boast " in the effort to prevent the fading away 
of the Revolutionary Myth and to uphold the national 
creed of Shintoism, a creed which holds criticism of its 
tenets to be the unpardonable sin. 

*The italics do not, of course, appear in the original- 



28 



CHAPTER 11. 

TAXATION, COLONIAL COMMERCE, CHURCH 
DOMINATION, COLONIAL REPRESENTA- 
TION, PETITIONS, BRITISH OPPRESSION, 
AND BRITISH ENCOURAGEMENT TO RE- 
VOLT. 

Surely in this Age of Realism an attempt to expose 
the unsubstantiality of the Revolutionary Myth and to 
substitute fact for fancy will not be considered an 
unworthy one. This is a task which has never been 
fully accomplished, because not attempted with sufficient 
earnestness. Especially have writers neglected to collate 
evidence easily derivable from American records with 
that obtainable from British sources. Of the former the 
writer has availed himself freely ; of the latter as freely 
as the more limited opportunity in that case afforded 
would permit ; with the result, as he believes, of demon- 
strating the absolute falsity of the received version of the 
history of the American Revolution. 

Neither the Bute, Grenville, Chatham-Grafton nor the 
North m.inistries — ^those alone held accountable in any 
way for the colonial revolt — attempted, proposed or pre- 
meditated a plan to tax the colonies for the benefit of 
Great Britain — that is to say, to raise a revenue in the 
colonies to defray any part of the expenses of the Gov- 
ernment in Great Britain. They did propose to raise 
therein a stable, equitable and duly proportioned revenue 
to be used for the partial defrayment of the expenses of 
their establishments, and the cost of their protection 
from internal enemies and possible foreign invaders; 
thereby removing from the shoulders of the British tax- 

29 



MYTHS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION 

payers some part of a burden unjustly imposed upon 
them. Some part only; for even if this plan had been 
carried out, the British taxpayers still would have had 
to pay the whole of the principal and interest of the 
national debt, in large part accumulated for the benefit 
of the colonists, as well as the whole cost of the navy 
that protected their commerce and guarded their ports ; 
both of which, therefore, the colonists should have 
helped to defray. ^ Upon their remonstrance even this 
plan was abandoned, and assurance was given them that 
it would not be renewed, unless in a form acceptable to 
them and with their co-ope rat ion. 2 

This assurance was never retracted, evaded or trans- 
gressed. Furthermore, had the plan been carried out, 
no right of the colonists would have been thereby 
infringed. The Imperial Parliament had the constitu- 
tional authority to impose taxes upon British subjects 
in America, as well as upon those in Great Britain, the 
Isle of Man, the Channel Islands or any other part of 
the British dominions; they being represented therein 
in the constitutional manner, that is, by every member 
of parliament, since each member represented, not alone 
the inhabitants of a particular district, but every British 
subject. The American colonists in their relation to 
the Empire stood on the same political plane as did the 
inhabitants of Great Britain ; for though, while residing 
outside the limits of the United Kingdom, they could not 
vote for members of Parliament, that was a disability 
to which all British subjects alike were liable. Under 
the same conditions, the colonists, equally with them, 
were entitled to be electors and members of the Lower 
House, and as eligible to be created members of the 
Upper one. That the system of parliamentary repre- 
sentation stood in need of remodelling, by equalization, 
both in the colonies and Great Britain, nine-tenths of 
whose people, including every inhabitant of some of the 
large cities, were deprived of the privilege of the suf- 
frage, there is no room for doubt; but the malcontent 
colonists did not ask for this reform, and would not 

30 



TAXATION, CO.AIMERCE, OPPRESSION 

willingly have accepted its benefits for themselves had 
it been inaugurated. 

Notwithstanding the declaration of Lord Chatham that 
Parliament had no legal authority to tax the colonists, it 
is certain that no thought of an exemption from such 
taxation was in the minds of earlier British statesmen, 
nor, indeed, in those of the colonists themselves. No 
provision was made in the charter of any of the colonies 
exempting them from liability to parliamentary taxation, 
and in one — that of the richest and most important of 
them all, Pennsylvania — it was expressly affirmed. New 
York, almost as rich and important, had no charter, and 
therefore could claim no such exemption, even by impli- 
cation. That the colonists regarded as evident the right 
of Parliament to tax them, and admitted the fact until 
its denial was suggested to the revolutionary propagand- 
ists as a means to acquire independence, is shown by the 
circumstance that it was several times affirmed by the 
colonial assemblies, especially that of the province 
which, more than any other, was responsible for the 
revolt, justified alone by its denial. Numerous declara- 
tions acknowledging the authority of Parliament (with 
more or less reservation as to its right to tax) were 
made even by the Disunionists, who acknowledged also 
the superintending authority of the ministers by address- 
ing petitions to them, even to a late period of the Revo- 
lutionary propaganda. 3 

Yet in the face of these declarations the learned 
Daniel Webster has ventured to assert that : " The 
Colonies had never admitted themselves subject to Par- 
liament. . . . They had uniformly denied that 
Parliament had any authority to make laws for them. 
There was, therefore, no subjection to Parliament to be 
thrown ofif. . . . Our ancestors had never admitted 
themselves subject either to ministers or to Parliament."* 

This is American history in the making! 

The doctrine justifying the denial of the right of Par- 
liamentary taxation, vehemently and persistently preached 

^A Discourse on Adams and Jefferson, Aug. 2nd, 1826. 

31 



MYTHS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION 

by Chatham, that " whatever a man has honestly 
acquired is absolutely his own and cannot without rob- 
bery be taken from him, except by his own consent/'* 
when applied, as it was, to the relation between the 
Government and the governed, is transparently absurd. 
Property acquired by a member of an organized com- 
munity could not have been acquired, or retained, with- 
out the protection it afforded him ; therefore the 
community has a valid lien upon his property for the 
cost of that protection. The argument advanced by 
Benjamin Franklin, a master of sophistry, and others, 
that, if this were conceded, it must also be conceded 
that it has a right to take all of his property, has no 
ground in reason.4 As well might it be maintained 
that because a shipmaster has a right to salvage he has 
an equal right to take possession of the ship and cargo 
that he rescues. 

Lord Chatham declared that taxation was no part of 
the governing or legislative power. The property of 
the colonists, he maintained, was "sacred"; that, 
although the authority of the Imperial Government over 
them w^as " sovereign and supreme," and extended " to 
every point of legislation whatsoever," yet it had not 
the power " of taking money out of their pockets without 
their consent."5 It might demand of its transatlantic 
subjects their lives, but not their money! 

Of course, a schoolboy can now see what, apparently, 
this brilliant statesman could not see, that such a govern- 
ment would be no government. A fishing party in the 
sands of the Sahara would have a no more hopeless task 
before them than would a government without the power 
of the purse. 

The fact is that Lord Chatham has done more than 
any other British statesman or historian — with the pos- 
sible exception of Edmund Burke — to confuse and 
falsify the facts which led to the American Revolution. 
No clear view of these facts can be obtained by those 
who allow the glamor of his name to dazzle and distort 

♦Speech of Lord Chatham, delivered in May, 1774. 

32 



TAXATION, COMMERCE, OPPRESSION 

their vision. It is hard to beHeve that this illustrious 
exponent of the people's rights was obsequious to 
royalty, arrogant to his subordinates, and at times, when 
suffering from suppressed gout, actually insane; but 
so it was. Moreover, in his advocacy of the cause of 
the American revolutionists he was ill-informed as to 
his facts, at fault in his deductions, extravagant and 
contradictory in his assertions, and most impressive in 
his declamations when advocating a course of procedure 
opposed to common sense. Of the claims of the revolu- 
tionary propagandists Lord Chatham was curiously ill- 
informed ; of their aims and objects he was totally 
ignorant.* 

Though it has been many times asserted, particularly 
by British writers, that it was the determination of the 
Home Government to control the commerce and manu- 
factures of the colonies, under the provisions of the acts 
of trade and navigation, that lost them to the Empire, 
there is no foundation for the assertion. Strangely 
enough, too, the writers who assert it at the same time 
assert that Lord Chatham (who of all the great Whig 
statesmen clung the most tenaciously to these acts, and 
predicted ruin to England if " her supreme right of 
regulating commerce and navigation "f — whence came 
that right he did not state — should be given up), if 
allowed to have his way, would have saved the colonies 
to the Empire. This is but one of many instances of 
the curiously inconsistent arguments of the apologists of 
the American Revolution. 

Though the colonists complained of some of the 
restrictions upon their commerce established by these 
acts — such as those provisions affecting their sugar 
trade and fisheries — they made no protest against the 
monopoly they created, nor did they ask for their repeal, 
contenting themselves with accepting the bounties they 
provided, and disregarding such other of their pro- 

*The sole source of Chatham's information regarding the 
colonies seems to have been Benjamin Franklin- 

tSpeech of Lord Chatham, On Removing Troops from Boston. 

3 33 



MYTHS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION 

visions opposed to their interests, as they were able, 
inckiding all that affected their manufactures and 
internal commerce, and some affecting their external 
commerce. The Revolutionary propagandists did not 
demand their repeal, for the reason that they stood less 
in the way of independence than any other means of 
control possessed by the Home Government. In fact, 
they did not stand in the way of independence at all, 
because, as soon as all other means of control were 
abrogated, they necessarily would become inoperative. 
Therefore, we find them consenting to their operation 
in the " Declaration of Rights," issued by the First Con- 
gress in 1774, and, a year later, Benjamin Franklin 
asserting that they were " as acceptable to us as they 
could be to Great Britain," and that " we had never 
applied, or proposed to apply, for such a repeal."* 

The word " consent " contained in the Declaration, of 
course, was inserted therein for the purpose of indi- 
cating that without it the acts would be of no force or 
effect, Parliam-ent having no authority over the colonies. 
For the same reason Franklin and John Adams pro- 
posed that they should be confirmed by the assemblies of 
the several colonies ;f — an artful suggestion, since it 
assumed the necessity of such confirmation ; thereby 
virtually claiming for them the status of independent 
states. 

The Declaration referred to consented only to par- 
liamentary regulation of the '' external " commerce of 
the colonies provided by these acts. As to the pro- 
visions regulating their internal trade and manufac- 
tures, they were complained of, it is true, especially 
those prohibiting the manufacture of hats and nails, as 
by Franklin in 1767, but, as he and his fellow agitators 
well knew, these restrictions had long been waste paper, 
and that no minister. Whig or Tory, would have 
dreamed of enforcing them. 6 

*Franklin's Writings, Vol. V, p- 16. 

-flbid., Vol. v., p. 13. John Adams, Letters cf Novanglus: 
Works, Vol. IV., p. 106. 

34 



TAXATION, COMMERCE, OPPRESSION 

The disaffected colonists, then, assured of their abiUty 
to abrogate them whenever it became advisable to do 
so, were willing that the acts of trade and navigation 
should remain in force, but they were determined to 
make no other concession. As wrote one of them : " In 
the opinions of all the colonies, Parliament has no 
authority over them, excepting to regulate their trade, 
and this not by any principle of common law, but merely 
by the assent of the colonies. . . . There is no need 
of any other power in Great Britain than that of regu- 
lating trade, and this the colonists ever have been and 
w411 be ready to concede to her. But she zvill never 
obtain from America any further concession zvhile she 
exists/'"^ 

The repeal of the acts of trade and navigation would 
not have retarded the progress of the Revolution for a 
single day; and it is certain that the great Whig chief- 
tains who are credited with the ability to save the col- 
onies to the Empire, and who so vehemently acclaimed 
their desire to save them, would not have consented to 
their repeal. 7 

There is no particle of evidence to show that the fear 
of Episcopal domination of the colonies had any share 
in bringing about the American Revolution. True, the 
preachers of New England were among the foremost 
and most persistent agitators against the Government; 
but the Puritan clergy had ever combined politics and 
theology, and at the period of the Revolution the fervor 
of Puritanism had long passed away, and the thoughts 
of the pastors, as well as those of their flocks, had 
turned more and more to secular affairs. However 
they might hint at the danger of Episcopal rule in the 
colonies, these gentlemen were far too shrewd to believe 
that any such danger existed. Besides, the Episcopal 
inhabitants of Virginia and the Carolinas were as per- 
sistent agitators against the Government, and as enthu- 
siastic for independence, as were their fellow colonists 

*John Adams, Letters of Novanglus: Works, Vol. IV., pp. 
33-38. 

35 



MYTHS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION 

of the North ; the Cathohcs of Maryland did not lag 
behind, and it is a noteworthy fact that every colonist 
of that era that avowed atheistic, deistic or rationalist 
opinions affiliated with the Revolutionists. 8 

Had the conduct of the Revolution been entrusted 
solely to those who acted from religious motives, the 
world would never have heard of it. 

Though the American Loyalists, as a body, would have 
welcomed colonial representation in Parliament, and 
some of them ardently desired it, the Revolutionists ever 
disliked it or were indifferent to it. Their leaders were 
inexorably opposed to it, feared it, and condemned it 
as impracticable; for they knew that its inauguration 
would draw the colonies closer to the mother countr}', 
and thus indefinitely postpone independence. There- 
fore, in their first manifesto, put forth in 1765, they 
declared that the colonies could not be represented in 
Parliament; a year later, Benjamin Franklin, as their 
spokesman, .emphatically asserted that they had never 
v/ished for it, did not need it or desire it, and had never 
asked for it;9 and every other prominent Revolutionist 
gave the same testimony. One alone of all those who 
have been identified with the Revolutionary propaganda 
advocated colonial representation, but he was ever 
opposed to the methods of his colleagues, and stigma- 
tized as " rebels, fools or madmen " those who repudi- 
ated Parliamentary control f he was, in fact, so far as 
his actions and utterances were concerned, in no sense 
a Revolutionist. Some British statesmen, among them 
the " Tory " Grenville, favored colonial representation, 
and were sincerely desirous of bringing it about; but 
the British Whigs, following the lead of their trans- 
atlantic coadjutors, opposed it and declared it unachiev- 
able.io 

Though it is true that the colonists— or, rather, a 
coterie of their self-appointed spokesmen — sent to the 
Home Government many petitions — or, rnore properly, 
manifestoes, for such, in spirit and meaning, if not in 

*James Otis, Answer to Halifax Libel, p. 16- 

36 



TAXATION, COMMERCE, OPPRESSION 

form, they were^^ — in no case did they offer a basis for 
a compromise or a settlement of their dispute with the 
Government. Their claims were vague and indefinite, 
at one time affirming certain " rights " as constitution- 
ally theirs; at another setting up claims of a different 
and more advanced character. " No American peti- 
tions to the Imperial Government/' wrote a Loyalist in 
1775, *' have ever yet been rejected, excepting such as 
were so framed as to compel their rejection on the part 
of any government that had the least respect, either 
for the Constitution or for itself."''^ Another Loyalist, 
about the same time, declared that it was the intention 
of the Revolutionary propagandists to force the Gov- 
ernment to concede everything, while they conceded 
nothing.t So fiercely opposed were they to any form 
of settlement that left the colonies connected with the 
mother country with ever so slender a tie, that when, 
as they were first assembled in Congress, a member of 
that body proposed the adoption of a carefully-drawn 
'' Plan of Union " with that motherland— a plan that 
assured to the colonies all the '' rights " they had claimed 
for them— it was rejected with feverish haste, expunged 
from the minutes, and its proposer ostracised as an 
enemy to liberty and humanity. ^^ Parliament, as one of 
its members later declared, in reference to the varying 
claims of the colonists, could not say, ''We will graiit 
this, or refuse that, because they ask nothing of us."± 
They did, indeed, ask nothing but this : That Parliament 
should lay down all its control over the colonists, and 
allow them to go their own way unobstructed by any 
authority save that which they—the Revolutionary pro- 
pagandists claiming to act in their name — had usurped 
over them. 

*Daniel Leonard, Massachusettcnsls, or a Series of Letters, 
etc., p. 105. 

t Samuel Seabiiry, The Congress Canvassed, p. 26. 

tWilliam Eden, afterwards Lord Auckland, one of the Com- 
missioners sent to the colonies in 1778 on the Conciliatory 
Commission — words uttered in a debate in Parliament in 1780. 

37 



MYTHS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION 

So far were the governing powers from treating the 
remonstrances of the colonists with contempt, that all 
of the acts of the ministry and of Parliament which, at 
the beginning of the revolutionary agitation, had been 
denounced as an invasion of their rights, were rescinded ; 
therefore, the grievances thereafter complained of were 
afterthoughts. " All was granted when you cried for 
help," wrote a contemporary English pamphleteer.* 

But, insists Mr. Roosevelt, '' England's treatment of 
her American subjects was thoroughly selfish. She did 
not treat her colonists as equals. . . . The rulers 
of Great Britain, and, to a large extent, its people, looked 
upon the American colonies as existing primarily for the 
good of the mother country. . . . They claimed the 
right to decide for both parties the proportion in which 
they should pay their shares of the common burdens. 
The English and Americans were not the subjects of a 
common sovereign, for the English were themselves the 
sovereigns, the Americans the subjects. "f 

That part of Mr. Roosevelt's criticism that refers to 
the acts of trade and navigation already has been 
answ^ered, but it may be added that if the enactment of 
these acts was inspired by '' thoroughly selfish " inten- 
tions, thes'C intentions were never realized, and the fact — 
if fact it be — that the British people looked upon the 
colonists as existing primarily for their benefit did not 
prevent them from existing primarily and always for 
their own. And if the rulers of Great Britain and its 
people did claim the right to decide the proportion of 
the common burdens to be paid by the colonists, it was 
a very harmless claim, for it is certain that the colonists 
never were called upon to pay, and never did pay, any 
proportion of those common burdens. But it is not true 
that any such claim was made; it never was proposed 
or contemplated by the British rulers that the colonists 
should pay any portion of the common burdens, but, at 

*Dean Tucker in Good Humour, or a Way with the Colonies. 
^Gouverncur Morris, American Statesmen Series, pp. 4-6. 

38 



TAXATION, COMMERCE, OPPRESSION 

most, a share of the expenses of their own establish- 
ments. 

The remainder of Mr. Roosevelt's indictment is sup- 
ported by a well-known and highly popular British his- 
torian: "The political status of the man of Massachu- 
setts/' he writes, " could not be identical with that of the 
man of Kent, because that of the Kentish man rested on 
his right of being represented in Parliament and thus 
sharing in a work of self-government, while the other, 
from sheer distance, could not exercise such a right." 
Thereby, he asserts, '' The Massachusetts man became 
the subject of the Kentish man ;" and this was '' not only 
serfdom, but the most odious form of serfdom, a sub- 
jection to one's fellow-subjects."* 

This bears some resemblance to the complaints of 
James Otis and Benjamin Franklin that English pam- 
phleteers and shoeblacks exulted in the fact that the 
American colonies were '' our colonies." With the sensi- 
tiveness of the colonists, who resented the supposed con- 
tempt of native Britons, of whom, doubtless, there were 
some besides Otis and Franklin — mistaken and far- 
fetched as it might be — one may readily sympathize ; 
but the assertions of Mr. Roosevelt and Mr. Green must 
be met with unqualified dissent. 

There is no evidence to show that England did not 
treat her colonists as equals, or that, in any sense, the 
English were regarded, or regarded themselves, indi- 
vidually, as the sovereigns, and the Americans as the 
subjects. It was the colonies that were regarded as sub- 
ordinate, not the colonists. It was the Empire that was 
regarded as sovereign, not a part of its people. 

It is true that some two millions and a quarter of the 
free inhabitants of the American colonies were not 
directly represented in the Grand Council of the Empire, 
but more than thrice that number of the inhabitants of 
Great Britain were not there represented. Moreover, 
political privileges and incapacities were common and 
alike to all the subjects of the Empire, British and 

*Green's History of the English People. 

39 



MYTHS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION 

American, limited alone by geographical lines. Had 
George Grenville gone to the American colonies, so long 
as he remained there, he would have been under the same 
political disabilities with reference to Imperial concerns 
as was Samuel Adams. Had Samuel Adams gone to 
Great Britain, so long as he remained there he would 
have been endowed with the same political privileges as 
was George Grenville. 

It is true, too, that the " man of Kent " — or, rather, 

one man of Kent out of ten or a dozen men of 

Kent, or, perhaps, twenty men of Kent — so long 

as he remained in Kent, or in some other place 

within the British Isles, had the privilege of _ voting 

for members of one branch of the Imperial Parliament ; 

while the man of Massachusetts, so long as he remained 

in Massachusetts, or in some other place without Great 

Britain, did not have this privilege. But had they 

exchanged habitations — lo! the odious serf would have 

become the sovereign, and the sovereign the odious serf ! 

And this amazing transformation would have been 

repeated as often as the exchange was made. Suppose 

that the man of Kent had been a seafarer, voyaging 

from the port of Gravesend to the port of Boston ; the 

man of Massachusetts engaged in the same occupation, 

and voyaging from the port of Boston to the port of 

Gravesend; both of them sailing from these ports at 

such times as to pass each other on their ways. Then, 

according to the view taken by Mr. Roosevelt and Mr. 

Green, as often as he reached his journey's end, each of 

these men would have assumed the political status of a 

sovereign or a serf, according as his vessel rode in 

harbor on the east or west shores of the Atlantic. 

Between these shores neither would have any political 

status whatever, and they would have been on a political 

equality only at such times as they met in mid ocean. 

Granting that this illustration is absurd, it is not more 
absurd than Mr. Green's preposterous postulate is false. 
At least it may serve to emphasize the fact that the sub- 
ordination of the American colonists— if any subordina- 

40 



TAXATION, COMMERCE, OPPRESSION 

tion really existed— was in no sense personal, but was 
a necessary incident to their position as inhabitants of 
a colony, and could not and did not make them serfs or 
slaves in any sense, political or social. It would have 
done so, in a measure, had they been an alien people, 
but could not do so so long as they were acknowledged 
to be, and what they strenuously claimed to be — at such 
times as it accorded with their plans to do so — Britons 
themselves, a claim never denied by British statesmen 
of any party. 

For evidence that the American Revolution was not 
caused by tyrannical acts of the British ministry or Par- 
liament we do not have to depend on the testimony of 
British records or the opinion of British historians ; we 
mav find it plainly set down in the Revolutionary 
archives. We find, too, that the truth was admitted, 
with more or less reserve, by the Revolutionary chiefs. 
Perhaps the most remarkable of these admissions was 
that of Washington, who, though at the beginning of the 
Revolutionary War he had denounced the King as a 
" tyrant," and his ministers as " diabolical," because they 
sought to "enslave" the colonists, towards its close 
asserted that : " Those sentiments which began it [were] 
founded, not on immediate sufferings, but on speculative 
apprehensions of future sufferings, from the loss of their 
[the colonists'] liberties."* So it would seem that the 
tyranny of the King and the diabolism of the ministry, 
condemned by Washington, were merely speculative 
tyranny and diabolism. 

Some half-century later, Daniel Webster made an 
assertion somewhat similar to that of Washington. 
Speaking of the " Revolutionary Fathers," he said : " It 
was against the recital of an act of Parliament, rather 
than against any suifering under its enactment, that they 
[the colonists] took up arms. They went to war 

HVashington to Joseph Reed, Feb. lo, 1776; Washington to 
John Laurens, Jan. 15, 1781 : Washington's Writings, Vol. III., 
p. 286; Vol. VII., p. 368. 

41 



MYTHS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION 

against a preamble. They fought seven years against 
a declaration."* 

It was of these " speculative apprehensions," so per- 
sistently bruited during the agitation preceding the resort 
to arms, that a distinguished Loyalist wrote : " Are we 
then to rebel lest there should be grievances ?"t 

But it was neither speculative apprehensions of griev- 
ances nor actual grievances that caused the Revolution. 
The disaffected colonists took up arms, not to preserve 
their *' inalienable rights " under the constitution, but to 
acquire new, unconstitutional and unheard-of privileges, 
which, if they had been granted, eventually would have 
separated the colonies from the motherland as effectually 
and as completely as they were separated by the act of 
war. "What is this but independence?" exclaimed a 
governor of Massachusetts, a native of that colony, com- 
menting on the mildest of these claims. J In fact, the 
liberty so clamorously demanded by the Revolutionary 
propagandists meant independence, the two words being 
synonyms in their vocabulary. '' To unite the suprem- 
acy of Great Britain with the liberty of America," said 
one of them, " is utterly impossible. "§ 

Neither minister nor king ever denied to British sub- 
jects in America any of the constitutional rights and 
privileges possessed by British subjects in Great Britain; 
but they did deny that the former possessed greater 
rights and privileges than the latter, which in effect, 
were claimed for them by their disaffected leaders, and 
which the illustrious Whig statesmen of Great Britain 
proposed to grant them. And it would seem that, as at 
the period of the Revolution the inhabitants of the 
American colonies were in number more than one-third 
of those in Great Britain, and were increasing by leaps 
and bounds ; were possessed of gigantic natural resources, 

*Speech in the United States Senate, May 7, 1834. 
fMassachusettensis Letters, p. 103. 

^Thomas Hutchinson. Words used in commenting on the 
utterance of disaffected members of the Provincial Assembly. 
§Speech of Samuel Adams, Aug. i, 17^6. 

42 



TAXATION, COMMERCE, OPPRESSION 

and were situated a thousand leagues away; while the 
motherland, burdened with enormous debt, was menaced 
at her very ports by mighty military powers, her heredi- 
tary foes; the minister or king — if such there were — 
who dreamed of reducing them to, and maintaining them 
in, slavery, must have been made by the gods, not insane, 
but idiotic. In truth, the only attempt made by the 
Home Government to coerce the colonies, either by legis- 
lation or force of arms, was an attempt to suppress a 
faction — a numerous one, but still a faction, constituting 
a party of Disunion — which had made war, not only 
against the Government, but against such of their fellow 
colonists — a vast body of intelligent and law-abiding 
men — who were loyal to it and were entitled to its pro- 
tection. 

The claims of the leaders of this Disunion party, satis- 
faction of which they demanded of the Home Govern- 
ment as the price of peace, were of the most conflicting 
character, varying from time to time, as the exigencies 
of the case required,* but all looking to the goal of inde- 
pendence. The method of argument commonly used by 
them to prove that the colonies ought to be independent, 
was to assert that they zvere and akvays had been inde- 
pendent, the sole bond of union between them and the 
motherland being an allegiance owing to the same sov- 
ereign. Using this assertion as a premise, the conclu- 
sion was easily arrived at, being the same. 

The first settlers of America, they declared, left the 
realm of England and went into a foreign country, 
where they found no existing laws, and therefore made 
laws for themselves, having carried with them the 
power of making such laws, and being out of the juris- 
diction of Parliament. They did not carry with them 
the laws of the land, they insisted ; no union, such as 
that between England and Scotland, had ever been 
formed between Britain and the colonies; but each of 
them, as well as Great Britain, had separate and inde- 

M Letter of a Virginian to the Members of the Congress, etc., 
pp. 23-25 passim. Bryan Fairfax to Washington, July, 1774- 
Writings, Vol. II., p. 392. 43 



MYTHS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION 

pendent legislatures. " England is a dominion itself and 
has no dominion," wrote one of them. They were 
dependent on the King alone.* 

The colonies could not be a part of the British 
Empire, they asserted, because the British Government 
was not an empire. Nor were they a part of the British 
realm or state. That, in fact, the colonies and Great 
Britain were " distinct states," united under one king, in 
his natural, not his political capacity. f Therefore, as 
remarked a loyalist writer, the King was " King of Mas- 
sachusetts, King of Rhode Island, King of Connecticut, 
etc., etc. ;"t king of fifteen petty states, including Nova 
Scotia and the Province of Quebec ; besides being King 
of Great Britain and Ireland. 

These declarations were put forth with the greatest 
energy and publicity in the early part of 1775, but nearly 
a decade before that time, three of the Disunion leaders 
— Joseph Hawley, of Massachusetts ; Richard Bland, of 
Virginia; and Benjamin Franklin — had advanced a sim.- 
ilar doctrine. The latter, in his Political Observa- 
tions, published in 1766, wrote: "Writers against the 
colonies all bewilder themselves by supposing the col- 
onies within the realm, which is not the case, nor ever 
was. . . . The American settlers needed no exemp- 
tion from the power of Parliament, they were neces- 
sarilv exempt as soon as they landed out of its jurisdic- 
tion.'"§ 

Later, Franklin, in a letter to his son, amplified this 
doctrine, but, as was his habit when writing to that 
gentleman, expressed it with more caution. " The more 
I have thought and read on the subject," he wrote, ** the 
more I find myself confirmed in opinion that no middle 
doctrine can well be maintained ; I mean, not clearly 
with intelligent arguments. Something might be made 

*Benjamin Franklin, Writings, Vol. IV., pp. 216-218, 271, 282 
284, 289. 

tjohn Adams, Novanglus: Works, pp. T06, T07, 113, 114. 
XMassachusettcnsis Letters, p. 86. 
§Franklin's Writings, Vol. IV., pp. 216-218. 

44 



TAXATION, COMMERCE, OPPRESSION 

of either of the extremes : that Parliament has a power 
to make all laws for us, or that it has a power to make 
no laws for us ; and / think the arguments for the latter 
more numerous and zveighty. Supposing that doctrine 
estabUshed, the colonies zvonld then be so many separate 
states, only subject to the same king.""^ 

Again, in 1770, FrankHn wrote: " The colonies origin- 
ally were constituted distinct states, and intended to be 
continued such. . . . Since that period the Parlia- 
ment here has usurped an authority of making laws for 

them."t 

Such were the fundamental claims of the Disuniomsts. 

Under such a regime the political status of the colonies 
would have been a curious one. Had King George — a 
constitutional sovereign in Great Britain— been king of 
these fifteen separate and distinct states, having no min- 
isters therein to intervene between himself and his sub- 
jects, either he would have been an autocrat or a non- 
entity. For example, if he had had the power of declar- 
ing war and making peace, he could have compelled one 
or more of his petty states to wage war upon another 
or others of them that had incurred his displeasure ; even 
with the mother country by whose laws he was bound. 
On the other hand, if their legislatures had that power, 
anv one or more of them equally could have waged war 
upon another or others of them, while their king would 
have been obliged to stand by and see two bodies of his 
subjects slaughtering one another. In either case there 
would have been seen the absurd spectacle of a people 
fighting for and against their liege lord at one and the 
same time. 

But it is easy to see that, whatever might have been 
the power of the king in theory, actually he would have 
had the power of a doge of Venice diluted by three thou- 
sand miles of ocean, and the colonies would have been 
independent states, which was the result that the Dis- 

*Letter dated March 13, 1768: Writings, Vol. VII., pp. 391, 
392. 

fLetter to Samuel Cooper, June 8, 1770: Writings, Vol. VII., 
p. 476. 45 



MYTHS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION 

union chiefs were laboring to bring about, peaceably if 
they could, forcibly if they must. It has been seen that 
their ultimatum was the concession to the Imperial Gov- 
ernment of the power of regulating their commerce, a 
concession tendered as a favor, and which could be with- 
drawn at any time the colonial assemblies chose to do 
so. 

A singular status for colonies! The only bond of 
union with the motherland being the recognition of her 
right, temporarily conceded, to regulate their commerce, 
subject to revision and repeal by the colonial assemblies. 
This, virtually, was the alternative proposed by the Dis- 
union leaders to the Home Government as the sole means 
of averting a revolution. It is difficult to discern the 
'^ perfidy " and " wrong-headedness " of the King, and 
the '' crass and brutal stupidity " of his ministers, alleged 
by Mr. Roosevelt, ^ 3 — and, in varying terms, by many 
other writers, British and American — to be properly 
applicable to that King and those ministers for refusing 
to avail themselves of such an alternative. m 

But if these claims of the Disunion leaders had been 
constantly adhered to, they could not, at least, be charged 
with inconsistency. But they were not adhered to ; they 
were constantly setting up other and diverse claims, 
utterly inconsistent with them. The very men who 
claimed to be citizens of states wholly unconnected with 
Great Britain persistently and continuously asserted their 
*' rights " under the British constitution ;^s as if the 
people of one independent state could have any " rights " 
under the constitution of another! As well might an 
Englishman assert his right to be governed by the laws 
of Denmark or Jutland. To make confusion more con- 
founded, these men, who vehemently denied that the 
colonies had any connection with the British Parliament 
and ministry, on the one hand, sent to them petitions ; 
on the other, arrogated to themselves the right to veto 
their laws, laws in no way affecting them or their respec- 
tive states. 1 6 One of them — the foremost in setting up 
these pretensions — perhaps outdid this absurdity; he 

46 



TAXATION, COMMERCE, OPPRESSION 

complained that the British Government had ceded to 
another power land settled by " a private countryman of 
ours," which " but for that cession might have remained 
in our [that is, the colonies'] possession/' That is to 
say, though Great Britain could not lawfully hold col- 
onies, her colonies could. 

The Home Government did not make war upon the 
colonists ; the malcontent colonists made war upon the 
Home Government,! 7 arresting and maltreating its offi- 
cials, capturing and wounding its naval officers, pillaging 
its military stores, storming one of its fortresses, entan- 
gling its soldiers in a skilfully planned ambuscade and 
forcing a conflict of arms before any attack was made 
upon them by the Government troops, and before any 
one of the insurgent marauders or their instigators had 
been in any way molested. ^ 8 

The Disunionists made war upon the Home Govern- 
ment long prior to the so-called " Battle of Lexington," 
at which all American writers assert that the British 
were the aggressors, which assertion, in spite of Dis- 
union affidavits, is untrue. Not only is the contrary 
asserted in the report of the British commander, and in 
the letters of his subordinate officers, but the attending 
circumstances show it to be very improbable, indeed 
impossible, consistent with the sanity of the leaders of 
the royal forces. ^ 9 

The Disunionists made war upon the Home Govern- 
ment, and in so doing they did not, as so often has been 
falsely asserted, believe that they were undertaking a 
difficult or a dangerous enterprise. As early as 1769, 
five years before the passage of the coercion acts by Par- 
liament, Samuel Adams, the chief organizer of the Dis- 
union party and its despotic leader, had written : 

" When I consider the corruption of Great Britain ; 
their load of debt; their intestine divisions, tumults and 
riots ; their scarcity of provisions and the contempt in 
which they are held by the nations about them; and 
when I consider, on the other hand, the state of the Amer- 
ican colonies with regard to the various climates, soils, 

47 



MYTHS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION 

produce, rapid population, joined to the virtue of the 
inhabitants, I cannot but think that the conduct of Old 
Enj2:land towards us may be permitted by Divine Wis- 
dom, and ordained by the unsearchable Providence of 
the Almighty, for hastening a period dreadful to Great 
Britain.'' Several years later, after hostilities had begun, 
he predicted the speedy destruction of Great Britain — 
" corrupt," sunk under " a load of debt," plagued with 
*' intestine divisions," and held in contempt by the nations 
around her.* 

Long before either of these predictions was made by 
Samuel Adams, w^e find his cousin and chief coadjutor, 
John Adams, commenting, seemingly with satisfaction, 
on the weakness of Great Britain and the power of 
France — with a far-seeing eye, we may hazard a guess, 
to an eventual alliance with that nation. And on the 
eve of the first important conflict with the British troops 
we find him adding his testimony to the incapacity and 
impotence of Great Britain. " We know that the nation 
is loaded with debts and taxes by the folly and iniquity 
of its ministers, and that without the trade of America 
it can neither long support its fleet and army nor pay 
the interest of its debt."t 

The belief expressed by John Adams that Great 
Britain was dependent on the colonies for its standing 
among the nations was a very common one with the Dis- 
unionists. " America," said George Wythe, one of the 
delegates from Virginia to the Second Continental Con- 
gress, " is one of the wings upon which the British eagle 
has soared to the skies. "J 

From that time until the war for independence was 
far advanced the story of " Britain's fading glory " was 
told in the pulpit, from the rostrum, in the press, dis- 

*Published in the Boston Gazette, March i8, 1769, and uttered 
in a speech delivered August i, 1776. 

tjohn Adams' Works, Vol. II., pp. 109, no; Vol. IV., p. 37. 

+John Adams' Abstract of Debates in the Second Congress: 
Works, Vol. II., p. 479. 

48 



TAXATION, COMMERCE, OPPRESSION 

played in handbills and sung in doggerel verse in every 
town and village in the thirteen colonies. 

Not a little to foster this belief was uttered by the 
British Whig orators and writers, who never tired of 
proclaiming the decadence and impotence of their coun- 
try. '■ Its meridian was past." Its people were '^ not 
fit to govern themselves/' and "must submit to their 
political old age, weakness and infirmity." Burke, 
Rockingham, Richmond, and other " friends of Amer- 
ica " of less note, vied with each other in lamenting the 
impending decay of the land of their birth and habita- 
tion, and rejoicing that, as soon as it became unfit for 
the home of freemen, they would be able to find a refuge 
in the colonies, soon to become independent republics, 
and in France, that happy land of Bastiles.^o 

Furthermore, the Disunion leaders were assured of 
the active co-operation and assistance of a large number 
of the people of England other than the illustrious 
" friends of America " who had encouraged and abetted 
them in their opposition to the Government. During 
the latter part of 1774, Josiah Quincy visited England 
as an emissary of the Disunion chiefs. From there he 
wrote : " I came among a people, I was told, that 
breatlied nothing but punishment and destruction against 
Boston and all America. I found a people many of 
whom revere, love and heartily wish well to us. . . . 
I am assured, and as I verily believe, could the voices 
of this nation be collected by any fair method, twenty 
to one would be in favor of the Americans."* -^ 

This condition was well known to the Disunion chiefs. 
A few weeks later John Adams wrote : " We know that 
the people of Great Britain are not united against us. 
We are assured by thousands of letters from 
persons of good intelligence, by the general strain of 
publications in public papers, pamphlets and magazines, 
and by some larger works written for posterity, that the 
body of the people are friends of America, and wish us 

*John Quincy to Mrs. Quincy, Nov. 24, 1774: Life of Josiah 
Quincy, Jr, 

4 49 



MYTHS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION 

success in our struggles against the claims of Parliament 
and Administration. We know that millions in England 
and Scotland will think it unrighteous, impolitic and 
ruinous to make war upon us. . . . We know that 
many of the most virtuous and independent of the 
nobiHty and gentry are for us."* 

A few months later, Charles Dumas, a paid emissary 
of the Congress, wrote of these ** friends of America " 
in England : '' There exists and gathers strength a great 
body which regards the cause of the Americans as its 
own, their safety and liberty as its own, which will pre- 
fer to see them independent rather than subjected ; 
. the basis of this party is already forty peers 
and one hundred and fifty members of the Commons."t 

For the further comfort of the leaders of the intended 
rebellion, they were informed that '* the whole [British] 
army, native and foreign, is averse to the service." 
That at the first hint of a war against the colonists 
" a vast number of the best subaltern officers have 
quitted the service." That in the ranks there is 
"not one in five that is a soldier; the rest are 
boys and debilitated manufacturers." That it was 
" impossible to recruit in England, Ireland or Scot- 
land," and that " the English and Irish troops go 
with infinite reluctance, and strong guards are obliged 
to be kept upon the transports to keep them from desert- 
ing by wholesale ;" and, therefore, if proper encourage- 
ment be given them by the Congress upon landing upon 
the shores of America, " multitudes will desert." That, 
in short, if the British forces should go through one 
campaign, and '' hazard an engagement " with those of 
the colonies, it will exhaust their resources, and it is 
" hardly possible " that they can " stand another." For 
*' the ministry have done their utmost in fitting out the 
armament, and that if it fails they cannot find means 
next year to go on with the war."2i 

*John Adams* Works, Vol. IV., p. 27- 

^Diplomatic Correspondence of the United States. Vol. II.. 
p. no. 

SO 



TAXATION, COiNIMERCE, OPPRESSION 

To fill full the measure of the confidence of the Dis- 
union leaders in the ultimate success in their contest with 
the feeble power of Britain, they had the assurance of 
receiving- the aid of France. '' How many ships can 
Britain spare? Let her send all the ships she has round 
her island; zvhat if her ill-natured neighbors, France and 
Spain, should strike a hlozv in their absence?" asked 
Adams in the early part of 1775. " Is it the interest of 
France to stand neutral ? . . . Is it not her interest 
to dismember the British Empire P""^' again he asked, a 
year later. 

In fact, before these words were uttered, the French 
Government had decided to give secret aid to the revolt- 
ing colonists in their projected war against Great 
Britain. By a secret covenant with the Congress, the 
King agreed to supply them with money, munitions and 
other necessaries of war. In one respect, however, Mr. 
Adams was mistaken. The bounty of France was not 
afforded to enable the colonies to throw ofif their depend- 
ence on Great Britain, but rather to cripple the power 
both of Great Britain and her colonies. -2 

But whatever might be the motive of France for 
giving that aid, the Disunion Leaders were assured of 
receiving it, in secret, at first, but with confidence that 
soon an open alliance would follow. And then, as wrote 
one of them in triumph, '' when France moves, Spain 
will co-operate," and then England " must submit to 
whatever terms they please to impose, for she is totally 
incapable of sustaining a war with France." Then they 
had but to " announce the independency of the United 
States of North America," and Great Britain must 
acknowledge it and " court our friendship, or hazard 
the chance of ceasing to be a nation."f 

But suppose the unsupposable ! Suppose that Great 

*John Adams' Works, Vol. IV., p. 40; Vol. II., p. 488. 

^A. Lee to the Committee of Secret Correspondence, June 3, 
1776; A. Lee to Dumas, July 6, 1776; Silas Deane to the Com- 
mittee of Secret Correspondence, Dec. i, 1776; Diplomatic Corre- 
spondence of the United States, Vol. II., pp. 95, 99, 207. 

51 



MYTHS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION 

Britain should show unexpected strength! Suppose, 
after all, her people are " united against us !" Are the 
colonies prepared for the shock? Certainly they are, 
asserted John Adams. '^ It is not so easy a thing for the 
most powerful state to conquer a country a thousand 
leagues off." But " have you arms and ammunition ? 
I answer, we have, but if we had not, we could make 
a sufficient quantity of both. What should hinder? We 
have many manufacturers of firearms now whose arms 
are as good as any in the world. Powder has been 
made here and may be again, and so may saltpetre ; 
what should hinder? We have all the materials in great 
abundance, and the process is very simple. But if we 
neither had them nor could make them, we could import 
them. . . . In a land war this continent might 
defend itself against all the world."* 

So when the Disunion leaders, in the name of the 
colonists, flung down the gage of battle before the 
British Government, giving it the choice of taking it up 
or relinquishing all control over and connection with 
them, they went into the contest with light hearts. 

*John Adams' Works, Vol. IV., pp. 36, 39, 40, 41, passim. 



5-2 



CHAPTER III. 

INDIANS, HESSIANS, AND BRITISH 
BARBARITY. 

The alliance of the British Government with the 
American Indians, as said Lord North, was " unavoid- 
able." It was made unavoidable by the Disunionists, 
who had stirred up their passions and prepared them 
for war. From a very early period of the struggle, 
before the first conflict in arms, until the war was far 
advanced, with repeated importunities, they had urged 
them to take the warpath and join them in their intended 
attack on the Home Government ; to " whet their 
hatchet ;"i to ''ambush" British soldiers, ^ and tocap- 
ture them at so much per head like herds of wild 
cattle.3 Immediately thereafter they paused in their zeal 
for an alliance with their red-skinned brothers to invoke 
the indignation of humanity against the barbarous 
British for inciting to attack them the merciless savages, 
" whose known rule of warfare is an undistinguished 
destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions. "4 But a 
few days' breathing time sufficed to enable them again 
to provide for the enlistment of their hoped-for savage 
auxiliaries; for on the 8th of July, by another resolu- 
tion, the Congress empowered General Washington to 
engage the services of the Penobscot, St. John's and 
Nova Scotia Indians.* After three weeks again they 
paused to protest against the " wild and barbarous sav- 
ages of the wilderness " being employed by the British. 5 

Not only did the Disunionists endeavor to engage the 
Indians in their service, but they actually engaged them. 

^Secret lournal of the Congress, July 8, 1776, p. 47. 

53 



MYTHS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION 

They had them among the " Minute Men " at Lexing- 
ton, with their troops at Bunker Hill, at the siege of 
Boston, at Long Island and at White Plains, at which 
places the Indians busily employed themselves in killing 
" regulars. ''6 After that time but little effort was made 
by the Disunionists to entice them into their service, 
the confidence and affection they had for their British 
protectors making the attempt of little avail. Perhaps, 
too, the Congress at length saw the inexpedience of 
attempting to do themselves that which they had charged 
the British with having done and invoked the wrath of 
Heaven upon them for the doing. 

What are the facts? As has been said, Indians were 
engaged with the " Minute Men " when the attack was 
made upon the British at Lexington. This was the 19th 
of April, 1775. At that time, and during that year and 
the next, they fought side by side with the white soldiers 
in the Revolutionary army. It was before that time, on 
the 4th of April, 1775, that the Provincial Congress of 
Massachusetts solicited the alliance of the Six Nations, 
with the result that a small part of them, belonging to 
outlying tribes, joined them. It was not until the 5th 
of July of that year that the first hint was given of the 
intent of the ministry to accept the alliance of the 
Indians of the Six Nations, the reason for the pro- 
posal being that the insurgents already had engaged 
them in arms. 7 Before that time the Indian superin- 
tendents had been instructed to keep the Indians neu- 
tral. 8 In November, 1775, Lord North assured the 
House that '' there was never any idea of employing the 
negroes or the Indians until the Americans themselves 
had first applied to them."^ 

But even then the measures taken by the Home Gov- 
ernment to engage the Indians were merely tentative. 
It was not until several months after the Declaration of 
Independence, that called down the wrath of Heaven upon 
the British for allying themselves with the Indians, that 
any actual means were used for employing them. So in 

* Parliamentary History, Vol. XVIII., p. 994. 

54 



INDIANS, HESSIANS, BRITISH BARBARITY 

this, as in other respects, that immortal document is not 
quite trustworthy. Even a year later, when Chatham 
uttered his thundering invective against the ministers 
for having " dared to authorize and associate to our 
arms the tomahawk and the scalping-knife of the sav- 
age," the Indians had been actively engaged under 
British command but three months, while those bar- 
barous implements of war had been *' associated to " the 
arms of the insurgents for two years and a half. 

But Mr. Roosevelt, in his The Winning of the 
West, slighting the persistent and long-continued 
attempts of the Disunionists to induce the. Indians to 
make war upon the British ; suppressing the conclusive 
documentary evidence that Guy Johnson and John 
Stuart, the Indian Superintendents for the Northern and 
Southern Districts, by the direction of the Home Gov- 
ernment, used their influence with the Indians to pre- 
vent their breaking the peace ; asserts that: " Soon after 
the conflict with the revolted colonists became one of 
arms as well as of opinion, the British began to rouse 
the Indian tribes to take their part;" one of which 
'' promptly took up arms at the bidding of the British/''^ 
Furthermore, Mr. Roosevelt so confuses the facts, by 
detailing a long series of conflicts between the settlers 
and the Indian tribes on the west and south-west border 
lands — most of which conflicts were the result of the 
indignation of those tribes at the barbarous murders of 
the families of Logan and other Indian chiefs by Great- 
house and Cresap, afterwards officers in the Revolu- 
tionary army — as to make it appear that these con- 
flicts were organized attacks on the colonists under the 
supervision of the British Government; and then adds, 
with a fine assumption of candor : " Our skirts are not 
quite clear in the matter, after all, for we more than once 
showed a tendency to bid for their [the Indians'] sup- 
port."f I should say zve did! 

One may well wonder how Mr. Roosevelt is able to 

*The Winning of the West, Vol. I., pp. 276, 277. 
"flbid., Vol. I., pp. 272-279, passim. 

55 



MYTHS OF THE AjMERICAN REVOLUTION 

reconcile such a method of recital with his well-known 
honesty. 

Mr. Roosevelt, too, affects to give credence to the oft- 
repeated and sufficiently refuted tales of the barbarity 
of the British Government, or its emissaries, in inciting 
the Indians to murder the settlers by paying for their 
scalps. But though he denounces the British Gov- 
ernment, " the Crown and the ruling classes," as " par- 
ticipants in these crimes," and asserts that " they 
urged on hordes of savages to slaughter men, women 
and children;" ''hired them to murder non-combatants 
as well as soldiers, and paid for each life of 
any sort that was taken ;" yet he confines the 
attempt to prove the allegation of " scalp-buying " to 
the settlement at Detroit, its governor and his sub- 
ordinates. Of Governor Hamilton he says, in one page 
of his book, there is no *' direct evidence that he himself 
paid out money for scalps," and that "he always endea- 
vored to get war parties to bring in prisoners, and 
behaved well to the captives ;" on another, that '' he 
undoubtedly heartily approved of " the orders of his 
superiors — these same " Crown and ruling classes " who 
committed the crimes aforesaid — '" and executed them 
with eager zest/'"^ 

However this may puzzle the reader, it is plain that 
Mr. Roosevelt accuses this British governor and his 
subordinates — if no other — of being guilty of these hor- 
rible crimes: ''Scalps zvere certainly bought and paid 
for at Detroit" he writes ; and in support of this accusa- 
tion cites the Haldimand MSS., which contain nothing 
that sustains the truth of the indictment ; the account of 
the missionary John Heckewelder, which I have not 
examined, but see no reason to believe contains any proof 
of such a charge; an "etc.," and from the American 
Pioneer " a very curious account of an Indian who, by 
dividing a large scalp into two, got fifty dollars for each 
half." A curious account, indeed, and one that Mr. 
Roosevelt, acquainted as he must be with the character 

*The Winning of the West, Vol. XL, pp. 3, 4, 87. 

56 



INDIANS, HESSIANS, BRITISH BARBARITY 

of the tales told in that periodical, should have had the 
grace to ignore.9 

One wrong committed is no excuse for the committal 
of another, but Mr. Roosevelt, even if he believed these 
stories, might have paused from his denunciation of the 
British Government for the alleged crime of buying 
scalps to give an account of the acts of some other gov- 
ernments, or rather legislatures, among them those of 
Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Virginia and South Caro- 
lina, that undoubtedly did buy scalps, not only of Indians, 
but of Frenchmen, as their own archives prove. And, 
as Mr. Roosevelt is fond of '' curious accounts," here is 
one to the point to be found in the Pennsylvania 
Archives (Vol. III., p. 109). In a letter to the Gov- 
ernor of Maryland the writer complains : '^ Here are 
now twenty scalps hanging out to publick view, which 
are zvell known to have been made out of five French- 
men killed." Not that the writer objected to the scalp- 
ing of Frenchmen, or even to the fraudulent multipli- 
cation of their scalplocks ; what he did object to was 
that the bounty for the scalps had been paid to Indians, 
and not to his enterprising fellow provincials."^ 

The fact is that the stories told during the Revolu- 
tionary War of bounties paid for scalps by British offi- 
cers was but a survival of the then well-remembered 
fact that not only had such bounties been paid by the 
colonial legislatures, but in some instances by the state 
legislaturesio after independence had been declared. 

Perhaps Mr. Roosevelt should be praised for his for- 
bearance in omitting from his citation of proofs that 
British officers engaged in this diabolical traffic, the 
" curious account " written by Franklin, relating, with 
the minutest detail, the circumstances of an alleged 
transmission of a bale of scalps of men, women and 
children by a British officer as a voucher for sums paid 
out. This libel, since its falsity was exposed beyond 

*See Kidder's Captain John Lovezvell, pp. 11, 12; Pennsylvania 
Colonial Records. Vol. IX., pp. 141, 189; Force's American 
Archives (Fifth Series), Vol. III., p. ZZ- 

57 



MYTHS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION 

question, American writers have been fond of styling a 
*' hoax " ; but its author by no means intended it as a 
hoax, but to disseminate the beHef among the peoples 
of Europe that the British Government was capable of 
acts that would have shamed Timour or Attila. The 
attempt was successful ; for many years it was believed, 
not only in Europe, but by Americans, several of whose 
writers embodied it in their "histories" as a fact.^^ 

The Indians never were of any service to the British 
arms. Burgoyne, who was the only British general with 
whom they were associated in any great force, declared 
that to his army they were "little more than a name." 
He considered them " at best, a necessary evil."* It is 
probable that Burgoyne, who was more conspicuous for 
his qualities as a humanitarian than a leader of men, 
entirely misunderstood the Indian character and was 
incapable of inspiring them with respect. It would 
seem, too, that, fearing excesses, he attempted to force 
them to adopt European methods of warfare, and the 
restraint was unbearable to them. At any rate, he 
acquired so little control over them that they deserted 
his army at a time when their services would have been 
of great value to it, and left it to meet conditions for 
which it was entirely unfitted. 

It has been said that the alliance of the British Gov- 
ernment with the Indians was unavoidable. It was more 
than unavoidable, it was a measure of humanity. For 
had not their alliance been accepted they would have 
taken the warpath in revenge for the barbarous outrages 
committed upon them by the colonial backwoodsmen ; 
in which event they could not have been controlled. In 
no case would they have remained neutral. Said Gover- 
nor Pownall, '' a warm and zealous friend of the col- 
onies " : " The idea of Indian neutrality is nonsense — 
delusive, dangerous nonsense !"f Washington, too, de- 
clared that it would be impossible to keep them in a 

*Burgoyne to Lord George Germaine, July ii, 1778: Parlia- 
mentary Register, Vol. IX., p. 218. 

tWords uttered by Pownall in a debate in the House of 
Commons, Feb. 6, 1776. ^8 



INDIANS, HESSIANS, BRITISH BARBARITY 

state of neutrality, and, therefore, from the beginning- 
of hostihties, continued to urge the colonies to employ 
them in the Revolutionary armies. ^ 2 All practical means 
were adopted by the British commanders to restrain 
their Indian allies from excesses and to confine their 
field of action to as small an area as possible. 
In fact, very little fighting was done by them dur- 
ing the Revolutionary War other than in defending 
themselves against attacks on their villages by the 
Disunion forces. The alliance w^as useful because, to 
a great extent, it restrained them from excesses 
which they might have committed both on friend 
and foe. The excesses they did commit during the 
Revolutionary War were slight compared with those 
committed by them before and after that event. They 
have been enoniiously exaggerated by American writers, 
who have accepted as true the idle tales disseminated by 
rumor, repeated and amplified by those interested in 
defaming the British Government and its officers. These 
excesses were prompted not only by the memory of out- 
rages perpetrated against themselves and their families 
by the settlers on the border lands, but by injuries done 
to them by the Disunion troops during the war.* Per- 
haps some excuse might be allowed to these poor, un- 
tutored savages for presuming to suppose that that 
which was justice for the red man equally was justice 
for the white ; if their homes were laid in ashes and 
their wives and little ones slaughtered, that it was but 
right that the homes and families of their white assail- 
ants should be similarly dealt with. It should be remem- 
bered that the rule of lex talionis once prevailed among 
a more favored race than theirs and was not considered 
an unjust one. It ought to be remembered, too, that 
the honor of women was never violated during their 
raids. 1 3 They were sometimes cruel, but never bestial. 
As says Mr. Stone : " Their spoilers have been their 
historians." They were '^ loaded with execrations for 

*See letter quoted by Stone in The Border Wars, Vol. I., pp. 
350, 351. 

59 



MYTHS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION 

atrocities of which all were alike innocent, because the 
deeds recorded were never committed; it having been 
the policy of the public writers, and those in authority, 
not only to magnify actual occurrences, but sometimes, 
zvhen these were zvanting, to drazv upon their imagina- 
tions for accounts of such deeds of ferocity as might 
best serve to keep alive the strongest feelings of indigna- 
tion against the parent country, and likewise induce the 
people to take the field for revenge."* 

The fact is that during the whole seven years of the 
Revolutionary War but two outrages of any magnitude 
can be charged against the Indians — the attacks on the 
settlements at Wyoming and Cherry Valley. And these 
incidents, especially the first named, have been distorted 
out of all semblance to the truth, m The alleged per- 
petrator of both these outrages, proclaimed to the world 
in chronicle and verse as a monster in human form, in 
fact was a brave and honorable man, of high ideals, 
whose acts might have put to shame those of some of 
his pale-faced foes. This was the great war-chief of the 
Six Nations, with whom an honorable alliance was 
formed by the British Government; honorable because 
under his command it was reasonable to suppose that 
the Indians could be prevented from the commission of 
cruel and barbarous acts. 

These Six Nations were not the bloodthirsty roamers 
of the forest they are generally supposed to have been, 
but were well started on the course of civilization, living 
in well-built houses, and cultivating extensive and pro- 
ductive fields and orchards, under the supervision of 
respected and beloved British instructors.! 

The affection of these Indians for their British pro- 
tectors was increased by the contrast between the treat- 
ment they received from them and that which they 
received from the colonists, especially from the ruf- 

*B order Wars of the Revolution, Preface, p. vi. 

tSee Franklin's Writings, Vol. IV., p. 54, et seq., for a eulogy 
of the men of the Six Nations and an account of the cruelties 
perpetrated upon them. 

60 



INDIANS, HESSIANS, BRITISH BARBARITY 

fianly backwoodsmen, who had driven them from their 
ancient hunting-grounds, cheated them out of their 
inheritance, supphed them with the fiery Hquor that 
made them savages indeed, and without provocation and 
in cold blood had murdered their wives and children. 
" A succession of outrages, unprovoked, and more cruel 
than savages," says Mr. Stone. The cause of there 
being so many " bad Indians " is to be found in the acts 
of the ''reprobate Indian traders," the ''land-jobbers," 
and their like, who infested the border lands, and who, 
as Washington asserted, held that there was " no crime 
at all in killing an Indian."* 

The employment of war bands of Indians to fight the 
white man's battles was no new thing. The colonists 
had used them at every opportunity, not only against 
other tribes, but against the French. The French allies 
of the Revolutionists might pertinently have asked with 
what justice they branded as infamous the employment 
of Indians by the British against the colonists, since the 
colonists had never hesitated to employ them against 
them (the French). As to their practice of scalping, 
they might have pointed to the acts of the provincial 
assemblies that gave rewards for the scalps torn from 
the heads of their friends and relatives. The colonists 
had always done this; they had done so during the 
Canadian campaign against Quebec until forbidden by 
the express order of General Wolfe, when, for the 
remainder of the campaign, they confined their opera- 
tions to the skulls of the red men.f There is a curious 
instance of this practice noticed in one of Washington's 
letters. While he was in command of an expedition 
against the French and Indians, in 1776, one " Mr. Paris," 
in charge of a raiding party, met and defeated a small 
band of the enemy, whose commander, " Monsieur Don- 
ville," was killed and scalped. The scalp was sent to 

* Washington to David Humphreys, July 20, 179^: Writings, 
Vol. X., p. 172. 

tParkman's Montcalm and Wolfe (early edition), Vol. III., 
p. 63. 

6x 



MYTHS OF THE AIMERICAN REVOLUTION 

Colonel Washington /'by Jenkins," and Washington, in 
a letter to the Governor of Virginia, expressed a hope 
that, ''although it is not an Indian's, they [the raiding 
party] will meet with an adequate reward,"* — which 
it is to be hoped they did. 

Perhaps a little much-needed light might have been 
thrown on the colonial question if, when Lord Chatham 
was inveighing against the unspeakable barbarity of 
employing against the colonists savages who made use 
of the " scalping-knife " against their enemies — " roast- 
ing and eating them," ^ 5 his Lordship added — if some 
noble lord had been well enough informed to have told 
him, not only that these barbarous cannibals had been 
employed in the armies of his friends the insurgents 
against his countrymen some four months before the 
ministry had even proposed to do so, but that the use 
of the scalping-knife had been a common practice with 
them, and that only a few years before their commander- 
in-chief had deemed it worthy of praise and reward. 

The employment of alien mercenary auxiliaries cannot 
be justified, even though the necessity was great. The 
only plea that can be offered is that it was the custom 
of the age. But though that plea is bad as against a 
protest in the name of humanity, it is good as against 
the protests of the British Whig supporters of the revolt- 
ing colonists, for alien troops had been employed, even 
in England, under their administration, and the most 
illustrious of all the Whigs, the staunchest of the 
'' friends of America," who had thundered the loudest 
against the use of " Hessians " against the insurrec- 
tionists in America, had proposed to employ twenty 
thousand of them against a possible insurrection of 
" Roman Catholics " in Ireland. 1 6 Then, too, these 
friends of America, by opposing with incessant clamor 
the enlistment of troops in England, had made it impos- 
sible to place an adequate army of native levies in the 

*Washington to Governor Dinwiddie, April 7, 1756: Washing- 
ton's Writings, Vol. II., pp. 136, 137, 

62 



INDIANS, HESSIANS>.BRITISH BARBARITY 

field, and so had made themselves^^ party to the employ- 
ment of aliens. 1 7 

That some outrages were committed by British sol- 
diers and their German auxiliaries in America during 
the Revolutionary War it would be foolish to doubt ; 
no war has been without such examples. But it is cer- 
tain that they were in no way comparable with those 
perpetrated by European troops in the Old World in the 
wars of the same and succeeding generation. Most of 
the charges of cruelty brought against British officers 
and soldiers — especially during the first two years of 
the war — were fabricated by the Disunionists for the 
double purpose of inflaming the passions of the colonists 
against the British Government and people, and at the 
same time arousing the sympathies of that people and the 
peoples of other European nations. For similar reasons, 
as baseless, or nearly as baseless, charges were brought 
against the civil and military authorities of the Southern 
Confederacy during the American civil war, charges that 
resulted in the judicial murder of at least one man.i^ 
The charges of cruelty, too, brought against British offi- 
cers gave a much-needed excuse to the Disunionists for 
their inhuman treatment of their Loyalist fellow-country- 
men, and even of some of their British prisoners-of-war ; 
thus, as wrote Governor Gage, '' founding barbarity 
upon falsehood." 1 9 The most definite of these charges 
brought against the British of cruelty to their prisoners, 
in fact, rest chiefly upon the testimony of a backwoods 
swashbuckler, whose self-told adventures, without the 
alteration of a word, would be appropriate for the pages 
of Baron Munchausen ; one who plotted treason against 
his old associates and was ready to join his fortunes 
with the British, whom he had accused of tyranny and 
barbarity ;2o and upon one who, in after years, confessed 
to having committed perjury for the benefit of his 
party. 2 1 

The charges brought against British officers of burn- 
ing defenceless towns in defiance of the laws of nations 
are as unfounded as those of cruelty to prisoners of 

6% 



MYTHS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION 

war. These towns — rather villages or hamlets — that 
were burned by the British, were destroyed in accord- 
ance with the law of war, they being used by the insur- 
gent troops, in defiance of that law, as bases for attacks 
upon British troops. The suggestion to burn New York, 
made by Washington and strongly advocated by Gen- 
eral Greene and John Jay, if perpetrated, would have 
been an act of a more questionable character, as that 
city had not been in the possession of the enemy and 
was inhabited by a peaceful population who had made 
no resistance to its occupation by the insurgent army, 
and had molested it in no way.22 But even this would 
have been a legitimate act of war in comparison with 
the plan devised by Silas Deane — winked at, if not 
specially sanctioned, by Benjamin Franklin — to burn the 
cities of Bristol and Portsmouth by means of hired 
incendiaries. The execution of both these plans was 
attempted, the former without the connivance or consent 
of Washington, however; the actual perpetrator of the 
latter paying the penalty of his crime upon the scaffold.23 
That some acts of cruelty were committed by the 
Loyalists also is true ; but in strong, mitigation of these 
acts may be pleaded the fact that they were done in 
retaliation for gross and inhuman persecution, outrage 
and insult, of many years' duration, which they had 
endured with singular patience and fortitude, making 
reprisals only after being driven from their homes and 
hunted like beasts of the forest. 



64 



CHAPTER IV. 

THE INSURGENT TROOPS AND THEIR ALLIES. 

The claim that " insurgent husbandmen " overcame 
battaHons of British veterans on an equal field, and 
won — or could have won — their independence unaided by 
any military or naval power, is not only false but silly. 
Scarcely would it be exceeded in absurdity were a 
chronicler of the wars of Napoleon to assert that the 
armies of his marshals were driven from the Peninsula 
and the King restored to his throne by the single 
prowess of the peasant guerillas of Spain. Had the 
people of the thirteen colonies actually been '^of one 
mind " in opposition to the Home Government and in 
a determination to become independent; had they been 
inspired with that impassioned devotion of patriotism 
with which they have been credited, and had banded 
together in an earnest endeavor to overthrow Imperial 
control, it ought not to be doubted that they would have 
succeeded in the attempt without foreign assistance. 
But no such conditions existed. Instead of being of one 
mind, the colonists were divided into parties for and 
against the Government, nearly equal in numbers, and 
inexorably opposed in sentiment. After the first fervor 
of insurrection had subsided, even before serious hos- 
tilities had begun, among the Disunionists, instead of 
" devoted patriotism," " egregious want of public spirit " 
reigned."*" So great had been the dearth of recruits, 
even in the very centre of disaflFection, that it had been 
found necessary to enlist negroes (slave as well as free), 

*Washington to the President of Congress, Nov. 28, I775' 
Washington's Writings, Vol. III., pp. 175, 176. 

5 65 



MYTHS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION 

boys unable to bear arms, old men unfit to endure the 
fatigues of the campaign, and deserters from the British 
ranks,! the latter being enticed away for that purpose. 
Though the Disunionists had been loud in invective 
against the Government, violent and cruel in their resent- 
ment against such of their fellow colonists as refused to 
be dominated by them and claimed the right to have 
opinions of their own, they were by no means eager to 
uphold their convictions in the field of war. " When I 
look around," wrote the adjutant-general of the Revolu- 
tionary army, shortly after the first contest in the field, 
'• and see how few of the numbers who talked so loudly 
of death and honor are around me, I am lost in wonder. 
Your noisy sons of liberty are, I find, the 
quietest on the field."* '' When they so boldly dared 
Great Britain every man was then a bold patriot, felt 
himself equal to the contest, and seemed to wish for an 
opportunity of evincing his prowess," a little later wrote 
a high official of the federated colonies, " but now, when 
we are fairly engaged, when death and ruin stare us in 
the face, and when nothing but the most intrepid courage 
can rescue us from contempt and disgrace, sorry am I 
to say it, many of those who were foremost in noise 
shrink coward-like from the danger, and are begging 
pardon without striking a blow."t 

Such men as these, when persuaded or hired to enlist, 
made but indifferent soldiers. The last-named method 
was found to be essential; for, as Washington dis- 
covered at an early period of the war, " there must be 
some other stimulus, besides love for their country, to 
make men fond of the service ;"J that stimulus, he 
declared, must take the form of ample pay. But even 
this was not enough to rouse the slumbering patriotism 

*Life of Joseph Reed, Vol. I., p. 231. 

fRobert Morris to the Commissioners at Paris, Dec. 21, 1776: 
Diplomatic Correspondence of the United States, Vol. II., pp. 
235. 236. 

^Washington to the President of Congress, Nov. 19, 1775: 
Washington's Writings, Vol. III., p. 165. 

66 



INSURGENT TROOPS AND THEIR ALLIES 

of the revolting colonists, and, as a last device, con- 
scription was resorted to. For these and other causes 
the army of the Revolution was never an effective one. 

The militia (recruited with those ''insurgent husband- 
men," upon whom Mr. Bancroft bestows the palm of 
victory), according to the testimony of many of the civil 
and military officers of the federated colonies — among 
them the commander-in-chief — and that of the officers 
of the army of their allies, were but carpet warriors, 
mere " useless hands and mouths," more hurtful than 
serviceable to the cause in which they were engaged. 
In the camp they were '^ impatient and ungovernable," 
given to '' shameful and scandalous desertions ;" when 
apprehensive of attack by the enemy, " going off, in some 
instances, almost by whole regiments, by half ones and 
by companies at a time ;" at other times, apt to remain 
in their quarters, consuming the provisions, " till they 
are properly equipped," and then depart, " and by that 
means plunder the public." In the field, they were 
'^ tlrrAd and ready to fly from their own shadows," and 
generally " ran away without firing a single gun," or, 
at best, *' fled at the first fire." Their officers, we are 
told, were " generally of the lowest class of people," 
who, instead of setting a good example to their men, 
led them into every kind of mischief, especially that of 
" plundering the inhabitants under the pretence of their 
being Tories." Therefore, it is not surprising that 
Washington should declare that to place dependence 
upon them " is assuredly resting on a broken staff ;" and, 
at the end of five years' experience as their commander, 
should assert that such a dependence would be " fatal," 
having " never yet been witness to a single instance that 
can justify a different opinion."^ 

Among the regular, or so-called " Continental " troops, 
better but by no means ideal conditions prevailed. 
Though they, too, were infected by the spirit of deser- 
tion to an " amazing " and " astonishingly great " 
extent; though they, too, were plunderers of friend as 
well as foe ; though thev were " riotous," " licentious " 

' 67 



MYTHS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION 

and mutinous to an alarming extent ; though, for a long 
period, they could not be brought to " march boldly up 
to a work, nor stand exposed in a plain ;" though they, 
too, were liable to be seized by panics, and, on one occa- 
sion, two New England brigades accomplished the 
remarkable feat of running away from sixty or seventy 
of the enemy's men, most of their officers showing them 
the example ; though many of their officers practised 
"' low, dirty arts," and some of them were " not lit to be 
shoeblacks ;" yet, by means of the indefatigable perse- 
verance of their commander-in-chief, aided by trained 
European drillmasters ; by the gradual weeding out of 
such of the officers as had been elected by their men, 
not for their military abilities, but because they were 
lenient and even subservient to them ; the '' Contin- 
ental " levies at length were moulded into a force that 
was efficient as an auxiliary to the more highly trained 
troops of France. 3 

The most salient cause of the superior steadiness of 
the Continental levies over the militia was the embodi- 
ment among them of large numbers of European immi- 
grants — as there were in the ranks of the United States' 
army during the War of Secession. These men had no 
ties of the fireside to cause them to be dissatisfied with 
a military life, and they took upon themselves the duties 
of soldiers with an earnestness that the provincial levies 
could not be induced to do. The great majority of 
these immigrant volunteers were of Irish birth. They 
were not the Catholic so-called Celts of the south of 
Ireland — all of these who served in America during the 
Revolutionary War served in the British ranks — but the 
Presbyterian Anglo-Caledonians of the north. These 
people, as said Lord Harcourt, even while living in their 
native land, were " in their hearts Americans." That is 
to say, they were eager to aid a rebellion against the 
Government. These Anglo-Caledonians constituted the 
flower of the Revolutionary army, remaining constant 
to their engagements at times when mutiny and deser- 
tion prevailed among the provincial levies. It was 

68 



INSURGENT TROOPS AND THEIR ALLIES 

asserted by a prominent Loyalist, whose official position 
should have enabled him to know the facts, that they 
formed more than one-half of the whole army, one-half 
of the remainder being English and Scotch.* An 
extravagant estimate, it would seem ; yet it is certain 
that a very large number of Irish, Scotch and English 
volunteers served in the Revolutionary army throughout 
the war, and that, towards its close, that army could not 
have kept the field without them. As there were several 
loyal American regiments in active service, it sometimes 
happened, when the opposing forces met in conflict, that 
the majority of those fighting for colonial independence 
were of British and Irish birth, while, substantially, all 
those fighting for King and Parliament were native 
Americans. 

Besides those of the rank and file, many of the officers 
of the Revolutionary army were Europeans, a large 
proportion of them being of British birth and military 
education. These, upon whom has been bestowed some 
share of the glamor of the Revolutionary Myth, of 
course, were mere soldiers of fortune, who had adopted 
as their motto the detestable but profitable doctrine of 
ubi bene, ibi patriaA The business-like manner in which 
these men regarded their treason to their native land is 
shown by some curious incidents. During the second 
year of the war, one Major Morris, a half-pay officer in 
the British service, applied to Washington for the 
appointment of Adjutant-General of his army. Wash- 
ington was inclined to give him the office, and, in a 
letter to the Congress, stated — presumably as a reason 
for so doing — " His story is simply this, that he left the 
British service in disgust, upon not receiving a promo- 
tion to which he was justly entitled."t The " story " 
needs no comment. Another instance, perhaps still more 
remarkable, was that of Major Rogers, who offered his 

*Joseph Galloway, Letters to a Nobleman, p. 25. See also 
Galloway's Examination. 

tWashington to the President of Congress, Jan. 26, 1777: 
Washington's Writings, Vol. IV., p. 302. 

69 



MYTHS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION 

services to the Congress, with the proviso that his offer 
be kept secret pending its acceptance or rejection, and, 
in the latter event, he be given a safe-conduct out of the 
Revolutionary lines, as, in that case, it was his intention 
to rejoin his command in the British army in the East 
Indies.* His offer was not accepted, and the safe-con- 
duct refused ; whereupon he eluded the surveillance 
placed upon him and joined the British army, and was 
given the command of an independent company, at the 
head of which he harassed his ci-devant friends, the 
Revolutionists, for the remainder of the war. It is pos- 
sible, of course, that the gentleman was not sincere in his 
offer to the Congress ; but even in that case the incident 
is little less remarkable, as typical of the free-and-easy 
way in which treason was regarded during the Revolu- 
tionary era. 

To Washington, insubordination, desertion and '^ das- 
tardly behavior " of the men under his command was no 
new experience ; for, during the French and Indian wars, 
before and after the defeat of General Braddock, he had 
loudly complained of desertions among the provincial 
troops, which he declared had " cost the country an im- 
mense sum ;" and proposed to inflict severe punishment, 
not only upon the deserters, but upon those who seduced 
them away and harbored them. Quite as loudly did he 
complain of the insolence, selfishness and unpatriotic 
spirit of the colonists. In August, 1754, when Wash- 
ington was at the town of Winchester, in command of an 
expedition against the Indians, he reported to Governor 
Dinwiddie : " The soldiers are deserting constantly ; 
there is scarcely a night, or an opportunity, 
when there are not desertions, and often two, three or 
four at a time." At nearly the same period, and at the 
same place, three hundred and fifty North Carolina 
troops " disbanded themselves in a very disorderly 
manner," we are told, " and went off without ceremony." 
A year later, Washington was again in command of an 

*Washington to the President of Congress, June 27, 1776: 
Washington's Writings, Vol. III., p. 440. 

70 



INSURGENT TROOPS AND THEIR ALLIES 

expeditionary force in the same neighborhood. Two or 
three score of Indians had attacked the settlers and 
" blocked up " the rangers in their forts^ and, though 
Washington believed that these backwoods guardsmen 
were " more encompassed with fear than by the enemy," 
it was necessary to send them relief. In this crisis, 
the militia " having absolutely refused to stir," and see- 
ing *' the growing insolence of the soldiers, and the 
indolence and inactivity of the officers," whom he dubbed 
a " motley herd," Washington was driven almost to 
despair, and complained that his command would 
*^ become a nuisance, an insupportable charge to our 
country." Time and the efforts of their commander 
brought no improvement in the morale of these troops. 
At the end of 1756 we find him characterizing them as 
'* obstinate, self-willed, perverse, of little or no service 
to the people, and very burdensome to the country;" 
and still a year later, complaining that " that infamous 
practice " of desertion " among the dastardly drafts " 
was still prevalent, they leaving their commands " after 
having received their clothes, anns and bounty money," 
and without doing any service to requite the expense of 
their equipment and pay. '^In short," wrote Washing- 
ton, '' they try my patience, and almost worry me to 
death." Nor w^as this all. If the men of his command 
tried his patience in the camp, they tried it more in the 
field. On one occasion, he reports to the Governor, 
when confronted by the enemy, they " ran off, without 
one-half of them having discharged their pieces ; . . . 
ran back to Ashby's Fort, contrary to orders, persua- 
sions and threats. "5 

As a desperate remedy for these conditions, Washing- 
ton proposed to enlist indentured servants, ''the owners 
to be paid a reasonable amount for them ;" thinking, 
perhaps, that British paupers would place a less value 
on their lives than did the landed Americans. He had 
before this endeavored to enforce the services of the 
members of the Society of Friends, but " could by no 
means bring the Quakers to any terms. They chose 

71 



MYTHS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION 

rather to be whipped to death than to bear arms." He 
had also proposed a conscription, but this was objected 
to by the inhabitants of the more thickly settled parts 
of the colony, who were not disposed to risk their lives 
and pay their money for the protection of those of the 
border lands. " If we talk of obliging men to serve 
their country," wrote Landon Carter, a member of the 
House of Burgesses, to Washington, " we are sure to 
hear a fellow mumbling over the words ' liberty ' and 
* property ' a thousand times. I think as you do. I have 
endeavored, though not in the field, yet in the Senate, 
as much as possible to convince the country [that is, 
the province of Virginia] of danger, and she knows it; 
but such is her parsimony that she is willing to wait for 
the rains to wet the powder, and rats to eat the bow- 
strings of the enemy, rather than attempt to drive them 
from the frontiers."* 

Washington, like Braddock, found his expedition 
retarded and its effectiveness impaired by the selfishness 
and greed of those whom he came to protect and the 
parsimony of their representatives. Though it was 
essential that the relieving force should be sent against 
the enemy as speedily as possible, he met with nothing 
but vexation and delay. " I meet with the greatest 
opposition. No orders are obeyed but such as a party 
of soldiers or my own drawn sword enforces. Without 
this not a single horse for the most earnest occasion can 
be had," he complained to the Governor ; " to such a 
point has the insolence of these people arrived, by having 
every point hitherto submitted to them. However, I 
have given up none," he continued, " nor will I, unless 
they execute their threat, that is, * blow out my brains.' " 
Though, as wrote Washington, in the same letter, such 
a panic prevailed among the people that they were 
" alarmed at the most usual and customary cries," yet 
it was impossible " to get them to act in any respect for 

*Landon Carter to Washington, April 17, 1756: Washington's 
Writings, Vol. II., p. 145. Washington to Governor Dinwiddle, 
Aug. 4, 1776: Washington's Writings, Vol. II., pp. 145, 168. 

72 



INSURGENT TROOPS AND THEIR ALLIES 

their common safety." Extortion and greed met him 
at every turn. For " powder and a trifling quantity of 
paper" he had to pay extravagant prices. The 
mechanics, too, were exorbitant in their demands, and 
the masters of the indentured servants, who had 
been enHsted, " daily dunned for payment," and 
'' threatened him with prosecutions from all quarters."^' 

In short, the experience of Washington in his dealings 
with his fellow-colonists was identical with that of 
Braddock and the other British commanders who came 
to fight their battles. His testimony in relation to these 
facts throws much light upon the causes of the failures 
of the military operations of those officers in their wars 
against the French and Indians. To explain these fail- 
ures, then, no credence need be given to the tales told by 
preposterous " historians " of the " cowardice " and 
" absurdity " of British generals. Hampered with such 
troops as those pictured by Washington, even though 
clad in " homespun smallclothes," and " cowhide shoes," 
any commander, though he possessed the combined 
genius of a Caesar and a Napoleon, would have been 
powerless before the enemy. 

From the testimony of Washington it is difficult to 
discern in these colonial levies the men of "dauntless 
hearts," animated with an intense desire to " march to 
the cannon's mouth," so vividly described by our his- 
torian. Yet Mr. Roosevelt can do so. "They were," 
he asserts, " superb individual fighters, beautifully drilled 
in their own discipline ;" and he concurs with the state- 
ment of Harrison that they were " the finest light troops 
in the world."t Still it may be assumed that the first 
President of the United States had a better opportunity 
of judging of the facts than had the twenty-fifth. 

Such were the conditions that confronted and dis- 
comforted Washington during his campaigns in colonial 

*Washington to Governor Dinwiddie, Oct. ii, I755; Wash- 
ington to Governor Dinwiddie, Nov. 9> I756: Washington's 
Writings, Vol. II., pp. 104, 105, 199, 200. 

•\The Winning of the West, Vol. I., p. 79- 

73 



MYTHS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION 

days. Having them in mind, it might be supposed that 
when called upon to deal with the same order of men, 
as the commander-in-chief of the Revolutionary forces, 
he would have been prepared for similar conditions. 
This does not appear to have been the case, for after 
five months' experience with his new command, we find 
him uttering many complaints of the incompetency, 
insubordination, dishonesty and greed of the officers 
and men under his command : " Could I have foreseen 
what I have experienced, and am likely to experience, 
no consideration upon earth should have induced me to 
accept this command." And a year later : '* I solemnly 
protest that a pecuniary reward of twenty thousand 
pounds a vear would not induce me to undergo what I 
do."* 

It has been said that the army of the Revolution, to 
a very large extent, was recruited with men of foreign 
birth ; the conditions of its navy were even more 
remarkable. It is probable that the crews of such of its 
warships as remained in American waters, in the main, 
were of colonial birth ; but these vessels were of light 
tonnage and did but little damage to British shipping. 
The large number of privateers that preyed upon British 
commerce in European seas^ were American only in 
name. They w^ere purchased and fitted out in the ports 
of France, which proceedings were " winked at " by the 
Government of that country,7 and manned with men of 
almost every nativity except American ;§ or, occasionally, 
as in the case of one noticed by Franklin, containing " a 
mixed crew of French, Americans and English."9 The 
commissions under W'hich they sailed were sent in 
batches by the Congress to their agents in France, 
who filled in them the names of such seafarers 
of whatsoever nationality as w^ere willing to risk 
their lives and fortunes in such questionable adven- 
tures. " Blank commissions are wanted here to cruise 

*Washington to Joseph Reed, Nov. 28, 1775; Washington to 
J. A. Washington, Nov. 19, 1776: Washington's Writings, Vol. 
III., p. 179; Vol. IV., p. 184. 

74 



INSURGENT TROOPS AND THEIR ALLIES 

under your flag against British commerce/' wrote 
the American Commissioner from Paris late in 1776. 
The Congress, in the meantime, had resolved to send 
such commissions. A few weeks later another such 
request was sent to the Congress from Paris, and soon 
thereafter the blank commissions were sent, specifically 
for the purpose of *' fitting out privateers in France." 
They seem to have been furnished on a liberal scale, 
though occasionally a " fresh supply " was requested. ^o 

The acts of the commanders of these vessels brought 
them very near the verge of piracy, and sometimes 
beyond it. One of them, a Captain Cunningham or 
Conyngham, was threatened with being " tried for his 
life as a pirate." This man had captured an English 
packet ship and other British ships, and, later, was cap- 
tured himself, when, as his commission was found to 
post-date the period of his first capture, it was assumed 
that he had acted without even the flimsy authority of 
one of these blank commissions; but as they could be 
had for the asking, this seems unlikely. At any rate, 
after an investigation, he was placed on the status of an 
ordinary prisoner of war, and later exchanged.* 

In this case the charge of piracy was made by British 
officials. On other occasions the Spanish and Danish 
ministers complained of acts of piracy committed by 
American privateers upon their ships and in their waters, 
the latter complaining of " a most grievous outrage " 
committed by three American ships, by plundering and 
burning two English merchantmen " on his [Danish] 
Majesty's territory." " It therefore follows," he added, 
" that they can only be considered as pirates."t 

It was not alone American privateers that were 
manned by alien crews ; the same condition prevailed in 
the regular warships." As said an early American 
historian of the most famous of them, their crews were 

"^Diplomatic Correspondence of the United States, Vol. II., pp. 
322, 325 ; Vol. III., pp. 350, 394- 

fDe Blome to Vergennes, Feb. 6, 1782: Diplomatic Correspond- 
ence of the United States, Vol. V., p. 148. 

75 



MYTHS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION 

composed of " a mixture of English, Irish, Scotch, Por- 
tuguese, Norwegians, Germans, Spaniards, Swedes, Ital- 
ians and Malays," with " a few Americans to fill the 
stations of sea-officers." " To keep this motley crew in 
order 135 soldiers were put on board, under the com- 
mand of some officers of inferior rank, and were not 
much less singularly mixed as to countries than the 
regular crew/'^^ Of such materials were composed the 
crews of the Revolutionary warships. In some instances 
they were commanded by foreigners ; in one, at least, 
by a native of Great Britain. 

How common was the employment of men of British 
birth in American ships of war during the Revolution 
is shown by the fact that on the occasion of a mutiny 
on one of them, thirty-eight of her crew being arrested 
and imprisoned at a port of France, Benjamin Franklin, 
then the plenipotentiary of the newly emancipated 
States to that country — in order, as he said, to avoid 
the trouble and expense of a court-martial — proposed 
to exchange them with Great Britain for an equal num- 
ber of seamen captured from other American vessels, 
because, he explained, " the perfidious conduct of Eng- 
lish and Scotch sailors in our service a good deal dis- 
courages the idea of taking them out of those prisons 
in order to employ them."'^ A suggestion probably 
unique, and certainly grotesque. As the crews of the 
American ships of war were composed mainly of Euro- 
peans, and there were many native-born Americans on 
board of British ships, one vainly looks for the reality 
of those exhibitions of fervid patriotism in the naval 
actions of the Revolution reflected bv the Revolutionary 
Myth. 

They who so confidently assert that it was in the 
power of the revolting colonists to gain their inde- 
pendence without foreign aid have little regard for the 
opinion of Washington, who should have been a fairly 

*Franklin to the Committee of Foreign Affairs, May 26, 1779: 
Diplomatic Correspondence of the United States, Vol. III., pp. 
187, 188. 

76 



INSURGENT TROOPS AND THEIR ALLIES 

competent judge of the matter; or for that of other 
participants and observers in the Revokitionary War 
scarcely less competent than he. From an early period 
of that war until near its close, Washington, by oft- 
repeated declarations, clearly expressed his belief that 
the colonies without the aid of France and Spain could 
never have achieved their independence; and that even 
with that aid the result was not beyond a doubt. It is 
true that, during that period, at times of unexpected 
success of the Revolutionary arms, of conciliatory over- 
tures from the ministry, and on the first information of 
the French and Spanish alliances, he showed signs of 
elation and confidence : but these sentiments were tran- 
sient and of rare occurrence — his prevailing feeling was 
one of despondency and doubt. The most potent cause 
for this feeling was the lukewarm assistance he received 
from those who had precipitated the insurrection and 
those who had so enthusiastically supported them ; 
scarcely less so, the selfishness, avarice and dishonesty 
that surrounded him and obstructed his efforts. 

As early as the fall of 1776, Washington sees " a very 
gloomy prospect " looming ahead, and is satisfied, 
'' beyond the possibility of a doubt, that unless some 
speedy and effectual measures," '' the most vigorous and 
decisive actions, are immediately adopted," ^' our cause 
will be lost," and '' the certain and absolute loss of our 
liberties will be the inevitable consequences." A little 
later, " if every nerve is not strained," he thought, " the 
game is pretty nearly up.""""' 

Even after the consummation of the French alliance, 
Washington's judgment as to its result is still " puzzled 
and confounded," and many months of its operation 
leaves him in doubt as to " what may be the issue of the 
contest ;" for he has ^' never yet seen the time in which 
our affairs were at so low an ebb." Soon is fore- 

*Washington to the President of Congress, September 24, 1776; 
to the President of Congress, October 4, 1776: to J. A. Washing- 
ton, December, 18, 1776: Washington's Writings, Vol. IV., pp. 
no, 134, 231. 

77 



MYTHS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION 

shadowed the alHance with Spain, and with it comes 
hope of the overthrow of the power of Britain, resulting 
from her " insanity " in rejecting the mediation of that 
nation, and her foolhardiness in adding another potent 
foe to those she has already to encounter." 

But months pass by, and the combined navies of 
France and Spain have not sunk the fleet of England or 
their armies overrun her fertile fields. Nor has the 
junction of the arms of their faithful ally with those of 
the revolted colonists enabled them to banish a single 
British soldier from American soil. Doubts again arise 
in the mind of Washington; for instead of expected 
victories the Revolutionary army is suffering from dis- 
astrous defeats, and is wasting to a '' shadow," provi- 
sions are hard to obtain, and he is troubled " with the 
most anxious and alarming fears." Affairs wear ^' a 
very dangerous complexion," and, unless a different sys- 
tem be adopted, "must soon become desperate beyond 
the possibility of recovery." " Indeed, I have almost 
ceased to hope," Washington declared at this crisis ; 
" what are we to expect will be the case if there should 
be another campaign? In all probability the advantage 
will be on the side of the English, and then what would 
become of America ?"t 

The result of the triple alliance had hopelessly dis- 
appointed the revolted colonists. Its two potent parties 
had suffered more injury than they had been able to 
inflict upon the common enemy, and their power for 
offensive action had been destroyed or much impaired. 
At least, so thought Washington, for he declared that 
" the circumstances of our allies, as well as our own, 
call for peace." Yet he added that, in default of sub- 

*Washington to Gouverneur Morris, October 4, 1778; to James 
Warren, March 31, 1779; to "A Friend," May 19, 1779; to the 
President of Congress, August 16, 1779: Washington's Writings, 
Vol. VI., pp. 84, 210, 252, 320. 

tWashington to General Irving, January 9, 1780; to the Presi- 
dent of Congress, April 3, 1780; to Joseph Reed, May 27, 1780; 
to the President of Congress, August 20, 1780: Washington's 
Writings, Vol. VI., p. 441 ; Vol. VII., pp. 13, 58-62, 159. 

78 



INSURGENT TROOPS AND THEIR ALUES 

stantial^ and evidently unexpected^ aid from one of the 
least willing states, it would be necessary to '* confess 
to our allies that we look wholly to them for safety." 
The unexpected aid does not come, and " the prospects 
grow duller," and it may be necessary '' to disperse, if 
not disband, the army " at the end of the campaign ; so 
that " we may expect soon to be reduced to the humili- 
ating condition of seeing the cause of America, in 
America, upheld by foreign arms ;" for, declared Wash- 
ington to the Congress, it was impossible to expel the 
British forces '' till we derive more effectual aid from 
abroad."* 

It is a curious fact that the year in which the most 
melancholy of these melancholy reflections were made 
by the commander-in-chief of the Revolutionary army 
was the gloomiest of all the years of the century for 
England. The year in which she was menaced by the 
arms of France and Spain in Europe, by the victorious 
hordes of Hyder Ali in Asia ; and, in America, the 
paltry force she could spare from her armies needed for 
the protection of the homes of her people was fully 
engaged in conflict with her insurgent subjects. The 
year in which the colossal powers of the north were 
armed against her in so-called neutrality ; Ireland sullen 
and also in hostile arms ; her navy, for a time, driven 
from the Channel by the superior fleets of France and 
Spain. The year, too, that brought the terrors of dis- 
cord and rebellion to her island home ; for it was the 
year of the Gordon riots, and for many days her capital 
lay at the mercy of a daring and insolent mob. i 

These happenings, indeed, had given Washington 
some " peaceful dreams," and caused him to believe that 
*' the hour of deliverance was not far distant." " But 
alas !" he continued, " these prospects, flattering as they 

^Washington to Joseph Reed, May 28, 1780; to Lafayette, July 
27, 1780; to the President of Congress, July 30, 1780; to the 
President of Congress, August 20, 1780; to the President of 
Congress, September S, 1780: Washington's Writings, Vol. VII., 
pp. 61, 62, 125, 126, 160, 206. 

79 



MYTHS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION 

were, have proved illusory, and I see nothing before us 
but accumulated distress."* 

To the humiliating condition foreseen by Washington 
the revolting colonists actually were reduced. The 
cause of America, or, rather, that of the American Revo- 
lutionists, in America, was upheld by foreign arms. 
Despairing of the power or the will of the colonists to 
resist the British forces in the field, Washington, directly, 
and through the medium of the Congress, made another 
appeal to France. She had done much to aid them, but 
must do much more or lose the result of her previous 
exertions. 

To the French admiral, the Count de Guichen, and to 
the Chevalier de la Luzerne, the French envoy, Wash- 
ington wrote, setting forth the extremity of the needs of 
the Revolutionists. To the last named he wrote : " I 
need use no arguments to convince Your Excellency of 
the extremity to which our afifairs are tending and the 
necessity of support." To Benjamin Franklin: "Our 
present situation makes one of two things essential to 
us ; a peace, or the most vigorous aid of our allies. 
. To me nothing appears more evident than that 
the period of our opposition will very shortly arrive if 
our allies cannot afford us that effectual aid."t 

To John Laurens, who had been appointed by the Con- 
gress a commissioner to France, there personally to 
solicit for the Revolutionists help, in the form of money, 
troops and ships of war, Washington wrote that a 
crisis had arisen in the country that rendered 
" immediate and efficient succors from abroad indispens- 
able to its safety ;" that there was an '' absolute neces- 
sity for speedy relief, not within the compass of our 
means," and that, without this relief, only " a feeble and 
expiring effort " could be made by the Revolutionary 
army, which effort would be '' in all probability the 
period of our opposition ;" for, he added, emphatically, 

♦Washington to General Cadwallader, October 5, 1780: Wash- 
ington's Writings, Vol. VII., p. 229. 
t Washington's Writings, Vol. VII., pp. 197, 200, 243. 

80 



INSURGENT TROOPS AND THEIR ALLIES 

''day does not follow nig-ht more certainly than it brings 
with it some additional proof of the impracticability of 
our carrying on the war without the aids you were 
directed to solicit." " In a word," he concluded, " we 
are at the end of our tether, and now or never our 
deliverance must come.""^ 

These appeals, and those of the Congress, were sup- 
ported by the French admiral and general, M. de Terney 
and Count de Rochambeau, who, in letters to the French 
minister, Count de Vergennes, set forth the urgent needs 
of the Revolutionists. The former declared that : " If 
France does not decide the question [whether or not 
the American insurrection should be crushed by British 
arms], all is lost for the insurgents." The latter ap- 
pealed to the minister : " Send us troops and money, but 
do not depend upon these people [the revolting col- 
onists] ; their means of resistance are only momentary, 
and called forth when they are attacked in their 
homes. "t 

Laurens obeyed his instructions, and presented to the 
French minister a memorial setting- forth the necessities 
of the insurgents. He wrote of the exhaustion of the 
colonists ; their distress and discontent ; the impotence 
of the Revolutionary army, and the absolute necessity 
of an ample supply of money and a reinforcement of 
troops and warships ; and declared that " the fate of 
America depends upon the immediate and decisive 
succor of her august ally." Vergennes, though he was 
convinced that the colonists were not *' a race of con- 
querors," and had but a poor opinion of their constancy, 
and slight confidence in their energ}% decided that the 
needed aid must be afforded. ^3 

So it happened that His Most Christian Majesty, their 
" Great, Faithful and Beloved Friend and Ally," came 

♦Letters to John Laurens of January 15, 1781, and April g, 
1781: Washington's Writings, Vol. VIL, pp. 368-372; Vol. VIIL, 
p. 7- 

fDe Terney to Count de Vergennes, October 18, 1780; Count 
de Rochambeau to Count de Vergennes, July 16, 1780: Washing- 
ton's Writings, Vol. VIL, pp. 241, 506. 
6 81 



MYTHS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION 

again to the aid of the despairing revolting colonists, 
lately the implacable enemies, now the suppliant friends 
of France. Warships, troops, money, munitions and 
supplies were sent to them. The French land force, 
equal in number to the remnant of an army remaining 
to General Cornwallis, joined with a still larger number 
of Continental troops, pressed that little army back to 
the sea, of which the French admiral, with a prepond- 
erant naval force, held the command. Surrounded with 
hostile forces by land and water, cut off from reinforce- 
ments and supplies, the British general surrendered his 
command, and a great advance was made on the road 
to American independence. 

Though the surrender was made on American terri- 
tory and to the American commander-in-chief; though 
Cornwallis himself had prepared his own defeat by split- 
ting his small force into three divisions, apparently with 
the object of having them beaten in detail, and having 
so disposed of two of them, had marched calmly with the 
other into the trap set for it ; even if it were true, as has 
been asserted on insufificient testimony, that Washington, 
and not Rochambeau, planned the movement, yet the 
campaign that ended at Yorktown essentially was a 
French victory, since the result could not have been 
accomplished, or even attempted, but for the potent 
assistance of the land and sea forces of France. 

The necessity for the French and Spanish alliances, 
since so confidently denied, at the time of their need was 
acknowledged by many of the Disunion leaders other 
than Washington, and of their allies, among them by 
Robert Morris, who, six months after the declaration of 
independence, wrote to the Commissioners at Paris: 
'' For my part, I see but two chances for relief ; one is 
from you. If the Court of France open their eyes to 
their own interest, and think the commerce of North 
America will compensate them for expense and evil of 
a war with Britain, they may readily create a diversion 
and afford us succors that will change the fate of 
affairs ; but they must do it soon; our situation is 

82 



INSURGENT TROOPS AND THEIR ALLIES 

critical and docs not admit of delay. . . . But should 
time be lost, and succors be withheld, America must sue 
for peace from her oppressors."* 

From that time until the close of the war much testi- 
mony is to be found from the pens of the Disunion 
chiefs and their foreign helpers of the helplessness of 
their armies in the field, and of their inability to con- 
tinue the war without alien aid. In 1781 the Count de 
Fersen, a French officer serving on the staff of General 
Rochambeau, wrote : " Ce pays-ci n'est pas en ctat de 
sontenir une guerre longne. Si la Prance ne les secouri 
z'igiiereusement Us scront obliges de faire la paixf'-\ 
And, later still, a year after the surrender at Yorktown, 
Alexander Hamilton declared that "effectual succor" 
must be had from France, for "these states are in no 
humor for continued exertions. If the war lasts it must 
be carried on by external succor."t Strange to say, 
during the whole of the time that the Revolutionary 
commander-in-chief was proclaiming the impending 
defeat of his army and the destruction of his hopes for 
independence, the " friends of America " in England 
were vehemently declaring its impossibility. " You can- 
not conquer America," a phrase born of Chatham's elo- 
quence, became their rallying cry and the excuse for 
treasonable acts and utterances. 

It is certain that Washington did not agree with them. 

Even after the accomplishment of independence there 
was not lacking testimony from the Revolutionary chiefs 
of the necessity of foreign assistance in order to attain 
it. " Till France joined us our troops were not able to 
withstand the enemy," very honestly said Governor Ran- 
dolph, in the Virginia Convention, in 1788. " Was not 
the assistance of France necessary to enable the United 

*Letter to the Commissioners at Paris, December 21, 1776: 
Diplomatic Correspondence of the United States, Vol. It., p. 235. 

■\Lettres dii Conipte de Fersen, Vol. I., p. 53- 
^Letter to de Noailles and Lafayette, November, 1782 : Lodge's 
Hamilton, Vol. VIII., pp. 86, 90. 

83 



MYTHS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION 

States to repel the attack of Great Britain?" he asked, 
on the same occasion.* 

So that when, in 1794, Citoyen Genet declared that but 
for France Americans would then have been vassals of 
England; and when, in later days, his countryman, 
Edmond About, asserted that the great American repub- 
lic owed its existence to France, they were making no 
unwarrantable boasts. 

But Mr. Roosevelt asserts, " As a matter of fact, Eng- 
land would have stood no chance at all had the contest 
been strictly confined to British troops on the one hand 
and to the rebellious colonists on the other." " \Vhen 
the French court declared in our favor," he adds, ''the 
worst was already over."^ 

The reason for this belief Mr. Roosevelt does not 
make very clear. But he says that as Great Britain had 
German allies, and the help of the Indians and the 
Lovalists, " the withdrawal of all Hessians, Tories and 
Indians from the British army would have been cheaply 
purchased by the loss of our own foreign allies. "f 

Doubtless no one knows better than does Mr. Roose- 
velt that the alliance of the Indians w^as no help at all 
to Great Britain; that if there had been no such 
alliance the Indians would have done as much or more 
damage to the Revolutionary army and people as they 
did in consequence of that alliance. Doubtless, too, he 
knows that the aid rendered by the Loyalists was of 
little avail because of the imbecile policy of the British 
ministry and the disloyal conduct of General Howe. 
But laying aside these facts, and the equally pertinent 
fact that half of the inhabitants of Great Britain favored 
the cause of the American revolutionists, while half of 
the colonists favored the cause of the British Govern- 
ment, and that, therefore, in no case could the Revolu- 
tionary War have been a contest between the British and 
American people, there are other facts showing the 
fallacy of Mr. Roosevelt's contention. 

*Elliott's Debates, Vol. III., p. 118. 
-fGouverneur Morris, p. 119. 

84 



INSURGENT TROOPS AND THEIR ALLIES 

Had the contest been confined to the British troops 
on the one hand — even the paltry force which the neces- 
sity for defence against her European enemies allowed 
her to despatch to the colonies — and the revolting col- 
onists, without allies, on the other, there would have 
been no Saratoga, for it was the secret aid of France 
that enabled them to arm and equip their troops, with- 
out which aid they could not have gained that victory. 
There would have been no Trenton, for for that dis- 
aster the " allies " of Great Britain alone were respon- 
sible. There would have been no Yorktown, for without 
the fleet and army of France that surrender would not 
have occurred. Had there been no alliance of the revolt- 
ing colonists with France and Spain, whose navies twice 
dominated the English Channel,* insulted the coast of 
Great Britain and drove her fleets from her own waters, 
fourfold the number of troops could have been sent to 
the colonies. During the latter part of the war Great 
Britain maintained more than three hundred thousand 
men in arms, f the vast majority of whom she was 
obliged to employ in defensive measures against her 
European enemies. Had she been free to employ them, 
or half of them, against the insurgent colonists, it is 
scarcely to be supposed that she would have felt the 
loss of a few regiments of German mercenaries, who, 
though excellent troops, were ill commanded, and per- 
formed but little real service. Washington, whose army 
was worn to a " shadow " with the task of opposing the 
small force that was sent against them, would scarcely 
have kept the field long against such a well-appointed 
and numerous army as could have been sent against 
them under the conditions supposed by Mr. Roosevelt. 

Mr. Roosevelt's assertions cannot be sustained by a 
single fact, or made to appear probable by any method 
of reasoning. 

In connection with the French alliance another mis- 
representation is universally made. It is asserted that 

*Lord Charles Beresford, Nelson and His Times. 
t3 14,000, according to a report to Parliament. 

85 



MYTHS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION 

this alliance — the forerunner of those of Spain and Hol- 
land — was brought about by the victory at Saratoga; 
and, in consequence of this mistaken belief, that conflict 
has been numbered among the decisive battles of the 
world. But this assertion is as unfounded as that which 
declares the Revolutionists capable of winning their inde- 
pendence without foreign assistance. 

The facts are these : As has been said, in granting 
assistance to the revolting colonists it had not been the 
intention of the French minister or king to help them 
to independence, but only temporarily to strengthen 
them that they might more effectually cripple the power 
of Britain. But an action of the British ministry 
changed that intent. That action was the true cause of 
the Franco-American alliance. Incited thereto by the 
persistent clamors of the Opposition, and himself 
inclined to concession, Lord North introduced into Par- 
liament what are styled his '' conciliatory bills." These 
acts, says Mr. Roosevelt, " were pressed hastily through 
Parliament because of the fear of an American alliance 
with France, which was then, indeed, almost concluded."''' 
But there is no warrant for this statement; the acts 
were indeed passed about the time of the consummation 
of the alliance, but their intended introduction had been 
announced many weeks before, and, being a measure of 
the ministry, their passage was assured before they were 
introduced. Instead of the French alliance being the 
cause of the conciliatory acts, it was the conciliatory 
acts that caused the French alliance; and had the con- 
ciliatory acts never been proposed, it is probable that 
there never would have been a French alliance. 

These acts authorized proposals to the colonies by the 
terms of which they would have become virtually inde- 
pendent, but maintaining an offensive and defensive 
alliance with the mother country. This caused great 
alarm to the French Court, for it was believed that the 
result would be an attack upon France by the joint 

*Gouverneur Morris, p. 87. 

86 



INSURGENT TROOPS AND THEIR ALLIES 

forces of Britain and America, a belief that was skil- 
fully fostered by Franklin. ^ 5 Therefore, believing* that 
the safety of his country could be assured only by the 
actual independence of the colonies, Count de Vergennes 
persuaded his master to enter into a treaty of alliance 
with them on that basis. Soon after the treaty was 
signed, in a letter to Conrad Gerard, his chief secretary, 
Vergennes explained the reasons for its execution in 
these words : " The terms that she [England] proposed 
to them [the colonists] were so manifestly aimed at 
France that there was not a moment to lose, if we 
seriously desired to prevent their having effect." The 
King, therefore, made a treaty with the deputies of 
Congress.* Near the same time, the King himself wrote 
to his cousin of Spain that, inasmuch as the English 
would never forget the '' manvaises offices " of France, 
in giving secret aid to the colonists, it was " necessary to 
begin to treat with them to prevent their reunion with 
the mother country. "f 

It was not, therefore, the success of the Revolutionary 
arms at Saratoga, Trenton or Princeton that brought 
about the Franco-American alliance, as has been so gen- 
erally asserted, but the shortsighted action of the British 
ministry in perpetrating, perhaps, the worst of their 
many bad blunders. 

The common belief that large armies contended for 
and against Imperial rule in America is contradicted by 
the records. Seldom did any British force engaged in 
conflict with the Revolutionists number more than the 
number contained in a dozen modern regiments ; and 
those of the Americans opposed to them — though occa- 
sionally, as at Saratoga, Trenton, Princeton and 
Camden, they outnumbered the British force three or 

*Instructions to Gerard upon his going to America as the 
envoy of France, March 29, 1778: Diplomatic Correspondence of 
the United States, Vol. II., p. 524. 

tKing Louis to King Carlos, January 8, 1778: Flassan's Diplo- 
macie Francaise, Vol. VII., p. 177 (American translation) : 
Diplomatic Correspondence of the United States, Vol. II., p. 467. 

87 



MYTHS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION 

four to one — generally were little larger, and on one 
occasion, at least, not so large. 

The total force of the Revolutionists — though in the 
summer of 1776 it was claimed that they had in the field 
eighty thousand men^ armed and equipped, and in the 
following year sixty-six thousand — probably at no time 
exceeded thirty thousand effective men. The British 
force in North America was distributed from Halifax to 
San Antonio, and in the islands of the sea ; scarcely were 
there ever more than twenty thousand men available for 
action in the revolted colonies. ^^ 

Corporals' guards engaged in affairs of outposts de- 
cided the fate of the colonies so far as it was decided 
by military operations in America. 



88 



CHAPTER V. 

PHILANTHROPIC TREASON.^ 

The idea apparently entertained by some writers that 
the American Revolution was a contest between Great 
Britain and her colonies without any material division 
of sentiment on either side, of course, is erroneous. But 
few seem to realize that, in fact, it was a civil war, 
with a well-defined line of cleavage drawn through both 
countries, though armed hostilities were confined to one 
of them. Large numbers of the inhabitants of Great 
Britain, and substantially all those of Ireland, took the 
part of the Revolutionists, and as large a proportion of 
the colonists took the part of Great Britain. 

The part played in the drama of the American Revo- 
lution by the great Whig chiefs of England was by no 
means an unimportant one. From the beginning of the 
Disunion agitation until the signing of the treaty of 
peace they did their utmost to further the plan of inde- 
pendence formed by the Disunion chiefs of America. 
With untiring perseverance and without scruple they 
built up a party in Great Britain that abetted them in 
all they said and did, though they overstepped the verge 
of treason. They affiliated with the Disunion party in 
America, encouraging its leaders in their opposition to 
the Government with the assurance that their friends 
across the Atlantic would not permit them to be coerced. 
They pledged them their support, and assured them that 
their only fear was that there might be a " fatal yield- 
ing " to the claims of the Government on the part of 
the colonists. 2 ^ ^^ 

When in office these eminent " friends of America 
yielded to all the demands made by the Disunion chiefs— 

89 



MYTHS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION 

demands, as wrote an English pamphleteer of the day, 
made " with a loud voice, full of anger, defiance and 
denunciation ;"* demands founded upon no constitu- 
tional basis — and thus prepared the way for greater and 
still more unconstitutional demands, which, had they 
been granted, would have transformed the dependence 
of the colonies upon the general Government into a sort 
of quasi alliance with Great Britain, determinable at 
their pleasure. 

When in Opposition they opposed every measure of 
the Government intended for the pacification of the col- 
onies already in insurrection. After armed hostilities 
had been begun they cast aside all their obligations as 
citizens and subjects, neglecting no opportunity to give 
aid and comfort to the enemies of their country. With 
shameless audacity they proclaimed their advocacy of 
rebellion in the Houses of Parliament and at the foot of 
the throne. t With superlative insolence they threatened 
the ministers with speedy and condign punishment for 
their loyalty to their king and country.3 No fact relat- 
ing to the American Revolution is more amazing than 
the malignant and daringly outspoken treason of the 
English Whigs. They declared the valid claims of Par- 
liament to be unconstitutional and tyrannical, and the 
pretensions of the revolted colonists to be lawful and 
just ; that these " true and genuine sons of the earth " 
— three millions of them — animated as they were by the 
glorious spirit of Whiggism, were invincible; that such 
was their fierce spirit that, rather than submit to the 
dominion of Parliament, they would retreat to their 
woods and liberty, or retire over the Appalachian Moun- 
tains, there to become hordes of English Tartars, ever 
ready to pour down, an irresistible cavalry, upon the 
habitations of the " slaves " who adhered to the Gov- 
ernment. They were likened to a band of wolves that 
the ministers had attempted to shear, mistaking them for 

*Dean Tucker, in Good Humour. 

tSee Parliamentary History, Vol. XIX., pp. 620, et seq.: 
Wraxall's Historical Memoirs of My Own Time, Vol. II., p. 228. 

90 



PHILANTHROPIC TREASON 

sheep.* In the Commons no opportunity was neglected 
that would encourage the Disunion leaders to continued 
opposition. Truly was it declared that " the seditious 
spirit of the colonies owes its birth to factions in this 
House."t 

No action was too base or cruel to be attributed by 
the Whig leaders to the ministers. They were a *' com- 
mittee of darkness," " black conspirators/' who plotted 
the destruction of the British Empire,J and " fomented 
the American revolt in order to create a decent apology 
for slaughter, conquest and unconditional submission. "§ 
No act of the revolted colonists and their British abet- 
tors savored so much of treason as to fail of the com- 
mendation of the Whig orators. 

In the Commons they unblushingly declared the insur- 
gent army to be '' our army."|| In that House Benjamin 
Franklin and Henry Laurens — both then engaged in an 
attempt to induce European powers to make war upon 
Great Britain — were eulogized as exalted patriots.** 
Richard Montgomery, lately an officer in the British 
army, who had resigned his commission in pique because 
he was not promoted to as high a rank as he conceived 
himself qualified to fill, had deserted his colors, joined 
the enemy in arms, and at the head of a body of insur- 
gents invaded territory at peace under the British flag 
with the avowed purpose of conquest. In this attempt 
he had lost his life, and his death in arms against his 
country gave an opportunity to the Whig chiefs to pro- 
nounce his eulogy and denounce the deep damnation of 

*Speeches of Chatham and Burke in the Lords and Commons. 

tSpeech of George Grenville in the House of Commons in 
reply to Chatham in the debate on the repeal of the Stamp Act. 

$From a speech of General Conway in debate in the House of 
Commons. 

§Speech of Lord Camden, November i8, 1777 '■ Parliamentary 
Register, Vol. X., pp. 30. 31. 

JlWraxall's Historical Memoirs, Vol. II., p. 228; Lady Minto's 
Life of Sir Gilbert Elliott. 

**Wraxairs Historical Memoirs, Vol. IL, p. 2. 

91 



MYTHS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION 

his taking off. It was there asserted, in open debate, 
by a loyal member, that information regarding the weak- 
ness of the Government had " been exposed or pointed 
out to the rebels " by members of that House, and even 
that similar information had been transmitted to the 
Court of Versailles. '' Every support," said this gen- 
tleman, '' has been given the Americans, who have placed 
their confidence in the encouragement extended to them 
within these walls."* 

Every report of the success of the British arms came 
to these ill-fashioned patriots as a '* dismal piece of 
news," and was declared by them to be " ruinous to 
liberty." Every disaster was made a subject for their 
rejoicing.4 They plotted together to "clog" the wars 
waged by the Government against rebels in arms. They 
were not ashamed to confer with the emissaries of these 
rebels, to act as their spies, and to furnish them with 
information that might be used with disastrous effect 
upon their country and countrymen. 6 They opposed, by 
every available means, the enrollment of an army fit to 
cope with the insurrectionists ; at one time offering pre- 
tended constitutional objections to enlistments, at others 
exhorting their countrymen to refrain from enlisting 
in an army to be employed for the coercion of their 
fellow Whigs across the Atlantic, who were contending 
for their freedom as well as their own ; that the British 
forces sent to the colonies were inevitably doomed to 
defeat ; but, even in the unlikely event of their success 
in suppressing the insurrection, that success would result 
in enslaving Englishmen as well as Americans. They 
appealed to the cupidity of the merchants by assuring 
them that the war against the colonies would be destruc- 
tive of commerce and leave them bankrupt.f The 
natural result of these patriotic efforts was that *' the 
common people," as wrote Lord Camden, " held the war 

* Annual Register, 1777, p. 211. Wraxall's Historical Memoirs, 
Vol. II., p. 228. 

tSee Burke's speeches to his constituents at Bristol. 

92 



PHILANTHROPIC TREASON 

in abhorrence, and the merchants and tradesmen, for 
obvious reasons, were Hkewise against it."* 

Further to antagonize the people against the Govern- 
ment, they brought unfounded charges against its offi- 
cers of venahty, treason, and even insanity. f 

Indeed, so extravagant were the utterances of these 
ihustrious Whig statesmen and their supporters that 
they seemed, hke the famed " Bulls of Borodale," to have 
been driven mad with the echoes of their own bellow- 
ings. Edmund Burke characterized as '' sacrilegious " 
the action of the ministry in ordering a blockade of the 
insurgent ports, at a time when these insurgents, for 
several months, had been making war upon the Gov- 
ernment by land and sea.J Charles James Fox missed 
no opportunity publicly to express his delight at the 
defeat of his country's arms. The Duke of Richmond, 
who had declared his intention to depart from Great 
Britain, given over to slavery, and to seek an asylum in 
the free and progressive monarchy of France, joined 
the chorus of his brother Whigs in casting odium upon 
the ministry and in lauding the revolting colonists. 
This noble democrat, upon learning that a thousand 
British seamen had perished in a storm, "with joy 
sparkling in his eyes," — " parricide joy " one of his 
hearers, not inaptly, styled it — expressed the satisfac- 
tion he felt at the catastrophe. '' Not one escaped !" he 
declared in an ecstasy of delight.§ So many there were 
the less to be used in coercing the blameless Americans. 

Nor were the utterances of the dimmer lights of Eng- 
lish Whiggism one whit less extravagant. The objur- 
gations of Wilkes and his henchmen were many and 
scandalous. One William Baker, a prominent Whig 
and a supporter of Burke, declared that if the utter ruin 

*Chatham, Correspondence, Vol. IV., p. 401. 

tWilliam Baker to Burke, October 22, 1777: Burke's Works, 
Vol. I., p. 353. 

IBurke to Champion, December 15, 1775: Burke's Works, Vol. 
I., p. 302. 

%Life of Sir Gilbert Elliott, Vol. L, pp. 7^> 77- 

93 



MYTHS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION 

of his country were to be the consequence of her claim 
to the right of taxing the colonies, he would be the first 
to say, '' Let her perish !"* One Dr. Price, a Dissent- 
ing minister— who in after years styled the organizers 
of the Reign of Terror ''heavenly philanthropists"— 
persistently preached and wrote against the \yickedness 
of the Government in attempting to maintain control 
over the colonies, and for these patriotic utterances he 
was presented with the freedom of the city of London 
in a gold box. The American Congress, too, rewarded 
the efforts of the worthy doctor by conferring upon him 
the citizenship of the United States, and inviting him 
to remove with his familv to America, where he was 
promised a lucrative office. The ofifer was declined by 
Price, on the plea of age and failing energy, in a letter 
in which he eulogized the Congress as " the most 
respectable and important assembly in the world;" and 
in which he predicted " a shocking catastrophe " to 
Great Britain as the result of her decadence and her 
crimes. 7 

Josiah Wedgwood, the exalted potter, added his voice 
to the general clamor ; lamenting the decadence of his 
country, but rejoicing that it was only Great Britain 
that was doomed to destruction, and that the virtuous 
Americans were destined to be free.f Wedgwood, like 
Price, Priestley, and many other English Whigs, was a 
secret correspondent and spy for the American Dis- 
union chiefs ; and he seems to have done even more 
than his colleagues in sowing treasonable sentiments 
among the laborers and artisans of the provinces, thus 
making it impossible to obtain recruits from that class. 
However, Wedgwood was not so open in his advocacy 
of rebellion as were many of his colleagues. He was 
enjoying the patronage of the Court in the sale of his 
wares, and he seems to have been very much alive to 
his own interests. Conspicuous in his opposition to 

*William Baker to Burke, October 22, 1777: Burke's Works, 
Vol. I., p. 353- 

fLetter to Thomas Bentley early in 1778. 

94 



PHILANTHROPIC TREASON 

these men and to other Nonconformist ministers — if 
rightly he may be called a Nonconformist — was John 
Wesley, who, by exhortation as well as by his pen,* 
endeaA^ored to regenerate the failing loyalty of his coun- 
trymen, and to show that the American insurrectionists 
were not animated alone by an unselfish love of their 
species, but rather by a desire for self-aggrandisement. 

The i\Iuse, too, was awakened to energy by the 
acclamations of the " friends of America " in the cause 
of the oppressed colonists. Robert Burns wrote some 
stanzas, which, I suppose, it would be heresy to call 
doggerel, yet for which it would be difficult to find a 
term more appropriate, in praise of Montgomery and 
other Revolutionary commanders and politicians, and 
in derision of the ministers. One Jones (later Sir 
WilHam, the Oriental scholar) also felt impelled to 
express his overcharged feelings in verse. He wrote 
some lines in which '' \"irtue," accompanied by " Truth," 
"Reason," "Valor" and "Justice," was depicted as 
abandoning enslaved Britain and crossing the Atlantic 
to take up her residence on the banks of the Delaware, 
there to instruct American youth how to wield 
" th' avenging steel " over the heads of British tyrants. 

No secrecy was deemed necessary in the expression 
of these and kindred sentiments by those who cherished 
them or professed to cherish them. " The same inward 
suggestions," wrote a friend of Burke, " which deter- 
mined us originally to resist these measures [of oppo- 
sition to the colonial insurrectionists] ought to con- 
firm us in an inflexible, unrelenting, public and avowed 
opposition to them."t Accordingly, they were openly 
avowed, and unscrupulously, as well as inflexibly and 
unrelentinglv, urged upon the people and received by 
them as if thev were the most patriotic of utterances. 

Any journal', pamphlet or book advocating the cause 

*See Wesle3''s pamphlet, A Calm Address to the Inhabitants 
of England. 

fWilliam Baker to Burke, October 22, 1777: Burke's Works, 
Vol. I., p. 353. 

95 



MYTHS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION 

of the revolting colonists, or in praise of their leaders, 
was sure of a favorable reception by the English public 
and a ready sale. That of Dr. Price, The Justice and 
Policy of the War with America, more conspicuous 
for its partizanship than for its trustworthy statements, 
in a short time reached a circulation of more than sixty 
thousand. A poem written in praise of Washington, 
published in London at a high price, also reached a 
very great circulation. This work was published when 
the war had been raging for five years. One may 
imagine the reception of a poem in praise of Jefferson 
Davis or Robert E. Lee, in Boston, say, in 1864! After 
the conflict at Lexington a subscription for the benefit 
of " the widows and orphans of our beloved American 
fellow-subjects inhumanly murdered by the King's 
troops at or near Lexington and Concord,"* was raised 
in London and the proceeds transmitted to Franklin. 
In that contest many British soldiers were killed, but 
there was no thought of raising money for the benefit 
of their widows and orphans — they had been fighting 
for their king and country. 

Nor were the actions of the ministers less remark- 
able than those of the Opposition. Called upon to con- 
duct a war against a well-organized rebellion, whose 
leaders were animated by the most implacable animosity 
to the Government and possessed great resources, and 
who already were in treaty with a foreign power with 
a view to an offensive alliance, they prepared for the 
conflict after the manner of a schoolmaster quelling the 
outbreak of mischievous scholars. They placed the 
command of the army and navy in the hands of two 
brothers, both of whom had declared their belief that 
it was wrong to coerce the revolting colonists ; and the 
portfolio of war in the hands of one who had declared 
that they never could be subdued by force of arms. 8 
Therefore, a resort to arms must be held in abeyance ; 
an " inveterate rebellion " were best subdued by 
proclamation. 9 

*John Home Tooke, in the Evening Post. 

96 



PHILANTHROPIC TREASON 

Certainly these were remarkable conditions, con- 
ditions which should not be overlooked by those who 
desire to obtain a clear view of the facts of the Amer- 
ican Revolution. They continued with but slight 
amelioration until the consummation of the alliance of 
France with the revolted colonists. Then ensued a 
partial return to sanity; patriotism no longer was con- 
fined to a few officers of the army and navy. But many 
years were to pass, another revolution was to begin 
and end, before Britain was healed of the wounds 
inflicted upon her by her own sons in their party dis- 
sensions consequent upon the colonial revolt. 

French writers who assert that the American col- 
onists were indebted to France for the attainment of 
their independence make no unwarrantable boast, for 
without French military and naval assistance that inde- 
pendence could not have been attained. Yet, as that 
assistance would not have been afforded but for the 
action of the Opposition party in England, and as that 
party never tired in its efforts to make that assistance 
effectual and to prevent the taking of effective means 
to suppress the insurrection, more truthfully it can be 
said that American independence was the gift of the 
English Whigs. 



97 



CHAPTER VL 

AMERICAN PATRIOTISM AND SBLF-SBBKING. 

Did one heart animate the whole body of the col- 
onists? Were the American Disunionists inspired by 
those benevolent and disinterested principles, that inflex- 
ible love of freedom, attributed to them by their British 
admirers and abettors? Were they intellectually and 
morally superior to the peoples of Europe, as asserted 
by their historians? Was the Revolution achieved with 
that benign tranquillity affirmed by Mr. Bancroft? Did 
new forms of virtue, fidelity to principle, unselfishness, 
a strange elevation of feeling and dignity of action per- 
vade the masses of the American people at the period 
of the Revolution? 

All observers testify to the intense jealousy existing 
between the provinces before, during and after the 
Revolution. *' Fire and water," we are told by a trav- 
eller who visited the colonies a few years before the 
open agitation for Disunion began, " are not more 
heterogeneous than the different colonies in North 
America. Nothing can exceed the jealousy and emula- 
tion which they possess in regard to each other. . 
Were they left to themselves there would soon be a civil 
war from one end of the continent to the other."* 
A traveller of the previous decade gives similar testi- 
mony, and notes with astonishment the fact that the 
several provinces were so careless of their common 
interest that, on such occasions as one of them being 
overrun by the enemy, the others not only refused to 

*Andrew Burnaby, Travels Through the Middle Settlements, 
etc.; Pinkerton's Voyages, Vol. XIII., p. 752. 

98 



AMERICAN PATRIOTISM AND SELF-SEEKING 

give aid to their distressed sister province, but selfishly- 
carried on commerce with the enemy that was engaged 
in devastating it.* 

This was the testimony of an Englishman and a 
Swede, but native testimony to the same effect is not 
wanting. " Were these colonies left to themselves 
to-morrow," wrote James Otis, " America would be a 
mere shambles of blood and confusion before little 
petty states could be settled."t " Their jealousy of each 
other is so great," wrote Benjaxmin Franklin, " that 
they have never been able to effect a union among them- 
selves ; . . . they could not unite for their defence 
against the French and Indians who were perpetually 
harassing their settlements, burning their villages and 
murdering their people. "J 

What of "the masses" that inhabited these jarring 
colonies? What is said of them by their visitors and 
their own countrymen? 

"The Saints of New England," Colonel Byrd, a 
landed gentleman of Virginia, declared to be cunning, 
hypocritical and dishonest ; " foul traders," ready to 
"palliate perjury," to cheat the law and get money.i 

Lewis Morris, of New York, father of Gouverneur 
Morris, seems to have considered it his duty to make 
his opinion of New England men a matter of official 
record. In the office of the Surrogate of the City of 
New York is filed his last will and testament. In that 
document there is contained a clause referring to " that 
low craft and cunning so incident to the people of 
that country [New England], and which are so inter- 
woven in their constitution that they cannot conceal 
it from the world, though many of them, under the 
sanctified garb of religion, have attempted to impose 
themselves upon the world as honest men." 

These were the opinions of men of rival provinces, 

*Pinkerton's Voyages, Vol. XIII., pp. 460, 461; Peter Kalm, 
Travels into North America, 
•f Answer to the Halifax Libel, p. 16. 
^Franklin's Canada Pamphlet: Works, Vol. IV., pp. 41, 42. 

99 

,| .< i c^ f- o 



MYTHS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION 

and, no doubt, prejudiced. What say the New England 
men of the character of " the masses " of their own 
provinces ? 

John Adams, whose New England blood was of the 
oldest, has a good deal to say about them. " Our New 
England people are awkward and bashful, yet they are 
pert, ostentatious and vain; a mixture which excites 
ridicule and gives disgust." In another place he writes 
of '' the mean cunning which disgraces so many of my 
countrymen." In others he tells of their debauches at 
taverns and dram-shops, to be found " at every corner 
of the town," where " carousings and swearing " are 
indulged in, and where are begotten *' bastards and legis- 
lators ;" of their corruption and venality, whereby 
" men who are totally ignorant of all law, human and 
divine, were elected representatives of the people " to the 
dread of the *' virtuous few." All of which, he asserted, 
caused the people of New England " to lose the natural 
dignity and freedom of English minds."* 

These reflections were recorded prior to and during 
the agitation for independence. That the fervent fires 
of the Revolution did not purge his New England 
brethren from the dross of intemperance and idleness 
he testified half a century later. At that time he wrote : 
" The number of licensed houses, drams, grog and sot- 
ting are not diminished, and remain to this day as 
deplorable as ever. You may as well preach to the 
Indians against rum as to our people. "f 

But "the masses" of the South, what of them? 
Of some of them, his near neighbors. Colonel Byrd 
writes : " They pay no tribute, either to God or 
Caesar," and otherwise gives a very unlovely picture 
of his fellow-provincials. 2 From foreign travellers 
we hear of habits indulged in by the lower classes of 
the South almost too shocking for belief; habits that 
the " lesser breeds " would be ashamed to indulge in. 

*John Adams' Works, Vol. II., pp. 84, 122, 123, 126, 345; 
Familiar Letters, p. 207. 
tJohn Adams' Works, Vol. IX., pp. 637, 638. 
100 



AMERICAN PATRIOTISM AND SELF-SEEKING 

We hear much of " eye-gouging," which they practised 
even in their " friendly " scuffles, and of another habit 
so gross as only to be expressed by a metaphor. 3 

'' The masses " of the provinces of New York and 
Pennsylvania seem to have been a more orderly and law- 
abiding people ; especially the first-named. But as New 
York was a loyal province, and Pennsylvania nearly so, 
with these we have less to do. 

Certainly it is not to be supposed that this testimony 
to the character of the colonists was ever meant to apply 
to the whole of the inhabitants of any one of the prov- 
inces. Undoubtedly, in the North there were men of 
honor and probity who would have been a credit to any 
race or nation. In the South there were men of cul- 
ture possessed of no vices except the vices common to 
gentlemen of the age in which they lived. But to a 
large part of " the masses " of both sections it was 
meant to, and does apply ; and it is of these " masses " 
that Mr. Bancroft and Mr. Hosmer make their boastful 
claim. 

Perhaps it was a knowledge of this fact that caused 
Benjamin Franklin, in 1769, to complain that that " petty 
island " of Great Britain, " which, compared to America, 
is but like a stepping-stone in a brook, scarce enough of 
it above water to keep one's shoes dry," should "enjoy, 
in almost every neighborhood, more sensible, virtuous 
and elegant minds than we can collect in ranging a hun- 
dred leagues of our vast forests."* 

To which party did these "masses" adhere? Were 
they Loyalist or Disunion? To the latter, if we accept 
the testimony of one who crossed the seas to aid the 
Revolutionists, at the hazard of his life, and, therefore, 
if biased, should be biased in their favor. 

The Count de Fersen wrote, of his Revolutionary 
friends: '' Ih sont les gens de la plus basse extraction, 
qui ne possedent point des hiens" The Loyalists, he 

*Benjamin Franklin to Mary Shaw, March 25, 1763: Writings, 
Vol. VII., p. 246. 

lOI 



MYTHS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION 

declared, '' sout les gens d'une classe phis distinguee, les 
seuls qui eussent des hiens dans la pays.""^ 

This classification is too broad, for we know that 
there were, at least, some exceptions. 

As nearly all this testimony applies to the periods 
before and during the Revolution, perhaps that '' por- 
tentous transaction " worked a miraculous change in the 
habits and sentiments of the colonists. Perhaps there- 
after the purest patriotism and self-abnegation pre- 
vailed among " the masses." 

As to this we may take the testimony of the most 
illustrious of all Americans. 

In the summer of 1775, on taking command of the 
Continental army. General Washington found that " con- 
fusion and discord reigned in every department, which 
in a little time must have ended in the separation of the 
army, or fatal contests with one another."^ Soon he saw 
" the utmost reason to suspect irregularities and imposi- 
tions " among those in command ; men " so basely sordid 
as to counteract all our exertions for the sake of a little 
gain." With this "base and pernicious conduct" of 
the officers was combined the no less base conduct of 
their men, for there were many "infamous desertions " 
among them, the greater part of the remainder being 
" in a state not far'from mutiny " because of a delay in 
their payment. Though an immediate attack from Gen- 
eral Howe was expected, some of them were " resolved 
to go off ;" while it was feared that the expected attack 
would be successful because of the "dissatisfaction" 
of the troops in general, " the true state of the temper 
and disposition of the soldiers" having been revealed 
to the British general. Wherefore Washington deplored 
the " egregious want of public spirit " of his fellow-col- 
onists, who, " instead of pressing to be engaged in the 
cause of their country," were deserting it in its hour 
of danger.4 

So began Washington's acquaintance with the Revolu- 
tionary army. After some six months of experience as 

*Lettres du Compte de Fersen, pp. 40, 41. 

103 



AMERICAN PATRIOTISM AND SELF-SEEKING 

its commander-in-chief, he was brought to lament the 
hour in which he had consented to guide its destinies. 
During the winter of the same year, to a correspondent 
he complained: 

" Such a dearth of public spirit and such a want of 
virtue, such stock- jobbing and fertility in all the low 
arts to obtain advantages of one kind or another, in this 
great change of military arrangement, I never saw 
before, and pray God's mercy that I may never be wit- 
ness to again. . . . And such a mercenary spirit 
pervades the whole that I should not be surprised at 
any disaster that may happen. . . . Could I have 
foreseen what I have experienced, and am likely to 
experience, no consideration upon earth should have 
induced me to accept this command."* After some 
three years of similar experience, Washington declared : 

" If I were called upon to draw a picture of the times 
and men, from what I have seen, heard, and in part 
know, I should in one word say that idleness, dissipation 
and extravagance seem to have laid fast hold of most 
of them; that speculation, peculation and an insatiable 
thirst for riches seem to have got the better of every 
other consideration, and almost of every order of men ; 
that party disputes and personal quarrels are the great 
business of the day ; whilst the momentous concerns of 
an empire, a great and accumulating debt, ruined fin- 
ances, depreciated money, and want of credit, which 
in its consequences is the want of everything, are but 
secondary considerations, and postponed from day to 
day, from week to week, as if our affairs wore the most 
promising aspect. . . . Speculation, peculation, 
engrossing, forestalling, with all their concomitants, 
afford too many melancholy proofs of the decay of 
public virtue. .' . . Is the paltry consideration of a 
little wealth to individuals to be placed in competition 
with the essential rights and liberties of the present gen- 
eration and millions yet unborn? . . . And shall 

*Letter to Joseph Reed, November 28, 1775 ' Writings, Vol. III., 
pp. 178, 179- 

103 



MYTHS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION 

we, at last, become victims of our own lust and gain?'* 
A few months later he wrote : '' Alas ! virtue and patriot- 
ism are almost extinct! Stock-jobbing, speculating, 
engrossing, seem to be the great business of the day 
and of the multitude, while a virtuous few struggle, 
lament and suffer in silence."'*' 

These " new forms of virtue," and equally new 
'' fidelity to principle," pervading the masses of the 
people he had comiC to save from British misgovern- 
ment, and to enable them to " govern themselves," did 
not please Washington. His wrath was great and unre- 
pressed ; his complaints loud and frequently uttered. 
Not only during the course of the Revolutionary War, 
but thereafter, during his two terms as President of the 
new republic ; even, at intervals, almost to the day of 
his death, the correspondence of Washington teems 
with fulminations against the venality, selfishness, tur- 
bulence, lawlessness and want of principle and patriot- 
ism of his fellow-colonists and fellow-citizens. 

The number of those who " basely deserted the cause 
of their country " increased enormously and became 
" astonishingly great." There was " exceeding great 
lukewarmness " among the patriotic colonists in enlist- 
ing, and those who did enlist, as soon as their time 
expired, were generally " seized with a desire for return- 
ing into a chimney-corner." Many grew " tired out," 
and '' almost professed an abhorrence for the service." 
Others professed themselves unable to do duty, but 
regained perfect health upon the administration to them 
of '' that grand specific, a discharge !" " The recruiting 
service seemed to be at an end," and the officers, like 
their men, were loath " to abandon their comfortable 
quarters and take the field." And " no day, scarce an 
hour, passed without the offer of a resigned commis- 
sion." "The spirit of resigning," Washington wrote, 
in the summer of 1779, " is now become almost uni- 

*Letters to Benjamin Harrison, December 30, 1778; to James 
Warren, March 31, 1779; to Henry Laurens, November 5, 1779: 
Washington's Writings, Vol. VI., pp. 151, 152, 210, 211, 379. 

104 



AMERICAN PATRIOTISM AND SELF-SEEKING 

versal. Every expedient that could operate upon their 
hopes, their patriotism, or their honor has been 
exhausted. The regiments, for want of a sufficient num- 
ber of officers, and for want of zeal of the few that 
remain, are dwindling to nothing." On more than one 
occasion Washington expressed a fear of a '' total dis- 
solution of the army,"5 

Desertions from the crews of the American war- 
vessels — most unfairly, it would seem — also became a 
source of " inexpressible plague, trouble and vexation " 
to Washington. " I do believe there is not on earth a 
more disorderly set,""^ he complained of these men. 

Abhorrence of the service was not confined to those 
who had had experience of it; it was the general senti- 
ment of the colonists. Less than two years after the 
breaking out of hostilities, Washington saw " symp- 
toms " which led him to believe *' that the people of 
America are pretty generally weary of the present 
war."t 

This reluctance to sacrifice themselves for the good of 
their country was the prevalent sentiment among the 
fervent patriots who had been so eager to fight for their 
" rights." When asked to enlist, Washington tells us, 
they would declare, " they ' may as well be ruined in one 
way as another,' and with difficulty they are obtained." 
So eager were they to accept the protection of the 
British that, at one time, Washington feared " a sys- 
tematical submission." Upon the occupation of the 
territory of New Jersey by the King's troops, he tells 
us, the inhabitants, " either from fear or disaffection, 
almost to a man refused to turn out " to help expel 
them ; but, instead, " are making submission as fast as 
they can." It was the same in Pennsylvania. Indeed, 
throughout the war similar conditions prevailed. No 

*Washington to Joseph Reed, November 20, 1775' to the 
President of Congress, December 4, 1775 : Washington's Writings, 
Vol. Ill, pp. 168, 187. 

fLetter to John Banister, April 21, 1778: Writings, Vol. V., 
P- 324. 



MYTHS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION 

sooner was a state occupied by the British arms than 
the desire to submit and take the oath of allegiance 
became epidemic. That these obligations afterwards 
many times were violated by the jurors does not testify 
any more highly for their patriotism.* 

These experiences caused Washington to indulge in 
some moral reflections. Already, as early as the winter 
of 1776, he had written to the Congress : '' When men 
are irritated and their passions inflamed, they fly hastily 
and cheerfully to arms; but after the first emotions are 
over, to expect among such people as compose the bulk 
of an army, that they are influenced by any other prin- 
ciples than those of interest, is to look for what never 
did, and I fear never will happen. ... A soldier 
is reasoned with upon the goodness of the cause he is 
engaged in, and the inestimable rights he is contending 
for, hears you with patience, and acknowledges the 
truth of your observations, but adds that it is of no more 
importance to him than to others. The officer mak^ 
you the same reply, with this further remark, that his 
pay will not support him, and he cannot ruin himself 
and family to serve his country when every member of 
the community is equally interested and benefited by 
his labors. The few, therefore, who act upon prin- 
ciples of disinterestedness, comparatively speaking, are 
no more than a drop in the ocean. "f 

Again, in the spring of 1778, Washington is compelled 
to moralize upon human inconsistency and irresolution. 
" Men may speculate as they will," he wrote ; " they may 
talk of patriotism ; they may draw a few examples from 
ancient story of great achievements performed by its 
influence, but whoever builds upon them as a sufficient 
basis for conducting a long and bloody w^ar will find 

*Washington to the President of Congress, December 5, 1776; 
to Governor Trumbull, December 12, 1776; to J. A. Washington, 
December 18, 1776; to General Schuyler, March 12, 1777: 
Writings, Vol. IV., pp. 204, 212, 231, 360. 

tWashington to the President of Congress, September 24, 1776: 
Writings, Vol. IV., p;. iii. 

106 



AMERICAN PATRIOTISM AND SELF-SEEKING 

himself deceived in the end. ... I will venture to 
assert that a great and lasting war can never be sup- 
ported on this principle alone. It must be aided by a 
prospect of interest or some reward. ""^ 

Washington had become thoroughly disillusioned. 
Instead of men who were eager to offer their lives and 
property upon the altar of their country, he had to deal 
with those who were selfishly desirous of conserving 
their own interests regardless of the welfare of their 
fellows; men who were ready to shift their allegiance 
according as success or failure attended his efforts. 
And these were the men by whose means he was to 
accomplish a revolution and give birth to a new nation. 
If these were the " invincible sons of the earth/' who, 
in the opinion of Chatham and Burke, rather than sub- 
mit to the pretensions of Parliament would retire into 
the forests and rejoice in their liberty, or retreat to 
mountain fastnesses, there to become hordes of Tartars 
swooping down with irresistible force upon the Loyalist 
population of the maritime provinces, they must have 
acquired a far milder temperament with remarkable 
celerity. If these were the wolves that the ministers 
had rnistaken for sheep, it must be admitted that, at 
times, they could assume so sheep-like an aspect as to 
justify the error. 

The fact is, the ardor for warlike opposition to the 
Government, exalted to a high pitch by the exhortations 
of the Disunion chiefs, soon subsided. When these 
leaders, bent upon independence, began their propa- 
ganda, they set about preparing the minds of the adven- 
turous, the dissatisfied, the unthinking and over-zealous 
for the coming change, and one very effective method 
was to assert that no change was desired or intended, 
but that a change for the worse was intended by the 
Home Government. Under the stimulus ^ incited by 
these means, they found opportunity to raise a cry of 
tyranny and oppression, and to declare that if no resist- 

*Letter to John Banister, April 21, 1778: Writings, Vol. V., 
p. 322. 

107 



MYTHS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION 

ance were made, the colonists, one and all^ were doomed 
to perpetual slavery. 

In these attempts to stir up the passions of the people 
the Disunion chiefs were powerfully aided by the New 
England clergy, who loudly echoed the cry of tyranny 
and predicted direful results to their flocks if they did 
not forcibly resist the attempts to enslave them. At an 
early period of the war, one of these ministers of the 
Prince of Peace, taking as his text the ferociously cruel 
and denunciatory words, '' Cursed be he that holdeth 
back his hand from blood," pictured the awful suffer- 
ings that the colonists, the young and old, the helpless 
and infirm, were doomed to endure should Great Britain 
regain control of their country. Looking into the 
future with a prophetic eye, he saw them " toiling and 
covered with sweat to cultivate the soil ; ... in 
rags, bearing burdens and drawing water for these 
haughty lords [the British], and then cringing to 
them for a morsel of bread." These miserable beings, 
he declaimed, in tones of despair, "are (O gracious 
God, support my spirits!) — they are my sons and daugh- 
ters, . . . loaded with irons, and dragging after 
them, wherever they go, the heavy, galling chains of 
slavery. . . . They sink in despair under the load. 
They see no way, they feel no power, to recover them- 
selves from this pit of misery, but pine away and die 
in it, and leave to their children the same wretched 
inheritance.""^ 

It might be supposed that such a picture as this, as 
nonsensical as it is bombastic and malignant, would have 
failed to influence the colonists, men of supposed intel- 
ligence and education. But the fact is that the rank 
and file of the Disunion party were not intelligent. Not 
only were they uneducated themselves, but they had 
little respect for education in others, and entrusted the 
management of their affairs, often, to men as unintel- 
ligent as themselves. Therefore it was that some of 
the most ignorant of their class were elected to official 

♦Nathaniel Whitaker, An Antidote against Toryism, pp. 24, 25. 

108 



AMERICAN PATRIOTISM AND SELF-SEEKING 

positions of trust and honor.6 Even in the New Eng- 
land provinces, illiteracy was common and intelligence 
was not the rule. That credulity which, half a century 
before, caused them to believe that harmless and half- 
demented old women were in league with the Prince of 
Darkness, now induced them to put faith in stories 
nearly as visionary and still more harmful. 

Among these people such a discourse m.ust have had 
the effect of raising their passions to a pitch of mad- 
ness. To them the picture was real. " Slavery " to 
them meant, not political or doctrinal slavery, but actual 
slavery such as was endured by the black and white 
slaves they saw around them. To such a condition they 
saw themselves reduced. It was this belief that roused 
in them that evanescent spirit of reckless courage testi- 
fied to by Earl Percy as existing among the " Minute 
Men," some of whom advanced to the attack " though 
morally certain of being put to death in an instant.""^ 

But this belligerent spirit was exhibited by few, soon 
subsided, and gave place to lukewarm indifference and 
to the unpatriotic conditions observed by the com- 
mander-in-chief of the Revolutionary army. 

The " base and pernicious conduct " of the officers 
complained of by Washington did not diminish. Some 
of them embezzled money received by them for the pay- 
ment of their m.en. Many of the regimental surgeons 
Washington declared to be ''very great rascals, coun- 
tenancing the men in sham complaints to exempt them 
from duty, and often receiving bribes to certify indis- 
position, with a view to procure discharges or fur- 
loughs," and disposing for their own profit of medi- 
cines procured at the cost of the people for administra- 
tion to sick and wounded soldiers. Both officers and 
men engaged in plundering the peaceful inhabitants, 
without regard to their political affiliations. Whig and 
Tory alike suffered from the depredations of^ these 
patriotic marauders. '' No man," declared Washington, 
"■ was secure in his effects, and scarcely in his person." 

*Earl Percy's account of the retreat from Lexington. 

109 



MYTHS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION 

In a general order condemning this practice he asserted 
that the British were '' exceedingly careful to restrain 
every kind of abuse of private property, whilst the aban- 
doned and profligate part of our own army, lost to every 
sense of honor and virtue, as well as their country's 
good, are, by rapine and plunder, spreading ruin and 
terror wherever they go, thereby making themselves 
infinitely more to be dreaded than the common enemy 
they are come to oppose." These men, Washington 
declared, were guilty of '' robbery and even murder," 
and though he had used " his best endeavors to stop 
this horrid practice," he " might almost as well attempt 
to move Mount Atlas."* 

To work a reform Washington proposed to engage 
in the army as officers such as had '' just pretensions 
to the character of gentlemen," in the place of those 
who had so disgraced his command. Not that he 
expected even these gentlemen to risk their lives for the 
love of their country alone. Very early in his experi- 
ence he had declared, " There must be some other stim- 
ulus besides love for their country to make men fond 
of the service." This stimulus must take the form of 
" good pay." This, he believed, " will induce gentlemen 
and men of character to engage." As a further stim- 
ulus to patriotic eflfort he proposed that they should be 
granted half-pay for life. '' They will not be persuaded 
to sacrifice all views of present interest," he declared, 
" in defence of this country unless she will be generous 
enough on her part to make a decent provision for their 
future support."f 

Not a very " strangely elevated " sort of patriotism, 
this. 

^Washington to the President of the Council of Massachusetts, 
AugT.ist 7, 1775; to the President of Congress, September 24, 
1776; to Governor Livingston, January 24, 1777; to General 
Lincoln, April 27, 1777: Writings, Vol. IIL, p. 55; Vol. IV., pp. 
112, 116, 118, 119, 296, 402. 

tWashington to the President of Congress, September 24, 1776; 
to Patrick Henry, October 5, 1776; to Col. George Baylor, Janu- 
ary 9, 1777; to John Banister, April 21, 1778: Writings, Vol. IV., 
pp. Ill, 138, 269, 321. 

IIO 



AMERICAN PATRIOTISM AND SELF-SEEKING 

With the common soldier Washington had a less con- 
ciliatory method of dealing. '' There can be no absolute 
security for the fidelity of this class of people," he 
declared, and, therefore, some sort of coercion must be 
used to enforce obedience. At an early stage of the war 
he had recommended an increase in the bounties offered 
for enlistments, and this expedient was tried. But it 
was soon found that '' the effects of granting extrava- 
gant bounties " was that " the men are taught to put a 
price on themselves." In fact, the constant advance in 
the amount of bounties increased the very difficulty 
it was intended to obviate. One of the States gave " a 
thousand pounds (currency) for a few months," and 
one, Massachusetts, sent to his army some children, 
" hired at about fifteen hundred dollars for nine months' 
service." The result of this lavish expenditure was to 
retard rather than to expedite enlistments; for those 
disposed to enlist were apt to delay in the hope that, 
State bidding against State, still larger bounties would 
fall to their share. It produced, too, another evil, that 
practice which afterwards prevailed so extensively dur- 
ing the War of Secession, and then styled " bounty- 
jumping." " Many soldiers, lately enlisted in the Con- 
tinental army," Washington proclaimed, " not content 
with the generous bounties and encouragements granted 
to them by Congress, but influenced by a base regard to 
their own interests, have re-enlisted and received 
bounties from other officers, and then deserted."^^ 

Very early in the war Washington advocated con- 
scription, as " the only probable mode now left us for 
raising men." He was convinced, too, that the best 
method of dealing with the common soldier was that 
practised in European armies, based on corporal^ punish- 
ment. This system, indeed, he had put in practice from 

* Washington to Governor Livingston, February 19, 1780; to 
the President of Congress, September 24, 1776; to Governor 
Cooke, April 3, ^777', Proclamation, April 6, i777; Letters to 
President Reed, July 12, i779; to Alexander Spotswood, April 
30, 1777: Writings, Vol. IV., pp. 112, 37S 379; Vol. VL, pp. 312, 

471. 

Ill 



MYTHS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION 

the period of his taking command. We are told by 
Chaplain Emerson, who joined the army a few weeks 
afterwards, that even then ''every man was made to 
know his place, or be tied up and receive thirty or forty 
lashes." Later the severity of this form of punishment 
was greatly increased, Washington ordering the inflic- 
tion of as many as " five hundred lashes " for some 
forms of offences. Capital sentences, too, he tells us, 
became more frequent in the American service than in 
any other.* 

It is evident that the commander-in-chief of the armies 
of the Revolution lacked the sublime faith in the abilities, 
good intentions and patriotism of the " insurgent hus- 
bandmen " possessed by its chronicler, historian Bancroft. 

After other expedients — one of which was the enlist- 
ment of negro slaves by one of the New England prov- 
inces — had been tried and failed, the suggestions of 
Washington were adopted. The officers were granted 
their half-pay, and a conscription was ordered. And 
though there were constant evasions of the law^f the 
last named expedient helped much to keep an army in 
the field. 

The Disunion cause was won. The dependent col- 
onies became independent States ; the goal of their 
desires was reached, yet all was not well. The new 
States could no longer quarrel with the Home Govern- 
ment, and if they quarrelled at all, must perforce quarrel 
among themselves. This they did with an acrimony 
hardly less ardent than that exhibited on the earlier 
occasion. " We look with indifference, often with 
hatred, fear and aversion, to the other States," wrote 
Fisher Ames in 1782. This grieved Washington, who 

*Washington to Governor Cooke, December 5, 1775; to the 
General Court of Massachusetts, January 16, 1776; to the Presi- 
dent of Pennsylvania, October 17, 1777; to the President of Con- 
gress, April 23, 1778; February 3, 1781 : Writings, Vol. III., pp. 
188, 246, 491 ; Vol. v., pp. 97, 336 ; Vol. VII., p. 387. 

tWashington to the Committee of Congress, January 15, 1779; 
to Landon Carter, May 30, 1778; MS. letter to Governor Cooke, 
February 3, 1778: Writings, Vol. V., p. 338; Vol. VI., pp. 152, 330. 

112 



AMERICAN PATRIOTISM AND SELF-SEEKING 

wished to see them united in fact as well as in name. 
He complained of their unreasonable jealousies, each of 
the others, and all of the Congress; declaring that if 
there were not a change in the system the result would 
be " our downfall as a nation. This is as clear to me as 
ABC, and I think we have opposed Great Britain to 
very little purpose if we cannot conquer our prejudices,""^ 
he coniplained. 

"Internal dissensions and jarrings with our neigh- 
bors " ; " individual States opposing the measures of the 
United States ; States encroaching upon the territory of 
one another, and setting up old and obsolete claims ;" all 
this Washington characterized as " shameful and disgust- 
ing," and added: "In a word, I am lost in amazement 
when I behold what intrigue, the interested views of 
desperate characters, ignorance and jealousy of the minor 
part, are capable of effecting."t 

These " internal dissensions," that culminated in an 
insurrection, incited in the mind of Washington the ex- 
tremity of indignation : " What, gracious God, is man," 
he wrote to a friend, '' that there should be such incon- 
sistency and perfidiousness in his conduct? . . . The 
thing is so unaccountable that I hardly know how to 
realize it, or to persuade myself that I am not under the 
influence of a dream." His friend Greene, he thought, 
was '' happy in his death, since he did not live to see 
such anarchy."! 

The insurrection was suppressed, but the fierce party 
dissensions continued, until they merged into the saturn- 
alia of the " Democratic Societies " and the '* Whiskey 
Rebellion," in 1793. On one occasion Washington 
declared that the majority of the people of a New Eng- 

*Fisher Ames' Works, Vol. I., p. ii3- Washington to Benjamin 
Harrison, January 18, 1784: Writings, Vol. IX., p. 12. 

t Washington to Governor Clinton, November 25, 1784; to 
R H. Lee, December 14, 1784; to William Grayson, July 26, 
1786; to Henry Lee, October 31, 1786: Writings, Vol. IX., pp. 
68, 178, 203, 204. 

tWashington to David Humphreys, December 26, 1786; to 
Henry Knox, December 26, 1786: Writings, Vol. IX., pp. 221, 225. 
8 113 



MYTHS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION 

land state had *'bid adieu long since to every principle 
of honor, common sense and honesty;" in one of the 
South, that " the public mind was irritable, sour and dis- 
contented." After he had occupied the Presidential 
chair for a year he became convinced that the conduct 
of the people " must soon bring us back to our former 
disreputable condition." Two years later there are more 
" internal dissensions," that are " harrowing and tearing 
our vitals," and *' newspaper abuse," that is poured upon 
him and the other officers of the Government. The times 
are " lawless and outrageous." " I see," he writes, 
" under a display of popular and fascinating guises, the 
most diabolical attempts to destroy the best fabric of 
human government and happiness that has ever been 
presented for the acceptance of mankind." He was of 
the opinion " that the daring and factious spirit which 
has arisen to overturn the laws and to subvert the con- 
stitution ought to be subdued. If this is not done there 
is an end of, and we may bid adieu to, all government 
in this country except mob and club government, from 
which nothing but anarchy and confusion can ensue ;" 
and then " every man, or set of men, will, in that case, 
cut and carve for themselves."* 

In the fall of 1795 v/e find Washington still looking 
forward to an approaching crisis and fearful of " anarchy 
and confusion." A year later he is complaining that his 
acts as Executive of the Government have been repre- 
sented " in such exaggerated and indecent terms as could 
scarcely be applied to a Nero, a notorious defaulter, or 
even a common pickpocket." And two years later still, 
of " the malignant industry and persevering falsehoods "f 
with which he was assailed. 

^Washington to Gouverneur Morris, October 13, 1789; to 
Daniel Stuart, June 15, 1790; to Jefferson, August 23, 1792; to 
Edmund Randolph, August 26, 1792; to Henry Lee, August 20, 
1794; to General Morgan, October 8, 1794: Writings, Vol. X., 
pp. 30, 98, 280, 287, 428, 439, 440. 

tWashington to Patrick Henry, October 9, 1795 ; to Jefferson, 
July 6, 1796; to Benjamin Walker, January 12, 1797: IVritings, 
Vol. XI., pp. 82, 139, 183. 

114 



AMERICAN PATRIOTISM AND SELF-SEEKING 

The close of Washington's second administration was 
now at hand, and two years later his life was to end. 
Perhaps enough of his testimony to the character of the 
new forms of virtue evolved by the American Revolution 
has been adduced. But a few corroborative statements 
from other sources may be added. 

A few weeks after the declaration of independence 
we find John Adams — then in the midst of his triumph- 
ant Disunion colleagues — complaining that he had seen 
little of the " pure flame of patriotism," but " much of 
the ostentation and affectation of it." About the same 
time he declared that " a more exalted love of their 
country must be excited among the people of the new 
states, or they " would perish in infancy." " I fear," he 
added, " there is an infinity of corruption in our elec- 
tions already crept in. . . . Thus we are sowing 
seeds of ignorance, corruption and injustice." A little 
later : '' The spirit of venality," he writes, '' is the most 
dreadful and alarming enemy America has to oppose. 
It is as rapacious and insatiable as the grave. This pre- 
dominant avarice will ruin America, if she is ever ruined. 
If God Almighty does not interfere by His grace to con- 
trol this universal idolatry to the mammon of unright- 
eousness, we shall be given up to the chastisements of 
His judgments."* 

Again, after his fellow-citizens had enjoyed some nine 
months of " self-government," Mr. Adams wrote : 
" There is one enemy who, to me, is more formidable 
than famine, pestilence and the sword. I mean the cor- 
ruption which is prevalent in so many American hearts. 
I have very .often been ashamed to hear so 
many Whigs [Disunionists] groaning and sighing with 
despondency and whining out their fears that we must be 
subdued unless France should step in." *' I am more 
sick and more ashamed of my own countrymen than 

*John Adams to Abigail Adams, August i8, 1776; to Samuel H. 
Parsons, August 10. 1776; to Joseph Hawley, August 25, 177^\ 
to Abigail Adams, October 4, 1776: Works, Vol. IX., pp. 432, 435; 
Familiar Letters, pp. 214, 232. 

115 



MYTHS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION . 

ever I was before. . . . The gloomy cowardice of the 
times is intolerable in New England. . . . I am 
wearied to death with the wrangles between military 
officers, high and low. They quarrel like cats and dogs. 
They worry one another like mastiffs, scrambling for 
rank and pay like apes for nuts."* 

This is the testimony of Mr. Adams concerning the 
sentiments and habits of his fellow-Disunionists in 
America. But it seems that they did not discard them 
when abroad. When in Paris, in 1779, he wrote: ** All 
the infernal arts of stock- jobbing, all the voracious 
avarice of merchants, have mingled themselves with 
American politics here."t 

Twenty years later, shortly after his inauguration as 
President of the United States, Mr. Adams wrote to his 
friend Elbridge Gerry, referring to some of his patriotic 
brethren, who had made their patriotism so profitable 
that they were then " rolling in wealth," though they had 
begun their services to their country " without any 
visible means," and adding : " The want of principle 
in so many of our citizens, which you mention, is 
awfully ominous to our elective government. Want of 
principle seems to be a recommendation to popularity 
and influence. The avarice and ambition which you and 
I have witnessed for these thirty years is too deeply 
rooted in the hearts and education and examples of our 
people ever to be eradicated. "J 

Joseph Reed, the Adjutant-General of the Revolution- 
ary army, wrote of " almost every villainy and rascality " 
that was " daily practised with impunity " by its officers ; 
and of " the low and dirty arts which many of them 
practise to filch the public of more money."§ 

*John Adams to William Gordon, April 8, i777; to James 
Warren, April 27, 1777; to Abigail Adams, April 20, 1777; to 
Abigail Adams, May 22, 1777: Works, Vol. IX., pp. 461, 462; 
Familiar Letters, pp. 263, 276. 

tjohn Adams to Abigail Adams, February 20, 1779: Familiar 
Letters, p. 356. 

JRandall's Life of Jefferson, Vol. Ill, pp. 602, 603. 

%Life of Joseph Reed, Vol. I., p. 213. 

116 



AMERICAN PATRIOTISM AND SELF-SEEKING 

James Lovell, a prominent member of the Congress, 

^in 1778 wrote: " Scarce an officer, civil or military, but 

feels something of a desire to be concerned in mercantile 

speculations. . . . We are almost a continental 

tribe of Jews.""^ 

David Ramsay, surgeon, and historian of the War of 
the Revolution, too, testifies that during its course 
" truth, honor and justice were swept away by the over- 
flowing deluge of legal iniquity." And Noah Webster 
tells us that during that period " not less than twenty 
thousand men in America left honest callings and applied 
themselves to this knavish traffic "f of speculating on 
the needs of their countrymen. 

So much for the testimony of native Americans. Of 
foreigners there is that of Count de Fersen, from 
whose letters some quotations have been made ; and that 
of another French officer, also engaged in the cause of 
the Revolutionists, whose letter to a friend in France was 
intercepted and translated by the British authorities. 

The former writes that : '' Le plus grand nomhre [of 
the colonists] ne pensent qu' a leur interet personnel," 
and adds: ''Us sont d'une cupidite sans egale. . . . 
Je parle de la nation en general." The latter that: 
*' The spirit of enthusiasm in defence of liberty does not 
exist among them ; there is more of it for the support 
of America in one coffee-house in Paris than is to be 
found in the whole continent."J 

Yet it was of these times and of these people that 
Daniel Webster spoke when he said : " No man sought 
or wished for more than to defend and to enjoy his own. 
None hoped for plunder or for spoil. Rapacity was 
unknown to it!"§ And it was that same illustrious 

*Jame5 Lovell to the Commissioners at Paris, March 24, 177S: 
Diplomatic Correspondence of the United States. Vol. TIL, p. ?i8. 

tRamsay's History of the Revolutionary War. Noah Web- 
ster's Essays, p. 105. . 

XLettres du Compte de Fersen. Intercepted letter transmitted 
to Lord Shelburne in May, 1778. Lansdowne Papers, cii€6;A>y 
Lecky. 

§Paniel Webster, in his Bunker Hill spfcech. 



MYTHS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION 

statesman who exhorted his countrymen to refresh them- 
selves at '* those pure fountains of mutual esteem, com- 
mon patriotism and fraternal confidence whose beneficent 
healing waters so copiously overflowed the land through 
the struggle of the Revolution and in the early days of 
the Government."* It is in these conditions that Mr. 
Bancroft and other acclaimers of the Revolutionary 
Myth have discerned that benign tranquillity, those new 
forms of virtue, that fidelity to principle, that chivalry 
and unselfishness, that strange elevation of feeling and 
dignity of action, with which they have endowed the 
subject of their story. 

It is evident that if the assertions of the Revolu- 
tionary chiefs be accepted as true, these claims are false 
and fraudulent, and that the virtues with which they 
have credited their heroes, to a conspicuous extent at 
least, were negligible quantities. Unless, indeed, virtue 
had taken on itself such a " new form " as to simulate 
the appearance of vice ! 

Equally unrecognizable is the chivalry and dignity of 
action as regards the relations of the Disunion chiefs. 
Dissensions, jealousies and animosities prevailed among 
them, not only during the period of the Revolution, 
but enduring, and even increasing, for m.any years there- 
after. " From first to last," we are told by John Jay, 
" there was a most bitter party against Washington " 
among the members of the Congress. 7 For the rest, 
Washington disliked John Adams, felt a hearty con- 
tempt for Monroe, and when he had discovered the 
nature of his intrigues against him, conceived a supreme 
scorn for Jefferson. Hamilton was not earnest in his 
love of Washington^ from a belief in his " ston^^-hearted- 
ness;" John Adams he disliked, and for Jefferson his 
contempt was unmitigated' and tinrestrained. To John 
Adams Benjamin Harrison was "disgusting," Monroe 
was " stupid " and " malignant," and for a time, at 
least, he. felt, .and expressed, abhorrence of Jefiferson. 
He disliked Hamilton, was envious of Franklin, and did 

*0a:piel Wetfe'ter: Reply to Beaton A'dcifess, April 9, i^S'o. 

118 



AMERICAN PATRIOTISM AND SELF-SEEKING 

not love Washington. In short, it would be hard to 
name one of his colleagues (except his cousin Samuel, 
who never stepped in his way) to whom, at one time or 
another, the second President of the United States was 
not antagonistic. Almost the sole instance of unbroken 
accord between any two of the prominent chiefs of the 
American Revolution is that of John Jay and Gouver- 
neur Morris, and they, in common, felt a thorough con- 
tempt for the '* damned scoundrels in the Second Con- 
tinental Congress. "8 

But, asks Mr. Roosevelt, " What European nation then 
brought forth rulers as wise and pure as our statesmen, 
or masses as free and self-respecting as our people?"* 
'' The Americans of the Revolution," he admits, " were 
not perfect," but, " how their faults dwindle when we 
stand them side by side with their European compeers." 
"There was," he adds, "far more swindling, jobbing, 
cheating and stealing in the English army than in ours ;9 
which strikes one as rather a weak eulogy to be applied 
to his heroes. For did it not appear to Mr. Roosevelt 
as rather a flimsy foundation upon which to raise a 
superstructure of fame for a people claiming to justify 
a rebellion with the intent to replace a corrupt and tyran- 
nical government with a just and virtuous one? And 
is Mr. Roosevelt sure of his ground when he exalts for 
wisdom and purity the Revolutionary Fathers above a 
Chatham, a Mansfield, a Rockingham, a Burke, and 
many other English statesmen of that age whose repu- 
tation for wisdom and purity has been unsmirched by 
time? They contended for "liberty" — or that which 
they acclaimed to be liberty. But, after all, is this 
evidence of unselfishness or purity, since they could 
not have bestowed it upon themselves without granting 
the boon to others? As for "the masses," it will be 
seen that their love of liberty was not manifested in 
such a way as to accord the boon to their fellow- 
colonists. 

^Got^erneuY Morris, p- 82. 

"9 



CHAPTER VII. 

SOME CRIMES COMMITTED IN THE 
NAME OF LIBERTY. 

With the evidence we have had of the antipathy of 
the Disunion leaders towards each other^ it may well be 
doubted that they manifested any benignity in their 
treatment of their Loyalist opponents. And the facts 
justify the doubt. 

In searching the records of the dealings of the Revolu- 
tionists with the Loyalists, we are confronted with a 
weary and sickening list of savage and cruel outrages 
inflicted by them on such of their fellow-colonists as 
refused to surrender their consciences into their keeping 
and to speak and act in accordance with their despotic 
commands.! 

In the opinion of Disunionists, a Loyalist had no 
rights. He stood prejudged and condemned by the laws 
they had set up for their own guidance — laws whose 
makers were self-appointed, whose administrators were 
the mob, and whose emblems were the tar-bucket and 
bag of feathers. It mattered not that the Loyalists 
desired the good of the whole community under the rule 
of law and order ; they must pay the penalty for daring 
to differ from the mob and the mob's instructors. 

"Wisely they spoke, and what was their reward? 
The tar, the rail, the prison and the cord."* 

From the beginning of the Disunion agitation we read 
of an ever-increasing list of w^hippings, tar-and-feather- 
ings, and other outrages of a still worse character, to 

*Jonathan Odell, The Loyalist Poetry of the Revolution. 

120 



CRIMES IN THE NAME OF LIBERTY 

which the Loyalists were subjected. Men of culture and 
refinement were driven from their homes and forced to 
conceal themselves in holes and corners, or in the inhos- 
pitable forests, to escape from threatened indignities 
and violence. Their homes were plundered and sacked, 
the ladies of their families were insulted, and sometimes 
offered personal violence ; even the innocent domestic 
animals of the offending Loyalist were tortured to 
glut the malice of these ruffianly upholders of the 
'' rights of man " against their owner. Should he fall 
into their hands, he was subjected either to such treat- 
ment as threatened his life, or to such other humiliating 
outrage as, in the words of Daniel Leonard, who him- 
self had been a mark for the vengeance of the patriotic 
rabble, was '' more to be deprecated by a man of senti- 
ment than death itself."* Or even— as at an ^ early 
period of these persecutions happened to one Richard 
King, several times mobbed for the crime of being '' sus- 
pected of having a leaning towards the Government'' — 
actually driven insane. f 

Age and infirmity, even impending death, brought no 
safety to those who, by the expression of their honest 
opinions, or by refusing to sign agreements which their 
consciences repudiated, had incurred the enmity of the 
Disunion chiefs. Several of the vilest of the outrages 
were committed upon the persons of aged and feeble 
gentlemen.^ 

The law courts had been closed and Justice thrust 
from her seat. Instead were established self-appointed 
" committees/' each of which combined the functions of 
judge, jury and executioner. Haled before such a tri- 
bunal, the suspected Loyalist was required to swear to 
and subscribe an abject recantation of his supposed 
opinions, and to promise thenceforth to govern himself 

*Massachusetfensis Letters, Letter IV. 

tjohn Adams to Abigail Adams, July 7,1 774: Familiar Letters, 
p. 20. 

J Among others, those committed upon Ropes, Foster and 
Williams. 

121 



MYTHS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION 

according to the directions of the committee. If he had 
the manHness to refuse these degrading obHgations, 
either he was at once subjected to a humiliating punish- 
ment for his contumacy, or dismissed with the threat of 
its infliction hanging over his head, in the meantime 
being pointed out to the rabble as a worthy mark for 
their insults. 

Sometimes these proceedings were varied by the w^hole 
committee, with the mob at their heels, visiting the home 
of the intended victim, where they proceeded at once to 
pronounce sentence and do execution.^ 

These conditions existed before the assembling of the 
Congress. As soon as that body — elected by less than a 
tithe of the population, merely as a deliberative assem- 
bly3 — had usurped legislative and executive authority, 
over Disunion and loyal alike, the conditions grew still 
more grievous. Then — 

" Committees and Conventions met by scores, 
Justice was banished, Law turned out of doors."* 

These committees and their emissaries, claiming to act 
by the authority of the Congress, became ubiquitous. 
Secret and cunning as the Familiars of the Holy Inqui- 
sition, they entered without ceremony into the homes of 
those they chose to suspect of loyalty to the Empire, or 
against whom they cherished a spite, violating the sanc- 
tity of the ladies' apartments, ransacking cupboards and 
desks for incriminating evidence, opening private com- 
munications, and cross-examining the inmates. 4 

Under these conditions it is not strange that one Loy- 
alist should assert that the Congress had set up '' a gov- 
ernment for cruelty and ferocity not to be equalled by 
any but that in the lower regions, where the Prince of 
Darkness is president."t Or that others should declare 
that the Disunionists, "under the pretence of being 
friends to liberty," were " banditti," and " more savage 

*T/t^ Loyalist Poetry of the Revolution, p. 53. 
tHarrlson Gray in a letter to his brother. Van Tyne's Loyal- 
ists of the Revolution, p. 258. 

122 



CRIMES IN THE NAME OF LIBERTY 

and cruel than heathens, or any other creatures, and, it 
is g-enerally thought, than devils.""^ 

But it is not alone the Loyalists that have complained 
of these enormities. There was at least one, a citizen 
of the United States, a staunch supporter of the prin- 
ciples of the Revolution, and a believer in its necessity 
and justice, who joined in condemning them. 

Lorenzo Sabine, in a noble passage in his book on the 
Loyalists, writes : 

" What man was ever won over to the right by the 
arguments of mobbing, burning and smoking? Did the 
cause of America and human freedom gain strength by 
the deeds of the five hundred that mobbed Sheriff T3'ng? 
. Were the shouts of the excited multitude, and 
the crash of broken glass and demolished furniture, fit 
requiem for the dying Ropes? . . . Did Ruggles 
forget that the creatures which grazed his pastures had 
been painted, shorn, maimed and poisoned ; that he had 
been pursued on the highway by day and night; that 
his dwelling had been broken open, and he and his family 
had been driven from it? ... On whose cheek 
should be the blush of shame when the habitation of the 
aged and feeble Foster was sacked and he had no shelter 
but the woods; when Williams, as infirm as he, was 
seized at night, dragged away for miles, and smoked in 
a room with fastened doors and a closed chimney-top? 
What father who doubted, wavered and doubted still, 
whether to join or fly, determined to abide the issue in 
the land of his birth, because foul words were spoken 
to his daughters ? . . . The warfare waged against 
persons in their homes and about their lawful avocations 
cannot be justified. "f 

But if, as suggests ^Mr. Sabine, the cause of America 
and human freedom was not advanced by such acts, at 
least the Disunion chiefs believed that their own cause 

*Thomas Gilbert, colonel of a Loyalist regiment: Sabine's 
Biograplncal Sketches, p. 320. Force's American Archives 
(Fourth Scries), Vol. L, p. 1057; Vol. XL, p. 50B. 

^BiograpHiml Sketches, pp. 7^, 77- 

123 



MYTHS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION 

would be advanced thereby. Notwithstanding that it 
has been many times strenuously denied, the fact is evi- 
dent to all who do not desire to be blinded to the truth, 
that these gentlemen deliberately prepared for and 
encouraged mob outrages as a means of terrorizing their 
opponents and paralyzing their action. In the same way, 
in another revolution, the Jacobins used the mob of 
Paris to terrorize the Girondins. '' The Whigs " [Dis- 
unionists], wrote Daniel Leonard, "thought that mobs 
were a necessary ingredient in their system of opposi- 
tion."* Sabine, in one instance, admitted that '' dis- 
tinguished men " directed mob outrages. f And what 
said one of the most exalted of the Disunion chiefs, an 
honored " Father of the Revolution," and a signer of the 
Declaration of Independence? His words are worth 
quoting, if only for the reason that Mr. Roosevelt has 
thought proper to quote an expurgated version of the 
letter in which they are contained, omitting every part 
thereof that shows the true sentiments of the writer at 
the time it was written.^ 

The Disunion agitation was far advanced before Mr. 
Gouverneur Morris decided to join his fortunes with 
that party. While he was still in the ranks of the 
Loyalists, he wrote a letter to his friend, Richard Penn, 
also a Loyalist, of which the following is a part : 

" Believe me, sir, freedom and religion are only watch- 
words. . . . The troiible in America during Gren- 
ville's administration put our gentry upon this finesse: 
They stimulated some daring coxcombs to rouse the mob 
into an attack upon the bounds of order and decency. 
These fellows became the Jack Cades of the day, the 
leaders in all riots, the bell-wethers of the flock. The 
reason of this manoeuvre in those who w^ished to keep 
fair with the Government, and at the same time to 
receive the incense of the popular applause, you 
will readily perceive. On the whole, the shepherds 

*Massachusettensis' Letters^ Letter III. 
"^Biographical Sketches, p. 243. 
XQouveyneur Morris, pp. 31, ^. 

124 



CRIMES IN THE NAME OF LIBERTY 

were not much to blame in a politic point of view. 
The bell-wethers jingled merrily and roared out 'lib- 
erty and property ' and religion, and a multitude 
of cant terms, which everyone thought he under- 
stood and was egregiously mistaken. For, you must 
know, the shepherds kept the dictionary of the day, 
and, like the mysteries of the ancient mythology, it was 
not for profane eyes and ears. This answered many 
purposes ; the simple flock put themselves entirely under 
the protection of these most excellent shepherds. By and 
by, behold a great metamorphosis without the help of 
Ovid or his divinities, but entirely effectuated by two 
modern genii, the god of ambition and the goddess of 
faction. . . . And now, to leave the metaphor, the 
heads of the mobility grow dangerous to the gentry, and 
how to keep them down is the question. While they 
correspond with other colonies, call and dismiss popular 
assemblies, make resolves to bind the consciences of the 
rest of mankind, bully poor printers, and exert with full 
force all their other tribunitial powers, it is impossible 
to curb them. . . . And if these instances of what 
with one side is policy, with the other perfidy, shall con- 
tinue to increase and become more frequent, farewell 
aristocracy. I see, and see it with fear and trembling, 
that if the disputes with Britain continue, we shall be 
under the worst of all possible dominions. We shall be 
under the dominion of a riotous mob. It is the interest 
of all men, therefore, to seek for reunion with the parent 
state."* 

Eventually the distinguished gentleman became con- 
vinced that the heads of the mobility could not be curbed, 
and, therefore, adopted the next best expedient of guid- 
ing them, doubtless in the hope of inducing them and 
the herd that followed to enter the fold of his beloved 
aristocracy, where they could be controlled. That in so 
doing he was obliged to adopt the methods of the 
devotees of the god of ambition and the goddess of fac- 

*Gouverneur Morris to Richard Penn, May 20, 1774: Sparks' 
Life of Gouverneur Morris, Vol. I., p. 24. 

125 



MYTHS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION 

tion which he had condemned, I suppose, counted little 
in comparison with the end he had in view. 

Inhuman and savage as were the persecutions of the 
Loyalists before the beginning of armed hostilities, after 
that event, when many of them had sought refuge in the 
British lines, these persecutions increased in ferocity. 
Imprisonments became more frequent, and the horrors 
of the rope and scaffold were added to those of the cart 
and the tar-barrel. At a very early period of the war, 
many Loyalists — among them youths and old men — were 
taken from their homes and carried to the insurgent 
camp, where they were forced to do menial work for the 
men in the ranks. Throughout its continuance, numer- 
ous bodies of men, and sometimes women and girls, 
.accused of Loyalism, were marched long distances, often 
into another province, and there incarcerated in the com- 
mon jail, on various frivolous charges; perhaps for 
accepting protection from the British, when, without it, 
they might have perished from hunger. The horrors of 
these jails have often been described; a hint of them is 
contained in a record of a meeting of the New York 
Disunion Convention, at which permission was given to 
the members to smoke, in order '' to prevent bad effects 
from the disagreeable effluvia from the jail below." But 
those imprisoned in these dungeons were happy in com- 
parison with those incarcerated in the Simsbury Copper 
Mines, a place rivalling in evil repute the dreadful Black 
Hole of Calcutta, except that it was not so merciful in 
quickly ending the miseries of its inmates. 5 

Many Loyalists captured in action were hanged, in 
violation of the laws of war and of humanity. In an 
article published in Rivington's Gazette, in the summer 
of 1779, it was asserted that in almost every rebel news- 
paper there was to be found an account of the hanging 
of a Loyalist, the pretence being made that he was a 
thief or a spy. The spy charge was found to be very 
convenient, and was frequently used. It was easily 
made, and specious ; a Loyalist found at his home, after 
he had visited the British lines, especially if that home 

126 



CRIMES IN THE NAME OF LIBERTY 

was within the Hnes of the Revolutionary army, could 
be executed by the order of a drumhead court-martial, 
with some appearance of compliance with military law. 
Sabine's list, admittedly very imperfect, contains a 
record of twenty-seven such '' executions. "^ 

These atrocities brought inevitable retaliation. The 
Loyalists began to do execution upon their enemies with- 
out form of law. " You are the beginners and agres- 
sors," wrote one of them on the corpse of his victim, 
'' for by your cruel oppression and bloody actions you 
drove us to it.""^ 

Another method of taking the lives of Loyalists by a 
pseiido-legsl method was the passage of acts by the 
legislatures of the several States, decreeing that any 
inhabitant thereof who enlisted in the British army, or 
gave aid and comfort to the British Government, was 
guilty of treason. And this was done in New York,_ a 
province overwhelmingly loyal, but made to appear Dis- 
union by a handful of its citizens who, aided by invaders 
from other provinces, had usurped the government. 
Under the operation of these laws, the only resource left 
fo the Loyalist to save his person and property was to 
take an oath of allegiance to the usurping government of 
his province, an oath that his soul abhorred. It was 
flippantly declared by the Disunionists that this was no 
grievance, since the Loyalist was not obliged to take 
the oath; that he could take his choice. "True," the 
Loyalist answered, "like the galley-slave, we have a 
choice — the oar or the lash !"t 

iAs the proscribed persons included those who had 
never acknowledged any authority except their lawful 
government, the enactment of these statutes was a most 
audacious attempt to legalize wholesale murderl Yet 
several States began to put them in practice, and caused 
the arrest and imprisonment of men who had been guilty 
of no crime except that of neglecting to take the oath 
of allegiance to a usurping government. Prisoners of 

"^ Bio graphical Sketches, p. 620. 
fLi/f? of Peter Van Schaak, p. 112. 

127 



MYTHS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION 

war were arrested and delivered to the various com- 
mittees and courts set up by the Disunionists, to be 
tried for their lives, and, in some cases, executed, upon 
the authority of these infamous laws. Washington, it 
is true, on one occasion protested against these pro- 
ceedings, not on the ground of civil rights or human- 
ity, but of policy. For, he argued, " by the same rule 
that we try them, may not the enemy try any natural- 
born subject of Great Britain taken in our service?" 
Of such, he added, significantly, " we have a greater 
number." Besides, he continued, " they [the Loyalists 
menaced with execution for treason] had not taken the 
oaths nor entered into our service." So, he concluded, 
their execution might " prove a dangerous experiment. "* 

Apparently Washington, like the other Disunion chiefs, 
was unwilling to grant to his loyal fellow-citizens ordin- 
ary human rights. During the whole period of his com- 
mand he uttered no word of sympathy or pity for these 
much injured people, but, on the contrary, expressed the 
harshest condemnation of them for cherishing a broader 
patriotism than his own. They were, he declared, 
" execrable parricides." On learning that *' one or two " 
of them had taken their own lives — perhaps incited 
thereto by unbearable persecution — he remarked that it 
was " what a great number ought to have done long 
ago." He ordered many of them to be seized and con- 
fined, and threatened others with " a worse fate." Upon 
one occasion, however, he denounced the hanging of a 
Loyalist as '' irregular and illegal. "f 

If the Loyalists received no sympathy or pity from 
Washington, none could be expected from the other 
Disunion chiefs, and none was accorded, but much con- 
demnation. 

*Washington to Governor Livingston, December ii, 1777: 
Writings, Vol. V., p. 183. 

fWashington to William Palfrey, November 12, 1775; to Gen- 
eral Gage, August 20, 1775 ; to J. A. Washington, March 31, 1776; 
to General Deborre, August 3, 1777; Order of Washington, Janu- 
ary 21, 1777: Writings, Vol. III., pp. 66, 159, 343; Vol. IV., p. 290; 
Vol. v., p. 12. 

128 



CRIMES IN THE NAME OF LIBERTY 

^ John Adams declared that they deserved extermina- 
tion, and " strenuously recommended " the Disunion 
officials " to fine, imprison and hang all inimical to the 
cause, without fear or affection." And, in order, no 
doubt, to stimulate proper zeal for that " cause," he 
added : "I would have hanged my own brother if he 
had took a part with our enemy in this contest."? 

Certainly this is revolting to all sentiments of humanity. 
Perhaps even more so is the fact that the New England 
clergy, whose sacred office was to preach the gospel 
of peace and good-will to man, often, instead, preached 
the gospel of hate and murder. One of the worst exam- 
ples of this impious perversion of a holy mission is 
that afforded by Nathaniel Whitaker, appropriately a 
minister of Salem, the seat of J:he persecution of the 
" witches," and whose words I have before quoted. 
This individual, whom Professor Tyler styles " an able 
and good man," in a sermon preached on the eve of the 
conclusion of peace, when one in whose breast wa* left 
unextinguished a spark of human feeling would have 
looked forward to the dissemination of sentiments of 
amity and the forgiveness of enemies : at this time, when 
the Loyalists were being harried and hunted by the dogs 
of malice and murder, this minister of the Prince of 
Peace, doing the work of the Father of Evil, exhorted 
his flock to ''curse" the ''Tories" with a "heavy 
curse." They were, he declared, " guilty of the sin of 
Meroz." " It is the command of God that, in cursing, 
we curse them." 

After the restoration of peace, when, in accordance 
with the practice of civilized nations, it might have been 
expected that the several States would have passed acts 
of indemnity and oblivion — for even during the bloody 
Stuart regime liberal acts of this character were passed — 
a contrary policy prevailed. Loyalty was a crime for 
which there was no pardon. Acts of attainder and out- 
lawry were heaped upon the statute-books. In Penn- 
sylvania alone four hundred and ninety Loyalists were 
attainted for high treason, over four hundred of whom 
were expatriated. In Massachusetts three hundred and 
9 1^9 



MYTHS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION 

ten were banished and their property confiscated. " And 
who were they ?" asks Professor Tyler : " To anyone 
at all familiar with the history of colonial New England, 
that list of men, denounced to exile and loss of property 
on account of their opinions, will read almost like the 
beadroll of the oldest and noblest families concerned in 
the founding and upbuilding of New England civiliza- 
tion."* 

The other States followed these cruel examples, and in 
consequence of these decrees of outlawry, together with 
some voluntary expatriation, the new States suffered the 
loss of some one hundred thousand citizens native to 
the soil ; men of worth, culture, industry and humanity. 
But that which was the Republic's loss was the Empire's 
gain. The British ministers insisted on embodying in 
the treaty of peace with the triumphant newly-made sov- 
ereign States a provision obliging them to refrain from 
any further persecution of the Loyalists. Had this obli- 
gation been regarded, a large number of them would 
have remained in or returned to their native provinces, 
becoming, in due course, citizens of the new Republic. 
But it was not regarded ; the persecutions and confisca- 
tions were renewed in all the States, in the face of this 
provision in the treaty; and because of this bad faith, 
Canada and other British territory in the Western hemi- 
sphere received an accession of at least sixty thousand 
souls, of whom Lord Bury writes : '' It may safely be 
said that no portion of the British possessions ever 
received so noble an acquisition."f These men and their 
descendants, in later years, became the bulwark of the 
colonies against internal dissensions and foreign foes. 
All this would have been lost to the Empire had the 
stipulation of the ministry been carried out in good faith 
by the new States. 

The banishment of the Loyalists by no means ended 
the persecutions. Necessarily a large number remained 
in their native land, many of them having been deprived 
of all means to leave. As soon as the evacuation of the 

"^Literary History, Vol. I., pp. 302, 303. 
fBury's Exodus of the Western Nations. 

130 



CRIMES IN THE NAME OF LIBERTY 

British troops had been completed, the whippings, tar- 
and-featherings, and dragging through horse-ponds were 
renewed with redoubled fury. Twenty-four Loyalists, it 
is said, were hanged at Charleston before the sails of the 
British troopships were low on the horizon.* 

" The axe was not among the instruments of its accom- 
plishment," exultantly declared Daniel Webster of the 
American Revolution. It was not; the halter was more 
convenient and quite as effective. 

These post-bellum proscriptive acts, with their accom- 
panying private acts of malice and revenge, aroused the 
indignation of Alexander Hamilton and John Jay, the 
latter denouncing them as " an instance of unnecessary 
rigor and unmanly revenge without a parallel except 
in the annals of religious bigotry and blindness. "f 

But, asserts Mr. Roosevelt, with an airy confidence 
that seems quite convincing : " That the Loyalists of 
1776 were wrong is beyond question; . . . there is 
no doubt, not only that the patriots were right, but also 
that they were as a whole superior to the Tories."J 

Which, of course, disposes of the whole matter. 

Perhaps enough has been written to cast a doubt on 
the assertion of Mr. Bancroft that benign tranquillitv 
reigned in America during the progress of the Revolu- 
tion. That historian fortifies his allegation by the simple 
means of avoiding all reference to any act of the Dis- 
unionists disparaging to their honesty, good faith and 
humanity. Although his own library contained abundant 
evidence of the facts, he avoids all reference to the 
animosities of the officers of the Revolutionary army, 
the desertions and insubordination of the men ; the plun- 
derings of friend and foe ; the prevalent corruption ; 
the readiness of the " patriots " to submit to the enemy 
whenever their party suffered defeat ; their cruel perse- 
cution of their unfortunate fellow-colonists — of all this 
he knows nothing. 

*See Charleston Year Book, p. 416. 

tjohn Jay to Alexander Hamilton : Hamilton's History of the 
United States, Vol. III., p. 10. 

XGouverneur Morris^ p. 29. 

131 



MYTHS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION 

The people who, to Washington, were lacking in public 
spirit, were impatient of control, were idle, dissipated 
and extravagant, insatiable in their thirst for riches, 
quarrelsome and intriguants ; in whom virtue and patriot- 
ism were almost extinct; whose corruption, greed and 
dishonesty caused the ** virtuous few " to despair ; who 
were prone to desert their chosen cause at every 
check it received — these men, Mr. Bancroft tells us, 
were " pious and contented, laborious, frugal," whose 
" rule for the government of conduct " was " the eternal 
law of duty," whose " vigor of will was never paralyzed 
by doubt." " The patriotism of the army," Mr. Ban- 
croft assures us, " was so deep and universal that it 
gave no heed to doubts and altercations." At least, if 
there were any, they were confined to General Arnold 
and " a few New Yorkers." Arnold, as is proper to the 
Judas of the Revolutionary Myth, of course, was 
** quarrelsome and insubordinate." 

Without any evidence but that afforded by Mr. Ban- 
croft's History, we would suppose that the Loyalist party 
consisted of a few dozen Government officials, together 
with about the same number of ruffianly marauders. All 
we are told of outrages committed upon Loyalists is a 
distorted account of the attacks upon the venerable coun- 
cillors of Massachusetts, which, as related by Mr. Ban- 
croft, appear to have taken the form of a mild admon- 
ition. An organized attack by the mob upon a Govern- 
ment vessel, during which a British officer was shot and 
dangerously wounded — an attack made under the express 
direction of Disunion leaders — is termed by Mr. Ban- 
croft a " scuffle." In his dealings with mob outrages 
upon Loyalists, Mr. Bancroft surpasses himself, difficult 
as that may seem. The only instance of tar-and-feather- 
ing mentioned in his History is one of " an honest coun- 
tryman," perpetrated by British officers for the offence 
of buying a firelock from a soldier!* 

The encomium passed upon Daniel Defoe cannot fit- 
tingly be applied to Mr. Bancroft. Certainly he does 
not " lie like the truth." 

'^nisfnry of the United States, Vol. IV., p. 490. 

132 



CHAPTER VIII. 
LOYALTY AND PSBU DO -LOYALTY. 

We are asked to believe that the Revolutionary chiefs 
and their followers, as well as the Loyalists, until forced 
by the acts of the British ministry to renounce their 
cherished dependence upon the mother country, nursed 
feelings of the staunchest loyalty to the Empire, and 
were wedded to the colonial relation. We are expected 
to believe that there was no such thing as a Disunionist 
in the whole of North America until such were manu- 
factured by Messrs. Bute, Grenville and Townshend. 

Though the facts in this regard have been confused 
by obscure references to *' wavering opinions " and 
'' growing convictions," supposed to have arisen in the 
minds of the colonists, there is no difficulty in assigning 
his proper part to each of the prominent actors on the 
Revolutionary stage. It is true there were a few, such 
as James Wilson, afterwards recognized as a thorough 
Disunionist, who, even as late as the summer of 1776, 
opposed a declaration of independence. But for such 
reasons alone such men should not be classed with those 
who honestly desired to maintain the British connection. 
All that these pscndo-Loy?i\\sis desired was that their 
colleagues should continue the shallow pretence of alle- 
giance to the King with which they had begun their war 
against his authority, and which they had so long hypo- 
critically maintained. They did not wish to halt on the 
road to independence, but only to hasten slowly, believing 
that policy to be the most effective means of reaching 
their goal. Besides, this profession of loyalty was " the 
golden leaf " that '' concealed the treason," ^ and might 

133 



MYTHS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION 

stand them in good stead in case of an unexpected turn 
of affairs and possible prosecutions. In such a case 
they would have been prepared to plead that they had 
levied war, not against the King, but only against his 
ministers, a distinction of some neck-saving virtue. 

It is true, too, that here and there there was one like 
John Dickinson, who, though from the beginning he was 
opposed to independence, yet remained with the Disunion 
party to the bitter end. But he, and those of similar 
opinions, had affiliated with that party in the belief that 
the intention of its leaders, like their own, was sinlply 
to obtain a redress of colonial grievances. They did 
not discover their error until it was too late to retreat, 
and so were drawn into apparent acquiescence of mea- 
sures to which, in reality, they were actually opposed. 
Their condition was worthy of some sympathy, for on 
the one hand they were despised by the Loyalists as 
traitors, and on the other they forfeited the confidence of 
the Disunionists, who ever regarded them v/ith suspicion 
as unwilling helpers. 

Lastly, there were a few like Gouverneur IMorris, 
who, after due deliberation, had joined his fortunes with 
the Disunionists, probably in the belief that they would 
triumph and his interest be the more secure under their 
protection. 

But these exceptions count for little. The true test 
of the sentiments and opinions of the men of the Revolu- 
tion is to be found in the part they took in the final 
contest. 

The statement, then, so confidently made by the 
writers of America, and so credulously received and 
ratified by those of Great Britain — even by those best 
informed of the facts — that those Americans who were 
instrumental in severing the colonies from the Empire, 
equally with those who opposed that severance, reg-arded 
their alienation from the motherland " with bleeding 
hearts," is a manifest absurdity. The pathetic recitals 
of Greene and others of the love and reverence cherished 
by the colonists, one and all, for the land of their fathers, 

134 



LOYALTY AND PSEUDO-LOYALTY 

its government and people, has this basis, and no more; 
that before and at the period of the Revokition there 
were, ever since have been, and still are, many Americans 
cherishing a respect for the institutions of Great Britain 
and an affection for its people, and who were and are 
desirous of close and friendly relations with them. But 
these men have never affiliated with the self-declared 
ultra-patriots of the United States, but, on the contrary, 
have ever been condemned by them as in sentiment 
" un-American." During the Disunion propaganda and 
resulting revolt such as these were hated by the patriots 
as " Tories ;" a generation later — when they sympath- 
ized with Great Britain in her supreme contest with 
Europe in arms — they were reviled by them as the 
" British faction ;" to-day they are ridiculed as " Anglo- 
maniacs." These people were not, and are not, typical 
Americans. They have never had, and do not have, any 
political influence. They are exotics in their native 
land. 

It was such men as these who were distressed at the 
thought of separation from the mother country, and 
braved insult, outrage and death in avowing their senti- 
ments. But as they were ever opposed to that separa- 
tion, their utterances should not be cited — as fraudulently 
thev are — as evidence that those who planned it and 
accomplished it did so with reluctance and sorrow. The 
Disunion leaders — though they, too, when it served their 
purpose, professed profound respect for British insti- 
tutions and undying affection for their British breth- 
ren — in reality looked upon the mother country and her 
people with changing feelings of hatred, contempt and 
indifference, the hatred and contempt varying with the 
varying manifestations of coercion and indulgence dis- 
played by the Government ; the indifference being a con- 
stant and abiding sentiment so long as the others were 
in abevance. To paraphrase the statement of one of the 
most distinguished of them, they were not John Bulls, 
but Yankees, and there was no man in England they 
cared a farthing for.^ 

135 



MYTHS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION 

That the Disunion leaders were possessed with an 
ardent desire for colonial independence there can be no 
doubt. To what should this desire be attributed? 

Briefly, to a fervent but narrow and circumscribed 
patriotism, combined with an inordinate ambition that 
impelled them to rule or ruin. This made them 
impatient of a political status that they had schooled 
themselves to regard as foreign control. " Is any man 
so base or so weak as to prefer a dependence on Great 
Britain to the dignity and happiness of living a member 
of a free and independent nation?"* demanded the chief 
organizer of the Disunion party. "A whole govern- 
ment of our own choice, managed by persons whom we 
love, revere and can confide in, has charms in it for 
which men will fight,"f declared his coadjutor and chief 
factotum. 

Adam Smith, with a perspicacity possessed by few of 
his contemporaries, asserted that ''the leading men of 
America " had " chosen to draw the sword in defence of 
their own importance." But, notwithstanding this 
insight into the true intent of these " leading men," Mr. 
Smith was greatly mistaken in his belief that a share in 
the management of Imperial affairs would be an irre- 
sistible bribe to them and a security for their continued 
loyalty. The fact is that their fealty and aspirations 
were entirely confined to their native land. Under this 
erroneous impression, Adam Smith proposed to reconcile 
the Disunion chiefs to Imperial rule by granting to the 
colonies a limited representation in Parliament. In this 
way, he argued, " a new method of acquiring import- 
ance, a new and more dazzling object of ambition would 
be presented to the leading men of each colony."^ But 
of all the expedients for placating the malcontent col- 
onists ever devised by Whig or Tory, this was the least 
likely to succeed so long as the Disunion leaders had 

*Speech of Samuel Adams, August i, 1776. 
tjohn Adams to Abigail Adams, May 17, 1776: Familiar 
Letters, p. 173. 
tWealth of Nations, Chap. VTL, Part iii. 

136 



LOYALTY AND PSEUDO-LOYALTY 

control of the situation. For the idea of Parliamentary 
representation was abhorrent to them. To men to whom 
the mother country had become an object of indifference 
as soon as her protecting arm against their encroaching 
French neighbors had become no longer necessary to 
their welfare; who had learned to look each upon his 
own province as his " country ;" to whom the Empire 
was an abstraction, a place in its councils would have 
seemed more dim than dazzling. To them the granting 
of colonial representation appeared not as a boon, but 
a " danger."* 

At one time, indeed, such a prospect as that held out 
by Adam Smith seems to have had an allurement for 
Benjamin Franklin. Unlike his colleagues, he had been 
familiar with the greatness of Imperial concerns. 
Accordingly, we see him wavering in his allegiance to 
the Disunion cause, in the hope of being called to sit 
among the rulers of empire. 3 But no such ambition dis- 
turbed the plans of his colleagues, who had no acquaint- 
ance with any land but their own, and who believed that 
the British Empire was doomed to destruction. More- 
over, if a closer union were made with the motherland, 
logically they might expect to be called upon to con- 
tribute to the Imperial revenues, and to this they would 
by no means consent. It was argued that, in case of a 
continued union with the mother country, the colonies 
would be called upon to contribute to the expenses of 
wars in which they were not interested. Before the 
Peace of Paris such contributions as had been made by 
the colonies had been used exclusively for their benefit. 
Noiv, it was asserted, if any contributions were made, 
they would be used for the benefit of the Empire at 
large, for the interests of which they had no concern. 

"Great Britain," said Gouverneur Morris, in a speech 
in the New York Provincial Congress, made shortly 
after he had abandoned the Loyalist party, "will not fail 
to bring us into a war with some of her neighbors, and 
then protect us as a lawyer defends a suit, the client 

*Franklin to John Ross, December 13, 1767: Franklin's Writ- 
ingsy Vol. VII., pp. 370, Z7^- 

1.^7 



MYTHS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION 

paying for it." Therefore, he declared, it was best to 
" get rid of the suit and the lawyer together."* 

Evidently such arguments were dishonest ones, for 
Mr. Morris, as well as his colleagues, well knew that 
the Home Government had never asked the colonies to 
pay more than a small part of their just proportion of 
the expenses of wars conducted in their interests, and 
had never required one farthing from them to pay the 
expense of any war with a European power in the result 
of which the colonists were not interested. Knowing 
this, they dared to assume that the Home Government 
would oblige them to pay an undue proportion of the 
expenses of wars in which they had no individual con- 
cern. Nevertheless, these arguments were very effective 
in prejudicing the colonists against a continued union 
with the mother country. Besides, the natural fear 
might have arisen among them that in case contributions 
were made by the colonies to the Imperial exchequer, 
if Great Britain were conquered by a European power 
the colonies would be involved in her ruin ; whereas, 
if no such contributions were made, they might plead 
neutrality, as being connected with Great Britain only 
by the slender tie of allegiance to a common king. 

Of course, such sentiments as these exhibit a total 
absence of affection or regard for the motherland in 
those who entertained them. The fact is, the interjacent 
stretch of ocean, the lapse of many generations, and the 
Imperial policy of '' salutary neglect," so lauded by 
Burke and his colleagues, had made aliens of Britons, 
and — with some notable exceptions — not the least so 
of those of the purest British descent. " Colonies 
universally ardently breathe for independence. No 
man who has a soul will ever live in a colony." 
" There is something very unnatural and odious in a 
government a thousand leagues off,"t wrote John Adams. 

*Speech of Gouverneiir Morris in the Third Provincial Con- 
gress of New York, in June, 1776. 

tLetter to William Tudor, June 17, 1818: Works, Vol. X., p. 
321. 



LOYALTY AND PSEUDO-LOYALTY 

" It is intolerable that a continent like America should 
be governed by a little island three thousand miles 
away," echoed Walter Livingston. " Can there be any 
person whose mind does not revolt at the idea of a vast 
continent holding all that is valuable at the discretion of 
a handful of people at the other side of the Atlantic?"* 
asked Samuel Adam.s, their common chief. 

These were the men whom Chatham exhorted the 
ministers to clasp in their " fond and affectionate arms," 
and assured them, if only this were done, they would 
"find them children worthy of their sire."t 

This ignorance of the true sentiments of the dominant 
party in the colonies entertained by British statesmen 
was not shared by those of France, who had not been 
blinded by the insincere protestations of its chiefs. In 
1763, the year of the ratification of the Peace of Paris, 
that removed from the colonies the fear of French 
aggression, the Count de Vergennes declared that he 
was *' persuaded that England would not be long before 
she had reason to repent of having removed the only 
check that would have kept the colonies in awe."J 

But this was not the first insight obtained by French- 
men into colonial conditions. More than thirty years 
before that time, Montesquieu had expressed his belief 
that England would be the first nation abandoned by 
her colonies. The Due de Choiseul made a similar pre- 
diction, and, a few years later, Count d'Argensen pre- 
dicted that one day they would rebel and form a republic. 
In 1750, too, Turgot, the able minister of Louis XV., 
prophesied that the colonies w^ould proclaim their inde- 
pendence, comparing them to fruits that remained on 
the parent stem only until they ripened. 4 

Even in England all were not blind to the facts. 
Before the Peace of Paris was concluded, William 

*Speech of Samuel Adams, August i, 1776. 

fSpeech on "The Quartering of British Soldiers in Boston." 

^Remark made to Lord Stormont and repeated in a letter from 

Stormont to Lord Rochford, written in October, I775- See 

Adolphus's History of England, Vol. II., p. i34- 

139 



MYTHS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION 

Burke, in reply to a pamphlet of Lord Bath, who had 
advocated the annexation of Canada, warned the min- 
istry that : " By eagerly grasping at too extensive terri- 
tory we may run the risk, and that, perhaps, at no dis- 
tant period, of losing what we now possess. 
A neighbor who keeps us in some awe is not always the 
worst of neighbors." *' In process of time," he pre- 
dicted, the colonies " will know little, inquire little, and 
care little about the mother country."* 

This warning may have produced some effect; but, 
if so, that effect was destroyed by Franklin, who, in his 
famous Canada Pamphlet, assured the ministry that 
it was unreasonable to suppose that the colonies would 
ever rebel, not only because of their love for the mother 
country, but because of their hate for each other.f It 
is probable that this pamphlet decided the ministry to 
annex Canada. It is true that Franklin, in another 
pamphlet,^ written more than thirty years before, had 
expressed opinions entirely contrary to those expressed 
then; but it was the ardent desire of the colonists that 
the French should be banished from the continent, and 
it would have been doing poor service to his Disunion 
friends if Franklin had recalled those opinions at such 
a critical time. 

There never was a time in the history of the British 
American colonies, from the landing of the " Pilgrim 
Fathers " to the declaration of independence, when there 
did not exist therein at least the nucleus of a Disunion 
party. The declarations of Benjamin Franklin, John 
Adams, Thomas Jefferson, John Jay, and other Disunion 
chiefs, that until within a few months before independ- 
ence was declared, no wish for, or thought of, inde- 
pendence had ever entered into the mind of a single 
colonist, is an absurdity so gross as scarcely to need 
refutation. Indeed, it is refuted by the very men who 

^Remarks on the Letter Addressed to Tzl'o Great Men. 
tFranklin's Writings, Vol. IV., p. 2, et seq. 
$"The State of the British Plantations in America," written 
in 1731-1732 in the Pennsylvania Gasette. 

140 



LOYALTY AND PSEUDO-LOYALTY 

uttered it. We have seen that FrankHn had declared 
that, of right and in fact, the colonies were independent 
states. This assertion he made years before he assured 
Lord Chatham, in 1774, that he " never had heard from 
any person, drunk or sober, the least expression of a 
wish for separation."* A few days after making that 
declaration, he assured his friend Josiah Quincy that 
he was for " total emancipation/' to which assurance 
Quincy expressed his entire approval. The same desire 
was expressed by Richard Henry Lee, Livingston and 
others, besides John Adams, who has recorded his sen- 
timents in that regard very clearly and exhaustively. 
Here is some of his testimony to that effect written at 
intervals during a period of more than a decade, testi- 
fying, not only to his own sentiments, but to those of his 
fellow-colonists and their progenitors: 

" The idea of American independence, sooner or later, 
and of the necessity of it some time or other, was 
always familiar to gentlemen of reflection in all parts 
of America. ... I think I may boast of my 
declaration of independence in 1755." '' I have always 
laughed at the affectation of representing American 
independence as a novel idea, as a modern discovery, 
as a late invention. The idea ... has been fam- 
iliar to Americans from the first settlement of the 
country." " The claim of the 1776 men to the honor of 
first conceiving the idea of American independence, or 
of first inventing the project of it, is as ridiculous as 
that of Dr. Priestley to the discovery of the perfectibility 
of man. ... It was more ancient than my nativity." 
"The Revolution was in the minds and hearts of ^ the 
people . . . before hostilities commenced."^ " In 
my opinion it began as early as the first plantation of 
the country. Independence of Church and Parliament 
was a fixed principle of our predecessors in 1620, as it 
was of Samuel Adams and Christopher Gadsden in 1776, 
and . . . was always kept in view in this part of 

*" Negotiations in London " : Franklin's Writings, Vol. V., p. 7- 

141 



MYTHS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION 

the country [New England], and, I believe, in most 
others." " Independence of Church and State was the 
fundamental principle of the first colonization, has been 
its general principle for two hundred years. 
Who, then, was the author, inventor, discoverer of inde- 
pendence? The only true answer must be the first emi- 
grants."* 

Is this corroborated by contemporary evidence? Let 
us see: 

In 1637 an emissary of Archbishop Laud wrote to 
that prelate : " The colonies aim not at new discipline, 
but sovereignty. It is accounted treason in their Gen- 
eral Court to speak of appeals to the King."t During 
the Commonwealth, we hear no more of independence 
from the New England colonies; but after the Restora- 
tion, the diarist John Evelyn, then one of the Lords of 
Trade, records that they were on the verge of renouncing 
their allegiance to the Crown.5 This is not strange in a 
Puritan community, who, naturally, did not love the 
Stuarts; but it appears that, after the expulsion of that 
family, the desire for independence was as strong among 
them as before. Charles Davenant, in one of his polit- 
ical pamphlets, noted this desire, and declared that when 
the colonists became strong enough to contend with the 
mother country they would achieve independence, and 
that this had been the constant object in New England 
from its earliest infancy. J 

During the reign of Queen Anne, Governor Cornbury 
reported that these colonies were bent on independence ; 
and, according to the statements of various officials, the 
same disloyal sentiments prevailed there during the 
reigns of the first two Georges. In 1720, Daniel Neal, 

*John Adams to Benjamin Rush, May i, 1807, May 21, 1807, 
and May 23, 1807; to Thomas Jefferson, May 29, 1818; to 
William Tudor, September 18, 1818: Works, Vol. IX., pp. 591-593, 
596, 600; Vol. X., pp. 182, 313. 

fLawson's Life and Times of Laud. 

XThe Political and Commercial Works of Charles Davenant, 
Vol. II. 

142 



LOYALTY AND PSEUDO-LOYALTY 

in his History of New England, writes of a '' state fac- 
tion " there which was ambitious of usurping the powers 
of government. Near the same time, Jeremiah Dummer, 
in his Defence of the Colonies, admitted that there 
existed there a spirit of disunion. Later, Governor 
Shirley and Charles Wesley noted the same spirit. The 
latter, during his visit to the New England colonies in 
1737, found '' men of consequence almost continuously 
crying out that ' we must be independent. We shall 
never be well until we shake off the English yoke.' " 
James Maury wrote of the spirit of democracy and 
insubordination to the Government which had arisen in 
Virginia. Peter Kalm, who visited the colonies in 1750, 
became convinced that the presence of the French in 
Canada alone prevented a general demand for inde- 
pendence.* 

A few years thereafter we find John Adams — who later 
denied the existence of a desire for independence, and 
still later affirmed it — predicting that the colonies would 
*' set up for themselves," and " obtain the mastery of the 
seas,'' as soon as " the turbulent Gallicks " were removed 
from the North American continent. f This was his 
" declaration of independence " proudly referred to by 
him in a letter previously quoted. In 1768 Andrew 
Elliott, himself a Disunionist, declared that though the 
colonies were " not ripe for disunion," a few years would 
make them so. 

But under the heating process administered by his 
colleagues they were fast ripening. The sole interest 
felt by them in the British Government and people was 
related to the aid and protection they had received from 
British arms and the British exchequer. At the close 
of the Seven Years' War, the French being banished 
from the North American continent, the need for that 

*John Wesley, A Calm Address to the Inhabitants of England. 
James Maury's Memoirs of a Huguenot Family. Peter Kalm, 
Travels into North America. 

tjohn Adams to Nathan Webb, October 12, 1755 : Works, Vol. 
I., p. 2Z. 

143 



MYTHS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION 

aid and protection had passed away, and their interest 
in Great Britain had ceased with it. So we see that 
that period synchronizes with the beginning of the agi- 
tation for independence. " No sooner were the French 
kites and the Indian vultures scared away than they 
began to strut and claim an independent property to the 
dunghill. Their fear and their natural affection forsook 
them at the same time,"* wrote a rough-mannered Eng- 
lish pamphleteer. '' Ever since the reduction of Canada 
we have been bloated with a vain opinion of our own 
importance/'t wrote an American Loyalist eight years 
later. 

We now know that the fact of the continued Disunion 
sentiment existing in the colonies for so many years was 
a matter of official record in the office of the Board of 
Trade at the time of the annexation of Canada,^ yet, 
after the manner of British officialdom, no effort was 
made to. refer to the data there contained, and Chatham 
and his colleagues remained unenlightened. Those w^ho 
were familiar with the colonies, however, were better 
informed, as the following letter from General Gage to 
Lord Dartmouth, written in the summer of 1775, will 
show: 

*' The designs of the leaders of the rebellion are plain, 
and every day confirms the truth of what was asserted 
years ago by intelligent people, that a plan was laid in 
this province [Massachusetts] and adjusted with some 
of the same stamp in others, for total independence, 
while they amused the people in England called the 
friends of America, as well as many in this country, 
with feigned professions of affection and attachment to 
the parent state, and pretended to be aggrieved and dis- 
contented only on account of taxation; that they have 
designedly irritated Government by every insult, whilst 
they artfully poisoned the minds of the people and 
ripened them for insurrection. They would still deceive 

*The Justice and Necessity of Taxing the American Colonies, 
p. 7. 

^A Friendly Address io all Reasonable Americans, p. 25. 

144 



LOYALTY AND PSEUDO-LOYALTY 

and lull the mother country into a belief that nothing 
is meant against the nation, and that their quarrel is 
only with the ministry. But it is hoped that the nation 
will see through this falsehood and deceit. It matters 
not who hold the helm of state; the stroke is levelled 
at the British nation, on whose ruin they hope to build 
their so much vaunted American empire, and to rise 
like a phoenix out of the ashes of the mother country. 
. . . I am to hope, from the affection I bear to my 
country, that no man in Great Britain or Ireland will 
be long deceived by fallacious professions and declara- 
tions, but see, through all the disguise, that this is no 
sudden insurrection in America, but a preconcerted 
scheme of rebellion, hatched years ago in the Massachu- 
setts Bay, and brought to perfection by the help of 
adherents on both sides of the Atlantic. . . . People 
agree now that there has been a scheme for a revolt 
from the mother country, long conceived between those 
who have most influence in the American councils, 
which has been preparing the people's minds by degrees 
for events that, at first view, they regarded with horror 
and detestation. If the Boston Port Bill had not fur- 
nished a pretext for rebellion, something else would have 
brought it forward. . . . I am convinced that the 
promoters of the rebellion have no real desire for peace, 
unless they have a carte blanche. Their whole conduct 
has been one scene of fallacy, duplicity and dissimula- 
tion, by which they have duped many well-inclined 
people. . . . They have given out that they expect 
peace on their own terms, through the inability of 
Britain to contend with them ; and it is no wonder that 
such reports gain credit with the people when letters 
from England and English newspapers give so much 
encouragement to rebellion." 

Really this letter from this '* British Alva " resembles 
in no small degree that from the patriot Gouverneur 
Morris, which is not so strange as it seems, since both 
of them were endeavoring to describe things as they 
actually appeared to them at the time they wrote, 
lo 145 



MYTHS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION 

It has several times been noted that the beginning of 
the agitation for independence coincided with the date 
of the annexation of Canada. From that time the Dis- 
union propaganda daily gained strength. The ministry, 
at length, recognizing the fact that the colonies were 
likely to drift away, devised measures intended to restrain 
them; but these measures, under the skilful policy 
of the Disunion chiefs, served only to accelerate the 
speed. For taking advantage of their novelty — which, 
however, was more seeming than real — these astute 
gentlemen set up a cry of tyranny and oppression, arous- 
ing the passions of the colonists, and thus gaining many 
adherents. Of course, as hinted by General Gage, if 
these measures had not been instituted other excuses 
would have been found, for no government ever existed 
in w^hich there was no grievance. 

Colonies are the spoiled children of empires. Like all 
spoiled children, they are apt to be selfish, to believe 
that their deserts are greater than those of their less 
fortunate brethren, residents of more crowded regions, 
where toil is harder, and greater exertions are needed to 
obtain subsistence, and to demand and expect commen- 
surate rewards and privileges. Why should not " the 
colonies insist upon immunities which the people of Great 
Britain do not enjoy," " if they have a right to them?"* 
asked Franklin in 1766. Again, he asserted that the 
colonists ought to be " considered as above the level of 
other subjects," having acquired "additional merit" by 
the risk and expense of their settlement. f '' If we enjoy 
and are entitled to more liberty than the British constitu- 
tion allows, where is the harm?" J asked John Adams, 
a decade later. 

Proud of their superior fortunes, and claiming superior 
virtues, the adherents of the Disunion chiefs were 
brought to believe that it was just that their tax-laden 

*" Political Observations " : Franklin's Writings, Vol. IV., p. 
212. 
Wid., Vol. IV., p. 288. 

$" Novanglus " : John Adams' Works, Vol. IV., pp. 116, 117. 

146 



LOYALTY AND PSEUDO-LOYALTY 

fellow-subjects of Great Britain should bear the whole 
burden of Empire, and thought it no shame to be 
beholden to them for the expense of protecting their 
territory from foreign invasion and domestic conflict; 
contenting themselves with defraying the comparatively 
trifling cost of their civil governments. Though the 
colonists had never furnished a single soldier for the 
defense of the mother country, nor contributed one far- 
thing for that purpose, they demanded and received her 
protection for themselves. It is true, they contributed 
some men and money to be employed in the Spanish and 
French wars — wars begun and carried on largely in 
their interests — but, except in a single unimportant 
instance,7 those men and that money were used upon 
their own territory, and for their own protection and 
aggrandizement. The money, too, was sparingly and 
grudgingly given, and with no regard to due proportion 
between the several provinces, so that much bickering 
and dissatisfaction resulted. And when the need for 
British protection no longer existed, the proposal that 
they should contribute a trifling amount towards the 
expenses of the Empire was opposed with inveterate 
determination. *' When they want the protection of the 
kingdom they are always very ready to ask for it," said 
George Grenville, in a speech to the Parliament. " That 
protection has always been afforded them in the most 
full and ample manner. The nation has run itself into 
an immense debt to give them that protection ; and now 
they are called upon to contribute a small share towards 
the public expense, an expense arising from themselves, 
they renounce your authority.""^ 

Furthermore, the money supplied by the colonists was 
expended in their own territory, together with large 
sums taken from the pockets of the British tax-payers, 
to the great financial gain of the colonists. In fact, they 
were paid by the tax-payers of Great Britain for helping 
to fight their own battles and advance their own inter- 

*Speech of George Grenville in reply to Chatham in the debate 
on the repeal of the Stamp Act. 



MYTHS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION 

ests, while many of them were giving aid and comfort 
to the enemies of the Empire by supplying them with 
provisions at great profit to themselves.* By these nefar- 
ious dealings fortunes were made by many unscrupulous 
merchants and shipowners, at the expense of the people 
of Great Britain and the lives of her soldiers. It was 
an attempt to suppress this illicit and treasonable traffic 
that gave to the Disunion leaders their first opportunity 
to agitate against the Home Government, for this 
attempt took the form of the writs of assistance, the 
issue of which was used as an excuse to kindle the flame 
of insurrection in Massachusetts. 

Chatham complained of the practice, but he seemed 
at least as much concerned for the interests of his 
beloved navigation acts as he was in preserving the 
loyalty of the colonists. It was done, he declared, "' in 
open contempt of the authority of the mother country, 
as zvell as to the manifest prejudice of the manufactures 
and trade of Great Britain/'-\ 

*See Macpherson's Annals of Commerce, Vol. III., p. 330; also 
Hildreth's History of the United States, Vol. IL, p. 498. 

fWilliam Pitt to the Colonial Governors : Thackeray's Life 
of Chatham, Vol. II., p. 475 ; Macpherson's Annals of Com- 
merce, Vol. III., p. 330; Hildreth's History of the United 
States, Vol. II., p. 498; Arnold's History of Rhode Island, Vol. 
II., pp. 227, 235, 236. 



148 



CHAPTER IX. 
THE ROYAL SCAPEGOAT. 

That for years, with dogg-ed perseverance and deter- 
mination he egged on his ministers to measures subver- 
sive of the Hberties of the colonists, and, by these means, 
having compelled them to take up arms to preserve 
these Hberties, he refused to sanction measures of con- 
ciliation that would have brought them back to the arms 
of the motherland; that with equal persistency and 
determination he insisted upon the prolongation of hos- 
tilities with the insurgent colonists, after all hope of 
subduing them had departed, i — this is the sum of the 
charges brought against George the Third in the matter 
of the American Revolution by writers on both sides of 
the Atlantic. 

So often and so confidently have these charges been 
repeated, and so universally has his condemnation 
thereon been affirmed, that it has become an article of 
political heresy to deny their truth. Nevertheless, they 
seem to me to be essentially false in every particular. 
I can find no instance in which King George urged 
upon his ministers measures relating to the colonies that 
were unconstitutional or unjust to the colonists. With 
the measures of the Grenville ministry — that so often 
have been declared to have been the " cause " of the 
Revolution— he had little or nothing to do. The stamp 
tax was not of his devising : he was not consulted about 
it, and did not even sign the act. Upon learning of the 
agitation against it, he declared that he was willing that 
it should be repealed if it could not be amended so as 
to give satisfaction. 2 Neither did he devise the Town- 
shend acts, but was opposed to their repeal at the dic- 

149 



MYTHS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION 

tation of a mob. It is true, too, that he favored the 
Boston Port Bill and the accompanying coercion acts, 
but these were punitive measures aimed against a fac- 
tion in open insurrection, and, therefore, constitutional. 

It is quite as untrue that the King opposed concilia- 
tory measures, for he favored both of the attempts at 
conciliation made by the North ministry. That to which 
he was most opposed was the eternal vacillation of the 
ministry, that weakness that prompted them to revoke 
their measures at the first sign of opposition from the 
colonists, and then to propose others which were sure 
to provoke as much opposition as did those that they 
had revoked. It is said that it was the determination 
of the King to be his own minister that was productive 
of all the mischief; but it seems to me that had the 
King actually been his own minister, the measures taken 
in the matter of the colonies, at least, would have been 
consistent. Had Chatham been king, and the King 
minister, though it cannot be affirmed that there would 
have been no rebellion in the colonies, it may reasonably 
be affirmed that no rebellion there would have been 
successful. 

But if the King did oppose any conciliatory measures 
that would have been acceptable to the chiefs of the 
dominant party in the colonies, he did not thereby do 
anything to cause the loss of the colonies to the Empire, 
for it is certain that no measures of conciliation that 
would have kept the colonies in the Empire would have 
been accepted by them. As to the charge that the King 
prolonged the war long after all hope of subduing the 
rebellion had passed, we have only to call as witnesses 
Washington, Hamilton and other Revolutionary chiefs 
triumphantly to acquit him of that charge. 

But the most serious count in the indictment against 
King George remains. It is alleged that he attempted 
to force upon his subjects on both sides of the Atlantic 
arbitrary and despotic rule ; that he built up for him_- 
self greater personal power than had been possessed by 
any king of Great Britain since the deposition of James 



THE ROYAL SCAPEGOAT 

the Second, to the imminent danger of the free institu- 
tions of the whole empire. But if this were his object, 
surely he went about it in a remarkable manner. One 
would think that this lover of arbitrary power, this 
would-be despot, would have attempted to undermine the 
influence of the representatives of the people who stood 
between him and his subjects. Strange to say, it was to 
uphold the power of Parliament that all his efforts were 
directed : and this is what was so strenuously objected to 
by the American Disunion chiefs. According to their 
theorv it was the prerogative of the King that assured to 
them their liberties.3 It follows, therefore, that the 
ground of their condemnation of the King was not that 
he had attempted to override the constitution, but that 
he did not override the constitution by taking power 
into his own hands which by long usage had become 
exclusively to belong to Parliament. 

Strange, indeed, was the spectacle! A king of Eng- 
land, an offspring of the Stuarts, contending for the 
rights of Parliament, and the transatlantic progeny of 
the Puritans acclaiming kingly prerogative ! " Good 
heavens!" exclaimed Dean Tucker, aghast at such a sit- 
uation, " what a sudden alteration is this ! An American 
pleading for an extension of the prerogative of the 
Crown !" But the dean was not deceived as to the true 
meaning of this phenomenon, for he added : " Yes, if 
it could make for his cause, and for extending it, too, 
beyond the bounds of reason and common sense."* 

Franklin, to whom in particular the dean's words 
were addressed, seems to have been somewhat at a loss 
for an answer, or for any but a lame one. "What 
stuff!" he replied: "why may not an American plead 
for the just prerogative of the Crown? And is it not 
a just prerogative of the Crown to give the subjects 
leave to settle in a foreign country ?"t That is to say, 
it was proper for a constitutional king to give his sub- 

*Dean Tucker, in Good Humour. _ ,^ , v^r 

•H" Political Ohi^enrations " : Franklin's Wnhngs, Vol TV., p. 



MYTHS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION 

jects leave to set up a different form of government 
than that vi^hich the constitution by which he was bound 
prescribed ; not in " a foreign country," as FrankHn 
insidiously suggested, but within the Empire itself. 
The irrelevance of the answer equals its audacity and 
falsity, for it shifts the question. 

That King George was possessed of a determina- 
tion — a doggedness, if the word be preferred — that 
caused him to persist in any course that he conceived to 
be the right one is not to be denied ; but that that char- 
acteristic caused the loss of the colonies, or contributed 
towards that loss, there is no proof or even plausible 
inference. In this King George has been m.ade the 
scapegoat for the sins of his ministers. One thing that 
the determination of the King did was to break up 
the power of the Whig oligarchy that had ruled Eng- 
land for half a century, and had instituted and main- 
tained a system of political corruption such as never 
before or since has been maintained there. Also it 
transformed a dissipated court into the most orderly and 
moral of all the courts in Europe. 

That the courage of the King equalled his determina- 
tion is shown by the fact that at the time the capital of 
the country was in the power of a mob, when the smoke 
of incendiary fires was rising from its public buildings 
and places of worship ; at a time when, as said Dr. 
Johnson, " the magistrates dared not call the guards for 
fear of being hanged ;" when " the guards would not 
come for fear of being given up to the blind rage of 
popular juries;"* at that time the King came to the 
rescue of his terrorized subjects, declaring that at least 
one magistrate would do his duty, and by force of his 
personal will caused action to be taken that restored 
order to the distracted city.f Had his cousin of France 
shown half his determination his head would have 
remained upon his shoulders, his country would have 

*Croker's Boswell, p. 509. 

tCampbcH's Lives of the Chancellors, Vol. VIII., pp. 41, 43. 



THE ROYAL SCAPEGOAT 

been spared the horrors of the Reign of Terror, and been 
happy under a free constitutional government, while the 
nations of Europe would have escaped a generation of 
rapine and slaughter. 

If ever an impartial biography of George the Third 
be written, it will be seen that Britain owes not a little 
to this much berated monarch. 



153 



CHAPTER X. 
THE RIGHTS OF PROPERTY AND OF MAN, 

The government of the United States was not " con- 
ceived in liberty." On the contrary, it was conceived 
in the urgent necessity for a restraint of Hberty. It is 
in the nature of things that those who have inaugurated 
and carried on a successful rebellion should be called 
upon to resist a new revolt against their rule. For to 
acquire a following among the ignorant and unthinking, 
upon whose assistance their success is dependent, they 
must make to them pledges impossible of redemption 
under any form of government worthy of the name. 

So it was with the triumphant Disunionists. As soon 
as the colonies had been freed from Imperial control, in 
a contest begun for the avowed purpose of getting rid 
of taxation, the lower orders of the colonists, who had 
taken seriously such promises as that of " a universal 
and perpetual exemption from taxes," which, John 
Adams informs us, on one occasion " was held up to 
some of them as a temptation by underhand politicians, "i 
began to demand the fulfilment of such promises. Dis- 
appointed in this, they determined to take the remedy into 
their own hands. The Disunion chiefs had taught them 
that governments might be overthrown, and they had 
taken the lesson to heart. 

Every State was seething with disafifection, and their 
governments were imperilled. In one which had been 
the foremost to resist Imperial taxation were found a 
number who objected equally to taxation by their own 
State. They rose in formidable insurrection, and 
brought into the field against their new government 



THE RIGHTS OF PROPERTY AND OF MAN 

armed forces consisting of about " twelve or fifteen 
thousand desperate and unprincipled men," gathered 
from several adjoining States, under a leader who 
had held a command in the Revolutionary army. 
They demanded a general division of property and the 
abolition of all debts, declaring that anyone opposed to 
them was ''an enemy to equity and justice, and ought 
to be swept from the face of the earth."^ 

The prospect was alarming. '' The flames of internal 
insurrection were ready to burst out in every quarter; 
we walked on ashes concealing fire beneath our feet,"* 
said a statesman of Pennsylvania. " Nothing was want- 
ing to bring about a revolution but a great man to head 
the insurgents." It "brought the republic to the brink 
of destruction/'t said two of his colleagues of an adjoin- 
ing State. 

Washington deplored this "melancholy proof" that 
''mankind, when left to themselves, are unfit for their 
own government." *' It was but the other day," he 
complained, " that we were shedding our blood to obtain 
the constitutions under which Ave now live, constitutions 
of our own choice and making, and now we are 
unsheathing the sword to overthrow them." " Some- 
thing must be done," he declared, " or the fabric must 
fall, for it is certainly tottering." "Let us have a gov- 
ernment by which our lives, liberties and properties^ will 
be secured, or let us know the worst at once," he 
pleaded. " Without an alteration in our political creed," 
he urged, " the superstructure we have been seven years 
in raising, at the expense of so much treasure and blood, 
must fall. We are, in fact, verging to anarchy and con- 
fusion," to some "awful crisis."^ 

These forebodings were echoed by men of lesser note. 

^Elliott's Debates, Vol. II., p. 521- 

jlbid., Vol. III., pp. 180, 274. 

^Washington to Henry Lee, October 31. ^7^'^ to James 
Madison, November 5, 1786; to David Humphreys, December 
26, 1786; to Henry Knox, February 26, 1787: Writings. Vol. IX., 
pp. 203, 204, 207, 231, 234. 



MYTHS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION 

" Very few among us now deny that a federal govern- 
ment is necessary to save us from ruin. 
Anarchy and uncertainty attend our future state," said 
Mr. Ames, in the Massachusetts Convention. " That a 
general system of government is indispensably neces- 
sary to save our country from ruin is agreed upon all 
sides," said John Hancock, in the same body. ''We 
must unite in order to preserve peace among ourselves. 
If we be divided, what is to prevent wars from breaking 
out among the States?" asked Oliver Ellsworth in that 
of Connecticut. In the New York Convention Robert 
Livingston asserted that the " distress " of the people 
pointed out the necessity of a Union. In that of Vir- 
ginia Governor Randolph declaimed: "The tempest 
growls over you ; look round ; wheresoever you look 
you see danger. . . . Justice strangled and trampled 
under foot." He likened the United States to a " ship- 
wrecked vessel." In the Federal Convention Pinckney 
deplored the *' rapid approaches towards anarchy." And 
Mr. Gerry feared " a civil war.""^' 

There must, then, be- instituted some kind of a gov- 
ernment. The government demanded by Washington 
was an " energetic govemment,"t and so thought the 
other chiefs of the Revolution. Under the stress of 
necessity, the " unreasonable jealousy " existing between 
the states, which had led them to the verge of civil war, 
was laid in abeyance, and some appearance of harmony 
prevailed among them. Delegates from nearly all the 
States met in convention to frame a federal constitution 
that should bind the whole and place the governing 
power in the hands of the well-to-do classes. 

The government so formed was not formed " of the 
people," for a large number of the people were excluded 
from any share in it. It was not formed " by the 
people," for they who formed it did not represent the 
people, having the suffrages of but a part of them. It 

^Elliott's Debates, Vol. II., pp. 156, 158, 175, 186,210; Vol. III., 
pp. 66, 114; Vol. v., pp. 444, 557. 

tWashington to Knox, February 3, 1787: Washington's Writ- 
ings, Vol. IX., p. 230. 

156 



THE RIGHTS OF PROPERTY AND OF MAN 

was not formed " for the people," for those who formed 
it took excessive care that the interests of the people 
should be subservient to those of the landed and 
moneyed classes. It is necessary only to read the 
debates of the federal and state conventions to realize 
that the objects of the constitution-makers was not to 
give freedom and power to the people, but to restrict 
their power and place it in the hands of a moneyed 
aristocracy — in other words, to form a limited plu- 
tocracy. 

In these debates we hear no more of natural law and 
the consent of the governed.3 Throughout them all was 
echoed the demand of Washington for an energetic gov- 
ernment. Mr. Madison was for '' a strong, energetic 
government." Mr. Baldwin declared it " ought to be 
energetic and formidable." Mr. Turner felt " the want 
of an energetic government." Mr. Monroe, also, was 
greatly attached to ''an energetic government;" and 
Mr. Stillman declared that " the establishment of a firm, 
energetic government" was "the most fervent prayer 
of his soul." Gouverneur Morris avowed himself " the 
advocate of a strong government. ... A firm gov- 
ernment alone can protect our liberties." Robert Morris 
was " happy to perceive that it is a principle on all sides 
conceded and adopted by this committee, that an ener- 
getic federal government is essential to the preservation 
of our Union." So to Mr. Jay it seemed " on all sides 
agreed that a strong, energetic federal government is 
necessarv for the United States." Hamilton, of course, 
was for '" public strength and individual security." Mr. 
West even intimated that " the people '" were " runnmg 
mad after an energetic government."* 

Now, what did these constitution-makers mean by an 
energetic government? Not, certainly, a government of, 
by or for the people; but, plainly, a government 
removed so far as they dared to remove it from the 

people. ., 

"The views of the governed," declared Hamilton, 

^Elliott's Debates, Vol. I., pp. 421, 462, 465, 476; Vol. II., 
pp. 31, 33, 164, 282, 296; Vol. III., p. 217; Vol. v., p. 272. 



MYTHS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION 

" are often materially different from those who govern. 
. Give power to the many and they will oppress 
the few." Mr. Randolph asserted that " no government 
can be stable which hangs on human inclination alone, 
unbiased by coercion." The evils under which the 
United States labo.^ed, he declared, were to be found " in 
the turbulence and follies of democracy ; that some check, 
therefore, was to be sought for against this tendency of 
our governments." Mr. Gerry, too, asserted that 
*' Demagogues are the great pests of our government 
and have occasioned most of our distresses." '' Democ- 
racy/' he declared, was " the worst of all political evils. 
. . . The evils we experience flow from an excess of 
democracy. The people do not want virtue, but are 
dupes of pretended patriots. . . . He had been 
taught by experience the danger of the levelling spirit." 
Mr. Ames likened a democracy to " a volcano which 
conceals the fiery materials of its own destruction." 
Mr. Madison declared that in all civilized countries there 
were different classes of people, the poor and the rich, 
*' those who labor under the hardships of life," and 
" those who are placed above the feelings of indigence." 
And he asked how the danger of the power sliding into 
the hands of the former could be " guarded against." 
Mr. Corbin, like Governor Randolph, declared that 
" coercion is necessary in every government. Justice, 
Sir, cannot be done without it."* 

So the people must be coerced. But how? Under 
what manner of government? 

Mr. Hamilton " had no scruple in declaring, supported 
as he was by the opinion of so many of the wise and 
good, that the British Government was the best in the 
world, and that he doubted much whether anything short 
of it would do in America." He was, he said, almost 
led " to despair that a republican government could be 
established," yet *' he was sensible, at the same time, 
that it would be unwise to propose one of any other 

*Elliott's Debates, Vol. I., pp. 421, 451, 483; Vol. II., p. 10; 
Vol. III., p. 106; Vol. v., pp. 136, 138, 203, 242, 243, 557. 

158 



THE RIGHTS OF PROPERTY AND OF MAN 

form." Air. Gerry also thought that " perhaps a limited 
monarchy would be the best government, if we could 
organize it by creating a house of peers." But he, like 
Hamilton, was sensible that '' it cannot be done." Many 
other delegates to the several conventions, including 
Patrick Henry, also lauded the British Government, and 
seemed sorry that one similar could not be organized in 
the United States.'-' 

Having, as said Mr. Randolph, "made a bold stroke 
for monarchy," the members of the Federal Convention 
began " doing the same for an aristocracy." Several of 
them had expressed a preference for an aristocratic form 
of government, as being the best next to the monarchical 
form, Gouverneur Morris, in particular, declaring that 
" his creed was that there never was, or ever will be, 
a civilized society without an aristocracy." In order to 
preserve the aristocratic feature, many days were con- 
sumed in the Convention in the endeavor to devise a 
practicable method by which the chief executive and the 
members of the upper house might be saved from the 
degradation of being elected by the people ; though, in 
the matter of the constitution of the executive, Gouver- 
neur Morris differed from his colleagues, advocating 
that officer being elected " by the freeholders of the 
country," rather than by the legislatures, as the free- 
holders would " never fail to prefer some man of dis- 
tinguished character." To be rid of this alternative, 
several plans were suggested for the selection of the 
president, among them that of a legislative lottery. " It 
seems to be admitted," said Mr. Hamilton, " that no 
good one could be established on republican principles ;" 
therefore, he was in favor of an hereditary executive. 
But if this could not be, at least let him " be for life." 
And " let one branch of the legislature hold their places 
for life, or at least during good behavior." This branch 
was to be composed of " the rich and the well-born," 
who thus would have " a distinct, permanent share in 

^Elliott's Debates, Vol. I., p. 408; Vol. III., pp. 51, 53, 59, 64; 
Vol. v., p. 202. 



MYTHS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION 

the government." Mr. Dickinson, too, " wished the 
Senate to consist of the most distinguished characters, 
distinguished for their rank in life and their weight of 
property, and bearing as strong a Hkeness to the British 
House of Lords as possible." Mr. Randolph thought 
that *'the democratic licentiousness of the State legis- 
latures proved the necessity of a firm Senate." Gouv- 
erneur Morris said that if the Senate were to be depend- 
ent, " we are better without it. To make it independent 
it should be for life. . . . Such an aristocratic 
body will keep down the turbulence of democracy." 
Mr. Reed, too, thought that the Senators '' ought to 
continue in office during good behavior."'^ 

Alexander Hamilton, who when enlisted in the Dis- 
union ranks to oppose the British Government had 
lauded the law of nature, and had declared that " the 
sacred rights of mankind are not to be rummaged for 
among old parchments or musty records," but were 
" written as with a sunbeam in the whole volume of 
human nature," now himself produced a parchment 
which, if not old or musty, was as well devised for the 
purpose of abridging the " sacred rights of mankind " 
as any. Certainly its provisions, if carried out, would 
have abridged them to a greater extent than did those 
of the British Government that had received Mr. 
Hamilton's condemnation. This was a plan for a 
federal government, which, as said Dr. Johnson, a 
member of the Federal Convention, was " praised 
by everybody " and '' supported by none." It pro- 
vided for an assembly, elected by the people, to serve 
three years ; a senate, elected b}'' a board of electors, to 
serve for life; a chief executive, to be appointed by 
electors, to serve for life, with an unlimited power to 
veto acts of the legislature, and the power of appointing 
officers ; and a judiciary, appointed by the executive, to 
serve for life.f 

♦Elliott's Debates, Vol. I., pp. 422, 475, 488; Vol. V, pp. 166, 
186, 203, 271, 283, 322, 360, 514. 

•\Ihid., Vol. I., pp. 179, 421, 422, 423. 431; Vol. v., pp. 584, 
590. 

160 



THE RIGHTS OF PROPERTY AND OF MAN 

Praise it though they might, the members of the Con- 
vention did not dare to adopt this plan, which, in fact, 
provided for the estabhshment of a monarchy patterned 
on the very bad model of Poland. 

Monarchical the new government could not be ; aris- 
tocratic it was, so far as it was safe to make it by 
removing the appointment of the chief executive, the 
judiciary and the senators from the direct control of the 
people. Baldly plutocratic it would have been had the 
wishes of the constitution-makers been carried out. 
Differing in other respects, they were all enthusiastic in 
praise of wealth and in proclaiming its right to rule. 

" Money is strength," said Mr. Butler, " and every 
State ought to have its weight in the national council 
in proportion to the quantity it possesses ;" and Franklin 
observed that " the representation ought to be in pro- 
portion to the importance of numbers and wealth in 
each State." " The landed interest," said Mr. Pinckney, 
"is the governing power of America." But Mr. King 
" observed that there might be some danger in requiring 
landed property as a qualification [for office] since it 
might exclude the moneyed interest." " This inequality 
of property," said Mr. Hamilton, " constituted the great 
and fundamental distinction in society." Mr. Rutledge 
said that " property was certainly the principal object 
of society." Therefore, he " contended for the admission 
of wealth in the estimate by which representation should 
be estimated." Mr. Butler agreed with him, and, as 
became a slaveholder, insisted that as the black bonds- 
men of the South were also property, they, too, should 
be included in the estimate. " The landed interest at 
present is prevalent," said Mr. Madison ; but he feared 
that " in process of time " it would be " overbalanced 
in future elections," and unless this were "wisely pro- 
vided against, what," he asked, "will become of your 
government?" Therefore, "Landholders ought to have 
a share in the government, to support these valuable 
interests. . . . They ought to be so constituted as 
to protect the minority of the opulent against the 
II i6i 



MYTHS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION 

majority. The Senate, therefore, ought to be th s body." 
Mr. Gerry thought that " if property be one C'bject of 
government, provisions to secure it cannot be improper." 
Mr. Mason, too, suggested that the members of the 
Senate ought " to be quaHfied as to property ;" and Gouv- 
erneur Morris declared that it " ought to be composed 
of men of great and established property. . . . The 
wealthy will ever exist, and you never can be safe unless 
you gratify them, as a body, in pursuit of honor and 
profit. . . . The influence of the rich must be 
regarded. . . . Property was the main object of 
society. ... If property, then, was the main object 
of government, certainly it ought to be the one measure 
of the influence due to those who were to be affected 
by the government." Therefore, he wished to have the 
qualifications of electors so fixed as to " restrain the 
right of suffrage to freeholders. . . . Give the votes 
to people who have no property, and they will sell them 
to the rich." He was not, he declared, " duped by the 
association of the words ' taxation and representation.' " 
Colonel Mason was among those who thought that *' one 
important object in constituting the Senate was to secure 
the rights of property. . . . He suggested, there- 
fore, the propriety of annexing to the office a qualifica- 
tion of property." General Thompson thought that the 
representatives, as well as the senators, should have 
" some qualifications of property ; for," said he, *' when 
men have nothing to lose they have nothing to fear." 
Mr. Pinckney '' thought it essential that the members of 
the legislature, the executive and the judges should be 
possessed of competent property. . . . Were he to 
fix the quantum of property which should be required, 
he should not think of less than one hundred thousand 
dollars for the President, half that sum for each of the 
judges, and in like proportion for the members of the 
national legislature."*4 

*Elliott's Debates, Vol. I., pp. 404, 444, 452, 475, 476; Vol. II., 
p. 35; Vol. v., pp. 385, 386; 244, 247, 279, 296, 297, 371, 403, 405, 
449, 450. 

162 



THE RIGHTS OF PROPERTY AND OF MAN 

Other opinions of a like character were expressed by 
members of the Federal Constitutional Convention. 
These were the constitution-makers, without whose 
initiative and support that constitution would not have 
been made. Mr. Roosevelt tells us that *' the states- 
men who met in 1787 were earnestly patriotic. They 
unselfishly desired the welfare of their countrymen."''' 
Perhaps this is so; but if it be so, it is certain that 
they did not intend that that welfare should be derived 
from too much '' self-government/' or from the absence, 
of "taxation without representation," principles the 
announcement of which had brought about the Revolu- 
tion, and which alone had made it possible for them to 
frame any sort of government. 

A full decade before the meeting of the Constitutional 
Convention — when the Disunion oligarchs had entire 
control of the governments of the several provinces or 
states, and the masses were without power or influence — 
the Disunion leaders, then engaged in conducting a war 
against the Home Government, ostensibly begun to save 
the people of the colonies from being governed without 
their consent, were careful to exclude them, so far as 
was possible, from participation in the new state gov- 
ernments they had set up. Thus John Adams, who had 
defined the word " freeman " as one " bound by no law 
to which he has not consented,"5 joined his colleagues 
in "enslaving " a large number of the inhabitants of his 
own province by excluding from the privilege of the 
suffrage such of them as did not possess " a freehold 
estate," or other equivalent property.^ " Very few men," 
he wrote, ''who have no property have any judgment 
of their own ;" and, therefore, he argued, " if you give 
to every man who has no property a vote, will you not 
make a fine encouraging provision for corruption?" In 
theory, he admitted, " the only moral foundation of gov- 
ernment is the consent of the people." But then, my 
dear Sir, there is " wisdom and policy " to be considered. 

*Gotwerneur Morris, pp. I34» I35- 

163 



MYTHS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION 

And then, again, you exclude women and minors. " Will 
not the same reason justify the state in fixing upon 
some certain quantity of property as a qualification?"* 

Franklin, too, who had declared that they who have 
no vote " are absolutely enslaved to those who have 
votes," also favored the restriction of the privilege of 
suffrage to men of property.f 

Such were the arguments used by the Disunion chiefs 
to justify their action in denying to their fellow-citizens 
the " rights " they had so vehemently claimed for them. 
So soon after — nay, the very while — they were claiming 
" self-government as the inherent right of all men, guar- 
anteed both by constitutional and natural law, did they 
begin to talk of '' giving " that right, as though they 
stood above all law, natural and civil. This was dis- 
ingenuous, to say the least, but perhaps hypocrisy was 
included in the new forms of virtue which they so 
abundantly possessed. 

One of the Revolutionary Fathers went even beyond 
his colleagues in denying to his countrymen the " rights " 
upon the withholding of which they had based their 
claim to the equity of rebellion. He proposed to govern 
all the territory outside of the original thirteen colonies 
as dependent provinces. J This gentleman before had 
manifested a similar disposition, for when, during the 
war for independence, the inhabitants of territory adjoin- 
ing New York, fired by the example of their fellow- 
revolutionists, had claimed " self-government " as equallv 
their right, he had given his voice for " conquering " 
them. " Success will sanctify every operation, "7 he 
declared. 

Contrast these utterances of American lovers of 
liberty with the declaration of the Irishman, Henry 
Grattan, who declared that he '' would be ashamed of 

*John Adams to James Sullivan, May 26, 1776: Works, Vol. 
IX., pp. 375, 378, passim. 

fFranklin's Writings, Vol. II., p. 372; Vol. IV., pp. 221, 224. 
^ IGouverneur Morris : Speech in the Constitutional Conven- 
tion : Elliott's Debates, Vol. V., p. 279. 

164 



THE RIGHTS OF PROPERTY AND OF MAN 

giving freedom to but six hundred of his countrymen 
when he could extend it to two millions more."* Mr. 
Roosevelt, I believe, has some Irish blood in his veins ; 
perhaps he might afford to extend some admiration to 
this Irishman for so " unselfishly desiring the welfare of 
his countrymen." 

The other States followed the example of Massa- 
chusetts in requiring a property qualification as a requi- 
site for the franchise; thus a majority of their citizens 
were denied the right to consent to the laws that gov- 
erned them, and so were *' enslaved." Some of the 
States established religious tests, one, at least, forbid- 
ding the holding of offices by Jews. 

"^Speeches of Henry Grafton, Vol. I., p. 132. 



165 



CHAPTER XI. 
SBLF-GOVBRNMBNT AND NATURAL LAW. 

The curious but very prevalent belief that new and 
untried principles of government were evolved and put 
in practice by the organizers of the Revolution, prin- 
ciples that gave to the people the right to *' govern 
themselves," of course, is as erroneous as any other 
tenet of the cult of the Revolutionary Myth. To find, 
even in the history of England, the origin of these sup- 
posed new theories of government — leaving out of the 
question the very general promulgation of communal 
socialist theories during the fifteenth century — it is 
necessary to reach back nearly five centuries. 

Eong before the " Pilgrim Fathers " were moved by 
the Spirit to seek an asylum in the wilderness of the 
New World, the doctrine of the " consent of the gov- 
erned " was preached in England ; and its practice was 
attempted there, at the cost of some blood and treasure, 
and its failure recorded, before they were well settled 
in their huts on the banks of the Charles River. 

In 1592 Richard Hooker wrote: " Sith men naturally 
have no full and perfect power to command whole 
politic multitudes of men, therefore, utterly without our 
consent, we could in such sort be at no man's command- 
ment living."! 

These ideas took fast hold of the Puritan mind. A 
resolution of the Eong Parliament declared that the 
people were the original of all just power. Milton 
asserted that, '' No man who knows aught can be so 
stupid as to deny that all men were naturally born free ;" 

166 



SELF-GOVERNMENT AND NATURAE LAW 

and, further, that " authority and power " were '' nat- 
urally in every one of them." 

So much for the early theory. The early experiment 
was not very successful. The founders of the Com- 
monwealth tried it, and produced anarchy. ''The 
nation," urged Ludlow to Cromwell, " should be gov- 
erned by its own consent." '' Aye," replied Oliver, Pro- 
tector, ''but where shall we find that consent?" Gov- 
ernment should be " for the good of the people," he 
declared, "and not what pleases them;" which sug- 
gests Carlyle's " First Right of Man " — " the everlasting 
privilege of the foolish to be governed by the wise." 

Locke, following Hooker, preached the consent of the 
governed, and declared that " all men are naturally 
equal," thus anticipating by a century the Declaration 
of Rights promulgated by the French National 
Assembly. Half a century later Jean Jacques Burla- 
maqui and his fellow-townsman and contemporary, that 
other Jean Jacques, preached and amplified the same 
doctrine. 

And, what may seem strange to some, not only 
philosophers, but kings, joined in asserting the natural 
freedom and equality of man. And what kings? The 
despots and tyrants of the historic page ! Frederick the 
Great asserted that " Kings are but men, and all men 
are equal." And that tyrant of tyrants, the heartless 
uxoricide, Henry the Eighth, in a deed of manumission 
of two of his " villeins," declared that " God created all 
men free;" thus uttering one of the earliest recorded 
assertions of that paradox by an Englishman, and saying 
more than that other exponent of the people's rights, 
Thomas Jefferson, dared to say in his famous " Declara- 
tion." 

Truly, proclaimers of the " Rights of Man " are found 
in unexpected places ! 

The Disunionists wrote and spoke volumes about 
" Natural Law." This was helpful to their cause, 
because, by asserting the supremacy of the law of nature, 
they were able to render nugatory any statutory law, 

167 



MYTHS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION 

otherwise unassailable, that stood in the way of their 
claims. They had but to appeal to the provisions of 
*' Natural Law," as interpreted by themselves, in order 
to erase such offending ordinance from the statute books. 
By this " Natural Law," they did not mean — 

" The good old rule, the simple plan, 
That he may take who has the power, 
And he may keep who can;" 

(which, in fact, is the only natural law affecting the 
political relations of men), but something entirely dif- 
ferent, an imaginary, but, to them, very convenient 
law, that ordained that they and their party should do 
and have whatever they desired to do and have, and 
that all who were not in accord with them should have 
no privilege at all. 

But the Disunion chiefs were not the first to talk and 
write nonsense about natural law ; even that distinction 
must be denied them. Philosophers, jurists and states- 
men had done so before them. Hobbes, in his Leviathan, 
had written intelligibly about natural laws, and 
Grotius had maintained a distinction between natural 
and civil law ; but Puffendorf, in his De Jure Nattirce 
et Gentium, essayed to construct a universal law for 
the government of nations, from the promptings of 
human nature; and Burlam.aqui, confusing natural law 
with reason and justice, set it up as a guide for civilized 
communities. The Disunion leaders, adopting these 
ideas, wrote and talked effusively of '' nature," as if it 
were the half-way house for colonies on their road to 
independence. Hence, the apparently foolish, oft-quoted 
remark of Patrick Henry that he and his fellow-colon- 
ists were " in a state of nature." 

Sir Edward Coke, the insulter of the gallant Sir 
Walter Raleigh, with other English judges, asserted 
that natural law was engrafted on the English Consti- 
tution. Among statesmen, Chatham and his brother 
Whigs cited the decrees of natural law to prove that 
the Opposition had violated the statutes of the realm; 

i68 



SELF-GOVERNMENT AND NATURAL LAW 

Lord Camden, the demagogue Chancellor, in particular, 
declaring that the union of taxation and representation 
was " an eternal law of nature." 

But Whigs and revolutionists were not to have a 
monopoly of natural law. The advocates of the Divine 
Right of Kings were not behind those of the Rights of 
Man in invoking its judgments. The Duke of Bruns- 
wick, the Emperor of Germany and the King of Prussia, 
in a proclamation, called upon the Parisians to give to 
Louis XVI., then their captive, the submission and 
obedience due to sovereigns from their subj ects, '" ^j 
the law of nature/' 

The Disunion leaders, then, despising parliamentary 
statutes, based their contentions upon the doctrines of 
the philosophers. Hooker, Hobbes, Harrington, Gro- 
tius, Spinoza, Puffendorf, Milton, Sydney, Locke, Lord 
Somers, Bolingbroke, Montesquieu, Vattel, Burlamaqui, 
Rousseau and Beccaria were eagerly read and frequently 
quoted. Of all these, Harrington, Locke and Grotius 
pleased them the most, and Rousseau not at all. Grotius 
pleased them well, because they thought they discovered 
in his writings a warrant for throwing off their alle- 
giance to the Crown, They held that, according to his 
teaching, as they had closed the courts, dispersed the 
legislatures and set up mob rule, the king had abdicated. 
Harrington and Locke pleased them even better, for they 
spoke respectfully of property, while Rousseau desired 
to abolish all distinctions between the rich and the poor. 
" Property " was ever in their thoughts and on their 
tongues. So often does the word appear in the literature 
of the American revolution, that one is reminded of the 
hoof-beats of the horse of Tennyson's " Northern 
Farmer." " Property, property, property !" runs like a 
refrain (through it all. Many visitors to the colonies and 
the newly enfranchised states have testified to the adula- 
tion of their inhabitants of wealth, among them Chastel- 
lux, who has recorded that the possession of money 
constituted the sole distinction among them/^ John 

*Chastellux's Travels, Vol. L, p. 278. 

169 



MYTHS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION 

Adams, too^ as might be expected^ declared that the 
distinction conferred by wealth was proper to a republic* 
It is not true, then, as has been asserted by a dis- 
tinguished American statesman, that the revolution was 
undertaken " on a strict question of principle."^ Aside 
from the prime moving cause — a determination to 
acquire independence — property, not principle, furnished 
the incentive to rebellion. After independence was won, 
the Disunion leaders denied to those without whose 
help it could not have been attained the very " rights " 
for which they claimed to have been contending. As 
has been seen, they established a property qualification 
for the suffrage ; they also organized admiralty courts 
modelled upon those of Great Britain, the existence of 
which had been cited as one of their grievances, thus 
establishing a system of taxation without representation 
and trial without jury,3 the two capital crimes with 
which the Home Government was charged, and the chief 
excuse for the overthrow of Imperial rule. 

*John Adams' Works, Vol. IV., pp. 428, 429 ; Vol. V., p. 489 ; 
Vol. VI., pp. 9, 65, 89, 280; Vol. IX., p. 560. 



170 



CHAPTER XII. 

DO THE ANGLO-BRITANNIC RACE AND THE 
REST OF THE WORLD OWE THEIR FREE 
INSTITUTIONS TO THE SUCCESS OF THE 
AMERICAN REVOLUTION ? 

It is asserted by eminent British writers that the 
revolting colonists, in fighting their own battles, were 
fighting as well the battles of the people of the mother 
country, and in winning them, won their freedom and 
their own. 

One of these writers, who perhaps more than any other 
now living has adopted the opinions and prejudices of 
the English eighteenth century Whigs, assures us that 
but for the success of the American revolutionists in 
gaining their independence, the growth of the free institu- 
tions of Great Britain would have been checked, and the 
doctrine of non-resistance and passive obedience estab- 
lished in that country. At least, that seems to me to be 
his meaning. 

" It is," he writes, " almost demonstrably certain that 
the vindication of the supremacy of popular interests 
over all other considerations would have been bootless 
toil, and that the great constitutional struggle from 1760 
to 1783 would have ended otherwise than it did, but for 
the failure of the war against the insurgent colonies 
and the final establishment of American independence. 
It was this portentous transaction which finally 
routed the arbitrary and despotic pretensions of the 
House of Commons over the people, and which put an 
end to the hopes entertained by the sovereign of mak- 

171 



MYTHS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION 

ing his personal will supreme in the Chambers. . 
The struggle which began unsuccessfully in Brentford 
in Middlesex was continued at Boston in Massachusetts. 
The ruin of the American cause would have 
been also the ruin of the constitutional cause in Eng- 
land."* 

Another distinguished Englishman intimates that had 
the colonial insurrection been suppressed the freedom 
of Englishmen, as well as of Americans, would have been 
overthrown and arbitrary government established in both 
countries. f 

Another English writer, of much learning and some 
fame, tells us that the " growing patronage of the colon- 
ies, if they had remained a few years longer in our 
hands, must have given the ministers a power deadly to 
a free constitution.''^ 

Of course, such opinions are not new. They were put 
forth by English statesmen and writers at the time of 
the Revolution. All will remember the eloquent declara- 
tion of Chatham, that if America fell she " would 
embrace the pillars of the state and pull down the con- 
stitution along with her." And among the smaller men 
who expressed such opinions was Horace Walpole, who 
declared that "if England prevailed English and Amer- 
ican liberty were at an end." 

Among Americans of modern days, jMr. Roosevelt 
has said of the Revolutionists that " they warred vic- 
toriously for the right, in a struggle whose outcome 
vitally affected [favorably, I presume, is meant] the wel- 
fare of the whole human race."§ So, not the British 
and American people alone, but the peoples of the whole 
earth, owe a debt of gratitude to the American revolu- 
tionists, and to their English aiders and abettors. 

If all this be true, then it must be acknowledged that 
the result was cheaply purchased, even at the heavy cost 

*John Morley's Burke, p. 39. 

fBuckle's History of Civilization, Vol. I., p. 48. 

IGeorge Croly's George IV. 

%Gouverneur Morris, p. 5. 

172 



FREE INSTITUTIONS AND THE REVOLUTION 

of rebellion, war and carnage, with all their attendant 
evils and infamies. Though, even if convinced of its 
truth, we must still decry the acts of chicanery and bad 
faith on the part of the Disunion leaders ; though we 
must still abhor the barbarous persecutions of their 
unoffending countrymen, incited by self-styled champions 
of freedom ; though we must deplore the resulting 
maliciously fostered enmity which so long has kept 
asunder the two great branches of the Anglo-Britannic 
race — yet, if the constitutional freedom of that race 
could not have been maintained in any other way, we 
must rejoice that it was so purchased. 

But is it true? 

In examining Mr. Morley's statements we find an 
incongruity at the outset, one that seems to indicate 
that he is not very sure of his ground. He assumes 
that but for colonial independence there would have 
been established in England a sort of Venetian Council 
of Ten and a despotic monarchy. Surely such a com- 
bination is an impossible political melange. Would not 
" the arbitrarv and despotic pretensions of the House 
of Commons " have interfered with the realization of 
" the hopes entertained by the sovereign of making his 
personal will supreme?" If not, then there would have 
been established in Great Britain a form of government 
such as the world has never seen, and one beyond the 
capacity of man's intellect to comprehend. Its result, 
one may suppose, would have been like to that of the 
impact of a body moving with irresistible force upon 
an impervious and immovable object. 

"The American cause," of course, was the intent of 
the Disunion chiefs to free the colonies from the con- 
trol of Parliament. "The constitutional cause in Eng- 
land," presumablv, was the attempt to wrest the political 
power from the hands of the privileged few, and place 
it in the hands of a larger proportion of the people. 
And we are to suppose that, if the colonists had not 
achieved their indeoendence, the King, ministry. Com- 
mons or Lords — either or all together — would have 

173 



MYTHS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION 

encroached more and more upon the privileges of the 
people, until they had made themselves irresponsible 
oligarchs or despots and the people their bondservants. 

That before the establishment of colonial independ- 
ence, the House of Commons, or the ministerial party 
in control of that House, made attempts to interfere, 
illegally and otherwise, with the freedom of Englishmen, 
is quite true. That that event, directly or indirectly, 
served to defeat or prevent those attempts is quite as 
untrue. They were, in fact, defeated, and the battle 
won for the people, before a shot was fired in the con- 
test which brought about that independence. 

The " General Warrants," by means of which the 
ministers sought to silence their radical assailants, were 
declared illegal and void by the English courts, and the 
ministers who used them mulcted in heavy damages, be- 
fore the American Disunion agitators had fairly warmed 
to their work. An officer of the House of Commons, 
detailed to arrest one who had invaded its privileges, 
was taken into custody by the civic authorities, his 
prisoner released and himself imprisoned, before the 
dutiable tea had darkened the waters of Boston harbor; 
and one of the members of the House — a profligate 
demagogue,* but a man of brilliant attainments, and 
representing the rights of the people — after a contest 
of some seven or eight years, during which he had been 
thrice expelled and outlawed, was triumphantly restored 
to his seat before the Boston Port Bill had become a 
law. 

Thus, ''the arbitrary and despotic pretensions of the 
House of Commons," so far as they existed, were 
" finally routed," not by the consummation of American 
independence in 1783, but by the political triumphs of 
Englishmen ten years earlier. Before that time the 
House of Commons had rescinded and disavowed all 
its unconstitutional pretensions, and some that were not 
unconstitutional. It had condemned its own act by a 

*John Wilkes, who, like all demagogues, cared for the interests 
of none but the faction around him. 



FREE INSTITUTIONS AND THE REVOLUTION 

resolution declaring general warrants illegal. It had 
submitted its authority to the supervision of the courts. 
It had yielded to the popular demand for the publication 
of its debates. And the most dangerous of all its *' pre- 
tensions " — dangerous, not alone to the privileges of the 
people, but threatening the very frame of the constitu- 
tion — its claim, virtually, to the power of legislation by 
resolution, had been laid away never again to be brought 
to light. " The two tides of power and popularity " 
had met, and the former was overwhelmed by the latter. 
And during the contest that brought about this result, 
the constitutional rights of the people had been ardently 
asserted, not alone by Lord Chatham, the most eloquent 
pleader for the rights of the revolting colonists, but by 
George Grenville, the designer of " that enormous engine 
fabricated for battering down all the rights and liberties 
of America,"* the Stamp Act, and the would-be 
"enslaver" of the colonists. 

That one conversant with these facts should assert, 
or believe, that Englishmen of that era were incapable 
of preserving or extending their free institutions, and 
were fain to beg a new Magna Charta of their liberties 
from American statesmen on the Delaware, is strange, 
indeed. Chatham, at one time, at least— however at 
others he might have thought it politic to express con- 
trary opinions— did not believe this. " The British pub- 
lic," he said, addressing his fellow peers, " demand 
redress, and, depend upon it, my lords, in one way or 
another they will have redress. They will never return 
to a state of tranquillity till they are redressed."t And 
they did not. 

The determination of the people of England that their 
privileges should not be infringed by their representa- 
tives was not the sole guarantee for the prevention of 
the assumption of unconstitutional powers by the House 
of Commons, for that branch of the legislature could 
not assume undue powers without infringing upon those 

*John Adams' Works, Vol. II., p. 154- , ,. t- 

fSpeech of Chatham, in January, 1770, reported by Francis. 



MYTHS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION 

of the other branch. In this fact, also, lay a strong 
guarantee for the preservation of free institutions. 
Inevitably it must have happened that the continued 
exercise of undue powers by the one House would have 
been effectually checked by the other. Scarcely can one 
imagine the successful usurpation of arbitrary powers 
by the Commons, even though supported by the King, 
when opposed on the one side by the people and on the 
other by the Lords. When, at a later period, powers 
then declared to be arbitrary and unconstitutional were 
exercised by the ministry of the younger Pitt, they 
were exercised with the concurrence of both Houses of 
Parliament and the sovereign, and with the approval of 
the more conservative of the people, and they ended 
with the conditions from which they originated. 

That King George hoped to make his personal will 
supreme we have the opinions of Mr. Morley and those 
of his way of thinking, alone, to prove. The King him- 
self declared that he was " fighting the battle of the 
legislature,"* and those who read his correspondence 
with Lord North will see no reason to doubt his word. 
The fact is that, during the entire period of the agita- 
tion and war for American independence, in his inter- 
course with his ministers he assumed no powers that an 
English sovereign might not assume to-day without 
overstepping the boundary line of his constitutional pre- 
rogative. Edward the Seventh may advise with his 
minister ; George the Third did no more. If the advice 
tended to the subversion of British free institutions, 
then if the minister acted upon it it was he who vio- 
lated the constitution, not the King. 

It is said that King George kept Lord North at the 
helm to do his personal bidding, even against his own 
desire. Lord North was retained in office, not by the 
will of the King alone, but because he could command 
a majority in the Commons. For the same reason a 
minister would be retained as long to-day. It is a sig- 

*Said by the King to Lord North before the session of Parlia- 
ment in October, 1775. 

176 



FREE INSTITUTIONS AND THE REVOLUTION 

nificant fact, and one that of itself sufficiently refutes 
the claim of Mr. Morley and his friends, that it was 
American independence that caused the abandonment by 
King George of unconstitutional powers, that the only 
instance of the exercise of such powers by him occurred 
after that independence was attained. Then, indeed, he 
committed an act which might almost have justified Mr. 
Morley in his assertion that he sought to make his per- 
sonal will supreme in the Chambers. In December, 
1783, the King ventured to dismiss a ministry that were 
supported by a large majority in the Commons, and 
thereafter refused to dissolve Parliament that the people 
might have an opportunity to pass upon his act. Fur- 
thermore, he refused to dismiss his newly appointed 
ministers upon the demand of the House embodied in 
a resolution and an address, so that for four months 
there was seen the strange spectacle of a minister gov- 
erning without a majority. 

For these acts he was compared to Charles the First 
by the friends of those whom he had deprived of power.* 
It was declared that his action had filled the people with 
alarm and astonishment ; but, in fact, the ousted min- 
isters were as much detested by the people as by the 
King, even the demagogue, Wilkes, denouncing them 
and their supporters, numerous as they were, as a 
" faction."! 

These incidents are passed over by Mr. Morley and 
other writers, because, not only do they fail to support 
their contentions, but tend to refute them. But, sup- 
pose that, during the American Revolutionary propa- 
ganda, the King had dismissed ministers supported by 
a majority in the Commons who were disposed to grant 
the demands of the revolting colonists, and had installed 
in their stead others who refused to do so, then, 
indeed, we should have seen Mr. Morley and those of 
his way of thinking denounce the act as more tyrannical 
than any committed by the most tyrannical of the 
Stuarts. 

♦Fitzgerald's Correspondence of Fox, Vol. II., p. 220. 

12 177 



MYTHS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION 

When these gentlemen assert that the majority in the 
Commons that supported Lord North's administration 
were the creatures of the Crown and a few great or 
wealthy families, they assert the truth. But when they 
further assert, as does Mr. Buckle, that the success of 
the revolting colonists enabled the people of Great Britain 
to bring about a reform of these conditions ; that it 
furnished the healthful pressure needed for that result, 
which would have been wanting without it, they are 
again speaking without warrant of fact. 

For the half-century preceding the accession of George 
the Third, during which period the Whig oligarchy had 
gathered and kept in their hands all political power, the 
last thing they desired was parliamentary reform, for 
it would have rendered their power precarious, if it had 
not destroyed it. During that period they had become 
so used to corrupt methods of government that, even 
after being ousted from control, they scarcely could con- 
template a reform. Burke would have retained the 
" rotten boroughs," and looked with dismay upon the 
prospect of an extension of the suffrage : rather, he 
would have reduced it. " Parliament," he is said to have 
declared, " was, and always had been, precisely what it 
ought to be.""^ Chatham, it is true, intimated that there 
was some necessity for amputating those decayed limbs 
from the body-politic, but he showed no disposition to 
act as surgeon. They were, he said, *' natural infirm- 
ities," that should be borne with patience, for " ampu- 
tation might be death." At another time he declared 
that reform must come before the end of the century, 
but in that generation " gentler remedies " must suffice. f 
Accordingly, not for one, but for two generations, the 
cornfields of Old Sarum continued to produce their 
periodical harvest of legislators, as in the days of 
Walpole and Newcastle ; the great philanthropist and 
reformer, W^ilberforce, was obliged to purchase his seat 

"^Memorials of Fox, Vol. I., p. 2>^2. 

^Speeches of Lord Chatham, " On the State of the Nation." 

178 



FREE INSTITUTIONS AND THE REVOLUTION 

in Parliament for eight thousand pounds, and the 
younger Pitt^ Hke his august father, owed his introduc- 
tion to ParHament to a " rotten borough." 

For reform did not come before the end of the cen- 
tury, as predicted by Chatham ; the new century was 
far advanced, and his illustrious son had begun and 
ended his brilliant career a quarter of a century, before 
the theories of reform became facts. And why was 
reform then established? Because of the consummation 
of American independence ? How ridiculous ! Rather 
ask why it was so long delayed, and the answer is pat 
to the purpose. 

British parliamentary reform was delayed so long 
because of the distrust of the people consequent upon 
disturbances during the contest for American independ- 
ence, as well as during the revolution in France, which 
itself was a consequence of that in America. 

The effort made in 1780 by the Duke of Richmond 
to inaugurate manhood suffrage was doomed to inevitable 
failure, even if those upon whom he proposed to bestow 
the franchise had not at the time been threatening to 
break down the doors of the legislative halls within 
which the question was being considered. Five years 
later a half-hearted attempt at parliamentary reform 
was made by the younger Pitt, and met with no better 
fate. The first serious attempt at reform, which had it 
been supported by the Government surely would have 
succeeded, was made in 1792, when a motion to that 
effect was made and seconded by Charles Grey and 
Thomas Erskine. Why w^as the Government support 
then withheld? Because, said Mr. Pitt, that was "not 
a time to make hazardous experiments."* And why 
would parliamentary reform have been a hazardous 
experiment? Because of manifestations of unrest among 
the people, aroused by revolutionary publications and 
harangues by ''The Friends of the People," lately the 
"Friends of America," who were eulogizing the French 

^Parliamentary History, Vol. XXIX. 

179 



MYTHS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION 

revolutionists and exhorting their countrymen to follow 
in their steps, in the same manner in which they had 
eulogized and supported the American revolutionists. 
" Can we forget what lessons have been given to the 
world within a few years?" asked the son of the great 
Chatham, the staunchest of those *' friends," referring 
to these utterances. The objection was insurmountable, 
and parliamentary reform lay dormant for forty years, 
stunned into apathy by demonstrations the direct result 
of the success of the American Disunion propaganda 
and American independence. '' That indiscriminate 
dread of all change which the French Revolution had 
produced," noticed by an eminent British historian, 
retarded reform for seventeen years after the French 
monarchy was restored. But that dread was not pro- 
duced by circumstances arising from the French Revo- 
lution alone, but also from those dating back to the 
former one. 

What is there in these facts to support the assertion 
that parliamentary reform was due to American inde- 
pendence? How much greater reason do they afford 
for the belief that but for that " portentous transac- 
tion " reform would have come a generation earlier, as 
predicted by Lord Chatham? 

But Dr. Croly tells us that but for American inde- 
pendence the growing patronage of the colonies would 
have enabled the ministers to destroy the free institu- 
tions of Great Britain! The fact is there was no 
" growing patronage ;" the colonists took good care that 
there should be none. How were the ministers to pro- 
cure means from the colonies with which to secure such 
'' deadly power " ? As the expenses of the colonies were 
always greater than the revenues derived therefrom, 
they scarcely could have used the balance to " enslave " 
their fellow-subjects in England, even had they so 
desired. That they did not so desire or contemplate is 
shown by their acts, for they offered to the colonists a 
sufficient guarantee that their fiscal affairs should be 

x8o 



FREE INSTITUTIONS AND THE REVOLUTION 

so arranged as to put them beyond the control of the 
ministers. And surely the reverend gentleman did not 
suppose that by means of the salaries of a few gov- 
ernors, judges and tide-waiters they would have been 
able to carry on the government of the Empire without 
recourse to Parliament, after the fashion of Charles the 
First with his ship-money! 

It has been asserted that the success of the American 
Revolution forced the governing powers of Great Britain 
to be less despotic. That, for the same reason, the privi- 
leges of the upper classes were reduced, and those of 
the lower classes correspondingly increased. That these 
lower classes became more independent, less subservient 
to their social superiors, and less inclined to adulation 
of wealth and high birth. 

I can find no evidence of this. 

By far the most arbitrary and unconstitutional acts 
committed by king or ministry since the accession of 
the House of Brunswick were committed after American 
independence was attained. 

In 1784 the younger Pitt clung to office for several 
months, at the head of a ministry that had been fourteen 
times defeated by the votes of the Opposition, the King 
declaring himself ready to take any steps to support 
him in this unconstitutional proceeding. The Whigs 
were furious, but their fury availed them nothing. 

This high-handed beginning showed of what stuff the 
young premier was made, and his subsequent acts con- 
firmed the prognostic. When, on the eve of the French 
Revolution, the preachings of the English advocates 
of reform by insurrection — the late " friends of Amer- 
ica " and their successors — became dangerous to orderly 
government, he did not hesitate to resort to harsher and 
more arbitrary restraints than had been exercised in 
England since the expulsion of the last Stuart. " He 
was so alarmed at the danger of anarchy," writes Mr. 
Lecky, "that, for some years, he maintained what was 
little less than a reign of terror in England, directed 

181 



MYTHS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION 

against all who ventured to advocate any sort of demo- 
cratic reform, or to maintain any independent political 
organization in the country."''' 

In these measures Mr. Pitt was supported by the well- 
to-do and conservative classes, who had an uneasy 
remembrance of the disorders existing during the revo- 
lution in America, and who feared the example of the 
new revolution in France. There resulted prosecutions 
of " seditious and traitorous societies," not one whit 
more seditious or traitorous than were their prototypes 
that, during the American War, flaunted with impunity 
their sedition and treason in the face of the Govern- 
ment ; and of the '' disaffected," in the list of which all 
who advocated reform of any kind were included. But 
the most radical of these seditious societies or disaffected 
persons would not have dared openly to proclaim their 
advocacy of the cause of the enemies of their country 
to the extent that was done by those of their way of 
thinking at the time of the American Revolution. 
Treason had grown unpopular, and the great Whig 
chiefs no longer, as during that period, applauded those 
who uttered it. Burke in that " day of no judgment," 
as he was pleased to style the early period of the French 
Revolution, went so far as to stigmatize his quondam 
associates and fellow " friends of America," Drs. Price 
and Priestley, as " meddlers " and enemies to good gov- 
ernment, for utterances no more extravagant than those 
disseminated by them in the earlier days, when he shared 
their opinions. 

The " strong " government inaugurated by the younger 
Pitt outlasted his life and the -French War, so that, three 
years after Waterloo, Jeremy Bentham, with some show 
of truth, could say that " despotism was advancing in 
seven-leagued boots." In those days the governing 
powers troubled themselves little about the " Rights of 
Man." In 1780 the magistracy had so great a respect 
for the constitutional rights of the rabble that they stood 

^History of England, Vol. V., p. 64. 

182 



FREE INSTITUTIONS AND THE REVOLUTION 

by and witnessed the partial destruction of the capital 
of the three kingdoms rather than violate them by using 
the military to restrain their devastating ardor. Forty 
years later no such scruples troubled them, and the 
slaughter of peaceable townsmen, assembled for no 
unlawful purpose in St. Peter's Fields, by a body of 
cavalry, caused the '' Battle of Peterloo " to be asso- 
ciated in the minds of the people with the bloody con- 
flict on the Belgian plains. 

So much had American independence done to advance 
the great constitutional struggle and to rout the arbi- 
trary and despotic pretensions of the Government. 

Of the social advance of the lower orders of English- 
men, and the increase among them of the spirit of inde- 
pendence, claimed to have been brought about by the 
establishment of the American republic, no evidence can 
be found except in the imagination of British Whig 
writers. 

No one who reads the records of the periods should 
doubt that during the two decades following the battle 
of Waterloo the prestige of the peerage and gentry of 
England was far greater among the middle and lower 
classes than it w^as, say, during the two decades that 
preceded and followed the Peace of Paris, and that, 
during the later period, the independence and influence 
of the last-named classes had been lowered in proportion. 

The English laborer, who, when reproved for shoulder- 
ing the Emperor of Russia, replied, " We are all czars 
here,"* in 1815 had disappeared and left no successors. 
The independent ''whitesmith," with ''his saws under 
his arm," seen by the Irish clergyman in the days of 
the American Revolution, strolling into the coffee-house 
and calling for his glass of punch and the paper, " with 
as much ease as a lord,"^ after the close of the Napo- 
leonic wars was no longer in evidence, and his suc- 
cessors restricted their visits to places of resort fre- 
quented alone by those of their own order. The " whist- 

*Anecdote preserved and repeated by Franklin in his diary. 
183 



MYTHS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION 

ling carter," who, in the days of Minden, " though he 
was never worth twenty shiUings in his Hfe/' thought 
himself privileged to " damn " the beribboned captain 
because " we pays you,"3 in the days of the Peninsula 
and Waterloo, had been taught to know his place, to 
be respectful to his betters, and would have done less 
whistling had he adopted the manners of his predecessor. 
During the later years of the reign of George the Third 
there were still in London and other cities of England 
the " rude rabble " seen by the Prussian traveller in the 
early years of that reign ; but no longer, as in that then 
" hapoy country," were they so apt to claim, as beyond 
dispute, their *' rights and orivileges," as '' exactly or as 
well as their King or the King's ministers."* Those 
only who made the attempt were doing so under the 
banners of " King Lud," with but slight success, A 
Frenchman visiting London in the days of " Louis the 
Desired " would have found the lower orders there 
probably less " insolent," and certainly less " good- 
natured and humane," than did his compatriotf who 
visited that city before the predecessor of that monarch 
had parted with his head. The '' Fourth Estate," that 
in the days of the author of Tom Jones pushed their 
ideas of independence so far that there seemed to be a 
danger of their " rooting all the other orders out of the 
Commonwealth, "$ in the days of the author of Waverley, 
had ceased to hope that they might share in the rule 
of the other three orders. 

Lord Chesterfield has been held up for reprobation as 
an undue exalter of the privileges of the aristocracy, and 
as a despiser of the common people. Yet this haughty 
patrician refused a dukedom, and was '' for schools and 
villages " to elevate the lower orders ; this heartless 
aristocrat declared that he considered his servants and 
dependents as his '' unfortunate friends," his " equals by 

*Charles Moritz, Travels Through Various Parts of England. 
tM. Grossley, Observations on England, Vol. I., pp. 84, 85. 
tHenry Fielding, Covent Garden Journal, Nos. 47 and 49, 

184 



FREE INSTITUTIONS AND THE REVOLUTION 

nature," and his " inferiors only by the difference of 
their fortunes." This species of nobleman, I take it, 
was defunct in the days of the Regency. 

When Thackeray lived and wrote there was much 
subserviency and little independence among the middle 
and lower classes of Englishmen. The creed of the 
former, he tells us, was " Lordolatry," and the Peerage 
their " second Bible." He found subjects for his Book 
of Snobs in plenty and to spare. Had he lived and 
written before " Mr. Washington kicked John Bull out 
of America," he would have found them harder to 
obtain. At that time the Snobby Snobkys were not yet 
born, and though, doubtless, the Longears, the Fitzhee- 
haws and the De Brays were not unknown, they had not 
then been elevated on such high pedestals, nor so 
ardently worshipped by their adorers. " The habit of 
truckling and cringing," the " grovelling in slavish adora- 
tion " of the nobility, was not so pronounced in that 
earlier time, nor was England so '' cursed by Mammon- 
iacal superstition" as in the days of the satirists of 
Fleet Street. Indeed, Mr. Thackeray admits so much: 
" Never since the days of yEsop," he says, " were snobs 
more numerous in any land." 

It is true that, in those earlier days, many of the evils 
condemned by Mr. Thackeray were in existence. The 
" sprigs of nobility," even then, " got the pick of all the 
places," and were captains and lieutenant-colonels at 
nineteen," and "commanded ships at one-and-twenty." 
At the Universities, even then, were " sizars and ser- 
vitors," who, " because they were poor," were obliged 
to wear the name and badge of servitude. Even then 
genius was " sent to the second table," and not^ a large 
number of " pounds per annum " was " set apart " by the 
Government as a reward for literary excellence. But 
the fact that in the space of three-quarters of a cen- 
tury, during which time two revolutions had been suc- 
cessfully organized for the purpose of conferring free- 
dom and equality upon man, these faults and follies had 
not been remedied or ameliorated, serves to emphasize 

185 



MYTHS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION 

the fact that, contrary to the assertions of distinguished 
writers, these poHtical upheavals had done Httle or 
nothing to affect the poHcy of the British Government in 
favor of popular rights and privileges, or to cause the 
British people to assert their social independence. 

Surely, if it be a " demonstrable certainty " that the 
establishment of American independence " vindicated 
the supremacy of popular interests " in Great Britain, 
that vindication must have rivalled the mills of the gods 
in the slowness of its action. 

Yet we are told that but for the establishment of 
their independence the colonists themselves would have 
been '' enslaved," and that America would have become 
another Ireland." " One may doubt," writes one of the 
latest historians, " whether, even if the British arms had 
been successful, there were not political hindrances to 
effective and permanent control of the colonies more 
insuperable still. For a while, at least, government 
would have had to take the form of armed occupation, 
and it is not likely that armed occupation would ever 
have passed into peaceful civil administration, loyally 
accepted by the colonists."* Such assertions, of course, 
are not new ; they are founded on the belief that the 
colonists virtually were " of one mind " in their oppo- 
sition to Imperial control. Under the influence of this 
belief, Edmund Burke declared that had the colonists 
been conquered, it would have been necessary to hold 
them in a " subdued state by a great body of standing- 
forces." Later writers, though their means of judging 
the probabilities were much superior to those of Burke, 
have repeated and amplified his unwarranted assertion. 

That any man, with the facts upon which to found 
his opinion before him, with the powers to observe and 
a brain to reason, at this day should cherish the belief 
that the governing powers of the British Isles, distant 
a thousand leagues, and just emerging from an exhaust- 
ive war with three great military and naval powers of 

^Cambridge Modem History. 

i86 



FREE INSTITUTIONS AND THE REVOLUTION 

Europe, would have been able to hold in subjection, for 
any considerable period, against the will of the whole, 
a people numbering more than one-third of their own, 
and doubling every quarter of a century, is strange ; 
but that men of a high order of intellect and of world- 
wide reputation should believe it, and teach it, ap- 
proaches the marvellous. Yet, not only do they do this, 
but declare that the result would have been their per- 
manent enslavement. Such beliefs, held by such men, 
can be accounted for only in the power of political 
prejudice. 

Were the fact kept in mind that a large minority, or 
even a majority of the colonists, including the bulk of 
the intelligent and law-abiding, from first to last were 
in favor of preserving the British connection, for that 
reason alone, and putting aside all other obstacles, it 
would be seen that no "enslaving" or permanent sub- 
jection of the colonist could have resulted from the sup- 
pression of the rebellion. After the reorganization of 
the colonial establishments, undoubtedly there would 
have remained a remnant of the Disunion party, 
which would have been opposed to the Government. 
But if this party had not died out— which it is likely it 
would have done, for many of its rank and file would 
have revolted against their old leaders, in their disap- 
pointment at the non-realization of their promises— in 
the course of time, like the English Jacobite party, it 
would have ceased to plot against the Government, and 
have taken its place as a political party within it. 

It is a curious fact that while certain British writers 
seem to be incapable of comprehending the possibility 
of the establishment of a " peaceful civil administration " 
of the colonies, had they been reorganized under the 
Imperial Government, are not at all surprised at the suc- 
cess of the Federal Government in its reconstruction 
of the Southern States, and the resulting peaceful civil 
administration there. This is a fact far more astonish- 
ing than the other, for, as has been said, in the colonies 
at least a large minority, men of culture and condition, 

187 



MYTHS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION 

favored the maintenance of Imperial rule ; while in the 
case of the Southern States — excepting the negroes, who 
had no influence, and as little knowledge of the question 
at issue — those who favored the Federal rule were a 
mere handful, and in condition mean and ignorant. 

Not only do these writers express no surprise at the 
success of the United States in restoring peaceful gov- 
ernment to the South, but one of them, at least, pre- 
dicted that success while yet the contest for the suprem- 
acy of the North was undecided. In an article pub- 
lished in Frase/s Magazine for the month of April, 1862, 
Mr. John Stuart Mill declared that " the assumed diffi- 
culty of governing the Southern States as free and equal 
commonwealths, in case of their return to the Union, 
is purely imaginary." 

Just as " imaginary " is the belief that the British 
American colonists, had they " returned to the Union," 
could not have been governed " as free and equal com- 
monwealths." 

In order to support a denial of this, Ireland is always 
put forward as an object-lesson, never the Southern Con- 
federacy or Canada ; yet the analogy is far closer in 
either of these cases. In Canada there was a rebellion 
resembling, in many of its features, that of the thirteen 
colonies. The chief difference consists in the fact that 
the rebellion in Canada was inaugurated and supported 
mainly by a race alien to the suzerain power, which fact 
made it far more unlikely that its inhabitants would ever 
become a loyal and contented people under its rule. 
Yet this improbability has become a fact. 

A few years ago the political head of that once rebel- 
lious colony — himself a member of that alien race — 
made a speech, and this is what he said: 

" Let us remember that in the first year of the 
Queen's reign there was a rebellion in this very country ! 
. Rebellion in Lower Canada, rebellion in Upper 
Canada. . . . Rebellion against the pernicious sys- 
tem of government which then prevailed. This rebellion 
was put down by force, and if the question had then 

188 



FREE INSTITUTIONS AND THE REVOLUTION 

been put : ' What shall be the condition of those col- 
onies at the end of Victoria's reign?' the universal 
answer would have been : * Let the end of the reign be 
near, or let it be remote, when the end comes these rebel- 
lious colonies shall have wrenched their independence, or 
they shall be sullen and discontented, kept down by 
force.' If, on the contrary, some one had then said : 
' You are all mistaken ; when the reign comes to an end 
these colonies shall not be rebellious, they shall have 
grown up into a nation . . . under the flag of 
England, and that flag shall not be maintained by force, 
but shall be maintained by the affection and gratitude of 
the people.' If such a prophecy had been made, it 
would have been considered as the hallucination of a 
visionary. But, Sir, to-day that dream is a reality, that 
prophecy has come true."* 

And how much more likely is it that it would have 
" come true " in the case of the thirteen colonies, if 
their rebellion had been " put down by force " ? For 
in their case there was no alien population, and the 
descendants of the Loyalists, who so long guided the 
destinies of Canada and kept her within the Empire, 
would have remained in their native provinces, and have 
as loyally guided them, and made them as contented 
members of the Empire. 

" Aye," say some, " but the conditions had altered ; 
England, taught by the lessons learned during the Amer- 
ican Revolution, had reformed her colonial system, and 
treated her colonists with more liberality." The errors 
committed by the governing powers of the Empire, in 
the case of the revolting colonists, says a popular British 
historian, " have led to that better understanding of the 
relations between a state and its colonies which prevails 
in our own day."t 

Indeed! In 'what does that better understanding con- 
sist ? Certainly not in anything that would have affected 

♦Speech of Sir Wilfrid Laurier in the Dominion House of 
Commons, February 8, 1901- 

tKnight's History of England, Vol. VL, p. 172. 

189 



MYTHS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION 

the disputes between the American Disunion leaders and 
the Home Government, the concession of which, it is 
supposed, would have prevented the Revolution. The 
"understanding-" of these gentlemen was that the 
Imperial Parliament had no control whatsoever over the 
concerns of the colonies. That was their ultimatum, 
without concession of which they refused to allow the 
colonies to remain within the Empire, even in name. Is 
there any British colony to-day in which such an *' un- 
derstanding " exists ? Not one, from the vast Dominion 
of Canada, itself an empire in extent and resources, to 
the smallest and most barren rock in the Mediterranean 
or the Indian seas ! In what other respect, then, were 
the relations between the Empire and its colonies 
affected by the achievement of American independence? 
Did Great Britain relax the tightness of her grasp upon 
her dependencies in consequence of that " portentous 
transaction"? On the contrary, she tightened her hold 
upon them. The colonies of South Africa, for instance, 
were held in a firmer grasp than were any of those of 
America, even from the beginning. And though the 
increasing wealth and population of the colonies and 
the multiform business of the Empire has made it neces- 
sary for the Home Government to forego the direct 
supervision of the affairs of these giant dependencies, 
and though the loyalty of their peoples and their attach- 
ment to the Empire has shown the wisdom of such 
action, yet to-day there is no colony under the folds of 
the Union Jack that has an administration so inde- 
pendent of the general Government as had the colonies 
of Connecticut and Rhode Island at the time they rose 
in rebellion against the mother country. And had that 
rebellion never been fomented, or had it been suppressed 
by force of arms, there is no good reason for doubting 
that, in the course of a generation or so, the other 
American colonies would have been accorded as liberal 
a form of government as they. It is a fact of some 
significance, too, that while parliamentary control, upon 
the abrogation of which the Disunion leaders insisted 

190 



FREE INSTITUTIONS AND THE REVOLUTION 

as a condition precedent to peace, still prevails in the 
colonies, the Imperial regulation of colonial commerce, 
with which those gentlemen expressed themselves con- 
tent, and the maintenance of which was insisted upon 
by Chatham and the other " friends of America/' has 
been swept away with other relics of legislation of the 
dark ages. 

We have had the assurance of Sir Wilfrid Laurier 
that rebellious colonies " put down by force " may 
become contented with the colonial relation, and may 
feel affection and gratitude to the motherland. What 
of those rebellious colonies that were not put down by 
force, but succeeded in wresting their independence from 
the motherland? Are they affectionate and grateful? 

In the same speech Premier Laurier said : " Towards 
the end of the eighteenth century, all the colonies of 
England in America, with the single exception of the 
French colony of Quebec, claimed their independence, 
and obtained it by force of arms. The contest was a 
long and arduous one. It left in the breast of the new 
nation which was then born a feeling of — shall I say the 
word? — yes, a feeling of hatred, which continued from 
generation to generation.""^' 

Thus it is. Affection from the subdued ; hatred from 
the unsubdued ! That " unreasonable and virulent anti- 
English feeling" which, Mr. Roosevelt declares, may be 
excused but cannot be justified,! that is so strongly 
rooted in the minds of all born on the soil of the United 
States that it is ready to spring into life and bear the 
fruit of vituperation and misrepresentation whenever 
those minds are stirred with emotions of anger against 
the Government or people of Great Britain, be they ever 
so unfounded. And they will ever be thus stirred so 
long as demagogues live and have influence with the 
people. And this hatred is not cherished alone by the 
progeny of those who, thinking themselves oppressed by 

*Speech of Sir Wilfrid Laurier before cited. 
•fGouverneur Morris, p. 228. 

191 



MYTHS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION 

Britain, sought to free themselves from her control. By 
irony of circumstances, it is shared to the fullest extent, 
not only by the descendants of the Loyalists, who desired 
to maintain good relations with the motherland, but by 
the stalwart sons of Britain, who, like the Janizaries of 
Turkey, have been taught to hate the people from whom 
they sprung. 

The cause for this difference is easily explained. In 
the case of the United States it has been for the advan- 
tage of demagogic statesmen to arouse vindictive feel- 
ings against the motherland, and to boast of their tri- 
umphs over her. Thus vindictiveness and vainglory 
have combined to incite in the minds of each rising gen- 
eration of American citizens feelings of hatred and con- 
tempt for the Government and people that, they have 
been taught to believe, oppressed them, and over whom 
they suppose they have been victorious in war. In the 
case of Canada, of course, no such advantage could have 
been gained by her statesmen — or demagogues, if she had 
any — by inciting ill-will against the Government or people 
of the motherland ; if such had been essayed, it would 
have been of no avail against the influence of the Loyal- 
ists. Peace, order and content have been the result, 
combined with a larger patriotism that is not bounded by 
geographical lines, but bridges the great seas and extends 
to all who own the name of Briton. Whether this will 
be lasting may only be conjectured, but, at any rate, it 
exists to-day. 

But Mr. Roosevelt goes further than merely to assert 
that the Revolution gave freedom to America and Great 
Britain ; he would extend the benefit to all mankind. 
As has been said, he asserts that the revolting colonists, 
by establishing their independence, vitally affected the 
welfare of the whole human race. And the way they 
did it was this : " They settled, once for all, that there- 
after the people of English stock should spread at will 
over the world's waste spaces, keeping all their old lib- 
erties and winning new ones ; and they took the first 
and longest step in establishing the great principle tha-t 

192 



FREE INSTITUTIONS AND THE REVOLUTION 

thenceforth those Europeans who by their strength and 
daring founded new states, should be deemed to have 
done so for their own benefit as freemen, and not for 
the benefit of their more timid, lazy or contented breth- 
ren who stayed behind.""^ 

Now, all this is rather confusing, as well as inaccu- 
rate, and assuming conclusions not proved or provable. 
It is not very clear how the spreading of the people of 
English stock over the world's waste spaces, keeping 
their old and acquiring new liberties — by the way, how 
does Mr. Roosevelt know that it is settled once for all 
that they should do this? — it is not very clear how this 
has vitally affected the welfare of any of the human race, 
except themselves, unless by wiping a good part of it off 
the face of the earth; and this, I suppose, is not Mr. 
Roosevelt's meaning. As to his other assertions: As 
a scholar in the classics, Mr. Roosevelt should know, 
and doubtless does know, that the " principle," if prin- 
ciple it may be called, that emigrants seeking homes in 
lands other than their own did so for their own benefit, 
and not for that of the state, was recognized and put in 
practice by the Phoenician monarchy and the Hellenic 
democracies a couple of millenniums or so before his 
progenitors began to trouble their heads about it ; so 
that these gentlemen could not have taken " the first " 
step, long or short, in that direction. To be sure, the 
Phoenicians were not " Europeans," but that is a detail 
which, I suppose, would not affect Mr. Roosevelt's 
"principle." Then, too, Mr. Roosevelt's sneer at the 
stay-at-homes is scarcely in good taste, especially com- 
ing from one the history of whose people goes far to 
disprove it. He overlooks the fact that there are duties 
and obligations which keep men in their native land, 
even though they be neither timid, lazy, nor contented; 
and that, perhaps, the reasons which cause men to leave 
it are not altogether due to their superior strength and 
daring. When the famed Pilgrim Fathers left the home 

*Gonvernenr Morris, p. 6. 

13 193 



MYTHS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION 

of their nativity to seek an asylum in the wilderness of 
the New World, in order to enjoy the liberty of con- 
science, they, in fact, turned their backs on the field 
where the battle for that liberty of conscience was to be 
fought; left it to be fought and won by their brethren 
who had elected to stay and bear the brunt of it. This 
fact, alone, should have given Mr. Roosevelt pause ere, 
by inference, he condemned these stay-at-homes as timid 
and lazy weaklings. Another fact worth his while to 
remember is that for generations his strong and daring 
forefathers were content to depend on their British 
cousins for protection against domestic and foreign foes. 
These facts might have taught him that strength and 
daring are not universal attributes of colonists, or tim- 
idity and laziness those of the stay-at-homes. 

Mr. Roosevelt's worst enemy, if he have any, would 
not think of accusing him of being a visionary, yet it 
would seem that in making the assertion that the accom- 
plishment of American independence has given freedom 
to the whole human race, or to such part of it as pos- 
sesses it, he has held his imagination with a slack rein. 
In this view he is opposed by two distinguished Eng- 
lishmen, of diverse political faith, but equally famed as 
publicists and close students of the history and institu- 
tions of the United States. 

Mr. James Bryce, in a recently written article, asserts 
that the very desire for free institutions is passing fromi 
the minds of the peoples of Western Europe. In Eng- 
land, " you hear very little said about the British con- 
stitution," while forty or fifty years ago it was in every- 
body's mouth. Not only is there " very much less of 
a demand for freedom," but " there is less outspoken and 
general sympathy for any people or race struggling for 
freedom or nationality ;" while, until forty or fifty years 
ago, " from the days of Lord Byron downward, we had 
in England a warm sympathy for all oppressed people," 
and, he asserts, ''the same thing is true of Germany." 
In Germany, "there was a great deal of republican senti- 
ment," but it is now replaced by " a feeling in favor of 

194 



FREE INSTITUTIONS AND THE REVOLUTION 

a strong monarchy." In France there is a republic in 
name, but, says J\Ir. Bryce, those who support it the 
most earnestly do so because they believe it to be the 
strongest government obtainable. 

The cause of this, asserts Mr. Bryce, arises, in part, 
at least, from '' disappointment with the results achieved 
by liberty, by nationality. . . . Free governments 
have been established over nearly the whole civilized 
world, and foreign rule has been expelled, but the haven 
of happiness and peace has not been reached. The 
ground has been cleared of old weeds, but new weeds 
have sprung up instead." There are, he says, " still 
quarrels and factions, and still fraud and self-seeking 
ambition, some corruption, and a great deal of discon- 
tent." " There is hardly a legislature in Europe or any- 
where else which is nearly as good as the legislatures of 
fifty years ago." And then, " freedom and nationality 
were expected to bring about universal peace. They 
haven't." The ambition of monarchs was thought to 
have caused most wars ; but now : '' Republics have 
been found quite as apt to be carried away by passion 
and by their sentiments as the monarchs of previous time 
were."* 

Taking it all in all, Mr. Bryce has failed to see the 
boon to the human race conferred by the rage for " self- 
government," the fashion for which was set by the 
American revolutionists. 

Mr. Lecky is equally pessimistic. " On the whole," 
he writes, " American democracy appears to me to carry 
with it at least as much of warning as of encouragement, 
especially when the singularly favorable circumstances 
under which the experiment has been tried " [is con- 
sidered]. Democracy, Mr. Lecky insists, is not con- 
ducive to liberty or morality; the legislatures become 
degraded with its growth. " It is being generally dis- 
covered," he says, "that the system which places the 
supreme power in the hands of mere majorities, consist- 

*An article published by an American newspaper syndicate 
about the time of the arrival of Mr. Bryce in the United States. 



MYTHS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION 

ing necessarily of the poorest and most ignorant, what- 
ever else it may do, does not produce parliaments of the 
most surpassing excellence. . . . Intriguers and 
demagogues, playing successfully on the passions and 
credulity of the ignorant and of the poor, form one of 
the great characteristic evils and dangers of our time."* 
So Liberal and Conservative are as one in the ex- 
pression of the belief that the idea of '' self-govern- 
ment," spread broadcast to the world by the American 
Revolutionists, has not vitally affected the whole human 
race in a manner altogether beneficial. 

♦Published by the same syndicate about the same time. 



196 



CHAPTER XIII. 

WHAT DO THE AMERICAN P BOP LB OTF£ 
TO THB RBVOLUTION? 

l^ the American Revolution and resulting independ- 
ence did not advance the growth of the free institutions 
of Great Britain ; if it did not rescue its people and 
those of the colonies from arbitrary rule ; if it did not 
give freedom to the world, what effect did it have upon 
the welfare and happiness of the people of the sovereign 
states it created? During the century and a quarter of 
their enjoyment of " self-government," have they been, 
and are they now, a freer, a more just, a more moral, 
honest, peaceful and contented people than they would 
have been had they remained subjects of the Empire? 

In an attempt to answer these questions — which, to 
use the words of Washington, must be but " a specu- 
lative apprehension " — it were well to consider what the 
inhabitants of these sovereign states preserved to them- 
selves, acquired, failed to acquire or lost, which, as 
dependent colonies, they would not have preserved, 
acquired or lost. 

In the first place, they preserved the institution of 
slavery for, perhaps, two generations longer than they 
would have preserved it under Imperial rule. 

In 1834, at a cost to her people of twenty millions of 
pounds sterling, England gave freedom to the slaves in 
all her dependencies. Had it not been for the gathering 
storm of the French Revolution, a consequence of Amer- 
ican independence, there is good reason to believe that 
this emancipation vv^ould have been accomplished forty 
years before that time, during the administration of the 

197 



MYTHS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION 

younger Pitt ; or, if not then, almost certainly during the 
succeeding administration of Fox. Had the thirteen 
colonies continued to be members of the Empire, they 
would have been participants in its benefits. As it was, 
the curse of slavery remained with them for sixty or 
seventy years longer, with continually increasing evil 
effects, then to be destroyed, not by the expressed wish, 
or at the willingly given cost of their people, but as an 
incident of one of the bloodiest wars of the century. 

For, unfortunately, it was never the desire of the 
" people " of the United States, but only that of a com- 
paratively small number of their philanthropic, self-sacri- 
ficing citizens, that slavery should be abolished through- 
out the Union. At the period of the Revolution — with 
a few, a very few, honorable exceptions — the Disunion- 
ists, both North and South, favored that institution. 
However they might bawl of " Liberty " and " Natural 
Rights," their vehement rage for those rights was stayed 
at the color line. Hence, the taunt of the Loyalist ver- 
sifier that, at one and the same time, they were 

" maintaining that all humankind 
Are, have been, and shall be as free as the wind, 
Yet impaling and burning their slaves for believing 
The truth of these lessons they're constantly giving."* 

It is usual to associate Abolition principles with the 
people of the New England States. But it should be 
remembered that, at the time of the Revolution, they 
were not only slave-holders, but slave-traders, engaged 
in that infernal trafific to supply the planters of the 
South with negroes kidnapped on the West Coast of 
Africa, or purchased, with a few puncheons of rum, 
from some savage chief of that country. i 

It is the less surprising, then, however incongruous 
it may seem, that in the Boston journal in which was 
first published that famous declaration, proclaiming to 
the world that all men were created equal, and endowed 

^The Loyalist Poetry of the Revolution, p. 58. 

198 



WHAT AMERICx\NS OWE THE REVOLUTION 

by their Creator with the inalienable rights of life, lib- 
erty and the pursuit of happiness, there should also have 
been published, side by side with this immortal charter 
of freedom, an advertisement offering a reward for the 
return of a runaway slave. Perhaps a little more sur- 
prising is the fact that, near the same time, Samuel 
Adams, reputed Puritan, the father of the Revolution, 
and a very apostle of freedom, in a speech urging the 
rejection of all conciliatory overtures from the British 
Government, numbered among the crimes committed by 
that Government against the liberty-loving colonists the 
alleged fact that it had " taught treachery to their 
slaves.''"^' An appeal for freedom and a defence of 
slavery in the same breath! 

Before the American Revolution had advanced beyond 
its first stage, England's greatest Chief Justice, following 
ancient precedent, had declared that -the air of Great 
Britain was too pure to be breathed by a slave.^ After 
it had been consummated in independence, an American, 
a native of New England, upon whose shoulders the 
ermined mantle of a Chief Justice was about to fall, in 
a speech on the framing of the Federal Constitution, 
proposed to legalize the slave-trade, because the negroes 
'' died so fast in the sickly rice swamps " that it was 
necessary periodically to replenish them with healthier 
ones fresh from their African homes. By these means, 
he declared, all parts of the United States would be 
" enriched ;"3 the South, of course, from the results of 
the labor of these human cattle, and his own section 
from the profits derived from their kidnapping and sale. 

So much of " human rights " had ten years of uninter- 
rupted enjoyment of the pursuit of happiness, wrung 
from the tyrannical Briton, taught these enthusiastic 
devotees of liberty. Here was " liberty " indeed ! Lib- 
erty worth fighting and dying for. Liberty to '' enrich " 
themselves by means of the unrequited labor of their 
fellow-creatures, torn from their native land and trans- 

*Speech of Samuel Adams, August i, 1776. 

199 



MYTHS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION 

ported to a strange country, there to spend a few short 
years in ceaseless, hopeless toil, awaiting an untimely 
death as the only hope of a surcease of their sorrows. 

As for them, what mattered it? They had never put 
forth a Declaration to charm the world with philan- 
thropic theses. What had they to do with the Law of 
Nature and of Nations? Evidently the Creator had not 
endowed them with Inalienable Rights! And if they 
must pursue happiness, let them pursue it (though they 
never overtake it) in the pestilent rice swamps of the 
South, where neither Life nor Liberty will trouble them 
long. 

What if there were stories told of despairing wretches 
permitted to come upon the decks of those floating hells, 
the slave ships, there, for a few blissful moments, to 
breathe the balmy air of heaven — not in mercy, but lest 
they should draw their last breath in their fetid prison- 
house, and so the " Sons of Liberty/' who had bought 
them, body and soul, with their dollars, and whose " pro- 
perty " they were, should be the less " enriched " ? What 
if there were stories told of such wretched beings, so 
lost to hope as to choose death rather than life, gladly 
seeking it in the dark waters, sinking beneath the waves 
with an exultant cry, happy to have escaped the bondage 
prepared for them in the " Land of the Free " ? What 
if there were such tales? they were beneath the notice 
of the philanthropic statesmen who were busy proclaim- 
ing liberty to all mankind. 

The American Revolutionists had acclaimed the su- 
premacy of Natural Law. Mr. Justice Blackstone, to 
be sure, had declared that slavery was repugnant both 
to reason and natural law,* and they had often quoted 
Mr. Blackstone as an authority to sustain their conten- 
tion that they had a right to " govern themselves." But 
as it was inexpedient to adopt all of the principles laid 
down by the illustrious commentator, this one was con- 
veniently ignored, and slavery, with all the cruelty and 

*Blackstone's Commentaries, Book I., Chap. XIV., p. 423. 

200 



WHAT AMERICANS OWE THE REVOLUTION 

degradation that ever attends it, was accepted by the 
people of the Great RepubHc as a necessary and right- 
eous institution. 

So it happened that such as he who '' dreamed of 
freedom in the arms of a slave, and, waking, sold her 
offspring and his own," might still be accounted a " wise 
and pure statesman." So it happened that, some two 
generations after their independence had been attained, 
in the town of New England in which the first agita- 
tion for its attainment was begun ; among the descend- 
ants of those fierce seekers after liberty, in sight of 
their boasted Temple of Liberty itself ; in the full glare 
of day, a brave and stainless friend of humanity* was 
dragged through the streets by a ferocious mob — a mob 
coniposed, not of the dregs of humanity, but, as asserted 
by the Boston Gazette, a " gentlemanly rabble," a 
" meeting of gentlemen of property and standing, from 
all parts of the city " — bent upon his murder, for the 
crime of having dared to assert that men with curled 
hair and swarthy complexions were entitled to some of 
the " rights " which their forefathers had declared to 
be inherent in all mankind. So it happened that more 
than sixty years after the curse of slavery had been 
inflicted upon the people of the United States by the 
framers of their federal Government, a great and hon- 
ored statesman of Massachusetts, whose name to-day is 
reverenced as that of one of the world's exponents of 
freedom, contemptuously referred to that noble and un- 
selfish minoritv of his countrymen, striving to erase 
from the scrolls of the law that shameful stain, as 
'' silly women and sillier men," " fanatical and fantas- 
tical" agitators, seeking political recognition by their 
"clamor and nonsense;" exhorted his fellow-freemen 
of the North to " fulfil with alacrity " the provisions of 
a law of the federal Government that imposed upon 
them the dishonorable office of slave-catchers for their 
Southern fellow-citizens; and in the same breath 
asserted that that Government had "trodden down no 

*William Lloyd Garrison, Editor of The Liberator. 
201 



MYTHS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION 

man's liberty," and that " its daily respiration " was 
*' liberty and patriotism.''* So it happened that the 
highest official of one of the proudest of the fed- 
erated States eulogized slavery as of all institu- 
tions the most " manifestly consistent with the will 
of God;" and asserted that "the capacity to enjoy 
freedom " was conferred by Him " as a reward of 
merit, and only upon those who are qualified to enjoy 
it." *' Domestic slavery," the distinguished gentleman 
declared, amid '' prolonged applause," " is the corner- 
stone of our republican edifice," and that no '' patriot " 
should " tolerate the idea of emancipation at any period, 
however remote." For himself, he piously asseverated, 
** God forbid that my descendants, in the remotest gen- 
eration, should live in any other than a country having 
domestic slavery."t 

At the very time that this distinguished and, no 
doubt, '' wise and pure " American was uttering these 
words, an Englishman, not at all distinguished, but per- 
haps not entirely destitute of wisdom and purity, while 
travelling in the border States, encountered a gang of 
slaves — " manacled and chained to each other " — ^being 
driven South by a slave-dealer. This spectacle did 
not impress him as evidence that the institution of 
slavery was God-given. On the contrary, it excited his 
horror and disgust. " I have never seen so revolting a 
sight before," he declared. " Driven by white men, with 
liberty and equality in their mouths, to a distant and 
unhealthy country, . . . where the duration of life 
for a sugar-mill slave does not exceed seven years.4 
Tearing, without an instant's notice, the hus- 
band from the wife and the children from the parents. "5 
The sight was as amazing as it was repulsive. 

A few years later, another Englishman — this one very 

*Curtis's Life of Daniel Webster, Vol. II., p. 427. Speech of 
Daniel Webster on " The Constitution and the Union," March 7, 
1850. 

fMessage of George McDufifie, Governor of South Carolina, 
Journal of the Assembly, of South Carolina, 1835: American 
History Leaflets, No. 10. 

202 



WHAT AMERICANS OWE THE REVOLUTION 

distinguished indeed, and no less great-hearted* — visited 
the Land of the Free, and recorded his impressions of 
slavery as it existed there. *' Cash for Negroes," " Cash 
for Negroes," " Cash for Negroes !" in staring letters, 
greeted him from the columns of the journals as soon as 
he arrived in the slave zone; accompanied by "wood- 
cuts of a runaway negro, with manacled hands, crouch- 
ing beneath a bluff pursuer, who, having caught him, 
grasps him by the throat; journals in which "the 
leading article protests against * that abominable and 
hellish doctrine of abolition, which is repugnant alike to 
every law of God and Nature/ " 

He visited the Halls of Congress, where, he tells us, 
but a wxek before, " an aged, gray-haired man, a lasting 
honor to the land that gave him birth, . . . who 
will be remembered scores upon scores of years after 
the worms bred in its corruption are so many grains of 
dust — it was but a week since this old man had stood 
for days upon his trial before this very body, charged 
with having dared to assert the infamy of that traffic 
which has for its accursed merchandise men and women 
and their unborn children. Yes ; and publicly exhib- 
ited in the same city all the while, gilded, framed and 
glazed ; hung up for general admiration ; shown to 
strangers, not with shame, but pride; its face not 
turned towards the wall, itself not taken down and 
burned, is the Unanimous Declaration of the Thirteen 
United States of America, which solemnly declares that 
All Men are Created Equal, and are endowed by their 
Creator with the Inalienable Rights of Life, Liberty and 
the Pursuit of Happiness! . . . There was but a 
week to come, and another of that body . . . would 
be tried, found guilty, and have strong censure passed 
upon him by the rest. His was a grave ofifence indeed ! 
For, years before, he had risen up and said : ' A gang 
of male and female slaves for sale, warranted to breed 
like cattle, linked to each other by iron fetters, are pass- 
ing now along the street, beneath the windows of your 

^Charles Dickens. 

203 



MYTHS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION 

Temple of Equality! Look!' But there are many 
kinds of hunters engaged in the Pursuit of Happiness, 
and they go variously armed. It is the Inalienable Right 
of some among them to take the field after their happi- 
ness, equipped with cat and cartwhip, stocks and iron 
collar, and to shout their view halloa! (always in praise 
of Liberty) to the music of clanking chains and bloody 
stripes." 

There were some among the '* owners, breeders, 
buyers and sellers of slaves " — " a miserable aristocracy, 
spawned oi a false republic " — who, he declared, with a 
prophetic voice, would, until "the bloody chapter has a 
bloody end, own, breed, use, buy and sell them, at all 
hazards ; who doggedly deny the horrors of the system 
in the teeth of such a mass of evidence as never was 
brought to bear on any other subject, and to which the 
experience of every day contributes its immense amount ; 
who would, at this or any other moment, gladly involve 
America in a war, civil or foreign, provided that it had for 
its sole end and object the assertion of their right to per- 
petuate slavery, and to whip and work and torture slaves, 
unquestioned by human authority, and unassailed by any 
human power ; who, when they speak of Freedom, mean 
the freedom to oppress their kind, and to be savage, 
merciless and cruel, and of whom every man on his 
own ground, in republican America, is a more exacting 
and a sterner and a less responsible despot than the 
Caliph Haroun Alraschid in his angry robe of scarlet." 

*' Public opinion," he was told, would protect the 
slave from extreme cruelty. In utter scorn of this palp- 
able fallacy, he replied : " Public opinion has knotted 
the lash, heated the branding-iron, loaded the rifle and 
shielded the murderer. Public opinion threatens the 
abolitionist with death if he venture to the South, and 
drags him with a rope about his middle, in broad, 
unblushing noon, through the first city in the East. 
Public opinion has, within a few years, burned a slave 
alive at a slow fire in the city of St. Louis ; and public 
opinion has, to this day, maintained upon the bench that 

204 



WHAT AMERICANS OWE THE REVOLUTION 

estimable judge who charged the jury impanelled to try 
his murderers, that their most horrid deed was an act of 
public opinion, and, being so, must not be punished by 
the laws the public sentiment had made. Public opinion 
hailed this doctrine with a howl of wild applause, and 
set the prisoners free to walk the city, men of mark and 
influence and station, as they had been before." 

Men whipped, ironed, branded, tortured and burned 
alive ; women " harried by brutal overseers in their time 
of travail, and becoming mothers on the field of toil, 
under the very lash itself." So much had this cherished 
institution of slavery done for the slave ; for the master, 
what ? " Who has read in youth, and seen his virgin 
sisters read, descriptions of runaways, men and women, 
and their disfigured persons, which could not be pub- 
lished elsewhere of so much stock upon a farm, or at a 
show of beasts — do we not know that that man, when- 
ever his wrath is kindled up, will be a brutal savage? 
Do we not know that as he is a coward in his domestic 
life, stalking among his shrinking men and women 
slaves, armed with his heavy whip, so he will be a cow- 
ard out-of-doors, and, carrying cowards' weapons hidden 
in his breast, will shoot men down and stab them when 
he quarrels? . . . These are the weapons of Free- 
dom. With sharp points and edges such as these. 
Liberty in America hews and hacks her slaves ; or, 
failing that pursuit, her sons devote them to a better use, 
and turn them on each other." 

Adam Smith declared that the history of all ages and 
nations supported the belief that " the condition of a 
slave is better under an arbitrary than under a free gov- 
ernment." If by a free government Mr. Smith meant 
a democracy, the reason for this fact — for fact it is — is 
not far to seek. The lowest orders in a democracy, 
where it is pretended there are no orders at all, claiming 
as much honor and dignity as the highest, are eager to 
emphasize their claim by a constant manifestation of their 
contempt for those who are placed beneath all orders. 
Whereas, under an arbitrary government, the despot or 

205 



MYTHS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION 

oligarchs at the head of it, being above all orders alike, 
and regarding them all as equally below them, are 
inclined to exercise their power to restrain cruelty among 
them, as a schoolmaster checks a like disposition among 
his pupils. In a democracy there is no Augustus to 
restrain and punish the cruelties of the Vedius Pollios 
among its citizens. 

Accordingly, in the American colonies, and, thereafter, 
in the United States, we find that the laws were not 
enacted for the protection of the slaves against the 
cruelty of the masters, but for the protection of the 
masters against penalties for cruelty to their slaves. 
Especially were they designed to perpetuate the insti- 
tution, and as much as possible to keep the negro, free 
and slave, in a condition of brutal ignorance. 

In every State the law rejected the testimony of a 
slave as against a white man, so that it was impossible 
to convict the master of the murder of his slave, if there 
were no white witnesses of the act. If such a one chose 
to flog his slave to death, the law charitably inferred 
that it was an accident, since no man could be supposed 
deliberately to deprive himself of his own property, 
while punishment, from simple flogging to — as in New 
York — death at the stake, was prescribed for offences 
committed by slaves.* 

In some of the States, by a clause in their constitu- 
tions, the power to pass emancipating laws was denied 
to the legislatures unless the consent of the owners was 
obtained. In some, the master himself was denied the 
privilege of freeing his own slaves without the consent 
of the legislatures. In most, if not all, of the States, 
the fact of one being, or seeming to be, a negro, mulatto 
or quadroon was deemed prima facie evidence of slave 
birth, and was sufflcient to consign such a one — and has 
consigned many — though actually a freeman, to a life 
of slavery. 

Even though acknowledged to be free, those with a 
perceptible drop oi negro blood in their veins were, by 

*See Kent's Commentaries for the laws relating to slaves in the 
several States. 

206 



WHAT AMERICANS OWE THE REVOLUTION 

the laws, degraded to a pariah caste^ by a denial of 
political and social privileges. They were excluded from 
the society of white people in the hotels, houses of enter- 
tainment and public conveyances ; and it was a penal act 
to enter into marital relations with them. This last pro- 
vision, indeed, to-day is in force in many of the States. 

Still further precautions were taken by the laws to 
prevent the subject race rising to an equality with the 
governing class. It was made a crime, punishable for 
both parties, for a white person to teach a negro to read 
or write. This was common to all the slave States, and 
some of the so-called free States. In one of the latter, 
whose constitution as a colony had been the freest and 
most independent of them all, whose people had been 
among the first and fiercest to demand release from the 
shackles imposed upon them by Great Britain, fifty 
years after its independence had been won, by statute 
made it a penal offence to establish a school for the 
instruction of persons of negro blood or descent, coming 
to the State for that purpose, without the consent, in 
writing, of the authorities of the town or district in 
which such school was situated. And some persons 
were prosecuted and convicted under the provisions of 
this act.* 

Laws making it penal, by preaching the gospel, or 
otherwise, to teach a slave or a free negro that he had 
any pre-eminence above the beasts were common to all 
the slave States. In one, by a statute of peculiar 
atrocity, that would have been thought barbarous in the 
Dark Ages, any person who, by conversation, signs or 
actions, said or did anything having a tendency to cause 
insubordination among the slaves, or discontent among 
the free negroes, or who should bring into the State any 
paper, book or pamphlet which, in the judgment of the 
court, might have a like tendency, incurred the penalty 
of death.f 

*This was in the State of Connecticut, which as a British pro- 
vince had had the freest constitution of all. 

tin the State of Louisiana. See Kent's Commentaries, Part 
IV., p. 254. 

207 



MYTHS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION 

Abolition, declared Alexander H. Stephens, of Georgia, 
was '' a species of insanity." So enamored of Equal 
Rights was this " wise and pure " statesman that he 
claimed for them the virtue of according to his fellow- 
citizens the privilege of transforming free soil into a 
domain for slavery. In a speech delivered a year or 
two before the breaking out of the Civil War, he loudly 
proclaimed the right of the people of the South to go 
to the territories with their slave property, protected by 
the constitution, on a platform of Equal Rio^hts. Such 
a settlement, he declared, would be a " triumph of truth 
and right." 

Mr. Jefferson Davis, too, talked of the abstract right 
of holding the negro in bondage, and urged the repeal 
of the law prohibiting the slave trade, which had been 
passed by Congress nearly forty years before. " The 
free, intelligent, high-minded sons of the governing 
race," he declared, " were made stronger by the presence 
of a due proportion of the servile caste," and " the good 
of society " required that the latter " should be kept in 
their normal condition of servitude." 

At the time of the Revolution, not only black, but 
white slavery — in a modified form — existed in the col- 
onies, and continued there to exist long after they had 
ceased to be colonies. At that time, in the same jour- 
nals in which were to be seen advertisements for the 
return of runaway negroes, were also to be seen adver- 
tisements for the return of runaway white people. These 
were either indentured servants who had sold them- 
selves or been sold by their creditors into slavery for a 
term of years, or convicts whose services during the 
period of their sentence had been apportioned to farmers, 
merchants or others. In either case their slavery was 
complete while their terms lasted. From the frequent 
occurrence in these advertisements of such names as 
Michael and Dennis, and other names of Milesian origin, 
it would appear that a large proportion of these white 
slaves were of Irish nationality, or else that those of that 
nationality were more impatient of restraint than others. 

208 



WHAT AMERICANS OWE THE REVOLUTION 

All this had made the American colonists more fam- 
iliar with, and more tolerant of, enforced labor, even in 
the case of men of their own race, than their British 
cousins. So familiar had it become that the system of 
indentured service, and laws restraining the freedom of 
their own citizens — always with a view to " property " — 
were retained and enacted long after their independence 
was achieved. 

During the reign of Edward VI., in order to restrain 
the license of the hordes of sturdy vagabonds that 
roamed through the country begging, stealing and mur- 
dering, a law was enacted providing for the enslave- 
ment of such as had no means of livelihood and refused 
to work. But, says Blackstone : '' The spirit of the 
nation would not brook this condition, even in the most 
abandoned rogues'; and, therefore, this statute was 
repealed two years afterwards."* This hatred of slavery 
was manifested by Englishmen in the sixteenth century; 
yet in the eighteenth, and even far into the nineteenth, 
laws of a similar character were enacted and put in prac- 
tice in many of the states of the Union ; and, strange to 
say, a survival of the practice exists to-day in at least 
one state, and in many others a reminder of it may be 
seen in the form of the various '* chain-gangs " to be 
found in their cities. Of course, the harshness of the 
execution of these laws became modified as the amen- 
ities of society increased, but in their mildest form they 
were extremely degrading. The spectacle of the citizen 
of a community, whose only crime, perhaps, was want of 
thrift or energy, a too-great generosity, or a disinclina- 
tion to take advantage of the necessities of his neigh- 
bors, placed UDon an auction-block and sold to the highest 
bidder must have been anything but elevatino- to the 
morals of the rising generations of America, and induced 
in their minds the conviction that poverty was the great- 
est of crimes. Certainly such a practice would not have 
been tolerated in England, even in the eighteenth cen- 

*Blackstone's Commentaries, Book I., Chap. XIV., p. 424. 
14 209 



MYTHS" OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION 

tury, with all her bloody statutes then in force ; where 
public hangings for trivial crimes, and public pillorings 
for, sometimes, no crime at all, were not uncommon. 
But poverty was not among the crimes there punished 
by direct process of law. In spite of a general belief to 
the contrary, induced by the writings of her great satir- 
ists, the poor-laws of England in the eighteenth century 
were not illiberal or cruel. 

Another legacy bequeathed to the American people 
by the Revolution was the war between the States, 
fought at the expense of some half million of lives, and 
at a cost, to the North alone, of more than three thou- 
sand millions of dollars — a war that never would have 
occurred had the colonies remained members of the 
Empire. 

Still another is the prevalence of the barbarous and 
shocking homicides committed in the name of Justice, 
but equally opposed to justice as to law; homicides, in 
many instances, perpetrated in a manner that should be 
revolting to the veriest savage. Though the manner of 
their doing be attributable in no small degree to the ruf- 
fianly habits acquired by men of a low order of intelli- 
gence in an atmosphere of slavery, yet the system, as its 
name imports, may be traced directly to the acts of the 
revolutionists. It began, at that period, in the outrages 
committed upon the Loyalists, and took the name it now 
bears from one Charles Lynch, a self-made magistrate 
of Bedford County, Virginia, from his exceptional ardor 
in prompting and assisting these lawless proceedings. 
They have increased in frequency until, at the present 
time, their number has become appalling. According to 
data gathered with great care by Professor James 
Elbert Cutler, during the space of twenty-two years, 
ending in the year 1903, 3.337 people were put to 
death by means of this horrible burlesque of law, sixty- 
three of whom were women — forty negresses and twenty- 
three white women. 

As will be inferred from the last-mentioned fact, by 
no means a large majority of the alleged crimes for 

210 



WHAT AMERICANS OWE THE REVOLUTION 

which the victims were done to death were sexual 
offences, as is sometimes asserted, but included many 
others, some of the most trivial character ; among which 
are enumerated by Professor Cutler, passing counterfeit 
money, enticing away servants, and one — which recalls 
the days of the Revolution — for ''being obnoxious." 
The learned writer sums up with truth, and in terms not 
too severe, it must be admitted: "The existence of the 
practice of lynching in the United States is a national 
disgrace."^ With equal truth he might have added that 
that national disgrace was a direct legacy of the 
Revolution. 

This is what an editor of a law journal published in 
Rochester, New York, has to say about the miscarriage 
of criminal justice in the United States at the present 
day: 

'' The record of crime in the United States has gone 
on increasing in blackness until it has made us con- 
spicuously alone among the civilized nations of the 
world. Only a penal colony to which all the rest of the 
world transported its worst criminals could show such 
an appalling list of crimes as are committed in this 
enlightened nation. . . . This nation, standing well- 
nigh, if not quite, at the head of all the nations of the 
world in most of the elements of civilization, stands far 
below the worst of them all in its horrible record of 
crime. The Alabama Bar Association . . . gives 
statistics to show the number of homicides committed 
in various parts of the United States annually, as com- 
pared with those in the city of London. It shows that, 
in proportion to the population, homicides in New 
York are 12 times as numerous as they are in London ; 
in California they are 75 times as numerous as in 
London ; while in Nevada they are about 245 times as 
numerous as in London. That is to say, New York, 
with nearly a million less inhabitants than London, has 
254 homicides annually, while London has only 24 ; 

*James Elbert Cutler, Lynch Law: An Investigation into the 
History of Lynching in the United States, 

211 



MYTHS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION 

California, with less than one-fourth the population of 
London, has 422 homicides against 24 in London. No 
amplification of the facts, no comment upon them, can 
do more than weaken their appalling- force."* Another 
great city of the United States has a larger proportion 
of homicides even than New York. '' Human life is 
the cheapest thing in Chicago," recently said Judge 
Cleland, of that city ; it " witnesses a murder for every 
day in the year." Though this is too high an estimate, 
statistics showing an average of 165 homicides for the 
four years from 1903 to 1906, yet the truth is sufficiently 
striking. 

From the results of the American Revolution — as a 
consequence of distorted views of liberty and the '* Rights 
of Man " thereby engendered — should not be omitted 
that violation of the sanctity of the marriage relation, 
and the resultant disinclination to fulfil parental obliga- 
tions, that are such prominent features of society in the 
United States to-day. That this assumption is not too 
" speculative " is indicated, or at least suggested, by 
available statistics. 

The granting of divorce for trivial causes began in 
the State of Connecticut a few years after the adoption 
of the federal constitution ; since which time the system 
has spread to other States in a constantly increasing 
ratio ; so that to-day, in nearly all of them, divorce can 
be had for the asking — if not according to the exact 
letter of the law, yet by well-understood devices, easy of 
practice by a husband or wife desirous of severing the 
marriage relation — and the number procured is in full 
proportion to the ease of their procurement. 

How does this condition compare with that existing 
in the mother country, or in that American colony that 
rejected the boon of independence? 

In a report issued in 1889 by the United States Bureau 
of Labor is contained the following data : 

In 1867, i^ the United States (with a population of 

^Editorial in Case and Comment, Rochester, NY., August, 1907, 

212 



WHAT AMERICANS OWE THE REVOLUTION 

35,000,000), were granted 9,337 divorces; or, approx- 
imately, one in every three thousand seven hundred of 
their population. 

In the same year, in Great Britain (with a population 
of 25,000,000), were granted 162 divorces; or, approx- 
imately one in every one hundred and fifty-four thou- 
sand of her population. 

In 1868, in the Dominion of Canada (with a popula- 
tion of 3,500,000), were granted four (!) divorces; or, 
one in eight hundred and seventy-five thousand of her 
population. 

In 1886, in the United States (with a population of 
57,000,000), were granted 25,535 divorces; or, approx- 
imately, one in twenty-two hundred of their population. 

In the same year, in Great Britain (with a population 
of 30,000,000), were granted 468 divorces; or, approx- 
imately, one in sixty-four thousand of her population. 

In the same year, in the Dominion of Canada (with a 
population of 4,500,000), were granted nine divorces; 
or one in five hundred thousand of her population. 

The last item is not derived from the report of the 
United States Labor Bureau, but is authentic. 

So that, in 1867, the number of divorces in the United 
States, compared, on a per capita basis, with those in 
Great Britain, is as forty-two to one ; and compared 
with those in Canada, is as two hundred and thirty-six 
to one. 

A similar comparison of the divorces granted in 1886 
shows the United States, compared with Great Britain, 
as thirty to one ; and with Canada, two hundred and 
twenty-seven to one. 

The latest of these statistics are twenty years old. A 
report now in preparation by the United States Census 
Bureau will show a phenomenal and appalling increase 
in the number of divorces in the United States. Those 
in Great Britain, also, will be found to have increased 
to a noticeable extent, and those in Canada slightly. 

Perhaps it might be considered too far-fetched to 
attribute the increase in divorces in Great Britain to the 

213 



MYTHS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION 

" Americanization " of the mother country, so agreeable 
to Mr. Stead; but, at least, it is not unreasonable to 
attribute the slight increase in the number of divorces 
granted in Canada to the great influx of Americans into 
British Columbia and the North- West Territories during 
the past decade. 

When, throughout the United States, is heard constant 
and ever-growing complaints of corruption in public 
affairs — corruption in the national and state legislatures ; 
corruption in the city and county governments, corrup- 
tion even in the courts — the ermine of justice besmirched 
with " graft " — it is inevitable that the student of Revolu- 
tionary history should associate these evils in his mind 
with the " want of public virtue," the " low arts," the 
"insatiable thirst for riches" and the ''lust of gain" 
attributed to his countrymen by the first President of 
the United States ; and the '' infinity of corruption," the 
" spirit of venality," the " universal idolatry to the 
mammon of unrighteousness," the '' want of principle," 
and the avarice and ambition w^hich his successor 
declared was " too deeply rooted in the hearts and edu- 
cation " of the people of the new republic '' ever to be 
eradicated." And if there be rascals among the state 
and federal lawmakers, it is equally inevitable that they 
should be regarded by such students as the legitimate 
successors of those in the Second Continental Congress 
so caustically condemned by John Jay and Gouverneur 
Morris. 

That root of all evil, the love of money, is not easily 
extirpated; it will survive in the face of storms and 
upheavals. " Property " — so intimately associated with 
the Revolutionary propaganda — its acquisition and pre- 
servation, has remained foremost in the minds and affec- 
tions of the people of the Great Republic ever since its 
establishment. Some half-century after that event, 
America's greatest writer* proclaimed to the world that 
" the Almighty Dollar " was the " great object of uni- 
versal devotion " among his countrymen. To-day, if 

*Washington Irving. 

214 



WHAT AMERICANS OWE THE REVOLUTION 

that devotion be not universal among the citizens of the 
United States^ it is certain that the schismatics are few 
and the backsHders non-existent. To this almost uni- 
versal adulation of wealth, too, may be attributed that 
pernicious administration of the criminal law in the 
several States, which — to use the words of a journal 
which for worth and abilit}^ is unsurpassed by any 
between the two oceans — " puts a premium upon crime 
committed by a rich man, . . . thus outraging pro- 
priety, making a mock of the law, and reducing to an 
absurdity the boast that all men are equal in a court of 
justice."''' A condition of affairs foreshadowing a social 
status in which " Self " shall be pre-eminent ; a society 
in which the race for wealth shall be so absorbing and 
ruthless that a Good Samaritan stooping to succor a 
wounded traveller would be crushed by the onrush of 
Priests and Levites hastening to overtake the robbers 
and share in the spoil. 

But Mr. Roosevelt proudly asserts that, " where so 
many other nations teach by their mistakes, we [the 
United States] are among the few who teach by their 
successes.'''f 

What constitutes ''success" in a nation? If to be 
successful a nation should have for its citizens a people, 
not only rich and prosperous, but of pure ideals, devoted 
to public and private duty ; with love for all that is 
honest and true and benevolent, and hatred for all that 
is false and mean, dishonest and cruel ; devoted to their 
families and homes, and willing to sacrifice much to 
make life fuller and happier for their fellows ; if its 
statesmen, discarding all selfish views, should devote 
their time and their energy solely for the good of the 
people, and disdain to take advantage of their exalted 
stations to further their own interests — aspirations surely 
worthy of the successors of those who set up a govern- 
ment founded on the Rights of ]\Ian — if these be 

*The New York Nation. 
■\Gouverneur Morris, p. 144. 

215 



MYTHS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION 

national successes, then it would seem that Mr. Roose- 
velt has boasted too soon, and that, after all, the Great 
Republic may have taught, and be teaching, by its mis- 
takes, as well as other nations. 

If any nation were fitted to acquire success surely it 
was the United States. Beginning its national life pos- 
sessed of vast and rich territories ; unhampered by 
ancient restraints of law and custom; with full 
knowledge of the experience of other countries, 
and prepared to follow or avoid their examples, 
according as the result had been beneficial or harmful ; 
the Great Republic has cause to thank Providence for 
priceless boons. To it much has been given ; yet it is to 
be feared that if it were called to an accounting by the 
Judge of Nations, it would be found, not, like the " sloth- 
ful servant," to have buried its talents, but to have 
exchanged them for base coinage. 

But those of Mr. Roosevelt's way of thinking can see 
few mistakes and much success in the history of their 
country. " That pharisaical self-righteousness/' which 
Professor von Holtz asserts to be " one of the most 
characteristic traits of the political thought of the masses 
of the American people,"* perhaps accounts for his 
inability to see but the white side of the shield. 

^Constitutional History of the United States, Vol. I., p. 34. 



216 



CHAPTER XIV. 
THE FACTS. 

In a search for the facts of the American Revokitlon, 
it would avail little to consult the works of American 
historians, and almost as little those of British writers. 
All modern British historians, save one,* in the main, 
have been content to accept, without question, the Amer- 
ican version of that contest ; some, indeed, have bettered 
the instruction, and claimed greater forbearance for the 
revolting colonists than their own writers have claimed 
for them. 

An example of this occurs in Green's history. This 
distinguished and highly popular historian — among other 
inaccurate and contradictory statements regarding the 
motives and acts of the revolutionists — asserts that the 
destruction of the tea by an organized mob at Boston 
(which he calls "a trivial riot") was "deplored" by 
the " leading statesmen " of the revolting colonies.f No 
clearer proof than this is needed to show that the dis- 
tinguished historian, before making his dogmatic asser- 
tion, either had not taken the trouble to consult the most 
widely circulated writings of the men for whose opinions 
he assumed to vouch, or that he deliberately distorted 
them. For, with one or two unimportant exceptions, of 
men who thought it impolitic to express their true 
thoughts, and, of course, excepting the Loyalists, all the 
" leading statesmen " of the colonies not only approved 
of the outrage, but expressed themselves as greatly 

*Mr. Lecky, who, nevertheless, has made some mistakes of fact 
and drawn some erroneous conclusions. 
"f History of the English People. 

217 



MYTHS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION 

rejoicing in its accomplishment. John Adams declared 
that it was " the most magnificent movement of all," 
" the grandest event which has ever yet happened since 
the controversy with Britain opened. The sublimity of 
it charms me."'^ Similar sentiments wxre expressed by 
the '' leading statesmen " of the colonies from Savannah 
to Falmouth, so that it was, at the time, truthfully said 
that '* nothing which has been ever done has been more 
universally approved, applauded and admired."t More 
than this,^ not only was the outrage approved by the 
" leading statesmen " of the revolting colonies, but the 
leader of all these leading statesmen, the chief organizer 
of that revolt, Samuel Adams himself, not only approved 
it, but planned it and directed it. 

These facts have never been denied by American 
writers, yet in the face of them, influenced by motives 
which may be guessed, Mr. Green has gone out of his 
way deliberately to falsify the facts, to the advantage 
of the revolting colonists, in a matter which is most 
important to the merits of the case of the Revolution. 
Few modern British historians give trustworthy 
accounts of the American Revolution, and all give inade- 
quate ones. Mr. Lecky, it is true, has been at pains to 
seek the truth, but even he has lagged on the way. 
Several of his utterances, among them his speculation 
as to whether or not Lord Chatham could have brought 
back the revolted colonies to the Empire " at the last 
moment,"! seem to indicate that he has not grasped the 
true meaning of the Revolutionary movement. 

Not in the pages of popular histories, either British or 
American, may the truth be found. It must be sought 
in the utterances of the chief actors and organizers of 
the Revolution, as contained in their letters, diaries and 
other documents, either published or in manuscript, dis- 
tributed in profuse abundance in the libraries of the 
cities of the Eastern States. With these documents to 

*John Adams' Works, Vol. IT., p. 323 ; Vol. IX., p. 333- 
Vhid., Vol. IX., p. 335. 

218 



THE FACTS 

aid us, if we ask why the British colonies rose in rebel- 
lion, and by what means they gained their independence, 
the answer is definite and clear. 

The colonies rose in rebellion, not because of intoler- 
able grievances imposed upon them by the Imperial Gov- 
ernment, or because of any grievance that could not, or 
would not, have been redressed within the Empire; not 
because their inhabitants, as a body — even a large major- 
ity of them, or the most reputable and law-abiding 
among them — desired to sever their relations with the 
mother country ; but because of the ambition and desire 
to rule of certain groups of men scattered throughout 
the provinces, though mostly concentrated in Massachu- 
setts and Virginia. These men, by skilful intrigue, and 
without scruple, taking advantage of grievances such as 
have ever existed in governments, raised a cry of present 
oppression and slavery to come, and, by these means, 
formed a party of Disunion — or, as it is expressed by 
Mr. Roosevelt, they "goaded the rank and file into 
line '"^ — with intent, with their help, to separate the col- 
onies from the mother country, either by political man- 
oeuvring, or, failing that, by force of arms. These 
"Revolutionary leaders," with their followers — more or 
less honest in their convictions, but always swayed by 
their imperious chiefs — at the period of their greatest 
strength certainly did not number more than two-thirds 
of the inhabitants of the thirteen colonies, as was affirmed 
by two of their most distinguished chief s ;2 or, what is 
more likely, constituted only a minority of them, as 
asserted by every prominent Loyalist in America. Most 
American writers have denied or ignored this fact, but 
a few of modern days have admitted it, among them 
Professor Tyler, who declares that if the Loyalists 
"were not actually a majority," they were " a huge 
minority," an " immense and very conscientious min- 
ority," a " vast section of American society."! 

*Gouvcrneur Morris, p. 49. 

■\Literary History of the American Revolution, Vol. I., pp. 3, 
300, 304. 

219 



MYTHS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION 

The American Revolution was far from being " a 
revolt of a whole people." 

The colonies gained their independence, not because 
their quarrel was just, not because of the exalted patriot- 
ism, unselfishness, superior virtue and fidelity to prin- 
ciple of the Revolutionary leaders, or of the " masses " 
that adhered to them; not by the superior prowess of 
their " insurgent husbandmen," but because of the astute- 
ness, energy and persistence in the face of all obstacles, 
political and ethical, of their leaders ; by the aid of large 
numbers of aliens in the ranks of their armies and on 
the decks of their warships ; the French military forces 
in their own territory, the armies of France and Spain 
in Europe and Florida ; the navies of France, Spain and 
Holland in European and American waters; the hostile 
and menacing action of the federated powers of Northern 
Europe, together with the passive but effective aid of 
the people of Ireland, marshalled in warlike and threat- 
ening array ; the active aid of the powerful Whig chiefs 
in England, who, with their vast and influential follow- 
ing, paralyzed the action of the ministry; and — most 
effective aid of all — the imbecility of the ministry itself.3 

" Was there ever a war," said Mr. Madison, in the 
Virginia Convention, '' in which the British nation stood 
opposed to so many nations ? All the belligerent nations 
of Europe, with nearly one-half of the British Empire, 
were united against it."* 

" The efforts of the Americans in throwing off the 
English yoke have been considerably exaggerated," wrote 
a distinguished French publicist of the last century. 
*' Separated from their enemies by three thousand miles 
of ocean, and backed by a powerful ally, the success of 
the United States may be more justly attributed to their 
geographical position than to the valor of their armies or 
the patriotism of their citizens."t 

De Tocqueville is right. Except in the matter of the 

*Elliott's Debates, Vol. III., p. 309. 

tDe Tocqueville, Democracy in America, Part I., Book I., 
Chap. VIIL 

220 



THE FACTS 

skilful manoeuvring of the Disunion chiefs that brought 
about armed hostilities and procured them allies, the 
American revolting colonists played but a minor part in 
the achievement of their independence. 

But was the British Government justified in denying 
to the colonies '* the right of self-government," even 
though it were not demanded by the unanimous voice of 
their citizens, or by that of a large majority of them? 
Apparently Mr. Roosevelt believes that it was not. 
" Whether their yoke bore heavily or lightly, whether it 
galled or not, mattered little ; it was enough that it was 
a voke to warrant a proud, free people in throwing it 
off/'"^ he writes. 

But surely the distinguished writer will admit that if, 
as his words seem to suggest, the yoke of England 
upon the colonies was a light one, and galled not at all, 
at least it ill became a proud, free people so to falsify 
the facts as to fill the world Vvath clamorous complaints 
of intolerable and inhuman tyranny suffered at her 
hands, or to persecute and slay such of their fellow- 
citizens as were honest enough to refuse to view the 
matter in so false a light; in short, to combine false 
pretences and cruelty with rebellion. 

And who were these " proud, free people " ? Here Mr. 
Roosevelt appears to assume as true that gigantic lie 
that has done so much to confuse the facts of the Amer- 
ican Revolution, and to make out a case for its organ- 
izers ; that lie that started into growth at the period of 
the agitation of the Disunionists, and is seemingly 
endowed with perennial life ; which has deceived so many 
distinguished British and American writers : the pretence 
that the colonists were '* of one mind " in opposing the 
Home Government and in desiring independence. For 
it is difficult to believe that, for the single reason that 
they were " proud and free," Mr. Roosevelt would jus- 
tify a part of the community in throwing off the authority 
of a Government whose rule was light, and forcing upon 

^'Gouverneur Morris, p. 6. 

221 



MYTHS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION 

the other part another rule that was abhorrent to them, 
at the expense of a long and bloody war. 

In support of the action of the British Government 
in its refusal to let the colonies go in peace, it may not 
be out of place to cite the words of one who, without a 
thought of giving such support, nevertheless has fur- 
nished a powerful argument in its favor. 

'' Suppose," wrote John Stuart Mill, " that the mere 
will to separate were, in this case, or in any case, a 
sufficient ground for separation, I beg to be informed 
whose will? The will of any knot of men who, by fair 
means or foul, by usurpation, terrorism or fraud, have 
got the reins of government into their hands? If the 
inmates of Parkhurst Prison were to get possession of 
the Isle of Wight, occupy its military positions, enlist 
one part of its inhabitants in their own ranks, set the 
remainder of them to work in chain-gangs, and declare 
themselves independent, ought their recognition by the 
British Government to be an immediate consequence? 
Before admitting the authority of any persons as organs 
of the will of the people to dispose of the whole political 
existence of a country, I ask to see whether their cre- 
dentials are from the whole, or only a part."* 

Now, when Mr. Mill wrote these words nothing was 
farther from his intent than to apply them to the acts 
of the organizers of the American Revolution. Yet the 
facts and inferences they contain apply with far greater 
force to them than they do to those to whom he intended 
them to apply — to whom, in fact, they do not apply at 
all. 4 Disregarding the scarcely courteous comparison to 
escaped convicts, the words of Mr. Mill summarize with 
admirable exactitude, though without intention, the posi- 
tion and actions of the Disunion chiefs. By means very 
like those recited by Mr. Mill, that " knot of men " got 
the reins of the governments of the several provinces 
into their hands, enlisted part of the inhabitants in their 

*In the article in Fraser's Magazine before referred to in these 
notes. 

222 



THE FACTS 

own ranks and set others (the Loyalists) to work in 
chain-gangs, and worse ; and, declaring themselves inde- 
pendent, disposed of the whole political existence of all 
of them. 

Therefore, in the words of Mr. Mill, I ask, " Whose 
will took the colonies out of the Empire?" The answer 
is evident : the will of the Disunion chiefs, and no other. 
Proceeding farther to Mr. Mill's suggested conclusion, 
it follows that the British Government should not have 
recognized the independence of the revolting colonies 
so long as it had the ability to retain them in the 
Empire. In this conclusion Mr. Mill would not have 
acquiesced, for the reason that he was deceived as to 
the premises. Had he understood them, to be consistent 
he must have done so. 

The British colonies in America were made inde- 
pendent by a body of men who conspired to separate 
them from the Empire — actually, if not in name. As 
in all cases where men combine for the accomplishment 
of a purpose, the incentive to action varied in each. 
Some — as in the case of Samuel Adams, whom Governor 
Hutchinson truthfully styled " malignant " — were influ- 
enced by sentiments of revenge for fancied or pretended 
injuries ;5 others — as in the case of his cousin and 
namesake — from motives of self-interest, and a belief 
that the colonies v/ould never prosper as they should 
while they were attached by leading-strings to the mother 
country. But all alike were influenced by an ambition 
to rule. Though there had never been a time in the 
history of the colonies when there had not been among 
their inhabitants a number of discontented men who 
desired nothing more than their severance from Great 
Britain, yet, at the time of the Peace of Paris, prior to 
which they could not hope for a realization of that 
desire, they were neither so numerous nor so well organ- 
ized as to be able to carry their plans to a successful 
issue. Therefore, the Disunion leaders set themselves to 
the task of organizing them into a well regulated party 
and to gather recruits ; or, again, in the words of Mr. 

223 



MYTHS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION 

Roosevelt, " to shape new political conditions, and then 
to reconcile our people to them."''' 

Professor Tyler asserts that the '' several stages " of 
the American Revolution *' from beginning to end un- 
folded themselves and succeeded one another with some- 
thing of the logical sequence, the proportion and the 
unity, of a well-ordered plot/'f This is not strange, for 
it was a well-ordered plot, and the Disunion chiefs were 
the plotters. They were aided, in the colonies, not alone 
by men who, like themselves, " panted after independ- 
ence,"t but by many who affiliated with them in the mis- 
taken belief that their sole object was the reform of the 
government of the colonies within the Empire, and not 
to take them out of it. It was such as these that, when 
they were persecuted and imprisoned by those whom 
they had assisted, because they refused to subscribe to 
doctrines that had ever been abhorrent to them, com- 
plained : 

" For freedom, indeed, we supposed we were fighting, 
But this kind of freedom's not very inviting."§ 

The Disunion chiefs were aided in England by those 
who were so unscrupulous as to use the Revolutionary 
agitation in America as political capital at homej Of 
these, some were as much deceived as were their trans- 
atlantic coadjutors as to the true intent of the Disunion- 
ists ; others, who knew or suspected it, were careless of 
the result, thus making their patriotism subordinate to 
their political ambition or their love of popularity. 
Doubtless there were a few who sincerely believed that 
the maintenance of the free institutions of Great Britain 
could be assured only by the independence of the col- 
onies. Naturally these men were not only willing but 
eager for the consummation of that independence. 

*Gouverneur Morris, p. 51. 

f Literary History of the American Revolution, Vol. I., p. 31. 
$Daniel Leonard, Massachusettensis Letters. 
%The Loyal Verses of Stansbury and Odell, p. 17. 
224 



THE FACTS 

The grievances of which the Disunion leaders com- 
plained, and of which they made effective use in their 
propaganda, were such as inevitably must have arisen 
under any administration but one prepared to acquiesce 
in the virtual separation of the colonies from the mother 
country. The most oppressive of these grievances were 
the direct result — doubtless foreseen by them — of the 
action of the Disunion leaders. That they could have 
been redressed within the Empire is certain; that they 
would have been so redressed, had the opposition of the 
colonists been confined to constitutional methods, is 
equally certain. That these facts were known, feared 
and guarded against by the Disunion leaders by means 
of exciting their followers to unconstitutional demands 
and acts of insurrection, is no less certain than either. 

In either of two contingencies, the Disunion leaders 
might have severed the colonies from the Empire and 
established their independence by diplomatic means 
alone. Had the Chatham or Rockingham ministries 
remained in office for as long a period as did that of 
Lord North, it is probable that the Disunionists would 
have been able so to strengthen their position as to force 
the Parliament to renounce all control over them; in 
which event the transition to actual independence would 
have been rapid and easy. Again, if nearly all or a 
very large majority of the colonists had affiliated with 
the Disunion party, and declared for independence, even 
such a ministry as that of Lord North would have been 
little inclined to proceed against them by force of arms. 
In such a contingency, it is likely that any ministry 
would have endeavored to allay the disturbances by a 
series of concessions, by these means as effectually bring- 
ing about the independence of the colonies as by the 
method, or want of method, that was adopted. 

The eight years' war, by means of which the colonists 
did gain their independence, on their part was neither 
a just nor a necessary war. It was not just or neces- 
sary, because, without it, the freedom and happiness of 
the colonists would not have been impaired or imperilled ; 
15 225 



MYTHS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION 

and those upon whom the war was made had not 
designed to impair or imperil them. Professor Tyler 
will not admit this, and he supports his assertion that 
the colonists were justified in making war upon the 
British Government, after the manner of Washington 
and Webster. That is, he admits that there was no 
" tyranny inflicted '' upon the colonists, but only 
"tyranny anticipated;" that there were no ''real evils," 
but only " ideal evils." But, he argues, " the people " 
(meaning, no doubt, the Disunion chiefs) *' produced 
the Revolution, not because they were as yet actual suf- 
ferers, but because they were good logicians and were 
able to prove that, without resistance, they or their chil- 
dren would some day become actual sufferers."* But 
this they never proved, and the logic of events has shown 
the falsity of the pretence. The claim of necessity for 
the war on the part of the colonists can be founded only 
on the assumption that independence was essential to 
their freedom and happiness, and of the reasonableness 
of this assumption there is no proof either. 

On the part of the British Government the war was 
both just and necessary — at least, so far as any war can 
be said to be just or necessary. It was just, because, 
not only was it forced upon that Government, but because 
it was fought in the interests, not only of the people of 
Great Britain, but in that of the colonists who were 
loyal to the Empire — a large number of law-abiding 
citizens, who had as much " inherent right " to oppose 
and resist the " shaping of new political conditions " in 
their governments by a revolutionary cabal as had their 
*' proud, free " compatriots to advocate it, intrigue for 
it and fight for it. These loyal subjects had been warred 
upon by their rebellious fellow-colonists, for no fault of 
theirs, and they had called upon the supreme Govern- 
ment for protection. If it had not afforded it, it would 
have failed in its duty. Affording it, it was obliged to 
take up the gage of battle thrown down by those who 

^Literary History of the American Revolution, Vol. I., p. 8. 

226 



THE FACTS 

had defied its authority. On the part of the British Gov- 
ernment the war was a necessary one. Without it, its 
integrity could not have been maintained, and it is the 
privilege of a government, no less than that of an indi- 
vidual, to preserve its existence intact. It is its duty to 
do so, for it is accountable for its stewardship to every 
one of the governed. 

But though thus supported by equity and necessity on 
the part of the British, the war against the revolting 
colonists was a half-hearted one, little enthusiasm or 
determination being shown by the officers either of the 
army or the navy, and none at all by the men-at-arms. 
The sole exception to this lack of earnestness and energy 
existed among the crews of the privateers, who found 
an incentive to action and daring in the opportunity to 
prey on the rich commerce of France and Spain. But 
the enthusiasm of these men had its source, not in 
patriotism, but in the lust of gain. 

That the colonists, as a people, were not animated by 
the highest form of patriotism, or even by that more 
restricted form of patriotism which inspires the impulse 
to defend one's native soil, has been sufficiently demon- 
strated, and that they were in no wise unanimous in 
sentiment has also been shown, but an illustration of 
these facts, startling in the conviction that it brings, 
may be given : At the period of the Revolution, the free 
white inhabitants of the thirteen colonies numbered, 
probably, two millions and a quarter, certainly over two 
millions. With this number to draw from, reinforced 
by alien volunteers, and aided by conscription, the 
Revolutionary commanders with difficulty kept in the 
field an army of thirty thousand men. In another and 
later war for independence, undertaken by a people who 
numbered less than one-tenth of the American colonists, 
with no difficulty at all was kept in the field an army of 
twice that number.=^ That the inability of the American 
colonists to keep a larger army in the field was not owing 

*The South African republics. 
227 



MYTHS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION 

to a dearth of arms or other munitions of war is shown 
by the fact that throughout the war there was never 
any difficulty in arming recruits ; and with a population 
of three-quarters of a million slaves, and at least as 
many able-bodied free men, engaged in agriculture and 
manufactures, there should have been no dearth of sup- 
plies for the Revolutionary commissariat. It is true that 
much of these supplies never reached that commissariat, 
but this was owing either to the lack of patriotism on 
the part of the farmers who raised them — they preferring 
British gold to Revolutionary promises — or else to the 
fact that they were disaffected to the Revolutionary 
cause. All have heard of the miseries of Valley Forge. 
But these miseries were not caused by any act of the 
British commander, who manifested not the slightest 
disposition to trouble those who were there intrenched. 
It was caused by the action, or inaction, of the colonial 
farmers, who, with abundant harvests in store, refused 
to supply their compatriots with the necessaries of life.^ 

In the matter of patriotic effort for independence, 
from the British colonists in America to the Boers of 
South Africa is a long step. 

But, intimates Mr. Roosevelt, not only was England 
wrong in her dealings with the revolting colonists in 
the days of the Revolution, but she has been wrong ever 
since in her dealings with the Great Republic and its 
citizens. Her past conduct, he asserts, " certainly offers 
much excuse for " that " unreasonable and virulent anti- 
English feeling . . . which is so strong in many 
parts of our country."* 

It is, perhaps, unfortunate that Mr. Roosevelt has not 
condescended to give to his uninformed readers the par- 
ticulars of this "past conduct of England " which, in his 
opinion, excuses, if it does not justify, the unreasoning 
and virulent feeling against her that is cherished by his 
countrymen. Because, without this information, one 
can but seek for them in the historic records, and the 

*Gouverneur Morris, pp. 228, 229. 

228 



THE FACTS 

result of the search does not yield a very striking con- 
firmation of Mr. Roosevelt's assertion. 

In these records, extending through the life of the 
Great Republic, may be found many attempts at con- 
ciliation, accompanied by valuable concessions, made by 
the British Government to the United States ; and fre- 
quent demonstrations of an apparently sincere disposi- 
tion to friendship with their citizens made by the people 
of Great Britain. In return for these demonstrations, 
on the part of the United States, may be found an abiding 
determination to gain every possible advantage for them- 
selves at the expense of Great Britain, together with a 
willingness to accept favors from her without requital — 
on the part of the American people, a constant dis- 
position to meet the friendly advances of their British 
cousins with unresponsiveness, not to say churlishness, 
and to impute to their every act and utterance motives 
of disguised hostility to themselves. 

At the very outset of the relations of Great Britain 
and the United States as sovereign powers is found a 
manifestation of these dispositions. In the treaty of 
peace which gave them independence, Great Britain pre- 
sented to the United States, virtually as a free gift, a 
vast extent of rich and fertile territory, comprising over 
four hundred thousand square miles of land — an empire 
in itself — not one foot of which had formed any part of 
the revolted colonies, and over which they had established 
no control by act of war.'" That this was a gratuitous 
gift is plain, because France, their ally, without whose 
help they could not have obtained peace, gladly would 
have supported the British Government in restricting 
the United States to their original colonial limits. In 
giving them the privilege of the fisheries, too, Great 
Britain acted against the wishes of the French ministers. 

Vergennes referred somewhat contemptuously to the 
" generosity " of the British ministers in making these 
concessions. " The English buy a peace rather than 

♦Territory now forming the States of Wisconsin, Minnesota, 
Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee and Alabama. 

229 



MYTHS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION 

make it. Their concessions . . . exceed all that I 
could have thought possible,"* he declared. And before 
that time Gerard had informed the Congress that his 
master, the King of France, would not prolong the war 
for a day to enable the United States to obtain any 
territory not included within their original boundaries.f 
In return for these surely no inconsiderable benefits 
to the young republics, they refused to comply with the 
obligations they had imposed upon themselves in the 
treaty which granted them. Three years after its rati- 
fication, John Jay asserted that there had "not been a 
single day since it took effect in which it had not been 
violated in America."7 This refusal to perform a plain 
duty was continued for years, until, influenced by retalia- 
tory measures adopted by the British Government, and 
urged thereto by Washington and the few who stood 
with him, the pledges given in the treaty were partially 
redeemed; wholly they could not be, for lapse of time 
had made their redemption impossible. 

If ever there was a people who had reason for sincere 
reconciliation with a nation with whom they had been 
at war, surely it was the people of the United States. 
The British people had never been their enemies. A 
vast number of them, in defiance of their own rulers, 
and apparently in opposition to their own interests, had 
aided them in gaining their independence. As said Lord 
Chatham, they had ''glowed with a congenial flame." 
Even the rulers themselves, by their refusal to take 
severe measures of suppression, had helped to bring 
about that consummation ; and when the late colonies 
had begtm their career as sovereign states, these rulers 
had endowed them with territory on land and sea. 

In return for these obligations, the name of English- 
man was made a byword and a reproach among the citi- 
zens of the federated States. The new generation — 
even the progeny of the Loyalists — were taught to 

*Vergennes to Rayneval. December 4. 1782: Diplomatic Corre- 
spondence of the United States, Vol. VI., p. 107. 
fSee Circourt's Histoire, etc., Vol. III., p. 264. 



THE FACTS 

believe that his crime had been too great for pardon, 
and that to hate him was a virtue. This antagonism 
increased rather than diminished, and was shared by the 
educated as well as the ignorant. So that, a decade 
after the establishment of independence, American states- 
men, declaiming in their halls of congress, stigmatized 
as a traitor to his country one of their colleagues because 
he had not been " ardent enough in his hatred to Great 
Britain," and declared that " that nation must be extir- 
pated," for " the world ought to rejoice if Britain were 
sunk in the sea."^ 

Politicians and the people, the governors and the gov- 
erned, joined in a general clamor against the efforts of 
Washington to inaugurate amicable relations with Great 
Britain ; and when, at length, a treaty of amity and com- 
merce with that nation was drafted, the journals teemed 
with denunciations of its provisions before a word of 
its contents was known to those who condemned them. 
As said Fisher Ames, ''The alarm spread faster than 
the publication. There were more critics than readers ;" 
so fearful were the people of having bound themselves 
to do common justice to that hated nation. 

When the Government of the younger Pitt was forced 
into a war with France, in spite of his efforts to avoid 
it, the first evidence of that war was greeted by the 
people of the United States with " peals of exultation."9 
The few that ventured to dissent from this general 
chorus of approbation were held up to their fellow- 
citizens as fit objects for their detestation. lo 

This war gave opportunity to the American people 
to manifest their hostility to Great Britain in ways more 
forcible than words. Since the Dark Ages, there seldom 
have been seen such open and flagrant violations of the 
obligations of a neutral nation towards a belligerent as 
were manifested by the state officials and people of the 
United States towards Great Britain during the early 
part of that war. Washington did his utmost to put a 
stop to these outrageous violations of the laws of nations, 
but, in spite of proclamations, the state authorities, 

231 



MYTHS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION 

instead of suppressing, abetted them. So it happened 
that for many days citizens of the United States con- 
tinued to wage piratical warfare upon the commerce of 
a friendly nation without serious impediment, ^^ some of 
them laying the foundation of large fortunes by means of 
these sea robberies from British merchants. 

As the war progressed, the merchants and shipowners 
of the United States became the ocean carriers for the 
commerce of the French republic, 12 thereby constituting 
their country the ally of France. To fill the decks of 
these vessels, British seamen, by promise of high wages, 
were enticed to leave their ships and sail under the flag 
of the United States, to the great injury of British com- 
merce. Nor was this the worst injury done to Great 
Britain, for the men of her warships were encouraged 
and assisted to desert and enlist on American vessels, in 
such large numbers as seriously to endanger the efficiency 
of her navy. These conditions became so intolerable as 
to provoke retaliation from British commanders, which, 
though disavowed by the British Government, v/as used 
with effect further to inflame the passions of the Amer- 
ican people against Great Britain. 

Then, as at all times during the history of the United 
States, Great Britain did not want for generous cham- 
pions among the American people. There were those, 
even then, who dared to speak for justice to the hated 
enemy. Among them was the Reverend John Sylvester 
Gardiner, rector of Trinity Church, Boston, a member 
of one of the oldest and most honorable families of New 
England. 

" Though submissive and even servile to France," 
wrote this gentleman, " to Great Britain we are eager to 
display our hatred and hurl our defiance. 
Every petty dispute which may happen between Amer- 
ican captains and a British officer is magnified into a 
national insult. The land of our fathers, whence is 
derived the best blood of the nation, the country to 
which we are chiefly indebted for our laws and know- 
ledge, is stigmatized as a nest of pirates, plunderers 

232 



THE FACTS 

and assassins. We entice away her seamen, the very 
sinews of her power; we refuse to restore them on 
appHcation ; we issue hostile proclamations ; we inter- 
dict her ships of war from the common rights of hos- 
pitality ; we pass non-importation acts ; we lay embar- 
goes; we refuse to ratify a treaty in which she has 
made great concessions to us ; we dismiss her envoy of 
peace, who came purposely to apologize for an act 
unauthorized by her Government ; we commit every act 
of hostility against her in proportion to our means and 
station. Observe the conduct of the two nations : 
France robs us, and we love her; Britain courts us, 
and we hate her."'^ 

After years of indecision and a continuance of this 
state of veiled warfare against Great Britain, advantage 
was taken of her condition — without an ally, ^ 3 and 
threatened with invasion by the greatest military organ- 
ization of modern days, the " Army of Twenty Nations," 
commanded by the ever-victorious Captain — at a time 
when she was battling for her very existence as an 
independent realm, 1 4 to make open war upon her. 

In spite of specious pretences, the sole object of that 
war was the capture of Canada, as the records abund- 
antly prove. The possession of that country had been 
the passionate desire of the Disunion chiefs, from the 
day when they first looked forward to independence, 
and when they were obliged to sign a treaty of peace 
which did not provide for its cession they were deeply 
disappointed. In 1778, John Adams declared: "As 
long as Great Britain shall have Canada, ... so 
long will Great Britain be the enemy of the United 
States." " As long as she shall hold a foot of ground 
in America she shall continue our enemy." Two years 
later, in a letter to a French official, the same gentleman 
made a similar statement, and added : " Whereas France, 
having renounced all territorial jurisdiction in America, 
will have no room for controversy." Years later, while 

*" Fast Day Sermon:" Cyclopedia of American Literature, Vol, 
I., p. 535- 

^Z2> 



MYTHS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION 

the second war against Great Britain was in progress, 
John Adams wrote : " The French had no territories 
accessible to our land forces, to tempt us with prospects 
of conquest."* 

So the failure of 178;^ was to be remedied in 1812. 
And the remedy was easy, for the conquest of Canada 
was " a mere matter of marching," and its cession was 
to be a sine qua non for the resumption of peace with 
Great Britain. 1 5 

So began the War of 18 12 — but that is another myth. 

As was natural, the failure of the attempt against 
Canada, the temporary loss of territory, and the loss of 
the fishing privileges, which were the results of the war, 
did not diminish the bitter sentiments cherished by the 
American people against Great Britain and her people. 
A generation after the close of that war these sentiments 
were so prominently in evidence as to cause De Tocque- 
ville, then on a visit to the United States, to declare that : 
" II est impossible d'imaginer luie haine plus venimeuse 
que celle des Americaines contre les Anglais. ''f 

The designs against Canada were still cherished by 
Americans, and several attempts to foment a rebellion 
in that country were made, and at least one armed inva- 
sion of its territory. In 1837, several hundreds of the 
inhabitants of New York, armed with cannon taken from 
the public stores, invaded Canada and attacked one of 
its settlements. The cannon, as said Lord Ashburton, 
" were actually mounted on Navy Island, and were used 
to fire within easy range upon the unoffending inhab- 
itants of the opposite shore ;" while " a militia regiment 
stationed on the neighboring American island looked on 
without any attempt at interference, while shots were 
fired from the American island itself." " This important 

*John Adams to Samuel Adams, July 28, 1778 ; to Ralph Izzard, 
September 25, 1778; to Genet, May 17, 1780; to James Lloyd, 
February 6, 1815 : Diplomatic Correspondence of the United 
States, Vol. II., pp. 667, 743; Vol. III., p. 687. John Adam.s' 
Works, Vol. X., p. 115. 

fDe Tocqueville, Dc la Democratic en Ainerique. 

234 



THE FACTS 

fact," added Lord Ashburton, " stands on the best Amer- 
ican authority, being stated in a letter to Mr. Forsyth, 
on the 6th of February, 1838, of Mr. Benton, Attorney 
of the United States." 

As the United States Government refused to put a 
stop to these acts of war upon a friendly nation, the 
Canadian authorities took the miatter into their own 
hands, and, by destroying the vessel of the invaders, 
ended the trouble for that time. In doing so, they, in 
turn, invaded the territory of the United States ; but 
this act not only was approved by the British Govern- 
ment, but was acknowledged to be justifiable by no less 
a person than Daniel Webster, who, in his defence of 
the Treaty of Washington, said of the American in- 
vaders : " The persons engaged in that vessel were, it 
is to be remembered, violating the laws of their own 
country, as well as the laws of nations ; some of them 
suffered for that offence, and I wish all had suffered." 

That the " venomous hate " of all things English, 
spoken of by De Tocqueville, was deliberately taught 
to American youth, is testified to by many, among them 
by Henry Ward Beecher.i6 That it was cherished by 
American statesmen and people for more than half a 
century after De Tocqueville wrote, any one who will 
take the trouble to glance over the files of Am.erican 
journals published during that period may satisfy him- 
self. That the feeling is not entirely extinct may be 
discovered by a perusal of those of the present day. 
One of the late, but by no means the latest, examples 
of this may be found in an article published some ten 
years ago in an American newspaper of wide circulation. 
The WTiter advocated a war with Great Britain, and as 
reasons therefor made these statements : 

" No nation on earth ever offered the indignities to 
our people that England has offered. Commencing back 
in colonial days and coming down to the present time, 
whatever respectful treatment this nation ever received 
from England was forced by cannon and bayonet. In 
our short history our people have twice whipped that 

235 



MYTHS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION 

country into civility. She has twice met us as an open 
foe and been beaten, and since that she has attempted 
the methods of the assassin, but was foiled. 
She is not our mother, but is our sworn and hereditary 
foe. There is eternal enmity and hatred between Eng- 
land and this country. Let there be talk of war with 
the German Empire, and millions of hands would go up 
in protest ; let there be talk of war with France, and 
millions of voices would be raised against it; . 
but at any suggestion of a war with England every 
American girths his belt a little tighter, holds himself 
erect and declares he is ready. No orator ever stood 
before an American audience and vigorously twisted the 
tail of the British lion without being greeted with 
tumultuous applause. It is there you Und the sentiment 
of seventy million American citizens. . . . We are 
no kin, and if war comes our people will go into it with- 
out any embarrassing sentiment about our fratricidal 
contest. We have fought twice without compunctions 
on this score, and we can do it again." 

I have quoted from this article — one among scores of 
a like character — because it is typical of the beliefs and 
sentiments of the " average " American, especially those 
passages which I have italicized. And it should be 
remembered that it is this average American who sways 
the policy of the United States in all things where Great 
Britain is concerned. 

In the meantime it may be well to inquire of what 
crimes the British Government or people have been 
guilty to justify such beliefs and sentiments. 

There have been frequent disputes between Great 
Britain and the United States on questions of boundaries 
and fishing privileges, resulting in almost as frequent 
concessions on the part of the former; so that their 
final settlements have been well characterized by a 
British statesman as " capitulations " on the part of his 
Government. That of the Alaskan boundary at present 
completes the list, but he would be of a sanguine tem- 
perament who should believe it completed for all time. 

236 



THE FACTS 

It is true that, in the case of one of these disputes. 
Great Britain was awarded damages, to be paid by the 
United States;* but it is also true that these damages 
were withheld for a number of years, upon no reason- 
able pretence, until the latter country became engaged in 
a war ; when, feeling the need of the sympathy and aid 
of Great Britain, the award was paid with a haste as 
unseemly as was the delay. 

It is also true that another of these disputes resulted 
in the United States ousting Great Britain from but half 
the territory claimed and occupied by her on the Pacific 
Coast ; whereas they had threatened to oust her from 
the whole. But in this instance the claims of the United 
States were so manifestly unfounded and absurd as to 
arouse the spirit of opposition even in the most com- 
placent of British ministries. Because of the '' blustering 
announcement " of President Polk, to surrender at their 
demand every foot of territory on that coast — territory 
to which she had established a right by discovery, while 
the claimants were still her colonies, and to which her 
title had been acknowledged by the two powers that 
alone had a shadow of claim to it — would have made 
Great Britain a subject for the contempt of nations; yet 
that is what the United States insisted that she must 
do. But this could hardly be, even though distinguished 
American statesmen had protested that the claim of 
their country would never be abandoned, and that they 
would never yield an inch of it ; even though one of 
them had proved, on the authority of the Book of 
Genesis,i7 that the right, title and interest in and to the 
whole of it was vested in the United States ; even 
though they had announced, in alliterative phrase, that 
they would do battle for it.f 

It is true, too, that the Venezuela boundary dispute 
resulted in a fiasco for the claimants, since they were 
awarded about one hundred square miles of territory in 

*The Behring Sea Award, the payment of which was delayed 
until the opening of the Spanish-American War. 
fThe famous political battle-cry of " Fiftv-four Forty or Fight." 



MYTHS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION 

satisfaction of their claim of sixty thousand, and since 
they could have obtained a far larger amount of terri- 
tory had they accepted the offer of the British Govern- 
ment. But then it was not the United States that was 
the claimant. The result of the Venezuelan dispute, in 
reality, was as much a '' capitulation " on the part of 
the British Government as were the results of the others. 
When Lord Salisbury met what a great New York 
weekly aptly called the *' insulting defiance " of Presi- 
dent Cleveland with '' extraordinary meekness," and 
submitted to the dictation of a foreign power in a matter 
in which Great Britain and the other party in dispute 
alone were concerned, he capitulated more abjectly than 
his predecessors had done, and, like the foolish dog in 
the fable, for the shadow of American friendship 
dropped the meat of Imperial prestige. 

We have seen how the early attempts at reconciliation 
and cordiality made by the British Government were 
reciprocated by Americans. Did these attempts end with 
that failure ? Apparently they did not ; it would seem 
that other attempts were made, with similar results. 

When, in 1823, George Canning came to the rescue of 
Mr. Monroe's administration, which by a rash, if some- 
what vague, defiance of the powers of Europe had 
placed the United States in a position that they could 
not maintain, and from which they could not recede 
without humiliation — facts virtually admitted by Mr. 
Calhoun, then Secretary of War — it might be supposed 
that this timely support would have aroused in the minds 
of Americans something like sentiments of gratitude 
towards the British Government; but though the obli- 
gation was grudgingly acknowledged at the time, it was 
soon forgotten, and the succeeding generations of Amer- 
icans were taught to regard the " Monroe Doctrine " as 
a weapon forged by American statesmen for the coercion 
and humiliation of Great Britain, a menace to the nation 
without whose aid it must have rusted in the scabbard. ^ 8 

The question of the right of search of American 
vessels in time of war, asserted by Great Britain, and 

238 



THE FACTS 

declared by American writers to have been the cause of 
the War of 1812, is universally asserted by them to have 
been '' settled once for all " by that war. But it was 
not settled by that war. It was settled more than forty 
years after that war by the voluntary concession of the 
British Government; which concession was character- 
ized by Mr. Dallas, in a speech delivered by him on the 
4th of July, 1858, as being made " with a degree of noble 
candor on the part of the British Government which is 
worthy of every acknowledgment on our part." 

But few and curt have been the acknowledgments for 
favors done by the British Government and people to 
those of the United States. If these favors have not 
been numerous, or of very great political importance, 
still they have been opportunely rendered and effective, 
and certainly were deserving of a better return than an 
increase of ill-feeling towards the doers, which, in fact, 
has been generally the result. A characteristic instance 
is that of the Klondyke goldfields. It will be remem- 
bered, when these great gold discoveries were made, how 
American adventurers flocked to that territory to gather 
the spoils. At that time, when thousands of American 
citizens were being enriched by the generous provisions 
of the Canadian laws, which — as in the case of all terri- 
tory under British rule — gave to aliens the same mining 
privileges as enjoyed by its own citizens; at that time 
the journals of the United States were filled with com- 
plaints and threats against the governments and officials 
of Canada and Great Britain because Americans were 
not permitted to dictate to the Canadian authorities how 
their customs and police regulations should be adminis- 
tered. " Appeals to Washington " and other like absurd- 
ities were advocated. And this while, by the laws of the 
United States, no Canadian or other British subject was 
permitted to glean a grain of ore from the extensive 
mining fields of the United States. 

To such a pitch of almost incredibly absurd pretension 
had the complacence of British ministries and people 
brought the people of the United States. 

239 



MYTHS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION 

The last of these instances may be well remembered. 
It is but a few years ago when, at the time the United 
States entered into their petty war with Spain, the atti- 
tude of the British Government made it plain that it 
would oppose a European combination to coerce them ; 
thus, perhaps, for the second time relieving them from 
an impasse. Then, indeed, for a time, the press of the 
United States expressed deep gratitude for the favor 
conferred, and asseverated in the most earnest terms that 
it would never be forgotten by Americans. Then the 
remarkable and unprecedented spectacle was seen of the 
Banner of Britain, not defiled by the hands of a mob, 
but borne with honor in processions through the streets 
of cities of the United States. 

At that time, a well-meaning but greatly mistaken 
gentleman, a general in the United States army, in an 
article advocating the establishment of close and friendly 
relations with Great Britain, asserted that : '' The course 
of England generally in our war with Spain, the conduct 
of the British naval contingent at Manila, and the cordial 
treatment of Americans by Englishmen in all parts of 
the world, have at last turned the tide [of American 
vituperation of Great Britain], and now an inter- 
national friendship, backed by the intelligence and best 
blood of both nations, bids fair to start down the new 
century in earnest approval of the sentiment that ' blood 
is thicker than water.' God speed the movement which 
tends to dispel forever the misunderstandings and bitter- 
ness of the olden days." 

But it was quickly shown that the gallant gentleman 
did not thoroughly understand the dispositions of his 
countrymen. The war over, the aid of Britain no longer 
needed, what a sudden transformation was seen ! 
Scarcely had the sound of the last gun ceased to rever- 
berate from the heavens, when in the press and on the 
platform again were seen and heard the usual invectives 
against Great Britain and her people, intensified, indeed, 
by the interval of disuse. Their crimes against human 
rights were exploited in glaring headlines in the columns 

240 



THE FACTS 

of the journals, and detailed from the lips of statesmen 
in the halls of legislation. The current of vituperation, 
temporarily deflected, had resumed its normal course. 
The " tide " again had turned back. Again Great 
Britain was *' the sworn and hereditary foe " of the 
American Government and people. 

At this time both countries were engaged in small 
wars: Great Britain in an effort to subdue the Boers of 
South Africa, who had made war upon her ; the United 
States in an effort to subdue the Filipinos, upon whom 
they had made war, after entering their country osten- 
sibly to aid them in gaining their independence. The 
attempt of Great Britain to preserve her supremacy in 
a country where she had been paramount for nearly a 
century, and to prevent the establishment there of an 
alien and inferior civilization, was characterized by the 
journals and statesmen of the United States as a gross 
and infamous invasion of the sacred rights of man- 
kind. ^ 9 The attempt of the United States to establish 
their rule in a country in which they had never had a 
foothold was declared to be actuated by a benevolent 
desire for the good of humanity. The nation that jus- 
tified rebellion on the ground that there could be no just 
government that was not based on the consent of the 
governed, was declared to be perfectly justified in forcing 
its rule upon a people, not one of whom had assented, 
or could be expected to assent, to it. 

It is true that the one nation was a monarchy, and, 
therefore, necessarily in the wrong; the other a repub- 
lic, and, therefore, necessarily in the right. This view 
of the matter was taken by a distinguished United States 
Senator,* who, when moving a resolution of sympathy 
with the Boers, doubtless in the hope of bringing about 
a combination of powers to coerce Great Britain, and 
thus repay the obligation which his country owed to her, 
among other remarks of a similar purport, said: 

" The war between monarchy and republicanism began 

* Senator Mason. 
i6 241 



MYTHS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION 

in earnest on July the Fourth, 1776, and no treaty of 
peace has ever been concluded, nor ever will be, until the 
question is settled, and settled right." 

That is to say, by the destruction of all governments 
of the monarchical form, especially that of Great Britain, 
the " professed bully " par excellence. 

About the same time, another distinguished Senator 
also paid his compliments to Great Britain, in part in 
the following terms: 

" England was deliberately and wantonly forcing a 
quarrel upon President Kruger, on a trumped-up and 
baseless pretence, for the purpose of destroying the inde- 
pendence of the Transvaal republic. . . . Having 
been snubbed and kicked and cuffed by all the great 
powers of Europe, subjected to indignities to which she 
has submitted without a protest, England now makes 
an enormous military demonstration against an insig- 
nificant community, as a discredited slugger avenges 
himself for the insults of his equals by indiscriminate 
assaults upon cripples and women and children. . 
Whenever a weak or feeble power has anything that 
England wants, and refuses to surrender, that is of 
itself a casus belli, and the plunder, robbery and extor- 
tion that follow are always in the interests of civilization. 
In this consecrated name she built up the Indian Empire 
by a series of inconceivable barbarities. England is the 
bully and ruffian and coward among nations, and never 
fights her equals on equal terms. . . . Give her a 
cripple or a baby as an antagonist, and she is dauntless 
and undeniable. She bullied and insulted and domineered 
over this country till we thrashed her in two wars on 
land and sea. . . . Cleveland slapped her in the 
face in his Venezuelan message, and she accepted the 
insult."* 

Wars may come and wars may go, but from the 
mouths of such Americans the stream of vituperation of 
Great Britain and all things British flows on forever. 

*John J. Ingalls, for several terms Senator from the State of 
Kansas. 

242 



THE FACTS 

With these examples of American sentiment, flaunted 
abroad to the sound of applause of delighted hearers, 
before his eyes, examples but three or four years old, 
is any one so sanguine and trusting as to believe that 
the virulent feeling so long cherished by Americans to 
Great Britain is now a thing of the past? Or that the 
oft-tried policy of concession and smooth language will 
tend to bring about that desideratum ? One that does so 
has never studied American history, or has studied it 
to little purpose. The ashes of those fires of " ven- 
omous hatred " of England, noted more than half a 
century ago by the French publicist, still smoulder in 
the breasts of Americans, ready to be blazed forth in 
all the fury of invective at such times as, from malice 
or interested motives, one or more of their statesmen 
shall make it appear that they have cause for grievance 
against her. 

One of the most remarkable facts connected with these 
hostile demonstrations is that the home-staying Briton 
seems to be incapable of crediting their existence. This 
is well illustrated by an incident that occurred during 
the Venezuelan flurry. At the particular time when the 
American journals were filled to the greatest extent 
with denunciations of Great Britain — the week of Christ- 
mas festivities — there was represented at Drury Lane 
Theatre a pantomime, during the performance of which 
a large American flag was displayed. Night after 
night the appearance of this banner was cheered to the 
echo by the English audience; while, on the other side 
of the ocean, throughout every State in the Union, 
audiences were assembling to cheer the speakers who 
were denouncing Great Britain as the greatest criminal 
among nations, and threatening her with punishment by 
the sword. 

When, at length, the English people awoke to the fact 
that their American cousins actually were incensed to 
fury against them for something they were supposed to 
have done, still they were at a loss to understand. It 
was incomprehensible. It was as if a gentleman, pass- 

243 



MYTHS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION 

ing the house of a neighbor with whom he supposed 
himself on the best of terms, had been suddenly assailed 
with a shower of brickbats and rotten eggs flung by 
the family of his supposed friend. 

What guarantee is there against a renewal of such 
demonstrations of hatred should the interests or the 
prejudices of Americans furnish the incentive? Abso- 
lutely none! The prejudice against Great Britain and 
the British, more or less dormant in the bosom of every 
American, will be aroused to activity upon the appear- 
ance of the slightest provocation, or fancied provocation. 
This condition must continue until the minds of Amer- 
icans are freed from the false teachings of their 
historians. 

Mr. Roosevelt believes that the British Government 
and people acted unfairly towards the United States " in 
the days of the Civil War." Then, as well as before, 
he declares, ** the ruling classes of England were bitterly 
antagonistic to our nation. "20 

Without debating the question as to what constituted 
*' our nation " in the days of the Civil War, one thing is 
certain, as Mr. Roosevelt very well knows: That the 
ruling classes of England in those days refused to enter 
into a combination of European powers in favor of the 
Southern Confederacy, and^ by that refusal, made such 
a combination impossible. Had they done otherwise, 
the history of the nations of the North American con- 
tinent would have been changed, and Mr. Roosevelt 
to-day would be a citizen of a commonwealth less great 
and influential than that of which he is now the chief. 
Let us note what is said upon this subject by a statesman 
as honest, and at least as well informed in the premises, 
as is Mr. Roosevelt. 

At the beginning of the war between the States, Mr. 
Carl Schurtz was sent by the Washington Government 
on a mission to Spain. While in Europe, Mr. Schurtz 
visited the capitals of the principal powers, and became 
well informed as to the policy of their rulers. In his 
recently published Reminiscences, he writes: ''Louis 

244 



THE FACTS 

Napoleon . . . was anxious to obtain the co-opera- 
tion of Great Britain. . . . He sought that co-opera- 
tion with great soHcitude. With England, therefore, 
the decision rested. ... If public opinion in Eng- 
land distinctly demanded the recognition of the Southern 
Confederacy, and active interference in its behalf, those 
things would certainly come. If public opinion distinctly 
forbade them, they would certainly not come." Later 
in the same article, Mr. Schurtz adds that his belief at 
the time was that if the current of public opinion in 
England were started in favor of the United States, 
" the matter was decided, for the French Emperor would 
not venture upon the risky task of actively interfering 
with our home concerns without Great Britain's consent 
and support." 

The reason that this current of public opinion in Eng- 
land in favor of the United States did not run swifter 
and stronger was twofold: One the belief (justified by 
fact and authority) that the States of the North were 
overriding the political rights of those of the South, 
and taking advantage of their overwhelming power to 
wage against them a war of conquest; the other (jus- 
tified by the utterances of every statesman, orator and 
writer of any prominence throughout the North) that, 
in the event of its success in subduing the Southern 
States, it was the intention of the United States Govern- 
ment to preserve therein the institution of slavery. As 
to the former, it could not but be a matter for amaze- 
ment to Englishmen to see a people, who for a century 
had been frantically proclaiming the natural right of all 
communities to ''govern themselves," and asserting that 
there could be no just government without the consent 
of the governed — to see this people suddenly assert a 
right to govern a vast community, homogeneous in 
sentiment, and utterly opposed to being so governed. 
Referring to this fact — in a dispatch to the Washington 
Government, which, as he says, has been styled by his- 
torians an " impressive warning " — Mr. Schurtz, with 
an amusing naivete, remarked : *' It is extremely diffi- 

245 



MYTHS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION 

cult to make Europeans understand . . . why the 
principle by virtue of which a population sufficiently 
strong for establishing and maintaining an independent 
national existence possesses (sic) the right to have a 
government and institutions of its own choice, should 
not be recognized; . . . and all my constitutional 
arguments failed to convince them that such a right can 
be consistently denied, unless our cause was based upon 
principles of a higher nature."* Not a matter for great 
wonder, surely ! 

It was the lack of an assertion by the Government 
and people of the United States of these higher prin- 
ciples — principles recognizing the right of all men to per- 
sonal freedom — that did more than all else to stem the cur- 
rent of public opinion in England that had begun to set in 
favor of the cause of the North. About this Mr. Schurtz 
has much to say. At the outset of his mission, he had 
been informed by Mr. Adams, then United States min- 
ister to the Court of St. James, that the strength of the 
influences hostile to the Northern States, existing in 
England, " depended in a great measure upon the wide- 
spread belief that the existence of slavery was not 
involved " in the struggle. Later, Mr. Schurtz himself 
became convinced that this belief " grievously impaired 
the moral strength " of the Northern cause in Europe. 
In his dispatch to the Washington Government, the 
" impressive warning " that has been referred to, Mr. 
Schurtz declared that " the attitude of Europe, as deter- 
mined by popular sentiment, could not have been doubt- 
ful a single moment," if, as had there been assumed to 
be the case, the war had been a war against slavery. 
But when it was found that the acts of the United States 
Government " were marked by a strikingly scrupulous 
respect for the sanctity of slave property," there was 
" a feeling of surprise and disappointment." '* It is my 
profound conviction," he continued, that as soon as the 
war becomes distinctly one for and against slavery, public 

*For example, the emancipation of the slaves. 

246 



THE FACTS 

opinion will be so strongly, so overwhelmingly in our 
favor that, in spite of commercial interests or secret 
spites, no European government will dare to place itself, 
by declaration or act, upon the side of an universally 
condemned institution." In commenting upon this state- 
ment, in his Reminiscences, Mr. Schurtz wrote: "The 
fundamental idea of my dispatch was . . . that an 
anti-slavery demonstration in the conduct of our Gov- 
ernment . . . would start a current of public 
opinion in our favor strong enough to balk their [the 
Confederate agents'] schemes, especially in England." 

Subsequent events proved this belief to be well 
founded. After the issuance of I\Ir. Lincoln's proclama- 
tion of emancipation, writes Mr. Schurtz : " The great 
masses of the English people, moved by their instinctive 
love of liberty, awoke to the true nature [ ? ] of our 
struggle, and they had spokesmen of profound moral 
enthusiasm. ' Exeter Hall ' thundered forth mighty 
appeals for the American North fighting against slavery. 
Scores and hundreds of public meetings were held all 
over Great Britain, giving emphasis to the great up- 
heaval of conscience for human freedom. [It might 
have been noted that amidst these hundreds of meetings 
in England in favor of the North, there was not one 
called or held to advocate the cause of the South.] 
. . . From that time on the anti-slavery spirit of the 
British people was never silent, and it expressed itself 
on every occasion with such moral power as not only 
to exasperate, but to overawe, the most zealous friends 
of the Southern Confederacy." 

Much of this is an old story to one who, like the 
writer of this treatise, at the beginning of the American 
Civil War, listened to the Northern orators, and read 
the utterances of the Northern statesmen, who, one and 
all, vehemently asserted that the sole object of that war 
was to restore " the Union as it was;" that is, with its 
accompanying blot of slavery; and who personally was 
witness of the reluctance of the people of the North 
(even of those who were in arms to preserve the Union) 

247 



MYTHS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION 

to acquiesce in its abolition. I am not, I believe, exag- 
gerating the fact when I assert that in every State of 
the North, with the exception of those of New England, 
during at least the first year of the Civil War, the insti- 
tution of slavery had proportionately as many advocates 
as it had in the South. 21 

There has been given the testimony of the emissaries 
of the North regarding the sentiments of the English 
people ; what say those of the South ? 

All the world knows that James Mason and John 
Slidell were sent by the Southern Confederacy to Eng- 
land and France to induce those powers to acknowledge 
its independence, and that they were not successful in 
their mission. The reason — or, at least, the most im- 
portant reason — why they were not successful in Eng- 
land has been summed up by Mr. Yancy, another envoy 
of the South, in a few words. " Gladstone we can man- 
age," he said, ''but the feeling against slavery in Eng- 
land is so strong that no public man there dares extend 
a hand to help us." And, said Mr. de Leon, still another 
Southern envoy, " Against a rooted prejudice and pre- 
conceived opinion," which the Confederacy had to con- 
tend with in England, " reason and argument are power- 
less." And Mason himself declared of " English gentle- 
men," with whom he had conversed : " I have found it 
was in vain to combat their ' sentiments.' The so-called 
anti-slavery feeling seems to have become with them a 
' sentiment ' akin to patriotism." Were there, then, none 
in Britain who would have welcomed the Southern. Con- 
federacy into the family of nations, if the stain of slavery 
were never to be removed from its escutcheon? No, not 
one. Mr. Dudley Mann asserted that even the '' well- 
disposed friends " of the South had " committed them- 
selves to the keeping up of an agitation against the 
cherished institution of the States composing our Con- 
federacy.""^ 

Yet a host of American writers have asserted that the 

"Extracts taken from John Bigelow's The Confederate Dip- 
lomats, published some years ago. 

248 



THE FACTS 

sympathy of Englishmen was given to the slaveholders 
of the South in their efforts to perpetuate slavery against 
the determination of the North to suppress it. 22 As to 
the belief of Englishmen that the Southern States had a 
legal right to secede, they were only following the doc- 
trine laid down by the great apostle of democracy, 
Thomas Jefferson ; and as to its expediency, they were 
but adopting the opinions of such puissant champions 
of the North as John Quincy Adams, James Russell 
Lowell, Wendell Phillips, and William Lloyd Garrison, 
who upheld the doctrine of secession almost to the eve 
of the breaking out of the war to suppress it. 

And suppose that some of the " ruling " or other 
classes of Great Britain did favor the cause of the 
Southern Confederacy, what then? Mr. Roosevelt 
should not account that an offence undeserving of par- 
don, since several millions of his countrymen — including 
some of his own relatives, for whom, no doubt, he has 
great respect — did the same thing. Imitation is said to 
be the most sincere form of flattery, and in this the 
people of Great Britain wxre imitating those of the 
United States. 

But, say her American critics. Great Britain acknow- 
ledged that she violated her neutrality, for the purpose 
of aiding the South, when she went into the Geneva 
Court as a party defendant and paid the penalty imposed 
upon her by the verdict of that court. It is true- that 
Great Britain went into that court and accepted the sen- 
tence it imposed upon her, and, in so doing, virtually, 
in the eyes of the world, acknowledged the truth of the 
charge brought against her by the Washington Govern- 
ment that she " was actuated at that time by a conscious 
unfriendly purpose against the L^nited States " — a charge 
as unfounded in fact as it was insulting in terms. The 
penalty that Great Britain consented to pay (and did 
pay) was for acts that had never been accounted crim- 
inal by any law, national or international, until they were 
made so by the court that imposed it. It has been 
claimed for the British statesmen of that time,, that in 

249 



MYTHS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION 

submitting to the ruling of the court they did a wise act, 
and estabHshed a precedent that would be of great value 
to their country at some future day. But a better 
explanation, it seems to me, is that governments, like 
society, have their '' silly seasons ;" and surely, if any 
government ever did have a silly season, it was the one 
that contained influential members who proposed to 
alienate colonies that were loyal to the Empire and that 
desired nothing so much as to remain attached to it. 
Of course, these men believed that such concessions 
would result in " a better understanding " with the 
United States, an ignis fatuus which has dazzled the eyes 
of several generations of English statesmen. 

The result was far otherwise ; for though, before the 
case was submitted to the court, in the press and on the 
platforms of the United States it was declared that if 
the alleged misconduct of the British Government were 
submitted to arbitration, no matter what the verdict 
might be, an era of good feeling between the two nations 
would ensue, no sooner was the verdict rendered than 
it was used as a text upon which to expatiate upon the 
sins of Great Britain; these, it was argued, no longer 
could be in doubt, since they had been affirmed by a 
high court of justice. So the better understanding with 
the United States, which, like man's blessing, always is 
to come, but never comes, was again indefinitely post- 
poned. 

If the foregoing be anything like a fair statement of 
the salient features of the relations existing between 
Great Britain and the United States since the estab- 
lishment of the latter as a sovereign confederacy, which 
the writer verily believes it to be, then " the past conduct 
of England " does not appear to have been so compre- 
hensively and clearly iniquitous as to deprive her of the 
benefit of the doubt. Neither does that of the Great 
Republic appear to have been so evidently inspired by 
such unfailing righteous intent as to entitle it to cast the 
first stone at offending nations. And it seems to me 
that though the British Government has not always 

250 



THE FACTS 

regarded that of the United States as being implicitly 
trustworthy, and though the British people have not 
always cherished the deepest respect and affection for 
their American cousins — they would have been more or 
less than human had they done so — yet, throughout its 
existence, the Government of the United States has been 
dealt with in the most liberal spirit by that of Great 
Britain, and their citizens — when they so permitted — 
treated with kindly consideration by the British people. 
But the writer does not wish to be misunderstood. 
It is not his intention to intimate that the Government 
and people of Great Britain, in their dealings with alien 
governments, have always been without fault. This 
treatise is written for the purpose of exposing a myth, 
not fabricating one. 

The fact has been mentioned that, during their exist- 
ence as a nation, there have been many generous friends 
to Great Britain among the citizens of the United States, 
native to their soil. The writer is loath to close this 
treatise without mention of one now living, who in gen- 
erous sentiments towards the Government and people of 
Great Britain has never been surpassed by any of his 
countrymen. 

During the recent conflict in South Africa, amid the 
storm of vituperation poured upon England and every- 
thing EngHsh by the patriotic journals and orators of 
the United States, Mr. Ambrose Bierce, of Washington— 
than whom no man of more brilliant attainments exists 
between the two oceans — manfully and generously de- 
fended them from these virulent attacks, not hesitating 
to castigate, with the severity they deserved, such of his 
countrymen as had been foremost in this malevolent war- 
fare — as, indeed, he had done on many similar occasions. 

At that time Mr. Bierce wrote, in part : 

" It was to be expected that if Great Britain got into 
trouble through anything but her support of us, she 
would have a pack of American ingrates and ignor- 
amuses lifting their raucous voices in abuse of her. The 



MYTHS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION 

Ingallses and their disagreeable sort are not disarmed 
nor distongued by friendly service ; they are of the breed 
of dogs that snap at the hand which feeds them. Being 
the product of our common schools (which are the worst 
in the world) they naturally absorb the spirit of our 
school * histories,' written for the purpose of keeping 
alight the fires of hate kindled by our War of the 
Revolution, and fed by that of 1812. Nowhere in 
literature are so monstrous and mischievous false- 
hoods found as in these abominable books ; to them, 
more than to all other causes, we owe our shameful 
heritage of hate against the best, wisest, freest and most 
powerful Empire that, so far as we know, the world has 
ever seen. ... To their [the Ingallses, etc.] indoc- 
trinated understandings, whatever England does, or does 
not, she is always actuated by selfishness, meanness and 
cowardice. . . . They do not shame to think, despite 
repeated manifestations of enthusiastic loyalty, that such 
popular and powerful colonies as Canada and those of 
Australia hate the mother country and groan beneath 
her iron rule. These bigoted and besotted men live in 
a fools' paradise of their own creation, cultivating a con- 
genial animosity and patriotic rancor. With such Dead- 
Sea apples, culled from their infertile mental environ- 
ment, they inoculate themselves with an added bitterness 
until every dam's whelp of them becomes merely anima 
lupi habitans in sicca. It were a God's mercy if they 
were all shot." 

A " massacre " indeed ! Mr. Bierce, after showing 
the necessity for Great Britain to defend her rule in South 
Africa, continued : 

" Apart from such considerations, above them, and 
superior and imperious, is our debt of gratitude to the 
mighty Empire that guarded us from intervention by 
the glowering European powers while we wrested Cuba 
from Spanish misrule. Compared with our own quarrel 
in the Philippines, that of Great Britain against the Dutch 
republic is a holy war; but if it were not, we should still 
be bound in honor to do for her what she did for us, 

252 



THE FACTS 

' keep a ring,' and let her fight it out unmolested. To do 
less would be to notify the nations of the earth that in 
future wars we abdicate all right of alliance and forego 
all hopes of neutrality." 

So long as there are such men as Ambrose Bierce, 
citizens of the Great Republic, that can command a hear- 
ing from their countrymen, there will always be good 
reason to believe in the coming of a true and sincere 
friendship between the two nations. At least, let us 
hope so. 



253 



NOTES 



CHAPTER I. 

Page 17 0, " ' an infatuated ministry.' " 

"An infatuated ministry/" Samuel Adams is reported to 
have said, in a speech to the Congress a few weeks after the 
Declaration of Independence ; " men who, unmindful of their 
relations to you as brethren; of your long implicit submission 
to their laws; of the sacrifices which you and your forefathers 
made of your natural advantages for commerce to their avarice; 
formed a deliberate plan to wrest from you the small pittance 
of property which they had permitted you to acquire. Remern- 
ber that the men who wish to rule over you are they who, in 
pursuit of this plan of despotism, annulled the sacred contracts 
which they had made with your ancestors." 

Page 17 (^), "or even suspicion of offence." 

Declaration of the Second Continental Congress. 

And in a resolution of the Massachusetts Convention, adopted 
June 7th, 1775, it was declared that: "General Gage hath 
actually levied war, and is carrying on hostilities against his 
Majesty's peaceable and loyal subjects." But long before this 
declaration was made, that Convention had raised an army 
composed of such peaceable and loyal subjects for the purpose 
of making war upon their liege lord. 

Page 18 0, "without distinction of age or sex." 

" Desolation and massacre have marked their [the British] 
steps wherever they could approach. The sending of those 
captives, whom they pretend now to be their fellow-subjects, 
into perpetual slavery in Africa and India; the crowding of 
their captives into dungeons where thousands perish by disease 
and famine; the compelling of others, by chains and stripes, 
to fight against their country and their relations ; the burning 
of defenceless towns, and the exciting of the savages,^ by pres- 
ents and bribes, to massacre defenceless frontier families with- 

2SS 



NOTES 

out distinction of age or sex, are extremities of cruelty already 
practised, and which they cannot exceed." — Arthur Lee to 
Florida Blanca, December 17, 1778: Diplomatic Correspondence 
of the United States, Vol. II., p. 859. 

Page 19 0, "with tears and lamentations." 

" They loved their mother country with the love of children, 
who, forsaking their homes under strong provocation, turn 
back to them in thought, when time has blunted the sense of 
injury, with a lively recollection of early associations and 
endearments, a tenderness and a longing not altogether free 
from self-reproach." — Greene's Historical View of the American 
Revolution, p. 5. 

Upon this Professor von Hoist comments, with a child- 
like confidence in its truth. "This fact," he writes, "is fre- 
quently too much lost sight of in Europe. The colonists sev- 
ered themselves from England with bleeding hearts." — Consti- 
tutional History of the United States, Vol. I., p. 11. 

Every English historian has fallen into the same error. As 
writes one of the latest: "All Americans, Whigs or Patriots, 
with few exceptions, as well as Tories or Loyalists, ^ were 
devoted to the colonial relation." — Cambridge Modern History. 

Page 20 0, ''drunk large draughts." 

The laudation and denunciation of England, her people and 
her King, were written by the same hand, that of that arch 
double-dealer, Benjamin Franklin. They occur in the following 
named letters: To Lord Kames, August 17, 1762; to Mary 
Stevenson, March 25, 1763; to Samuel Cooper, April 27, 1769; 
to Mary Stevenson, September 14, 1767; to John Ross, May 
14, 1768; to Samuel Cooper, April 27, 1769; to Joseph Gallo- 
way, February 25, 1775; to Mrs. Mary Hanson, January 12, 
1777; to John Winthrop, May i, 1777; to David Hartley, 
February 3, 1779; to James Lovell, October 17, 1779, and to David 
Hartley, February 2, 1780: Franklin's Writings, Vol. VII., pp. 
240, 246, 361, 402, 438; Vol. VIII., pp. 146, 195, 215, 316, 398, 
416; Vol. v., p. 135- 

The Lords, too, successively excited the admiration and con- 
tempt of Franklin. In 1766, at which time he appears to have 
been uncertain which side to take in the coming contest between 
the colonies and the motherland, he asserted that there was 
"not a wiser or better body of men on earth," and that he was 
impressed with "deep respect" for them, "for their justice." 
Nine years later, when there was no longer any doubt as to 
which side he would ally himself, he discovered that these same 
Lords had " scarce discretion enough to govern a herd of 

256 



NOTES 

swine." To be sure, he added this saving clause : " The elected 
House of Commons is no better." — Franklin's Writings, Vol. 
IV., p. 207; Vol. v., p. 54. 

Page 20 (^), '' to govern themselves." 

" Americans," writes Professor von Hoist, " frequently fall 
into the dangerous error, and flatter themselves that heaven 
governs them by laws altogether peculiar to themselves and 
their country." — Constitutional Historv of the United States, 
Vol. I., p. 31. 

Page 20 C), *' for the people." 

This famous speech of President Lincoln seems to be accepted 
by all as expressing unquestionable truths; yet it would be 
difficult to indicate an utterance of the same length containing 
half so many misstatements of fact. 

Page 24 f), "for the benefit of the enemies of their 
country." 

What Professor Tyler styles " the supine blundering of 
Howe " was not all blundering. That he was guilty of treason 
to his King and country in his zeal to serve his party there 
can be no doubt. That he was weak and vacillating cannot 
alone account for his acts. His brother, the admiral, was 
equally willing to oblige his party by sacrificing his country, 
but his position did not afford him the same opportunity for 
mischief. For General Howe's " political motives " for not 
destroying the enemy in the field, see The Narrative of Lieuten- 
ant-General Sir William Howe, London, 1780, p. 6; Parliamen- 
tary Register, House of Commons, Vol. XHL, p. 3; also Force's 
American Archives (Fourth Series), Vol. V., pp. 458, 523, 934, 
935; Gordon's American Revolution; Steadman's American War. 

Page 26 0, "the sharp crack of the whip." 

Ten Events in History, pp. 244, 245. 

A few years ago Mr. Goldwin Smith asserted that, after an 
investigation of the subject, he had become convinced that the 
school histories of the United States contained no teachings 
likely to arouse sentiments of animosity to the motherland in 
the minds of American youth. It would seem that the dis- 
tinguished gentleman was imposed upon by sham samples of 
these histories ; for it is certain that he could not have entered 
any school library in the United States and examined its 
shelves without finding works similar to those from which I 
have quoted, existing in lavish abundance in every school 
library between the two oceans. 
17 257 



NOTES 



CHAPTER 11. 

Page 30 C), "should have helped to defray." 

The proposals made by Grenville, in 1764, for taxing the 
colonies, which a year later were formulated in the Stamp 
Act, so often stigmatized as " the cause of the Revolution," 
as related by Israel Mauduit, the agent for the Province of 
Massachusetts, were as follows : 

Mr. Grenville emphasized the fact that the Seven Years' 
War had increased the national debt from seventy millions 
to one hundred and forty million pounds. It was his duty, 
as a steward of the public, to use every just means for relieving 
the public burdens. That he did not intend to ask the colonies 
to pay any part of the national debt, or its interest, but that 
the Government had incurred other burdens in consequence of 
that war; the maintenance of the newly conquered territory, 
the conquest of which had greatly benefited the colonies, and 
the greatly increased expense of the civil and military estab- 
lishments of the colonies. Some part of the expense of these 
establishments he thought the colonies should bear, and, there- 
fore, he proposed a stamp duty for that purpose. " I am not, 
however," he added, " set upon this tax. If the Americans 
dislike it, and prefer some other method of raising the money 
themselves, I shall be content. Write, therefore, to your sev- 
eral colonies [Massachusetts and Virginia], and if they choose 
any other mode, I shall be satisfied, provided the money be 
raised." He intimated, said Mauduit, that by agreeing to the 
proposed tax the colonists would create a precedent for being 
consulted by the ministry before measures for their taxation 
were brought into Parliament. 

William Knox, the Under Secretary for the Colonies, gives 
a similar account, and adds : " Mr. Grenville, indeed, went so 
far as to desire the agents to acquaint the colonies that if they 
could not agree among themselves upon raising a revenue by 
their own assemblies, yet if they all, or any of them, dislike 
stamp duties, and would propose any other sort of tax which 
would carry the appearance of equal eflScacy, he would adopt 
it. But he warmly recommended to them the making grants 
by their own assemblies." 

In reply to the communication of Mauduit informing it of 
Mr. Grenville's proposal, and that the introduction of the 
measure was to be suspended for a year to give the colonies 
time for consideration, the Assembly of Massachusetts wrote: 
" This suspension amounts to no more than this, that, if the 
colonies will not tax themselves, as they may be directed, the 
Parliament will tax them." 

258 



NOTES 

All this shows beyond reasonable question that it was the 
wish of Mr. Grenville that that part of the expense of their 
establishments that he beHeved the colonies ought to pay should 
be raised by their own assemblies, or, failing that, that it 
should be raised by act of parliament, with the consent of the 
colonies expressed through their agents. 

Yet this always has been denied by American writers, who 
assert that Mr. Grenville gave them no choice but to submit 
to taxation by Parliament. Franklin declared that Mr. Gren- 
ville " chose compulsion rather than persuasion, and would 
not receive from their good-will what he thought he could 
obtain without it;" and answered the complaint of an English 
pamphleteer that the colonies not only had refused to con- 
tribute voluntarily, but " did not think it expedient to return 
an answer," with the sophistical plea that though they might 
have been told that " a revenue would be required," it never 
had been required. 

Bancroft, as might be expected, ignores or distorts the 
evidence of Mauduit and Knox, who were present when Mr. 
Grenville made his declaration, and building upon the state- 
ments of Franklin, who was three thousand miles away, inti- 
mates that parliamentary taxation was the sole choice left to 
the colonists, and asserts that the suggestion of Mr. Grenville, 
that the colonial assembhes consider the matter, was made 
'' only for form's sake." 

Consult Mauduit's Short View of the History of the New 
England Colonies; Knox's The Claims of the Colonies to an 
Exemption from Internal Taxes; A Letter to a Member of 
Parliament; The Controversy Between Great Britain and Her 
Colonies; The Annual Register for 1765; Franklin's Writings, 
Vol. I., p. 293, Vol. IV., p. 537; Bancroft's History of the 
United States, Vol. Ill, p. 4i5- 

The fact is that the colonial assemblies — which had fallen 
to a greater or lesser extent under the control of Disunion 
factions — had no intention of " raising a revenue " for the 
purpose of reheving the Home Government of any part of its 
burden of taxation, even though its proceeds were to be applied 
to the payment of their own expenses. The Seven Years' War 
had been fought and won; the French no longer troubled their 
borders, and the power of Britain was no longer needed to 
protect them or to acquire for them new territory. 

Page 30 0, "and with their co-operation." 

See Hillsborough's circular, sent to the colonial governors in 
1769, in which it is declared that the Government "entertained 
no design to propose to Parliament to lay any further taxes 
on America for the purpose of raising a revenue."— Grahame's 



NOTES 

History of the Rise and Progress of the United States, Vol. 
IV., p. 297. 

Page 31 0, "a late period of the Revolutionary 
propaganda." 

In 1757, and again in 1761, the Legislature of Massachusetts 
emphatically affirmed the supreme authority of Parliament 
At that time no limitation of its power of taxation was asserted 
or thought of. But after the Peace of Paris it began to be 
argued by the Revolutionary propagandists that the authority 
of Parliament to tax the colonists was confined to what they 
were pleased to call " external taxation." In 1765, in a resolu- 
tion of the " Stamp Act " Congress, it was so declared, and it 
was added : " That no taxes ever have been or can be consti- 
tutionally imposed on them [the colonists] but by their respec- 
tive legislatures." But even in this Congress it was admitted : 
"That his Majesty's subjects in these Colonies owe . 
all due subordination to that august body, the Parliament of 
Great Britain." 

Three years later, in 1768, the Massachusetts Legislature, in a 
petition to the King, said : 

"With great sincerity, permit us to assure your Majesty 
that your subjects of this province ever have, and still con- 
tinue to acknowledge your Majesty's High Court of Parlia- 
ment the supreme legislative power of the whole Empire, the 
superintending authority of which is clearly admitted in all 
cases that can consist with the fundamental rights of nature 
and the constitution." 

At the same time, in a letter to Secretary Conway, the Legis- 
lature declared that : 

"The House is at all times ready to recognize his Majesty's 
High Court of Parliament the supreme legislative power over 
the whole Empire. Its superintending authority, in all cases 
consisting with the fundamental rules of the constitution, is 
as clearly admitted by his Majesty's subjects in this province 
as by those within the realm." 

In another to Lord Rockingham it was said : " The super- 
intending power of that High Court over all his Majesty's 
subjects in the Empire, in all cases which can consist with 
the fundamental rules of the constitution, was never questioned 
in this province, nor, as the House conceives, in any other." 

And to Lord Camden the Massachusetts Legislature gave 
its assurance that: "The superintending authority of his Maj- 
esty's High Court of Parliament, over the whole Empire, in 
all cases which can consist with the fundamental rights of the 
constitution, was never questioned in this province, nor, as 
the House conceives, in any other." See Story's Constitution 
of the United States, Vol. I., p. 174. 

260 



NOTES 

Yet, strange to say, not only had it been questioned, but 
emphatically denied, and in that very House ; and, stranger 
still, by one of the committee that drafted the resolution that 
declared it had never been questioned in any House — Joseph 
Hawley. But these little inconsistencies not infrequently con- 
front the student of Revolutionary history. 

Franklin, too, during his examination in the House of Com- 
mons, in 1776, declared that : " The authority of Parliament 
was allowed to be valid in all laws, except such as should lay 
internal taxes. — Writings, Vol. IV., pp. 169, 170. 

Page 32 0, "has no ground in reason." 

In a letter, " Concerning the Gratitude of America," written 
in January, 1766, Franklin wrote : " If the Parliament has_ a 
right to take from us a penny in the pound, where is the line 
drawn that bounds that right, and what shall hinder their call- 
ing, whenever they please, for the other nineteen shillings and 
eleven pence?" — Writings, Vol. IV., pp. 158, 159. 

This, of course, was written when the Disunion party were 
trying to throw off the authority of Parliament; therefore, 
there should be no surprise in the fact that seventeen years 
later, when the confederate colonies had a parliament of their 
own, Franklin's doctrine of the right of legislative taxation 
had completely changed. At that time there was manifested 
a general disposition to refuse to pay taxes. Commenting 
upon this sentiment, Franklin wrote: "The remissness of our 
people in paying taxes is highly blamable ; the unwillingness 
to pay them is still more so. I see, in some resolutions of 
town meetings, a remonstrance against giving Congress the 
power to take, as they call it, the people's money out of their 
pockets . . . They seem to mistake the point. Money 
justly due from the people is their creditor's money, and no 
longer the money of the people, who, if they withhold it, should 
be compelled to pay it by some law" — Franklin to Robert 
Morris, December 25, 1783: Franklin's Writings, Vol. X., p. 43. 

Page 32 0, "without their consent." 

In 1814, John Marshall, the greatest jurist that ever sat on 
the Supreme Bench of the United States, in his decision in 
the case of McCulloch vs. the State of Maryland, said : " It 
is admitted that the power of taxing the people and their pro- 
perty is essential to the very existence of government, and 
may be legitimately exercised on the objects to which it is 
applicable to the utmost extent to which the Government may 
choose to carry it. . . . It is obvious that it is an incident 

261 



NOTES 

of sovereignty, and is co-extensive with that to which it is 
an incident. All subjects over which the sovereign power of 
a State extends are subjects of taxation. . . . These pro- 
positions may almost be pronounced self-evident." 

In 1842, Mr, Justice Wayne, in giving the opinion of the 
Court in the case of Dobbins z's. Erie County, declared that : 
" Taxation is a sacred right, essential to the existence of a 
government ; an incident of sovereignty. The right of legis- 
lation is co-extensive with this incident, to attach it upon all 
persons and property within the jurisdiction of a State." 

See, also, the opinions upon the same subject, and to the 
same effect, given by Chief Justice Ellsworth, Chancellor Liv- 
ingston, Mr. Justice Strong, and, especially, that of Associate 
Justice Horace Gray, of the Supreme Court of the United States. 

Page 34 0, "would have dreamed of enforcing them." 
Of these acts John Adams wrote : " The Hatters' Act was 
never regarded. . . . The act against slitting-mills and 
tilt-hammers never was executed here." — " Novanglus," Works, 
Vol. IV., p. 49- 

Yet, though well knowing these facts, and himself having 
declared that manufactures were of no advantage to the col- 
onies, whose " true source of riches is husbandry," Franklin 
had the audacity to condemn the Home Government for restrict- 
ing them in the very matter of these Hatters' and Slitting- 
mill acts. — Franklin to Dr. Evans, February 29, 1768: "Political 
Observations:" Writings, Vol. VII., p. 337; Vol. IV., p. 226. 

Page 35 O, "would not have consented to their repeal." 
Lord Chatham, " the friend of America," had declared that 
if the colonists " would disengage themselves from the laws 
of trade and navigation," they would not " have a more deter- 
mined opposer than they would find in him." Lord Hills- 
borough, the " Tory," " said he had always been of opinion 
that America ought not to be restrained in manufacturing 
anything she could manufacture to advantage. . . . He 
censured Lord Chatham for affecting in his speech that Par- 
liament had a right or ought to restrain manufactures in the 
colonies." — Speech of Chatham, reported by Johnson of Con- 
necticut. Franklin to Gushing, January 13, 1772. Franklin's 
Works, Vol. VIL, p. 556. 

Page 36 0, "affiliated with the Revolutionists." 
There were many. Two examples may be cited, as illus- 
trating the extremes of culture and refinement — Gouverneur 
Morris and Ethan Allen. The former declared that Wash- 
ington believed no more in that system than he did himself. 

262 



NOTES 

Page 36 0, "had never asked for it." 

At his examination before the House of Commons, in 1766, 
Franklin was asked : Before there was any thought of the 
Stamp Act, did they (the colonists) wish for a representation 
in Parliament? To which question Franklin answered, laconic- 
ally and emphatically, " No." 

Later, Franklin wrote : " The Americans are by their con- 
stitutions provided with a representation [in their local assem- 
blies], and, therefore, neither need nor desire any in the British 
Parliament. They have never asked any such thing." 

Again : "" We ask no representation among you." And : " We 
do not desire to come among yon." — Franklin's Writings, Vol. 
IV., pp. 195, 221, 223. 

Yet Franklin universally has been credited with a desire for 
colonial parliamentary representation, the well-informed Lecky 
being equally mistaken with the others. 

Page 36 H, "declared it unachievable." 

With one doubtful exception. Burke, in one of his speeches, 
said : " I do not absolutely assert the impracticability of such 
a representation. But I do not see my way to it." — Works, 
Vol. III., p. 274. 

But Burke was as much opposed to it as were his colleagues, 
and would not have joined in any attempt to accomplish it. 

Page 37 H, "if not in form, they were." 

Bryan Fairfax to Washington, July, 1774: Washington's 

Writings, Vol. II., p. 395. 
And Benjamin Franklin, in a letter to Gushing, wrote (this, 

of course, was not to be published to the world) : " Though 

called petitions, they are rather remonstrances and protests." — 

Franklin's Writings, Vol. VIIL, p. 119- 
Page 37 C^), "an enemy to liberty and humanity." 

Joseph Galloway, a member of the Second Gontinental Gon- 
gress, drew up and presented to that body a Plan of Union, 
which he proposed should be adopted as a settlement of the 
controversy of the colonies with the Home Government. ^ This 
plan, had it been adopted, would have given to the colonies as 
liberal a constitution as has any British colony at the present 
day; yet it was fiercely opposed by Samuel and John Adams 
and 'their followers from New England and Virginia, expunged 
from the minutes of the Gongress, and its author so persecuted 
as to force him to leave the Gongress and join the ranks of 
the Loyalists. 

263 



NOTES 

Page 46 H, "alleged by Mr. Roosevelt." 
*' He [King George] fairly rivalled the Stuarts in his per- 
fidy, wrongheadedness, political debauchery, and attempts to 
destroy free government and replace it by a system of personal 
despotism. . . . It is perfectly possible that if British states- 
men had shown less crass and brutal stupidity . . . this 
feeling of loyalty would have been strong enough to keep Eng- 
land and America united." — Gouverneur Morris, pp. 7, 8. 

Page 46 C^), *'of such an alternative." 

As early as February, 1766, Lord Mansfield foresaw the effect 
of the doctrine of Chatham and his colleagues, which held that 
Parliament had no authority to tax the colonies, warned them 
of its disastrous consequences, and exposed the fallacy of their 
contention by citing constitutional law. The speech should be 
read in its entirety. It is a remarkable prophecy of the results 
of the foolish and selfish policy of the Whigs ; even predicting 
the neglect of the Loyalists by the Government under Whig 
influence. 

Page 46 O, "under the British constitution." 

Examples abound in petitions, manifestoes and writings of 
the Disunion leaders. Perhaps the most remarkable and char- 
acteristic is that contained in a pamphlet of Franklin, in which 
it is said : " As the Americans are now zvithout the realm [of 
England], and not of the jurisdiction of Parhament, the spirit 
of the British Constitution dictates that they should be taxed 
by their own representatives." — " Political Observations :" Writ- 
ings, Vol. IV., p. 216. 

Page 46 O, "them or their respective states." 

Especially the Quebec Act, which established a form of gov- 
ernment favorable to the Catholic population of Canada. In 
1774, the First Continental Congress " claimed, demanded and 
insisted '' upon the repeal of some dozen acts of Parlinment. 
among them the Quebec Act, styled by the Congress " the act 
passed for the establishing of the Roman Catholic religion in 
the Province of Quebec ;" which province, according to the 
contention of the Disunionists that each colony was an inde- 
pendent state, was connected in no way with the thirteen colonies 
represented in the Congress. 

Page 47 C^), " made war upon the Home Government." 

After denying the fact for seven years, Franklin, presumably 
by a slip of his pen, admitted it. In a letter to Hartley, dated 

264 



NOTES 

January 15, 1782, he wrote : " In fact, we began the war for 
independence on your Government, which we found tyrannical." 
— Writings, Vol. IX., p. 144. 

Page 47 C^), "in any way molested." 

By means of mob attacks on Government officials, among 
them the Chief Justice of Massachusetts ; the attack on the 
Gaspee, a Government vessel, during which its commander was 
severely wounded, and the attack on Fort William and Mary, 
and on the Government troops at Lexington ; all of which 
circumstances are related, in a more or less distorted manner, 
in American histories. See Arnold's History of Rhode Island, 
Vol. II., pp. 309-320. 

Page 47 C^), "the leaders of the royal forces." 

It may be that there exists a true account of this contest 
written by an American participant. The late Moncure D. 
Conway informed the writer that in looking through a large 
number of unpublished manuscripts (in the Worcester Library, 
he thought) he discovered an account of the Lexington affair, 
written by one of the " minute men," in which it was affirmed 
that the Americans were the first to open fire. Mr. Conway 
assured the writer that, at the first opportunity, he would 
renew the search for this manuscript, but the opportunity 
never occurred. 

Page 49 O, "France, that happy land of Bastiles." 

A strain on one's credulity, yet see a letter from Richmond 
to Burke, written from Paris, August 26, 1776 : " Who knows 
that a time may not come when England may not be worth 
living in, and when a retreat to this country may be a happy 
thing to have ?"— Burke's Works, Vol. I., p. 316. 

Page 50 D, "to go on with the war." 

Arthur Lee to Lieutenant-Governor Colden, February 13, 
1776; A. Lee to Lieutenant-Governor Colden, February 14, 
1776; Benjamin Franklin to Gates, August 28, 1776.— Diplo- 
matic Correspondence of the United States, Vol. II., pp. 73, 77; 
Franklin's Writings, Vol. VIII., p. 186. 

Page 51 (^), "to cripple the power both of Great 
Britain and her colonies." 

That in granting these supplies it was not the intent of the 
French minister or King to help the colonies to independence— 

265 



NOTES 

though later developments made it necessary for them to guar- 
antee that independence — but only to weaken the power of 
Great Britain, and by consequence that of her colonies, is 
clearly shown in a letter written to the King, in April, 1776, 
by Caron de Beaumarchais, the celebrated author of " The 
Marriage of Figaro," the originator of the plan. In this letter, 
or memorial, entitled, " La Paix ou la Guerre," addressed " Au 
Roi Seul," occurs the following passage : 

" Eniin Vexecntion de ce plan rennit a tant d'avantages I'im- 
portante faculte de restreindre ou d'eiendrc luir covtinnitc de 
hienfaits au gre de voire prudence, et selon que la situation des 
Americains deviendre plus ou mains pressante : en sorte que 
re sec ours sagement administre. serve mains a faire terminer 
la guerre entre I'Amerique et I'Angleterre, qu'a I'entretenir et 
I'alimenter au grand damage des Anglais — nos ennemis naiurels 
et decides." — Doniol's Hisfoire de la participation de la France 
a la Etablissement des £tats-Unis d'Amerique, Vol. I., p. 251. 

As it is admitted that it was the force of these arguments 
that decided the King and his minister to grant the necessary 
aid to the revolting colonists, it cannot be doubted that the 
action of the French Government was induced by the desire 
to destroy the power of Great Britain, and not by any desire 
to aid the colonies in gaining their independence. 

The munitions of war and other sunolies granted bv tb^ 
French Government to the revolting colonists passed through 
the hands of Beaumarchais. For this purpose he was fur- 
nished with funds by the Count de Vergennes, the French 
minister. As a convenient means for distributing these sup- 
plies, Beaumarchais established a pretended mercantile house 
under the name of Rodrigo Hortalez & Cie. For the whole 
story, see: Lovenie's Beaumarchais and His Times, Martin's 
History of the Decline of the French Monarchy. Guizot's His- 
tory of France, and, particularly. Doniol's Histoire de la Par- 
ticipation de la France a la Etablissement des £tats-Unis 
d'Amerique, above referred to. 



CHAPTER III. 

Page 53 0, **to whet their hatchet." 

On April 4, 1775, the Massachusetts Provincial Congress sent 
an address to the Six Nations, through their agent, Samuel 
Kirkland, in which they were exhorted to " whet their hatchet, 
and be prepared to defend our liberties and lives." — Force's 
American Archives (Fourth Series), pp. 1349, 1350. 

266 



NOTES 

Page53('-), "'ambush' British soldiers." 

"On the 24th of May [1775], Ethan Allen addressed a letter 
to several tribes of the Canadian Indians, asking their warriors 
to join with his warriors ' like brothers, and ambush the reg- 
ulars.' " — Winsor's Narrative and Critical History of America, 
Vol. VI., p. 614, note. 

Page 53 0, "like herds of wild cattle." 
On the 25th of May, 1776, the Continental Congress resolved: 
" That it is highly expedient to engage the Indians in the ser- 
vice of the United Colonies." On June 3rd of the same year, 
the Congress empowered Washington to employ a number of 
Indians, not exceeding two thousand. On June 14th, the Con- 
gress instructed their agents to " engage the Six Nations in our 
interest, on the best terms that can be procured." On the 17th, 
General Washington was authorized " to offer a reward of one 
hundred dollars for every commissioned officer, and thirty 
dollars for every private soldier of the King's troops, that 
they should take prisoners." — Secret Journal of the Congress, 
May 25th, June 3rd, June 14th and June 17th, 1776, pp. 44 et 
seq. 

Page 53 (*), "sexes and conditions." 
" He has endeavored to bring on the inhabitants of our fron- 
tiers the merciless Indian savages, whose knoivn rule of war- 
fare is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and 
conditions." — Declaration of Independence. 

Page 53 f), "being employed by the British." 
" The zvild and barbarous savages of the wilderness have 
been solicited by gifts to take up the hatchet against us, and 
instigated to deluge our settlements with the blood of defence- 
less women and children." — Address To the People of Ireland, 
adopted July 28, 1776. 

Page 54 ft, "employed themselves in killing 
'regulars.' " 
" A company of * Minute Men,' before the 19th of April 
[1775], had been embodied among the Stockbridge tribe of 
Indians, and this company repaired to camp. On the 21st of 
June, two of the Indians, probably of this company, killed four 
of the regulars with their bows and arrows, and plundered 
them." — Frothingham's Siege of Boston, p. 212. 

In the same work it is related that, on the 25th of June, " the 
Indians killed more of the British guard," and that, on the 
26th, they " went down near Bunker Hill and killed a sentry." 

267 



NOTES 

Also, in the Boston Gazette of August 7, 1775, it was stated 
that " Parties of riflemen, together with some Indians, are con- 
stantly harassing the enemy's advance guards, and say they 
have killed several of the regulars within a day or two past." 

From the New York Colonial Documents, Vol. VIII., p. 740; 
Force's American Archives (Fifth Series) Vol. I., p. 1120, Vol. 
II., p. 1120; Jones' Annals of Oneida County, pp. 854, 888; and 
the Magazine of American History, Vol. V., p. 187, we learn 
that Indians were employed in the Revolutionary armies, at 
Long Island, at White Plains, and even as late as August 31, 
1778, at King's Bridge. 

Page 54 0, "already had engaged them in arms." 

On the 5th of July, 1775, Lord Dartmouth wrote to Colonel 
Guy Johnson, instructing him to " keep the Indians in such a 
state of affection and attachment to the King as that his Mai- 
esty may rely upon their assistance in any case in which it 
may be necessary." Three weeks later these instructions were 
followed by an order to Johnson to take " such steps as may 
induce them to take up the hatchet against his Majesty's rebel- 
lious subjects in America, and to engage them in his Majesty's 
service, upon such plan as shall be suggested by General Gage." 
The reason given for this order being : " The intelligence his 
Majesty has received of the rebels having excited the Indians 
to take a part, and of their having actually engaged a body of 
them in arms to support their rebellion/' — Documents on the 
Colonial History of New York, Vol. VIIL, p. 596. 

Page 54 f), "instructed to keep the Indians neutraL" 

At the Albany Conference, in August, 1775, the Indians 
emphatically asserted that Colonel Johnson had urged them 
to remain neutral. See Collections of Massachusetts Historical 
Society, Vol. XXV., p. 75. MS. of the Record Office (Planta- 
tions General) cited by Lecky: Border Wars of the Revolution, 
Vol. I., pp. 94, 95. 

Page 57 0, "should have had the grace to ignore." 

The Winning of the West, Vol. II., p. 87. 

In happy contrast to the charges of inhumanity made against 
British officers in the body of Mr. Roosevelt's book is a letter 
inserted in its appendix, and quoted from the Haldimand MSS. 
The letter is from Alexander McKee, a much-maligned " Tory," 
to Major De Peyster, and is as follows: 

" I am this day favored with yours of the 6th of August, 
containing the report of Isaac Gians concerning the cruelties 

268 



NOTES 

of the Indians. It is true they ha.'^e made sacrifices to their 
revenge, after the massacre of their women and children, fof?] 
some being known to them to be perpetrators of it, but it was 
done in my absence, or before I could reach any of the places 
to interfere. And I can assure you, sir, there is not a white 
person here zvanting in their duty to represent to the Indians 
in the strongest terms the highest abhorrence of such conduct. 
Hozvever, it is not impossible that Gians may have 
exaggerated matters, being notoriously knozvn for a dissatisfied 
person, and concerned in sending prisoners away with intel- 
ligence to the enemy." 

Strangely benevolent sentiments to be expressed by an aider 
and abettor of the " slaughter of men, women and children." 
It seems unfortunate that Mr. Roosevelt did not notice this 
letter in connection with his statements about scalp-buying, 
instead of hiding it away in the Appendix. 

Page 57 O, "by the state legislatures." 
By one of them, at least. In the Journal of the Proceedings 
of the South Carolina Assembly, on September 27, 1776, there 
is recorded a report of a committee which " recommended the 
following rewards : For every Indian man killed, and certifi- 
cate thereof given by the commanding officer, and the scalp 
produced as evidence thereof, in Charles Town, by the forces 
in the pay of this State, one hundred pounds currenc3^" Upon 
this report it was ordered by the Assembl}^ " that the reward 
for Indian scalps should be seventy-five pounds." — Force's Amer- 
ican Archives (Fifth Series), Vol III., pp. 32, 33. 

Page 58 O, "in their 'histories' as a fact." 
See Franklin's Writings, Vol. V., p. 125, et seq. 
Mr. Jared Sparks naively remarks of this abominable libel : 
" The humor of this piece consists chiefly in its exact imitation 
of the style of such compositions, and of the typography and 
other characteristics of a Boston newspaper." Analogously, 
" the humor " of a forged will or cheque should consist in the 
exact imitation of the handwriting of the testator or drawer 
of the draft. 

Page 59 Q'), "employ them in the Revolutionary 
armies." 
" I am sensible that if they [the Caughnawaga Indians] do 
not desire to be idle, they will be for us or against us._ . . . 
Their proffered services, therefore, ought not to be rejected." — 
Washington to Schuyler. January 27, 1776: Washington's 
Writings, Vol. III., p. 263. 

" You, who know the temper and disposition of the savages, 
269 



NOTES 

will, I doubt not, think with me that it will be impossible to 
keep them in a state of neutrality. I have urged upon the Con- 
gress the necessity of engaging them on our side." — Washington 
to Schuyler, April 19, 1776: Writings, Vol. III., p. 363. 

'' In my opinion it will be an impossibility to keep tlicni [the 
Indians] in a state of neutrality. . . . I submit it to the 
consideration of the Congress whether it would not be best 
immediately to engage them on our side." — Washington to the 
President of the Congress, April 19, 1776: Writings^ Vol. III., 
p. 364- 

" I hope the bounty which Congress have agreed to allow 
will prove a powerful inducement to engage Indians 
in our service." — Washington to Schuyler, June 20, 1776: 
Writings, Vol. III., p. 431. 

Page 59 H, ''during their raids." 

This is a fact well known to those acquainted with Indian 
customs, and admitted to be true by the American General Chnton, 
who, in his instructions to burn Indian villages, given to his 
subordinate, Colonel van Schaick, wrote : " Bad as the savages 
are, they never violate the chastity of any women, their prisoners.'^ 

But Mr. Roosevelt, who is supposed to be learned in Indian 
customs, and acquainted with the facts of the Revolution, 
asserts that, during the Revolutionary War, the colonists '* saw 
their homes destroyed, their wives outraged, their children cap- 
tured, their friends butchered and tortured wholesale, by 
Indians armed with British weapons." — The Winning of the 
West, Vol. I., p. 278. 

Page 60 n, "out of all semblance to the truth." 

The so-called " Massacre of Wyoming " and the attack on 
Cherry Valley, the two instances in which great loss of life 
was sustained by the colonists by an Indian attack during the 
War of the Revolution — as in the case of every act in which 
the British or Loyalists took part — have been greatly distorted 
in the narration by American writers and their British imitators. 

When Thomas Campbell pubHshed his grotesque poem {Ger- 
trude of Wyoming), founded on the Loyahsts' attack on the 
armed stockades in the Wyoming valley, he intimated that he 
had obtained his information from " authentic accounts " con- 
tained in " most of the popular histories of England, as well 
as those of the American War." This, no doubt, was the case ; 
but it would seem that at least some of these " authentic 
accounts " came from Isaac Weld, who obtained his information 
during his travels in the United States. 

Amazingly absurd as is the description of the habits and dis- 

270 



NOTES 

position of the settlers in the Wyoming Valley at the time of 
the attack, given in the poem, and glaringly false, as is the 
account of that attack there given, at the time of its publication 
it seems to have been accepted in all gravity as fairly repre- 
senting the facts. Even now it would be difficult to hnd one 
here and there who has even a remote idea of the truth. 

The attack on the settlement, far from being an unexpected 
raid, as Campbell depicts it, was made by an approach in due 
form of war, and the defenders had ample notice of its coming, 
issuing from their stockades and giving battle in the woods. 
They were defeated, and fled in confusion to their strongholds, 
which, after a vain attempt to defend, were surrendered, by 
written articles of capitulation, the victors guaranteeing to 
them their lives and protection for their property. The guar- 
antee was honorably adhered to by Colonel Butler, the Loyalist 
commander, one man only — one Sergeant Boyd, a deserter from 
the Loyalist ranks — being executed. Not another life was taken 
by the invading force, though some little plundering, which the 
commander could not prevent, was done by the Indians. 

But what of "accursed Brant!" that fiend in human form? 
He has been charged with the perpetration of two " massacres," 
one on the occasion of the attack on Wyoming, at which no 
massacre was perpetrated, and at which he was not present at 
any time; the other at Cherry Valley, at which something Hke 
a massacre was perpetrated, where he was present, but arrived 
too late to prevent the slaughter, though he used his utmost 
endeavor to do so, and did succeed m saving the lives of 
at least one family, threatened by a band of Indians over whom 
he had no control. On this occasion, neither Brant, who was 
in command of a contingent of Indians, nor Captain Butler, 
who was in command of the Loyalist force, were able to pre- 
vent some atrocities committed by the Indians, who were ani- 
mated by feelings of revenge for the burning of one of their 
villages by the Revolutionists. " The inhabitants killed at 
Cherry Valley do not lay at my door," wrote Captain Butler; 
" my conscience acquits me." 

Joseph Brant, or Thayendanegea, was a man of honor, 
probity and chivalrous ideals. He was not without education, 
having been employed by Colonel Guy Johnson as his private 
secretary. Many stories are told of his bravery and generosity, 
among them one of his restoring to its mother an infant carried 
off in a raid, with the assurance that Brant did not war against 
women. The Baroness Reidesel, who met him at Quebec, in 
her Memoirs says of him : " His manners are polished ; he 
expressed himself with fluency. . . . His countenance was 
manly and intelligent, and his disposition very mild." A curious 
estimate of this " unearthly fiend." 

271 



NOTES 

Page 62 C^), "roasting and eating them." 

Speech of Chatham, on "The Attempt to Subjugate America." 
One may well wonder where the noble lord got his idea of 
actions so foreign to the customs of the American Indians ; 
the last place, one would suppose, would be from the colonies, 
where these customs were well understood ; yet I believe that 
he did get it from that source. 

It seems that one Dr. Moses Younglove, who had been a 
prisoner among the " Tories," after his release swore to a 
deposition, in which he testified that his fellow-prisoners were 
cruelly tortured by the Indian allies of their captors, and several 
of them, as he had reason to believe, taken to an island in the 
lake and eaten. What is more likely than that this deposition was 
transmitted to Chatham by some of his Disunion admirers, and 
caused him to bring his preposterous charge against the Indians? 

Page 63 0^), "Roman Catholics in Ireland." 

" I hope, indeed, I never shall see an army of foreign aux- 
iliaries in Great Britain. . . . With respect to Ireland, my 
lords, I am not of the same opinion. If a powerful foreign 
army were landed in that kingdom, with arms ready to be put 
into the hands of the Roman Catholics, I declare freely to your 
lordships that I should heartily wish it were possible to collect 
twenty thousand German Protestants, whether from Hesse, or 
Brunswick, or Wolfenbuttel, or even the unpopular Hano- 
verians, and land them in Ireland." — Speech of Lord Chatham 
on " Relations to Spain." 

Page 62 ("), "the employment of aliens." 

In public speeches, and by every underhand means, Chatham, 
Burke, Camden, Saville, Richmond, Rockingham, and other 
Whigs of as great or lesser note, endeavored, with great suc- 
cess, to prevent enlistments of Englishmen in the army and 
navy of their country. The subject will be referred to later. 

Page 63 (^^), "murder of at least one man." 

I allude, of course, to the execution of Major Wirtz, at the 
close of the American Civil War, for the alleged crime of 
murdering Federal prisoners at Andersonville. The fact is 
that, though there was great suffering amongst the prisoners 
at that place, the fault was not in Wirtz ; it was chiefly caused 
by the condition of the Confederacy, which had been so ravaged 
by the Northern armies that no sufficient provisions could be 
procured to feed either its prisoners or its own soldiers. And 
it is a strange fact that the mortality among the Confederate 

272 



NOTES 

prisoners in the North was greater in proportion to their 
number than that among the Northern prisoners in the South, 
notwithstanding the great wealth and resources of the former. 

Page 63 (^^), "founding barbarity upon falsehood." 
" Your prisoners, whose lives, by the law of the land, are 
destined to the cord, have hitherto been treated with care and 
kindness, and more comfortably lodged than the King's troops 
in the hospitals. ... I understand there are of the King's 
faithful subjects, taken some time since by the rebels, laboring 
like negro slaves to gain their daily subsistence, or reduced to 
the wretched alternative to perish by famine or to take arms 
ugainst their King and country. Those who have made the treat- 
ment of the prisoners in my hands, or of your other friends in 
Boston, a pretence for such rheasures, found barbarity upon 
falsehood/' — General Gage to Washington, August 13, 1775: 
Washington's Writings, Vol. III., p. 59- See, also, letter of 
Howe to Washington, April 21, I777 ^ Washington's Writings, 
Vol. IV., pp. 557, 558. 

Page 63 O, ''accused of tyranny and barbarity." 

Ethan Allen, the favorite hero of the American schoolboy; 
the famous captor of the fortress of Ticonderoga, " in the 
name of the Great Jehovah and the Continental Congress;" 
unkindly styled by Professor Tyler " a blustering frontier haro, 
an able-minded ignoramus," and " a military wind- 
bag and braggart conqueror." 

This gentleman wrote a "Narrative," wherein he details his 
experience as a prisoner in the hands of the barbarous British ; 
how he bearded these cowardly minions of tyranny in their 
dens — or, rather, their " dungeons." Some parts of the story, 
certainly, are amusing, as where we behold him using a British 
officer as a shield against the attack of a couple of Indians, 
one of whom " advanced with more than mortal speed," with 
"malice, death, murder and the wrath of devils and damned 
spirits in his countenance." Against this terrible assault the 
hero had no defence except that afforded by an accommodnting 
British subaltern, obligingly standing near, who at once ^was 
seized and made to "fly around with incredible velocity " to 
meet the changing points of attack made by his murderous 
assailants. It is to be hoped the officer had a clear head, other- 
wise his intellect must have been much confused by this 
expe»rience as a human teetotum. 

After a period of captivity in England, Allen was sent to 

New York, and there remained for some time, during which 

he seems to have been treated as a privileged merry-Andrew. 

Later he was exchanged, and visited the Revolutionary camp 

18 273 



NOTES 

at Valley Forge, where Washington offered him a colonel's 
commission, but for some reason this was declined, or, rather, 
avoided, for, while it was being prepared, Allen folded his 
warlike tent, and silently stole away, and never after appeared 
at the scene of hostilities. From that day he ceased to be a 
tenror to the British, and devoted his energies to politics in his 
own province. Of the intended treachery of Allen and his 
brother Ira, as well as the more open treason of his other 
brother, Levi, any one may be convinced who takes the trouble 
to consult the records. 

Page 63 H, "for the benefit of his party." 
This was the celebrated Philip Freneau, the paid tool of 
Jefferson and the defamer of Washington, but, withal, a man 
of genius. Jefferson had written articles in the National Gaz- 
ette, Freneau's journal, abusive of the administration of which 
he was a member and Washington the head. This fact becoming 
known or strongly suspected, Jefferson, ever timid, and inclined 
to hide behind others, prevailed upon Freneau to make affidavit 
that no word of the articles was written by him (Jefferson). 
Later, with supreme audacity, Freneau admitted that he had 
sworn falsely to shield his patron, and even pointed out several 
of the articles, every word of which, he declared, was from 
the pen of Jefferson. See McMaster's History of the People 
of the United States, Vol. IL, pp. 52, 53. 

Page 64 (^^), "had molested it in no way." 
"If we should be obliged to abandon the town [New York], 
ought it to stand as winter quarters for the enemy? 
At present, I dare say, the enemy means to preserve it if they 
can. If Congress, therefore, should resolve upon the destruc- 
tion of it, the resolution should be a profound secret, as the 
knowledge of it will make a capital change in their plans." — 
Washington to the President of the Congress, September 2, 
1776: Washington's Writings, Vol. IV., pp. y2)i 74. 

The Congress did not give its sanction to the burning of 
New York, and Washington withdrew therefrom without 
carrying out his intent. 

Page 64 O, "his crime upon the scaffold." 
The actual perpetrator of these attempts was one John 
Aitkin, or " John the Painter," a native of Scotland, a deserter 
and a thief. He was hired, or, at least, encouraged to commit 
the acts by Silas Deane, one of the American Commissioners 
at the Court of Versailles, the colleague of Franklin. Whether 
Franklin was privy to the plot can only be conjectured, but 
it seems certain that the Congress approved of it, since, after 
the complicity of Deane was sufficiently established, they did 

274 



NOTES 

not withdraw from him their support, but retained him in their 
employ until it became evident that he was about to betray 
them to the British Government. 

Of Aitkin, Chief Justice Oliver wrote : " This John ye 
Painter was a most finished villain in almost all crimes, as he 
confessed himself, and the Congress and their adherents could 
not have pitched upon a more proper person to have executed 
their diabolical purposes than upon this fellow ; but, alas ! 
how often are halters misplaced! Had they been tightened 
about the necks of some of his employers, neither the con- 
flagration at Portsmouth nor in America had committed such 
horrid ravages as have wasted the lives and habitations of so 
many thousands." 

See Aitkin's confession in Howell's State Trials, Vol. XX., 
p. 1365. 

There is a hint of the supposed compHcity of Franklin in the 
following letter from Lord Stormont to Lord Weymouth: 

" Franklin affects to lie perdue, but that infamous incendiary, 
Deane, ... is very frequent in his visits to Versailles." 
See Hales' Franklin in France, p. 429. 

A furthetr hint is contained in a sentence in a letter from 
Thomas Jefferson, written several years after the conclusion 
of peace, in which he expressed his willingness to pay sixty 
guineas " to cut out a single sentence " from the letter-book 
of Deane, containing " evidence of a fact not proper to be com- 
mitted to the hands of enemies/' — Jefferson to Jay, March 12, 
1789. 

That Jefferson himself did not disapprove of such methods 
of warfare is shown by the fact that, during the succeeding war 
with Great Britain, he proposed to burn London, by means, 
not of one, but of many "John the Painters." — Jefferson to 
Colonel Duane, August 4, 1812: Jefferson's Works (Congress 
Edition), Vol. VL, pp. 75, 76. Jefferson to Jay, March 12, 
1789 : Randolph's Jefferson, Vol. IL, p. 435. 



CHAPTER IV. 

Page 66 0, "deserters from the British ranks." 

Washington to the President of Congress, July 10, 1775 ; 
Washington to General Schuyler, July 10, 1775; Washington's 
Order, November 12, 1775: Washington's Writings, Vol. HI., 
pp. 24, 25, 30, 155. 

Resolution of Congress offering bribes to deserters from the 
British army. See Journals of Congress, August 14 and 27, 
1776. 

275 



NOTES 

Page 67 0, "can justify a different opinion." 

Washington to Governor Cooke, December 5, 1775; Wash- 
ington to the President of Congress, September 2, 1776; Wash- 
ington to J. A. Washington, September 22, 1776; Washington 
to the President of Congress, September 24, 1776; Washington 
to General Schuyler, October 27, 1776; Washington to Gov- 
ernor Livingston, January 24, 1777; Washington to the Presi- 
dent of Congress, September 15, 1780: Washington's Writings, 
Vol. III., p. 198; Vol. IV., pp. 72, 104, 114, 156, 296; Vol. 
VII., pp. 205, 206. Le Ch. Dubuysson to the Congress, Sep- 
tember 2, 1780: Diplomatic Correspondence of the United 
States, Vol. I., p. 421. Letter of General Greene: Force's 
American Archives (Fifth Series), Vol. II., p. 996. Gordon's 
History of the American Revolution, Vol. II., p. 32. 

Page 68 0, "the more highly trained troops of France." 

Washington to Joseph Reed, January 31, 1776; Washington's 
Orderly Book, June 3, 1776; Washington to the President of 
Congress, September 2, 1776; Washington to the President of 
Congress, September 16, 1776; Washington to the President of 
Congress, September 24, 1776; Washington's Orderly Book, 
September 19, 1776; Washington's Proclamations of Novem- 
ber 6, 1776, and of January 21, 1777, in which he severely cen- 
sured the officers and men of the militia and continental troops, 
those " base and cowardly wretches," for " the infamous prac- 
tice of plundering the inhabitants, under the specious pretence 
of their being Tories;" Washington to J. A. Washington, 
November 19, 1776; Washington to General Lincoln, April 27, 
1777; Washington to General Greene, August 26, 1780: Wash- 
ington's Writings, Vol. III., pp. 277, 372; Vol. IV., pp. 72, 94, 
112, 114, 118, 119, 160, 184, 289, 290, 402; Vol. v., pp. 240, 402; 
Vol. VII., p. 166. General Varnum to General Greene: Wash- 
ington's Writings, Vol. V., p. 240. 

Of the retreat of the two brigades. Colonel Smallwood, in 
his report to the Maryland Convention, wrote : " I have often 
read and heard of instances of cowardice, but hitherto have 
had but a faint idea of it ; till now I never could have thought 
human nature subject to such baseness. I could wish the trans- 
actions of this day blotted out of the annals of America. 
Nothing but fright, disgrace and confusion. Let it suffice to 
say that sixty light infantry, upon the first fire, put to flight 
two brigades of Connecticut troops — wretches who, however 
strange it may appear, from the Brigadier-General down to 
the private sentinel, were caned and whipped by Generals 
Washington, Putnam and Mifflin, but even this indignity had 
no weight, they could not be brought to stand one shot." 

276 



NOTES 

In a letter upon the same subject to Governor Cooke, Gen- 
eral Greene wrote : " We made a miserable, disorderly retreat 
from New Yo-rk, owing to the disorderly conduct of the militia, 
who ran at the appearance of the enemy's advance guard; this 
was General Fellows's brigade. They struck a panic into the 
troops in the rear, and Fellows's and Parsons's whole brigade 
ran away from about fifty men, and left his Excellency on the 
ground within eighty yards of the enemy, so vexed at the 
infamous conduct of the troops that he sought death rather 
than life." — Force's American Archives (Fifth Series), Vol. II., 
pp. 370, 1013. 

The incident is described in Gordon's History, Vol. II., p. 
327; Ramsay's History of the American Revolution, Vol. I., 
pp. 306, 307; and in Graydon's Memoirs, p. 174. 

All the accounts show that Washington was enraged almost 
to madness by the pusillanimous conduct of his troops. The 
next day, however, on the occasion of an attack on their 
advanced post, the American troops behaved so much better 
as to cause great elation both to Washington and Greene, the 
latter exultantly declaring that, "They [the British] met with 
a very different kind of reception from what they did the day 
before." 

Page 69 C), ''profitable doctrine of udz bene, ibi patriay 

Speaking from the fulness of his experience, said Gouver- 
neur Morris, in the Constitutional Convention : '' The men who 
can shake off their attachment to their own country can never 
love any other."— Elliott's Debates, Vol. V., p. 400- 

The many native-born Britons who fought on the side of 
the Revolution, though now counted among its heroes, doubtless 
were estimated by such men as Washington and Morns at 
their true value, that of hirelings. 

Page 71 C), ''contrary to orders, persuasions and 

threats." 
Washington to Governor Dinwiddie. August 20. I754; Wash- 
ington to Governor Dinwiddie, October 11, I755; Washington 
to Governor Dinwiddie, August 4, 1/56: Washington to Gov- 
ernor Dinwiddie, November 9, 17^6; Washington to Governor 
Dinwiddie, September 17. 1757: Washington to Brigadier-Gen- 
eral Stanwix, April 19, i758: Washington's Writings, Vol. II., 
pp. 62, 63, 104, 105, 167, 195, 250, 276. 

Page 74 0, "preyed upon British commerce in 
European seas." 
According to a report made to the House of Lords, during 



NOTES ^ 

the eighteen months ending the 31st of December, 1777, seven 
hundred and thirty-three British merchant vessels were cap- 
tured by privateers saiHng under commissions from the Con- 
tinental Congress. 

Page 74 (''), " 'winked at' by the Government of 
that country." 

" The fitting out may be covered and concealed by various 
pretences, so, at least, to be winked at by the Government 
here." — Franklin and Deane to the Committee of Foreign 
Affairs, May 25, 1777: Diplomatic Correspondence of the United 
States, Vol. II., p. 322. 

" This Court [of France] continues the same conduct that it 
has held ever since our arrival. It professes to England to 
observe all treaties. , . . To us it privately professes a 
real friendship, wishes success to our cause, winks at the sup- 
plies we obtain here as much as it can without giving open 
grounds of complaint to England, privately offers us very essen- 
tial aids." — Franklin, Deane and Lee to the Committee of For- 
eign Affairs, September 8, 1777 : Diplomatic Correspondence 
of the United States, Vol. XL, pp. 388, 389. 

Page 74 (^), "almost every nativity except American." 

Of one of these privateers, Diego Gardoqui, a Spanish mer- 
chant of Bilboa, an agent for the American Commissioners at 
Paris, wrote : " There are rumors that he is not properly an 
American privateer, being manned by French adventurers, who, 
with their commander, have acted contrary to the law of 
nations." — Gardoqui to A. Lee, September 28, 1778: Diplomatic 
Correspondence of the United States, Vol. II., p. 750. 

Page 74 0, "French, Americans and English." 

" It would give us satisfaction to annoy our enemies by 
granting a letter of marque, as is desired, for a vessel fitting 
out at Dunkirk, and, as is supposed by us, containing a mixed 
crew of French, Americans and English." — Franklin, Lee and 
Adams to de Sartine, June 3, 1778: Diplomatic Correspondence 
of the United States, Vol. II., p. 604. 

Page 75 O, *'a 'fresh supply' was requested." 

"The rage, as I may sa3% for entering into the American 
service increases ... in the sea as well as land service. 
Blank commissions are wanted here to cruise under your flag 
against British Commerce." ''If Congress approves of my 
conttnuins to issue such commissions. I wish to have a fresh 

278 



NOTES 

supply." — Deane to the Committee of Secret Correspondence, 
November 6, 1776; Deane to John Jay, December 3, 1776; 
Franklin to the President of Congress, October 4, 1779. 

" Congress approve of armed vessels being fitted out by you 
[Franklin, Deane and Lee] on Continental account; . . . 
blank commissions for this purpose will be sent you by the 
next opportunity." — Committee of Secret Correspondence to 
Franklin, Deane and Lee, December 21, 1776: Diplomatic Cor- 
respondence of the United States, Vol. IL, pp. 191, 213, 231; 
Vol. IIL, p. 364. 

Page 75 ("), "in the regular warships." 

"The Prince de Nassau will make the cruise with you. She 
is to be brought here under cover as a French merchantman, 
to be equipped and manned in France. You have your present 
crew, to be made up here with other nations and French." — 
Franklin to J. P. Jones, June i, 1778: Franklin's Writings, 
Vol. VIIL, p. 274. 

But Jones replied that his American crew were "homesick," 
and Franklin wrote him : 

" It is now settled . . . that you are to have the frigate 
from Holland, which actually belongs to Government [of 
France], and zvill be furnished zvith as many good French sea- 
men as you shall require. ... As you may like to have 
a number of Americans, and your own are homesick, it is pro- 
posed to give you as many as you can engage out of the two 
hundred prisoners which the ministry of Britain have at length 
agreed to give us in exchange for those you have in your 
hands. . . . Tf by this means you can get a good new 
crew, I think it will be best that you are quite free of the old, 
for a mixture might introduce the infection of that sickness you 
complain of."— Franklin to J. P. Jones, June 10, 1778: Frank- 
lin's Writings, Vol. VITL, pp. 27^, 276. 

However, Jones got but few of the two hundTed prisoners, 
the American nativity of many of which, it may be said, was 
at least doubtful. 

Page 76 (^^), "than the regular crew." 

Cooper's History of the United States A^avy. 

The vessel referred to by Mr. Cooper was the renov/ned 
Bon Homme Richard, commanded by the no less renowned 
John Paul Jones, about which ship and man there has been 
evolved a minor myth peculiar to themselves. The victory 
thev achieved, lauded as a marvellous example of American 
skill and daring, in fact gives little cause for wonder, and in 
no pens? was American. 

379 



NOTES 

It was not an example of great skill and daring, because 
it was achieved over an enemy of weaker force. It was not 
an American victory, because the ships of the squadron that 
achieved it, not only were not manned or officered by Amer- 
icans, but Jones, their commander, himself an unexpatriated 
British subject, was acting under a French commission. More- 
over, the squadron failed in its mission, inasmuch as the 
object for which it was dispatched was not attained. All these 
facts, besides being of record in the French archives, are 
attested by Franklin and Jones himself. 

The squadron commanded by Jones, according to the account 
given by De Chaumont, consisted of the Bon Homme Richard, 
42 guns; the Alliance, 36 guns; the Pallas, 30 guns, the Cerf, 
18 guns, and the Vengeance, 12 guns; in all, a squadron of 
138 guns. Jones gives a similar account, except that he gives 
the number of guns carried by the Bon Homme Richard as 
forty, instead of forty-two guns, and says that the Cerf separ- 
ated from him. He also gives the tonnage of the two British 
ships, the Serapis and the Countess of Scarborough, as a forty- 
four-gun ship and a twenty-gun ship, which is the same weight 
of metal as given by Franklin. Taking Jones' account as the 
true one, his squadron, carrying 118 guns, engaged with one 
carrying 64 guns. 

See Diplomatic Correspondence of the United States, Vol. III., 
pp. 309, 365, 376, 380; Vol. IV., p. 301. 

Page 81 H, "the needed aid must be afforded." 

John Laurens, Memorial to Count de Vergennes, March 20, 
1781 : Diplomatic Correspondence of the United States, Vol. 
IV., pp. 318-321. 

Vergennes wrote to the French ambassador at Madrid, in 
part, as follows: " C'est gratuitement qu'on voit dans le peuple 
nouveau une race de conqueronts. . . . Malgrc le grand 
attachment que le peuple et mcme les chefs temoignent pour 
leur independence, je souhaite que leur Constance ne les ahan- 
donne pas avant qu'ils en aient ohtenu la reconnaissance. Je 
commence a n'avoir plus une si grande opinion de leur fermete, 
parce que celle s'affaihlit a mesure que je m'eclaire. Leur 
repuhlique, s'ils corrigent pas les vices, ce qui me parait tres 
diMcile . . . ne serait jamais qu'on corps faible et sus- 
ceptible de bien peu activite. Si les Anglais en avaient mis 
davantage. ce colosse apparent serait actuellement plus soumAs 
qu'il ne I'avait jamais ete. Dieu fasse que cela n'arrive pas 
encore. Je vous avoue que je n'ai qu'une faible conHance dans 
Vencrgie des Etats-Unis."—C\vconrt, Histoire de I'Action Com- 
mune, etc., Vol. III., pp. 312-314. 

280 



NOTES 

Page 84 C*), ''the worst was already over." 

Gouverneur Morris, pp. 119, 49- 

Edward Everett, more candid or less patriotic than Mr. 
Roosevelt, admits that ''The alliance [with France] saved the 
United States." — North American Review, Vol. XXXIIL, p. 450. 

Page 87 H, "skilfully fostered by Franklin." 

Doniol declares that Franklin and his colleagues did their 
utmost to stimulate the belief that the revolted colonies were 
on the eve of a reconciliation with the mother country, a 
result that would be fatal to France, and which could be 
averted only by a speedy alliance.— ///.J^oj;^, etc., Vol. II., p. 
393- 
Page 88 C^), "in the revolted colonies." 

These numbers I have estimated from British sources of 
information. John Adams, who, as chief of the Board of War, 
should have been informed in the matter, made a somewhat 
similar estimate : " Fifty thousand men upon paper, and thirty 
thousand men, in fact," he declared, "was the highest number 
Britain ever had in arms against this country." — John Adams 
to the Inhabitants of Concord, July, 1798: Works, Vol. IX., 
p. 211. 



CHAPTER V. 

Page 89 0, "Philanthropic Treason." 

"The philanthropist who wishes good to his own country 
and of mankind must be the bulrush bending to the storm, and 
not the sturdy oak unavailingly resisting." — Hartley to Frank- 
lin, May I, 1782: Franklin's Works, Vol. IX., p. 218. 

This Hartley, the most persistent if not the most eminent 
of the '* friends of America," was ever employed in devising 
schemes to frustrate the attempts of the ministry to maintain 
or regain control of the colonies. In the letter from which the 
above is quoted, he declared: "My object and wish always 
has been to strike at the root of the evil, the American War." 
This has little the appearance of bending to the storm; in 
fact. Hartley, like all of the other " friends of America," and 
like many Englishmen born since his time, applied the doctrine 
of non-resistance only to the case of his countrymen when 
attacked by other peoples. For these other peoples resistance 

281 



NOTES 

was lawful and laudable, and if it were made against the just 
claims of his country, it was lawful and laudable for EngHsh- 
men to aid it. 



Page 89 0, "a 'fatal yielding' on the part of 
the colonists." 

" I have conversed with almost all ranks of people. , 
The following language has been reiterated to me in various 
companies, with approbation and warmth: 'We are afraid of 
nothing but your division and your want of perseverance. 
Unite and persevere. You must prevail; you must triumph.' 
. . . Before I came among this people, the friends of liberty 
desponded, because they believed the Americans would give up. 
They saw the irretrievable ruin of the whole cause, lost in that 
fatal yielding."— Josiah Quincy, Jr., to Mrs. Quincy, Nov. 24, 
1774-/ Life of Josiah Quincy, Jr. 

But these self-styled philanthropists did not alwaj^s have 
credit for unselfishness from those who benefited by their acts. 
William S. Johnson, agent for the province of Connecticut, in 
a letter to his constituents, wrote of one of Burke's speeches: 
" It is plain enough that these motions have not been made for 
the sake of the colonies, but merely to serve the purposes of 
the Opposition, to render the ministry, if possible, more odious, 
so that they may themselves come into the conduct of affairs, 
while it remains very doubtful whether they would do much 
better, if at all, than their predecessors."— Co//^rfion.y of Mas- 
sachusetts Historical Society, Vol. XLIX. ''Life of W. S. 
Johnson." 

That Johnson was justified in his statement, at least as 
applied to the majority of the Whig agitators, there can be no 
doubt. The length to which party animosity was carried by 
the chiefs of that party and their supporters presents a repul- 
sive picture. Horace Walpole. though not an active politician, 
exhibited these malevolent sentiments to the full extent; for 
he had never forgiven the overthrow of the powerful oligarchy 
that his father had set up. and vented his spleen on all wlio 
supported the party which had succeeded it in power. His 
frequent references to these men are so gross and silly that it is 
difficult to determine whether they were inspired by treason, 
malice or folly. See Cunningham's Walpole, pp. 7, M^ 32, 65, 
passim, ,, 

"All the stories of Horace Walpole." sqys Mahon, are to 
be received with great caution, but hi^ Reminiscences, above 
all, written in his dotage, teem with the grossest inaccuraaes 
and most incredible assertions.'— H'>/^rv of England, from the 
Peac^ of Utrecht to the Peace of Pans,, Vol L, p. ,15^' 

9%Z 



NOTES 

Page 90 (^), "loyalty to their king and country." 

" I do not call for vengeance on the heads of those who 
have been guilty. I only recommend them to make their 
retreat. Let them walk off; and let them make haste, or they 
may be assured that speedy and condign punishment will over- 
take them." — Speech of Chatham in the House of Lords, 
November i8, 1777. 

"Peace and freedom, justice to the injured, and exemplary 
punishment on the heads of the guilty [that is, the ministers 
and their supporters] ought constantly to be in the view of 
every honest man." — William Baker to Burke, October 27, 1777: 
Burke's Works, Vol. L, p. 352. 

Page 92 0, **made a subject for their rejoicing." 

When a report of Howe's victory over Washington's army 
on Long Island reached London, Fox deplored it as that " ter- 
rible news from Brooklyn." The success of Burgoyne at Ticon- 
deroga Sir George Seville declared to be " ruinous." 

Page 92 0, "to 'clog' the war." 

"A minority cannot make or carry on a war; but a minority, 
well-composed and acting steadily, may clog a war in such a 
manner as to make it not very easy to proceed." — Burke to 
Rockingham, August 23, 1775 : Burke's Works, Vol. I., p. 285. 

Page 92 (^), "upon their country and countrymen." 

James Parton, in his Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin, 
says : " The interests of America and the interests of that, 
Opposition were identical. . . . The strange spectacle was 
then afforded of the most eminent British statesmen associating 
with and entertaining in their homes a commissioned emissary 
of their King's revolted subjects, the King's own son and heir 
not disdaining his society." 

The emissary referred to by Mr. Parton was one Jonathan 
Austin, a Disunion spy, sent by Franklin to London to obtain 
information from his English friends to be used in the intended 
destruction of their country. Another notorious Disunion spy 
was Edward Bancroft, who, by Franklin's directions, travelled 
frequently from Paris to London, and there held conferences 
with the " friends of America," among them Lord Chancellor 
Cam.den. It was this man who gave information to Paul Jones 
that enabled him to make attacks on unprotected British ports 
and shipping. Bancroft was never molested by the British 
authorities, though his occupation was well known to them. 
After the rlo^e of the Revolutionary Wtr hf remained in Eng- 

383 



NOTES 

land, and lived to play the spy in the interests of the French 
Republic during the subsequent war with France. 

Page 94 0, "her decadence and her crimes." 

" It is not possible for him to express the sense he has of the 
honor which this resolution does him. . . , He looks to 
the American States as now the hope, and likely soon to become 
the refuge, of mankind." — Price to Franklin, January i8, 1779: 
Diplomatic Correspondence of the United States, Vol. II., p. 

474- 

" So flattering a testimony of the regard of an assembly 
which I consider the most respectable and important in the 
world cannot but give me the highest pleasure, and I shall 
always reckon it among the first honors of my life. 
Here our debts must soon produce a shocking catastrophe." — 
Price to Arthur Lee, January 18, 1779: Diplomatic Correspond- 
ence of the United States, Vol. III., p. 28. 

Page 96 f), "never could be subdued by force 
of arms." 

Sir William Howe, his brother Richard, Lord Howe, and 
Lord Barrington. 

In the London Chronicle for August 14, 1779, was published 
a mock epitaph of Sir William Howe, which contains less 
exaggeration than do most epitaphs : " A boundless rapacity 
allured him to so atrocious a system of refined and deliberate 
treachery, ever dreading the glory of victory and conquest as 
tending to shorten the period of the war, and to withdraw him 
from the embezzlement of the public treasure. Thus a parricide 
to his country, he was moreover distinguished in the features 
of his private character, for the uniform dissoluteness of his 
conduct demonstrated his degradation." 

Earl Percy declared that Howe and his officers interested 
themselves " more about the fate of a French dancer than the 
fate of this country." — Intercepted Letter in United States 
Department of State. 

Page 96 0, "were best subdued by proclamation." 

" A different set of politics prevailed," wrote a New York 
Loyalist on the coming of Howe and his army to New York; 
"the rebels were to be converted, and the Loyalists frowned 
upon: proclamations were to end an inveterate rebellion. An 
Opposition, a most unprincipled Opposition, in England was 
to be pleased."— Thomas Jones, History of New York, Vol. 
II., p. 21. 

284 



NOTES 
CHAPTER VI. 

Page 99 (^), '*to cheat the law and get money." 

In a letter to the Earl of Egmont, President of the Trustees 
of the Province of Georgia, Colonel Byrd wrote : " With 
respect to Rum, the Saints of Nezv England, I fear, will find 
some trick to evade your act of Parliament [forbidding the 
establishment of slavery and the introduction of alcoholic 
liquors into the colony]. They have a great dexterity in pal- 
liating a perjury so well as to leave no taste of it in the mouth ; 
nor can any people like them slip through a penal statute. 
. . . A watchful eye must be kept on these foul traders." — 
American Historical Reviezv, Vol. I., p. 88. 

Page 100 O, "of his fellow provincials." 
Of his neighbors, the North Carolinians, Colonel Byrd wrote: 
" They pay no tribute either to God or Ccesar." They " live 
in a climate where no clergyman can breathe any more than 
spiders in Ireland. . . . What little devotion there may 
happen to be is much more private than their vices." — "The 
Westover Manuscript:" Cyclopcedia of American Literature, 
Vol I., p. 75. 

Page 101 0, "only to be expressed by a metaphor." 

Le Clerc Milfort, in his Mcmoires, ou Coup d'Oeil Rapide, 
describes the contests of these " gougers." A ring was forrned, 
he tells us, the oldest man present being appointed umpire. 
The contestants, whose thumbnails had been allowed to grow 
long, and were artificially hardened, were besides armed with 
an iron spike. As soon as the word was given, they flew at 
each other, bit, clawed and gashed. When one had been 
thrown down, he was jumped upon by his opponent, who with 
his thumbnail gouged out his eye. When this was done, the 
umpire gave the signal to desist, but often too late to save 
the remaining eye of the prostrate man. The victor then 
leaped upon a stump and defied mankind to combat. 

See, also, Chastellux' Voyage dans I'Amerique Septentrionale, 
Vol. II., pp. 192, 193- 
Page 102 0, " deserting it in its hour of danger." 
Washington to General Schuyler, July 28, 1775; to the Presi- 
dent of Congress, August 7, 1775; to the President of Con- 
gress, August 8, 1775; to the President of Congress, September 
21, 1775; to Joseph Reed, November 8, 1775; to the President 
of Congress, November 28, 1775: Washington's Writings, Vol. 
III., pp. 42, 55, 56, 104, 157- 

285 



NOTES 

Page 105 C), "a total dissolution of the army." 

Washington to Governor Trumbull, December 2, 1775; to 
Governor Cooke, December 5, 1775 ; to Joseph Reed, January 4, 
1776; Schuyler to Washington, December 5, 1775; Washington 
to Governor Trumbull, November 10, 1776; to the President 
of Congress, March 14, 1777; to the Governor of Maryland, 
April 12, 1777; to R. H. Lee, October 17, 1777; to the Presi- 
dent of Congress, December 23, 1777; to the President of 
Congress, April 30, 1778; to John Banister, April 21, 1778; 
to Gouverneur Morris, April 25, 1778; to R. H. Lee, June i, 
1777; to Gouverneur Morris, May 8, 1779; to the President 
of Congress, June 2^, 1779: Washington's Writings, Vol. IIL, 
pp. 183, 188, 191, 225; Vol. IV., pp. 171, 363, 386, 447; Vol. 
v., pp. 98, 99, 201, 321, 339, 340, 350; Vol. VL, pp. 243, 251. 

After a perusal of these angry complaints, the comment of 
an English historian that Washington " had never ceased to 
be serene and self-assured " has an odd sound. See Mahon's 
History of England, Vol. VL, p. 135. 

Page 109 O, "official positions of trust and honor." 

" We have a miserable prejudice against men of education 
in this State," wrote J. D. Sergeant to John Adams, a few 
days after the Declaration of Independence ; " most of them 
[the members of the New Jersey Convention] hardly com- 
petent to penning a common note." — John Adams' Works, Vol 
IX., p. 425. 

Noah Webster, in his Essays (p. 338), says that three-fifths 
of the names of the constituents of a Maryland representative 
appended to a copy of instructions were marked with a cross 
because the men could not write. 

It is a well-attested fact that many of the justices of the 
peace of the Province and State of New York, and of other 
provinces and states, at that time considered a far higher office 
than at present, were obliged to attest their judgments with their 
marks. See Documents Relating to the Colonial History of New 
York, Vol. VII., p. 979. 

Page 118 C), "among the members of the Congress." 

This was the famous " Conway Cabal," led by an Irish 
officer, which very nearly resulted in displacing Washington as 
the head of the army and substituting Horatio Gates, reputed 
the bastard son of the Duke of Leeds. This man, like Mont- 
gomery and other English officers serving in the Revolutionary 
War, left the British service because he was not advanced, to 
a rank that he aspired to. 

286 



NOTES 

Page 119 0, "in the Second Continental Congress." 

Asserted by the biographers of John Jay on the authority of 
a " family tradition." 

This was the second Congress. This is what John Adams 
said of the first : " I went to Congress in 1774. ... I 
had the disappointment to find . . . the greatest part even 
of the most intelligent full of prejudice and jealousies, which 
I had never before even suspected." — John Adams to James 
Lloyd, January, 1815 : Works, Vol. X., p. no. 

Page 119 0, "in the English army than in ours." 

Mr. Mason, of Virginia, was of a different opinion. Speak- 
ing in that State Convention, in 1788, he said : " Bribery and 
corruption, in my opinion, will be practised in America more 
than in England, in the proportion as five hundred and fifty 
exceeds sixty-five." The remarkable exactness of this estimate 
arose from the fact that Mr. Mason was basing it upon the 
number of representatives in Parliament and in Congress. 



CHAPTER VII. 

Page 120 0, "in accordance with their despotic 
commands." 

A long, though very imperfect, list of these outrages is given 
by Lorenzo Sabine in his Biographical Sketches of Loyalists. 
Sabine was an enthusiastic adherent of the cause of the Revolu- 
tion, and an honest and impartial writer, who, as he says, had 
" devoted years to the subject." 

Page 122 ('0, "pronounce sentence and do execution." 

" Committees not known in law . . . frequently elect 
themselves into a tribunal, where the same persons are at once 
legislators, accusers, witnesses, judges and jurors, and the mob 
the executioners. The accused has no day in court, and the 
execution of the sentence is the first notice he receives." — 
Massachusettensis' Letters, Letter IV. 

Page 122 0, "elected ... as a deliberative assembly." 

And how elected? In one county in New York, the delegate 
to the Congress was elected by less than half a dozen people. 
(See Revolutionary Incidents, Onderdonk, p. 16.) Silas Deane 
is said to have nominated and elected himself. In Galloway's 

287 



NOTES 

Examination (p. ii), it is said: "In no colony where dele- 
gates were not appointed by the assemblies, which were four 
only, were they chosen by one-twentieth part of the people." 

Page 122 C), "and cross-examining the inmates." 

Of these inquisitions, the indomitable *'' Westchester Farmer " 
wrote: "Will you submit to this slavish regulation? . 
Will you be instrumental in bringing this abject slavery on 
yourselves? . . . Do as you please; but by Him that 
made me, I will not. . . . Choose your committee, or 
suffer it to be chosen by half a dozen fools in your neighbor- 
hood; open your doors to them, let them examine your tea- 
canisters and molasses jugs, and your wives' and daughters' 
petticoats ; bow and cringe, and tremble and quake ; fall down 
and worship our Sovereign Lord the Mob! But, I repeat it, 
by Heaven, I will not! No, my house is my castle; as such 
I will consider it, as such I will defend it v/hile I have breath." 
— Samuel Seabury, Free Thoughts on the Proceedings of the 
Continental Congress." 

Page 126 0, "the miseries of its inmates." 

In Moore's Diary (Vol. II., p. 435) is contained a description 
given by a Loyalist of his descent into this " Hell," and of the 
wretched prisoners incarcerated therein, half-stifled by the fetid 
air of the place. 

Page 127 0, "twenty-seven such 'executions.' " 

There is related by Sabine a most revolting story of one of 
these lawless hangings, perpetrated by the Revolutionary hero, 
General Putnam. It is as follows: 

" Jones, Edward, of Ridgefield, Connecticut. Was executed 
by General Putnam, in 1779, at a place called Gallows Hill. 
The scene is described as shocking. ' The man on whom the 
duty of hangman devolved left the camp, and on the day of 
execution could not be found. A couple of boys about the 
age of twelve years were ordered by General Putnam to per- 
form the duties of the absconding hangman. The gallows was 
about twenty feet from the ground. Jones was compelled to 
ascend the ladder, and the rope around his neck was attached 
to the cross-beam. Putnam then ordered Jones to jump from 
the ladder. " No, General Putnam," said Jones, " I am inno- 
cent of the crime laid to my charge; I shall not do it." 
Putnam then ordered the boys before mentioned to turn the 
ladder over. The boys were deeply affected with the trying 
scene; they cried and sobbed loudly, and earnestly entreated 
to be excused from doing anything on this distressing occasion. 

288 



NOTES 

Putnam, drawing his sword, ordered them forward and com- 
pelled them at the sword's point ' to obey his order.' " — Bio- 
graphical Sketches, p. 406. 

Page 129 C), "with our enemy in this contest." 

" The family of Johnson, the black part of it as well as the 
white [that is, Sir William and Colonel Guy Johnson, their 
Highland guard and the Indians under their protection], are 
pretty well thinned. They deserve extermination." — John Adams 
to Abigail Adams, August 19, 1777: Familiar Letters, p. 292. 

" What sort of magistrates do you intend to make? Will 
your new legislature feel bold or irresolute? Will your 
judicial hang and zvhip tvithout scruple:^ — John Adams to Gen- 
eral Warren, July 27, 1775: Works, Vol. I., p. 180. 

" I think their [the Loyalists'] career might have l)een 
stopped on your side [that is, in the colonies ; Adams was 
writing from Amsterdam] if the executive officers had 
not been too timid in a point which I so strenuously recom- 
mended at first; namely, to Unc, imprison and hang all inimical 
to the cause without favor or affection. I foresaw the evil 
that would arise from that quarter, and wished to have timely 
stopped it. / zvould have hanged my own brother if he had 
took a part with our enemy in this contest." — Adams to Gushing. 
December 15, 1780: Diplomatic Correspondence of the United 
States, Vol. IV., p. I95- 

The atrocity of the sentiments expressed in the letter last 
cited have produced attempts to discredit its authenticity, but 
without avail. 



CHAPTER VIII. 
Page 133 O.. " 'concealed the treason.' " 

" It is now universally admitted [among the members of the 
Congress] that we are and must be independent," wrote John 
Adams; "but objections are made to a declaration of it. It 
is said that such a declaration will arouse and unite Great 
Britain. . . . That such a declaration will put us in the 
power of foreign states." — John Adams to John Winthrop, June 
23, 1776; Works, Vol. IX., p. 409. 

" We often read resolves denying the authority of Parlia- 
ment . . . gilded over with professions of loyalty to the 
King; but the golden leaf is too thin to conceal the treason."— 
Massachusettensis' Letters, p. 114. 
19 289 



NOTES 

Page 135 C), "cared a farthing for." 

" I never was much of John Bull, I was Yankee, and such 
I shall live and die." — John Adams to Warren, August 4, 1778: 
Diplomatic Correspondence of the United States, Vol. II., p. 
676. 

" Neither my father nor mother, grandfather nor grandmother, 
great-grandfather nor great-grandmother, nor has any other 
relative that I know of or care a farthing for, been in Eng- 
land these hundred and fifty years." — John Adams' Diary: 
Works, Vol. TIL, p. 392. 

Page 137 O, "to sit among the rulers of empire." 

This fact is denied or ignored by American writers generally. 
De Witt, however, in his Life of Jefferson, admits it. Refer- 
ring to Franklin, when in England, he writes : " There was a 
moment when there was even a question of appointing him 
Under Secretary of State for the Colonies, then filled by Lord 
Hillsborough, and he showed himself quite ready to accept 
this post, conformable to his triple maxim, ' never to ask a 
place, never to refuse a place, and never to resign one.'" — Life 
of Thomas Jefferson, p. 59. 

The " triple maxim " referred to by Mr. De Witt occurs in 
a letter from Franklin to his sister, Jane Mecom, written in 
December, 1770, and published by Sparks. There is also pub- 
lished by Sparks a letter from Franklin to his son, written 
in July, 1768, in which he relates a qualified tender of office 
from Lord North, and his own virtual acceptance thereof. In 
the same volume in which this letter appears, Sparks asserts 
that " there never was a shadow of a foundation " for the 
report, by his enemies, that Franklin "was disposed to accept 
office under the British Government." Had the office been 
bestowed upon him the world would never have heard of Ben- 
jamin Franklin as a Father of the American Revolution. 

Page 139 0, "only until they ripened." 

See Guizot's History of France, Vol. V., p. 355. 

In February, 1768, De Kalb, Choiseul's secret agent in the 
colonies, wrote to his chief : " All classes of people here are 
imbued with such a spirit of independence and freedom from 
control that, if all the provinces can be united under a common 
representation, an independent state will soon be formed. At 
all events it will certainly come forth in time." — Kapp's Life 
of John Kalb. 

290 



NOTES 

Page 142 0, "renouncing their allegiance to the Crown." 

" The condition of the colonic [New England] was such 
that they were able to contest with all other plantations about 
them, and there was feare of their breaking from all depend- 
ence on this Nation. . . . We understood they were a 
people almost on the very brink of renouncing any dependence 
on the crowne." — Diary of John Evelyn, for May 26 and June 
6, 1671. 

Page 144 0, "at the time of the annexation of Canada." 

George Chalmers, for more than forty years Secretary of the 
Board of Trade, in the preface to his Opinions of Eminent 
Laii'yers, published in 1814, wrote : " None of the statesmen 
of that period [1766], nor those of the preceding or sub- 
sequent times, had any suspicion that there lay among 
the documents of the Board of Trade and Paper Office the 
most satisfactory proofs, from the epoch of the revolution in 
1688, throughout every reign and during every administration, 
of the settled purpose of the revolted provinces to acquire 
direct independence." 

See, also, Chalmers' Introduction to the Revolt of the Amer- 
ican Colonies. Chalmers quotes many documents. 

Page 147 ('), "a single unimportant instance." 

Unimportant only as a factor in the argument. This was 
the miserably conducted expedition to Cartagena, so graphically 
and pitilessly described by Tobias Smollett in his novel of 
Roderick Random. Smollett was present as a surgeon in one 
of the warships. In this expedition Lawrence Washington, 
brother of George, served under the command of Admiral 
Vernon (" Old Grogram," who gave the word " grog " to our 
mother tongue), of whom he seems to have been a great admirer, 
and from whom he named his estate " Mount Vernon," after- 
wards the home of the first President of the United States. 



CHAPTER IX. 

Page 149 C), " after all hope of subduing them had 
departed." 

Even Lecky joins the general chorus of condemnation of 
George III. : " It may be said, without exaggeration, that he 
inflicted more profound and enduring injuries upon his country 
than any other modern English King. . . . He espoused 

291 



NOTES 

with passionate eagerness the American quarrel; resisted 
obstinately the measures of conciliation, by which at one time 
it might easily have been stifled," he writes. — History of Eng- 
land, Vol. III., pp. 170, 171. 

Page 149 0, "so as to give satisfaction." 

Conway to Lord Hartford, February 12, 1776. 

In Albemarle's Life of Rockingham (p. 292), it is said that 
the King gave to that minister a written declaration that he 
favored the amendment of the Stamp Act, but if it could not 
be amended then he would not oppose its repeal. 

Page 151 O, " that assured to them their liberties." 

This pretence was carried over the verge of absurdity. The 
Disunion petitions, resolutions and manifestoes abound in asser- 
tions and claims, direct and implied, that, had they been well 
founded, would have made King George — in theory, at least — 
the most despotic ruler that Great Britain had ever seen since 
the days of Oliver Cromwell after the dismissal of the Long 
Parliament. 



CHAPTER X. 

Page 154 0, "by underhand politicians." 

" The Germans hated France and England, too, but had been 
taught to hate New England more than either, and to abhor 
taxes more than all. A universal and perpetual exemption 
from taxes zvas held up to them as a temptation by underhand 
politicians." — John Adams to James Lloyd, February 14, 1815: 
WorkSf Vol. X., p. 120. 

Page 155 O, ''swept from the face of the earth." 

" Shays' Rebellion," the organizer and leader of which was 
one Daniel Shays, theretofore a captain in the Revolutionary 
army. See George R. Minot's History of the Insurrection in 
Massachusetts. 

Page 157 O, "the consent of the governed." 

"I know, Sir," said Mr. Ames, in the Massachusetts Conven- 
tion, " that the people talk about the liberty of nature. We 
cannot live without society; and as to liberty, how can I be 
said to enjoy that which another man may take from me when 
he pleases? The liberty of one depends not so much on the 

292 



NOTES 

removal of all restraint from him as on the due restraint upon 
the liberty of others. Without such restraint there can be no 
liberty/'— Elliott's Debates, Vol. II., p. 9. 

Page 162 C), '*the national legislature." 

A short time ago, that eminent educator, President Hadley, 
of Yale University, in a lecture to the students of the Berlin 
University, asserted that the framers of the American Federal 
Constitution ''were not thinking of the legal position of private 
property. But it so happened that in making mutual limitations 
upon the powers of the federal constitution and the state gov- 
ernments, they unzvittingly incorporated into the Constitution 
itself certain very extraordinary immunities to the property 
holders as a body." Thus are the facts of American history 
spread abroad. 

Page 163 (°), "to which he has not consented." 

" There are but two sorts of men in the world, freemen and 
slaves. The very definition of a freeman is one who is bound 
bv no lazv to which he has not consented." — " Novanglus :" 
Works, Vol. IV., p. 28. 

Page 163 C), **or other equivalent property." 

"All the (male) inhabitants of the Commonwealth [Massa- 
chusetts], having sufficient qualifications, . . . every male 
person, being twenty-one years of age, . . . having a free- 
hold estate zvithin the same town, of an annual income of three 
pounds, or other estate of the value of sixty pounds, shall have 
a right to vote." — Report on a Constitution for Massachusetts 
made to the Convention, in 1779, by John Adams : Works, Vol. 
IV., pp. 219, 243. 

Page 164 0, "success will sanctify every operation." 

During the war for independence, the people of Vermont, or 
the New Hampshire Grants, became so impressed by the teach- 
ings of the Disunion leaders about the right of self-government 
that they proposed to set up a government of their own. To 
this the Disunion government of New York, that claimed juris- 
diction over that territory, objected, not rehshing the idea of 
that doctrine being used to their disadvantage ; therefore, they 
proposed to suppress that revolution by force of arms. To 
the head of that government Gouverneur Morris wrote : 
" Either let these people alone or conquer them. / prefer the 
latter, but I doubt the means. If we have the means, let them 
be used. . . . Success will sanctify every operation." — 
Sparks's Life of Gouverneur Morris." 

293 



NOTES 

CHAPTER XL 

Page 166 (^), " at no man's commandment living." 

But it should not be supposed that with Hooker first arose in Eng- 
land the doctrine of government by the consent of the governed. 
A century and a quarter before Hooker wrote, Sir John Fortescue, 
Chief Justice of England during the reign of Henry VI., in his 
De Laudibus Leguni Anglia, and in his The Difference between 
Absolute and Limited Monarchy, not only announced the doc- 
trine, but declared its establishment in the " dominium politicum 
et regale" of the realm, "in i^'liich the soz'ercigH may not rule 
his people by other lazvs than such as they as^-ent to." " In the 
body politic," he writes, " the first thing which lives and moves 
is the intention of the people. . . . Neither can a king, 
who is the head of the body politic, change the laws thereof, 
nor take from the people what is theirs by right without their 
consent. . . . For he is appointed to protect his subjects in 
their lives, properties and laws; for this very end and purpose 
he has the delegation of power from the people." 

These words were written by a Chancellor of England just 
three centuries before the writing of the Declaration of Inde- 
pendence by a statesman of America, yet its insertion in that 
document would not in the least impair the symmetry of its 
theories and affirmations. 

Page 170 0, "on a strict question of principle." 

" Every encroachment, great or small, is important enough to 
awaken the attention of those who are entrusted with the pre- 
servation of a constitutional government. We are not to wait 
till great public mischiefs come, till the government is over- 
thrown. We should not be worthy sons of our fathers were 
we so to regard great questions affecting the general freedom. 
Those fathers accomplished the Revolution on a strict question 
of principle." — Speech of Daniel Webster in the United States 
Senate, May 7, 1834. 

But we must not expect consistency, even from Daniel 
Webster. More than thirteen years before making this state- 
ment he had himself refuted it. In December, 1820, he had said : 
" Our own immortal Revolution was undertaken, not to shake 
or plunder property, but to protect it. The acts of which the 
country complained were such as violated the rights of 
property." 

Page 170 ( ), ''and trial without jury." 

Said Mr. Madison, in the Virginia Convention, in 1788: 
"The trial by jury is held as sacred in England as in America. 

294 



NOTES 

There are deviations from it in England; yet greater devia- 
tions have happened here since we established our independence 
than have taken place there for a long time." 

And Mr. Wilson, in the Pennsylvania Convention in the same 
year, said : " There have been more violations of this right 
in Pennsylvania since the Revolution than are to be found in 
England in the course of a century." — Elliott's Debates, Vol. 
II., p. 490; Vol. III., p. 537. 



CHAPTER XII. 
Page 177 0, "as a 'faction.'" 

In an address to the younger Pitt : " I hope you will, in the 
end, bear down and conquer the hydra of faction, which now 
rears its hundred heads against you." These hydra heads were 
on the shoulders of those who formerly were the colleagues 
and followers of Wilkes. 

Page 183 O, "with as much ease as a lord." 

Dr. Campbell, an Irish clergyman, in his Diary of a Visit 
to England in 1775, tells of his visit to the Chapter Coffee 
House, a place of resort frequented by men of culture and 
condition. " Here," says Dr. Campbell, " I saw a specimen of 
English freedom. A whitesmith, in his apron, and some of his 
saws under his arm, came in, sat down, and called for his 
glass of punch and the paper, both which he used with as much 
ease as a lord." 

Page 184 0, "because 'we pays you.' " 

In his Covent Garden Journal, Henry Fielding pictures an 
independent carter, " who comforts himself that he is a free 
Englishman," and " though he was never worth twenty shil- 
lings in his life, is ready to answer a captain, if he offends 
him, 'D — n you, Sir! who are you? Is it not we that pays 



you 



?'" 



CHAPTER XIII. 
Page 198 0), "from some savage chief of that country." 

For generations before the Revolution, the town of Boston, 
and other seaports of the New England provinces, had depended 



NOTES 

for their chief source of subsistence on three forms of industry 
— deep-sea fishing, distilHng and slave-trading. These industries 
were interdependent and circular. The tish, when caught, were 
exported to the French West Indies and there bartered for 
molasses ; the molasses was carried back to New England, and 
there distilled into rum ; the rum taken to the West Coast of 
Africa, and there bartered for slaves; the slaves carried to 
the ports of the provinces of the South, and sold for cash ; 
the cash, of course, being expended in fitting out more vessels, 
so that the circle could be again traversed. 

In this commerce the town of Boston excelled, the number of 
its distilleries, fishing-vessels and slave-ships exceeding the 
aggregate of those of the other towns. This devout city would 
never have attained the prosperity it enjoyed at the period of 
the Revolution but for its pre-eminence in this infernal traffic. 
The very walls of its famous temples of liberty were cemented 
with the blood and tears of the slave. 

Page 199 0, "too pure to be breathed by a slave." 

Declared to be a principle of English constitutional law, by 
a bench of judges in the first years of the seventeenth century. 
Lord Mansfield, by his decision in the case, merely asserted this 
ancient doctrine. 

» 

Page 199 0, "all parts of the United States would 
be 'enriched.' " 

Speech of Oliver Ellsworth, first Chief- Justice of the United 
States, in the Constitutional Convention. — Elliott's Debates, 
Vol. v., pp. 457, 458. 

In view of this utterance it was grimly appropriate that a 
member of the Convention should complain that the federal 
tax on the importation of negroes would fall on the " consumer.'' 

Other of the constructors of the Great Republic manifested 
similar sentiments : Mr. Pinckney '' contended that the impor- 
tation of slaves would be for the interest of the whole nation." 
And Mr. Rutledge declared that, " Religion and humanity had 
nothing to do with the question. Interest alone is the govern- 
ing principle of nations." — Elliott's Debates, Vol. IV., p. 273; 
Vol. v., pp. 457, 459. 

Some three-quarters of a century after these speeches were 
delivered, a distinguished son of New England, an enthusiastic 
panegyrist of the " Revolutionary Fathers," wrote the following 
lines, with a strange obliviousness to the fact that they applied 
with far greater pertinency to the men he was never tired of 
lauding than to those to whom he intended them to apply: 

296 



NOTES 

" Is true freedom but to break 
Fetters for our own dear sake. 
And with leathern hearts forget 
That we owe mankind a debt? 
No ! true freedom is to share 
All the chains our brothers wear, 
And with heart and hand to be 
Earnest to make others free." 

— James Russell Lozvell. 

Page 202 O, ** life for a sugar-mill slave does not 
exceed seven years." 

The estimate here set forth of the life of a slave on the 
rice and sugar plantations is corroborated by Mr. Giddings, who 
asserted that the slaveholders of South Carolina, in convention, 
had decided that it was most profitable for them to use up the 
lives of their negroes within that time. — Giddings' Speeches, p. 
142. 

Page 202 (^), "the children from the parents." 

George William Featherstonhaugh, one of the British Com- 
missioners for delineating the northern boundary of the State 
of Maine, under the provisions of the Ashburton Treaty, in 
his Excursions through the Slave States. Published in 1844. 



CHAPTER XIV. 
Page 218 O, " * at the last moment.' " 
History of England, Vol. IV., p. 91. 

It would seem that Mr. Lecky, like all other British his- 
torians, has failed to grasp the fact that the support afforded 
to Lord Chatham by tne American Disunionists (the only 
people in whose power it was to bring back the colonies peace- 
ably to the Empire) was given because of their belief that, 
with his help, they would be able to take the colonies out of 
the Empire. After he had made it apparent that he was 
opposed to their secession, that support was withdrawn; we 
see his statue mutilated by the mob, and himself berated by 
one of the Disunion chiefs as having a " black spot '' in his 
character, and a " perverted heart." 

John Adams to Jennings, March 12, 1781 : Diplomatic Corre- 
spondence of the United States, Vol. IV., p. 286. Jennings was 
one of the army of American spies living in London during the 
Revolutionary war. 

297 



NOTES 

Page 219 O, "two of their most distinguished chiefs." 

"New York and Pennsylvania," wrote John Adams to Chief- 
Justice McKean, " were so nearly divided^ if their propensity 
was not against us, that if New England on one side and 
Virginia on the other had not kept them in awe they would 
have joined the British. . . . The last contest in the town 
of Boston, in 1775, between Whig and Tory, was decided by 
five against two. Upon the zvhole, if we allow two-thirds of 
the people to have been with us in the Revolution, is not the 
allowance ample f" To which Judge McKean repHed: "On 
mature deliberation, I conclude you are right, and that more 
than a third of influential characters were against it."— John 
Adams' Works, Vol. X., pp. 63, 87. 

Chief-Justice Marshall, in his Life of Washington, speaks of 
"the people of the South being almost equally divided between 
the two contending parties." 

Page 220 O, " the ministry itself." 

Said Dr. Johnson, with characteristic vehemence: " Such a 
bunch of imbecility never disgraced a country. , . . I will 
not say that what they did was always wrong; but it was always 
done at a wrong time." — Wallace's Boswell, p. 463. 

Page 222 C), "they do not apply at all." 

Thaf is, to the organizers of the secession movement and 
the chiefs of the seceding states; for that movement and the 
establishment of the Southern Confederacy were not the work 
of any "knot of men," but were supported by a vast 
majority of the people of the Southern States; yet the strongest 
count in the indictment of the British Government was that it 
had granted belligerent rights to a "faction;" a faction the 
suppression of which cost the United States Government three 
years and a half of warfare, and an immense expenditure of 
treasure and life. 

Page 223 C), "fancied or pretended injuries." 

Perhaps, also, for another reason, for the archives of Boston 
contain plain proof of a shortage in the accounts of Samuel 
Adams when intrusted with public funds, which shortage his 
bondsmen were called upon to pay. This Governor Hutchin- 
son plainly calls a defalcation, and there seems reason to believe 
that, had it not been for the opportune Disunion agitation, 
Adams would have been the subject of a criminal prosecution. 

298 



NOTES 

Page 228 O, "with the necessaries of life." 

Again we may take the testimony of Washington. In a 
letter written from the camp at Valley Forge, he complains : 

" The situation of matters in this State is melancholy and 
alarming. We have daily proof that a majority of the people 
in this quarter are only restrained from supplying the enemy 
zvith horses and every kind of necessary through fear of pun- 
ishment; and although I have made a number of severe 
examples, I cannot put a stop to the intercourse." — Washington 
to General Armstrong, March 27, 1778. Quoted by Stone in 
his Border Wars of the Revolution," Vol. I., p. 259. 

Page 230 0, "violated in America." 

John Jay to John Adams, November i, 1786: Life and Letters 
of John Jay, Vol. II., p. 191. 

A statement to the same effect is embodied in Jay's report 
to Congress. Similar statements, also, were made in the Fed- 
eral and State Conventions in 1787 and 1788. " We have seen 
with what little ceremony the States violated the peace with 
Great Britain," said Mr. Maclaine, of North Carolina. " In 
order to prevent the payment of British debts, and from other 
causes," said Mr. Wilson, of Pennsylvania, " our treaties have 
been violated, and violated, too, by the express laws of the 
several States of the Union. . . . And it is well known 
that when the minister of the United States made a demand 
on Lord Carmarthen of a surrender of the western posts, he 
[Carmarthen] told the minister, with truth and justice, 'The 
treaty under which you claim these possessions has not been 
performed on your part; until it is done, those possessions 
will not be given up.' " Mr. Corbin, of Virginia, also, declared 
that the payment of the debts had been " shamefully withheld." 
—Elliott's Debates, Vol. II., p. 490; Vol. III., p. 105; Vol. 
IV., p. 160. 

Page 231 0, "if Britain were sunk in the sea." 

"Have we not this instant heard it urged against our envoy 
[John Jay] that he zvas not ardent enough in his hatred of 
Great Britain t . . . That nation must be extirpated. 
. . . If a treaty left King George his island, it would not 
answer, not if he stipulated to pay rent for it! It has been 
said the world ought to rejoice if Britain zvas sunk in the sea; 
if where there are now men and wealth, laws and liberty, there 
was no more than a sandbank for sea-monsters to fatten on, 
a space for the storms of the ocean to mingle in conflict." — 
Speech of Fisher Ames in the House of Representatives, in a 
debate on the Jay Treaty. 

299 



NOTES 

Page 231 O, "peals of exultation." 

" All the old spirit of 1776 rekindling," wrote Thomas 
Jefferson to Madison, in an ecstasy of delight. "The news- 
papers from Boston to Charleston prove this, and even the 
monocrat [Federalist] papers are obliged to publish the most 
furious philippics against England. A French frigate took a 
British prize off the Capes of Delaware the other day and sent 
her up here [to Philadelphia]. Upon her coming into sight, 
thousands and thousands of the yeomanry of the city crowded 
and covered the wharves. Never before was such a crowd seen 
there, and when the British colors were seen reversed, and the 
French flying above them, they hurst into peals of exultation." 
— Jefferson to Madison, May 5, i793 : Jefferson's Works (Con- 
gress Edition), Vol. III., p. 548- 
Page 231 (^°), **fit objects for their detestation." 

"A great majority of the American people deemed it 
criminal to remain unconcerned spectators of a conflict between 
their ancient enemy and republican France. . . . The few 
who did not embrace these opinions, and they were certainly 
very few, were held up as objects of detestation, and were 
calumniated as tools of Britain." — Marshall's Life of Wash- 
ington, Vol. III., p. 256. 

Page 232 ("), "without serious impediinent." 

Evidence of Jefferson's complicity in these outrageous viola- 
tions of neutrahty, while he was a member of Washington's 
cabinet, may be found in abundance in the works of the early 
American writers, and even in his own correspondence and 
memoranda. 

Page 232 C^), "the commerce of the French republic." 

John Randolph — no friend of the British Government, for 
which he expressed his " abhorrence " — in a speech made in 1806, 
before a Committee of the House, stigmatized this commerce 
as a trade " which covers the enemy's property, . . . this 
mushroom, this fungus of war," of which he declared the 
United States possessed " seven-eighths." 

Page 233 n, "without an ally." 

Said Daniel Webster, in his speech in reply to Calhoun, in 
1838 : " We were at war with the greatest maritime power on 
earth, England. ... At one time the whole continent had 

300 



NOTES 

been closed against her. A long line of armed exterior, an 

unbroken hostile array, frowned upon her from the Gulf of 

Archangel, round the promontory of Spain and Portugal, to 

the extreme point of Italy. There was not a port which an 
English ship could enter" 

Page 233 ("), "her very existence as a nation." 

" Great Britain," said John Randolph, in the speech lately 
referred to in these notes, is " contending, not for the dis- 
mantling of Dunkirk, for Quebec or Pondicherry, but for 
London and Westminster — for life!" 

Page 234 C^}, "peace with Great Britain." 

"The acquisition of Canada this year" [1812], wrote Jeffer- 
son to General Duane, " as far as the neighborhood of Quebec, 
will be a mere matter of marching, and will give us experience 
for the attack of Halifax the next, and the final expulsion of 
England from the American continent." 

About the same time he wrote to General Kosciusko : " Eng- 
land must give us peace and future security, and this can never 
be but by her removal from our neighborhood. We shall strip 
her of all her possessions on this continent. . . . The 
cession of Canada must be a sine qua non at a treaty of peace." 
— Jefferson's Works (Congress Edition), Vol. VI., pp. 75, 76. 

Henry Clay, too, was quite as confident that Great Britain 
would be expelled from the continent of America with the 
greatest of ease. " I trust I shall not be deemed presump- 
tuous," he said, during a debate in Congress, '' when I state 
that I verily believe that the militia of Kentucky is alone com- 
petent to place Montreal and Upper Canada at your feet." — 
Debates of Congress, Vol. IV., 177. 

And Crowninshield, of Massachusetts, not to be outdone, 
made the same claim for the militia of his State. 

Page 235 O, "by Henry Ward Beecher." 

When Mr. Beecher was lecturing in England, during the 
American Civil War, he told his hearers that when he was a 
youth it was considered the first duty of a patriot to hate 
England. 

Page 237 C^), "of the Book of Genesis." 

This was John Quincy Adams, who in the House of Repre- 
sentatives quoted Genesis I. 26-28, containing the command of 



NOTES 

God to man to " be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the 
earth," as a justification of the attempt of his countrymen to 
annex British territory. 

Von Hoist suggests that this argument is analogous to that of 
" manifest destiny." " Nevertheless," he adds, " it can scarcely be 
thought anything but laughable when a leading statesman seeks to 
deduce the justice of a claim of territory from the Mosaic account 
of the creation." — Constitutional History of the United States^ 
Vol. III., p. 31. 

Page 238 O, "rusted in the scabbard." 

The extent to which, for a decade or so before the Spanish- 
American war, the journals of the United States uttered dire 
threats against Great Britain for her assumed intent to " vio- 
late the Monroe Doctrine," can hardly be conceived by those 
who did not have the privilege of reading them. One patriotic 
and intelligent writer sternly censured the British Government 
for refusing to acknowledge that the Monroe doctrine was 
part of international law! 

Page 241 0^), "the sacred rights of mankind." 

During the South African War, stories derogatory to the 
courage and honor of the British soldiers were eagerly sought 
and reproduced by the journals of the United States; even 
invented, for it is said that one Western journal employed a 
staff of writers to fabricate such stories. Nor was the pic- 
torial method of libel neglected. As I write I have before me 
a half-page illustration, published by a great newspaper syndi- 
cate, showing an English armored train, to stanchions on the 
sides of which were bound some six Boer maidens, their hair 
flying in the wind and terror in their faces, exposed to the fire 
of their friends, for the protection of the cowardly British 
soldiers crouching beneath the armored barrier out of harm's 
way! 

Page 244*(^), "antagonistic to our nation." 

Gouverneur Morris, p. 228. 

This is the belief of Mr. Roosevelt. Mr. Gladstone, who 
perhaps was as well informed upon the subject, held a different 
opinion. In a speech delivered at Leith, on January 10, 1862, 
he said : " I do not believe that at the time when the con- 
vulsion [the American Civil War] commenced there was one 
man in a thousand in this country who had any sentiments 
whatever towards the United States of America except a senti- 
ment of affectionate, sympathizing good-will, or who felt any- 

302 



NOTES 

thing but a desire that they might continue to go on and 
prosper." — Speech reported in the Times, January 13, 1862. 

Page 248 H, *' as it had in the South." 

During the generation immediately preceding the war these 
conditions were even more marked. Writing at that period, 
Mr. Garrison asserted that there was greater need of a revolu- 
tion of public opinion in regard to slavery in the North than in 
the South. "Here" [in Boston], he wrote, in the first number 
of the Liberator, " I found contempt more bitter, detraction 
more relentless, prejudice more stubborn, and apathy more frozen, 
than among slaveholders themselves." 

Page 249 (^), "[the determination of the North to 
suppress it." 

Among them, Mr. Charles Francis Adams, who, in his life 
of the elder Charles Francis, declares that, " The governing 
and aristocratic classes, especially in London, were at heart in 
sympathy with the slaveholding movement." 

With equal truth he might have asserted that they were at 
heart in sympathy with the witch-burning movement. One 
is quite as unthinkable as the other. 



ijX^ 



J nit tj 



134. 3