Josiah Rhinehart Sypher.

School history of Pennsylvania, from the earliest settlements to the present time online

. (page 11 of 24)
Online LibraryJosiah Rhinehart SypherSchool history of Pennsylvania, from the earliest settlements to the present time → online text (page 11 of 24)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

with the mother country, on the principles of the constitu-
tion ; that the inhabitants of the colonies were entitled to the
same rights and liberties within the colonies, that subjects
born in England were entitled to within that realm ; that the
power assumed by Parliament to bind the colonists 'by
statutes, in all cases whatever,' was unconstitutional, and
therefore the source of the prevailing unhappy differences;
that the late acts of Parliament affecting the Province of
Massachusetts were unconstitutional, oppressive, and danger-
ous; that there was an absolute necessity that a Colonial
CoNGJiEss should be immediately assembled, to form a gen-
eral plan of conduct for the colonies; that, although a sus-
pension of the commerce of the Province with Great Britain
would greatly distress multitudes of the inhabitants, yet they
were ready to make that and a much greater sacrifice for the
preservation of their liberties; that Congress should state

24. "Where did the convention assemble? What principles were
set forth ?


their grievances, and make a firm and decent claim for re-
dress; that if it should be ever necessary, in the opinion of
that Congress, for the colonies to take further steps than are
mentioned in the preceding resolution, the people of Penn-
sylvania will adopt such further steps, and do all in their
power to carry them into execution ; that the people of the
Province would break off all trade with any colony, town,
city, or individual on the American continent, which should
refuse, decline, or neglect to adopt and carry into execution
such general plan as should be agreed upon in Congress."

25. The convention also instructed the Assembly to ap-
point delegates to attend a congress of deputies from other
colonies, which should meet at such time and place as might
be agreed upon, to determine, if possible, what should be
done to restore harmony "on a constitutional foundation."
Acting upon this recommendation, the Assembly appointed
Joseph Galloway, Samuel Rhoads, Thomas Mifflin, Charles
Humphries, George Ross, and Edward Biddle representa-
tives for Pennsylvania in the Continental Congress.

26. To our fathers, therefore, belongs the honor of leader-
ship in the struggle for American Liberty. In Pennsylvania

. the first bold, firm stand was made against British encroach-
ments upon the rights of the people. Here the stamp act
was most vigorously opposed ; here the attempt to land
taxed tea in the colonies was first resisted ; here the idea of
a Continental Congress was conceived ; here the Declaration
of Independence came forth ; and here, also, in the lap of this
commonwealth, the National Union was born.

25. "What instruction did the convention give to the Assembly?
What did the Assembly do ?

26. What honor belongs to our ftithers? Tor what is Pennsylvania
distinguished ?





Preparations for War. — The First Battles of the Revo-
lution. — Declaration of Independence.

1. The first Continental Congress assembled in Carpen-
ters' Hall, Philadelphia, on the 5th of September, 1YY4.
The regular business was begun on the morning of the
seventh, after an impressive prayer by Rev. Jacob Duche.
Congress remained in session until the 2Gth of October, and
the measures decided upon for future action received the
general approbation of the American people.

2. The address to the inhabitants of the colonies, coun-
seling them to maintain their just rights at all hazard, and
to the people of P^ngland, asking an impartial judgment on
their action, and their petition to the king, were written with
such marked ability and wisdom, that the great William Pitt,

Chapter XXII. — 1. Where and when did the first Continental
Congress assemble? How was business begun? How long was the
session ?

2. What addresses were put forth ? What opinion was expressed
of them?


Earl of Chatham, said in the House of Lords: "I must de-
clare and avow, that for solidity of reasoning, force of sa-
gacity, and wisdom of conclusion, under such a complication
of circumstances, no nation or body of men can stand in
preference to the general Congress at Philadelphia."

3. When Congress adjourned, to meet again on the 10th of
May, 1775, unless England should sooner consent to redress
their grievances, the members earnestly hoped that another
meeting would not be necessary ; but they were doomed to
disappointment. Pride and love of power had made Great
Britain both blind and obstinate. Additional laws were
enacted by Parliament for the punishment of America, and
soldiers were sent from England to enforce obedience.

4. From New Hampshire to Georgia, the people were
aroused to a true sense of their danger. They accepted the
last resort, and determined to oppose foreign troops with free-
men's steel. Early in September, 1774, the people began to
arm, organize, and drill. On the morning of the 19th of
April, 1775, on the Green at Lexington, Massachusetts, the
first blood of the Revolution was shed. The report of the
skirmish spread rapidly from house to house and from colony
to colony, until all hearts were inflamed. In a few days the
patriots of New England were in arms, and before the end of
April more than 20,000 men were forming camps and build-
ing fortifications around the British army in Boston.

5. At the dawn of day, on the 10th of May, Colonel Ethan
Allen, at the head of a company of " Green Mountain boys,"

3. How did Congress adjourn? "What did the members hope?
How did Great Britain act?

4. How did this affect the people? "When did they begin to
organize? "When and where was the first battle of the Revolution
fought? "What did the report of this battle do?


appeared before Fort Ticonderoga and demanded its sur-
render. The British officer in command, suddenly aroused
from his sleep, asked "by what authority do you demand it?"
" By the authority of the Great Jehovah and the Continental
Congress," said Allen. The fort was surrendered, and two
days later Crown Point was captured. The cannon, small arms
and the large stores of ammunition in these forts were of vast
service to the Americans in the beginning of the war. The
battle of Bunker Hill was fought on the ITth of June follow-
ing; and thus the war of the Revolution was fully begun.

6. On the 10th of May, the very day on which Colonel
Ethan Allen had captured Ticonderoga, the second Conti-
nental Congress assembled in the State House, in Philadel-
phia. As their first duty, the Representatives sent a most
loyal petition to the king, and a conciliatory address to the
people of England; but at the same time they said to the
British government, "We have counted the cost of this con-
test, and find nothing so dreadful as voluntary slavery."
The presence of a strong foreign force, and the blaze of war
already lighting up New England, admonished Congress that
delay would be disastrous to the cause of liberty.

t. Armed resistance had now become necessary, and Con-
gress immediately voted to raise an army of 20,000 men,
and appointed George Washington commander-in-chief of
the Continental forces. Pennsylvania was called on to con-

5. What forts were captured, and how? When was the battle of
Bunker Hill fought? Where is Bunker Hill?

6. When did Congress reassemble? What did Congress do?

7. What had become necessary? What did Congress vote? Who
was made commander-in-chief? How many troops was Pennsyl-
vania to contribute? What had the people done? What was formed?
What did the members of the military association do? What com-
mittees were appointed?


tribute 4300 men; but the people had nobly anticipated the
call, and as early as the 24th of April, upon the receipt of
the news from Lexing-ton, a public meeting was held in Phil-
adelphia, when it was resolved to form a military association
"for the protection of their property, their liberties, and their
lives." The association was speedily organized, and ex-
tended through every county; its members supplied them-
selves with arms, and regularly attended military drills in
order to acquire skill in the use of their weapons. The
Provincial Assembly promptly recognized the association,
and provided for the payment and sustenance of any of the
members who should be called into actual service. A " Com-
mittee of Safety," and another of "Inspection" were ap-
pointed, to whom were intrusted the military affairs of the

8. It was, therefore, easy to respond to the call for troops.
The Assembly recommended the commissioners in the sev-
eral counties to provide arms and accoutrements for the men
going into active service, and also directed the officers of the
military association to organize as many " minute men " as
could be armed, who should hold themselves ready to march
at a moment's notice to any part of the Province that might
be threatened with invasion. Money was appropriated for
the better defense of Philadelphia ; the manufacture of salt-
peter and powder was encouraged, and in a short time the
sound of preparation for the conflict, that threatened the ex-
tinction of liberty in America, was heard throughout the
Province to its remotest bounds. The authority of the pro-
prietary government was ignored, and the "Committee of

8. How did Pennsylvania respond to the call for troops ? What
change was made in the government?



Safety," appointed by the Assembly, assumed the executive
control of public affairs.

9. The most delicate and difficult task for the authorities
of Pennsylvania to perform was, that of framing their laws
and requisitions so as not to oppress those, who were con-
scientiously opposed to bearing arms. The Mennonists and
German Baptists addressed the Assembly on this subject,
and said: " Though not at liberty in conscience to bear arms,
it is a principle with us to feed the hungry and give the
thirsty drink ; we are ready to pay taxes, and to render unto
Caesar the things which are Caesar's." The Quakers were
less liberal in their views, and insisted that they could not
consistently aid in carrying on the war; but when the As-
sembly resolved that, ''all persons between the ages of six-
teen and fifty, capable of bearing arms, who did not associate
for the defense of the Province, ought to contribute an equiv-
alent for time spent by other associations in acquiring mili-
tary discipline," they submitted to this rule, and many of
them contributed freely for the public defense.

10. Notwithstanding these preparations for war, the people
awaited with anxious hope the king's answer to the last peti-
tion of Congress for justice and reconciliation. The earnest
prayer of the oppressed subjects was spurned from the
throne, the inhabitants of the colonies were declared to be
"rebels," and orders were given for the seizure and confisca-
tion of their property. A land and naval force of 55,000
men was voted for the king's service against the colonist's ;

9. What was a difficult task? Why was this difficult? How were,
the non-resistants required to aid the cause of liberty?

10. What did the people hope for? How were their petitions re-
ceived? What was done in England? What were the patriots com-
pelled to do ? How did they act ?


and in addition to these, n,000 troops were hired from Hesse
Cassel, in Germany, to join the British army in America.
Thus the sword was drawn on both sides, and the American
patriots were compelled to fight their way up to national
independence, or ignominiously surrender to a despotism that
would speedily reduce them to slavery. They nobly ac-
cepted the challenge, and with "liberty or death" for their
battle-cry, resolved to defend their rights as freemen, or perish
in the attempt.

11. Intelligence of the determination of the British govern-
ment to subjugate the colonies was received in America in
January, 1776. The whole country was roused to greater
activity by the king's proclamation of war. The army was
increased ; the seaports were fortified ; and Washington, who
had surrounded Boston on the land side by the Continental
army, prepared to force the British troops from the town.
His efforts were crowned with success; and on the 17th
of March the enemy evacuated their forts and sailed away
to Halifax. Meanwhile the organized companies in every
province had marched to the seaports and made preparations
to oppose the landing of foreign troops.

12. During the whole time of the bitter controversy that
preceded the clash of arms, the people professed the most
unceasing loyalty to the British crown; but now the grand
idea of an independent nation began to force itself upon the
popular mind, and every heart was filled with the desire for
a government, that should be beyond the control of the power

11. "When was intelligence of the action of the British government
received ? How did it affect the people ? What was done ?

12. "What had the people professed? What grand idea was now
forced upon them? What was heard? What did Congress recom-
mend ? What followed ?


that oppressed the people. The voice of every provincial
Assembly was soon heard in favor of independence, and, on
the 10th of May, Congress, then sitting in perpetual session
in Philadelphia, recommended the formation of State govern-
ments in all the colonies, that should be independent of royal
authority. Less than two months later, about noon on the
4th of July, the Representatives of the people unanimously
declared the Thirteen Colonies Free and Independent States,
to be called the United States of America.

13. Four days after this action had taken place, the Com-
mittee of Safety and that of Inspection marched in proces-
sion to the State House, where the Declaration of Independ-
ence was read to the battalions of volunteers and a vast
concourse of citizens. The British flags were then taken
down and removed from the court-rooms, and Avere burned,
amid the shoutings of the people, while the church bells were
ringing, and the peals from the State House bell proclaimed
liberty throughout the land. The building within and around
w^hose walls these scenes were enacted was afterward called
"Independence Hall."

13. "VYhen and to whom was the Declaration of Independence
read? How was it received? What is the building called where
these scenes were enacted?




Tire 3Iilitary Campaign o/nYG.

1. It was now 138 years after the time when the first settle-
ment had been made on the Delaware by the Swedes, and the
95th year of the Province, under the proprietary government.
By a resolution passed by the representatives of the people,
met in convention in July, lit 6, the authority of the pro-
prietary and the royal control were renounced, and the Prov-
ince was declared to be an Independent State.

2. The new-born Commonwealth had then a population of
302,000 inhabitants, whereof 2000 were negroes. There were
10,395 soldiers in the field doing active service, and in addition
to this force there was an organized militia in every county,
ready to march on short notice against an approaching enemy.
The respectable little navy of the Commonwealth consisted

Chapter XXIII. — 1. How old was the ProA'ince when Independ-
ence was declared? How and when was it made a State?

2. What was the population ? What was the condition of the army
and navy ?


of 15 ships, 10 sloops, and a number of galleys and floating
batteries, which did noble service in the protracted and val-
liant defense of the city of Philadelphia. The foundries at
Reading and Warwick were making shot and shell for the
army, and had already cast 92 cannons of 12 and 18 pounds
caliber. Thus prepared, Pennsylvania entered the war for
Independence. Before the close of the first campaign, the
full power of the State was called into action to prevent
the invasion of its territory and the capture of its chief city.

3. The capture of New York by the British, and the retreat
of Washington's army across New Jersey, in December, 1*176,
brought the war to the boundary of Pennsylvania, threatened
the capture of Philadelphia and the destruction of the mili-
tary resources of the State. Washington's army had dwindled
away by loss in battle, by the expiration of the term of enlist-
ment, and by sickness, until he had in his command less than
3000 effective troops,

4. When the Continental army crossed the Delaware, the
enemy was close upon its rear guard ; fortunately, however,
the British generals w^ere slow, and prosecuted the war with
a spirit of pride that disdained haste. They sat down on
the east bank of the river, to wait until it would freeze over
and give them a bridge of ice, whereon they might cross in
safety and triumph into Pennsylvania.

6. The enemy was posted along the river, on the New Jer-
sey side, from Trenton to Camden; and the little army of
Americans, w^eary, suffering from cold, hungry, disheartened,
almost hopeless, stretched its thin lines from New J lope to

3. What brought the war to the boundary of Pennsylvania?
What was the effective force of Washington's army at this time?

4. What saved Washington's army?
6. How were the armies posted?


Bristol, on the west bank of the Delaware, and watched the
movements of the hostile forces on the opposite shore.

6. It was at this period of greatest discouragement, when
the cause of liberty seemed nearest failure, that the wisdom
of early preparations for defense, the strength of the military
association, and the spirit of the people of Pennsylvania ap-
peared to greatest advantage. The people flocked to Wash-
ington's camp, bringing clothing for the naked, food for the
starving, and medicines for the sick; and the associated
militia from every county, with arms and ammunition, with
artillery and supply trains, marched to the Delaware.

7. Fifteen hundred men, under General John Cadwallader,
went from Philadelphia to reinforce the army at Bristol ; one
company marched from Shippensburg; another from North-
umberland ; several from York county. In the counties near
the scene of action the loyal men instantly flew to arms, and
marched in squads or in organized companies to the line of
defense above the city.

8. Washington had crossed the river, on his retreat from
New Jersey, on the 8th of December, saddened by disap-
pointment, at the head of an army depressed and almost
without hope; yet within seventeen days, joined by 1500
Pennsylvania troops, he was strong enough to recross the
Delaware and give battle to the enemy.

9. Marching orders were sent along the whole line, and
the troops were supplied with three days' rations and forty
rounds of ammunition. On the night of the 25th of December,

6. What was this period? What appeared? How did the people

7. What troops marched?

8. When and how had Washington crossed the Delaware? What
change took place?

9. When did the army recross the Delaware? What happened?


at the head of 2400 veteraa troops, Washington crossed the
river at Mackonkey's Ferry. The current was swift, and
thick with floating ice ; the wind blew violently in the faces
of the men; snow began to fall at eleven o'clock, and soon a
northwest storm of wind, sleet, and hail set in and beat
pitilessly upon the patient soldiers, who, regardless of icy
roads and pelting elements, pressed forward toward the
enemy's camp.

10. At daylight. General Sullivan, who commanded the
right wing of the army, reported to the general-in-chief that
his men's powder and arms were wet; *'then tell your gen-
eral to use the bayonet, for the town must be taken," said
Washington to the messenger who brought the report.

11. The troops pushed bravely on, and the town of Trenton
was taken. Colonel Ralle, the Hessian commander, had spent
the night in drinking and card playing, and was wholly uncon-
scious of danger, until the roll of the drum and the crack of
the rifle fell upon his dull ears. The Hessians rushed to arms,
but were speedily overcome by the impetuous charge of the
Americans. Seventeen of the enemy were killed, seventy-
eight wounded, and nine hundred and forty-six were taken
prisoners. Washington captured 1200 small arms and six
brass cannon. The battle lasted only thirty-five minutes, and
the Americans returned to their camps without the loss of a

12. The news of this victory filled all loyal hearts with
joy. The tories, who, before the battle, rejoiced at the low
condition of the patriot army, were now silenced and abashed;

10. What report did Washington receive, and how did he an-
swer it?

11. How was the battle of Trenton fought?

12. What did the news of this victory do?


but the friends of liberty, recently so despondent, rose in
the pride and strength of their principles, and were bold to
talk and work for the cause of Independence. Troops again
flocked to the victorious standard of Washington; the veteran
soldiers, whose term of service expired the first of the year,
ITT 7, reinlisted, and thus the army and the people were in-
spired with new vigor and courage.

13. Washington determined to take advantage of the effect
of his victory. His own troops were elated, and those of the
enemy were demoralized, by the sudden change in the tide of
British success. He therefore again crossed the Delaware,
on the 30th of December, and pitched his headquarters at
Trenton. The enemy was at Princeton, just ten miles dis-
tant. On New Year's night, Generals Mifflin* and Cad-
wallader, with their Pennsylvania troops, marched up from
Bordentown and joined Washington's camp ; and thus, the
effective force of the army at Trenton consisted of about 5000

14. On the following day, January 2d, ITTT, the British
army, under Lord Cornwallis, marched from Princeton and
encamped for the night, on the bank of a small stream

* Thomas Mifflin was born in Philadelphia, 1744. He took an
active part in the struggle against British oppression, was a member
of the Continental Congress in 1774, and, though a Quaker, joined
the patriot army In 1775, and by his great abilities soon rose to the
rank of major-general. In 1787, he was a member of the convention
that framed the Constitution of the United States. The following
year he was elected President of the Executive Council, and after-
ward, first governor of Pennsylvania under the Constitution of 1790.
He died in 1800, in the city of Lancaster.

13. What did Washington do? Where was the enemy? What
movements were executed ?



near Trenton, within rifle shot of the American outposts.
Washington well knew that the number and strength of the
enemy were too great for the few battalions of his little
army; therefore, during the night he quietly withdrew, and
early next day fell upon, and defeated the British reserves
at Princeton, and then fled away to the hill country of New
Jersey, before the bewildered Cornwallis could overtake him
or even comprehend his movements.

15. The victorious army of patriots went into winter
quarters at Morristown, and thus ended the campaign. But
the soldiers did not sit down in idleness. After building
comfortable huts and securely intrenching their camps, the
battalions were constantly engaged in some expedition against
the enemy, "who became so thoroughly perplexed by the swift
and successful sallies of Washington's troops, that they
thought the whole of Xew Jersey was filled with ''rebels,"
and hence retreated to the upper part of the State and
encamped opposite New Tork, where they passed the winter
in constant fear of a sudden attack from the Americans.

16. When the army first crossed the Delaware, in the
autumn of 1176, and the enemy appeared at Trenton, the
Continental Congress was removed to Baltimore ; but now,
when the defeated enemy retreated to New York, the national
legislators returned to Philadelphia, and resumed the work of
providing for the enlistment and arming of additional troops
for the campaign of 177 1.

14. How did Washington defeat and bewilder the British?

15. Where and how did the army pass the winter?

16. How was Congress affected by the movements of the enemy?



1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 11 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24

Online LibraryJosiah Rhinehart SypherSchool history of Pennsylvania, from the earliest settlements to the present time → online text (page 11 of 24)